- Dale Earnhardt Day 2014: Dale Earnhardt Inc. and The Dale Earnhardt Foundation announced the 2014 Dale Earnhardt Day on Tuesday, April 29th, at the DEI Corporate Headquarters on Hwy. #3, Mooresville, NC. Doors will open at 10:00am/et on Tuesday morning, and the annual event in celebration of The Intimidator’s birthday is free and open to the public. This year will mark the 11th anniversary of the first Dale Earnhardt Day, held on April 29th, 2003. The DEI Showroom will be opening its’ newest exhibit on Dale Day, which shows how the company founded by the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion carries on his legacy, how DEI and the Dale Earnhardt Foundation continue to support the causes that Dale held dear, and how the divisions of Dale Earnhardt Inc. continue to grow the business that Dale and Teresa founded. The Grand Showroom will also be open to the public, with a special display of Dale Earnhardt Inc. vehicles. The Grand Showroom is occasionally opened to the public, and this special event gives fans a rare opportunity to see these remarkable vehicles up close. The DEI Archives will be giving presentations at 11am and 2pm, showing how they preserve and protect Dale’s trophies and other special mementos. Fans will also be treated to a theatre-style showing of "DALE – The Movie" in Dale’s own Grand Showroom. Cupcakes will be served in the afternoon….an annual tradition on Dale’s birthday celebration. Owners of customized Dale Earnhardt vehicles are invited to bring their personalized cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles for display in front of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. Corporate Offices. Dale Earnhardt Day will run from 10am until 5pm, on Tuesday, April 29th.(DEI)(4-28-2014)
- Montoya expected to drive third Penske car in some races: Team Penske is expected to announce on Wednesday that Juan Pablo Montoya will return to Sprint Cup competition in the Brickyard 400 on July 27. However, Montoya’s NASCAR homecoming could come sooner than that. Don’t be surprised if Montoya runs a third Penske Racing car (likely the #12 Ford) at Sonoma Raceway on June 22. Montoya’s first career Cup win was earned at the track in 2007. He could also compete at Watkins Glen on August 10, the site of his second Cup win in 2010. Both dates are open on the IndyCar calendar. Sources say Montoya tested a Team Penske NASCAR Ford last week at Nashville Speedway. Veteran Greg Erwin, who was retained after serving as Sam Hornish’s crew chief last year, would likely fill that role with the third Cup car.(Motorsport)(4-29-2014)
- NASCAR will look at Ambrose, Mears incident UPDATE 3 Penalties: NASCAR will investigate a post-race incident that resulted in both #9-Marcos Ambrose and #13-Casey Mears being punched, but Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said "we don’t think it was anything too severe." FOX caught the incident after Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The network’s video shows Ambrose and Mears talking to each other when Mears shoves Ambrose. Ambrose responds with a right cross to the left side of Mears’ head. Ambrose is pulled away while Mears pursues. Then Ambrose is sucker-punched by someone else. Pemberton said that series officials did not meet with either driver after the race. Series officials met with Ambrose’s crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer, and Sammy Johns, director of competition at Richard Petty Motorsports. Pemberton said officials watched footage of the incident. Pemberton said they would continue to investigate the situation. He was unaware of anything on the track that would have precipitated the confrontation. "We’ll get all the footage that we can and look at it and see what happens from there," Pemberton said. "We’ve got to take our time and do everything. Sometimes there’s things for us to look at that we don’t have available right now, so to make any kind of statement or call on it (at this point), we’d be wasting everybody’s time."(Motor Racing Network)(4-27-2014)
UPDATE: Casey Mears didn’t let a punch keep him away from a race Sunday morning. The driver of the #13 Chevy was in Huntersville, NC for a 5K race put on by the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. It came not long after the checkered flag fell in Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway. Mears finished 19th in that race, and left with a bruised left eye after a punch from fellow driver Marcos Ambrose. "He got me pretty good with that shot." Mears told NASCAR.com after completing his 5K run. Mears wore sunglasses for most of Sunday’s event, but it was clear the punch left a gnarly bruise and swollen left eye. Replays of the incident show Mears and Ambrose talking just after the race ended. The situation escalated when Mears forcefully shoved Ambrose. The driver of the #9 Ford then returned with a right hook to Mears’ face. On Sunday, Mears remained affable despite being on the wrong end of the punch. "One thing I can say is that out of all the NASCAR fights, when you see people swing it’s usually a lot of fly-swatting," Mears said. "He actually connected, so that was pretty good." Mears said the bad blood began on the track while the two were battling for position. He didn’t mention one specific incident, but conceded both drivers did things the other was not happy with.(NASCAR.com)(4-28-2014)
