Skip to content
Jayski LogoJayski Logo

December 2014 News Archives

News from December 31, 2014


  • BK Racing moving: BK Racing, currently fielding multiple teams (#23, #26, #83, #93) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), will have a new place to call home. BK Racing announced Tuesday that the team’s race operations will move from their current location in Statesville, NC to a new home in Charlotte beginning in January. BK Racing’s new address will be 11881 Vance Davis Drive in Charlotte. This location formerly housed GMS Racing and BAM Racing. The new facility will allow for growth in race operations as well as further opportunities to increase performance development potential. The new shop will allow for BK Racing to be an all-in-one facility for the growing team, and allowing the team to have additional space for engineering and simulation. By January 2015, all of BK Racing’s race teams will be able to call the facility home. “We needed a new location that allowed for more space to increase our performance,” said Ron Devine, owner of BK Racing. “We continue to invest into race operations to improve our potential and performance both on and off the track. It all starts in the race shop, and having the best resources and assets, in addition to our team of employees.”(BK Racing)(12-31-2014)

  • Johnson and Harvick once camped out at Camp Hornaday’: The last vestige of it rests in Lindy Hornaday’s office, across the street from the house where it became a peculiar NASCAR artifact. One 17 years in the making. The solitary remaining component of a hard-used and well-worn sectional couch from Ron and Lindy Hornaday’s former Lake Norman home is the River Styx and “George Washington Slept Here” all at once. But more importantly it symbolizes the opportunity and the friendship the Hornadays afforded not only to young race car drivers named Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick in 1997, but the scores of other wayfaring dreamers the former Truck series champion and his wife have made in the place the racing community fondly refers to as Camp Hornaday.
    That Johnson, a six-time Sprint Cup champion, and Harvick, newly minted with his first title at NASCAR’s highest level in November, at one point lounged, slept or passed out on that couch has made it a talisman in black leather for the latest generation of drivers and mechanics with NASCAR ambitions that followed them in the Hornadays’ home. Its newest layer of historic patina has made it a source of amusement for its owners. And perhaps one day, a resident of the Hall of Fame in Charlotte. “They’ve made our couch really famous because now everybody wants to sleep on it,” Lindy Hornaday said with a laugh. “I talked to [historian] Buz [McKim] from the Hall of Fame. He was coming to my house to get some stuff of Ron’s and I was teasing him about the couch. He said, ‘You know we really ought to start thinking about that couch.'”
    Simply put, Ron and Lindy Hornaday love people. They must. They better. That’s the only explanation for how they not only endured by enjoying life in a 969-square-foot home in California with two kids, three guests, three dogs, two birds, a goat, a pig, a rabbit and numerous cats, all with one bathroom, before they relocated to North Carolina to better pursue Ron’s racing career in the 1990s. When they migrated to Charlotte’s suburbs in Mooresville and bought a comparatively spacious 2,400-square-foot spread on a cove on Lake Norman, Ron Hornaday Jr. could more easily indulge the habit of inviting folks out to visit, lounge or bunk down. And he did. “Hornaday’s place was always a place where everybody felt like they had a connection to him,” Harvick said. Now living across the street, with more space and a bigger dock, there’s even more room for the Hornadays to connect. “Chasing money,” Hornaday said, for the first time in his career and without solid plans to race in the NASCAR Truck series this season, he busies himself with other racing ventures. His wife has opened her own business, and although they still take in guests, they miss the din of the heyday of Camp Hornaday. Though Lindy Hornaday has occasionally scolded her husband, Ron said, for his “revolving door” of a liberal guest policy, the denizens of their commune credit her equally with fostering a family environment that keeps old friends returning for years, grilling out and telling stories after races, pulling up their boats at the dock on weekends just to see who will stop by. “I love Ron, but Lindy’s the glue, the real champion of that house,” Johnson said.
    Johnson came to camp as a 21-year-old off-road racer from El Cajon, California, seeking his next career arc, “working any angle I could,” he said, before Hendrick Motorsports agreed to fund a dirt Late Model car for him. He’d previously met Hornaday at a Chevrolet autograph session in Detroit, was invited — of course — to bunk at the lake if he decided to relocate to NASCAR’s hub, and bought a one-way ticket for Charlotte once the Hendrick offer came. Johnson stayed with the Hornadays for roughly four months in 1997 before they helped him find his first house. Having won the first of four Truck championships in 1996 — his most recent in 2009 with Harvick’s now-defunct team — Hornaday wielded the cachet to make connections for both of the young Californians. Hornaday’s endorsement had weight as Richard Childress moved to sign Harvick to his Nationwide program. Lindy still calls them “her boys” and coos as much about how they have grown into doting fathers as about them being champions of NASCAR’s top series.(see full article at ESPN.com)(12-31-2014)


