- NASCAR issues memo about inspection process: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director Richard Buck was expected to send a memo to teams by Thursday that formalized penalties for failing to pass inspection at the start of the race weekend, before qualifying and before the race. In a draft of the memo acquired by NBC Sports, Buck wrote to teams: "Based on the data that we have collected thus far in 2015, we have identified several trends. One trend in particular highlights the failure rate during inspections. In an effort to ensure all competitors an equal and fair opportunity to participate, we will be implementing the following:"
All cars must pass initial inspection and receive a final sticker to be eligible to practice.
Cars that fail qualifying inspection twice will receive a written warning.
Cars that fail qualifying inspection three times also will be penalized 15 minutes of practice time at the next event.
Cars that fail pre-race inspection twice will receive a written warning.
Cars that fail pre-race inspection three times also will be penalized 15 minutes of practice time at the next event.
Buck wrote in the memo: "Based on the above, there WOULD HAVE BEEN 9 written warnings issued at Bristol and an additional 3 competitors that would have received time penalties." NASCAR’s rule book states that multiple warnings to the same member or team can lead to a P1 penalty.(NBC Sports)(4-22-2015)
- Darby leaving NASCAR UPDATE: NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that John Darby, who formerly oversaw the Sprint Cup garage, will be leaving the series soon. No reason was given. Darby had been working on special projects most recently for NASCAR. He served as the Sprint Cup Series director from 2002-13 before Richard Buck took over in 2014. NASCAR initially announced that Darby was leaving his position as Cup director in 2010, but it took four years to replace him. Darby replaced Gary Nelson as Cup series director in 2002. Darby was the director of what is now the Xfinity Series from 1999-2001 before moving to Cup.(NBC Sports)(4-22-2015)
UPDATE: John Darby won’t spend a lot of time talking about the details of his departure from NASCAR. Yes, he’s leaving. But the hows and the whys are not something to be talked about as much as his three decades in the sport. Darby had served as the Sprint Cup Series director for 12 years before being replaced by Richard Buck prior to the 2014 season. A former racer before becoming a track official in Rockford, Illinois, Darby spent more than 25 years working for NASCAR and was the director of what is now the Xfinity Series from 1999-2001 prior to his promotion to run the sport’s top series. Calling himself a "blessed individual," Darby is in his final days at NASCAR with no job on the horizon. "I think I’m going to take a month and sit on a beach and figure out what I really want to do next," the 59-year-old said in a phone interview Wednesday. So was he fired? Was it one of those mutual "parting of the ways" or what? NASCAR officials would only confirm that he’s leaving. "I’ll be honest with you, the importance of that part, to me, is nothing," Darby said when asked whether his leaving was a mutual decision. "What’s more important is where I’ve been, what I’ve been involved in and what I hope to see grow in the future. At the end of the day, as I do leave the company, I will never leave the sport," Darby said. "It’s in my heart and my veins and it will always be there. At the same time, I think that I’m leaving it in a better spot than what it was when I got here. That’s all that matters to me. … Everything is good. I’m still a stronghold and an ally for NASCAR and the sport of NASCAR. That is something that will never go away."(ESPN.com)(4-22-2015)
- Hamlin expects to be fine for Richmond races: Less than a week after neck spasms forced him to hand over his car to a relief driver 22 laps into Sunday’s waterlogged event at Bristol Motor Speedway, #11-Denny Hamlin plans to be back behind the wheel for Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Hamlin, who turned over his seat to Joe Gibbs Racing XFINITY Series driver Erik Jones in Thunder Valley, also expects to compete in Friday night’s XFINITY race at RIR. Hamlin watched most of Sunday’s race at Bristol from the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team pit box as Jones brought his Toyota home in 26th. "Obviously, getting out of the car on Sunday was a very tough decision, and Erik did an admirable job under difficult circumstances," Hamlin said in a team release issued Wednesday morning. After treatment this week, I feel close to 100 percent, and I’m confident that I’ll be good to go this weekend in Richmond. It’s a great track for our team, and one that means a lot to me personally. Hopefully, we can go out there and compete for the win on Saturday night."(FoxSports)(4-22-2015)
- Bristol TV Ratings: Rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Bristol earned a 1.4 overnight rating on Fox Sports 1 Sunday evening, down 22% from rain-delayed coverage of the same race last year (1.8). This year’s coverage aired from 6:30-10:30pm/et, while last year’s aired from 7-9:45pm. The race was originally scheduled to air on FOX, which earned a 2.9 overnight for less than 15 minutes of live racing – down 29% from a 4.1 for 45 minutes of racing last year.(Sports Media Watch)(4-22-2015)
- American Ethanol making first appearance of 2015: The #3 Chevy team will sport the black and green colors of American Ethanol this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. American Ethanol, a renewable source of cleaner burning energy from the bounty of America’s farmers, helps create new green jobs and a renewed sense of pride for the American worker, while helping to achieve greater energy security for our country. Launched by Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association, along with the support of other partners, American Ethanol is a breakthrough brand that seeks to expand consumer awareness of the benefits of ethanol and E15, and takes the NASCAR Green initiative to the next level.(RCR), see an image of the car on the #3 team paint schemes page.(4-22-2014)
- Richmond International Raceway Notes & Facts – Wednesday – history:
· Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond International Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was April 19, 1953 won by Lee Petty.
