2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top Performances: #48-Jimmie Johnson took a giant step toward joining NASCAR's pantheon of legends. And he did it in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series" Gen-6 race car, which made its debut in record-setting fashion. Johnson, whose run of five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships ended in 2011, regained his winning form. His "six pack" of titles is one fewer than the seven championships won by NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt - a record the 38-year-old El Cajon, Calif., competitor will stalk in 2014. Johnson won his second Daytona 500 and became the first competitor since 1982 to post a season sweep at Daytona International Raceway.
The Gen-6 car, a collaborative and far-reaching initiative undertaken by NASCAR, Toyota, Chevrolet Division of General Motors and Ford Motor Company to put the "stock" back in stock car, provided close, competitive racing. The season saw 19 track qualifying records broken; a record number (127,306) of Green Flag Passes; and the lowest Margin of Victory (1.267 seconds) since 2005. Twenty races ended with a margin of victory of less than one second, up from 17 in 2012. Seventeen different drivers - including five who had gone winless the previous season - went to Victory Lane, two fewer than the series' modern era record.
Jimmie Johnson: With four victories, Johnson led the points standings after all but three of the regular season's 26 races. The Hendrick Motorsports driver, however, started the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" as the No. 2 seed behind Matt Kenseth. Victories at Dover International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway enabled Johnson to keep pace with and then pass his rival. The only driver to qualify in all 10 years of the Chase era, Johnson posted an average finish of 5.0 in the 2013 Chase to edge Kenseth by 19 points. Johnson's championships have come in three different generations of NASCAR Sprint Cup cars.
Matt Kenseth (Honorable Mention): Many felt 2013 would be a learning year as Kenseth transitioned from driving a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing to piloting a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth and crew chief Jason Ratcliff, however, jelled from the first Daytona 500 practice, in which Kenseth led 86 laps before his No. 20 Toyota succumbed to engine failure. He won a career-best seven times, including the first two races of the Chase. Kenseth led the Chase after six of its first eight races before handling issues and a 23rd-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway effectively doomed his hopes for a second NASCAR Sprint Cup title.
Comeback Driver of the Year
Kurt Busch: Two seasons after his release from Penske Racing, Kurt Busch's career has risen from the ashes thanks to a gritty performance behind the wheel of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. Busch didn't win, but he did just about everything but. He wheeled the Denver, Colo.-based organization into the Chase, the first time a single-car team has qualified for NASCAR's postseason. Busch finished 10th in the final standings with a solid log of 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The performance earned Busch a spot in a fourth Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet for 2014.
Kyle Busch (Honorable Mention): After a lost year in which he failed to qualify for the Chase, Kyle Busch roared back in 2013 to make his strongest bid yet for a premier series championship. He won four times during the regular season and finished second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kenseth in the opening two races of the Chase. A 34th-place finish at Kansas Speedway ended Busch's title hopes but his fourth-place overall ranking is the Las Vegas native's best since becoming a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor in 2005. Busch posted 22 top-10 finishes and won three poles - each a season best.
Hendrick Motorsports: Rick Hendrick again qualified all four of his drivers - Johnson, Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne - for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Johnson produced the organization's 11th NASCAR Sprint Cup championship and won six times. Kahne won twice. Gordon extended his reign as the series' active win leader with his 88th career victory in October's Chase race at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt failed to find Victory Lane but his 10 top-five finishes were a season best in a Hendrick Chevrolet, which matched his top output of 2004.
Joe Gibbs Racing (Honorable Mention): Coach Gibbs' three drivers - Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin - gave JGR the most victories among team owners in 2013. Their combined total of 12, led by Kenseth's seven victories, represented a .333 winning percentage over the season's 36 races. Kenseth entered the Chase with the No. 1 seed. Kenseth and Busch ranked one-two through the first two races of the postseason before finishing second and fourth, respectively, in final points. It marked the first time since 1999 that two JGR drivers ranked among the top five overall.
Top Breakthrough Performance
Joey Logano: In his first season with Penske Racing, Logano upstaged his new teammate, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski. Logano qualified for his first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, while Keselowski became just the second champion during the Chase era to fall short of postseason qualification. The Connecticut native won for the first time in the No. 22 Ford in August at Michigan International Speedway. He posted season bests in overall finish (eighth), top fives (11) and top 10s (19) and laps led (323).
Brian Vickers (Honorable Mention): Once tabbed a "can't miss" prospect after winning a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship at age 20 and a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup races, Vickers' career had been stymied by illness. Vickers latched onto a part-time job with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012 and finished three of eight races among the top five. This year saw Vickers take the team's No. 55 Toyota to Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway - confirming his status as the car's full-time driver in 2014.
Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, May 4 - Often a back-and-forth affair, this May's race at Talladega Superspeedway lived up to the track's reputation. It also provided the surprise winner of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season - David Ragan. Ragan, who had previously won at Daytona International Speedway driving for Roush Fenway Racing in 2011, was pushed to victory by his current Front Row Motorsports teammate David Gilliland. It was Front Row's first victory in NASCAR's premier series.
Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway, March 24 (Honorable Mention) - Kyle Busch was the benefactor of all-or-nothing beating and banging on the final lap between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin during March's race at Auto Club Speedway. As Logano and Hamlin traded paint for the win - a battle that caused both to wreck - Busch came on the outside to steal the victory. The Gen-6 race car produced 41 green flag passes for the lead during this one, tying the track record at the Southern California two-miler.
IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, August 24 (Honorable Mention) - Bristol's annual night race is a spectacle - the perfect stage for late-race drama. During the 2013 edition, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne battled side-by-side in the closing laps. The edge-of-your seat action led to the fourth-closest margin of victory of the season, with Kenseth narrowly beating Kahne to the line.(NASCAR)(12-20-2013)
NASCAR Honors Seven Champions: The common thread throughout Saturday's NASCAR Night of Champion Touring Awards [Dec 14th] was of a dream realized. From Lakeport, Calif., to San Sebastián, Spain, seven NASCAR drivers collected their series championship trophies and received their coveted championship rings from NASCAR President Mike Helton. "To win this championship, to accomplish this goal, it means the world to me," said 22-year-old Ryan Preece, who became the youngest champion of NASCAR's oldest division, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
"Being part of this is amazing," said Ander Vilarino, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion. "I would have never imagined that one day I could say I'm a two-time NASCAR champion."
Preece and Vilarino were joined on the stage at the end of the night to show off their championship rings by NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Dylan Kwasniewski, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Derek Thorn, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion Scott Steckly and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III. Brunnhoelzl won his fourth NASCAR tour championship, while Steckly picked up his third. The 18-year-old Kwasniewski became the first driver to win NASCAR's K&N Pro Series West and East titles -- and he did so in consecutive seasons.
"The drivers who graced the stage truly reflect the depth, talent and diversity of NASCAR in the 21st century," said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. "And the seven NASCAR champions who were crowned embody the strength and future promise of our sport." The championships were won in vastly different ways. Brunnhoelzl used a mid-season run of three straight wins en route to his title, while Vilarino started off the season with a NASCAR touring-series record six straight wins. Steckly, on the other hand, finished outside the top 20 in the first two races and rallied by winning the finale to edge rival DJ Kennington by two points. "This year has been amazing," Steckly said. "To race at this level and with other drivers who are such strong competitors is something I am very grateful for, and love doing."
The champions weren't the only ones to pick up hardware Saturday night. In addition to the championship awards, each series rookie of the year was honored. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award winners were Jesse Little in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Dylan Lupton in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Cole Powell in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Luke Fleming in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Top rookie performers in three international series were Alex Guenette in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Santiago Tovar in Mexico's NASCAR Toyota Series and Yann Zimmer in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
The Most Popular Driver Awards for each series were also presented during the ceremony. The seven drivers honored with the prestigious award were Ben Kennedy in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Cameron Hayley of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Guenette in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Pepe Montaño of the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, Freddy Nordström from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Mike Stefanik from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Andy Seuss from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Montaño and Nordström were repeat winners from a season ago. The top-10 drivers and car owners from each of NASCAR's touring series also were recognized during the gala. "There are a lot of young faces here tonight that you will probably be seeing a lot more of in the future," continued Silbermann. "They are the new ambassadors of our sport -- fearless and very talented on the race track and eager to prove their mettle."(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-16-2013)
France touches on a variety of topics at press conference: NASCAR continues to work on improving its on-track product, an endeavor chairman Brian France takes so seriously he plans to attend Monday's test at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The test at Charlotte will be the second as NASCAR continues to seek a rules package that could enhance the competition. "Obviously, we want to get more lead changes, we want to get closer, tighter competition," France said Thursday in a briefing with reporters. "I'd love a photo finish every weekend. The point is that we're going to be working all the time on (improving) the competition and ... lead changes are going to be a huge part. Once that Charlotte test is complete and NASCAR has a better grasp of its 2014 rules, the focus could be turned to other areas of the product: France hinted Thursday there could a larger emphasis placed on winning and changes coming to the qualifying process. For qualifying, NASCAR told competitors it is considering moving away from single-car qualifying for the group formats used on road courses. France also downplayed an overhaul to the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule when NBC takes over the second half of the NASCAR television package. "Most tracks with a couple of exceptions don't like to give up a date that's worked for them and so on that they've had for a long time," he said. "So there might be a change or two, but I wouldn't predict any significant changes." Other topics covered by France:
-The Richmond scandal: France said he was personally "pissed off, to be honest" when it became clear that Michael Waltrip Racing had manipulated the end of the regular-season finale in its attempt to get Martin Truex Jr. into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field. -Formula One's scheduled race in Austin, Texas: The F1 schedule released this week placed the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin on Nov. 2 - the same day as the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, a three-hour drive from Austin. "Well, I wouldn't have done that myself," he said about F1's race date. "I'm sure they had the same kind of scheduling challenges that we do. They go all over the world, and that was what they chose. It wouldn't be my first choice."
-Iowa Speedway: NASCAR last week announced it had purchased the track, but has no plans to add a Sprint Cup race to Iowa. The track has hosted Nationwide Series and Truck Series races since 2009, and IndyCar also races at the facility. France said NASCAR's ownership gives the track some stability.(Associated Press), see a transcript of the press conference on the December 5 NASCAR Teleconference transcript page.(12-6-2013)
NASCAR's "Twist" captures top honors for advertising in sports: Building on the success of a new creative vision and brand campaign launched in February, NASCAR edged out all other major sports leagues and governing bodies, taking home the Titanium Award for 'Best Spot' at the PromaxBDA Sports Media Marketing Awards in New York. NASCAR Vice President of Marketing Kim Brink accepted the award for "Twist" - a one-minute television spot portraying the emotion, drama and duality within a sport that changes unexpectedly at a moment's notice - on behalf of NASCAR. The fourth annual PromaxBDA Sports Media Marketing Awards honored the best strategic and creative marketing from the global community. Along with NASCAR, Turner Sports, the National Football League, MSG Media, NFL Network and the Atlanta Falcons were all named Titanium award winners at PromaxBDA's annual Sports Media Marketing Awards. Additional special honorees included ESPN Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer, who received the Lifetime Innovator Award for his contribution as a creative leader in the field of sports marketing, and Red Bull Media House, who received the Game Changer Award for being a cultural innovator as a brand marketer, production house and digital distributor.(NASCAR)(11-28-2013)
NASCAR adopts new race sponsorship guidelines: NASCAR has set a new guidelines that will govern and require approval for race naming rights sold by racetracks starting in 2014. Call it "The NRA Rule." The new policy - established about six months after the National Rifle Association sponsored the Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway - was revealed in sanction agreements filed Friday by Dover Motorsports Inc. with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "As part of the normal course of annually reviewing our sanction language, there are some changes that take place," NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said Monday. "This is one of those situations. We previously said we'd take a look at this area of the sanctioning agreements, adjust as needed, and that's what we've done." TMS officials have indicated the NRA will not return as the race sponsor. Whether NASCAR would now reject the NRA was not immediately clear since NASCAR has not received a request. But what is clear is that it would face more scrutiny in the past when NASCAR's sanction agreements did not require formal approval and simply said, "NASCAR reserves the right to approve or disapprove any advertising, sponsorship or similar agreement in connection with the event." The 2014 sanction agreement now states that tracks must submit for approval all race entitlement sponsors. "(NASCAR) will disapprove a prospective entitlement sponsor only if such prospective entitlement sponsor's brand has been tarnished by, controversy, crisis or circumstance such that its association with the event would damage the NASCAR brand or the image of the sport or ... it would damage the (broadcasting) network's ability to sell advertising," the sanction agreement states.