    News from December 30, 2014


  • Winners of both Sprint Unlimited & Budweiser Duel – never won Daytona 500 same year:
    No driver has won the Sprint Unlimited (Shootout), a Budweiser Duel and the Daytona 500 in the same year.
    Ten drivers have won the Sprint Unlimited (formerly the Bud Shootout) and a Budweiser Duel 14 times in the same year but didn’t win the Daytona 500:
    year, driver, Daytona finish, Daytona 500 winner
    2014: Denny Hamlin, finished 2nd, won by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2013: Kevin Harvick, finished 42nd, won by Jimmie Johnson
    2011: Kurt Busch, 5th, won by Trevor Bayne
    2008: Dale Earnhardt Jr.(2), 9th, Ryan Newman
    2007: Tony Stewart, 43rd, Kevin Harvick
    2003: Dale Earnhardt Jr., 36th, Michael Waltrip
    1995: Dale Earnhardt(4), 2nd, Sterling Marlin
    1993: Dale Earnhardt(3), 2nd, Dale Jarrett
    1991: Dale Earnhardt(2), 5th, Ernie Irvan
    1989: Ken Schrader, 2nd, Darrell Waltrip
    1986: Dale Earnhardt, 14th, Geoff Bodine
    1983: Neil Bonnett, 22nd, Cale Yarborough
    1981: Darrell Waltrip, 36th, Richard Petty
    1979: Buddy Baker, 40th, Richard Petty (12-30-2014)
  • Deadline nears for Rockingham Speedway sale: Owners have three days to sell the historic Rockingham Speedway or agree to auction off the property in order to avoid foreclosure. The clock is ticking on Superior Court Judge David Lee’s October consent order, which set a Thursday deadline for the signing of a sale or auction agreement on the former NASCAR track. The speedway must change hands or go on the auction block by March 15. Unless a last-minute extension is granted, the Oct. 14 consent order calls for a sale or auction agreement to be signed on New Year’s Day. As of Monday afternoon, no legal filings in the case had been added since October, according to the Richmond County Clerk of Superior Court’s office. Co-owner Andy Hillenburg said in October he hopes to bring racing back to the Rockingham Speedway with the help of the as-yet-unnamed group of investors. If a private sale falls through, the consent order calls for Hillenburg and co-owner Bill Silas to sign an auction agreement. If neither a sale or an auction is scheduled, the foreclosure complaint is likely to come back before the judge.(full story at the Richmond County Daily Journal)(12-30-2014)

  • Gase will return to the #52: Joey Gase will be returning to the NASCAR Xfinity Series (previously Nationwide) in 2015 with Jimmy Means Racing. In 2014, Joey and the team finished 20th in driver points, which is the best points finish for the team. Gase also finished a record best for him and the team at Talladega of 11th with the engine blowing up at the line. “I am excited to be running the full Xfinity season again with Jimmy Means Racing,” said Gase. “Last year was a record breaking season for us with minimum funding. We successfully made both of our goals, which were to finish top 20 in driving points, and to keep the team locked in the top 30 of owner points. Our goals in 2015 will be to finish in the top 20 in driver points once again and to get the team our first top 10 finish.” Gase has partnered up with Db Sales Company, www.finddieselengines.com, and multiple Donate Life organizations for sponsorship throughout the 2015 season. The team is still working hard on securing a primary full time sponsor for the 2015 season, along with more single and multirace primary and associate sponsors.(Gase PR)(12-30-2014)


    News from December 29, 2014


  • Crew Chief Changes for 2015: Many crew chief changes for the 2015 season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the list:
    #1-Jamie McMurray: Matt McCall takes over for Keith Rodden who left to head back to Hendrick Motorsports and the #5 team of Kasey Kahne. McCall comes over to CGR from Richard Childress Racing where he was the race engineer for the #31 Chevy of Ryan Newman.
    #5-Kasey Kahne: Keith Rodden returns to Hendrick Motorsports after spending a year as Jamie McMurray’s crew chief on the #1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy. Rodden was a lead engineer with the #5 HMS team for a couple of years before leaving HMS for CGR in 2014. Former long time Kahne crew chief Kenny Francis was promoted to Vehicle Technical Director at HMS.
    #6-Trevor Bayne: nothing has been announced, but former Carl Edwards crew chief, Bob Osborne, has been rumored as the crew chief for Bayne. Longtime Roush Fenway Racing crew chief Jimmy Fennig will not be the crew chief as he retired from the road and will work in RFR’s shop.
    #10-Danica Patrick: Daniel Knost switched crew chief spots with Tony Gibson in October. Gibson moved over to be the crew chief for Kurt Busch on the #41 Chevy.
    #11-Denny Hamlin: Dave Rogers comes over from Kyle Busch’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing team, replacing Darian Grubb, who moves to JGR’s new 4th team, the #19 JGR team of Carl Edwards.
    #18-Kyle Busch: Adam Stevens moves up from JGR’s Nationwide Series team to take over for Dave Rogers, who heads to Denny Hamlin;’s #11 JGR team.
    #19-Carl Edwards: Darian Grubb moves over from Denny Hamlin’s #11 JGR team as Edwards crew chief on the new JGR team in 2015.
    #21-Ryan Blaney (part-time team): Jeremy Bullins comes over from Team Penske’s Xfinity Series #22 team to replace Donnie Wingo, no word what Wingo’s plans are in 2015.
    #27-Paul Menard: Justin Alexander took over for Slugger Labbe after Charlotte in October 2014. Labbe was promoted
    #34-David Ragan: TBA – late in the season Jay Guy moved over to Front Row Motorsports #38 team of David Gilliland after crew chief Frank Kerr parted ways with FRM.
    #36-Reed Sorenson: no word who will replace crew chief Todd Parrott, who left Tommy Baldwin Racing for a job at Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series program. Also, no official word if Sorenson will return as driver in 2015.
    #38-David Gilliland: Jay Guy moved over from Front Row Motorsports #34 team of David Ragan late in the 2014 season after #38 crew chief Frank Kerr parted ways with FRM.
    #41-Kurt Busch: Tony Gibson switched crew chief spots with Daniel Knost in October. Knost moved over to be the crew chief for Danica Patrick on the #10 Chevy.
    #78-Martin Truex Jr.: Cole Pearn promoted from lead race engineer to crew chief and takes over for Todd Berrier who took a management role at Joe Gibbs Racing.
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Greg Ives takes over for Steve Letarte after leading Chase Elliott to the 2014 Nationwide Series championship. Letarte leaves the crew chief ranks and moves into the NBC booth to cover the Sprint Cup Series races in 2015.
    See more changes for the teams, sponsors and drivers on the 2015 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(12-29-2014)

