2015 Races  that Energizer is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Atlanta - 3/1
2015 Races [?] that Clorox is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
2015 Races [?] that AXE is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Contract Status: Driver: 2015+; Primary Sponsor, Target: 2015
Latest on Kyle Larson UPDATE2: #42-Kyle Larson watched Sunday's NASCAR race on a laptop in a hospital after failing to get medical clearance to drive after fainting during an autograph session. Larson was in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was taken for further testing. "He's good. No change since he woke up from fainting," team owner Chip Ganassi said from the IndyCar Series season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida. All tests have come back negative, and the team maintains Larson feels fine. But doctors at Carolina's Medical Center, where Larson traveled to by helicopter Saturday night after leaving Martinsville Memorial Hospital, are giving him a battery of tests. Larson is also seeing a neurologist in North Carolina as a precaution. "You are trying to do the right thing and you want to be safe, and you want to err on the side of safety," Ganassi said. "I want to respect the professionals and respect what they are saying, but we want to be realistic, too." Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon who works closely with many NASCAR teams, has visited Larson. A member of NASCAR's care center team also has assisted.(Associated Press)(3-30-2015)
UPDATE Larson still in hospital: As of 6:00pm/et Monday [March 30th], #42-Kyle Larson remains in a Charlotte hospital, where tests are ongoing to determine why he fainted during an autograph session Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. A spokesperson for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates told FOX Sports 1 reporter Alan Cavana that the team hoped Larson would be released sometime Monday night. The team spokesman said so far all of the tests have come back negative and that Larson is feeling well and in good spirits. Larson missed Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, where his seat was filled by Regan Smith, who finished 16th. With six races complete on the season, Larson is 24th in points.(FoxSports)(3-30-2015)
UPDATE2: Statement from Target Chop Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates regarding Kyle Larson: "After extensive testing and observation over the last few days, Kyle Larson was released from the hospital last night and has finished up final tests today. He is currently waiting for final doctor recommendations in order to clear him to return to all NASCAR related activities."(CGR)(3-31-2015)
Larson taken to hospital Saturday after fainting UPDATES: #42-Kyle Larson fainted toward the end of an autograph session at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday and had to be taken to a local hospital for evaluation. A Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates official told Alex Cavanna of FOX Sports that Larson was "being checked out at a local hospital. He was awake and alert on the way to the hospital." The Ganassi official added that the team believes he will be fine, although doctors were still completing their evaluation of him at the time the statement was made. The official also said that "at the moment," the team has "no reason" to believe Larson won't be in the #42 Ganassi Chevrolet for Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville.(FoxSports)(3-28-2015)
UPDATE: NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Larson will need to have "medical clearance from the attending physician" to race in Sunday's STP 500.(USA Today)(3-28-2015)
UPDATE 2: "After evaluating him, doctors at Martinsville Memorial Hospital felt that everything checked out well for Kyle Larson, however, just to be safe, they felt he should also be evaluated by a neurologist. Martinsville Memorial Hospital did not have one available so they decided to have Larson make the short trip to Carolina's Medical Center (CMC) in Charlotte to be evaluated by one. Larson arrived late this evening to Charlotte, feels fine and is just awaiting a final evaluation at CMC which we hope to have the results of later this evening."(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-29-2015)
UPDATE 3: After fainting yesterday at an autograph session in Martinsville, VA, Kyle Larson was first evaluated at a local hospital in Martinsville and ultimately evaluated at a Charlotte hospital. Although all tests came back negative and Larson feels completely fine, the doctors felt he should be held for more testing today. Subsequently, Larson will be unable to race today in the STP 500 in Martinsville. Regan Smith has agreed to fill-in for Larson today in the #42 Target Chevrolet SS.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-29-2015)
Chip Ganassi Racing expands into Red Bull Global Rallycross: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced the formation of a two-car team in the Supercar class of Red Bull Global Rallycross with new partner Loenbro and drivers Brian Deegan and Steve Arpin. CGRT joins the vibrant and growing series and looks to continue its history of on-track success while also complementing the team's continued focus on reaching millennials as a vehicle to grow interest in motorsports. CGRT joins forces with energy services and construction company Loenbro, which serves clients throughout the Rocky Mountain region and beyond, to field the two-car team out of CGRT's Concord, N.C.-based shop that houses their NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series programs. Founding brothers Paul and Jon Leach are entrepreneurs who built a company on a foundation of strong core values and a tireless effort to exceed clients' expectations, and have had life-long personal interests in the world of motorsports. The 16-time X-Games medalist Deegan will pilot the #38 RockStar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST, with teammate Arpin in the #00 ENEOS Ford Fiesta ST. Arpin will run the full 12-race calendar, with Deegan competing in seven races. The two will also compete in X Games Austin this summer as it returns to Circuit of the Americas from June 4-7.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-19-2015)
Chip Ganassi Racing makes changes on #42 pit crew: Chip Ganassi Racing has made major changes to one of their top cars. 4 of the 6 crewmen on #42-Kyle Larson have been moved to another team that CGR supplies crews for (#7, #46). Tire Changer Chris McMullen, Carrier Doug Riepe, Jackman Mark Jannsen and Changer Dennis Terry were all told this week that they would not be on the #42 in Las Vegas. No word which team these crew members went to.
