Drivers say qualifying format creates dangers UPDATE: NASCAR's new knockout qualifying format has been universally hailed as more exciting and interesting than the old single-car system. But for the second week in a row, drivers also said it's extremely dangerous. Since the only legal way for teams to cool their cars is to drive slowly around the track, there's a dramatic speed difference between drivers making qualifying runs and those driving as if they're in a construction zone.
"Riding around the bottom - we've got to do it, it's the only way to keep the engine cool - but that has got to be the most dangerous thing I've ever done in racing," #55-Brian Vickers said after Friday's session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "(#36-Reed Sorenson) went by me at 170 mph faster than I was going. Had he slipped or hit me, I'd be done. It would be so bad."
Teams need to cool their engines between attempts at fast laps in order to keep their cars from overheating. Teams are not allowed to cool their cars on pit road in between runs because it would require opening the hood to attach a cooling box. NASCAR does not want teams to make adjustments on pit road during the knockout sessions and since policing every open hood would be difficult, it is not permitted. As a result, the disparity in speed created some dicey situations - several of which occurred again Friday.
#15-Clint Bowyer, who qualified third, said he nearly collided with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. during one run and called for a change due to the "dangerous" difference in speed. "We've got to stop that," he said. "...I about smoked him. That's not the guy you want to hit at a 140 mph deficit. (A collision is) going to hurt me and it might hurt Dale Jr., and that would be bad for business."
#1-Jamie McMurray, who was among the drivers to raise the safety issue at Phoenix, said he texted NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton a few days ago and was told, "Let's give it a couple weeks and just see what plays out." [NASCAR spokesman Kerry] Tharp echoed that sentiment in a statement to USA TODAY Sports on Friday. "We're only two race weekends in with the new qualifying format," he said. "It's something new and it's something that will take time to get used to. We will continue to look at it."(USA Today)(3-8-2014)
UPDATE: NASCAR officials say they don't expect to make any changes to the new qualifying process before NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams arrive in Bristol next week for the Food City 500 race weekend. Several drivers expressed concerns about close calls with slower cars idling around on the apron to cool their engines during Friday's qualifying here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "We're going to sit for a while, field all the questions and see what happens," Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition and racing development, said Saturday morning. "It's a very small snapshot of qualifying so far." Pemberton said officials had spoken with drivers that voiced concerns about the process. "We're listening," he said. "We told them it's too early to tell (if tweaks are necessary). "Other than the cars running around on the bottom and you had one or two complain that it was a close call ... again, we're listening to them, but we want to take a better snapshot of it."(NASCAR.com)(3-9-2014)
Drivers want NASCAR to let teams cool cars during qualifying: NASCAR's new knock-out qualifying format is more interesting than its former single-car qualifying format. But it's definitely still a work in progress. For example, one of the more notable instances from [the] session was drivers turning slow laps and cutting their motors on the track in an attempt to cool their cars down enough for one more hot lap. Under the rules of the new format, teams are not allowed to cool the cars down on pit road. The slow laps made for a bit of a lull in the session, but more importantly, they're a potential safety issue. #1-Jamie McMurray, who qualified third on the inside of Row 2 for Sunday's event, believed that the sanctioning body should consider allowing the teams to be able to cool their cars in the pits. Logano, perhaps noting the down time in the session, chimed in as well: "The cars would also go out more often. It takes so long to cool, so if you can do it in five minutes and go back out, there would be more cars on the race track to do a hot lap."
As for NASCAR's viewpoint, vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said that the reason for not having cool-down units used was to ensure that the hoods would stay closed and illegal adjustments to the car would not be made. "Like everything we've been able to do the last 4-6 months, we'll continue to talk to the drivers and teams, and solicit feedback on how, if anything, we can improve," he said. "We heard some of the same [feedback] and we also heard drivers within the last 30 minutes stop by and say, 'Don't let anybody talk you into hooking up the cool-down units.' Because they feel it's part of the strategy of how much tape you run, how many laps you run, how many times you run in the entire session. There are a whole menu of things that people want to work on and not work on."(NBC Sports)(3-1-2014)
NASCAR comments on veto of Arizona bill: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. The controversial measure faced a surge of opposition in recent days from large corporations and athletic organizations, including Delta Air Lines, the Super Bowl host committee and Major League Baseball.(CNN)
NASCAR Statement: "We are pleased with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's veto of SB1062. NASCAR actively strives to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the motorsports industry. NASCAR has a zero tolerance policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, race, gender, national origin, age, color, disability, religion, or other factors which deny the essential humanity of all people."(NASCAR)(2-27-2014)
OCESA signs extension to continue operating NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series: For the past decade, NASCAR and OCESA have established the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series as the national championship for racing in the country. Tuesday's announcement establishes the framework for them to build upon that success. NASCAR and CIE, the leading live entertainment company in Latin America and third biggest live entertainment promoter of the world, have reached a 10-year landmark agreement for the Mexico-based Toyota Series to continue to operate under the NASCAR banner through the 2023 season. The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series is the premier auto racing series in Mexico. It traditionally runs a 15-race schedule, and for the second year in a row will kick off the season at Phoenix International Raceway. In another significant moment, Deportes Telemundo will air NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series' Toyota 120 live on mun2, a first for NASCAR and the Mexico-based series. The 2014 season will mark the 11th overall for the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, which has been a NASCAR-sanctioned series since 2007. The inaugural year featured just one oval, while recent years have had just one or two road courses. This is emblematic of the shift the series has undergone under the NASCAR banner.