The other major change in the sanction agreement is that NASCAR says it will pay for the use of its new Air Titan track drying system at events, but it can require its use. In the past, tracks were responsible for all jet fuel used for jet driers.(Sporting News)(11-26-2013)
NASCAR has plan to build an international presence: While battling daily to shore up its U.S. audience, NASCAR still draws offers to showcase its brand around the world. Singapore. Malaysia. Russia. NASCAR senior vice president Steve O'Donnell said the sanctioning body turned down opportunities to bring one of its national series to each country. "We get approached every day," O'Donnell, who oversees NASCAR's global strategy, told USA TODAY Sports. "We've had 20 groups approach us from China. But most of them are one-offs. We keep pushing back and saying we're going to do this but in a smart way. If you can show us how we build stock-car racing, that's something we want to pursue." As NASCAR expands its international media rights with new Fox and NBC deals beginning in 2015 (races currently are seen in more than 150 countries in 23 languages), O'Donnell said Brazil, Japan and Russia are viewed as most enticing for building new series. The hope is that foreign drivers will begin gravitating toward aiming at the Sprint Cup Series instead of open-wheel Formula One.(see full story at the USA Today)(11-24-2013)
NASCAR Receives Diversity And Inclusion Award: On Nov. 8, NASCAR received the 2013 Diversity and Inclusion Award (DANDI) for its efforts in fostering diversity throughout the sport at a ceremony at the New York Times Building in New York City. Eight days later, on Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, NASCAR's diversity efforts reached another milestone when 21-year-old NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Kyle Larson became the first Asian-American driver to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in any NASCAR national series, receiving the honor in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.(NASCAR)(11-23-2013)
NASCAR Names Kenny Mitchell Managing Director Of Brand And Consumer Marketing: NASCAR announced today that Kenny Mitchell has been named Managing Director of Brand and Consumer Marketing, responsible for leading and implementing the company's overall brand direction and overseeing the strategic growth plans for several critical segments, including youth, millennial and multicultural. Mitchell will start on Monday, Dec. 2, and be based out of NASCAR's headquarters in Daytona Beach. Mitchell is the next step in the evolution of NASCAR's marketing function reporting to Vice President of Marketing Kim Brink. He will be responsible for developing and executing the annual NASCAR marketing plan and overseeing the company's media strategies and planning in close collaboration with other NASCAR departments. Additionally, he will work on advancing the Industry Action Plan strategies aimed at growing and diversifying the sport's fan base. Mitchell joins NASCAR from Dew Tour, a Division of Alli and The NBC Sports Group.(NASCAR)(11-20-2013)
Mike Helton: NASCAR did the right thing: NASCAR president Mike Helton held a press conference on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a few questions were about the MWR scandal at Richmond:
Q. It's been 10 weeks since the MWR scandal and the fallout. What, if any, impact do you think that had on the season or the Chase? Does that leave a stain on the season, or have things kind of moved on to the point that you think the sport has recovered from it?
MIKE HELTON: Well, I think it was a defining moment, and we spoke a lot about it back in Chicago when we were making steps toward what we would do as a league, and I think it was important for us to do that quickly so that we could move on. One of the tough things about our sport is the length of the season, but it's also an asset at times, and so you move on fairly quickly. And I think in the case of Richmond this year in September, I suspect that that moment will be reflected on for many years to come, but the decisions that we made, the reaction in the industry that self-polices itself is indicative of our environment, and we've kind of moved on from that.
Certainly because of the uniqueness of having a 13th competitor in the Chase, it made a difference on the 2013 Chase format, so to speak, but I think we made the decisions we made after Richmond before we even started the races in Chicago, which was the right thing for us to do. We did it with a lot of thought and engagement by a lot of people in the business to make sure we took the next step correctly to decide what we needed to do and then go on, but I think we've moved on.
Q. I wanted to follow up on the question about Richmond and the fallout from that. I believe you said that the decisions that NASCAR made were the right decisions, so looking back, you're confident you would not change anything in the way NASCAR handled that situation?
MIKE HELTON: That's correct. We're confident in what we did.(NASCAR/FastScripts by ASAP Sports)(11-16-2013)
Some rules changes in 2014? NASCAR officials are apparently considering a number of possibly significant rules tweaks for 2014:
-- Elimination of the minimum height rule. That would be to end the rather meaningless post-race controversies and penalties for cars being 'too low' after a race. Some worry, though, that such a rule would force teams to discard thousands of dollars of expensive springs. However the current rules have led teams to spend huge sums on very trick springs.
-- Adding roof 'wickers,' similar to used in years past, designed to break up air flow over the roof and presumably make it easier for a trailing car to pass.(Mike Mulhern.net)(10-11-2013)
NASCAR makes 'inspirational' visit to Walter Reed Military Medical Center: The festivities were set for NASCAR's Tribute to the Warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Thursday. Tables with blue tablecloths and white napkins were impeccably set for 300 guests. American Idol star Pia Toscano, flanked by two huge screens, had completed her warm-up and mike check and emcee, NASCAR pit reporter Jamie Little, had run through her script including the introduction of NASCAR President Mike Helton.
But Staff Sergeant Liam Dwyer, 32, a U.S. Marine from Southbury, Conn., wasn't sticking around. Fresh from his rehab work in the Military Advanced Training Center rehab room, Dwyer and his driving buddy, Bob Pielli Jr., were headed south to Virginia International Raceway to put his vintage 1962 Sprite through its paces. Pretty incredible, considering Dwyer races cars despite the loss of his left leg above the knee and severe nerve and skeletal damage to his right leg and both arms, the result of stepping on an IED in Afghanistan.
"Inspirational," said Kurt Busch, who exchanged phone numbers with Dwyer, who aspires to drive professionally in the GRAND-AM Rolex and American Le Mans Series. "We think we have it tough some days with sessions, maybe the heat during summer runs. For (Dwyer), he's going against those obstacles of not having all his limbs or muscles toned and driving with a big smile on his face."
"That's incredible," said Brian Vickers, who spent considerable time with Dwyer. "He's definitely the most passionate driver/fan I've ever met at an event like this."
Although Dwyer's story as a race driver was unique, his injuries were not atypical of those observed by the NASCAR visitors to Walter Reed. "This is my generation," observed reigning NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski. "Previous generations had Vietnam, the first Iraq and, obviously, World War II and Korea before it. But these are like guys I went to high school with. You think about what would have happened if I didn't make it in racing. I could easily be one of these guys sitting here today because the military was something I might have taken a role in. Being here is cause for some self-reflection, for sure." Keselowski's boss, team owner Roger Penske was among those also making the trip to Walter Reed. "I'm thrilled to be able to wrap my arms around these young men and women who really give their lives and much of their bodies for the safety of our country," Penske said. "One young man I talked to, who lost a leg, said he's going back (into the service). Mentally, these kids are tough. That's what makes our country so great."
The mental part side is the toughest part of the challenge says Stephanie Morris, 24-year-old Private First Class from Toledo, Ohio, recovering from a fractured femur and broken foot suffered when two mortars exploded at a bus stop in Afghanistan. "Sometimes it can get a bit depressing, so when someone like these drivers come by to take your mind off it, it really uplifts you," said Morris, after chatting with Justin Allgaier and Nelson Piquet Jr. "It helps, hearing people tell me to keep up the good work - you're making progress. There are days that get me down because I can't get up and walk and do the things I used to do, like go to the gym two times a day. There are days I question 'why.' But it could have been a lot worse. We had four KIA (killed in action) that day, so I thank God that I'm even here."
Stories like that send chills up the spine of longtime owner Richard Childress. "These men and women have sacrificed so much in their lives, for us, this is the least we can do. We're supposed to be here to make them feel better, but I've never left here without feeling better inside than they do." Liam Dwyer was leaving Thursday with a pretty special feeling.
"I had the challenge in my mind that I wanted to race again and show other people that regardless of your limitations, you can still do what you want to," Dwyer said. "The generosity of the NASCAR community to come in ... These guys wanted come in to speak to the patients. We appreciate that." Other NASCAR celebrities making the visit to Walter Reed on Thursday included drivers Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, Brian Scott, Sam Hornish Jr. and Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon and Miss Sprint Cup Brooke Werner.(NASCAR Wire Service)(9-27-2013)
NASCAR to test following Charlotte: NASCAR will have a test the Monday after the Charlotte race to try some things for 2014. Each manufacturer will be represented. Ford will be represented by The Wood Brothers and Penske Racing.(Fire in the Hole)(9-23-2013)
Drivers pleased with new restart rule: The consensus among Cup drivers is that the tweak to the restart rules introduced for the first Chase race last Sunday at Chicagoland has made a potentially gnarly situation less complicated. After the leader of the race, who controls the restart, picks up the pace in the restart zone, the flagman waves the green, and drivers begin racing without changing lanes until they reach the start/finish line. No longer does the lead car have to reach the stripe first - a requirement before the change made last Sunday. Accordingly, NASCAR no longer has to make a judgment call as to whether the lead driver spins his tires, misses a shift or has another issues that would excuse the second-place car from getting to the line first. The rule change also makes it less likely for the second-place car to stack up its line trying to stay behind the leader. "I think NASCAR did a good job by simplifying the restart rules," Carl Edwards said. "I think it makes it easier, because the leader gets to start, and after that it's a race. That's probably the simplest way to do it with the double-file restart."(NASCAR Wire Service)(9-22-2013)
NASCAR to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month: NASCAR will partner with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) through a new, dollars-per-lap donation program and five new film shorts highlighting Latino contributors to the sport. In partnership with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, NASCAR will donate $5 for every lap completed by a Hispanic or Latin American driver in one of the U.S. series. The drivers included in the initiative are: Cuban-American Aric Almirola, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jr., Mexican German Quiroga, Brazilian Miguel Paludo, Puerto Rican Bryan Ortiz, Mexican and Spanish-American Jack Madrid as well as Mexico-born Daniel Suarez. The funds will benefit Latino students pursuing an education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. To highlight the contributions Latinos are making to the sport both on and off the race track, NASCAR Productions partnered with Latino director Danny Hastings on a five-part series of film shorts. One new film will premiere on NASCAR.com every week during Hispanic Heritage Month, starting with the first one, titled "The Future," that features up-and-coming drivers in NASCAR's regional and touring series.(NASCAR)(9-22-2013)
Restart rule changes to be announced Sunday morning UPDATE:: As two Sprint Cup cars running at the speed limit of a two-lane highway approach a designated zone that varies in length from about 60 to 110 feet, a frenzied dance begins. The leader of a restart is in control, and he can stomp the accelerator at any point within two painted lines on the outside wall. The second-place car alongside must keep pace but also allow the leader to cross the finish line first. It sounds simple, but restarts have become among the most complex procedures to administer in NASCAR's premier series.
