Races  that NAPA Auto Parts is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 2016:
1) Daytona - 2/21
2) Atlanta, 2/28
3) Las Vegas, 3/6
4) Phoenix - 3/13
5) Auto Club - 3/20
6) Texas - 4/9
7) Talladega - 5/1
8) Kansas, 5/7
9) Dover, 5/15
10) Charlotte - 5/29
11) Pocono - 6/5
12) Michigan - 6/12
13) Kentucky - 7/9, Patriotic
14) New Hampshire - 7/17
15) Indianapolis, 7/24
16) Pocono - 7/31
17) Bristol - 8/20
18) Michigan - 8/28
19) Darlington, 9/4, throwback
20) Chicago - 9/18
21) New Hampshire - 9/25
22) Talladega, 10/23
23) Martinsville - 10/30
24) Homestead - 11/20
Info from NAPAonline.com
Races  that 3M is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 2016:
1) Martinsville - 4/3
2) Charlotte, Sprint Showdown - 5/20
3) Sonoma - 6/26
4) Richmond - 9/10
5) Charlotte - 10/8
Races  that SunEnergy1 is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 2016:
1) Daytona - 7/2
2) Watkins Glen - 8/7
3) Kansas - 10/16
4) Phoenix - 11/13
Races  that Kelley Blue Book is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 2016:
1) Bristol - 4/17
2) Texas - 11/6
Races  that Mountain Dew is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 2016:
1) Richmond - 4/24, Baja Blast
2) Dover - 10/2
Contract Status: Driver: 2016+; Primary Sponsors: NAPA Auto Parts 2016?; 3M 2017; Kelley Blue Book 2017; Mountain Dew/Pepsi 201?
Mountain Dew scheme returns for Elliott: After the first trip of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career to Dover, earlier this season, #24-Chase Elliott walked away with a third-place finish. When the series returns to the First State in October, Elliott will be looking to do even better. In the October race, Elliott will have an extra kick in his step since he will be "fueled" by Mountain Dew. The citrus soda will serve as the primary sponsor on his #24 Chevy (Lionel Racing), see images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page (8-24-2016)
Chase Elliott featured in magazine: Chase Elliott's photo has hit newsstands in Georgia this summer as he graces the cover of Georgia Magazine's August issue. Earlier this year, Elliott talked with his home state magazine on growing up in Georgia, his parents' role in his success thus far and racing for Hendrick Motorsports. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is accompanied in the issue by fellow Georgian athletes Reese Hoffa, Jenny Arthur and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock - all of whom are competing in the Rio Olympics.(HMS)(8-18-2016)
Hendrick helps Summer Camp Fund reach its goal: NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick has donated $34,000 to The Charlotte Observer's Summer Camp Fund, the amount needed to help the fund reach its goal to give more children a chance to go to camp next year. Hendrick, last year's honorary chairman of the annual fundraising drive, said he came to realize how important it is to give children from low-income families the experience and opportunities that summer camp offers. "Over the last few years, our family has learned so much about issues impacting our young people," Hendrick said in a statement. "The success of the Summer Camp Fund really highlights the generosity and compassion of our community, and we've been proud to join with so many of our neighbors in supporting it." As of Friday, the Summer Camp Fund received donations totaling more than $190,000, which enables the non-profit to qualify for an additional $25,000 grant from the Leon Levine Foundation.(Charlotte Observer)(8-6-2016)
Hendrick Motorsports looking for 1000th top-5 UPDATE: Cars fielded by Hendrick Motorsports have recorded 999 top-five finishes since the team was founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984. The owner's first Sprint Cup top-five also was his first win -- with driver Geoff Bodine on April 29, 1984, at Martinsville Speedway. This season, the organization has recorded 19 top-fives among its four drivers. Hendrick Motorsports posted a team record 57 top-five finishes in 2007.(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-21-2016)
UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson's 3rd place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday was Hendrick's 1000th top-5.(7-25-2016)
Four Rookies wreck at Kentucky, comments from each: Four of the five rookie of the year candidates had issues in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night: #21-Blaney, #24=Elliott, #34-Buscher and #44-Scott were involved in accidents. On lap 89, #21-Ryan Blaney got stuck in the middle between #24-Elliott on the top and #16-Biffle who was below the #21. Blaney and Elliott made contact, sending both backing into the wall. Then, on Lap 93, #44-Scott got loose, then made contact with #42-Larson, sending the #44 sliding. #34-Buescher had no place to go and hit the #44 Ford sending it into the inside wall. #47-Allmendinger and #95-Dillon were also involved. Comments/Quotes from each:
Q) YOUR CREW IS MAKING REPAIRS, BUT TAKE ME THROUGH WHAT HAPPENED. DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE GOING THREE-WIDE?
Elliott: "Yeah, kind of at the last second I heard them say three, and I really didn't know how that was going to work. And there's really not enough room. I felt like I was I was about at the top of the gray; or the bottom of the gray; as about at the top as I could be without getting up in the mess. I tried to give as much room as I could do as possible. That's racing, I guess. We'll just try to go get 'em next week. The good news is we had a fast NAPA Chevy; the bad news is that we've had three bad weeks in a row. So, for us; we've just got to go back and get the job done, bottom line. So, we'll try again next week."
Q) WE JUST SAW ANOTHER BIG WRECK THAT TOOK OUT A LOT OF CARS. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO TRY AND MAKE THE REPAIRS AND GET BACK OUT?
Elliott: "Well, it's definitely important. It's not as important as winning. That's the most important thing, for us, at this point. That's our goal. Just because we had a bad night tonight doesn't mean our goal has changed. So, we'll try to get 'em next week."
Q) WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THAT ALL TRANSPIRED?
Elliott: "Just being top of (Turn) 3 and there is really not enough room to be three-wide, so I heard at the last second we were three-wide and I had a feeling that we were just because we got bottled up there off of (Turn) 2. I tried to give as much room as I possibly could to stay at the top of the black and out of the grey. I didn't know how much further out I could get without wrecking myself without any help. I guess Ryan (Blaney) just got loose and got us, but that is racing. The good news is we had another fast car, the bad news that is the third bad week in a row. We will try to regroup and go get 'em wherever we go next."
Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
Elliott: "Just got three-wide, had a bad corner there in (Turn) 2 and got us bottled up. Once that happened guys obviously tried to pounce and make things happen. For me, I was kind of the guy on the outside lane. I tried to get out as far as I felt like I could without getting up in the grey. I know every time somebody has got in the grey this weekend it has been bad news. I was trying to stay out of that myself. I guess Ryan (Blaney) got loose in the middle and that is an easy thing to do. It's slick." Q) HOW SLICK WAS IT? WAS THE DRIVING TONIGHT AS CRAZY AS EVERYBODY THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE?
Elliott: "It's just such a fine line. There is just not a lot of room for error. The groove is so narrow that if you make a mistake you just kind of have to stop in your tracks. You can't necessarily slide up and gather yourself back up in a wider spot. You just kind of have to try to keep it wherever you are and obviously the people coming behind you. That is part of it I guess and like I said we will try to come back and have a better week next week."(Team Chevy)
#21-Ryan Blaney: "That restart was pretty hectic from the beginning with the 78 getting loose and it kind of put everybody in a bad spot, and it wound up with us being in the middle of three-wide into three. It's so hard to get into that corner all night with a car close to behind you and outside of you, and no one lifting either, and it's just an unfortunate spot we got put in and I hate to see two really good cars tore up. We were both very fast tonight (24 and 21) and it's just a really unfortunate deal, but we'll try to get it fixed and get back out there and make some laps."
#34-Chris Buescher: "I was really happy with our Love's Ford Fusion. Our fire-off speed was excellent and this was the best car we've had all year. The guys did a heck of a job. Unfortunately, the call was made to run practice during our qualifying time and we started by points. We've had three of these situations at superspeedways already this year and just didn't put us in a good place for the start and the pit selection wasn't good because of it, and we ended up in a bad spot because of it. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Q) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TRACK TONIGHT?
Buescher: "They did a good job with the repave. The track is a lot of fun to drive. Everybody keeps begging for less and less downforce, and we keep seeing more and more incidents because of it. I think it has made better racing at a lot of race tracks, but it's not easy to get into turn three here side-by-side."
#44-Brian Scott: "The 11 was pretty tight on my door and I had the 42 up my bumper there on that restart and these cars are pretty difficult to drive when you're in that type of situation. I was expecting it and when it happened I thought I had it saved. I was just trying to gather it back up and lose the spots we were gonna lose, but go on and then some cars barreled in pretty fast from behind and caused a pile up. It started with me. It's a product of new paves. You just don't have any room and everybody holds each other really tight, and it's just difficult. This low downforce package is racing really well, but it doesn't really matter what downforce package you have when you've got two cars really tight on you from behind and on the side you just have no air on your car and there was nothing I could do."(Ford Performance)(7-9-2016)
Patriotic paint scheme for Elliott at Kentucky: After a two-week hiatus, primary partner NAPA Auto Parts is back on the hood of Chase Elliott's #24 Chevy. This weekend at Kentucky, Elliott's NAPA Auto Parts Chevy will sport a brand new look. Elliott will pilot a patriotic paint scheme that features stars and stripes.The scheme will help to kick off NAPA's "Get Back and Give Back" effort while boosting awareness for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.(HMS), see image of the scheme on the #24 Teams Schemes page.(7-7-2016)
SunEnergy1 debuts as sponsor for Elliott: For the first time in the 2016 season, SunEnergy1 will be the primary partner on board Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott's #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. SunEnergy1 will also sponsor Elliott at Watkins Glen in August, Kansas in October and Phoenix in November (HMS), see images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page (6-29-2016)
Elliott wins NASCAR West Series race in Sonoma: Chase Elliott landed himself in Victory Lane on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway. The Hendrick Motorsports rookie competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race, logging valuable road-course laps before Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. After qualifying 16th for Sunday's Cup race, Elliott strapped into his No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy and took the green flag from the pole position.(HMS)(6-26-2016)
Chase Elliott to run K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma UPDATE: Chase Elliott has limited road course experience. The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is at the Sonoma Raceway next weekend. What to do? Put the rookie driver in a lower-series stock-car race to give him a feel for the track. The folks at Sonoma Raceway sent out this release about the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race scheduled on June 25, which is a day before the Cup race. The release (in part): The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to Sonoma Raceway for its 36th consecutive visit at the Chevys Fresh Mex 200 on Saturday, June 25, with a full field of up-and-coming stars, as well as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Chase Elliott. Elliott will put some extra track time under his belt before Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series main event. This will mark Elliott's first NASCAR West Series start of the season, as well as his first Cup series road-course race. In addition, several Northern California drivers will compete in Saturday's race including Jim Inglebright (Fairfield), Scott Ivie (San Ramon), Rodd Kneeland (Sonoma), Alex Schutte (Redding), Jack Sellers (Sacramento), Tim Spurgeon (Danville) and Carlos Viera (Atwater). The NASCAR West Series continues to be the place where future stars are made. The influx of young talent over the past few years has been significant and continues to filter its way through NASCAR's three national series with the likes of Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Elliott. The 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season is no different with rising talents Todd Gilliland, Noah Gragson, Riley Herbst, Julia Landauer, Gracin Raz and Cole Rouse.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-22-2016)
UPDATE: Elliott will make his Sprint Cup road course debut this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, but before the road course rookie gets behind the wheel on Sunday he will have a race in the books at the Sonoma track. He is entered to compete in Saturday's NASCAR West Series race, marking his first start of the season in NASCAR's western home track series. The 20-year-old driver has competed in six road course races in NASCAR's XFINITY Series, earning four top-five finishes. He has also competed in one Camping World Truck Series road course event and three ARCA Racing road course races, earning one victory and three top-five finishes, respectively. While most drivers spent last weekend with their dads, Elliott and his father Bill Elliott will get plenty of time together this weekend as the elder Elliott takes on the role of second spotter for his son. A NASCAR Hall of Famer and 1998 NASCAR premier series championship driver, Bill Elliott owns one victory and 10 top-five finishes on road courses in his career and is looking to help his son excel at the 10-turn track this weekend.(HMS)(6-22-2016)
SportsPro lists the world's 50 most marketable athletes: For the seventh time, SportsPro has produced its annual list of the world's 50 most marketable athletes. Once again, the rankings point to a period of change in the three years ahead. One NASCAR driver is listed: #24-Chase Elliott is listed at the 50th most marketable athlete. The post about Elliott: (2015 ranking: 32), After a blistering start to his NASCAR career, winning what was then the Nationwide Series in 2014 at the age of 19, Chase Elliott made the step up to the big time in 2015 with his debut in the elite Sprint Cup for Hendrick Motorsports. He also placed second in the second-tier 2015 Xfinity Series, driving the number nine Chevrolet SS for JR Motorsports, and claimed the Snowball Derby. As of 2016, Elliott's graduation is complete: he drives full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, driving the #24 for Hendrick Motorsports, and part-time in the Xfinity Series. In February, he took pole at the Daytona 500. On top of that, he remains as well liked as ever. In November 2015, Elliott was voted the Xfinity Series' most popular driver for the second year in a row, and with strong commercial assistance from Fuel Sports Management he looks set to continue to prosper. Still only 20, he has healthy crossover appeal, appearing multiple times on the cover of a number of Nascar publications, and he looks set to be the poster boy of stock car racing for years to come. His father, Bill Elliott, is something of a NASCAR legend, winning the major title once, the Daytona 500 twice, and the most popular driver award a record 16 times. If Chase continues on his upward trajectory, he might even eclipse his father's achievements.(see full list at SportsPro)(6-21-2016)