(NASCAR)(2-26-2014)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series WINNER Decals New for 2014: Last month, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series would change its championship format to put an increased emphasis on winning each and every week. Along with the spoils of victory - including a likely spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup - the winning driver / team will receive a WINNER decal to display on their car. All NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners now will receive the decal, to be placed next to the driver's name above the door, following a victory. The first recipient will be the winner of the 56th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday.(NASCAR)(2-23-2014)
NASCAR looking into limiting drivers' double duty: NASCAR said Saturday it is looking at potentially limiting the number of second- and third-tier event Sprint Cup regulars can run during the season. Officials have already talked about a potential rules adjustments. Maybe even a change. "We're definitely aware of the fan messaging we get," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president of racing operations. "There's a balance, especially talking to the tracks, of having a Cup driver or two in the Trucks or Nationwide. ... We have had discussions with the race teams about ownership and should Cup drivers get points and we've looked at should they be limited in the number of races. It's something we are really studying."(Associated Press)(2-23-2014)
NASCAR's Highest Paid Drivers 2014: NASCAR driver salaries have been shaved in recent years with fewer dollars available as sponsors cut back on their financial commitments to teams. Drivers that once made $4-6 million in salary are getting re-signed to deals for $3 million in some cases. Guys on poorly funded teams are lucky to make seven figures. Licensing and endorsement money has also dried up for all but the very elite drivers. Endorsement deals that once paid $500,000 a clip are now $250,000 and many have disappeared completely. But for the sport's stars, the paychecks are nearly as big as ever and can reach eight figures in salary alone. The 10 highest-paid drivers pulled down $170 million in 2013 in cumulative salary, endorsements and their share of winnings and licensing income.
Leading the way for the sixth straight year is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who earned $25.6 million in 2013 by Forbes' count. Earnhardt's licensing income is down significantly from five years ago when he was making $30 million a year, but he is still the sport's biggest star with the biggest salary, as well as the top licensing and endorsement income, according to sources. Earnhardt's #88 Chevy carries the most expensive real estate in the sport. The Army National Guard spent $30 million in 2013 on sponsoring 20 races on the #88 car and activating around the sponsorship. Hendrick Motorsports entered the past two seasons with 13 races to sell on Earnhardt's car, but even if owner Rick Hendrick has to pick up the tab on a couple of races, the sponsorship revenue for Earnhardt's car is still the envy of the sport.
#48-Jimmie Johnson, ranks No. 2 with estimated earnings of $24.8 million last year. Johnson won his sixth Sprint Cup title, which carried bonuses and special awards of $5.8 million. Johnson's total prize money haul of $14.7 is twice as much as Earnhardt, but Johnson's endorsements and licensing income lag behind. #24-Jeff Gordon in third earning $18.2 million in 2013. His merchandise was the sport's second best seller, behind Earnhardt, in 2013, according to multiple sources. Gordon also benefits from his ownership stake in the #48 car. NASCAR's golden girl, Danica Patrick, ranks No. 9 with earnings of $13.5 million. See full report at Forbes.com.(2-22-2014)
The Most Valuable NASCAR Teams 2014: Thirty years ago Rick Hendrick launched All-Star Racing with five employees and 5,000 square feet of workspace. Geoff Bodine raced the fledgling outfit's sole NASCAR Cup entry in the #5 car and finished ninth in the season long standings, including three victories. The company was rebranded Hendrick Motorsports the following year and a racing dynasty was born. Hendrick Motorsports today carries more than 500 employees in 430,000 square feet of workspace across a 140 acre campus in Concord, N.C. It has racked up 218 victories and a record 11 season titles in Sprint Cup, plus an additional 52 wins and four championships in the Nationwide and Truck series. The success has propelled Hendrick to the top of the NASCAR food chain. The team is worth $348 million, by Forbes' count, twice as much as any other NASCAR squad.
Joe Gibbs Racing ranks No. 2 with a value of $171 million, up 2% from last year. Roush Fenway Racing ranks No. 3 with a value of $157 million, down 6%. The team making the biggest jump is Stewart-Haas Racing, which ranks fourth with a value of $148 million, up 20%. #5 is Richard Childress Racing at $128 million; #6 is Team Penske at $108 million; #7 is Michael Waltrip Racing at $80 million; #8 is Chip Ganassi Racing at $69 million; #9 is Richard Petty Motorsports at $50 million. See full report at Forbes.com.(2-22-2014)
NASCAR Rule Book Reveals More on Infractions: The new NASCAR Sprint Cup Rule Book provides more details on what type of infractions can lead to particular penalties and includes a list of members of the Appeals Panels that reveals four new members. This year's Rule Book is 208 pages, 16 pages more than last year's version. The book lists 34 people in the pool for the appeals panels. There were 48 in the pool last year. The Rule Book also provides more explanation of its penalty structure. NASCAR's new deterrence system divides infractions into warnings and penalties labeled from P1 (least severe) to P6 (most severe). The Rule Book states that if a team receives two warnings during an event or two warnings during two consecutive events, then that may result in a P1 penalties that could include the team having the last choice in pit selection, reduction of track time in practice or qualifying or be selected for post-race inspection, among various possibilities. See full report and much more info at Motor Racing Network.(2-13-2014)
NASCAR Taps Military Veteran As Director, Touring And Weekly Communications: NASCAR announced several personnel moves within its Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) department, including the hiring of Tom Bryant, a 20-year U.S. Army veteran, to a new position of Director, Touring and Weekly Communications. Bryant is a recently retired Lt. Colonel, who completed his service after a decorated career in the Infantry and Special Operations. He most recently served as director of public relations for the U.S. Special Operations Command in Kabul, Afghanistan.