Taking their places on the #42 CGR team will be Front Changer Nick Krizmanich, Jackman Graham Molach, Rear Changer Steve Tautges and Rear Carrier Gene Cornwell. Krizmanich is a veteran changer who spent time at JGR #11 and Team Penske #2 before heading over to CGR. Tautges has been with CGR for a few years now after making the switch from HMS and Gene Cornwell was a longtime carrier on the #24 until making his move to CGR this year. Front Carrier Aaron Schields will stay on the fronts for the #42 as well as longtime Gasman "Big" Ed Watkins. Supposedly veteran tire changer Dennis Terry has chosen not to be moved to another CGR team and is now a free agent.(PitTalks)(3-6-2015)
Larson talks about the new track bar setting: #42-Kyle Larson, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed the opening session of the test and other topics. The transcript in part:
TALK ABOUT YOUR CAR AND TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS WENT FOR YOU IN THE FIRST PART OF THIS TEST:
Larson: "We were all pretty anxious to get out there I think. This is really what I feel like is the start of our season because this is the majority of the size race tracks we run on. I was excited to get out there, first car out. The track had a lot of grip at first, so that is why Jamie (McMurray) and I are both up there I think. It was fast. I felt like the car really didn't drive much different here than how it did with the old rules package. This track is pretty tough to run on anyway. The characteristics between the way the cars handled were about the same. That is good, nice that Chip Ganassi Racing is one-two after this first test. I hope we can carry this speed on throughout the rest of the weekend and rest of the year."
DID YOU TRY THE ADJUSTABLE TRACK BAR AT ALL THAT YOU CAN WORK ON? HOW WAS THAT?
Larson: "Yeah, that last run I did. I had played with it before at other testing that we did at the end of last year. Really so far when I played with it I thought it affected my exit of the corner. Where I was hoping it would kind of free up my center of the corner. It didn't really touch that just got my exit really loose, when I went up with the track bar. I would say I learned that kind of stuff and how far you can go with it. I think that will be a really neat tool that we get to use as driver. Because when I ran midgets and stuff like that we had shock adjusters. In winged sprint cars you have wing valve adjusters. It is nice that they allow us to put a little bit more into the driver's hands."
DO YOU HAVE TO TELL THE CREW CHIEF WHAT YOU ARE DOING WITH THAT ADJUSTMENT OR DO YOU JUST DO IT?
Larson: "I think they can see it right now during the test on the screen. Yeah, once we get done with today I will have to remind them how far I'm moving it up or down. We have a little gauge on our screen that tells us how far we are moving it. It is easy to keep track."
WHERE DID YOU GUYS ELECT TO PUT THE SWITCH FOR THE TRACK BAR ADJUSTMENT AND HAS YOUR CREW CHIEF GIVEN YOU ANY INSTRUCTIONS OR ORDERS ON HOW MUCH YOU CAN USE IT?
Larson: "No, he hasn't given me any order on how far or how much I use it. I think that is all up to me right now. Maybe once I start going too far with it he will crack the whip. My gauge is right next to my seat on my left side, down near my leg brace, kind of. It is easy access. I don't know where other drivers have it, but that is where Jamie (McMurray) and I have ours."
IS IT A DIAL?
Larson: "It's just a switch. I push the switch forward to move it up and back to move it down."
IN ADDITION TO WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THE CAR INSIDE YOU ARE ALSO LOOKING AT A LOWER HORSEPOWER. DID THE CAR FEEL ANY DIFFERENT ON THE RACE TRACK BECAUSE OF THE CHANGE IN HORSEPOWER?
Larson: "I really didn't notice anything. I thought it still came up to speed pretty well. Maybe it doesn't carry to the end of the straightaway as hard as what it did before, but we have less downforce too, it still feels fast. Maybe once we get to like a Michigan or a track where we will probably run even more wide open now we will notice more. I really didn't notice much difference between this year versus last year."
GOING BACK TO THE TRACK BAR IS THAT SOMETHING YOU ANTICIPATE ADJUSTING SOME AS YOU GO IN A TIRE RUN OR DURING CAUTION OR TUNING YOURSELF UP FOR A GREEN/WHITE/CHECKERED? HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO USE IT DURING A RACE?
Larson: "Yeah, for sure, when I ran some testing with it at the end of last year I would do a 30 lap run and I would adjust it quite a bit. It just depends on how your car is handling. If your car is really good you might not touch it that much. As far as green/white/checkered and things like that I definitely think that will come into play. Where you either move it up or down or whatever it may be to get the most speed out of your car at the end."
