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  • Refresher on the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Package:
    -- Reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer
    -- Roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter
    -- Lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM
    -- Rear spoiler adjustment to 6 inches high (2014 height: 8 inches)[3-inch at Kentucky]
    -- Optional driver adjustable track bar
    -- 38-inch wide radiator pan (25-inch Kentucky]
    -- Minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs. via ballast reduction (2014 weight: 3,300 w/o driver)
    -- Updated qualifying formats for all tracks

  • NASCAR defends decision to end Texas race early: The AAA Texas 500 was deemed official by NASCAR 41 laps from its scheduled finish Sunday night due to rain, to the chagrin of some. With berths at stake in the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the question driver have faced was whether Chase races should weather-shortened. In its current elimination-style format, Texas was the second Chase race to be shortened by rain. Last year, the penultimate race at Phoenix International Raceway ran only 219 of the scheduled 312 laps. During his weekly appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive," Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said the sanctioning body stands by its policy that a race is official once it reaches the halfway point.
    "I think Joey Logano probably said it best - we make every effort to get the race in under its advertised distance," O'Donnell said. "I think you saw especially the circumstances yesterday with over six hours to try to dry a racetrack, at some point you've got to keep the fans certainly in mind, but also the competitors, the amount of time that they've had preparing for a race, and when does it get too late. So we've always looked at if you get past halfway, that's considered a complete race, and we do make every effort to get the full race in and we did that yesterday. We were a little short; that's unfortunate but the policy that's been in place, we feel like is one that should stand. Never something that we want to have to enact, but, unfortunately, yesterday and really last night you saw that have to come into play."(NBC Sports)(11-8-2016)

  • NASCAR to examine issues from Texas: NASCAR will investigate two incidents from this weekend's activities at Texas Motor Speedway - one which sidelined Matt DiBenedetto, a second that sent a crewman to the infield care center. DiBenedetto, 25, suffered a mild concussion while driving the #14 Toyota for Mark Smith in Saturday's Xfinity Series race. DiBenedetto was not cleared to compete for BK Racing in Sunday's AAA Texas 500. Appearing on SiriusXM Radio on Monday, NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell said while it was unfortunate that DiBenedetto was unable to race on Sunday, safety comes first. "We rely on outside experts to make that call," O'Donnell said. "In this case, Matt was diagnosed with a concussion. So, the road back for him would be to see a board-certified neurologist. I believe he's planning on doing that today. If he's cleared, he'd be back in the car as early as this weekend at Phoenix, which is what we're all hoping for - to see him out there racing. When it comes to concussion protocol, O'Donnell said there is not one specific process used to diagnose all drivers.
    Mason Jennings, tire specialist for Paul Menard, had ringing in his ears following an inner liner explosion on the #27 Richard Childress Racing Chevy. Menard came in for service after he spun in Turn 4 on Lap 143 and flat-spotted his tires. "We will work with Goodyear," O'Donnell said. "We've got a lot of that we'll take back to the R&D Center and continue to look at what, if any, findings can come of that. We will obviously talk to everyone that was involved. Now we really have to take a deeper dive and look further at the tire and see how that gets prevented moving forward...We have our safety experts that will look at this and also look at the competitive aspect to see if there was anything different with this tire. We don't ever want to see this happen again. If we can put something quickly in place we will do that immediately."(Motorsport)(11-8-2016)

  • Track ticket revenues down in 2016: The two major public companies host NASCAR races have seen ticket revenues drop about 10 percent for 14 events since the Daytona 500. Speedway Motorsports, in releasing Wednesday its 2016 financials through June, showed its admissions revenue down 11 percent this year. That includes its seven major NASCAR weekends, but it also includes some impact from the suspended IndyCar race at Texas in June that will be completed in August. Earlier this month, International Speedway Corp. reported its ticket sales were down 8.3 percent for March through May. "[Improving attendance] is a combination of the improved racing that fans are being [able] to see and enjoy and also more certainty in the economy -- particularly, the middle class needs to feel more certain and confident in their economic position to travel more," SMI CEO Marcus Smith told financial analysts in a conference call Wednesday morning. SMI showed a $25.6 million profit through June and said its March estimate of earnings of $0.90-$1.10 per share for 2016 is still an accurate estimate for the year. In addition to a decrease in general ticket sales, SMI saw decreased demand for suites and corporate entertainment as well as fewer track rentals, Brooks said. The June race at Sonoma also saw a decrease in revenues in part, Brooks said, because last year was Jeff Gordon's final race at the track that is just 15 miles from Gordon's hometown. While attendance has dropped, tracks have seen an increase in television revenues. SMI reported a 3.1 percent increase. Combined with ISC, the tracks reported television net income of $199.6 million from the NASCAR television contract. Their ticket sales, which include other racing events (NHRA, IndyCar, sports-car races, etc.) totaled $107.4 million for the first half of their fiscal years.(

  • NASCAR to sponsor MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference: For the first time, NASCAR will become an official sponsor of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference. The 2016 event will happen March 11-12. In just a decade, the conference has grown from a small experts-only affair on the MIT campus to a 3,500 person multifaceted event, that now takes place in a convention center in downtown Boston. NASCAR's event sponsorship makes sense as the industry has experienced increased growth in data, statistics, and analytics. Many Cup-level crew chiefs have college degrees and engineering backgrounds now, a noticeable shift from the more traditional and old school mechanics that dominated the sports in previous generations. In past versions of the MIT conference, there have been panels focused specifically on motorsports, with speakers from NASCAR and IndyCar among others. What many fans may not see are the massive data feeds that teams are working with, tracking all kinds of movement in the car. Some of the strategy innovations teams have been playing with include more customized fuel and tire strategies, especially late in the race. A lot of the statistical innovations that originated from baseball and basketball can be modified for use in a racing context.(NBC Sports)(12-14-2015)

  • NASCAR continues search for Cup Series title sponsor: Recent fundamental changes in NASCAR have helped broaden its appeal in its search for a new title sponsor for its premier Cup series, according to Brent Dewar, NASCAR's chief operating officer. The Cup series' current title sponsor, Sprint, will conclude its sponsorship deal at the end of the 2016 season. "If you haven't been around NASCAR in the last two or three years, you really haven't been around NASCAR," Dewar said. "It's really allowing us an opportunity to talk to a wide group, whether it's blue-chip domestic companies, to internationals, to regional companies - and we have a great story to tell. It's casting a wide net. We're in a nice place, and we've been to some really cool companies, talking about our sport. We hope to find a partner that will deliver equally the strength that we've gotten from Sprint." Dewar maintained there is no specific timetable for the announcement of a new title sponsor but added NASCAR hopes to give its new sponsor time to get make a seamless transition into the new role much like it did with the arrival of Nextel-then-Sprint.(Motorsport)(12-3-2015)

  • 2015 NASCAR season full of records, milestones: The sport fittingly crowned a first-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch, in what was a transformational season that saw the championship format produce a series of records, milestones and firsts on and off the track. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Race on NBC and NBCSN was the most-watched finale since 2005 - peaking with nearly 12.4 million average viewers. This concluded a successful first season of the largest and most lucrative television partnerships in NASCAR history with FOX and NBC. A record number of fans consumed NASCAR through digital and social media in 2015. NASCAR amassed 4.1 billion social media impressions, 1.1 billion page views - up more than 20 percent from 2014 - and a 34 percent year-over-year increase in its mobile audience. In addition, driver merchandise sales at tracks increased more than 20 percent since the Fanatics Trackside Superstore launched in July.
    NASCAR Next, a program that identifies and nurtures young drivers, produced the Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner in all three national series: Brett Moffitt in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Daniel Suárez, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate, in the NASCAR XFINITY Series; and Erik Jones in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
    NASCAR today also announced the top five selling drivers for the 2015 season at the Fanatics Trackside Superstore. Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the list at #1, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and newly crowned champion Kyle Busch rounded out the list at #5.
    Other milestones, records and firsts achieved during the 2015 season include:
    " Jeff Gordon broke Ricky Rudd's Iron Man record with his 789th consecutive start on September 27. He joined the likes of legends Cal Ripken, Jr. and Brett Favre who hold records for most consecutive games played in baseball and football, respectively.
    " For the first time since 1993, two different drivers, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch, won three consecutive races in a single season.
    " New or renewed NASCAR Official Partnerships with nearly a dozen brands this season, including: 3M, Fanatics, Ingersoll Rand, Microsoft, Sherwin Williams, Sun Edison, Universal Technical Institute, and K&N Filters as the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
    " In 2015, nearly 1 in 2 Fortune 100 companies relied on NASCAR to build their brands.
    " Partnerships with Fortune 500 technology companies grew by 66% over last two years.
    " In partnership with Fanatics, NASCAR created a centralized location for merchandise at each track, which led to the average transaction growing by 75 percent.
    " The three tracks that saw the most significant sales growth were Homestead-Miami Speedway (+100%), Phoenix International Raceway (+66%) and Talladega Superspeedway (+62%).
    " In addition to the aforementioned diversity breakthroughs on the track, NASCAR partnered with RISE, a recently formed non-profit to promote diversity and equality through sports. NASCAR Chairman Brian France was named to the Board of Directors and will help steer the initiative alongside the commissioners of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, and other top sports executives.
    " Roush Fenway Racing pit crew member Mike Russell became the first African American Drive for Diversity graduate to win a national series championship.
    " For the first time, cars featured a digital dashboard instead of analog gauges. The new technology will be mandatory for all NASCAR Sprint Cup vehicles in 2016.
    " Air Titan 2.0 track-drying technology helped save numerous races and improved the race experience for fans, teams and partners.
    " State-of-the-art pit road technology was seamlessly implemented this season to increase the accuracy and safety of pit road officiating.
    " NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post-race inspections from the NASCAR R&D Center were streamed live to fans across the world.
    Entertainment Marketing:
    " Nearly 230 million viewers watched NASCAR drivers appear in 77 primetime shows, including American Idol on FOX, The Soup on E!, Real Housewives on Bravo and Penn Zero on Disney XD.
    " More than 120 celebrities appeared at races this season, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kid Rock, Vince Vaughn, David Spade and Adam Sandler.
    " Originally produced TV and digital projects, with more than 150 appearances by NASCAR drivers, tracks and partners, generated 50 million viewers.
    " NASCAR announced multi-year sanctioning agreements with tracks for the first time. The landmark five-year agreements will provide fans more time to plan and tracks more time to promote, sell sponsorships and build the fan experience.
    " Throwback weekend at Darlington celebrated the storied history of NASCAR with unprecedented industry support including 32 retro paint schemes, by honoring 14 NASCAR Hall of Famers and through a variety of 1970s-themed food and entertainment.

  • NASCAR defends late-race debris caution in Homestead finale: NASCAR defended its late-race caution Sunday, saying there was a piece of metal on the track, which created led to the final restart. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the piece of metal was spotted by an official on the flagstand and confirmed via camera, causing the final caution and negating #18-Kyle Busch's significant lead. Busch took off on the final restart and cruised to the win and the Sprint Cup championship. O'Donnell explained the situation with debris cautions in general and the final caution in particular. "We've got multiple spotters out there,'' O'Donnell said, noting officials are positioned around the track. "If fans could go back and replay the radio chatter up to the tower during that race, I'm going to say we had upwards of 100 different reports from drivers calling in debris - many of them about to fall a lap down. We've got to vet a lot of that. We're certainly going to rely on our spotters, who call something in. We've got 20 different camera angles we can look at. We can zoom in on anywhere on the track. Rest assured, we know the stakes are very high and in that situation in the final caution our flagman saw metal right below him in the groove. We looked and we confirmed that it was there and made the call. A car ended up hitting it as they were going around so it went down to the yellow portion of the track. I know television showed a water bottle unfortunately but then came back. When there is metal on the track we're going to make the call each and every time.''(NBC Sports)(11-23-2015)

  • Brian France defends 'quintessential NASCAR' comments on controversy: NASCAR Chairman Brian France defended his "quintessential NASCAR" comments in reference to #22-Joey Logano bumping #20-Matt Kenseth in the closing laps at Kansas Speedway during his year-end state-of-the-sport news conference Friday morning. The second year of the elimination-style Chase for the Sprint Cup has been clouded by Kenseth's retaliation against Logano in the Nov. 1 race at Martinsville Speedway when Kenseth was 10 laps down and Logano was the leader. Logano failed to advance out of the Eliminator Round to be one of the four finalists this weekend at Homestead. That was Kenseth's goal, since Logano had wrecked Kenseth while they battled for the lead with five laps remaining two weeks earlier at Kansas. France called the Kansas contact "quintessential NASCAR," but when Kenseth retaliated, NASCAR suspended Kenseth two races. In talking about what makes something "quintessential," France talked about Brad Keselowski's move that resulted in contact with Jeff Gordon late in the race last year at Texas, a move that resulted in a cut tire, a Gordon spin and an eventual pit-road brawl. "That's quintessential NASCAR [on the track] -- late in the race, wham, they're going at it," France said. "You've got to understand, that's us. That's what we do. That's what those guys do." France said no drivers have asked to sit down with NASCAR about where the line is on what they can and can't do. "The reason that they don't ask is that they know," France said. "They know that circumstances late in the race, blocking -- although I'm not a fan of blocking, that is part of racing -- contact, the short end of some of those exchanges that happen are all part of it and do not look to NASCAR to deal with that. They are part of racing. The line is if you intentionally ... banzai-ing into some situation with the sole purpose of taking somebody out, we'll deal with that. We dealt with that at Martinsville, as a matter of fact."(ESPN). See the full transcript of the interview on the Brian France State of the Sport Transcript page.(11-20-2015)

  • NASCAR says resuming Phoenix race Monday wasn't policy after reaching halfway: Responding to questions about why Sunday's shortened race wasn't resumed Monday, Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR vice president, said that's not policy after an event becomes official at halfway. "It really isn't," O'Donnell told SiriusXM Satellite Radio host Dave Moody in an interview Monday afternoon. "Fans can ask questions, and it's something we can look at in the future, but for NASCAR, we've advertised the race on a certain date, and if we feel we can get the race in on that day, we're going to do that. We started the race with every intention of believing we could get every lap in, but once it does reach halfway, the policy known in the garage that we've operated on is that's considered an official race. We don't want to always have to rely on that. We're going to make every effort to get all the laps in, but unfortunately, we couldn't do that on Sunday night." Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway was called after 219 of a scheduled 312 laps, making #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. the winner and putting #4-Kevin Harvick, #18-Kyle Busch and #78-Martin Truex Jr. in the championship round of the playoffs with #24-Jeff Gordon. That prompted questions about whether NASCAR should make it policy to run every playoff race to the end.(full article at NBC Sports)(11-18-2015)

  • NASCAR asks to meet with Matt Kenseth UPDATE: NASCAR has asked to meet with Joe Gibbs Racing driver #20-Matt Kenseth on Monday in advance of the driver's return to the track this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kenseth was suspended for the past two races following his role in an on-track incident with #22-Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway. "NASCAR has asked the driver of the 20 to meet with Chairman and CEO Brian France," NASCAR Vice President David Higdon said. France and NASCAR handed down the suspension, which was upheld on appeals, following Kenseth's wreck of race leader Joey Logano in the Eliminator Round opener. The two had previous on-track run-ins, and Kenseth -- nearly 10 laps down at the time -- drove Logano into the wall with less than 50 laps remaining. Logano was eliminated from the postseason following Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway. Kenseth had been eliminated the week before Martinsville. In addition to his suspension, Kenseth is on probation for the rest of 2015.(
    UPDATE: NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth met Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina, in advance of the driver's return to the track following a two-race suspension. France was "pleased" with the dialogue, according to a tweet from NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes. Kenseth tweeted later Monday afternoon, noting that he's "glad to have all this behind (him)."(

  • NASCAR drivers join in Paris attacks reaction: They are a world away from Paris, but NASCAR drivers and their teams are standing in support of France in the wake of Friday's terrorist attacks. #41-Kurt Busch, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Danica Patrick, #15-Clint Bowyer #22-Joey Logano were among stockcar racing participants who took to social media to express their thoughts. NASCAR spent Friday in preparation for racing at Phoenix while events unfolded in Paris. More than 120 people died and about 350 more were wounded as terrorists attacked the French capital. Sprint Cup qualifying for Sunday's race took place about the time of the Paris attacks. The sport's Trucks series race ran as scheduled on Friday, and the Xfinity Series was a go for Saturday. Sunday's race will find Jimmie Johnson leading the field at Phoenix. It is the final race in the Eliminator Round, from which Jeff Gordon and three drivers to be determined will emerge as participants in the Cup championship race on Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami. Racers watched with the rest of the world as the horror of Paris played out. As at all public events this week, Phoenix International Raceway is coordinating with law enforcement officials to make sure its spectators and race participants are safe.(Sporting News)(11-15-2015)

  • Jay Frye named IndyCar president: Jay Frye, who since November 2013 has been the chief revenue officer of IndyCar, was confirmed Thursday as Derrick Walker's replacement IndyCar president. Walker stepped down in August. Frye, 50, arrives in the position as a known quantity in the motor sports industry. Before joining IndyCar he was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner, having built MB2 Motorsports from the ground up -growing from 10 employees to more than 200 - and revamping Red Bull Racing, which earned a spot in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. His teams won four races. At IndyCar, Frye helped sign Verizon as series sponsor, among other sponsorship deals. In the new role, he will oversee competition and operations, including race control.(Indy Star)(11-13-2015)

  • Race Industry Leaders Provide Insight into State of Racing: Race industry leaders say safety, marketing with new technology and incorporating fresh faces are all factors that will determine the future of NASCAR. Another challenge is drawing in a new generation of racers. Multiple industry leaders, including Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske and Roush Yates Racing Engines, shared insight into the world of NASCAR at Tuesday's annual North Carolina Motorsports Association meeting. As speedways work to fill seats, a challenge is drawing in a new generation. "We have to meet them where they are, with something they're going to find relevant and compelling," said Steve Phelps, with NASCAR. "The challenges continue to be everybody wants more for less, but at the same time, it's not as much about who has a personal relationship with Motorsports as it is with return on investment," said Tim Cindric, the president of Team Penske. Teams cited the importance of social media platforms but also say a challenge is measuring the success of marketing campaigns. "Much of that technology will bring the race fan closer to the sport that they love, that's going to be more important particularly as we try to get younger and more diverse," said Phelps. Another challenge NASCAR faces is gaining additional owners. "Value on your numbers, value on a spot in the field, which I think NASCAR is going toward, is a huge thing," said Greg Fornelli, the chairman of the North Carolina Motorsports Association board. The goal is to continue to grow the fan base using social media, while providing entertainment value for fans.(Time Warner Cable)(11-13-2015)

  • France discusses differing penalties for Kenseth, Patrick: NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France appeared on the SiriusXM Radio Speedway show on Wednesday and addressed the two-race suspension handed out to #20-Matt Kenseth for his role in the wreck that knocked himself and Joey Logano out of Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. Also penalized coming out of Martinsville was #10-Danica Patrick for aggressive driving on #38-David Gilliland. Patrick received a $50,000 fine and the loss of 25 driver points. When asked about the difference between Kenseth's aggressive driving and Danica's, France noted the stakes that were on the line.
    "Going back to Richmond, we made it very clear that anybody in the industry, any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships, that that crosses a different line than a racing problem between two drivers," France said.
    When asked about whether NASCAR drivers should be allowed to self-police the sport, France clarified the sanctioning body's position. "What Robin (Pemberton) was saying a few years ago was hey look, boys have it, do your normal thing, and if we over-officiate, we'll draw back on that and let the normal racing action of NASCAR happen," France said. "And that's what he meant, and that's what we tried to do."
    "... when there are lines that are crossed, like we believe there were in Martinsville, then NASCAR will step in and deal with that. And it's as simple as that."(NASCAR)(11-5-2015)

  • NASCAR, Universal Technical Institute announce 10-Year partnership extension: NASCAR and Universal Technical Institute have announced a 10-year partnership extension, ensuring the official partner will continue providing training for students seeking employment in the motorsports and automotive services industries. The partnership was highlighted by the opening of UTI's subsidiary school, NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) in 2002. NASCAR and UTI have partnered to offer a curriculum that has developed new generations of technicians to serve motorsports and the automotive services industries. NASCAR Tech has become the leader in the industry for technical education, graduating thousands of students. Four out of five graduates from NASCAR Tech find employment in careers within their field of study. Team Penske has hired nearly 50 NASCAR Tech graduates, more than any other team.(NASCAR)(11-4-2015)

  • NASCAR considered cutting race short because of darkness: NASCAR officials discussed ending Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway because of darkness, a series official told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told "The Morning Drive" that officials had conversations toward the end of the race of what to do should the race be extended by a lengthy caution or a green-white-checkered. The race started at 1:24pm/et. Sunday marked the end of daylight savings time. That meant the sun set in Martinsville at 5:24pm/et. With overcast skies, it grew darker quicker. Martinsville Speedway is one of four tracks in the Chase that does not have lights. Eighteen cautions and a red flag of 12 minutes and 46 seconds after Matt Kenseth intentionally wrecked Joey Logano, pushed the end of the race close sunset. Sam Hornish Jr.'s accident brought out the final caution on Lap 495, setting the race for a two-lap shootout. If there had been a caution on the first lap of the restart, the race might have ended instead of going to the first of three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish. "We did have some conversations very likely that was our last shot at getting it in," O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "If we would have gone to a long caution, I think that might have been it. We talked about it, if we had to go to a green-white-checkered earlier, what could we do, how long did we have? "Our scoring system has it built in that we knew that we would finish, if everything stayed green, around 5:23, so we felt that was kind of the cutoff. A lot of dialogue going on, but it worked out, which was great and certainly great for the race fans." The close call, though, has officials pondering an earlier start time for this race next year. "I think that's something we'll look at certainly with the race track and see what we can do for 2016," O'Donnell said. "We always want to get the full laps in for the fans."(NBC Sports)(11-3-2015)

  • NASCAR expected to limit green-white-checker at Talladega UPDATE: NASCAR executive Steve O'Donnell told "The Morning Drive" on Monday that series officials are "leaning" toward limiting the number of attempts at a green-white-checkered finish this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, but no decision has been made. O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that "we're in the final discussions with some folks in the industry, but I think that is where we're leaning. Expect to hear something probably by Wednesday of this week of where we go with it." NASCAR permits three attempts at finishing a race under green-flag conditions. Series officials are looking at changing how Sunday's restrictor-plate race could finish after Austin Dillon's car flew into the catch fence at the end of the first green-white-checkered in July at Daytona International Speedway. Five fans were injured. Another topic NASCAR has discussed is if to make the restart during a green-white-checkered at Talladega single-file instead of double-file.(NBC Sports)(10-20-2015)
    UPDATE: NASCAR competition officials made changes Tuesday to race procedures for this weekend's events at Talladega Superspeedway, reducing the number of attempts at a green-white-checkered overtime finish. Starting this weekend, drivers will be limited to one attempt instead of the customary three tries at a green-white-checkered finish at Talladega. "Following extensive dialogue with the industry, we have decided to make a procedural change at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. "In the event the race goes beyond the advertised distance due to a caution, we will use a single attempt at a green-white-checker finish. We take very seriously the responsibility of balancing exciting finishes and safety. We're confident that this is a positive direction for both." NASCAR instituted the "green-white-checkered" rule in 2004 for NASCAR's premier series, with a limit of three tries to complete the race under a two-lap, green-flag shootout to the finish. Since 2012, four of the last seven Talladega races have gone into overtime, raising the odds for race-punctuating multicar crashes.(NASCAR)(10-20-2015)

  • NASCAR, teams working on "charters" for owners; possibly smaller fields: As drivers sweat out potential elimination in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the jockeying behind closed doors appears just as intense as NASCAR and owners furiously try to hash out a plan to make the team business a more stable one. NASCAR and the owners might not spin each other out, but they have plenty of details to work through. As with a car, any small piece of the model could disrupt the whole package. The initial NASCAR proposal, according to industry leaders who spoke on the condition of anonymity and confirmed by owners and team executives with knowledge of the negotiations, would give team owners of 36 cars guaranteed spots in a Sprint Cup field reduced from the current 43 cars to 40 cars. Those 36 teams would be awarded "charters" -- NASCAR's word for what many would term a franchise -- that could be sold if a team owner wanted to get out of the sport or cut down the number of full-time cars it fields. Since June, team executives and NASCAR have had discussions about putting a system in place for 2016, and NASCAR began explaining to owners its plans after a Sept. 29 meeting with them. The Race Team Alliance, a coalition of most (but not all) Cup owners, met a couple of weeks ago to discuss the proposal and negotiations have continued since then. Those involved said that the talks remain fluid and even the plan for number of charters and the size of the field could change.
    There are 43 cars that have attempted every race this year, but only 36 would get charters. Under the initial proposal, it appears that to be eligible for a charter, the current version of the plan requires a team to have been full-time since 2013. That requirement would affect Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, which each added a fourth car in the past two years. It also could hurt Penske Racing, which is trying to work with Wood Brothers to field a third full-time car in 2016 for Ryan Blaney. See much more at

  • NASCAR Announces Base 2016 Rules Package: NASCAR announced the base NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rules package to be used during the 2016 season. The package was delivered to teams after an extensive collaborative process between NASCAR and industry stakeholders. The base package will include a 3.5-inch spoiler, a 0.25-inch front leading splitter edge and a 33-inch wide radiator pan. These components will provide lower downforce on the cars, and Goodyear will develop tires to complement them. Earlier this season, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kentucky Speedway and Darlington Raceway featured a similar aero package.
    "NASCAR has worked tirelessly with our teams, drivers, manufacturers and Goodyear to develop a rules package that provides fans with the best racing possible," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "The success of the races at Kentucky and Darlington in similar trim proved extremely valuable in accelerating rules development for 2016. Now, as teams have even more time to prepare and a strong baseline of data, we anticipate the racing to be even better."
    Characteristics of the lower downforce rules package includes more off-throttle time for drivers and decreasing corner speeds. This generates more passing zones over the entire track, and allows for multiple tire combinations to be levered. In addition to the base package, each track will continue to feature specific rules, including tire combinations and drive train configurations, to create the best racing for each track length, layout and surface. Rear gear ratios will be adjusted to maintain a maximum engine speed of 9,000 RPM and a 1.38 third gear ratio will be used at all tracks smaller than 1.25 miles. The digital dashboard, which was optional for teams during the second half of this season, will be mandatory in all vehicles.
    "Our team at the NASCAR R&D Center is constantly looking at the racing, and evaluating ways to continue to improve it," O'Donnell said. "Using science and technology and qualitative data compiled from world-class engineers throughout the industry as our guideposts, we will always look to make the racing better for our fans."
    Several safety updates have been instituted, including a double NACA duct where a right-hand side window is used, a fire suppression system activation cable routed to the dash or right-hand side leg board and a seat belt restraint system that meets SFI 16.6 specification.(NASCAR)(10-14-2015)

