- Manion replaces Blickensderfer as crew chief for Hornish UPDATE: In an effort to further the chemistry of the #9 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race team, Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced Kevin Manion has been assigned as the crew chief of that team with driver Sam Hornish, Jr. Manion will begin his duties immediately and call the race this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Manion, a native of Boylston, Mass., is a championship-winning crew chief and was a part of leading Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing to wins at both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in 2010. Manion has five wins in the premier Sprint Cup Series and 15 wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. In addition, he has led his race teams to over 60 Top-10 and 25 Top-Five finishes in his Cup career. He also has 10 poles. Having success with different drivers with different racing backgrounds, Manion has led the sports best including Martin Truex, Jr. during his XFINITY and early Sprint Cup Series career. During his time with Truex, Jr., Manion earned two XFINITY Series championships. He then became a trusted leader to Jamie McMurray, leading him to four Sprint Cup Series wins. Manion is a respected crew chief in NASCAR and has the experience to get the #9 team in victory lane. Manion will begin his duties with RPM immedialty. Manion replaces Drew Blickensderfer who has been offered another position within the organization.(RPM)(5-5-2015)
UPDATE: In light of the recent departure of Kevin "Bono" Manion, Tommy Baldwin Racing has announced that team owner Tommy Baldwin will assume the role as crew chief of the #7 Chevy, for driver Alex Bowman. "I’m very happy for Bono; we’ve been friends a long time, and I wish him nothing but the best," said Baldwin. "Climbing atop the pit box is somewhat of a familiar role for me and I look forward to working with Alex." Baldwin, in his seventh year of a being a Sprint Cup Series team owner, is no stranger to the position – having numerous wins and a Daytona 500 championship in 2002. Baldwin’s return will take effect immediately.(TBR)(5-5-2015)
- Chase Elliott to compete in All-Star Showdown: Hendrick Motorsports already has four cars eligible for this year’s Sprint All-Star Race. Chase Elliott hopes he can make it five. On Tuesday, Charlotte Motor Speedway announced during a media event that Elliott will drive the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy SS in the Sprint Showdown with a chance to earn his way into the All-Star Race. "I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to run the Showdown," Elliott said. "It allows me to gain more experience with my NAPA AUTO PARTS team before we race again at Charlotte a week later." Elliott’s next points-paying race will take place on May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – the weekend following the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race. The Sprint Showdown consists of two 20-lap segments, and if he were to make the All-Star Race, this year’s event is now 110 laps. "Those additional laps will be a tremendous benefit when it’s time to run 600 miles," Elliott said.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-5-2015)
- Ty Dillon in the #33 Plankton Chevy at Kansas: The SpongeBob SquarePants team just welcomed another of its friends to the field for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on May 9, 2015, – with NASCAR young star Ty Dillon set to drive the #33 Plankton Chevy SS. Dillon’s #33 Chevy, campaigned by Circle Sport Racing, will feature Plankton, the show’s pint-sized microbe with an evil plan… to steal the Krusty Krabs’ secret Krabby Patty recipe! But Dillon has designs on stealing the coveted SpongeBob SquarePants 400 trophy instead. Dillon will be making his fourth career Sprint Cup Series start and his career debut at the 1.5-mile speedway. Dillon last drove in a Sprint Cup Series event at Daytona International Speedway earlier this season. The 23-year-old, Welcome, N.C.-native is currently the NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader in his second full-time season in the #3 Chevy Camaro.(Richard Childress Racing), see an image of the car on the #33 team paint schemes page.(5-5-2015)
- NASCAR’s reason for not throwing yellow flag on last lap at Talladega: On the final lap [of a race], NASCAR’s stance is to ‘let ’em play". When NASCAR Senior Vice President Steve O’Donnell joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio he acknowledged that while Sunday’s decision in the Geico 500 [at Talladega Superspeedway] was indeed "a judgment call," fans prefer to see races end under green flag conditions. "It’s going to be a judgment call," O’Donnell said. "We’ve stated that we’re going to make every effort to try and finish a race under green conditions – that’s what the fans want to see. But we have to be obviously mindful of what’s occurring on the track. It’s a split-second decision. I think if you go back to Daytona, where we saw a driver hit the wall at what we thought to be fairly hard and wanted to dispatch our emergency crews quickly, we elected to throw the caution. If you look at yesterday, if you saw the circumstances that played out with Carl [Edwards], when we initially saw him get loose, he was down on the apron. As we made that quick decision, it was ‘ok, he’s clear we can go’. Just as we make that, his car slides up the track and that’s something you don’t want to see green or yellow flag conditions. But at the time, if we would have thrown the yellow, then it’s already too late because he’s already up and across the track. We elected to let it play out. We certainly didn’t like to see how Carl come across the track but ultimately, we were able to come back under green flag conditions." O’Donnell plans to discuss Talladega with the drivers. He also realizes that some fans might feel that NASCAR was late to make a call due to who might or might not be leading a race at the time. However, he reiterated that the sanctioning body reacts no differently than an umpire calling balls and strikes in baseball.(Motorsport)(5-5-2015)
- Talladega TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Talladega drew a 3.8 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 5% from last year (4.0), down 14% from 2013 (4.4), and the lowest overnight for the spring Talladega race since at least 1998 (excludes rainouts). The previous low was last year’s 4.0. Despite the lower numbers, NASCAR on FOX tied the weekend’s second-highest overnight for any sporting event on broadcast. The 3.8 matched a Grizzlies/Warriors NBA playoff game on ABC and trailed only the Kentucky Derby on NBC (10.8). Keep in mind two of the weekend’s major sporting events – the Spurs/Clippers playoff game on ABC and the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao boxing fight on pay-per-view – did not air on broadcast. The 3.8 also ranks as the top NASCAR overnight since Fontana in March (4.0), with the caveat that two of the four races since were postponed and a third aired on Fox Sports 1.(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily)
For TV Ratings fior the season, 5-year comparison chart, see the 2015 TV Ratings page.(5-5-2015)
- Quite a few career best finishes at Talladega: Four drivers recorded their Sprint Cup Series career best finishes in the GEICO 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superespeedway:
#21-Ryan Blaney finished 4th in his 6th career start.
