See my NASCAR Official Sponsor News page for info
on RJR leaving and Sprint/Nextel as the new series sponsor
plus other NASCAR Official Sponsors news/rumors
How can someone get a NASCAR Sprint Cup Rules Book?
You Can't. Only teams, drivers, NASCAR Officials can get a NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Truck Series rules book.
NASCAR does not sell them and I can't get them for anyone.
You can join NASCAR, last I heard it was in the mid hundreds of dollars
per legal reasons, I could not post the rules book (or parts of) even if I had one
to contact NASCAR, see my RacingFAQ page
What are the reasons for a driver or team to have to start the race at the rear of the field:
ENGINE CHANGE - anytime during the race weekend [except the Daytona 500, teams can change once after the Gatorade Duel 150's]
BACKUP CAR - after qualifying, if a team/driver goes to a backup car, they start at the rear of the field; if before qualifying and the backup car and engine are presented for inspection, the driver starts where they qualify.
TRANSMISSION CHANGE - anytime during the race weekend [except the road courses, new in 2009]
DRIVER CHANGE - once the car is qualified, if the driver changes, then the driver/car will start at the end of the field before the green flag.
MISSING DRIVERS MEETING - before the race, NASCAR holds a mandatory drivers / crew chief meeting, ALL drivers must attend.
Brian France discusses 'Boy's have at it": NASCAR Chairman Brian France held a press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway Friday, May 20th and discussed many issues in the sport, including, 'Boy's Have at it", the Q&A:
Q. I'm wondering where you personally fall on the boys have at it issue? It's a little tricky in that NASCAR has to maintain law and order, but you get all this outside interest and you bring all these new eyeballs and it gets people talking and it's a real water cooler thing. So where do you personally fall, and what is the proper way to manage that?
BRIAN FRANCE: "Well, I think that's a good question. I think there are limits. You saw one of the limits is that if you put anyone in danger, like what happened with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch where it was after the race had happened. think it's important to note if you look through NASCAR's history, one of the videos that showed the most Wednesday night was the famous finish at Daytona with Richard Petty and David Pearson where they obviously hit each other and spun out in the grass. You go through our history and that's part of it, contact, emotion, in particular late in the race.
We're like anybody. We can over officiate and over regulate in some circumstances, over a 60 year period of time. And I think our point was a couple years ago we thought we might be in a pattern of that, and we wanted to put it more in the drivers' hands.
We never said there were no limits to that. You just can't go around with a missile and a weapon out there. But if you're having contact, that's part of NASCAR. So it's tough for us, but that's what we do. And it's tough for any sport to have certain areas of the game or in auto racing that are subjective as to what is too much, but we'll figure that out.
We're going to remain, obviously, a contact sport, and we're going to remain with the basic philosophy that we're putting more of it in the drivers' hands. If they go over a line we think is there, we'll deal with that."
Q. What does probation mean and why was the All-Star Race included with Kevin and Kyle? A lot of fans are confused by that and think maybe because it's a non-points event that it shouldn't be included.
BRIAN FRANCE: " What probation means is there is a different set of eyes and expectations that are placed on a driver who has been placed on probation. They're going to have a more limited flexibility in how we're going to officiate them should they be in a similar area that they have just violated.
Why it's important to have consistent rules even through the All-Star Races is there are safety elements that are inter-affected between events. There are lots of different reasons why you just wouldn't want to say we're not going to have a standard set of NASCAR rules in the All-Star Race.
Keep in mind, given that there are no points at stake, by definition, it gets more aggressive. We know that. That's fine. Drivers take more chances, they're not worried about where they are in the point standings, so it's going to be more aggressive and more competitive.
But if we took the lid off and said there are no rules or don't worry about any ramifications that might extend into next week at all, then we believe that -- as I said earlier in my remarks -- there has to be limits to all of this. That would be above the limits that we believe going into an event would make any sense.
See full transcript of the interview: Brian France Interview - May 2011.(5-21-2011)
NASCAR "Needed To Send A Message": NASCAR's Senior Director of Communication Kerry Tharp told Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that the $25,000 fines and four-race probations handed down to drivers Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are in response to what happened on pit road after Saturday night's Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, and not for anything that transpired in the final laps of the race. "We look very closely at what happens on the race track," said Tharp. "But more importantly after the race, (where) the actions of those two competitors led to putting some people in harm's way on pit road. We've got to maintain a safe environment on pit road, and we're going to maintain a safe environment there. That's why we reacted with the penalties.
Tharp said NASCAR fined both drivers equally because, "both had skin in the game. Both had opportunities to make other decisions that would not have put them in this situation, so the penalty was assessed to both." He said the sanctioning body has reached out to both Busch and Harvick to clarify what is expected of them going forward, saying, "Anytime we penalize a driver, we have a conversation with that individual and their team owner. We feel like we owe it to both parties to give them a heads-up on what the penalties will be, so they can notify their respective teams and sponsors. We've had conversations with Kevin and Kyle and explained why we were penalizing them."
He said the penalties do not signal a change in NASCAR's "Boys Have At It" policy, adding, "The drivers have done a very good job of that. We've seen some terrific, hard racing over the last couple of years, and I think (the policy) is alive and well. We certainly want it to be.
Newman-Montoya: Tharp said he does not expect NASCAR to sanction either #39-Ryan Newman or #42-Juan Pablo Montoya for a reported physical confrontation during a closed-door meeting at Darlington Raceway last Friday. "You go into some meetings thinking they're going to go well, and most of the time they hit the mark. Sometimes, they don't," he said. "We met with Ryan and Juan Friday and made it clear to them that this was their final warning and we will be watching them very closely. I believe both of them understood where we were coming from. They got the message, loud and clear. They raced hard Saturday night at Darlington, but they raced cleanly. I believe they will continue to do so moving forward."(Sirius Speedway)(5-11-2011)
NASCAR Chairman Brian France Visits ESPN: Brian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR, visited ESPN on Monday and appeared on NASCAR Now, ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program, and on SportsCenter.
On SportsCenter, France told anchor Kevin Negandhi that the sport has momentum. "We started off with a really neat champion in the Daytona 500, Trevor Bayne, a young kid with an old team, so we had some neat storylines. Some of the drivers that had been struggling, like Jeff Gordon, have already won and they've put notice that they're going to contend for the championship. Jimmie Johnson could do something historic and get to six, and then Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running well, he's well within our playoff structure to make it, and he's competing at a high level, so we see a lot of neat things going on right now."
Some more quotes from France's appearance on SportsCenter:
What does it mean to the sport of NASCAR when Dale Earnhardt Jr. is succeeding?
"He's the biggest franchise in NASCAR. It would be great if he continues to figure out the chemistry of the team. He's done that, and I think his confidence is finally back to where it was a few years ago. He went through a pretty good slump, so it's nice to see him competing at a high level."
Why do you think Jimmie Johnson doesn't get enough credit?
"I don't think that's something he runs around trying to promote and figure out. I think he just puts his game face on and wins when he needs to win. He's a great guy, he's represented us well, and we'll see what he does on (championship) No. 6."
What's your favorite thing when you go out to the track?
"The size of it, the huge crowds that file in, the energy level when the green flag comes out. It's just a different feeling than perhaps any other sport."
