NC lawmakers seek permanent race car exemption from EPA anti-pollution standards: After a scare last year among auto racing fans that the federal Environmental Protection Agency might enforce a new anti-pollution regulation affecting the industry, some North Carolina Republicans in Congress want a new law to protect the sport. Western North Carolina congressman U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry filed a bill this week that would permanently block the EPA from regulating modified engines frequently used in amateur car racing. McHenry's proposed legislation would amend the Clean Air Act to make race cars exempt from federal emissions standards on vehicles. Professional drivers in NASCAR use cars that already are exempt from the Clean Air Act because those vehicle engines were not originally manufactured for use on public roadways. The issue first emerged in early 2016 as the EPA rolled out a wide-ranging proposal related to fuel efficiency standards on commercial cars and regulations on aftermarket vehicle parts manufacturers. Federal officials maintained the intent of the proposal was never to start new enforcement on amateur racing but McHenry and other lawmakers pushed back, resulting in the EPA changing course in April 2016. Other North Carolina co-sponsors on the bill include Republican U.S. Reps. Richard Hudson, Virginia Foxx, Walter Jones, Robert Pittenger, George Holding, Mark Meadows and David Rouzer. The bill has a total of 68 co-sponsors in the House, including eight Democrats from six states.(Charlotte Observer)(1-17-2017)
More rules changes for 2017, tires....: NASCAR competition officials issued memos detailing rule book changes for the 2017 season in its three national series, including limits on tire allocation. The 80 total pages of revisions released Friday afternoon pertain to Sections 20 (Vehicle and Driver Safety specifications) and 21 (Pit Equipment and Crew Safety specifications) across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Among the highlights in the tire rules updates:
" NASCAR set its regulations on tire allocation for all three series in 2017. In the Monster Energy Cup Series, the number of tire sets available to teams per event dropped for 13 of the 36 points-paying races and increased for eight events compared to last year. With the exception of the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the number of tire sets was only adjusted by one. Teams will have two fewer sets in the season-ending event this season, a reduction from 2016's 12 sets to just 10 in 2017.
" Tracks with one fewer set of tires allowed next season: Daytona (500 only), Phoenix (both races), Auto Club, Martinsville (both races), Bristol (both races), Kansas (both races), Kentucky and Chicagoland. Tracks with an additional set of tires allowed next season: Talladega (both races), Sonoma, Daytona (July only), New Hampshire (both races), Watkins Glen and Darlington.
" In 2017, Monster Energy Cup teams will be required to start the race on the tires they used in Coors Light Pole Qualifying. This change does not apply to the XFINITY or Camping World Truck Series.(NASCAR)(1-16-2017)
NASCAR rulebook updates for 2017: NASCAR issued a massive rules update to teams across all three national divisions on Friday -- not unusual for this time of the year. The most noteworthy addition is that the Sanctioning Body will allow drivers to wear biometric devices like Fitbits while inside the car. NASCAR will mandate the devices to operate under its own internal power and not have telematics capability -- in other words real-time capability to transmit car data. NASCAR will not allow any data acquired by such a device to be downloaded during qualifying or a race. For the device to be eligible, it must be either listed on the approved device list or be similar in functionality to one.
Rear Spoiler Height For the Cup Series, the rear spoiler height has been adjusted from 3.5 inches to 2.35 inches. What was then the Sprint Cup Series ran tests during races at Michigan and Kentucky as 2.5 inches.
Roof Hatch For both the Cup and Xfinity Series, a roof hatch is now mandatory at both Daytona and Talladega. It remains optional for all other venues.
Restrictor Plates at Daytona, Talladega The size of the holes in restrictor plates used at Daytona and Talladega will now be 7/8ths of an inch from 57/64ths of an inch.
Lastly, NASCAR is now requiring Cup and Xfinity teams to use toe board energy absorbing material at the two restrictor plate tracks to strengthen the driver foot box. This was a response to the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series crash at Daytona that sidelined Kyle Busch for 11 races when he broke a foot and a leg respectively. The material adds 20 pounds to the cars' overall weight and NASCAR has raised the minimum weight of the cars by that amount to encourage them to use the material in all events.(AutoWeek)(1-14-2017)
NASCAR Summit Promotes Innovation, Safety, Preparation: Safety is a founding NASCAR tenet and as a contact sport with major multi-day events that span the calendar, it's vitally important that the professionals who will respond to incidents be prepared with the latest technology and best practices. That's why medical, safety, security and operations professionals from race tracks nationwide and abroad convened for the annual NASCAR Summit Presented by American Medical Response (AMR). The three-day gathering at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Concord, NC, concluded Tuesday and featured instruction from some of the nation's leading experts. It also provided an opportunity for the industry to share best practices and recognize and honor its best work.