  • Drivers not happy with track cleanup UPDATE NASCAR comments: #18-Kyle Busch and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were angry at NASCAR for what they felt was a lousy job cleaning up the track in the top of the groove between Turns 1 and 2 from a #51-Justin Allgaier oil spill on lap 182 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both drivers hit the wall as they tried to put themselves in position to finish on the lead lap. Earnhardt, one lap down, ended up in the wall shortly before lap 200 and wound up four laps down in 28th. Busch hit it about 15 laps later, finishing one lap down in 20th. "You can't pass anybody -- it's a single-lane race track and then [a driver] put oil on the top lane [where we] to try to make anything happen and then you put yourself in the fence -- so thanks to NASCAR for cleaning that up," Busch said sarcastically.
    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said NASCAR had cleanup workers actually walk the areas where drivers complained about oil, and they felt no oil, just the kitty litter-type absorbent. Earnhardt said NASCAR might have missed the oil because of shadows on the track, but Buck said workers and the pace-car driver did not feel any oil. "I've raced this [stuff] for 20 years," Earnhardt said. "I know what oil and [the absorbent] Speedi Dri is. We hit fluid, flew into the freaking wall hard. That's not Speedi Dri. There was oil up there. ... I hit the f---ing wall. I know I hit oil. I hit it. I promise. I'll argue with them all day long because I know I'm right."(ESPN)(10-11-2015)
    UPDATE: A NASCAR executive said Monday that officials will talk to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch about their insistence they hit oil in Sunday's Bank of America 500 after the track surface had been examined. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive VP and chief racing development officer, addressed the matter on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "In this case, we did not see oil,'' O'Donnell said. "I can't debate Kyle and (Earnhardt), they're in the race cars. If they say they hit it, it's not something that we saw out there. We'll continue to talk to them and see what maybe we can improve on in the future. We had personnel even out on the track, getting down on almost their hands and knees to make sure there wasn't any.'' O'Donnell said series officials thoroughly examined the track during the cautions. "Under any caution and condition, we obviously send out all the safety equipment to look and see if there is any oil from their perspective on the track,'' O'Donnell said. "We did that in this case. We had (pace car driver) Brett Bodine run through it multiple times and confirm back up to race control that the track was in good shape to go ahead and restart. Hopefully, there wasn't any. We go out there and we go check and did our process multiple times and they did not see any. Ultimately, we're not in the car and driving the car. From our view, the race was in good shape to get restarted and it always has to be before we go back green. That's where we were and felt like we did everything we could to ensure that the race track was in a safe condition.''(NBC Sports)(10-13-2015)

  • Green-white-checkered policy may be altered for Talladega: Will there be new rules for NASCAR's "crapshoot " race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup - the 500 at Talladega Superspeedway? The sanctioning body and competitors have discussed different formats for the finish that should make the ending less precarious should the race go into overtime on restrictor-plate tracks. One scenario would use just one green-white-checkered finish to determine the outcome. Multiple restarts mean multiple opportunities to wreck race cars. "Just from the standpoint of owners throwing away money for one extra green-white-checker, yeah, because all you do is destroy race cars," Martin Truex Jr. said. "When it gets to that point, guys just lose their minds and hold it wide open no matter what the situation. So yeah, I think it's a good thing. We tear up so much stuff there anyway, it would be nice for at least half the field to bring home a race car."
    Another format would could be a single-file restart which would discourage side-by-side contact coming to the green. "They're trying to eliminate the Austin Dillon situation - the big wad of cars at the end of the race," Denny Hamlin told, referring to the #3 car flipping into the catchfence at Daytona in July after making contact with the #11 Toyota and collecting a dozen cars in the process. Although the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway went off without a hitch, last year's Chase race collected five cars on the restart including Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led 31 laps but finished 31st and failed to transfer to the Eliminator Round. "I think the green-white-checkers may help," Hamlin added. "We're as likely to do that on the first green-white-checkered as we are on the third but I think the more significant change would be single-file restarts. It may not be popular with the fans but I can assure you from a driver's standpoint, we would prefer single-file restarts. I can't speak for all the drivers, but I think there would be a more likely pass for the lead at the end of the race if there was a single-file versus double because right now everyone just bogs each other down so much that the leader has a huge advantage. I would welcome any change, really." Despite the dialogue, as of Saturday afternoon a representative from NASCAR says nothing has been determined for Talladega.(Motorsport)(10-11-2015)

  • Gordon for changes to green-which-checker finishes on superspeedways: #24-Jeff Gordon said Friday that NASCAR should reduce the number of green-white-checkered finishes at restrictor-plate tracks. Gordon's comments come three weeks before NASCAR races at Talladega Superspeedway. That will be the first race at a restrictor-plate track since #3-Austin Dillon's car crashed into the catch fence at Daytona International Speedway. Five fans were injured. Dillon's crash marked the third time since Feb. 2012 that fans were injured at Daytona by a vehicle crashing into the fence. All three incidents came on a green-white-checkered finish. "I certainly don't think we need multiple green-white-checkereds at a restrictor-plate track," Gordon said at Dover International Speedway. NASCAR permits a maximum three attempts to end a race under green-flag conditions before calling the event. NASCAR has stated it's considering making a race procedure change before Talladega.(NBC Sports)(10-4-2015)

  • NASCAR will increase restart zone for remaining races UPDATE: The restart zone for this weekend's NASCAR races at Dover International Speedway will double from 70 feet to 140 feet, according to NASCAR. The sanctioning body will also lengthen the restart zone for the 2015 season's remaining races post-Dover -- the exact increase will be determined by an at-track basis. The restart rules have not changed. Drivers will still line up double file, with the leader being the "control car," meaning the second-place car can't take off before the leader in the restart zone located before the start/finish line.(
    UPDATE: In response to drivers' concerns over restart rules and the ostensible growing tendency of drivers to break them, NASCAR announced this week a doubling of the length of the restart zones. In feet, the length of the restart zone has been set at two times pit road speed. At Dover, where pit road speed is 35 mph, the restart zone measured 70 feet. Now it's 140 feet, and most drivers felt the expansion will restore, appropriately, some of the advantage the race leader should have. "To lengthen that box, I think is a great move," said six-time Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson. "I'm hopeful that they lengthen the box and bring it closer to the start/finish line. I think it will slow down some of the three- and four-wide into Turn 1 scenarios we have had. It will be less distance to get speed built up closer to the start/finish line and I think we will maybe control that space a little bit better. We should have better side-by-side restarts, which is what everybody is after. And then, obviously, the goal here is to give control back to the guy that has earned it - to the leader. That's what happens, and I'm in favor of it. It's a good call, and I am excited to see how it plays out."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-4-2015)

  • NASCAR to meet with team owners on Tuesday UPDATE: NASCAR will meet with Sprint Cup team owners on Tuesday afternoon at the NASCAR Plaza in downtown Charlotte, NC. The meeting is expected to tackle a number of topics, including competition issues and what the structure of team ownership might resemble moving forward. Since the Race Team Alliance was introduced last July, there has been increased buzz regarding the possibility of franchising or revenue sharing. RTA chairman Rob Kaufmann expects to have some system in place by the end of the year. NASCAR held a competition meeting last Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with team managers, manufacturers and Goodyear to discuss the 2016 Sprint Cup rules package which is expected to be finalized later this week.(Motorsport)(9-29-2015)
    UPDATE: Statement from Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer: "Earlier today NASCAR met with all Sprint Cup Series owners and presented framework concepts for future qualification to compete in NASCAR's top national series with an eye toward implementing a new model for the 2016 season. The on-going dialogue with the entire industry has been very good and today's session was another productive step in that process. NASCAR, the tracks and the team owners all have the same collective goal: making the sport as strong and competitive as it can be for decades to come. "Today's meeting was one step in the process. There is still a lot of work to be done and that will continue over the coming months. We understand there will be speculation and rumors related to the concepts outlined today, but would caution against coming to any conclusions as we work toward final decisions. When it is appropriate to do so, NASCAR will make an official announcement. In the meantime, we are excited about the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and this weekend's race at Dover."(NASCAR)(9-29-2015)

  • Keselowski gets penalized on restart UPDATE: NASCAR drivers have said they wanted NASCAR to take a firm stance on restarts, and #2-Brad Keselowski found out Sunday just how closely NASCAR will rule on restarts in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Keselowski was penalized for jumping the restart as the second-place driver in the restart zone -- even though he never gained a position -- on Lap 242 of the 300-lap race. Having to make a pass-through down pit road at the pit-road speed of 45 mph, Keselowski fell back to 25th before rallying for a 12th-place finish Sunday in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "It's an entertainment sport, not a fair sport," Keselowski said. "But we had a great car. ... I got the chance to do something again for the first time -- the first person to ever be penalized for jumping a restart when I didn't pass anyone, so that's a new one. But we moved on and we made the most of a good day."
    Keselowski said he felt NASCAR was making an example out of him, but NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director Richard Buck said it was clear to NASCAR that Keselowski should be penalized. NASCAR, which started last week having a camera focused on the restart zone and having a senior official in the area to watch the drivers, viewed that Keselowski, in second, restarted in the zone prior to leader Greg Biffle. Buck said it didn't matter whether Keselowski actually completed a pass, he violated the rule that the leader has control of the race and the second-place driver can't restart by accelerating before the leader hits the gas. Buck said NASCAR used both the video and the official stationed at the restart zone to make the decision. "The leader is the control car," Buck said. "The leader has earned the right to restart the race in the restart zone. ... We're not out to get anybody, but we're the keeper of the rules and the enforcer of the rules. All anybody asks for in this garage area is to be treated fairly and we believe we did our job today." Biffle appeared unaware what Keselowski was penalized for afterward and said he felt bad for him. "I don't think that he tried to jump it at all," said Keselowski team owner Roger Penske, who believed Keselowski's crossing the end of the restart zone ahead of Biffle is what forced NASCAR's hand. "I don't think that he tried to jump it at all. ... We just have to deal with it and move on."(
    UPDATE Brad Keselowski won't face punishment for labeling NASCAR "an entertainment sport and not a fair sport" after being black-flagged for a restart at New Hampshire. NASCAR senior vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell said the sanctioning body would try to talk Monday with Keselowski about its call but wouldn't penalize the Team Penske driver. "That's frustration," O'Donnell said during his weekly appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR's "The Morning Drive" program. "I get that. There's a lot on the line. I don't think you'll see us do anything. I certainly disagree with the way Brad positioned it. It's a tough call. We'll talk to Brad today. I'm sure he still won't agree, but it's something we've got to do. It's open dialogue. We'll explain why we made the call from our standpoint and go on to Dover." NASCAR has fined drivers such as Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman (once secretly until changing its policy three years ago) for making disparaging comments. Echoing NASCAR chairman Brian France's repeated stance, O'Donnell said criticism was within bounds as long as it avoided denigrating the quality of the competition. "Many times, the competitors aren't going to agree with those (calls), and that's OK," O'Donnell said. "We're going to let those go. If it goes too far, it's talking about the racing in general. That's where it goes a step too far, and we have to step in. We haven't seen any of that. In fact, we've seen the opposite from drivers. Frustration on a call is expected. This is the Chase. There's a lot going on. Drivers all want to win a championship. I'd be upset if Brad wasn't."(NBC Sports)(9-28-2015)

  • Truck Series Set To Run 500th Race: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will run its 500th race this weekend - Saturday's UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The NCWTS began in 1995 and is in its 21st season of operation. Ron Hornaday Jr. has won the most NCWTS championships (4) and races (51). Mike Skinner earned the first series title driving for legendary owner Richard Childress. Throughout its existence, many NASCAR stars have matriculated in the NCWTS, including Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray and Brad Keselowski (NASCAR), for more info on the NCWTS, see's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series site.(9-25-2015)

  • NASCAR says Gordon's restart was "close" but legal: NASCAR admits that Jeff Gordon's restart on Lap 144 was "close" to being illegal, but officials ruled that his pass of leader Kyle Busch was good. "It was close and all of our resources, especially our new resources ... that helped us make our decision," said Richard Buck, managing director for the Sprint Cup Series, after Sunday's race at Chicagoland Speedway. "That official is looking and listening for when they fire," Buck told reporters, referring to when the cars accelerate. "It gives us another perspective. He calls up to the tower and will give his input. We start to pull together all of the other resources from the video we have available to us. That's when we come over the radio and say, if this is the case, the restart is under review. That allows us to pull the information in and make the decision." Series officials reviewed Gordon's restart and a decision came about 10 laps later. Asked about the timeframe for announcing the decision, Buck said: "The most important thing for us is to get it right and be consistent. We'll take whatever measures necessary to make sure we get it right."(NBC Sports)(9-21-2015)

  • NASCAR to meet with teams at New Hampshire about 2016 rules package: NASCAR will hold a meeting with drivers, crew chiefs, manufacturers and Goodyear next Friday in New Hampshire to help chart the course for the 2016 Sprint Cup rules package. "I think (the rules will) be finalized," Goodyear general manager of worldwide racing Stu Grant told NASCAR Talk in a Saturday interview at Chicagoland Speedway. "It should be a good session to say here's where we are going to make sure we're on the same page." After receiving rave reviews at Kentucky Speedway and Darlington Raceway, it's expected the low-downforce package assuredly will be implemented next season at 1.5-mile superspeedways (which comprise the bulk of the schedule with 13 of 36 races). Grant expects much of Friday's discussion to focus on whether the low-downforce package also would be used at short tracks (Richmond International Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway) and the bigger ovals (Michigan International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway). The low downforce package is intended to reduce the emphasis on aerodynamics, theoretically enhancing drivers' ability to pass because their cars aren't as glued to the asphalt. Aerodynamics typically play less of a role on short tracks, but there was chatter last Saturday after a mostly lackluster regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway that low downforce would work on the 0.75-mile oval.
    Grant said Goodyear is a "big fan" of using low downforce more frequently. "It brings tires into play and takes aero away," he said. "We were really happy with the results we had (at Kansas). We're big fans of taking the air away. The stress on the tire and loads run for years has been tough at these fast tracks. Take some of the load off the tire, and it gives us more freedom to design. I like that." Goodyear will begin production on its NASCAR tires by the end of October for next season's Daytona 500 (though that race wouldn't feature low downforce). It has scheduled further 2016 testing within the next month at Phoenix International Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway and also will test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in December and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in January.(NBC Sports)(9-20-2015)

  • Drivers still want NASCAR to enforce restarts UPDATES: On Thursday, at least nine of 16 playoff drivers asked about restarts during Chase media day in downtown Chicago expressed no satisfaction with the current situation.
    --"I'm not comfortable one bit with how they're officiating it," Kyle Busch said. "I think they need to step in. I think it's gone too long."
    --"You've got to call it," Jeff Gordon said. "If somebody deliberately jumps, you've got to call it. And it's got to be a black and white decision."
    --"... All you've got to do is call somebody on 'em once and that'll fix the problem," Clint Bowyer said.
    --"Most of the time when someone jumps a start, Ray Charles can see it," Logano said. "It is usually blatant."
    The suggestions Thursday went beyond enforcing the existing rule. Gordon and Hamlin said the restart zone was too small at every track. Some drivers said NASCAR should use technology to help with officiating the restarts - as the sanctioning body does with pit road penalties and its inspection process. Others said consistency either way was all that would be needed. Any of those would be better than the status quo, in which drivers aren't exactly sure where the line is and NASCAR prefers the competitors figure it out. "It's very grey," defending champion Kevin Harvick said. "I don't think any of us really know for sure how far you can push it, but you have to push it because you can. How far is too far? I don't think anybody really knows."
    It could become a game of inches if NASCAR starts calling penalties for starting before the zone begins. So in the place of a crackdown, officials have continuously warned drivers to restart properly - or else. But the "or else" part never comes. In a statement to USA TODAY Sports on Thursday, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell reiterated officials would "like to continue to let it play out on the track." "With that said, we understand that the stakes are very high and drivers are looking for any possible advantage they can find," he said. "We will continue to monitor every restart using the technology available to us to ensure competitive and fair racing. Simply put, we are prepared to make a call if we need to."(USA Today)(9-18-2015)
    UPDATE: The debate regarding restarts rages on and NASCAR plans to address the issue prior to Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland. NASCAR officials will take some time during Sunday's pre-race drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway to reinforce their position on how race restarts are officiated, particularly as the Chase for the Sprint Cup gets underway. "We probably have to reemphasize our position on restarts and the fact that we've left that up to the drivers," NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio in an interview Thursday from ChaseFest in downtown Chicago. "In the meantime, there is a right and wrong way to do it and it's hard sometimes for us to figure out that line. It's a subjective part of the sport that's still left - highly visible, highly debated." Helton said NASCAR officials at their research and development center in Concord, N.C., are trying to figure out how to incorporate technology and take more of the subjectivity of the call out of the decisions. "Until we get there though with something the industry will all buy in on as the step to take, it's up to us. We've got to be quick in our decisions and we've got to make them," he said. "More often than not, I stand behind the calls we make. I think we try to do our best. Restarts is something that comes with a lot of debate particularly if you have one like we did at Richmond."(Motorsport)(9-19-2015)
    UPDATE 2: Responding to numerous recent controversies over the policing of restarts, NASCAR on Saturday decided to marshal a dedicated camera and official to monitor the crucial area where cars resume green-flag racing. The change is effective immediately and applies to all three of NASCAR's national touring series. A late restart at the final regular-season Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway - in which several, including team owner Roger Penske, decried Matt Kenseth allegedly leaving early - heightened concerns over sequences that have become significant when passing is increasingly difficult. According to NASCAR, a new camera feed will be centered on the entire restart zone, allowing a designated official to police not only when leaders accelerate but if cars deeper in the field lag back to gain an advantage. Possible penalties would be determined real-time and assessed before the conclusion of the race. The changes were described simply as a reallocation of resources by Xfinity Series director Wayne Auton. The new camera will come from a repositioning of a camera previously used to monitor pit road.(USA Today)(9-20-2015)

  • No rules changes for the Chase: The success of the low downforce package at Darlington Raceway last weekend has not changed NASCAR's thinking regarding the rules package for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday. "Prior to going into Darlington we all met as an industry and talked about what was the most fair package to put together and what did we think would produce some good racing in the Chase. And ultimately wanted to stick with 2015. We felt like teams had put a ton of time into testing those cars. Goodyear's tires to match up that package for our final 10 races. We all felt that was the best way to go. We can take the proper time to evaluate all the things we've looked at for '16 and really dial that in for the '16 package, knowing that a lot of things have been done for '15 and teams are really prepared for the Chase." Last month, NASCAR announced that the 10 Chase races would use the 2015 rules package and not the low-downforce package (used at Kentucky and Darlington) or the high-drag package (used at Indianapolis and Michigan). According to O'Donnell, who outlined that NASCAR will be sitting down with everybody over the next two weeks with the 2016 rules package a topic of discussion. "Obviously, the low downforce matched up with the tires got a lot of momentum and we've seen some really good things that I think you will see at a number of races this next year. There are some outliers we want to look at. Some of the bigger tracks, Michigan, California, but as closely as we can kind of stick to two packages, maybe a low-downforce and something different, that's what we'd like to do. One of the things we want to make sure we dial in and specifically for each race is really the tires. A lot of people go in and just say 'it's the 2015 rules package' but its really not. There's a lot of variables that go into that with gear ratios, the tires that are selected, so you will see a lot more emphasis on that for '16 depending on the different surfaces we race on and fully expect it to be a incredible competitive season." Will the high-drag package be a factor in 2016? O'Donnell wouldn't say either way but some tweaks would be needed. "Some modifications we could look at (on the high-drag package). Not necessarily anything we've got dialed in right now. Obviously. both those races (Indianapolis and Michigan) produced some challenges for us and we're aware of that and don't want to go out and repeat those ever again. There's some things we obviously learned from both those events. ... We want to go and have those discussions with the teams, we'll see what maybe the best thing for those events, especially Michigan."(, interview audio at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)(9-9-2015)

  • NASCAR, USA TODAY Sports Launch NASCAR Fan Index: NASCAR and USA TODAY Sports launched the first-ever NASCAR Fan Index, a digital index that combines social media activity and online fan voting to determine which Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" driver has the greatest "fan nation" in this year's "Battle of Nations." Beginning this week and running through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22, the NASCAR Fan Index will rank the top driver fan bases based on aggregated social chatter and weekly online voting. The index is measured based on the social activity of each Chase driver's nation, including sharing photos and videos, as well as the voting results across fan-friendly themes such as best driver nickname and best paint scheme. NASCAR fans can vote an unlimited number of times for their favorite drivers in the weekly polls at Additional themes will include best helmet design, best warm-up song, best race win burnout and best driver tweet of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.(NASCAR)(9-8-2015)

  • The Battle Of Nations Returns To Rally Fans: NASCAR announced an open call for fans to rally behind their favorite driver "nations" as part of a massive, integrated marketing campaign to promote the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. New television spots, interactive digital experiences, fan parties and a robust social media push will celebrate The Chase launch and encourage fans to join the Battle of Nations. Introduced last year to promote NASCAR's revamped Chase format, the Battle of Nations ( returns to capture the drama and excitement of The Chase while giving fans even more ways to engage with the sport's unpredictable, 10-race playoffs. The campaign theme was inspired by drivers' loyal fan followings and aligns the 16 Chase drivers, their race teams, automotive manufacturers and partners as unique nations - each looking to grow their fan bases and stand above the rest in a quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. The sport's largest-ever social media campaign will invite fans, teams and sponsors to show support for their favorite Chase drivers and share content using the hashtag #TheChase. USA TODAY Sports will introduce the first-ever NASCAR Fan Index to aggregate social chatter and host weekly, online fan votes to help determine which Chase driver has the greatest nation. Fans wanting in on the action themselves can engage digitally with the Battle of Nations by making weekly predictions in The Chase Grid" Battle Powered by Bing. In addition, fans can register at to play the Quicken Loans $16 Million Perfect Grid Challenge for a chance to win $16 million, and the Weekly Playoff Grid Challenge for a chance to win prizes including a year's worth of free mortgage payments. NASCAR soon will launch the first-ever Join the Battle app, offering interactive content to enhance fans' experience during the Chase on mobile devices. The interactive app will be available for download on Sept. 13 at

  • Low downforce package again well-received: If there is such a thing as a consensus in NASCAR, the low-downforce aerodynamics package debuted at Kentucky earlier this season may be as close as the sport gets to it. The package, preferred by many of the Sprint Cup Series' top drivers, was paired with a tire package to match for Sunday night's Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and again received rave reviews. Even in a grueling race that lasted nearly 4½ hours, as the race wound to its conclusion the win was still up for grabs with three drivers - Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick - still in the hunt for the victory. Sunday's race is the last this season in which the package will be used, a fact reiterated by NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer, Steve O'Donnell, after the race. NASCAR's initial reaction after the race was very positive and O'Donnell said he expected a decision in a few weeks on whether the package will be used and how often in the 2016 season. "We'll spend the proper time with the industry - the race teams, the drivers - and have a decision toward the end of the month," he said. "We're really pleased with how the race track came together with the "Throwback" idea and I think what you saw was it culminated with a terrific race on the track as well."(Motorsport)(9-7-2015)

  • Success of Darlington aero package could help set 2016 rules package: Don't be fooled by the throwback paint schemes that harken to a bygone era when the Southern 500 was an unbroken tradition at the Lady in Black. This Southern 500 is about NASCAR's future - not its past. With the return of the low downforce aerodynamic package and a more suitable tire from Goodyear, Sunday's Bojangles Southern 500 could offer fans a preview of the 2016 Sprint Cup rules packages. "There's a lot on the line for that race," said NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "We'll sit down with all our OEM partners, the race teams, talk through all the data we saw from all the races that we've run - including the 2015 package - and take a look at what's the best path forward, not necessarily one package for the entire year, but look at what works on specific racetracks and then go quickly to work and announce something here in the short term." Before the first throwback design debuted to celebrate a late summer Southern 500, the focus for Darlington switched to a low downforce aero package. A sampling of the configuration at Kentucky earned rave reviews particularly from the competitors. Still, pundits cautioned not to embrace the package just yet. Some noted that Kentucky's worn out asphalt typically encourages solid racing for an intermediate track. Others pointed to the potential of a Brad Keselowski blowout before miscues thwarted his early dominant performance (where he led half of the first 124 circuits). Yet as O'Donnell said, there is a lot riding on Sunday's race. NASCAR, race teams and Goodyear have worked overtime to develop a competitive product for the race track. However, unlike the hype surrounding the high drag aero configuration entering Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway, the early Darlington buzz has shifted from competition to throwback themes - including cars, hats and t-shirts - which is curious, considering the industry-wide preparation for this event. Goodyear had not one but two tire tests at Darlington prior to this weekend. The genesis for this weekend's tire combination dates back to a Charlotte test with the low downforce last December - and a subsequent test at CMS in March. At the first Darlington test in early June, only the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team played with the low downforce package. Goodyear returned on June 30 for the confirmation test with three Cup champions - Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski - running the low downforce configuration. Along with Goodyear, both teams and the sanctioning body have data from running this package (sans tires developed specifically for the configuration) at Kentucky to transfer this weekend's event.(Motorsport)(9-3-2015)

  • NASCAR increases penalties for wheels & ballast falling off: Citing safety, NASCAR announced Wednesday that crew chiefs and other key team members will receive a mandatory four-race suspension for a lost wheel or ballast falling off the car in each of the three national series. NASCAR stated that a minimum four-race suspension would be given to a crew chief, tire changer and tire carrier for a lost wheel due to improper installation. A crew chief, car chief and head engineer will receive a minimum four-race suspension for ballast falling off the car. NASCAR stated in its update to the rule book: "NASCAR has categorized certain serious safety infractions that create a significant risk of injury or damage (e.g. separation of ballast weight or wheel(s) from the vehicle) under the P3 category. NASCAR considers such infractions to be very serious in nature and has therefore included pre-determined minimum Penalties to address the severity of such violations. NASCAR further reserves the right to escalate such safety related Penalties to higher Penalty levels when the infraction is considered to be more egregious in nature or displays a higher degree of negligent behavior." NASCAR has penalized a Sprint Cup and two Xfinity teams this season for weight falling off a car.(NBC Sports)(9-3-2015)

  • NASCAR to Honor Justin Wilson at Road American and CTMP: NASCAR will honor fallen IndyCar driver Justin Wilson at this weekend's events in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Camping World Truck Series with a moment of silence and decals that drivers can place on their helmets and/or the B-post of their vehicles. Wilson, 37, died late Monday after injuries sustained in Sunday's ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway after he was apparently struck in the head by debris from a late-race crash at the 2.5-mile track. The moment of silence will occur before the invocation and national anthem at both races.(

  • Comcast creates Community Champion of the Year Award: As part of its long-term partnership with NASCAR, Comcast announced the creation of the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, honoring NASCAR team members for their outstanding charitable endeavors. The annual award will celebrate the philanthropic efforts being made by race teams across all three national series. An individual from each national series will be honored, with one of the three earning the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. In recognition of their efforts, a donation of $60,000 will be made in the winner's name to their affiliated charitable organization. A $30,000 contribution will also be made to each of the remaining finalists' charitable organizations. Nominations are to be submitted by NASCAR team members. Eligible recipients include team owners, drivers and all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team employees. Nominees will be narrowed down to three finalists, with a panel of judges comprised of executives from Comcast, The NASCAR Foundation, a former NASCAR driver and a member of the national motorsports media, to determine the recipient of the award. The award will be presented at the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series Banquet at the end of the season in South Florida. Comcast's XFINITY brand is the title sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Comcast's NBCUniversal is a NASCAR broadcast partner through the 2024 season.(NASCAR)(8-27-2015)