Youngest top 3 finishers in NASCAR history: #22-Joey Logano plopped into a seat, getting a much-needed break, when the 26-year-old driver found out he was just a part of history. Logano pulled away from the pack to win the FireKeepers Casino 400 and was followed by 20-year-old #24-Chase Elliott and 23-year-old #42-Kyle Larson, the youngest top three in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. The trio's average age of 23 was younger than the 24.7 of the top three finishers at a race in 1951 and two races the previous year. "The future of NASCAR is present," Logano said. "It's going to be big. It's amazing to see."(Associated Press)(6-13-2016)
Ten Top 10s for Chase Elliott this season: #24-Chase Elliott is on a top-10 tear, earning one in each of the past five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Only two drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have more top-10 finishes than Elliott's 10 (Kevin Harvick with 11 and Kurt Busch with 12 -- both Sprint Cup champions). Additionally, in the non-points-paying NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Elliott raced his way to a sixth-place finish.(Hendrick Motorsports)(6-8-2016)
Hendrick Family Foundation to launch with event: Rick and Linda Hendrick have established the not-for-profit Hendrick Family Foundation, which is rooted in the belief that people working together can transform the lives of those in need and have a meaningful impact on our communities. The sold out "Learn Live Hope" celebration will represent the new foundation's first formal fundraising initiative. Scheduled for May 22 at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina, the annual charity event will benefit Be The Match, Levine Children's Hospital and Together We Feed Charlotte. In 2015, Learn Live Hope generated more than $1.6 million to support multiple organizations. The Hendrick Family Foundation will consolidate the philanthropic efforts of the Hendrick organization, including Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group. It will absorb the Hendrick Marrow Program, which Rick Hendrick founded in 1997 and has raised more than $15 million in partnership with Be The Match to support patients in need of life-saving marrow or cord blood transplants. The Hendrick Family Foundation will continue to work with Be The Match.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-21-2016)
UPDATE: Last weekend's sold out "Learn Live Hope" event was the first formal fundraising initiative for Rick and Linda Hendrick's not-for-profit Hendrick Family Foundation. The annual event was held May 22 at The Fillmore, with Bank of America returning once again as the title sponsor. Among the guests were drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson, broadcasters Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip, and former New York Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson. The beneficiaries were Be The Match, Levine Children's Hospital and Together We Feed Charlotte. And "Learn Live Hope" raised $1.3 million in 2016 - one year after generating more than $1.6 million to support multiple organizations in 2015 when a golf tournament was featured as a portion of the event. The golf tournament was not held in 2016 as the course was under construction. At this year's function, Bank of America Chief Administrative Officer Andrea Smith presented Hendrick with a $100,000 donation. Bank of America has supported "Learn Live Hope" for more than a decade as its title sponsor.(HMS)(5-28-2016)
Elliott's throwback scheme for Darlington UPDATE: Chase Elliott will run a yellow and back NAPA Auto Parts scheme on the #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in September. See an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page (5-20-2016)
UPDATE NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott revealed the yellow-and-black #24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Assurance of Quality Chevy that he will race in the Sept. 4 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway as part of the track's Southern 500 throwback weekend. The retro-themed paint scheme mimics a longstanding NAPA AUTO PARTS delivery truck. The design will feature a yellow hood and roof panel sporting NAPA AUTO PARTS' 1963 logo - the last version before the modern day yellow-and-blue design seen today. The logo introduced in 1963 was meant to remind customers that NAPA was nationwide and represented quality with knowledgeable employees - traits that still hold true today. The lower half of Elliott's Chevrolet is a sleek black with the current NAPA design emblazoned on the quarter panels as well as the deck lid next to a bright white No. 24 on the door panels. The rear television panel features the current logo design next to white script reading "90 Years Strong" as NAPA AUTO PARTS has been in business for over 90 years. The National Automotive Parts Association was formed in 1925.
"The yellow and black is based off of NAPA's old logo," Elliott comments as he unveiled the retro paint scheme. "The logo was actually on one of their delivery trucks in the 1960s and we modeled the entire paint scheme off of that truck. I think it turned out really good. I like it and I'm excited about running it in Darlington. I think we have a car that will certainly stand out, which is good."
The design is part of an overall throwback weekend at one of NASCAR's oldest venues. Built in 1949 by Harold Brasington, Darlington Raceway has hosted Sprint Cup races since 1950. The first Southern 500 at Darlington took place on Labor Day in 1950 courtesy of a deal made between Brasington and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. More than 80 entrants showed up for the inaugural event. "We appreciate the support of our throwback program by Chase Elliott and Hendrick Motorsports," Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said. "Chase's special paint scheme for the Bojangles' Southern 500 is one that fans won't want to miss on Labor Day weekend. We're so pleased that the teams, drivers and their partners have recognized the importance of celebrating the history of our sport at Darlington Raceway, one of the most iconic tracks on the circuit." The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 is set for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Tickets are on sale now by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com.(Hendrick Motorsports), see images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page (5-27-2016)
Evernham restores Mario Andretti rookie car: Ray Evernham made his name in NASCAR, but this week, he's got the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on his mind. At the Brickyard, Evernham will have a very special car that he restored himself and owns: The Brawner Hawk Ford Indy car that Mario Andretti drove to a third-place finish and Rookie of the Year honors in the '65 Indy 500, as well as the 1965 USAC National Championship. Evernham restored the car to such a high standard that at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, the Brawner Hawk won Best in Class -- Race Cars (1961-1967) and the Phil Hill Restorer's Award, "which is an award created to honor the artisan whose restoration of a classic, antique, historic or competition car is judged the best new restoration in its first concours appearance." And at the Brickyard, Andretti himself will be behind the wheel of the Brawner Hawk in a parade of 33 vintage cars that will pace the field.(full story at FoxSports)(5-25-2016)
Special NAPA scheme for Elliott at Kentucky: NAPA AUTO PARTS, a long-time sponsor in NASCAR and current sponsor of Chase Elliott's #24 Chevy, recently announced that it had raised more than $2.1 million through its annual "Get Back and Give Back" campaign for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF). One hundred percent of the donation goes to the non-profit's mission of building nine Intrepid Spirit centers that diagnose and treat Traumatic Brain Injury and psychological disorders. The paint scheme on Elliott's #24 NAPA Patriotic Chevy for the July Kentucky race will promote the IFHF and the car sponsor's annual campaign (Lionel Racing), see images of the car on the #24 Team Schemes page (5-20-2016)
Hendrick named Charlotte Chamber 2016 Citizen of the Carolinas: The Charlotte Chamber has named local car dealer and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick its 2016 Citizen of the Carolinas. The chamber said that Hendrick was chosen for the honor for his contributions to Charlotte's business community, his influence within NASCAR and his work with local organizations, including Levine Children's Hospital and Together We Feed Charlotte. "Rick embodies the collaborative spirit that sets Charlotte apart from any other major city in the United States," chamber CEO and President Bob Morgan said in a statement. Last year, the chamber gave the award to former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. Other past honorees include former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan. Hendrick, at age 26, became a Chevrolet dealer in 1976 with his first franchise in Bennettsville, S.C. By 1978, he moved to Charlotte and purchased City Chevrolet, which now serves as the flagship location for Hendrick Automotive Group. The privately-held dealership group employs more than 10,000 people and operates more than 130 retail franchises across 14 states. In a statement, Hendrick said he was humbled to receive the award. "We've been fortunate to call Charlotte home for nearly 40 years," he said. "It's been such a wonderful place for our family, and now our grandchildren are growing up here. I cannot imagine a more giving community or a better city to live and do business." The chamber will present Hendrick with its most prestigious honor at the organization's annual meeting in December.(Charlotte Business Journal)(4-30-2016)
Special Mountain Dew schemes at RIR for 3 Hendrick cars: This summer, Mountain Dew is bringing back two all-time fan favorite flavors -- Pitch Black and Baja Blast. It's up to America to decide which flavor will take the honors. There are three ways to vote online -- cast your vote at MountainDew.com/DEWcision, complete one of DEW's video and photo challenges or simply tweet #VotePitchBlack or #VoteBajaBlast (HMS) The cars of #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Chase Elliott and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will all run special Mountain Dew paint schemes at Richmond International Raceway in the Toyota Owners 400 Sprint Cup Series race this coming weekend. See images of the cars on the #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page.(4-18-2016)
Pit crew switch on the #24: Prior to the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team slightly restructured its lineup. Front and rear tire carriers, Dion Williams and Jared Erspamer, switched positions before heading to Fort Worth. As of now they remain switched. Toward the end of the 2015 season, with Jeff Gordon piloting the Chevrolet, Williams -- originally positioned on the front -- and Erspamer -- on the rear -- swapped spots in order to improve timeliness in the team's stops. Now the pair switch back to their original positions.(Pit Talks)(4-12-2016)
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)
NASCAR's Richest Teams and Drivers: Forbes has released its annual ranking of Sprint Cup teams and drivers based on earnings. Once again, Hendrick tops the charts. The top 10 teams and drivers and their estimated value:
Highest earning NASCAR teams:
Hendrick Motorsports $375 million
Joe Gibbs Racing $256 million
Stewart-Haas Racing $195 million
Richard Childress Racing $175 million
Roush Feneway Racing $155 million
Team Penske $140 million
Chip Ganassi Racing $75 million
Richard Petty Motorsports $55 million
Front Row Motorsports $26 million
BK Racing $24 million
Highest earning NASCAR drivers:
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. $23.5 million
#48-Jimmie Johnson $22.2 million
Jeff Gordon $21.6 million
#4-Kevin Harvick $15.5 million
#11-Denny Hamlin $15.1 million
#18-Kyle Busch $15.0 million
#10-Dania Patrick $13.4 million
#14-Tony Stewart $12.8 million
#19-Carl Edwards $12.1 million
#20-Matt Kenseth $11.9 million
Total earnings equals salary/winnings plus endorsements and licensing
In addition, Forbes estimates the actual cash value of a NASCAR charter to be $15-$17 million.(Forbes)(4-1-2016)
3M on the #24 at Martinsville: 3M will be the primary partner on board Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott's #24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Martinsville Speedway for the first time this season. 3M, which began its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports in 2015, will be the primary partner on the car for four additional races this year. (Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #24 team paint schemes page.(3-30-2016)
SunEnergy1 scheme posted: And image of #24-Chase Elliott's SunEnergy1 Chevy has been posted. SunEnergy1 will debut Daytona and run three other races, see an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page (3-24-2016)
Hendrick plane makes emergency landing in Memphis UPDATE: A plane headed from Las Vegas to Charlotte, North Carolina made an emergency landing in Memphis. The plane belonged to Hendrick Motorsports and was carrying team members home from the NASCAR race in Las Vegas. A Hendrick Motorsports representative said the plane landed safely in Memphis after someone noticed smoke in the cabin. No one was injured or breathed in too much smoke. The plane is being evaluated for issues. The passengers will return to Charlotte on another flight.(WMC Action News)(3-7-2016)
UPDATE: Just hours after smoke in the cabin forced a Hendrick Motorsports plane to make an emergency landing early Monday morning, a passenger on the aircraft discussed the situation with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Earl Barban, the spotter for Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, was one of multiple passengers on the plane, which was en route back to Charlotte, North Carolina from Sunday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. None of Hendrick's drivers were on board the aircraft, and there were no injuries. Speaking with SiriusXM on Monday after returning home to Charlotte, Barban described the events that led to the emergency landing in Memphis after the plane had made a fuel stop in Oklahoma City.
"On our second leg we had like an hour and 50 minutes left and had a little smoke in the cabin there and they decided they should probably land, and we landed in Memphis, and they got us off the airplane and all the procedures and safety stuff was done," Barban told SiriusXM. "After they checked it out and things were good, we got all our stuff off the plane, sat in the FBO for a couple hours until our other plane could get refueled back in Concord (N.C.) and come get us, so it was a little bit of a delay getting home, but everybody was safe."(Fox Sports)(3-9-2016)
Bosch renews Hendrick partnership: Bosch Automotive Aftermarket North America has announced a multi-year renewal of its technical partnership with 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. Dating back to 2001 with an agreement to supply spark plugs to the racing powerhouse, the scope of the relationship has since expanded to include alternators, starters, oxygen sensors, fuel injectors and fuel pumps. Entering its 16th season, this partnership has yielded seven Sprint Cup Series championships and a wealth of knowledge and insights. Hendrick Motorsports engine builders have worked closely with Bosch engineers over the years to develop some of the most powerful vehicles on the track.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-1-2016)
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)
Chase Elliott comments about Daytona 500 wreck: #24-Chase Elliott was sidelined by an accident on lap 20 of the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway after starting from the pole. Comments:
Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
ELLIOTT: "I'm not sure, just got turned around there off of four. Got in the middle and got loose. Lost it and spun out. I hate it for everybody at less than 20 laps in and have something dumb like that happen. I apologize to my guys. We will try and get back out there I guess and make some laps."