  • Congrats: to #95 Leavine Family Racing car chief Kenneth Roettger on the birth of his son on December 26th.(LFR Twitter)(12-29-2014)
  • David Gilliland Racing Expands with Driver Development Program: David Gilliland Racing (DGR) is capping its successful 2014 season with the announcement of an expansion. The Mooresville, N.C.-based team now offers a driver development program that will field a second car for the 2015 season in Late Model and Super Late Model competition. DGR is seeking young, up-and-coming talent to join the program. DGR is owned and operated by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland and his wife, Michelle. The team has run a successful program since 1998, racing in weekly division events at the grassroots level to regional touring series at asphalt and dirt tracks around the country. The Gillilands’ 14-year-old son, Todd, made his mark driving the DGR No. 98 in 2014, including earning his first Late Model pole and win in May in just his seventh start in a stock car. The organization is now ready to field a second, equally competitive team for a motivated, funded driver looking to transition from Karts, Legends or Sprint cars to bigger, NASCAR-style race cars. The DGR team will maintain, house, transport and direct every aspect of the racing program, including the providing of top-level equipment, experienced crew chief and spotter, and personal coaching from David Gilliland. “When we built our program, we made sure we did it right,” Gilliland said. “We ensured we had the best equipment and the best experience put together to offer someone the best opportunity to showcase their talent. We’re eager to talk with young racers, their families and their marketing partners to show how we can help them take their careers to the next level.” Contact info at davidgillilandracing.com.(DGR PR)(12-28-2014)


    News from December 28, 2014


  • Added some more new 2015 schemes: #95 Thrivent Financial#4 Ditech and #20 Dollar Generalschemes to the Sprint Cup Paint Schemes Gallery.(12-28-2014)

  • Irvan and Reno still working together: Ernie Irvan‘s son, Jared, raced in the PASS South super late-model series this year driving Ernie’s #28 that carried him to eight of his 15 victories. Irvan drove Marc Reno’s unheralded #56 Dale Earnhardt Chevy to a 29th-place finish in his Cup debut on Sept. 13, 1987 at Richmond. Reno, for his part, can’t seem to get enough of helping a young racer named Irvan. He spotted for Jared during the 2014 season. Things aren’t so easy for the junior Irvan. His on-track talent can’t be denied – he finished in the top 10 in 10 of his 14 PASS races – but his father believes it takes more than skill and word-of-mouth to get a driver up the ladder. “It’s all about money,” Irvan said. “It’s just the way it is. To get a race team to see that you’ve got a lot of talent and to be able to say, ‘I’m going to run this guy and he’s going to a great job,’ you almost have to have somebody else involved. It makes it tough. Take Kyle Larson. Obviously, (car owner) Chip (Ganassi) saw him and saw the talent, but I don’t think there’s a lot of people out looking for talent because talent ends up showing up at your door. People just say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this guy and I’ve got this sponsor, would you consider running him?'” Jared Irvan doesn’t have the benefit of a major sponsor to move forward. He doesn’t have a famous driver’s dealership on his car, either. In order for Irvan’s son to be one of the 10 percent he believes can get an opportunity, he’ll need some outside help. “We don’t have anything very secure yet,” Irvan said. “We ran the super late model and we’re hoping to do some K&N (Pro Series East) stuff next year.”(National Speed Sport News)(12-28-2014)
  • Indoor Races at Atlantic City in January: Tickets are on sale for the NAPA Auto Parts Atlantic City Indoor Race. The extremely popular two day auto racing event is set to take place on Friday and Saturday, January 30 and 31 inside Boardwalk Hall. The event will be the thirteenth running of the Gambler’s Classic and will draw over 200 competitors from throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada. “We are extremely excited about this year’s Atlantic City Indoor Race,” said event promoter Len Sammons. “The event continues to grow year after year and has truly become the mid-winter happening for auto racing and is an event people look forward to all year.” Premium front row and lower level tickets are expected to sell out quickly, so those hoping to purchase those seats should act quickly. “The past couple of years the front row has sold out in a matter of minutes,” stated Sammons. “That just shows the excitement that exists for this truly unique event.” Tickets for the event will be available at the Boardwalk Box Office located right on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-736-1420. For more information visit www.aarn.com or call the Len Sammons Motorsports office at 609-888-3618.(12-28-2014)


    News from December 27, 2014


  • Kenseth, Johnson appear in new Gatorade ad: In 2015, Gatorade is celebrating its 50th anniversary and kicked off the celebration on Christmas Day with the debut of its new “50” television commercial. The ad celebrates five decades of fueling champions through a montage of 50 iconic sports moments ingrained in the brand and includes athletes like Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Cam Newton among many others. Each moment corresponds with a number relevant to Gatorade.(Charlotte Observer)(12-27-2014)

