Races [17+2*] that Monster Energy is scheduled to be the primary sponsor (on the hood) in 2016:
Daytona, Sprint Unlimited - 2/13*
Atlanta - 2/28
Las Vegas - 3/6
Phoenix - 3/13
Texas - 4/9
Richmond - 4/24
Talladega - 5/1
Charlotte, All-Star Race - 5/21
Charlotte - 5/29
Sonoma - 6/26
Daytona - 7/2
Kentucky - 7/9
Pocono - 7/31
Bristol - 8/20
Michigan - 8/28
New Hampshire - 9/25
Dover - 10/2
Kansas - 10/16
Phoenix - 11/13
Races [18+1] that Haas Automation is scheduled to be the primary sponsor (on the hood) in 2016:
Daytona, Can-Am Duel 150 - 2/18*
Daytona - 2/21
Auto Club - 3/20
Martinsville - 4/3
Bristol - 4/17
Kansas - 5/7
Dover - 5/15
Pocono - 6/5
Michigan - 6/12
New Hampshire - 7/17
Indianapolis - 7/24
Watkins Glen - 8/7
Darlington - 9/4, throwback, VF-1
Richmond - 9/10
Chicago - 9/18
Charlotte - 10/8
Talladega - 10/23
Texas - 11/6
Races  that State Water Heaters is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 2016:
Martinsville - 10/30
Contract Status: Driver: 2017+; Primary Sponsors: Monster Energy (starts 2016 thru 2017?]; Haas Automation (team owner company)
Kurt Busch getting married: He finished seventh in final points, making NASCAR's Elite Eight, as he calls the Round of 8 in the Chase for the championship, for the second straight year. Plus, his beloved Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series, and he was witness to Game 2 in Cleveland and Game 5 in Chicago. Plus, he's getting married soon. So all things considered - especially the last two - native NASCAR son Kurt Busch said the 2016 season has been a good one. He sneaked in the bit about an impending marriage to girlfriend Ashley Van Metre toward the end of the media scrum with Chase drivers leading up to Friday's Champion's Week black-tie awards soiree at Wynn Las Vegas. The two have been engaged since 2015. "To be up in Virginia with my fiancee's family, and then a wedding shortly thereafter," the 2004 Cup Series champion said about his holiday plans. "It's going to be fantastic to be able to go to the Caribbean, and to get married to the love of my life, Ashley, and have my family there, her family, and then before we know it, we'll be back in Daytona. It's going to be a nice off-season. I can't wait." Busch said there would be a grand reception in Florida during January for family and friends.(Las Vegas Review-Journal)(12-3-2016)
Stewart-Haas Racing signs deal with Nike: Stewart-Haas Racing has signed a six-figure value-in-kind deal with Nike to outfit the team starting next season, when SHR switches manufacturers from Chevy to Ford. SHR did not previously have a sole apparel manufacturer and instead had different brands worn by team members. However, because of the switch to Ford, SHR will have to get all new apparel since Chevy's logo is on its current gear, and the team decided the time was right to go out and find one official partner. Nike will outfit the organization with various forms of apparel, and in return gets the exposure from the gear being worn publicly, plus signage on SHR's pit practice facility and weight room.
Meanwhile, [SHR VP/Sales & Marketing Mike Verlander] said that as part of the switchover from Chevy to Ford, SHR will also slightly tweak its logo. The new logo is not ready to be released, but Verlander said it will be a small change. SHR currently has a light blue logo, so switching to a darker shade to align with Ford's darker-blue logo is a possibility.(Sports Business Daily)(10-27-2016)
State Water Heaters returns to sponsor Kurt Busch: The #41 Chevy of Kurt Busch wears the colors of State Water Heaters at Martinsville Speedway. State Water Heaters, based in Ashland, Tennessee, is a leading manufacturer of commercial and residential water heaters, and has seven water heater manufacturing plants and hundreds of distribution centers across the United States to ensure efficient service to the company's national customer base of homeowners, wholesalers, contractors and members of the engineering community (SHR), see an image of the car on the #41 Team Schemes page (10-25-2016)
Confrontation between Harvick and Kurt Busch on pit road: #4-Kevin Harvick confronted Stewart-Haas Racing teammate #41-Kurt Busch on pit road after Sunday's race at Talladega, appearing to lean into Busch's car and initiate physical contact. Harvick apparently was upset that Busch hit the #4 car on the cool-down lap; it's unclear why Busch was angry with Harvick. Busch finished fourth while Harvick was seventh, and both drivers advanced to the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But NBC Sports Network later showed footage of a confrontation, which occurred while Busch still was sitting in his car.(USA Today, see video at NBCSports)(10-24-2016)
Roush Yates Engines preparing for Stewart Haas switch to Ford: One of the biggest stories of the 2016 NASCAR season played out early in the year with the announcement that Stewart-Haas Racing would switch from Chevrolet to Ford in 2017 - a move that caught most everyone off-guard. Now, with the season winding down, the countdown is on for that switch to become a reality and Roush Yates Engines is working behind the scenes to ensure it is up to the task of putting power under the SHR hoods. "Roush Yates Engines, right now, is in the process of increasing inventory and getting prepared," said Jeff Clark, Vice President of Sales for Roush Yates Engines. "We don't build the engines yet because technology is always changing but we are reviewing applications and potential employees - that will be more of a November/December item. And then acquiring the inventory, a lot of the parts in these engines require long lead-times. There are three, four, five or six months of lead time on these items, so we're trying to get the hard parts together and just prepare as much as possible for when it is go-time." Clark doesn't have an exact number of people the organization will need to bring on to fulfill the new workload but he knows they will be choosing from the best-of-the-best in the sport. He said they have received a lot of interest from engine experts looking to fill the void and that have led to numerous applications and resumes. He said management is poring over stats to determine how much the workload will increase to be ready for 2017.(Kickin the Tires)(10-17-2016)
Driscoll charged with stealing from charity UPDATE: The former girlfriend of NASCAR driver #41-Kurt Busch has been charged with stealing from a military charity she led. Court documents don't say how much prosecutors believe Patricia Driscoll took from the District of Columbia-based Armed Forces Foundation, whose mission is to support service members, veterans and their families. But a 2014 tax return for the non-profit says that the "foundation has become aware of suspected misappropriations" by Driscoll totaling more than $599,000 for the years 2006 to 2014. It says she misused money for meals, travel, parking tickets, makeup and gifts. Driscoll was indicted on two counts each of wire fraud, mail fraud, and tax evasion, and one count of attempts to interfere with administration of Internal Revenue laws.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(9-20-2016)
UPDATE: Patricia Pauline Driscoll, 38, walked into the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, which sits in the shadows of the nation's Capitol, early Wednesday morning to turn herself over to U.S. Marshals after being indicted on two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of tax evasion, one count of interference with the administrations of IRS laws and one count of 1st degree fraud and she was kept in a holding cell until her arraignment at 1:45pm that afternoon. Standing before U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey, Driscoll was dressed in a khaki suit with her hair in a bun and sporting dark-rimmed spectacles, she stood mostly silent, except to answer the Judge and converse with her attorney. She acknowledged she understood the charges against her and that she also understood her right to remain silent. Speaking on her behalf, her attorney Barry Pollock, said his client pleads, "not guilty on all counts." Driscoll was released on her own recognizance but must report weekly to the federal Pre-Trial Services Division and surrender her passport. She was also ordered to stay within 50-miles of Washington D.C. unless she get permission from pre-trial services and is forbidden to leave the country without an order form the court. (Kickin the Tires)(9-23-2016)