Q) IS PART OF THIS GETTING USED TO THE CUP CAR? SO DIFFERENT FROM THE XFINITY CAR:
ELLIOTT: "Yeah, it's definitely different. That wasn't what happened, but yes, that is definitely different."
Q) THE CAR WAS GETTING TIGHT. WAS IT TOO EARLY TO TELL WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH IT HANDLING WISE?
ELLIOTT: "Yeah, too early to tell I think a lot of guys were fighting tight off there. That was just normal. It's hot and tires were giving up a little bit as the run went on. I don't think that was the cause of what happened."
Q) TALK ABOUT HOW WELL YOUR TEAM HAS DONE SO FAR DURING SPEEDWEEKS:
ELLIOTT: "They have done a good job. We had a real fast car all week. Like I said, I just hate it ended so soon. We will just try to get back out there and make some laps. Most importantly get ready for Atlanta."
Q) YOU SAID ATLANTA WAS REALLY THE START OF THE SEASON HOW DO YOU REGROUP AND KIND OF JUST LET THIS ONE GO:
ELLIOTT: "We don't have much of a choice. It's done now. We will let her go and get ready for Atlanta."
Q) WAS IT A HANDLING ISSUE?
ELLIOTT: "No, just got in middle there a couple of laps before and got loose off of (turn) four and just lost. I hate it-it had been such a fun week and you hate to end the race before it even got started. Just disappointed for everybody. We will just have to look past it and get on for Atlanta. That is the most important thing now. Can't get caught up in what happened today, it is irrelevant now. We'll try and get it fixed and make some laps. Then it's on to Atlanta and if we can make some laps we will and move forward from here."
Elliott wins Daytona 500 pole: #24-Chase Elliott win the pole for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 196.314mph, his first career pole and he is the youngest Daytona 500 pole winner. #20-Matt Kenseth will start 2nd, running 194.036mph. The front row is locked into those spots. The rest of the field will be determined by the Can-Am Duel 150 Qualifying Races on Thursday (7pm/et on FS1). The rest of the top12: #88-Earnhardt Jr., #18-Busch, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #48-Johnson, #21-Blaney, #3-Dillon, #19-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #41-Busch and #22-Logano.
During round one of qualifying #88-Earnhardt Jr. was fastest, followed by #20-Kenseth, #24-Elliott, #18-Busch, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #3-Dillon, #48-Johnson, #21-Blaney, #11-Hamlin, #19-Edwards, #41-Busch and #22-Logano, these 12 drivers will go for the two locked positions of the pole and outside pole.
Not Advancing: 13 5 31 4 27 95 2 43 14 16 1 44 42 93 59 83 34 10 32 47 6 46 15 38 26 98 35 23 30 40 78.
#78-Truex Jr had a roof flap that wouldn't close and didn't make a lap after going to the garage and not being able to get back within the five minute time limit once the car is presented for qualifying. Truex Jr will start the 2nd Can-Am Duel 150 from the rear of the field.
From the eight Open, non-Charter, teams running for the four open Daytona 500 spots, #21-Ryan Blaney and #93-Matt DiBenedetto secured spots by being the two fastest non-charter cars in qualifying. Blaney was 7th fastest and DiBendetto was 26th fastest. The next two drivers in speed were #59-Michael McDowell and #26-Robert Richardson Jr. If either Blaney or DiBenedetto are the highest finisher in their Duels, McDowell would make the race on speed. If both Blaney and DiBenedetto are the highest finisher in their Duels, then both McDowell and Richardson Jr. would make the Daytona 50 field. The remaining four drivers: #98-Whitt, #35-Gilliland, #30-Wise and #40-Sorenson, have to be the highest finishing non-Charter car to make the race.
The cars of #4-Harvick and #14-Vickers failed post-qualifying inspection as the cars did not have the track bars in compliance. Both qualifying speeds were disallowed. #4-Harvick who was to start 9th in the 1st Duel, will start from the rear. #14-Vickers was to start 10th in the 2nd Duel, will start at the rear with Truex Jr.
For round-by-round qualifying results, see the Daytona 500 Qualifying Results page (pdf).
SunEnergy1 to sponsor Elliott? UPDATE: This past weekend, Kenny Habul was part of the driving team for Stevenson Motorsports' #9 Audi R8 LMS GT3 in the GT-Daytona class at the Rolex 24. Habul, along with Boris Said, Tristan Vautier and Dion von Moltke, finished eighth in the GT-Daytona class. During an Audi Meet the Teams free-for-all on Friday, Habul said that his company (SunEnergy1) will enter the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports on a sponsorship deal. "SunEnergy1 will be sponsoring the 24 car for Chase Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports," Habul said during the meet and greet. "It is a full sponsorship deal for certain races with Elliott." However, the deal is not fully set in stone. Habul says that he and Hendrick Motorsports are still working on the details of the deal. Expect an announcement sometime in the near future that will include the races that will feature the SunEnergy1 colors.(Frontstretch)(2-2-2016)
UPDATE: SunEnergy1, one of the world's largest privately held solar energy companies, has joined 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of rookie of the year contender Chase Elliott. With a three-year contract, SunEnergy1 will be a primary sponsor of Elliott's #24 Chevrolet SS team for four Sprint Cup races annually. The agreement, which covers the 2016, 2017 and 2018 NASCAR seasons, also includes associate-level sponsorship. In 2016, SunEnergy1 will be featured as a primary sponsor July 2 at Daytona International Speedway, Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen International, Oct. 16 at Kansas Speedway and Nov. 13 at Phoenix International Raceway.(Hendrick Motorsports(2-3-2016)
WIX Filters joins Hendrick as technical partner: WIX Filters has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a key technical partner with an agreement that will supply innovative filtration products and provide critical development support to the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions through 2019. With a four-year pact, WIX's air and oil filters will be used in competition by the four Sprint Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports with drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Its logo will be featured on team equipment, transporters and underneath the hood of Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet SS race cars. "Since the early 1960s when Richard Petty began using our filters, generations of motor sports champions have driven to victory lane with WIX," said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. "Adding a team like Hendrick Motorsports only further positions us as the number-one filter in motor sports, and we couldn't be more excited to see what that means on the track this season."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-19-2016)
Mountain Dew sponsoring Earnhardt, Kahne, Elliott: Fans will be seeing a lot more Mountain Dew at the racetrack starting this season. Thanks to a three-year extension of PepsiCo's longstanding partnership with 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports, Mountain Dew is continuing as a primary sponsor of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and welcoming drivers #5-Kasey Kahne and #24-Chase Elliott to its lineup beginning in 2016. The next phase of PepsiCo's racing program comes after 15 seasons of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, including eight years of Earnhardt paired with Mountain Dew. In an unprecedented move, 2016 marks the first time the DEW brand will field a three-driver lineup. Mountain Dew will be primary sponsor of Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet SS team for three races each season through 2018. Alongside him will be Elliott, whose #24 team will feature Mountain Dew as primary sponsor in two races annually. Kahne's #5 Chevy will have Mountain Dew as a primary sponsor in one race per year. All three teams will also showcase DEW as an associate-level sponsor. More details about the partnership and the 2016 race schedule will be shared in the coming weeks.(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-16-2016)
Grubb talks about leaving Gibbs: Darian Grubb told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday that he was surprised that he wasn't back as #19-Carl Edwards' crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing. "I guess fifth in points just wasn't good enough in some people's eyes and five points away from running (for the title at) Homestead," Grubb said on the show "Tradin' Paint." Grubb said he was told during last year's Chase that changes could be coming, nearly mirroring a situation he had in 2011. He was told during that year's Chase that he would not return as Tony Stewart's crew chief. Grubb then went on to help Stewart win the title, beating Edwards. "I was somewhat surprised," Grubb said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about finding out his position could be in jeopardy last year at JGR. "The first conversation I had was one weekend of the Chase I was told at that point that I needed to get nine more solid weeks in, and I was like 'I've been through this before.' Last time it was six weeks. This time was nine. I knew something was going to come up with the change. I knew I was going to be making some changes. I didn't know what it was going to be. Then went on and found out it wasn't going to be a crew chief position, so I had to explore some options." Joe Gibbs Racing replaced Grubb with Dave Rogers, who moved over from #11-Denny Hamlin's team. Hamlin's new crew chief is Mike Wheeler. Those moves led Grubb, who has 23 career Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, back to Hendrick Motorsports. Grubb's new role is as vehicle production director at Hendrick Motorsports. He'll have responsibility for production operations in the chassis and body groups and work alongside technical director Kenny Francis.(NBC Sports)(1-8-2016)
Jeff Gordon Ready for FOX's NASCAR Booth: With fewer than 50 days remaining until the Daytona 500 on FOX, planning for the FOX portion of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is in full swing. This year, of course, marks the full-time broadcasting debut of four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who will join veteran broadcasters Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip in the FOX NASCAR booth beginning in February with Daytona Speedweeks. See Jeff Gordon interview / Q&A / Photos at FOX Sports and/or FOX Sports (1-5-2016)
Darian Grubb returns to Hendrick Motorsports: Hendrick Motorsports has named Darian Grubb to the newly created role of vehicle production director, where he will oversee every aspect of race car manufacturing for the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, effective immediately. Grubb, 40, assumes responsibility for production operations in the Hendrick Motorsports chassis and body groups. He will work alongside vehicle technical director Kenny Francis to support and grow the company's overall car development capabilities while collaborating across vehicle engineering, vehicle production and four Sprint Cup teams. Both Grubb and Francis report to general manager Doug Duchardt.
"We're excited to welcome Darian back to Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "His résumé speaks for itself, and he already has a deep understanding of our people, processes and culture. Teaming him with Kenny on our vehicle efforts mirrors the management structure of our engine operation, which has been very effective, and it adds more depth to the organization as a whole. Darian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and we know he will make us stronger."
A native of Floyd, Virginia, with a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, Grubb originally joined Hendrick Motorsports from Petty Enterprises in January 2003. He served as lead race engineer for the #48 Sprint Cup team from 2003-2006 and was interim crew chief during the first four races of its 2006 championship-winning campaign, leading Jimmie Johnson to a pair of victories, including the Daytona 500.
Grubb earned one win as crew chief for driver Casey Mears (#25 Chevy) in 2007 before being named engineering manager for the #5 and #88 Hendrick Motorsports teams for 2008. In 2009, he moved into a crew chief role at Stewart-Haas Racing, where in three seasons he won 11 races and the 2011 Sprint Cup championship with #14-Tony Stewart. Grubb then joined Joe Gibbs Racing, winning nine races with multiple drivers from 2012-2015. As a crew chief, he has 23 career Sprint Cup victories.
"It means a lot to come back to Hendrick Motorsports," Grubb said. "This is a role that will allow me to contribute to the success of the entire organization, which was very important to me. Kenny is someone I greatly respect, so the chance to work side-by-side with him was a big factor. Everything is familiar, and I think that will make for a smooth transition. The more we talked about the opportunity, the more it felt right. I'm ready to get started."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-4-2016)
3M unveils new #24 scheme: from 3M's Twitter: "Please follow @3M for all future info about #3MRacing & check @3M on 12/28 for our #Team24 paint scheme!". So 3M is scheduled to announced the 2016 #24 Chevy paint scheme that Chase Elliott in five 2016 races.
UPDATE: the #24 3M Chevy that Chase Elliott is scheduled to drive in five 2016 Sprint Cup Series races has been unveiled, see a few images of the car/scheme on the 2016 #24 Team Schemes page.(12-28-2015)
Gordon wins fourth quarter NMPA Spirit Award: Jeff Gordon has been awarded the NMPA Spirit Award for the fourth quarter of 2015 by the members of the National Motorsports Press Association. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Gordon, 44, has often contributed his time and efforts to many charitable causes over the past 25 years and has served as one of NASCAR's greatest ambassadors. He retired as a driver in Cup competition at the end of the 2015 season. His philanthropic efforts include pediatric cancer research and patient support through the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital and Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation in Concord, NC.(NASCAR.com)(12-17-2015)
Kelley Blue Book to sponsor Chase Elliott: Kelley Blue Book, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, has extended its relationship with 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports through the 2017 NASCAR season. In 2016 and 2017, Kelley Blue Book will be a primary sponsor of Chase Elliott and the #24 Chevy team for two Sprint Cup races annually. The two-year renewal, which also includes associate-level sponsorship, continues a relationship that began in 2014 with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"The Elliott name is synonymous with racing, and with Chase's recent successes and strong following in the sport, Kelley Blue Book is thrilled to continue its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports at such a pivotal point in his career," said John Kovac, senior vice president for Cox Automotive. "Kelley Blue Book has provided car buyers with trusted vehicle guidance and expertise throughout its nearly 90-year history, so communicating that message through such a popular young driver, and in his first Sprint Cup Series season, is an honor."