  • New Sprint CEO involved in soccer: You may have heard that NASCAR lost its title sponsor the other day, that telecommunications giant Sprint is pulling out of the draft after the 2016 season. What you may not have heard is one of the reasons why: Soccer. Sprint has a new CEO, and while he’s from south of the Mason-Dixon line, it’s real far south, farther south than Kannapolis, N.C., or even Hueytown in Alabama. Marcelo Claure is from Bolivia. When he became CEO of Sprint in August, it was agreed by a board of directors and stockholders and such that Claure should eliminate 3,700 jobs and $1.5 billion from departmental budgets. Sprint’s initial agreement with NASCAR was $750 million for 10 years, so that must have seemed like a good place to start, especially if you’re a soccer guy and not a car guy. Claure owns a soccer team in Bolivia and is trying to bring Major League Soccer to Miami. His partner is global soccer icon David Beckham. Ain’t that a corner kick to the head? “You certainly don’t want to lose a sponsor like that,” Las Vegas Motor Speedway president Chris Powell said, “but I don’t think this is a comment on the business of NASCAR. I think it’s more a comment on Sprint’s business. That’s what I’m seeing from a distance.”(Las Vegas Review Journal)(12-27-2014)


    News from December 26, 2014


  • Who has the loudest fans? NASCAR or football? NASCAR has loud fans and even louder engines, but can it beat the “Beast Quake?” Football, NASCAR and their rowdy, roaring crowds faced off in a head-to-head battle this year to see which sport hits highest on the seismic charts, scientists reported Dec. 18 at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in San Francisco. Seattle Seahawks football fans have stomped their way to several “earthquakes,” shaking the football stadium so hard that nearby seismometers register tremors. On Jan. 8, 2011, a 67-yard touchdown run resulted in a fan frenzy as powerful as a magnitude-2 quake, now known as the “Beast Quake.” The rambunctious fans have also set a Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd roar.
    Not to be outdone, this year the Texas Motor Speedway asked seismic experts from Southern Methodist University in Dallas to record the Duck Commander 500 race. It’s a typical NASCAR race, with 43 stock cars roaring around a 1.5-mile track and twice the number of fans as a Seahawks game.
    “The owner wanted to be able to say his race had larger ground motions than the Seattle Seahawks,” joked Brian Stump, a seismologist at Southern Methodist University and co-leader of the project. More seriously, Stump and other scientists are interested in monitoring large crowds with seismic and acoustic signals transmitted through the earth and the air. And large structures such as stadiums, bridges and tunnels have natural frequencies that can change when something is amiss, such as unwanted cracks. As such, monitoring the vibrations is a way to detect unseen damage to these imposing structures.
    On April 7, 2014 – a day late due to rain – a network of listening devices installed on volunteer time by Stump and his students and colleagues switched on both inside and outside the racetrack stadium. The instruments were set up to record everything from infrasound, or sound below human hearing, to explosion-level noise, and from earthquake-strength shaking to the weakest tremors. So who rocks hardest? It turns out it’s not a fair contest.
    “[NASCAR] is apples to oranges from a Seahawks game,” Stump told Live Science. “It’s a completely different phenomenon.” The defining moments of a football game – touchdowns, interceptions, kickoffs and more – get fans on their feet in unison, creating a powerful force that rocks the stadium. But a NASCAR race is an endurance event, without much beyond crashes to bring the crowd together on their feet. No seismic signals came from the crowd during the race, Stump reported. Instead, the strongest vibrations were between 20 hertz to 100 hertz, five times higher in frequency than the signals seen at a Seahawks game, Stump said. These tremors came from the racecar engines, he said. Their deep bass rumbling made the ground vibrate, called acoustic-to-seismic coupling.(Yahoo Sports)(12-26-2014)


    News from December 25, 2014


  • Eddie Wood says team could go back to full time at some point: As Wood Brothers Racing begins its 65th year with Ford Motor Company, owner Eddie Wood says “It’s not out of the question at all” that the team could go back to racing full time. Wood, a guest on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” on Tuesday, said the team’s new alliance with a fellow Ford organization may mean more races for a group that has at least one NASCAR win in each of the last seven decades. “With this move over to Team Penske, there’s a lot of people looking for extra races to get us back to the track more,” Wood said. “I think if we have some success and just keep doing what we’re doing, I think eventually we can get back full time.” From 1985 to 2008, the Wood Brothers ran at least 28 races a season in NASCAR’s premier series, and Wood said that’s how he was raised in the sport. “When I started racing, we raced every race, every week,” Wood said. “It was like that for years. Now that you’ve cut back a little bit, there is a life, but if you’re us, your life is really at the race track so that’s just the way it is.”
    Wood discussed how the team comes up with its current part-time schedule. “What we did is we get with our friends up at Motorcraft and Quick Lane and decide where they need us to go,” Wood said. “Obviously the superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega), we’ve had some success there so there’s four of them. “You’re going to race at Michigan because that’s home for Ford Motor Company. Then you’re going to race Indy, and we’re going to race Charlotte and Texas. The big areas for Ford Motor Company.”(NASCAR.com)(12-25-2014)