France later joined part of the one-hour Monday roundtable edition of NASCAR Now to discuss the sport with ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven, ESPN.com senior writer Ed Hinton, NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith and host Allen Bestwick.(ESPN)(5-3-2011)
NASCAR, manufacturers schedule meeting: NASCAR officials and representatives of the four participating manufacturers plan to meet next week in Detroit. It's all informal, of course. NASCAR President Mike Helton likened the meeting with representatives from Dodge, Ford, General Motors and Toyota to the many town hall sessions with teams and drivers over the last few years. "The idea was for us to be better communicators with the stakeholders - the broadcast partners, the tracks, the teams, the drivers," Helton said.(Associated Press)(5-1-2011)
North Carolina Senate picks stock car racing as state sport: The North Carolina Senate has voted to establish stock car racing as the official state sport. The Senate voted 46-3 on Wednesday to crank up the legislation and drive it toward the House after it sat in a committee for nearly two weeks. Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca of Henderson County said lawmakers put the brakes on rival efforts to name the college basketball played at Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the state sport. North Carolina is home to more than 90% of NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and to Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Associated Press)(4-28-2011)
France sues ex-wife, alleges extortion attempt: NASCAR chairman Brian France has sued his former wife, accusing her of tape recording telephone conversations to extort money from him. In a lawsuit filed Friday, Brian France claims his ex-wife, Megan France, has recorded multiple telephone conversations with him without his consent. He is asking a federal judge to issue an injunction barring Megan France from engaging in additional "intercepts of wire communications" between the two and distributing the contents of the recordings. Brian France alleges his ex-wife has offered not to disclose the recordings - keeping them private - if he pays her "substantial sums of money." Megan France's lawyers could not be reached for comment.(Charlotte Observer)(4-16-2011)
NASCAR, Walmart Join Forces In Support Of U.S. Military Families: NASCAR and Walmart have partnered to produce a public service announcement (PSA) campaign recognizing the sacrifices and challenges military families face throughout the United States. These PSAs, which will feature a number of NASCAR drivers and be shown in more than 500 Walmart locations, will highlight opportunities for NASCAR fans and Walmart customers to support military families in their local communities. Scheduled to launch Memorial Day Weekend, the NASCAR-produced spots will direct viewers to a website - www.joiningforces.gov - where they can learn more about opportunities to support local efforts.(NASCAR)(4-13-2011)
NASCAR may let fans stay forever UPDATE voted down: NASCAR fans who consider Daytona International Speedway their home away from home could soon make it their final resting place, too -- albeit less quiet and peaceful than a traditional cemetery. Legislation making its way through the Florida House and Senate would allow construction of an on-site columbarium -- a building or structure that houses urns -- at both Daytona International Speedway and Homestead Miami Speedway. International Speedway Corp. spokesman Lenny Santiago said many NASCAR fans have inquired over the years about having their ashes laid to rest at Daytona International Speedway. "We have a lot of fans that are very, very loyal to NASCAR races and to Daytona in general," Santiago said. "This opens that door, this bill, and we're hopeful that this will get passed." If it passes, the bill would become law July 1. It has been approved by two House committees and has its first Senate committee hearing today. Daytona International Speedway doesn't have a proposed location for the structure yet or any timeline for building it until the bill passes, Santiago said, although it would be somewhere public that fans would be able to see. He also said he didn't know what kind of fees the Speedway might charge to fans looking to place their ashes there.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-29-2011)
UPDATE: Racing fans who might have dreamed of making the Daytona International Speedway their eternal home had their hopes dashed Tuesday as a Florida Senate committee voted down a bill that would have made those dreams possible. The Senate Committee on Regulated Industries rejected the bill by a 5-7 vote, which would have allowed columbariums to be built at both Daytona International Speedway and Homestead Miami Speedway. Columbariums are buildings that house urns. The state House companion bill had already passed two committees and was scheduled for its third and final committee hearing Thursday. "I just felt very strongly that to have people's remains, cremated remains, at the same place where there's NASCAR racing and a motorsports entertainment complex was not appropriate," said state Sen. Maria Lorts Sachs, D-Delray Beach, the committee's vice chairwoman. "A lot of that has to do with the fact that I love NASCAR, and I love Daytona, and I didn't want it to turn into a partial cemetery."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-30-2011)
Sahara Hotel & Casino closing in May; the NASCAR Cafe? Sahara Hotel & Casino [in Las Vegas] announced that it plans to close on May 16, 2011. The hotel houses the NASCAR Cafe, no word on the fate of the attraction/restaurant. The NASCAR Cafe offers American fare on the Las Vegas Strip, features authentic NASCAR stock cars and the world's largest Pontiac Gran Prix stock car, designed by Dale Earnhardt. The Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas opened its doors in 1952 and offers 1,720 classically styled guestrooms and Las Vegas suites decorated in a Moroccan motif.(Sahara Hotel & Casino)(3-12-2011)
VLRA To Buy NASCAR Birthplace: The historic Streamline Hotel, where NASCAR held its organizational meeting on December 14, 1947, will soon have a new owner. Zetta Baker, one of the founders of Victory Lane Racing Association announced at their annual meeting in February, which was held at the Pelican Bay Country Club, that the organization plans to purchase the hotel. Baker, who is a VLRA boardmember is also handling the purchase for the organization. Victory Lane Racing Association is a not for profit organization based in Daytona Beach, FL. It was formed in 2005 to assist racing families in need. The hotel opened in the late 40's, and was considered the first fire proofed hotel and bomb shelter in the area. Its form of architecture was ahead of its time when Bill France and the other founding members of NASCAR met there. Baker said that as soon as the purchase is completed, information on sponsorships will be made available to racing teams and NASCAR fans.(full story at race500)(3-11-2011)
Some teams get a free lunch: Stein5 LLC, the local independent franchisee for Five Guys Burgers and Fries, will provide lunch for winning Mooresville-based NASCAR race teams during the 2011 season, franchise co-owner Jeff Steiner said. Teams will also compete for the first annual "Brown Bag Championship Trophy," which Five Guys will award to the Mooresville-based team with the best winning performance in races for 2011. Twenty Mooresville-based teams with 40 cars and trucks plan to compete in NASCAR's top three series in 2011, Steiner said. If a Mooresville-based team wins a Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck race in 2011, Five Guys will bring burgers to the race shop on the Tuesday after the win. Team shops will accumulate points throughout the season: three points for a win, two for second place and one for third place. The team shop with the most points will receive the Brown Bag Champion's Trophy and lunch for the entire shop after the season.