"Tom brings a wealth of communications experience under a variety of different environments to NASCAR," said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR chief communications officer. "He grew up around short tracks and has a life-long passion for racing. As we increase our focus on the grassroots racing programs that are so instrumental to developing the next generation of drivers and fans, securing a leader for this position was our top offseason priority. Given NASCAR's long-standing commitment to the U.S. military, we're proud to add Tom to our team."
Bryant, an Alabama native, officially begins March 3 and will be based out of the Daytona Beach, Fla., office. He will report to David Higdon, managing director, integrated marketing communications, and work closely with George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of touring and weekly series, as well as a number of other NASCAR executives whose business units directly are impacted by the touring and weekly series.
Prior to his most recent service in Afghanistan, Bryant held the following positions with the U.S. Army:
ˇ 2010-2012 - Director of Public Relations, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
ˇ 2008-2010 - Director of American Forces Network South, Vicenza, Italy
ˇ 2006-2008 - Chief of Media Relations and Public Information, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York
ˇ 2004-2006 - Director of Public Relations, 101st Airborne, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky
ˇ Prior to 2004 - Infantry Officer, U.S. Army
In addition, NASCAR announced the hiring of Adé Herbert as coordinator, Fan and Media Engagement Center. A graduate of Fordham University in New York who served in the U.S. Navy from 1993-97, Herbert participated in the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program and worked with Rev Racing for three years on its marketing and public relations initiatives. Herbert will be based in NASCAR's Charlotte, N.C., office.
NASCAR also made several Integrated Marketing Communications promotions heading into the 2014 season:
Kurt Culbert has been promoted to senior director, stakeholder communications
Jayme Avrit has been promoted to senior manager, stakeholder communications
Matt Nordby has been promoted to senior manager, broadcast and entertainment communications
Alex Moore has been promoted to senior coordinator, content communications
NASCAR evaluates sponsorship: NASCAR has transformed its research and insights capabilities, giving the racing-car circuit's commercial partners - like Coca-Cola - a deeper insight into return on investment than ever before. Sean Doherty, NASCAR director/digital and social-media engagement, told an American Marketing Association (AMA) webcast audience: "The Coca-Cola Co. came to us and wanted a brand analysis for each of their drivers. They wanted share for each driver; how each one engaged with fans; and the size of their social footprint. They wanted to be able to activate their brand against a track, a race, or off site as well." Stepping up to that challenge, said Doherty, "We had to transition from a PR department to a fully-integrated marketing communications model. We took a deep dive into the industry's position relative to digital and social media. We researched the way that fans experienced our events. And we looked at the way people consumed other sports and entertainment properties. We searched for growth markets to attract new fans to the sport. And we also took a critical look at our current portfolio of drivers." NASCAR found a partner to give it the tools required to make this transition, as information technology group Hewlett-Packer designed and created the Fan and Media Engagement Center. This research facility features 13 screens of 46 inches in size, as well as three work stations and the analytical tools NASCAR needs to help race-car teams, tracks, sponsors, broadcast partners process more data faster. The facility provided Coca-Cola with the insight it needed, as well as securing engagement from a group of other Fortune 100 companies, including Sprint, Goodyear Tires, MillerCoors and ExxonMobil.(Warc)(2-11-2014)
NASCAR and ACORE Announce Partnership: At the Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center in Arlington, Va., NASCAR and the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) announced a multi-year partnership that designates the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit as NASCAR's newest Official Green Partner. A member-based 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, ACORE is dedicated to building a more secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. With a focus on technology, finance and policy, ACORE promotes all renewable energy technologies for the production of electricity, fuels, heat and hydrogen. Lockheed Martin is sponsoring ACORE in this partnership; the companies share a commitment to promoting energy innovation, sustainability and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
"Our new partnership with ACORE exemplifies NASCAR's commitment to expand the reach and scope of our Green platform," said Dr. Mike Lynch, NASCAR vice president of green innovation. "This collaboration will allow us to implement forward-thinking initiatives that are designed to educate our industry and fans about the benefits of putting environmentally responsible practices in place."
NASCAR now boasts the three largest green programs in sports: renewable energy, recycling and clean air. According to a 2013 study conducted on the Official NASCAR Fan Council, three out of four avid NASCAR fans are aware of "NASCAR Green" (72%) and recognize it as showing NASCAR cares about the environment (77%).