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Saturday that changes to restart procedures will be revealed during Sunday's drivers' meeting. While it's unlikely there would be an abolition of the action-inducing double-file restarts, which were added four years ago because of heavy support from a fan council, NASCAR could eliminate the zones and allow the flagman to determine the restart. Another choice might be putting the leader in a separate row and putting the field behind in side-by-side formation.(USA Today)(9-15-2013)
UPDATE: Changes were announced Sunday morning during the drivers' meeting. The restart zone will remain in place and the leader will still control the start within the zone. Once the leader accelerates, the green flag will fly (within the restart zone). The flagman will throw the green if the leaders get to the end of the restart zone and the cars have not accelerated. HOWEVER, once leader goes (or the flag flies), the leader can be passed by the second place car before the start/finish line. Drivers are still not allowed to change lanes before the start. If the second place driver jumps the restart, they will be black flagged.(9-15-2013)
NASCAR expects 100% from drivers; will also change restart procedures:
In the wake of controversy surrounding last Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Richmond, NASCAR unveiled a "100-percent solution" to the issue of collusion and some specific practical changes to the conduct of races. In a mandatory 17-minute meeting with drivers and crew chiefs Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR addressed the concerns that have caused what sanctioning body president Mike Helton earlier termed "a shift in the paradigm."
"At the center of that meeting was what our expectations were going forward," NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France told reporters in the Chicagoland media center. "And those expectations are that a driver and a team give 100 percent effort, their best effort, to complete a race and race as hard as they possibly can."
'NASCAR requires its competitors to race at 100 percent of their ability with the goal of achieving their best possible finishing position in an event. Any competitor who takes action with the intent to artificially alter the finishing positions of the event or encourages, persuades or induces others to artificially alter the finishing position of the event shall be subject to a penalty from NASCAR.
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton also said NASCAR would announce changes to restart rules, effective Sunday, at the drivers' meeting before the GEICO 400.(NASCAR Wire Service)(9-14-2013)
NASCAR Announces Officiating Revisions: NASCAR has announced a set of officiating revisions to further reinforce its in-race rules and regulations following a week-long review of events that transpired during last Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR officials met with drivers, owners and crew chiefs this afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway to address these revisions that will take effect beginning with Sunday's opening race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The revisions focus on assisting the competitors to understand what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in NASCAR's sole determination when it comes to officiating teams' racing during an event. NASCAR will issue a technical bulletin to the teams later this afternoon that outlines these revisions. "Today's technical bulletin addresses the subject of team(s) artificially altering the outcome of a race and the level of reaction that this will receive from NASCAR," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition. "We reinforced this issue to the teams in our meeting earlier today and conveyed what is considered unacceptable in our officiating of the event." Initial officiating revisions that were announced and will take effect Sunday are:
• Spotters only on spotters' stand (one per team)
• Spotters' stand limits: Two analog radios, scanners, Fan Views
• Video camera will be installed on spotters' stand
UPDATE: Read the full transcript of the news conference on the Saturday press conference transcript page.(9-14-2013)
NASCAR to meet with owners, drivers, crew chiefs: For the second time in five days, NASCAR has changed the makeup of the Chase for the Sprint Cup due to manipulation of the sport's regular-season finale. Saturday, officials will hold a meeting with drivers, owners, and crew chiefs with the goal of never having to alter the playoff again. [Penalties this week led] NASCAR to call a mandatory meeting of drivers, owners and crew chiefs Saturday at Chicagoland "to hopefully to address and make more clear the path going forward as it applies to the rules of racing and the ethical part of it," according to NASCAR President Mike Helton.
Teammates have always helped one another on the race track, abiding by a set of unspoken and undefined guidelines that have produced long-accepted tactics like allowing a driver to get a lap back, or allowing a driver to lead a lap to collect a bonus point. But with the championship field at stake, those actions become magnified -- which was certainly the case at Richmond, where Bowyer spun suspiciously on his own and Vickers pitted unexpectedly on the final restart, opening the door for Truex to collect a Chase berth.
"We're going to have as much clarity to where the line is, and obviously we drew a line Monday night with the penalties with Michael Waltrip Racing," France said. "So obviously what we're going to do is ... no matter what it takes, the integrity of the sport will never be in question. And that's what we're going to make sure, that we have the right rules going forward that are clear so that the integrity of the competitive landscape of the events are not altered in a way or manipulated. And that will be what we will be addressing."
The meeting will be part of a process that will entail "clarifying in a significant way the rules of racing and the rules of the road going forward," France added. He said the sanctioning body wants suggestions from competitors on how to do that.(NASCAR.com)(9-14-2013)
Penske deal with Front Row at Richmond to help Logano? UPDATES - Gordon added to Chase: Penske Racing may have cut a deal with Front Row Motorsports in the closing laps at Richmond for track position to help get #22-Joey Logano in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. In radio communications reviewed Wednesday by The Associated Press for Front Row driver #38-David Gilliland, his spotter informs the team of a request to let Logano pass him in the final laps of Saturday night's race. Logano was trying to claim a spot in the 12-driver Chase field. Both Penske and Front Row are Ford teams and thus considered partners. A voice on the radio, believed to be crew chief Frank Kerr, asks who the request is coming from. The spotter replies: "We've got the big dog and all his cronies." Kerr then says: "Travis knows what I've been asking for," an apparent reference to Penske Racing competition director Travis Geisler. Logano passed Gilliland on a restart and finished 22nd, one spot ahead of Gilliland and good enough for a berth in the Chase field. "Good job, good job, man," the spotter says after the race. "Hopefully we'll get something out of that." Statistics analyzed by AP also show Gilliland's lap times dropped off by almost 1 second from the times he was running prior to the radio communication.(Associated Press)(9-11-2013)
UPDATE: "NASCAR is aware of reports about the #22 and #38 radio communications at Richmond International Raceway and is looking into it, but has yet to see anything in full context that requires any action."(NASCAR)(9-11-2013)
UPDATE 2: Thursday morning release from NASCAR: "NASCAR is continuing to gather all the facts from last Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR will have no further comment until all the facts have been examined. "(NASCAR)(9-12-2013)
UPDATE 3: NASCAR officials met with Front Row Motorsports crew chief Frank Kerr and spotter David Keith at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday morning to discuss Saturday's incidents at Richmond International Raceway. A separate meeting was held with Penske Racing vice president Bud Denker, competition director Travis Geisler, vice president of operations Michael Nelson, crew chief Todd Gordon and spotter Tab Boyd. Both teams reviewed radio communications and tape from the Richmond NASCAR Sprint Cup race. FRM general manager Jerry Freeze and Penske Racing's Denker said the teams would not comment until after a decision was made by NASCAR. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said no decision had been made on whether a 13th team would be added to the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(Fox Sports)(9-13-2013)
UPDATE 4: Following a comprehensive review of all available audio and video communications from last Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, along with interviews with team personnel, NASCAR announced Friday the following decision:
• Both the Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing organizations have been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for violating Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing).
• A 13th car - the #24 - would be added to this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
"Based on all of our findings this week, we determined both Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing organizations would be placed on probation for the remainder of this season," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Additionally, based upon the totality of our findings, to be totally fair and equitable we decided that adding a 13th car to this year's Chase is the appropriate action.
"Beginning with our decision Monday, which resulted in an unprecedented team penalty, and continuing with further examination of actions involving two other race teams, it is clear to us that attempts to manipulate the results impacted the Chase field.
"The integrity of our sport remains the cornerstone of NASCAR, and our actions this week speak to our commitment to ensure a level playing field for all competitors."
Additionally, NASCAR will conduct a mandatory meeting with drivers, owners, crew chiefs and other team personnel [Saturday at 3:00pm/et] to address this issue moving forward.(NASCAR)
AND see a full transcript of the announcement on the Second NASCAR Richmond Penalty Transcript Page.(9-13-2013)
Did Bowyer spin out on purpose at Richmond? UPDATE: As questions swirled around #15-Clint Bowyer's late-race spin at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night - an incident that altered the Chase for the Sprint Cup field with a caution - NASCAR said it did not believe Bowyer did anything intentional. "Not at all," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby told USA TODAY Sports. "Although we watch it - we make a point of mentioning it in the drivers' meeting and everything - I don't think anybody realistically believes that was the case with the 15 car." Bowyer's spin with seven laps remaining fell under scrutiny because it happened by himself - though #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the proximity - and ultimately helped Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #56-Martin Truex Jr. make the Chase. "He just spun right out," Earnhardt said afterward. "That's the craziest thing I ever saw. ... He was hemming around on the brakes and jerking the car around, and then the thing just spun out. It was crazy. I don't know what was going on."
"I think we had something going wrong," Bowyer said after the race. "I had so much wheel, by the time I got to the gas, he was underneath me. I spun out. I know it's a lot of fun for you guys to write a lot of wacky things. Go ahead if you want to. Get creative. But don't look too much into it."(see full story at the USA Today)(9-8-2013)
UPDATE - NASCAR Investigating: With one suspicious snap of the steering wheel, Clint Bowyer changed the outcome of a race and maybe the championship, too. Accidental or intentional, his spin in the closing laps at Richmond International Raceway set in motion a chain of events that has shrouded the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and raised many questions about the potential for a race team to manipulate pivotal moments of a race. Now NASCAR is reviewing evidence to determine if Michael Waltrip Racing deliberately altered Saturday night's race, potentially costing both #39-Ryan Newman and #24-Jeff Gordon spots in the Chase, to benefit MWR driver #56-Martin Truex Jr.
NASCAR President Mike Helton told The Associated Press before Sunday's Truck Series race at Iowa that officials in the scoring tower did not immediately see anything to believe Bowyer's spin with seven laps remaining at Richmond was suspicious. The spin came while Newman was leading and brought out the caution that set in motion a chain of events that cost Newman both the race and a berth in the 12-driver Chase field. He was battling Truex for the final spot.
"We didn't see anything that indicated that anything like that was taking place. And it's natural when everything was as close as it was between who was going to get in and not go in to scratch your heads and try to figure out and wonder why," Helton said. "But we didn't see anything initially (Saturday) night that indicated that, but certainly we'll go back through all the video and everything to be sure, because we take the responsibility very serious to be sure that it's - that everybody has had a fair chance."
But an ESPN replay that included communication between Bowyer and his team implied the spin was deliberate. Bowyer was shown the video after the race and denied he spun intentionally, a claim he repeated throughout the post-race activities.(in part from the Associated Press)(9-9-2013)
NASCAR Statement Regarding Saturday Night's Race: "NASCAR is reviewing Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway per protocol and has no plans for further statement until that process is complete."(NASCAR)(9-8-2013)
Richmond restart being questioned: At Richmond International Raceway, the finish in the Federated Auto Parts 400 came down to "balls and strikes" on Saturday night. As questionable as the timing of Clint Bowyer's spin on Lap 393, so was the final restart with three laps remaining in the race. Technically, race leader #27-Paul Menard should have crossed the start-finish line first - controlling the restart. But eventual race winner #99-Carl Edwards was nearly a full car length ahead at the line. When NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton addressed the teams in the pre-race drivers meeting, he promised competitors that while many "may have some questions on restarts tonight" the sanctioning body reserved the right make "a judgment call on. OK?"
"There are balls and there are strikes. Sometimes you don't like the call; sometimes we don't even like the call we have to make," Pemberton said. "I just want to remind everybody: Do not put us in that position where we have to make the call. Because more times than not, it isn't going to be in your favor - and we don't want to do that, OK?" Ironically, in the same meeting, Edwards had a question regarding another element of restarts. He broached the possibility of future use of video replay to review the driver's positions for the "lucky dog" or beneficiary position where the first car one lap down returns to the lead lap.
Although NASCAR insisted it would continue to use scoring loops to line up the cars, a review of the final restart would have clearly shown Edwards' car beating Menard to the line. At Dover earlier this year, #48-Jimmie Johnson was black-flagged for a similar offense and was assessed a drive-through penalty that cost him a potential win.