Kurt Busch's record lead lap streak is over: #41-Kurt Busch, lined up second for a lap-372 restart in Sunday's rain-delayed Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol. Coming off turn two, he passed #22-Joey Logano for the lead. However, Busch got loose in front of Logano, and contact between the two set off an 11-car incident that would see the 2004 Sprint Cup champion's historic streak of lead-lap finishes end at 22 races. "I think I just missed the bottom groove by a few inches, got loose, and the wreck was on," Busch said. "The way that our Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet was restarting it felt comfortable, it felt good. That inside with the rosin and the VHT, if you don't hit it exactly right you lose a lot of time. I tried to make up for it and got loose. I feel really bad for the Monster Energy/Haas Automation guys. We had a win in our sights, and I just drove the car at 101 percent instead of 99." The damage to the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevy was deemed too severe to repair, leaving Busch with a 38th-place result and his first did not finish (DNF) since Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on Oct. 5, 2014.(SHR)(8-22-2016)
Kurt Busch trying to set record for running all laps UPDATE: #41-Kurt Busch seeks to do something this weekend that hasn't been done in NASCAR. Run every lap for the most consecutive races to start a season. Busch enters Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway on NBCSN having completed all 5,673 laps in the first 20 races. No driver has completed every lap through the the first 21 Cup races in a season. Busch tied Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the record this past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Busch completed every lap on the way to finishing 16th. Earnhardt set the mark in 2012 by completing every lap in the first 20 races of the season. In the 21st race, which was at Pocono, Earnhardt fell 18 laps short of the distance in the rain-shortened race. Busch's consistency this season has led to 15 top-10 finishes, second only to Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick, who has 16. #2-Brad Keselowski has run all but 8 laps this season.(NBC Sports)(7-28-2016)
UPDATE: Busch completed all 138 laps on Monday at Pocono Speedway. He has now completed every lap in the first 21 race.(8-2-2016)
UPDATE2: Busch completed all 90 laps on Sunday at Watkins Glen and he has now completed every lap in the first 22 races of the season. Busch has a overall streak of 25 races in a row finishing on the lead lap, the best streak since Carl Edwards had a 28 race streak for July 2015 at Kentucky thru May 2016 at Talladega, see the list on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Odd Stats page (8-8-2016)
Kurt Busch has raced all the laps in 2016: #41-Kurt Busch, has an impressive streak of his own in jeopardy at Kentucky. Through 17 races this season, Busch has completed 4,935 laps in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. That makes him the only driver to have finished on the lead lap in every race this year. At Kentucky, Busch got into the marbles and slid sideways into the Turn 4 wall late in Friday evening's final practice session. Damage to the right rear of the car forced crew chief Tony Gibson to opt for a backup car. That decision forced Busch to take the green flag for Saturday night's race from the rear of the field - in a car he has never practiced.(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-9-2016)
What happened to Kurt Busch at end of the Coke Zero 400? #41-Kurt Busch was running fourth on the Coke Zero 400's final restart at Daytona with two laps to go in overtime and was fighting for the win when he was hit from behind [by #22-Joey Logano] and sent sliding across the infield grass toward the finish line, which he crossed as the final car on the lead lap, finishing 23rd (SHR).
Kurt Busch's Comments: "We positioned ourselves to be the car to get a good run off the bottom. It just didn't work out with him (Joey Logano) trying to drive straight through us. And it would have worked out better if he would have pushed us. We could have had a shot at the #2 (Brad Keselowski). And with just the way that it turned out, I feel disappointed that I didn't get the win for (Tony) Gibson (Crew Chief) and all these guy that work for our team. We did everything right tonight except cross the line where we were supposed to."
Q) DO YOU EXPECT HIM TO PUSH YOU BECAUSE THAT'S HIS TEAMMATE IN THE LEAD? DOES THAT MAKE IT MORE UNDERSTANDABLE?
Busch: "On the last lap, there is so much going on. You can't drive other people's cars for them. I think that he made an aggressive mistake. You can't go from fifth to first. There's just no shot at it. And, it's a shame that we ended up spun around and wrecked. We could have come out of here with the point lead."
Q) YOU ARE SO GOOD AT PLATE TRACKS, IS IT A CONSOLATION KNOWING THAT YOU WERE SORT OF IN A SPOT TO GO FOR IT AT THE END?
Busch: "That's what I always hope for. I hope to be right there where I was tonight on a green-white-checkered and one day the chips are going to fall in my direction. There's no way that it can't. It's almost two rotations around a roulette wheel for how many times we've been here and haven't won. But we'll keep trying."(Team Chevy)
Joey Logano's comment: "It was hard fought for sure. Anytime you have an opportunity to win and you are in the top four or five or six on the last restart you know you have a shot at it. I was able to get Brad a good push to clear and get a Penske car to victory lane which is really cool. Todd Gordon made a great call to put four tires on which allowed us to be aggressive at the end. I hate that I got into Kurt (Busch) there at the end racing to the line. I had a run to turn up underneath him and when you do that the cars get free and then I was there and he tried to catch it and I was there again. It is a product of this racing but I hate that it happened. The last thing I want to do is hit someone like that. Unfortunately, it happened. Overall a solid day for us. The 2 was the fastest car and he deserved to win the race. We need to find a little more speed in our race car."(Ford Performance)(7-3-2016)
Kurt Busch Extends Top-10 Streak: #41-Kurt Busch extended his top-10 streak to 10 straight races, become the second driver in as many seasons to do so. Joey Logano boasted a string of 11 straight top 10s last season. Busch's consistency puts him second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points rankings, 35 markers behind his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick. Busch will try to earn his first restrictor-plate track victory in Saturday's Coke Zero 400 Presented By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway.(NASCAR)(7-2-2016)
Kurt Busch plans to compete in Gulf 12 Hours: #41-Kurt Busch's next challenge could come this December in the Gulf 12 Hours - possibly alongside MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo in a GT car. Busch, who has dabbled in IndyCar and dragsters, now has his eyes set on sports cars - but more importantly the Yas Marina Circuit, site of the Formula 1 finale. Following his trip to Baku for the European Grand Prix, Busch jetted to Abu Dhabi where he tested a F3000 car at the Yas Marina on Tuesday. Last year's podium in the Gulf 12 Hours featured a Ferrari 458, Mercedes SLS and an Aston Martin Vantage. But Busch's objective was to simply get a feel for the circuit. "It would be like a Pirelli World Challenge Series-type car," Busch said. "They've been doing the 12 Hours the last few years. I got turned onto it by Monster Energy about the possibility of going and racing alongside Jorge Lorenzo from MotoGP and perhaps another Monster Energy athlete. "So to help with the transition, if I was to go run that race, to have track laps so I somewhat know the circuit and don't go in there as blind as I would if I just raced the race in December...It was a blast to run the big circuit and get some laps in case I run the 12-hour race."(Motorsport)(6-26-2016)
Kurt Busch tests car in Abu Dhabi: Before heading back home to the United States for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, #41-Kurt Busch got the chance to test a Formula One car on the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The course plays host to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -- F1's final race of the season. Busch also toured Lithuania and attended the Formula One Europe Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off-weekend.(FoxSports)(6-22-2016)
Seven winners in seven races: The last seven Cup points races each have had a different winner: #19-Carl Edwards (Richmond), #2-Brad Keselowski (Talladega), #18-Kyle Busch (Kansas), #20-Matt Kenseth (Dover), #78-Martin Truex Jr. (Charlotte), #41-Kurt Busch (Pocono) and #22-Joey Logano (Michigan). It's the longest streak of different winners since there were eight from the 2013 season finale to the first seven races of the 2014 season.(NBC Sports)(6-14-2016)
Fill in crew chiefs for Pocono: Following the suspension of three Sprint Cup crew chiefs following the Charlotte race, two of the teams have named their replacements:
Ernie Cope will fill in for Randall Burnett as crew chief for the #47 team of A.J. Allmendinger. Burnett is serving a one race suspension.
