January 2017 NASCAR News Archive

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

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    News from January 31, 2017

  • Carl Edwards to run for US Senate from Missouri? UPDATES: From Terry Smith, a political science professor at Columbia College in Columbia, MO and a regular commentator on KBIA's Talking Politics:
    "One more unrelated thing, and remember where you heard this first. Carl Edwards, the recently-retired NASCAR driver and hometown hero, will run against [Democrat] Claire McCaskill for the Senate seat in 2018."(KBIA)(1-25-2017)
    UPDATE: Edwards didn't exactly rule it out when reached by The Associated Press. He texted: "I believe firmly in the principles that the U.S. was founded upon. If I could help, I definitely would consider it." Edwards also stressed that has no such plans at the moment, but also quoted Gen. Douglas MacArthur: "No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." His retirement has baffled the NASCAR community , with few having a clear understanding on what spurred Edwards' decision.(Associated Press)(1-25-2017)
    UPDATE: A run for Congress? Not so fast for former NASCAR Cup driver Carl Edwards, the subject of speculation for an upcoming run for U.S. Senate. Helping coach his Joe Gibbs Racing replacement Daniel Suarez during a test Tuesday at Phoenix Raceway, Edwards had this to say about the news that he wouldn't rule out a run for office: "That went out of control. The point is I don't ever rule out anything. I don't have any interest in politics for politics. I really do believe in American and I believe that if a person can help maintain the future opportunities for other people like the opportunities all of us have had, that's our duty as Americans, that's what the whole country is founded on. If that's something down the line that fits in that I can do, that would be an endeavor that I would be real proud of. But I'm not like putting together this campaign or something. Not right now."(ESPN.com)(1-31-2017)

  • Biffle "still working" on 2017: Greg Biffle, responding to a tweet from a fan wanting to know his plans for this season, responded "Still working on it bud, my fans are the most important to me".(1-31-2017)

  • LaJoie to drive some races for BK Racing UPDATES: Corey LaJoie has signed on for a partial season with BK Racing in the Monster Energy Cup Series. LaJoie, 25, will drive #83 Toyota for a partial season. A sponsor and crew chief remains to be determined. LaJoie ran a limited schedule in the Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series over the next four seasons. His best results were 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway and sixth at Dover International Speedway while driving the #24 Toyota for James Whitener last year. LaJoie's only Cup starts came for Randy Humphrey in the HP Racing Ford in 2014.(Motorsport)(1-24-2017)
    UPDATE: BK Racing announced that Corey LaJoie will compete in the #83 Toyota Camry for multiple races in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. LaJoie will run his first career Daytona 500 February 26th with sponsorship from Dustless Blasting. Corey LaJoie is a third generation racer and a very well-known name in the racing world. His father, Randy LaJoie, brought home Xfinity Series Championships in 1996 and 1997. BK Racing and Dustless Blasting announced that they will be extending their association into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Dustless Blasting will once again be on board the #83 Toyota for multiple races, beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 26th. This will mark the fourth consecutive year that Dustless Blasting has sponsored BK Racing.(BK Racing)(1-25-2017)
    UPDATE 2:Corey LaJoie confirmed to Race Chaser Online during the Gambler's Classic at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall that he will drive in 14 races for BK Racing as part of his limited NASCAR schedule in 2017. "We have a 14-race schedule put together with BK Racing," LaJoie said. "I am looking forward to it. I'm excited to get to Daytona for my first Daytona 500. I appreciate those guys giving me this opportunity. We will have Dustless Blasting on the hood and hopefully we can do them a good job." LaJoie also expects to return to JGL Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for a limited slate of starts this season. "I'm pretty sure we are going to have Youtheory come back on the XFINITY side this season with JGL Racing," LaJoie said. "Nothing is confirmed, as for right now, but it will probably be five to eight races. I'm looking forward to that. [JGL] has some great people over there working."(Race Chaser Online)(1-31-2017)

  • NASCAR looking at shorter weekend schedules? UPDATE: What else is coming down the NASCAR pike? One-day shows for the top touring series - including the newly named Monster Energy Cup Series. When Brad Keselowski was asked whether the driver's council is behind the decision, he replied, "I think the whole sport is. We're trying to be smart with our time, especially with late starts. We'd like to see - because you don't get home to see your family until two, three in the morning if you're on a race team, so you lose part of Monday, too - so you have to find a way to get that day back and tie it all together. If you move qualifying closer to the race, you get that day back which is so important to everyone's quality of life in this sport.""(Motorsport)(1-26-2017)
    UPDATE: The realization of having a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session occur on race day seems imminent. Exploring the race weekend schedules for 2017, CATCHFENCE.com found the Jun. 11 Pocono 400 race from Pocono Raceway is scheduled to host qualifying at 12:10pm with an anticipated green flag less than three hours later at 3:00pm Furthermore, practice for NASCAR's top series is not scheduled to begin until Sat., Jun. 10. The proposed schedule change is listed through NASCAR's mobile app. A NASCAR spokesperson could not confirm the new schedule alignment, but expressed that the series' schedules are often influx and are subject to change.(Catchfence)(1-31-2017)

  • Enfinger joins ThorSport, Hensley returns: ThorSport Racing announced that Grant Enfinger, the 2015 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Champion, will pilot the #98 Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) in 2017 for the Sandusky, Ohio-based team. Enfinger, a 32-year-old Fairhope, AL native, who captured his first series win at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2016, will compete full-time in the series in 2017, contending for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the series championship title. Enfinger, who has a marketing degree from the University of South Alabama School of Business, has experienced success at all levels of the sport. Making his start in Go Karts at the age of 11, the Alabama native, who celebrated his 32nd birthday earlier this month, progressed from Legends to Super Late Models and then to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. In 2015, Enfinger amassed six wins, including three poles, 13 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes en route to the 2015 ARCA Racing Series Championship title. In 2016, Enfinger made eight starts in the NCWTS, earning his career first Keystone Light Pole Award in the season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, and later went on to earn his career first series win at Talladega Superspeedway. In 14 combined series starts Enfinger has earned one pole, and led 50 laps en route to one win, two top-five and five-top-10 finishes. 2017 will mark his first full-time season in the series. Enfinger's' 2017 campaign will be led by crew chief Jeff Hensley. Hensley, who returns to ThorSport Racing in 2017, spent two seasons with the Sandusky, Ohio based team calling the shots for Johnny Sauter in 2014, and Cameron Hayley in 2015. The Ridgeway, Va. native has 13 wins to his credit since 2004, including a win with Sauter in 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Entering his 14th season atop the box in the NCWTS, Hensley will make his debut with Enfinger in the season-opener at Daytona in February. Enfinger will continue his partnership with Champion Power Equipment, the market leader in power generation equipment, in 2017, as one of three primary sponsor's of the No. 98 Toyota Tundra. Additionally, the NCWTS Rookie of the Year contender welcomes Ride Television Network, Inc. (RIDE TV),a 24-hour, high-definition, television network dedicated to providing quality entertainment to equestrian and agriculture enthusiasts, Jive Communications, an industry leader for business communications worldwide, and Curb Records, one of the worlds leading independent music companies.(ThorSport Racing)(1-31-2017)

  • Rhodes set to return to ThorSport, Troconis to crew chief: ThorSport Racing announced that 19-year-old Louisville, KY native, Ben Rhodes, will return to the Sandusky, Ohio-based team for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season. Rhodes, who competed in the series during his rookie campaign in 2016, will pilot the #27 Toyota Tundra as he makes a bid for the series championship in 2017. Rhodes, the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion, Rookie of the Year, and Most Popular Driver, joined ThorSport Racing and the NCWTS in 2016, following a part-time, 10 race schedule in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2015. In his first full-time season in the series, Rhodes earned his series first 21 Means 21 Pole Award at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (April) and led 55 laps en route to two top-five and five top-10 finishes, finishing 14th in the series championship point standings. Alpha Energy Solutions, a commercial and industrial mechanical self-performing service provider, will continue their support of Rhodes in his sophomore campaign in 2017. The Louisville, Ky. based company will adorn the #27 Tundra at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (July), and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (August). Additional sponsorship for the #27 Toyota Tundra will be announced at a later date. Rhodes' 2017 campaign will be led by crew chief Eddie Troconis. Troconis, who called the shots for Cameron Hayley in 2016 at ThorSport Racing, enters his second full-time season in the series atop the pit box. In his first full-time season, the Mexico native was credited with six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.(ThorSport Racing)(1-31-2017)

  • New sponsor, driver for Bolen at Daytona: Waterfront Services Inc. has joined us for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Waterfront Services Inc. is one of South Florida's premier contractors specializing in concrete restoration, waterproofing painting and creating the best pool and spas in Florida, the team announced on their Facebook page. The team also previously posted that Jordan Anderson would not be driving the season opener, "We will have driver and sponsor announcements in the near future. Jordan will not be driving."(1-31-2017)

  • Hauler Parade returns to Las Vegas: The wildly popular NASCAR Hauler Parade is coming back to Las Vegas. NASCAR fans can see their favorite drivers' haulers make their way up the Las Vegas Strip beginning at 6:00pm/pt on Thursday, March 9, as the city and Las Vegas Motor Speedway kick off the 2017 NASCAR Weekend. The parade is a favorite among racing fans and will begin at the Las Vegas welcome sign on Las Vegas Boulevard. Approximately 40 brightly colored 18-wheeled haulers will receive a police escort as they parade up the Strip before making their way to Interstate 15 via Sahara Boulevard to head north to LVMS. The event returns to Las Vegas after a one-year hiatus. The haulers will proceed to Speedway Boulevard and make their way through the LVMS tunnel under turns 1 and 2 to their garage stalls outside the Neon Garage. A much-anticipated convoy, the hauler parade is a great way for NASCAR fans to get excited about the action-packed weekend that awaits them March 10-12.(LVMS)(1-31-2017)


    News from January 30, 2017

  • Jeffrey Earnhardt to Circle Sport/TMG ride? UPDATE: indications on the Twitter feeds of Jeffrey Earnhardt and #33 Circle Sport/TMG owner Joe Falk that Earnhardt will be the new driver of the #33 Chevy for the 2017 season. No word if it is a full-time deal or part-time. The team also plans to run some races in the #30-Chevy, an Open team (no Charter). The #33 team has a Charter and is guaranteed to run all the 2017 races. Supposedly an announcement could be made on Wednesday.(1-23-2017)
    UPDATE: Circle Sport/TMG tweeted Monday evening, "@CSTMG3330 welcomes [Jeffrey Earnhardt]. Will make first @DISupdates 500! [Starter Black Label] returns [as sponsor] in 2017".(1-30-2017)

  • Chip Ganassi wins Phil Hill Award: Chip Ganassi, a former race-car driver who is now one of the most successful and innovative race team owners in the world, was honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club with the 2017 Phil Hill Award. RRDC president Bobby Rahal made the presentation at the annual RRDC members' dinner on Jan. 25 prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The Phil Hill Award has been presented annually since 1993 to the person who the RRDC feels has rendered outstanding service to road racing. The recipient may be a driver, entrant or outstanding member of a sanctioning body. It is named in honor of America's first Formula 1 World Champion (in 1961), and is not only a tribute to his masterful accomplishments on the race track, it also recognizes his contributions as a great ambassador for the sport. Hill passed away in 2008. Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for more than 30 years. Today his teams include two cars in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, two cars in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, four cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series, two cars in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and two cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship. In 2012, he was was named by Complex Magazine as one of the "50 most influential people in the Auto Industry." Overall, his teams have won 18 championships and over 180 races, highlighted most recently by an historic win in their first trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016. As a result, Ganassi is the only owner in history to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans.(RRDC)(1-30-2017)

  • Kevin Magnussen intersted in running a NASCAR race sometime: Ask Kevin Magnussen about NASCAR, and he just smiles. Gene Haas' latest Formula One recruit is well aware of his boss' championship stock car teams. The 24-year-old Dane, who replaced Esteban Gutierez as Haas F1's second driver, was Stateside this week to see Haas' holdings up close. On Wednesday, Magnussen flew to Haas Automation headquarters in Oxnard, California where he sat behind the wheel of a Monster Energy Cup car on display but "unfortunately" couldn't take it for a spin. "It's extremely cool," Magnussen said of the stock car. "But it's not easy to get in. It's nice because I grew up in motorsport, and you think you know everything, and then you come over here and you see those cars and it's very different." Magnussen then flew to North Carolina to tour Haas F1 Team's U.S.-base and Stewart-Haas Racing next door. "It's very old-school racing but then extremely high-technology as well," Magnussen said of the NASCAR operation. "There's just as much science behind those cars as our cars, but still it's very different." It didn't take long for Magnussen to express his interest in driving a stock car in the future. But before he could even think about following his father Jan's footsteps from F1 to NASCAR, Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner put on the brakes. "At the moment, let's focus on what we're doing," Steiner said. "You have to do it right, or you don't do it. These things need to be done right. They cannot just be winged with this level of people. "Everybody needs to get prepared for the season, then we'll see how we fall into it. We may consider it again. But at the moment, we just have to get as ready as possible for Australia and do a good job there." Steiner isn't saying never. Romain Grosjean was excited about the possibility of racing a stock car when he signed on last year. But Steiner admits Haas F1 teams have to show progress before the organization can even contemplate swapping drivers.(Motorsport)(1-30-2017)

  • Cope discontinuing XFINITY team: Derrike Cope Racing has terminated it's partnership with JP Motorsports effective immediately and has ceased operations in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Plans for driver Derrike Cope for the 2017 season will be announced in the coming weeks.(Derrike Cope Racing)(1-30-2017)

  • Coughlin, Shelton join ThorSport: ThorSport Racing announced today that Cody Coughlin, who made history in 2016 as the first driver to win both the ACRA/CRA Super Series and JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Championship in the same season, will join the Sandusky, Ohio-based team in 2017. The 21-year-old driver will compete full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) behind the wheel of the #13 JEGS/RIDE TV Toyota Tundra. Coughlin, a third generation driver, will also compete for Rookie of the Year honors in addition to the series championship title. Coughlin began his oval track racing career in Quarter Midgets, but has since mirrored the paths of NASCAR stars, competing in Late Models, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and now the NCWTS. In just two part-time seasons in ARCA (2014 & 2015), Coughlin earned two poles, and led 23 laps en route to five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. Since 2015, the third generation driver has made 12 NCWTS starts, including 10 starts in 2016 for fellow Toyota team, Kyle Busch Motorsports. The Delaware, Ohio native also scored six wins en route to two Late Model titles under the Champion Racing Association banner in 2016. Coughlin will continue his partnership with JEGS Automotive, Inc., a premiere source for high-performance parts for racing enthusiast around the world, in 2017. The Delaware, Ohio based company will be one of two primary sponsors of the No. 13 Toyota Tundra. Additionally, Coughlin welcomes Ride Television Network, Inc. (RIDE TV),a 24-hour, high-definition television network, dedicated to providing quality entertainment to equestrian and agriculture enthusiasts. Coughlin's 2017 campaign will be lead by veteran crew chief Michael Shelton. Shelton, who most recently called the shots for John Wes Townley in the NCWTS, has been atop the pit box in the series since 2009, and has one championship (James Buescher, 2012), and seven wins to his credit in 134 races. Former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East crew chief, Rich Lushes, will be the #13 team's truck chief in 2017. (ThorSport Racing)(1-30-2017)

  • Ryan Truex gets full-time ride with Hattori UPDATE: Team owner Shigeaki Hattori confirmed that Ryan Truex has been signed as the full-time driver of the #81 Toyota Tundra for Hattori Racing Enterprises this season, expanding his 15-race schedule from 2016. Truex will be reunited with Mike Greci, who will serve as the team's new general manager. Hattori said they will announce a crew chief soon and said that sponsorship consisting of at least 10 partners would assume a rotation role on the truck and also would be announced soon.(Catchefence)(1-16-2017)
    UPDATE: Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE) is pleased to announce that Ryan Truex, the 2009 and 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion, will run a full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule in 2017, driving the #16 Toyota Tundra. Truex competed in 15 events with HRE in 2016 bringing home a career-best finish of second at Daytona International Speedway in February. Scott Zipadelli will take over the crew chief duties for Truex in 2017, his first season with HRE. In 2016, Zipadelli picked up his first-career NCWTS victory in August at Michigan International Speedway. The veteran crew chief also has three NASCAR Xfinity Series victories on his resume. Truex made his HRE debut at Daytona last year and competed in select events throughout the 2016 season. In 15 starts the 24-year-old compiled one top-five and four top-10 finishes. Truex has three career NCWTS starts at Daytona, bringing home two top-fives. There are opportunities to sponsor the HRE Toyota Tundra this season. There will be several sponsor announcements coming at a later date.(Hattori Racing Enterprises)(1-30-2017)

  • Crafton, ThorSport ready for 2017 season: The 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season will mark the rebirth for Sandusky, Ohio based team, ThorSport Racing. Rising from the ashes, after a fire destroyed much of the teams 100,000 sq. ft. facility, just seven months ago, the team enters their 22nd consecutive season in the NCWTS with a new state-of-the-art rebuild, thanks in part to longstanding partnership with Menards. Menards, a Midwest home-improvement store chain, with a long history in racing, enters their 13th consecutive season in the NCWTS with Matt Crafton and ThorSport Racing in 2017. Matt Crafton, a two-time NCWTS champion, has scored all 13 of his career NCWTS wins and two consecutive championships piloting the iconic day-glow Menards Toyota Tundra. Joining Menards on the #88 will be vendor partners; Fisher Nuts, FVP, Goof-Off, Great Lakes Wood Floors, Hormel Black Label Bacon, Hormel Party Trays, Ideal Door Garage Doors, Jack Link's Beef Jerky, Rip It Energy and Shasta Beverages. Crafton, who made his first start with ThorSport Racing in the NCWTS season finale in 2000, began the series' longest running driver-team relationship with Menards in 2002. Crafton has since become a staple in the NCWTS, winning two championship titles and finishing in the top-10 in the standings in 12 of the last 13 seasons. Crafton will kick-off his 17th full-time season in the NCWTS at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 24.(ThorSport Racing)(1-30-2017)


    News from January 29, 2017

  • Gordon, Wayne Taylor Racing win Rolex 24: Ricky Taylor used a gutsy move to fiercely grab a victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona that had seemingly slipped out of reach. The Wayne Taylor Racing team was among the most dominant in the twice-round-the-clock endurance race but found itself trailing Action Express in the final hour in a battle of brand new Cadillacs. His shot at the celebrated victory was down to one final attempt at a pass of Filipe Albuquerque, and Taylor dove inside of him entering Turn 1 of the road course.Taylor seemed to have the inside lane, but it wasn't clear if he could complete the pass. Contact between the two cars sent Albuquerque spinning, and IMSA reviewed the action to see if Taylor warranted a penalty. No penalty was issued after the review, and the Taylor team won its first Rolex since 2005 - when team owner Wayne Taylor was still a driver. It marks the first victory for brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor - two of the most talented sports-car racers in America - and longtime Taylor co-driver Max Angelelli. Their fourth driver? None other than retired NASCAR great Jeff Gordon, who won the first Rolex watch of his career. Gordon ran this race once before, in 2007, with the Taylor team. Gordon didn't carry a very significant part of the load in victory. He drove twice for a total of three stints, his last one at night in a heavy rain that he's not accustomed to managing. With so much poor weather into daybreak, the team left most of the heavy lifting to the Taylor brothers. Still, it's a coveted Rolex watch for Gordon in a trophy collection that includes four NASCAR champions and three Daytona 500s. "I haven't been this emotional for a win and an experience like this for a very long time," Gordon said. "The reason is because I know what this means to this team, Wayne, these kids, Max. Oh my gosh. This is amazing - Daytona has always been special, but this one sent me over the top. I'm just blown away right now."(Associated Press)(1-29-2017)

  • Teams testing at Phoenix this week: Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick has won six of the last nine races at Phoenix International Raceway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Which is why, teammate Clint Bowyer said, it makes sense for the 2014 champion to represent SHR during next week's organizational test at the 1-mile track located in Avondale, Arizona. The two-day test is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Only one team per organization is allowed to participate in NASCAR organizational tests. Thirteen Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams are scheduled to participate in the two-day test. Among them are Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #19 Toyota, for Joe Gibbs Racing. The test will be the first for many teams with NASCAR's newest rules package. Four teams took part in a two-day Goodyear tire test earlier this month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the '17 setup. This year's race package features reductions in the size of the splitter and spoiler height, a tapered rear deck fin and zero net rear steer. Other drivers scheduled to attend the test are #3-Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing), #13-Ty Dillon (Germain Racing), #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing), #21-Ryan Blaney (Wood Brothers Racing), #22-Joey Logano (Team Penske), #42-Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), #43-Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports), #47-AJ Allmendinger (JTG Daugherty Racing), #77-Erik Jones (Furniture Row Racing) and #95-Michael McDowell (Leavine Family Racing). Additional organizational tests for 2017 are slated for New Hampshire Motor Speedway (May 30-31), Chicagoland Speedway (Aug. 15-16), Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 10-11) and Homestead Miami Speedway (Oct. 24-25).(NASCAR.com)(1-29-2017)

  • Bourdais interested in NASCAR road race: Heading into [the] Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, Sebastien Bourdais is prepared to drive Ford's famous GT supercar in the twice around the clock event with co-drivers Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller. But after the checkered flag falls, he's open to taking a spin in a stock car on one of NASCAR's road courses, he confided to Kickin' the Tires on Friday. He had his chance once before, with an opportunity appearing after runs in the now-defunct IROC (International Race of Champions) Series, but he took a pass rather than jump the open-wheel ship. Instead, Bourdais followed his dreams into Formula 1, and although the 37-year-old former CHAMP Car sensation didn't have the championship success he'd hoped for, he knew if he hadn't done so he'd always question himself. When asked if he would consider driving in a one-off event, such as Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the Xfinity Series or one of the two road courses in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, he said anything is possible if team owners wanted to approach him with an offer. "I guess on road courses, that's probably not out of the equation," he said. "Yeah, I'm Mr. Touch Anything He Can Get His Hands On, so I would be definitely interested in trying that if the right opportunity comes along." However, for anyone who might think that Bourdais was out glad-handing team owners in a chance to convince them they should put him behind the wheel, that's not the case. Yes, he is interested but now that his desire is known, he is content with sitting back and seeing if someone is interested in him.(Kickin the Tires)(1-29-2017)

  • Sad News - Howie Hodge: The Northeast short track racing scene lost a giant and cornerstone figure of the sport on Saturday. Howie Hodge, a fixture as a photographer documenting racing across the country and primarily at Connecticut short tracks, passed away Saturday. Hodge was 77. Hodge's decades in the pits, at tracks across New England almost always with his wife Mary by his side shooting with him, made him known and virtually beloved by all around the sport. Hodge and his wife were inducted in the Eastern Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame on Jan. 7. "I'm totally flabbergasted by this," Hodge said that night. "It's beyond my belief that doing what we enjoy and love so much for so many years, to get an honor like this."
    "He has captured decades of the history of New England auto racing with his photography," longtime motorsports journalist Dick Berggren said. "His contribution is beyond measure. We know history by pictures and he took great ones." Hodge is survived by his wife Mary and son Kevin.(RaceDayCT)(1-29-2017)

  • Atlanta, New Hampshire tracks make Super Bowl bet: The "Big Game" just got a lot more interesting for a pair of speedways in the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. family. New Hampshire Motor Speedway's Executive Vice President and General Manager David McGrath and Atlanta Motor Speedway's President and General Manager Ed Clark have put everything from regional food favorites to premium race tickets on the line for the Feb. 5 title game between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. The wager
    If the Patriots win ...
    " New England Patriots flag to be hung outside Atlanta Motor Speedway office building the next day and during NASCAR race week Feb. 27-March 5
    " While wearing a Patriots jersey, Ed Clark will present David McGrath and the July 16 New Hampshire 301 race winner with Georgia Peaches in victory lane
    " Four Patriots and New Hampshire Motor Speedway fans will win premium tickets to the March 5 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway ($400 value)
    If the Patriots lose ...
    " Atlanta Falcons flag to be hung outside New Hampshire Motor Speedway office building the next day and during NASCAR race week July 10-16
    " While wearing a Falcons jersey, David McGrath will present Ed Clark and the March 5 Folds of Honor QuikTrip race winner with New England Lobster in victory lane
    " Four Falcons and Atlanta Motor Speedway fans will win premium tickets to the July 16 New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ($500 value)
    (NHMS)(1-29-2017)


    News from January 28, 2017

  • Sponsor logos on front windshield in all three series: The names of drivers no longer will appear on a Cup car's front windshield, according to an addition to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rule Book. Instead, Monster Energy will have its logo and name across the top of the front windshield with the car manufacturer's logo. Both Xfinity and Camping World have their names across the front windshield of the vehicles in their series. The driver's name moves to the rear windshield on Cup cars - matching where a driver's name is located in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. The move was made to align the Cup series with the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series in series sponsor placement on the vehicle. The driver's name has adorned the front windshield of Cup cars since 2013. During the opening round of last year's Cup playoffs, the Twitter handles for each title-eligible driver was placed on the front windshield instead of the driver's name.(NBC Sports)(1-28-2017)

  • Ryan Ellis joins GoFas...as PR rep: Ryan Ellis made 24 starts across NASCAR's three national series last year, another young driver trying to stay alive in the sport by jumping into whatever ride he could. But Ellis, tired of waiting for his big break and facing another exhausting season of trying to chase sponsorship, realized it might be best to take a year off from driving, then reset and try again in 2018. His job for this season, though, is perhaps unprecedented for a driver who raced in the NASCAR Cup Series as recently as November. Ellis is now the public relations representative for Matt DiBenedetto, who joins GoFas Racing's #32 car this season. "It's just so hard to claw and scratch and still be able to pay the bills halfway through a season," Ellis said this week in between shuttling DiBenedetto to various stops on the NASCAR Media Tour. "I've been able to do it the last couple years, but it just takes such a burden on you." That's no exaggeration; Ellis has taken side jobs like working at the Richard Petty Driving Experience and even mopping floors at a BMW dealership to make ends meet. So the opportunity to try his hand at PR - which comes with a steady salary - was too good to pass up, especially while working with a good friend. "(Finding a ride) is only getting harder," Ellis said. "With the self-funded drivers or the drivers who know the right people, you're just not going to get one of these opportunities without money. I need to pay the bills, so I've just got to accept it and do all I can."(JeffGluck.com)(1-28-2017)

  • Gordon willing to sub, but wants Bowman to be first choice: Four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon said he would be willing to return as a replacement driver for Hendrick Motorsports if needed in an extreme circumstance, but believes 23-year-old Alex Bowman should have the opportunity. Gordon replaced Dale Earnhardt Jr. in eight Cup races last season as Earnhardt experienced a recurrence of concussion. Bowman, who does not have a NASCAR ride this season, replaced Earnhardt 10 times, and scored three top-10 finishes. He won the pole and had a best finish of sixth at Phoenix International Raceway after leading 194 laps. Bowman's lone scheduled Cup start is in the exhibition Clash in the #88 Chevrolet because of the Phoenix pole. "I think that you're looking at Alex Bowman, who has done an excellent job stepping in," Gordon told USA TODAY Sports. "He's in a position with Hendrick Motorsports doing a lot of simulation work and debriefs. He did a great job behind the wheel last year. So, I think that a lot of it had to do with they weren't real sure what the scenario was going to be with Alex and then also with sponsors or how long Junior was going to be out, so that was a pretty unique scenario. And I think it would have to be a very unique one for me to step in (in 2017.)"(USA Today)(1-28-2017)

  • Cunningham to return to Truck Series: They say history has a way of repeating itself...and for Cunningham Motorsports that may just be true. The organization will make its return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) after years of racing solely in the ARCA Racing Series. The team will field a truck in select races this season, with the tracks, drivers and number of races to be determined at a later date. The truck efforts will be managed out of the Cunningham shop in Mooresville, N.C. with General Manager Paul Andrews overseeing operations.Cunningham Motorsports began racing in the NCWTS in 1998, racing full time before going part time. The team then got back into the Series in 2008 before shifting main focus back to the ARCA Racing Series. Cunningham Motorsports will still race full time in ARCA while adding trucks to the 2017 schedule.(Cunningham Motorsports)(1-28-2017)

  • Richmond tickets on sale Thursday, February 2: While Punxsutawney Phil is deciding whether there is another six weeks of winter, Richmond International Raceway will host an open house for fans to select and purchase their seats for the 2017 NASCAR season. Tickets for both the April and September NASCAR weekends go on sale to the public at RIR and RIR.com on Thursday, February 2. Fans can purchase tickets to the April 28, 29 & 30 NASCAR weekend, featuring the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Tickets to the September 8 & 9 Fan Appreciation Weekend, featuring the Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race crowning the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season champion and the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, will also be available for purchase. On Thursday, February 2, RIR will host an open house for the launch of the public on-sale from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Fans are invited to come to the track to select their seats and purchase tickets for RIR's April and September NASCAR race weekends. Staff will accompany guests on tours of the track and assist each fan in selecting the perfect seat for their NASCAR season in Richmond. For each ticket sold at the track, fans will get the opportunity to take some hot laps to celebrate being a part of the new NASCAR season at RIR.(RIR)(1-28-2017)