On Saturday night, however, Menard took two tires on his last pit stop to gain track position. His #27 Menard's Chevy was first off pit road. But coming to the line, Edwards claimed Menard was at a "big disadvantage with grip" after electing to take two tires. "He took off," Edwards said. "I waited until he went to go. As we were going, his car actually touched my door. I think it surprised him a little bit or something. He turned a little bit. I heard his engine speed up. He spun the tires. At that point, I mean, I really have a choice to either lift off the throttle and wait for him to try to gather it up - I've never seen a guy able to gather up too quickly when they spin that bad - or go and hope NASCAR understands that he spun his tires. In this case they did. They understand he came up and hit me and spun his tires."(FoxSports)
AND from a Team Chevy transcript of post race comments:
Menard: "We just had a really good long run car. Restarts, especially that last restart old left side tires, we had to try something. We weren't going to beat those guys heads up so we had to try a little strategy, but awesome Chevrolet on long runs. Just couldn't take off very good."(Team Chevy)(9-8-2013)
Humpy Wheeler: We got too fancy and messed up NASCAR: One of the most recognizable names in NASCAR says the sport is all messed up and in the need of changes and a serious boost. In a video posted on YouTube on Sunday, "Humpy" Wheeler says racing has gotten "too fancy" and left its fans behind. Wheeler is the former President and General Manager of the Lowes Motor Speedway, in Concord, and is known as one of the foremost promoters in NASCAR history. He now runs The Wheeler Company, a consulting management firm focusing on general business, professional sports, and motorsports. He says he's thought long and hard about what is wrong with NASCAR these days. "I think we've messed it up a little, folks. I think we got too fancy," he said in the video. "I think as it soared back in the 90's a lot of people wanted to change it. They didn't like the way it was, they thought it was too country or too unsophisticated or whatever. And those people were dead wrong."
"We need to put the emphasis on winning. And we need to put the emphasis on leading and passing people as the race progresses. Give points for the repass [...] People in the grandstand are gonna go crazy when we do that." He suggests that NASCAR give winners and leaders bigger bonuses. He says that will make races more exciting and that will bring fans back to the track. He says increases in the quality of TV broadcasting has hurt in-person attendance. "You've got to give them a reason to come back to the ballpark - whether the ballpark is a racetrack or whether it's stadium. Gotta give them a reason to come back. Part of that reason is excitement. That's the whole reason!"(in part from WBTV.com and view the video there)(8-14-2013)
NASCAR lauches mobile app for Windows Phone 8: In an effort to bring more fans closer to all of the action, including the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint CupTM races, NASCAR Digital Media has launched the official NASCAR Mobile '13 app for Microsoft Windows Phone 8 devices. NASCAR Mobile '13, which is also available on Windows 8 tablets and PC as well as for iOS and Android devices, offers a wide range of features and functionalities, such as race information, in-depth news, expert analysis, video and photos across the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Sprint customers utilizing a Windows Phone 8 device will have exclusive access to all the premium live race day features including the race radio broadcast, drivers' in-car audio, advanced live leaderboard, alternate camera angles, and more for free with any Sprint Unlimited data plan. These features will be rolled out in phases throughout the remainder of the 2013 season. Beginning in 2014, the premium features will be available for a subscription fee to Windows Phone 8 mobile users across other carriers.(NASCAR)(8-8-2013)
Preseason media tour getting a change in 2014: Charlotte Motor Speedway's annual preseason NASCAR media tour, which has brought hundreds of motorsports journalists to the Charlotte area each January for three decades, will undergo a facelift next season. The media tour, typically held over four days in mid-January, will be repackaged and consolidated in 2014 and center around the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony held in uptown Charlotte. In 2014, the tour will begin Tuesday, Jan. 28, and conclude on Thursday, Jan. 30. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday night, Jan. 29. Most events on the tour will take place in and around the Hall of Fame. Most years the tour has been based at a hotel near the speedway. The Hall will also host a fan-focused event on Feb. 1, called "NASCAR Fan Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame." The details of the day's activities will be announced at a later time.(Charlotte Observer)(8-1-2013)
NASCAR to unveil changes on Monday UPDATE: NASCAR is set to unveil a set of initiatives on Monday which will include several changes to its research and development and competition areas, sources familiar with the changes told the Observer. NASCAR has scheduled briefing with members of the media on Monday at its research and development center in Concord in which it is expected to address the changes. According to sources, among the changes to be adapted include ending the practice of NASCAR inspectors being assigned to specific series; a change to the process for approval of parts; and a change to the process of how and how often cars are inspected each weekend at the race track. A reshuffling or reclassification of some responsibilities of personnel is also likely, sources said.(Charlotte Observer)(7-15-2013)
UPDATE: NASCAR plans to automate its rule book and revamp its appeals process in a wide-ranging effort to bring more clarity to race teams and fans. The governing body outlined several initiatives Monday it expects to implement in its three major series before the start of the 2015 racing season. The effort started eight months ago and will be an ongoing process to keep up with technology and fan interests, said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations.
That includes converting its rule book from a word document to computer automated-design drawings that can be easily accessed by race shops to see what's allowed and what isn't. Penalties will be specifically spelled out for each type of infraction. When a rule is broken and a team appeals, NASCAR wants more experts on the panel instead of some who might not have as strong a background regarding the infraction.
O'Donnell also discussed innovations geared to the racing fans. He said NASCAR wanted to keep in synch with what people drive on the streets so their experience can match somewhat with their favorite Sprint Cup driver on the track.
Another area was shifting more inspection responsibility to NASCAR's Research & Development operation away from the track, freeing up more time for race teams to practice instead of waiting to have their cars looked at. NASCAR inspectors, who are assigned to individual series, in the future would be trained to handle all events, either in Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World trucks.
There might also be locked-in times for on-track inspections, meaning fans would know when their favorite cars are getting put under the microscope and be on hand to watch.
O'Donnell said NASCAR would also improve information fans can access about pit stops, although he wasn't yet sure if it would be limited to online access, a component at each track for fans at the stands, or both.(Associated Press)(7-15-2013)
NASCAR explains decision to not issue Daytona penalties: Typically when NASCAR blows the whistle and confiscates parts and pieces from a team, it comes back a few days later and announces a penalty. So when NASCAR on Wednesday said it would not penalize 16 Sprint Cup teams and 15 Nationwide teams found with illegal roof-flap spacers last week at Daytona International Speedway, it certainly raised eyebrows.
All cars at New Hampshire have the correct spacers in them, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Friday. Roof flap are designed to keep cars on the ground during spins and crashes at high speeds. "We realize 31 teams didn't roll over on Monday morning before the week and decide to do that," Pemberton said. "It's our job to do some research, talk to some different teams and get to the bottom of it. We came to the conclusion that it's probably not the first time stuff like that is run. ... As the years have evolved in the 17 years of running roof flaps, the kits were updated but old parts and pieces sometimes weren't deleted out of the kit." NASCAR will work with Roush Industries to "update and upgrade some of the parts and pieces in that kit," Pemberton said. NASCAR wants all the teams to have the same spacers because those are the ones that it uses when doing roof-flap testing. Pemberton indicated that the fact recent major penalties were significantly decreased on appeal wasn't given significant weight in deciding not to penalize teams.(Sporting News)(7-14-2013)
Sixteen Cup teams found with modified roof flap spacers: Sixteen teams found to have modified roof flap spacers (lighter) during NASCAR inspection. Teams listed: #1-McMurray, #2-Keselowski, #9-Ambrose, #11-Hamlin, #13-Mears, #15-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #21-Bayne, #22-Logano, #43-Almirola, #55-Waltrip, #56-Truex Jr. and #99-Edwards. The modified/confiscated roof-flap spacers are on display at Daytona in the NASCAR hauler. NASCAR's Kerry Tharp addressed media on confiscated roof-flap spacers - "Spacers not in compliance with those kits." The roof-flap kits are supplied to teams for #NASCAR by one company (a Roush company) and are not to be changed.(SPEED's, Dustin Long Fox/NASCAR on Twitter)
AND Thirty-one cars, including 16 in the Sprint Cup Series, failed inspection before Thursday's practices at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR confiscated the teams' roof flaps, which are designed to keep cars on the ground during spins and wrecks at high speeds, for further inspection. Penalties could be possible. The roof-flap spacers had been illegally machined down to reduce weight. NASCAR inspectors made those Cup teams install new, unaltered roof flaps before drivers were allowed on the track for the first of two practices. Inspectors then went to the Nationwide garage and found similar issues on 15 cars. "When you find something in one garage, you communicate to the other garage," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We looked into it and this is what we found."(Associated Press)(7-4-2013)
NASCAR Green Continues Steady Growth With Addition of Eaton: NASCAR announced a new multi-year official agreement with Eaton, a leader in developing global solutions for today's most critical electrical power management challenges. The new alliance makes Eaton an Official NASCAR Green Partner, with the designation 'Official EV Charging Solution Provider of NASCAR' bolstering the growing roster of companies utilizing the NASCAR Green platform to validate technologies that positively impact the environment. The new collaboration includes the installation of 20 Eaton Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at NASCAR offices in Daytona Beach, Charlotte and Concord. The stations will power electric and plug-in hybrid EVs of NASCAR employees and guests. Eaton is a leading provider of EV charging infrastructure in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, EV charging infrastructure build out is critical given its benefits include lowered Greenhouse Gas and particulate emissions, improved public health, increased energy security and lower operating cost per mile. For example, based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings (fueleconomy.gov), fully charging a Ford Focus EV every day for a year equates to saving 211 trees which equates to the GHG emissions from five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. As part of this collaboration, Eaton joins the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council, which brings together an exclusive group of more than 60 Official NASCAR Partners four times per year to buy and sell products and services from one another. This exclusive business-to-business environment offers unique opportunities for many FORTUNE 500 companies to bypass the time and layers of corporate coordination that may exist and construct customized deals to help address specific business needs.(NASCAR)(7-2-2013)
New NASCAR related clothes: Burn Rubber Productions and JRM Licensing announced the exclusive launch of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Original Burn Rubber Tee Shirt. Printed using Burn Rubber's Patent Pending process, the lineup includes shirts in several "paint scheme" designs - each screen printed with authentic Dale Jr. race used tire rubber. The first of its kind, the Original Tee takes being a race fan to a whole new level.(Burn Rubber Productions)
AND Actress Alyssa Milano, who started her own clothing line about six years ago: "I'm doing NASCAR. ... We're launching NASCAR in a couple of weeks, which I'm really excited about," she told talk show host Jimmy Fallon last week. NASCAR will begin selling her products next week on its website and it also will be available at the tracks on race weekends. The launch will feature all female tops and the product line will include 10 drivers-Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart.(Sporting News)(6-27-2013)
"NASCAR: An American Salute" Pays Tribute to U.S. Military: NASCAR announced the launch of the second-annual "NASCAR: An American Salute" initiative, an industry-wide effort to honor and celebrate the service of members of the United States Armed Forces, veterans and their families. Beginning with the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and culminating with the Independence Day Weekend's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, this year's campaign aspires to reach one million "salutes" to U.S. military members during the next six weeks. In addition to being able to track the progress against one million salutes, NASCAR fans, partners, drivers, teams and tracks can salute the military by sending messages of gratitude at www.NASCAR.com/Salutes and by using #NASCARSalutes on Instagram and Twitter. "The tradition of honoring our military is part of the fiber of our sport," said Mike Helton, NASCAR president. "Everyone at NASCAR is proud of the NASCAR: An American Salute initiative. It enables us to collectively express our gratitude to the millions of American members of the armed forces, both currently serving and those who have served, for the sacrifices they make in defending our nation."
Some of the activities planned throughout the six weeks of "NASCAR: An American Salute" include:
· The NASCAR Foundation will partner with USO to support the "With You All the Way" program, a partnership between the USO, Comfort Crew for Military Kids, and the Trevor Romain Company. "With You All the Way" promotes self-confidence and resiliency among military children as they tackle difficult issues which are unique to growing up in a military family.
· NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race teams will showcase their support by displaying patriotic-themed elements and paint schemes on their race vehicles (see images of the Sprint Cup cars on my Paint Scheme Gallery).
