New members for the NASCAR Cup Drivers Council: Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola are the new members of the NASCAR Cup Drivers Council. They join returning members Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick. The new drivers replace Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson. Drivers earn a spot on the 10-member council based on their performance the previous year or by being elected by fellow competitors. The group regularly meets with NASCAR officials to discuss on-track and off-track matters.(NBC Sports)(2-20-2017)
NASCAR cracks down on inspection "games": It's a given that a smart NASCAR crew chief will push the limits of the rules - and find loopholes in existing legislation wherever they're available. Between seasons, however, NASCAR has gone a long way to close a loophole in the inspection process. This year, if a car fails at any stage of pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection, the team must take the car back to the garage, return to specifications and start the entire process over again. Last year, a car simply had to repeat the station it failed, the Laser Inspection Station (LIS), for example. "Teams would go across the LIS, and purposely fail, so they would go off to the side and 'em up on jack stands," said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR vice president, officiating and technical inspection. "Not only would they fix the LIS issue, then they'd completely rebuild the top of the car and aerodynamics. So we'd only send them back through the LIS. OK, as a competitor, you do that, and we have to react this way." Even with the new procedures in place Sawyer thinks crew chiefs will continue to push the envelope - at least initially. "I think they will," Sawyer said. "They will have to see how much teeth we're going to put into it. If we do what we've said - which I know we will - then we'll see."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-18-2017)
NASCAR Expands Concussion Protocol: NASCAR announced updates to its concussion protocol for competitors, adding a consistent screening tool for all venues and increasing available neurological support for race event weekends through its new partnership with AMR. "NASCAR has worked very closely with the industry to ensure our concussion protocol reflects emerging best practices in this rapidly developing area of sports medicine," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "We will continue to utilize relationships we've had for years with leaders in the neurological research field who helped to shape these updates."
NASCAR's protocol now includes:
- As part of the new rule regarding damaged vehicles, a driver whose car sustains damage from an accident or contact of any kind and goes behind the pit wall or to the garage is required to visit the Infield Care Center to be evaluated.
- The medical portion of NASCAR's Event Standards now require that Infield Care Center physicians incorporate the SCAT-3 diagnostic tool in screening for head injuries.
- AMR will provide on-site neurological consultative support at select NASCAR events during the 2017 season and will work directly with NASCAR in the continued development of concussion protocol.
The new protocol goes into effect immediately for all NASCAR national series.(NASCAR)(2-17-2017)
Practice time not scaled back in schedule released: NASCAR has backpedaled on plans to significantly reduce practice time at most tracks this year.
Tentative schedules released a few weeks ago for race weekends early in the season showed a reduction in practice time of 34% to 46%, but the most recent schedule for the March 5 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway shows the same 165 minutes of practice time for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers as a year ago. In its tentative schedule released Jan. 24 to help teams and media plan, NASCAR initially had dropped 30 minutes from each of the Friday and Saturday sessions at Atlanta, but it added back the 30 minutes in a schedule released Monday. NASCAR was looking to streamline race weekends, but a NASCAR spokesman confirmed Monday that the schedules will be more similar to last year. The issue of practice time isn't as simple as trying to figure out how much preparation drivers and crews need. Track operators often want more track activity to attract fans, and the practices often are televised.(ESPN)
AND time was also added to some of the practices at Daytona (2-14-2017)
NASCAR Drivers Council happy with safety team: After lobbying multiple times for the addition of a traveling safety team, a NASCAR Drivers Council member was pleased to see its arrival Wednesday in the Cup Series. "(The safety team) is something that the council has brought up quite a few times, and it's a struggle to figure out how to do that with insurance and legally," Joey Logano said Wednesday in an interview with NBC Sports. "It's a little over my head. "But why can't we have someone who is on site when get there? What are we waiting on? You're not the only person to ask that question. Believe me, I think every driver has asked this question at some point in their careers. Why don't we have a physician that we know? ... When I got the call they were announcing it, I was like, 'Hell, yeah!' It's super."(NBC Sports)(2-9-2017)
Inspection process changes: NASCAR announced was a new procedure for pre-race inspections. Previously if a team fails a stage in pre-race inspection they could work on the issue and just go back to the inspection stage they failed. Now if a car fails any of the stages, they must go back through all stages of pre-race inspection. While most old-school fans - and even some newer fans - have complained about constant changes every year to the race formats and points structures, the dwindling television ratings and track attendance proved that something needed to be done. I applaud NASCAR for thinking outside of the box. Whether or not the changes work, NASCAR and its partners deserve the opportunity to see how the new formats and points structure evolve and whether fans are engaged in the process. The proof will come in increased fan traffic.(Motorsport)(2-9-2017)