  • NC Supreme Court declines Bruton Smith’s incentives appeal: Bruton Smith’s $80 million legal fight against Cabarrus County may have run out of track. In a change of heart, the N.C. Supreme Court has declined to rule on the racing magnate’s lawsuit that Cabarrus taxpayers owe him tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks for his racing complex in Concord. That decision marks Smith’s third defeat in as many court trips dating back to 2012. The high court’s ruling on Dec. 19, however, marks a bit of a reversal: The justices first agreed to hear Smith’s challenge of a 2013 ruling by the state Court of Appeals to throw out Smith’s suit. But after hearing arguments from both sides in September, the Supreme Court members changed their minds. That means the earlier court decision to throw out Smith’s claims stands. The dispute arose in 2007 when Smith, one of racing’s most powerful and controversial figures, announced plans to build a drag strip near his Charlotte Motor Speedway. The city of Concord objected, and Smith responded by threatening to move the speedway – and its $420 million annual impact on the local economy – and build the drag way elsewhere. Eventually, Cabarrus leaders wrote Smith a letter, committing to $80 million in tax breaks, grants and other public money to pay for speedway improvements. According to court documents, Smith called Mayor Bob Padgett that day and told him: “We have an agreement.” It didn’t hold up. Preliminary discussions focused on a combination of state, county and city money to pay for such infrastructure improvements as roads and noise control. Smith’s drag strip opened in August 2008. The next day, the governments sent over a proposed contract that would have given them up to 40 years to make good on their $80 million pledge. Smith would have been required to complete $200 million of promised speedway improvements within three years. Smith and the speedway sued. The city settled with Smith for $2.8 million, but the track owner’s fight with the county continued on through the state’s top three courts. Smith’s complaint accused the county of breach of contract and fraud, among other claims, while arguing that the 2007 letter from the local governments served as “a valid and enforceable contract.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-25-2014)


    News from December 24, 2014


  • Tyler Walker makes court appearance: Professional race driver Tyler Walker pleaded guilty Tuesday in 5th District Court to two felony charges and three misdemeanors stemming from a high-speed law enforcement pursuit that began in Southern Nevada and continued for 60 miles past the Utah state line. Walker, whose full name is Timothy Tyler Andrew Walker, appeared in court wearing a black suit and a neatly trimmed haircut, something he was eager to showcase as a dramatic change from the dreadlocks, untucked shirt and long-sleeved flannel overshirt he wore at the time of his arrest. “It’s a big difference, and I feel a lot better, and I’m in a lot better place,” Walker said. “I just want to thank everybody who helped me out … and also apologize to … everybody who was on the road. And just let everybody know I’m doing everything I can to … be healthy so this never happens again.” Walker, 35, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., was arrested Jan. 30, 2013, after a Nevada Highway Patrol officer clocked the race car driver at 150 mph and Walker fled from pursuing officers instead of stopping. He reportedly drove around tire-puncturing strips as he was northbound into the mouth of the Virgin River Gorge and drove over tire-puncturing strips at the Utah state line. Walker pleaded guilty to two third-degree felonies and three misdemeanors under terms of the agreement with prosecutors. The felonies – failure to stop for an officer and possession or use of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) – each carry the possibility of up to five years in prison. The misdemeanors include impaired driving and possession of drug paraphernalia, which each could result to up to six months in jail, and open container of alcohol in vehicle, which carries a potential sentence of 90 days in jail. Judge Eric Ludlow scheduled sentencing for Feb. 23. Walker’s attorney, Trevor Terry, said Walker has undergone extensive counseling and drug therapy since his arrest, and Walker said he has been working with a neurologist because of the lingering effects of brain injury that he has experienced.(The Spectrum)(12-24-2014)

  • Case of woman who went missing at Talladega ruled homicide: The death of a woman who vanished near the Talladega Superspeedway during October’s race weekend has been ruled a homicide, authorities announced. Theresa Benn was reported missing just before 7:30pm on Oct. 19. Benn, who also went by Theresa Andrews, her maiden name, and Theresa Dulaney, her married name, was last seen the predawn hours of that Sunday on Speedway Industrial Drive in Lincoln. Authorities said Benn was with her husband prior to leaving him behind because she wanted to go to the races and he did not. Crowe said the woman’s husband, Kevin Dulaney, told investigators he dropped her off on or near Eastaboga Road about 2:15am that Sunday. He said he last saw her walking toward the track. Investigators haven’t determined whether she ever made it to the GEICO 500 later that day. She did not go to Saturday’s race. Benn’s body was found Nov. 22 in the Jackson Shoals area of Choccolocco Creek. The Lincoln Police Department today said they are still waiting on DNA test results, but are confident they will confirm the body to be that of Benn. In a press release, Lincoln Police Chief Darren Britton said the preliminary death report indicates the manner of death is homicide. Investigators have not said how Benn was killed.(Alabama Media Group)(12-24-2014)


    News from December 23, 2014


  • Congrats to #42-Kyle Larson and fiance Katelyn Sweet on the birth of their son, Owen Miyata Larson, born Monday night at 11:09pm. He was 7 pound 14 ounces and 19 1/2 in. long.(12-23-2014)