· Race tracks hosting national series events during the "NASCAR: An American Salute" window - Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Raceway, Sonoma Raceway, Kentucky Speedway and Daytona International Speedway - will participate through a variety of military-themed activations. Tracks will feature active and retired service men and women in pre-race show festivities, patriotic grass and wall stencils, donations, special activities for soldiers and their families, among an assortment of other military-themed programming.
· A number of NASCAR Official Partners will support "NASCAR: An American Salute" through patriotic and military-themed activations. Goodyear will announce its annual "Goodyear Gives Back" program and replace the "Eagle" and "Wrangler" sidewall design with desert camouflage lettering that reads "Support Our Troops" on all NASCAR race tires during Memorial Day Weekend. Additional participating partners include: 3M, Axalta Coating Systems, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Coors Light, Ford Motor Company, Mechanix Wear, Nationwide Insurance, New Holland, Sprint, Toyota, Sunoco and UPS will also participate.
· During the "NASCAR: An American Salute" initiative, NASCAR and the Armed Forces Foundation will expand their season-long partnership on the NASCAR Troops to the Track program to host military families at each NSCS race throughout the six-week period. The service members and their families will be treated to a customized program at track that honors their service in the military.
· NASCAR and the Honor and Remember organization will host several Gold Star families at various tracks including Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway who have lost loved ones in their U.S. military service.
· Through a partnership with A Million Thanks - an organization dedicated to showing appreciation for U.S. military men and women through varying forms of correspondence - drop boxes will be placed at tracks and various locations in local communities where fans can send personalized letters to active U.S. troops.(NASCAR)(5-22-2013)
NASCAR slips in money race: It's race month in Charlotte, but yet another indication of NASCAR's diminished fortunes can be seen in a new ranking of the highest-paid American athletes. Just one driver from stock-car racing - Dale Earnhardt Jr. - ranks among the top 50 and he just made the list at No. 49. Sports Illustrated compiles the list each year, known as The Fortunate 50. Boxer Floyd Mayweather ranked first among U.S. athletes, earning $90 million. NBA players LeBron James ($56.5 million) and Kobe Bryant ($46.9 million) ranked second and fourth, respectively, while NFL quarterback Drew Brees ($47.8 million, third on the list) and golfer Tiger Woods ($40.8 million) round out the top five.
The magazine bases its rankings on analysis and estimates of contracts, winnings, bonuses and endorsements. Earnhardt Jr. earned a combined $18.4 million last season, according to SI. Endorsements accounted for $12.6 million and race winnings $5.8 million. The magazine notes Earnhardt Jr. failed to crack the top 10 in NASCAR driver winnings but still lapped the field in total income because of his pitchman roles for Chevy, Nationwide Insurance and the National Guard, among others.
In 2012, four NASCAR drivers ranked in the magazine's 50 highest-paid athletes list. Jeff Gordon ($23.9 million, 18th), Tony Stewart ($22 million, tied for 29th) and Jimmie Johnson ($21 million, 33rd) were all included last year, along with Earnhardt Jr., who ranked eighth at $28 million. Earnhardt Jr.'s endorsements fell by almost half in the span of year. Fan interest in NASCAR peaked in 2005 and the sport has also been battered by the recession, harder hit than other sports because of the near-collapse of the car industry several years ago.(Charlotte Business Journal)(5-18-2013)
NASCAR does not plan to change rules on communicating with suspended crew chiefs: While teams continue to expand communications with suspended crew chiefs and crewmen, NASCAR does not plan to change its rules on teams communicating with personnel not allowed at the track. Last weekend, pit crew members were using FaceTime and other methods of communicating with suspended crew members. Both Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing had crew chiefs that were suspended for rules violations and there were texts messages and even video being sent to those crew chiefs either at home or in the race shop. NASCAR President Mike Helton said Wednesday that no changes in the rules are planned. NASCAR's rules keep those suspended off track property and off team radios. "The teams' depth today ... are so deep now that I'm not sure we're suspending crew members to hurt the performance of the team," Helton said. Helton said NASCAR understands there will be communication between the team and suspended personnel throughout a race weekend. (Sporting News)(5-16-2013)
Former NASCAR Cafe demolished as part of Sahara renovation: Demolition work continued Friday at the Sahara where workers began dismantling the former NASCAR Cafe. The work was just a small part of the ongoing renovation project, which also calls for stripping down and remodeling two of the property's three hotel towers and demolishing a low-rise hotel building. The 1,620-room property is scheduled to reopen in fall 2014 as the SLS Las Vegas, a rebirth for a storied Strip resort that fell on hard times in the recession and finally closed in May 2011 after punishingly low room rates made it economically viable. Remodeling at the Sahara began in February, after Los Angeles-based owner SBE Entertainment got the final piece of $415 million in financing to overhaul the buildings. When it reopens, the SLS Las Vegas will include restaurants such as Umami Burger and nightclubs including Shelter, as well as seven outlets belonging to Fred Segal, an upscale clothing retailer based in California.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(5-14-2013)
NASCAR undeterred by appeal setbacks:NASCAR president Mike Helton insists the governing body did not have its power undermined by recent reductions in penalties through the appeal process. "I don't feel like this in anyway undermines what we do," Helton said Friday at Darlington Raceway. "And in most cases the process doesn't come back with anything that really changes our mind much [about the severity of the penalties]. We do our job and the due process exists for others to have an opportunity for others to listen to it and decisions are made to it." While disappointed in [the reductions of penalties to Penske & Gibbs], Helton stands by the original penalties and says NASCAR would respond in a similar way if faced with the same violations. He added that the rules may be written even more specific in the future so teams and those involved in the appeals process understand more clearly why the penalties were given. "First of all, the integrity of the appeal process needs to be maintained as independent of the regulating arm of NASCAR,'' Helton said. "But we do learn from the appeal process as to how we may be able to write or be more clear so that you can show a third party why we reacted the way we reacted."(ESPN)(5-11-2013)
In wake of Boston bombings, NASCAR asks teams to be more vigilant: In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, NASCAR teams have been warned by the sanctioning body to be on the lookout for errant backpacks and other packages in the garage area. NASCAR called a special, crew chiefs-only meeting Saturday morning at Richmond International Raceway, asking race teams to increase their level of vigilance this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and beyond. The warning is not believed to be the result of any specific threat against NASCAR or Talladega Superspeedway, but part of a broader focus on safety at major sporting events across the country. "They asked us to keep our eyes open," said one NASCAR crewman, on the condition of anonymity. "They want us to monitor our garage stalls more closely, to make sure there is nothing there that doesn't belong. I didn't get the impression that there was any specific threat," he said. "It was just a request to stay vigilant."(Godfather Motorsports)(4-30-2013)
NASCAR not planning any changes to Gen-6 cars: Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, was asked if NASCAR is planning any rules changes for the new Gen-6 cars;
PEMBERTON: I don't think so. I think we're in a fairly good spot. The teams -- one of the things we've learned over the years is if you keep moving the targets, people have a tendency to -- it's harder for them to keep chasing that. We feel like the playing field is fairly level. It looks like everybody has an equal opportunity to compete, and we don't feel like that the teams are -- they're done developing their own packages for this car. And as long as the input is -- it's still pretty rock solid as far as being positive, they've got plenty to work with, we feel like there's no reason to move the target on them right now.(NASCAR)(4-12-2013)
NASCAR will evaluate future race sponsorships: With the NRA 500 drawing attention just for the name of the race, NASCAR will take a closer look at race sponsorships in the future, the sanctioning body said in a statement Thursday. Tracks negotiate their own naming rights deals, and Texas Motor Speedway announced last month that the National Rifle Association would sponsor its Sprint Cup Series race, scheduled for Saturday night. The sanctioning agreement tracks have with NASCAR states that "NASCAR reserves the right to approve or disapprove any advertising, sponsorship or similar agreement in connection with the event." NASCAR approved the sponsorship, and Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said Thursday there has been no public outcry over the sponsorship. But NASCAR spokesman David Higdon released a statement that indicated the timing of a sponsorship and the perception of NASCAR will be used to determine whether to approve race sponsorships in the future. "The NRA's sponsorship of the event at Texas Motor Speedway fit within existing parameters that NASCAR affords tracks in securing partnerships," the NASCAR statement said. "However, this situation has made it clear that we need to take a closer look at our approval process moving forward, as current circumstances need to be factored in when making decisions."(Sporting News)(4-12-2013)
Liberty Tire Recycling Joins NASCAR Green: As part of NASCAR Race to Green, a month-long, industry-wide effort to reduce the sport's carbon footprint, NASCAR and Liberty Tire Recycling announced a new partnership that designates the tire recycling services provider as the Official Tire Recycler of NASCAR Green. NASCAR has the largest recycling program in sports, including a comprehensive effort that accounts for approximately 120,000 Goodyear tires recycled across NASCAR's top three national series each year. Liberty Tire Recycling will join other Official NASCAR Green partners, which comprise a comprehensive recycling program, including Coca-Cola, MillerCoors, Creative Recycling, Goodyear, Safety-Kleen, and Sprint. In conjunction with the NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program Delivered by UPS, an initiative that will neutralize the carbon emissions of all of the racing in NASCAR's three national series, Liberty Tire Recycling will provide GroundSmart Mulch that will enhance the landscaping of trees that are donated to areas of need throughout the country. The rubber mulch lasts longer than its wood mulch counterpart and prevents soil from washing away. Additionally, Liberty Tire Recycling products, such as rubberized asphalt will be used to repave racetracks and parking lots at NASCAR Home Track racetracks across the country.(NASCAR)(4-11-2013)
Pit Crew Challenge cancelled: NASCAR will not conduct its All-Star Pit Crew Challenge this year as it was unable to land sponsorship for the event. The event, a staple of NASCAR's all-star week since 2005, featured pit crews competing in an arena setting where they would jack cars, change tires and push cars across the arena floor. The results of the pit crew challenge had been used to determine the order that teams selected pit stalls for the all-star race. NASCAR will use qualifying results-just as it does for all regular-season events-to determine pit-stall selection order for the all-star race, which is scheduled for May 18 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Craftsman and then Sprint had sponsored the pit crew challenge throughout the years, but Sprint reallocated its money to sponsor the season-opening exhibition Sprint Unlimited race at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR officials have said since January that they were looking for a sponsor to continue the event.(Sporting News)(4-10-2013)
NASCAR launches additional environmental initiatives: As racing season shifts gears into April, NASCAR is launching two programs further bolstering the sustainability efforts the sanctioning body, industry, and a wide range of partners have in place to help reduce the sport's carbon footprint. Headlining the month-long NASCAR Green initiative leading up to Earth Day and Arbor Day are two signature programs designed to help drive more sustainable behavior within the sport. NASCAR Race to Green will galvanize teams, tracks, drivers, Official NASCAR Partners, and most importantly fans, around the theme of protecting and preserving our environment. The NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program Delivered by UPS will plant trees to absorb carbon emissions equivalent to all of the racing in NASCAR's three national series for the entire season. One mature tree over the course of its lifetime absorbs about one metric ton of carbon dioxide, the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a NASCAR Sprint Cup car driving 500 miles. NASCAR Race to Green includes a call-to-action for fans and the industry to pledge trees that will be planted across the country as well as in a number of areas recently devastated by natural disasters. As presenting sponsor of the NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program, UPS has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to commit to plant more than 8,000 trees - including 90 in each market where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for the remainder of 2013. Additionally, UPS will serve as presenting sponsor for the NASCAR Green Summit later this fall.(NASCAR)(4-3-2013)