DOES THIS MEAN WE WON'T SEE CREW MEMBERS FOOLING WITH THE TRACK BAR ADJUSTMENT DURING PIT STOPS?
Larson: "Well I think they can still make wedge adjustments and things like that. I think we will do the track bar ourselves. Yeah, I mean fewer mistakes on pit road probably since they will be doing fewer things. It is easier for us just to move a switch than for them to crank some rounds in it."(Team Chevy)(2-26-2015)
High-Performance Energizer EcoAdvanced AA Battery featured on #42 at Atlanta: As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) for the first race of the season at an intermediate track, and first race with the new rules package, Energizer is set to serve as the primary partner on Kyle Larson's #42 Chevy. Energizer will be highlighting a first. Following several years of development, Energizer recently introduced the EcoAdvanced AA battery, which is a first-of-its-kind battery made with four percent recycled battery material that delivers long-lasting power while creating less impact on the planet. Although this will only be the second time that Larson has raced the Energizer Chevy, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Energizer have enjoyed a strong relationship for nearly 20 years (Chip Ganassi Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #42 Team Schemes page.(2-25-2015)
Sabates closes Bentley dealership: For those who drive a Bentley, or hope to soon, High Point, NC is your likely destination, not Charlotte. Felix Sabates opened the first and only Bentley dealership in Charlotte in late 2013, but, as of last Friday, it's closed. In a letter dated Jan. 20, Sabates told customers, "My partners and I have decided after losing dollars above seven figures, it is in our best financial interest to discontinue the sale of Bentley automobiles in Charlotte. Bentley Motors makes great automobiles, but unfortunately a single high-end brand new car dealership cannot survive in this market, and we were limited by contract with our landlord with what brand of pre-owned cars we could sell." Sabates opened a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Pineville in 2006. Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera endorses the dealer in a series of local TV ads. An employee at the Mercedes dealership who answered the phone this afternoon said Bentleys will be repaired and maintained there. In his letter, Sabates mentions a request made to Bentley to allow him to service Bentleys in Charlotte. Bentley has had a dealership in High Point since 1963. Geoff Eade, who runs that dealership, threatened legal action against Sabates prior to the Charlotte dealership's opening. Eade opted against a lawsuit and Sabates spent $500,000 overhauling a former Mini dealership on Independence Boulevard to sell Bentleys.(Charlotte Business Journal)(2-4-2015)
Sabates guarantees his drivers will make the Chase: Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sabates has guaranteed that both #42-Kyle Larson and #1-Jamie McMurray will make the post-season Chase in 2015. The flamboyant Sabates took to the podium Thursday during NASCAR's pre-season Media Tour and predicted that his two-car team would secure a pair of Chase berths this season. "I've never guaranteed anybody anything in all the years I've been in racing," Sabates said. "But I'll guarantee you that both of these guys will be in the Chase."(MRN)(1-30-2015)
Chip Ganassi Racing wins Rolex 24 at Daytona: Scott Dixon drove a gritty and lengthy final leg Sunday to lead Chip Ganassi Racing and its "star car" to a record-breaking sixth victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The three-time IndyCar champion relieved Kyle Larson, NASCAR's reigning rookie of the year, with 3 hours, 32 minutes remaining in the twice-round-the-clock endurance race. Dixon was tasked with conserving fuel and making no mistakes in pursuit of the Rolex watch. The Iceman delivered, and made it look easy, too. He totaled more than seven hours behind the wheel of the Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley Prototype, and had teammates Larson, Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan watching with little worry as he closed out the victory. The win gave team owners Ganassi and Felix Sabates their sixth win in 12 Rolex attempts - most in the 53-year history of the race. It was the second win for Dixon, who was part of the 2006 victory with Casey Mears and Dan Wheldon. It was the first Rolex win for McMurray, Kanaan and Larson, who felt he was so underwhelming in his debut last season that he let his team down and never wanted to return to the sports car race. Instead, he drove his own impressive three-plus hour stint in the middle of the night, then put together a brief but error-free run Sunday morning to get the team into the time window to turn the car over to Dixon. McMurray joined AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win the Daytona 500 and the Rolex.(Associated Press)(1-25-2015)