    News from January 27, 2017

  • Teams to have less practice time this year: NASCAR confirmed Thursday that teams in its top three series will have less practice time this season. Weekend schedules for upcoming races at Daytona, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Auto Club Speedway show that Cup teams will have at least an hour less practice time at each track compared to last year. Cup teams also will have one less day to practice at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Daytona 500. While the schedules are listed as tentative, NASCAR does not expect any major changes to them before those events. Among the reasons given for the reduction of practice is that teams stated they did not need as much on-track time. The changes also are being done to make the weekend more efficient. Most weekends are expected to have less practice time. There will be a few exceptions. NASCAR is expected to give teams additional practice in July at Kentucky (additional layer of asphalt added to track) and Texas in November (repave).(NBC Sports)(1-27-2017)

  • ISC reports 2016 earnings: International Speedway Corp. cited the impact of Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart missing races as among the reasons for a decline in admission revenue last year at its tracks. International Speedway Corp. reported its fourth quarter and yearly earnings Thursday morning in a conference call with investor analysts. ISC reported that its fourth-quarter admissions revenue was down about 9.3 percent from the previous year. The track hosted Cup races at Darlington Raceway, Richmond International Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Martinsville Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Earnhardt missed all of those races. Gordon drove in only three of those events (Darlington, Richmond and Martinsville). Stewart competed in each event. For the year, admissions revenue was down about 5 percent for the company.
    ISC announced on the call that three of its 19 Cup races sold out in 2016 - the Daytona 500, Watkins Glen and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. John Saunders, president of ISC, said that advance sales for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500 were at comparable levels to last year's event at this time. ISC is "optimistic" the race will sell out again. Saunders also said that advance ticket sales for upcoming races at Auto Club Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway were "trending slightly ahead" compared to last year.
    Saunders noted the impact on corporate sponsorship Monster Energy would have as new series sponsor for NASCAR's Cup Series. "It is important to note that 2016 was the last year of our revenue-included agreements between ISC and Sprint for various inventory and activation rights at ISC racetracks," Saunders said. "These agreements were negotiated in the mid-2000s, pre-recession. "While we currently expect to have similar agreements in place with Monster Energy, we anticipate the economics of the agreements will result in a reset for 2017."
    In other items:
    - Three of ISC's 20 Cup races this year either have the event sponsorship open or yet to be announced.
    - Three of ISC's 14 Xfinity races this year either have the event sponsorship open or yet to be announced.
    - For the full year, the average ticket price for a Cup event at an ISC track was $90.12, an increase of 5.4 percent. ISC officials cited Daytona's pricing as a reason for the increase.
    - Also, Dover Motorsports Inc., issued its earnings report Thursday. Dover also reported lower admissions revenue. The company plans to spend about $300,000 during the first quarter of 2017 to remove portions of the grandstand. The company also announced that the closing of the sale of Nashville Superspeedway should take place in the second quarter of 2017.(NBC Sports)(1-27-2017)

  • Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announces 2017 inductees: A seven-person list of luminaries representing sports cars, stock cars, land-speed records, motorcycles, open-wheel and drag racing will be showcased by the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) 2017 class of inductees that was announced today at Daytona International Speedway. The announcement was made in the speedway's infield media center prior to qualifying for the 55th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Five-time Rolex 24 champion Scott Pruett is part of the 2017 class and was present at the announcement. Pruett is joined on the new inductee list by Sprint Car giant Steve Kinser; three-time DAYTONA 200 motorcycle champion Dick Klamfoth; two-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte; drag racing and land-speed record pioneer Paula Murphy; Herb Thomas, another two-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series titlist; and multi-faceted legend Brock Yates. The 2017 class will be inducted on June 28 in Daytona Beach during the 29th Annual MSHFA Induction Ceremony. MSHFA inductees are chosen via a multi-round voting process involving 200 motorsports peers and experts - including members of the media. (MSHFA)(1-27-2017)

  • Jeff Green to run full XFINITY schedule: They say history tends to repeat itself and in the case of 2000 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Jeff Green, the 2017 season will sort of have a throwback feel for him. Green did an interview with Clayton Caldwell and Zach Roethlisberger from the Talking in Circles podcast and revealed his plans for the upcoming 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. "B.J. McLeod, I'm gonna drive for them," Green stated on the podcast. "B.J.'s working hard on sponsorship's and he says we're racing if we have one or not so that's a bonus!" It's a refreshing change for the 53-year old driver who has been relegated to starting and parking the last few seasons. "This year we're going to run all 33 races," said Green. "We'll be a new car so the first three races we'll have to make to try and get established in the points to try and go on the rest of the season. I'm just proud of all the guys at B.J. McLeod Motorsports to give me the opportunity." Green returns to full-time XFINITY Series competition and will run all the races for the first time since 2001. He will drive the #8 car for B.J. McLeod Motorsports. The number is a throwback for the native of Owensboro, Kentucky. He won his first career NASCAR XFINITY race driving a #8 Chevrolet for Gary Bechtel at Las Vegas in 1997.(Speedway Media)(1-27-2017)

  • Stockert to lead Annett at JRM: Driver Michael Annett and crew chief Jason Stockert enter the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series as the newest pairing for JR Motorsports' now four full-time teams. While that is the case for the recently unveiled #5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro, it's not the first time they've teamed up. The two worked together back in 2011 at Rusty Wallace Inc., with Stockert serving as Annett's engineer. The season was a good one for both men, despite it being very much a tale of two seasons. After a subpar start to the year, Annett and Stockert hit their stride by mid-season, reeling off a seventh at Road America, sixth at Daytona in July and back-to-back seventh-place runs at Kentucky and New Hampshire. At the end of the season, Annett logged seven top-10 finishes on the way to a ninth-place finish in the points.(JR Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #5 team paint schemes page.(1-27-2017)

  • Quiroga expects to run some XFINITY races: German Quiroga posted on his Facebook page, "Looking forward to running in the Xfinity Series in 2017. Not sure how many races we'll run, but we are in discussions about that now."(1-27-2017)

  • Richmond's Fan Appreciation Weekend Named NASCAR's Most Innovative Fan Integration Program: Richmond International Raceway's inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend was honored by NASCAR as the Most Innovative Fan Integration Program of the Year. The award was presented at the recent 2017 NASCAR Marketing & Communications Summit in Charlotte, N.C. The inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend as part of NASCAR's regular season finale was developed to celebrate motorsports fans by recognizing their dedication, passion and loyalty to motorsports. The program was brought to life through the collaboration with NASCAR, race teams, sponsors, broadcaster partners and other industry stakeholders. The most memorable moment of Fan Appreciation Weekend, and recent NASCAR history, was the emotional 4-Wide Fan Salute during the pace laps. The image has been highlighted across the industry and media as one of the signature moments of the 2016 NASCAR season. The program was designed with national and local touchpoints. Sprint, Mars, and NBC Sports were sponsors of the program from its inception. Sprint utilized Fan Appreciation Weekend to thank NASCAR fans as they completed their 13 years as entitlement sponsor for NASCAR's Premier Series. The M&M's brand joined the celebration by rolling out their Red Carpet Experience for fans entering the track at the Frontstretch Gate. This was a strategic first experiential step to make fans feel like true VIPs from the moment they arrived. The greatest thank you came from drivers and teams to their fans. Gridside Live! treated over 7,000 fans at the track with an entertaining personal look at their favorite drivers through a Jimmy Fallon-style program on the pre-race stage with unique giveaways and upgrades. Race teams further supported Fan Appreciation Weekend by executing B-post decal incorporation and special paint scheme integrations as well as their own giveaways on social media and surprise and delight at-track experiences.(RIR)(1-27-2017)


    News from January 26, 2017

  • Daytona 500 to be Michael Waltrip's final race: Aaron's and racing legend Michael Waltrip announced that the upcoming Daytona 500 will be Waltrip's last NASCAR race. Waltrip, who will mark his 30th start at the Daytona 500 on February 26, will be at the wheel of the Aaron's #15 Thanks Mikey Toyota. Aaron's and the two-time Daytona 500 winner have been partners for more than 17 years and announced a renewed multi-year partnership last year with Waltrip as Aaron's spokesperson. Waltrip retired from full-time racing after the 2009 NASCAR season but has continued to compete as a part-time driver. His relationship with Aaron's represents one of the longest-running corporate partnerships in the racing industry.
    "I can reflect on my career with a lot of emotions and one company that has been there for me is Aaron's," said Waltrip. "I started working with Aaron's almost 20 years ago with some commercials and six Xfinity Series races when I had a team behind my house. We have been together ever since and it makes my heart smile thinking about all the great things we did together."
    Next week Aaron's plans to debut a video showing the first of Waltrip's "Top Five Aaron's & Waltrip Racing Moments" selected from the past 17 years as partners. The videos will be shared across Aaron's social media channels leading up to Waltrip's last race on February 26. Waltrip has been featured in several Aaron's commercials and will continue to serve as a spokesperson for the company following his last race. The Aaron's Michael Waltrip tribute commercial will debut the week prior to the Daytona 500 and will commemorate Aaron's 17-year partnership with Michael Waltrip.(Aaron's), see an image of the car on the #15 team paint schemes page.(1-26-2017)

  • BK Racing unsure of plans for #83 team charter: BK Racing is still determining the fate of one of its charters a month away from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Granted two charters under the business model NASCAR implemented going into 2016, a spokesperson for the team told RACER that the # 23 Toyota will use its charter "for sure" in 2017. Joey Gase will drive the car in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, as well as in two other races this season with backing from Best Home Furnishings. Gray Gaulding was announced Tuesday as the primary driver. Dr. Pepper will remain with the team as the sponsor. However, the charter for the #83 Toyota is still to be determined. On Wednesday, Corey LaJoie was announced to run multiple races in the #83 this season.(Racer)(1-26-2017)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. leaves drivers council: Dale Earnhardt Jr. told NBC Sports on Wednesday that he won't be on the Cup Drivers Council this year after playing a key role in organizing the group and running the group text. Earnhardt told NBC Sports it was his decision, citing time commitments. Earnhardt was a part of the first Drivers Council meeting with NASCAR in May 2015. "We're just trying to work together," Earnhardt said after that first meeting at Dover. "There's better dialogue and communication that way." Kyle Busch has confirmed that he'll be back on the council. Joey Logano told NBC Sports he will be back on the council.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2017)

  • NASCAR looking at shorter weekend schedules? What else is coming down the NASCAR pike? One-day shows for the top touring series - including the newly named Monster Energy Cup Series. When Brad Keselowski was asked whether the driver's council is behind the decision, he replied, "I think the whole sport is. We're trying to be smart with our time, especially with late starts. We'd like to see - because you don't get home to see your family until two, three in the morning if you're on a race team, so you lose part of Monday, too - so you have to find a way to get that day back and tie it all together. If you move qualifying closer to the race, you get that day back which is so important to everyone's quality of life in this sport.""(Motorsport)(1-26-2017)

  • NASCAR safety experts to be honored: SAE International will honor two NASCAR safety experts with the Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award. John Patalak, Senior Director of Safety Engineering, NASCAR Research and Development; and Tom Gideon, recently retired Senior Director of Safety Engineering, NASCAR Research Development and Safety, will be honored for their SAE International technical paper, "Development and Implementation of a Quasi-Static Test for Seat Integrated Seat Belt Restraint System Anchorages" (2015-01-0739). The two will receive their awards during the SAE 2017 Government/Industry Meeting, Jan. 25-27, in Washington, D.C. Patalak's work at NASCAR includes researching, developing and approving driver and vehicle safety systems and investigating vehicle crashworthiness and occupant protection issues. Prior to NASCAR, he worked for an engineering consulting firm specializing in vehicle crashworthiness and occupant protection. Gideon retired as Senior Director of Safety from NASCAR in 2016. Gideon joined NASCAR in 2009 as Director-Safety R&D; before that, he served as Safety Manager for GM Racing with General Motors.(SAE)(1-26-2017)

  • NASCAR announces Drive for Diversity Class: After a season of milestones for NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduates competing across NASCAR national series, the industry's flagship development program for multicultural and female drivers has announced that six drivers will join its 2017 class. The drivers were selected after a competitive combine held last October at New Smyrna Speedway and will compete for Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2017 class features a former NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series champion, the granddaughter of one of the sport's female pioneers, and NASCAR Drive for Diversity's first sibling teammates. The 2017 class is led by four returning drivers, Collin Cabre, Jay Beasley, Madeline Crane and Rubén García Jr., who first competed in stock car racing in his native Mexico. Collin's younger brother, Chase Cabre, joins 16-year-old Macy Causey as this year's NASCAR Drive for Diversity newcomers. Causey's grandmother, Diane Teel, was the first woman to compete in a NASCAR XFINITY Series race in 1982. Rev Racing, the operational arm of NASCAR Drive for Diversity, will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Since it began fielding NASCAR Drive for Diversity cars in 2010, Rev Racing has been one of the most consistent teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, registering 17 wins, 65 top-five and 124 top-10 finishes with drivers finishing in the top-10 in points each season.(NASCAR)(1-26-2017)

  • Sad News - Lance Childress: Lance Dudley Childress, Sr. passed away the morning of January 21, 2017, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, NC. He was born on November 17, 1946 in Winston Salem, NC, the only son to Gaither Melvin and Faye Staley Childress. On May 3, 1968, he was married to Patricia Jackson. In 1967, Lance joined the US Army Reserves and was later activated with the 312th Evacuation Hospital unit stationed in Chu Lai Vietnam. Lance was honorably discharged in 1969. He went on to follow in his father's footsteps, becoming an official for NASCAR, where he was a pioneer for what is now known as the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. Retiring from NASCAR in 1985 led Lance back to college to complete an Associate Degree in Business at Forsyth Technical Community College before beginning his own business in 1986. Halonite Fire Systems was in operation for 30 years with the help of Lance's son, his mother, and his daughter. During his free time spanning the late 1980's through the mid-2000's Lance could be found coaching a Little League game, running a Pop Warner booster club, or directing short-track races for the NASCAR Winston Weekly Racing Series as well as dabbling in his hobby as a collector of art, stamps, coins, and his favorite: old beer cans. A celebration of life will be held Monday, January 30, 2017 at 11:00 AM, with the Reverend James C. Newsome, Jr. officiating. The family will receive friends on Sunday, January 29, 2017 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Online condolences may be sent to the Childress family at www.jcgreenandsons.com.(1-26-2017)

  • Teams to have less practice time this year: NASCAR confirmed Thursday that teams in its top three series will have less practice time this season. Weekend schedules for upcoming races at Daytona, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Auto Club Speedway show that Cup teams will have at least an hour less practice time at each track compared to last year. Cup teams also will have one less day to practice at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Daytona 500.While the schedules are listed as tentative, NASCAR does not expect any major changes to them before those events. Among the reasons given for the reduction of practice is that teams stated they did not need as much on-track time. The changes also are being done to make the weekend more efficient. Most weekends are expected to have less practice time. There will be a few exceptions. NASCAR is expected to give teams additional practice in July at Kentucky (additional layer of asphalt added to track) and Texas in November (repave). Xfinity teams will have 1 hour, 25 minutes less practice time at Daytona and 30 minutes less practice at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Auto Club.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2017)

  • Martinsville to test lighting system UPDATE: Martinsville Speedway will test its new LED lighting system on Wednesday. NASCAR's oldest venue, which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017, announced the project to illuminate the half-mile paperclip-shaped circuit last October. For track president Clay Campbell, whose grandfather H.Clay Earles founded Martinsville Speedway in 1947, the progress has been exciting to watch. "They put the last light pole up last week," Campbell told Motorsport.com. "They've got another month to do the wiring and focus all the individual lights. I think each light pole has about 19 or 20 lights on it, so each one has to be individually focused. We're doing a test this coming Wednesday with all the lights on the backstretch to start focusing those. It's pretty thrilling to see 'em coming up. They're pretty well on schedule so it will be ready shortly."(Motorsports)(1-25-2017)
    UPDATE: The spotlight, or spotlights to be more specific, shined on Martinsville Speedway Wednesday night, as four of the track's new LED light towers were powered on. The lights, located along the backstretch of the half-mile racetrack, gave engineers and track staff the first glimpse of what the "Light Up Martinsville" project will look like when complete. "This is really exciting and such a historic day for Martinsville Speedway," Track President Clay Campbell said. "I think we all had an idea of what it would look like, but know you can really visualize it. I can't wait to see the whole track lit up. I think the fans are really in for a treat." Campbell said he thinks there isn't a more fitting way to celebrate the track's 70th anniversary than by looking to the future. The $5 million project will make the track the first major motorsports facility in the country with LED lights. The ValleyStar Credit Union 300, NASCAR's biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race is the first race scheduled to be held under the lights, on September 23.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-26-2017)

  • Henry Cejudo driving pace car at Phoenix: Phoenix native, Olympic gold medalist and current UFC flyweight Henry "The Messenger" Cejudo will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official 2017 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car at the start of the Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 19. As the official pace car driver, the 29-year old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval. Cejudo, who attended Maryvale High School in Phoenix before graduating from Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At age 21, he became the youngest Olympic wrestling champion in U.S. history, earning him the recognition of being named one of Arizona's ten most fascinating people by the Arizona Republic in 2008. After signing with UFC in 2014, Cejudo has earned a 10-2-0 record and is currently ranked No. 2 flyweight in the world. Known for his wrestling technique, he also appeared as one of the coaches, opposite Joseph Benavidez on The Ultimate Fighter 24.(PIR)(1-26-2017)


    News from January 25, 2017

  • Carl Edwards to run for US Senate from Missouri? UPDATE: From Terry Smith, a political science professor at Columbia College in Columbia, MO and a regular commentator on KBIA's Talking Politics:
    "One more unrelated thing, and remember where you heard this first. Carl Edwards, the recently-retired NASCAR driver and hometown hero, will run against [Democrat] Claire McCaskill for the Senate seat in 2018."(KBIA)(1-25-2017)
    UPDATE: Edwards didn't exactly rule it out when reached by The Associated Press. He texted: "I believe firmly in the principles that the U.S. was founded upon. If I could help, I definitely would consider it." Edwards also stressed that has no such plans at the moment, but also quoted Gen. Douglas MacArthur: "No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." His retirement has baffled the NASCAR community , with few having a clear understanding on what spurred Edwards' decision.(Associated Press)(1-25-2017)

  • Earnhardt, Jr wants to retire on his own terms: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s highly anticipated return to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing is less than one month away. No one is more enthusiastic about the most popular driver's comeback than Earnhardt, who spoke with media during Wednesday morning's segment of the 35th Annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earnhardt hasn't competed since last July at Kentucky Speedway when the aftereffects of a concussion he sustained in a crash in June forced an early end to the 26-time race winner's season. During his time out of the car, Earnhardt had an eventful December which saw the Hendrick Motorsports driver get married and get cleared to return to action this year. He still had a decision to make, though.
    "To get approved to race is one thing but to decide to race is another," Earnhardt said. "You have to make the decision if you want to keep racing and if you want to keep racing you've got to give 100 percent. ... I had to answer a lot of personal questions from myself and just really buy in (to returning). All of that was a process and I'm really happy with what I decided to do. I'm just hoping to enjoy what's left of my career and hopefully I get to make the decisions myself as far as how much longer I want to race. I'm really excited about my future."(Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour Notes)(1-25-2017)

  • Carl Edwards to run for US Senate from Missouri? From Terry Smith, a political science professor at Columbia College in Columbia, MO and a regular commentator on KBIA's Talking Politics:
    "One more unrelated thing, and remember where you heard this first. Carl Edwards, the recently-retired NASCAR driver and hometown hero, will run against [Democrat] Claire McCaskill for the Senate seat in 2018."(KBIA)(1-25-2017)

  • LaJoie to drive some races for BK Racing UPDATE: Corey LaJoie has signed on for a partial season with BK Racing in the Monster Energy Cup Series. LaJoie, 25, will drive #83 Toyota for a partial season. A sponsor and crew chief remains to be determined. LaJoie ran a limited schedule in the Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series over the next four seasons. His best results were 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway and sixth at Dover International Speedway while driving the #24 Toyota for James Whitener last year. LaJoie's only Cup starts came for Randy Humphrey in the HP Racing Ford in 2014.(Motorsport)(1-24-2017)
    UPDATE: BK Racing announced that Corey LaJoie will compete in the #83 Toyota Camry for multiple races in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. LaJoie will run his first career Daytona 500 February 26th with sponsorship from Dustless Blasting. Corey LaJoie is a third generation racer and a very well-known name in the racing world. His father, Randy LaJoie, brought home Xfinity Series Championships in 1996 and 1997. BK Racing and Dustless Blasting announced that they will be extending their association into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Dustless Blasting will once again be on board the #83 Toyota for multiple races, beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 26th. This will mark the fourth consecutive year that Dustless Blasting has sponsored BK Racing.(BK Racing)(1-25-2017)

  • Spotter changes at JGR UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing rookie #19-Daniel Suarez will have a familiar voice in his ear during Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races this year. Chris Osborne, who spotted for Suarez during his 2016 Xfinity championship season, will now spot for Suarez in Cup. Osborne had been the Cup spotter for #20-Matt Kenseth, who will now use Jason Hedlesky, the former spotter for the recently retired Carl Edwards.(ESPN.com)(1-18-2017)
    UPDATE: The surprising "retirement" of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Carl Edwards created more than just a driver opening for the Joe Gibbs Racing #19 team. It also resulted in the shuffling of spotters Chris "Crazy" Osborne and Jason Hedlesky. When JGR officials named Suarez to take over Edwards' spot, team officials thought it best to allow the XFINITY Series champion to continue working with Osborne for his rookie effort. That opened the door to pair Kenseth with Hedlesky. "With Carl's unexpected departure and putting Daniel in there, you know 'Crazy' has worked with Daniel the whole time through the XFINITY Series, the Truck Series," Kenseth said Tuesday during the first day of this year's NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. "He and 'Crazy' had that really good relationship and with Carl not being there and Jason being over (at the #19) I think everybody over there just decided to make the swap for the good of the company. Jason has always done a great job," Kenseth said. "There's always some pause, I guess, because you kind of learn each other, and that takes a little bit (of time) to do that. But I think it will be fine."(NASCAR.com)(1-25-2017)

  • Fresh from Florida sponsoring Almirola at Talladega: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that the "Fresh From Florida" campaign will return for their fourth season with Aric Almirola and RPM. Through the partnership, Almirola, who is Fresh From Florida himself, will drive the #43 Fresh From Florida Ford at Talladega Superspeedway (May 7) and the #98 Fresh From Florida Ford at Daytona International Speedway for both NASCAR XFINITY races, as well as Atlanta Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. The partnership will kick off during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, perfectly timed for peak season for strawberries, tomatoes, sweet corn and peppers. The partnership will include media buying and in-car camera purchases by RPM on behalf of the campaign. The "Fresh From Florida" campaign is focusing on retail activations at 40 Florida Walmart locations, which kicks off Tuesday, January 25 and leads into Speedweeks. Each activation will feature the #43 Fresh From Florida Ford, Fresh From Florida brand ambassadors, activities and giveaways of hats, t-shirts and gift cards in an effort to encourage consumers to buy Fresh From Florida products.(Richard Petty Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #43 team paint schemes page.(1-25-2017)

  • Johnson happy with race format changes: #48-Jimmie Johnson discussed his thoughts on NASCAR's race format changes that were announced on Monday:
    "The championship piece, we still get to Homestead and it's very similar for that event itself. How you get there is a bit different. The big takeaway I have is when you put all the smart people in the room and let everybody decide what it could and should look like, from TV owners, NASCAR, and driver representation, I think that's a smart move. And, I feel that knowing our environment and knowing how to take the best from each of those folks in the room, all the major stakeholders, and come up with this system, I have a lot of faith in that."
    "I'm excited that everybody took the time to put their heads together. Another couple of takeaways for me is that it's all about winning and finishing the best that you can. It doesn't matter if it's the Duels, or what it is, there's incentive to go out there an perform. As a competitor, it's tough to say that's going to change much of what I do. But, I know there will be opportunities where that point matters for someone. We're at 100 percent in those cars, and then we try to articulate that all the time. Some get it and some don't. It might take people from being at that 100 percent mark to making them a little bit more desperate in given situations, and create more storylines. So, I feel that there has been a lot of time and effort and serious thought put into this and it touches a lot of areas that needed to be addressed in our sport right now and the way things are evolving."(Chevy PR)(1-25-2017)

  • Appeals court to hear Earnhardt case: A federal court appeals panel in Washington will hear oral arguments March 10 in the appeal of a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling that Teresa Earnhardt can't bar her stepson, Kerry, from using the term "Earnhardt Collection" to promote homes Kerry and his wife, Rene, help design and promote for Schumacher Homes. Teresa is the widow of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Kerry's stepmother. Teresa claims that Kerry's use of the name could deceive or cause confusion that the homes are endorsed by her.(ESPN.com) (1-25-2017)

  • Wallace expects to run full season: #6-Bubba Wallace was asked about his 2017 plans during the media tour on Wednesday:
    Q: WHAT IS YOUR SPONSOR OUTLOOK FOR THIS YEAR?
    Wallace: "I'm thankful for Leidos, a military defense company, has stepped up and has been a great partner to Roush Fenway and the number six team the last half of last season and they're stepping up again for a handful of races. We're in kind of a little tight spot here. We're trying to figure out the rest of the game plan, but our goal is to be at Homestead for the season finale and win the XFINITY Series championship. We just have to overcome some obstacles, get over a couple hurdles to get to that point, but we will be at Daytona. We've still got the same mindset of going in to win every race, do the best we can each and every weekend and put ourselves in the right position, especially with this new format. I'm gonna really enjoy it."
    Q: WHAT HAS THE OFF-SEASON BEEN LIKE? STRESSFUL WAITING FOR A DEAL?
    Wallace: "We have the first six races right now with a 99 percent chance we'll have more after that. The biggest thing is we haven't had the best year the last two years, so we just need better results to bring and a more positive outlook. I believe the changes we have made, along with the new format coming up for the whole sport of NASCAR, will definitely help that out. I couldn't be more excited about this season. Yeah, it's not set in stone that it's a full season, but that doesn't change my outlook or my attitude or anything."
    Q: IS THERE AN OPPORTUNITY THAT LEIDOS WILL UP THEIR COMMITMENT AFTER THE SEASON STARTS?
    Wallace: "Absolutely. That's how it's gonna work. We just have to show out this first six races, show all of our cards, show what we have done in the off-season."(Ford Racing)(1-25-2017)

  • Martinsville to test lighting system: Martinsville Speedway will test its new LED lighting system on Wednesday. NASCAR's oldest venue, which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017, announced the project to illuminate the half-mile paperclip-shaped circuit last October. For track president Clay Campbell, whose grandfather H.Clay Earles founded Martinsville Speedway in 1947, the progress has been exciting to watch. "They put the last light pole up last week," Campbell told Motorsport.com. "They've got another month to do the wiring and focus all the individual lights. I think each light pole has about 19 or 20 lights on it, so each one has to be individually focused. We're doing a test this coming Wednesday with all the lights on the backstretch to start focusing those. It's pretty thrilling to see 'em coming up. They're pretty well on schedule so it will be ready shortly."(Motorsports)(1-25-2017)


    News from January 24, 2017

  • Possible sponsorship issues for Patrick, Stewart-Haas: Danica Patrick wore an all-white Tax Act uniform to NASCAR's preseason media event, raising eyebrows about her sponsorship situation. Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing last year signed a deal with Nature's Bakery as Patrick's primary sponsor. The company founded in 2010 by the father-and-son duo of Dave and Sam Marson was new to NASCAR last season and was scheduled to sponsor more than 20 races this year. SHR told The Associated Press on Tuesday that conversations with Nature's Bakery are ongoing. "Nature's Bakery and Stewart-Haas Racing are in discussions about how the sponsorship might look in 2017. Both sides have options, and it's a matter of determining what is best for both parties," the team told AP. SHR stressed it is moving forward with a full season for Patrick and its other three entries. Nature's Bakery is one of the smallest primary sponsors in NASCAR, with fewer than 500 employees in the United States. The company's products are sold in all 50 states and 22 countries.(Associated Press)(1-24-2017)