On the renewable energy front, NASCAR surpassed five million competition miles last year across its three national series on Sunoco Green E15, a biofuel blended with 15 percent ethanol made from American-grown corn. A study commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Toluna in 2013 shows avid NASCAR fans are nearly +50% more likely than non-fans to understand ethanol is a renewable resource. NASCAR also has the largest renewable energy stadium project in the world, Pocono Raceway, which powers more than 250 homes in the region.
"America has always thrived on innovation and grit, and the renewable energy industry in particular has had dramatic successes, building up a new energy infrastructure, and bringing down costs in a short period of time," said ACORE CEO and President Michael Brower. "Through the educational outreach of this partnership, we want to ensure the next generation of skilled workers in renewable energy is well equipped to create a more prosperous American future built on clean, renewable energy."
Sponsored by Lockheed Martin, ACORE will activate its NASCAR partnership with selected at-track activities in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway in July; Chicagoland Speedway in September; and Kansas Speedway in October. ACORE will provide educational tools about renewable energy and sustainability and an on-site membership registration. ACORE will also play a role in NASCAR's month-long Race To Green Campaign in April, which will highlight the accomplishments of green programs that NASCAR, the industry and a wide range of partners have in place to help reduce the environmental impact of the sport.
"At Lockheed Martin, we've been committed to providing innovative energy solutions for decades; we are thrilled to now work alongside ACORE and NASCAR to educate and inspire fans to go green," said Frank Armijo, vice president of energy solutions at Lockheed Martin. "By helping fans learn more about renewable energy, we can help build a strong, sustainable future."(NASCAR)(2-10-2014)
Sprint Cup officials explain rule changes ahead of Daytona 500: On Thursday, NASCAR competition officials held their version of "Meet the Press" at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C. The atmosphere was cordial and conducive to discussion. Some of the more important explanations included the claim that the new Chase points system was more than three years in the making. Bonus points after Richmond count only in the first round of the Chase. Thereafter, pre-Chase bonus points will not be counted after each of the final resets. Awarding more points to winners was considered and discarded because it might create a runaway situation. In other words, NASCAR didn't want the Sprint Cup title to be clinched at any point before the series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
As for the new qualifying rules, announced before last week's media tour, we learned that, at first, many crew chiefs were against permission to make any changes to the cars in between sessions. But, after careful consideration, they lobbied for certain concessions, like changing tape (changing downforce), wedge alterations (for handling) and other minor changes. Flat tires in qualifying? NASCAR officials said one scuff (or scuffed-in) tire, not a matched set.
Also, though the qualifying schedule runs less than one hour when you add up the length of the knockout sessions, if all things go smoothly in the three-segment shootout, the television window will more likely go 90 minutes to account for breaks. One journalist asked about explaining to fans what happens in the case that the fastest lap is set in segment one -- perhaps even a track record -- but someone else gets the pole? NASCAR said it's the media's job to explain that.
As for the penalty system -- now known as the deterrent system -- the graphics published last week are a guide, but not a final, final answer. NASCAR always reserves the right to invoke its "EIRI" rule, also known as "except in rare instances."
Speaking of rules, at some point this year the rules will go electronic, meaning all teams will have instant access to technical updates.(AutoWeek)(2-7-2014)
NASCAR Installs Five Eaton EV Charging Stations At Charlotte Offices: At the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C., today, officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), NASCAR and Sprint Corp. announced the companies' participation in the Department's Workplace Charging Challenge - a collaborative effort to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging. The Challenge also supports the broader efforts of the Department's EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to make plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) affordable and convenient for the American family.
"As the market for electric vehicles continues to grow, partners in the Workplace Charging Challenge are giving drivers more transportation options that save money and benefit the environment," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.
As part of today's announcement, NASCAR unveiled five Eaton Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its Charlotte location, bringing the total number of EV charging stations to 20 across NASCAR facilities located in Daytona Beach, Concord, Charlotte and at Michigan International Speedway. The charging stations power electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles of NASCAR employees and guests. Last year, NASCAR entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the DOE to jointly promote clean, efficient energy technologies that strengthen U.S. competitiveness. NASCAR's participation in the Workplace Charging Challenge is the latest example of these ongoing collaborative efforts to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy economy.
"Working with the Department of Energy to help build out an EV charging infrastructure was critical given its benefits which include lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving public health, increasing energy security and lowering operating cost per mile," said Dr. Mike Lynch, NASCAR vice president of green innovation. "Our commitment to better the environment has positioned NASCAR as the leader in sports sustainability, and we hope to influence other partners to follow our lead by joining the challenge."
Through the Workplace Charging Challenge, Sprint is installing an electric vehicle charging station in each of the 14 parking garages on its headquarters campus in Overland Park, Kansas. Each station will have the capability to charge two cars at once and will be available to Sprint employees, contractors, campus tenants and visitors. Additionally, four of the stations, funded by Kansas City Power & Light, will be available for public use. Installation has already begun and all of the stations should be ready to use by the end of March.
"Sprint is proud to support the U.S. Department of Energy's EV Everywhere vision by joining The Workplace Charging Challenge. It is also a pleasure to make this announcement today with fellow challenge member and long-term partner, NASCAR," said Gene Agee, Sprint vice president of procurement and real estate. "This year, more than a dozen electric vehicle charging stations will be installed at Sprint's headquarters campus, benefiting employees, contractors, campus tenants and visitors. The stations are enabled by Sprint's mobile broadband technology to monitor and control use."