It was announced in January that Elliott would join Hendrick Motorsports as a full-time Sprint Cup driver in 2016. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native won the 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) championship while earning rookie of the year honors. In 2015, he scored a series-best 27 top-10 finishes in NXS competition and started five points-paying Sprint Cup races. Elliott, 20, who has earned five NASCAR national series race wins, was voted by fans as NXS most popular driver in 2014 and 2015. He will be a Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year contender in 2016. "Kelley Blue Book is a recognized and respected name in the automotive industry," Elliott said. "It means a lot to have them support the No. 24 team, and I can't wait to get behind the wheel of their car. Continuing what they've started at Hendrick Motorsports is going to be a lot of fun. Our entire team is looking forward to making the program a success."
Through its website, KBB.com, Kelley Blue Book is changing the way people shop for a new car. It offers the Kelley Blue Book® Price Advisor, which features a range-based pricing layout including the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price, which is updated weekly and shows what others have been paying for a car recently. Other resources include 5-Year Cost to Own data, and consumer and expert reviews and ratings. In addition to individual consumers, Kelley Blue Book's variety of products and services are available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Partners include Hendrick Motorsports' sister company Hendrick Automotive Group, which utilizes Kelley Blue Book in each of its more than 130 automotive retail franchises across the United States.
"We've been fortunate to work with Kelley Blue Book in both racing and our dealerships," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. "NASCAR has proven to be an effective promotional platform for their products and services, and it's given us more ways to collaborate across our entire organization. Connecting Kelley Blue Book with an exciting young talent like Chase will provide a lot of opportunities for both parties. We look forward to continuing the relationship."(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-17-2015)
Several NASCAR drivers in Snowball Derby UPDATE: On Sunday, Pensacola, Fla., hosts the 48th annual Snowball Derby Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway. The tentative 67-driver field will be vying for the $20,000 prize to the winner. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Hunter Nemechek will return to defend last year's Snowball Derby championship in his #8 McDonald's Chevy for NEMCO Motorsports. Since the first edition of the Derby in 1968, there have only been eight repeat winners of the 300-lap event. Among other NASCAR and ARCA notables entered in Sunday's main event are: Johanna Long, Harrison Burton (son of Jeff Burton), Grant Enfinger, Christopher Bell, Dalton Sargeant, Mason Mingus, Chase Elliott, Rico Abreu, Ross Kenseth, Corey LaJoie and Daniel Hemric. The Snowball Derby will be broadcast live on Speed51.com on Sunday, beginning with the pre-race show at 1:00pm/et.(NBC Sports)(12-6-2015)
UPDATE: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Christopher Bell's victory in the 48th annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Florida lasted less than 30 minutes. After taking the checkered flag, Bell, 21, was subsequently disqualified after post-race technical inspection at Five Flags Speedway found his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota over the limit of left-side weight. As a result, runner-up Chase Elliott - who will replace Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2016 - was awarded the victory in the 300-lap Super Late Model race on the ½-mile asphalt track. It was Elliott's second Snowball triumph, having also won there in 2011. Zane Smith finished second, followed by Ty Majewski, Dalton Sargeant and Bubba Pollard. It is the fourth time in the last 10 years that the Derby winner has subsequently been disqualified. Elliott can probably feel for Bell, as he went through a similar situation in the 2013 Derby. Elliott was initially declared the winner, only to be disqualified in post-race inspection. The win that year then went to Kyle Busch Motorsports driver and 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champ Erik Jones, who also won the 2012 Derby.(NBC Sports)(12-6-2015)
NASCAR honors Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon: Friday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards gala at the Wynn Las Vegas honored series champion Kyle Busch for one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of professional sports. But Busch, car owner Joe Gibbs and champion crew chief Adam Stevens had to share the stage and the limelight with retiring four-time champion Jeff Gordon, who bade a tearful farewell after 23 full-time seasons and 797 consecutive races in NASCAR's premier series - complete with a surprise introduction by mega movie star Tom Cruise. The awards banquet capped an extraordinary year for Busch, who missed the first 11 events of the season after breaking his right leg and left foot when his #54 Toyota plowed into a concrete wall inside Turn 1 at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener. Against all odds, Busch returned to action at Charlotte in May and proceeded to win five of the final 25 races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the event that made him a champion.
"We've all heard the old saying 'Break a leg!' which means, you're wishing someone good luck in show biz," Busch said. "Well, as I stand here today and think about how lucky I am, I can say without a doubt, that breaking a leg AND a foot works just as good in racing. One day, I went from being able to win races, to the next where I was just thinking about how I was going to be able to walk into the delivery room with (wife) Samantha to be a part of the birth of our son Brexton. I can't thank Dr. Todd McCall and Dr. Bob Anderson for putting me back together as well as they did. Anyone looking to have leg or foot surgery, just ask for the Kyle Busch special." The surgery and extensive rehabilitation paid off, as Busch was able to hold off defending series champion Kevin Harvick in the Championship Round race at Homestead.
Cruise, who played California driver Cole Trickle in the movie "Days of Thunder" (an interloper much as Vallejo, California native Gordon was when he came to stock car racing in the early 1990s), summed up Gordon's stature as a champion driver and a statesman for the sport in one sentence. "He felt as comfortable discussing a championship with George Bush as he did breaking down a Homestead race with Kyle Busch," said Cruise, who went on to introduce Gordon as "my friend, the four-time champion, the legend - Jeff Gordon." After Cruise's appearance came another surprise. NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France conferred the seldom given Bill France Award on the retiring champion, an recognition that had not been presented since Gordon's car owner, Rick Hendrick, was honored in 2009. "You're the very definition of a champion, and quite simply, you changed the sport for the better," France said. Indeed, Gordon's most emotional moment during a heartfelt speech came when he choked back tears while thanking Rick and Linda Hendrick for hiring him in the first place.
"Rick and Linda Hendrick, thank you so much for choosing me to be your driver," said Gordon, who finished third in the championship standings. "I'm so proud to say I only drove for one car owner - and the best car owner - my entire Sprint Cup career."
Fourth-place finisher Martin Truex Jr. provided another emotional moment when he spoke of long-time partner Sherry Pollex's battle against ovarian cancer. "I'd like to thank Sharon, Sherry's mom, and her family for their incredible support throughout Sherry's battle," Truex said. "Sherry, I can't thank you enough for being in my life, you're a true inspiration and I love you very much."(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-5-2015)
Gordon honored as first Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award recipient: Thursday in Las Vegas, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France kicked off the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2015 Awards Luncheon by celebrating Jeff Gordon, noting the impact he has left for drivers that will follow in his footsteps. "Can you put back in more than you take out?" France said of Gordon's impact on the sport. "Nobody's done that better than Jeff Gordon." As the driver of the #24 Chevrolet SS' full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career comes to a close, the manufacturer for which he has driven since his very first race in 1992 made sure to honor him in the best way possible. After a video highlighting Gordon's many accomplishments, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Jim Campbell presented the driver with the first ever Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award. Gordon joined Campbell on stage to accept the trophy, which features the famous cross flags from the 1965 Chevrolet Corvette. In addition, Chevrolet announced the donation of a 2016 Corvette Z06 to benefit the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-4-2015)
Hendrick Motorsports receives MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award: The NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2015 Awards Luncheon was a big one for Hendrick Motorsports. First, Jeff Gordon was presented with the very first Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award. #88 crew chief Greg Ives was then named the MOOG Steering and Suspension Problem Solver of the Year. In between both awards, Hendrick Motorsports was honored with the MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award for the 19th time. In particular, engine assembler Sam Vernatter was singled out as the winner of the award. Points toward the Engine Builder of the Year Award were granted after every race based on qualifying and finishing position, with bonus points for the team that led the most laps. "Randy Dorton started the legacy of Hendrick Motorsports and it lives daily in Jeff Andrews, Jim Wall, Scott Maxim and David Evans," Vernatter said. "Their leadership paves the way for our success." Hendrick Motorsports engines powered five of the top 12 finishing teams at the end of the 2015 season, including two of the top three.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-4-2015)
Hendrick Motorsports names new Manager of Aerodynamics: Diane Holl is the new manager of aerodynamics for Hendrick Motorsports. Holl, 51, joined HMS last month after eight seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing where she served as Director of Vehicle Design. After earning her degree in mechanical engineering, the Guildford, England native's career started in Formula 1 with Ferrari as a chassis designer in 1987. Holl returned to England in 2002, where she worked with the McLaren Group as Principle Engineer. She returned to the U.S. five years later to join MWR. Holl replaces Kurt Romberg, who has since taken a similar role at Roush Fenway Racing.(Motorsports)(12-3-2015)
Gordon leads in 2015 television time: As the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season offered excitement on the track, it also provided nearly $1-billion in media value during race broadcasts according to Repucom, a trusted advisor in sports and entertainment intelligence. Repucom takes into account audience size and the quality of a brand exposure during in-race broadcasts. The location, size and duration of signage are among some of the factors that are also considered. The top five overall brands ranked by media value in 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series broadcasts were entitlement sponsor Sprint; followed by Chevrolet, Toyota, Ford and Coca-Cola.
The top five primary sponsors for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams in 2015 ranked by media value as analyzed by Repucom were Lowe's, Nationwide, Jimmy John's, Shell-Pennzoil and Haas Automation.
• #24-Jeff Gordon topped all competitors for media value and time on screen during race broadcasts, accumulating just over 24 hours of television time in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.
• In addition to finishing second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and collecting a record 13 second-place finishes, #4-Kevin Harvick ranked second for time on screen and media value in 2015.
• 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #18-Kyle Busch improved the primary sponsor ranking for M&Ms, moving it up six positions to seventh this year. The team also increased its time on screen. The car, driven by substitute drivers and Busch, accumulated just shy of 16 hours of television broadcast time, four more hours than last year.
• The biggest mover in 2015 was #78-Martin Truex, Jr. It took just seven weeks into the 2015 season for Furniture Row Racing to surpass its total 2014 exposure level. The media value increased three and a half times over last year and Furniture Row moved up 18 positions in the primary car sponsor rankings.
3M to sponsor Elliott in 5 races: On the heels of Jeff Gordon's retirement, 3M has decided to stick with Hendrick Motorsports' #24 Chevy moving forward, but will be reducing the amount of times it is primary sponsor in '16, sources told THE DAILY. The company will now serve as primary sponsor for five races for new driver Chase Elliott next season, down from 11, a source said. The switch is not part of a renewal, but brands often have the opportunity to reassess their sponsorships when a driver retires. 3M Senior Media Manager Lori Anderson confirmed the move. When the brand switched over to HMS in '15 after a nearly decade-long relationship with Roush Fenway Racing, it signed on for the 11 races in '15, '16 and '17. Whether the number will change again in '17 is yet to be determined. Even with the reduction by 3M, inventory for the No. 24 is almost gone, as NAPA Auto Parts will be primary sponsor for 24 races, meaning 29 of the 36 Sprint Cup races are now accounted for, the source said. This comes after 3M recently announced that it was eliminating 1,500 positions - more than 1% of its nearly 90,000-person global workforce - as part of a restructuring effort amid a drop in sales and profits in the most recent fiscal quarter.(Sports Business Daily)(11-26-2015)
Jeff Gordon may not be done driving racecars after all: "I don't think he's through driving," said his [Jeff Gordon's] manager, Zak Brown, whose firm, Just Marketing, Inc., has represented Gordon for years. JMI is the largest motorsports marketing agency in the world, matching sponsors with race teams and series. Four of the last five major Formula One deals were brokered by JMI. Brown (no relation to musician Zac Brown, who JMI's Brown insists "spells 'Zak' all wrong!") and his company only represent one active driver - Gordon - though they also represent former F1 champions Sir Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda. Brown is a former professional racecar driver who only last year stepped away from the cockpit of the United Autosports team he co-owns, which races primarily in Europe and Asia, though he still competes in vintage races. And he suspects that while Jeff Gordon may indeed be done with driving in NASCAR, he isn't done with racing, most likely in sports cars. Gordon has repeatedly proven his expertise in NASCAR road races at tracks like Watkins Glen in New York and Sonoma Raceway in California. "If you look at champions like Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen, who left Formula One, took a breather, then came back to racing, I think that Jeff will take 12 or 24 months, and then when the right opportunity comes along, he'll be back," Brown told Autoblog. Endurance races such as the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona or the Twelve Hours of Sebring could be attractive, "and Jeff has shown a lot of interest in Le Mans. I'd be surprised if we never see him again behind the wheel of a race car."(AutoBlog)(11-24-2015)
Richard Petty presents Jeff Gordon with special gifts: #24-Jeff Gordon still has the special memento from his first race in what is now NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Gordon's debut in that 1992 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway also happened to be the final race for NASCAR's winningest driver, Richard Petty. To mark the occasion, during the drivers' meeting that day the King gave each of his fellow competitors a money clip inscribed with their name and starting position. With Gordon preparing for his final race in pursuit of his fifth season championship, he received a visit Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway from the seven-time champ bearing two gifts. To thank Gordon for his contributions to the sport, Petty presented one of his trademark cowboy hats with his signature on the brim. He also gave Gordon 93 dollar bills for the money clip, one for each of his career victories. The encounter took place in private, away from view of crowds and media gathered for Gordon's farewell race on Sunday. Richard Petty Motorsports tweeted photos of the exchange of gifts. Petty's son, Kyle, told the tale during the NBC broadcast, and added a final detail. Richard Petty has one more dollar that he hopes to present on Sunday. Gordon must earn that one, just as he did the other 93.(South Florida Sun Sentinel)(11-22-2015)
Still Alive In The Drive For 5: Gordon Can Walk Away With Sprint Cup Title On Sunday: Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 just might be the biggest race of #24-Jeff Gordon's life. And it just so happens that it'll likely be his last. If he can finish ahead of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. in the final event of his last full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Gordon will walk away with his fifth NSCS championship. Already fourth on the all-time championships list, the No. 24 Chevrolet driver would end his career behind only Jimmie Johnson (six championships), Richard Petty (seven) and Dale Earnhardt (seven) in the NASCAR record books.