UPDATE 2 – NASCAR Penalizes Drivers Marcos Ambrose And Casey Mears: NASCAR has penalized drivers Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears for their involvement in a post-race altercation in the garage area following last Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Ambrose, driver of the #9 Ford, and Mears, driver of the #13 Chevy, were found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing), and 12-4.9 (Behavioral Penalty; involved in an altercation in the garage area after the race) as outlined in the 2014 NASCAR rule book. As a result, Ambrose has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 28, while Mears has been fined $15,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 28.(NASCAR)
UPDATE 3: Marcos Ambrose accepts the penalties levied by NASCAR after his actions at Richmond International Raceway. Ambrose will not appeal.(RPM)(4-29-2014)
- Hunt Brothers Pizza to sponsor Harvick: Hunt Brothers Pizza will be the primary sponsor for Kevin Harvick and the #4 Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Chevrolet SS for the 30th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race May 17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "This is our first primary sponsorship with our new racing partner, Stewart-Haas Racing," said Keith Solsvig, vice president of marketing for Hunt Brothers Pizza. "Kevin and Stewart-Haas have already had a very impressive run this year, including trips to victory lane at Phoenix and Darlington. We chose to align ourselves with this reputable team because racing fans are our consumers."(PR Newswire), see an image of the scheme on the #4 Team Schemes page.(4-29-2014)
- Overnight Richmond TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup series racing on FOX for Saturday nights Toyota Owner’s 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway earned a 3.0 overnight rating on FOX. That is a 12% decline from each of the previous four years, when the Richmond race held steady at a 3.4. Seven of the eight lowest rated Sprint Cup races on FOX in the metered markets have aired on Saturday nights, and five of the eight have taken place from Richmond (Sports Media Watch / ShowBuzz Daily). See past races for 2014 and 5-year comparison chart on the 2014 NASCAR TV Ratings page.(4-29-2014)
- Kurt Busch to undergo Indy 500 rookie orientation UPDATE: It’s been 14 years since Kurt Busch was last called a rookie. And even though Busch has a Sprint Cup championship trophy at home, he’s still a rookie open-wheel driver as far as the Indianapolis 500 is concerned. That’s why Busch and four other drivers will take part in the rookie orientation or veteran driver refresher course to be eligible to compete in the May 25th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track announced Tuesday. Busch will join four other drivers – Mikhail Aleshin, Martin Plowman, Jack Hawksworth and 1995 Indy 500 winner and former CART and F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve – for the three-pronged orientation and driving program on Tuesday, April 29th and Monday, May 5th. Villeneuve will only have to complete the final two phases of the three-phase program to be recertified to race in the 500 because of his prior experience there. The orientation/refresher is designed that all five drivers can potentially complete all three phases in one day. If they are able to do so, the second day would be for practice – or if they need more instruction.(NBC Sports)(4-23-2014)
UPDATE: Andretti Autosport unveiled Monday the black-and-white #26 car that Kurt Busch seeks to race in the Indianapolis 500, and Busch will drive that car Tuesday in the first day of rookie orientation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch is attempting to become the fourth driver to race in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart have done it. Stewart finished in the top 10 in both races in 1999 and 2001. The double was last run by Robby Gordon in 2004.
Rookie orientation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway consists of three phases where drivers must maintain a consistent speed within a preset range. Typically the range is 200-210 mph, 210-215 mph and then 215 and above. Once they have met those standards while being judged by observers, they are cleared to practice for the Indianapolis 500.
A second day of testing will be May 5. Busch will be allowed to run that day regardless of if he completes the rookie requirements Tuesday, an IndyCar official confirmed. Busch is scheduled to return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway May 11 – the day after the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway – for practice. Suretone Entertainment will be Busch’s sponsor.(Motor Racing Network)(4-29-2014)
- Toyota moving U.S. headquarters to Texas: Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. announced that it will pack up and move its headquarters from sunny Southern California to Texas, after 57-years in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The move will take place over the next three years and will affect about 4000 marketing, management, and communications jobs. Expected to move to Toyota’s new campus in Plano, Texas, right outside of Dallas, are approximately 2000 employees from Torrance, Calif., 1000 employees from Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America in Erlanger, Ky., and a number of employees located in New York, NY. Toyota will break ground on its new campus this year, with construction expected to finish by late 2016 or early 2017.