NASCAR announces updated damaged vehicle policy: NASCAR officials unveiled a new Damaged Vehicle Policy on Wednesday at the sanctioning body's Research & Development Center, a policy that will be enforced in all three national series -- Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. Under the guidelines, teams no longer will be allowed to replace damaged body parts that are the result of accidents or contact. Repairs, such as fixing damaged sheet metal, will be allowed; however, teams will be given five minutes to fix damage once they enter pit road. If the damage requires the car to go behind pit wall or to the garage for repairs, the car will not be allowed to return to the race. Also, if the repairs take longer than the five minutes allowed, the car will not be permitted to return to the race. Once repairs have been made, a car is still required to maintain the minimum speed determined for that event. Once that has been accomplished, the five-minute clock is reset in case the car needs to come back down pit road.
Previously, teams were allowed to replace any damaged panels or parts with no time limit and no penalty. Quarter panels, splitters, hoods and deck lids damaged in accidents were often removed and replaced. Some repairs were completed on pit road; more extensive damage often meant a trip to the garage. Each time, the driver was sent back out onto the track as quickly as possible. Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition said the move is to help officials, who didn't often see what goes on in the garage but can better observe repairs on pit road. Safety is a crucial component of the policy, and for any vehicle undergoing repairs, the integrity of the safety systems "must be maintained." Teams will be allowed to correct mechanical or electrical failures that aren't the result of an accident or contact without penalty. Such repairs may be done on pit road or in the garage area, and the five-minute clock will not be in play in those instances. "We're not going to tell a guy who breaks his transmission at Watkins Glen or Pocono, for instance, and coasts into the garage area that he's out," Miller said. "Because that doesn't create an unsafe situation; that is a mechanical failure. It's more about crashed vehicles and all that is involved with that, from the crew guys to the drivers to dropping more debris on the track, which always happens. ... So there are exceptions for mechanical failures, those things can be rectified in the garage. That's going to be up to the series director's discretion to make those calls, but it's not going to be that difficult."
There will be modifications to at least two pit-road penalties under the policy for those making repairs. Any driver receiving a pit-road speeding penalty (entry or exit) will lose 15 seconds from the five-minute clock. Any team sending too many men over the wall will result in that car being removed from the race. When a car is damaged and repairs are made on pit road, teams know they will be at the tail end of the longest line, so extra men often go over the wall. (Each team is allowed six to work on the car and one to service the driver and/or windshield.)(NASCAR)(2-8-2017)
NASCAR, AMR Partner for At-Track Response Team: Sources have confirmed that NASCAR will expand its at-track, on-scene medical personnel through an agreement with American Medical Response (AMR), the nation's largest medical transport company. Beginning in 2017 at Daytona International Speedway, AMR personnel will respond when a racecar is involved in an accident on the track. The company will have paramedics and doctors embedded with NASCAR's Safety Crew and treat any injured driver or crew member needing medical assistance prior to being transported to the infield care center or to an off-site hospital/trauma center. It is believed there will be, as many as, four or five AMR personnel at the track each week staged with the safety crew and they will be amongst the first on the scene of a crash. It will be up to the AMR team to determine if they stay with the driver to the next point of care or release them for further evaluation and treatment. The source said the new AMR team increases the current travelling safety crew's ability to quickly assess an emergency situation and provide medical care.(Kickin' the Tires)
AND NASCAR will have a group of American Medical Response doctors and paramedics that will be among the emergency personnel who travel to each race. An AMR physician will serve as the NASCAR's medical director.(ESPN)
UPDATE: NASCAR announced it is partnering with American Medical Response (AMR) to expand the capabilities of NASCAR's medical support model and enhance on-track incident response. AMR, a recognized leader in the emergency medical services, will add a doctor and paramedic to the on-track safety team for each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend. NASCAR's industry-leading medical standards remain in place; Infield Care Centers will continue to be staffed with experienced local emergency room physicians, maintaining the valuable connection with local medical facilities at every track. Combining the experience of local emergency practitioners with the familiarity that the AMR team will develop with drivers will positively impact the process for years to come. "This partnership further strengthens NASCAR's medical response capability, making our well-established, medical response system even better," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "AMR is a leader in the emergency services sector, and its doctors and paramedics add another layer of expertise to the immediate response team."