  • Gaulding to BK Racing: 18 year-old Gray Gaulding will pilot the #23 Toyota Camry in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The team made the announcement at Richmond International Raceway, home track to BK Racing and Gaulding. Gaulding has been competing in some form of racing since the age of three. Gaulding's rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2013 started with a bang with a 2nd place finish in the inaugural Battle at the Beach on the Daytona International Speedway's back straightaway. Gaulding's impressive three year stint in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West included 13 top-five finishes, 25 top-tens, and three pole awards. His first pole award was here at RIR in 2013, making Gaulding the youngest driver to do so at 15 years, 2 months, and 15 days. That same year, Gaulding picked up a win at Phoenix International Raceway making him the youngest driver to win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at 15 years, 8 months, and 30 days. In 2014-2015, Gaulding moved up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he made 13 starts with one top-five and two top ten finishes. In 2016, Gaulding furthered his career by making starts in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Gaulding's first race in the #23 will be the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 5, 2017. The team will announce sponsorship for Gaulding at a later date.(BK Racing) Gaulding's first race will be Atlanta because he has not been approved by NASCAR to run at Daytona.(1-24-2017)

  • Road course race at Charlotte? UPDATE: Could a road course race be in Charlotte Motor Speedway's future? Last Friday, AJ Allmendinger tested on what was roughly a 2.3-mile circuit similar to Daytona International Speedway that incorporates both the infield in Turns 1 and 2 and the regular 1.5-mile oval according to multiple sources. The test was a collaboration between Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR. Sources said Charlotte could incorporate the road course as early as the All-Star Race, which is scheduled for May 20. It's more likely the road course would be used for the fall Chase race on Oct. 7. Fans have been clamoring for a road course in NASCAR's playoffs and Charlotte could offer the perfect solution. Certainly, if the Charlotte plan comes to fruition, transitioning to a road course could be an option at other facilities. Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway, for instance, already feature road courses as part of their landscape.(Motorsport)(1-20-2017)
    UPDATE: A.J. Allmendinger was asked about the test during Tuesday's media events:
    "Here's the deal... I don't know what's going to happen. I thought it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it. You can bring something new to the schedule and something new if it was done. I'm all for it. I'm probably biased toward that. It's kind of like the new format. Change can be good and it can be a little scary. We have to see how it plays out. But could it be successful? I think it would be a fantastic race and something the fans could truly enjoy."(Chevy PR)(1-24-2017)

  • Kenseth shocked by Edwards' decision not to race: The fallout of Carl Edwards' sudden retirement from NASCAR racing continues. During his session during Tuesday's NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, Matt Kenseth discussed his now-former teammate. And yet, Kenseth still can't believe there'll be a different driver in the #19 Toyota in 2017. "I was as surprised as anyone else," Kenseth said. "I knew it was bad news when - this is my fifth year here (with Joe Gibbs Racing), right? - and it was the first time we ever had a conference call with all the drivers and crew chiefs on a Sunday night, after all the football games." Kenseth said he's spoken to Edwards several time since the latter's retirement announcement, but is still as baffled today as ever. "I was very, very surprised," Kenseth said. "But the more I think about it, I wasn't shocked ... but I definitely didn't see it coming." The 2017 season, Kenseth's 20th season on the NASCAR Cup circuit, could be a very pivotal year for Kenseth. First, he turns 45 on March 10. Second, he's in the final year of his current contract with JGR (pending any extension in the future).(NBC Sports)(1-24-2017)

  • Love's Travel Stops renews sponsorship with Front Row Motorsports: Love's Travel Stops will extend its successful partnership with Front Row Motorsports into the 2017 season, joining Landon Cassill and the #34 team for 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The familiar yellow and red colors of the Oklahoma City, Okla.-based company will return to the #34 Ford for a half-season schedule that includes the Daytona 500, both races at the company's home track of Texas Motor Speedway, the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway and the Bristol Night Race. The 2017 season will be the fifth straight season that Love's has partnered with Front Row Motorsports. The company has progressively grown its NASCAR marketing program in partnership with the team over the past four seasons, incorporating its employees, customers and business partners into its success. Love's Travel Stops is family-owned and operated with more than 400 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.(Front Row Motorsports)(1-24-2017)

  • LaJoie to drive some races for BK Racing: Corey LaJoie has signed on for a partial season with BK Racing in the Monster Energy Cup Series. LaJoie, 25, will drive #83 Toyota for a partial season. A sponsor and crew chief remains to be determined. LaJoie ran a limited schedule in the Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series over the next four seasons. His best results were 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway and sixth at Dover International Speedway while driving the #24 Toyota for James Whitener last year. LaJoie's only Cup starts came for Randy Humphrey in the HP Racing Ford in 2014.(Motorsport)(1-24-2017)

  • WIX Filters partners with Furniture Row Racing: WIX Filters, a global manufacturer of filtration products, has joined Furniture Row Racing as a key technical partner, which includes a primary and associate sponsorship role with the Denver, Colo.-based team during the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Martin Truex Jr.'s #78 Toyota Camry will carry the WIX Filters primary paint scheme in the July 16th race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. In addition to the primary sponsorship, WIX Filters will have logo placement for the full season under the hood and on the C-post of Truex's race car and also on the chest of his firesuit. Additionally, Furniture Row Racing's #77 Toyota Camry, driven by rookie Erik Jones, will showcase WIX Filters for the season under the hood and on the B-post. The sleeve of Jones' firesuit will also have a WIX Filters logo.(Furniture Row Racing)(1-24-2017)

  • Segments should allow fans to see more green flag racing on TV: The NASCAR industry introduced major enhancements for its race format and points structure Monday, setting in motion a wave of new looks and incentives for 2017. But the collaboration also provided the opportunity for incentives for tuned-in fans -- more logical breaks for commercials during race telecasts. Monday's announcement made strides toward achieving that, launching the product of months of cooperation among drivers, tracks, the sanctioning body and TV broadcast partners. Based on the spirit of conversation from the group assembled on stage at the Charlotte Convention Center, the contingents from FOX and NBC Sports had much more than a nominal seat at the table.
    "Well, you can never guarantee anything, but I can say that sitting in the room all along the way with us were our two TV partners, and that was one of the core things we looked at," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "We listened to the fans and we see the fans, as well, that we don't like breaking away from live action. Can we eliminate that totally? Probably not. But this format allowed us to do that. That's why we put in two breaks."
    The new race format, which involves splitting races into three segments, now provides a natural interlude in the action after each of the opening two stages. Both Jeff Burton (NBC Sports) and Jeff Gordon (FOX Sports) -- two racers-turned-analysts -- said that broadcasters intend to use these intermissions to potentially interview stage winners and to take commercial breaks with minimal interruptions of pit stops or other crucial moments.
    "I can promise you, I'm in my second year of doing this, there's a tremendous amount of effort by the networks to bring as much racing as possible to the fans," Burton said. "The fans tune in to watch the races, and finding a way to do that is difficult sometimes. This eases that a little bit. This gives a chance for us to go to a break at the right time so the fans miss as little green-flag racing as possible. There's a tremendous amount of effort put into that."(NASCAR.com)(1-24-2017)

  • Fresh from Florida sponsoring Almirola in five NXS races: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that the "Fresh From Florida" campaign will return for their fourth season with Aric Almirola and RPM. Through the partnership, Almirola, who is Fresh From Florida himself, will drive the #43 Fresh From Florida Ford at Talladega Superspeedway (May 7) and the #98 Fresh From Florida Ford at Daytona International Speedway for both NASCAR XFINITY races, as well as Atlanta Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. The partnership will kick off during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, perfectly timed for peak season for strawberries, tomatoes, sweet corn and peppers. The partnership will include media buying and in-car camera purchases by RPM on behalf of the campaign. The "Fresh From Florida" campaign is focusing on retail activations at 40 Florida Walmart locations, which kicks off Tuesday, January 25 and leads into Speedweeks. Each activation will feature the #43 Fresh From Florida Ford, Fresh From Florida brand ambassadors, activities and giveaways of hats, t-shirts and gift cards in an effort to encourage consumers to buy Fresh From Florida products.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-24-2017)

  • Ty Dillon to run 20 NXS races: Ty Dillon was asked about his NASCAR XFINITY plans during Media Day on Tuesday:
    "The wins weren't what we wanted in the Xfinity Series the past couple of years, but we were growing as a team and changing as a team at RCR. We will win Xfinity races this year; I can guarantee you that. We have a lot of great things going on, a lot of great momentum with that side of the program. To answer the first part of the question, I'm going to be running 20 Xfinity races this year, so a pretty hefty schedule on that side, too. I think there are only six I can't do."(Chevy PR)(1-24-2017)

  • Switch to sponsor Gragson: Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that global technology solutions company Switch will be Noah Gragson's primary sponsor in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for the 2017 season. It has been an exciting week for 18-year-old Gragson, as he also made his first laps around Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday in his first rookie test with KBM. The Las Vegas native did not have to look far from home to find his new sponsor. Switch, headquartered in Las Vegas, designs, builds and operates world-renowned data centers where clients from all over the world rely on its mission-critical facilities and technology ecosystems to power their businesses.On Tuesday, Gragson and his Kyle Busch Motorsports team tested his #18 Switch Tundra at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway in preparation for the second race of the season in the Truck Series.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(1-24-2017)

  • Lady Antebellum To Perform DAYTONA 500 Pre-Race Show: The multi-platinum trio Lady Antebellum will perform the pre-race-show prior to the start of the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26, the opening race of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Honing in on the melodious foundation that first brought Lady Antebellum together, the group returns to radio airwaves with "You Look Good," while concurrently announcing it as the debut single off their sixth studio album HEART BREAK (Capitol Nashville), to be released June 9. Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood simultaneously share plans to return to the road, with more than 65 shows planned in six countries on their YOU LOOK GOOD WORLD TOUR, presented by NABISCO. With more than 18 million units sold, seven-time GRAMMY award winning group Lady Antebellum has earned nine No. one hits and countless other awards including Billboard Music Awards, People's Choice Awards and Teen Choice Awards, while also taking home ACM and CMA "Vocal Group of the Year" trophies three years in a row. This year's DAYTONA 500 will be Lady Antebellum's third appearance at Daytona International Speedway. The group performed the 2008 pre-race concert for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola and most recently at last year's inaugural Country 500 Music Festival.(DIS)(1-24-2017)


    News from January 23, 2017

  • NASCAR announces changes to race formats UPDATE: NASCAR, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, announced today an enhanced competition format that will be implemented in all three of its national series - the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
    Increasing the sense of urgency and emphasizing aggressive racing and strategy, the race format will deliver more dramatic moments over the course of an entire race and season, with playoff point incentives on the line throughout.
    The enhanced format consists of the following:
    • Races will now consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage.
    • The top-10 finishers of the first two stages will be awarded additional championship points.
    • The winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs.
    • All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.
    • Championship points following the first two stages will be awarded on a descending scale, with the stage winner receiving 10 points, second receiving 9 points, and so on.
    • The race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.
    "Simply put, this will make our great racing even better," said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. "I'm proud of the unprecedented collaboration from our industry stakeholders, each of whom had a common goal - strengthening the sport for our fans. This is an enhancement fully rooted in teamwork, and the result will be an even better product every single week."
    NASCAR also announced a playoff bonus structure that will see the regular season points leader honored as the regular season champion, earning 15 playoff points that will be added to the driver's playoff reset of 2,000. In addition, the top-10 drivers in points leading into the playoffs will receive playoff points, with second place receiving 10 playoff points, third place will earn 8 points, fourth place will receive 7 points, and so on. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the Round of 8.
    "These are enhancements that the NASCAR fan has long sought, and the entire industry has worked hard to develop a better racing format for our fans," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "This format puts a premium on every victory and every in-race position over the course of the season. Each point can eventually result in winning or losing a championship."(NASCAR)(1-23-2017)
    UPDATE: The new system, which will be in effect for all three NASCAR national series:
    At the end of the race, the winner will get 40 points, and then second through 35th will be awarded points on a 35-to-2 scale. Those finishing 36th to 40th will be awarded one point. There will be no bonus points for leading a lap or leading the most laps.
    • NASCAR will award points 10-to-1 to the top-10 drivers at the end of each of the first two segments. The number of laps of each of the first two segments will be the same in a race (and won't change if the caution comes out), and the end of the second stage will be approximately at the halfway point of the race. A race would be official after the second stage if it rains.
    • Drivers will now carry bonus points -- called "playoff points" -- throughout the entire playoffs (instead of just the first round) when the points get reset. Drivers will earn five playoff points for every race win and one playoff point for every segment win. The top-10 drivers in the standings in the regular season also earn additional playoff points on a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. Drivers will continue to accumulate points throughout the playoffs and carry all the points earned during the year into each of the first three playoff rounds.
    • Qualifying for the playoffs remains the same -- the regular-season champion plus 15 drivers based on wins with ties broken by points will get into the playoffs, as long as they are in the top 30 in the standings.
    • The playoffs will remain divided into three three-race rounds with four drivers eliminated after each round to set up four finalists for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers automatically qualify into the next round with a win in that playoff round, and the remaining spots filled by the point standings. At Homestead, the top-finishing driver among the four finalists at the end of the race wins the title.
    • The race purse will be paid at the final stage.
    • The 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona will be worth points to the top-10 drivers on a 10-to-1 scale (just like a race segment), but the winners do not get bonus points for the playoffs.
    • NASCAR won't allow teams to replace body panels during a race, and teams will have additional limitations on crash repair that likely will mean most drivers who have to go to the garage won't return for the remainder of the race.
    (ESPN.com)
    AND Read the full transcript of the announcement at Transcript - NASCAR Competition Enhancements Announcement page.(1-23-2017)

  • Hooters to sponsor Chase Elliott: Hooters has joined 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of driver Chase Elliott and the #24 Chevrolet SS team beginning in 2017. A casual dining establishment with a deep history in NASCAR, Hooters will be a two-race primary sponsor and full-season associate sponsor of the #24 team in both 2017 and 2018. The Hooters Chevrolet SS will debut May 7 at Talladega Superspeedway and appear again during the Chase for the NASCAR Cup Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Raceway. Hooters has been a primary sponsor in more than 150 Cup-level races, notably as the full-season sponsor of 1992 premier series champion Alan Kulwicki. That year, Kulwicki won two races and narrowly edged Elliott's father, 1988 Cup champion Bill Elliott, by 10 points to win the title. As part of the new relationship, Hooters has launched a full year of promotions, exclusive content and commemorative merchandise for fans at www.hooters.com. Beginning today, fans can register for the chance to win a trip for two to meet Elliott and cheer on the #24 team from pit road at the Nov. 12 Phoenix race. Everyone who registers will receive a $5 off certificate toward their next visit to Hooters. For a limited time, the first fans to register can also purchase collectible limited-edition $24 Hooters gift cards commemorating Elliott and the new #24 Hooters Chevy.(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-23-2017)

  • Sorenson driving for Premium Motorsports at Daytona: Reed Sorenson will return to Premium Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, fielding the second car for the two-car operation during the Daytona 500. In the midst of a busy offseason that saw the organization move its race shop to Mooresville, North Carolina, team owner Jay Robinson confirmed to Frontstretch that Sorenson will pilot the #55 car beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 next month, with more races possible, dependent on sponsorship. During the 2016 season, Sorenson competed in 28 races for Premium Motorsports in the Cup Series, with a best finish of 22nd at Daytona International Speedway in early July. Though Sorenson will be competing in the #55 car, it is the #15 car that has a guaranteed starting position into all 36 races after Premium Motorsports' purchase of the charter from HScott Motorsports, which shut down over the off-season. The organization decided to keep the number 15, getting rid of the #98, which attempted to qualify for 33 races in 2016, 29 with Cole Whitt. Lee Leslie will sit atop the pit box of the #55 car. Having no ties with any manufacture, the team will run Toyotas at the four superspeedway races in 2017, moving to Chevrolet in the other 32 events. Robinson was hesitant in naming a full-time driver for the #15 car, but revealed he has found a driver for Daytona that will be released at a later date.(Frontstretch)(1-23-2017)

  • Jeffrey Earnhardt to Circle Sport/TMG ride: indications on the Twitter feeds of Jeffrey Earnhardt and #33 Circle Sport/TMG owner Joe Falk that Earnhardt will be the new driver of the #33 Chevy for the 2017 season. No word if it is a full-time deal or part-time. The team also plans to run some races in the #30-Chevy, an Open team (no Charter). The #33 team has a Charter and is guaranteed to run all the 2017 races. Supposedly an announcement could be made on Wednesday.(1-23-2017)

  • National Motorsports Press Association names awards winners: Jimmie Johnson, who won a record-tying seventh NASCAR championship this past season, has been voted the winner of the 2016 Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award presented by the National Motorsports Press Association. Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, was named on 62 percent of the ballots cast for the award of the NMPA membership. Others receiving votes were Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing), Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing), Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Joey Logano (Team Penske). Other awards: Veteran motorsports journalist Al Pearce was named the 2016 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Pocono Spirit Award. Pearce raised more than $13,000 through the auction of a racing helmet bearing the signatures of the 20 living World Driving Champions as well as those of Phil Hill and Sir Jack Brabham prior their passing. Proceeds from the project, which took nearly four years to complete, went to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation.
    Veteran public relations representative Dave Ferroni was named the 2016 recipient of the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award. Ferroni has been involved in various forms of auto racing for more than 30 years. His company, DMF Communications, currently handles public relations for Furniture Row Racing and driver Martin Truex, Jr. in NASCAR's premier series.
    ESPN.com motorsports writer Bob Pockrass was named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Joe Littlejohn Award for 2016. The award is named after the former track owner from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and is presented annually by the NMPA in recognition for outstanding service to the organization. Pockrass recently completed his eighth year as secretary treasurer for the NMPA.
    (NMPA)(1-23-2017)

  • Vettel beats Busch brothers in Race of Champions: In a contest of America vs. everyone else, the world had a solid day, despite the best efforts of Kurt and Kyle Busch. Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel defended his Nations Cup title for Germany and Norwegian former World Rally champion Petter Solberg romped Scott Speed by 2.1 seconds in the decisive final of the "America vs. The World" competition in the Race of Champions at Marlins Park. The Nations Cup final came down to the Buschs and their Team NASCAR against Vettel, and he was more than up to the challenge in winning for a record seventh time, beating the former NASCAR Cup champions single-handedly. He beat Kurt Busch in a buggy by 1.2 seconds in the final and Kyle Busch by .22 in a rally car. The Buschs also were crucial in the unique second event, in which a team of Americans competed against a world contingent in a series of best-of-threes, with points awarded for each win. Kurt Busch won one of his two events and his younger brother both, including a sweep of F1 driver Jensen Button that gave the Americans a two-point lead entering the final. But Solberg's win over Speed was worth three points, giving the global team an 8-5 triumph.(USA Today)(1-23-2017)

  • NASCAR holds Driver Development Seminar: Being a race car driver entails much more than getting behind the wheel. Before the start of a new season, NASCAR walked its younger drivers through different aspects of the sport during its annual Driver Development Seminar. The 2017 edition was held Friday at the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through guest speakers and breakout sessions, the assembled group was given a chance to hear from some of the most influential individuals in the sport. Among the featured guest speakers were NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jill Gregory, Monster Energy Director of Motorsports Dave Gowland, FS1 broadcaster Adam Alexander, Lauren Murray, social media manager for Jimmie Johnson Racing Digital, and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson himself.
    Among the topics broached was a look at the business of NASCAR, as well as a driver's identity. [XFINITY driver Spencer] Gallagher pointed out some of the more interesting sessions, such as being given advice on how to get the most out of social media, what goes into a good interview and a driver's style. "It's a really informative event, especially about how we as drivers influence the direction of the series and the sport that we're in and how we can be ambassadors to the outside world," Gallagher said. "People have to want to watch us, and we as drivers play a very big role in that. It's really good to see NASCAR putting forth the effort to help train us. They bring in the best in the business and then tell you exactly how they do it."
    With the welcoming of a new premier series sponsor, Monster Energy, Matt Tifft was struck by how NASCAR is looking for drivers to show his or her individual personality this year. Something Tifft, at 20 years old, thinks will not only be a good thing, but also is needed for the sport to grow.
    Drivers like Myatt Snider and Chase Briscoe were given plenty to digest as each is set to begin the next chapter of his career. Snider will compete part-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, and Briscoe is going full-time with Brad Keselowski Racing. "The biggest takeaway I've heard is they're going to let us kind of be our self a lot more," Briscoe said. "I think that's going to be good for everyone; I think it's going to be great for the sport, obviously. Looking forward to that."(NASCAR.com)(1-23-2017)

  • Liberty University continues sponsorship of Byron: JR Motorsports announced that Liberty University, the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation, will sponsor William Byron in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017. Byron, who unveiled the #9 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro during a Facebook Live stream, will drive the entry in 17 of 33 events this season, beginning with the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 25). Byron, a native of Charlotte, N.C., is coming off a stellar rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he posted a rookie-record seven wins, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The 19-year-old also claimed Rookie of the Year honors and qualified for the inaugural NCWTS Chase. Founded in 1971, Liberty University is distinguished as the largest university in Virginia, and the largest Christian university in the world. Liberty University was a previous partner with JRM during Byron's Late Model career with the team in 2014 and 2015. Along with the sponsorship news, it was also announced Dave Elenz will serve as crew chief for Byron and the #9 Liberty University team in 2017. Elenz, a 35-year-old native of Gaylord, Mich., transitions from a two-year stint as crew chief of JRM's #88 entry. He guided the team to four victories with drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick. A schedule of the 2017 races with Liberty University as primary sponsor will be announced at a later date, as will additional partners for Byron and the #9 team. Apart from its primary races, Liberty University will receive associate placement in the remaining 16 events.(JR Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #9 team paint schemes page.(1-23-2017)


    News from January 22, 2017

  • NASCAR to announce 2017 changes on Monday UPDATES: Monday at 6:00pm/et in the Charlotte Convention Center, NASCAR officials will announce format changes for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Those changes could include such things as a new points system, awarding points for leading race segments, new qualifying procedures and perhaps running the Chase race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the track's infield circuit. All of the above have been rumored in recent weeks, although none have been confirmed. During recent weeks, NASCAR officials have met with a variety of key stakeholders in the sport - track operators, team owners, drivers, sponsors and others - to discuss various options in an attempt to generate new excitement and interest into the sport in this, Monster Energy's first year as the new series entitlement sponsor.(Fox Sports) The announcement will be shown live on FoxSports 1 and NBCSN, streamed on NASCAR.com Press Pass and available on SiriusXM.(1-21-2017)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to announce Monday that it will change how it awards points during a race. NASCAR is expected to divide races into segments, and drivers would get points depending on their running order at the end of each segment, according to industry sources. The news conference Monday will detail the new points distribution system with the goal that drivers will have to compete for spots early in the event rather than having the option to bide their time until the end of the race before making a move. NASCAR currently awards points on a 40-to-1 scale from the highest to the lowest finisher among its 40 drivers. A driver who wins gets three bonus points, while a driver who leads a lap gets one bonus point and the driver who leads the most laps gets an additional bonus point. The way a driver qualifies to get into NASCAR's version of its playoffs - the regular-season champion and then 15 drivers based on wins with points as the tiebreaker - is not expected to change. NASCAR also has explored ways to make regular-season performance more meaningful in the playoffs, with the current format allowing drivers to carry over their bonus points from wins only into the first round.(ESPN.com)(1-21-2017)
    UPDATE 2: The crux of the changes will focus on dividing each race of the entire season into segments - typically three, multiple sources confirmed. In general, the system will work as follows:
    • Teams will know before the season begins how each race will be divided, which will be based on race and track length.
    • At the end of each segment during the races, bonus points will be awarded for those drivers running in the Top 10.
    • During the segment breaks, there will be coordination between NASCAR and the TV networks to ensure as little on-track action (including pit stops) will be missed as possible.
    • At the end of the race, the normal points will be awarded to the finishing order of the race as they have been.
    • A driver's total for the event will include the normal race finish points plus any top-10 running bonus points collected in the segments.
    • The 10-race Chase for the championship will be conducted in most part as it has, but there is expected to be an opportunity for drivers to earn bonus points during the Chase.
    (Motorsport)(1-22-2017)

  • Montoya wins Race of Champions: Juan Pablo Montoya took his wife's advice and it paid off. Montoya had passed on previous invitations to participate in the annual Race of Champions, but when his wife, Connie Freydell-Montoya, suggested he take part in this year's event, he agreed. "It's unbelievable. Today I am actually regretting that I haven't done this before," Montoya said. Montoya was crowned Champion of Champions after prevailing against some of the best drivers in the world in a head-to-head format in the 28th annual event, which was held on U.S. soil for the first time at Marlins Park. Montoya won his final seven races, including both in the final against Tom Kristensen, who has five second-place finishes to his credit in 15 appearances. Kurt and Kyle Busch, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard, Travis Pastrana, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and Pascal Wehrlein were among the 16 drivers who participated in the event, which consisted of four groups of four, with the top two moving on to the quarterfinals. Sunday's action includes drivers teaming up, including NASCAR's Busch brothers, for the Nations Cup and an America vs. The World finale.(Associated Press)(1-22-2017)

  • Nationwide video series to feature Earnhardt, Jr.: Nationwide Insurance lost a little bit of visibility at the track when a concussion sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr. last season. It will try to create buzz now that he is returning, but it started spending money to create that buzz even before it knew if the sport's most popular driver would race next month at the Daytona 500. The company has created a six-part series it will push on social channels that focuses on Earnhardt's return. The first 180-second episode airs Tuesday night, with 90-second episodes each of the following Tuesdays leading up to the Daytona 500. Earnhardt tested in December and was cleared to race in Daytona. But the series was filmed primarily over two days in late November, a couple of weeks before Earnhardt's test. The series is called "Unfinished Business," using the phrase both team owner Rick Hendrick and Earnhardt used when discussing why Earnhardt would return to racing.
    Nationwide's director of sports marketing, Jim McCoy, said the company expects Earnhardt fans to be hungry for Earnhardt content amid his return, and he hopes this series satiates some of that. The company has close to a six-figure budget for production and promotion, McCoy said. Nationwide had a relationship with Earnhardt before it signed to sponsor his car, and McCoy said the company did not pressure him to return.
    "All along, it was always Dale's health first," McCoy said. "We have been a partner with him for a long time. ... We just made sure we were aware of what was going on and had contingencies."(ESPN.com)(1-22-2017)

  • Cindric, Briscoe lineup announced: Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) announced its team lineup details for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season at the National Motorsports Press Association annual convention in Concord, N.C. Austin Cindric will pilot the #19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 and Chase Briscoe, who was recently named as the first driver in the Ford Performance development program, joins the organization as the driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150. Cindric and Briscoe will both compete on a full-time basis as they pursue the NCWTS championship for BKR. Doug Randolph, who has been atop the pit box at BKR since 2012, will serve as crew chief for Cindric, while two-time NCWTS championship-winning crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. will lead the effort for Briscoe. Cindric, 18, has six NCWTS series starts dating back to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October 2015 - all with BKR. He made four starts with BKR in 2016, qualifying a career-best second at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ontario). Cindric scored victories in the ARCA Racing Series event at Kentucky Speedway, and in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Virginia (Danville, Va.) International Raceway. The past two seasons for Briscoe read like a Hollywood screenplay. The 22-year-old Mitchell, Ind., native joined Cunningham Motorsports in 2015 as a volunteer in the team's shop, and just one year later, the rookie driver was celebrating the ARCA Racing Series Championship. Briscoe led the series in wins (six, including four-consecutive victories) and poles (six). He finished with 14 top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes in 20 races.(See an image of the #19 truck on the #19 Team Paint Schemes page and see an image of the #29 truck on the #29 Team Paint Schemes page)(Brad Keselowski Racing)(1-22-2017)


    News from January 21, 2017

  • NASCAR to announce 2017 changes on Monday UPDATE: Monday at 6:00pm/et in the Charlotte Convention Center, NASCAR officials will announce format changes for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Those changes could include such things as a new points system, awarding points for leading race segments, new qualifying procedures and perhaps running the Chase race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the track's infield circuit. All of the above have been rumored in recent weeks, although none have been confirmed. During recent weeks, NASCAR officials have met with a variety of key stakeholders in the sport - track operators, team owners, drivers, sponsors and others - to discuss various options in an attempt to generate new excitement and interest into the sport in this, Monster Energy's first year as the new series entitlement sponsor.(Fox Sports) The announcement will be shown live on FoxSports 1 and NBCSN, streamed on NASCAR.com Press Pass and available on SiriusXM.(1-21-2017)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to announce Monday that it will change how it awards points during a race. NASCAR is expected to divide races into segments, and drivers would get points depending on their running order at the end of each segment, according to industry sources. The news conference Monday will detail the new points distribution system with the goal that drivers will have to compete for spots early in the event rather than having the option to bide their time until the end of the race before making a move. NASCAR currently awards points on a 40-to-1 scale from the highest to the lowest finisher among its 40 drivers. A driver who wins gets three bonus points, while a driver who leads a lap gets one bonus point and the driver who leads the most laps gets an additional bonus point. The way a driver qualifies to get into NASCAR's version of its playoffs - the regular-season champion and then 15 drivers based on wins with points as the tiebreaker - is not expected to change. NASCAR also has explored ways to make regular-season performance more meaningful in the playoffs, with the current format allowing drivers to carry over their bonus points from wins only into the first round.(ESPN.com)(1-21-2017)