Qualifying Mooresville teams are FAS Lane Racing, Germain Racing, JR Motorsports, Key Motorsports, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Mac Hill Motorsports, MacDonald Motorsports, MaxQ Motorsports, NEMCO Motorsports, Penske Racing, Red Bull Racing, Red Horse Racing, Rusty Wallace Inc., SS Green Light Racing, Status Racing, Tommy Baldwin Racing, TRG Motorsports, Turner Motorsports, Vision Aviation Racing and Whitney Motorsports. Fans and teams can follow the weekly results and Five Guys' team lunches on the company's website, www.mooresvillefive.com/brownbag. Five Guys is celebrating five years at 654 River Highway (N.C. 150 West), across from Morrison Plantation Parkway.(Charlotte Observer)(3-8-2011)
NASCAR Allows Sprint Cup Series Teams To Open Air Inlets: NASCAR is letting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams open up their air inlet openings some for Daytona 500 - going from a 2 1/2 x 20-inch opening to a 3 x 20-inch opening. With continued warm weather forecast for Sunday, this move gives teams more air to cool their engines.(NASCAR)(2-20-2011)
Minnesota Congresswoman wants to ban military from NASCAR sponsorships UPDATE: Rep. Betty McCollum wants to put the brakes on the Defense Department's 10-year sponsorship deal with NASCAR racing teams, saying the multimillion-dollar recruiting effort is a waste of money. The Minnesota Democrat is also dubious that stock car sponsorship has much to do with enlistment numbers or troop readiness. "This is not only putting a sticker on the car. This is paying for a racing team," Ms. McCollum's chief of staff, Bill Harper, told Washington Wire. "That doesn't contribute to military readiness." The amendment is one of more than 400 that lawmakers want attached to Rep. Paul Ryan's spending bill to fund the government through Sept. 30. Ms. McCollum's office estimates the Pentagon has spent more than $100 million on its own NASCAR teams. Col. Derik Crotts, director of the army's sponsorship, told Washington Wire in an email that the Army spends $7 million a year on its racing team, and finds it valuable. "Youth surveys show that motorsports is a passion point for young Americans," wrote Col. Crotts. "It is critical that the Army use these passion points to communicate with prospects and their influencers." He continued, "In a 2009 among nationwide fans, 37% feel more positive about the Army due to its involvement in motorsports."(Wall Street Journal)(2-16-2011)
UPDATE: Congresswoman Betty McCollum's amendment to ban military sponsorship of NASCAR teams suffered a defeat Friday night but she is pressing forward with the amendment. After a brief period of debate on the amendment, which McCollum introduced Monday, a voice vote was held with the no votes prevailing. McCollum (D-Minn.), however, "demanded a recorded vote and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the question of adoption of the amendment until a time to be announced,'' according to the website for the Office of the Cleak for the U.S. House of Representatives. So, the matter is not dead. In essence, she wants everyone's vote to be recorded publicly instead of hidden behind a voice vote.(Virginian Pilot)(2-18-2011)
Death Threat: Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum received a death threat on Wednesday over her proposal to end Pentagon funding for NASCAR. McCollum said she thinks the army-sponsored car is a waste of taxpayers' money and should be eliminated. The fax received by her office contained vulgar language directed at the congresswoman, telling her to shut her (expletive) "pie hole," and featured a cartoon of President Barack Obama's head being pulled behind a truck in a noose. The letter also called for the deaths of all Marxists, and referred to the president, McCollum and Attorney General Eric Holder as "Marxist thugs." The violent imagery and phrases come just one month after Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a campaign rally, despite public campaigns for more reasoned and respectful political discourse.(myfoxtwincities.com)(2-18-2011)
Lawmakers reject congresswoman's effort to stop NASCAR sponsorship: The House has voted to let the Pentagon continue using taxpayer dollars to sponsor NASCAR race teams. By a 281-148 vote, lawmakers rejected an effort by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum that would have ended the practice. McCollum aides said the Army is spending $7 million on a sponsorship this year, and the Air Force and National Guard are spending additional money. Most Democrats backed McCollum's effort, while Republicans voted overwhelmingly against it.(Associated Press)(2-18-2011)
NASCAR Revises Its Garage Access Policy: Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway not only opens up the 2011 NASCAR racing season, it also opens the garage gates to some very important fans. A revision in NASCAR's garage access policy allows an adult with approved access, either via annual credential (hard card) or a single event license (SEL), to bring his or her children in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garages on race days. The policy is in effect only during the "cold" pre-race period. Each child will be issued a special credential. There is no minimum age requirement. Some "Need to Know" parameters for this new policy:
* Parents must complete a minor's release form prior to receiving a minor's credential.
* Releases and credentials will be available at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series registration hauler or at the garage location.
* NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series children credentials will be available at those series' at-track registration locations.
Also updated for 2011: The dress code for all NASCAR pit and garage areas. Attire must remain appropriate for both a major sporting event and a family environment, but has been relaxed to include shorts, open-toed shoes, sleeveless blouses and skirts/dresses.(NASCAR)(2-17-2011)
NASCAR Tweaks rules to limit drafting UPDATE plate smaller: NASCAR officials announced two technical changes Sunday evening aimed at preventing the sustained two-car drafts that dominated Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said the body issued a bulletin to race teams with the following specifications:
" The maximum size for the air inlet for the cooling system will be 2˝ inches tall by 20 inches wide.
" The pressure release valve on the water system will be set at 33 pounds per square inch.
The intent is to set up the cars so they can't push each other in two-car tandems for extended runs without overheating. Teams try to line up drafting partners at Daytona and Talladega so they can overcome the limitations of the restrictor plates used to keep speeds down at those two tracks. "That will bring down the temperatures so the teams can't run at 290 or 300 degrees [without overheating] on the extended push of 30 or 40 laps," Pemberton said. "This will put [the water temperature in the engines] back in the 250-degree range." Several drivers, crew chiefs and team executives expected NASCAR to control the pressure relief valve. Jamie McMurray, who finished second to Kurt Busch in the Shootout, said many cars had valves that allowed the temperature up to 300 degrees before boiling over. That allowed the second car in the two-car draft to push longer without overheating -- some for more than a dozen laps -- under Saturday's cooler outdoor temperatures. The weather is expected to be warmer for Thursday's qualifying races and the Daytona 500.(see full story at ESPN.com)(2-13-2011)
UPDATE - NASCAR makes change to restrictor plate: NASCAR announced Wednesday morning that the Sprint Cup teams will now use a 57/64 inch restrictor plate at Daytona for the Gatorade Duel and Daytona 500. The 1/64" plate is smaller then the 29/32nd inch plate that was being used. The change will reduce horsepower 12-13 hp and slow the cars down a bit.(SPEED coverage of rain delayed practice)(2-16-2011)
NASCAR Lowers Age Limit For Touring Series: NASCAR announced it has lowered the minimum age for drivers competing in its regional touring series to 15. The change, effective immediately, will be applied to drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. In a corresponding move, the Learner's Permit License for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will be applicable for all divisions at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. The Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR's national championship program for its more than 55 sanctioned short tracks across North America.(NASCAR)(2-13-2011)
Students say stock car racing should be state sport: Mooresville students plan to lobby lawmakers to designate stock car racing as North Carolina's state sport. And they say State Rep. Grey Mills, R-Iredell, supports their proposal. Tanner Orr says the idea makes sense - dollars and sense - considering the sport contributes more than $6 billion annually to the state's economy through jobs, fan support and facilities. Tanner is one of the 13 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders from Lake Norman Elementary and Mt. Mourne IB School working on the project. They were inspired by a similar effort in 1995, when elementary school students in Wilson convinced the General Assembly to make sweet potatoes the state vegetable. Students have worked on the project twice a week since May, conducting research, writing, rewriting and attending field trips. After students presented their findings Jan. 20 to the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education, Mooresville representative Anna Bonham made a motion supporting the children's efforts. It passed unanimously. Already, they've talked with Mayor Chris Montgomery and an economics professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who in turn, invited them to speak to his sports economics class (Mooresville Weekly)(2-8-2011)
National Corn Growers Association Becomes Official Partner Of NASCAR: As the 2011 NASCAR season launches with a new, greener fuel, the nation's corn growers are joining forces with NASCAR to promote the use of corn-based American Ethanol. As an Official Partner of NASCAR, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) will leverage their relationship to authentically spread the message to NASCAR fans around the role American Farmers play in the development of American Ethanol. As the 2011 NASCAR season launches with a new, greener fuel, the nation's corn growers are joining forces with NASCAR to promote the use of corn-based American Ethanol. As an Official Partner of NASCAR, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) will leverage their relationship to authentically spread the message to NASCAR fans around the role American Farmers play in the development of American Ethanol. In December 2010, NASCAR unveiled its landmark partnership with American Ethanol just weeks after announcing a 2011 switch in its three major national series to Sunoco Green E15, a new 15-percent ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown in the United States. Growth Energy, a leading ethanol advocacy organization, created the American Ethanol partnership to push for broad acceptance of a renewable domestic fuel for all American motorists.(NASCAR)(2-4-2011)
Desite high speeds, no change in restrictor plate anticipated: Drivers cracked 198 mph in two-car drafts Saturday in the final day of a three-day test session at Daytona International Speedway, but NASCAR doesn't plan to change the size of the restrictor plate when Sprint Cup Series teams return in February for Speedweeks. NASCAR officials seemed content with the speeds, similar to those posted a month ago during a Goodyear tire test on the newly paved 2.5-mile trioval. Teams used a restrictor plate with holes 29/32nds of an inch in diameter - 1/32nd of an inch smaller than what was used in the December test. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said he expects speeds in February to be higher than during the test.(SceneDaily)(1-22-2011)
Change in Sprint Cup qualifying? NASCAR is considering a new system that would change the order of qualifying. Instead of drawing for qualifying order as teams have done in previous seasons, the qualifying order would at least in part be determined by speed in the practice prior to qualifying. Teams in the Camping World Truck Series already use the system [a few times in 2010]. "It is a possibility. ... We're throwing a bunch of ideas around in the meetings with the teams," NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said Friday. "We want to finish all the meetings, get everybody's input and then finalize some stuff." The idea is to have the faster drivers, the ones who will challenge for the pole, qualify near the end of the session and add drama to the qualifying show. It is possible that the drivers not locked in the field because their teams are outside the top 35 in owner points will still be grouped together at the end of the session.(SceneDaily)(1-22-2011)
Some highlights from Friday's NASCAR Press Conference: NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton held a press conference at Daytona International Speedway on Friday. Some notes and highlights:
NASCAR president Mike Helton confirmed Friday that drivers will be allowed to race for only one championship this season. The rule is designed to prevent Sprint Cup drivers from dominating the second-tier Nationwide Series. Full-time Cup drivers have won the last five Nationwide titles. Helton also said NASCAR is leaning toward a simpler points system for all three of its national series. Helton says bonus points would be added to put an emphasis on winning races (ESPN).