AMR will position state licensed doctors and paramedics in a chase vehicle along with two NASCAR Track Services team members and immediately respond to an on-track incident. The paramedic and doctor will provide an assessment at the scene. "We're excited about this partnership with NASCAR," said Edward Van Horne, president and chief executive officer, AMR. "We're going to work collaboratively with NASCAR and local teams to share best EMS practices and ensure the highest quality of care." AMR, which currently delivers EMS support at a number of NASCAR events, will provide a physician to serve as the national medical director of the AMR Safety Team to oversee all services provided by AMR and work with the NASCAR Medical Liaisons and NASCAR Consulting Physicians. AMR, a subsidiary of Envision Healthcare, is the largest provider of emergency medical transportation services in the U.S. and a leader in pre-hospital care and treatment. Furthermore, AMR becomes the Official Emergency Medical Services Partner of NASCAR, and AMR will be the presenting partner of the annual NASCAR (Track Services) Summit.(NASCAR)(2-8-2016)
NASCAR settles lawsuit with fan over Daytona wreck: NASCAR has settled with a spectator injured in a February 2013 Xfinity Series crash at Daytona International Speedway, and in doing so was able to avoid having drivers deposed as well as have its crash and fencing reports made public. Allen Davis sued NASCAR and the track parent company International Speedway Corp., in November 2015. The Florida man was sitting in the upper deck and, according to the lawsuit, "was struck in the head by a heavy piece of debris and suffered a catastrophic, traumatic brain injury." Attorneys for NASCAR and the track filed a notice Monday with the court that parties had settled, and Davis attorney Dan Iracki confirmed the sides had agreed to a settlement with terms remaining confidential. He said Davis suffered permanent brain damage and will need medical care the remainder of his life. The settlement notice was filed during a week when Iracki had previously planned to take depositions of six drivers - Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon. All but Newman had competed in that race and all either have been advocates for safety or served on the NASCAR Drivers Council. A judge denied NASCAR's request to postpone the depositions but left open the option for each driver to challenge the necessity of his deposition. "Certainly that could have been one aspect as to way it was resolved, as well as others," Iracki said.
It was Larson's car that flew into the catch fence in the wreck, where his car hit what is commonly referred to as the crossover gate. It is a gate in the fencing that allows fans and officials to go from the racing surface to the grandstands prior to the start of the race. The gate buckled, appeared to shear off the front of Larson's car and allowed a wheel with suspension pieces still attached, to fly into the stands along with other pieces of the car and fencing. More than 30 fans were injured in the accident. The Davis lawsuit was the final current one pending, although the statute of limitations for filing a claim doesn't run out until Feb. 22. While there is video of the accident, NASCAR and the track have not made any crash analysis public. NASCAR had its two top safety engineers, Tom Gideon and John Palatak, do a crash reconstruction to analyze what happened. Daytona and NASCAR refused to give that report up to Iracki, citing it as a legal work document. Bill Braniff, ISC Vice President of Construction, said in an affidavit filed in December that the NASCAR report, as well as other reports conducted by outside experts, were done for "legal advice," meaning that they are protected by attorney-client privilege.(ESPN.com)(2-7-2017)
NASCAR Announces 2017 Charter teams UPDATED: 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, which will run the #15, not the #98.