  • Ford ok with Buescher in a Chevy: While it can't top Carl Edwards announcing he won't drive this year, one of the more surprising things that took place this offseason was the news that Chris Buescher, a Ford driver, would be loaned to JTG Daugherty, a Chevrolet team. "At first sight, it certainly gave us second thoughts," admitted Raj Nair, executive vice president for Global Product Development and Chief Technical Officer for Ford. "As we thought about it ... this is the right thing to do." Dave Pericak, Global Director for Ford Performance, said there wasn't room for Buescher, a Roush Fenway Racing driver, with another Ford team for this season. Roush Fenway Racing downsized to two teams and both were set with sponsorship for Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Front Row Motorsports, where Buescher was loaned to last year and made NASCAR's playoffs after his Pocono win, ... wasn't a viable option and will have David Ragan and Landon Cassill as its drivers. "If you look at where we are in our transition and our plans going forward, we just didn't have a seat for him and it's not right to ask him to sit and not drive," Pericak told NBC Sports. "That's just not right. Knowing he wants to be a Ford guy, knowing we want him to be a Ford guy, we thought there might have been a unique solution to keeping him basically in the Ford family. This is the right thing for him."(NBC Sports)(1-21-2017)

  • Motorsports Hall of Fame of America sets official grand opening: Many of racing's greatest names will be on hand at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America's (MSHFA) official grand opening at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17. The event, which is open to the public, is set to begin at 7:45pm with veteran NASCAR on Fox personality Mike Joy to serve as the Master of Ceremonies. MSHFA inductees Bobby Allison, Richard Childress, Tom D'Eath, Hurley Haywood, Rusty Wallace and Humpy Wheeler are among the expected attendees. As part of the long-awaited evening, the MSHFA will have a formal ribbon-cutting. It also will unveil and dedicate the new Robert E. Petersen Theatre, an impressive showpiece in the hall, which is located in Daytona International Speedway's Ticket and Tours Building. The MSHFA moved to Daytona Beach last year from Novi, Michigan. In advance of the Official Grand Opening, the MSHFA has been open to Speedway tour visitors since last July. The 29th Annual MSHFA Induction Ceremony will be held in Daytona Beach on Wednesday, June 28. The 2017 class of inductees will be announced on Jan. 26 at Daytona International Speedway during the Rolex 24 At Daytona event week.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(1-21-2017)

  • Edwards departure benefits Bell; potential to run NXS: Carl Edwards' shocking announcement of his abrupt exit from the #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has had a ripple effect that could go far beyond the promotion of Daniel Suárez to a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride. Because Suárez will fill Edwards' seat in NASCAR's premier series, he won't defend his NASCAR XFINITY Series title. Christopher Bell will be one of the beneficiaries of the changes in Suárez's schedule.
    "Right now, we have a solid plan for Christopher," said Dave Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) USA. "And if circumstances play out, we really would like to get him into an XFINITY car for a couple of races."
    The extent of Bell's participation in XFINITY races depends to some degree on sponsorship.(NASCAR Wire)(1-21-2017)

  • Kumpen to run at Daytona, Mid Ohio: Reigning NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion Anthony Kumpen will return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017 thanks to the Nexteer Road to Daytona program. He benefited from the prize awarded by NWES for his 2016 title to help him building this campaign which will include at least two races at the wheel of the #46 LeasePlan Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Precision Performance Motorsports at Daytona and at Mid-Ohio. Before engaging in his European title defense campaign in Valencia in April, Kumpen will race for the second time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener on February 25 at the world famous Daytona International Speedway. In 2016, the Belgian finished a solid 26th in his first ever outing on the 2.5-mile oval, engaging in door-to-door battles with some of the best NASCAR drivers in America. During the NWES summer break Kumpen will return to the US to enter his first NASCAR Xfinity Series road course race on August 12 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The two-time Euro-NASCAR Champion aims to capitalize on his road course experience and success to bring home a strong result.(Kumpen PR), see an image of the car on the #46 team paint schemes page.(1-21-2017)


    News from January 20, 2017

  • New class added to NASCAR Hall of Fame: A World War II vet. A taxi-cab driver. A son of a tobacco farmer. A former popcorn salesman at a short track. And the son of an Arkansas trucker. No wonder the inductees in the 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame class could be characterized as possibly the most humble of the eight classes in hall history.
    "I can't tell you how it feels to stand up in front of you tonight," said Mark Martin, who won 40 races in his career. "It's a feeling that my words could never do justice. To say it's an honor would be an understatement. To say it's a culmination it's a life-long dream is a fact. It's an honor beyond the wildest imagination of a kid from Arkansas that just loved to drive fast cars and win races."
    Martin was joined by one other driver, Benny Parsons, as well as three accomplished car owners -- Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Raymond Parks -- in the five-member class inducted Friday night.
    Hendrick, who left the family tobacco farm to follow his passion of automobiles both as a salesman and as a racer, has won 12 Cup titles as an owner, seven with Jimmie Johnson, four with Jeff Gordon and one with Terry Labonte. "I can tell you that the feelings that I have for this sport and for all the people in it, ... when it's all over, it's the people that you touch and the lives you change that make a difference in this world," Hendrick said. That passion took him to nearby Martinsville (Va.) Speedway as a kid, and he still goes to races there despite his having lost his brother and son among other family members and team members in a plane crash on the way to the October 2004 race at the track. "I love this sport," Hendrick said. "I love the fact that we are a family. I love the fact that when I had the tragedy that all these folks, Richard Childress included, every owner, everybody in the garage reached out to us, and they were there for us."
    "We compete on Sunday, but we are there for each other in a time of real tragedy." Childress, who sold peanuts and popcorn at Bowman Gray Stadium as a kid, has six Cup titles with Dale Earnhardt and also five titles across the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. His grandsons, Austin and Ty Dillon, are current Cup drivers. Childress' big break came as an owner/driver when many others boycotted the inaugural Talladega race in 1969 and Childress was one of the drivers who competed for the extra money. "I left that day with probably more money than I'd ever seen at once in my life -- probably $3-4,000," Childress said. "I didn't think I'd ever have to work again. Hell, I'm still working."
    Parsons, a former taxi-cab driver in Detroit, won the 1973 Cup title and 21 races in his career. He also had a big impact as part of the media, working as a commentator for ESPN broadcasts from 1989-2000 and then at NBC and TNT until his death in 2007. Citing Parsons' passion for the fans, his widow, Terri Parsons, said his Hall of Fame ring would be put on display at the Hall so fans could see what one of the rings looks like.
    Parks, a World War II veteran, won the inaugural Cup title in 1949 as an owner but his impact was more as a confidante and consultant for NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. in the formation of the sanctioning body. Parks died in 2010. "I asked him how did you get into racing, and in less than 10 minutes, he told me his whole life story," said Parks granddaughter Patricia DePottey about her soft-spoken grandfather. "His story was, 'Well, I got some cars, and I just started winning."(ESPN.com)(1-20-2017)

  • Rick Ware Racing to run full season; Timmy Hill driving at Daytona: Rick Ware Racing announced the team's intent to compete in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as an "open non-chartered" team beginning with next month's 59th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. RWR's return to the elite level of NASCAR will have Timmy Hill aboard the #51 Chevrolet for Speedweeks with a rotating list of drivers to follow throughout the season including longtime RWR drivers Stanton Barrett, Cody Ware and road course veteran Kevin O'Connell to name a few. RWR also announced the team has acquired assets from Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) for use this season, including cars, pulldown rig and technology support. Additionally, Longtime industry veteran Joe Lax, also previously with TBR will serve as crew chief, while pro-motor engineering (PME) will supply the horsepower during the season. Furthermore, Mike Hillman Sr., a longtime fixture in NASCAR joins RWR in a newly created role as team consultant. In addition to their effort in the Cup Series, Rick Ware Racing will also compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) this season with recently announced driver Spencer Boyd at the wheel. Sponsorship for the team's Cup entry will be announced at a later date.(Rick Ware Racing)(1-20-2017)

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame induction Friday; live coverage on NBCSN: NBCSN presents live coverage of the 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony - celebrating the eighth NASCAR Hall of Fame class - Friday, January 20 at 8:00pm/et, from the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. The two-hour special honors renowned car owner and former driver Richard Childress, 12-time NASCAR Premier Series Championship team owner Rick Hendrick, 40-time Premier Series race winner Mark Martin, one of NASCAR's earliest and most successful car owners Raymond Parks, and 1973 Premier Series Champion and television commentator Benny Parsons. In addition, stock car auto racing pioneer H. Clay Earles will be recognized with the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR, and veteran motorsports journalist Benny Phillips will be celebrated with the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. NASCAR on NBC host Krista Voda and lead race announcer Rick Allen will co-host the 2017 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Legendary NASCAR commentator Ken Squier will narrate the show open, which commemorates the 2017 Hall of Fame class and pays homage to the institution itself.(NBC Sports)
    AND "The Voice of NASCAR" - will open its 2017 broadcast schedule with exclusive radio coverage of Friday's eighth annual NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony from Charlotte, N.C. Mike Bagley and Woody Cain will anchor the network's live broadcast from the Charlotte Convention Center with five more legends being enshrined as the Class of 2017. Air time is 8:00pm/et with the program to be heard on MRN affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Channel 90 nationwide. Digitally it will be streamed live worldwide at www.MRN.com and on the free MRN App.(1-20-2017)

  • Road course race at Charlotte? Could a road course race be in Charlotte Motor Speedway's future? Last Friday, AJ Allmendinger tested on what was roughly a 2.3-mile circuit similar to Daytona International Speedway that incorporates both the infield in Turns 1 and 2 and the regular 1.5-mile oval according to multiple sources. The test was a collaboration between Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR. Sources said Charlotte could incorporate the road course as early as the All-Star Race, which is scheduled for May 20. It's more likely the road course would be used for the fall Chase race on Oct. 7. Fans have been clamoring for a road course in NASCAR's playoffs and Charlotte could offer the perfect solution. Certainly, if the Charlotte plan comes to fruition, transitioning to a road course could be an option at other facilities. Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway, for instance, already feature road courses as part of their landscape.(Motorsport)(1-20-2017)

  • Gene Nead to serve as crew chief at Go Fas: Gene Nead will assume crew chief duties for the #32 Ford Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the 2017 season. "I'm excited to be joining the Go Fas Racing team," Nead said. "I've enjoyed working with Matt the last couple of seasons and I'm really looking forward to working with the rest of the guys on our No. 32 Ford team." Nead, a veteran crew chief, brings to GFR more than 20 years of crew chief experience in NASCAR's top-three series' and has accumulated 9 wins, 66 top-five finishes, and 11 poles. Last year, he served as crew chief of the #83 at BK Racing, where he worked with Matt DiBenedetto, and together they earned their best ever finish of sixth place at Bristol Motor Speedway.(Go Fas Racing)(1-20-2017)

  • Tunity to sponsor Tifft at Daytona: Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Matt Tifft will continue their partnership during the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season with Tunity, a cutting-edge mobile application that offers race fans superior experience when watching their favorite drivers, especially out of home. As primary sponsor of the #19 NASCAR XFINITY Series team and Tifft for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Tunity affords fans the ability to scan any muted TV and stream its audio directly to their personal devices. As JGR's only full-time driver in the XFINITY Series this season, Tifft will compete for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year and the XFINITY Series Driver's Championship Awards. Tunity will continue as an associate partner all season on the #19 and again in a primary sponsorship role in additional 2017 XFINITY Series events, to be named later. Growing brands Surface Sunscreen and BrainGear will also be full season partners with Tifft on the #19 Toyota Camry in associate sponsorship roles at Daytona International Speedway and in #19 primary sponsorship roles with marketing programs to be announced at a later date. The three Tifft partners will be used in different capacities throughout the XFINITY Series year in support of the young driver's quest for a NASCAR XFINITY Series championship in his first full-season venture.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-20-2017)

  • Joe, John Hunter Nemechek to run as teammates UPDATE: There could be a pair of Nemecheks racing against each other at Daytona International Speedway next month. If Joe and John Hunter Nemechek both qualify for the NextEra Energy Resources 250, it will mark the first time since 2006 that there will be a father-son duo in the Camping World Truck Series at Daytona. Bobby Hamliton Sr. and Bobby Hamilton Jr. were the last father-son combination to compete together at DIS. NEMCO Motorsports will field Chevrolet Silverados for both Joe and John Hunter in the first three races of 2017. Joe Nemechek, the 1992 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion will pilot the #87 Fleetwing truck. John Hunter, 19, who won at both Atlanta Motor Speedway and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park last year before finishing eighth in the truck standings in his first full season on the tour, will continue driving the #8 Fire Alarm Services Chevy. The Nemecheks have raced each other three times during their careers. John Hunter bested his father in the Allison Legacy Race at Concord Speedway in 2011 with the Nemecheks coming home in first and second-place. The son outran the father again in the series at Carolina Motorsports Park with John Hunter finishing third and Joe racing to a fourth-place result. In their only start toghether in the ARCA Midwest Tour, Joe finished sixth in the 2013 Howie Lettow Memorial 150 at the Milwaukee Mile. John Hunter was 12th. The last time a father and son competed against one another in the truck series was Dave and Ryan Blaney in the 2013 Inaugural Eldora Speedway Dirt Derby.(Motorsport)(1-20-2017)
    UPDATE: NASCAR has always been known as a family sport where the love of racing has been passed from generation to generation. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) NextEra Energy Resources 250 at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Friday, February 24, John Hunter Nemechek will have the opportunity few sons have enjoyed: competing against his father, 1992 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Joe Nemechek. the Nemecheks will even be running for the same team - family-owned NEMCO Motorsports, which will field John Hunter Nemechek full-time in the #8 Fire Alarm Services, Inc., Chevrolet for 2017, and will also field Joe Nemechek in the #87 Fleetwing Chevrolet in a select number of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events.(See an image of the #8 truck on the #8 Team Paint Schemes page and see an image of the #87 truck on the #87 Team Paint Schemes page)(NEMCO Motorsports)(1-20-2017)

  • Grala youngest driver in Rolex 24 field: Being the youngest driver in the Rolex 24 At Daytona doesn't phase Boston's Kaz Grala-he's done it before. Grala, who is halfway through his senior year of high school, will enter his second Rolex 24 next weekend as he rejoins Change Racing to drive the #16 Change Racing XBox Forza / Monster Energy / Orion Lamborghini Huracŕn GT3. Grala just turned 18, and has a history of record setting runs, having raced at the fabled Daytona International Speedway at just 15 years old as he competed in one of the lower tiered IMSA events. He finished a fighting fourth, and his record as youngest driver to compete in IMSA competition will likely stand for years to come as the age rules have since been changed. The Boston-based racer has been working to develop his NASCAR career, racing his way up the ladder from his local short track events during his summers. The 2017 season is going to be a big one for Grala, as he's set to race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.(Sunday Group Management)(1-20-2017)

  • Kligerman to expand schedule with Henderson: Parker Kligerman will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017, partnering with Henderson Motorsports to compete in the organization's #75 truck for at least eight to 10 races. Kligerman attempted to make his debut with the organization at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2016, but failed to qualify. In addition to Kligerman's time in the truck, the team's primary driver since 2012, Caleb Holman, will be back for select events. Holman competed in five races in 2016, with a best finish of ninth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the team's first event of the year.(Frontstretch)(1-20-2017)

  • Owen Wilson named grand marshal for Daytona 500: Actor Owen Wilson, the voice of the animated character Lightning McQueen in Disney Pixar's upcoming movie "Cars 3," will serve as Grand Marshal for the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500, the season-opening race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will begin at 2:00pm/et following Wilson delivering the famous "Drivers, start your engines" command to the 40-car field. In addition to giving the command, Wilson will ride in one of the Grand Marshal cars during pace laps prior to the green flag of the 200-lap, 500-mile race and attend the drivers meeting. "Cars 3" opens nationwide on June 16. Wilson, who voiced Lightning McQueen in "Cars" (2006) and "Cars 2" (2011), is also known for starring roles in a variety of hit comedy films including "Wedding Crashers," "Meet the Parents," "Zoolander" and "The Royal Tenenbaums." Wilson stars in the upcoming "Wonder" and the Woody Harrelson-directed live film "Lost in London."(DIS)(1-20-2017)


    News from January 19, 2017

  • Suarez allowed to run the Clash: NASCAR will allow Daniel Suarez to drive the Joe Gibbs Racing #19 car in the preseason race at Daytona. Substitutions have been allowed in the past for injuries or illness because teams have already landed sponsors and built cars for the event. Carl Edwards announced last week he would not race this year, and because JGR had already prepared to run the event, NASCAR will allow Suarez - who has never participated in a Cup race - to compete in the exhibition open to 2016 pole winners, past Daytona 500 pole winners, past winners of the event and anyone who made the 2016 Chase. NASCAR VP Jim Cassidy: "We looked at the circumstances and timing around the unexpected driver change with the #19 Joe Gibbs Racing team and made the determination that we will allow a driver substitution for the Advanced Auto Parts Clash. The team was already in the advanced stages of preparing for that event, and we felt it made sense to allow that car to run."(ESPN.com)(1-19-2017)

  • Stewart pleased with move to Ford; #14 team needs sponsorship: The move from Chevrolet to Ford during the offseason was more than just an undertaking of putting new body panels on the cars for Stewart-Haas Racing. As part of the switch, SHR now solely relies on building its own chassis (the car frame) instead of getting chassis from Hendrick Motorsports. That change by itself meant adding people to the payroll and a lot more work to get ready for 2017. Team co-owner Tony Stewart seems pleased with how his team has converted to a new fleet of cars. Speaking at the Ford Performance racing support center, Stewart said Wednesday he feels confident his team has been organized well enough to make the switch without losing a beat. SHR doesn't build engines. It will move from Hendrick engines to Ford supplier Roush Yates Engines. Stewart said he felt the transition so far was smoother than he thought it would be when the team made the decision to change, a decision it did not take lightly considering Stewart's long relationship with General Motors and the quality cars and engines SHR had in winning the 2011 title with Stewart and the 2014 title with Kevin Harvick.
    Even great performance doesn't always translate into sponsorship. While SHR will field four cars in 2017, Clint Bowyer, stood in front of a Mobil 1-branded car during the event even though Mobil just has a few races with Bowyer next season. The team has not announced an anchor sponsor for the majority of races for Bowyer, who replaces Stewart in the #14 NASCAR Cup car. "We're still working, still looking for sponsors for the 14 car so feel free to bring whatever you've got," Stewart told the media. The Bowyer car would run without sponsorship, if necessary, or with the Haas Automation logos of team co-owner Gene Haas on the car. Even with Ford support (manufacturers give teams money in addition to engineering support), Stewart said sponsorship is vital.(ESPN.com)(1-19-2017)

  • No racing plans for Bowman beyond the Clash: Alex Bowman's focus [now] returns to NASCAR. And when it comes to unemployed Monster Energy Cup drivers, it would difficult to find one with as much potential as Bowman. The 23-year-old racer for Tuscon, Arizona, had the opportunity to audition last season in the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy while substituting for the sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his performance was solid. But with less than a month before NASCAR teams report to Daytona International Speedway for Speedweeks, the only race on Bowman's schedule so far is The Clash at Daytona. Although he's posted one pole, three top fives and seven top 10s in 11 starts for JR Motorsports, Bowman doesn't have the backing to make a full-time Xfinity Series ride work with the team. But he's not giving up hope. "It's just money," Bowman said. "This sport is so money-driven and it's not a fully funded deal. I can't write a check to drive a car. I'm trying to get checks written to me to drive a car. If the right situation came up and there was a good sponsor and everything fit, it absolutely would be a possibility. But right now, there's no funding to go do it." He still has his day job with Hendrick Motorsports. He'll still test for the organization and drive the simulator.(Motorsport)(1-19-2017)

  • Darlington to celebrate late 80s with throwback weekend: Another historic celebration of the sport is in store for Darlington Raceway. The track is pleased to announce "Year 3" of its award-winning throwback campaign for the Bojangles' Southern 500 race weekend on Sept. 1-3, 2017. The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR will be celebrating the 1985-89 era of the sport in 2017, which like the 1975-84 period it celebrated in 2016, was a time of exceptional growth and exposure for NASCAR.
    "The track will be celebrating the 1985-89 time period of the sport during our throwback weekend in 2017," Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said. "As we enter the third year of our throwback campaign, we'll be focusing on drivers, personalities and moments that were compelling in that timeframe, such as the emergence of Dale Earnhardt Sr., Bill Elliott winning the first Winston Million, and the growth of the NASCAR XFINITY Series (formerly the Busch Grand National Series). It will be an exciting era for the track and industry to celebrate."
    As the sport moved into the late 1980's, NASCAR champions such as Dale Earnhardt Sr., Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott and Rusty Wallace, among others, made a tremendous impact on the sport and will be celebrated during the Labor Day weekend festivities. This year is also the 50th anniversary of Richard Petty's one and only Southern 500 victory (1967).
    For the third straight year, Darlington Raceway is also excited to announce it will once again highlight its rich history with a commemorative ticket design for the Bojangles' Southern 500 linking the past, present and future. The retro design will link 1987 Southern 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Sr., who ranks second all-time with nine NASCAR Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway, and 2016 Bojangles' Southern 500 winner Martin Truex Jr. These special tickets will be used for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500.(Darlington Raceway)(1-19-2017)


    News from January 18, 2017

  • Gaunt Brother Racing to run restrictor plate races: Gaunt Brothers Racing, owned by Triad Racing Technologies president Marty Gaunt, will return to NASCAR competition in 2017. Participating in four restrictor plate races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, GBR's select schedule begins with the 59th running of the Daytona 500, when D.J. Kennington will take the wheel of the team's Toyota Camry. "With the recent unveiling of the 2018 Toyota Camry, we feel that now is the right time to return to the racetrack," said Gaunt, whose Triad engines powered five championship-winning Toyota drivers and contributed to multiple manufacturer championships at the NASCAR national level. We're going to provide a concentrated effort this season at tracks on which we can immediately adapt and compete."
    Gaunt Brothers Racing previously competed in what is now the NASCAR Pinty's Series in 2011. Prior to purchasing Triad and forming GBR, Gaunt served in leadership roles with Team Penske, Red Horse Racing and Red Bull Racing. GBR is fielding the Toyota Camry in partnership with longtime Triad client RAB Racing, led by Robby Benton. RAB Racing will partner in supplying cars, shop space and technical support to the GBR effort. Kennington, hailing from St. Thomas, Ontario, is a two-time NASCAR Pinty's Series champion and 19-time Pinty's Series race winner. He has made 56 career starts in NASCAR's three national divisions, including his Cup Series debut last fall at Phoenix International Raceway. Kennington's longtime partner, Castrol (Wakefield Canada) and British Columbia-based Lordco Auto Parts will co-sponsor the Toyota Camry in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26.(Gaunt Brothers Racing), see an image of the car on the #96 team paint schemes page.(1-18-2017)

  • Credit One Bank sponsoring Larson in 2017: Credit One Bank, one of the largest and fastest growing credit card issuers in the United States, is expanding its relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing by partnering with Kyle Larson and the #42 team during the inaugural Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, beginning with The Clash at Daytona. Credit One Bank, who first partnered with CGR last season for several races with the #1 team, will also continue its partnership as an associate sponsor with Jamie McMurray and the #1 team in 2017. Credit One Bank will serve as the primary sponsor for multiple races on Larson's #42 Chevrolet SS, as well as an associate sponsor with the #42 team throughout the 2017 season. (Chip Ganassi Racing), see an image of the car on the #42 team paint schemes page.(1-18-2017)

  • Advance Auto Parts sponsoring the Clash at Daytona: Daytona International Speedway will rekindle one of its fan-favorite traditions next month in partnership with Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America. The Advance Auto Parts Clash will open the 2017 NASCAR season under the lights on the evening of Feb. 18, featuring an elite field of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in a 75-lap sprint. The annual all-star event was first held in 1979, originally known as the Busch Clash. A number of name changes ensued over the years, but now the once-iconic label is back. In addition to the race entitlement, Advance Auto Parts will also serve as the Official Auto Parts Store of DIS. The 75-lap/187.5-mile race will be split into two segments, separated by a mandatory caution period at Lap 25.(Daytona International Speedway)(1-18-2017)

  • Spotter changes at JGR: Joe Gibbs Racing rookie #19-Daniel Suarez will have a familiar voice in his ear during Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races this year. Chris Osborne, who spotted for Suarez during his 2016 Xfinity championship season, will now spot for Suarez in Cup. Osborne had been the Cup spotter for #20-Matt Kenseth, who will now use Jason Hedlesky, the former spotter for the recently retired Carl Edwards.(ESPN.com)(1-18-2017)

  • What happened to...Rick Mast? Rick Mast was one of the more popular drivers to longtime NASCAR fans throughout the 1990's and early 2000's. Mast, from the tiny town of Rockbridge Baths, Virginia, was known for his loyalty and dedication. He enjoyed a solid career in NASCAR's top two national series before an illness cut his driving career short in 2002. Mast was driving for fellow Virginian and car owner Junie Donlavey when he started feeling puny in the spring of 2002. "I started feeling worse and worse and it just got to the point to where I couldn't start feeling better after being in the car," said Mast. "The doctors ran test after test. They finally came back and said that at least the tests were all negative or I would be dead, but they still couldn't figure out what was causing my sickness." Mast visited several more doctors and finally made a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida where doctors made the connection to carbon monoxide poisoning causing Mast's symptoms. Mast would eventually start feeling significantly better, but the damage had already been done to his body.
    "When I got sick (in 2002) it forced me to stay home and I got reacquainted with everyone around my hometown and my family," Mast said. "I missed out on a lot of (son) Ricky's time growing up and maybe got to see two of his baseball games in four years." Mast's priorities changed. Although his oldest son was leaving for college, Mast's young twins, Kaitie and Sarah, were still at an impressionable age. Mast wanted to be present in their lives. "I had the opportunity the next year to do a television broadcast of a race in Nashville and I enjoyed it and I was told by the folks with the network I did a pretty good job and I enjoyed working the race," Mast said. "Ricky turned 20 the next day and I decided to stay home and spend time with my family. I didn't want to miss time with my daughters like I did with Ricky."
    Mast didn't get a chance to leave on his own terms. But the sport was in a state of transition as he departed. "Things were starting to change in the sport and I don't miss a lot of the things like the travel and being away from home, but I do miss the traveling family because we were a tight-knit group," Mast said. "It was more than the drivers, it was the crew members and all the comradery you felt being a part of that group." Once Mast recovered from his symptoms, he was back on the road, except this time it was to support his daughters who played travel sports in school and spending time with his family.(Motorsport)(1-18-2017)

  • Yeley expected to return to TriStar: Though J.J. Yeley was not a frequent face in the Cup Series garage in 2016, he was seen mentoring some of NASCAR's younger talent. Cole Whitt and Matt DiBenedetto both competed for TriStar Motorsports in multiple XFINITY Series races, leaning on the NASCAR veteran for advice. As Yeley progresses toward the end of his NASCAR career, this is something he will likely be doing more of - though he's not thinking about retirement. "I think mentally I'm still in my twenties," Yeley said. "I know physically, I hurt a little bit more than I used to. Retirement, for me, is something I haven't considered." Heading into the 2017, Yeley is likely to return with TriStar Motorsports, where he had a season-high finish of eighth at Dover International Raceway in 2016, though nothing is set in stone just yet. "My goal is not to retire and to be back next year and try to make this program better than it was this year to where we can have a shot at making the Chase," Yeley said. "I love racing so much. I can't imagine doing anything different than what I'm doing now."(Frontstretch)(1-18-2017)

  • Texas to host Daytona 500 watch party: NASCAR fans excited to kick off the season but unable to attend the Daytona 500 can grab the next best seat - watching the race on the "World's Largest TV" for free. Texas Motor Speedway will open its gates for the annual Daytona 500 Watching Party where fans can camp or tailgate inside the speedway and watch the racing action from Daytona Beach, Fla., on "Big Hoss" - the 12-story tall, high-definition TV located on the backstretch. The two-day event, which is free and open to the public, begins when the gates to the South Tunnel open on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8:00am/ct for those looking to camp overnight as well as tailgaters interested in watching the season-opening XFINTIY Series Powershares QQQ 300 beginning at 2:30pm. The weekend culminates with the running of the 59th Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26, beginning at 1:00pm/ct. Fans interested in camping or tailgating must RSVP at www.texasmotorspeedway.com/DaytonaRSVP before Monday, Feb. 20.(TMS)(1-18-2017)