Chili Bowl winner gets NASCAR ride: HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks announced that USAC National Midget champion and open wheel standout, Rico Abreu, will join the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East team in 2015. Abreu, 22, competed in more than 100 open-wheel races in 2014 in the United States and New Zealand. He posted 26 wins across 410 winged and non-winged sprint car, 360 winged sprints, and USAC midget competition in which he also won the national championship. Abreu most recently won the 2015 Chili Bowl Nationals last weekend. Abreu's #98 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East entry will be led by veteran K&N crew chief Mardy Lindley. Lindley has amassed five-career victories in three seasons, along with the 2013 K&N title with driver Dylan Kwasniewski. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season gets underway on February 15 at New Smyrna Speedway. Abreu will kick-start his experience in stock cars and on pavement by competing in the Pete Orr Memorial Super Late Model event also at New Smyrna Speedway this Saturday, February 24.(PR)
AND Sources tell ESPN The Magazine that these races will serve as the first stages of a driver development agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing, whom Larson drives for in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ganassi did little to keep the secret on Saturday night, following the Chili Bowl finish by excitedly posting in his second-ever (and since deleted) tweet: "There's a name you'll be hearing more of. Stay Tuned!" Also among the most notable post-Chili Bowl congratulatory tweets was one from NASCAR VP of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell: "Congrats @Rico_Abreu looking forward to seeing you in #nascar."(ESPN)(1-21-2015)
Abreu wins Chili Bowl: Rico Abreu scored one of the biggest wins of his racing career Saturday on one of short-track open-wheel racing's biggest stages. Abreu took first place with a bold pass of leader Bryan Clauson on the 27th of 55 laps and held on to win the Chili Bowl, one of the nation's major Midget races. It was the first Chili Bowl victory for Abreu, who runs both sprint-car and Midget series. Former Chili Bowl champion Kevin Swindell finished second after he made mid-race contact with his father, Sammy, also a previous Bowl winner. Damion Gardner was third. Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson, a teammate of Abreu's, spun out twice during the race and finished seventh.(USA Today), J.J. Yeley finished 17th and Chad Boat was 21st in the final.(1-18-2015)
Several NASCAR connections in the Chili Bowl UPATE: Three Sprint Cup drivers are among those with NASCAR ties entered in this week's Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, one of the biggest annual events for racers of sprint midget cars. Cup drivers #42-Kyle Larson, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and JJ Yeley will compete in the event at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa. Qualifying races to set up the lineups for Saturday's championship day will run Tuesday-Friday for the more than 300 drivers in the event. Larson, Stenhouse and Yeley also will compete in a 16-driver invitation-only all-star event Tuesday night. Among those in the invitation-only event is four-time Chili Bowl champion Kevin Swindell, who has competed part-time in the XFINITY Series. Former Cup and Xfinity Series driver Kenny Wallace is competing for the first time in the event. Among other drivers with NASCAR connections competing are Xfinity drivers Tanner Berryhill and Ryan Ellis and Camping World Truck Series driver Cole Custer.(Sporting News)(1-13-2015)
UPDATE: Kyle Larson scored his second checkered flag of 2015 by winning the opening night of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. After winning the second round of the Winter Heat Showdown at Cocopah Speedway on Jan. 3, Larson showed no signs of slowing down. He rebounded from a Heat Race crash in Tuesday's qualifying night at the Tulsa Expo Center to win the C, B and A-Features. The "A" victory locked Larson into Saturday night's championship event. "I thought it'd be tough to get to the 'A'," Larson said. "I could get through the 'C' and thought it would be close on getting to the 'A' from the 'B'. If I was to get to the 'A', I thought if I could finish in the top-six or seven, it would be a solid recovery. Everything seemed to fall my way after that Heat Race accident." Qualifying for the 29th Chili Bowl Midget Nationals continues Wednesday with 82 drivers scheduled to qualify.(Motor Racing Network)(1-14-2015)
Felix Sabates honored by Allegro Foundation: The Allegro Foundation and its board of directors will [honored] NASCAR team owner Felix Sabates at its sixth annual Ambassador's Ball Saturday night at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. The foundation combines movement instruction with medical and educational expertise to create new techniques to teach children with disabilities and enhance their quality of life. The foundation [honored] Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, for his support for the organization over the past decade. All proceeds from the ball go directly to Allegro's free movement education programs for more than 700 children with disabilities throughout the Charlotte and Fort Mill, S.C., areas.(Charlotte Observer)(1-11-2015)
Jack Men changes so far in 2015 season: There are a lot of teams making moves in the off season and the Jack Man position seems to be one that is getting a lot of attention. Below is a list of changes for 2015 with more to come.