Stewart-Haas Racing engineer John Klausmeier will serve as crew chief for #41-Kurt Busch while Tony Gibson serves his one race suspension.
However: A Roush Fenway Racing spokesman said Thursday afternoon that the team still was evaluating whether to appeal the two-race suspension of crew chief Brian Pattie after Greg Biffle's #16 Ford failed postrace inspection from the Coke 600.(NBC Sports)(6-3-2016)
Romain Grosjean could run a NASCAR race this summer UPDATE: Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean's debut in NASCAR could happen as early as this summer, after Stewart-Haas Racing revealed it is now working on a plan to get the Frenchman a race entry. "We may give it a go. I think it would be really cool," he said after sitting in a Sprint Cup car on the day he was announced as a Haas F1 driver. "It's definitely on our wish list," Joe Custer, chief operating officer of Haas F1 said. "We just have to make it work - whether it be this year, next year, whenever that is. We're not sure. He's made it clear that he wouldn't want his debut to be on an oval - where he's never done it before. There's so much going on. We have to figure out the testing opportunities and all the things that would make it a success." Either road course race on the Sprint Cup schedule would be ideal for the 30-year-old racer with Sonoma (June 26) and Watkins Glen (August 7) both during off weeks for F1. But while Sonoma falls at the end of the Canada/Baku back-to-back run, the Glen race falls in the middle of the F1's summer break between the German GP (July 31) and the Belgian GP on August 28. "I'm not sure when it would happen, but it's on our list," explained Custer. "We would like to have him test. He would be a rookie. I don't think there are any barriers to any of this. We just have to figure it out and get it on the schedule. Then, five cars or four cars? Or does he work with another team in the garage. All of that. We have to work out the details and have enough time to make it happen."(Motorsport)(5-9-2016)
UPDATE: Romain Grosjean believes that his best chance of making his NASCAR debut will come at the Sonoma road course race at the end of June. Grosjean expressed an interest in trying out NASCAR after joining Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas' new Formula 1 operation for its debut season in 2016. "When it's going to happen, I don't know. It's 21 races, it's quite a tight schedule already in Formula 1. Of course you don't want to start on an oval, I wouldn't feel very comfortable." Grosjean's best opportunities for a road course appearance come with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma on June 26 and the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen on August 7. However, the race at The Glen would cut into F1's summer break. "That's a problem," Grosjean said. "Sonoma is better I think." Should Grosjean be able to make his debut though, it would not come with Stewart-Haas Racing. NASCAR rules only allow four cars per team and no exceptions for rookie drivers as used to be the case. A possible scenario for Grosjean would be racing with the SHR-supported HScott Motorsports team.(NBC Sports)(5-13-2016)
Tony Gibson not at Texas until Saturday: Stewart-Haas Racing tweeted Friday afternoon that "Johnny Klausmeier, engineer on the #41 car, will serve as crew chief" on Thursday and Friday because [Tony Gibson] is back home in NC with his wife as she is under the weather. He plans to be @TXMotorSpeedway Saturday for the race.(4-8-2016)
Pole sitters not faring well in 2016: Winning the pole for a Sprint Cup race isn't all that great, at least in 2016. After six races, the average finishing spot of pole-sitters is 14.8. Other than the first spot on the starting grid, the biggest perk of winning a pole is the first pit choice. But none of this season's five different pole-sitters - #24-Chase Elliott, #41-Kurt Busch, #18-Kyle Busch, #22-Joey Logano and #3-Austin Dillon - have translated that prime real estate into a race win. The last time a race was won from the pole? Matt Kenseth in last year's spring race at Michigan International Speedway. That was 20 races ago. In all, only four pole winners claimed wins last season. That included Dale Earnhardt Jr's pole for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, which was awarded on practice time when qualifying was rained out.(NBC Sports)(4-6-2016)
Busch brothers tied for 3rd with most wins: with #18-Kyle Busch's 35th career Sprint Cup Series win, he and his brother Kurt, who has 27 Sprint Cup Series wins, now have 62 combined wins. This ties them with the three Flock brothers Tim (39 wins), Fonty (19) Bob (4) with 62 wins, 3rd best overall. Darrell (84 wins) and Michael Waltrip are 2nd with 88 wins. The Allison brothers, Bobby (84) and Donnie (10) hold the record with 94 overall wins by brothers. See the full list and some other brother records on the All-Time Sprint Cup Series Winners page.(4-4-2016)
GM exec says Chevy's success forced Ford to get Stewart-Haas: Mark Kent, GM's director of racing, has described Ford's joining forces with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 as a "bold move" but has pledged support to the team to season's end. Kent told Motorsport.com: "Ford hasn't won a drivers' or manufacturers' championship in over a decade. So obviously they've been looking at Chevrolet and realizing it takes great teams and great depth to be able to win championships. We've been able to win the last 13 manufacturers' titles and nine of the last 11 drivers' championships. So Ford realized they had to do something. They made a bold move." While Kent acknowledged the achievements of SHR, he stated that the team's use of Hendrick Motorsports equipment had also made the team susceptible to outside offers. "Satellite teams are obviously the easiest takeover candidates," he observed, "because they don't build their own chassis, don't build their own engines and so it's easier for them to switch alliances.(Motorsport)(3-25-2015)
Kurt Busch still interested in Indy 500 this year UPDATE: Could Kurt Busch make another run at the Indianapolis 500/Coca-Cola 600 double? It sure sounds like he's interested. After Busch won the pole for Sunday's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, FOXSports.com asked Busch if he had any update on his hopes to find an Indy 500 ride this year. "Nothing new on Indy. Part of the reason for staying here in Vegas extra is a few different meetings have popped up," said Busch. "We are going to go through some of the meetings, even bumped into (Verizon IndyCar Series team owner) Sam Schmidt today. There is definitely the interest, the intrigue, but nothing to announce right now." This year will mark the 100th running of the Indy 500, which would make competing in the race even more attractive than usual.(Fox Sports)(3-6-2016)
UPDATE: "After seriously contemplating making another run at "The Double", and in response to the many questions I receive on the subject as the Month of May approaches, I wanted to state that I will not be participating in this year's 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. I must say this was not an easy decision and it does not in any way reflect upon my desire to compete again in one of the world's greatest races; it is based solely on a need to maintain the focus and momentum we have built early in this NASCAR season with our #41 Stewart-Haas Racing, Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevy team - hopefully all the way to Homestead and the championship weekend. My experience with Andretti Autosport and its drivers was so very positive and the way in which the IndyCar fans and media welcomed me, it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career both personally and professionally. Fortunately, Michael and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have left the door open for a future run, and perhaps one day I will take them up on that, it just won't be this year."(KurtBusch.com)(3-23-2016)