    News from January 17, 2017

  • Chevrolet To Introduce New NASCAR Body For 2018: With the Chevrolet SS on its way out, Chevy will be looking for a new car to serve as the basis for its NASCAR stock car body for the 2018 racing season. The automaker has already confirmed its new racecar will arrive in time for the 2018 NASCAR season, but it has so far remained tight-lipped as to what it will be. Chevy's motorsports director in the U.S., Jim Campbell, refused elaborate on the brand's 2018 NASCAR stock car body in a statement released by General Motors. "It was already known that the Chevrolet SS was going to be discontinued in 2017," Campbell said. "That information was originally announced last summer. As you know, we don't talk about future projects. We'll make any announcement regarding our next Cup entry at the appropriate time."(GM Authority)(1-17-2017)

  • Ganassi hires new competition director: Chip Ganassi Racing [#1-McMurray & #42-Larson] has hired widely respected Mark McArdle as its new competition director. McArdle joins Ganassi following a two-year stint with Roush Fenway Racing. He will report to general manager Max Jones.(Motorsport)(1-17-2017)

  • Fifth Third Bank returns to sponsor Stenhouse Jr.: on Fifth Third Bank's website 53.com it lists the five races that Fifth Third Bank will be the primary sponsor on Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford: Richmond in April, Talladega in May, Michigan in June, Daytona in July and Kentucky in July.(1-17-2017)

  • Roush Fenway 'Salutes' Mark Martin's Hall of Fame Career: For almost two decades there was no more formidable duo in NASCAR than Mark Martin and Jack Roush. This week Roush Fenway Racing will pay tribute to Martin's Hall of Fame career by showcasing a variety of content covering Martin's 19 seasons with the winningest organization in NASCAR history. Martin, who will be officially inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday night, won 83 races across NASCAR's top three National Series and finished runner-up in the Cup Series points standings on four different occasions (1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002), while helping Roush Fenway grow into one of the premier teams in NASCAR. Team owner Jack Roush will officially induct his first NASCAR driver into the Hall during the ceremony on Friday. "The thing that always stood out about Mark was his unmatched drive to win," said Roush. "Mark became one of the most driven and committed people I've ever seen. He put us on the map in NASCAR and certainly no one deserves this honor more. I'm very pleased with the part we played in the success that Mark was able to realize throughout his career and I'll always be grateful for his determination to succeed and desire to win." Throughout the course of the NASCAR Hall of Fame week, fans will be treated to a variety of behind the scenes content, including photos, videos and giveaways that highlight Martin's almost two-decade tenure at Roush Fenway. Fans will even have a chance to win prizes including diecast replicas, team hats and an official Mark Martin firesuit. Visit roushfenway.com/salutetomark for more details.(RFR)(1-17-2017)

  • NC lawmakers seek permanent race car exemption from EPA anti-pollution standards: After a scare last year among auto racing fans that the federal Environmental Protection Agency might enforce a new anti-pollution regulation affecting the industry, some North Carolina Republicans in Congress want a new law to protect the sport. Western North Carolina congressman U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry filed a bill this week that would permanently block the EPA from regulating modified engines frequently used in amateur car racing. McHenry's proposed legislation would amend the Clean Air Act to make race cars exempt from federal emissions standards on vehicles. Professional drivers in NASCAR use cars that already are exempt from the Clean Air Act because those vehicle engines were not originally manufactured for use on public roadways. The issue first emerged in early 2016 as the EPA rolled out a wide-ranging proposal related to fuel efficiency standards on commercial cars and regulations on aftermarket vehicle parts manufacturers. Federal officials maintained the intent of the proposal was never to start new enforcement on amateur racing but McHenry and other lawmakers pushed back, resulting in the EPA changing course in April 2016. Other North Carolina co-sponsors on the bill include Republican U.S. Reps. Richard Hudson, Virginia Foxx, Walter Jones, Robert Pittenger, George Holding, Mark Meadows and David Rouzer. The bill has a total of 68 co-sponsors in the House, including eight Democrats from six states.(Charlotte Observer)(1-17-2017)

  • Sad News - Bill Moss: William (Bill) W. Moss, whose engineering and construction company (Moss-Thornton Company) was instrumental in assisting William H.G. France in the creation of Talladega Superspeedway in 1969, passed away this past Saturday. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 28 at Canterbury Methodist Church in Birmingham, AL for the 81-year-old. While racing cars as an amateur in the late 1950s, Moss, who received a B.S. degree in civil engineering from the University of Alabama, met France, the founder of NASCAR. A few years later in 1963, Moss, joined the family engineering business - known for building interstate highway projects, as well as industrial, railway and navigation endeavors. France had a vision to create the largest, steepest and fastest superspeedway in the world, just 40 miles outside of Birmingham and 90 miles from Atlanta (GA). He enlisted the help of Moss to help design and build a smooth, 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked venue that would see 200-plus mph speeds. Using cranes to aid in keeping the equipment (graders, pavers, bulldozers, etc.) on the mammoth steeped banks, Alabama International Motor Speedway was created in just over a year (groundbreaking May 23, 1968). As a symbol of his contribution to Talladega Superspeedway, the Moss-Thornton Grandstand and Moss-Thornton Tower overlook Talladega's famous start-finish line which sits near the entrance of turn one, distinguishing the track unlike others.(Talladega Superspeedway)(1-17-2017)

  • Daniel Defense joins RCR #3 team: Taking advantage of the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Daniel Defense and Richard Childress Racing announced a partnership that will see the leading manufacturer of premium firearms, rail systems and accessories serve as the primary sponsor of the #3 NASCAR XFINITY Series team for select races during the 2017 season. This is Daniel Defense's first venture into NASCAR. The partnership came about after Daniel and Childress became friends through Childress' involvement with the National Rifle Association. The #3 Chevrolet Camaro will feature Daniel Defense's signature black-and-gold logo and will be driven by Ty Dillon and other drivers yet to be announced for select XFINITY Series races.(Richard Childress Racing), see an image of the car on the #3 team paint schemes page.(1-17-2017)

  • Hunt Brothers Pizza sponsoring Sadler in 2 races; Meendering returns as crew chief: JR Motorsports and Hunt Brothers Pizza have extended their partnership with a multi-year deal, as the brand joins Elliott Sadler and the #1 team as primary sponsor for two NASCAR Xfinity Series races in each of the next two seasons. In 2017, Sadler will drive the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Camaro at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 4) and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 21). A JRM partner since 2014, Hunt Brothers Pizza is the nation's largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry. It's a familiar partner for Sadler, who previously drove a Hunt Brothers Pizza-branded entry in 2011 and 2012, earning a NXS victory with the brand at Chicagoland Speedway (2012). Additionally, Kevin Meendering will return as crew chief for Sadler and the #1 team. In 2016, the Meendering and Sadler pairing produced three wins and a runner-up finish in the NXS championship. The season also included a career-best 29 top-10 finishes for Sadler.(JR Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #1 team paint schemes page.(1-17-2017)


    News from January 16, 2017

  • Auto-Owners Insurance Expands Furniture Row Racing Sponsorship: Furniture Row Racing announced that Auto-Owners Insurance has agreed to a multiyear primary sponsorship for Martin Truex Jr.'s #78 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Cup Series. The Fortune 500 company, which joined Furniture Row Racing in 2016 as a primary sponsor for three races, will double that amount in both 2017 and 2018. The six races the Auto-Owners Insurance paint scheme will adorn Truex's #78 Camry in 2017 will be at Kansas in May, Michigan in June, Indianapolis in July, Richmond in September, Charlotte in October and Phoenix in November. Auto-Owners Insurance, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, provides auto, home, life and business coverage for NASCAR fans and customers through local, independent agents in 26 states. The company is based in Lansing, Mich.
    "Teaming up with Furniture Row Racing has been an outstanding fit for Auto-Owners, and we are excited to continue our partnership for the 2017 and 2018 seasons," said Mary Pierce, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Auto-Owners. "Martin and the #78 team have pioneered their way to excellence at the highest level of NASCAR. We truly admire their hard work and consistency, and look forward to being a part of their continued success."
    The Auto-Owners Insurance blue hue shared a competitive experience with Furniture Row Racing in 2016. In the three races that Auto-Owners Insurance was the primary sponsor, Truex won the prestigious Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C., finished seventh at the fall race in Martinsville, Va., and was eighth at the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.
    "There was indeed something special about the success of the blue Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry last year and we are more than thrilled that the company is expanding its partnership with Furniture Row Racing for the next two seasons," said Furniture Row Racing team president Joe Garone. "Auto-Owners Insurance has been a winning company for a century and we are humbled that they have placed their confidence in our race team."
    Truex was equally excited to hear about the new sponsorship agreement. "Winning the Southern 500 - a triple crown race - with the blue Auto-Owners Insurance paint scheme was without a doubt one of the main highlights of my racing career," said Truex. "We want to give Auto-Owners Insurance more success as we look forward to the 2017 season. I was able to visit the Auto-Owners Insurance headquarters in Lansing and came away feeling proud to be associated with a company that has had 100 years of success."
    Established in 1916, Auto-Owners Insurance is a Fortune 500 company and is the 17th largest property/casualty insurance company in the nation, based on written premium. Auto-Owners Insurance is one of only 10 insurance groups in the United States to receive the highest rating possible, A++ Superior, by A.M. Best, which is a nationally recognized rating agency for insurance companies.(Furniture Row Racing PR)(1-16-2017)

  • More rules changes for 2017, tires....: NASCAR competition officials issued memos detailing rule book changes for the 2017 season in its three national series, including limits on tire allocation. The 80 total pages of revisions released Friday afternoon pertain to Sections 20 (Vehicle and Driver Safety specifications) and 21 (Pit Equipment and Crew Safety specifications) across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Among the highlights in the tire rules updates:
    " NASCAR set its regulations on tire allocation for all three series in 2017. In the Monster Energy Cup Series, the number of tire sets available to teams per event dropped for 13 of the 36 points-paying races and increased for eight events compared to last year. With the exception of the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the number of tire sets was only adjusted by one. Teams will have two fewer sets in the season-ending event this season, a reduction from 2016's 12 sets to just 10 in 2017.
    " Tracks with one fewer set of tires allowed next season: Daytona (500 only), Phoenix (both races), Auto Club, Martinsville (both races), Bristol (both races), Kansas (both races), Kentucky and Chicagoland. Tracks with an additional set of tires allowed next season: Talladega (both races), Sonoma, Daytona (July only), New Hampshire (both races), Watkins Glen and Darlington.
    " In 2017, Monster Energy Cup teams will be required to start the race on the tires they used in Coors Light Pole Qualifying. This change does not apply to the XFINITY or Camping World Truck Series.(NASCAR)(1-16-2017)

  • Team Penske and Nikon Metrology form technical alliance: Team Penske announced that it has formed a technical alliance with Nikon Metrology, a market leader in metrology instrumentation and technological innovation. The announcement expands upon an already existing relationship between the two companies. Under the terms of the new multi-year agreement, Brighton, Michigan-based Nikon Metrology will help enhance Team Penske's manufacturing process of its racecars competing in NASCAR, working closely with the organization's fabrication department. Team Penske will also rely on Nikon Metrology's superior optical instrumentation and resources to support its overall technical processes at its headquarters in Mooresville, N.C. "Team Penske is continuously looking for opportunities to further develop the processes involved in building fast, consistent and reliable race cars," said Tim Cindric, Team Penske President. "By expanding our partnership with Nikon Metrology, we now have an industry leader that is committed to taking the quality of our race cars to another level." After working closely with Penske Technology Group in the past, Nikon Metrology is looking forward to the new challenge of partnering with the winning Team Penske racing program, which celebrated its 50th anniversary season in 2016. "Manufacturing better, faster, and with optimum usage of resources is the demand of manufacturers today, and the Team Penske racing program demands running at the cutting edge of technology," says Robert Martin, vice president of sales (Americas) at Nikon Metrology. "Better matters, and we're inspired to continually prove it together with Team Penske through applying state-of-the-art metrology solutions and the expertise of our people." Nikon Metrology plans to incorporate the new partnership with Team Penske into the company's future marketing and promotional efforts. Through specific case studies, Nikon Metrology will highlight how its equipment and support continue to raise the level of performance of Team Penske's racing programs.(Team Penske)(1-16-2017)

  • Barrett working with hemp oil company: Stanton Barrett, a former NASCAR driver and stuntman has seen first-hand the positive effects of CBD hemp oil for athletes and now had taken on the role of President of Ojai Energetics. Barrett's career spans nearly three decades of highly physical work in both television and film, as well as a career as a professional racecar driver in the most elite forms of auto racing. Ojai Energetics is a health and wellness company utilizing proprietary delivery technology to produce the most effective cannabidiol delivery method on the market.(Rosen Group PR)(1-16-2017)

  • Ryan Truex gets full-time ride with Hattori: Team owner Shigeaki Hattori confirmed that Ryan Truex has been signed as the full-time driver of the #81 Toyota Tundra for Hattori Racing Enterprises this season, expanding his 15-race schedule from 2016. Truex will be reunited with Mike Greci, who will serve as the team's new general manager. Hattori said they will announce a crew chief soon and said that sponsorship consisting of at least 10 partners would assume a rotation role on the truck and also would be announced soon.(Catchefence)(1-16-2017)


    News from January 15, 2017

  • STP to sponsor the #43 again in 2017: One of the longest partnerships in NASCAR belongs to STP and Richard Petty, owner of Richard Petty Motorsports. The 2017 season marks the 45th season the two will collaborate.Upon entering the sport in 1972, STP - one of the most trusted names in automotive care with products like oil additives, fuel additives and brake and power steering fluids - won four championships in NASCAR's premier series with Petty. Nowadays, Aric Almirola is the driver of the team's #43 Ford Fusion, having first driven an STP-sponsored car in 2012. He will pilot the car once during the upcoming season - Martinsville Speedway's STP 500 (Lionel Racing), supposedly STP will also sponsor the #42 in a throwback scheme at Darlington, just not the same scheme as Martinsville. See an image of the Martinsville scheme on the #43 Team Schemes page (1-15-2017)

  • Stewart to race in at least 71 events in 2017 probably more: Tony Stewart may be a three-time champion at NASCAR's highest level, but track preparation nevertheless is a passion for him. You'll often find him on a track at Eldora Speedway, the dirt half-mile he owns. Just because Stewart has stepped away from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series doesn't mean he has abandoned the competitive side of racing-far from it. "I wish I'd have finished a little better at the end of the year," Stewart said of his final NASCAR campaign, in which he won at Sonoma and qualified for the Chase. "But I'm looking forward to all the stuff we're going to be doing this year-late model racing, sprint car racing. I'm building a three-quarter midget to run a couple of (county) fair races this year. Going to run a lot of different things at a lot of different places. There are some tracks that I've never been to that I'm going to get a chance to go to on our schedule. We're up to 71 races, and I'm guessing we're going to get another 10 to 15 more races on the schedule before it's all said and done.(RacinBoys)(1-15-2017)

  • Christopher Bell wins Chili Bowl: There's no race in the world that means more to Christopher Bell than the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. He's been close to winning a few times. He probably should have gotten that coveted Golden Driller in 2016, but he was too aggressive and spun out while battling lapped traffic. But one year later Bell was more patient, and his patience paid off. Christopher Bell is finally the winner of the Chili Bowl. "This has been a long-time coming," said Bell on the MAVTV broadcast. "This is a dream come true." Bell started second to Justin Grant by virtue of Friday night's pole shuffle. He stayed behind Grant for about 15 laps when almost everybody behind him moved to the outside. When Bell moved up he propelled by Grant to take over the lead. The Norman, Oklahoma native became the first driver from the state of Oklahoma to win the Chili Bowl since 1994. Daryn Pittman finished 2nd followed by Justin Grant, Tanner Thorson and Jake Swanson. Defending champ Rico Abreu finished 11th. NASCAR Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished 16th. Kyle Larson didn't make it to the main.(Speed51)(1-15-2017)

  • REPOST - Johnson, Gordon, Danica gear up for 'high-spirited races' on Disney Junior SUNDAY: Disney Junior is racing into the new year with "Mickey and the Roadster Racers," a car-racing adventure series for preschoolers, featuring Mickey Mouse and his Disney friends, along with several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, including Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon [and Danica Patrick]. The first episode of the series -- which features Johnson's animated character -- will premier Sunday, Jan. 15 at 9:00am/et and 9:25am/et on Disney Channel and Disney Junior, respectively. Two additional episodes will air Monday, Jan. 16 at 9:00am/et and 9:25am/et on Disney Channel. Episodes will also be available on the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior VOD, as well as on iTunes. The series follows Mickey, his friends and their transforming vehicles as they race around the world and in their hometown of Hot Dog Hills. Off the track, Minnie and Daisy Duck run the Happy Helpers business, offering a helping hand to anyone in need. Johnson and Gordon appear as recurring race car drivers Jiminy Johnson and Gordon Gear, respectively. The two join a star-studded guest cast which includes Jay Leno, Gordon Ramsay and Hoda Kotb, among others. Designed for children ages two to seven, the episodes and story lines are geared toward teaching kids social and emotional lessons about friendship, teamwork, optimism and good sportsmanship.(HMS)(1-15-2017)

  • Some 2017 rules changes: NASCAR competition officials issued memos detailing rule book changes for the 2017 season in its three national series.
    Drivers in all three series may use biometrics devices in their vehicles in 2017. The wrist-worn health tracking devices may not transmit data, may not connect to the vehicle in any way and must operate on an internal battery. Devices eligible for use are certain models made by Garmin, Misfit, Polar, Samsung, Tom Tom and Jawbone.
    For superspeedway events at Daytona and Talladega, the restrictor plate opening will be smaller by 1/64 of an inch -- reduced from 57/64 to 7/8. The change affects only the Monster Energy Cup and XFINITY series for those two tracks.
    Additional safety guidelines were issued for restrictor-plate events for Monster Energy Cup and XFINITY teams. Among them, the previously optional roof hatch is now mandatory as an alternate escape route. Competition officials have also required the use of energy-absorbing materials to strengthen the area occupied by the drivers' feet in the cockpit.(NASCAR.com)(1-15-2017)

  • KBM's Bell wins Chili Bowl Nationals: Christopher Bell took the lead just past the midway point and never relinquished the top spot on the way to winning the 31st annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway. The victory is Bell's first at the Chili Bowl and the third in a row for a Toyota-powered car at the biggest event in midget car racing after victories by Rico Abreu in 2015 and 2016. The victory comes in the fourth straight A Main for the Norman, Okla., native after previously running a career-best third in 2014. He also won Thursday night's preliminary feature. He now has 36 national midget car victories. Bell is a full-time driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports.(AutoWeek)(1-15-2017)


    News from January 14, 2017

  • Sport Clips returns with Hamlin in 2017; sponsors Jones: Sport Clips Haircuts is an active sponsor in NASCAR and is excited to enter its ninth season (2017) as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin enters his 12th full season with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017 behind the wheel of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2017, following an incredible 2016 season that saw him win his first Dayton 500. Sport Clips is scheduled to sponsor Hamlin at: Auto Club Speedway in March and Darlington (usually a throwback scheme) in September. Sport Clips will also sponsor #77-Erik Jones for four races in 2017" Bristol in April, Daytona in July, Indianapolis in July and Texas in November (Sport Clips). Sport Clips had sponsored Carl Edwards the past few years in the #19 JGR Toyota, but Edwards recently left the team and the sport and doesn't plan on racing in 2017.(1-14-2017)

  • NASCAR rulebook updates for 2017: NASCAR issued a massive rules update to teams across all three national divisions on Friday -- not unusual for this time of the year. The most noteworthy addition is that the Sanctioning Body will allow drivers to wear biometric devices like Fitbits while inside the car. NASCAR will mandate the devices to operate under its own internal power and not have telematics capability -- in other words real-time capability to transmit car data. NASCAR will not allow any data acquired by such a device to be downloaded during qualifying or a race. For the device to be eligible, it must be either listed on the approved device list or be similar in functionality to one.
    Rear Spoiler Height For the Cup Series, the rear spoiler height has been adjusted from 3.5 inches to 2.35 inches. What was then the Sprint Cup Series ran tests during races at Michigan and Kentucky as 2.5 inches.
    Roof Hatch For both the Cup and Xfinity Series, a roof hatch is now mandatory at both Daytona and Talladega. It remains optional for all other venues.
    Restrictor Plates at Daytona, Talladega The size of the holes in restrictor plates used at Daytona and Talladega will now be 7/8ths of an inch from 57/64ths of an inch.
    Lastly, NASCAR is now requiring Cup and Xfinity teams to use toe board energy absorbing material at the two restrictor plate tracks to strengthen the driver foot box. This was a response to the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series crash at Daytona that sidelined Kyle Busch for 11 races when he broke a foot and a leg respectively. The material adds 20 pounds to the cars' overall weight and NASCAR has raised the minimum weight of the cars by that amount to encourage them to use the material in all events.(AutoWeek)(1-14-2017)

  • Mondelez Quietly Does Not Renew NASCAR Sponsorship: NASCAR is in the hunt for a new official cookie and cracker sponsor, as Mondelez quietly let its pact with the sanctioning body expire after 2016 according to sources. Illinois-based Mondelez is made up of the former Kraft Foods, whose deal with NASCAR began in 2000. Mondelez last renewed with NASCAR in a three-year pact that started in 2014. Mondelez held the official cookies title with its Oreo, Nilla Wafers and Nutter Butter brands, and was the official cracker of NASCAR with its Ritz and Wheat Thins brands. On the flip side, NASCAR added five new official partners in '16: Monster Energy, Credit One Bank, Mack Trucks, Old World Industries (Peak) and Allegiant Air, along with a number of renewals. NASCAR typically asks low seven figures for official partnerships, sources say. After wrapping up its two-year hunt to land its new Cup Series entitlement partner, sources say that on top of renewal efforts this year with the likes of Goodyear, NASCAR's business development group is focused this year on trying to fill a slew of official partner categories including restaurant and QSR. NASCAR declined comment for this story.(Sports Business Daily)(1-14-2017)

  • Roush Yates Engines Recognized with award: The prestigious AVA Digital Awards recognized Roush Yates Engines for their outstanding accomplishments in the area of video and web-based production. Roush Yates Engines was presented with a pair of awards highlighting their excellence in marketing and creativity. The team was awarded Platinum in the category of Web-Based Production related to the newly created Roush Yates Engines website, which is focused on building brand, product and partner awareness. In addition, the organization was awarded a Gold award for outstanding achievement in the category of Video Production, Creativity & Editing for the production of the Building for Le Mans | Roush Yates Engines video. This video celebrated Ford Motor Company's 50th Anniversary return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The video inspired the Ford Performance and Roush Yates Engines team on their way to building the 2016 Le Mans winning twin-turbo Ford EcoBoost V6 race engine. AVA Digital Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP).(RYE)(1-14-2017)

  • Sad News - Brian Scott (not the driver): Brian Shawn Scott, 63, of Mooresville, NC passed away on January 9, 2017 in Charlotte, NC following a brief illness. He was born on October 7, 1953 in South Bend, IN. He worked for several years as a vice president of Keystone Cable Corporation before starting Scott Performance Wire (in 1990, supplying many NASCAR teams), which he owned and operated until his death. Full obituary, guest book and service info at Carter Funeral Home)(1-14-2017)


    News from January, Friday the 13th, 2017

  • Brendan Gaughan to attempt to make the Daytona 500: Brendan Gaughan will attempt to race in the Daytona 500 this year. Gaughan said he will drive the Chevy Michael McDowell [was #59 Chevy] wheeled to a 15th-place finish for Leavine Family Racing in last year's race. The car owner is Mark Beard of Mount Pleasant, MI, a former driver and team owner in the Midwest-based ARCA series who had a couple of Xfinity starts during the 1980s. "Jay Robinson, the man I drove for a couple of years ago at Premium Motorsports, called me in the middle of the Christmas break and said a friend of his was trying to do a deal and run the 500," said the 41-year-old Gaughan, who qualified for the inaugural Xfinity Series Chase in 2016 driving for Richard Childress. "They bought the old Leavine car, they've hired ECR to do motors - real racing motors - and they asked if I would be interested. So it's got Richard Childress motors, and I'm going to have a Richard Childress pit crew - my guys (from his RCR Xfinity team) - and so we're going to the Daytona 500 and see if we can qualify." Beard doesn't possess a Cup Series charter, which would have guaranteed Gaughan a starting spot. So he will have to race his way in via qualifying speed and twin 150-mile races that set the 40-car field. Gaughan said he may have to beat only one other noncharter team for a starting spot. "We're an open team, but I feel very confident that with ECR motors we're going to be able to make the show," the former Truck Series Rookie of the Year said. If he does, it will be the second time Gaughan has raced in NASCAR's marquee event. The son of South Point owner Michael Gaughan made his Daytona 500 debut in 2004 driving a Dodge for Roger Penske. He finished 19th after starting 17th.(Las Vegas Review Journal), hearing the team will run #75, the smae used in 2014 (1-13-2017)

  • Many veteran crewman left the sport: Every year there are a group of veteran crewman that retire and walk away from the sport. Pit Talks try and recognize some of these crewman and say thank you for their time on pit road. This years crop of retirees might be the best talented group seen leave at one time. Pit Talks obviously can't keep up with everyone and there are plenty more talented crewmen that have been left out, but these are the guys known:
    Heath Cherry #11 car, rear carrier
    Chip Goode #47 car, rear carrier
    Todd Drackulich #14 car, front carrier
    Jason Pulver #3 car, front changer
    Mike "Tiny" Houston #13 car, front carrier
    Read comments at Pit Talks.(1-13-2017)

  • Earnhardt, Jr., Kahne to run two NXS races each: Continuing a tradition of running his own JR Motorsports Chevy each season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to make a pair of starts in the #88 Chevy Camaro this season in races at Bristol in August and Richmond in September. Long-time JRM driver Kasey Kahne will drive the car at Daytona in February and Talladega in May. Scott Radel, director of engineering at JRM, has been tabbed to crew chief all four races. Radel has been a JRM engineer since 2013, and previously worked for Hendrick Motorsports. He won championships with JRM in 2014 and with two other teams as an engineer. Radel brings 20-plus years of experience in calling races. The #88 "All Star car" has been a full-time car the past two seasons, but with JRM's expansion to four full-time teams and the addition of new drivers William Byron and Michael Annett, it will be a fifth JRM entry in the four races named.(JR Motorsports)(1-13-2017)

  • Ford Performance announces Driver Development Program: In an effort to develop talent for its NASCAR program long-term, Ford Performance announced today it is formally initiating a multi-tiered NASCAR driver development program. The first stage of that program will be a formal relationship with Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) and its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) effort, where Ford has signed Chase Briscoe as one of the drivers for BKR for the 2017 season as part of his development. The BKR effort, as well as other to-be-announced driver development efforts at different levels, will develop talent for all Ford teams in NASCAR. Current teams will be consulted as part of the selection process, but drivers in the program will have contractual obligations to Ford. In addition to their role within the NCWTS race program and related marketing efforts, drivers in the new Ford program will also assist the company as test drivers within the Ford product development program.(Ford Performance)(1-13-2017)

  • Sieg returns for full season; second RSS Racing team to be part-time UPDATE: 2016 was 29-year-old Ryan Sieg's third full NXS season and each has been slightly better than the last. This past year was most notable for the Sugar Hill, Georgia-based RSS Racing team, because they scored enough points to run in the inaugural NXS Chase. Crew chief Kevin "Cowboy" Starland, who achieved success in the NCWTS years ago with driver Rick Crawford, returns to the team in 2017 and team owner Rod Sieg, Ryan's father, will continue purchasing good equipment and engines from Richard Childress Racing. There will be more full-time teams in the well-funded part of the garage this season, but Sieg could still make the 2017 Chase, if he stays consistent and the team adapts well to the changes in the car. RSS Racing plans to run continue running a second team, but that is likely to be a start-and-park effort and not full-time like it was for David Star in 2016.(WSB Radio)(1-13-2017)
    UPDATE: RSS Racing is again planning a full season with Ryan Sieg behind the wheel of the #39 Chevrolet. The team is still searching for sponsorship for Sieg. RSS is also prepared to run a second car in 2017 if the right driver and sponsor materializes. Veterans Kevin Starland, Mike Ford, and Bruce Cook will all return to the team. "Our team is in a great position heading into 2017. With Cowboy, Mike Ford, and Bruce Cook we have some of the smartest guys in the garage. I'm looking forward to making another run at the chase," commented owner and driver Ryan Sieg.(RSS Racing)(1-13-2017)