#5 of HMS replaces Jack Man Trey Burklin with long time HMS Jack Man Eric Ludwig
#9 of RPM replaces Kevin Wing with Gabe Martin from the #10 team
#10 of SHR-We arn't sure about this but we heard Tony Cardamone will be replacing Gabe Martin who is now at the #9
#18 of JGR replacing retired Jeff Fender with David Odell from the #78
#19 of JGR has hired Trey Burklin from the #5
#27 of RCR replacing Carey Wimbish with Sam Abney
#42 of GR is replacing long time Jack Man Mark Jacobs with Mark Janssen
#43 of RPM is replacing Mike Brown with T.J. Ford from the #48
#78 of Furniture Row is replacing David Odell-who left for the #18- with Carey Wimbish from the #27.(Pit Talks)(1-6-2015)
Larson Wins Wild Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown Slide Fest on Night 2 : Kyle Larson outlasted sprint car veterans Stevie Smith and Danny Lasoski in an epic duel on the dirt Saturday in the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown at Cocopah Speedway, which hosts the midpoint of the five-race event next Tuesday. "It ranks right up there mainly because I haven't been in a sprint car in a long time," Larson said after securing the $12,000-to-win top prize. "To beat Danny Lasoski and Stevie Smith in a duel like that was pretty amazing. I think it's a great event. It's a great race track. The purse is really good. I think this event will grow each year."(Inside Line Promotions)(1-5-2015)
Sad News: #42-Kyle Larson's grandmother passed away on Tuesday, December 30th. From Kyle Larson's Twitter: "RIP Grandma Patty. I know you missed Grandpa and couldn't wait to be with him again in heaven. I love you guys!" )(1-5-2015)
Congrats to #42-Kyle Larson and fiance Katelyn Sweet on the birth of their son, Owen Miyata Larson, born Monday night at 11:09pm. He was 7 pound 14 ounces and 19 1/2 in. long.(12-23-2014)
Larson, McMurray running Rolex 24 for Ganassi: Seven-time IMSA Champions and five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced the fielding of two Prototypes for the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring eight drivers that represent some of the best talent the motor racing world has to offer. Veteran Scott Pruett and new teammate Joey Hand will unite with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams' Verizon IndyCar Series race-winner Charlie Kimball and CGRT development driver Sage Karam to form the lineup in the #01 Ford EcoBoost/Target Riley, while CGRT Verizon IndyCar Series Champions and Indianapolis 500 Winners Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan join CGRFS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series reigning Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NSCS race-winner Jamie McMurray in the #02 Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley. The 2015 CGRFS Rolex 24 At Daytona driver roster is an impressive group of international racing champions representing two Indianapolis 500 titles (Dixon-2008, Kanaan-2013), a Daytona 500 (McMurray-2010), four Verizon IndyCar Series Championships (Dixon-2003, 2008, 2013 and Kanaan-2004), seven Prototype Championships (Pruett-2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), and four Rookie of the Year honors in their respective series (Kanaan-1999, Dixon-2001, McMurray-2003, Larson-2014). The group brings with them 144 total wins.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(12-19-2014)
Target Shifting Funds, one Indycar team; one NASCAR team: Three-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon will return for a 14th season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, though he will be one of only two drivers piloting the red and white bulls-eye cars next year. Target will go from two sponsored IndyCar entries to just one in 2015 as the retailer shifts spending to promoting its drivers. Target also sponsors #42-Kyle Larson, who just wrapped up NASCAR's top rookie honors in the Sprint Cup Series. "We are just reallocating dollars, there's no difference in anything else," said Dan Griffis, vice president of experiential marketing and alliances at Target. "I would put our investment in racing as the only full-time sponsor in both IndyCar and NASCAR, against any other sponsor in the sport." Ganassi and Target celebrated their 25th anniversary this year. The partnership began in open wheel, eventually grew to the sponsorship of two IndyCar entries, and expanded into both NASCAR as a primary sponsor and sports cars as an associate sponsor. "You don't know how fortunate I feel to begin another season partnering with Target in both IndyCar and NASCAR," Ganassi said Tuesday. "They have been far more than a partner for a very long time and have been so committed to the sport of auto racing. I am also very much looking forward to their new marketing campaign that supports the racing program. I know it will be fantastic." But as the retailer increased spending on the sponsorship of cars, it got away from the popular commercials it produced in the 1990s starring Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Montoya and an occasional cameo by Ganassi. Target will now try to recapture some of that buzz in new marketing strategies that will debut next year and feature Dixon and Larson. Griffis said the two drivers will not appear together in any broadcast spots, but each ad will have different versions.(Associated Press)(12-10-2014)
NASCAR Next Alumni Sweep Sunoco Rookie of the Year Awards: For the first time since the NASCAR Next initiative was created in 2011, three of its alumni captured the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Awards in NASCAR's national series. Kyle Larson took home the honor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Chase Elliott added the accolade to his resume in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Ben Kennedy earned the recognition competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
"The 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year class is a testament to the massive effort put towards developing our next generation of stars through the NASCAR Next initiative," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president of Industry Services. "We congratulate all three honorees and look forward to watching them accomplish great things in the future."
The winner of last season's NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, Larson, 22, is only the sixth driver to also claim the honor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He defeated runner-up Austin Dillon by 88 points behind eight top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. A graduate of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity (D4D) program, Larson placed second in three races and won a Coors Light Pole Award. He pilots the #42 Target Chevrolet SS for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Elliott - 18 years, 11 months and 18 days - became the youngest and first rookie champion in NASCAR national series history when he captured the NASCAR Nationwide Series title. The #9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet driver won three races and ended his season on a streak of 14 top-10 finishes. A native of Dawsonville, Georgia, Elliott will return to the series next season to defend his title. He finished 47 points ahead of second-place Ty Dillon in the final NNS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award standings.