Helton also indicated that a new points system is coming to the top three series. It likely will be one in which points are awarded one per position from with the winner getting 43 points and the last place driver just one. There likely will be bonus points offered to encourage drivers to race for wins and to keep championships from being decided by consistency alone. And there are expected to be provisions that allow drivers who don't finish the regular season in the elite group but have won races to have a shot at being added to the Chase field. He said the goal is to make the points system easier to understand for casual fans as well as those more familiar with the sport.
The rookie of the year program also is expected to undergo some changes. With no rookie drivers signed up to run full-time in Cup this year, adjustments likely will be made to deal with a rookie like Trevor Bayne, who is signed to drive the Wood Brothers' #21 Ford but only has 17 races scheduled this year.
Helton said starting times for Cup races, which were standardized last year, could see some changes. He said the times might need to be adjusted given the length of the NASCAR season. Last year, races started just after 1 pm, 3 pm. or 7:30 pm depending on the location of the track.
NASCAR appears to be on pace to switch from carburetors to fuel injection, but fuel injection won't be used in points-paying Cup races this year. Cars will run on an ethanol blend fuel and a new fueling system that doesn't require a traditional vent will be used.(RacinToday)
Helton also said the sanctioning body has not made a decision concerning possible changes to the championship point systems for the 2011 Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. He admitted, however, that the move is receiving serious consideration in an attempt to make those championships simpler for fans to understand. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France is expected to announce the sanctioning body's final decision next Wednesday (Sirius Speedway)(1-21-2011)
NASCAR Press Conference Scheduled Friday: NASCAR president Mike Helton will answer questions Friday about the new racing season and the nature of some of the changes the sanctioning body is considering. Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton are scheduled to attend a noon press conference at Daytona International Speedway as part of NASCAR's three-day preseason testing. No dramatic revelations are expected, but Helton probably will expand on changes officials are considering and some that are definitely in place. For the first time, drivers in NASCAR's three major series have been required to choose the series in which they will pursue the championship, meaning full-time Sprint Cup drivers won't be in the running for the Nationwide Series title. Another change involves pit road, where there will be six over-the-wall crewmen instead of seven. The catch-can position has been eliminated with the arrival of new self-venting fuel cans. Helton is expected to address those topics Friday in addition to questions about possible changes in the Sprint Cup point system and possible modifications to the Chase for the Sprint Cup format, although key information about Chase changes is not expected to be released until next week.(SPEED)(1-21-2011)
How would had points looked in 2010 using 'simplier' method?: Tom Bowles from Sports Illustrated redid the 2010 points, using the possible new and simplier points system that NASCAR may go to according to an AP report. Here is the final top 12:
#48-Jimmie Johnson: 388
#29-Kevin Harvick: 387
#11-Denny Hamlin: 386
#99-Carl Edwards: 340
#17-Matt Kenseth: 314
#16-Greg Biffle: 293
#14-Tony Stewart: 287
#24-Jeff Gordon: 279 (+1 spot over current system)
#33-Clint Bowyer: 272 (+1)
#18-Kyle Busch: 267 (-2)
#2-Kurt Busch: 265
#31-Jeff Burton: 232
But what about the bonus points, you're asking? That hasn't been divulged by NASCAR either, but let's pretend it's one point for leading a lap, two extra for leading the most and a three-point bonus for winning. So that would mean the max a driver could score per race is 48, leaving a possible 47-point swing between first and last place.(see full article at the Sports Illustrated)(1-19-2011)
NASCAR may scrap points system? UPDATE: NASCAR is considering scrapping the points system it has used since 1975 in favor of a simpler method that awards points per finishing position. The overhauling of the system is one of a handful of changes NASCAR is considering implementing before the season begins next month. Series officials have been detailing their ideas in individual meetings with teams. The sanctioning body wants to go to a scoring system that would award 43 points to the race winner, and one point less for each ensuing position down to one point for the 43rd-place finisher. NASCAR is also shying away from wholesale changes to its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format. Teams have been told NASCAR is leaning toward keeping it a 12-driver field, with one caveat: The top 10 drivers following the 26th race of the season would qualify for the Chase, while the remaining two spots would go to the drivers with the most wins who are not already eligible for the Chase. Preseason testing begins Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, and NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton are scheduled to discuss some of the changes planned for 2011. But the major announcements aren't scheduled until next week when France makes a presentation during Charlotte Motor Speedway's annual media tour. NASCAR is still debating how to award bonuses under a straight points system, and ideas being considered are for anywhere from one to three points being given to lap leaders and race winners.(in part from the Associated Press)(1-17-2011)
UPDATE: Ramsey Poston, NASCAR managing director of corporate communications, said the sanctioning body has bounced several new competition ideas around to drivers and car owners in a recent series of town hall meetings. "NASCAR executives, including chairman and CEO Brian France, are in the process of meeting with drivers and team owners," Poston said in a phone interview Monday night. "In those meetings we have discussed a number of ideas for potential changes for the coming season, none of which have been finalized at this point." NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton will address 2011 rule changes in a news conference scheduled Friday at Daytona International Speedway. "We need to balance stories from past and look to the future to make things better," Speedway president Joie Chitwood III said from his home Monday night.