  • Lower downforce expected for XFINITY cars: 2017 brings a significant change to the NXS racecars: a decrease in downforce. A source says that NASCAR is shortening the spoiler by three inches and making it narrower by four inches. The sport is also mandating teams make the cars' front splitters an inch lower and change two other dimensions on the lower front nose of the car. This should decrease speeds and handling and make for more passing. But these changes could also be harder for smaller teams to adapt to, since bigger teams have budgets to better implement them.(WSB Radio)(1-13-2017)

  • Gaughan to attempt Daytona 500: If upstarts Derrike Cope, Jamie McMurray and Trevor Bayne are capable of winning the Daytona 500, then why not Brendan Gaughan? Brendan Gaughan said he will drive the Chevrolet Michael McDowell wheeled to a 15th-place finish for Leavine Family Racing in last year's race. The car owner is Mark Beard of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, a former driver and team owner in the Midwest-based ARCA series who had a couple of Xfinity starts during the 1980s. "Jay Robinson, the man I drove for a couple of years ago at Premium Motorsports, called me in the middle of the Christmas break and said a friend of his was trying to do a deal and run the 500," said the 41-year-old Gaughan, who qualified for the inaugural Xfinity Series Chase in 2016 driving for Richard Childress. "They bought the old Leavine car, they've hired ECR to do motors - real racing motors - and they asked if I would be interested. So it's got Richard Childress motors, and I'm going to have a Richard Childress pit crew - my guys - and so we're going to the Daytona 500 and see if we can qualify."(Las Vegas Review Journal)(1-13-2017)

  • Advance-Priced Tickets On-Sale for Talladega: Fans who want the "Experience of a Lifetime" - Talladega Superspeedway's triple-header weekend, May 5-7 - can do so at a lower cost starting Monday, Jan. 9th, with the track's advance-priced ticket offers. The advanced pricing is good for the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race on Sunday, May 7, as well as the Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) event on Saturday, May 6. Practice for both NASCAR races, as well as the start of the General Tire 200 ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards event, kicks off the weekend on Friday, May 5.
    Advance-priced ticket options for the anticipated action-packed weekend are available for a limited time and include:
    " $10 off regular pricing for the GEICO 500 set for 1:00 PM CDT on Sunday, May 7
    " $5 off regular pricing for the Sparks Energy 300 scheduled for 12 noon CDT on Saturday, May 6
    " Two-day ticket packages for both Saturday and Sunday start at only $50
    Talladega Superspeedway offers over 15,000 free camping sites in three conveniently located parks. Free day parking on Talladega Superspeedway property remains available. For more information on all Talladega Superspeedway ticket and hospitality options, which include grandstand and tower tickets, fan suites, premium box seating packages, Party Patio packages, the infield Back Forty Beer Co. Paddock Club, "Unrestricted" and "Sunday VIP Experience" packages and more, simply visit our website at talladegasuperspeedway.com.(TSS)(1-13-2017)


    News from January 12, 2017

  • Elliott Sadler to attempt Daytona 500 with Baldwin: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announced that the team will compete in the 59th running of the Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the #7 Golden Corral Chevy. Sadler, a 16-year veteran of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will be running double-duty during NASCAR's opening weekend competing in both the Cup and Xfinity Series. The Emporia, VA native and Baldwin have a relationship dating back to their days at Robert Yates Racing when Baldwin served as crew chief for Sadler. "This is a great opportunity for me and everyone affiliated with Tommy Baldwin Racing," said Sadler. "I love the Daytona 500 and to have Tommy and Golden Corral offer me this opportunity is awesome. Tommy and I have known each other a long time. We actually won a qualifying race for the Daytona 500 together back in 2006. We're gonna rekindle some of that magic and work our tails off to get our car in the race. I know Tommy is putting a lot of effort into this and we're gonna go out and get the best result we possibly can for him and TBR's partners." Golden Corral returns for their seventh season together and will bring back their popular 'Top 10 Kids Eat Free' promotion. If Elliott Sadler finishes in the top-10 at Daytona, kids 10 and under will eat free at Golden Corral restaurants nationwide on Monday, February 27th. "We are excited to be working with Tommy Baldwin Racing for the seventh season," said Shelley Wolford, Vice President of National Marketing and Media at Golden Corral. "We will be cheering Elliott on to qualify at Daytona and then race for a Top 10 Kids Eat Free finish."
    "We look forward to having Elliott join TBR and Golden Corral for the upcoming Daytona 500," said team owner Tommy Baldwin. "Elliott has always been a strong restrictor plate racer which makes this a great opportunity for everyone involved. We know our fans look forward to the 'Top10 Kids Eat Free' promotion every year so we want to capitalize on that and finish the Daytona 500 strong." Golden Corral, based in Raleigh, N.C., is the nation's largest grill-buffet restaurant chain with 482 restaurants operating in 41 states as of January 1, 2017.(TBR/140 BUZZ)
    NOTE: the team is an Open team, meaning it will have to qualify via speed / Duels to make the race, depending on how many Open teams attempt the race. Baldwin sold his Charter to the #95 Leavine Family Racing team in late 2016.(1-12-2017)

  • Drivers have fun clocking laps at Goodyear tire test at LVMS: Four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers enjoyed themselves on the track during Day 2 of a Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Wednesday. #20-Matt Kenseth, #22-Joey Logano, #24-Chase Elliott and #1-Jamie McMurray clocked lap after lap at the 1.5-mile speedway on the sunny and windy day as Goodyear techs and the quartet of race teams banked valuable data to use in 2017 and beyond. The drivers enjoyed their time behind the wheel during the two-day test session. "It's fun to come out and test, and I like coming to Vegas," said Kenseth, the Kobalt 400 champion in 2003, 2004 and 2013. "It seems like everything has slowed down (on the track), which makes for better racing. I've always liked the race track, have had some good runs here and had some wins here. It's a fun race track, a fun town and always a good environment, so I enjoy racing here."
    Logano understands the importance of the tire tests and what they can do for the sport. "You're able to knock the rust off and try to come up with the best tire," said Logano, the 2014 Kobalt 400 pole winner. "This is Goodyear's test, and we're here for Goodyear to make the best tire, not only for us drivers, but for the fans to have the best race to watch. There's a lot of theories on what makes the best race, and we're able to go through those and figure out what makes the track wide and let us move around. There are constant conversations about how we can make it better, and this is a great opportunity for us to test a lot of that."
    Elliott got a lot out of the two-day session. "It's felt really good to get back going again," said Elliott, the 2016 NASCAR Rookie of the Year. "The time that passes between the last race and the first time you get back in a car seems like a long time. So, it's good to get back in, get acclimated and try to sharpen up your skills. This is a good place to do it, and it's similar to a lot of tracks we'll go to this season, so it's helpful in a lot of ways. Goodyear has been really good with how they've approached the test, and of all the tests I've done with them, this is as aggressive as I've seen them with making changes and trying new things with the tire. I think that's encouraging, and I hope they can take the data and try to help us provide some better racing down the road."
    LVMS' 2017 NASCAR Weekend begins on Friday, March 10, with Stratosphere Pole Day, continues with the Boyd Gaming 300 Xfinity Series race on Saturday, March 11, and concludes with the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, March 12. Tickets are available at lvms.com or by calling 1-800-644-4444.(LVMS)(1-12-2017)

  • Phoenix Raceway to Host Open NASCAR Test Jan 31st: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars will appear at Phoenix Raceway for the first time in 2017 when the track hosts an open test session on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Phoenix Raceway will open its gates to fans from 9:00am to 3:00pm with general seating in the Bobby Allison Grandstand. Free parking is available and fans are asked to make a $5 donation to Phoenix Raceway Charities for admission.
    Several 2016 NASCAR Chase contenders including #4-Kevin Harvick, #22-Joey Logano, #19-Daniel Suarez (instead of #20-Matt Kenseth) and #3-Austin Dillon are scheduled to be participate, while #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be making his first public appearance behind the wheel in six months.
    With a new series sponsor, manufacturer changes and new faces to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, there will be plenty of excitement when the drivers look for valuable track time ahead of the 2017 season and Phoenix Raceway's Camping World 500 on Sunday, March 19. Tickets for the Camping World 500 start at just $25, and 2017 season tickets are available beginning at $99. Individual tickets and season tickets are available online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the PIR ticket office. Phoenix Raceway Charities is a Donor Advised Fund under The NASCAR Foundation, and its mission is to accelerate the development of children in Arizona by supporting education, children and families of our military and military veterans, and life enrichment programs for children and families in our community.(PIR)(1-12-2017)

  • NASCAR Summit Promotes Innovation, Safety, Preparation: Safety is a founding NASCAR tenet and as a contact sport with major multi-day events that span the calendar, it's vitally important that the professionals who will respond to incidents be prepared with the latest technology and best practices. That's why medical, safety, security and operations professionals from race tracks nationwide and abroad convened for the annual NASCAR Summit Presented by American Medical Response (AMR). The three-day gathering at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Concord, NC, concluded Tuesday and featured instruction from some of the nation's leading experts. It also provided an opportunity for the industry to share best practices and recognize and honor its best work.
    The Summit featured more than 30 general and discipline-specific breakout sessions that addressed topics ranging from weather contingency planning to incident scene management. Presenters included leading physicians, track services professionals and law enforcement agencies. Nationally known speaker, attorney Gordon Graham delivered the keynote presentation. A top expert in law enforcement and public service training, he specializes in risk management. During the event's final general session, awards were presented to top medical, security and track services personnel for their outstanding achievements and innovations from the 2016 season. Award winners were:
    Track Services
    " Mission Award: Daytona International Speedway
    " Teamwork Award: Kentucky Speedway
    " Innovation Award: Pocono Raceway
    " Excellence in Track Services Award: Jay Donnay, Homestead-Miami Speedway
    Medical
    " Above and Beyond Award: Dr. Angela Fiege, Dr. John Maino, Dr. Brian Nao
    " Nursing Director Award: Jackie Coats, Watkins Glen International
    " Teamwork Award: Darlington Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway
    Security
    " Security Director's Award: George Brazzale, Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Jim Hosfelt, Dover International Speedway
    (NASCAR)(1-12-2017)

  • Tommy Baldwin Racing returns to roots running Modifieds: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announced plans to compete on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) with driver Donny Lia in 2017. Returning to his roots, Tommy Baldwin will bring back the iconic #7NY. The car number has a rich history in the NASCAR touring series and the local tracks on Long Island, New York, amassing a combined total 54 wins with the late "Tiger" Tom Baldwin, Sr. Lia, a two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion (2007 and 2009) and Long Island native, brings a wealth of experience to the team. With a career dating back to 2001, Lia raced Baldwin on the Tour. Baldwin and Lia have crossed paths before with Baldwin serving as the crew chief for Lia's first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in 2008. The program brings Baldwin back to his childhood and sparks great memories along the way.(TBR/140 BUZZ)(1-12-2017)

  • Darlington now hosts "The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR": It's now official! Darlington Raceway and its Labor Day race weekend are now being recognized as "The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR." The designation ensures that the official historical celebration of the sport will continue to take place at the famed 1.366-mile superspeedway in Darlington, South Carolina.
    The track's award-winning throwback campaign has earned rave reviews throughout the industry since its inception in 2015. The campaign has aligned all key stakeholders in the sport and provided a historical celebration that has earned much praise from fans and corporate partners. It was because of this collaboration over the past two seasons that NASCAR recognized the importance of the track's throwback weekend and in turn will now celebrate The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR at the sport's original paved superspeedway, which opened and began hosting NASCAR events in 1950.
    The track's 2016 throwback campaign last season featured a celebration of 1975-84 including the following highlights:
    " Over 36 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race teams competed with throwback paint schemes for the Bojangles' Southern 500, the most in any single NASCAR event in the sport's history.
    " Over 18 NASCAR XFINITY Series teams competed with throwback paint schemes.
    " Use of NASCAR's famed "NASCAR International" logo for the second consecutive year.
    " For the second straight year, Goodyear put the original white lettering on its race tires specifically for the Bojangles' Southern 500.
    " NBC did another throwback broadcast of the race featuring old station logos and graphics. NASCAR legends Ken Squier, Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett did a special throwback broadcast during the race for the second straight year.
    " Honored 14 NASCAR Hall of Fame members at the Bojangles' Legends Breakfast.
    " 2017 NHOF inductees Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Mark Martin served as the Bojangles' Southern 500 grand marshals.
    " Unique food offerings from the 1975-84 time period, including the pimento cheese sandwich.
    " Pre-race concert by rock legends KANSAS and national anthem performance by Barry Williams (of The Brady Bunch fame).
    The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500® is set for Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway and get tickets at DarlingtonRaceway.com.(Darlington Raceway)(1-12-2017)

  • Earnhardt, Jr., Kahne to run two NXS races each: Continuing a tradition of running his own JR Motorsports Chevrolets each season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to make a pair of starts in the #88 Chevrolet Camaro this season in races at Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 18) and Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 8). Long-time JRM driver Kasey Kahne will drive the car at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 25) and Talladega Superspeedway (May 6). Scott Radel, director of engineering at JRM, has been tabbed to crew chief all four races. Radel has been a JRM engineer since 2013, and previously worked for Hendrick Motorsports. He won championships with JRM in 2014 and with two other teams as an engineer. Radel brings 20-plus years of experience in calling races. The #88 "All Star car" has been a full-time car the past two seasons, but with JRM's expansion to four full-time teams and the addition of new drivers William Byron and Michael Annett, it will be a fifth JRM entry in the four races named.(JR Motorsports)(1-12-2017)

  • Sadler to run Daytona 500 with Baldwin: Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that the team will compete in the 59th running of the Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the #7 Golden Corral Chevrolet. Sadler, a 16-year veteran of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will be running double-duty during NASCAR's opening weekend competing in both the Cup and Xfinity Series. The Emporia, VA native and Baldwin have a relationship dating back to their days at Robert Yates Racing when Baldwin served as crew chief for Sadler. Golden Corral returns for their seventh season together and will bring back their popular 'Top 10 Kids Eat Free' promotion. If Elliott Sadler finishes in the top-10 at Daytona, kids 10 and under will eat free at Golden Corral restaurants nationwide on Monday, February 27th.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(1-12-2017)

  • PIRTEK to expand relationship with BKR: Brad Keselowski Racing announced that PIRTEK, the industry leader in fluid transfer solution sales and service in the United States, will serve as a full time associate partner for driver Austin Cindric during the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. PIRTEK will also join Team Penske as an associate partner in 2017 for select races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The partnership will include driver appearances, business-to-business opportunities and licensing rights for both Brad Keselowski Racing and Team Penske. PIRTEK Service and Supply Centers stock, customize and install hydraulic and industrial hoses and fittings of all kinds. The PIRTEK range of products and services is designed to meet the diverse requirements of customers of all sizes from a broad cross section of industries. More importantly, within each of these industries there are literally hundreds of opportunities and applications for which the PIRTEK range of products and services are in demand. Cindric, 18, made four starts for the team in 2016 with PIRTEK as a partner, highlighted by a second-place qualifying effort at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada). Cindric also won from the pole in K&N Pro Series East starts in 2016 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Virginia (Danville, Va.) International Raceway and he was victorious in his ARCA Racing Series debut in 2016, winning with PIRTEK as a partner at Kentucky Speedway.( Brad Keselowski Racing)(1-12-2017)

  • Abreu not returning to ThorSport UPDATE; neither is Hayley: Rico Abreu will not return to full-time competition in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with ThorSport Racing this season. Although Abreu tried to get a deal worked out for 2017, securing sponsorship was a challenge. "I wish things could have worked out," Abreu told motorsport.com on Wednesday at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa. "The way sponsorship goes, sometimes things change. That's just the way things go. I'm not going to give up on it. I'm just going to take a step back."
    Abreu, who will turn 25 on Jan. 30, finished 13th in the standings in his rookie season. He posted top-five finishes at Eldora (third) and Talladega (fourth) and five top-10s in 23 starts. A ThorSport representative confirmed Abreu's status but did not close the door on possible opportunities in the future.
    This weekend, Abreu looks to defend his Chili Bowl Nationals championship. Abreu has won the last two Golden Drillers at Tulsa Expo Raceway. In the short term, his focus will be on midgets and sprint cars.(Motorsport)(1-12-2017)
    UPDATE: After two full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seasons at ThorSport Racing, Cameron Hayley won't return in 2017, a team spokesperson confirmed. Hayley, a native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada joined the Sandusky, OH-based team in 2015 after a successful stint with the now defunct HScott Motorsports in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and three races in the Truck Series in 2013. The two seasons aboard the #13 Toyota Tundra, Hayley, 20, reeled in 10-top five and 24 top-10 finishes, including a career-best second twice this past season at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway respectively. Working with crew chief Eddie Troconis in 2016, the duo earned six top-five and 11 top-10s, but without a win found themselves on the outside in the inaugural Truck Series Chase. Still, the duo closed out the season 10th in series points. In all, Hayley owns 10 top-five and 26 top-10s in 49 races.(Catchfence)(1-12-2017)

  • Briscoe to run full season for BKR as part of Ford development: In an effort to develop talent for its NASCAR program long-term, Ford Performance announced it is formally initiating a multi-tiered NASCAR driver development program. The first stage of that program will be a formal relationship with Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) and its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) effort, where Ford has signed Chase Briscoe as one of the drivers for BKR for the 2017 season as part of his development.The BKR effort, as well as other to-be-announced driver development efforts at different levels, will develop talent for all Ford teams in NASCAR. Current teams will be consulted as part of the selection process, but drivers in the program will have contractual obligations to Ford. In addition to their role within the NCWTS race program and related marketing efforts, drivers in the new Ford program will also assist the company as test drivers within the Ford product development program. Led by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series champion and Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski, BKR currently fields two (2) full-time entries in the NCWTS with the #19 and #29 Ford F-150s. BKR also fields the #2 Ford F-150 in select NCWTS races. The team maintains commercial relationships with long-standing primary partners Cooper Standard, Draw-Tite, and Reese Brands, as well as other industry-leading brands such as Snap-on. Briscoe, 22, is an Indiana native who is coming of a 2016 championship in the ARCA stock car racing series, where he captured six wins. He has been racing since 2001 in a variety of series, including quarter midgets, sprint cars, Peak Stock Car Dream Challenge and K&N Pro Series West.(Brad Keselowski Racing)(1-12-2017)

  • PIRTEK to expand relationship with BKR: Brad Keselowski Racing announced that PIRTEK, the industry leader in fluid transfer solution sales and service in the United States, will serve as a full time associate partner for driver Austin Cindric during the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. PIRTEK will also join Team Penske as an associate partner in 2017 for select races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The partnership will include driver appearances, business-to-business opportunities and licensing rights for both Brad Keselowski Racing and Team Penske. PIRTEK Service and Supply Centers stock, customize and install hydraulic and industrial hoses and fittings of all kinds.Cindric, 18, made four starts for the team in 2016 with PIRTEK as a partner, highlighted by a second-place qualifying effort at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada). Cindric also won from the pole in K&N Pro Series East starts in 2016 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Virginia (Danville, Va.) International Raceway and he was victorious in his ARCA Racing Series debut in 2016, winning with PIRTEK as a partner at Kentucky Speedway.(Brad Keselowski Racing)(1-12-2017)


    News from January 11, 2017

  • Daniel Suarez named the driver of the #19 Toyota: 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champions, Daniel Suarez has been named the driver of Joe Gibbs Racing's #19 Toyota for 2017 running for Rookie of Year award. Suarez replaces Carl Edwards who announced earlier that he was leaving the sport immediately. ARRIS, Stanley and Subway will return as sponsors. Sports Clips is listed on the car. No word if Comcast/XFINITY will return as a primary sponsor in 2017. Dave Rogers stays on as the crew chief. As for Suarez's XFINITY Series plans, team owner Joe Gibbs said Suarez would probably run around 10 XFINITY Series races with other JGR drivers filling in. See images of the #19 car on the #19 Team Paint Scheme page (1-11-2017)

  • Transcript: see the full transcript of Carl Edwards press conference from Jan 11, 2017 when he stepped away from racing: Carl Edwards Press Conference Transcript (1-11-2017)

  • Edwards steps away from racing; Suarez to drive #19 Toyota: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that driver Carl Edwards has stepped away from racing in NASCAR. 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion Daniel Suárez will drive the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series #19 Toyota Camry in 2017.
    Edwards, 37, joined Joe Gibbs Racing prior to the 2015 season and amassed five wins, 16 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes to go with nine pole awards in his two seasons with the organization. Over his 13-year career in NASCAR's premiere series he totaled 28 wins, 124 top-five, and 220 top-10 finishes, along with 22 pole awards. His 28 career wins ties him for 23rd all-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
    "This has been a very difficult decision for me, but I'm confident that it is the right one for several reasons," said Edwards. "It would be impossible for me to thank everyone I need to, but I do want to take a moment to say I greatly appreciate the support from Coach and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, especially my team and teammates, my sponsors and of course my fans. I could not have a better situation in racing than the one I currently have, so stepping away from that certainly took a lot of consideration."
    Edwards was the 2005 NASCAR XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year and captured the Series Championship in 2007. He amassed 38 wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in his career. Edwards also won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honor in 2003 and totaled six career wins in the Series. "Certainly this was not something that we were expecting as we prepared for the 2017 season," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "However, it was clear in our conversations with Carl that he had given this careful consideration and believes strongly that it is the direction he needs to go. We support him in that. We loved having him be part of our team the past two years and we will miss him, but we hope he is happy in whatever is next for his life."
    Daniel Suárez captured the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship in 2016 in just his second full season in the Series. He is the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR Championship. He won three races and earned 19 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes along with three pole awards last season. "This is amazing. I really can't believe it. It is my dream, but I did not expect it right now," said Suárez. "I can't wait to get started. I have a lot to learn, but I couldn't ask for a better situation. I have the support of a great team around me. I have so many people to thank that helped get me to this point of my career, starting with my family of course, but it would be impossible for me to list everyone. I do want to thank Coach (Gibbs) and everyone at JGR for this opportunity,. and I also want to thank ARRIS, STANLEY, Subway, Interstate Batteries and Toyota for their support. I can't wait for Daytona." Suárez will make his first-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2017.
    "We are thrilled for Daniel," said Gibbs. "Once we learned that Carl would not return next season, Daniel was really the obvious choice to take the wheel of this newly redesigned 2018 Camry. He is a great fit for our team and our partners. He has worked extremely hard and proven to be a quick learner. He will have a great team around him and he will have great teammates to lean on. This might be a bit earlier than we anticipated, but he has earned the opportunity and we are excited for his future."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-11-2017)

  • Statement from NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France on Carl Edwards: "Carl Edwards has made an indelible mark on NASCAR. His hard-charging driving style has led to memorable moments that will live forever in the history of our sport. Carl's passion and personality will greatly be missed - as will the signature backflips that NASCAR fans have come to expect following his victories. We wish Carl nothing but the best as he enters this next phase in life."(NASCAR)(1-11-2017)

  • Carl Edwards to retire immediately? UPDATE Press Conference: #19-Carl Edwards is expected to announce Wednesday that he will retire immediately from NASCAR racing, according to sources familiar with his plans. Edwards, 37, spent 13 years in the Cup Series and won 28 times in 445 starts. No immediate reason was available for why Edwards would retire. Daniel Suarez will be named the replacement for Edwards at Joe Gibbs Racing, sources said. Suarez, from Mexico, became the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR national series when he earned the Xfinity Series title in 2016.(ESPN)
    AND: Joe Gibbs Racing is scheduled to hold two separate news conferences [Edwards retirement? Hamlin contract extension?) starting at 10:00am/et on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 from its headquarters in Huntersville, NC.(JGR)
    MORE: Edwards is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to pursue other interests outside of driving and will not compete in 2017. On Wednesday, JGR will announce at a press conference that Daniel Suarez will replace Edwards as the driver of the team's #19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota. Suarez is the reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion. Representatives of Edwards and Joe Gibbs Racing declined comment. David Wilson, president of TRD, U.S.A., also declined comment on Edwards' departure.(FoxSports)(1-10-2017)
    UPDATE: As the NASCAR world waits to hear Carl Edwards' explanation for his sudden retirement, one reason can be ruled out. Edwards is not leaving for a TV job at Fox Sports or NBC Sports. "We were as surprised as anyone to hear the news about Carl Edwards' expected retirement, and we will be following the story alongside everyone else," said John Entz, president of Fox Sports Production and an executive producer, in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. "Fox Sports has really enjoyed having Carl in the booth and on our air in various capacities over the years, but speculation that he may be climbing out of the car to join the Fox NASCAR broadcast team is unfounded. Our team is set for the near future and we wish Carl well in whatever he chooses to do next." A spokeswoman for NBC Sports told USA TODAY Sports that Edwards was not joining that network, either.(USA Today)
    PRESS CONFERENCE: JGR will hold two separate news conferences starting at 10am/et on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, from its headquarters in Huntersville, NC. Both press conferences will be live-streamed on NASCAR.com also via radio at Motor Racing Network the MRN App and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.(1-11-2017)

  • Dodge and NASCAR meet at Auto Show: on December 4 of last year, Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is the parent of Dodge, said with substantial conviction that he wants to get Dodge back into NASCAR. "Yes, I'd love to," he said. "I talked to Jim France (executive vice-president of NASCAR) about this just last night." Marchionne made those statements at Daytona International Speedway during a press conference during the Ferrari Finali Mondiali, the annual gathering of Ferrari racers and fans. Ferrari is owned by the company Marchionne runs. Dodge left NASCAR in 2012, the year Dodge won the title with Penske driver Brad Keselowski. Penske moved to Ford at the end of the season, and Dodge pulled the plug on its NASCAR program.
    Until now, there hasn't been much news about the possible reconciliation, until now: Monday morning, during the main press day of the North American International Auto Show (in Detroit), NASCAR and Dodge executives had a private meeting. Among those present was NASCAR President Mike Helton and Tim Kuniskis, whose title is Head of Passenger Car Brands, which includes Dodge. Of course, it could have been a casual how-ya-doing meeting, but given the brutal schedule for all automotive executives on Monday at the Detroit show, that seems unlikely.(The Drive), see past news on Dodge's possible return to NASCAR on the Dodge News and Links page (1-11-2017)

  • Roush Fenway Racing renews with Performance Plus; to sponsor Bayne: Roush Fenway Racing announced a team-wide partnership with Kleen Performance Products and Performance Plus, its premium motor oil brand. Performance Plus will serve as the official oil partner of NASCAR's winningest team, as well as the primary sponsor for multiple races with driver Trevor Bayne and the #6 Ford. Performance Plus is the premium brand of motor oils and lubricants that perform better even under the most extreme conditions. The brand uses conventionally refined oils and proprietary, twice-refined oils, blended with industry-leading additives, to meet or exceed all industry certifications, licenses, approvals and OEM warranty requirements. Kleen Performance Products is part of Safety-Kleen, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Harbors.(RFR), see an image of the scheme on the #6 Team Paint Scheme page.(1-11-2017)

  • Suarez to run partial XFINITY schedule: Daniel Suarez was scheduled to run another full season in the XFINITY Series. Joe Gibbs said plans are unsettled for the #19 XFINITY car, but that Suarez probably will run about 10 races and that the team's other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup drivers - Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin - might drive in a few events.(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-11-2017)

  • LTi Printing grabs title sponsorship of Michigan truck race: Michigan International Speedway continues to partner with Michigan companies. The track announced the official name for the truck race on Aug. 12 will be called the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series LTi Printing 200. Last year, LTi was proud to sponsor Jordan Anderson during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway. The company saw immediate rewards by being involved in the sport and the platform that the track offered by being able to market to multiple businesses and industries in one location. When the Sturgis, Michigan family-owned business wanted to increase its involvement in NASCAR, it knew MIS was the perfect fit. LTi Printing quickly jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the truck race at the track located only an hour from its facility. As title sponsor, LTi Printing will utilize business-to-business opportunities created by its involvement in the sport to market its brand to other companies. Taking advantage of television, radio, print and social mediums LTi plans to create new relationships and business partnerships.(Michigan International Speedway)(1-11-2017)


    News from January 10, 2017

  • NASCAR Considering Significant Changes To Race Formats, Point Distribution: The Sports Business Daily is reporting that NASCAR and industry stakeholders are considering significant competition changes to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series that could be implemented as soon as this season. Sources said that stakeholders across the industry including teams, drivers, tracks, media partners, Monster and NASCAR have been meeting to discuss the prospective changes which involve the format of the races themselves and how points are awarded for them. If implemented, the changes could address the length and format of Cup races and may result in race breaks, similar to other series where "heat" formats are used to break up the competition to feature multiple, shorter races rather than one longer one. NASCAR declined comment. It could not be determined how far along the discussions are, but timing is of the essence as NASCAR's season starts in mid to late February. Its season-opening media tour, when major announcements are often made, is in two weeks in Charlotte.(The Sports Business Daily)(1-10-2017)