Kennedy, 22, was the highest rookie finisher in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series-best eight races. Kennedy tied Tyler Reddick atop the rookie standings, winning the tiebreaker thanks to a final championship points position of ninth. Kennedy drove his #31 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado to a career-best third-place finish at Martinsville in March.
"Sunoco has been a proud supporter of NASCAR's rising stars through the Sunoco Rookie of the Year program for the past decade," said Cynthia Archer, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Sunoco. "This year's award winners represent the youthful exuberance and competitive drive that define this award and we couldn't be more excited to see what the future holds as their careers advance."(NASCAR)
See the 2014 Rookie of the Year page for rules, standings and more.(11-17-2014)
Larson Comments on Newman's Move UPDATE...more: #42-Kyle Larson called #31-Ryan Newman's last-lap actions Sunday "a little upsetting" but said he understood Newman's desperation and "can't fault him for being aggressive there.'' Needing to pass Larson to secure the final spot in the championship round, Newman dive-bombed the rookie on the last lap at Phoenix International Raceway. Newman's car slid up the track and hit Larson's car, sending it toward the wall. That allowed Newman by, giving him a shot at the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. By advancing, Newman eliminated #24-Jeff Gordon from title contention. "Coming to the finish, there were a lot of cars racing really hard,'' Larson said in a statement provided to Motor Racing Network by Chip Ganassi Racing. "I knew (Newman) was right around me and knew he needed to gain some spots to keep from getting eliminated from the Chase. It's a little upsetting he pushed me up to the wall, but I completely understand the situation he was in and can't fault him for being aggressive there. I think a lot of drivers out here would have done something similar if they were in that position."(Motor Racing Network)(11-10-2014)
More comments: Larson, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed his conversation with Ryan Newman this week, the transcript in part:
Q) DO YOU WANT TO KICK RYAN NEWMAN'S BUTT AFTER LAST WEEK?
Larson: "No, I didn't want to kick his butt. He called me this week and we talked. I told him I was upset for 10 minutes then I realized Ryan (Newman) knew what was on the line for him. I think there are a lot of people out here that probably would have done the same thing that he did. At least he is in the Chase; it would be a great move if he goes on to win the championship. Like I said, I get over things pretty quickly."
Q) WOULD YOU HAVE DONE THE SAME THING IF YOU WERE IN HIS POSITION?
Larson: "It's hard to really say until you are in that position. I got a ton of criticism a couple of years ago when I did an even probably worse move at a late model race. Yeah, I don't know, it's hard to say, but there is a ton on the line at that point."
Q) DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE STILL LEARNING WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE?
Larson: "Yeah, maybe a little bit. I think in the Cup series most people race with respect, so I think I've gotten a lot better with that throughout my career so far, last year in Nationwide and this year in Cup. I feel like I've gotten a lot better with give and take and things like that. With this new format it kind of throws a little different curve into it, where in the Chase each race is so important, so you see people take chances like that. Yeah, it's hard to say if you would do the same thing in that point in time."
Q) AFTER LAST WEEK WITH WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND (RYAN) NEWMAN IN THE CLOSING LAPS ON SUNDAY IF YOU ARE RACING AROUND ONE OF THOSE FOUR WHAT DO YOU DO?
Larson: "I just race them how I have raced them all season long I think. Hopefully I don't get into any of them. I got into Ty Dillon here a couple of years ago and he was going for a Truck championship and I felt horrible after that. I don't want to go through that again. I'm going to try my best to get a win and if they are in front of me I'm definitely going to try and pass him, but not do anything stupid or crazy to ruin their chances of winning a championship. Because none of them have won a championship so I know how much it means to them."
Q) YOU TALKED TO RYAN VIA PHONE?
Larson: "Yeah, he called me Tuesday maybe."
Q) HOW DID THAT GO? WHAT WAS THE TONE LIKE?