  • Edwards expects success at Gibbs: #19-Carl Edwards won’t be satisfied with just one win, or, as LeBron James once famously put it, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7… “I plan on winning 10 races and the championship,” Edwards declared. If it sounds like a crazy declaration, we need only remember two years ago Matt Kenseth transferred to JGR and won seven races, and came second in the championship. “People will be like, ‘Ah, he’s crazy.’ But if we don’t win the championship, it will not be a success,” Edwards said. “Everyone’s putting in these resources to win a championship, and that’s what we’re going to do.” Edwards also reflected on how he hopes to improve not just as a driver, but as a person, in his move over to JGR. “Matt Kenseth has helped me a lot. We started as teammates (at Roush),” Edwards said. “I didn’t understand Matt. I wasn’t the best teammate when I came into the sport. There’s a couple things. I’ve been doing this 10 years, and I don’t have a title. And two, I didn’t have the best relationships with my teammates. Now I know I need to work together. I think I come in here a lot more humble and wanting to learn from these guys.”(NBC Sports)(12-23-2014)
  • Deadline for sale of Nashville Superspeedway extended again: The closing deadline on the sale of Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County by Dover Motorsports to NeXovation Inc. has been extended to Jan. 26, according to a recent filing. NeXovation Inc. announced in May an agreement to purchase the race track from Dover and its subsidiary Nashville Speedway U.S.A. Inc. for nearly $46 million – $27 million in cash and the assumption of about $18.8 million in bond obligations owed to Wilson County. It’s the third time the closing has been extended. The second deadline had been set for Wednesday. NeXovation agreed to release the $1.1 million remaining in escrow to Dover and pay an additional $200,000 as part of the agreement to extend a third time, according to the document Dover recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The $1.7 million NeXovation has now paid Dover Motorsports is non-refundable, but will be applied toward the purchase price. NeXovation hadn’t revealed specifics on how it will use the Superspeedway other than say it plans for it to be a year-round venue with events beyond auto racing.(Tennessean)(12-23-2014)
  • Sad News – Valerie Shaak: Doug Shaak, former Melling Racing (w/Bill Elliott), Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing machinist, tire changer and mechanic lost his daughter Valerie to a automobile accident Friday night. Valerie worked as a hostess at Olive Garden. At 11:22pm/et, authorities said a moped driven by Phillip Brice Black, 19, was rear-ended by a 2011 Infiniti driven by Robert John Leahy, 46, in the 10000 block of Old Statesville Road in Charlotte. The moped was lodged in the front of the car and Black was thrown from the moped along with Valerie Shaak, 22, who was a passenger. Shaak was pronounced dead at the scene and Black was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, police said.(full article on accident at the Charlotte Observer.
    See the obituary at the Charlotte Obsever for info on services and condolences.(12-23-2014)


    News from December 22, 2014


  • Dr. Jerry Punch will remain with ESPN: Dr. Jerry Punch, who has been associated with ESPN since 1984 as a motorsports and college sports announcer, has agreed to a new contract to remain with the network and extend his run as one of ESPN’s longest-tenured announcers. Punch, who was a pit reporter as well as a lap-by-lap announcer on ESPN’s NASCAR race telecasts through the network’s recently-completed final season of live NASCAR racing, will return to ESPN’s college football and basketball coverage in various roles. He worked on college sports telecasts from 1989-2006 as both a play-by-play announcer and sideline reporter while also covering motorsports. In addition, Punch will remain connected to motorsports as a pit reporter on ABC’s telecasts of the Indianapolis 500 and other races in the Verizon IndyCar Series. “ESPN has been my home for a long time and I’m grateful for the opportunities presented to me to remain part of the team,” said Punch. “I love the passion of college sports and look forward to helping bring those stories to our viewers and to reconnecting with the college coaches and staffs I’ve enjoyed relationships with over the years.” His first game will be Jan. 15 as he calls the Murray State vs. Belmont Ohio Valley Conference matchup on ESPNU. He is ESPN’s sixth longest-tenured announcer, following Bob Ley, Cliff Drysdale, Chris Berman, Dick Vitale and Mike Patrick.(ESPN)(12-22-2014)

  • Jeremy Bullins named crew chief for Wood Brothers, Blaney: Wood Brothers Racing announced that Jeremy Bullins will rejoin the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team next season to serve as the crew chief for Ryan Blaney in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, beginning with the 2015 Daytona 500. Bullins returns to the Wood Brothers organization following a successful three-year tenure with Team Penske’s #22 NASCAR Nationwide Series team that produced 21 wins and two consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Owners’ Championships. Bullins first worked with the Wood Brothers in 1999 on the Pro Cup and Late Model cars driven by Jon Wood. In 2000, Bullins became race engineer for the iconic No. 21 Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, a position he held until June of 2002. Bullins moved on to work with ST Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing and Richard Childress Racing, where he helped drivers Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer claim a total of nine Sprint Cup Series victories as a race engineer. A native of Walnut Cove, NC, Bullins joined Team Penske in 2012 to serve as the crew chief for the #22 car in the Nationwide Series, earning three wins in his first full season at the helm. In 2013, Bullins led the team to 12 wins with four different drivers and the team’s first Nationwide Series Owners’ Championship. The #22 Ford team won the Owners’ Title again this season behind six series victories. In total, Bullins earned 21 wins, 14 poles, 57 top-five and 79 top-10 finishes in 99 starts with the #22 Team Penske Nationwide Series program.(Wood Brothers Racing)(12-22-2014)

  • Congrats: to USA Today’s NASCAR Writer Jeff Gluck on his engagement to fiance Sarah Boyer Saturday.(12-22-2014)

  • Stenhouse Jr. running open wheel race UPDATE: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wants a checkered flag for Christmas – well, sort of. The Roush Fenway Racing driver will get back behind the wheel this Saturday, going back to his short-track, open-wheel roots in DuQuoin, Illinois. Stenhouse will compete in the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center on the one-sixth Mini-Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center, located on the grounds of the DuQuoin State Fair. The Battle at the Center is a non-points all-star race put on by the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series. It’ll be Stenhouse’s second bid to win at DuQuoin, having finished second in the inaugural Battle at the Center in 2010. He’ll be driving for Bryan Clauson Racing as a tune-up of sorts for next month’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., from Jan. 12-17. It’ll be Stenhouse’s third try to win the Chili Bowl, having finished ninth in 2012, but failed to advance out of the B feature last year. (NBC Sports)(12-20-2014)
    UPDATE: Going back to his midget car roots, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. shook off a couple of late-race mishaps to finish eighth in Saturday’s fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center at the Southern Illinois Center of the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Joey Saldana of Brownsburg, Indiana, led the last five laps of the 40-lap main event around the 1/6-mile racetrack to take home the victory in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series event. Bryan Clauson finished second, followed by Justin Peck, Spencer Bayston, Daniel Robinson, Andrew Felker, Kevin Ramey, Stenhouse, Tim Siner and Jody Rosenboom. On Lap 26, as Stenhouse tried to make a run for the lead, he was involved in a four-car tangle involving race leader Clauson, Christopher Bell (running second at the time) and 2012 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series champ Andrew Felker. With three laps left in the race, Stenhouse was collected in a six-car pileup that ended his hopes of a top-five finish, but still managed to wind up with a decent eighth-place showing in the 21-car field.(NBC Sports)(12-22-2014)