Luckily for Gordon, he's performed well at Homestead-Miami Speedway where the Ford EcoBoost 400 will be held. In 16 starts at the 1.5-mile track, he boasts one win (6.2%), seven top fives (43.8%) and 12 top 10s (75.0%). He finished 10th at Homestead last year after leading a race-high 161 laps. Gordon gutted his way into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as its 13th seed, qualifying on points. He's upped his performance in NASCAR's playoffs, leading all drivers in average finish (7.7) and top-10 finishes (8, tied with Joey Logano), highlighted by his win at Martinsville. A Gordon championship would not only be his first since 2001, but his first in the Chase era (2004-present). If he wins the title on Sunday, Gordon's 14-year gap between championships would surpass 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Terry Labonte's record 12-season drought between titles. Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports team already owns the NSCS record with 11 NSCS titles.(NASCAR)(11-22-2015)
Chevy celebrates Jeff Gordon: Jeff Gordon, who has driven the #24 Chevrolet for 796 consecutive races from 1992-2015, is about to close out his full-time career as a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Gordon, a four-time series champion, enters the final race of the season with an opportunity to claim his fifth title. Gordon ends his full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, having driven for only one car owner, Rick Hendrick at Hendrick Motorsports, and only one manufacturer, Chevrolet. Among Gordon's career highlights driving the #24 Chevrolet are:
Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001)
93 career Cup victories; third on the all-time list
81 career Cup pole positions; third on the all-time list
Three-time Daytona 500 winner (1997, 1999, 2005)
Five-time Brickyard 400 winner (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014)
Three-time champion of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (1995, 1997, 2001)
NASCAR record nine road course victories
NASCAR record 12 restrictor plate victories
Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports: "Jeff has been the unequivocal example of a Chevrolet race car driver. Over 23 years, he earned 93 overall victories including three Daytona 500 wins, five Brickyard 400 wins and four NASCAR Sprint Cup Championships. Jeff is a true champion, Chevrolet dealer and a key member of the Chevrolet family. Jeff Gordon continues to be a great ambassador for NASCAR and Chevrolet."
Pat Suhy, Group Manager - NASCAR Programs: "I think first of all and it will be said many times he has been a great ambassador to the sport. I think he attracted a new generation of fans and broadened the reach of NASCAR in terms of West Coast awareness and enthusiasm for it. On the competition side he has meant a lot to Chevrolet, he has been a great ambassador for the brand. But on the racetrack he's done so much for us with four championships and 93 race wins. The points he collected for us have helped lead us to 18 manufacturer championships during his career. The race wins and the championships mean a lot to us. The manufactures championships mean a lot to us. He's been an innovator. Recently, he and Alan Gustafson (crew chief) have shown that you can teach an old dog new tricks. They continue to try to use the latest technology and the tools that we offer. We keep pushing the boundaries of technology and they keep joining us and helping us push it even further. Which makes it good not only for them, but for all Chevy teams. We certainly appreciate everything he has done for us over the years."
Alba Colon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Program Manager: "To talk about what is GREAT about NASCAR is synonymous with talking about Jeff Gordon. This generation has been honored to see Jeff Gordon race and to witnessing how great he is. At the same time, we at Chevrolet have been privileged to count Jeff Gordon as an ambassador for our brand. He represents what our brand is about, true American values, the real heartbeat of America. He has always been passionate about our vehicles, about our brand. All his 93 great wins have all been behind the wheel of a Chevrolet. It can't get better than that. Thanks to Jeff for all the great years of racing a Chevrolet. I know our relationship is one that will last forever. We salute you in your last career race and celebrate your new ventures".(Team Chevy)(11-22-2015)
NASCAR Fans to Perform Card Stunt, Thanking Jeff Gordon: The NASCAR industry is deep into preparations for this Sunday's Sprint Cup Series championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which will be the final ride in the storied career of Jeff Gordon, one of the most iconic figures in NASCAR history. Fans in attendance at Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400, which will start at 3:00 p.m., will have the unique opportunity to send a special message to Jeff Gordon with a card stunt throughout the grandstands at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Fans sitting in grandstand sections 206 through 254 will be asked to perform two card stunts prior to the Ford EcoBoost 400, and are encouraged to get to their seats no later than 2:45 p.m. to participate. Cards will be attached to the seats prior to gates opening on Sunday. Card stunt leaders at the base of each section will hold up cue cards when it is time to perform each stunt, and PA announcements as well as cues on Sprint Vision screens will also let fans know when it is time to perform the stunt. There will be two card stunts during the pace laps of the Ford EcoBoost 400. The first will be a special message to Jeff Gordon, and the second will showcase the Championship 4 drivers. Fans are also encouraged to share their photos and memories of Jeff Gordon via social media, using the hashtag #24ever. Homestead-Miami Speedway will have a "Thank You, Jeff" banner for fans to write their well wishes to Gordon, located in the Fanatics Trackside Superstore.(Homestead-Miami Speedway)(11-22-2015)
Homestead-Miami-Specific Statistics - Chase Driver
2) - Jeff Gordon (#24 Axalta Chevy)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.5
· One win, five top fives, 20 top 10s,
· Led 256 laps
· Average Finish of 13.9
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One win, seven top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 10.563, seventh-best
· Average Running Position of 11.465, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 100.7, fifth-best
· 1998 Laps in the Top 15 (74.8), seventh-most
· 467 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Jimmie Johnson Narrates SportsCenter Jeff Gordon Tribute Today: ESPN SportsCenter will air a tribute to the career of retiring NASCAR star Jeff Gordon in the 6:00pm/et edition of tonight's program, with the feature also running in other editions through the evening. Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson narrates the feature, which includes highlights of the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion's career as he prepares to race for a fifth in Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Lindsay Czarniak hosts the 6 p.m. SportsCenter, which will air on ESPN and stream on WatchESPN.(ESPN)(11-18-2015)
Chase drivers to appear on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" tonight: The four NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship 4 drivers, #24-Jeff Gordon, #78-Martin Truex Jr., #4-Kevin Harvick and #18-Kyle Busch are scheduled to appear on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" Tuesday night, November 17th, scheduled for 11:35pm/et on NBC. Also scheduled to appear is singer Justin Bieber.(11-17-2015)
Teammates to pay tribute at Homestead with 'Jeff Gordon yellow' numbers: Sunday will mark a momentous occasion in the history of Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR as a whole. Jeff Gordon will make his final start behind the wheel of the #24 Chevy. To honor the event, Axalta has provided a special paint scheme for Gordon to drive as he attempts to win a fifth NASCAR Cup Series championship in the final race of his final full-time season. But the remaining three Hendrick Motorsports cars will also celebrate the close of an iconic career.
In a collaboration Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick announced Tuesday morning on Twitter, Gordon's teammates and their partners worked together to run the familiar "Jeff Gordon yellow" for the car numbers on the #5, #48 and #88 Chevy as well. See the behind-the-scenes gallery of the application of the yellow numbers inside the race shops.(Hendrick Motorsports) and see images of the four cars on Jayski.com's:
#5 Team Schemes page;
#24 Team Schemes page;
#48 Team Schemes page;
#88 Team Schemes page.(11-17-2015)
Reporters Honor Jeff Gordon: On Saturday morning, next to the NASCAR transporter in the Sprint Cup Series garage, reporters gathered to honor #24-Jeff Gordon for his benevolence and accessibility to the media over his 24-year career. Organized by veteran writers Mike Hembree and Kenny Bruce, the informal ceremony included the presentation of a gift the reporters knew Gordon didn't already have - a trophy from Kentucky Speedway, the only active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track where Gordon has never won. Instead of "Winner" or "Champion," the trophy was inscribed "Participant," and Gordon appreciated the joke. The media originally wanted to honor Gordon at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but that was before Gordon won the Nov. 1 race at Martinsville and qualified for the Championship Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Gordon promised that, if he should win a fifth champion at Homestead, his emotional celebration at Martinsville would pale in comparison with the exultation he would feel at ending his career in the #24 Chevy as a champion. "Just like in Martinsville, I didn't go into that race expecting us to win or think about what that was going to be like if we did win," Gordon said. "But you saw the raw emotion of what that win meant to me. That's nothing compared to what you'll see in Homestead if we do that. I literally will be climbing the fences. I'll be down with a bad back for the next week, but it will all be worth it."(NASCAR Wire Service)(11-15-2015)
Gordon didn't like the Chase when first told about it: #24-Jeff Gordon met with members of the media at Phoenix and discussed many topics including his reaction when he first was told about NASCAR's plan to do the Chase:
Q) HAVE YOU CURSED THE CHASE OVER THE YEARS AND WOULD IT BE POETIC JUSTICE IF YOU WIN IT HERE?
Gordon: "That would be the ultimate, most poetic justice ever. (laughs) Well the one thing that I will never forget is the moment that I was standing on the dock in Key West, Florida on a NASCAR boat trip with Brian France and Mike Helton and they told me what they were planning on doing with the Chase format and I laughed in their faces because I thought that was the most hilarious thing I have ever heard of. Because I thought it was a joke, then I quickly realized that was not a joke and I was pulling the laughs back into my mouth. I was like, 'are you serious?', and they said 'yes'. Of course I didn't like it. I felt like point system was just fine for me. I don't think you can go back and look at accumulating points in the old system in the new system. Everybody races differently under each point system and does what it takes. So I don't know if we can all sit here and speculate and talk about things and wonder what could have been if the old point system would have stayed the same. There is no doubt in my mind that it suited my driving style. The reason I was able to win at so many different tracks was the consistency that our team had and that I had at all the different tracks. That paid off when you were trying to win the championship under a 36-race schedule. I didn't want to see it come down to that final 10, because some of those final 10 were not all tracks that suited me. It actually suited others pretty well and so I felt like it was not benefitting me. So of course I wish it hadn't changed. But when I look at the sport from 10,000 feet I love it and think it is exciting. And with this new format, I think it is even better. I will continue to support it, always have, even when it hasn't suited me. I think that I try and not be that selfish and think of what is best for the sport. At the end of the day, what is best for the sport is best for me, best for the team, best for all teams. And best for you guys too."(Team Chevy)(11-14-2015)
Hendrick Motorsports and Freightliner Trucks extend deal: Freightliner Trucks has announced a five-year contract extension with 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. In addition, the company announced a new five-year contract with defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champions JR Motorsports. Both racing teams now have agreements with Freightliner through the 2020 NASCAR season. With the Hendrick Motorsports partnership renewal, the team's over-the-road drivers will continue to stay behind the wheel of their custom Freightliner trucks to carry race cars, supplies and equipment to Sprint Cup events across the United States.(HMS)(11-14-2015)
Gordon completes first rehearsal with 2016 FOX Sports team: NASCAR Hall of Famer and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip and veteran FOX NASCAR broadcaster Mike Joy welcomed future FOX NASCAR analyst #24-Jeff Gordon into the booth Friday night to get a little "seat time" in front of the cameras together, as the trio rehearsed their craft during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Texas. "Any time you can get seven championships together in the booth, it's special," said FOX Sports President & COO Eric Shanks. "And getting eight championships in the 2016 booth is still a very real and electrifying possibility. ... Friday night, we got a glimpse of the future, and it looks great." Gordon, who announced he is retiring after the 2015 season, has qualified for the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup finale in Homestead, with his mind set firmly on a fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. He joins the FOX NASCAR team beginning in Daytona in 2016.(FoxSports)(11-11-2015)
College athletes on pit road: So who and how many college athletes are now on NASCAR's pit road? As the pit crews evolves so do the athletes that pit. That being said, the influx of college athletes to pit road has been a huge topic of conversation over the last few years. Getting the exact names and numbers of the guys on pit road is an extremely hard stat to get. The turnover is high so no stat is going to be 100% correct. So here ya go...the most in-depth article you'll find on ex college athletes on pit road circa Fall of 2015.
The best way to start this is to give some basic facts. We based our stats off of 39 full time running Cup teams. That gives us a total of 234 total crewmen on pit road. Out of those 234 total crewmen, 62 of them played college ball. That's a total of 26%. That number might seem low for what you were thinking, but we think it's right on track. If we were to do that same stat for developmental crewmen then we're guessing it would be more into the 80% range. Taking those 62 pit crew members and breaking them down into what position they pit looks like this. Leading the way is the Carriers with 21 at (34%), followed by Jackmen 16 (26%), Gasmen at 16 (26%), and Changers with only 9 representing 15%. The interesting thing about this is that your Changers are the most important position on pit road and they have the least amount of college athletes.