"Our goal as an industry is to provide the best event experience for our fans as well as best-in-class safety for our competitors. This Summit plays a vital role in making that happen," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "NASCAR and the facilities where we compete feature the most highly skilled and dedicated professionals. They are faced with ever-changing challenges and environments, and they continually rise to those challenges. This annual gathering continues to grow, and we're excited to have AMR on board as the presenting sponsor."
"We are proud and pleased to be the presenting sponsor of the NASCAR Summit. This is an important gathering of professionals from across the country," said Randy Strozyk, AMR executive vice president of operations.
The Summit featured more than 30 general and discipline-specific breakout sessions that addressed topics ranging from weather contingency planning to incident scene management. Presenters included leading physicians, track services professionals and law enforcement agencies. Nationally known speaker, attorney Gordon Graham delivered the keynote presentation. A top expert in law enforcement and public service training, he specializes in risk management. During the event's final general session, awards were presented to top medical, security and track services personnel for their outstanding achievements and innovations from the 2016 season. Award winners were:
" Mission Award: Daytona International Speedway
" Teamwork Award: Kentucky Speedway
" Innovation Award: Pocono Raceway
" Excellence in Track Services Award: Jay Donnay, Homestead-Miami Speedway
" Above and Beyond Award: Dr. Angela Fiege, Dr. John Maino, Dr. Brian Nao
" Nursing Director Award: Jackie Coats, Watkins Glen International
" Teamwork Award: Darlington Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway
" Security Director's Award: George Brazzale, Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Jim Hosfelt, Dover International Speedway
NASCAR Considering Significant Changes To Race Formats, Point Distribution: The Sports Business Daily is reporting that NASCAR and industry stakeholders are considering significant competition changes to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series that could be implemented as soon as this season. Sources said that stakeholders across the industry including teams, drivers, tracks, media partners, Monster and NASCAR have been meeting to discuss the prospective changes which involve the format of the races themselves and how points are awarded for them. If implemented, the changes could address the length and format of Cup races and may result in race breaks, similar to other series where "heat" formats are used to break up the competition to feature multiple, shorter races rather than one longer one. NASCAR declined comment. It could not be determined how far along the discussions are, but timing is of the essence as NASCAR's season starts in mid to late February. Its season-opening media tour, when major announcements are often made, is in two weeks in Charlotte.(The Sports Business Daily)(1-10-2017)
Is it time for NASCAR to make format changes? With speculation of format changes for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, one track president said he doesn't want to see anything "radical," but would be for a halftime break or quarter breaks in a race. Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, said Friday he would be for breaks in races but is against anything that shortens races. Discussion of any format changes has increased with Monster Energy becoming the title sponsor for NASCAR's top series. Some believe this could be a natural time to make such changes. See full article and vote on the poll there at NBC Sports (1-9-2017)
Brian France: 'We want everybody to be a NASCAR fan': NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France took the stage Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show to discuss how the sanctioning body is using technology to enhance the fan experience and engage with the next generation of fans. France was on the Sports Business Innovation panel with National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun. See some of the high points at NASCAR.com (1-8-2017)
NASCAR Europe launches new Elite Club Division: Building on the success of the past several seasons of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series throughout Europe, the series has announced the creation of a new division in the popular series. Drivers and stock car newcomers will be able to experiment in the NASCAR-sanctioned series by contesting four events in a new division. In addition to the regular Elite 1 and Elite 2 classes, the new Elite Club division has been specifically designed to attract drivers wanting to discover this NASCAR-sanctioned stock car championship based in Europe. The new division will stage meetings on Thursday and Friday at the following four road courses: Valencia (Spain), Hockenheim (Germany), Franciacorta (Italy) and Zolder (Belgium). Each meeting will feature three, 30-minute track sessions. These won't be races per se, but track sessions where speed and lap time consistency will be crucial. Each driver will be offered 90 minutes of track time at each of the four events. Series' officials will determine a "Reference Lap Time" for the track and the objective for each Elite Club driver will be to constantly produce lap times that are as close as possible to the Reference Lap Time. Each meeting will conclude with a podium ceremony. At the end of the year, the top three drivers in the Elite Club final standings will receive an invitation to attend the NASCAR Night Of Champions Touring Awards, plus an invitation for two persons to attend the upcoming NASCAR Daytona 500 or a contribution to the budget needed to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race weekend in 2018.(Motorsport)(12-30-2016)
NASCAR Announces 2017 Charter teams: NASCAR revealed in February 2016 a landmark new ownership structure, awarding 36 Charters that guarantee entry into every points event in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Since then, some leasing and buying of Charters has occurred. The table below shows the Charters (which were awarded following the 2015 season) for 2017. Teams listed alphabetically.