(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.
(H) TriStar Motorsports has leased a Charter from Front Row Motorsports, who bought the #83 BK Racing Charter, for the new #72 team.
2016 Car #; 2017 Car #; Organization with charter for 2017 (36 teams listed)
23 23 BK Racing
1 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
42 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
95 33 Circle Sport w/The Motorsports Group (G)
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 15 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
83 72 TriStar Motorsport (H)
32 21 Wood Brothers Racing (F)
New race flag for segments? Here's how [the race segments] will work at Phoenix Raceway's March 19 Camping World 500:
When approximately 25 percent of the 312 laps are complete (a little more than 75 laps; teams will be told in advance the exact distance), stage one will end. NASCAR is likely to signal this with a newly designed - and as yet not revealed - flag color and design. Points ranging from 10 to 1 will be awarded to the top drivers. They then can pit. Laps between stages will count toward the total distance. Restart positions will be based on the order drivers leave the pits. The process will be repeated halfway through the race, about lap 150. The third stage will go to the finish with overall race points scored. The green-white-checker "overtime" rule still applies.(Arizona Republic)(2-3-2017)
NASCAR looking at shorter weekend schedules? UPDATE: What else is coming down the NASCAR pike? One-day shows for the top touring series - including the newly named Monster Energy Cup Series. When Brad Keselowski was asked whether the driver's council is behind the decision, he replied, "I think the whole sport is. We're trying to be smart with our time, especially with late starts. We'd like to see - because you don't get home to see your family until two, three in the morning if you're on a race team, so you lose part of Monday, too - so you have to find a way to get that day back and tie it all together. If you move qualifying closer to the race, you get that day back which is so important to everyone's quality of life in this sport.""(Motorsport)(1-26-2017)
UPDATE: The realization of having a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session occur on race day seems imminent. Exploring the race weekend schedules for 2017, CATCHFENCE.com found the Jun. 11 Pocono 400 race from Pocono Raceway is scheduled to host qualifying at 12:10pm with an anticipated green flag less than three hours later at 3:00pm Furthermore, practice for NASCAR's top series is not scheduled to begin until Sat., Jun. 10. The proposed schedule change is listed through NASCAR's mobile app. A NASCAR spokesperson could not confirm the new schedule alignment, but expressed that the series' schedules are often influx and are subject to change.(Catchfence)(1-31-2017)
Sponsor logos on front windshield in all three series: The names of drivers no longer will appear on a Cup car's front windshield, according to an addition to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rule Book. Instead, Monster Energy will have its logo and name across the top of the front windshield with the car manufacturer's logo. Both Xfinity and Camping World have their names across the front windshield of the vehicles in their series. The driver's name moves to the rear windshield on Cup cars - matching where a driver's name is located in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. The move was made to align the Cup series with the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series in series sponsor placement on the vehicle. The driver's name has adorned the front windshield of Cup cars since 2013. During the opening round of last year's Cup playoffs, the Twitter handles for each title-eligible driver was placed on the front windshield instead of the driver's name.(NBC Sports)(1-28-2017)
Teams to have less practice time this year: NASCAR confirmed Thursday that teams in its top three series will have less practice time this season. Weekend schedules for upcoming races at Daytona, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Auto Club Speedway show that Cup teams will have at least an hour less practice time at each track compared to last year. Cup teams also will have one less day to practice at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Daytona 500. While the schedules are listed as tentative, NASCAR does not expect any major changes to them before those events. Among the reasons given for the reduction of practice is that teams stated they did not need as much on-track time. The changes also are being done to make the weekend more efficient. Most weekends are expected to have less practice time. There will be a few exceptions. NASCAR is expected to give teams additional practice in July at Kentucky (additional layer of asphalt added to track) and Texas in November (repave).(NBC Sports)(1-27-2017)
NASCAR announces changes to race formats UPDATE: NASCAR, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, announced today an enhanced competition format that will be implemented in all three of its national series - the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Increasing the sense of urgency and emphasizing aggressive racing and strategy, the race format will deliver more dramatic moments over the course of an entire race and season, with playoff point incentives on the line throughout.