Looking into these stats even more we find that 49 (79%) played football followed by Baseball with 8 (13%). Basketball, Wrestling, and Soccer make up the remaining 8%.
As far as where these athletes pit, the breakdowns look like this. HMS leads the way with 16 (26%) followed by JGR with 8 (13%). The next two companies with the most would be SHR and MWR with 5 each representing (8%) for each company. Take into consideration we are comparing some 4 car teams to those with 2 or 3 cars so the stats might look a little skewed but the numbers are what they are.(PitTalks)(10-26-2015)
Chase Elliott's paint scheme to be revealed Monday UPDATE:: Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott, who makes the jump to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season, will unveil his 2016 #24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy SS paint scheme on "NASCAR RACE HUB" on FS1 Monday, Oct. 19, at 6:00pm/et The anticipated reveal is being simulcast in New York City's Times Square on the giant FOX video screen. Elliott, 19, the defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion and NASCAR's youngest-ever national series champion, will pull the cover off the car he is set to pilot in 24 Sprint Cup races next season, including the Feb. 21 Daytona 500, as part of NAPA AUTO PARTS' majority sponsorship of the rookie-of-the-year contender.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-17-2015)
UPDATE:Next season, Chase Elliott will pilot the #24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy SS full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Monday evening on FOX Sports 1's "NASCAR RACE HUB," the Dawsonville, Georgia, native unveiled the brand new look that will hit the track for 24 races in 2016. "I think the car turned out great and hope everybody likes it," said Elliott, who thanked NAPA AUTO PARTS for letting him make "a few decisions" throughout the design process. "They were really open and willing to some of the ideas that we had. The light blue stripes actually came off of their drag car that Ron Capps runs. So it's kind of cool to keep it all in the family and I think it turned out pretty cool." Elliott was joined on set by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, and their appearance was simulcast in New York City's Times Square on the giant FOX video screen. "I'm so excited," Hendrick said. "What he did in the XFINITY Series last year and winning the championship, and what we've seen out of him when he gets into the Cup cars now, I can't wait to see him take it on next year."(Hendrick Motorsports. See an image of the car on the 2016 #24 team paint schemes page.(10-19-2015)
NCMA To Honor Jeff Gordon With Achievement In Motorsports Award: Jeff Gordon will be honored at the 10th Annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony and hosted by the North Carolina Motorsports Association, January 13, 2016. Gordon, who will retire from full-time racing at the conclusion of the 2015 season, will be awarded the NCMA Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award for his personal and professional contributions to the motorsports industry in the state of North Carolina. "We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to honor Jeff and his amazing contributions to the sport of auto racing in our state," said Greg Fornelli, NCMA Chairman. "Jeff Gordon changed the face of NASCAR with his winning personality and his winning ways. His talent, his marketability and his philanthropy opened our sport to a whole new audience." Past recipients of the Achievement Award include Bill France Jr., Benny Parsons, Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Richard Childress, O. Bruton Smith, Junior Johnson, Humpy Wheeler, Ned Jarrett & Family and Mike Helton.
Gordon is a four-time Series champion in NASCAR's premier series, winning the title in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001. He has three Daytona 500 victories and a record five Brickyard 400 trophies. He is third on the all-time victories list with 92 career wins. Gordon has driven the #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy during his entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, and has a 23-year relationship with sponsor Axalta Coating Systems (formerly DuPont). In addition to his racing achievements, Gordon established the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation in 1999 to help support children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses. In December 2006, the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital opened at NorthEast Medical Center in Concord, N.C. Gordon is also part of Athletes for Hope; works with AARP in its Drive to End Hunger program; and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. He is also heavily involved in Kick It, a program that raises funds for pediatric cancer research. Gordon announced in May that he will join the FOX NASCAR broadcasts as an in-booth analyst with veteran broadcasters Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip for the 2016 season.
The NC Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony presented by Fifth Third Bank, which will also honor companies making an impact in the state's racing industry, takes place Jan. 13, 2016 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Concord, N.C. Details regarding tickets to the event will be available soon at northcarolinamotorsportsassociation.org.(NCMA)(10-9-2015)
Ray Evernham Receives Smokey Yunick Award: Ray Evernham, a former modified racer who earned 47 victories and three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships as Jeff Gordon's crew chief, received the prestigious Smokey Yunick Award prior to the Bank of America 500. Legendary car owner and mechanic Henry "Smokey" Yunick, who passed away May 9, 2001, instituted the award in 1997 to annually recognize an individual who rose from humble beginnings to make a major impact on the motorsports industry. "Ray Evernham literally redefined the role of a NASCAR crew chief during his time with Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Ray's experience as a driver and his understanding of the sport's rapidly advancing technology produced a unique dynamic, while his innovative work with the 'Rainbow Warriors' established a new standard for pit-road performance. Ray is a perfect match to the ideals upon which Smokey founded this award, and it is only appropriate that he will be recognized as we celebrate Jeff's final race at Charlotte Motor Speedway where they enjoyed so much success." Smith was on hand Thursday to present Evernham with the award during a media availability.
Born Aug. 26, 1957, in Hazlet, New Jersey, Evernham inherited the automotive gene and the second-generation mechanic spent his formative years turning wrenches alongside his father at the family's service station. Evernham eventually began racing them at area short tracks such as Wall Stadium and New Egypt Speedway. He advanced through the ranks and became a regular in the open-wheel modifieds that headlined the local racing circuit. He enjoyed a limited amount of success on the track, but it was soon obvious that Evernham's mechanical ability far surpassed his driving talent. His big break came in 1983 when Evernham was hired by Roger Penske and Jay Signore to work as a chassis specialist for the International Race of Champions, a New Jersey-based operation that annually presented a series of races featuring a dozen of the world's top drivers competing in identically prepared race cars. In addition to learning the business of major-league auto racing during his time with the IROC series, Evernham impressed drivers such as Dale Earnhardt and A.J. Foyt with his ability to translate what they were experiencing on the track into adjustments to the cars.
Evernham's first venture into NASCAR's premier series came during the 1989 and 1990 seasons when he prepared the #38 Fords driven by Australian Dick Johnson. At the end of the 1991 season, Evernham accepted a job with team owner/driver Alan Kulwicki and he moved his toolbox to North Carolina. What seemed like the perfect opportunity quickly turned into a nightmare as a clash of personalities resulted in Evernham leaving the Kulwicki operation during the days leading up to the 1992 Daytona 500. Frustrated and ready to return to his native New Jersey, Evernham's career took a drastic turn when Ford officials Lee Morse and Preston Miller stopped him while walking out of the Daytona garage area. They had been impressed by Evernham's work and suggested they might have another assignment for him. A young open-wheel racer named Jeff Gordon had just become a Ford stock car driver and he had mentioned to Ford officials that he would like to work with Evernham. The two had crossed paths briefly in 1990 when Evernham setup the chassis on the Pontiac in which Gordon made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut. Evernham served as the chassis specialist on the #1 Bill Davis Racing entry Gordon drove to three victories and 11 poles during the 1992 season.
When Rick Hendrick hired Gordon to drive for his newest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, Gordon requested that Evernham come with him as the team's crew chief - and the rest is history. Over the next seven years, the Gordon/Evernham/Hendrick combination rose to the top of the sport during a time when the popularity of stock car racing was exploding. Evernham left Hendrick Motorsports in 1999 and formed his own team, bringing Dodge back into sport. The team debuted at the 2000 Daytona 500 and enjoyed modest success with drivers such as Bill Elliott, Casey Atwood, Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne. On Aug. 6, 2007, it was announced George Gillett Jr. had purchased a majority share in the team, which eventually merged with Petty Enterprises. Late in 2010, Evernham sold his remaining shares in the operation. Today, Evernham works as a consultant for Hendrick Motorsports and hosts Velocity's "AmeriCarna," a television program that celebrates this country's car culture. He has also assembled an extensive car collection that includes both road cars and race cars.(CMS Pit Notes)(10-9-2015)
Axalta to sponsor Dale Jr. in 2016: Axalta Coatings Systems will continue its long-standing partnership with Hendrick Motorsports after agreeing to a contract extension that will expand its presence and take one of the most enduring sponsorships in NASCAR through 2018. Beginning in 2016, Axalta will become a primary sponsor of the #88 Chevy team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 13 Sprint Cup Series races annually, an increase of three per season. Axalta will also be featured as a major associate sponsor during all non-primary events.
The agreement extends a multi-faceted partnership -- now in its 23rd full season -- that began in November 1992 when the company (as DuPont) first sponsored driver Jeff Gordon and the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team. Gordon, who is in the midst of his final full-time Sprint Cup campaign, will continue to work with Axalta as a spokesperson and global business advisor. The multi-year relationship was announced earlier this year.
"We began a journey 23 years ago with Hendrick Motorsports and a young driver named Jeff Gordon. Eighty poles, 92 wins and four championships later, we are proud of the run we've had with Jeff," said Nigel Budden, Axalta vice president and head of its North America business. "Now, we are delighted to continue our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and to adorn the hood of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy SS with the Axalta logo in 2016. As our slogan says, 'We Paint Winners,' and by joining Dale we will continue to do so for years to come."
On the racetrack, Axalta's relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has yielded four Sprint Cup Series championships and 92 victories. Axalta has hosted thousands of customers at events and fashioned some of the most iconic paint schemes in NASCAR history. Earlier this month, the two companies broke ground on Axalta's 45,000-square-foot Customer Experience Center that will be located on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, NC.
"Axalta has built a model sponsorship program," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "For 23 years, they've recognized the opportunities NASCAR provides and understood how it drives value for their business. It's a unique relationship that's evolved with the times and has been consistently effective. We're very proud of what we've accomplished as partners and look forward to more successes together with Dale and the #88 team."
"Axalta and Hendrick Motorsports have an incredible story," Earnhardt said. "For me, it's meaningful to work with a sponsor that's been so committed to our sport and has such a rich history in NASCAR. Continuing the partnership is special for all of us, and I'm already excited about what the car will look like. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity."(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-6-2015)
Hendrick Motorsports newest class of pit crew recruits announced: Wednesday afternoon on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, NC, the organization held its very first Signing Day ceremony to celebrate the newest class of pit crew recruits. "It's really neat to be a part of the first Signing Day ever for Hendrick Motorsports for the pit development program," Hendrick Motorsports President Marshall Carlson said. "It's a tradition in other sports. If you look at what we tried to do over the last few years really elevating our whole athletic department and these athletes - bring them in and trying to get out to a wider range of recruits - the investments we've made in coaching, the facilities, it's really fitting that we would start to do some of the traditional things that other sports do to celebrate the success that the coaches and the recruiting class are bringing to our company."
Director of Human Performance Andy Papathanassiou introduced the new athletes, several of whom had brought family and friends to take in the ceremony. "In this particular class, we brought in seven athletes," Papathanassiou said. "Our classes have ranged from seven to about a dozen. Year after year we start recruiting, gathering 50 names, knock that down to about 30 that we see in person, and we physically evaluate them. We bring in 20 for a two-day minicamp where we put pit crew equipment, pit stop stuff in their hands and then pick our recruiting class from there. These are the winners of a very long and arduous process." The pit crew recruits: Spencer Bishop, Tire Carrier; Ryan Cheek, Jackman; Rod Cox, Tire Changer; Matt Lehman, Fueler/Jackman; Mike McClure, Fueler/Jackman; Roman Perryman, Tire Changer; Max Thomusseit, Tire Carrier. More info and a quick glance at the newest developmental pit crew members at HMS site)(9-24-2015)
Axalta breaks ground on Concord facility; who will they sponsor?: Axalta Coating Systems started construction Tuesday on a new training facility on the campus of Hendrick Motorsports in Concord, NC. Philadelphia-based Axalta, a 23-year Hendrick Motorsports sponsor (used to be DuPont), manufactures liquid and powder coatings for light and commercial vehicles. Axalta's new 45,000-square-foot "customer experience center" is slated to open in late 2016, the company said in a statement this week. The center will be the training spot for refinish technicians in the mid-Atlantic region, and will house two paint booths, classrooms, interactive displays and a conference center. The facility also will have the technology to conduct distance learning for customers learning remotely from his or her own plant or body shop. "We offer a hands-on, process-oriented approach. Our instructors, designers, and staff are committed to continuing the education and the development of our partner organizations," Charlie Shaver, Axalta's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.(Charlotte Observer)
AND: For most of Jeff Gordon's career, DuPont Performance Coatings was one of the many DuPont divisions that supported the #24. Axalta acquired that DuPont subsidiary in February 2013, after which Axalta replaced DuPont as one of Gordon's primary sponsors. Axalta will be one of the Hendrick Motorsports sponsors for next year, although Hendrick and Shaver each declined to comment about which driver or drivers Axalta will support in 2016.(FoxSports)(9-10-2015)
Gordon, no plans to race Sprint Cup after 2015: #24-Jeff Gordon met with media and was asked about racing after 2015:
Q) AFTER LAST WEEK, THE OUTPOURING OF FANS ON TWITTER WAS PRETTY INTENSE. DO YOU EVER SEE A POINT WHERE YOU WOULD GET BACK IN A STOCK CAR FOR A ONE-OFF RACE? OR, ONCE YOU GET OUT OF THE CAR AT HOMESTEAD, IS THAT PRETTY MUCH IT ON THE CUP LEVEL?