Darrell Waltrip won three Cup championships during his driving career, all with the current points system [but no Chase]. Contacted at his home near Nashville, Tenn., Monday night, he said changing the points would have little effect on who wins the championship. "If you run the numbers, I guarantee you it comes out the same," said Waltrip, now a racing analyst for Fox Sports. "It's all perception. I've said all along, when we can't explain it, so the people at home can understand it, it needs to be addressed. If you look at the history, 90% of the time, the championship comes down to two guys, sometimes three." Chitwood said he hopes to see the change because it would make the points system easier for fans to understand. "We can never stop improving our sport, whether it is what we do at the track or what NASCAR does to manage competition," Chitwood said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-18-2011)
NASCAR goes to smaller plate at Daytona: NASCAR reportedly will down-size restrictor plate holes for next week's Sprint Cup Goodyear tire test at Daytona International Speedway. The new size will be 29/32 of an inch. The old size was 30/32 of an inch. The result will be less power and, presumably, slower speeds. The track surface at Daytona was repaved since last year's summer race. In earlier tests [January], the new surface, which is smoother and stickier, produced higher speeds [197mph].(RaceToday)(1-13-2011)
Drivers must choose which series to run for championship: Drivers in NASCAR's three national series will have to elect a single championship to chase in 2011, eliminating the ability of drivers such as Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Paul Menard -- who were full-time double-dippers in 2010 -- to chase two championships at once. NASCAR has scheduled a "competition update" on Jan. 21 with NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president for competition Robin Pemberton as part of the "Preseason Thunder" Sprint Cup test session at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp declined to comment on the change in 2011 license applications Monday except to say, "I'm sure we can answer all your questions at our competition update." But when Kenny Wallace picked up his 2011 NASCAR competition, membership and license application last Saturday while taking a break from a Grand-Am Rolex Series test at Daytona, he knew at least one rumor was true. Wallace stopped on his way to the U.S. Post Office on Monday to tear open his license application and read the news. "The brand-new license forms that are out, there's a box and in it, it states that you have to mark -- put an X -- what championship you're running for," Wallace said, quoting his application. "A driver will only be permitted to earn driver championship points in one (1) of the following three series: NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Please select the series in which you would like to accumulate driver championship points. Choose one."(NASCAR.com)(1-11-2011)
France, teams to meet in coming weeks: NASCAR executives, including chairman Brian France, will meet with team owners, drivers and key team officials over the next several weeks to talk about significant issues facing the sport. The meetings will be done by team organization instead of during one big meeting with all Cup or Nationwide teams, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed. Over the past couple of years, NASCAR has increased its use of "town hall" style meetings to discuss potential changes to the sport. Last year, it opted for smaller team forums by meeting separately with each organization. The meetings are designed to get feedback and help NASCAR officials make decisions. "The old theory was that when you're at the races with them all the time, we had the communication lines wide open," France said about the team forums last January. "That's true, but it's too busy now to assume that we can have all the communications and get all the issues they want to get resolved with us at the track. So we just changed it around where we're having these meetings. ... In the town hall meetings, a lot of people didn't want to speak up when there were 12 other drivers or something like that and they didn't feel comfortable." NASCAR typically does not make public what it plans to discuss with the teams. But last summer, executives of several teams met separately from NASCAR to talk about potential solutions to cost containment issues such as the number of people that travel on race weekends and the current ban on testing at tracks that have NASCAR national touring series events.(Sporting News)(1-11-2011)
NASCAR promotes Jim O'Connell: As its corporate marketing division continues to set new standards for creativity and client service in a sport with the most active sponsorship, NASCAR announced that Vice President Jim O'Connell has been promoted to Chief Sales Officer. The promotion is effective immediately. Despite the prolonged recessionary environment, in 2010, O'Connell's team renewed 75% of its partner agreements and increased NASCAR official partner revenue 10 percent. Two new partner categories were created: cause-related marketing with DRIVE4COPD becoming the official healthcare initiative of NASCAR, and "Green," highlighted by a landmark sponsorship agreement with American Ethanol led by Growth Energy, the largest NASCAR sponsorship since Sprint entered the sport in 2004. O'Connell joined NASCAR in 2006 as Vice President of Corporate Marketing, overseeing the division of NASCAR that attracts and maintains corporate interest in the sport. His new title will be Vice President and Chief Sales Officer.With the largest events drawing the most loyal, sponsor-conscious fans in sports, NASCAR has relationships with more major corporations than any other sport.(NASCAR)(1-10-2011)
NASCAR Promotes Davidson: NASCAR announced that Blake Davidson has been promoted to vice president of licensing and consumer products. Davidson, who has been with NASCAR for more than 15 years, is responsible for developing and leading the sanctioning body's entire licensing and merchandising strategy. Davidson manages NASCAR's traditional and non-traditional licensing, which includes NASCAR's publishing, retail and business development efforts, as well as its international merchandising efforts. In 2010, Davidson was instrumental in the creation of the ground-breaking new licensing structure now known as NASCAR Team Properties (NTP). In addition to leading the charge with NASCAR's 200-plus licensees, Davidson has also played an important role with the creation and the development of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.(NASCAR)(1-5-2011)
NASCAR changing dress code in garage: According to a tweet by Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's Managing Director of Corporate Communications, the organization is changing the required dress code for visitors in the pits at races next season: "Another fan friendly move - NASCAR dress code in garage & cold pits now includes: shorts, short sleeve/sleeve-less shirts & open-toed shoes". The rule will not apply to hot pits. In previous years, the policy required everyone to wear long pants, close-toed shoes and shirts that fully covered the shoulders.(12-10-2010)
NASCAR sponsorship revenue increasing in 2011: NASCAR has finalized eight of 12 renewals and added two new partners, a combination that increases its total annual sponsorship revenue by 10 percent in 2011. The sanctioning body has renewed two-thirds of the sponsorship deals due to elapse this year, signing renewals with Toyota, GM, Dodge, Unilever and DirecTV. Three other extensions are agreed to and currently being finalized, said Jim O'Connell, NASCAR vice president of corporate marketing. Tylenol, Tissot and Nicorette all declined to extend their agreements, and the sanctioning body is still negotiating with insurer Aflac, which has one year left on its sponsorship of Roush Fenway's #99 Sprint Cup car driven by Carl Edwards. The sanctioning body added partnerships with Drive 4COPD, a national public health campaign, and Growth Energy, an American ethanol interest group. NASCAR's marketing partnerships generally range from $2 million to $10 million a year. NASCAR has three key renewals due in 2011 with Mars, Bank of America and UPS. It already has begun negotiations with those partners and is looking to add new partnerships in the timekeeper, consumer electronics and salted snacks categories. It plans to be more aggressive in seeking additional green partnerships, too.(Sporting News)(12-8-2010)
Points change to be announced in Jan at Daytona? NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has said repeatedly that the sanctioning body likely will change its points structure again in 2011. Whether winning becomes more of a factor remains to be seen, but expect big changes next season. France is expected to announce the new system Jan. 21, 2011, during winter testing at Daytona International Speedway.(in part from SPEED)(12-5-2010)
Growth Energy Becomes Official Partner of NASCAR: In preparation for the 2011 season and as part of its long-term commitment to "going green," the NASCAR announced a major long-term partnership with American Ethanol led by ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy. Growth Energy, a coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters including farmers and members of the ethanol supply chain, becomes an official partner of NASCAR, using the sport to bring its message of American ethanol to millions of race fans. American Ethanol will support drivers, teams and tracks with marketing, promotional activities, advertising and a season-long weekly contingency award in 2011. NASCAR made the American Ethanol partnership announcement just weeks after announcing a switch in its major national series to Sunoco Green E15, a new 15-percent ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown in the United States. Financial terms of the six-year agreement were not disclosed. Led by Growth Energy, nearly 100 different entities - from individual ethanol plants to the National Corn Growers Association to biotech companies - are rallying around NASCAR to communicate their ethanol message.