  • Drivers want stricter policing of restarts UPDATE: It's no secret how NASCAR feels about restarts. The double-file dashes into Turn 1 are the most exciting parts of many races, and NASCAR wants drivers to control the exact moment when the race goes back to green. But how serious NASCAR is about punishing those who don't play by the rules on restarts is unclear. Though there were no problems Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, drivers believe there could be some questionable circumstances as the Sprint Cup Series heads towards its final 12 races. "All the drivers really want is for NASCAR to police that stuff with a stern hand," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said after the race. "... You see a guy breaking the rule and you just want to see NASCAR come down on people. You just want NASCAR to run the show like you read in the rulebook." There seems to be uncertainty among drivers because NASCAR often says one thing about restarts while doing another. Officials threaten to penalize drivers for not following the proper procedure, but rarely call a penalty in those situations. "They say it's a judgement call, but you want them to really rule on the side of the penalty," Earnhardt said. "Keep people honest. ... If you give us a little room out there, as drivers we are going to try to take it. We don't want the sport ran so loosely. We really want it to be structured very tight." In NASCAR, all restarts except the start of the race are supposed to be controlled by the leader. When the leader arrives in a zone painted on the wall, he or she has the discretion to go at any time. The second-place driver isn't allowed to take off first, but can beat the leader to the start line - the result of a rule change after more restart controversy in Sept. 2013.(full article at the USA Today)(8-24-2015)
    UPDATE Despite a push from some competitors that restarts need to be better policed, NASCAR does not plan to change how it officiates those. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, addressed the topic Monday on "The Morning Drive.'' O'Donnell said officials want the responsibility for a good restart to remain on the drivers. "We've told the drivers that we'd like to leave it in their hands,'' O'Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "The rule is clear. We've got a restart zone. We've got a bunch of technology and spotters we can use to look at and make calls. We would like to leave it and continue to leave it in the drivers' hands but that's something we'll continue to look at. We're confident in the calls we've made. The leader restarts the race. It's something we've always got to look at. It's a hot topic when you see things in one or two races in a row that becomes a theme. Hopefully, we get into Darlington and that settles down a bit and we get back to racing.''(in part from NBC Sports)(8-25-2015)

  • NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell addresses MWR situation: The landscape in NASCAR shifted last week when Michael Waltrip Racing announced that it would end full-time competition in the Sprint Cup Series following the 2015 season. MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman, the former investment banker who gave MWR an influx of finanical support in 2007, was at the forefront of the decision. On Monday, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell addressed the moves made by Kauffman and MWR that included Clint Bowyer being freed to pursue other deals for 2016 and Kauffman buying into Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in late July. "I think in Rob's case we're pleased that he believes in the sport and is willing to make a continued investment in NASCAR, which is a great time for us," O'Donnell said during his weekly interview with "As well as Clint Bowyer who is certainly a talented driver who will find a home with a top team. You never like to see anything happen with a race team like this in this case, but again we'll see some things we believe through the manufacturer's support where some other teams may become stronger through all this as well. So a lot still to play out. We're working closely with all our race teams right now to do everything we can to put everyone in an even better position as we head into the 2016 season."(

  • NASCAR moving to a Madison Avenue office in NYC: NASCAR is moving it New York office to a buidling with Central Park views. NASCAR leased space at 590 Madison Ave., taking a portion of the 43-story tower's 40th floor. The organization signed a 10-year lease for 14,077 square feet. Asking rent was $150 per square foot-about 50% more than NASCAR's current rent. A source said NASCAR will be paying $140 a square foot for its space. NASCAR is relocating from nearby Park Avenue Tower, at 65 E. 55th St. It had about 19,500 square feet at Park Avenue Tower and was paying rents of about $90 per square foot on a lease signed when midtown rents were lower than they are today. A source said the rent at its new Madison Avenue office is far less than what NASCAR would have had to pay if it renewed its lease at 65 E. 55th St.(Crains)(8-21-2015)

  • Warnings issued from Michigan: The teams of #2-Brad Keselowski, #47-AJ Allmendinger and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. received written warnings for having to go through pre-race or pre-qualifying technical inspection three times at Michigan last weekend. It was the teams' first warning under a new system where if a team gets four warnings between now and the end of the season, it will choose its pit stall last instead of where it qualified for the next race. Earnhardt will miss 15 minutes of practice time this week at Bristol because his car actually didn't pass pre-race inspection three times Sunday. Also losing practice time this week are #27-Paul Menard and #32-Josh Wise for being late to the inspection line before qualifying.(ESPN)(8-19-2015)

  • NASCAR confiscates splitters from Penske cars UPDATE no penalties: Both Team Penske cars had issues getting through NASCAR technical inspection prior to Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan. Joey Logano's #22 Ford was the first of the two Penske cars to roll through tech, with NASCAR taking issue with the thickness of the front splitter. When Brad Keselowski's #2 car went through tech, it had the same issue. NASCAR required the crews of both cars to remove the original splitters and install new ones before going back through the inspection line. A NASCAR official confiscated both splitters, taking them back to the NASCAR hauler in the garage. #22 crew chief Todd Gordon said NASCAR just did not like what they saw with the splitter, saying it was "no big deal." NASCAR allows teams to smooth out the splitter prior to the race, but issues arise when teams begin manipulating the edges and thickness of the splitter. NASCAR spokesperson Kristi King addressed the issue on Sunday, saying the splitters on both cars were so close in tolerance the sanctioning body asked the team to err on the side of caution and change the splitters. Despite the issue, neither Penske team will lose their starting positions for Sunday's race at Michigan, and if any penalties or fines result from the issue they will likely be announced early next week.(Fox Sports)(8-16-2015)
    UPDATE Team Penske drivers #2-Brad Keselowski and #22-Joey Logano will not be penalized for the splitters NASCAR took from the cars before the Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Michigan. NASCAR officials felt the splitters were so close to being non-compliant that they had the Penske teams replace the splitter in order to lessen the likelihood of the splitters being out of compliance following the race. They also impounded the splitters to take a closer look at them this week, and NASCAR determined there were no issues. A splitter affects the amount of front downforce for the car.(ESPN)(8-18-2015)

  • NASCAR teams with Mexico's Eugenio Derbez to develop original comedy film: NASCAR announced it has teamed up with Eugenio Derbez, one of Mexico's most-recognizable stars, to collaborate on an original, full-length comedy movie. Long heralded as one of Mexico's most popular actors, writers, directors and producers, Derbez broke-through on a global level with the 2013 hit film Instructions Not Included. Derbez was named No. 1 on Variety's Power of Latinos List in 2014, along with actress Sofia Vergara. NASCAR's popularity among Latinos has increased in recent years, as drivers such as Cuban-American Aric Almirola and Mexican Daniel Suarez have seen increasing success in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. Derbez raced competitively in Mexico and has a deep passion for the sport. Benjamin Odell, partner with Derbez's production company, 3Pas Studios, will serve as producer of the project along with Derbez. Zane Stoddard, vice president of NASCAR's entertainment, marketing and content development division, will serve as executive producer.(NASCAR)(8-18-2015)

  • High-drag package disappoints at Michigan UPDATE: NASCAR's high-drag aerodynamic package got its second race test Sunday in the Pure Michigan 400, and post-race reactions from drivers ranged from guarded approval to muffled disappointment. Matt Kenseth won the race in dominant fashion, leading 146 of the 200 laps. He was rarely challenged at the front. Most significant passing in the top 10 was done on the first few laps after a restart. The high-drag package was used for the first time at Indianapolis last month and had little impact on improving passing opportunities. The most definitive post-race answers Sunday came from Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, both of whom avoided criticizing the package but said a lot in saying not very much. Asked what he thought of the package results, Logano said, "What did you think?" Told there wasn't much passing, he said, "That's what I thought, too." Asked if he wanted to see the package tried again, Logano simply said, "No." Keselowski also wouldn't comment specifically on Sunday's results. "It's not my deal, man," he said. "It's not my right to say. It's not my sport, so whatever they want to do, we'll race it. That's my job. I think we saw almost exactly what everybody thought we'd see. I'll let you guys (media) judge whether that was good or bad." NASCAR communications official David Higdon said NASCAR will look at data from Sunday's race, along with other aero package tests, and take input from drivers.
    Kevin Harvick finished second but passed up the opportunity to comment directly when asked about the rules package. Denny Hamlin, who finished fifth and failed to lead a lap, had a mixed review. "It's not what I would prefer, obviously," he said. "Passing is very, very difficult; there's no doubt about it. I think there's light at the end of the tunnel. I think we've seen what's best. Hopefully, these NASCAR fans get what they want in the future." Martin Truex Jr. finished third but said he would have had a shot at winning under different circumstances. "We could run anybody down and get to them," he said. "But it took a long time to pass cars. It was just so damn hard to pass. I could run a guy down from way back and get to him and about spin out."(USA Today)(8-17-2015)
    UPDATE: When it came to the use of the "high-drag" aerodynamic package in Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR's view appears much in line with most observers of the race. "Certainly we would have liked to have seen some more out of the race package," Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday morning. "We've said repeatedly with each and every package we've put together, we want to look at the ability to pass throughout the field and the ability to have multiple lead changes at the front and we didn't get that on Sunday." O'Donnell said the sanctioning body will turn its attention now to another use of the low-downforce package in the upcoming race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. That package - preferred by drivers - debuted last month at Kentucky with positive reviews. "We'll look at the data that we can gather from the race but also talk to the industry, see what they felt about the package and how the cars performed," he said. "You still have some ability to pass in the middle of the field and the ability to pull up, but certainly the challenge of the leader getting away way out front was one we all see and the fans see as well." (Motorsport)(8-17-2015)

  • Chase rules package, 2016 schedule coming soon UPDATES: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams could know within a week what aero package will be used during the Chase for the Sprint Cup and could know within about a month the 2016 schedule, NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. This weekend's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway marks the return of the high-drag aero package first tried last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While the package was criticized by some drivers after that race, NASCAR hopes the package will work better at Michigan. O'Donnell told "The Morning Drive" on Tuesday that Sprint Cup teams will be told what aero package will be used for the Chase "either towards the end of this week or coming right out of Michigan. Want to lock that in for the race teams. Not lost on us is how much work has been done by all our teams to prepare to even get us to Michigan and then Darlington. We're really appreciative of the hard work, and we owe it to them to get the word out now and let them prepare for the Chase." O'Donnell said talks continue as NASCAR looks to finalize the 2016 schedule. As for when the schedule could be ready, O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: "I think we're probably three to four weeks away. We've got some work still with the racetracks."(NBC Sports)(8-11-2015)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to meet with Sprint Cup competitors after qualifying tonight at Michigan International Speedway. Among the topics expected to be discussed is what rule package NASCAR will use for the Chase. This comes after Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that teams would be told within about a week what aero package will be used in the Chase. NASCAR has used a low-downforce package at Kentucky (and it will be used next month at Darlington) and a high-drag package at Indianapolis and this weekend at Michigan, along with the rule package used at the other races this season.(NBC Sports)(8-14-2015)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR will stick with its original 2015 rules package throughout the Chase for the Sprint Cup after switching to track-specific packages for a handful of races recently. A high-drag aerodynamic package was used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month and will be in place again this weekend at Michigan, and it received some criticism from drivers. But a low-downforce package put in place at Kentucky was more popular, and it will be used again at Darlington next month. But when the 10-race Chase begins Sept. 20 at Chicagoland, the original rules will be used. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer, announced the decision Friday after a meeting with drivers at Michigan.(Associated Press).(8-14-2015)
    UPDATE 3 NASCAR will not experiment with a new aerodynamic package for intermediate tracks in the 2015 Chase, opting to keep the car specifications the same as the teams have used for most of the races. But NASCAR likely will change the restrictor-plate package at Talladega Superspeedway in response to the horrific crash in July at Daytona International Speedway, where Austin Dillon's car went airborne and was ripped apart by the catch fence with debris entering the grandstands. The five fans injured were either treated at the track or treated and released from the hospital within hours. "There probably will be [changes]. We are still having some discussion with the industry heading into Talladega," NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said Friday night at Michigan International Speedway. "We have not settled on anything yet, but I think you can anticipate something." O'Donnell would not go into specifics whether NASCAR would look to slow the cars or if it would try to keep them on the ground with additional pieces to decrease lift.(
    UPDATE 4: A NASCAR executive further hinted Monday at change for the Oct. 25 Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Friday that "there probably will be" rule changes at Talladega when asked about what officials might do in light of what they learned from the Austin Dillon crash at Daytona in July. Monday on "The Morning Drive," O'Donnell clarified what officials were considering for the Talladega race. "I think that's more procedural in terms of the race procedures for that event," O'Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "Don't want to confuse everyone in terms that we may be changing engines or things like that. We're just looking at some race procedure things that we may or may not do and still having some conversations within the garage to land on that decision." Dillon's crash into the fence at Daytona marked the third time since Feb. 2012 that fans had been injured there across NASCAR's top three series. All three crashes came on a green-white-checkered finish.(NBC Sports)(8-17-2015)

  • NASCAR updates rules to help cool cars at Michigan: NASCAR has addressed the heat issues that plagued last month's racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a rules mandate for this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Drivers complained it was too hot in the cockpit of their cars with the high-drag rules package, which was first used at Indianapolis and will return at Michigan. The package reduces airflow under the car, so heat is trapped in the cockpit and several drivers were almost ill following the Xfinity Series race at Indy. But NASCAR on Wednesday mandated a dual outlet duct be used on the right-side window to help ventilate the cockpit. With the heat issue now addressed, the focus shifts to durability concerns at Michigan, the fastest track in NASCAR.(Associated Press)(8-13-2015)

  • Drivers met with NASCAR Saturday about aero packages: Sprint Cup competitors met with representatives from NASCAR on Saturday morning at Watkins Glen to discuss aero packages - and when to schedule the next drivers council meeting. Drivers were told the sanctioning body will likely stick with the current aerodynamic package for this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup. However, in 2016 NASCAR will incorporate the low-downforce aero package - which was run at Kentucky Speedway last month and will be used again at Darlington Speedway with race-specific tires -- at most tracks. If the high-drag aero package, which was used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, enhances the competition at Michigan International Speedway next weekend, then NASCAR would incorporate that configuration on car setups at Michigan, Auto Club Speedway and Pocono Raceway in 2016.(Motorsport)(8-9-2015)

  • NASCAR revises warnings system: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will now face only the loss of pit stall selection for multiple warnings, according to a bulletin issued to teams by the sanctioning body Wednesday. The change removes the potential for multiple warnings to result in the escalation of the severity of the penalty (to a P1 level or higher), and eliminates all but one of the penalty options previously included in the 2015 NASCAR Deterrence Policy under the warnings category. For every fourth warning issued to a team, whether during a championship (points) or non-championship (non-points) event, the loss of pit stall selection will be enforced. If the fourth warning is issued before pit selection has occurred, the loss of pit selection will be assessed at that event. If the fourth warning occurs after pit selection has already taken place, the penalty will be enforced at the next points event. The modification of the rule takes effect immediately. Any previous warnings issued to teams prior to Wednesday have been rescinded. Once a team has served its penalty, it begins the next event with a clean slate and no warnings on its record. Also, warnings will not carry over into the following season.
    Previously, the loss of pit stall selection was just one possible penalty for teams that incurred two warnings during the same event, or two warnings during consecutive events. Other penalties included: track time deductions for practice; track time deductions for qualifying; delay in order of inspection; selection for post-race inspection; specified time delay before unloading vehicle at track; temporary suspension of annual hard card credential(s); reduction or suspension of other event privileges; community service.(

  • NASCAR prepared to run in the rain at Watkins Glen: For the second time this season, NASCAR will bring a new rain package to a road course for the Sprint Cup tour. Last September, the sanctioning body introduced new rules for racing in inclement weather. While it seldom rains at Sonoma, the chance to use windshield wipers, de-foggers, a rear flashing light and rain tires with the cars will be more likely this weekend at Watkins Glen. Last Wednesday, NASCAR sent out a bulletin to the teams updating Rule 10.13 Inclement Weather Race Procedures (Road Course Events). According to the note, should it rain, it will be up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Managing Director to determine whether the track surface is "dry, wet or damp". At that point in the race, teams will be able to use "mandated or approved use of "wet" or "dry" condition equipment during competition."
    Should the race start in "wet" weather conditions (10.13.2) the cars will (.a) start on the grid in "dry equipment configuration. After the series director declares "a 'wet' weather start (when the track surface is entirely covered with moisture)," the drivers will take a pace lap behind the caution car, (c) "return to their assigned pit stall and "install rain tires, front windshield wiper(s), and activate the rear flashing light for the Race.
    According to the NASCAR Rulebook section 10.13.3, for race starts under "damp" conditions (when only portions of the track are wet), once the course has been deemed "damp" by the series director and after the pace lap, the cars (.c) "will return to their assigned pit stall and may elect, at the team's discretion, to install the rain tires and/or front windshield wiper(s). The rear flashing light must be activated for the Race under "damp" conditions.(Motorsport)(8-5-2015)

  • NASCAR could extend pit wall at Pocono: NASCAR expects changes will be made at Pocono Raceway to try to avoid pit road accidents such as the ones that occurred Saturday and Sunday, when cars hit the wall that separates the pit stalls from the crews. "We'll work with the track," NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said Monday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (listen to audio here). "We already have got a plan in place to look at extending that pit wall. We certainly have got to make sure that by doing that you put the proper protection for the race cars and the drivers coming off of [the turn]." O'Donnell said NASCAR has the crash data -- cars are equipped with recording systems that NASCAR can download after a race to determine impacts -- and will use it to help determine a plan. "It's easy to say just extend the wall, but if you do that and do that at the wrong angle, you can cause more problems with cars coming off [the turn] at a high rate of speed," O'Donnell said. NASCAR's sanction agreement with tracks dictates that the series can require any changes it wants in order to have a race at the track. NASCAR typically works with tracks to make sure any changes don't cause additional problems for other series that compete there.(ESPN)(8-3-2015)

  • NASCAR's new merchandise tent to debut at Pocono UPDATE: The race weekend marks the unveiling of NASCAR's new approach to team merchandising, said Kevin Heaney, spokesman for Pocono. Instead of individual merchandise trailers, the new NASCAR Fanatics Tent will offer a shaded area for race fans to pick up hats, models, T-shirts and other memorabilia. A ribbon-cutting for the tent is scheduled Friday morning. The tent opens 9:30 a.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. There'll be no more waiting in line for a clerk inside a merchandise hauler to hand over an item for closer look, Heaney said. "It's all touch and feel," he said. "You can do it yourself." The new model levels the playing field for smaller race teams that may be unable to afford a merchandise hauler. "We are the first track to have this," Heaney said. Other attractions include the Pocono Medical Kids Zone, a host of displays including most branches of the military and NASA in the Fan Fair and the Infield Block Party open to the public starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the block party is a $5 donation per vehicle to the Tunkhannock Township Volunteer Fire Co., and fireworks follow about 9:15 p.m.(The Express-Times)(7-30-2015)
    UPDATE: A piece of NASCAR nostalgia will be missing from Pocono Raceway this weekend. NASCAR and merchandising partner Fanatics, Inc. will debut their mega merchandise tent -- a 60,000-square-foot production that would cover one and a half football fields -- this weekend at Pocono. The old merchandise haulers where fans congregated for T-shirts and other merchandise specific to a single driver or race team are now gone, with the exception of Penske teams, which have outstanding contracts at select tracks through this season. But NASCAR and Fanatics are betting that a wider selection of products and a more modern and convenient shopping experience will win over fans who enjoy the haulers as a link to the past. And NASCAR has tried to carry some of the old look and feel of the haulers over into the store by including driver and team section fronts. "There really are these driver and team-branded concepts and stores [in sections]," NASCAR Vice President of Licensing and Consumer Products Blake Davidson said. "There's going to be a lot of product there. I think we will start to ease fans' fears. ... The scale of this is going to blow people away." The new mega tents will have merchandise available for 58 drivers, including areas dedicated to certain drivers. The Dale Earnhardt Jr. section alone will likely be 2,000 square feet . In June at Pocono, there was merchandise available for 33 drivers at 23 haulers. Sixty checkout stations will be available to handle the pre- and post-race rush. There also will be 12 online purchasing stations where fans can buy items and have them shipped home for free. The separate sections for women's merchandise, children's merchandise, die-cast models (1,400 available) and hats (10,000 representing 24 drivers) should give fans more options. By the end of the year, NASCAR and Fanatics hope to have on-site personal printing options where fans can put their names on their purchases. They're also working on adding the capability to print and sell race-winner merchandise to fans after a race, as is the case at other team sport championship events.(in part from ESPN)(8-1-2015)

  • Written warnings after Indianapolis: NASCAR issued written warnings to two teams this week for multiple inspection failures last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The #31 Chevy of Ryan Newman was warned for failing prerace inspection twice. The #13 Chevy of Casey Mears was warned for failing prequalifying inspection twice. The Sprint Cup Rule Book states in section that if the same team receives two warnings during two consecutive events - whether a points event or not - then the team faces a P1 penalty that could include one or more of the following: Deduction of practice time, deduction of qualifying time, last choice in selecting pits, delay in order of inspection and/or other penalties. NASCAR has emphasized teams getting through inspection without needing too many attempts. Teams were warned in April about formalized penalties for failing to pass inspection. There were four teams (#27-Menard, #15-Bowyer, #11-Hamlin and #21-Blaney) that received warnings after the previous race at New Hampshire but avoided a warning in consecutive events.(NBC Sports)(7-30-2015)

  • NASCAR will proceed with Michigan downforce package: NASCAR officials confirmed Wednesday they will proceed as planned with a test of their high-drag aerodynamic package on Sprint Cup Series cars next month at Michigan. Cup teams and their representatives took part in a previously-scheduled meeting on Wednesday with NASCAR competition executives and expressed concerns over the package's performance last weekend at Indianapolis. NASCAR, however, plans to give the package another try at Michigan with little, if any changes. The package was desired to help spur more passing and "pack racing" but came far short of expectations in Sunday's Brickyard 400.(Motorsports)(7-30-2015)

  • Drivers say rules package at Indy not effective UPDATE: NASCAR might need to go back to the drawing board in its quest to create more competitive stock car racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR officials debuted a "high-drag" aero package in Sunday's Brickyard 400, featuring a nine-inch spoiler and other measures intended to slow the cars down and punch a big hole in the air, which officials hoped would create drafting and pack racing. But the racing didn't look much different from previous NASCAR races at Indy. With the exception of some wild restarts, the racing was largely single file.
    #4-Kevin Harvick called it a "huge science project that probably didn't really change that much." "I think everybody put in a lot of effort to try to really make everything a lot better, spent a lot of money, but I don't know that we accomplished everything that we were looking to accomplish," Harvick said.
    #2-Brad Keselowski was disappointed the changes weren't more effective. "I think we were all expecting there to be more drafting than there was," Keselowski said. "I don't think the draft was much different than last year and the penalty for being behind someone in the corner was more significant."
    #5-Kasey Kahne saw a "little gain" in terms of being able to close on cars on straightaways. Added #78-Martin Truex Jr.: "I thought it was harder to pass than it's ever been. Similar to last year with the really big spoiler, there was a little bit more of a suck-up on the straightaway. But I didn't feel like it was enough."
    All said, Harvick wondered whether the changes were worth the time and money they cost NASCAR teams. "I know my team did a lot of extra work to come to this race after we had already come here and tested and already spent that money to come here and test for a few days," Harvick said. "And then to come back and have to race something different was a huge undertaking for the teams for a huge science project that probably didn't change that much."
    NASCAR is expected to use a similar package when teams run at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 16.(USA Today)(7-27-2015)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials will not rush to judge the performance of the high-drag aero package used in Sunday's Brickyard 400 although drivers complained about its impact on the race. NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive'' that officials will "take time" in assessing the package. "We're digesting the signs from it," he told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "The fans and the industry saw the race unfold as we did. There were certainly some components, the balance of competition, the opportunities that this package presented for the drivers to perform were of benefit, but we've heard the expressions of some of the drivers that didn't like some of characteristics of the project. We can absorb all the of the science and the data we collect, including talking to the industry, the drivers, the crew members and the competition departments of the teams and the car owners to take all of that now and absorb it. That's part of the reason we created this specific package for Indianapolis - to see the characteristics of it, knowing that there are a lot of personalities in the garage area that have different opinions ... but it's on NASCAR to come up with the one that we put in front of the fans on each individual racetrack each weekend. So, we'll take time." The package is scheduled to be used again next month at Michigan International Speedway.(NBC Sports)(7-28-2015)

  • Heat a factor with Indy rules package: #18-Kyle Busch continued his hot streak with a win at Indy. Busch and the rest of the field were all full of hot air at the Brickyard. The cars were extremely hot inside the cockpit because the aerodynamic package trapped air inside. Busch was one of many drivers physically drained following Saturday's race, and Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway seemed to have the same consequence. This same rules package is scheduled to be used next month at Michigan. "I got a huge blister on my foot," Logano said. "I think the extended bumper cover on the back of these things doesn't let the airflow underneath the car like it used to without it, and I think it builds the inside temperature up. I've got sweat in my eyes. It's just too hot inside those cars." Teams had their choice to seal openings in the window used for hoses that supply air to the driver. With the window sealed, the car would have the needed downforce for the package used at Indy. The drivers paid for it with a sweaty Sunday. #40-Landon Cassill held his own "science experiment" and weighed himself before and after the race. His pre-race weight was 155.4 pounds. Cassill, who said he consumed 110 ounces of fluids and 1,100 calories, weighed 147.4 pounds after the race. "That's a 10% gross loss of body weight, getting it back to 5% with fluid replacement. I think I'd like to see closer to 3%," he tweeted. He also tweeted: "few more stats from the 110oz of fluids I took in...1,100 Cal, 1,978mg of sodium, 264g Carbs, 572mg Potassium."(Associated Press)(7-27-2015)

  • Teams unsure of impact of rules package at Indy: Tony Gibson's race car led the final practice Friday for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the crew chief was apprehensive rather than excited to see what driver Kurt Busch could do with the #41 Chevy on Sunday. "I am a little nervous," Gibson told USA TODAY Sports after the final session, led by Busch with a 181.987-mph lap around the 2.5-mile speedway. "But that may be that was just what we had going on. We made our car better, but I am just nervous about it. We got around other cars fairly quick and could do nothing with them just because we got so loose. Typically, we're not like that here and the bigger tracks. Here it was like the whole car come out of the track." Gibson said his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates had similar problems. Gibson said he doubts the new high-drag, high-downforce package being utilized this weekend and on Aug. 16 at Michigan International Speedway will engender more slingshot passing at Indianapolis. Cars will close quickly, he said, but seemingly lose the ability to pass because they become unstable when close to each other because of downforce loss.
    General Motors Sprint Cup program director Alba Colon said the true characteristics of the high-drag, high-downforce aerodynamics package deployed this weekend will not be determined until the race Sunday. Although NASCAR added a third practice to the schedule Friday, teams are diverging on strategy in terms of qualifying runs and drafting, making it difficult, Colon said, to determine if the package will augment passing and slingshot-style maneuvering as is the mandate from series chairman Brian France.
    So far, drivers don't seem optimistic about the package. Kyle Busch tried drafting off Tony Stewart in the second practice, only to curse in frustration after he couldn't complete a pass. And Denny Hamlin, who was fastest in the first practice, seemed to bite his lip when asked how the new package was working. "Passing will be tough -- to say the least," he said. But Hamlin quickly noted NASCAR is "trying something new" and "I can't fault them for trying."
    Several drivers, including Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth, shrugged their shoulders and said it was difficult to predict how the race would turn out until green-flag conditions.(USA Today)(7-25-2015)

  • Higher spoiler causing more limited visibility: The larger spoiler teams are using this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is causing visibility issues for some NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. As part of the high-drag aero package intended to enhance passing at a track where passing has been difficult for drivers in previous years, NASCAR has teams running a 9-inch spoiler with a 1-inch wicker bill on it. Part of the spoiler is clear, giving drivers a gap to look through in the rearview mirror, but #22-Joey Logano said he'd like to have had more clear space to look through via his rearview mirror. "It's challenging to see," Logano said Friday. "You have a small gap where the spoiler is clear and you can see out of that, and then obviously the wicker (which is not clear) is on top of that, so it's kind of hard. You only get a certain amount, but I think I can see about five car lengths behind me and any cars that are further back than that I can't see. That isn't the end of the world. If they're five car lengths back, you're probably not too worried about it anyway. When they get close is when you want to see it, but it is nice sometimes because we don't know. We'll see with this whole drafting package down the straightaway when that run is going to start." #11-Denny Hamlin described his vision through the spoiler as "OK." #5-Kasey Kahne said he can "see enough. It's not quite as good as it has been this year, but it's no worse than what it was not long ago, so it's not bad." With the visibility limited, drivers will rely more on spotters this weekend.(NBC Sports)(7-25-2015)