More than 55 employers have already committed to the Workplace Charging Challenge, including a number of NASCAR Official Partners such as 3M, Coca-Cola Company, Ford Motor Company and General Motors. Find additional information on the Workplace Charging Challenge at www.electricvehicles.energy.gov.(NASCAR)(2-7-2014)
NASCAR Announces Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Format Change: NASCAR announced a new championship format today that will put greater emphasis on winning races all season long, expands the current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field to 16 drivers, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion. "We have arrived at a format that makes every race matter even more, diminishes points racing, puts a premium on winning races and concludes with a best-of-the-best, first-to-the-finish line showdown race - all of which is exactly what fans want," said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. "We have looked at a number of concepts for the last three years through fan research, models and simulations, and also maintained extensive dialogue with our drivers, teams and partners. The new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be thrilling, easy to understand and help drive our sport's competition to a whole new level."
Changes announced by France to the championship format include:
- A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup - a change that will put an unprecedented importance on winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race all season long
- Expanding the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers, with those drivers advancing to what now will be known as the NASCAR Chase Grid
- The number of championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship will decrease after every three Chase races, from 16 to start in the Chase Grid; 12 after Chase race No. 3; eight after Chase race No. 6; and four after Chase race No. 9
- The first three races of the Chase (27-29) will be known as the Challenger Round
- Races 30-32 will be known as the Contender Round
- Races 33-35 will be the Eliminator Round and race No. 36 will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship
- A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Chase race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next Chase round
- Four drivers will enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup: The top 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the NASCAR Chase Grid - provided they have finished in the top 30 in points and attempted to qualify for every race (except in rare instances). The 16th Chase position will go to the points leader after race No. 26, if he/she does not have a victory. In the event that there are 16 or more different winners over 26 races, the only winless driver who can earn a Chase Grid spot would be the points leader after 26 races.
If there are fewer than 16 different winners in the first 26 races, the remaining Chase Grid positions will go to those winless drivers highest in points. If there are 16 or more winners in the first 26 races, the ties will first be broken by number of wins, followed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points.
As was implemented in 2011, prior to the start of the Chase, all Chase Grid drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races.
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Structure After the third Chase race, the Chase Grid will be left with 12 drivers. After the sixth Chase race, the field will drop to eight drivers, and following the ninth Chase race, only four drivers will remain in championship contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title.
The first round (races 27-29) will be called the Challenger Round. If a driver in the Chase Grid wins a Challenger Round race, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-12 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 3,000.
The second round (races 30-32) will be called the Contender Round. Likewise, if a driver in the top 12 in points wins a race in the Contender Round, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-8 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 4,000.
The third round (races 33-35) will be called the Eliminator Round. If a driver in the top eight in points wins a race in the Eliminator Round, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-4 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 5,000.
Additionally, drivers who are eliminated in the Contender and Eliminator Rounds will have their points readjusted. Each eliminated driver will return to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (plus any regular season wins bonus points), with their accumulated points starting with race No. 27 added. This will allow all drivers not in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title to continue to race for the best possible season-long standing, with final positions fifth-through-16th still up for grabs.
Four Drivers, First-to-the-Finish Championship Finale The 36th and final race of the season will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Simply stated, the highest finisher in that race among the remaining four eligible drivers will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. Bonus points for laps led will not apply in the season finale, so the official finishing position alone will decide the champion.
All rules outlined above also apply to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner championship structure.(NASCAR)(1-30-2014)
Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Format Change FAQ: NASCAR Q&A about the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup:
Q. Does this new Chase format emphasize winning?
A. Absolutely. The easiest way to make the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is to win. And winning is also the fastest way to advance in the Chase and become one of the four drivers competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Q. How will the Chase Grid drivers be selected?
A. Positions 1-16 on the Chase Grid will be determined by the drivers with the greatest number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins after the first 26 races. However, the 16th position is reserved for the points leader if he/she does not have a win.
Q. How will the Chase Grid be seeded?
A. All drivers will have their points total reset to 2,000 points. Drivers receive 3 additional bonus points for each win during the fir st 26 races.
Q. Is there a minimum points standing that a driver who records a win during the first 26 races must achieve to make the Chase Grid?
A. Yes. A driver must be in the Top 30 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points following the first 26 races AND have attempted to qualify for all of the first 26 races.
Q. What if a driver is prevented from competing in one or more of the first 26 races due to injury or illness?
A. NASCAR, for rare instances, can waive the requirement of attempting to qualify for all of the first 26 races as long as the driver is in the Top 30 in points.
Q. Which races are the advancement races?
A. Once the field is reset after the 26th event, there are advancement races following the 29th event (Dover); 32nd event (Talladega); and 35th event (Phoenix). There will be four drivers competing for the Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead.
Q. Will lap leader bonus points still be applied?
A. In all but the final race, bonus points for laps led still will be awarded in the Challenger, Contender and Eliminator Rounds. However, at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, the four drivers will start the race tied and there will be no bonus points .for laps led, etc. The highest finisher among that group will be the champion.