Larson: "Oh it was fine. He said he was waiting for a coyote to stick it's head out so he could shoot it. He said he was out there on his farm, but I mean like I said I was upset for 10 minutes and I was over it. I understood the situation and what was at stake for him. He just kind of explained himself. I was totally fine. I like (Ryan) Newman a lot. I think he's a great driver. He came from an open wheel background so I have kind of always been a fan of his. Like I said I was over it pretty quick."(Team Chevy)(11-15-2014)
Chip Ganassi Racing signs PNC as sponsor: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. announced a new multi-year sponsorship agreement. The agreement is the second between Ganassi and PNC, which have also had a banking relationship that goes back 25 years. With the wide range of racing that CGRT participates in across three national touring series of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), the Verizon IndyCar Series and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSC), the agreement provides PNC with business development and client entertainment opportunities throughout the year. The agreement will focus on the following five racing markets in 2014: Indianapolis, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte and Richmond, Va. PNC, which has a business presence in all five regions, will use the high interest in auto racing and the CGRT relationship to offer unique events and behind-the-scenes activities to clients and prospects.(CGR)(5-23-2014)
Target CGR Partners With the Oscar Mayer: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (TCGRFS) has partnered with the Oscar Mayer brand to help introduce P3 Portable Protein Pack to the NASCAR community. The packs of meat, cheese and nuts are designed for active consumers looking for a snack to help keep them going throughout the day. It is a perfect fit with the on-the-go lifestyle of NASCAR drivers and crews. Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevy, and his pit crew will be carrying the P3 Portable Protein Pack branding on their familiar Target uniforms and car throughout the Southern 500 weekend in Darlington, SC, while Oscar Mayer P3 Portable Protein Pack will use the backdrop of a NASCAR race weekend to teach fans the virtues of the P3 Portable Protein Pack product.(CGR)(4-12-2014)
Ganassi explains why 'Earnhardt' is no longer part of team name: For the first time since 1996, there will not be a team in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series with "Earnhardt" in its corporate name. The string began in 1996 when the late Dale Earnhardt formed Dale Earnhardt Inc. In less than a decade, it had become one of the premier teams in Cup competition, with son and namesake Dale Earnhardt Jr. as its on-track figurehead. But once Junior left DEI for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, the once-feared company began by the man they called The Intimidator began to slowly disappear. Now, the Earnhardt corporate name is essentially extinct. After an ill-fated and short-lived merger with Ginn Racing in mid-2007, team owner Teresa Earnhardt lent her company's name and some of its assets to fellow team owner Chip Ganassi, forming Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2009. In the year before Junior left the family fold, Earnhardt's widow also lent her late husband's surname to Richard Childress Racing to form a new business - known as Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technology - designed to build motors for both RCR and other teams that would lease the engines. But as the Earnhardt name lived on with other teams, Teresa Earnhardt withdrew more and more from being active in racing. She continued to oversee the still-thriving souvenir business that memorialized her late husband and kept his name and legend alive, but that was about it.
Now in 2014, what was Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for the last five seasons has reverted back to its original name prior to joining forces with Earnhardt, namely Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. And what was Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technology has quietly become simply ECR, with a team source telling MotorSportsTalk that "the E no longer stands for anything. It doesn't stand for Earnhardt. It's just ECR now."
Ganassi spoke to MotorSportsTalk at Daytona International Speedway on Friday about how the relationship with Teresa Earnhardt essentially disappeared with time, to the point where it no longer made sense to keep her late husband's surname as part of the team. "I wish I could explain it but I can't explain it," Ganassi said. "I don't have a good answer for you. We had a relationship and I don't know what happened. We can't get her on the phone; it's hard to try to communicate with somebody. She obviously has some other things on her plate, I guess, and that's her prerogative. She was never active in the team. I think she wanted to keep the name out there to some extent, and I don't know what Richard's (Petty) relationship is there (to Richard Petty Motorsports), but it's kinda the same thing. There's no ill will, I just don't have an answer, to tell you the truth. She just wasn't there anymore."(NBC Sports)(2-22-2014)
Chip Ganassi changes team name, drops Earnhardt from NASCAR operation: When Sprint Cup testing begins Thursday morning at Daytona International Speedway, there will be one well-known NASCAR name missing among the list of team owners. Earnhardt. The #1 and #42 Sprint Cup teams, which were run the last five years under the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates banner, will now return to their former name: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The sign outside the North Carolina shop already has been changed, and stickers on the cars and patches on the driver and crew uniforms will carry the Chip Ganassi logo instead of the EGR logo. Ganassi officials confirmed the change Wednesday but had no comment on the financial structure of the current organization, which fields Sprint Cup cars for Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson. Teresa Earnhardt, widow of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., has not been involved in the day-to-day operations of the team and with the change apparently no longer has any financial stake in the NASCAR operation. There will be no change in the operation of the Ganassi teams, as Teresa Earnhardt has had little influence on the organization's day-to-day operations. Ganassi began using Hendrick Motorsports engines in 2013 in its two Cup cars.(in part from the Sporting News)(1-9-2014)
Montoya moving to IndyCar with Penske: Team Penske announced that Juan Pablo Montoya will join the team in 2014. Montoya will drive the #2 Team Penske IndyCar for the full season as he will join Will Power and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the team's IZOD IndyCar Series lineup beginning next season. Montoya, 37, is a native of Colombia and he is one of the most accomplished drivers in the world. His career highlights include race wins in Formula One, NASCAR and the CART Indy Car Series. He is the only driver to produce victories in the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya earned 11 IndyCar wins over two seasons as he captured the CART Series title in his rookie season of 1999 followed by a victory in the Indy 500 in 2000.