  • NASCAR will address throwing of water bottles: A NASCAR executive said Monday that officials will address the issue of throwing water bottles out of the car with drivers after a water bottle was spotted on the apron during a debris caution in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Another water bottle was spotted on the apron during a caution for Paul Menard later in the race. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" that it's not uncommon for drivers to discard water bottles during a race. "Coming off pit road sometimes you see it down on the apron where some water bottles are discarded," he said. "I think in this case, we candidly weren't really sure and knew it was potentially one of the drivers' ones that are a little bit different with the material they're made out of. If someone is purposely trying to manipulate a caution, that's not something that is going to be tolerated, and we'll have to look into that further as we go and we'll address that with the teams also."(NBCSports)(7-21-2015)

  • France pleased with rules package at Kentucky: NASCAR Chairman Brian France liked what he saw from the racing Saturday night with the lower-downforce package, but admits he wants to see more drafting and pack racing. France made those comments Monday afternoon on "Sirius Speedway" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "What we're really looking for is how tight is the racing?" France said. "How many lead changes are there? How much passing through the field is going on? How many more teams are competitive by a given package? What accomplishes those goals the best? That's how we go about sorting it out. We're going to try some things coming up here at Indy (with a high-drag package). I'll tell you what we didn't see that we would like to see more of is more drafting. We didn't see as much of that as we would have liked and more pack racing. You saw that on the restarts but not quite as much (as we'd prefer). There were a lot of things we liked, definitely an improvement on the races that have happened at Kentucky." France said the race provided the best data possible for NASCAR instead of a test and hinted using races more often to evaluate packages. "We're going to continue to do that provided we don't break the bank for the team owners as we go about it," France told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "Our goal, beyond safe racing, which is our first goal, is that close, tight racing where more teams have a shot to win if their talents and hard work take them there." NASCAR will take the same package teams used at Kentucky to the Sept. 6 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The only change is that Goodyear will have a tire specific to that package for that race. It didn't have a tire specific to the Kentucky change because those adjustments came too late for Goodyear to provide another tire.(NBC Sports)(7-13-2015)

  • Positive response to rules package at Kentucky: By every measurable category - including the eye test -the debut of NASCAR's low downforce rules package Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway was a whopping success. And this wasn't even the finished product. The Quaker State 400 was one of the best 1.5-mile track races in recent years and certainly the best at Kentucky, which had produced a series of snoozers in its four previous events. There were a track-record 22 green-flag passes for the lead - including one in the final 20 laps -- and overall green-flag passes more than doubled from last year's race (2,665 on Saturday vs. 1,147 in 2014). Drivers heaped praise on the package and fans on social media overflowed with positive feedback.
    "I felt like a race car driver tonight," a grinning Carl Edwards said. "I could actually drive the car. I was steering and sliding -- I about wrecked a few times. I felt like I was doing something, not just sitting in line."
    Race winner Kyle Busch had perhaps the truest test of the new package. While chasing down Joey Logano late in the race, he got close enough to the car in front of him where it usually would have given him a big aero push - so-called dirty air. This time, though, was different. "When I got to Logano, I knew he was going to come up and block my lane and take my air," Busch said. "But when he did, it wasn't as bad as it has been with the other aero package where you just stall out and that guy can basically manipulate whatever you're going to do.
    And the most exciting element of the new rules package? It was operating without a key component: A soft tire that will complement the shorter rear spoiler and wider splitter. Tire supplier Goodyear didn't have enough notice to build such a tire, but it will be ready for the next race with the low downforce package on Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway.
    NASCAR had been reluctant to alter anything and still hasn't pulled the trigger on any sweeping changes. Officials are planning a high drag package for two upcoming tracks (Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway), which is the opposite of what the drivers asked for. And beyond Darlington, there are no set plans to run the low downforce package again. Kentucky was sort of a mid-season experiment with nothing to lose based on the track's history.(USA Today)(7-12-2015)

  • Teams to test new rules package at Kentucky Wednesday: UPDATES: NASCAR will take a reduced downforce package to Kentucky Speedway this week, and it appears many in the industry have high hopes. They have high hopes for the potential of the package. They're just not sure that they'll see the results at Kentucky. Finding the right rules to encourage side-by-side racing and lead changes -- in other words, reducing the dreaded "aero push" -- has resulted in NASCAR taking the unconventional step of experimenting with a different aerodynamic package this week at the 1.5-mile Kentucky oval. Drivers are unsure what to expect this weekend. They'll start to find out Wednesday as the testing at Kentucky begins. Three days after the test, NASCAR will have its first real test -- a race that counts just as any of the others on the calendar. The teams will have four hours of practice Wednesday afternoon and evening. Teams can use either their primary or backup cars for the race weekend -- which begins Friday -- during the test and they can have data acquisition systems on the car. They will be allowed to change engines prior to practice Friday morning. Teams have been told to have all the regular 2014 rules package components with them for the race weekend in case NASCAR opts to revert to the package used previously. But after all the hype about the reduced downforce package, the test would have to go horribly wrong Wednesday. Teams will use a 3.5-inch spoiler instead of a 6-inch spoiler. The splitter will have 1.75 inches less overhang. The radiator pan has been reduced from 38 inches to 25 inches. The entire package could reduce downforce by 25 percent in the cars, which currently produce approximately 3,200 pounds of downforce.( The test sessions are scheduled for 3:00-5:00pm/et and 6:00-8:00pm/et. Any reported speeds will be posted. Fans can watch for free by entering the track at gate 15.(7-8-2015)
    UPDATE: Rain at Kentucky Speedway forced the cancellation of Wednesday's test sessions. NASCAR will now have a single session on Thursday from 11:00am - 1:00pm/et.(7-8-2015)
    UPDATE 2: More rain at the track Thursday morning caused NASCAR to cancel Sprint Cup testing. Team will still run the new rules package this weekend for the Quaker State 400.(7-9-2015)

  • New rule changes announced for several tracks: A low downforce rules package similar to that scheduled for use by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams this weekend at Kentucky Speedway will be run in September at Darlington Raceway, according to Steve O'Donnell, Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for the sanctioning body. In addition, teams will compete with a higher drag rules package at both Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this month as well as Michigan International Speedway in August and Richmond International Raceway. This weekend's Kentucky aero package features a shorter spoiler (reduced from 6 inches to 3-1/2 inches) and a splitter extension panel (radiator pan) reduction from 38 inches to 25 inches. The splitter will have 1-3/4 inches less overhang that what has previously been used this season. Combined, the aero changes are expected to lessen the amount of downforce on the cars by approximately 1,000 pounds.
    While the Darlington setup will be similar to that slated for this weekend's Quaker State 400, there are differences. The spoiler will be 3-1/2 (instead of 3 inches) inches and the splitter will feature a 1/4-inch leading edge. There is no change in the size of the splitter extension panel (25 inches).
    Although the tires used this weekend at Kentucky were not tested at the 1.5-mile track with the lower downforce platform during an April tire test, Goodyear officials were able to determine a tire for the Darlington package during a one-day test last week with drivers #14-Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing), #20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing) and #2-Brad Keselowski (Team Penske).
    For Indy and Michigan, the aero package will feature a 9-inch spoiler and 1-inch wicker bill; a rear fascia extension panel similar to that currently used for superspeedway events; a 2-inch leading edge on the splitter; and a 43-inch splitter extension panel.
    Richmond will use a new tire. There are no scheduled aero changes for the upcoming race at Richmond International Raceway, the final race before the start of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, however Goodyear will not return with a multi-zone tread compound tire that had been used there recently. The changes are not currently scheduled for use at any tracks hosting Chase races.(

  • Officials to review #3 wreck: NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway officials will review the last-lap crash from early Monday morning where Austin Dillon's #3 car launched into the catch fence and left his fellow drivers amazed that neither Dillon nor race fans were seriously injured. "We'll work closely with NASCAR [with our review]," DIS president Joie Chitwood said. "We did this after the last incident [a 2013 Xfinity Series race]. We're going to learn from it and see what else we can do to be better. I think you saw some of the improvements at work today, so what we can learn from that tomorrow and the next days, we're going to incorporate moving forward." NASCAR chairman Brian France said Monday afternoon on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the "work has already begun" at NASCAR's research and development center in North Carolina to see if anything can be done to keep the cars on the ground while also trying to have the closest, tightest racing possible. "An accident like last night, boy it sure takes your breath away," France said. "And it should. But that's auto racing. And we're working on better solutions all the time to make racing safer and better. ... We have an entire group of people that woke up this morning trying to figure out how we make this better [and] make sure the cars don't elevate." Dillon's car ripped a hole of an estimated 60 feet in the catch fence. It appeared that the fence acted properly by keeping the car out of the grandstands. In doing so, the fence shredded Dillon's car to pieces, and some debris flew into the grandstands. The car's engine landed in the tri-oval grass. Dillon suffered a bruised tailbone and a bruised forearm but no significant injuries. Five fans were treated for unspecified injuries, with one going to the hospital and being released later Monday morning.(ESPN)(7-7-2015)

  • NASCAR addresses blocking in Daytona drivers meeting: NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton warned drivers in Sunday night's drivers meeting about blocking. Helton explained the genesis of the double yellow line at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway before getting into a discussion about blocking. Drivers are not permitted to go below the yellow lines to advance their position. If so, NASCAR will penalize them. If a driver blocks and forces a competitor below the yellow lines, the driver doing the blocking may be penalized. "I point to that because blocking is kind of creeping that way here and at Talladega," Helton said told the competitors. "Last night's race, I think, was an example of the unintended consequences that can come from a blocking move. I'm not telling you how to drive a racecar. Lord no, I couldn't do that. But drivers be conscious about the moves you're making on the racetrack, particularly when it comes to what we call blocking. Be thinking about that in tonight's race."(NBC Sports)(7-5-2015)

  • NASCAR drivers council: No new packages expected for Chase races: NASCAR's drivers council held its second meeting Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, with aerodynamic rules packages at upcoming races one of the hot topics. NASCAR will try a lower-downforce package at Kentucky Speedway next week, and Jeff Gordon said a high-downforce package will be used for Indianapolis and Michigan. But NASCAR likely won't change the rules package for any Chase for the Sprint Cup races, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "From what I heard today in our discussion, NASCAR was apprehensive really to use any other package then what we have had all year in the Chase," Earnhardt said. "They would work with the teams and the drivers before making that type of decision. We will go through and see what happens up until the Chase with these different packages they want to try and then maybe come to a decision to change something in the Chase. But until then, nothing in the Chase is really going to change as far as I've been told. I feel comfortable about that."
    NASCAR has been trying different rules packages to shake up the often-stale racing at intermediate racetracks. It formed a drivers council in May to get input from the competitors and held an initial meeting with the group at Dover International Speedway. Earnhardt, Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are among the drivers who were elected to the council. "In all the years I've been in the sport, these two meetings that we've had have been some of the highlights of my career," Gordon said. "I think it's huge. ... Basically, when you get in that room, you realize that everybody's goal is to just try to do whatever we can to continue to make this sport as great as it has been and possibly even better."(USA Today)(7-5-2015)

  • NASCAR releases Kentucky splitter dimensions: On June 10th, NASCAR prepared teams for a new low-downforce aerodynamic package for the Sprint Cup Series which would be introduced next week at Kentucky Speedway. Next Wednesday, the 1.5-mile track will open a day early for Cup teams to practice the new package which has been tested sporadically at the first Darlington test by the #48 team, during the Richmond tire test and again on Tuesday at a Goodyear tire confirmation test featuring drivers from all three manufacturers. On Wednesday, NASCAR released the official changes to the rulebook for Kentucky including the splitter dimensions and graphics. The front splitter overhang will by 1.75-inches shorter for Kentucky while the splitter extension panel has been reduced from 38-inches wide to 25 inches.(see graphics at Motorsport)(7-3-2015)

  • Republicans Aiming to Register Voters at NASCAR: the Republican National Committee is going to Daytona International Speedway. Spectators at this weekend's NASCAR races in Florida will be encouraged to register to vote. You might say the party's staff and volunteers will be "at the races" - literally. It's part of the kickoff of the RNC's new drive to register potential supporters and build a ground game earlier in the cycle, with operations in key states across the country over the July Fourth weekend. With a base in the South, NASCAR has generally attracted a more conservative audience that's receptive to the Republican message.(Roll Call)(7-3-2015)

  • Industry asks fans to refrain from displaying Confederate flag: Statement from NASCAR Industry Members: "As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment. To do that, we are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events. This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events. We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols. This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing."(NASCAR with signatories of ALL race tracks of ISC & SMI and many others)(7-2-2015)

  • NASCAR reviewing Sonoma pit road incident, Jeff Gordon penalty: NASCAR is examining a pit road incident involving a safety vehicle and #83-Matt DiBenedetto and will review a rule after this season that penalized #24-Jeff Gordon at Sonoma Raceway, a series official told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday morning. DiBenedetto spun when he tried to turn into his pit stall during Sunday's race and was clipped by a safety vehicle. "An unfortunate incident,'' Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "A lot of traffic on pit road. The vacuum truck and the safety vehicle were coming down. We told them to stay straight and maintain their pace at that point, that the teams were pitting behind them. Matt came across to go ahead and pit and was clipped by the safety vehicle. That's something we never want to see happen. Obviously, we put a lot of training into every event. I've not seen that in my time in NASCAR. We're reviewing that to make sure that never happens again.''
    NASCAR penalized Gordon's team in Sunday's race for throwing a spring rubber over the pit wall. That sent him to the back of the line for a restart. Teams are not allowed to toss equipment from the pit stall over the pit wall. "We made the call with throwing any type of equipment,'' O'Donnell said. "That's a call we've made this year. That may be something that we review at the end of the year in terms of if that is the right call. It's difficult to say ... what exactly was thrown back over the wall. That's something we're going to look at for '16.''(NBC Sports)(6-30-2015)

  • NASCAR talking with owners about long-term equity in sport: NASCAR and team owners have had discussions on ways that teams can have more long-term value. Whether that is through franchising or NASCAR offering a select number of licenses that guarantee starting spots remains to be determined. Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman, who heads the Race Team Alliance business coalition of team owners, wouldn't go into details of the discussions the owners have had with NASCAR. Asked Sunday about possible 2016 franchise or license models, Kauffman said, "What I can say is both NASCAR and the teams recognize that the teams building up some kind of long-term equity for participating in the sport, year in and year out and putting on the show, is a good thing. You look at a lot of other sports around the world, and that's how they work. "So the question is can you come up with some model within the framework of NASCAR that makes sense for everybody. It's a very sensible concept. The hard part is the details. So we're having productive discussions to see if we can figure out how to do it. It's an ongoing project."(in part from

  • NASCAR tower now controls pit-road entrance light: NASCAR officials in race control will now be in control of the indicator light at the entrance to pit road which began with Sunday's race at Sonoma Raceway. The light and flags, previously both controlled by a NASCAR official at the opening of pit road, indicate whether pit road is open or closed at various points during a race. An issue with that system last weekend at Chicago during an NASCAR XFINITY Series event resulted in 19 drivers pitting under caution before pit road was officially open - because most had heard on the radio officials in the tower announce pit road was open. The change is for all three national series - Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series.(

  • NASCAR chairman Brian France wants Confederate flag eliminated at races: Calling the Confederate flag an "insensitive symbol" he personally finds offensive, NASCAR chairman Brian France said the series will be aggressive in disassociating the symbol from its events. "We want to go as far as we can to eliminate the presence of that flag," France told The Associated Press on Saturday. "I personally find it an offensive symbol, so there is no daylight how we feel about it, and our sensitivity to others who feel the same way. Obviously, we have our roots in the South, there are events in the South, it's part of our history like it is for the country. But it needs to be just that, part of our history. It isn't part of our future. We want everybody in this country to be a NASCAR fan, and you can't do that by being insensitive in any one area."(full article at the Associated Press)(6-27-2015)

  • NASCAR modifies 2015 Rulebook: NASCAR introduced several modifications to the 2015 Sprint Cup rule book on Wednesday that involves competition, driver eligibility and safety issues. Some of the changes:
    Rookie Driver Responsibilities which addresses familiarization of the NSCS by a rising competitor and allowing the team to run a fifth car for said driver, the language changed to "Car owners will be permitted to enter such fifth vehicle in non-Championship Events, provided the car owner and driver are otherwise eligible to compete in the non-Championship Event, and the only driver permitted to drive the fifth vehicle is the designated rookie driver. Non-Championship Events will not count towards the vehicle's seven permissible starts."
    Inspection: NASCAR issued changes for camber and rear axle housing location specifications and tolerances along with rear wheel toe alignments (specified for different tracks), wheelbase, wheel offset (ovals and road courses), rocker panel width, main frame rail width, engine location and track bar heights for superspeedways.
    Wheels and tires: Valve stem location has been moved to the inside of the rim - center only. Goodyear updated the tire codes at 21 tracks and changed the minimum cold inflation for Kentucky.(more changes at Motorsport)(6-26-2015)

  • NASCAR releases statement about the Confederate Flag: "As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of life last week in Charleston, we join our nation's embrace of those impacted. NASCAR supports the position that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley took on the Confederate Flag on Monday. As our industry works collectively to ensure that all fans are welcome at our races, NASCAR will continue our long-standing policy to disallow the use of the Confederate Flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity. While NASCAR recognizes that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens, we will continue to strive for an inclusive environment at our events."(NASCAR)(6-23-2015)

  • Kentucky might not be only track this year with special aero package: Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Monday on "The Morning Drive'' on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that fans could hear "fairly soon'' about another track with a rules package created specifically for its race. NASCAR announced last week that it would have a special aerodynamic package for the July 11 race at Kentucky Speedway. The adjustments - intended to improve passing and increase the number of lead changes - include cutting the spoiler to 3.5 inches, reducing the radiator pan to 25 inches and limiting the overhang on the splitter to 1.75 inches. "We had a lot of discussions with really everyone in the industry in looking at where we may or may not want to head for 2016,'' O'Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "What it kept coming back to ... if we could really dial in some packages around certain tracks.'' O'Donnell stressed more work remains.
    "This isn't just Kentucky and then we go away,'' he told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "I think we want to look at this possibly even again this year. Not everyone agrees in terms of certain packages or certain directions. It's our job, ultimately, to make the call on what we're going to run at Kentucky, but I think it will give us some really good feedback, especially from the fans, as we go forward and look at what, if any, tweaks we can make prior to the Chase for 2016.'' Asked on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio what might be another race this season where NASCAR could try a different rules package, O'Donnell said: "I think it's still a little early, but it is certainly being discussed with the race teams and the drivers and something you could hear about fairly soon.''(NBC Sports)(6-23-2015)

  • NASCAR Explains pit road confusion in Chicago XFINITY race: Nineteen teams were penalized for pitting too soon in Sunday's Xfinity race at Chicagoland Speedway although NASCAR's tower stated on the radio - which teams monitor - that pit road was open. The problem was that the official at the entrance at pit road had a red flag up and the red lights on, indicating pit road was closed. A green flag and green lights indicates pit road is open. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, explained Monday on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio what happened and why the drivers were penalized. "The tower did come over the radio and say pit road was open, but if you go back to the driver's meeting, what we say in every driver's meeting is the light and the flag are what dictates whether it's open or not,'' he said. "The (official) at the opening didn't hear the radio communication so the red flag and light were still on and, in that case, if anyone comes down pit road and it's technically closed via the light or the flag, they'll receive a penalty for pitting too soon.''(NBC Sports)(6-22-2015)

  • Lug Nut or Valve Stem Issue?: Flat tires caused when valve stems have been knocked off by lug nuts during pit stops have been a recurring issue for teams this season. The #19 of Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards, the #27 of Paul Menard (Richard Childress Racing) and more recently, the #4 of Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) are among those that have been affected by the problem. According to some in the garage, the problem isn't that the lug nuts occasionally strike the stem during a tire change. Instead, it's how the stem is seated in the wheel that makes it easier to be knocked off. "I don't even know how to fix it," Rodney Childers, crew chief for Harvick, said after Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway. "Definitely got to do something though."(

  • Testing drivers comment on rules change: Because his team was among several testing tires at Richmond International Raceway on Wednesday, #55-David Ragan is hoping NASCAR doesn't have any plans to alter its short-track rules before the Sprint Cup circuit returns here in September for the Federated Auto Parts 400. "I think they've got a pretty good package when it comes to short-track tracing," said Ragan, who drives for Michael Waltrip Racing. "I don't think your aero package is as important as the fast 1½-mile racetracks. When you're at Martinsville and Bristol and even here in Richmond - it's a little faster - it's important to have your tires working together, your mechanical grip right. Aero is certainly important, but it's not as important as those big tracks."
    "It doesn't matter who dominates the race," said #22-Joey Logano, who was testing with his Penske Racing team on Wednesday. "A rules package isn't going to change that. ... I'm not hoping for a rules-package change just to slow somebody down. That's our job to figure out how to make our car go faster and make sure we can beat them. If they change it, good. If they don't, I'm good either way. It's the same for everyone."
    NASCAR originally aimed to have the rules changes in place for next season but sped up the process after talking to teams and racing industry officials. To reduce downforce for the Kentucky race, the height of the spoiler will be lowered, the splitter extension panel will be decreased and the splitter will have less overhang. To improve grip, O'Donnell said a softer tire will be used, although it's not specifically made for the new package. "I applaud NASCAR," said #19-Carl Edwards, who was testing at RIR for Joe Gibbs Racing. "NASCAR wants to make this the best sport they can for the fans. They want to make it the most fun for the drivers. Taking downforce off and making the cars hard to drive, in my opinion they're a third of the way where they need to go. They need to keep taking it off and keep making it better."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-19-2015)

  • NASCAR issues warnings to four teams: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Hendrick Motorsports #88 team was one of four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams that received written warnings for pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection issues this past weekend at Michigan International Speedway. THe #88 team needed three trips to clear pre-race inspection leading into Sunday's Quicken Loans 400. The Joe Gibbs Racing entries of #18-Kyle Busch and #19-Carl Edwards, along with that of Phil Parsons Racing with driver #98-Josh Wise, had issues in pre-qualifying inspection, and made more than two trips through the line before heading out to pit road on Friday. Failing to pass either pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection twice results in a written warning from the sanctioning body; failing a third time will result in a 15-minute loss of practice penalty at the next scheduled event. In March, teams were notified that beginning with the Phoenix race weekend, the series' fourth race, any vehicle failing qualifying inspection more than twice would be subject to a 15-minute practice penalty.
    Officials began issuing written warnings prior to this year's race at Richmond International Raceway due to the number of teams requiring multiple passes through inspections. It was noted at that time that had the policy been in place the previous week, when the series was at Bristol Motor Speedway, it would have resulted in nine written warnings and three teams would have received time penalties. Since the policy was adopted, there have 44 written warnings issued to Sprint Cup teams. The warnings are a part of NASCAR's 2015 Deterrence Policy, which categorizes infractions (Level 1 through Level 6) and the applicable penalties.
    If the same team receives two warnings during the same event, or during two consecutive events, the P1 penalties may include last choice in the pit selection process, a deduction in track time for practice or qualifying, a delay in the order of inspection or selection for post-race inspection.
    If a team or member receives six or more warnings during a six-month period (from the time of the first warning), the penalty may be increased to P2. P2 level penalty options may include the loss of 10 championship driver and owner points and/or a fine not less than $10,000 and not more than $25,000. P2 level infractions also carry the potential for suspensions and probation.(NASCAR)(6-18-2015)

  • Sprint Cup teams to run new rules package at Kentucky in July: Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, announced on Tuesday that NASCAR has delivered to the Sprint Cup Series teams a rules package that will be raced at Kentucky Speedway on July 11th. So following what's been really well-documented and unprecedented communications and collaboration with NASCAR's OEM partners, the race teams, drivers and Goodyear, NASCAR made the decision to move forward with the package. Some of the changes include:
    Reduced spoiler height: The spoiler height will be 3½ inches (down from 6 inches), and the cars will have a 25-inch wider splitter extension panel (radiator pan, was 38 inches), and the splitter will have a 1¾ inches less overhang than the current splitter.
    Tires: the tires for the event will have more grip than in 2014, but they are not specifically built for the package.
    Practice: Teams will be afforded extended practice time (4 hours) on the racetrack, and that will occur opening up Wednesday, July 8, for them to tune their race cars.
    Some Q&A's about the package from the NASCAR Teleconference with O'Donnell:
    Q. And then what will you look for at Kentucky to determine whether this is a success or whether it's something you might want to see again in future races?
    O'DONNELL: "I think ultimately that's up to the fans, but certainly we'll look for -- we've been very, very vigilant in talking about tighter racing. I think we've achieved that in terms of 1st to 43rd. You see that those teams are closer than ever, but we certainly want to see more lead changes on the racetrack. We'll evaluate not only that but a number of different factors coming out of Kentucky and see what we can learn and potentially what we can implement down the road."
    Q. A couple of quick things: I didn't hear you address whether or not the package will be used beyond Kentucky, or is that going to be the only race where it's in place this season? And also, how much of a risk is putting that package on the track without extensive testing?
    O'DONNELL: "Yeah, on your first question, this is a Kentucky package only, but any options are on the table coming out of Kentucky. But for now, that's been the dialogue with the industry. And as for your second question, I'd go back to we've had an extensive testing plan with the industry over the last 18 months. The teams have some data on this package, so we feel confident, and we wouldn't implement this if we didn't feel confident as an industry to implement it at Kentucky. And then you also look at some of the things, even in a test, there's only so much you can learn, and then you validate it ultimately at a race, and we feel like that's the direction we're headed."
    Q. And can you also talk about testing -- the concept in our sport of testing during a race, they'll have Wednesday, but it's like some people have said, the off-season should be longer so that maybe this testing could be done then, but obviously you need all the cars on the track in order to test this fully.
    O'DONNELL: "Yeah, let me be clear. This is not a test; this is a race. This is the Kentucky package, and we have tested this over the last 18 months. There's been a number of tests done. There's been a number of simulations done. The OEMs are involved. I want to be very clear that this is the Kentucky race package and not at all a test for us."
    Q. And again, do you plan to add any sort of tire tests or anything for future looks at this package?
    O'DONNELL: "Still looking at that."
    Q. Worst case scenario, if Kentucky is an abnormal race, if there are an abnormal number of cautions, if it's rain delayed, rain interrupted, if it doesn't go full distance, if drivers don't really ever get a chance to run a significant number of green flag laps, is there any chance y'all will just throw out that result and say, okay, we can't use this as a template, we'll try again somewhere else, or are you all in based on Kentucky, period?
    O'DONNELL: "No, that's a good question. Let me back up on a couple things. So we're opening up on Wednesday. Number one, you want to look at any feedback you get from the industry, safety, anything, we want to make sure that the package meets anything that we've seen in simulation, so we've built in time for that. We've built in time if it does rain and we lost Wednesday, we've got a plan in place with the industry of getting practice time in. And then from there if you get to the race, I would say this is still a specific Kentucky race package, so I wouldn't say we're building our entire rules package by any means on one race, and it goes back to what I've said earlier, and this has been on me in terms of describing the 2015 rules package in its totality, and if you go to Las Vegas and the race maybe wasn't as good as we all had hoped, is that an indictment on the entire year's package, and it shouldn't be, because it's specific to that race, and that's more where we want to go in terms of having that rules package, more specific to the race, to put on the best race possible as we head into each track that weekend. "
    (in part from a NASCAR Teleconference Transcript)(6-16-2015)