    News from December 21, 2014


  • Mike and Angie Skinner to host new SiriusXM Show: SiriusXM personality Angie Skinner and husband Mike Skinner, a former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, will team up to host a new show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90, starting in 2015. Skinner Round-Up will debut on Sunday, January 4, at 12:00pm/et and air select Sundays throughout the year. The three-hour program will feature a wide variety of guests – from past NASCAR champions to upcoming talent from the NASCAR NEXT program – and will cover everything from technical analysis during the “Skinner Garage presented by WIX Filters” segment to a lifestyle segment designed to give fans a look at the drivers’ lives away from the track. The show will air on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Sundays during the offseason at 12:00pm/et. During the season, Skinner Round-Up will air at 11:00am/et on those Sundays following a Saturday night NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.(SiriusXM)(12-21-2014)
  • Firefly and Stagecoach present Big Barrel Country Music Festival at Dover Speedway: Big Barrel Country Music Festival will take place in 2015 from June 26-28 at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, where the annual Firefly Music Festival is held. Hosted the weekend following Firefly, the festival will provide a similar world-class experience featuring headliners Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. Additional artists include Jake Owen, Chris Young, Gary Allan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, and over 40 more. Three-day general admission passes are $99. In addition to three days of country music’s top performers, attendees will be introduced to a wide variety of attractions within the festival and campgrounds. Highlights include, but are not limited to, a large-scale Dance Hall, BBQ area, Saloon, marketplace with a variety of western goods and products, as well as a family-friendly area.(Dover Speedway)(12-21-2014)


    News from December 20, 2014


  • Dick Berggren named to Maine Motorsports HOF: The Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame has announced that on April 4, 2015, Dick Berggren, President of the Racing History Preservation Group that is the parent company of the North East Motor Sports Museum, will be inducted. Dick will be one of six inductees who have influenced motorsports in Maine. He made his mark on the sport in his #80 Super Modified at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in the mid-1970s and raced Modifieds there in the early 1980s. As editor of Stock Car Racing Magazine and later his own Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated, he put Maine motorsports on the national stage with his stories about Beech Ridge, the Oxford 250 and Maine racing personalities. In total, only 80 other significant Maine racing figures have been inductee into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame. In addition to his time behind the wheel of a racecar and writing about motorsports, he became best known for reporting from pit road at NASCAR tracks all over the United States. In his long storied career, Dick could be found on some of the biggest TV networks including CBS, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, Speed and Fox Sports just to name a few. Never to shy away from a story, he was ready with the microphone and the ever important questions that the TV audience wanted to know the answer to. Recently, Dick was asked what being inducted into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame meant to him and the response was “Many of my friendships that I formed in and around Maine back in the 70s still exist today. Maine has been a special place for me, not only because I won a race at Beech Ridge but more importantly many of my hero’s come from Maine such as Ricky Craven, Andy Cusack, Mike Rowe, Dick McCabe, Bob Bahre and so, so many more.” Dick also went on to note that “I love the state of Maine and all it stands for, the people, the landscape, life in general and of course it has been and still is my favorite vacation place. I have traveled the world over and there is no place like Maine, anywhere.”(PR)(12-20-2014)

  • Stenhouse Jr. running open wheel race: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wants a checkered flag for Christmas – well, sort of. The Roush Fenway Racing driver will get back behind the wheel this Saturday, going back to his short-track, open-wheel roots in DuQuoin, Illinois. Stenhouse will compete in the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center on the one-sixth Mini-Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center, located on the grounds of the DuQuoin State Fair. The Battle at the Center is a non-points all-star race put on by the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series. It’ll be Stenhouse’s second bid to win at DuQuoin, having finished second in the inaugural Battle at the Center in 2010. He’ll be driving for Bryan Clauson Racing as a tune-up of sorts for next month’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., from Jan. 12-17. It’ll be Stenhouse’s third try to win the Chili Bowl, having finished ninth in 2012, but failed to advance out of the B feature last year. (NBC Sports)(12-20-2014)

  • Congrats: Matt Puccia crew chief for #16 Greg Biffle married Alyssa Abbott on 12/13/14 at St. Mark’s Church, Huntersville, NC, they are honeymooning in Hawaii.(12-20-2014)
  • Congrats: To Ty Dillon and Haley Carey, who were married Saturday evening, December 20. More info and pictures can be found on twitter with #TyTheKnot.(12-20-2014)
  • Tatoian promoted to president of Dover International Speedway: Dover International Speedway announced the promotion of Michael Tatoian to the position of president, effective. Jan. 2, 2015. Tatoian retains his position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of parent company Dover Motorsports, Inc. Tatoian will continue to report to Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. Tatoian has worked to bring additional events to the Dover International Speedway schedule, including the popular Firefly Music Festival and the new Big Barrel Country Music Festival. Held on the Speedway’s property since 2012, Firefly Music Festival is a four day event attracting 80,000 fans per day, and in three years has become one of the fastest growing, most successful music festival of all time according to various industry sources. Big Barrel Country Music Festival will bring some of the biggest names in country music to The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway for the three day event, June 26-28, 2015. Tatoian has more than 25 years of experience in professional sports ownership, management and operations. Prior to joining Dover Motorsports, Inc., Tatoian served as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Victory Sports Group, LLC. In his role there, he oversaw the development and management of professional sports organizations, including minor league baseball, minor league hockey and arena football. Tatoian also previously served as Chief Operating Officer of United Sports Ventures, Inc., an umbrella sports company that owned and operated eight minor league teams. Tatoian is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, with a degree in Public Relations and Marketing. He and his wife Tammy reside in Middletown, Del.(Dover Speedway)(12-20-2014)