(A) Premium Motorsports sold this Charter to Furniture Row Racing for its second team, the #77. In 2016, the Charter was leased by the #46 team of HScott Motorsports.
(B) Richard Petty Motorsports is leasing the #44 Charter to the #32 team of Go Fas Racing in 2017.
(C) Roush Fenway Racing will lease the #16 Charter to JTG Daugherty Racing's newly formed second team (#37) in 2017.
(D) Near the end of the 2016 season, Tommy Baldwin Racing sold its Charter to Leavine Family Racing.
(E) HScott Motorsports' #15 Charter was sold to Premium Motorsports.
(F) Go Fas Racing is leasing the #32 Charter to the #21 team of Wood Brothers Racing.
(G) Circle Sport and The Motorsports Group merged operations to field the #33 team with the Charter Circle Sport had.
In 2016, Circle Sport partnered with Leavine Family Racing to field the #95 for the season.
2016 Car #; 2017 Car #; Organization with charter for 2017 (36 teams listed)
23 23 BK Racing
83 83 BK Racing
1 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
42 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
34 34 Front Row Motorsports
38 38 Front Row Motorsports
46 77 Furniture Row Racing (A)
78 78 Furniture Row Racing
13 13 Germain Racing
44 32 Go Fas Racing (B)
5 5 Hendrick Motorsports
24 24 Hendrick Motorsports
48 48 Hendrick Motorsports
88 88 Hendrick Motorsports
11 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
18 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
19 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
20 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
16 37 JTG Daugherty Racing (C)
47 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
7 95 Leavine Family Racing (D)
15 TBD Premium Motorsports (E)
3 3 Richard Childress Racing
27 27 Richard Childress Racing
31 31 Richard Childress Racing
43 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
6 6 Roush Fenway Racing
17 17 Roush Fenway Racing
4 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
10 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
14 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
41 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
2 2 Team Penske
22 22 Team Penske
32 21 Wood Brothers Racing (F)
95 33 Circle Sport w/The Motorsports Group (G)
Forbes honors NASCAR driver on 30 Under 30 Sports list: Forbes Magazine has selected NASCAR Next driver Julia Landauer to this year's Sports 30 Under 30, a list of the "brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers." Forbes released its selections Tuesday, highlighting 600 outstanding figures under age 30 from 20 industries. The honorees were chosen by a panel of prominent reporters, legends in each field and former 30 Under 30 recipients. Landauer, 25, completed her first full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2016. She finished fourth in the overall standings, sealing top-10 finishes in all but one of her 14 starts.(NASCAR.com)(1-4-2017)
Why are teams swapping charters? It's part of a complicated NASCAR system designed to encourage performance while also allowing teams to project revenues for a season. At the start of 2016, NASCAR issued 36 charters, giving those 36 cars a guaranteed spot in each race and a guaranteed base amount of revenue for the season. That left four spots available to "open" cars, whose base amount of participation revenue is less than 35 percent of that of charter teams.
Teams can lease out their charter for only one year over a five-year span and then must either run it or sell it. A portion of the revenue distributed to a charter team is based on the performance of that car the last three years; plus any car among the three worst charters for three consecutive years can have its charter pulled by NASCAR.
The move for Go FAS Racing means it will have slightly more guaranteed money next season because the RPM #44 team's past three-year history is better than Go FAS Racing's #32 team. It also should make the original #32 charter more valuable for 2018 in two ways -- the Wood Brothers should finish higher in the owner standings (it was 21st in the 2016 team standings) and therefore would increase its 2018 guaranteed revenue; and it should eliminate a chance the charter could get revoked following the 2018 season because it most likely won't be among the three worst charter teams for three consecutive years.(ESPN.com)(12-17-2016)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Sunday, February 19, 2017, 3:00pm/et
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 25, 2017, TBA