  • NASCAR considering track-specific aero packages? UPDATES: NASCAR Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell has revealed an interesting new angle in the ongoing discussion about the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series aerodynamic package. In an interview at the American Speedfest event at Brands Hatch, which hosted rounds five and six of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series on June 6th & 7th, O'Donnell told Downforce Radio that NASCAR is considering track-specific aero packages for 2016, and possibly earlier. He said: "I think you'll look at a little bit more of a set race package, so instead of looking at a 2016 package, you'll look at it more in terms of putting some packages around certain tracks - not to have it be 36 individual packages, but potentially look at some lower downforce at some (tracks), look at superspeedway packages, kind of cater it to certain tracks." Fans of the Sprint Cup Series may not have to wait until 2016 for aero changes, as O'Donnell revealed: "You're going to see us probably make some moves as early as this year, so some exciting things are going on as we head into the second half of the series". O'Donnell admitted it can be difficult to take all opinions on board. "You've got a lot of stakeholders to balance; first and foremost the fans, the owners, the tracks, the OEMs, but ultimately we've got to make a decision and stand by that. We try and get as much input as we can, but we've got to make a call that we believe is going to grow the sport in its entirety, and that's our job - not always easy, but we try and make the right decisions to let us all grow in the future."(Downforce)(6-11-2015)
    UPDATE: NASCAR had a teleconference with Sprint Cup teams earlier this week to discuss a lower downforce aero package which could possibly debut as soon as at Kentucky Speedway on July 11th. Teams would have an open test date on Thursday July 11 to shake down the cars. Several sources told that the revised package was tested by the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team and Jimmie Johnson during the Darlington Speedway test on Wednesday. The new configuration would likely include a 3.5-inch spoiler (down from six inches), and 25-inch radiator pan (down from 38 inches) and a shorter splitter. It's the same package that was expected to be run during the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May but the idea was scrapped. NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp told, "NASCAR's commitment includes putting the best racing on the track. All options remain viable at this time."(Motorsport)(6-12-2015)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR has yet to confirm that Sprint Cup teams will compete with lower downforce cars at Kentucky Speedway, but teams are already testing the cars. When NASCAR told the Sprint Cup teams on Wednesday that a new lower downforce aerodynamic package could be coming for Kentucky Speedway on July 11, the wind tunnels around Charlotte, N.C. started filling up. According to several sources that have seen the numbers from early trips to tunnel, the reductions of downforce with the new configurations will mean 825 to 1,000-pounds less of overall downforce to the cars. Side force dropped roughly 50 to 55 pounds with a reduction of 70 counts of drag horsepower. One engineer told the sensation for the drivers will be like gaining 110 horsepower under the hood. He added, "A real game changer." Teams will have four extra hours of practice at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday night.(Motorsport)(6-14-2015)

  • NASCAR considering change to qualifying rules: Could a tweak to NASCAR qualifying be coming? Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief operating officer, hinted so during his appearance Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" show. Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Denny Hamlin spun with less than a minute left in the final round. That prevented Hamlin and four other drivers from recording a time in the final round. NASCAR's rules state that if more than one driver is unable to complete a lap in a round, their position is determined based on who had the fastest lap in the previous round. Hamlin had the second-fastest lap in the second round. That placed him ahead of the four other drivers who had yet to record a time in the final round even though Hamlin caused the caution. That policy could change.
    "It's something we are going to look at," O'Donnell said. "In this case is it the right decision to have a driver, not on purpose, cause a caution and therefore they qualify ahead of ... drivers who may have not been able to go out and qualify? Some folks could say that's on them, they should have gone out earlier, but you also look at it if that is the right move. We're taking a hard look at that this weekend. We've had some dialogue with some of the industry and we'll make a decision here shortly."(NBC Sports)(6-9-2015)

  • France says new manufacturers still interested in NASCAR: NASCAR Chairman Brian France [interviewed on SiriusXM Satellite Radio Monday] said NASCAR still fields calls from potential new manufacturers. "We're generally open to figuring out how to make a new manufacturer work in NASCAR," he said. "We have those discussions. Obviously, it's complicated how a manufacturer might enter the sport. It goes back to the original points. They want to make sure they have a fair and balanced playing field. If they line up talent, that they can have a shot to compete and do well. ... Every single thing, and this is the beauty of NASCAR, leads back to the same path: How do we make sure that, as a sanctioning body, we lay out a plan and path where drivers, teams, manufacturers and sponsors all feel they can come into NASCAR if they compete hard and their talent allows them to do reasonably well? That's an ongoing mission and serves everybody well when we get it right. That's our mission."(NBC Sports)(6-9-2015)

  • France says drivers council will help communication: NASCAR chairman Brian France wouldn't call the creation of a council of Sprint Cup drivers a part of a "new NASCAR," saying it just further formalized the lines of communication between the sanctioning body and its participants. The council -- the top-finishing 2014 driver from each manufacturer plus at-large members -- met with several NASCAR executives for the first time on May 30 at Dover International Speedway. They talked primarily about safety issues at tracks and the competition rules package. France, who was not at the meeting, made his first public comments about the formation of the drivers council following the pre-race drivers meeting Sunday at Pocono Raceway. "I've said from the beginning that we're going to improve our communications across the board with all the stakeholders, and they're certainly as important as anybody," said France, who took over from his father as NASCAR's top executive in 2003. "So that's consistent. What you're seeing is just more formalized conversations. "We talk all the time about things that are important to them." NASCAR has started to meet with all the track operators in a similar group fashion in February, and France also spends time meeting with each Cup organization in January. The majority of the Cup owners belong to the Race Team Alliance, formed last year to work as a unit to find ways to help teams remain fiscally sound. When the RTA was formed, France said having "one voice" of the owners was a bad idea and he instead wanted to remain talking to owners on an individual basis. France didn't say if he has started talking more formally with the owners as a group as NASCAR has begun doing with the drivers and tracks. "When anybody has things that can improve the sport, we're going to be open to that," France said Sunday when asked about formal talks with the RTA. "It doesn't really matter how the exact form of communications happens. What matters is it does happen. We're getting the stakeholders as close to us as we can because there are a lot of good ideas that come out of these discussions -- the drivers with safety and there is a business side to this they have an interest in."(

  • 2016 rules package still not decided: NASCAR chairman Brian France was interviewed on NASCAR Raceday Sunday and asked about pending rules changes for next season:
    "Well, we're not done yet. That's the number one thing. I realize it's easy to say, 'Well, stay where you are. Things were pretty good.' But our job is to make the better and have closer, tighter racing, where some teams that don't have the budget of the size of some of the bigger teams have a better shot to win and compete. That's what we're trying to do. Are we happy? We're never happy because whatever package that we come with, the drivers and teams are trying to game that package and gain an advantage on that. That's what they do. They're great at it. But my sense of it is we'll be coming with some things that just keep marching toward our goal of tighter, closer, lower-cost racing, and that's what our fans want."(Fox Sports)(6-8-2015)

  • NASCAR Named "National Treasure": NASCAR has been named one of the United States' "National Treasures" by PARADE magazine and will be featured in the widely distributed print edition this Sunday. PARADE's ongoing series highlights "uniquely American people, places and things that make us very, very happy," and so has also recognized the Declaration of Independence, the Hollywood sign, Stevie Wonder and potato chips among other "National Treasures." The NASCAR distinction is supported by Sprint Cup driver Danica Patrick, who describes the sport as "totally American - NASCAR's roots are true."(NASCAR Wire Service)(6-7-2015)

  • NASCAR formalizes additional safety rules: NASCAR formalized expanded standards for pit road safety apparel Wednesday, making specially certified gloves, head socks and underwear mandatory for over-the-wall pit crew personnel in all three national series. The move became official through a bulletin added Wednesday to the NASCAR Rule Book. The requirements go into effect beginning with this weekend's events for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR competition officials had already recommended that teams use the apparel approved by the SFI Foundation, a California-based organization that sets motorsports industry standards for racing equipment. Teams in all three national series were notified May 13 that the recommendations would soon become a rule.(

  • NASCAR monitoring fuel cooling: NASCAR is looking at monitoring the cooling of fuel after #41-Kurt Busch's team was asked to remove heat shields from its fuel during Sunday's race. "That's something we continue to look at, and with the heat in Dover, it was unbelievably hot, but that's something we have to continue to monitor anytime we're dealing with fuel," [NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve] O'Donnell said. "You know we've had some incidents on pit road where we've taken some reactive measures from a safety standpoint. We'll sit down (Tuesday) and walk through that and look at the upcoming schedule and see what may or may not be happening on pit road as we go forward."(NBC Sports)(6-1-2015)

  • Drivers met with NASCAR on Saturday UPDATE:In a first of its kind, NASCAR met with a group of Sprint Cup drivers for about two hours Saturday night, discussing safety, competition, attendance and more. #11-Denny Hamlin, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., and #4-Kevin Harvick confirmed they were among about eight drivers in the meeting, which was held in the Kent Room at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. It marked the first time that a council of drivers - selected by their peers - had met with NASCAR in such a formal setting. "The drivers got together and organized a vote and all the drivers voted for the guys they wanted on this council," Earnhardt said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "NASCAR asked us to do that so we could get together and just have a better ability to communicate. It's just a better way to have discussions." A source told NBC Sports that NASCAR was represented by Mike Helton, vice chairman, and Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer, among others. "The drivers, we always talk amongst ourselves anyway, but having that open line of communication to NASCAR has never been this open before," Hamlin said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "You look around the room and you're like, 'Wow, this is a monumental time to where you've got the powers that be and some of the greatest drivers talking about how we can make this sport better." The meeting comes after a recent spat of complaints from drivers about the rules and racing. So what was discussed? "There was talk of competition," Earnhardt said. "What we think about the new package and the direction that they want to go and what we're doing with tires and testing." NASCAR recently came out with a rules update eliminating the 2016 tire testing at all Goodyear tire tests until October. Hamlin said safety was a big topic discussed. "We talked about a lot of safety issues we want to see changed at various racetracks," Hamlin said. "We went racetrack by racetrack, and I feel like we're going to make our sport better." NASCAR did not offer details of the meeting. Brett Jewkes, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer, issued a statement: "NASCAR meets with drivers frequently on a wide range of topics. As part of our ongoing commitment to foster dialogue between all stakeholders, we've met formally with drivers on several occasions this season, including here at Dover. We'll meet with them again later in the season as normal course of business. The meetings have been productive and we find the dialogue very valuable." Hamlin said he's unsure how often the group will meet but expected it would be "at least a few times a year."(NBC Sports)(5-31-2015)
    UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR champion #14-Tony Stewart confirmed he was among a group of drivers that met with NASCAR officials for about two hours Saturday evening at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino adjacent to Dover International Speedway. Stewart came away impressed by the intent and encouraged by the content of the discussions. He said it was the first time in his 17 years in NASCAR racing he can remember this kind of informal get-together session between the sanctioning body and a group of drivers that also included Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle among others. "They want to sit down, and they want to listen," Stewart told on Sunday just prior to the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. I think it's just everyone staying on the same page which is good. It was a good thing, it was positive and makes me feel good about our sport that they want to keep everyone staying on the same page. I'd call it very, very positive."(

  • NASCAR to Honor Fallen Service Members with Windshield Tribute at Coca-Cola 600: When NASCAR drivers start their engines for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, fans will see familiar names like "Harvick," "Kenseth" and "Almirola" replaced on car windshields with "SGT Mracek," "HM3 Layton" and "CPT Argel" - United States Armed Forces members who have fallen in service to their country. All 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will participate in "600 Miles of Remembrance" on Memorial Day Weekend to honor military service members and their families, and commemorate the launch of NASCAR: An American Salute, the industry's collective expression of reverence, respect and gratitude for those who have served and continue to defend our nation today. Fans can follow stories around the seven-week platform and share their personal expressions of thanks to the military using #NASCARSalutes on social media.
    "The NASCAR community rallying to honor the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present, has long been part of our sport's heritage," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. "As part of NASCAR: An American Salute, 600 Miles of Remembrance represents a special moment in time as we pay tribute to service members who have sacrificed dearly for our freedom."
    Many of the service members whose names will be displayed on the race cars were chosen by the teams, and some have unique connections to the fallen. Private Dean Van Dyke, who was killed in the Vietnam War, was a relative of #16 Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle. Army First Lieutenant Daniel Hyde, killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, served alongside Chris Clayton, tire changer on the #83 BK Racing team. Many of the families of the service members being recognized will be in attendance on Sunday, and will be introduced alongside the drivers during driver introductions. In addition, Charlotte Motor Speedway will host more than 6,000 active military members at the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of Memorial Day.
    NASCAR: An American Salute will feature various on- and off-track activities from tracks, teams and partners that show appreciation and support for the troops, and will culminate Independence Day Weekend with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. This weekend, NASCAR together with Honor and Remember, Inc., will display specially prepared Honor and Remember flags representing those who have died in service to our country from each of the 50 United States throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Throughout the campaign, NASCAR will host military families at each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race as part of NASCAR Troops to the Track" Presented by Bank of America.
    Toyota will also honor the names of fallen service members on its pace cars for the Coca-Cola 600 as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance. Later in the program, both Chevrolet and Ford will feature patriotic branding on the pace cars for races at Pocono and Michigan, respectively.
    Many NASCAR Official Partners have mobilized to support NASCAR: An American Salute with military-themed activations, including:
    · For the sixth straight year, Goodyear is rallying NASCAR fans to support members of the U.S. Armed Forces through its "Goodyear Gives Back" charitable program benefitting the Support Our Troops organization. To kick off the program, Goodyear will once again transform its NASCAR race tires by replacing the "Eagle" sidewall design with "Support Our Troops" messaging on all tires used during Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This effort coincides with the May 21 launch of Goodyear's charity auction at, which features autographed NASCAR memorabilia, VIP race experiences and rides on the Goodyear Blimp.
    · Bank of America is the presenting partner of NASCAR Troops to the Track - a season-long program that honors members of the military and their families for their services, and treats them to a NASCAR race experience. This program is an extension of Bank of America's long-standing commitment to the military, focused on helping veterans and service members' transition to civilian life.
    · NASCAR, Coca-Cola, Mars Chocolate North America and 3M have collaborated to engage shoppers in over 180 military commissaries. On Tuesday, May 19, there will be all-day activation at Fort Bragg Commissary South featuring an appearance by Coca-Cola Racing Family Member Joey Logano, who will be giving away tickets to the Coca-Cola 600. From May 18 to July 8, commissary shoppers can enter the 2015 Champion's Week Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week by texting "NASCARSALUTE" to 313131 or by visiting
    · M&M's will introduce a national letter-writing campaign, in partnership with Operation Gratitude, encouraging fans to send messages of thanks and appreciation to military members. The notes will be included in more than 100,000 Operation Gratitude Care Packages which will be assembled and shipped to Troops deployed in harm's way and to New Recruits upon their graduation from Boot Camp.
    · During Daytona International Speedway's Coke Zero 400, all active duty military, veterans and their families can enjoy the Troops Welcome Center Presented by M&M's. The center, which will be located in the midway, will be fully equipped with food and beverages, allowing service members to take a break and meet NASCAR drivers throughout the weekend.
    · In honor of the military, Miss Sprint Cup will wear NASCAR: An American Salute fire suits at the Coca-Cola 600 and Coke Zero 400.
    This Sunday, NASCAR drivers will discuss 600 Miles of Remembrance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) during a special military tribute show airing at 1:00pm/et. The Dialed In Salute to the Troops special, hosted by Claire B. Lang, will feature interviews with several drivers as well as service men and service women from different branches of the military.
    During the Coca Cola 600 pre-race broadcast (5:30 pm/et, FOX), FOX Sports will recognize all service members who have lost their lives in the past year by displaying their names and branch of service on a graphic scroll. This will be FOX's fifth year in a row dedicating the pre-race show to service members that have fallen in the line of duty. To learn more about NASCAR: An American Salute, visit
    See images of the United States Armed Forces members who have fallen in service to their country at

  • France defends NASCAR decision about waiver for Kyle Busch: NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France defended NASCAR's decision to waive the 26-race rule on Wednesday and allow Kyle Busch to be eligible for the Chase. Although the sanctioning body granted the waiver, it doesn't mean the Joe Gibbs racer will automatically qualify for the playoff. That's where France says the challenge lies. "The real beauty in the way the championship is now decided, you have a little bit of flexibility to crown your champion," France said. "As opposed to the old days, when it was an accumulation of all the points. Now, you're resetting it any way. You still have to get into the Chase with a win. Once you get there, that's when the real work begins - those final 10 races and to survive that. I think the flexibility the format adds we're still rewarding the best driver in a given year is helpful for us and allows us when things like Kyle Busch happens or something else that are out of a driver's control we at least have a tool left in our tool kit so we can put them back in." Although France acknowledged that Busch's absence for nearly one-third of the Sprint Cup season played into NASCAR's decision-making process, with the new Chase format, the main emphasis is qualifying for and performing in the playoffs.
    "What we determined in this case is you still have to finish strong in the remaining events leading up to the Chase, you have to win a race and you have to perform in the final 10 when it matters the most any way," France added. "There is plenty of merit if Kyle, in this case, is able to accomplish all that, then he will be a fine champion."(Motorsport / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)(5-16-2015)

  • NASCAR requires pit crews wear fire-retardant gear: NASCAR will mandate all pit crew members who service the car on pit road to wear fire-retardant head socks, underwear, socks and gloves beginning in June. NASCAR sent an email to the teams this week detailing the new rules, a NASCAR spokesman confirmed. Previously, only the fuel man had to wear a fire-retardant head sock, which protects much of the face and neck. Now all the over-the-wall crewmen will have to wear the head socks as well as fire-retardant underwear, gloves and socks.(ESPN)(5-15-2015)

  • NASCAR Partners with DraftKings: NASCAR is entering the rapidly growing daily fantasy sports space by selecting industry leader, DraftKings, as its "Official Daily Fantasy Sports Partner." Through the three-year agreement, DraftKings will have an exclusive license to develop NASCAR-branded games across the daily fantasy sports category. Daily fantasy sports games on DraftKings will give players a one-of-a-kind event experience. DraftKings will have access to a direct data feed from NASCAR Digital Media that contains real-time statistics. The unique content offering of up-to-the-minute information on races and drivers for daily fantasy sports games will bring players closer to the sport in an unprecedented way. What's more, daily fantasy sports games and statistics will be offered on DraftKings' mobile applications, giving NASCAR fans the only on-the-go daily fantasy and content platform. More information on DraftKings NASCAR daily fantasy sports games is available at

  • NASCAR issues written warnings to five teams: NASCAR announced Wednesday that #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team and #22-Joey Logano's team were among five Sprint Cup teams that received written warnings for failing inspection last weekend at Kansas Speedway. NASCAR stated that the teams of Logano, #13-Casey Mears and #27-Paul Menard received written warnings for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice. NASCAR stated that the teams of Earnhardt and #35-Cole Whitt received written warnings for failing pre-race inspection twice. The Sprint Cup Rule Book states in section that if the same team receives two warnings during two consecutive events - whether a points event or not - then the team faces a P1 penalty that could include one or more of the following: Deduction of practice time, deduction of qualifying time, last choice in selecting pits, delay in order of inspection and/or other penalties. NASCAR has placed an emphasis on teams getting through inspection in a timely fashion this season. Teams were warned last month about formalized penalties for failing to pass inspection. NASCAR also announced that the cars taken from last weekend's Kansas race to the R&D Center for further inspection all passed. Those cars were #48-Jimmie Johnson's, #4-Kevin Harvick's and #20-Matt Kenseth's.(NBC Sports)(5-14-2015)

  • NASCAR focusing on next generation of fans: On a muggy Saturday afternoon, two children dragged their parents through the garage area at Kansas Speedway, intent on catching up to a hero they had seen only on television. They weren't after Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, though. They were after a giant, yellow Nickelodeon character - better known as SpongeBob SquarePants - whose name was attached to the Sprint Cup race featuring Gordon, Johnson and the sport's biggest stars that night. It was exactly what the children's TV network wanted out of its partnership with NASCAR - and just what NASCAR wanted out of the SpongeBob SquarePants 400. NASCAR has been trying to reach younger demographics for years, particularly as stars such as Gordon close in on retirement. The fan base that brought about the racing boom of the 1990s and early 2000s has started to age, and filling that void has become a priority. That's why a few years ago NASCAR announced an industry action plan designed to attract younger and more diverse fans. It began with a rebuffed website and mobile apps, inviting more mainstream celebrities to races, and providing concerts and other ancillary entertainment.
    NASCAR has also opened its garages to children accompanied by parents on race days, allowing them to get closer to the cars and drivers. It lowered age limits on some regional competitions, giving up-and-coming drivers a chance to compete earlier. And it embraced social media, fantasy racing and online simulators such as iRacing that are popular with younger demographics. The push toward a younger demographic in some ways mirrors the push that NASCAR made toward women in the 1980s and '90s, which ultimately succeeded in growing the brand. A recent Turnkey Sports poll found that only about 10 percent of NASCAR fans these days are in the coveted 18-to-24 marketing demographic. While that may be a sobering number, polls also have found that 37 percent of NASCAR fans have children under age 18. In other words, there are plenty of potential fans just waiting to get hooked. This may be an opportune time to attract younger fans, too. There is a new set of drivers poised to take over the leadership of the sport. Eighteen-year-old Erik Jones made his first Sprint Cup start on Saturday night, and Ty Dillon, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are at an age that resonates with a younger fan base.(Associated Press)(5-11-2015)

  • What is the future of NASCAR Mexico? After three races of the season 2015 NASCAR Mexico season, we've seen some thrilling battles on the track, giving few reasons for anyone to doubt the future of the series. However, rumors have been going around since last year that its days days are numbered. But the whispers of demise continue in the paddock. NASCAR Mexico has no title sponsor at the moment. Toyota supported the series until 2014 and has carried out budget readjustments to take on the first part of the schedule with fewer staff operating and a smaller group of officials. The COO of NASCAR Mexico, Juan Carlos Ortiz, admitted in an interview with that the situation is not ideal, but neither are they close to dying out. "The series is healthy. Like everywhere there are ups and downs and we are now in a difficult time, but eager to move forward. We are united and convinced that this will be a successful championship again," said Ortiz. Joe Balash, responsible for NASCAR's international series, has no doubt that its subsidiary in Latin America will still remain for several years and as he said to "are ups and downs" and recognizes the commitment of the France family to keep this series for the long term, "just last year we renewed with Mexico. There is no reason to think otherwise." However, ICD group, who leads the series, now had a greater concern than the regional category and that is the return Formula One to Mexico. The Inter Corporate Entertainment has a five-year contract with Bernie Ecclestone that starts this 2015. The company's efforts have focused on making it as profitable as possible with this race after the annual investment of $72 million. For that reason, perhaps it has made it more difficult to find a new sponsor or because companies want to invest their money in the highest category of motorsport.(Motorsport)(5-8-2015)

  • NASCAR still considering 2016 rules package: NASCAR seems to be backing off on more changes to Sprint Cup Series cars next season. After scrapping plans to use a proposed 2016 rules package in the Sprint All-Star Race, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said Tuesday the sanctioning body might stick with 2015 regulations next year. "I think we're still developing what the 2016 package could be," O'Donnell said. "It could very well be the 2015 package." O'Donnell said the uncertainty was a major reason the series decided not to feature the rules in the All-Star event, which will take place May 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "To go down a path that we felt still potentially needed testing, we didn't think was the right thing to do," O'Donnell said. After a decrease of 125 horsepower and a 30 percent reduction in downforce, the plan was for a larger cut in downforce in 2016. But there has been some grumbling among team owners about bearing the costs of a significant rules change for the second consecutive season, and O'Donnell said there had been some pushback among the feedback solicited in the garage. "I think it's all over the board," he said. "Some of the drivers would say they'd like to pursue a different direction. Some like it as is who have had success. From the owner standpoint, we certainly have to manage what we're looking at for '15 or '16 and manage constantly putting new rules in front of them. So that's where we're at today." The goal is to have the 2016 rules finalized by Aug. 1, about two months ahead of when the 2015 rules were released. "We're looking at a number of different options for '16, including staying where we are," O'Donnell said. "So we'll evaluate everything and what we feel like has the best chance of success on the track."(NBC Sports)(5-6-2015)

  • Havick feels Sprint Cup schedule is Stagnant: #4-Kevin Harvick, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed his thoughts on the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule:
    Harvick: "I mean the last three races that we went to last year were sold out. I don't know that is a 100 percent true statement. I think it just depends on where you go and what you do. Now, if you want to talk about growing the sport I believe that some venues need one race. I believe that the schedule needs to be mixed up. People like things that change they don't like stagnant things. In my opinion the most stagnant thing in our sport is our schedule and our venues that we go to. You can beat a dead horse as much as you want, but it doesn't come back to life. And sometimes you just have to change things up to keep the excitement and enthusiasm in the sport. I think our schedule is definitely the weak link along with some of the venues that we go to. That is my opinion."
    Harvick: "I know the first place I would go is Iowa. I think that everybody wants to see more short tracks and more venues. I think road racing - we have a couple of road races on the schedule and most every team has two road race cars and spends a lot of money on their road race program. Adding a road race here or there would definitely be something that I would vote for just for the fact internationally road racing is very recognizable to race fans. Whether it be Formula 1 or any other form of racing there are not many ovals. You could take your pick on road courses, Montreal (Canada) does a great job, you could go to Laguna Seca (California), you could go anywhere in the world and race on a road course. There are lots of good venues. I would have to really think about the rest of the question. I have always been a fan of let's go to the banquet and roll the pills around of race tracks across the country and have a wild card race every year. Go to the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Mile and really you could go to test these venues and see how the markets react. And see the reaction you get from the market, even if you only have 30 or 40 thousand people in the grandstands if you put on a good event for TV and do the things that it takes to have a unique event that is really what people want. They want unique things."(Team Chevy)(5-2-2015)
    UPDATE: Despite Kevin Harvick's concerns about NASCAR's schedule becoming "stagnant," NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said officials remain comfortable with the current calendar. "We're happy with the schedule we have," O'Donnell said Tuesday. "We certainly look at what's available to us, but the schedule we have in place, I think the tracks are doing a tremendous job of helping to promote the sport. We certainly have dialogue with Kevin and everyone's got an opinion on the schedule." O'Donnell said there were "so many factors" including weather and a track's position on the schedule, that made officials "comfortable" with the current calendar.(USA Today)(5-6-2015)

  • NASCAR's reason for not throwing yellow flag on last lap at Talladega: On the final lap [of a race], NASCAR's stance is to 'let 'em play". When NASCAR Senior Vice President Steve O'Donnell joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio he acknowledged that while Sunday's decision in the Geico 500 [at Talladega Superspeedway] was indeed "a judgment call," fans prefer to see races end under green flag conditions. "It's going to be a judgment call," O'Donnell said. "We've stated that we're going to make every effort to try and finish a race under green conditions - that's what the fans want to see. But we have to be obviously mindful of what's occurring on the track. It's a split-second decision. I think if you go back to Daytona, where we saw a driver hit the wall at what we thought to be fairly hard and wanted to dispatch our emergency crews quickly, we elected to throw the caution. If you look at yesterday, if you saw the circumstances that played out with Carl [Edwards], when we initially saw him get loose, he was down on the apron. As we made that quick decision, it was 'ok, he's clear we can go'. Just as we make that, his car slides up the track and that's something you don't want to see green or yellow flag conditions. But at the time, if we would have thrown the yellow, then it's already too late because he's already up and across the track. We elected to let it play out. We certainly didn't like to see how Carl come across the track but ultimately, we were able to come back under green flag conditions." O'Donnell plans to discuss Talladega with the drivers. He also realizes that some fans might feel that NASCAR was late to make a call due to who might or might not be leading a race at the time. However, he reiterated that the sanctioning body reacts no differently than an umpire calling balls and strikes in baseball.(Motorsport)(5-5-2015)