Q. What happens to a Chase Grid driver's points if he/she doesn't advance to the next round?
A. Drivers who don't advance to the next round will have their point totals reset to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (with any regular-season wins bonus points), plus the additional points they've earned during the Chase.(NASCAR)(1-30-2014)
Sprint Media Tour kicks off Monday: After a week of industry news and media opportunities with teams, tracks, sponsors and drivers, the Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway culminates with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France's State of the Sport on Thursday in the Great Hall of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "This four-day event provides media outlets across the country and around the world with newsworthy content as fans gear up for the 2014 NASCAR season," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It takes a lot of support and cooperation from Sprint, the race teams and NASCAR to make it possible, and we've been proud to produce this preseason kickoff for more than 30 years. I'm always as excited as our fans to hear what the drivers and owners have to say about the upcoming season." The schedule is:
Monday, Jan 27: Press conferences by Stewart-Haas Racing, Leavine Family Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing
Tuesday, Jan 28: Press conferences by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Richard Childress Racing, Furniture Row Racing, and Hendrick Motorsports
Wednesday, Jan 29: Press conferences by Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Front Row Motorsports, Wood Brothers Racing, and Team Penske. That evening is the NASCAR Hall of Fame post-induction ceremony
Thursday, Jan 30: Press conferences by Michael Waltrip Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, followed by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France's State of the Sport.(NASCAR.com), Events will be streamed live at NASCAR.com.(1-27-2014)
Auto Racing is fourth most popular sport: Pro football is the most popular sport in America for at least the 30th straight year. That's according to a survey taken this month by the Harris Poll, which has been asking adult fans, ages 18 and over, about their favorite sport since 1985. In 2014, 35 percent of fans call the NFL their favorite sport, followed by Major League Baseball (14 percent), college football (11 percent), auto racing (7 percent) [not specifically NASCAR], the NBA (6 percent), the NHL (5 percent) and college basketball (3 percent). In 1985, the first year the poll was taken, the NFL bested MLB by just one percentage point (24 to 23 percent), but since then interest in baseball has fallen while the NFL has experienced a huge rise in popularity. Nine percent fewer fans call baseball their favorite sport over the 30-year span, the biggest drop of any sport. The polling numbers suggest that the sport hasn't been able to recover from a popularity standpoint from 1994, when a strike forced the cancellation of the World Series. One other significant drop was in professional golf. Throughout Tiger Woods' pro career, which began in 1996, no less four percent of the U.S. adult population called golf their favorite sport. But since 2010, the first year after Woods' extramarital affair scandal, only two percent of Americans have called it their favorite sport.(ESPN.com)(1-27-2014)
New Qualifying Format announced: In a move aimed toward enhancing the fan experience watching at the track and at home, NASCAR has announced a new group qualifying format for its three national series that is more compelling, more closely emulates actual on-track competition and underlines the sport's on-going commitment to innovation.
At tracks measuring 1.25 miles in length or larger, qualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award will consist of three rounds:
• The first qualifying elimination round will be 25 minutes in duration and includes all cars/trucks. The 24 cars/trucks that post the fastest single lap from the first qualifying round will advance to the second round.
• The remaining cars/trucks will be sorted based on their times posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order.
• The second qualifying elimination round will be 10 minutes in duration and the 12 cars/trucks that post the fastest single lap time will advance to the third and final round. The fastest remaining cars/trucks earn positions 13th through 24th based on their times posted in qualifying in descending order.
• The third and final qualifying round will be five minutes in duration and the fastest single lap time will determine positions 1st through 12th in descending order.
• There will be a five-minute break between each qualifying round.
At tracks measuring less than 1.25 miles, qualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award will consist of two rounds:
• The first qualifying elimination round will be 30 minutes in duration and includes all cars/trucks. The 12 cars/trucks that post the fastest single lap time from the first qualifying round will advance to the second and final round.
• The remaining cars/trucks will be sorted based on their times posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order.
• There will be a 10-minute break between the two qualifying rounds.
• The second and final qualifying round will be 10 minutes in duration and the fastest single lap time posted will determine positions 1st through 12th in descending order.
The new qualifying format does not apply to the Daytona 500, which will preserve its historic and unique qualifying format. Additionally, it does not apply to non-points NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora Speedway. NASCAR previewed the concept of group qualifying with its national series teams late last fall and expects the new format will be a well-received improvement by its fans, competitors, tracks, sponsors and media partners. "We believe the timing is right for a new qualifying format across our three national series," said Robin Pemberton, vice president for competition and racing development. "This style of group qualifying has all the makings of being highly competitive and more engaging to our fans in the stands and those watching on television and online. For the drivers and teams, we believe this new qualifying will fuel even greater competition leading into the events. Additionally, it provides our tracks, broadcasters and other key partners with a greater opportunity to develop more entertaining content for our race weekends."(NASCAR)(1-22-2014)
NASCAR considering changes to the Chase, points system: NASCAR is planning a vast restructuring of the points system in its premier Sprint Cup Series that would greatly emphasize winning races and feature eliminations in its Chase playoff system, according to multiple sources briefed on the plan this week. In addition to expanding the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers, a win in the season's first 26 races would virtually ensure a driver entry into the championship Chase. If there were more than 16 winners, the 16 with the most wins and highest in points would gain entry.