  • Carl Edwards to retire immediately?: #19-Carl Edwards is expected to announce Wednesday that he will retire immediately from NASCAR racing, according to sources familiar with his plans. Edwards, 37, spent 13 years in the Cup Series and won 28 times in 445 starts. No immediate reason was available for why Edwards would retire. Daniel Suarez will be named the replacement for Edwards at Joe Gibbs Racing, sources said. Suarez, from Mexico, became the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR national series when he earned the Xfinity Series title in 2016.(ESPN)
    AND: Joe Gibbs Racing is scheduled to hold two separate news conferences [Edwards retirement? Hamlin contract extension?) starting at 10:00am/et on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 from its headquarters in Huntersville, NC.(JGR)
    MORE: Edwards is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to pursue other interests outside of driving and will not compete in 2017. On Wednesday, JGR will announce at a press conference that Daniel Suarez will replace Edwards as the driver of the team's #19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota. Suarez is the reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion. Representatives of Edwards and Joe Gibbs Racing declined comment. David Wilson, president of TRD, U.S.A., also declined comment on Edwards' departure.(FoxSports)(1-10-2017)

  • Hamlin close to announcing contract extension: #11-Denny Hamlin said Monday his contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing is essentially done and just awaiting an official release by his team and sponsor. "It's just whenever they want to announce something," Hamlin told NBC Sports after helping Toyota Racing Development unveil a redesigned Camry model that will make its debut with the 2017 season. "It's probably a better question for Gibbs and (sponsor) FedEx, but I think they'll release something when they're ready." Multiple sources familiar with the deal said the sides had agreed to terms. The sources requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly. Hamlin, 36, is entering the final season of a four-year extension that he signed in June 2012 (while he still had more than a year left on his current deal).(NBC Sports)(1-10-2017)

  • Congrats Kurt Busch: Kurt Busch announced on Twitter / Facebook that he and Ashley Van Metre are married: "My life completely changed when fate brought us together. So happy to call you my wife."(1-10-2017)

  • Tire Testing at Las Vegas Tues & Wed: The start of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is more than one month away but four competitors will be back behind the wheel much sooner. #1-Jamie McMurray (Chevy), #24-Chase Elliott (Chevy), #22-Joey Logano (Ford) and #20-Matt Kenseth (new 2018 Toyota Camry) are scheduled to take part in the season's first Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 10-11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The two-day Las Vegas tire test is the first of seven on the 2017 schedule. Other Goodyear tire tests for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams are on tap for Michigan (April 4-5), Indianapolis (April 25-26), Kentucky (May 9-10), Chicago (June 6-7) and Atlanta (Aug. 8-9). All are for 2017 races with the exception of AMS, which will be focused on 2018 as AMS will be repaved following the race in March 2017. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will participate in a Goodyear tire test at Eldora Speedway May 16-17. Eldora is the only dirt track hosting a race among NASCAR's three national series. Also, with news of a repaving and reconfiguration at Texas Motor Speedway, Goodyear could add a test there as well.
    OPEN TESTS: NASCAR's first organizational test, open to all but limited to one team per organization, will take place at Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Additional organizational tests for the series are scheduled for May 30-31 at New Hampshire, Aug. 15-16 at Chicago, Oct. 10-11 at Martinsville and Oct. 24-25 at Homestead. An organizational test for NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series teams is set for Charlotte May 2.
    One change of note in the 2017 testing schedule is the addition of separate tests for the manufacturers' wheel force transducer (WFT) cars. The vehicles, provided by teams and fitted with various data-gathering devices, were previously allowed for each organizational and Goodyear tire test. NASCAR will also hold a two-day test April 11-12 at Daytona, using the first day to sort through potential safety/competition initiatives while Goodyear is expected to conduct a tire test with any potential changes on the second day. The 2017 season will be the third in which team testing is limited to participation in Goodyear tire tests, organizational tests or any developmental-type tests set by NASCAR. Private team testing has been prohibited since the start of the 2015 season.(NASCAR)(1-10-2018)

  • BK Racing hit with $1.46 million judgement: Five days after a $1.46 million binding arbitration award was levied in a Mecklenburg County, NC case involving Ron Devine and BK Racing, Kickin' the Tires has confirmed through public documents that Devine encumbered the company's equipment, supplies and racecars in a UCC filing for a $15 million line of credit from Virginia Racer's Group, a company managed by his wife. The binding arbitration award involved Race Engines Plus (REP) and money proven to be owed by BK Racing for engines and parts provided from 2013 forward. Additionally, the award required REP to return equipment and engines to Devine's BK Racing. That arbitration ruling came on December 12, 2016. An order to that affect was signed by the Honorable Judge Richard Doughton of Cabarrus County on January 3, 2017, after the Mecklenburg County records were filed in Cabarrus County to secure the money owed.(See full article and links to documents at Kickin' the Tires)(1-10-2017)

  • Athenian shutdown? Social media posts popped up in early December that employees had been laid off from Athenian Motorsports. More posts circulated after the new year. It is unclear what the team plans are as of now; whether they will continue part-time or close completely. In 2016, the team entered races in ARCA and XFINITY, and ran the entire Truck Series schedule. John Wes Townley was the primary driver, but missed multiple races mid-season for a concussion, and ended the year on the sidelines after suffering a non-racing related ankle injury.(1-4-2017)
    UPDATE: John Wes Townley will not race in 2017. A source says that the 27-year-old Watkinsville, Georgia native has decided to end his racing career and take some college courses. Townley also got engaged to girlfriend Laura Bird in the autumn of 2016 and his settling down includes not competing in NASCAR. Concord, North Carolina-based Athenian Motorsports, owned by Townley's father and Zaxby's co-founder Tony Townley, is also ceasing operations. The team had fielded entries for Townley in the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and ARCA Racing Series the past couple of seasons. Several drivers also filled-in for Townley in some respect for the team the past two seasons, due to either scheduling conflicts or injuries. Athenian Motorsports is in the process of selling its inventory.
    Townley has raced since his childhood and has competed in NASCAR since he was 18. With Zaxby's sponsorship in almost every race, Townley was able to stay in NASCAR with first other teams and then his own. In 2015, Townley won his first-career NCWTS race - a fuel mileage gamble to win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Townley also won the 2013 and 2016 season-opening Daytona International Speedway races in the ARCA Series. Townley had a down final season in 2016, despite his ARCA win. He missed two races mid-season with a concussion and the final three with an ankle injury. Townley did score two NCWTS poles, but had only two top 10 finishes in 18 races. His final race saw the #05 Chevy place 21st at Texas Motor Speedway. That race was fittingly right around the time that he got engaged.(WSB Radio Race Blog )(1-10-2017)

  • Leicht to drive for Obaika: Former Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, Stephen Leicht, will drive the #77 Obaika Racing Vroom Brands Chevrolet. Leicht is a 30-year-old race car driver from Asheville, N.C. He last competed in all three series of NASCAR in 2012, ultimately winning the title of Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. Of driving the #77 Chevrolet, Leicht says "To say I am excited about my opportunity to race with Obaika Racing is an understatement to say the least. I cannot wait to get to Daytona to kick the season off at the first race. I, along with my family and friends, are so appreciative of Victor giving me this opportunity. I feel as though this is a second chance to grow as a driver in this sport. With all the experience I have had in the past, I believe I will be able to contribute a lot to this team and am looking forward to doing just that. I am very optimistic about our chances."(Obaika Racing), it is unknown if this is for a set number of races or the full season.(1-10-2017)

  • Pocono Raceway considered for driverless car proving ground: Pennsylvania State officials hope to bring automated vehicle testing to Monroe County. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced plans to establish and expand testing at three facilities, including one at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond. "This technology is coming," said PennDOT Spokesperson Erin Waters-Trasatt on Tuesday. "Pennsylvania is a leader in seeing that this technology is developed as safely and efficiently as possible." Automated vehicle testing has started in the commonwealth already. In June, PennDOT formed an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force to draft policies for guide testing in Pennsylvania. The department and task force also worked with state lawmakers to introduce regulatory legislation, slated for enactment this year. The U.S. Department of Transportation solicited applications for its new Automated Vehicle Proving Ground Pilot Program in November. PennDOT proposed three sites in the commonwealth, each with a varied testing environment.
    First listed is the city of Pittsburgh, where automated vehicle testing has begun already. Carnegie Melon University researchers have also worked with city officials to implement "smart" technologies, such as adaptive control systems for traffic signals and streetlights. With safety precautions in place already, Pittsburgh offers the opportunity to test connected vehicles in an urban setting, the application says.
    PennDOT also lists a test track at Penn State University in State College. The closed track would provide a test site safely away from public exposure. It would also allow for highly controllable surface conditions; researchers could simulate weather conditions by "wetting or icing the surface" at various temperatures.
    Pocono Raceway's closed track would be "ideal for testing higher speeds" and "multiple connected vehicles," says the PennDOT application. The racetrack fulfils a specific role, wherein researchers can operate vehicles that "cannot be tested in a laboratory or live roadway test simulation."(Pocono Record)(1-10-2017)


    News from January 9, 2017


  • Toyota Unveils 2018 NASCAR Camry: Toyota unveiled its 2018 NASCAR Toyota Camry race car in unison with the debut of the 2018 production Camry at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Following a dramatic redesign to its show room counterpart, the Camry race car will compete on the race track in 2017 as Toyota defends its NASCAR Premier Series manufacturer's championship. "The 2018 Toyota Camry NASCAR race car has been years in the making, and to unveil it simultaneously with our new production Camry is a milestone moment for our organization," said Ed Laukes, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Operations for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. "The collaboration between Calty Design Group and TRD has produced a NASCAR Camry that showcases aggressive styling that is sure to turn heads on the race track and among our fans in Toyota showrooms across the country. Reimagining both the Camry race car and its production counterpart has been a tremendous undertaking and our goal has been to maintain parallel design characteristics so our fans can enjoy driving a Camry that closely resembles the one their favorite NASCAR driver races each weekend."
    Spearheaded by Camry chief designer Masato Katsumata, the production Camry received a radical redesign for 2018 and engineers from Calty Design Research, Inc., Toyota's North American design studio, and TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) worked together to ensure the NASCAR Camry showcased the same aggressive attributes as its updated production sibling. TRD and Calty worked together with NASCAR throughout the process. Calty previously worked with Toyota and TRD to update the NASCAR Camry when NASCAR introduced its Gen-6 models in 2013, and again when Toyota updated the Camry race car in 2015. The design group also worked with TRD on the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Camry, the 2014 Toyota Tundra for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the current NHRA Funny Car Camry.
    Toyota entered NASCAR Premier Series competition with the Camry in 2007 and the manufacturer won its first driver's championship in 2015, followed by its first manufacturer's championship in 2016. Camry drivers have won 95 NASCAR Premier Series races over 10 seasons. The NASCAR Camry will make its debut on-track in 2017 prior to the 2018 production Camry hitting showroom floors at Toyota dealerships later this year. The NASCAR Camry will first compete at Daytona International Speedway on February 18 in The Clash at Daytona before defending its Daytona 500 title on Sunday, Feb. 26.(Toyota)(1-9-2017)

  • Is it time for NASCAR to make format changes? With speculation of format changes for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, one track president said he doesn't want to see anything "radical," but would be for a halftime break or quarter breaks in a race. Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, said Friday he would be for breaks in races but is against anything that shortens races. Discussion of any format changes has increased with Monster Energy becoming the title sponsor for NASCAR's top series. Some believe this could be a natural time to make such changes. See full article and vote on the poll there at NBC Sports (1-9-2017)

  • Sponsor for Buescher? UPDATE: hearing that Korger will be the primary sponsor for Chris Buescher on JTG Daughtery Racing's new #37 Chevy in 2017. No word how many races or if Kroger will still sponsor AJ Allmendinger on JTG Daughtery Racing's #47 Chevy, but Bush's Bean's, Scott Products and others are expected to return to the #47 (1-6-2017)
    UPDATE: change of plans?.......been told that Kroger will be the full time primary sponsor on the #47 of AJ Allmendinger and the combination of sponsors, Bush's Beans, Clorox, Cheerios, Kingsford and others will be the sponsors of #37-Chris Buescher (1-9-2017)

  • Denis, Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam nears $1 million raised: The Denis, Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by Student Transportation Inc. nearly toppled $1 million in funds raised over the five-year span of the annual celebrity concert and golf event held every October at the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, S.C. The 5th annual event, held this past Oct. 24-25, raised a Pro-Am Jam record amount of $270,000, bringing the five-year fundraising tally to $990,000. 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. Proceeds from the event were recently donated to the charitable organizations represented by the three partners, which have a common mission in creating better opportunities for children in the Lowcountry. Joining the three hosts at this year's Pro-Am Jam were celebrities from the worlds of racing, music, entertainment and sports. NASCAR personalities included Hamlin, Danica Patrick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Larson, Michael Waltrip, Joe Gibbs and Rick Allen. Bryan once again led an incredible "Jam" concert with his friends in the music industry including fellow Hootie & the Blowfish band members Darius Rucker and Jim Sonefeld, plus musicians Gary U.S. Bonds, Edwin McCain, Kevin Kinney of Drivin' N Cryin', Chris Kirkpatrick of NSYNC, Javier Colon and Preston Pohl of NBC's The Voice, Patrick Davis, 14-time Grammy winner Dan Tyminski, and Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez of the E Street Band among others. The 2016 golf event also featured a hole-in-one by a Wounded Warrior who won a complimentary Toyota truck for achieving his accomplishment. With proceeds from this year's celebrity-packed event, the three partners have donated $90,000 to Carolina Studios, $90,000 to Student Transportation Inc. Cares Foundation, and $90,000 to The Denny Hamlin Foundation, which in turn donated $25,000 of its portion to The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Children's Hospital. With its $25,000 donation to MUSC, The Denny Hamlin Foundation continued its longstanding support of Cystic Fibrosis research at children's hospital facilities in Richmond, Va. and Charleston, S.C. The Pro-Am Jam has donated $190,000 of its proceeds to The Cystic Fibrosis Center at MUSC Children's Hospital over the event's five-year span. The 6th Annual Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by Student Transportation Inc. will again return to the Daniel Island Club next October 23-24, 2017. For updates on the event, please visit Facebook.com/TheProAmJam (PR)(1-9-2017)


    News from January 8, 2017

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame Glory Road ICONS: Since opening in 2010, the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Glory Road has served as a prominent focal point that greets guests as they enter the Hall. In its third generation, the signature exhibit is receiving a complete makeover with 18 new vehicles and a new theme-ICONS. Glory Road: ICONS features a combination of unforgettable race cars, larger-than-life personalities, exciting tracks, and iconic moments that have been etched into the minds of fans young and old throughout the history of NASCAR.
    The list of ICON cars on Glory Road:
    1939 Chevrolet Coupe, Richie Evans
    (but hearing this car is actually not one of Evans cars)
    1952 Hudson Hornet, Marshall Teague
    1957 Ford Fairlane, Fireball Roberts
    1964 Plymouth Belvedere, Richard Petty
    1966 Ford Galaxie, Wendell Scott
    1966 Dodge Charger, David Pearson
    1976 Chevy Monte Carlo, Darrell Waltrip
    1978 Ford Thunderbird, Bobby Allison
    1982 Oldsmobile Omega, Sam Ard
    1987 Ford Thunderbird, Davey Allison
    1989 Ford Thunderbird, Neil Bonnett
    1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass, Harry Gant
    1992 Ford Thunderbird, Bill Elliott
    1995 Chevy Silverado (truck), Mike Skinner
    1999 Chevy Monte Carlo, Dale Earnhardt
    2005 Chevy Monte Carlo, Jeff Gordon
    2013 Chevy SS, Jimmie Johnson
    2015 Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch
    See images of the cars at nascarhall.com (1-8-2017)

  • Martin inducted into Ozark Area Racer's Hall of Fame: One of the most recognizable names in NASCAR made a pit stop in Springfield on Saturday. Mark Martin was at the fairgrounds Saturday afternoon for his introduction into the Ozark Area Racer's Hall of Fame. In addition to an autograph session, those in attendance could check out memorabilia and vintage cars. Martin said when he hit the Springfield track in the 70s that he thought he had made it to the big time. "I'm grateful for the time that I had racing in this area. It was a very important time in my young career. I learned from some of the greatest race car drivers ever." Martin said. In just a couple weeks, Martin will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.(Ozarks First)(1-8-2017)

  • Gordon readies for racing return, aiming for elusive Rolex 24 victory: Jeff Gordon doesn't just pay attention to details. He's a details hound - meticulous, precise - even for a guy who's retired. "I never said I was retiring," Gordon said. That was a big detail to remember Friday as Gordon drove a sleek, new Cadillac prototype on a sun-drenched Daytona International Speedway. He turned laps on the road course in preparation for the upcoming Rolex 24, the twice-around-the-clock pinnacle of American sports car racing. The race isn't until Jan. 28-29, but Gordon needs all of the track time he can get right now. "I treat this as if I am a rookie," said the 45-year-old Gordon, a description that's profound, even if it's inaccurate. His "rookie" stripes are obscured by his numbers. Before he stopped racing full-time after the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Gordon won 93 races and three Daytona 500s. And combined with his four championships, Gordon's resume makes him a sure-fire, first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Famer when eligible. But Gordon knows that one superlative is lacking from his racing resume -- a coveted Rolex 24 win. His only Rolex start came in 2007, when he finished third overall as a member of Wayne Taylor Racing. Ten years later, he's back with Taylor, co-driving the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R with veteran Max Angelelli and Taylor's sons, Ricky and Jordan. And it's not a joy ride for Gordon, whose full-time racing career ended after the 2015 NASCAR season. "I'm pushing myself to be as strong as I can possibly be," Gordon said. "I never like to be the weak link in an organization or a team and I have three phenomenal drivers who are going to push me. I'm enjoying it very much and having fun, but this is a race I'd like to win." That presents a special challenge for Gordon, who quickly learned last November that IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship racing isn't easy. When he first tested the new Cadillac at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, he was stunned by the G-forces, the acceleration, the braking.(MRN/NASCAR Wire Service)(1-8-2017)

  • Brian France: 'We want everybody to be a NASCAR fan': NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France took the stage Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show to discuss how the sanctioning body is using technology to enhance the fan experience and engage with the next generation of fans. France was on the Sports Business Innovation panel with National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun. See some of the high points at NASCAR.com (1-8-2017)

  • Austin Dillon visits Dow and hockey game: Officials for the Ontario Hockey League Saginaw Spirit and Dow Chemical's Michigan Division in Midland welcomed rising NASCAR driver #3-Austin Dillon to the Dow Event Center Friday. Dillon dropped a ceremonial first puck prior to the Spirit game. He also spent time with workers from the Site Shared Services Pool or S-S-R-P at Michigan Division who package a wide variety of chemical products for delivery.(WSGW)(1-8-2017)


    News from January 7, 2017

  • Goodyear won't be able to do tire test after Texas repave: Goodyear stated that it will not be able to conduct a tire test at Texas Motors Speedway following completion of the repave and reconfiguration project the track announced Friday morning. In addition to the repave, the track is reducing the banking in Turns 1 and 2 from 24 degrees to 20 degrees. The racing surface's width will expand from 60 to 80 feet in those turns. The banking and racing surface in Turns 3 and 4 will not change. The project - which begins Monday - is scheduled for completion in early March, but Goodyear said in a statement that the narrow window before NASCAR's April 7-9 race dates at Texas prevents the tire manufacturer from holding a test.
    "We have been kept completely in the loop as the folks at SMI and Texas Motor Speedway considered this move and now, with the announcement that they will both repave and reconfigure their track starting next week, there is no question Goodyear will have to bring a new tire set-up for the NASCAR weekend scheduled there in April," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear's Director of Racing, in the statement. "Because of the tight schedule, we will not have time to do a tire test at Texas, so we will look at the details of the new configuration and understand the asphalt mix that will be used, which is planned to be similar to what was used most recently at Kentucky. That being said, this project will take on a similar feel to the one at Kentucky because that was also both a repave and reconfiguration. Having that recent history, along with our experience with a wide range of track configurations and surfaces - including many that have been repaved over the recent years - we will determine the appropriate tire set-up in advance of the event, giving teams plenty of time to prepare."
    Currently, Goodyear has seven tire tests planned for the year, six of them involving Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams. One test occurs the week of the Texas race, at Michigan International Speedway. Here are Goodyear's planned test dates:
    - Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Jan. 10-11
    - Michigan International Speedway: April 4-5
    - Indianapolis Motor Speedway: April 25-26
    - Kentucky Speedway: May 9-10
    - Eldora Speedway (Trucks): May 15-16
    - Chicagoland Speedway: June 6-7
    - Atlanta Motor Speedway: August 8-9
    (NBC Sports)(1-7-2017)

  • Martinsville Speedway Offers Replica Grandfather Clocks With STP 500 Ticket Purchase: As part of its 70th anniversary celebration, Martinsville Speedway is offering fans a little something extra when they purchase a ticket to the STP 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on April 2. Any fan who purchases the "Grandfather Clock Ticket Package" will receive a six-inch commemorative replica of the track's iconic grandfather clock trophy. The $70 ticket package includes a race ticket in select seat locations throughout the track and a voucher to be redeemed at the track to pick up the clock. The "Grandfather Clock Ticket Package" will be available while supplies last or until January 31. In addition, each person who purchases a ticket will be entered into the Fans 500 Sweepstakes, where one lucky ticket holder will receive the same grandfather clock trophy the winners take home. Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500 race weekend, March 31-April 2, 2017. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at martinsvillespeedway.com.(PR)(1-7-2017)


    News from January 6, 2017

  • Circle Sport and TMG merging, using #33 Charter? UPDATE: hearing Circle Sport #33 team owner, Joe Falk has a controlling interest in TMG Motorsports and that the team is making changes to their crew and personnel. Supposedly Pat Tryson will be the crew chief, the team could change to Toyota (ran Chevy in 2016) but no driver has been named. Falk has a Charter from his #33 Circle Sport team and leased it in 2016 to the #95 Leavine Family Racing team. Some of the personnel could come from that team (12-24-2016)
    UPDATE: Joe Falk of Circle Sport (CS) and Curtis Key, Sr., of The Motorsports Group (TMG) announced that it will combine resources and participate in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS). The team will be led by Circle Sport owner, Joe Falk, utilizing manufacturer Chevrolet and participate in the full 2017 season under the number thirty-three (#33). The managing partnership of the two Chesapeake, VA business men merged to increase sponsorship opportunities and enhance their performance on the track. TMG owner Curtis Key has obtained a percentage of Circle Sport NASCAR Charter in the deal. The Charter will give the #33 guaranteed entries into all 2017 MENCS events. "It's great to join forces with Curtis Key, I've known him for a very long time and know we share the same feelings about racing", said Falk. CS/TMG will be housed out of the facility that has been the home of The Motorsports Group in Mooresville, NC. In the off season, the facility and equipment has been upgraded including purchase of updated cars.
    Pat Tryson has been named Crew Chief of the team. Tryson, a veteran Cup Series crew chief will return to the TMG shop after heading up TMG in 2015 during its transition from the Xfinity Series into the Cup Series. "It's great to have Pat back with us, he was instrumental when we got started with our Cup program and we look forward to his insight in 2017", said Key. Gary Showalter, a tenured employee of TMG will serve as the team's General Manager. Showalter started with TMG in the Camping World Truck Series in 2005 and was a in TMG's climb from the Truck Series to the Cup level in 2015. He will oversee the day to day race facility duties as well as race team personnel.
    CS/TMG has yet to name a driver the #33 Chevy but officials are adamant to that an announcement will come in the next few weeks. Also, released today is the revamped logo combining the two teams' monikers. "The Circle Sport w/ TMG logo was necessary to rebrand the team into one entity rather than the using two logo's side by side", added Falk. The #33 Chevy will debut at Daytona International Speedway for Speedweeks in February. There are several sponsorship opportunities available for associates as well as primary partners. The #30 car may be available to enter events on a part-time basis.(CS/TMG)(1-6-2017)

  • NASCAR Announces 2017 Charter teams: NASCAR revealed in February 2016 a landmark new ownership structure, awarding 36 Charters that guarantee entry into every points event in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Since then, some leasing and buying of Charters has occurred. The table below shows the Charters (which were awarded following the 2015 season) for 2017. Teams listed alphabetically.
    Notes:
    (A) Premium Motorsports sold this Charter to Furniture Row Racing for its second team, the #77. In 2016, the Charter was leased by the #46 team of HScott Motorsports.
    (B) Richard Petty Motorsports is leasing the #44 Charter to the #32 team of Go Fas Racing in 2017.
    (C) Roush Fenway Racing will lease the #16 Charter to JTG Daugherty Racing's newly formed second team (#37) in 2017.
    (D) Near the end of the 2016 season, Tommy Baldwin Racing sold its Charter to Leavine Family Racing.
    (E) HScott Motorsports' #15 Charter was sold to Premium Motorsports.
    (F) Go Fas Racing is leasing the #32 Charter to the #21 team of Wood Brothers Racing.
    (G) Circle Sport and The Motorsports Group merged operations to field the #33 team with the Charter Circle Sport had.
    In 2016, Circle Sport partnered with Leavine Family Racing to field the #95 for the season.
    2016 Car #; 2017 Car #; Organization with charter for 2017 (36 teams listed)
    23 23 BK Racing
    83 83 BK Racing
    1 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
    42 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
    34 34 Front Row Motorsports
    38 38 Front Row Motorsports
    46 77 Furniture Row Racing (A)
    78 78 Furniture Row Racing
    13 13 Germain Racing
    44 32 Go Fas Racing (B)
    5 5 Hendrick Motorsports
    24 24 Hendrick Motorsports
    48 48 Hendrick Motorsports
    88 88 Hendrick Motorsports
    11 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
    18 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
    19 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
    20 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
    16 37 JTG Daugherty Racing (C)
    47 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
    7 95 Leavine Family Racing (D)
    15 TBD Premium Motorsports (E)
    3 3 Richard Childress Racing
    27 27 Richard Childress Racing
    31 31 Richard Childress Racing
    43 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
    6 6 Roush Fenway Racing
    17 17 Roush Fenway Racing
    4 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
    10 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
    14 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
    41 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
    2 2 Team Penske
    22 22 Team Penske
    32 21 Wood Brothers Racing (F)
    95 33 Circle Sport w/The Motorsports Group (G)
    (NASCAR.com)(12-22-2016/1-7-2017)

  • Texas to re-pave, reconfigure turns, improve drainage: Texas Motor Speedway will begin a major capital improvement project Monday consisting of a complete repave, construction of an extensive drainage system and a re-profiling of the 1.5-mile oval configuration at the world-renowned motorsports facility that annually plays host to NASCAR and INDYCAR events. The renovation will add a new layer of asphalt over the existing pavement, an expansive French drainage system on the frontstretch and backstretch, and reduce the banking in Turns 1 and 2 by four degrees. Barring extensive weather delays, the project is expected to be completed by early to mid-March in anticipation of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR doubleheader scheduled for April 7-9. The repaving and drainage system come as a result of issues the facility was incurring in attempting to dry the racing surface, in particular this past year when both NASCAR race weekends and the INDYCAR race were affected by weather-related delays. While the aged track surface at Texas Motor Speedway is lauded by drivers, speedway officials made the decision to repave in the best interests of their fans that had to deal with the inconveniences of the delays. The repave will feature an asphalt mix similar to the surfaces at SMI sister tracks, Kentucky Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The mix used in conjunction with the construction method will aid in the track's properties of an "aged" track. For the installation of the French drainage system, trenches will be cut in numerous locations on the frontstretch and backstretch to provide multiple points for water to drain away from the facility more quickly and efficiently than the current system. In addition to the repaving and drainage system, Texas Motor Speedway will undergo a re-profiling in Turns 1 and 2 to give the venue a more unique layout from its currently symmetrical 24-degree banking in all four turns. While Turns 3 and 4 will remain unchanged, the banking of Turns 1 and 2 will be decreased to 20 degrees with the racing surface width expanding from 60 to 80 feet in that section of the track. The reduced banking, which will decrease lap speeds and potentially open up additional passing opportunities in Turns 1 and 2, will provide Texas Motor Speedway with a new, distinctive layout for a 1.5-mile oval that will be more challenging to the drivers and add more action for the fans.(Texas Motor Speedway)(1-6-2017)

  • Sponsor for Buescher? hearing that Korger will be the primary sponsor for Chris Buescher on JTG Daughtery Racing's new #37 Chevy in 2017. No word how many races or if Kroger will still sponsor AJ Allemdinger on JTG Daughtery Racing's #47 Chevy, but Bush's Bean's, Scott Products and others are expected to return to the #47 (1-6-2017)

  • Pizza sponsor for Kurt Busch? on Thursday, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Hunt Brother's Pizza would sponsor Kevin Harvick for four 2017 XFINITY Series races in SHR's #41 Ford. Hearing that Hunt Brother's Pizza will also sponsor the #41 Ford of Kurt Busch in a race or two (1-6-2017)