  • France say NASCAR open to shorter races: Are shorter races on the horizon for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series? NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France was asked about NASCAR's comfort with 500-mile events and the length of time it takes to complete those races during an open question-and-answer session with the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) last week. "I think generally speaking, we want to see shorter events... not in every circumstance," France told the group, "... It's no secret that attention spans, especially with the millennial fans, are changing, and we all know that. But what we like about it from our standpoint is it makes the actual racing event better because there's no lull in between the beginning and the end, or there's a lot smaller lull, so teams have to compete." France said a longer race doesn't necessarily allow drivers time to relax "but they're not as pressed to be up front at a certain time. "But if you shorten it, they will, and we've seen that when we do shorten it," he said. "We tend to get better (quality of races), and we measure that by lead changes and how close the winning margins (are) and a lot of different metrics that we use. So we've got a pretty good handle on that, and ... a 400-mile race will give us, most of the time, a better racing competition, and that's in addition to the time spans and attention spans of millennial fans; those two go together for us to shorten it up somehow." France didn't rule out dropping the length of a race below 400 miles, but noted that any such decisions would "also depend on if there are any format changes that we'd be willing to consider, that we look at all the time, that we historically haven't done."(

  • NASCAR will investigate XFINITY race pit road fire: NASCAR plans to review the circumstances surrounding a pit road fire that occurred during Friday night's Xfinity Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Two Richard Childress Racing crew members and one member of driver Eric McClure's team were injured when fuel ignited at the rear of RCR driver Brendan Gaughan's car during a mid-race pit stop. A huge fireball erupted at the car, sending pit crew members scrambling. Safety workers extinguished the fire quickly. "We'll go back to Concord (N.C., the NASCAR Research and Development Center) and look at all the parts and pieces and try to recreate what happened," said NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp. "We're in the initial stages of looking at all that." Shane Wilson, Gaughan's crew chief, told the fire started because of a malfunction in the head of a gas can, preventing the nozzle of the can from sealing against the fuel intake. "We're not sure what happened yet," Childress said. "It looks like a piece of the fuel can came off. Until we look into it and know all the facts, it's hard to say." Childress, who said he would review video of the pit stop, said he planned to meet with NASCAR officials about the incident.(USA Today)(4-27-2015)

  • NASCAR issues some rules changes: NASCAR issued a bulletin to Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck teams with changes to the rule book Wednesday. Among the changes is a rule the requires a driver, crew chief and spotter to have radio communication, a new single rear-end differential assembly rule and a single transmission rule. Previously, teams could change as many gears as they wanted but they had to be the right ratio. Now, a single rear end differential assembly rule will be enforced at all events except at Martinsville Speedway, road course events, the Daytona 500, the Sprint Showdown and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race. Martinsville and road courses are hard on gears. Because of the number of events leading up to the Daytona 500, teams can make a change. It's also easy to break a gear in All-Star qualifying. This rule should eliminate qualifying gears. NASCAR formalized that a driver, crew chief and spotter must be able to communicate on the radio during an event. NASCAR stated that effective Jan. 1, 2016 teams will be permitted only one transmission change after qualifying and before the race for events at Pocono Raceway and road course events. Other changes included adding the new qualifying format for super speedways previously announced and other technical updates.(NBC Sports)(4-23-2015)

  • NASCAR issues memo about inspection process: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director Richard Buck was expected to send a memo to teams by Thursday that formalized penalties for failing to pass inspection at the start of the race weekend, before qualifying and before the race. In a draft of the memo acquired by NBC Sports, Buck wrote to teams: "Based on the data that we have collected thus far in 2015, we have identified several trends. One trend in particular highlights the failure rate during inspections. In an effort to ensure all competitors an equal and fair opportunity to participate, we will be implementing the following:"
    All cars must pass initial inspection and receive a final sticker to be eligible to practice.
    Cars that fail qualifying inspection twice will receive a written warning.
    Cars that fail qualifying inspection three times also will be penalized 15 minutes of practice time at the next event.
    Cars that fail pre-race inspection twice will receive a written warning.
    Cars that fail pre-race inspection three times also will be penalized 15 minutes of practice time at the next event.
    Buck wrote in the memo: "Based on the above, there WOULD HAVE BEEN 9 written warnings issued at Bristol and an additional 3 competitors that would have received time penalties." NASCAR's rule book states that multiple warnings to the same member or team can lead to a P1 penalty.(NBC Sports)(4-23-2015)

  • Darby leaving NASCAR UPDATE: NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that John Darby, who formerly oversaw the Sprint Cup garage, will be leaving the series soon. No reason was given. Darby had been working on special projects most recently for NASCAR. He served as the Sprint Cup Series director from 2002-13 before Richard Buck took over in 2014. NASCAR initially announced that Darby was leaving his position as Cup director in 2010, but it took four years to replace him. Darby replaced Gary Nelson as Cup series director in 2002. Darby was the director of what is now the Xfinity Series from 1999-2001 before moving to Cup.(NBC Sports)(4-22-2015)
    UPDATE: John Darby won't spend a lot of time talking about the details of his departure from NASCAR. Yes, he's leaving. But the hows and the whys are not something to be talked about as much as his three decades in the sport. Darby had served as the Sprint Cup Series director for 12 years before being replaced by Richard Buck prior to the 2014 season. A former racer before becoming a track official in Rockford, Illinois, Darby spent more than 25 years working for NASCAR and was the director of what is now the Xfinity Series from 1999-2001 prior to his promotion to run the sport's top series. Calling himself a "blessed individual," Darby is in his final days at NASCAR with no job on the horizon. "I think I'm going to take a month and sit on a beach and figure out what I really want to do next," the 59-year-old said in a phone interview Wednesday. So was he fired? Was it one of those mutual "parting of the ways" or what? NASCAR officials would only confirm that he's leaving. "I'll be honest with you, the importance of that part, to me, is nothing," Darby said when asked whether his leaving was a mutual decision. "What's more important is where I've been, what I've been involved in and what I hope to see grow in the future. At the end of the day, as I do leave the company, I will never leave the sport," Darby said. "It's in my heart and my veins and it will always be there. At the same time, I think that I'm leaving it in a better spot than what it was when I got here. That's all that matters to me. ... Everything is good. I'm still a stronghold and an ally for NASCAR and the sport of NASCAR. That is something that will never go away."(

  • NASCAR Embarks on Third Annual Race to Green Effort: To commemorate one of the most innovative and holistic sustainability platforms in the country, NASCAR announced its third annual NASCAR Race to Green initiative. Beginning Monday and culminating with Saturday's TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR Race to Green will build awareness around the programs the governing body, industry and multiple partners have created to help protect and preserve the environment. This year, NASCAR and the Environmental Protection Agency are inviting fans to measure their environmental impact at and receive tips from Official Partners on how to reduce their carbon footprint. NASCAR drivers will reward select fans who complete the online tool with personalized messages on social media using the campaign's hashtag #NASCARGreen. During NASCAR Race to Green week the color green will be prominently displayed on race vehicles and at tracks across NASCAR national series, NASCAR Home Tracks and International Series. The NASCAR Green mark will be featured on the A-post of race cars, pit boxes, hauler flags and NASCAR officials' uniforms. Drivers Austin Dillon and Elliott Sadler will run green-themed paint schemes during the weekend's national series events. NASCAR Race to Green will also highlight the sustainability efforts of NASCAR Official Partners, who work closely with NASCAR, year-round, to amplify the reach of NASCAR Green.(NASCAR)(4-21-2015)

  • NASCAR Productions upgrades internet speeds at tracks: APXnet, a communications company specializing in complex, multilocation high-speed networks, has helped NASCAR Productions throttle up its ability to send information and provide Internet services at-track to gigabit speeds by designing and managing a fiber optic-based network at race tracks nationwide. The new network is being rolled out for NASCAR Productions to support the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The implementation of the new technology represents a significant commitment by NASCAR Productions to improve its communications infrastructure for its clients, including the broadcast partners and race teams at-track. APXnet is installing new fiber optics at the race tracks. APXnet will provide NASCAR Productions with Internet access and private MPLS wide area connectivity nationwide. With the upgrade, NASCAR Productions now has the bandwidth to transmit and receive terabytes of information, increasing and improving the speed of communication at-track.(APXnet PR)(4-15-2015)

  • NASCAR opposed to use of bleeder valves: In other forms of motorsport, including short track and dirt racing, bleeder valves [for tires] are commonplace and allowed. That has been the number one question in the aftermath of the tire tampering penalty handed down to Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing and the #31 Sprint Cup Series team last week. This had prompted numerous drivers to suggest that NASCAR would be better off allowing bleeder valves as well. Jeff Gordon has been perhaps the most vocal proponent of bleeder valves in the Sprint Cup garage. Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck [says] the technology is too inconsistent for use in NASCAR.
    "In regard to the tire bleeders, we work our partner Goodyear and with our teams and at this point, I personally don't know if there are any bleeders out there at the level that these cars would require," Buck told Popular Speed on Friday afternoon. "I know there are other forms of motorsports like dirt car racing and sprint car racing that I've seen before and (those valves) were very touchy and non-repeatable. If they fail, it was a catastrophic failure of the system, so I don't think there is a system that is out there today." Furthermore, Buck is content without having bleeder valves because it's the same and fair for everyone in the garage. "It allows teams to adjust on the tires," Buck continued. "It allows for drivers to provide feedback on the tires. A driver can change the handling based on how he changes the load of the tire pressure. "So there still a lot of human interaction in working with the tires."(Popular Speed)(4-11-2015)

  • Teams will get quicker access to video of pit road violations: Beginning with this weekend's race at Texas, all Sprint Cup teams will be provided adequate bandwidth to allow videos detailing pit road infractions to be sent directly to the appropriate pit box. In late May, when the series moves to Charlotte Motor Speedway, similar connectivity will also be provided in each garage bay. Video showing an infraction is currently sent to the team in question - typically to their haulers where they have adequate bandwidth to handle video - almost as soon as it is received and processed by officials in the PRO trailer. Some teams have the capability and bandwidth to forward it along to their pit box, where the crew chief and any others may view it as well. Now, when a team commits and infraction, video evidence will be delivered to the crew chief on the pit box almost as soon as it occurs. (

  • Statement from NASCAR about the Indiana Legislation: NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes: "NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race."(NASCAR)
    The legislation passed in Indiana is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which takes effect July 1, would prohibit laws that "substantially burden" a person's freedom of religion unless the government can prove a compelling interest in imposing that burden.(USA Today). More information about the legislation can be found at ABC News, ESPN,,, NBC News and be searched for online.(3-31-2015)

  • American Heart Association Recognizes NASCAR as Platinum Fit-Friendly Worksite: In recognition of its initiatives to help employees live healthier lifestyles, the American Heart Association has named NASCAR a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite. "Our employees are passionate about NASCAR and we are passionate about empowering them to focus on health and wellness," said Paula Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of human resources. "Through our initiatives and offerings, we try to make it easier for our employees to make healthy living a habit, whether traveling to races or at home. We are proud to be honored by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly worksite." A Platinum-Level honor is the highest tier of recognition awarded by the American Heart Association. NASCAR earned Platinum-Level accolades by demonstrating a strong commitment to providing a healthy workplace for employees. Notable offerings include physical activity opportunities, increasing healthy eating options and promoting a wellness culture.
    In addition, NASCAR also received the American Heart Association's Worksite Innovation Award for its development and implementation of innovative and effective efforts that promote physical activity, specifically in the workplace. NASCAR's health initiatives include: annual onsite biometric screenings measuring cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (garnering over 89 percent employee participation); Rival Fit (an online program allowing a customizable workout plan and daily menu); a monthly fruit promotion; and Neighborhood Wellness (free coaching for weight management and tobacco cessation available at CVS minute clinics). NASCAR also offers tobacco-free incentives for its medical plan, a preventive care incentive, and an Aetna Fitness Reimbursement.(NASCAR)(3-31-2015)

  • Superspeedway Qualifying Format Updated for Talladega, Daytona: NASCAR unveiled modifications to the qualifying format at superspeedways across all three national series. The updated format will take effect at Talladega Superspeedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next month. Qualifying for May's Talladega Superspeedway races, as well as the July events at Daytona International Speedway, will consist of the following:
    · Two rounds of qualifying, with the top-12 posted lap speeds advancing to the second round
    · Race vehicles taking one, timed lap in each round of qualifying
    · Each race vehicle will be released in a predetermined timed interval as determined by NASCAR, with the sanctioning body reserving the right to have more than one vehicle engaging in qualifying runs at the same time
    · Qualifying order for the first round will be determined by a random draw; final round qualifying order is determined by slowest to fastest speeds from the first round
    · A 10-minute break will occur between the first qualifying round and the final round
    · Upon completion of the first qualifying round, the field will be set with positions 13 and beyond determined from first round qualifying speed
    · The 12 fastest vehicles from the first round will have their speeds reset for the final round with starting positions 1-12 determined by the fastest laps in the final round
    · NASCAR will impound race vehicles following each qualifying lap; vehicles advancing to the final round will be allowed to adjust tape and utilize a cool-down unit during the 10-minute break only
    The NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at Talladega Superspeedway May 1-3. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying will air live May 2 on FOX at 1:00pm/et. The Winn Dixie 300 and GEICO 500 will air live on FOX on May 2 (3:00pm/et) and May 3 (1:00pm/et), respectively.
    The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will utilize the format for the first time when the series returns to Talladega Superspeedway with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in October. Qualifying procedures for the 2016 Daytona 500 will be announced at a later date.(NASCAR)(3-30-2015)

  • NASCAR fans remain most sponsor-loyal: NASCAR fans continue to demonstrate the greatest loyalty toward a sponsor's brand among all sports fans in the U.S., according to SponsorLink research released by Repucom. Seven out of 10 NASCAR fans said they are loyal to a sponsor's brand when the brand supports their sport, which is nearly 20% higher than a typical sports fan. Repucom, a trusted advisor in sports and entertainment intelligence, is again monitoring and evaluating the performance of more than 1,000 brands appearing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck series in 2015. By using leading technology and advanced data analysis, Repucom monitors the value and quality of exposure and messages getting through to fans and advises clients on how to stand out in the highly competitive commercial space. Repucom analyzes more than 350 hours of NASCAR programming per year, and evaluates how changes to the race schedules, sponsors, teams and broadcast channels impact value versus prior years and among the entire field of entries. In total, sponsors in NASCAR's top three national series earned nearly $1.3 billion in television exposure value in 2014. In addition to audience size, Repucom considers factors such as exposure duration, size, quality and the number of competing messages when determining value. Repucom also measures the value and impact of brand exposure in digital and social media, areas that are becoming increasingly important as media consumption patterns change.(Repucom)(3-25-2015)

  • NASCAR wins PR team of the year: NASCAR's in-house PR team took home the trophy for In-House PR Team of the Year on Thursday night at the PRWeek Awards. Last year, it was the runner up in the category. The 46-member department was cited for its work on 1,500 NASCAR-sanctioned events and more than 20 business units, including broadcasting, digital, and green innovation. The team also oversaw steady increases in social media growth, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube all seeing significant jumps in use. Honorable Mention went to Big Machine Label Group's three-person comms team.(PR Week)(3-22-2015)

  • Sprint Cup purses down as NASCAR shifts money to XFINITY, Trucks: Sprint Cup Series teams appear to be racing for just a little bit less money in 2015 as NASCAR has quietly increased the purses for its two national developmental series while Sprint Cup purses have dropped by a tick this year. NASCAR Chairman Brian France said last year that NASCAR would consider giving Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) Series and Camping World Truck Series teams a bigger portion of the new television deal that went into effect this year. That is what NASCAR has done, although it won't say by how much. It never announced the change, but it did confirm to that that was the case when asked about the change in the purses after the first four races.
    In comparing the purses for the first four tracks to what the purses for those tracks' races were last year, the only Sprint Cup race to have an increase in purse was the Daytona 500. It certainly wasn't much of an increase at $24,408, virtually nothing (up 0.1 percent) when considering the purse was $19.8 million. The rest have gone down, none by more than $98,000 -- the purses for the three races since Daytona have been between $5 million and $6.5 million -- for an overall season drop of 0.2 percent for the first four races. Xfinity races, though, are up 9.1 percent with increases of $60,000 to $155,000 per race; Xfinity purses this year generally are $1.1 million-$1.5 million (the opener was $2.66 million). The truck race at Daytona was up 16.4 percent to $806,373, and that was for a 32-truck field instead of a 36-truck field. There was no Atlanta truck race last year with which to compare the earlier purse.(

  • K&N Filters renews sponsorship of Pro Series: NASCAR announced it has reached a five-year agreement with K&N Filters to continue as the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series through 2021. The renewed deal ensures that K&N Filters will own exclusive rights as the title sponsor for a total of 12-consecutive years. Additionally, K&N Filters acquires the designation as the "Official Automotive Filters of NASCAR." The NASCAR K&N Pro Series is universally recognized in the racing industry as the top rung in NASCAR's developmental ladder - notable alumni include Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick, both finalists in last year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, as well as rising stars like Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Darrell Wallace Jr. The series introduces NASCAR fans and industry stakeholders to the next generation of stars, and the diverse mix of short tracks, road courses and national series speedways appeals to a broad range of motorsports fans. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will kick off the 2015 season at Kern County Raceway Park with the running of the NAPA Auto Parts 150 on March 28.(NASCAR)(3-21-2015)

  • France speaks to Detroit Economic Club: It was a tough question for someone so steeped in American motorsports history. But NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France took it on the chin today in Dearborn: What was his biggest failure in his 12-year reign as stockcar racing's top executive? France, 52, whose grandfather, Bill France Sr., founded NASCAR in 1948, didn't flinch in admitting it was the "Car of Tomorrow," the fifth-generation style Sprint Cup Series race car that was introduced in 2007 and was replaced in 2013 by the smaller, lighter Gen-6 model.
    "We are going to make mistakes," said France, who has pushed the competitive envelope at NASCAR since taking over from his father Bill France Jr. in 2003, making significant changes to series qualifying rules and the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship format, among other things. "Occasionally, we make a big one now and again. I would say that if there is one thing we could have done better in the last 10 years under my watch, is when we launched what we called 'the new car.' It is now called the Gen-5. We just didn't get the collaboration we needed to get from the industry, the owners, the drivers, the engineers and car manufacturers. They had a voice, but they didn't have a loud enough voice, and so we changed that."
    The Gen-6 car that is now used in Sprint Cup looks a lot more like your Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota. It has generally been embraced by teams and drivers, though not universally, for its racy nature. France, whose audience today included students from Henry Ford High School, Martin Luther King Jr. High School, Clarkston High School, Macomb Community College and Northwood University, also fielded and discussed topics such as NASCAR's growth, diversity initiatives, safety standards and four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, who will retire from full-time driving at the end of this season.(Detroit Free Press)(3-20-2014)

  • Teams can be penalized for failing qualifying inspection: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will now be subject to 15-minute fines should their cars fail to make it through qualifying inspection after two attempts, according to the sanctioning body. Officials distributed a memo to teams informing them of the move, which will be in effect starting with this weekend's 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Should a team require more than two trips through inspection, the 15-minute penalty would come during the next scheduled practice. It would not be imposed as part of a qualifying session. The pre-qualifying inspection process has been a source of concern this year as teams adapted to the 2015 rules package. Teams have 50 minutes to present their cars for pre-qualifying inspection following the conclusion of practice. If a team's car does not pass on an attempt, the team must wait until all cars have made at least one pass through the station before they may go through again.(

  • NASCAR adjusts track schedules for next three races:
    NASCAR officials have tweaked the opening day schedules for upcoming Spring Cup Series races at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway after delays in pre-qualifying inspection a week ago resulted in 13 teams failing to make it onto the track in time for qualifying. Friday's opening practice for Sprint Cup teams, originally scheduled to last 1 hour, 25 minutes, has been shortened by 10 minutes at all three tracks. Qualifying for the three events will now take place five minutes later than previously scheduled. Those changes provide an additional 15 minutes of time for teams to prepare their cars for inspection and for officials to complete the inspection process. The revised schedules, which also note that qualifying inspection now begins five minutes after the completion of Friday's practice, are for the three West Coast races. No adjustments have been made for races beyond the Auto Club event. Teams have 50 minutes after practice to present their cars for inspection, at which time all work on the entries must cease.(

  • NASCAR's Higdon Says Sanctioning Body "Had To Act" By Suspending Busch: NASCAR vice president of Integrated Marketing Communications David Higdon told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" today that NASCAR had no choice but to suspend driver Kurt Busch in the aftermath of a Delaware Family Court's decision to grant a no-contact order to former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. Higdon said NASCAR's decision to suspend Busch during Speedweeks 2015 at Daytona was "based on what we heard from the Commissioner in the Family Court of the state of Delaware."
    Asked about the timing of the decision - just days before the season-opening Daytona 500 -- Higdon said, "We were called to task for waiting like we did. We utilized the patience that was necessary to gather the appropriate information. Then, unfortunately, the timing hit us during the Daytona 500 where Kurt received a court order from the Family Court of the state of Delaware. That was a 25-page document that we simply couldn't ignore. It was a very clear case made by that court. When you have a legitimate court in Delaware make a statement like they did, it would have been ridiculous for us to not act. We had been very patient over three months. We were dragged through lot of mud during that period, but we also felt that it was only fair to the driver that the facts come through. When they ultimately did come... we had to act. We had to make a decision (and) it was unanimous among those involved in that decision."
    Yesterday, the Delaware Department of Justice announced that it would not file criminal domestic assault charges against Busch, citing insufficient evidence to prosecute. "We knew there was a chance that the Attorney General could go one way or the other," said Higdon, "(and) the Department of Justice was very clear in their statement. They determined that admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be inefficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed a crime. They were very clear on that, just as the Commissioner in the Family Court was very clear that they were satisfied with the evidence that was presented at the trial that there was a case here.''
    Higdon repeated the sanctioning body's earlier statement that the decision by Delaware's Department of Justice not charge Busch "certainly is something that is removing a significant impediment to his reinstatement.'' He did not provide a timeline for Busch's return, or comment on conditions the sanctioning body has placed on his reinstatement.(See more quotes/notes at Godfather Motorsports and NBCSports)(3-6-2015)

  • NASCAR looking for $1 billion over 10 years from new title sponsor of top series: NASCAR is asking $1 billion over 10 years for its soon-to-be-open Sprint Cup Series title sponsorship, according to sources. The sanctioning body has hit the market for Sprint's replacement with a price tag of $45 million to $50 million annually in rights fees and the same in activation over a decade, according to sources. Sprint confirmed in December that it would end its 13-year sponsorship of NASCAR's top series after the 2016 season. NASCAR declined to comment for this story. The asking price represents a 33% increase from the original deal, which was signed in 2004 with Nextel for a reported $750 million over 10 years before Sprint and Nextel merged. Amid struggling TV ratings and attendance for NASCAR at the time, Sprint negotiated that down to approximately $50 million annually when it signed a three-year extension in 2011, according to sources. The Sprint deal is the largest sports sponsorship in North America.(Sports Business Journal)(3-3-2015)

  • NASCAR says implementing SAFER remains "highest priority": In the wake of #24-Jeff Gordon smacking a concrete wall Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a NASCAR executive said SAFER barrier development remained "the highest priority for the sport." Gordon was unhurt after his #24 3M Chevy was destroyed by heavy contact with an inside wall unprotected by the energy-absorbing barrier that NASCAR has mandated for many sections of tracks. "It was just another reminder how important it is," NASCAR executive vice president and chief development officer Steve O'Donnell said of Gordon's crash Monday morning on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM Radio's NASCAR channel. O'Donnell said NASCAR had dispatched staff members to the West Coast, where the circuit is headed for races at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway. Tire barriers were erected along the interior pit lane walls at Atlanta after Busch's crash. "We'll employ temporary solutions anywhere we can (with) SAFER everywhere it's feasible," he said. "Obviously there are places that presents a challenge, but that's the highest priority. We have follow-up meetings with all of the ISC tracks. We talked with Marcus Smith (president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns Atlanta and six more Cup tracks), and they know the urgency." During the multicar accident, the cars of Denny Hamlin and Jamie McMurray also struck unprotected exterior walls on the backstretch. That prompted questions about why the tire barriers weren't implemented around the track. "Sometimes when you put a tire barrier on a straight wall on the backstretch, it has a negative effect where it can propel the car back into traffic," O'Donnell said. "There's a short-term balance, but we're trying to prioritize everything with the ultimate goal being SAFER as soon as we can." Another obstacle could be the available companies and resources to install the barriers. "The challenge is going to be, quite honestly, as I understand it from our development guys, right now there's only two companies approved to build these things," Atlanta president Ed Clark told NASCAR Talk's Dustin Long. A NASCAR official told NASCAR Talk that Clark's number was incorrect but didn't have the exact number of companies approved for such work. Clark said Atlanta should be ringed with SAFER when NASCAR returns next year.(NBC)(3-2-2015)

  • New rules limits crew members on pit road at end of race: A new NASCAR postrace procedure for Sprint Cup teams could limit the possibility of a big postrace brawl breaking out, as one did at Texas Motor Speedway last November. NASCAR officials confirmed Saturday they will stop all cars on pit road following a race because NASCAR must collect the tapered spacer used to limit air flow through the engine. That piece is issued to teams on a weekly basis so that teams cannot alter it. With just a couple of crew members needed to remove the spacer, NASCAR has issued an edict that only two crew members per car will be allowed at each Cup car immediately after the race. That will keep pit road from getting too cluttered, officials say. With only two crew members at each car after a Cup race, that will limit the number of crew members from each team in a contained area. In the past, several crew members would surround the top-5 cars on pit road and the crews would surround the rest when they parked at their haulers postrace.(ESPN)(3-1-2015)

  • NASCAR changes rule regarding reporting criminal charges: On Wednesday, NASCAR issued a series of technical bulletins to teams, with most of the additions to the rule book focused on aspects of the cars such as the minimum weight of front and rear hubs, approved brake ducts and other miscellaneous items. However, the first item on the bulletin was listed as "Section 2.11 Required Notice." Under the Membership section of the rule book, this new addition states, "Any NASCAR Member charged with any violation of the law (misdemeanor and/or felony) shall notify NASCAR ... prior to the next scheduled Event or within 72 hours of being so charged, whichever is earlier." This amendment to the rule book has been implemented throughout NASCAR's top national touring series, as well as down to the weekly racing series. Tom Bryant, director, racing operations communications for NASCAR, told Thursday the new language now requires members to report criminal misdemeanors to the sanctioning body, something that was not the case before Wednesday. "We expect our NASCAR members to maintain a certain standard of professional behavior and this is another mechanism to ensure we're doing that," said Bryant. "NASCAR has made it very clear to our entire membership and the broader industry that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry," NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell said last Friday in Daytona while addressing Kurt Busch's suspension. "I want to make it clear that any inference that there is a culture or a tolerance for this type of behavior is patently false."(FoxSports)(2-26-2015)

  • France: Safety, performance are NASCAR hallmarks: On Monday, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France explained the secret to the sport's success in creating a level playing field and expressed the importance of safety. He also told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Joey Logano leads a group of young drivers coming up in the sport. "Everybody gets an opportunity on equal footing to compete, and that's a very hard task for us because we have 43 teams, three manufacturers and a lot of smart people trying to game any rules package that we put forward," France said. "To get an advantage, that's what they do. That's what they should do. When we're able to boil through all that and make sure that everybody is on equal footing, that's when we win, and if we do that in a safe way, then we really win." France addressed the caution flag that ended the Great American Race with a multi-car wreck on the backstretch at the World Center of Racing. "We obviously err on the side of safety," France said of the yellow flag that ended the race after the field received the white flag on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. "That's of course what we're going to do. In this case, (NASCAR officials) believed that they couldn't clear it off, and it was just too dramatic. "We would have loved to finish it perfectly under green, but that wasn't the case. I don't think it really would have changed anything in this case. Joey (Logano) had broken out and established himself. It would have been very difficult to overcome him under any situation."
    France also addressed Kyle Busch's crash in Saturday's XFINITY Series race and Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III's pledge to ring the track with SAFER barriers. "Joie Chitwood said it best that, 'hey, look, that's unacceptable,'" France said of not having a SAFER barrier on the frontstretch where Busch crashed. "We're going to own that and move forward. That's how we're wired. That's a cornerstone of what we do. Safety and performance are the hallmarks of NASCAR." He added, "If we don't get safety right, then nothing else really matters."(