#98-Josh Wise finished 10th in his 113th career start.
#35-Cole Whitt finished 13th in his 60th career start.
#83-Matt DiBenedetto finished 18th in his 7th career start.
#9-Sam Hornish Jr. finished 6th, his first top-ten since Watkins Glen in 2012 when he finished 5th. This season is the first full-time season for Hornish since the 2010 season.(5-5-2015)
- Top 10 Driver Ratings at Kansas
#48-Jimmie Johnson…………………… 112.1
#20-Matt Kenseth……………………….. 105.6
#42-Kyle Larson…………………………. 103.9
#16-Greg Biffle………………………….. 102.8
#24-Jeff Gordon………………………… 100.5
#4-Kevin Harvick………………………. 100.4
#19-Carl Edwards………………………… 96.8
#14-Tony Stewart…………………………. 95.3
#5-Kasey Kahne………………………… 92.7
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 91.3
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (14 total) among active drivers at Kansas Speedway.
Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR)
- Vecoplan sponsoring Harrison Rhodes at Charlotte: Vecoplan, the world-wide leader in industrial shredding technologies, is proud to sponsor the #0 Car at the NASCAR Xfinity Hisense 300, May 23rd at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The #0 Vecoplan "Industrial Shredders" Camaro will be fielded by JD Motorsports and driven by Harrison Rhodes.(Johnny Davis Motorsports)(5-5-2015)
- Buescher to miss Kansas: James Buescher posted on his Twitter that despite his entry in the #31 NTS Motorsports Chevy for this Friday’s Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway, he will not be racing. No word on whether or not another driver will drive the #31 or if the team will withdraw.(5-5-2015)
- Newman to drive for Nemechek: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman will compete for SWM-NEMCO Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event at the Kansas Speedway on Friday, May 8. Newman will pilot the #8 Chevy Silverado highlighting Rescue Ranch.Newman will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the first time in almost two years for the Kansas Speedway 250. Newman has five previous starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, collecting various accolades at each start, including a victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway in 2008, a pole award at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway, and five top-five finishes. Newman’s most recent NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry was the Mud Summer Classic at the Eldora Speedway in 2013, where he started 10th and finished third while competing for Steve Turner. SWM-NEMCO Motorsports crew chief Gere Kennon will be atop the pit box for Newman at Kansas Speedway. Rescue Ranch is featured on the SWM-NEMCO Motorsports Chevy Silverado. Founded in 2012 by Newman and his wife Krissie, the 501c3 charity is on 87 acres in Statesville, N.C. Rescue Ranch promotes through its education program a respect for all animals, as well as agricultural, environmental, and wildlife conservation education. Rescue Ranch also facilitates rehabilitation, rescue, and responsible pet ownership in order to enhance the human-animal bond. Currently, Rescue Ranch offers Humane Education programming to children ages one thru 16-years-old, allowing the children the opportunity to learn while interacting with animals and the surrounding environment.(NEMCO Motorsports)(5-5-2015)
- Familiar Truck Series names make 2015 NASCAR Next class: Five of the six NASCAR K&N Pro Series race winners in 2015 are 21 years old or younger. The championship points leaders in both the East and West are 17 and 16, respectively. And a 17-year-old just became the highest-finishing female in the 61-year history of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
It is fitting that as fans celebrate Jeff Gordon’s final year of competition, the ranks of NASCAR are filled with young drivers battling to one day fill that void. And on Tuesday, in a building that honors the sport’s history, NASCAR introduced some of those potential future stars of the sport.
During a ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, 12 drivers were formally announced as the newest NASCAR Next class, a group of up-and-coming talent that joins the industry program aimed at spotlighting NASCAR’s emerging stars.
Of the 28 drivers previously selected for the program, 21 have raced in one of NASCAR’s three national series (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), and 11 are competing full-time there in 2015.
The team was selected through an evaluation process that included input from industry executives and veteran racers. Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, have tangible and expressed goals in eventual competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and demonstrate the potential to realize that goal.
Each driver in NASCAR Next must be actively competing in a NASCAR touring or weekly series – NASCAR K&N Pro Series East or West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series or NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors also are eligible provided they are not slated to run a full season in their respective series.
The NASCAR Next members for 2015-16 are:
Cole Custer (17, Ladera Ranch, Calif., @colecuster00)
He holds the records for youngest pole award and race winner in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR’s touring series, and led late in the Truck race at Martinsville Speedway earlier this season.
Austin Hill (21, Winston, Ga., @_AustinHill)
Had three consecutive K&N East wins, in the final two races in 2014 and the 2015 season opener at New Smyrna Speedway where he captured his first pole award and led every lap.
Jesse Little (18, Sherrill’s Ford, N.C., @jesselittle97)
Had a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2014 to finish fourth in the season standings. Won the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway in his 2015 K&N East debut.
John Hunter Nemechek (17, Mooresville, N.C., @JHNemechek)
Earned six top-10 finishes in 10 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts in 2014, and won the prestigious Snowball Derby Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in December.(NASCAR)(5-5-2015)