Haas F1 Team Earns Points in Debut Race: the Haas F1 Team, owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Gene Haas [Stewart-Haas Racing #4, #10, #14, #41], made history before and after the 32nd Australian Grand Prix Sunday in Melbourne. The organization's debut in Round 1 of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship marked the first time an American team had competed in Formula One since 1986. And after ending a 30-year drought for an American squad in Formula One, Haas F1 Team ended another drought for an organization's maiden F1 race. After starting 19th, Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean finished an impressive sixth, earning the team eight points in the constructor standings.(full post at haasf1team.com)(3-20-2016)
Penske expects to work closely with Stewart-Hass next year: Legendary team principal Roger Penske has welcomed Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford's NASCAR lineup for 2017, and suggested that there will "be some collaboration" between the two. Speaking to the media at the IndyCar Series opener at St Petersburg, Penske said the numerical advantage of more Fords was only one aspect of the potential benefit of SHR joining Ford's roster. "If you have four of one thing you're going to be better than if you had two, and I think what Ford looked at is the number of cars Chevy and Toyota had," said Penske. "They looked to expand their footprint. As far as we're concerned we feel good about it. If Ford is successful, it's gonna help us. With two cars, it's hard to carry the banner as we did last year."
On the potential for collaboration with Stewart-Haas, Penske added: "I think that we'll do what we've done with Roush, we've put cars in the windtunnel - our car and their car to see where we are. We'll do benchmarking, we have to race these guys every weekend. I don't think [Hendrick's star crew chief] Chad Knaus gives Stewart-Haas guys the playbook or vice versa. The things that will help overall, I think there'll be some collaboration in some way, and we're glad to see that.(Motorsport)(3-12-2016)
Hendrick will not look to replace Stewart-Haas business: Hendrick Motorsports won't look to replace the engine lease program and the chassis business it will lose when Stewart-Haas Racing moves to Ford starting next season, but it also does not plan to lay off any employees. Team owner Rick Hendrick said Sunday that the decision "kind of caught me by surprise" but it was no surprise that another manufacturer would go after SHR. It will make for an interesting year as SHR remains a customer but one that will start building its own chassis and leasing engines from Roush Yates Engines next year. Hendrick, speaking prior to the Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, said his team is committed to working with SHR this year and will move on after the season. That doesn't mean looking for new people to sell chassis and lease engines. HMS leases engines to two-car organizations HScott Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing. It also supplies engines and support to JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. HScott Motorsports plans to remain a Hendrick affiliate next year, said team owner Harry Scott, whose team also has an affiliation with Stewart-Haas Racing this season. "We've been pretty much taxed to keep up with all the customers we have," Hendrick said. "I think what we're going to do now is turn our efforts inward and do more R&D and give us a chance to do more, really, research and development than we've been doing in the last couple of years because our guys have been flat-out. While the team will fulfill the terms of its contracts with SHR, Hendrick said he expects SHR to begin the process of working on its own chassis this year. Losing the SHR business likely would cost Hendrick tens of millions of dollars, but Hendrick said his company has the ability to compensate for the lost business.(ESPN.com)(2-29-2016)
Roush Yates already prepping for Stewart-Haas addition: The addition of Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford in 2017 will mean an increased workload for Roush Yates Engines, the company that supplies Ford power to teams in all three of NASCAR's national series. But it means much more than the 60 or so additional engines the supplier will have to produce, according to CEO Doug Yates. "For us, that's four more top-notch cars, opportunities to win races and championships," Yates said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "But the work starts now because we've got to get ready for next year." Yates, son of famed engine builder and former team owner Robert Yates, said his company currently has approximately 250 engines in its fleet for Sprint Cup teams. "We'll start building them up but next year, with four cars will mean about 60 more engines... Today we build about 750 Cup, XFINITY and Truck engines a year. At our road race shop we build about 250 a year. Obviously we will have to add some people. We feel like we have a good process, we just have to add volume." The benefit, he said, is it will be "a good opportunity to allow us to bring on more resources for the R&D side, more testing, more engineers. Just add depth to every department. It's exciting.(NASCAR.com)(2-28-2016)
Stewart-Haas Racing switching to Ford in 2017: Ford Performance announced Stewart-Haas Racing will switch to Ford as its auto manufacturer partner starting with the 2017 NASCAR season. The multiyear agreement means that, beginning with Daytona Speedweeks in February 2017, the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing team will race the Ford Fusion with Ford engines prepared by Roush Yates Engines.
"We are thrilled to be able to add a championship-level team like Stewart-Haas Racing to our Ford NASCAR program," said Raj Nair, executive vice president and Chief Technical Officer, Ford Motor Company. "Tony Stewart and Gene Haas have the same passion for winning that we do, and bring a strong stable of drivers and personnel that fit into what we're trying to do in the sport."
"We have said very clearly that we are not in NASCAR just to race, but to win races and championships," said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. "We believe the addition of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 will give our program a major boost in terms of being in contention for both drivers' and manufacturers' championships every year.
"We believe that our NASCAR engineering experience and tools match up very well with the expertise and personnel that Stewart-Haas Racing has in house right now, and that we will both benefit from this partnership going forward."
Stewart-Haas Racing will join a Ford NASCAR lineup for 2017 that includes Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Front Row Motorsports. Roush Yates Engines is Ford's technical partner for NASCAR race engines.