· The spring 1964 race was run on a Tuesday night under temporary lighting.
· The track name changed to Virginia State Fairgrounds in 1967.
· The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between races in 1968.
· The track name changed to Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in 1969.
· The track was re-measured to .542-mile for 1970.
· The track was rebuilt as a three-quarters-mile D-shaped oval following the Feb. 21, 1988 race.
· The first race under permanent lights was Sept. 7, 1991.
· The first season with both races as night races was 1999.
- Sad News – Marvin Ragan: Marvin V. Ragan, age 72, of Unadilla died Tuesday, April 21 from complications of Acute Myeloid Leukemia after being diagnosed with the disease in November, 2012. Mr. Ragan was born and reared in Henderson and lived in Unadilla the past 41 years. Mr. Ragan served honorably in the US Navy including 3 tours of duty in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with 2 bronze stars, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the Navy Excellence (E) Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and he proudly wore his Navy Flight Wings with over 700 hours of flight time while serving in Vietnam.
He was an avid NASCAR fan and racing participant, having started racing in 1966 and periodically owned and drove race cars for over 30 years, driving his last race in Savannah in 2010.; He owned a NASCAR Winston Cup team for over 10 years in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and was a partner in the Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele for the past 10 years.
Service info and full obituary at the Brannen-NeSmith Funeral Home website.
His son Brett Ragan currently works for Roush Fenway Racing. His brother Ken Ragan, drove in 50 Sprint Cup Series races, mostly for his brother Marvin. And his nephew, David Ragan, currently drives for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, subbing for Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota.(4-22-2015)
- Sad News – Robert Harrington: Robert Louis (Boobie) Harrington, age 72, passed away on Monday, April 20, 2015 at his home. He was born November 19, 1942 in Union County, NC, son of the late Robert Lee Harrington and Mary Cooper Harrington. In earlier years, Boobie was a body man for the former Beasley-Cross Chevrolet Company and raced the local dirt tracks at that time. Later, he entered NASCAR racing with K & K Insurance, then J.D. Stacy Racing, and had also served as a crew chief for various drivers over the years. In the 1990’s he became a car owner and started a wheel service business for many NASCAR teams. Boobie was also a member of Canaan Baptist Church, Salisbury, NC and was active in setting up several local Gospel singings. The funeral service will be held at 2:00pm Thursday, April 23, 2015 at Homestead Baptist Church, Kannapolis, NC officiated by Rev. Bruce Graham and Rev. Johnny (Buck) Canup. Entombment will follow at Carolina Memorial Park Plaza Mausoleum, Kannapolis, NC. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:0pm Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at Whitley’s Funeral Home. Survivors include his wife of fifty years, Carolyn Aycock Harrington; one daughter, Crystal H. Barringer of China Grove, NC; two grandchildren, Chase Barringer and Kody Barringer of China Grove, NC; one brother, Charles Harrington & wife, Gail of Kannapolis, NC; and three sisters, Barbara Durham and Nancy Clark, both of Kannapolis, NC; and Dee Bost & husband, Dan of China Grove, NC. Memorials may be made to Canaan Baptist Church, 785 Barringer Street, Salisbury, NC 28146. On-line condolences may be left at www.whitleysfuneralhome.com.(4-22-2015)
- Jamie Dick says he will return to racing: Sidelined since he was diagnosed with diabetes more than a month ago, Jamie Dick vows that he’ll be back racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. "I have to get back, even if it is one time, just to say diabetes didn’t end my driving carer," Dick told NBC Sports on Tuesday at Viva Motorsports’ shop. "My driving career is going to end on my terms, what’s good for me and my family and my business, not what’s good for diabetes. Using diabetes as an excuse can’t start when I’m 26 because I don’t want it to be an excuse when I’m 36, 46 or 76." Dick says he doesn’t have a timetable for his return because doctors are determining what type of diabetes he has and prescribing the proper amount of medicine. Once done, Dick said he’ll be back in the #55 Viva Motorsports car for the first time since racing March 14 at Phoenix International Raceway.(NBC Sports)(4-22-2015)