NASCAR video slots take center stage at Gaming Tradeshow & Convention: Bally Technologies' new NASCAR video slots and Virtual Racing NASCAR application are taking center stage at the NIGA Indian Gaming 2013 Tradeshow & Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. March 24-27, getting ready to bring the horsepower of America's most popular spectator sport to casino floors everywhere. "We always look forward to NIGA and showcasing our newest games, systems, and interactive technology to our important partners in tribal gaming," said Ramesh Srinivasan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bally Technologies. "NIGA is the perfect stage to highlight the power of brands like NASCAR and Pawn Stars when combined with Bally's sleek slot cabinets, high-performing math, and engaging play mechanics." Srinivasan added that this year, Bally is bringing tribal operators the power of the NASCAR brand across both games and systems through the NASCAR Video Slots and Virtual Racing NASCAR, a floor-wide bonusing application that enables casinos to run a virtual race on nearly every game device - without interrupting gameplay. Bally's NASCAR innovations, along with nearly 60 unique game titles and a host of award-winning systems and interactive products, will be spotlighted in booth no. 412 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Bally's product suite is designed to optimize performance for operators and deliver unparalleled player excitement.(Casino City Times)(3-21-2013)
Sunday's flyover could be the last for a while: Sunday's military flyover before the Kobalt Tools 400 might have been the last flyover at a NASCAR race. With $85 billion in federal budget cuts possibly going into effect soon, flyovers would be grounded by the government's sequestration process, which includes about 30 percent in military budget cuts. "The Thunderbirds are expected to stand down effective April 1. (Las Vegas) is pretty much going to be, I think, the last flyover you'll see for a while from us," Wendy Varhegyi, chief of the engagement division for Air Force public affairs, told USA Today Sports. Varhegyi said the cutbacks would last at least through the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30). "And then at that point, we'll reevaluate. ... Sequestration is a 10-year problem, so we just don't know." The Air Force conducts about 1,000 flyover per year, Varhegyi said.(Sporting News)(3-11-2013)
Problems With NASCAR's High Tech Inspection Process? There is more to NASCAR's newest inspection device than meets the eye. The device, a laser system to measure particular parts of a Ford, Toyota or Chevrolet headed out to qualify or race, is causing some serious head scratching from a larger number of race teams then might be expected. Privately numerous team members are raising serious concerns over the ability of the device to be consistent from week to week. There are growing concerns transportation of the device from track to track is enough to cause issues each and every week. Publicly, no one is vocally complaining. Privately, the words are different.(see full story at RPM2Night)(3-3-2013)
NASCAR to evaluate 'Gen 6' cars: NASCAR plans to meet with Sprint Cup teams to discuss whether tweaks are needed to the new "Gen 6" car before the next restrictor plate race. "We'll do one-on-ones on that and see what they think," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, on Tuesday. "A lot of people have opinions. The racing was as old school as it gets. If there's some things we're encouraged to look at, we will. Once you get a race under your belt, even as a competitor, you would work on things once you got a race of that length under your belt." Pemberton said the main issue appeared to be the lack of movement on the inside lane. Many fans complained the race was boring due to the lack of passing. "Some of the stuff we were told is they could run 10 to 20 laps on the bottom, and then it went away on them," Pemberton said. "It was in short spurts. We know that's something they need." For about 75% of the race, the cars ran in single file on the top lane. Many drivers were frustrated about the inability to move forward when they moved to the bottom line, and that fellow competitors weren't willing to go to the bottom line with them. Pemberton said it's too early to determine whether a test will be added before the next plate race, May 5 at Talladega Superspeedway. He noted that despite their similarity in length -- 2.5 miles for Daytona, 2.66 for Talladega -- they are "so different racetracks."(ESPN)(2-27-2013)
NASCAR, Speedway to oversee Daytona NNS crash probe: An investigation into the crash that injured 28 fans when debris flew into the grandstands at Daytona International Speedway will be conducted by the track and NASCAR, and not by any outside agency. NASCAR and Speedway officials said Monday they would dedicate significant time and resources into investigating what could be done to prevent a repeat of the crash and determine if any safety improvements are needed to protect fans -- their "number one priority." The Speedway and NASCAR, which governs and sanctions stock car racing, said they have no timetable for completing the investigation. But they said no government agency would be called in nor would they be required to file reports with any public agency. NASCAR will dedicate "significant time and resources into getting the right answer," said David Higdon, NASCAR's managing director, integrated marketing communications, adding it may take days, weeks or even months to complete the review.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-26-2013)
Military cuts could limit flyovers: The military flyover for Sunday's Daytona 500 may be a rarity at NASCAR events -- and sporting events in general -- moving forward. Military spending cuts of 30 percent have forced the Air Force to trim flying hours by 18%. That will come from air shows, including the Thunderbirds aerobatic flying team that will perform prior to Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway did not have its traditional flyover for the Rolex 24, Thursday's 150-mile qualifying races, and one is not planned for Saturday's Nationwide Series race. There is a plan in place if automatic budget cuts known as "sequestration" are triggered on March 1 to suspend all Air Force flyovers immediately except for the Thunderbirds, which will be suspended on April 1. "If sequestration kicks in, we'll be looking not to support any future NASCAR races," Wendy Varhegyi, the chief of the engagement division for Air Force public affairs, told ESPN.com. Varhegyi said the suspension of flyovers would include all sports "at least through the end of the fiscal year [Sept. 30]." Luke Air Force was not allowed to provide a flyover for the March 3 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix. Instead, a private company has provided the track a B-17 that is not a part of Air Force inventory. Las Vegas Motor Speedway has an agreement with the Thunderbirds based nearby at Nellis Air Force Base for its March 10 Cup event. But Speedway Motorsports, which hosts 11 other Cup events in addition to the Vegas race, has a "tentative hold" on flyovers. NASCAR officials said they are working with the military and tracks to find a compromise that will allow flyovers to remain at events.(ESPN)(2-23-2013)
UPS, NASCAR Work to Give Racing a 'Greener' Image: UPS is rolling out a new truck used for trackside deliveries in time for the Daytona 500. Beginning with this season's opening events at Daytona International Speedway in the lead-up to next weekend's Daytona 500, the UPS Trackside Services will operate using a diesel exhaust fluid, or D.E.F. system to reduce exhaust particulate emissions. The truck pulls a trailer that is equipped with solar panels to help generate sustainable energy needed to keep its operations going. UPS also uses a miniature package car that makes pick-ups and deliveries throughout the race weekend. This year, the mini car is battery-powered. UPS has provided special pick-up and delivery services for race teams, sponsors, officials, vendors and news media at NASCAR events for years. In 2012 the company began developing plans to further reduce the environmental impact of its Trackside Services operation. The move reflects NASCAR's broader effort to develop a more environmentally friendly image.(Wall Street Journal)(2-22-2013)
Problems with NASCAR's new laser inspection system on Sunday: NASCAR experienced issues on Sunday morning with its new laser inspection platform, which measures cars at the track. The software problem had most of the Daytona 500 qualifying field backed up outside of the inspection bay for more than an hour before officials elected to return to the manual route. "Early this morning, we experienced start-up issues with the laser inspection platform ... but the two systems parallel each other," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We're working through those things right now. Inspection went along fine. We got qualifying started on schedule, and hopefully we can have it back up and running the next time we need to use it. It is a new system. We put it through a lot of testing late last year - as a parallel test at Talladega, Martinsville, Charlotte. It's been at the R&D Center. Teams have used it. Sometimes you experience these things with a new device. We've got good people working on it that know what they're doing. Hopefully we'll get resolved sooner than later."(FoxSports)(2-18-2013)
NASCAR Speedpark in Concord NC closes, could reopen elsewhere: When NASCAR SpeedPark at Concord Mills closed on Feb. 8, it opened up a space for a proposed $10 million aquarium at the site. The proposed Sea Life aquarium, which has been proposed for the old NASCAR SpeedPark site, was expected to receive approval from the Concord City Council on Thursday night for an economic development grant. Cabarrus County commissioners approved an economic development grant for the project in January, saying it would round out the tourism appeal at Concord's Exit 49 on Interstate 85. The aquarium is expected to draw as many as 350,000 additional tourists to the area each year. Already, that exit is home to Concord Mills, which reports 17 million to 18 million visits per year, and is the main drag leading to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Great Wolf Lodge, with its indoor waterpark, is another prime attraction at the exit. "As the Concord Mills Mall prepares to bring new attractions to the property, the space that is currently occupied by NASCAR SpeedPark is being recaptured and renovated. ... We are actively seeking a new location in the Charlotte market to reopen our park," NASCAR SpeedPark officials said in a statement about the closing posted on its Facebook page. NASCAR SpeedPark's proposed replacement, Sea Life, is the world's largest aquarium brand with more than 30 attractions around the world.( Independent Tribune)(2-15-2013)
NASCAR likely to make concussion test mandatory: NASCAR is on pace to make neurological baseline testing, used to determine whether there is a loss of function after a head injury, a mandatory part of the preseason physical by 2014. Vice president of race operations Steve O'Donnell told ESPN.com on Thursday that drivers are being encouraged to take the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) baseline test on a voluntary basis this year with plans to become mandatory by next year. Baseline testing already is used in the IndyCar Series and other forms of motorsports. It was brought to light in NASCAR last season when #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was forced to sit out two races in the Chase after suffering a concussion at Talladega Superspeedway. O'Donnell said the decision to move forward with baseline testing came after NASCAR officials recently met with the organization's panel of doctors and neurologists. "The decision was made that they thought we should look into this, but we really needed to educate the driver first, how decisions are made, that it's not just made on the ImPACT test [that determines if a driver should be parked]," O'Donnell said. "We're encouraging everyone to do one this year, most likely to be required prior to 2014." The ImPACT test provides a baseline for neurologists to determine brain function prior to a concussion. It is then measured against another test after a wreck or head injury to determine whether a concussion has occurred and its severity. O'Donnell said NASCAR is looking by then at the potential of having ImPACT equipment at the track that can instantly measure whether a driver has suffered a concussion. But he made it clear the test isn't the final factor in determining whether a driver should be parked. O'Donnell said plans are being made to bring the equipment to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the May All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 to help further educate drivers on how it works.(ESPN)(2-14-2013)
NASCAR limiting driver radio communication: NASCAR will limit a driver's communication to just his/her crew starting this season. Last year, NASCAR banned radio communication between drivers. Now the driver cannot talk to the crew chief or any members of other teams, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. On the analog channel that a driver uses, only his crew (those assigned to his car number) can use that channel. A driver can still talk to his team owner, who will be allowed to talk with any of the owner's drivers and crews. Many teams use digital radios-illegal for communication with the driver-to talk privately among themselves before delivering messages to the driver. The new rule is designed to make sure that drivers are focused on performance and not on switching radio channels or listening to several voices.(Sporting News)(2-14-2013)
New qualifying format should pump excitement into Duels: Even at first glance, it's obvious that changes to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying format will add two important aspects to the process -- opportunity and suspense. Nowhere will that be more in evidence than at Daytona International Speedway, where Cup teams will begin preparation for the Feb. 24 season-opening Daytona 500 this weekend. The scrapping of the top-35 rule, which guaranteed starting spots in every Cup race to the top 35 cars in the owner standings, by definition broadens the opportunity to make the field. In the case of Daytona, it also injects a level of suspense and excitement into the Budweiser Duel 150 qualifying races that's been minimized in the era of the top-35 rule.
For every Cup race this season, the 36 fastest cars will make the field. Rather than, say, 13 go-or-go-homers (non-exempt cars) competing for a maximum of eight starting spots, every team that takes to the track knows one thing. If you're among the 36 fastest, you're in the race. Period. The next six positions -- provisional starting spots -- go to the top six cars in owner points that haven't qualified on speed. The 43rd position is reserved for a past champion not other qualified, provided he participated in the Cup series during the previous season. If there's no past champion to fill the final spot, it goes to the seventh car in the owners' standings not otherwise qualified.
For the Daytona 500 and its unique qualifying format, here's what to watch: As in the past, the front row will be locked in on pole day, Sunday, Feb. 17. After time trials, the starting positions of the fastest two cars will be set, on the pole and on the outside of the front row. The pole winner will lead odd-numbered qualifiers (positions 3, 5, 7, etc.) to the green flag in the first Duel on Feb. 21. The second-place car in time trials will pace the even-number qualifiers in the second Duel.