Stewart-Haas Racing will continue its current manufacturer relationship throughout the 2016 season.(Ford Racing)
AND: Stewart-Haas Racing, winners of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and 30 point-paying races, will campaign Ford Fusions beginning in 2017. The four-car team will compete with Ford engines prepared by Roush Yates Engines.
"I am proud of our association with Chevrolet as they helped build our organization into the team it is today," said Tony Stewart, co-owner, Stewart-Haas Racing. "This new partnership with Ford allows us to strengthen our position in the sport and ensure the long-term stability and success for everyone who is a part of Stewart-Haas Racing."
"Motorsports is an extremely challenging environment where in order to maintain success you have to constantly innovate. It's true in NASCAR and it's true in business," said Gene Haas, co-owner, Stewart-Haas Racing. "We've enjoyed great success with Chevrolet, but this opportunity with Ford allows us to evolve while continuing to compete at the highest levels of the sport."
"From the very beginning of Stewart-Haas Racing we have fostered an environment of competitiveness, performance, teamwork and family," said Brett Frood, team president. "This future partnership enables us to continue delivering across these silos and exceed our commitments to our fans, partners and employees."(Stewart-Haas Racing)
Transcript: Read what was said in Wednesday morning's press conference on the Stewart-Haas Racing Ford press conference transcript page.(2-24-2016)
Gibbs, Stewart Haas expected to buy charters; HScott to lease one UPDATE: There are 38 teams committed to full-time racing in 2016. Four weren't awarded charters -- Joe Gibbs Racing's #19-Carl Edwards (team started in 2015), Stewart-Haas Racing's #41-Kurt Busch (2014), HScott Motorsports' #46-Michael Annett (2015) and #21-Wood Brothers Racing's Ryan Blaney (formerly part-time team now going full time). Former Michael Waltrip Racing owner Rob Kauffman, who has two charters from his teams that ceased operations after last year, said he expects to sell his charters to JGR (for Edwards) and SHR (for Busch). Kauffman estimated the value of a charter at the "single-digit millions." The transfer of a charter must be approved by NASCAR, which will charge an administrative fee but not get a percentage of the sale. All NASCAR team owners will be allowed to see the transfer application, which would include the price of the charter sold. Charters can only be sold prior to the start of a season and can be transferred only once every five years.(NBC Sports)
AND According to Motorsports' Lee Spencer, "Been told Jay Robinson (Premium Motorsports) has leased his charter to @Team_HSM #46. Hearing $1.6m for lease of charter.(2-9-2016)
UPDATE: A representative for SHR said Tuesday afternoon that "Stewart-Haas Racing will have four Charters and that process is nearly complete." A Joe Gibbs Racing representative said Tuesday afternoon that it was "just a matter of finalizing the transaction" that would bring a Charter to the #19 entry.(NASCAR.com)
AND: ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass tweeted that an HScott spokesman said: "HSM intends to field two full time cars for the 2016 season and is in the process of finalizing an agreement."(2-10-2016)
UPDATE2: HScott Motorports confirmed Tuesday that it is in the process of leasing second charter from another team to ensure that Michael Annett is in every Sprint Cup points race this season. The charter will return to the other team after this season.(NBC Sports)(2-11-2016)
NASCAR expected to announce charter system Tuesday UPDATE: NASCAR will hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon at 1:30pm with NASCAR CEO Brian France where they are expected to announce the details on a new charter system for Sprint Cup teams. The agreement is expected to guarantee a certain number of starting spots in the field to certain owners and shrink the race field to 40 cars. The system would provide owners with additional revenue and give them more value for their teams.
The press conference will be shown online at NASCAR.com.(2-8-2016)(2-8-2016)
UPDATE: Now that the paperwork is signed, how much one of these franchises -- "charters" as NASCAR will call them -- is worth in the coming years is as big a guess as picking the winner of the Daytona 500. The new system is to guarantee 36 owners a certain amount of revenue as well as starting positions in what will be a 40-car field, down from 43. There would be no buy-in for the initial 36 charters -- they will go to owners whose cars have attempted every race since 2013. The owners, who likely will have to meet a performance clause to keep a charter, can opt to sell them to the highest bidder. There currently are 38 full-time teams announced for the 2016 Sprint Cup season, and four would not meet the criteria to get a charter. Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing are expected to purchase two charters from the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing [for the teams of #19-Edwards & #41-Busch]. The other two -- #21-Wood Brothers Racing and one of the two HScott Motorsports cars -- would either need to purchase a charter from an existing team or have to be among the four at-large qualifiers each week. There have been 41 announced entries for the Daytona 500, although that number could change. The system should give organizations more value to potential investors and buyers. Teams will still need sponsorship to be competitive -- sponsorship makes up about 70-75 percent of a team's revenues. It is likely that whatever MWR owner Rob Kauffman sells his charters for will at least set an initial standard. And it remains to be seen whether future owners will come from racing fans with money or private equity firms.(ESPN.com)(2-9-2016)
Members of SHR help out family of stricken crewman: The family of a Stewart-Haas Racing team member who suffered a stroke on New Year's Day is getting a helping hand from fellow team members with the Kannapolis, North-Carolina based organization. Les Huntley, a front suspension mechanic for SHR and second gas man for #10-Danica Patrick last season, was left with paralysis on his left side in the wake of his medical emergency. As of a week ago, Huntley was still not walking, nor able to use his left arm and hand. Members of SHR spent their Saturday providing assistance to Huntley's family as they move into a new home.(FoxSports)(1-31-2016)
Kurt Busch wants to run Indy 500 again: Kurt Busch says he wants to return to run the Indianapolis 500, but nothing has been put together yet. The biggest challenge for Busch is the lack of competitive seats still available with four months remaining until Race Week begins. Busch only wants to return to the event if he can improve on his sixth-place finish from 2014 with Andretti Autosport. "Possibly. It's on the backburner," Busch said of his interest in the prestigious IndyCar event. "That's especially true since it's the 100th running. There's a lot of sponsorship opportunities, be it Haas Automation, Chevrolet or Monster Energy. "But for now, my focus is on Stewart Haas Racing, the #41 car and locking ourselves into the Chase as soon as possible this season." Busch maintains that his interest in returning to the 500 is sincere, and that he doesn't feel pressured to put together a package this early in the season. He would like the conversations to take place, if they are going to happen, sooner rather than later but hasn't placed a deadline on himself or his potential partners yet.(AutoWeek)(1-23-2016)
Stewart-Haas Racing crew member suffers stroke: Les Huntley, a front suspension mechanic at Stewart-Haas Racing who also served as the second gas man for Danica Patrick's #10 team, suffered a stroke New Year's Day, the team confirmed Monday. Huntley has paralysis on the left side and is expected to have long road to recovery. Huntley, who is from Renwick, Iowa, worked on front suspensions for all the Stewart-Haas Racing cars.(NBC Sports)(1-4-2016)
MWR's pit crew coach hired by Stewart-Haas: Pit coach Walt Smith has been hired by SHR to help out in the pit department for the upcoming 2016 season. We know that sounds vague but we haven't heard his exact role yet. We do know he's been hired just not sure on weather he will take over as the Cup coach, adviser, recruiter, or all of the above. Walt is a coach that has seen plenty of years on pit road. He is a very accomplished coach and has spent years with HMS, DEI, EGR, and MWR. As far as the current situation at SHR, they are in good shape.! From what we know, coaches Joe Piette and Kevin Sharpe are both staying there and why wouldn't they? They've won championships with Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick while also winning Mechanix Wear back to back pit crew MVP awards with their #4 and #41 teams.(Pit Talks)(12-9-2015)
SHR announces new crew chiefs for Stewart, Patrick: Stewart-Haas Racing has made new appointments within its competition department as the championship-winning race team wastes no time preparing for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Michael Bugarewicz has been promoted from race engineer on the #4 team to crew chief for the #14 team of Tony Stewart. The 33-year-old from Lehighton, Pennsylvania, replaces Chad Johnston, who has left SHR to pursue a new opportunity. Bugarewicz joined SHR in 2014 where in his role as race engineer, he helped Kevin Harvick secure his first Sprint Cup championship. Bugarewicz began his NASCAR career in 2005 at Roush-Fenway Racing in the engineering department, assisting a variety of teams as a race engineer in the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup Series. Before coming to SHR, Bugarewicz was the race engineer on Roush-Fenway's No. 17 team, where he worked with Matt Kenseth (2011-2012) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2013). Bugarewicz graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering (2004) and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering (2005).