"E15 is an enormous opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create U.S. jobs, and strengthen national energy security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. "There is nothing more American than NASCAR, and there is no fuel more American than ethanol. We are so proud that the bounty of American farming will be used in NASCAR racing."
"NASCAR is leading by example and showing that American ethanol-blended fuel works in the most challenging engine environment," said Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, a network of 27 ethanol plants producing more than 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol annually. "When the race cars take the green flag at Daytona, the whole world will see we are developing our own domestic energy sources right here in America with jobs that can't be outsourced."
"Grain ethanol is at least 59 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline. Growth Energy has officially petitioned to increase the allowable blend of ethanol in transportation fuel for everyday American motorists from 10 percent to 15 percent, which would help create 136,000 new American jobs." Broin said.
"The productivity of America's farmers is unrivaled in the world and our ability to supply corn for food, livestock feed and fuel should be a source of national pride. This exciting new association with the NASCAR Nation will help to build that awareness," said Bart Schott, National Corn Growers Association president of Kulm, North Dakota. "With precision farming, innovation, technology and hard work, farmers can double our harvest in the years ahead. NASCAR is a high profile way to showcase ethanol which is one great use for this abundance."
American Ethanol will participate in NASCAR's Prize Money & Decal Program, also known as the contingency program, with the creation of the "American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award" in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, while also providing weekly prize money for eligible competitors in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series based on finishing position. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekly award will be given to the participating driver who records the fastest average speed on restarts and who finishes the race on the lead lap.(NASCAR)(12-3-2010)
Supposedly a driver to be allowed to only race for points in one series: Nationwide Series teams expect that NASCAR will allow Sprint Cup drivers to compete in as many Nationwide races as they want next year, but that they will not earn points toward the series championship. NASCAR has not announced the change, but Nationwide owners believe that when a driver applies for his NASCAR license prior to the season, the driver must declare whether he is racing for points in Cup, Nationwide or the Truck Series. "I don't think the Cup guys are going to be getting points at all if they're running the Nationwide Series," team owner Rusty Wallace said last week. "Once they get their license, they're going to have to commit, do you want your points in the Nationwide Series, do you want your points in the Truck Series or do you want your points in the Cup Series? That's just a guess." It's a guess confirmed by other Nationwide team owners and the most likely scenario, according to NASCAR sources. NASCAR Chairman Brian France said an announcement would be made in January about the exact changes. The last five years have seen full-time Cup drivers win the Nationwide title - Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. Only two races last year were not won by Cup regulars - Justin Allgaier at Bristol and Boris Said at Montreal. Keselowski and Edwards say they are committed to run full schedules next year, not just to their sponsors but to the crews that work on the cars (SceneDaily)(11-25-2010)
NASCAR hosting racing youth from Bahrain, Qatar UPDATE: NASCAR is hosting young people from Bahrain and Qatar as part of a diplomatic program of the U.S. State Department. The State Department said Friday that 11 young adults involved in auto racing would travel to Charlotte, N.C., and Miami Nov. 15-23. They are scheduled to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame and to attend races. The trip is sponsored by SportsUnited, a State Department exchange program that brings foreign athletes to the United States (Associated Press)(11-13-2010)
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates hosted a group of foreign racing engineers and motorsports-related students from Bahrain and Qatar at its Concord, NC race shop. As guests of the U.S. State Department, the students were in the country through SportsUnited. They visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Revolution Racing prior to the visit to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. They also will be attending this weekend's NACAR Sprint Cup Series Season Finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. While at the shop the group was treated to a discussion with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing personnel followed by a tour of the 183,000 square foot facility home to the #1 and #42 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. SportsUnited is an international sports programming initiative designed to help start a dialogue at the grassroots level with non-elite boys and girls ages 7-17. The programs aid youth in discovering how success in athletics can be translated into the development of life skills and achievement in the classroom. Foreign participants are given an opportunity to establish links with U.S. sports professionals and exposure to American life and culture. Americans learn about foreign cultures and the challenges young people from overseas face today.(EGR)(11-18-2010)
Wells Fargo foreclosing on NASCAR Plaza tower: After being sued by its co-lender, Wells Fargo & Co. has started foreclosure proceedings against the NASCAR Plaza office tower. According to court filings, property owner Corporate Plaza Partners defaulted a year ago, when a $95 million loan Wells and Regions Financial Corp. made in 2007 came due; the outstanding balance was more than $70 million. Corporate Plaza Partners is an affiliate of Indianapolis-based Lauth Group Inc., which developed the tower next to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.(Charlotte Business Journal)(11-13-2010)
NASCAR still looking at Cup driver limits in Nationwide: Nationwide teams still are waiting for a NASCAR decision on whether Sprint Cup drivers will be limited from participating in the series next year. Brad Keselowski is poised to become the fifth consecutive Cup driver to win the Nationwide title.
Nationwide team owner and ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace says NASCAR is deciding between three options:
1) Limit the number of Nationwide races that Cup drivers can enter;
2) allow Cup drivers to run the full series but not earn points;
3) alter the structure so that Cup drivers can't earn as many points as Nationwide drivers.
"I just want the points system structured where Cup guys can't win the title," Wallace said. "If I didn't have any involvement in the sport, I'd probably say the same thing. Because everyone I talk to all say that's all (baloney), it's not fair those Cup guys go in there to try to steal candy from the other cats. That's the way the regular fan thinks. They say it all the time."(USA Today)(11-6-2010)
France talks about possible changes coming to sport: NASCAR's Brian France talks about possible changes coming to sport & why TV ratings are down. Changes to the Chase? A change to the starting times of races? NASCAR Chairman Brian France hinted at such things and gave his idea for why TV ratings have declined this season in an interview Friday on "Sirius Speedway'' on Sirius Satellite Radio. A few tidbits from the article:
QUESTION: This is what the Chase was supposed to be like (with three drivers so close this late in the season)
BRIAN FRANCE: "It is. It's supposed to, obviously, be very competitive and make it where the driver who is at his best when it really matters, which, of course, is down the stretch. That's what everybody wants to see. We're thrilled that it's turning out that way. This is going to be a telling weekend. Looking forward to kicking off the final three here in Texas this weekend.''
QUESTION: With the Chase going as well as it is, are there still discussions going on at NASCAR about further tweaks to the Chase or have those been put on the backburner now?
BRIAN FRANCE: "No, I don't think so. I think it's this time of the year when we do a lot of things in terms of looking at what is the best rules package or format in the case of the Chase or whatever it might be. We've announced a few weeks ago going to ethanol and our first biofuel, which is really important for us to keep a slow steady step in the green space and doing what's best for the environment and energy independence. When it comes to the Chase, what we want is big moments where drivers and teams have to be their very best on a given day, that's what creates the atmosphere we want and we'll be looking to make sure we have the perfect format going into 2011.''
QUESTION: Wide spread reports about new look for Cup cars in 2013. Is NASCAR now fully convinced and buying into manufacturer's demands for more brand identity?
BRIAN FRANCE: "We've always bought into that. It takes on different points of view as you go along. Clearly we're going to have more technology in the race cars, we'll do that carefully. What we don't want to do is mess up the competitive balance or run the cost up unnecessarily for the team owners. That's always one of NASCAR's foundational issues. So, we'll be looking at that carefully. On the other hand, technology in the cars that are selling today are ever more important. You saw the biofuel was not just because we have our own green initiatives, we want to be in step with the car manufacturers, they know how important that is. It's fair to say with the look of the car, we'll be looking to make sure that Chevrolet, Toyota, Dodge, Ford and all of them and maybe some other manufacturers who look at NASCAR down the road will have plenty of brand identification and plenty of technology and other things that are relevant to their brands.''