Gordon: "Right now, I don't have any plans to. You have to understand it's far more than just what maybe I would desire or want to do. It takes a team to do it. And that's a total disruption to the organization to go do a one-off race. It's not that it can't be done. But, as somebody who is an equity owner in the organization, I recognize the challenges that would come along with that and what it would do to our four teams competing for the wins and championships. So, I probably wouldn't ask them to do that. And if I were going to do it, it would probably be at a short track like Martinsville or something like that. But, I have no plans to do that."(Team Chevy)(8-1-2015)
Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis Race for Good Dental Health with the #24 3M Team: More than 500 students at LeGore Boys & Girls Club and Keenan-Stahl Boys & Girls Club in Indianapolis participated in a special high-speed oral health education event Thursday that left them with big smiles and new tips for improving their dental health. It was all thanks to NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevy, NASCAR celebrities, 3M ESPE Dental, the ADA Foundation's Give Kids A Smile program, CareCredit, Henry Schein Cares and Church & Dwight. The ADA Foundation's Give Kids A Smile program rolled into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis as part of the race week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(3M ESPE Dental)(7-29-2015)
Congrats to Ray & Erin Evernham on the birth of their daughter, Cate Susan Evernham, Saturday morning. Evernham works at Hendrick Motorsports.(7-25-2015)
Congrats to Ray Evernham & Erin Crocker: Ray Evernham, a three-time champion crew chief with Jeff Gordon, talked Tuesday with Sirius XM NASCAR Radio about having a baby next month with his wife, Erin Crocker Evernham, who has 39 NASCAR national series starts to her credit. While discussing a taping of an upcoming episode of his show "AmeriCarna" on Velocity, Evernham said he would have to wait until after his wife's pregnancy. "We're building a special race car for Crocker," Evernham said. "She's going to be the first woman to compete in an upcoming event so pretty cool deal coming up. But right now, we have to wait until probably late August. I guess it's going to be probably October by the time we can shoot her racing this car because as you know she doesn't fit into her fire suit anymore. We haven't really said much, but they had a shower the other day," Evernham said. "And some time in late July, Miss Cate Evernham will be joining us so hopefully she will be another redhead lady driver pretty soon." It will be a second child for Evernham and a first for his bride.(NASCAR.com)(6-11-2015)
Jeff Gordon: no plans to race after this season: #24-Jeff Gordon, Official Pace Car driver for the 99th Indianapolis 500, met with members of the media prior to leading the field to the green flag. Below is the press conference transcript in part:
Q). Jeff, I know you've said as a boy growing up in Pittsboro, your dream was to start the Indianapolis 500. In some ways, do you feel this is starting the Indianapolis 500?
JEFF GORDON: I guess in a way, yes. In some ways it's even greater. To be honored as the pace car driver, again, it's just kind of blowing me away right now that this whole experience is happening. This whole year has just been incredible from the fan interaction, racetracks, this phone call, this moment. This is a very, very special year. I mean, there's no doubt in my mind that one thing that maybe I feel like I've accomplished more than I ever expected or hoped to in racing, but the one thing that did kind of did allude me and we pursued - I say 'we', my dad, my mom, and myself - when we were trying to go to the next level, was getting a chance to race here in the Indianapolis 500. I've said this many times, I still believe it. Winning the inaugural Brickyard 400, to me, fulfilled that dream. Now I've had a chance to win it four more times. This is a special place for me. I love getting a chance to race here. Would I have liked to have at least run one Indy 500, know what it's like? Sure, I would have. It won't be happening, but I would have liked to have known what that was like. But as far as being honored to a whole 'nother level, this today is it.
Q. What about next year?
JEFF GORDON: I'll be in the FOX booth next year (laughter). I'm so glad that deal worked out because I wouldn't have a better excuse for you.
Q. Jeff, you've talked about you're not going to be driving next year full-time. Have you picked the races you might drive part-time and would Indianapolis be one of them?
JEFF GORDON: The way I set that up is because I've known too many drivers that I respect and have raced with that, you know, said, Okay, I'm retiring, stepping away, then they come back. I'm not quite ready, want to run a few more races. That's why I didn't say this is my final year of ever competing at a single event. But it really, truly is. It really is. As I get further into the year, as things come together, I don't see myself doing any races. If I do a race, maybe a Martinsville or a short track. There's so much that goes into preparing a car and a team at Hendrick Motorsports, which is the only car I would ever do it with, and team, that would take away from their performance. Why would I really be doing it? I'll be in the booth. I'm going to fulfill my desire to be a part of the sport by being in the booth. I can go do some racing with my kids hopefully, some other ways. I don't plan on doing any racing. I have no set plans to do any after Homestead.(Team Chevy)(5-24-2015)
Jeff Gordon joins the NASCAR Sprint Cup Broadcast booth in 2016: Jeff Gordon joins FOX NASCAR fulltime in 2016 as race analyst for its 16th year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage, teaming with three-time champion Darrell Waltrip to offer seven championships' worth of expertise. Gordon, currently competing in his 23rd and final fulltime Sprint Cup Series season, served as race analyst for FOX Sports' coverage of three NASCAR XFINITY Series races this year. He has agreed to a multi-year contract that begins this season with in-race reporting from the #24 Chevy during select Cup Series races, and segues to an analyst role that commences with Daytona Speedweeks in February 2016. "NASCAR has provided me so many incredible memories, experiences and opportunities throughout my 23 years as a driver, and I can't wait to start a new chapter in racing with this new relationship with FOX and to be in the booth with Mike (Joy) and Darrell," said Gordon. "I feel so lucky to be a part of a sport that I'm very passionate about, and now I get the opportunity to share that passion to millions of race fans from a whole new perspective."
Gordon will call all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, practice and qualifying sessions for FOX Sports alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Joy and NASCAR Hall of Famer and analyst Darrell Waltrip. Chris Myers hosts the network's coverage alongside analysts Larry McReynolds and Michael Waltrip.
"Jeff is not only a champion but an icon of a racing generation," said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports President, COO & Executive Producer. "We are thrilled he has chosen to become a part of the FOX Sports family and pair his experience with Darrell. Each is credited with helping elevate NASCAR to the popularity it attained in his respective era, and alongside Mike Joy, this duo will treat fans to unmatched insights each and every week."
Gordon's move to the FOX booth furthers a career in which his affability and crossover appeal have provided him numerous high-profile television and movie opportunities that include: Becoming the only auto racing driver ever to host Saturday Night Live; co-hosting Live! With Regis and Kelly more than 10 times; appearances as himself on The Simpsons, Spin City and The Drew Carey Show; movie appearances in Taxi, Herbie: Fully Loaded and Looney Tunes: Back in Action; TV appearances on Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Sesame Street; and participation on television's Celebrity Poker Showdown and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Sports Edition, among others. Gordon also voiced the character "Jeff Gorvette" in the animated film Cars 2.
The California native, one of the most versatile drivers of his era, has driven for Hendrick Motorsports since November 1992, winning four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships (1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001), 92 races and 80 pole positions. With his first Cup Series championship in 1995, Gordon became the youngest champion (24) in NASCAR's modern era in only his third full season. He sits third behind only NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105) in all-time victories, is a three-time Daytona 500 champion and record five-time Brickyard 400 winner. He holds the record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (23), among numerous other accolades. Furthermore, Gordon is NASCAR's winningest road-course driver with nine wins, and is the all-time leader with 12 restrictor-plate track victories.
Off the track, Gordon, named one of "NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers" in 1998, established the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs. He traveled to Rwanda with the Foundation in 2011, and also visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative. Gordon was honored with the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Award in 2012, recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock-car racing. That same year, he received the Heisman Humanitarian Award, established to recognize those in sports who give significantly to communities and improve the lives of others.
FOX Sports, which began its FOX NASCAR coverage in 2001, currently is in the first of a 10-year media rights agreement with NASCAR. In 2013, FOX Sports extended its agreement with NASCAR, ensuring the FOX family of networks' broadcast of the first 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races each season beginning in 2015, as well as the first 14 NASCAR XFINITY Series races of the season and all NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, through 2024.(FOX)(2-21-2015)
Hendrick enshrined in North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame: Friday night [May 15] in Raleigh, North Carolina, Rick Hendrick was honored as a Hall of Famer. Along with nine other inductees, the owner of Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group was enshrined in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. "It's such an honor for me to be here tonight," Hendrick said on stage after being introduced by fellow North Carolina Sports Hall of Famer Woody Durham. Joining Hendrick in the Class of 2015 were Jeff Bostic, Joe Bostic, John Clougherty, Freddie Combs, Gene Littles, Jerry McGee, Lenox Rawlings, Charlotte Smith and Andrea Stinson. "Congratulations to all the inductees here tonight," Hendrick said. "I feel kind of humbled, because most of you folks have earned your status on your own. You are great ball players, great referees, and with me, I take a team. I have to rely on a lot of people." He then asked his "teammates" from both Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports to stand and be recognized. Under his leadership, Hendrick Motorsports has grown from five employees to more than 600, while Hendrick Automotive Group has expanded from nine employees to 10,000.(HMS)(5-17-2015)
NAPA Auto Parts will sponsor Elliott in the #24: NAPA Auto Parts will grow its relationship with 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports in 2016 when it becomes the majority sponsor of driver Chase Elliott and his #24 Chevy SS team. The news was announced Tuesday evening in Las Vegas during the NAPA EXPO, which is attended by more than 17,000 store owners, managers and dealers. The expanded partnership will feature NAPA AUTO PARTS as a primary sponsor of the #24 team in 24 Sprint Cup races annually, including the season-opening Daytona 500, and as an associate-level partner in all other events. The agreement covers the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons. NAPA was the full-season primary sponsor during Elliott's historic 2014 XFINITY Series campaign when he became NASCAR's youngest-ever national series champion while earning rookie of the year and most popular driver honors. In 2015, NAPA remains the sole primary sponsor for Elliott's second full NXS season with JR Motorsports along with the driver's Sprint Cup debut schedule, which includes five points-paying races with Hendrick Motorsports. It was announced in January that Elliott, 19, will join Hendrick Motorsports as a full-time Sprint Cup driver in 2016. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native currently is third in the 2015 NXS standings with seven top-10 finishes in nine races. In 51 combined NXS and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, he has recorded four wins, 25 top-five finishes and 40 top-10s.Additional sponsorship for Elliott's 2016 Sprint Cup season will be announced at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-6-2015)
Gordon has no plans to race in Sprint Cup Series in 2016: #24-Jeff Gordon is backing away from the possibility of running more races after this year. Gordon announced last month this will be his final year as a full-time driver, but he did not use the word retirement. On Thursday, he said it's "highly unlikely" he'll race a Sprint Cup car in 2016. He says it is difficult to put together a ride for one race and be competitive enough to win. He said trying to get a one-off ride with Hendrick Motorsports would be disruptive to the organization.(Associated Press)(2-19-2015)
Gordon doesn't want car number 24 retired: Jeff Gordon knows some of his fans would rather not see the #24 on the car of another Sprint Cup driver.
But he believes Chase Elliott will have so much success, his fans eventually will change their minds. So he convinced team owner Rick Hendrick that Elliott, who will replace the four-time Cup champion starting in 2016, should drive a Hendrick car with the #24 on the side. "Rick wanted to retire that number for maybe one year or a certain period of time - you never know what NASCAR allows," said Gordon, who will retire from full-time racing after the 2015 season. "He definitely threw that idea out to me, and I said, 'No.' I love the #24. I want to see the 24 go on to do great things. I did say if Chase was really adamant or (his dad) Bill and Chase and (his mom) Cindy all felt like that another number was more suited, that I was open to it. But I think our fans want to see the 24 continue on with the right person and be successful with the right guy, and he's the right guy."
Elliott, who just turned 19, didn't try to lobby to drive the #9, the car number he mostly remembers his dad racing and the number that adorns the side of his JR Motorsports car. Richard Petty Motorsports currently runs the #9, but it could have been possible for Hendrick to negotiate with RPM to get it that number for Elliott. NASCAR issues car numbers each year but with the understanding that the teams will have the same number year to year because they build equity in numbers. NASCAR officials said Monday they had no plans to retire the number. "When you look at the sport, Jeff Gordon has certainly made an unbelievable impact on the sport and has been transcendent," NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said Monday. "If you talk to Jeff, and we haven't had that dialogue yet, I'm not sure he would even want that. So we'll wait and talk to Jeff and see where he's at." NASCAR has not retired a number in its three national stock-car series.(Sporting News)(1-31-2015)
Richard Petty: #9 is Chase Elliott's if he wants it: On Wednesday, NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Richard Petty said he's not "emotionally attached" to #9, which Marcos Ambrose carried at Richard Petty Motorsports and which Sam Hornish Jr. will carry this year. "We inherited that number [when Petty bought the remnants of the Ray Evernham/George Gillette team]," Petty said. "It doesn't mean anything to me, but it does to the sponsors we'd already signed for this year. If the kid wants it next year, though, that's fine with us."