Billy Scott has been named crew chief for the #10 team of Danica Patrick. The 38-year-old from Land O' Lakes, Florida, comes to SHR from Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) where since 2014 he was the crew chief for the No. 55 team, which featured drivers David Ragan, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip, among others. He also served as crew chief for MWR's #15 team and driver Clint Bowyer from June 2015 through the end of the season. Prior to that role, Scott was a race engineer working under crew chief Rodney Childers, who joined SHR in 2014 and promptly led Harvick to the Sprint Cup championship. Scott came to MWR in 2008 after working in a variety of racing disciplines, including NASCAR, sports cars and sprint cars. It was during his work in the Truck Series in 2003 when Scott decided to focus on engineering. He attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 2005.
Daniel Knost has been promoted to a senior leadership position within SHR. As manager of vehicle dynamics, Knost will oversee a number of the organization's technical efforts, with a specific focus on track simulation and racecar performance. The 36-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, has been a crew chief at SHR for two years, spending 2014 with the #41 team of Kurt Busch and 2015 with the #10 team of Patrick. Knost joined SHR in 2008 when it was Haas-CNC Racing after earning Master of Science and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Knost graduated from North Carolina State University in Raleigh in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.
Childers remains as crew chief for the #4 team of Harvick and Tony Gibson remains as crew chief for the #41 team of Busch.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(11-30-2015)
Best average finishes of 2015: Even if you win the most races in a year, you're not guaranteed a championship or the best average finish over the season's 36 races. Just ask #22-Joey Logano, who finished 2015 with the second best avg finish after winning six times. NASCAR Talk takes a look at the top 10 avg finishes among Sprint Cup drivers who competed in all 36 points races. 2015 Sprint Cup Champion #18-Kyle Busch missed the first 11 races of the season due to injury and finished with an avg finish of 10.8, which would be the third best. His brother, #41-Kurt Busch, missed the first three races due to suspension and finished the season with an avg of 11.1. That would tie him with the fifth best. Even with the Busch brothers removed, #20-Matt Kenseth, who was suspended for two Chase for the Sprint Cup races, would just miss out on the top 10 with his avg of 14.3.
#4-Kevin Harvick; 8.7 - Were you expecting someone else? Harvick won three times in 2015 but the real mark of his consistency was finishing second 13 times, the most since NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison did it 15 times in 1970. He topped his average from his championship year, which was 12.9. He also tied his best avg., also finishing with 8.7 in 2010. That year Harvick also won three races.
#22-Joey Logano; 9.2 - Logano, the wins leader in 2015 with six, earned a top-10 average for the first time in his seven full-time seasons. His average has risen every season since ending 2011 at 19.1.
#2-Brad Keselowski; 11.1 - Keselowski finished the year with just one win (Auto Club Speedway), but he also only fell victim to one DNF (engine failure, Daytona I). Thirty-five races later, the Team Penske driver had his best avg finish since the 10.1 he earned in his championship year in 2012.
See the rest at NBC Sports.(11-29-2015)
Mechanix Wear names their pit crew of the year: Mechanix Wear has named their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pit crew of the year. This year the award goes to the #41 of Stewart Haas Racing for driver Kurt Busch. Each quarter the crew chiefs voted on their pick of the best pit crew. At the end of the year the four pit crews that won each quarters voting were eligible for the year end award. This marks the second year in a row that Coach's Joe Piette and Kevin Sharpe of SHR have won this award. Last year the #4 of SHR won it and now the #41. Congrats to SHR and everyone involved in their pit department.
1st quarter: #20 Joe Gibbs Racing / Matt Kenseth
2nd quarter: #41 Stewart Haas Racing / Kurt Busch
3rd quarter: #19 Joe Gibbs Racing / Carl Edwards
4th quarter: #22 Team Penske / Joey Logano
Each quarterly winner received $5,000. The end of the year winner receives $100.000.
The #41 Stewart Haas Racing pit crew:
Pit Coaches: Joe Piette and Kevin Sharpe
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Gasman: Rick Pigeon
Front Tire Changer: Shane Pipala
Front Tire Carrier: Jon Bernal
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Rear Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Kurt Busch re-signs with Stewart-Haas Racing, sponsorship from Monster Energy: Monster Energy is moving to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series while Kurt Busch is staying at Stewart-Haas Racing. The energy drink manufacturer has teamed with Busch in a multiyear agreement that will see Monster Energy co-sponsor him and the #41 Chevy SS with Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion and owner of 27 career victories, will debut this new sponsorship during the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 Sprint Cup race weekend at Martinsville Speedway. The #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevy SS will then become a fixture beginning with the 2016 season, whereupon Monster Energy will be the alpha sponsor (hood) for 17 races and the bravo sponsor (quarter panel) for 18 races with one full primary race sponsorship.
"I'm very happy to be back with Stewart-Haas Racing and proud to take Monster Energy to the Sprint Cup Series," said Busch, who has won three races and three poles since joining SHR in 2014. "This is exactly where I want to be and I have two partners who want to win as much as I do."