- Promise Keepers featured on the #8 at Richmond: TriStar Motorsports and Blake Koch partner with Promise Keepers this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Koch will pilot the #8 Promise Keepers Toyota Camry in the ToyotaCare 250 under the lights Friday night. Promise Keepers is a catalytic event for men, challenging them to embrace their calling to lead their families, churches and communities in worship of, and obedience to, Jesus the Messiah. Through powerful worship and anointed preaching, men are called out to become everything that God has created them to be, and then to return to their families, churches and communities with a commitment to hear and obey God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. Sponsorship for the #8 Toyota Camry was funded by two anonymous donors that attended a Promise Keepers event last weekend in Phoenix. The two anonymous donors are sponsoring Koch’s ride in an effort to introduce the Promise Keepers event to the NASCAR community.(TriStar Motorsports)(4-22-2015)
- Bleacher Report sponsoring Wallace at Richmond: Roush Fenway Racing and Bubba Wallace have teamed up with Bleacher Report in an effort to amplify the two huge sporting weekends on the horizon. Wallace, an avid sports fan, will carry Bleacher Report on his #6 Ford Mustang this weekend when NASCAR rolls into Richmond International Raceway. One of the most promising up and coming drivers in NASCAR, Wallace heads into Richmond fourth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series point standings; only seven races into his rookie season. Last season he took the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series by storm, winning four races and finishing third in the points in only his second season.(Roush Fenway), see an image of the car on the #6 team paint schemes page.(4-22-2015)
- Breyers making first appearance on #7: The Richmond event marks the first time this season that #7-Regan Smith will carry Breyers colors in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Smith will also race the iconic ice-cream brand’s colors at Dover later this spring. Richmond International Raceway has been a good place for Regan Smith to race the past two seasons. Smith has finishes of sixth, eighth, third and fifth in JRM Chevrolets the past four races.(JR Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #7 team paint schemes page.(4-22-2015)
- Weller returns to the #90 at Richmond: Jimmy Weller will compete in his second of at least four planned races for the 2015 season this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Earlier this year, Weller made his season debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway where he qualified 28th. In that event, Weller cut a tire and sustained moderate damage to his car, which resulted in a 33rd-place finish for the King Autosport team. Jimmy will make his second NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night. Last season, the Hubbard, Ohio native suffered a mechanical failure coming to the green flag, which immediately ended his night. However, the driver does have some success in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at the 0.75-mile track, including top-20 finishes in both starts at the Virginia short track.(Jimmy Weller Racing)(4-22-2015)
- Kentucky Speedway’s Ford Fan Day returns April 25: Kentucky Speedway’s Ford Fan Day returns Saturday, April 25 from 11:00am-4:00pm. The free event gives visitors a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the venue while enjoying family oriented activities, food, pace car rides, musical entertainment, and meeting two-time Daytona 500 Champion Sterling Marlin from 1:00-2:45pm. Guests will be able to tour the spotters stand, flag stand, garages, owner’s suite, press box, campgrounds. As well as see Gravelrama, FSAE Cars from the University of Cincinnati Bearcat Motorsports and Fire and Safety vehicles. Visitors are able to have their photo taken in Victory Lane with the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts trophy and the #22 Penske show car. Fans can learn more about the speedway from our General Manager Mark Simendinger during the "Ask the GM" question-and-answer session at 1:45pm. in Bluegrass Hall in the infield. Fans will also be able to talk to motorsports experts during the "Racing Roundtable" chats at 1:00pm, and 2:15pm. The popular Kids Zone will be filled with activities such as face painting, Hot Wheels racing, a pit stop tire challenge, inflatables, popcorn, and bean bag toss into tires. The complete Ford Fan Day schedule is available at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com/fans/ford_fan_day.(Kentucky Speedway)(4-22-2015)
- Kansas Speedway offering VIP packages: To provide race fans a more behind-the-scenes look at race day for the SpongeBob SquarePants 400, Kansas Speedway is selling a limited number of VIP Packages for Saturday, May 9. The day will start with early gate access, a reception in the Kansas Speedway President’s Suite, followed by a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage tour, access to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver’s meeting, VIP access for the Shooter Jennings pre-race concert, along with backstage access for driver introductions. The day will be hosted by former NASCAR driver and MRN personality Glenn Jarrett. Each VIP package is $500 and includes a reserved parking pass. A grandstand ticket is not included in this package and each fan must have a grandstand ticket to purchase the VIP package. To purchase a VIP package, call 866.460.7223. (Kansas Speedway)(4-22-2015)