"The kid" he refers to is Chase Elliott. His famous father carried number 9 for most of his career, getting 38 of his 44 victories and his championship with it. "Awesome Bill" carried 17 other numbers during his Sprint Cup career, most notably 11 with Junior Johnson, 21 with the Wood brothers and 94 with the team he created and owned late in his career. Chase Elliott will run five Cup races this year in #25 for Hendrick Motorsports. Don't be surprised if that number is 9 when the 2016 season opens in Daytona Beach.(AutoWeek)(1-29-2015)
Chase Elliott in the #25? UPDATE: was sent an image taken during a photo shoot showing the #25 NAPA Chevy that Chase Elliott will supposedly drive in some NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the 2015 season. One rumor has Elliott making his Sprint Cup Series debut at Atlanta on March 1st. Atlanta is his 'home track' as he and his father, Bill, are both from Georgia. See the little bit fuzzy image of the car on the #25 Team Schemes page.(1-28-2015)
UPDATE: Chase Elliott, who became the youngest national series champion in NASCAR history last season, will join Hendrick Motorsports as a full-time Sprint Cup driver beginning in 2016. Elliott's #24 Chevy team will be led by crew chief Alan Gustafson, who has earned 19 wins, 18 pole positions, 98 top-five finishes and 165 top-10s at the elite Cup level.
"Chase brings the kind of intangibles that make him the total package as a driver," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, who announced the news this morning during the team's season kickoff employee event. "Not only is he a special talent inside the race car, but there's a natural combination of competitiveness, work ethic and smarts that you rarely see. Chase's personality and demeanor make him popular with fans, teammates and sponsors. He's a great fit for our organization on many levels, and we feel he and Alan will be a successful combination. There's a lot to be excited about."
In preparation for 2016, Elliott, 19, will make his Sprint Cup debut later this year as part of a five-race schedule with primary sponsorship from NAPA AUTO PARTS. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native will be paired with veteran crew chief Kenny Francis during the limited campaign. Driving the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, Elliott will be entered in 2015 Cup events March 29 at Martinsville Speedway, April 25 at Richmond International Raceway, May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway.
"Chase has been a fantastic ambassador for NAPA," said Gaylord Spencer, senior vice president of marketing for NAPA AUTO PARTS, which also is primary sponsor of Elliott's JR Motorsports team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "As he embarks on this important next step in his career, we're proud to support him across both series in 2015 and look forward to an exciting year on and off the track. The NAPA Family is behind Chase 100 percent."
At the age of 18 years, 11 months and 18 days, Elliott became the youngest champion in any NASCAR national touring series when he won the 2014 XFINITY Series title. The first racer in NASCAR history to win a championship and rookie of the year honors in the same season, he also was voted by fans as the series' most popular driver. Elliott's 2014 season included three wins, two pole positions and 26 top-10 finishes in 33 races. His first victory (Texas Motor Speedway) came in his sixth career series start and made him the second-youngest winner in XFINITY Series history (behind Joey Logano). He completed 99.6 percent of the 6,063 total laps run and became the first driver since 2010 to clinch the championship before the season finale.
Elliott and father Bill are only the fifth father-son duo to win NASCAR national series championships. They are members of an elite group that includes Lee and Richard Petty, Ned and Dale Jarrett, David and Larry Pearson, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bill Elliott, the 1988 Sprint Cup Series champion, will be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame tomorrow evening.
"So many people have been behind me, and the first thing I want to do is thank them," said Chase Elliott, who will run the full 2015 XFINITY Series schedule as the defending champion. "My parents especially have believed in me every step of the way, and I know this wouldn't be possible without all the sacrifices they've made to focus on my racing career. This is such a big week for our family. I'm also extremely grateful to Mr. Hendrick and my teammates at both Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports for believing in me. NAPA has been a huge supporter, and I'm honored to represent them on and off the track. Of course the fans have been amazing to me, and I'm so appreciative of that. I know how rare this opportunity is and will work as hard as I can to make everyone proud."
Hendrick Motorsports will announce sponsorship for Elliott's 2016 Sprint Cup season at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-29-2015)
Bill Elliott talked to Ford about Chase Elliott: When Bill Elliott is inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, most of the highlights will show him wheeling a Ford. He made his name driving Fords and he was synonymous with the blue oval brand. So to see his son, Chase, driving a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports is a little bit strange. "I tried to make the Ford thing happen," Elliott said. "It didn't. I saw it one way and they saw it another way and it didn't work out. Mr. Hendrick came to us with an opportunity that at the point in time, it wasn't much of an opportunity but he was the only one that would talk to us." Elliott won the 2014 Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series title, and is expected to step into the Hendrick #24 car after Gordon retires at the end of 2015. "My gratitude to (Hendrick), I just can't say enough about the man about what his character is in the sport and what he's done for us," Elliott said. "That kind of went against my roots as far as the Ford goes, but that's the path we ended up having to take at the point in time and I can't do anything about it. Right now, it's set and that's the way it is."(Sporting News)(1-25-2015)
Gordon and Hendrick NASCAR teleconference:#24-Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports team owner, Rick Hendrick, met with members of the media to discuss Jeff Gordon's announcement that 2015 will be his final full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. Below are some high lights from Thursday's NASCAR teleconference:
Q. I'm curious. You didn't use the word retirement in your statement. With the way NASCAR's rules are as far as ownership and driving, it looks pretty difficult to see you in a car after next year if it's not -- unless something were to happen to a Hendrick driver or something like that. Can you just not mentally use that word or do you really think there is a chance you could be in a Cup car at some point after 2015?
JEFF GORDON: Well, the way I see myself in the world is that retirement means you go off to a beach somewhere and sit in a rocking chair on the front porch and drink your coffee and pet your dog. That's not me. I plan on working. I'm going to be working -- I'm actually going to have to get a real job now. So when I think of retirement, I just don't think that that's what I'm doing. I want to leave myself open, as well, to be able to get in a car. It doesn't have to be a Cup car. It could be an [XFINITY] car. It could be a truck. It could be a prototype for Le Mans or the Rolex. It might not be any of those things. Heck, I was just out in the desert driving buggies and I maybe want to do the Baja 1000. I don't plan on doing any racing, but I know I'm not going to be retiring because I have a lot on my plate already that we have plans for, and we'll be talking about in the future. And I'm excited about that. I really am.
Q. Rick, obviously there is a lot of speculation about Chase Elliott. Where does he fit into the plans given this announcement?
RICK HENDRICK: Oh, we're just kind of looking at what's down the road a little bit later. We're going to kind of focus on Jeff and what he's accomplished, and then at a later time we'll kind of focus on who is going to be in the car.
See the full transcript at the Team Chevy website.(1-23-2015)
Jeff Gordon to run final full-time NASCAR season in 2015: Jeff Gordon will compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. He announced his decision this morning to the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team he has driven for since November 1992. "As a race car driver, much of what I've done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions," Gordon said. "I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I've decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won't use the 'R-word' because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there's always the possibility I'll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that. I don't foresee a day when I'll ever step away from racing. I'm a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I'm passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I'm a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that's stood behind me every step of the way. Racing has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity that's been extraordinarily rewarding and fulfilling in my life. The work we're doing with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation will continue to be extremely important to me. Outside the race car, my passion is pediatric cancer research, and my efforts will remain focused there when I'm no longer driving. I'll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet. I'm going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship. To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you."
Gordon, 43, has earned four career Cup championships, 92 points-paying race wins and 77 pole positions, all for longtime car owner Rick Hendrick. He is third in all-time victories behind only NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). One of the most versatile drivers of his era in any auto racing discipline, Gordon's résumé includes three Daytona 500 victories and a record five Brickyard 400 wins. He is the sport's winningest road course driver with nine victories, stands alone as the all-time leader with 12 restrictor plate wins and has won at every track on the Sprint Cup circuit with the exception of Kentucky Speedway.
"There's simply no way to quantify Jeff's impact," said Hendrick, who first noticed Gordon during a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 1992. "He's one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There's been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I'm so grateful for everything he's done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners." Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)
AND while nothing has been announced and it mentions in the above PR that HMS will "announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date", most are speculating that Chase Elliott, the 2014 Xfinity Series Champ and son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, would replace Gordon in a fourth HMS Chevy starting in 2016. Elliott supposedly will run some Sprint Cup Series races in 2015 in a fifth HMS entry (a fifth team is allowed for a rookie driver).(1-22-2015)
Gordon comments about retirement: from a #24-Jeff Gordon Q&A by Ryan McGee on ESPN.com:
McGee: "This was your best finish in seven years. Under the old Chase system, you'd have finally won a fifth title. But we writers still come at you with retirement questions. So ... retirement?"
Gordon: "I don't believe in retirement, No. 1, but I know that I won't always be a full-time Cup driver. That time is coming. Remember in May, my back got so bad I couldn't get out of bed, let alone into a race car? So will that play a role in retirement sooner rather than later? It's very possible. It seems to be the one limiting factor that I have right now. But there's no plan. There's no countdown. I'm racing."(see full Q&A at ESPN.com)(12-15-2014)
What are Sprint Cup plans for Chase Elliott? In a Thursday interview on SiriusXM Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel, Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt said the team planned to field a car for Chase Elliott in a handful of Sprint Cup races next season under the guidance of Kenny Francis (who was promoted Wednesday from crew chief of the #5 to vehicle technical director by Hendrick). Duchardt didn't speculate further on the future for Elliott. The 18-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott will run the rebranded Xfinity Series next year for JRM. "We'll see what the right steps are for the future, but right now, we're just going to take 2015 and take a look at how things are progressing," Duchardt said. "It's like having a prospect in Triple A batting .380 and when's he going to come up to the club. I get it. But we'll work on that and see where that all heads. Right now, he'll run the NAPA Camaro in '15, and we'll run some Cup races and see where that leads us. I understand it's part of the fun and speculation of what could or should be done. I completely understand it. We're going to try to make sure we put him in the best position to be successful when he does come here full time."
Hendrick also has signed Jimmie Johnson through next season. At a Thursday event to announce more than $500,000 in education grants from his foundation, the six-time series champion indicated he hoped to have an extension soon and said he had been unaware of Kahne's deal. "That's good news for Kasey," he said. Asked if Elliott was in line for his #48, Johnson said with a laugh, "No. I think there's maybe somebody else in line to retire before I do."(USA Today)(11-21-2014)
Chase Elliott could run some Cup races in 2015: Rick Hendrick's plan for NASCAR Nationwide Series phenom Chase Elliott evidently entails a few NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts next season, the champion car owner said Wednesday in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The 18-year-old Elliott tops the Nationwide Series standings and leads all series regulars with three race victories. Dale Earnhardt Jr., co-owner of his JR Motorsports race team, has said that Elliott is likely to run another full season on NASCAR's No. 2 circuit next year. Hendrick, also a co-owner at JRM, sounded as if a few premier series starts will also be sprinkled into that mix. A test session in which Elliott tested the cars of Hendrick Motorsports champion drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon convinced the team owner the youngster was ready, even before he took the Nationwide circuit by storm.
"We haven't arrived at a decision for sure, but I think you'll probably see him run a few races next year," Hendrick told the satellite radio network. "Before he ever won a Nationwide race, I watched him test Jimmie's car and Jeff's car at Nashville, and Jimmie and Jeff both commented to me, 'This kid is super smooth and super fast. He takes care of his equipment, and he doesn't get in a jam.' Although Hendrick currently fields four full-time cars, the maximum for one organization as allowed by NASCAR, rules do permit teams to run an additional vehicle on a limited slate for prospective rookie drivers.(NASCAR.com)(8-7-2014)
Warner Bros/DC Entertainment join forces with Hendrick Motorsports: Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), in conjunction with DC Entertainment (DCE), has joined forces with Hendrick Motorsports in a unique three-year agreement that will allow the team and its partners to develop consumer promotions and original content to engage youth, drive fan excitement and energize licensed merchandise initiatives. WBCP and DCE will work with Hendrick Motorsports and its partners to build on- and off-track programs teaming drivers #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with the most recognized characters in Super Hero lore, including Batman, Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern.
Potential programs include co-developed car paint schemes, comic books and digital content incorporating DC Comics Super Heroes and illustrated likenesses of Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Team partners will have exclusive opportunities to align with upcoming Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics-inspired programming and releases.
The first joint program will come to life around upcoming Sprint Cup events at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 25) and Michigan International Speedway (June 15) where Superman, the world's first and most recognized Super Hero, will be featured on Earnhardt's #88 Chevy. The Superman-themed paint scheme will pair the Army National Guard with the Superman Hall of Heroes, a new online gift-giving portal that empowers consumers to honor their personal heroes; those who have made a positive impact on their lives or the lives of others. The #88 National Guard/Superman Chevrolet SS will be unveiled May 21. Fans can learn more by following Hendrick Motorsports on Facebook and Twitter.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-15-2014)
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