Monster Energy passes on traditional forms of advertising and instead earns significant brand exposure through its roster of extreme athletes. Busch, renown for a tenacious driving style that has earned him multiple wins in a Sprint Cup career spanning more than 15 years, fits the bill for Monster Energy.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #41 team paint schemes page.(10-21-2015)
Congrats to Kurt Busch and girlfriend Ashley Van Metre on their engagement. Busch tweeted the news Wednesday evening. The couple have dated since last year. Van Metre is one of the top polo players in the United States.(8-27-2015)
Kurt Busch wins rain-shortened race at Michigan: #41-Kurt Busch won the Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway for his 2nd win of the season, 3rd win at Michigan and 27th career win. The race was called after 138 laps because of rain.
#88-Earnhardt, Jr finished 2nd, followed by #78-Truex, Jr., #20-Kenseth, #22-Logano, #2-Keselowski, #1-McMurray, #27-Menard, #6-Bayne, and #15-Bowyer.
Rain plagued the race all day. There were 3 red flags that lasted more than 2 hours before the race got to halfway. Another band of heavy rain hit on lap 137 and after another red flag, NASCAR called the race. The race is the first to be shortened because of rain since Daytona in July 2014.
Pole sitter #5-Kahne finished 15th. #18-Kyle Buch hit the wall on lap 54 and finished 43rd. Harvick had a tire go down late and finished 29th, only second finish outside the top 10 this season.
Harvick maintains the drivers points lead with 576, 15 points over #78-Truex, Jr.
There were 17 lead changes among 11 drivers. There were 5 cautions for 38 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 116.688mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(6-14-2015)
Driscoll being investigated by FBI, IRS: FBI and IRS officials are investigating Patricia Driscoll, former girlfriend of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, over allegations she has mishandled money as executive director of the multimillion-dollar Armed Forces Foundation, three sources told Outside the Lines. The investigation follows an Outside the Lines report on May 22 that detailed a host of questionable practices by Driscoll during her ongoing 12-year run as executive director of the foundation, which has ties to sports-related entities, including NASCAR. Driscoll also is facing a federal whistleblower complaint filed by a former foundation employee. Documents show that Patricia Driscoll, in effect, used the Armed Forces Foundation as a bank to lend money for or pay various personal expenses, including bills for a private company she owns. Driscoll has declined to be interviewed by Outside the Lines multiple times. A crisis communications firm hired by the foundation, though, and the foundation's general counsel have adamantly denied any wrongdoing on her part. After the Outside the Lines report published, the foundation and Driscoll hired Atlanta-based attorney L. Lin Wood to "evaluate potential libel claims for false and defamatory reporting," stating that "the one-sided reporting of ESPN makes accusations that are blatantly and demonstrably false." Spokespersons for the FBI and IRS declined to comment. See much more at ESPN.com.(6-13-2015)
Documents: Kurt Busch's ex-girlfriend used veterans' charity as bank: An ESPN Outside the Lines investigation has found several questionable practices at the Armed Forces Foundation charity under Patricia Driscoll's (CEO) direction in the past decade. Driscoll is the former girlfriend of NASCAR driver #41-Kurt Busch. The couple made headlines last year when Driscoll accused Busch of strangling her and smashing her head into a wall during an argument. Driscoll was recognized as president of the Armed Forces Foundation, a charity aligned with NASCAR and various sports-related entities that aims to help veterans in need. Documents show the Armed Forces Foundation has, in effect, been repeatedly used as a bank to lend money for or pay various personal expenses, including bills for a private company Driscoll owns. The foundation claims it spends 95 cents of every dollar raised on directly supporting service members and their families, but analysis of documents shows the figure is closer to 72 cents. Outside the Lines has learned, on Thursday morning a representative of a former foundation employee contacted the FBI in Washington, alleging that Driscoll broke laws while running the foundation.(see full story at ESPN.com)(5-22-2015)
Kurt Busch wins at Richmond: #41-Kurt Busch won the rain-delayed Toyota Owners 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway for his 1st win of the season, 2nd win at Richmond and his 26th career win. The race was originally schedueld to be ran on Saturday evening, but persistent race forced the postponement until Sunday afternoon.
#4-Harvick finished second, the rest of the top 10: #48-Johnson, #1-McMurray, #22-Logano, #5-Kahne, #20-Kenseth, #24-Gordon, #15-Bowyer, and #78-Truex, Jr.
#25-Chase Elliott, making his second Sprint Cup start, finished 16th.
Harvick continues to hold the Chase points lead. He and Johnson each have 2 wins on the season but Harvick has 357 points to Johnson's 299.
There were 12 lead changes among 5 drivers. There were 8 cautions for 53 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 97.157mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(4-26-2015)
Family court will not reopen Kurt Busch case: Kurt Busch's request to have his protective order hearing reopened by a Kent County Family Court commissioner was denied Tuesday. The decision by Commissioner David Jones, while not in Busch's favor, now allows Busch to proceed with his planned appeal of the decision to a family court judge. Busch's legal team filed the motion to reopen the hearing Feb. 19, four days after Jones granted the protective order and one day before Jones released his findings and conclusions on why he had determined that Busch had likely committed an act of domestic violence on ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. In the motion to reopen the hearing, Busch's legal team said it had three witnesses -- including Beverly Young, whom Driscoll has referred to as her mother although they are not biologically related -- who had come forward willing to testify to place doubt on Driscoll's testimony and show that Driscoll was out to ruin Busch. Jones denied the motion Tuesday, ruling that the witnesses could have been compelled to give depositions in December or January and that their testimony would not have changed his opinion. "The newly discovered evidence, when considered in the context of the evidence presented at trial, would not establish that [Driscoll] was motivated by desire to ruin [Busch] when she first reported the allegations of abuse," Jones wrote. Driscoll issued a statement Tuesday stating she was pleased with the decision.(ESPN.com)(3-17-2015)
Haas always believed Kurt Busch: Gene Haas said Sunday he never wavered in his support of Kurt Busch in the aftermath of the controversy over whether Busch assaulted ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll at Dover International Speedway in September. "I always believed Kurt," Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Haas told ESPN.com at the track Sunday morning. "I still believe him today." NASCAR suspended Busch two days prior to the Daytona 500 after a Delaware family court commissioner determined that Busch likely committed an act of domestic violence against Driscoll on Sept. 26. Haas said his primary frustration over his driver's NASCAR suspension was the timing of the legal decisions. "When he got pulled out at Daytona, that was pretty devastating. ... That was very upsetting," Haas said. "NASCAR was very up-front with us. They told us everything that was happening. I think they had to react. The upsetting part is that we just had no control over those things. We had no control over NASCAR, over the media, over the court systems. We were just adrift in a boat going down a rapid river, and we just had no idea what was going to happen."
Haas said he never got to the point of having to decide whether to shut down the #41 car that he sponsors through his company Haas Automation Inc. Regan Smith drove the car for the first three races of 2015. "I was always optimistic that things would work out, so I don't think I ever got to that point," Haas said. "Six months down the road, I probably would have had a different opinion. ... Things have kind of worked a little bit in our favor [now] even though they didn't work in our favor [initially]."