The enhanced format consists of the following:
• Races will now consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage.
• The top-10 finishers of the first two stages will be awarded additional championship points.
• The winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs.
• All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.
• Championship points following the first two stages will be awarded on a descending scale, with the stage winner receiving 10 points, second receiving 9 points, and so on.
• The race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.
"Simply put, this will make our great racing even better," said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. "I'm proud of the unprecedented collaboration from our industry stakeholders, each of whom had a common goal - strengthening the sport for our fans. This is an enhancement fully rooted in teamwork, and the result will be an even better product every single week."
NASCAR also announced a playoff bonus structure that will see the regular season points leader honored as the regular season champion, earning 15 playoff points that will be added to the driver's playoff reset of 2,000. In addition, the top-10 drivers in points leading into the playoffs will receive playoff points, with second place receiving 10 playoff points, third place will earn 8 points, fourth place will receive 7 points, and so on. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the Round of 8.
"These are enhancements that the NASCAR fan has long sought, and the entire industry has worked hard to develop a better racing format for our fans," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "This format puts a premium on every victory and every in-race position over the course of the season. Each point can eventually result in winning or losing a championship."(NASCAR)(1-23-2017)
UPDATE: The new system, which will be in effect for all three NASCAR national series:
At the end of the race, the winner will get 40 points, and then second through 35th will be awarded points on a 35-to-2 scale. Those finishing 36th to 40th will be awarded one point. There will be no bonus points for leading a lap or leading the most laps.
• NASCAR will award points 10-to-1 to the top-10 drivers at the end of each of the first two segments. The number of laps of each of the first two segments will be the same in a race (and won't change if the caution comes out), and the end of the second stage will be approximately at the halfway point of the race. A race would be official after the second stage if it rains.
• Drivers will now carry bonus points -- called "playoff points" -- throughout the entire playoffs (instead of just the first round) when the points get reset. Drivers will earn five playoff points for every race win and one playoff point for every segment win. The top-10 drivers in the standings in the regular season also earn additional playoff points on a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. Drivers will continue to accumulate points throughout the playoffs and carry all the points earned during the year into each of the first three playoff rounds.
• Qualifying for the playoffs remains the same -- the regular-season champion plus 15 drivers based on wins with ties broken by points will get into the playoffs, as long as they are in the top 30 in the standings.
• The playoffs will remain divided into three three-race rounds with four drivers eliminated after each round to set up four finalists for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers automatically qualify into the next round with a win in that playoff round, and the remaining spots filled by the point standings. At Homestead, the top-finishing driver among the four finalists at the end of the race wins the title.
• The race purse will be paid at the final stage.
• The 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona will be worth points to the top-10 drivers on a 10-to-1 scale (just like a race segment), but the winners do not get bonus points for the playoffs.
• NASCAR won't allow teams to replace body panels during a race, and teams will have additional limitations on crash repair that likely will mean most drivers who have to go to the garage won't return for the remainder of the race.
AND Read the full transcript of the announcement at Transcript - NASCAR Competition Enhancements Announcement page.(1-23-2017)
NASCAR holds Driver Development Seminar: Being a race car driver entails much more than getting behind the wheel. Before the start of a new season, NASCAR walked its younger drivers through different aspects of the sport during its annual Driver Development Seminar. The 2017 edition was held Friday at the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through guest speakers and breakout sessions, the assembled group was given a chance to hear from some of the most influential individuals in the sport. Among the featured guest speakers were NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jill Gregory, Monster Energy Director of Motorsports Dave Gowland, FS1 broadcaster Adam Alexander, Lauren Murray, social media manager for Jimmie Johnson Racing Digital, and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson himself.