"I am really excited to join this legendary team beginning next year," said Montoya. "I have had the opportunity to drive for some of the best racing teams in the world and I have always admired Roger Penske and his organization. I consider it an honor to be offered the opportunity to drive for Team Penske."
"Juan is a proven winner at all levels of motorsport," said Roger Penske. "He has won a lot of races and championships and he has an extremely passionate fan base. We look forward to building on his successes together and we believe he will be a great addition to Team Penske."(Penske Racing)(9-16-2013)
Earnhardt Ganassi switching to Hendrick engines: The "Earnhardt" in Earnhardt-Childress Racing won't use the company's engines beginning in 2013. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will use motors leased from Hendrick Motorsports starting next season, a team representative told reporters at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. The move is surprising considering ECR was formed as a joint engine-building effort between Earnhardt Ganassi and Richard Childress Racing. EGR has struggled over the last two seasons with drivers #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #1-Jamie McMurray, and team owner Chip Ganassi apparently felt a change was necessary in the engine program. RCR team owner Richard Childress said he wasn't surprised by Ganassi's decision to pull out of ECR and said he's been aware of the possibility for quite some time. Childress said his team will have "a couple" new customers next season - though he wouldn't say who - and also has an existing sponsor in Furniture Row Racing. ECR will retain its name because the teams "have a different relationship with the engines," Childress said.(SB Nation)(11-2-2012)
Born in MARCH
31 Angus Young, Richard Jackson, Scott Houston, Dana White, Rocky Ryan
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1 David Gilliland, Ruben Garcia, Kim Irvan
2 Sam Johns, Dan Pardus, Ricky Hendrick, Brain Franklin
3 Speedy Thompson, Doug Duchardt, Shorty Rollins, Jeff Wernham
4 Bill France Jr., Justin Alexander, Justin Diercks, Robert Richardson, Scott Brzozowski
5 Mike Bliss, Buffy Waltrip, Brandy Wallace, Eric Kerley
6 Herb Thomas, Ken Bouchard, Jeffrey Overcash, Chris Carrier, Ramo Stott, George Elliott
7 Billy Mauldin, Loy Allen Jr., Chandler Parrott, Brittany Elliott, Russell Crowe, Bill Carpenter, Kristen Eversole
8 Matt Yocum, Bill Fleischman, Monte Dutton, Butch Mock, Junie Donlavey, Eddie Wood, Robert Pressley, Mark Green, Kathy Ehret, Connie Champion, Ryan Eversole
9 Suzanne Belber, Ed Schafer, Jacques Villeneuve, Jamie Little, Chuck White, Hunter Nicole Dodson, Richard Brown
10 John Dowd, Steve Bisciotti, Kasey Kahne, Robby Pearson, Neil Castles Jr., D.K. Ulrich, Tom Dignan Sr
11 Karsyn Jarrett, Bass Master, Al Keller
12 Mike Calinoff, Tim McCreadie, Lori Lucus, Richard Hutcherson Jr., Bob Strait, Duane Cross, Curtis Turner
13 Dr. Joe Mattioli, Dalton Buice, Dan Gurney, Mike Ford, Jessica Punch
14 Tony Raines, Steve Byrnes
15 Bobby Hutchens, Marty Smith, Kevin Conway, Jason Rudd, Brian Holshouser
16 Alicia Lingerfeldt, Bob Flock, Matt Dusenberry
17 Tony Glover, Len Wood, Brandon Thomas, Carl Larson, Brooke McReynolds, Carol Mears, Reid Spencer
18 Geoff Bodine, Tyler Labonte, Kale Kahne, Jim Noble, Melanie Self
19 Robert Yates, Richard Yates, Jack Roush, Greg Erwin, Kevin Grubb, Al Unser Jr., Aaron Keuhn
20 Frank Stoddard, James Barnwell, Ron Barfield, Adrian Fernandez, Dustin Skinner/P>
21 Bill Ingle, Bruce Silver, Bob Varsha, Greg Zipadelli, Ralph Seagraves
22 Wesley Gantt, Stella Paysor, Raygan Swan
23 U.S. Army Reserve, Brian Whitesell, Jason Keller, Phil Gould, Joe Keller, Skip Manning, Terry Glotzbach, P.J. Jones, Tommy Croft, Charles Gafrarar, William Shakespeare, Jacob Meetze
24 Hermie Sadler, Paul Wolfe, Harrill Hamrick, Stephanie Hillin, Amanda Lorenzen
25 Alex Bowman, Jason Lee, Alkie Cunningham
26 Martha Oliver, Jimmy Kitchens, Charles Moles
27 Shelly Bose, Jason Haynes, Austin Dillon, Jason Sheets
28 Tyler Hmiel, Jeff Neuendorf, Zach Case
29 Dale Earnhardt, Larry Frank, Angie Skinner, Chad Little, Jerry Schweitz, Alexandria Fennig
30 Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Millikan, Amelia Joy Smith, Chris Browning, Ashton Glover, Frank Kimmel