While suspended, Busch and Haas remained in contact. "We talked every few days just to see what was happening," Haas said. "We were all kind of waiting for something to occur so you can react to it. Kurt was always adamant that he was going to be cleared. He never varied on that. I believed him. He never said anything different from the first day all this occurred."(ESPN.com)(3-16-2015)
NASCAR Lifts Kurt Busch's Suspension; will be Chase-eligible: NASCAR announced that, effectively immediately, the indefinite suspension of Kurt Busch has been lifted. He is eligible to return to NASCAR racing under indefinite probation subject to additional mandatory requirements that include but are not limited to participation in a treatment program and full compliance with any judicial requirements placed upon him. On Feb. 20, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 car, was found to be in violation of:
• Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
• Section 12.8: Behavioral Penalty
The decision to lift the suspension was made by NASCAR after Kurt Busch:
• Complied with all requirements in its reinstatement program;
• Completed the mandatory behavioral assessment sessions; and
• The behavioral health care expert who conducted the sessions recommended to NASCAR that Kurt Busch be allowed to return to competition.
Kurt Busch now will undergo additional steps to address the behavior for which he was penalized.
The requirement that a driver must compete in all Championship Events of the current season to be eligible for The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has been waived for the period of Kurt Busch's suspension. Assuming he returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, Kurt Busch would have zero Championship points to date after missing the Daytona 500 and the two most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"As we stated last week, the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges removed a significant impediment to Kurt Busch's return to full status as a NASCAR member," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. "We therefore have decided to move him to indefinite probation and waive the Chase requirement. He has fully complied with our reinstatement program during his suspension and the health care expert who conducted his evaluation recommended his immediate return. "We have made it very clear to Kurt Busch our expectations for him moving forward, which includes participation in a treatment program and full compliance with all judicial requirements as a result of his off-track behavior."(NASCAR)(3-11-2015)
Kurt Busch will not be charged by the Delaware Attorney General's office: Kurt Busch will not be charged by the Delaware Attorney General's office. Attorney General Matt Denn's office declined to file charges stemming from a complaint filed in November by the driver's ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. Thursday's decision concludes a months-long investigation that has kept the NASCAR world guessing what would happen to the driver known as "The Outlaw."
"After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the Sept. 26 incident," Delaware Attorney General spokesman Carl Kanefsky said in an email. "Likelihood of meeting that high burden of proof is the standard for prosecutors in bringing a case. For this reason, the Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges in this case."
Driscoll, president of the Armed Forces Foundation and a defense contractor, alleges Busch grabbed her by the throat and slammed her head three times against the bedroom wall of his motor home during a race weekend in Dover. A Kent County Family Court commissioner ruled in favor of Driscoll last week and granted a protection order against the driver in a separate civil matter. NASCAR, acting off that civil decision, suspended the driver indefinitely, two days before the Daytona 500.
The order, which expires in 2016, stipulates that Busch has to stay 100 yards away from Driscoll, her home and workplace. At NASCAR races he has to maintain the maximum "practicable" distance from her and not attempt to contact her. "We're very disappointed that the Attorney General's office chose not to prosecute, but it only makes the order for the (protection order) that much more important," said Carolyn McNeice, Driscoll's attorney. "I understand their position, but I am disappointed."(Delaware News Journal)(3-5-2015)
AND The decision by the Delaware Attorney General's office, might not affect Busch in the interim because he's under suspension by NASCAR. The sport indefinitely suspended the Stewart-Haas Racing driver before the Daytona 500 -- a decision that was upheld on appeal -- after a family court commissioner issued a detailed opinion Feb. 20 saying that Busch had committed an act of domestic violence against Driscoll. NASCAR hasn't announced the guidelines for Busch's reinstatement but is using a domestic violence expert to help determine Busch's path. Busch has agreed to the NASCAR guidelines. The burden of proof is different in the criminal and civil cases that stem from this incident.(ESPN)(3-5-2015)
New Girlfriend for Kurt Busch: #41-Kurt Busch has a new girlfriend, moving on in his personal life even as legal issues stemming from a dispute with his ex linger. Busch posed for pictures with Ashley Van Metre at his #41 car throughout the weekend at Daytona International Speedway. He was all smiles before the Sprint Unlimited and Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying - and even directed some photographers into proper position for a better picture.(Associated Press)(2-16-2015)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Sunday, February 19, 2017, 3:00pm/et
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 25, 2017, TBA
Born in DECEMBER:
10 Mike 'Jimbo' Barrientos, Makayla Ann McSwain, Jerry Honeycut
11 Frankie Adamczyk, Mariah Belber, Eric McClure, Chris Horn, Tony Eury Sr., Jon Bernal
12 Ed Watkins, Rick Pennington, Emerson Fittipaldi
13 Army National Guard, Jim Vandiver, Jarrett Andretti, David Stover, Mark Nickels, Michael Mumford
14 NASCAR (meeting at Streamline Hotel), Alan Kulwicki, Hershel McGriff, Darrin Dykes, Steve Hmiel, Bob Tracey, Harry McMullen
15 Jeff Beck, Eli Gold, Lance McGrew
16 A.J. Allmendinger
17 Mike Beam, Dustin Long, Matt Martin, Montgomery Lee Petty, Bobby East
18 Ted Musgrave, Vic Irvan, Tom Polansky
19 Patty Moise, Paul Tracy, Sheldon Schrader, John Monsam
20 Erin Marco, Taylor Nicole Earnhardt, Kinsley Parsons
21 Daniel Knost, Travis Kittleson, Michael McDowell
22 David Pearson, Owen Larson
23 Fr. Steven Janoski, Greg Biffle, Peter Sospenzo, Ray Dunlap, Chris Cook, Addison Frye
24 David Ragan, Mike Curb, Krista Marie Allison, Mike Gooch
25 Jesus Christ, Charles Comstock, Randy Earnhardt, Jimmy Buffett, Starr Elliott, Butch Lamoreux, Curtis W. Key, Noel Schafer
26 Ben Kennedy, Blair Makenzie Nemechek, Josh Mick
27 Mike Laughlin, Don Radebaugh
28 Jack Ingram, Nelson Stacy, Brittany Wallace, Joyce Kearns
29 Waddell Wilson, Boston Reid, Mike Bagley, Owen Kearns Jr., Hal Martin, Jessica Stroupe, Harold Smith, Ray Kelly
30 Fred Lorenzen, L.D. Ottinger, Donnie Mergard, Ryan Hemphill, Kole Kahne, Cooper Berrier, Shane Huffman, Burt Myers
31 Ryan Blaney, Riley Craven, Benny Ertel, Joe Hicks, Dorthy Schrader, Beth Simons-Dykes, John Wes Townley