  • NASCAR cites 'competitor safety' in throwing the final caution: NASCAR officials say they felt the backstretch crash Sunday on the final lap of the Daytona 500 had enough hard hits with the wall that they had to throw the caution as leader and eventual winner Joey Logano entered Turn 3. It resulted in a somewhat anticlimactic finish with the race ending on a judgment call under yellow-flag conditions without a scramble to the finish line. But it was a finish that NASCAR said was necessary for safety reasons. NASCAR rules dictate that once the leader has taken the white flag, it will not restart the race if the caution comes out. Drivers keep their position as long as they maintain a reasonable speed to the finish line. "We make every effort to finish a race under the green flag," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "However, when cars get disrupted and hit the wall as they did on that last lap, we are going to react in the best interest of competitor safety."(

  • Steve O'Donnell and Joie Chitwood III discuss SAFER at Daytona: From a NASCAR Press Conference held at Daytona International Speedway Saturday evening after Kyle Busch was injured in a wreck where his car impacted the inside wall entering turn 1. The wall currently has no SAFER Barriers. The transcript of that press conference: Kerry Tharp: "Good evening. We have with us NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell, and also Joie Chitwood, who is president of Daytona International Speedway. At this time let's hear from Joie."
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: Obviously the first thing is that our thoughts and prayers go to Kyle. Last thing we want to see is a competitor injured here at the Daytona International Speedway. Our thoughts and prayers go to him. The Daytona International Speedway did not live up to its responsibility today. We should have had a SAFER barrier there today, we did not. We're going to fix that. We're going to fix that right now. We've got the team out tonight. We're going to install tire packs along that 850-foot linear square feet of wall, so we're ready to go racing tomorrow. Following that, the Daytona International Speedway is going to install SAFER barrier on every inch at this property. This is not going to happen again. We're going to live up to our responsibility. We're going to fix this and it starts right now.
    KERRY THARP: Steve.
    STEVE O'DONNELL: From our perspective, obviously I want to echo what Joie said. Thoughts and prayers with Kyle and his family. Certainly wishing him a speedy recovery. As Joie said, from our perspective, what happened tonight should not have happened. That's on us. We're going to fix it. We're going to fix it immediately. I think you heard from Joie where we stand from Daytona. I think we all know that racing is an inherently dangerous sport, but our priority is safety and we'll continue to put things in place that make this sport as safe as possible.
    KERRY THARP: We'll take a handful of questions.
    Q. Is there a reason beyond cost why this hasn't been done before, why all the walls haven't been covered?
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I don't have a good answer for that. SAFER barrier should have been there tonight. We're going to fix that. We don't want to see any competitors injured here. We have to fix that. We can't allow this to happen again.
    Q. Steve, since you guys have been the ones that have worked closest with the group that deals with the SAFER barriers, have y'all ever been told it would be unwise to place SAFER barriers in certain parts of a racetrack?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: We have. I think it goes to NASCAR is not the only sanctioning body that races at a specific track. I can use Eldora, for instance, where a SAFER barrier was looked at, but wouldn't have been the safest solution. One of the other challenges is there's a lot of other racing series that race at the racetracks we race at, but I wouldn't say it's a very common occurrence.
    Q. Joie, you talked about fixing it now. How much discussion has there been over time over fixing this previously, how much debate, looking at financials or whatever to get it fixed before?
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: For us, we really can't look at financials as a reason for this. We have to have a venue which we can put on NASCAR racing and have competitors be safe. We've put in SAFER barriers over a number of years. Again, we have to fix this right now. We're going to fix it for tomorrow. We have the team out there with the tire packs. We're going to be ready for tomorrow's race. Come Monday, we're going to start the plan so we can put SAFER barrier everywhere here. Finances don't come into play. That's really not a question. We're going to get this fixed and be sure we're ready for the next event here.
    Q. Steve, we just heard Joie say that he's going to put SAFER barriers all around this track. There are a lot of tracks on the circuit that do not have SAFER barriers. Is this going to become a NASCAR mandate or is this something that NASCAR is going to start talking to tracks about covering more of its walls with barriers from this point moving forward?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: I'll answer the last part first. We always have those conversations with the racetracks. The racetracks know that and work together with us on the SAFER barrier recommendations. What we've said here tonight is we will accelerate those talks with the tracks. We want this sport to be as safe as possible for not only our drivers, but everyone who participates in the sport and the race fans as well.
    Q. Steve, we talk about the obligations or the recommendations from the sanctioning body. From a financial standpoint, does NASCAR help out the tracks when it comes to installing the barriers?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: The tracks pay for the actual installation. I would say our responsibility in that process is looking at the latest technology that may be in place through our R&D center, our safety experts. But then it's working with the racetracks to actually install them.
    Q. Joie, do you know in terms of feet or percentage how much wall is covered and how much isn't?
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I know that we've installed SAFER barrier in five different years. At this point I don't have the exact number, but it's in tens of thousands of linear feet. The first installation was 1995, 100 linear feet. We've continued to add ever since. We added 2400 linear feet last year following the Daytona 500.
    Q. Do you know in percentage how much of the wall is covered and how much isn't?
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I do not.
    KERRY THARP: Joie, Steve, thank you very much for your time. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.(NASCAR)(2-2-2015)

  • NASCAR launches NASCAR Acceleration Nation: The school of NASCAR is officially in session. NASCAR announced the launch of NASCAR Acceleration Nation, the sport's first-ever national learning and entertainment platform created just for kids. NASCAR Acceleration Nation will impact children across the country through an in-school Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) program, created together with Scholastic. Classroom content will focus on teaching the aerodynamic principles of Drag, Downforce and Drafting, the NASCAR Three D's of Speed. The fun and dynamic will engage kids with exclusive content and NASCAR-themed games and activities, while the NASCAR Acceleration Nation Experience will bring the platform to life for children and families at race tracks.
    "NASCAR Acceleration Nation is about bringing kids closer to our sport in an entertaining and educational way," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. "When you look at the speed and design of our race cars and their performance on the track, NASCAR represents a unique platform to teach math and science. Our goal is to make learning these subjects fun for kids." NASCAR and its Research & Development Center teamed up with Scholastic to develop the motorsports industry's first national in-school education program. The STEM supplemental materials were designed for elementary and middle school students and feature lessons and activities for each of the NASCAR Three D's of Speed.
    The easy-to-use learning materials address state and Next Generation Science standards and will be distributed as kits to 7,400 classrooms nationwide in the program's first year, reaching nearly 200,000 students. In addition, all classroom materials and content will be available for teachers to download from a microsite accessed from "Kids are always inspired by real-life events around them," stated Ann Amstuz-Hayes, SVP Scholastic National Partnerships. "This program is a great example of how the science behind a sport and can be brought to life for students in way that is both educational, relevant and fun." features games and activities inspired by various elements of the sport and is divided into four activity pillars - Think, Move, Build and Team Up. Kids can test their NASCAR engine knowledge by going "Under the Hood," answer math equations with "Flash Cars" and take a quiz to see which NASCAR Sprint Cup Series" driver they most resemble. They can also play the RaceFlex racing game and sign up to earn points and badges for completing online activities.
    The NASCAR Acceleration Nation Experience is a 6,400-square-foot footprint designed to entertain children and families during a number of NASCAR national series race weekends. At the interactive experience, kids can sit in the driver's seat of a customized NASCAR Acceleration Nation stock car to learn more about the cars competing on the racetrack. For more information about NASCAR Acceleration Nation, and to download the in-school STEM materials, visit

  • Open Letter to NASCAR fans from Brian France: Coming off a season in which we saw Kevin Harvick claim the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crown after a thrilling debut for the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, Chase Elliott burst on to the scene with a championship of his own and Matt Crafton repeat as champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, it's easy to see why many say 2014 was one of the all-time best for NASCAR. However, I think the best is still to come.
    As we embark on 2015, we are excited to start a new 10-year agreement with our great partners at FOX Sports and to welcome NBC Sports back to NASCAR. With FOX and NBC we have two world-class media companies committed to bringing NASCAR excitement to our great fans in bigger and better ways. We could not be more thrilled to welcome Comcast's XFINITY brand as an entitlement partner for the next 10 seasons and look forward to this new era of partnership with an innovative leader in the entertainment space.
    The vision for a reimagined Daytona International Speedway is taking shape and will become a reality in time for the 2016 Daytona 500. Our track partners from coast-to-coast continue to invest in the fan experience and nothing will ever compare to the live experience at the race track. We invite you to come and experience the best racing in the world live in one of these great venues.
    As I look across the NASCAR landscape, I can't remember a time when the driver talent pool across our national series and into the development ranks was as deep and impressive as we have today. Couple that with the superstars we have competing at the highest level right now and it's obvious why the present and future are so exciting for NASCAR, our partners and especially the fans.
    Finally, as Jeff Gordon begins his final full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, we will be watching one of the greatest race car drivers of all time chase a fifth championship. Jeff has been a great champion on the track and one of our greatest ambassadors off of it. To be sure, there will be no shortage of contenders battling for that trophy as we build throughout the season, and it's going to be a thrill for all of us to see it play out through the final laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. It is an exciting time to be a NASCAR fan. On behalf of our entire team, I hope you enjoy the 2015 NASCAR season.
    Best regards, Brian France

  • NASCAR Clarifies Chase Eligibility: To be eligible to compete in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, drivers must start each race for which they have qualified, unless the sanctioning body finds reason to waive that requirement. That change, announced in a bulletin on Wednesday morning modifies the language of Rule, which last year required drivers to attempt to qualify for each event to retain Chase eligibility. Under the current provision, drivers still must attempt to qualify for each race, but they also must start every race for which they qualify successfully, unless NASCAR authorizes otherwise. A driver does not lose Chase eligibility for attempting to qualify for a race and failing to make the field. The clarified rule would apply in a situation where #41-Kurt Busch, for example, were to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, race in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday (as he did last year), but fail to return to Charlotte in time to start the Cup race. In that event, NASCAR would be unlikely to grant a waiver. On the other hand, NASCAR already has indicated that #55-Brian Vickers, who will miss the first two events of the season while recovering from offseason heart surgery, retains his Chase eligibility because of a medical exception.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-19-2015)

  • NASCAR Names Kim Lopez Chief Starter for 57th Daytona 500: NASCAR announced that long-time official Kim Lopez will be the chief starter for Sunday's 57th running of the Daytona 500. She will become the first woman and first Hispanic to flag the Great American Race. Lopez, 33, is in her 11th season with NASCAR and has flagged races for the past seven years in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. She also flagged two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races last year, but couldn't attend the Daytona 500 following the birth of her daughter just three weeks before the race. "I think this is awesome," said Lopez, a native of Bronx, New York. "You have little girls who can now look up and say 'I can do this someday, I can be this someday. If I put my mind to it and work hard, I can make it happen.'" The chief starter plays an essential role during the race, displaying the eight flags that tell the best drivers in the world to start, slow down, move over or stop. It's a role that Lopez won't take for granted on Sunday when the field maneuvers beneath her at speeds of more than 200 mph. Lopez also will have the honor of waving the checkered flag when the winner crosses the finish line and etches his or her name in NASCAR history. "Kim will serve as chief starter, because she's among the best in the world at what she does," said Chad Little, NASCAR managing director, Technical Inspection and Officiating. "She has pursued her dreams in uncharted territory and we're excited to see her dreams come true when she flags the Daytona 500."(NASCAR)(2-19-2015)

  • NASCAR: no plans to fine drivers for comments about qualifying: An interview (in part) with Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's chief racing development officer and executive vice president, some Q&A's about Sunday's qualifying for the Daytona 500:
    STEVE O'DONNELL: I wanted to make a few comments on the qualifying session today. I think as everybody knows, this format was put together by NASCAR with feedback from the industry, but ultimately to be as exciting as possible. We used it last year in Daytona for the summer race. We made some adjustments from there. Going into Talladega, obviously learned throughout that. Then came into Daytona with some minor adjustments for the Daytona 500, as well. So if you look at group qualifying as a whole, we felt it worked really well, but certainly there's some challenges on superspeedways. One of the reasons we moved away from single-car qualifying, I think you've heard from the drivers as well, a lot of things go into it as well, aero packages, different setups, not based on a race setup. You also heard Jeff Gordon talk about putting it back in the drivers' hands more. That's something we like. We don't want to see wrecks of any kind. Not lost on us how much work goes into these cars by the teams, the efforts for our biggest race of the year. I close by saying I believe we've got a really good track record of making adjustments where we need to, so we'll certainly evaluate what took place today, we'll continue to get feedback from the industry, from the drivers as we did to get to where we were today. With that, I'm happy to take any questions anybody may have.
    Q. You mentioned you made some minor adjustments after Talladega last October. There were a lot of complaints there. What adjustments did you make? Were there things that happened today that you wish you would have addressed?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: That's a good question. When we looked at it, some of the things you saw that took place on pit road today we were hoping to avoid. Then some of the drivers, how they enter a track on a superspeedway, we put in rules in place for today's session to avoid incidents candidly. Blocking, we were going to monitor. We said we could look at things to disallow times, but that was more on how you entered the track coming up to speed. Some of those were put in place, but I think those are areas we need to continue to look at.
    Q. Steve, Brian [France] has talked about in the past that he's fine with drivers making comments, but don't disparage the product. Certainly some of the comments that came out today, what is NASCAR's stance on the comments of Clint Bowyer or Tony Stewart? Are they clear or are they facing any type of penalty for comments made today?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: I think what Brian said is you can take us on. We're NASCAR, that's part of our job. When I look at the comments that Clint made or Tony made, those are based on wanting to see the best racing out there. So certainly tough to hear. But those are things we have to have conversations with them on and work with those guys to figure out if there's a better way to do it. We will do it. But it's not something we're going to fine the drivers for today.
    Q. When determining whether to make changes to this format, how much of it is driver input and how much of it is fan input?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: I would say we look at input from the entire industry. You're going to take fan feedback. We're going to talk to the drivers, the owners, crew members. That's a little bit of how we got to where we are today, going away from single-car qualifying, taking input from all of those folks we talked about. It's a balance for us. Ultimately it's our job to make a decision. Not always does everybody agree with that decision, but we've got to make that decision at the end of the day.
    Q. I understand you still want to get feedback from the industry and evaluate things. As it stands now, was NASCAR happy with how today's session unfolded?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: I think it's a balance. Jeff Gordon on the pole, certainly his last Daytona 500, is great. Seeing the incident that took place is not. So it's a balance. We've got to take everything kind of in stride. We see new things every day, have to make decisions on that. Overall I think we're happy about the excitement of the qualifying session, but we've got to look at if there's adjustments we can make to continue to improve that, we're going to do that.(NASCAR)(2-16-2014)

  • New officiating system debuts at Daytona: In 2015, NASCAR will become the first major sport to employ an officiating system where the primary officials will not roam the field of play but instead huddle in a transporter that will travel from track to track. Other sports have instant replay, where an official uses video to rule on disputed calls. NASCAR will go way beyond that, using a combination of video and a computer software program that determines penalties followed by an automatic review by a human. The drivers, crew chiefs and teams have had tutorials on the system. It appears impressive, with its 45 high-definition cameras perched in clusters high above the racetrack capturing video and sending it to a hauler located in the television compound so it can operate with server capacity totaling 960 gigabytes of total ram. It appears well-thought-out; the officials screen the pit stops, and crews are alerted to penalties in real time. The officials have the ability to start and stop the video as well as fast-forward, rewind, zoom in and zoom out.
    NASCAR Officiating Trailer Fact Sheet
    - 53-foot 2014 custom Featherlite trailer
    - Eight officials at work/review stations
    - Four admin/technical work stations
    - Work/shop area
    - 24 tons of air conditioning; enough to cool a 12,000-square-foot building
    - 960GB of total ram between all servers; equal to 240 desktop computers
    - 60 video cards (2 per server); each with the ability to process 134 billion textures per second
    - 40TB of storage; equivalent of 10,000 high-definition, full-length feature movies
    - Ability to move 90GB of network traffic; enough bandwidth to move 18,000 songs per second
    NASCAR virtually guarantees more accuracy with the new system, especially with two specific rules: (1) a driver, on entry and exit, cannot enter a pit box more than three stalls away from the driver's own pit stall; and (2) a tire changer, tire carrier and jackman cannot have their feet on the ground in the pit stall until the approaching car is one stall away. In the past, the official assigned to a pit stall would not have the vision to see those penalties. Now the software program will see that violation much easier than an official would standing on pit road, and much easier than the pit crews actually performing the work.(See full article at

  • NASCAR clarifies some rules: NASCAR, which announced last month that teams would not be allowed to flare the side skirts, released the penalty for that violation and other unapproved adjustments teams make during a race. Teams who make unapproved adjustments under caution will have to come back in under caution, fix the car, restart at the rear of the field and then do a pass-through on pit road at pit-road speed under green. Teams who make unapproved adjustments under green will have to come in under green and fix the car to NASCAR's satisfaction. If NASCAR identifies a crew member who makes the illegal adjustment, it will issue that person a warning on the first offense and increase the sanctions for additional offenses. The procedure was released Thursday morning in a wide-ranging bulletin issued to teams. NASCAR also put into writing what happens if two drivers tie at the finish of a race, a rarity considering that the combination of NASCAR's timing system and its cameras at the finish line typically allow for NASCAR to determine finishing order. But if NASCAR can't break a tie, the driver who has led the most laps will be awarded the higher finish. If no driver has led a lap, then it would be the driver who has spent the most laps in second. Then if still tied, whoever has run the most laps in third, then fourth, etc.
    In another rule clarification, NASCAR put into writing a policy that it could take away a driver's qualifying time if it determines that the driver impacted the qualifying lap of another driver -- such as coming off pit road and cutting in front of a driver already on the track during the group qualifying session.(ESPN)(2-13-2015)


    'RaceBuddy' Gets the Green Flag for Entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season: As part of its landmark 10-year media partnership with FOX Sports, NASCAR will give fans aiming to kick their viewing experience into high gear access to RaceBuddyM - a digital video complement to the race broadcast - throughout the entire 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for the first time. Offering viewers multiple live in-car HD camera angles to choose between, RaceBuddy puts fans in control of the action on their computer, tablet or mobile device. RaceBuddy launches the 2015 season with the Sprint Unlimited on Saturday, February 14 at 8:00 pm/et and will be available for the first time ever during the Daytona 500. In addition to every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, fans will also have access to RaceBuddy for most NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2015. In addition to the multiple live in-car HD camera views, RaceBuddy - available for free at and to subscribers of the NASCAR Mobile AppTM - offers a live leaderboard, real-time race data and live chat capabilities, making it the ultimate complement to FOX and NBC race broadcasts.(NASCAR)(2-11-2015)

  • NASCAR partners with SportsData to distribute Live Timing & Scoring Data: NASCAR announced a partnership with sports content provider SportsData, the U.S. subsidiary of global market leader Sportradar, to distribute its live timing and scoring data to third-party digital outlets. SportsData, which has a customer base that includes Google, Facebook, Twitter and Bleacher Report, will be the first content provider to go to market with data from the NASCAR timing and scoring feed for an entire race weekend. The real-time data will be available for all three national series (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series) and allow digital outlets to develop enhanced NASCAR digital products, such as:
    - Live race leaderboard, including driver position, caution data, lap number and more
    - Practice and qualifying leaderboards
    - Official post-race race results
    - Official post-race points standings
    - Weekly entry lists
    "Real-time data is imperative to today's sports fan," said Colin Smith, NASCAR Vice President, Digital Media. "While we will continue to offer live timing and scoring and other data sets on, this partnership with SportsData will extend NASCAR's reach and allow an array of digital platforms to service sports fans more accurately and completely."(NASCAR)(2-10-2015)

  • Technology expected to improve inspections this season: Up until last September, the only way for NASCAR officials to tell how quickly the inspection process was moving was to walk to each inspection station and see for themselves. No more. As in so many areas of life these days, there's an app for that. At the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR unveiled a technology that lets officials see whether inspection is running on schedule thanks to a real-time app created by Microsoft. Using a tablet device in the NASCAR hauler office, Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck can monitor each inspection station, see which cars have been tagged for infractions and track the individual progress for each car.
    For example: With a couple of taps on the screen, Buck can learn that 48% of the cars have completed inspection and there have been five infractions (a fender or a side skirt that isn't quite within the tolerances, for example). If he wants to get more information, he can click on the number to see which cars have run afoul of the rules and why. "I can see the time-management portion of all the different stations," he said. "It'll be like, 'We're starting to back up here, what's going on? I need to start checking with that station and find out what the issue is.' Then I can look at the issue, and I make a decision whether I need to go intervene and go support my staff at that station and find a solution to it." Keeping track of the time is important, because NASCAR calculates down to the second how much time should be allotted for the inspection process, Buck said. Fans often only hear about inspection when a car hasn't gotten through as the clock ticks down to qualifying or the race.
    In past years, NASCAR would allow a team with an infraction to fix its issue and then get back in line, cutting in front of teams that hadn't been given a chance to go through even once. That allowed crew chiefs to do the minimum when it came to trying to fix infractions; if the adjustment didn't get them within the tolerances, they could just try again. But starting last year NASCAR decided a car with an infraction would have to wait until everyone got through. That change, along with the app, has helped NASCAR speed up the entire process.
    In addition to time management, NASCAR is gaining access to more information. Inspectors at the individual stations mark infractions with comments and digital photos. That goes into a database, including how the problem was fixed, and officials can use it to spot trends. Before the app, officials had to search through paperwork and handwritten forms to search for trends. That's important, because rule changes can be based on what direction the garage is going.(USA Today)(2-9-2015)

  • Fewer penalties issued in 2014: Teams brawled. Stars erupted. Tension grew. The overhaul of the Chase for the Sprint Cup was the most impactful of many changes in NASCAR last season, and the ripple effects were pervasive, particularly during the final 10-race playoff that featured eliminations, points resets and the debut of a winner-take-all finale between four finalists. Yet there was another fundamental shift in Sprint Cup philosophy that was as notable for its lack of discernible presence. For the first time in its 66-year history, the NASCAR rule book delineated predetermined penalties. A six-tier system - with a "P6" being the most draconian punishment - was introduced amidst predictions that crew chief suspensions, points deductions and whopping fines could become prevalent. The result? There were 81 penalties in Sprint Cup - the lowest number in a season for a series that averaged 205 penalties a year since detailed record-keeping began in 2000. Only one penalty resulted in a major crew chief suspension - a six-race benching for Darian Grubb after Denny Hamlin's #11 Toyota failed inspection after the Brickyard 400. That penalty wasn't appealed, which wasn't uncommon last season after several years of constant challenges. There was only one appeal across its national series in 2014 after an average of 12 appeals annually since 2000. That led to an absence of the oft-chaotic scenes surrounding appeals hearings at the R&D Center in Concord, N.C., where news media stakeouts to cover large infractions were common. (Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing won noteworthy appeals in 2013.) NASCAR officials credited the concrete penalty structure with helping reduce such contentious encounters.(USA Today)(2-8-2015)

  • NASCAR issues several rule updates: NASCAR issued a bulletin Monday with updated rules for the coming season for Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.
    " Only drivers who are licensed and approved for competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be eligible to participate in a NASCAR-approved tire test.
    " NASCAR clarified that should a vehicle pit out of its assigned stall and the crew begins to remove the tire(s), the crew must reinstall the tire(s) before moving the car back into its assigned stall to avoid a penalty. This is for Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.
    " Any crew member interfering with another crew's pit stop, causing the other team to incur a penalty or not, may incur a penalty. This is for each of the three national series.
    " Additional crew member(s), assigned to servicing the car or not, who purposely assist from an adjacent pit box on the work service side of pit road may be counted toward the limit of seven crew members over the wall. This is for each of the three national series.
    " NASCAR clarified the refueling procedure. Refueling can begin once the car is stopped in its assigned pit stall. The fueler may continue to refuel the car as it departs and crosses the front line of the pit box provided any equipment used and/or the fueler do not cross over the front or the side line of the pit box. Also, fueling cans or any other equipment must not be tossed or thrown over the pit service wall at any time. This is for each of the three national series.
    " NASCAR lists violating the private team test ban as a P6 penalty for all three series.
    " NASCAR mandates that the switch for the driver-adjustable track bar motor in Cup be located on the dash panel with the other accessory switches on the steering wheel or on the left or right side of the seat or seat leg extensions.
    " NASCAR clarified that added ballast must be in block form using minimum five-pound blocks. NASCAR clarified that the added weight must be in blocks.(NBC Sports)(2-3-2015)

  • NASCAR not looking to expand four-car limit for teams: NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Monday there are no plans to allow teams to have more than four full-time cars even in a time when one Sprint Cup race did not have a full 43-car field and 17 other races had only 43 cars attempt to qualify last year. NASCAR instituted a four-car limit for the 2006 season, grandfathering teams that had more at that time until their sponsor contracts ended. NASCAR currently allows a fifth car but only to run seven races with a rookie driver. That rule will allow Hendrick Motorsports to run Chase Elliott in select Cup races this season. France said during Monday's opening portion of the NASCAR media tour that "we're not looking to expand beyond the current four, but it's true that we'd like to see the barrier of entry lower (for car owner) than higher.'' France told reporters last July at Daytona that progress has "been slow" with creating more avenues for potential new owners. Lowering that barrier to entry remains an item that France is concerned with accomplishing. "Are we making things easier ... for new teams to look at coming in and competing in NASCAR?'' France said. "We want to have an open sport where you've got the ability to compete. We're going to make it easy as reasonably possible.''
    Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president & chief racing development officer, said the four-car rule has proved beneficial for the sport. "It's allowed some of the new owners to come in, the Furniture Rows of the world, the Michael Waltrip Racings of the world, Harry Scott,'' O'Donnell said. "Everyone doesn't come into the sport immediately and become a champion. It takes time. Some of those folks who come in and maybe finish from 30th to 43rd, it's easy to point to them and say why should they be in the sport? Fast forward five years from now and that driver could be competing for a championship. We're comfortable where it is today. We'll always look at that, but we want to keep that option open to bring in new owners.''(NBC Sports)(1-30-2015)

  • #28 Back on Track? It's been more than five years since the famed #28 Yates Racing Ford last spun laps around a NASCAR track. March 22, 2009 to be exact. And while the #28 is free for teams to use - with NASCAR's permission, of course - there is a certain respect that follows that number. It's with that respect that former team owner Doug Yates occasionally fields a call for permission to use the number that was driven famously by the likes of Fred Lorenzen, Davey Allison and Ernie Irvan. "I got a call at the beginning of last season from a driver that asked me if it would be OK to use the number," said Yates. "He asked that I think about it and he'd check in a little later." Yates did think about it, and even talked it over with family. And when that driver called back, it didn't take long for him to figure out the answer. Said Yates: "I answered my phone and immediately the driver said to me - 'I get it. Don't say any more.' "(CMS)(1-30-2015)