Among the topics broached was a look at the business of NASCAR, as well as a driver's identity. [XFINITY driver Spencer] Gallagher pointed out some of the more interesting sessions, such as being given advice on how to get the most out of social media, what goes into a good interview and a driver's style. "It's a really informative event, especially about how we as drivers influence the direction of the series and the sport that we're in and how we can be ambassadors to the outside world," Gallagher said. "People have to want to watch us, and we as drivers play a very big role in that. It's really good to see NASCAR putting forth the effort to help train us. They bring in the best in the business and then tell you exactly how they do it."
With the welcoming of a new premier series sponsor, Monster Energy, Matt Tifft was struck by how NASCAR is looking for drivers to show his or her individual personality this year. Something Tifft, at 20 years old, thinks will not only be a good thing, but also is needed for the sport to grow.
Drivers like Myatt Snider and Chase Briscoe were given plenty to digest as each is set to begin the next chapter of his career. Snider will compete part-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, and Briscoe is going full-time with Brad Keselowski Racing. "The biggest takeaway I've heard is they're going to let us kind of be our self a lot more," Briscoe said. "I think that's going to be good for everyone; I think it's going to be great for the sport, obviously. Looking forward to that."(NASCAR.com)(1-23-2017)
NASCAR to announce 2017 changes on Monday UPDATES: Monday at 6:00pm/et in the Charlotte Convention Center, NASCAR officials will announce format changes for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Those changes could include such things as a new points system, awarding points for leading race segments, new qualifying procedures and perhaps running the Chase race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the track's infield circuit. All of the above have been rumored in recent weeks, although none have been confirmed. During recent weeks, NASCAR officials have met with a variety of key stakeholders in the sport - track operators, team owners, drivers, sponsors and others - to discuss various options in an attempt to generate new excitement and interest into the sport in this, Monster Energy's first year as the new series entitlement sponsor.(Fox Sports) The announcement will be shown live on FoxSports 1 and NBCSN, streamed on NASCAR.com Press Pass and available on SiriusXM.(1-21-2017)
UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to announce Monday that it will change how it awards points during a race. NASCAR is expected to divide races into segments, and drivers would get points depending on their running order at the end of each segment, according to industry sources. The news conference Monday will detail the new points distribution system with the goal that drivers will have to compete for spots early in the event rather than having the option to bide their time until the end of the race before making a move. NASCAR currently awards points on a 40-to-1 scale from the highest to the lowest finisher among its 40 drivers. A driver who wins gets three bonus points, while a driver who leads a lap gets one bonus point and the driver who leads the most laps gets an additional bonus point. The way a driver qualifies to get into NASCAR's version of its playoffs - the regular-season champion and then 15 drivers based on wins with points as the tiebreaker - is not expected to change. NASCAR also has explored ways to make regular-season performance more meaningful in the playoffs, with the current format allowing drivers to carry over their bonus points from wins only into the first round.(ESPN.com)(1-21-2017)
UPDATE 2: The crux of the changes will focus on dividing each race of the entire season into segments - typically three, multiple sources confirmed. In general, the system will work as follows:
• Teams will know before the season begins how each race will be divided, which will be based on race and track length.
• At the end of each segment during the races, bonus points will be awarded for those drivers running in the Top 10.
• During the segment breaks, there will be coordination between NASCAR and the TV networks to ensure as little on-track action (including pit stops) will be missed as possible.
• At the end of the race, the normal points will be awarded to the finishing order of the race as they have been.
• A driver's total for the event will include the normal race finish points plus any top-10 running bonus points collected in the segments.
• The 10-race Chase for the championship will be conducted in most part as it has, but there is expected to be an opportunity for drivers to earn bonus points during the Chase.
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)
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)