A number of the automaker’s operations will be unaffected including its current distribution centers, other regional offices, Toyota Racing Development, AirFlite Inc, Toyota InfoTechnology Center, and its Calty Design Research campuses in Southern California and Ann Arbor.
The reasons for Toyota’s exodus from the Southland are many, reports the Los Angeles Times. When Toyota launched its North American operations in 1957, the Japanese automaker picked L.A. as its U.S. headquarters because of easy port access in Long Beach and San Pedro, and easy airline access to Tokyo. Now with about three-quarters of its production located in the South Eastern United States, a move to Texas puts Toyota big wigs closer to the company’s factories. The other reason for Toyota’s move is expenses. The Los Angeles metro area is reportedly the ninth-most expensive in the U.S., while the Dallas metro area is 19th. Toyota would also pay less business and real estate taxes in Texas than it does in California.(Motor Trend)(4-29-2014)
- Top 10 Driver Ratings at Talladega:
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr……….94.7
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr………..91.5
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Talladega Superspeedway.
Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.(NASCAR)(4-29-2014)
- David Starr gets Talladega sponsor: TriStar Motorsports announced that Steely Lumber, Co. will be on board the #44 TriStar Motorsports Camry this weekend as the primary sponsor. Native Texas driver, David Starr, will be behind the wheel of the Steely Lumber Camry at Talladega Superspeedway. Steely Lumber Co. is a family-owned sawmill located in Huntsville, Texas. The Steely Lumber Co. is a strictly southern yellow pine production facility that cuts approximately 50 million board feet annually. Steely Lumber Co. has partnered with David Starr over the past two years and continues to support his racing career.(TriStar Motorsports)(4-29-2014)
- Jeffery Earnhardt gets associate sponsor for Dega: Warrior 50 announced their partnership with Jeffrey Earnhardt and JD Motorsports for the May 4, 2014 Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Warrior 50 will be featured on the #4 Chevy Camaro as an associate sponsor to kick-off their Memorial Day campaign to raise awareness of and to educate all Americans of the importance to account for the soldiers who are still missing. Jeffrey Earnhardt joined Warrior 50 as the official spokesman to help educate younger generations about our Prisoners of War and our Missing in Action (POW/MIA). (Warrior 50 PR)(4-29-2014)
- 5-hour Energy to sponsor night race at Kansas: Kansas Speedway officials announced that 5-hour Energy will sponsor Kansas Speedway’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race on May 10, naming the race the 5-hour Energy 400 Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation(SOWF). From May 1 through July 31, 2014, Living Essentials will donate five cents from the sale of every specially marked red, white and blue bottle of cherry flavored 5-hour Energy to SOWF, a top-rated nonprofit organization that supports the military’s special operations forces and their families through college scholarships, family services, and financial stipends. The minimum guaranteed donation is $75,000.
Tickets for Kansas Speedway’s 2014 events, including Kansas Speedway’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race the 5-hour Energy 400 Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation, are currently on sale. To purchase season tickets or single event tickets, call 866-460-RACE (7223) or visit kansasspeedway.com.(Kansas Speedway)(4-29-2014)
- Randy Houser to Perform Saturday Night Infield Concert at Talladega: A big question from fans leading up to Talladega Superspeedway’s Aaron’s Dream Weekend (May 2-4) is, "Who is performing the Saturday Night Infield Concert?" NASCAR’s Most Competitive track is happy to announce today that it is none other than country music star Randy Houser. In what has become a Talladega Superspeedway tradition with top music acts, the Saturday Night Concert on May 3 will feature Houser, whose powerhouse voice fits perfectly with Talladega Superspeedway, the biggest and baddest race track on the planet. Houser’s songs like "Runnin’ Out of Moonlight" and "Goodnight Kiss" will have the intersection of Eastaboga and Talladega Boulevard rocking the party well into the night on Saturday, May 3. The best part about the concert is that admission is FREE with the purchase of a Sunday race ticket (to the Aaron’s 499). Saturday’s activities kick off at 10 am with the ARCA Racing Series International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200, followed by "Knockout" group qualifying for the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and the start of the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series event. The day will end in the evening, but the party will just be getting started with Houser on stage. Tickets for the May races are available at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or by calling 877-Go2-DEGA.(TSS)(4-29-2014)