(see full article at the Virginian Pilot)(11-6-2010)
NASCAR looking at new car design for 2013: UPDATE: NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series could take on a different look as early as 2013. While some manufacturers are considering model changes by then, all car makers are looking to maximize brand identity on the racetrack. That concept is equally appealing to race fans who feel the sanctioning body has veered far from the notion of a "stock" car. John Darby, Sprint Cup Series director, says the direction would "be real similar" to the style the Nationwide cars are adopting for next season. "The point we're at right now is trying to get feedback from all four manufacturers," Darby said. "The fact that, No. 1, that '13 is the right year to this as it aligns with new models, and secondly that there's interest from all four makes." Of course costs will be taken into the equation. Changes have to make economic sense to the teams as well, since the modifications would involve more than just a cosmetic tweak to noses and tails. NASCAR eliminated the rear wings earlier this year and implemented a nose job for the front ends for 2011, which replaces the awkward braces that attach the splitters to one sleek piece. Once the manufacturers agree on the concepts, Darby would expect to see designs submitted in August 2012. "As it says in the rule book, it all has to start with a July 1 date for any type of a body change on the car," Darby said. "Typically, and up to this point we've entertained and helped manufacturers with the front fascias, the rear tails. The '13 project could be a little larger than that to where we get more character lines in the hoods, more sculpture if you will to help the manufacturers identify their products a little closer."(Fox Sports)(10-26-2010)
UPDATE: All four automakers ... have already submitted drawings of their proposed 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racers to the sanctioning body for preliminary approval. A number of revisions are expected, as NASCAR seeks to balance its desire for brand identity with the need for a common aerodynamic footprint between brands. The changes will be strictly cosmetic, with the current Sprint Cup chassis remaining unaltered. Speaking on the condition on anonymity, one manufacturer representative creditedNationwide Series Director Joe Balash with paving the way for the new, more stock-appearing cars. "NASCAR was not sold on the idea of revamping the look of these (Sprint Cup) cars," he said. "But Joe pushed hard for it in the Nationwide Series, saying it was important to give those cars a distinct, stock-appearing look. The manufacturers were thrilled with the results, and once NASCAR saw the fan reaction that came with the new Nationwide car, they started thinking seriously about similar changes on the Cup side."(Sirius Speedway)(11-1-2010)
Could there be short fields next season? With Richard Petty Motorsports shrinking from four to two cars next season (or potentially none if the ship isn't righted) and now Robby Gordon announcing he won't run a full season in 2011, the potential for short fields now becomes a real possibility next year. That prediction was made two years ago by many but never came to fruition. The economic pressures of the sport may catch up with that prediction after all.(Motor Racing Network)(11-1-2010)
Five things about NASCAR's new nose: Since its introduction during the 2007 season, NASCAR's new racecar has seen several changes and improvements. In an effort to improve the way the cars handled at high speeds and in traffic, NASCAR replaced the rear wing on the back of the car with a simple spoiler blade that resembled the one used before 2007. In 2011, a new nose will make its debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Here are 5 things you should know about NASCAR's new nose:
#1: Smile, Your Braces Are Gone
As any parent knows, braces on your child's teeth mean several things: more money, more time, and unsightly metal. The same has been true of the braces on the front of our Sprint Cup racecars. In addition to the cost of parts, we know that in NASCAR time is money (both at the shop and at the track). The five splitter braces mean more time in the shop dedicated to positioning and installation. They also require teams to have parts and a plan ready at the track in the event that a brace breaks. Plus, the new nose means a more finished and refined look.
#2: A Smaller Splitter
The thin, but strong front splitter has gained a reputation for cutting tires and withstanding violent impacts. For 2011, the splitter remains a part of NASCAR racecars, but will be smaller in surface area by about 30%. It will no longer be adjustable (teams were formerly able to move the splitter forward or backward slightly). It is also almost completely covered by the new nose, but for an inch or so that peeks out at the bottom.
#3: Stronger Structure
The bracing and structure behind the new nose has been altered to keep everything in its proper place. The splitter hitting the race track means a big headache for the man behind the wheel and the crew chief in charge of fixing the handling issue. Additionally, the front noses still line up with the rear bumpers of other cars to prevent rear tires from being lifted off the ground in the event of contact.
#4: Minor Ventilation Changes
Though the option is still available, you will most likely no longer see a second grill opening in the dead-center of the bumper (where "Camry" appears). Openings for brake ducts will still be used on shorter tracks and road courses.
#5: Aerodynamics Don't Change Much
Compared to the old nose, the general patterns of airflow around the new nose are very similar. The goal is always to get more downforce on the nose of a car to help it stick the front tires to the track and turn better. Early indications are that the new nose will accomplish this (though there are many variables to consider when it comes to the way the air affects a car in the turns and in traffic). At high speeds even the slightest changes to the shape of a car affect it's handling.
Bonus: Easier Car Wraps
The new nose is very much like the one used on cars before the Car of Tomorrow. There is no longer an inset air dam below the front bumper. This means the paint schemes can have a more continuous design from the bottom of the nose to the top. It will also be easier for those wrapping the cars to line up design elements visually. See comparison photos at Joe Gibbs Racing.(10-28-2010)
February 21, 1948 - NASCAR born: Six days after its first race was held, NASCAR was officially incorporated as the National Association for Stock Car Racing, with race promoter Bill France as president. From the beginning, stock car racing had a widespread appeal with its fan base. As the legend goes, the sport evolved from Southern liquor smugglers who souped up their pre-war Fords to outrun the police. NASCAR brought the sport organization and legitimacy. It was Bill France who realized that product identification would increase enthusiasm for the sport. He wanted the fans to see the cars they drove to the track win the races on the track. By 1949, all the postwar car models had been released, so NASCAR held a 150-mile race at the Charlotte Speedway to introduce its Grand National Division. The race was restricted to late-model strictly stock automobiles. NASCAR held nine Grand National events that year. By the end of the year, it was apparent that the strictly stock cars could not withstand the pounding of the Grand Nationals, so NASCAR drafted rules to govern the changes drivers could make to their cars. Modified stock car racing was born. Starting in 1953, the major auto makers invested heavily in stock car racing teams, believing that good results on the track would translate into better sales in the showroom. In 1957, rising production costs and tightened NASCAR rules forced the factories out of the sport. Today NASCAR racing is the fastest growing spectator sport in America.(History Channel)(2-21-2010)
NASCAR holds "town hall"; plans changes to car in 2011: NASCAR held invitation-only meetings at their Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. this week to discuss the future of the sport. On Tuesday, the meeting focused primarily on competition with drivers Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle joining crew chiefs, engineers and technical directors. A second meeting was held on Wednesday with team owners and principals as a follow-up to the discussions held in May. The primary focus of the meetings: How can NASCAR help the competitors to make the sport stronger? Participation was encouraged according to three principals that spoke on the grounds of anonymity. Some of the high points included:
# How can we make the overall product better?
# While there won't be any sizeable changes in the rules package for 2010, NASCAR wanted to make sure that competitors understood that an open door policy exists.