The top six qualifiers on Sunday are locked into the race on speed no matter what, but the starting position of the third-through-sixth-place qualifiers won't be determined until the Duels are run. For the past eight seasons, with 35 cars locked in before they ever got to the race track, the functional purpose of the Duels was to set the starting order and to determine which two back markers from each race would ride shotgun on the field at the start of the Daytona 500. This year, things have changed -- dramatically. The Duels will now determine not only the starting positions of the first 32 cars but also who actually makes the race. Finish in the top 15 in your Duel, and you're in the Daytona 500 -- simple as that.
Positions 33-36 are filled by the four fastest cars from time trials that 1) aren't on the front row and 2) don't transfer from the Duels. Positions 37-42 go to the top six cars in owner points not otherwise qualified. The final spot goes to a past champion or a seventh provisional starter, as with the general procedure for all races. If the new format multiplies the suspense of the Duels from a fan's standpoint, it also will lead to some white knuckles inside the race cars. A major wreck in one of the Duels, one that involves a number of top drivers, could create havoc with the starting field.(NASCAR Wire)(2-12-2013)
Elgin Sweeper Introduces Crosswind Specialty Track Sweeper: Elgin Sweeper has introduced a modified Crosswind Specialty Track Sweeper that is set to make its debut at NASCAR racetracks around the country this racing season, beginning with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 24. The Track Sweeper plays a supporting role in a new racetrack drying initiative that features a combination of air power and vacuum suction to dry rain-soaked racetracks. The regenerative air Track Sweeper adapts features from Elgin Sweeper's highly successful Crosswind GRS (glycol recovery sweeper), a special-purpose sweeper used to vacuum liquid glycol from airport runways. This specialty sweeper includes unique features developed for racetrack sweeping and maintenance applications, such as a side air-blast nozzle, a reverse sweep system, a 20,000 CFM-rated blower and a hydraulically-driven side broom with plastic bristles.
During track testing conducted in conjunction with NASCAR last November in Daytona, this same vacuum technology proved to efficiently vacuum water from the pores of the racetrack, and worked even better with the new track-drying technology designed by the NASCAR Research and Development Center. Working together to remove moisture from the track surface, both technologies dramatically accelerated the drying time. Developed as a more effective alternative to the current track-drying method, the system, featuring the Crosswind Track Sweeper, is expected to expedite the process.
The specialty sweeper was modified with input from racetrack officials in the NASCAR circuit. Elgin Sweeper representatives - along with Jeff Miles from Key Equipment & Supply Company, an Elgin Sweeper dealer based in Kansas City, Kans. - worked with NASCAR to address track maintenance issues, as well as fire, safety, medical and security concerns. A lifelong racing enthusiast, Miles is also a lead driver for the Richard Petty Driving Experience and has logged more than 350,000 miles in NASCAR-style stock cars. Traveling to tracks across the country has given Miles an added appreciation for clean track conditions.(much more info at prlog.org and at Elgin Sweeper's facebook)(2-11-2013)
Rule changes for 2013: NASCAR officials went over many of the new rules and policies for 2013 during a meeting with the media on Thursday. Past champion's issue was among those discussed. Past Sprint Cup champions can use a past champion's provisional only once every six races this season instead of having unlimited access to provisionals as in the past. Provisional starting spots are available to drivers who don't make the field on speed under NASCAR's new qualifying rules.
Any past champion who ran at least one race the previous season starts the year with one provisional starting spot. Once a driver uses it, they must make six attempts to qualify before getting another past champion's provisional - the driver would get use of the provisional at that sixth race.
NASCAR has changed the qualifying rules for Sprint Cup in 2013. Instead of the top 35 teams being locked into a race, only seven drivers will enter a race with a guaranteed a spot.
The first 36 spots will be based on qualifying speed, then six spots go to non-qualifiers based on owner points. The final spot goes to a past champion. If there's no past champion, the final spot goes to the next driver based on owner points.
The change is only for Cup and not for the Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series. Those series have impound races and NASCAR did not want teams to feel they needed to run a qualifying setup to get into the race and then try to make race-setup adjustments on pit stops, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Thursday.
The Nationwide Series, which has cut its fields from 43 to 40 cars, will lock in the top 30 in owner points while the Camping World Truck Series will lock in the top 25 in owner points.
Among other new race weekend procedures for 2013:
" The qualifying order will be determined by random draw for Cup, while the qualifying order for Nationwide and truck will be the driver's best speed from all practice sessions, slowest to fastest.
" For all three series, the current year's owner points will be used starting with the fourth race of the season.
" For the Sprint Unlimited, the vote taken by fans at the track that day for the starting order will have three options. Those options have changed since the original announcement last month. The new options are career wins, 2012 driver points or pole speed that got them in the race.
" Gas men will not be able to make any adjustments to the car while fuel is going into the car. They can only make adjustments after the fuel can is disengaged from the gas intake. Several times last season, gas cans either remained attached to the cars or fell off the cars as the cars sped away.
NASCAR to reallocate prize money: NASCAR will reallocate prize money from the last five spots in the field this season in an attempt to make it less profitable for teams to start and park. "We moved prize money higher in the purse, so if someone's intent is solely to run a lap or two and park, the revenue stream shrinks,'' NASCAR president Mike Helton said Tuesday during an "Autoweek" panel discussion in Detroit. According to NASCAR, each position from 43rd through 39th will receive $4,000 less for each position. For example, 39th will receive $4,000 less than 38th, 40th $4,000 less than 39th, etc. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp emphasized this is not a reduction in purses, that the overall prize money in 2013 will increase slightly. He said the money taken away from the last five spots will be redistributed "throughout the remainder of the field.''(ESPN)(2-6-2013)
Some Rules Changes in 2013: NASCAR is going back in time with a series of changes related to qualifying and testing. Series officials met with Sprint Cup drivers and crew chiefs Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway to detail next year's changes.
" The top 35 rule, in existence since 2005, will be eliminated. This rule was in place to ensure teams in the top 35 in car owner points (and their sponsors) would be in the race in an era when 50 or more cars were attempting to qualify for races.
" The top 36 positions will be set by qualifying speed with the remaining spots set by provisionals, including a champion's provisional. Provisionals are based on car owner points rankings.
" A random draw will set the qualifying order. The past two seasons, the order was determined by speeds in the first practice session.
" Provisionals for the first three races next year will be based on the final car owner points standings this year instead of the first five races as in previous years.
" Each organization can test at four tracks of its choosing next season where NASCAR competes, the first time teams can do so since 2008. The series' sanctioning body banned testing in 2009, and since then teams could not test at tracks where NASCAR held races, but they could test on other tracks.(USA Today)(repost 1-27-2013)
New track dryers to be unveiled at Daytona: NASCAR will unveil next month at Daytona International Speedway a new piece of equipment that could revolutionize track drying. Twenty-four machines will be ready for Speedweeks events leading up to the Feb. 24 Daytona 500, executive Steve O'Donnell said. The equipment will rely on compressed air moving water off the track in a squeegee effect as opposed to traditional jet dryers that blow hot air onto the track. It also will include vacuums that will work in conjunction with the compressed air that would help dry a 2.5-mile track such as DIS in about 30 minutes -- 20% of the current time. DIS typically takes about 2.5 hours to dry. Last year's Daytona 500 was delayed until Monday night because of rain. "There's a few faces out here that will remember when we used to dry tracks off with just a fleet of vehicles going around the racetrack, or dragging tires behind pickup trucks,'' NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "And then someone came along with the jet dryer that expedited it quite a bit and served its purpose for a long period of time. "But in today's world with the expectations of getting the show done and getting it on, there was a high priority placed by [chairman] Brian [France] and the rest of us to come up with a way that we could expedite that. The R & D Center responded to that and come up with ideas, and this one seems to have quite a bit of validity to it.''
O'Donnell said the new device does not have a name yet. Unlike jet dryers, which were owned by individual tracks, he said the governing body has a patent on the new machine that gives it proprietary rights. O'Donnell said the equipment isn't quite to the level of efficiency that France asked for. Because of that, jet dryers also will be used at Daytona and perhaps ensuing races to help with the drying process. O'Donnell said the equipment could revolutionize the drying procedure for other venues in sports.(ESPN)(1-23-2013)
NASCAR Offers Glimpse Into Future: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France took to the podium today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame during the sanctioning body's stop on the week-long media tour, and offered fans a robust menu of reasons why 2013 is one of the most anticipated campaigns in recent memory.
The Gen-6 race car. ... Innovative technology ... And, of course, the drivers - from the rising young talents to the established stars. "This year with the new car, it adds that unbelievable excitement and anticipation," said France. "It's a great time. ... and we're looking forward to a spectacular 2013."
Anticipation and competition - these were the two overriding themes from Tuesday afternoon's NASCAR press conference as part of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. An industry collaboration between the auto manufacturers, race teams, drivers and NASCAR, the Gen-6 car was central among the topics discussed among today's speakers.
"The amount of testing that NASCAR has done with the teams to get prepared with this car, and work on very specific areas to promote side-by-side racing at tracks other than the superspeedways, has been intense," said Mike Helton, NASCAR president. "On the computer, in the wind tunnel, at the race shops, at the R&D Center and at the race tracks, there's never been as much effort put into a car to get it ready to go racing. ... For the drivers to say that we think this car is going to offer up the best racing we've seen, it's got us all going in the right direction, so we expect to see that."
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, was integral in the implementation of the Gen-6 race car. He joined France, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell and Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood on today's stage to preview the upcoming season. "I really believe we're going to see some of the most competitive, intense and exciting racing that we've seen in quite some time," Pemberton said. "We're excited about the direction we're headed with our competition."
France touched on a number of topics throughout his opening statements and the follow-up question-and-answer session with Helton. Chief among them was innovation, from the new race car to a faster, more environmentally friendly means of track drying.
"We'll be debuting ... our first generation of [a new] track drying system," France said. "We are going to do it in a much more green, carbon emission friendly way. It's going to be a spectacular thing, and all of auto racing will benefit from this as we go down the road."(NASCAR PR), see the full transcript, info on the new track drying system and images of the Daytona International Speedway's redevelopment plans on the NASCAR Press Confercence - Media Tour 2013 page.(1-23-2013)
Harris Poll: NFL Is Still King Among Sports Fans: Pro football remains the most popular sport in the U.S., followed by baseball, college football, auto racing and basketball (pro and college), according to a just-released study from global market and research firm Harris. Pro football was picked No. 1 by 34% of those surveyed, which was down from 36% last year. But even with baseball up from last year (13%), the sport is still far behind at 16%. Pro football has gone up 10% in popularity since the first such Harris Poll in 1985 while baseball has gone down 7% over that time. The Harris Poll of 2,176 adults surveyed online between December 12 and 18, 2012 by Harris Interactive.(see full story at )(1-21-2013)
NASCAR using new laser device for inspection: Along with the development of the Gen-6 race car has been the development of the inspection process. The newest development now in place is the use of a laser device which measures "40 different positions". The device, while similar to a process used in the Formula One series, is massive steps ahead. "There is no other system like this used in any other form of racing," exclaimed John Darby, Managing Director of Competition and the Director of Sprint Cup Series. The race teams have known of the impending inspection change for close to six months. The media, and those who will visit the garage area during the races are getting a first look.(see more and a video of the inspection process at RPM2Night)(1-18-2013)
NASCAR considering European races: NASCAR has revealed that it would consider hosting exhibition races in Europe to boost the profile of stock-car racing in the region. European racing is dominated by single-seaters such as Formula One, as well as touring cars, while some of the most popular stock-car series there take place on dirt tracks. George Silbermann, NASCAR's vice president of regional and touring series, says that the purpose of hosting races in Europe would be to build up interest in the market. "NASCAR would consider future exhibition race opportunities in Europe as part of a broader strategy of promoting stock-car racing in a region and supporting existing efforts like our Euro Racecar NASCAR Touring Series, which is about to embark on its second season," Silbermann told Autoweek. NASCAR's involvement with Euro Racecar explains its desire to rev-up European interest in stock-car racing.(more at AutoWeek)(1-18-2013)
NASCAR Launches State-Of-The-Art Fan And Media Engagement Center: NASCAR and HP today unveiled the new NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center presented by HP. This first-of-its-kind resource will enable NASCAR to better serve its industry, partners and fans through a cutting-edge technology platform that facilitates near real-time response and analytics of traditional, digital and social media. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and HP Enterprise Services Vice President Charles Salameh were on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the center at NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C.