  • Michael Waltrip says he will run 2017 Daytona 500 UPDATE: two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip was asked if he would be racing in the Daytona 500 this year (2017) and tweeted back: "Yes! In the @AaronsInc @ToyotaRacing #Camry". No word on the team or car number but assumptions would be BK Racing as Waltrip ran their #83 Toyota in the 2016 Daytona 500, Premium Motorsports or TMG Motorsports who supposedly is changing to Toyota.(12-24-2016)
    UPDATE: looks like Waltrip will run the Daytona 500 for Premium Motorsports, probably in the #55 Toyota. Images of the chassis were posted at Spraker Racing's Facebook page along with "Just finished rule updates and had NASCAR recertification done for Premium Motorsports Monster Energy Cup car driven by Michael Waltrip". Spraker Racing builds chassis for Premium Motorsports (1-6-2017)

  • Garone a finalist for award in Denver: Furniture Row Racing (#77 & #78 teams) president Joe Garone was a Mile High Sports Magazine finalist for Executive of the Year. Other's nominated were: Jeff Bridich, Colorado Rockies - General Manager; John Elway, Denver Broncos - Exec. VP of Football Operations and GM; Rick George, University of Colorado - Athletic Director; Tony Seaman, Denver Outlaws - GM; and the winner: Colorado Rapids team President Tim Hinchey. See full article at milehighsports.com.(Furniture Row Racing PR)(1-6-2017)

  • Free NASCAR Hall of Fame Admission, Driver Autographs highlight NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day: In what has become a much-anticipated season kick-off event, NASCAR will offer FREE admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day. That's just one of the many exciting offerings during the day-long celebration of NASCAR's passionate fans, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 in Charlotte, NC. NASCAR stars past and present will participate in autograph and Q&A sessions throughout the day, in addition to free access to the Hall. Fans will be admitted into the Hall on a first-come, first-served basis in lieu of needing a ticket. Doors open at 8:00am/et. However, tickets to some of the autograph sessions must be secured in advance. Tickets for these autograph sessions will be available for free on NASCARHall.com starting at 10:00am/et on Saturday, Jan. 7. Each fan can secure up to two tickets for one of the seven autograph sessions (one ticket for an individual or two tickets for an individual and their guest). More info and list of drivers at nascarhall.com.
    NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will follow the previous evening's NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony (Jan. 20, 8:00pm/et on NBCSN). As in previous years, current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars will help present each inductee. Scheduled to present at this year's induction ceremony are seven-time premier series champion Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon. For tickets to the Induction Ceremony, visit nascarhall.com/inductees/induction-ceremony. (1-6-2017)

  • Armstrong will return to JGL UPDATES: #28-Dakoda Armstrong will be back with JGL Racing in 2017, the third-year driver confirmed Friday afternoon to Frontstretch. The 25-year-old Indiana native moved to JGL Racing this season after competing with Richard Petty Motorsports for two years. But when RPM opted to sign Jeb Burton, Armstrong was left without a ride. "The plan is to try to come back and improve on everything we've done with Toyota this year," Armstrong said. "Our crew is going to be pretty stout next year. We have a lot of new cars coming in and we just need to improve." JGL Racing will continue to get its engines from Joe Gibbs Racing, which enabled Armstrong to compete at Iowa Speedway in July. That evening, he finished in the top 5 for the first time in his XFINITY Series career as he replaced Matt Tifft, who was out for several weeks due to having surgery for a brain tumor. In 2016, Armstrong has 21 top-20 finishes and sits 13th in the standings, an improvement from 20 last year.(Frontstretch)(11-20-2016)
    UPDATE: JGL Racing announced that Dakoda Armstrong will return to the organization for the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Joining the duo once again will be sponsor WinField as they will be Primary Sponsor on the #28 Toyota for 20 races starting with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The 25-year old Armstrong finished 13th in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series final drivers' standings in his first season with the JGL Racing organization. He went on to collect 22 top-20 finishes during the season which was highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the July event at Iowa Speedway and a 12th place finish in the July event at Daytona International Speedway. Armstrong and his #28 WinField Toyota will once again be led by veteran crew chief Steven Lane. The team will continue to utilize Joe Gibbs Racing engines and will be expanding on that relationship as well.(JGL Racing)(12-8-2016)
    UPDATE 2: JGL Racing completed a successful 2016 season by narrowly missing the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase by one spot and showcasing a group of Rising Stars with its unique Young Guns program. The Denver, North Carolina based team will continue with its growth process as it eyes an even more successful 2017 campaign with its long term goal of being the top independent team in the XFINITY Series. For the second year in a row the team will field the #28 WinField Toyota with driver Dakoda Armstrong who is coming off a 13th place finish in the 2016 XFINITY Series final drivers' standings. The organizations #24 Toyota will once again feature the Young Guns program with discussions currently underway with potential drivers and sponsors. Additionally, JGL Racing has recently purchased several Toyota's from Joe Gibbs Racing. As it did in 2016, the team will also continue to utilize the JGR engine program. JGL Racing is also in the midst of a building expansion in an effort to provide the best facility possible for the race team. The addition of a second building being constructed next to the team's current facility is near completion and will provide for additional space for the expanded car inventory.(Integrity Sports Marketing)(1-6-2017)


    News from January 5, 2017

  • McDowell and Parrott return to Leavine Family Racing in 2017: Leavine Family Racing (LFR) announced the return of veteran NASCAR driver Michael McDowell for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. McDowell will once again pilot the #95 Chevy and is signed on to be the primary driver for LFR in all 36 races next season, making the team Chase eligible for the first time since its inception in 2011. Additionally, LFR is excited to welcome back championship winning NASCAR crew chief Todd Parrott for the 2017 season. Parrott, who took on the crew chief responsibilities for the team full-time in October of the 2016 season with only seven races remaining, led the #95 to earn six Top-25 finishes. "With both Michael and Todd returning to the team this season we are looking to maintain the consistency we found towards the end of last year and continue to push forward and build off the positive momentum," said Jeremy Lange, Vice President of Leavine Family Racing. "We had great performances on the track last year and we're hoping that continuing in that direction will lead to more sponsorships for the team. We do have some partner renewals that we will be announcing soon and are excited to add more." McDowell, who is entering his 10th year competing in NASCAR, earned his first NASCAR national touring series win last year at Road America in the XFINITY Series and recorded 16 Top-25 finishes with LFR in 2016. "I'm excited to be returning full time with LFR for the 2017 season," stated McDowell. "I look forward to continuing to work with Todd as well and kicking off our season with a strong start at the DAYTONA 500 in February." Crew Chief Todd Parrott echoed his driver's thoughts about the upcoming season. "I can't wait for the 2017 season to get here and look forward to having a great year with Michael and the team," said Parrott. "I'm appreciative of the opportunity LFR has given me to once again assume the crew chief role for the team and am ready to get started on the upcoming season."(LFR)(1-5-2017)

  • Harvick to be TV analyst for 8 races in 2017: #4-Kevin Harvick is scheduled to return to the FOX NASCAR television booth as a race analyst for eight NASCAR events in 2017, beginning with the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener from Daytona in February on FS1. Harvick also will contribute as an analyst on FS1's NASCAR RACE HUB joining a solid rotation of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and crew chiefs. He says he agreed to eight races, in part, to gain reps for what he hopes could become his post-racing career. "I really enjoy calling races," Harvick said. "I enjoy the perspective of sitting up there and trying to figure out what's going on. I also want to be a part of watching these young guys come up through the NASCAR Camping World Truck and XFINITY Series and have the experience of having been in the booth when they raced because, ultimately, it's something I want to do down the road when I'm done driving."(FoxSports)(1-5-2017)

  • Stewart withdraws appeal concerning insurance company: Court documents indicate Tony Stewart has tentatively withdrawn an appeal of a ruling that determined Axis Insurance Company does not have to cover legal costs and claims by the family of Kevin Ward Jr. against the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. A federal judge ruled in July that Stewart's policy did not cover the Empire Super Sprints, the series Stewart was racing Aug. 9, 2014, when Stewart's car struck and killed Ward at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. On Wednesday, Stewart's attorneys filed to withdrawal the appeal (no reason given and no indication of whether any settlement discussions are ongoing) with the option that the appeal could be reinstated no later than Jan. 30. The Ward family's wrongful death suit remains pending in federal court. Without insurance, it would be up to Stewart -- who was not charged and claims Ward was under the influence of marijuana and attempted to contact his car after approaching it on foot under caution -- to solely determine how much he spends on legal costs and whether to settle.(Bob Pockrass / ESPN Now)(1-5-2017)

  • PR Specialist Joins Furniture Row Racing: David Hart, a respected motorsports communications professional, has joined Furniture Row Racing to manage the public relations program for the team's #77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry that will be driven in 2017 by rookie Erik Jones in NASCAR's Cup series. Hart will work closely with David Ferroni, who will continue to handle the public relations for Furniture Row Racing's #78 team and its driver Martin Truex Jr. Ferroni will also oversee Furniture Row Racing's corporate communications. Hart, a 28-year veteran in motorsports public relations, previously worked in NASCAR as the corporate communications director for Richard Childress Racing from 1999-2013. He was most recently employed as public relations manager at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, CA. His varied motorsports experience also includes public relations director at Sonoma Raceway, media relations manager for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and director of communications for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).(FRR)(1-5-2017)

  • NASCAR Crewman breaks through for indoor racing triumph: Ryan Flores finally won a race in the Len Sammons Indoor Auto Racing Series. Then he turned around and did it again the next night. Flores won both Friday and Saturday in the three-quarter midget series races at Allentown's PPL Center. Flores is a New Jersey native who works full time in the fabrication shop for Penske Racing's NASCAR outfit near Charlotte, North Carolina. On weekends, he's a tire changer for the Wood Brothers and driver Ryan Blaney, who are associated with Penske Racing.(York Dispatch)(1-5-2017)

  • Belmont Abbey College to Host Inaugural Motorsport Symposium: In celebration of the 10 year anniversary of its Motorsport Management degree program, Belmont Abbey College brings the leadership of the racing world to its campus for the inaugural Motorsport Symposium and Wheeler Awards on Tuesday, January 17. "We are very excited to gather our students, alumni and industry veterans to celebrate ten years of hard work and dedication in building this program," said Pat Wood Executive Director of Belmont Abbey's Motorsport program. Featuring a VIP panel of team presidents and leaders from IndyCar, NASCAR and other racing series, the symposium will discuss various topics vital to the industry such as the state of the racing industry and the promise of a great future in its youngest drivers. Notables such as Steve Lauletta/Chip Ganassi Racing, Jonathan Gibson/Penske Racing, Dave Alpern/Joe Gibbs Racing, Chris Traeger/NASCAR and Ben Geisler/World of Outlaws will give their insights into the world of Motorsport.(more info at motorsportprogram.com)(1-5-2017)

  • Hunt Brothers to sponsor Harvick in 4 NXS races: Hunt Brothers Pizza, the No. 1 made-to-order pizza brand in convenience stores across the United States, is expanding its partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing to include a four-race sponsorship of Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Hunt Brothers Pizza has been involved with SHR since 2014, serving as an associate sponsor of Harvick and the #4 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team while also being the official pizza of SHR. As SHR expands its operation into the XFINITY Series for the first time in 2017, Hunt Brothers Pizza will be the primary sponsor of Harvick's #41 Ford Mustang April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 7 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Sept. 2 at Darlington Raceway. Hunt Brothers Pizza will also serve as an associate sponsor of SHR's #00 Ford Mustang driven by XFINITY Series rookie-of-the-year contender Cole Custer.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #41 team paint schemes page.(1-5-2017)

  • Leidos to sponsor Bubba Wallace in 2017? hearing that Leidos will return to sponsor Bubba Wallace in Roush Fenway Racing's #6 Ford for the 2017 XFINITY Series season. Leidos sponsored Wallace for the final six races of the 2016 XFINITY Series season. Ford will also be a primary sponsor during the season (1-5-2017)

  • Brandon Brown expected to run partial NXS schedule: Brandon Brown, one of NASCAR's young guns continues to climb the ranks with his family-owned team. Brown and Brandonbilt Motorsports will move up to the XFINITY Series for at least 10 races in 2017, the team has told Frontstretch, jumping to the higher division while focusing their funding on select events. The team is "90 percent sure" it will be at Daytona International Speedway to kickoff the season in February. Jerry Brown, owner of Brandonbilt Motorsports admitted they've got two chassis and are looking to purchase a used speedway car for the opening event. Either way, he's committed to upping the ante while transitioning into NASCAR's second-tier division. Other races that the team will attempt to qualify for include Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 4), Richmond International Raceway (April 29), Dover International Speedway (June 3), Pocono Raceway (June 10), Kentucky Speedway (July 7), Bristol Motor Speedway (August 18), Richmond (September 8), Kentucky (September 23), Charlotte Motor Speedway (October 6) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (November 18). The team is also hopeful to compete at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend due to its close ties with Coastal Carolina University, located 67 miles from the racetrack. Adam Brenner, who has been with Brown since he debuted in the Truck Series in 2014, will lead the team atop the pit box. Brown will still compete in four Camping World Truck Series races in 2017.(Frontstretch)(1-5-2017)


    News from January 4, 2017

  • Target reducing sponsorship of Larson UPDATE: Target will reduce the amount of NASCAR races it serves as the primary sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing's #42 Chevy driven by Kyle Larson in 2017 to allow other companies to work with him. Target, which along with its handful of vendor partners has been Larson's sole major sponsor since he joined NASCAR's premier series, will still have the majority of races on the # 42. Target previously had all the races, though it passes through a number of them annually to brands it works with like Energizer and Axe. The deal is part of a mutual agreement between CGR and Target. Sources said the move frees up about 5-10 primaries worth of inventory on the #42. Target's deal expires on the NASCAR side after 2017, and the retailer ended a 27-year partnership on Ganassi's IndyCar side after the '16 season.(Sports Business Daily)(12-19-2016)
    UPDATE: hearing that Credit One, which sponsored CGR's #1-Chevy of Jamie McMurray for five races in 2016, will be the primary sponsor for Kyle Larson on he #42 Chevy for a few races in 2017.(1-4-2017)

  • Buescher expects to return to Roush in a third car in 2018: Chris Buescher spent last season with (#34 Ford) Front Row Motorsports one season removed from winning the XFINITY Series championship for Roush Fenway Racing. As a member of Front Row, Buescher was still under the RFR umbrella and made the Chase thanks to his win at Pocono Raceway. "It was incredible," said Buescher. "I'm proud of Front Row Motorsports and the #34 team for what we were able to accomplish ... to get that first win, have a lot of good runs along the way and be competitive at different types of tracks was a blast. Unfortunately, we didn't perform as well in the Chase as we would have liked. I learned a lot along the way."
    But the off-season saw more maneuvering behind the scenes that ended with Buescher moving to JTG Daugherty, where he'll team with AJ Allmendinger in a brand new #37 ride as the team expands to two entries. He's still under Roush auspices but will transition from a Ford to a Chevrolet as part of the new arrangement. "Everything has been a process to work through," Buescher said. "It's tough to still be under contract with Roush - it being a different manufacturer. But this is the best way to go on the racetrack and be competitive, get more seat time and be ready to come back for 2018 in whatever that brings. Right now, Roush has said the plan would be to get three teams started back again in 2018 and me go back there."(Motor Racing Network). Roush Fenway Racing has scaled to a two-car team (#6-Bayne and #17-Stenhouse Jr.) with the #16 team being shut down for a season and the #16 Charter being leased by JTG Daugherty Racing's #37 team for 2017. #16 driver Greg Biffle parted waysa with RFR and has not announced his 2017 plans yet.(1-4-2017)

  • Monster hires NASCAR industry executive: Monster Energy has hired longtime NASCAR industry executive and lawyer Tom Norwood as its new Director of NASCAR as the brand becomes the title sponsor of NASCAR's premier series. Confirming the move, Monster VP/Sports Marketing Mitch Covington last week said Norwood was hired "to facilitate the business negotiations with tracks and other partners [like TV partners]." Norwood was most recently Dir of Business Operations at HScott Motorsports, which folded after last season. Norwood used to serve as counsel to former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, who was sponsored by Monster, which made him familiar with the company. Covington noted that Monster Senior Sports Marketing Manager Cari Cellini, who has headed up Monster's NASCAR program in recent years when it was solely a team sponsor, will continue to head up Monster's hospitality and trade-guest activation programs.(Sports Business Daily)(1-4-2017)

  • Forbes honors NASCAR driver on 30 Under 30 Sports list: Forbes Magazine has selected NASCAR Next driver Julia Landauer to this year's Sports 30 Under 30, a list of the "brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers." Forbes released its selections Tuesday, highlighting 600 outstanding figures under age 30 from 20 industries. The honorees were chosen by a panel of prominent reporters, legends in each field and former 30 Under 30 recipients. Landauer, 25, completed her first full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2016. She finished fourth in the overall standings, sealing top-10 finishes in all but one of her 14 starts.(NASCAR.com)(1-4-2017)

  • NASCAR Chief Sales Officer Jim O'Connell Resigns: Longtime NASCAR Chief Sales Officer Jim O'Connell has resigned after 11 years with the sanctioning body. O'Connell informed NASCAR two weeks ago of his intentions, and his final day was last Friday. O'Connell said, "I've spent the last three years heading up the search for our top-tier entitlement partners. We successfully brought in Xfinity, we successfully brought in Monster, and with the combination of the facts -- there's no more big deals to do, I haven't had a vacation in 18 months, and I wanted to go out on top after 11 years -- the timing just seemed right. I'm really happy with my decision." NASCAR VP/Integrated Marketing Communications David Hidgon in a statement said O'Connell was "key to countless successful sales efforts and partner renewals," and his contributions "will be felt for years beyond his departure." O'Connell, who said he was not ready to comment on his next step, worked on four new entitlement deals and two renewals during his time with NASCAR, including deals with Sprint, Xfinity, Camping World and Monster. He has prior stops at Frito Lay, Viacom and a 10-year stint at the NFL, where he worked with current NASCAR Exec VP and Chief Global Sales & Marketing Officer Steve Phelps for most of his tenure.(Sports Business Daily)(1-4-2017)

  • Robby Gordon skipping Dakar Rally: Robby Gordon - who has starred in IndyCar, NASCAR, off-road racing and is also the founder of the Stadium Super Trucks Series - will not be participating in this year's Dakar Rally (Asuncion in Paraguay to Resistencia in Argentina). "The reason for not running Dakar is that I have been just way too busy with my other projects," Gordon said in an email to MotorSportsTalk. "Stadium Super Trucks continues to grow, as we have a full schedule in 2017 with races on 3 continents, including 5 races in the US with IndyCar and 2 of our own Stadium Style events. In Australia we have a relationship with V8 Supercars where we have 2 events. And now we are going to China with Stadium Super Trucks for 2 events in 2017." Gordon is also working on new projects within his Speed Energy drink, the Arctic Cat 4-wheel platform and continues development of the Gordini Dakar race cars, which will not be ready for this year's Rally. NBCSN will carry updates on the Dakar Rally, check listings for dates/times.(NBC Sports)(1-4-2017)

  • Harvick to broadcast 5 XFINITY races for Fox UPDATE: Fox Sports will announce that NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick will call eight combined national series races for Fox this season as a guest analyst, as the 41-year-old driver starts to eye his post-racing career. Harvick will call five Xfinity and three Camping World Truck Series races, including the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 25.(Sports Business Daily)(1-4-2017)
    UPDATE: Kevin Harvick is scheduled to return to the FOX NASCAR television booth as a race analyst for eight NASCAR events in 2017, beginning with the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES season opener from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 25. Harvick also will contribute as an analyst on FS1's NASCAR RACE HUB, airing Monday through Thursday at 6:00pm/et during the racing season, joining a solid rotation of Cup drivers and crew chiefs. This marks the third consecutive year Harvick will be alongside Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip to call the Daytona season kickoff. He also is scheduled to be an analyst in the FOX Sports booth at Phoenix, Bristol, Talladega and Pocono, as well as Truck Series races at Kansas, Eldora and Talladega. Announcements regarding additional Cup Series drivers in the booth for the entirety of FOX Sports' 2017 NASCAR XFINITY season are forthcoming.(Fox)(1-4-2017)

  • Harvick to join Truck broadcasts UPDATE: Fox Sports will announce that NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick will call eight combined national series races for Fox this season as a guest analyst, as the 41-year-old driver starts to eye his post-racing career. Harvick will call five Xfinity and three Camping World Truck Series races, including the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 25. This will be the third season that Fox brings Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers into the booth, and Fox says it will soon announce other participating drivers in addition to Harvick.(Sports Business Daily)(1-4-2017)
    UPDATE: Kevin Harvick is scheduled to return to the FOX NASCAR television booth as a race analyst for eight NASCAR events in 2017, beginning with the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES season opener from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 25. Harvick also will contribute as an analyst on FS1's NASCAR RACE HUB, airing Monday through Thursday at 6:00pm/et during the racing season, joining a solid rotation of Cup drivers and crew chiefs. This marks the third consecutive year Harvick will be alongside Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip to call the Daytona season kickoff. He also is scheduled to be an analyst in the FOX Sports booth at Phoenix, Bristol, Talladega and Pocono, as well as Truck Series races at Kansas, Eldora and Talladega. Announcements regarding additional Cup Series drivers in the booth for the entirety of FOX Sports' 2017 NASCAR XFINITY season are forthcoming.(Fox)(1-4-2017)

  • Richmond joins KBM, rounds out crew chief lineup: Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced the addition of Marcus Richmond to the team's crew chief lineup for the team's three-truck effort in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 2017. Richmond will call the shots for the #18 Tundra that will be driven by Noah Gragson. Additionally, the team announced that three-time champion crew chief Rudy Fugle will be atop the pit box of the #4 Tundra team with Christopher Bell this season while Kevin "Bono" Manion will guide the #51 Tundra team with drivers Harrison Burton, Kyle Busch, Todd Gilliland and Myatt Snider.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(1-4-2017)

  • Athenian shutdown? Social media posts popped up in early December that employees had been laid off from Athenian Motorsports. More posts circulated after the new year. It is unclear what the team plans are as of now; whether they will continue part-time or close completely. In 2016, the team entered races in ARCA and XFINITY, and ran the entire Truck Series schedule. John Wes Townley was the primary driver, but missed multiple races mid-season for a concussion, and ended the year on the sidelines after suffering a non-racing related ankle injury.(1-4-2017)

  • JRM confirms shutdown:After a two-year venture in the Camping World Truck Series, JR Motorsports will not field a team in the series this season. The team made it official with a tweet on Tuesday morning. JR Motorsports primarily fielded Cole Custer from 2015-16 in the No. 00 Chevrolet. Custer made 33 starts for the team, earning one win in 2015 at Gateway Motorsports Park. JRM also fielded Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Jeb Burton and Kasey Kahne in one race each. Kahne gave the team its only other win, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2015. JRM will devote its full attention to the Xfinity Series, where it will field five cars in 2017, including full-time rides for Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett and William Byron. The fifth car will feature Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other drivers. Custer will compete in his rookie Xfinity season with Stewart-Haas Racing, which is racing in the Xfinity Series for the first time.(NBC Sports)(1-4-2017)
    AND: See the 2017 Team Chart.(1-4-2017)


    News from January 3, 2017

  • Trent Owens to serve as Buescher's crew chief: Trent Owens will oversee JTG Daugherty's new entry in the Monster Energy Cup Series for 2017 with driver Chris Buescher. Owens started his duties with the #37 team on Monday. Owens honed his crew chief skills on the XFINITY Series tour. He led Kyle Larson to the 2013 NXS rookie-of-the-year title before joining Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of season. In his first year with Aric Almirola, the #43 Ford returned to Victory Lane in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. The win was the first for Almirola and Owens and the organization's first Chase berth since 2009 with Kasey Kahne. Owens, who is Richard Petty's nephew, was released from RPM in October. RPM has since down-sized to one team with Almirola.(Motorsport)(1-3-2017)

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway to be re-paved: Twenty years after it was last resurfaced, Atlanta Motor Speedway's historic racing surface is scheduled to be repaved this spring, following the March 3-5 NASCAR Weekend triple-header. Work is scheduled to begin in late March with an expected completion in mid-April. The current asphalt at AMS is the second-oldest racing surface on the entire NASCAR Cup Series circuit, and officials credit its longevity to a combination of the mild Georgia winters and a meticulous maintenance program over its entire two-decade lifetime. Since its last repave in 1997, the track has hosted 31 premier NASCAR series races, 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races, 15 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, eight ARCA Racing Series races, four IndyCar Series races and countless U.S. Legends and Bandolero car races on its quarter-mile "Thunder Ring." Despite the wear and tear of aging in recent years, the track has been a favorite of many competitors who have raved about the challenging nature of the track. Its aged surface, slick driving conditions and multiple racing grooves have produced not only exciting races and close finishes for fans in attendance, but a technical challenge for drivers who have battled slick corners, fast straightaways and ample opportunity for passing. The repaving project calls for a brand-new asphalt surface to be lain over top of the current surface. AMS's quad-oval layout and 24-degree banking in the turns will remain unchanged. While a smoother surface and blended seams will accompany the new repave, the high speeds and multiple racing grooves unique to Atlanta Motor Speedway are expected to endure and produce the same, thrilling racing experience for both fans and drivers for many years to come. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-3-2017)


    News from January 2, 2017

  • Hamlin working on staying with JGR: Denny Hamlin finished sixth in the standings last season after advancing to the Round of 8 in the Chase. Although his contract expires at the end of the 2017 season, JGR has no plans on letting Hamlin go. "We'll announce something pretty soon, I believe," Hamlin said. "I feel like I have all the tools I need to win championships. I have great sponsors, a great manufacturer and team right there in front of me. It's just a great situation that I was put in in 2005 and to me, I don't see anything changing. I love competition. That's what I feed off of. I like being in a pressure situation and having to perform. I love it. That's why I love racing because t's going to be me against 39 other people. Now that I've got teammates that challenge me every single week, it pushes you to be better. I definitely feel now that I'm better than I've ever been but now we're spreading the wealth around a little bit, so it's a little different."(Motorsport)(1-2-2017)

  • Dunlap not returning to Fox: Asked on Twitter if he was returning to Fox Sports' "NCWTS Setup" pre-race show this season, Ray Dunlap said, "Fox Sports did not renew my contract for 2017. It was 16 great years with a really talented group of friends.".(1-2-2017)


    News from January 1, 2017

  • Congrats: Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver, married longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann on Saturday night. Earnhardt and Reimann have dated since 2009 and got engaged in June 2015 in Germany at a church where Earnhardt's ancestors had attended seven generations and 300 years ago. "I'm so excited, so thrilled to be a part of it and look forward to our future," Earnhardt said four weeks prior to the ceremony. The wedding Saturday night was at the Childress Vineyards -- owned by NASCAR race team owner Richard Childress -- in North Carolina.(ESPN.com)(1-1-2017)

  • Massaro leaves NBC: NBC Sports' Mike Massaro announced on his Facebook page that he would not return to NBC in 2017:
    "With a new year comes new challenges.... Since 1996, Broadcasting NASCAR Races, whether it be radio or TV, has been my life. I fear, however, 2016 may have been my final season. With great sadness I concluded recently, for a wide ranging variety of reasons, my role with NBC Sports was not a good fit and consequently will not return this coming season. My contract will officially expire at midnight tonight. It was a gut wrenching decision. Not one I 'wanted' to make but felt necessary. The reasoning will remain personal. The sadness however is real. Not only because I'm walking away from my dream job, that I worked incredibly hard to achieve (remember the helipads? LOL) but because I can't stand the thought of drifting from a group who've become nothing short of family. Over the course of 20 seasons and over 500 races, relationships have grown. Television pros, drivers, crew chiefs, crew members, PR reps and fellow media members have all become a very real part of my life. I hope one day to see all of you again, but realize there are no guarantees and although I'm exploring other opportunities in the sport, there's a legitimate chance that might not happen."(1-1-2017)

  • Fans can helicopter to Las Vegas races: Maverick Helicopters offers 2017 NASCAR Weekend attendees transfers to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 11, 2017 and Sunday, March 12, 2017. Guests who book before Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 will save $50 per person, per day. On the expedited, 15-minute flight, passengers can sit back and relax in the company's Airbus ECO-Star helicopters while taking in stunning, bird's-eye-views of the Las Vegas Strip and NASCAR race grounds. To add to the experience, passengers are often surprised by NASCAR drivers, team members or sponsors on the aircraft. Transfers start at $499 per person, per day if purchased before Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Regular prices start at $549 per person, per day beginning Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Private and custom charters are also available throughout the weekend.(Las Vegas Informer)(1-1-2017)


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