# What can the sport do to make participation more cost effective for the competitors?
# How do the cars maintain product identification for the manufacturers and remain racy. And once the new Nationwide Series cars come to fruition, how does the sport keep the sportier model from overshadowing the less sexy Cup car. (FoxSports)
AND NASCAR will make modifications to the Sprint Cup Series car for the 2011 season. At a meeting on Oct. 19, following the races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, manufacturers were told changes would be made "from the centerline to the bumper on down," a source familiar with the situation told FOXSports.com. The alterations will be made to the front fascia - the upper and lower nose of the car. Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said "there was a good open dialog" with manufacturer representatives to discuss what aesthetic changes could be made to the car to improve brand identity. The current car has come under scrutiny from competitors and fans alike for having less resemblance to a showroom model than previous editions. Pemberton said styling changes are almost anticipated given that the car will soon meet the four-year mark. NASCAR is also concerned the sportiness of the new Nationwide Series Car of Tomorrow will have a tendency to overshadow the current Cup car [see images of the Nationwide COT cars on my 2010 Nationwide paint schemes page]. The new Nationwide Series car will be run in four races starting next season. Certainly, the Nationwide COT will provide ideas for future generations of the Cup car. (FoxSports)(10-31-2009)
NASCAR tweaks wave-around rule for Cup, Nationwide: NASCAR has tweaked its rule on wave-around cars under caution. The new rule now dictates that cars under penalty at the time of the caution are ineligible for the wave around. The change began last week with the Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway after a situation came up in the Nationwide Series race that was new to the double-file restart system instituted in June. In the Nationwide race, Roush Fenway Racing's Carl Edwards was penalized for speeding under green, and then the caution came out. He stayed out and didn't pit and then was among those cars on the end of the lead lap. He then got the "wave around" the caution car (along with the rest of the cars that had stayed out and were on the end of the lead lap) to get to the rear of the line of lead-lap cars. Edwards then went to the end of the line to serve his penalty. That move would not be allowed anymore. The driver would not get the wave around and would start a lap down at the rear of the field on the restart, the penalty for a driver who had a speeding penalty under green but never served it before the caution came out. The new rule in general is any driver under penalty is no longer eligible for the wave around.(SceneDaily)(10-11-2009)
NASCAR shrinks restrictor plates at Talladega: NASCAR will reduce the size of the restrictor plate and allow teams an optional change as a way to slow the cars and try to keep them from getting airborne at Talladega. Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby [said] Friday at Auto Club Speedway that the restrictor plate will be reduced 1/64 of an inch. The new size will be 59/64 of an inch. Darby estimates it will shave 12 horsepower off the engines. Teams also have been given an option on side wickers, something they hadn't been allowed to use before at Talladega. Darby said that teams "will be able to add the same little side wicker to the end plate (on the rear wing) much like they do at the downforce tracks. If you look at all the cars in the garage right now on that end plate, all the way out on the back edge they've got a little half by half piece of aluminum. That's eight inches long. It helps in yaw or when the cars are turned. It kind of settles the back of the car down a little bit."(Virginian Pilot)(10-10-2009)
NASCAR says no major rules changes for 2010: NASCAR officials told Sprint Cup crew chiefs Saturday morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that the moratorium on testing at sanctioned tracks is expected to extend through the 2010 season. In an attempt to cut costs, NASCAR announced last November that instead of having official NASCAR scheduled tests throughout the year, there would be a one-year moratorium on series-wide testing and teams also would be prohibited from testing at any track that sanctioned a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World Truck and East and West series. Previously, teams could not test on their own at tracks of the series they competed in. In a meeting with crew chiefs Saturday morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials said teams should not expect any major rule changes for 2010, including no change to the current testing moratorium, sources familiar with the meeting said.(SceneDaily)(9-20-2009)
NASCAR lowers age for some series: NASCAR announced it was implementing a Learner's Permit License for its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks beginning in 2010. The license will lower the age-limit for NASCAR-sanctioned tracks' entry-level division from 16-years-old to 14. The change provides an intermediate step for young drivers looking to make the move from non-NASCAR beginner-level racing series to running at their NASCAR home track. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR's national championship program for its more than 55 sanctioned short tracks across North America. More than 10,000 drivers compete in the series annually.(NASCAR)(9-3-2009)
No major changes seen for CoT: NASCAR President Mike Helton said on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway that the governing body is pleased with the progress of the new car and that there is strong support for leaving it alone. "As you talk to the principals in the garage area -- the team owners, the crew chiefs, the car chiefs -- there seems to be in all these conversations a consensus around 'don't make any major changes right now because we don't want to tackle those, we've spent a long time now understanding this car and don't throw a wrench in all of that by making us start over,''' Helton said. His comments came less than 24 hours after Dale Earnhardt Jr. urged the governing body to take a more urgent look at letting the car evolve move freely to improve competition. Helton also indicated he doesn't anticipate a change in the suspension of testing for next season. He said the ban was implemented as a cost-saving measure during tough economic times and there are no indications that those times are over. "The first thing we do is say, 'Why change it right now or do we need to change it right now?''' Helton said. As for the car, Helton believes Earnhardt's comments were more broad-based about improvements that need to be made for the sport in general. He said comments aimed specifically at the car had more to do with "frustration'' over being 25th in points. "So there's a frustration there that I think attributes to his comments and I think people see those,'' Helton said. "When he landed on the car itself being more specific about that, it's more like his dad would comment when he was having a bad stretch. Helton said minor tweaks are being considered, many around weight distribution that teams have complained about. He said NASCAR is less inclined to make tweaks that would give teams more room to adjust the cars. "One of the reasons there is less adjustability on the car, and a lot of it comes from aerodynamic adjustability, is in order to keep control of the cost teams have,'' Helton said. "There is as much support -- actually there is more support -- of keeping it that way than it is to letting it creep back out.''(in part from ESPN)(8-15-2009)
No speedometers planned for NASCAR: Some drivers would like a speedometer added to their cars, or have NASCAR's electronic timing system that records the pit row speeds refined to cut down on possible error. "I have wondered why we don't have speedometers," veteran driver Mark Martin said Friday. "The tachs are not quite as accurate as a speedometer might be. But the system works. It's just really devastating when you have one of the races of your life slip through your fingers." Could NASCAR make the switch from RPM to mph on the dash? Not so fast. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said the tachometer was the most reliable factor in determining pit row speeds. "They get multiple usages out of a tachometer as an engine meter as well, without having to bother with the expense and the troubles of adding another piece of equipment to the car," Darby said at Pocono Raceway. "The tachometers today are so sophisticated that teams can actually program their pit road speed into the tachometer." Most teams have even added a lighting system to the tachometer. A green light means a driver's speed is in the clear, yellow signifies he is pushing the limit and red means the speed is over the limit. "In NASCAR's defense, the system that they have, you can't dispute it," four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon said. "I would dispute the person that feels like they're in the wrong, because their system is very accurate." There have been 75 speeding violations in 20 Cup races this season, Darby said. NASCAR does not warn teams when they're on the edge of speeding or give them a chance to plead their case. Speed once coming in or out of the pits, and a penalty is instantly assessed. "The teams know exactly where they're supposed to be," Darby said. "They know where the threshold is." Darby also said there are no plans to reveal pit road speeds to fans or the rest of the field during a race. "If you have put your combination together and you're real confident in your driver and you've got him set to where you think he can run 3˝ miles over all day long without getting caught, that's their business," he said. "We shouldn't display that to the other 42 competitors to let them figure out how they did it." NASCAR switched from a stopwatch system to electric timing in 2005 to provide a more legitimate way of assessing pit road speeders.(Associated Press)(8-4-2009)
Charlotte Motor Speedway
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