Once the Chase field was set, a round of eliminations - similar to the NCAA tournament - would take place after the third, sixth and ninth race of the Chase, culminating with the championship determined by a winner-takes-all season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Under the proposed system - which could still change before an expected announcement later this month - winning would become virtually a necessity to make the Chase and win the championship.
According to sources briefed on the proposal on Friday, 16 teams would make the Chase, with positions first going to full-time series contenders who won a race through the first 26 races of the season. Should 16 drivers not win races, the remaining slots would be filled by the drivers highest in points.
Once the field is set for the Chase and re-seeded, the four lowest in points among Chase contenders would be eliminated from title contention after the third, sixth and ninth race in the Chase. The four remaining contenders would enter the season finale reset with the same amount of points. The driver who earned the most points in the season finale would be the series champion.
Participants have been told changes could still occur in the format but the proposal addressed this week was the direction NASCAR was now seemingly headed.(Charlotte Observer)
NASCAR Statement: "NASCAR has begun the process of briefing key industry stakeholders on potential concepts to evolve its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship format. This dialogue is the final phase of a multi-year process that has included the review of extensive fan research, partner and industry feedback and other data-driven insights. NASCAR has no plans to comment further until the stakeholder discussions are complete. We hope to announce any potential changes for the 2014 season to our media and fans very soon."(NASCAR)(1-18-2014)
NASCAR, manufacturers talk tech at Detroit auto show: NASCAR, manufacturers and teams have collaborated to make a handful of changes to their cars for the coming season, and though many of the tweaks may be small -- they could wind up paying big dividends. Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development, said cars will be closer to the ground at all but the fastest of tracks the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits. He was among the panelists for Wednesday's Tech Talk forum at Cobo Center, home of the 2014 North American International Auto Show. Other changes include a steeper rear spoiler, squaring of the front splitter and slightly higher trim of the rear fascia, but Stefanyshyn said those alterations probably will be harder to spot.
The lack of severe changes comes a year after the series began running the Gen-6 race car, the result of a collaboration between NASCAR and the three manufacturers that field NASCAR Sprint Cup cars. Jamie Allison of Ford Racing, David Wilson of Toyota Racing Development and Jim Campbell of Chevy Performance Vehicles and Motorsport also were panelists, and all three said that sense of collaboration still exists -- even though all three nameplates want to be first to the checkered flag.
Two of the most enlightening tidbits from the discussion included Allison noting that a lack of testing time means simulators are used more and more to prepare cars for different tracks. In many cases, he said, the driver's first time in the car on a new track is with a setup prepared with extensive computer help.
A variety of metrics, Stefanyshyn added, also are used to measure the flow and general competitiveness of a race. A variety of factors, including the number of passes for the lead and the distance between the first and fifth, 10th or 15th cars in the running order, are among the factors NASCAR uses to grade the overall entertainment factor in a race.(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-16-2014)
NASCAR-themed car wash: A business with a name tied to high-speed auto racing is scheduled to open this month in Elmwood Park, IL, hoping to attract lots of cars to looking for a speedy wash. The owners of NASCAR Car Wash, located at 7525 W. Grand Ave., are hoping their business will capitalize on the high traffic along Grand Avenue. Dean Tomich, who runs the day-to-day operations of NASCAR Car Wash, headquartered in Joliet, thinks they made the right choice. He said after looking at several communities, Elmwood Park seemed like a good location to expand the business. The company has other NASCAR Car Washes in Illinois and Michigan and is planning to expand into other states. The NDP Group holds the license to build the NASCAR Car Wash brand.(Elm Leaves/Sun-Times)(1-14-2014)
Changes Coming to Cup qualifying: The Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series each will change its qualifying format this season, doing away with single-car runs, NASCAR confirmed Friday. Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition, announced the change but would not reveal details. He said that format changes will be announced later this month - among several moves NASCAR is expected to announce throughout January. Pemberton said that the changes in both series qualifying formats would include the season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR won't say if the format will change to qualifying races, group qualifying, the knock-out qualifying system used in Formula 1 or some other format instead of running one car at a time on the track. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series also is expected to have changes made to its qualifying procedure this season. Pemberton said the Daytona 500 qualifying format for the Cup series will remain the same with single-car runs on Feb. 16 on the Budweiser Duel at Daytona on Feb. 20.(Motors Racing Network)(1-11-2014)
NASCAR Names Richard Buck NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Managing Director: NASCAR has named Richard Buck as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series managing director. Buck will serve in the role held the past 12 years by John Darby, who will remain at NASCAR as managing director, competition. Buck and NASCAR's two other national series managing directors - Wayne Auton (NASCAR Nationwide Series) and Chad Little (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series) - now will report directly to Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president, competition and racing development. Buck currently serves as vice president, racing operations for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), a role he will maintain through the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona (Jan. 25-26), at which time he will assume his new position. In addition to his role with IMSA, Buck has been serving as the managing director of NASCAR's Touring Series, the all-important grassroots racing program that has developed numerous top-flight NASCAR drivers over the years.