  • 2016 Rules could debut at All-Star race? NASCAR heavily is considering using the May 16 Sprint All Star race as a trial run of the rules package for the 2016 season and has begun informing Sprint Cup teams of the possibility, multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk. During a state of the sport address to open Monday's Media Tour, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell noted the All-Star Race was the goal for unveiling the rules for next season. The 2015 rules were delivered in September, which O'Donnell said was the earliest release yet. "We anticipate beating that marker in 2016, and we'll look to bring the rules package to the teams as early as we can with a target date of around the All-Star Race for this year," O'Donnell said.
    An official with direct knowledge of the All-Star Race proposal said Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sprint were supportive of using the 2016 rules because it also would prevent teams from getting a jump on preparing for the Coca-Cola 600 and increasing the likelihood of a lackluster race. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan wasn't finalized.
    The Sprint All-Star Race could use a jolt of relevance. In nine editions since the repaving of Charlotte in 2006, there has been one lead during the final five laps of an event billed as promoting a no-holds-barred style. In the past three Sprint All-Star Races, the winner has led the final 10 laps. But a potential drawback for NASCAR could be whether the sneak preview of the 2016 rules delivers a better version of the racing than with the current rules that will be featured over four hours the following week at Charlotte in the season's longest race. There's no timetable for the decision on using next year's rules in the All-Star Race, but NASCAR tested some ideas for next year during a session last month at Charlotte. More testing is expected to occur at Atlanta Motor Speedway next month and at Charlotte in March. This year's rules will feature a significant decline in downforce and about a reduction of about 125 horsepower. Another cut in downforce is expected in 2016, which will make cars' handling more difficult.(NBC Sports)(1-27-2015)

  • No changes to Chase in 2015: NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Monday afternoon that the format for the new Chase for the Sprint Cup will be unchanged for 2015. France, speaking at the kickoff event for the 2015 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, said the sanctioning body is coming off "perhaps its best Chase ever" and is carrying a lot of momentum into the season. Last year was the first time NASCAR used the expanded format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with a field of 16 drivers and a winner-take-all elimination format in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(FoxSports)(1-26-2015)

  • Teams will not be allowed to alter side skirts: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will no longer be allowed to alter their car's side skirts during an event, a practice that became widespread during the 2014 season. At the NASCAR State of the Sport to kick off the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, Executive Vice President of Racing Development Steve O'Donnell said the sanctioning body will bring cars back down pit road if officials see that the side skirts have been manipulated during a pit stop in the race. O'Donnell said it would police flared skirts "by any means possible," including use of the new pit road technology that will make its debut during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. The pieces, officially known as vertical rocker panel extensions, are located along the bottom of the car's body between the front and rear tires. They help seal the area between the bottom of the car's chassis and the track surface, limiting airflow underneath the vehicle. Not all teams were flaring the pieces last season, but those that did typically would make the adjustment during an early pit stop. NASCAR allowed the practice to continue as the season progressed, but said on several occasions it was something that would be addressed after the completion of the 2014 season.(

  • NASCAR considering multiyear track contracts: After a longtime policy of one-year engagements, NASCAR is poised to enter long-term relationships with its racetracks. There have been multiple meetings after the 2014 season to discuss the concept of multiyear sanctioning agreements that effectively would set much of the Sprint Cup schedule beyond the current season for the first time. NASCAR traditionally has signed annual deals with every track, pushing the yearly release of the schedule to late summer or early fall. "I think it's fair to say we have had discussions with the tracks about multiyear agreements," NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell told USA TODAY Sports. "We're not there yet. If we can put something together where it's helpful for fans to know, our goal is to get the schedule out as early as we can. That helps fans making plans for going to tracks. Some fans travel a long way. If we can make that better through a multiyear (deal), that is something we're considering." A multiyear deal would offer tracks the ability to sell season ticket packages and sponsorships with more flexibility and security.(USA Today)(1-21-2015)

  • NASCAR Selects Fanatics to Operate At-Track Merchandise Business: NASCAR, NASCAR Team Properties (NTP) and Fanatics jointly announced today a 10-year agreement for the sport's at-track merchandise business that will deliver fans an enhanced, experiential shopping environment. As part of the agreement, Fanatics has acquired certain exclusive rights from NASCAR and NTP that will make the company the primary retailer of NASCAR, team and driver merchandise at all 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends. Fanatics, the market leader for officially licensed sports merchandise, powers the e-stores for hundreds of the top sports leagues, teams and schools, including a long history running NASCAR's e-commerce business. The NASCAR at-track deal expands Fanatics' growing in-venue partnerships. The new trackside retail model will be phased in at NASCAR events over the course of 2015. It will evolve from using solely haulers for each specific team or driver to displaying all merchandise in a climate-controlled superstore retail environment supported by, in instances, smaller satellite retail touch points around the track. The new model will have the following enhanced benefits and added options for fans:
    · Ability to offer the largest at-track selection of NASCAR merchandise ever
    · Selection to include a major expansion of women's and kids' items
    · A more functional way to browse, shop and interact with merchandise
    · Separate stores within the footprint for teams, drivers, memorabilia and collectibles
    · Dedicated area for driver appearances
    · An interactive customization center where fans can create their own personal NASCAR gear
    Fanatics Apparel, the company's manufacturing and customization division, will also produce merchandise to complement the already extensive product line that will be offered by authorized licensees. "A merchandise center will provide a more personal, organized, comfortable and convenient shopping environment for our fans," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "Partnering with an industry leader in Fanatics allows us to offer a comprehensive and seamless shopping experience for our fans - whether it is in-venue, online or on mobile devices." The new trackside retail model will utilize the latest innovations and initiatives in retail promotional design. According to a study conducted by Experian Marketing Services (Simmons National Consumer Survey, Fall Full Year 2013), NASCAR fans are at least 20 percent more likely than non-fans to notice various types of promotions while shopping, including: video monitor displays, signs on merchandise racks or shelves, and advertising on the floor - among others.
    "Fanatics is extremely excited to partner with NASCAR and NASCAR Team Properties to greatly expand their at-track retail presence," said Ross Tannenbaum, president of Fanatics Authentic. "We have taken the time to listen to what the fans, teams, drivers and NASCAR were asking for and look forward to using our market-leading scale, technology and production capabilities to deliver an improved and entertaining shopping experience for years to come."(NASCAR)(1-22-2015)

  • NASCAR explains new pit road technology: NASCAR officials will no longer be standing alongside crewmen to police pit stops in 2015, but that doesn't mean the sanctioning body won't be watching what takes place. A new, technologically driven system that incorporates the use of 45 cameras will feed video of every stop made by every team to a central location, where eight officials will log pertinent information and report any violations. How will it work?
    Each of the cameras will display two specific pit stalls. Once a car is on pit road, the individual cameras will record its progress as it moves through each area. The use of tracking software and pit road scoring loops identifies and verifies each car. That same system software tracking its movement will indicate any infractions, such as too many men over the wall or driving through too many pit boxes when entering or exiting the pits based on information ingested prior to the event. If there are no infractions logged by the system, one of the eight officials will still monitor the stop, noting the number of tires taken, whether fuel was added and whether any changes (chassis adjustments or repair to a damaged area, for example) to the car were made.
    Infractions fall into three groups:
    1) vehicle (such as pitting outside pit box)
    2) equipment (leaving pit box with gas can still attached, etc.) and
    3) personnel/crew (too many men over the wall; over the wall too soon, etc.
    When the software picks up an infraction, it will be displayed on the monitor where an official will quickly view the stop and either confirm the issue (and subsequently notify the tower) or clear it if it can be determined that no infraction took place. Although it was in place during the final portion of the '14 season, the system was tested, but not used for official purposes. The expectation is for each pit stop to be viewed and cleared in no more than eight seconds and stops are prioritized -- those that are flagged as infractions are moved to the top of the list for immediate attention. The eight officials work through each stop until all have been cleared, reported when necessary and logged. Teams will be notified of any penalties that occur once a stop has been completed. "We're not going to tell anyone of any violations until they leave pit road," [Shawn Rogers, Managing Director of Business Operations for NASCAR] said. "That's how we do speeding violations now. So we don't get into this person found out a little bit sooner than that person.
    The use of the technology will change the number of officials along pit road. Instead of the approximately two dozen that policed pit stops last year, only 10 will be in the pits this year. And Rogers said they would be stationed behind pit wall where they can respond to any team inquiries and monitor actions from that side of the car when necessary. The officiating system will not be used at stand-alone events for the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, according to Rogers.(

  • NASCAR Industry's Medical, Security, and Track Services Personnel gather for pre-season preparation: What began more than a decade ago in early January as a small gathering of medical, safety, security and track services personnel to share best practices and prepare for the coming NASCAR season has ballooned into one of the most vital and unique preseason conventions in all of motorsports. The annual NASCAR Summit will concluded its three-day agenda Tuesday at the Concord (North Carolina) Convention Center, where a record number of over 800 attendees in those aforementioned fields representing the facilities that host NASCAR's national, touring and weekly and IMSA series events converged to ideate and address numerous key topics in their areas of expertise prior to the start of the 2015 NASCAR and IMSA racing seasons. The Summit is organized each year by NASCAR's Racing Operations group, led by its Medical Liaison, Security and Track Services teams. General sessions featuring top keynote speakers, breakout sessions, round tables, workshops specific to top-line subjects in their respective disciplines and at-track demonstrations at Charlotte Motor Speedway make up the always-evolving agenda. Attendees utilize the Summit as a baseline for the coming year while planning for their individual events which continue to include update meetings before, during and after each race weekend. Awards are also presented by NASCAR to individuals who excelled during the previous season in their various fields. Those honored for their work in 2014 were:
    " Above and Beyond Award - Blaine Bates, Field Investigator, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
    " Nursing Director Award - Robbie Parks, RN, EMT-P, Bristol Motor Speedway
    " Medical Director Award - Dennis Allin, MD, Kansas Speedway
    " Teamwork Award - Texas Motor Speedway Infield Care Center
    " NASCAR Security Award for Excellence - Gerald Baker, Security Director, Texas Motor Speedway; Lt. David Meade (Law Enforcement Supervisor, Sullivan Co. Sheriff's Office, Bristol Motor Speedway)
    Track Services
    " Jim Bockoven Track Services Lifetime Achievement Award - Ken Burdine (Miller Industries)
    " Excellence in Track Services Award - Donald "Doc" Jernigan, Richmond International Raceway
    " Track Services Innovation Award - Jeff Miles (Key Equipment)
    " Track Services Mission Award - Kentucky Speedway
    " Track Services Teamwork Award - Phoenix International Raceway

  • Brian France answers fan questions: NASCAR Chairman Brian France discussed shorter races, midweek events and the new Chase during his appearance Tuesday night on Motor Racing Network's "NASCAR Live." France appeared on the show with host Eli Gold and took questions from fans, discussing a variety of subjects.
    Asked about shorter races, France said: "We think that shorter races in general makes sense. Sometimes a specific venue or a track believes differently, and they have their own fan base and research that says, 'Hey we like a 500-mile race on this particular weekend' or in the case of Charlotte a 600-mile event. Generally speaking, we're very open to working with the tracks and the local markets ... to shorten races whenever it's possible and we will continue to do that."
    One notion that has been discussed in recent years has been the idea of a midweek NASCAR Sprint Cup race. France talked more of the challenges of such events than any possible advantages. He said no track operators want to trade a weekend race for a midweek event.
    As to the idea of a road course in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, France said neither of the two road courses on the circuit are willing to trade their dates. France said that officials are not opposed to it but doesn't see it happening soon.
    While the Chase provided some memorable moments, not all fans were happy with the format that saw drivers eliminated every third race. France said any changes to the Chase would have to keep the format simple. "We will be open-minded, but we want to balance making sure that whatever format we have that everybody understands it," France said.
    France also discussed how the sport will react to domestic violence issues. Dover Police stated Tuesday that it has completed its investigation of an alleged domestic violence complaint against Kurt Busch and forwarded its findings to prosecutors who will determine if to charge Busch.
    France also said there is no specific timeline on when officials will sign a company to replace Sprint as series sponsor. Sprint's sponsorship goes through the 2016 season.
    France also was asked by a fan about ringing tracks with SAFER barriers. "I'm in favor of SAFER barriers wherever they need to be," France said. "If that's the whole racetrack, that's fine. If it's just to put them when there's no impact, that doesn't make a lot of sense to us. That's how we view it. It's always under review. We typically do add quite a bit of SAFER barriers depending on what venue every year."
    Another fan asked France how series officials determine when to penalize drivers for their comments. "We try to give the most latitude of any other sport in terms of what our drivers and our other participants can say and do," France said. "Where we take objection is when there ... (are comments) derogatory toward the racing product. When that happens, we have to draw a line."(Motor Racing Networks)(1-7-2015)

  • Additional changes to pit rules: There was a meeting this week between NASCAR and the sport's various pit crew coaches regarding the new pit road rules for 2015. The main story line we've seen emphasized this week is the fact that NASCAR is no longer going to enforce a lug nut rule. But that isn't the only thing to come out of that meeting. There are other new rules and ways of enforcement that could have much more drastic impacts on races.
    The big move for next season is the removal of more officials from pit road. Starting at Daytona, a new video system will monitor pit road, and penalties will be called from a central video-review location. That means far fewer "judgement" calls by officials. Cut and dry video evidence will rule. And the one area that nobody in the media has mentioned that will be affected the most is crews jumping from the wall early. The rule for when crews can leave the wall goes like this: teams are allowed to be on the ground in their pit stall as soon as their car crosses the back line of the stall directly behind their own. You didn't see this rule enforced all that often, because it had to be fairly blatant for an official to even notice it. Now, if a crew member is down even a split second early, the penalty will be called. Supposedly once NASCAR started testing this video system late in 2014, they were hundreds of "jumping early" penalties flagged by the system. What this means, is that you could potentially see a lot of these penalties called early in the season until pit crews figure out what they can and can't get away with. All coaches are emphasizing this point to their teams this offseason, but it will be an issue in 2015.
    Another rule that will be more actively enforced with this video system is the drivers rolling through too many pit boxes before their own on entry. Drivers are only allowed to drive through three (I think) pit boxes before they enter their own. This was also a judgement call in the past, but this new video system will catch more of these in the future.
    Other smaller points of emphasis for NASCAR included the elimination of helping your neighbor on pit road gather up his tires by being over the wall. You would often see a member of another pit crew over the wall helping a team corral it's tires. Now, if a crewman wants to help, they have to stay behind the wall. NASCAR is also going to pay closer attention to tire control by the pit crews. If tires aren't in control of a crewman at least half way back to the wall, NASCAR will call a penalty. This rule isn't new, but will be more actively enforced.(NASCAR Insiders)(12-14-2014)

  • NASCAR will let teams regulate lug nuts during pit stops in 2015: One rule that stands out as a game changer will be the fact that NASCAR is letting teams regulate lug nuts during their stops. Basically, NASCAR won't penalize or monitor missed lug nuts or lug nuts that get knocked off during a stop. The new rule...or lack of rule, could be a huge gain for teams that want to gamble. Everyone knows that it doesn't take all 5 nuts tight to keep a tire on. The tricky part is how many nuts does it take? There are stories floating around pit road of teams that have come into victory lane with 1,2 and 3 nuts on a wheel, and everyone is amazed. Every situation is different and every situation could have a different outcome, but hitting only 3 or 4 nuts per side could speed up a stop and if teams are willing to gamble on that then it could pay off. In the past, teams had to make sure all 5 nuts were on the studs and if an official were to see a nut get knocked off they would hold the car until the nut was put back on. Changers were very aware of the rules and hit nuts with a speed they could control. Jack men were also aware of the rule and MOST would wait on the left side for all 5 to get hit. Now, all that changes.
    The risk: there is always risk with reward and there is plenty of risks associated with taking this rule out. The first and most obvious risk is a loose wheel. Most changers are very concerned with the repercussions of a loose wheel and won't risk it for a standard stop. This rule comes into play when teams are at a place that eats tires up and a caution with 10 laps to go comes out and the whole field comes down to pit. This is when teams will gamble and may only hit 3-4 nuts and let it ride. With only a few laps left in the race, why not! That's when this rule will become interesting. It should be mentioned that NASCAR will still penalize a team if a tire comes off the car during a run due to a loose wheel. You don't see that very often but it has and does happen.(Pit Talks)(12-11-2014)

  • NASCAR considering changes to Xfinity, Trucks championship format: NASCAR is discussing how to determine the XFINITY and Camping World Truck champions this coming season. Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer for NASCAR, declined to say Wednesday to Motor Racing Network what the format will be for those two series this coming season. "We look at every championship every year,'' O'Donnell said after speaking at Sports Business Journal's Motorsports Marketing Forum at Aria Resort. "I can't tell you if it's going to change. We're still looking at it.'' Although NASCAR is examining the issue, it does not mean that a change is coming. Still, NASCAR is pleased with the results of the new Chase format, which created a buzz with its eliminations and one-race championship battle at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We think we hit a home run,'' O'Donnell said about the Chase during his presentation. "We are really excited with how it came out. I think one of the biggest assets of the Chase is the dialogue around the number of teams, which means more sponsors are being talked about, more drivers. If you take that same mentality, why wouldn't we want 10 or 12 drivers being talked about in the XFINITY Series, 10 or 12 drivers being talked about Camping World? I'm not saying we're there yet, but there is some dialogue going on about what we could do in the future.'' O'Donnell also addressed other topics during his speech, including shortening races and if another series other than the Camping World Trucks could run at Eldora Speedway.(MRN)(12-5-2014)

  • NASCAR Delivers 2015 Competition Package to Teams: Following more than a year of extensive collaboration with stakeholders throughout the industry, and with a keen eye towards the future, NASCAR has finalized and delivered to teams the 2015 racing package for all three national series. "This race package represents a lot of hard work by NASCAR, the race teams, the drivers, our manufacturer partners and Goodyear," said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR senior vice president of innovation and racing development. "We've remained committed to constantly looking at our racing, and the work that has been done has been aimed at getting a rules package delivered to the race teams as early as possible."
    Highlighted in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series changes for 2015 are nearly 60 enhancements, including adjustments to the power train, aerodynamics and chassis that are designed to work in concert to deliver drivers more flexibility and teams more adjustability. Fans are expected to benefit from closer racing and more opportunities for drivers to pass on the track. "We have had fantastic racing so far in 2014," Stefanyshyn said. "We remain committed to constantly looking to improve it. Our fans deserve it and our industry is pushing for it. That will not stop with the 2015 package; the development will continue over many years to come."
    NASCAR will institute a shorter rear spoiler in its 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series package, which also includes a reduction of engine power, lower rear differential gear ratios and an optional driver adjustable track bar.
    Based on the success of group qualifying formats, which were introduced in 2014 for all national series, NASCAR also announced that group qualifying will be utilized for the first time for the Daytona 500.
    Additional changes for the 2015 rules include the elimination of team-facilitated private testing, with race teams being instead invited to participate in NASCAR / Goodyear tests throughout the season. NASCAR also will work alongside Goodyear to introduce rain tires should conditions warrant during road course events in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2015.
    "We're very pleased with the rules package and what it will do for our racing," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "We're confident it will continue to generate great racing, along with continuous safety improvements. The work alongside our industry has been unprecedented. We've had great dialogue with our drivers and teams, our manufacturers and Goodyear, allowing us to build greater efficiencies into the 2015 rules package. We've met our goal of delivering rules to teams with time to prepare for next season and we're seeing the benefits of an updated process for developing our rules paying dividends. It will only continue to improve."(NASCAR)(9-23-2014)
    UPDATE NASCAR announced a new rules package Tuesday that will ban all private testing in 2015, including the annual Daytona 500 test, and levy the stiffest penalty possible on any team caught conducting its own sessions. The only testing allowed next season will be sessions conducted by NASCAR or Goodyear. Any team caught testing on its own will receive a P6 penalty, the highest on NASCAR's new punishment scale. It carries a loss of 150 points, a minimum $150,000 fine and a six-week suspension for the crew chief and other crew members. "It will be a huge penalty if anyone is caught," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
    The three-day annual Daytona 500 test each January was as much about promoting the season-opening race as it was for teams to shake off any cobwebs from the offseason. O'Donnell said that time will now be used to send drivers on a cross-country promotional tour similar to the "Chase Across North America" that NASCAR held this month with its 16 Chase championship drivers assigned to visit various race markets. As for qualifying, the formats will be shortened at all types of tracks, mostly to cut the length of time in the first segment. Teams currently are sitting on pit road trying to time when to run a hot lap, and NASCAR will try to eliminate the waiting. The first segment on short tracks and intermediate tracks will be 15 minutes, followed by a break, then 10 minutes, a break, and a final 5-minute session. At superspeedways, the field will be divided into two groups for the first 5-minute session, followed by two more 5-minute sessions. Road course qualifying will consist of one 25-minute session, followed by a 10-minute session. The Daytona 500 front row qualifying will be done in groups, but the length of the breaks is still being tweaked as NASCAR needs to fill a 3-hour television window.(Associated Press)(9-24-2014)

  • Fact Sheet 2015 Rules Package: Nearly 60 different enhancements / updates have been made to the NASCAR national series rules packages for 2015 in the following areas:
    · New Rules, with one or more of the following goals in mind: enriched competition, improved safety, reduced cost, enhanced product relevance and environmental (green) improvements.
    Enhanced Enforcement of Existing Rules
    · New Officiating Processes
    · Newly Approved Parts
    · Updated Business Processes
    The following are among the significant updates to the competition package.
    There will be a NASCAR-mandated ban on all team-initiated private testing in 2015
    · Teams will be invited to participate in NASCAR / Goodyear tests
    · NASCAR will not conduct a test at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Daytona 500
    · 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Package includes:
    -- Reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer
    -- Roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter
    -- Lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM
    -- Rear spoiler adjustment to 6 inches high (2014 height: 8 inches)
    -- Optional driver adjustable track bar
    -- 38-inch wide radiator pan
    -- Minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs. via ballast reduction (2014 weight: 3,300 w/o driver)
    -- Updated qualifying formats for all tracks
    · Rain tires on road courses, similar to rules in place for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; mandatory wipers, defogger and rear flashing rain light installed for the event weekend New Officiating Processes
    · Data Log and Capture System for pre-race inspections
    · Automated pit road officiating at race events
    Newly Approved Parts
    · Revised brake calipers
    Updated Business Processes
    · Electronic rule book
    · New parts approval process

  • Drivers want lower downforce, softer tires in 2015: Drivers are optimistic that a lower downforce, softer tire package tested at Michigan International Speedway Monday will work for a full field of 43 cars. NASCAR directed nine teams during a test for potential new rules for 2015. A variety of horsepower and aerodynamic packages were tested at the 2-mile track. The goal was to make the cars raceable enough that a driver can gain ground on the leader. During 20-lap runs, the drivers apparently passed the most in the low-downforce, soft-tire package. Low downforce can be achieved in a variety of ways, including a smaller rear spoiler. "They went through all the high-downforce stuff and less power and kind of the direction they went this year but even greater, and it was honestly really bad," said Joe Gibbs Racing's #20-Matt Kenseth. "It was really singled out, you couldn't pass, you could draft a little more on the straightaway but you're almost wide open in the corners. At the very end, they took all the downforce off and gave us all our power back and did all that and it was pretty much unanimous from the drivers, ... it was awesome." No one is sure what NASCAR will do, as it will take the data from the test and evaluate it to make the 2015 rules. "It was like going back 15 years in time or something like that," Kenseth said. "You could pass actually in the corners. ... You could get one guy on the bottom, one guy on the top. The air wasn't so turbulent that you couldn't get outside of people. So the track got really wide. It was like the track aged 10 years. It was awesome. Everybody got out with a smile on their face. You actually wouldn't feel as guilty cashing your paycheck on Friday anymore because you actually had to drive the cars like you used to."
    "If you listen to all the drivers, they're really excited and would like to see NASCAR at least go and investigate that direction for sure," said Roush Fenway Racing competition director Robbie Reiser. "I know from the test and the reports everybody has talked about, it seems like everybody really liked what they saw at the end of that Michigan test. They used the words, 'We can drive the car.' That is an important aspect of stock-car racing. They wanted it to be less dependent on the aero side and a little more dependent on the driver side." Reiser said he believes teams would like the rule package by early September but would be happy if they get it by the end of September. I know NASCAR is under pressure to try to get us rules, but we really need to make the right decision."(Sporting News)(8-23-2014)

  • Teams test 2015 rules changes at Michigan UPDATE: Nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will remain at Michigan International Speedway one additional day on Monday to test aerodynamic and engine combinations for the 2015 racing season. According to NASCAR officials, the test is designed to validate extensive work done by the sanctioning body's racing development team. Gene Stefanyshyn, vice president Innovation and Racing Development for NASCAR, said two different packages featuring various changes would be tested on the 2-mile track at MIS.
    "We have a prime rules package and also will be doing a low downforce package, because some of the drivers have been very vocal," Stefanyshyn said. "They think (low downforce) is a solution ... so we're going to try one of those." The prime rules package will include the use of dive planes, a 9-inch spoiler, six-percent rear differential gear ratio, three different power levels (engine horsepower) as well as a driver adjustable track bar. Dive planes are small strips on the left and right side of the front bumper areas about halfway between the splitter and hood.
    The engine changes will vary from the current 850 horsepower to 800 and 750 hp. Stefanyshyn said those changes would be made during Monday's test through the use of different sized restrictor plates in order to gauge the effects. If it is determined that less horsepower works best with the aerodynamic changes being considered, how best to accomplish that for next season would still have to be decided.
    The test is slated to get underway at 9:00am/et with six different sessions scheduled throughout the day. Teams are expected to make single-file 15-lap runs in every other session, with double-file runs making up the remaining 15-lap sessions. Drivers scheduled to participate are: #1-Jamie McMurray, #5-Kasey Kahne, #10-Danica Patrick, #27-Paul Menard #2-Brad Keselowski, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #43-Aric Almirola, #11-Denny Hamlin, and either #15-Clint Bowyer or #55-Brian Vickers.(
    UPDATE: Just one day after Jeff Gordon grabbed the checkered flag in the Pure Michigan 400, NASCAR and teams were back testing on the two-mile Michigan International Speedway, gathering crucial data for the development of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rules package. Six different configurations were evaluated throughout the test. Throughout today's test, focus was on aerodynamics and power optimization. Ten teams were onsite throughout the day running through all six configurations. More than 160 laps were turned at Michigan by each team. Data will be taken back to the Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina to be analyzed and modeled as NASCAR finalizes its 2015 rules package for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(NASCAR)(8-18-2014)

  • Yates talks about horsepower reduction: Doug Yates from Roush Yates Racing Engines talks about what's coming in regards to reduced horsepower for Cup teams:
    Yates: So where we are today is reducing RPM, talking about taking 500 RPM away. Effectively, that reduces speed on the racetrack and goes along with making the parts last longer. Talking about roller cams. The Cup series is the only series that has a flat tappet cam. It is a really hard application and it is probably the only series in the world that has a flat tappet cam. It gets it more like Nationwide and Truck so the parts could be passed down and they would last longer. If we need to reduce power more, we'd do it through a reduced throttle body size, reducing the air flow through the throttle body. Those are the mechanisms that will be utilized to reduce power.
    They are [also] looking at [limiting RPM] through gear ratios. We crossed that bridge years ago when we decided to limit the RPMs and they did it with the final drive ratio. It was a really good way to do it. If the engine will achieve more RPM because it is making more power or the driver gets off of the corner better and he achieves more RPM, then so be it. I think the final drive ratio is a good, easy-to-police way to get there. That is the adjustment they'll make. They do the same thing today in Nationwide and Trucks based on the RPM range they want to run. That has been a good, effective way to run.
    NASCAR has had more engagement with the engine building community than they ever have before. We've had five meetings now and Gene Stefanyshyn has done a great job leading those meetings. At first, it was a little bit of going through a process to get everyone to talk and open up. Our lives are about competition so those meetings, at first, were a bit of "I can outdo you on this." Everybody has now settled in to try and achieve Brian France and NASCAR's two initiatives of trying to improve racing through a reduction of horsepower and to try and figure out how to save some cost for the teams."(Frontstretch)(5-7-2014)

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