"The Fan and Media Engagement Center build has been a thorough process more than a year in the making, and we are excited to see it come to life," France said. "We believe this tool has the potential to be the best of its kind in sports - the first ever to combine not only social, but also traditional and broadcast media analysis. We'll be able to use this to help our industry and business partners and better connect with NASCAR fans across the world. It's another example of our commitment to innovation."
HP collaborated with NASCAR to design and build the Fan and Media Engagement Center. The center is a showpiece on the 8th floor of NASCAR Plaza, where NASCAR's Digital team operates. Physical features of the FMEC include all-glass walls, a monitor bank of 13 47-inch HP displays, and the latest in touchscreen and AV technology. Behind the scenes, HP's custom-developed technology and services, based on its Autonomy analytics solutions, is the engine that processes a massive amount of data into relevant, actionable insights.
"The FMEC is the culmination of a collaboration between NASCAR and HP," said Salameh, vice president - Americas region, Communications, Media and Entertainment Industry, Enterprise Services, HP. "HP's integrated solution not only benefits NASCAR's complex ecosystem by allowing real-time data capture and analysis across a wide variety of media, traditional as well as digital, tailored to specific audiences within the industry."
The FMEC will provide NASCAR the ability to monitor, analyze and better understand the current media landscape in order to respond more effectively and efficiently to fans and respond more rapidly to national, local and global media. Measurement also will be a key function of the Fan and Media Engagement Center. Those capabilities will expand across qualitative and quantitative measurements, including tonality, volume, proximity and other coverage attributes in regular reports the FMEC will generate for its industry.(NASCAR)(1-15-2013)
NASCAR tests at Kennedy Space Center: Research and development teams from Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing have discovered the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility just south of Daytona on Merritt Island in Brevard County - part of the Kennedy Space Center. The 15,000-foot concrete runway, built for the Space Shuttle landing in 1984, is ideal for straight-line testing - where teams gather aerodynamic data. It's also more economically feasible than transporting cars from North Carolina to the proving grounds in Arizona. "We use the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral just because it's a long, smooth straightaway, and it's warm, so in the wintertime you can test there with pretty controlled conditions," Richard Childress Racing director of competition Dr. Eric Warren said. "You work out a relationship with those guys and pay for the use of the facilities - like any other testing facility. They have their own on-site emergency crews, so the safety side of it is really nice. It's closer (than Arizona). The weather is warmer, and it's a great wintertime alternative to going to places out West. Most of them are ovals and the straight-line facilities are up north - around Michigan and the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). We can do two straight-line segments there - as far as coast down. This place has plenty of distance."(FoxSports)(1-13-2013)
NASCAR doesn't foresee major changes after successful Daytona test: The search for speed continued Saturday during the third day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway -- among NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers with their race cars still intact. After Friday's 12-car accident during drafting practice sent many teams packing, single-car runs were the order of the day among those who stayed for the duration. On NASCAR's part, this year's season-opening test was a sharp contrast to that of 2012, when the sanctioning body spent three days tinkering with the superspeedway rules package in an attempt to break up two-car drafts and to scale down speeds that exceeded 206 mph. Even though the Cup series is transitioning to a new Gen-6 race car, the 2013 sessions required little manipulation on NASCAR's part. Average lap speeds in the draft topped out at the 199.650 mph achieved Friday afternoon by 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, and NASCAR was comfortable with the results.
"We're in the ballpark," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition. "We know the teams will go back, and they'll work and they'll bring a little bit better 'this' and better 'that.'...We're right in the ballpark, and we don't foresee any changes." Pemberton acknowledged that one consideration in designing the Gen-6 cars was breaking up the tandem racing, which was not a fan favorite. "When it was new, it was cool," Pemberton said of the aggressive two-car push-drafting. "When it was a couple races old, the coolness wore off of it. It was something that wasn't very normal for us. If you saw us last year at this time, we left this race track drafting at 206 miles an hour and went back and made rule changes based on trying to minimize the advantage of doing that (tandem drafting) and to minimize the appetite to do that, knowing that -- if it was the fastest way around -- you would do that late in the race to win the race."(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-13-2013)
Segway to target the NASCAR market: Segway Inc. announced that it's 'Teaming Up For Security' with BCM Solutions, Inc., the motorsports industry's largest security provider. BCM Solutions will deploy Segway Patrollers beginning with the 2013 and 2014 NASCAR and IndyCar race seasons to enhance its overall security efforts. Across all racing series, each season includes nearly 100 races throughout the United States.(Segway)(1-11-2013)
NASCAR will debut new track trying procedure: NASCAR will roll out a new track drying system this season that will dramatically speed up the process to get racing surfaces back to green-flag conditions following a rain shower. After NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France set a goal to improve drying times by 80 percent, the team at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., went to work on developing the new machine. "Our group in the R&D center went right to work on that," France said Tuesday night on "NASCAR Live." "We engaged third-party help and we'll have it for Daytona. We won't be at 80 percent, but we're going to be dramatically better with a whole new system on how to dry the track as much as 60 percent (faster) and we will get to the 80 percent goal." The ultimate goal is to see a superspeedway like Daytona International Speedway race-ready in 30 minutes rather than two hours and a short track like Martinsville Speedway completed in 15 minutes. France said the new air-powered machine that is followed by a vacuum system will not only be faster but better for the environment, eventually eliminating the current process of using jet dryers powered by kerosene jet fuel that's been in place since 1976. "We're patenting some technology that (uses) air pressure," France said. "Think of it as giant tanks, scuba tanks, that drive air out and blow water - or anything else - off the surface in a dramatically better way. It's a big solution. We're not (all the way) there yet, but it's ready now."(Motor Racing Network)(1-10-2013)
Study names NASCAR's Social Media Leaders: Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and #48-Jimmie Johnson are among NASCAR's strongest and most engaging users of social media, a new social media study of the NASCAR industry finds. The study - conducted by Tuckahoe Strategies, a strategic communications firm - scored drivers, teams and select NASCAR sponsors and partners on a 20-point scale. Joe Gibbs Racing topped the charts with a Social Media Score of 15 points, Hendrick trailed by one point at 14 points and Johnson scored 13 points.
Gibbs' online accounts comprise one of the broadest social media strategies for reaching fans of the sport. The team site, www.joegibbsracing.com, is up to date with timely features, and the homepage points to six social media platforms, including a mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry or Droid. The team maintains active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and FourSquare. Hendrick also has an active and diverse menu of social media platforms including a mobile app. Gibbs' social media score bested Hendrick's by a single point because of its slightly more effective home page promotion of its social media platforms.
Johnson is the most comprehensive user of social media among drivers. He reaches his audience on a broad array of platforms including: Facebook, 657,062 page likes; Twitter, 348,402 followers; YouTube, 265 subscribers; and Instagram, with an industry-leading 60,618 followers. Johnson's social media reach (the sum of all social media followers across platforms) is 1,066,347. This veritable "media machine" has a following larger than the circulation of the Los Angeles Times, which is the fourth largest newspaper in the country.
The sport's largest audience holder and content curator across the board is NASCAR. The sanctioning body regained a voice and a direct connection to its fan base this year after repossessing control of its online assets in a January 2012 agreement with Turner Sports Interactive. NASCAR's total social media reach is an astronomical 5,044,070, more than double the daily circulation of the largest U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. In fact, NASCAR commands the industry's top position in terms of audience on Facebook likes (3,239,504), Twitter followers (841,027) and YouTube subscribers (5,430). The sanctioning body also has 1,420 followers on Pinterest and a staggering 956,689 circles on Google+.(Tuckahoe Strategies)(1-10-2013)
NASCAR credit included in "fiscal cliff" deal: UPDATE: The "fiscal cliff" deal reached by the Senate and the White House on New Year's Eve, and passed in legislative form by the Senate early New Year's Day, includes many giveaways to special interests--including an extension of a perk enjoyed by "motorsports entertainment complexes" otherwise known as the "NASCAR tax credit." The provision, under section 168(i)(15) of the federal tax code, allows speedways to write off their costs over seven years. Typically, such expensing occurs over a much longer period of time, from 15 to 39 years. The cost of the NASCAR tax credit to taxpayers has been estimated at some $40 million--over and above any tax incentives provided by state and local authorities. Hollywood films also enjoy a tax incentive extension in the "fiscal cliff" deal.(Breitbart)(1-2-2013)
UPDATE: Buried in the 154-page American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was a section renewing 31 business tax extenders, including a seven-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes. The extension allows car, truck and motorcycle racing facilities across the nation to continue fully depreciating new capital assets - such as grandstands, concession stands and parking lots - over seven years. And that could be good news for the Daytona Beach area economy, an International Speedway Corp. official said Wednesday. It's a "very positive development," said Dan Houser, the company's chief financial officer, especially given the changes being proposed at the ISC-owned Daytona International Speedway. Last year, Speedway officials announced plans for a massive renovation and expansion on their 663-acre complex, including the demolition and reconstruction of the grandstands, and an entertainment complex that could include up to 2 million square feet of retail space, nightclubs and movie theaters. The measure helps keep ISC's plans on track, lessening the upfront tax hit of new construction.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-3-2012)
Rules Changes in 2013: NASCAR is going back in time with a series of changes related to qualifying and testing. Series officials met with Sprint Cup drivers and crew chiefs Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway to detail next year's changes.
" The top 35 rule, in existence since 2005, will be eliminated. This rule was in place to ensure teams in the top 35 in car owner points (and their sponsors) would be in the race in an era when 50 or more cars were attempting to qualify for races.
" The top 36 positions will be set by qualifying speed with the remaining spots set by provisionals, including a champion's provisional. Provisionals are based on car owner points rankings.
" A random draw will set the qualifying order. The past two seasons, the order was determined by speeds in the first practice session.
" Provisionals for the first three races next year will be based on the final car owner points standings this year instead of the first five races as in previous years.
" Each organization can test at four tracks of its choosing next season where NASCAR competes, the first time teams can do so since 2008. The series' sanctioning body banned testing in 2009, and since then teams could not test at tracks where NASCAR held races, but they could test on other tracks.(USA Today)(10-6-2012)
NASCAR probation ends for many: As 2013 arrives, the sins of the past year are cast away for many in NASCAR. For those who acquired penalties, they often include "probation until Dec. 31." No matter the infraction discovered in pre-race inspection, post-race examination or some other time during a race weekend, all is forgiven, but certainly not forgotten, by series officials on Dec. 31. In the new year, defending Sprint Cup champion #2-Brad Keselowski is forgiven for his frisky phone at Daytona, #24-Jeff Gordon is absolved for his actions at Phoenix (at least by NASCAR, not so much by #15-Clint Bowyer) and #78-Kurt Busch, among others, is free to pursue his quest for victory without the threat of additional sanctions. Admittedly, the phrase "NASCAR probation'' has been used as a punch line by many in the sport through the years. While the ambiguity of what happens next if someone on NASCAR probation violates the rule is maddening to fans, NASCAR has shown, at times, probation can add to a penalty.(Sports Illustrated)(1-1-2013)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Congratulations 2015 Champ Kyle Busch
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)