"Richard Buck has demonstrated a deep and unique knowledge of motorsports, and his versatility and innovative approach to competition should serve the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage extremely well," said Mike Helton, NASCAR president. "His wide range of expertise will be of great benefit to our premier series. NASCAR is in the midst of exciting change in the Competition area, and Buck will be instrumental in providing us with fresh insights and implementing many of the changes in the years ahead."
A native of Phoenix, Buck worked from 1980-2000 as a crew chief, team manager and director of operations with open-wheel racing teams. As a crew chief, he is a multiple-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. Prior to joining NASCAR in January 2005, Buck worked with teams in all three NASCAR national series.
"I'm eager and ready to pursue this unique opportunity to serve as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series managing director," said Buck. "I appreciate the faith that NASCAR's management team has entrusted in me for this role. As we prepare to launch the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, I'm thrilled to expand my role in the sport of NASCAR, and I look forward to helping the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition team continue to produce the best racing in the world."
Buck will maintain his current role as IMSA prepares to hold the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona during the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season. With his pending departure, IMSA will realign its competition structure, with Scot Elkins, IMSA vice president, competition and technical regulations, to work even more closely with NASCAR's top executives in racing, including Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president, racing operations; Gene Stefanyshyn, vice president, innovation and racing development; and Pemberton. They will form a joint NASCAR / IMSA Competition Committee to meet routinely to share ideas, best practices and resources on innovation and development regarding the two different types of racing. Additionally, as Buck has been serving as NASCAR's managing director of its Touring Series, he will relinquish that role and NASCAR will promote Brad Moran to that position. Moran has been serving as the Touring Series director.
Darby will retain responsibilities as managing director, competition, helping to transition the NASCAR Competition model as it evolves to incorporate more technology and innovation originating at the NASCAR Research & Development Center. Over the past 12 years, Darby has been an instrumental part of a significant number of enhancements for NASCAR, including the introduction last year of the Gen-6 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car and an innovative laser inspection process.(NASCAR)(1-9-2014)
France Answers Fan Questions on 'NASCAR Live': NASCAR Chairman Brian France says he'd like to see more primetime races, that series officials want to find ways to make winning more valuable and he's looking forward to the #3 returning to the Sprint Cup Series this season. France made those comments Tuesday night on Motor Racing Network's "NASCAR Live" show. France spent an hour with host Eli Gold and took phone calls from fans throughout the country.
France said there have been discussions with the TV networks about start times. "If anything, we're trying to go a little bit later,'' France said. "We're, obviously, trying to get more prime-time events and be in the widest possible audience that's available on television, although I certainly understand that creates some hardships as well with people trying to get back.''
Another topic was related to the points. France told the media in December that he wanted to find ways to incentivize winning. He mentioned that notion again during his "NASCAR Live'' appearance when asked about the length of races. "We're working on the (race) format of the future, maybe it's a little bit different, maybe it's more than a little,'' he said. "We also, I would tell you, we are not satisfied that we have the exact balance we want with winning, consistency, points, running for a championship. (see full story at Motor Racing Network)(1-8-2014)
NASCAR changes spoiler height for Daytona: NASCAR tweeted Monday afternoon that they have altered the spoiler size that teams will use February in Daytona.
"NASCAR notified Sprint Cup teams today that the spoiler size for the January DIS test and the 2014 Daytona 500 event week, including the Sprint Unlimited, will be 4.5 inches tall. This is .5 inches taller than previously. NASCAR says the taller spoiler size should allow for a little more rear down force which should make the cars a little more stable."(12-24-2013)
NASCAR Delivers 2014 Competition Package to Teams UPDATE: NASCAR delivered the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rules package to race teams today, following collaborative development by the industry. "It was important to get the final pieces of the rules package to teams as quickly as possible following the final tests last week," said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development. "Throughout the process, we gained valuable data that informed many of the changes for 2014. This data will prove useful as we continue to evolve the racing product into the future."
Changes to the package include statically setting the race car ride height and eliminating the pre- and post-race front height rules and inspections. Additionally, the 2014 package includes:
a square leading edge on the splitter;
side skirt and rear fascia adjustments;
an eight-inch rear spoiler;
a 43-inch by 13-inch radiator pan.
"We looked at a number of important factors when finalizing what the 2014 version of the race package will look like," Stefanyshyn said. "The Gen-6 car has been a great asset to our sport. As we continue to improve and develop the racing product, we'll rely significantly on the critical data that has been generated by the entire industry over the last several weeks. We're extremely appreciative of those efforts." The first race featuring the new package will be at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2. This package will not be utilized for restrictor-plate races (Daytona/Talladega), including the 2014 Daytona 500 on Feb. 23.(NASCAR)(12-17-2013)
UPDATE on Tuesday, December 17th, the NASCAR Teleconference had NASCAR's VP of Innovation and Racing Development, Gene Stefanyshyn do a Q&A with media about the 2014 Competition Package announced earlier in the day. Some items discussed included impact speeds on the racetrack, downforce and presumably higher cornering speeds, are you going to have to do anything different tire-wise, how the changes in downforce will effect the tires, throttling back RPMs, the radiator pan, the size of the spoiler and more, View the full transcript.(12-17-2013)
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 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)
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)
Bristol Motor Speedway
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, March 15, 2014, 12:00pm/et