    News from December 19, 2014


  • Larson, McMurray running Rolex 24 for Ganassi: Seven-time IMSA Champions and five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced the fielding of two Prototypes for the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring eight drivers that represent some of the best talent the motor racing world has to offer. Veteran Scott Pruett and new teammate Joey Hand will unite with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ Verizon IndyCar Series race-winner Charlie Kimball and CGRT development driver Sage Karam to form the lineup in the #01 Ford EcoBoost/Target Riley, while CGRT Verizon IndyCar Series Champions and Indianapolis 500 Winners Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan join CGRFS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series reigning Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NSCS race-winner Jamie McMurray in the #02 Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley. The 2015 CGRFS Rolex 24 At Daytona driver roster is an impressive group of international racing champions representing two Indianapolis 500 titles (Dixon-2008, Kanaan-2013), a Daytona 500 (McMurray-2010), four Verizon IndyCar Series Championships (Dixon-2003, 2008, 2013 and Kanaan-2004), seven Prototype Championships (Pruett-2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), and four Rookie of the Year honors in their respective series (Kanaan-1999, Dixon-2001, McMurray-2003, Larson-2014). The group brings with them 144 total wins.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(12-19-2014)

  • Sprint Experience will not be used in 2015: Sprint, which announced Wednesday it would discontinue sponsorship of the Sprint Cup Series at the end of its current contract, no longer will host its 15,000-square-foot Sprint Experience interactive display area at NASCAR tracks, multiple sources confirmed to the [Charlotte] Observer. The Sprint Experience brings fans closer to the sport by offering custom interactive games, driver and celebrity appearances, participation in stage games, and the latest handsets and technologies available from Sprint. Hospitality industry workers and others associated with transporting and operating the mobile display were informed this week they would not be used next season, sources said. Sprint officials declined to address the issue when asked Thursday for comment. “We will continue to use the NASCAR Sprint Cup sponsorship platform in 2015 and 2016 to drive our business,” said spokesperson Kimberly Meesters. “Every season we evaluate our specific NASCAR programs and adjust as needed. We are finalizing the details of our 2015 plan now and will be ready to kick off the season Feb. 14 for the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-19-2014)

  • Fox to air 2015 NASCAR preview show Sunday: This Sunday will mark 63 days until the 2015 Daytona 500, and FOX will mark nine weeks until the Great American Race with a NASCAR Productions-produced “NASCAR 2015: A New Era” season preview. The hour-long show will air at 4:30pm/et to 78% of the country. Those fans slated to see the National Footbal League game between New York Giants at the St. Louis Rams will get “NASCAR 2015: A New Era” at 3:00pm/et. The special will focus on the Daytona 500 on February 22, including “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Terry Crews explaining the magnitude of the season-opening race. Then, the show will take a look at the new second race of the season at Atlanta and a West Coast swing among the 2015 schedule changes. Team and driver swaps as well as NBC coming on board as a new television partner will be examined. As they did during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on FOX Sports 1’s “NASCAR RaceHub,” analysts Larry McReynolds, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Hammond, pit reporter Matt Yocum and host Adam Alexander will make predictions in special installment of the NASCAR War Room.(NASCAR.com)(12-19-2014)
  • Martinsville Speedway’s Christmas Toy Drive Raises More Than $13,000 For Grace Network:The holiday season is a time for giving and Martinsville Speedway’s 18th annual Christmas Toy Drive showed that the NASCAR community is willing to do just that. The toy drive raised more than $13,000 and saw 200 toys donated for the Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County. A network of more than 100 area churches, the Grace Network will use the money to provide toys and clothes to underserved and underprivileged children in the area. The Grace Network gets lists of names from the churches in the network and then is able to take the money raised and shop according to each child’s needs and wishes. This year’s toy drive reached a bigger audience than ever before, thanks to some ticket packages that were put up for auction. Race fans from all over the country bid on race experiences like getting a picture taken in Victory Lane with the STP 500 winner or the opportunity to ride in the Official Pace Car for the start of the race.(Martinsville Speedway)(12-19-2014)


    News from December 18, 2014


  • Kurt Busch has court date Tuesday UPDATES: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is scheduled to appear at Kent County Family Court on Tuesday for a hearing related to a protective order filed by his ex-girlfriend, who last month alleged that Busch had “smashed” her head three times against a bedroom wall in their motor coach following a September race in Dover. Busch will be present at the courthouse, said Dover attorney James Liguori, who is part of Busch’s legal team. Busch has to report to the court at 9:00am/et and will be among eleven other hearings at the court on Tuesday, he said. A previously scheduled hearing was postponed earlier this month because Busch was out of the country. “At this point, the evidence, witness statements, etc. are being reviewed on the criminal investigation,” [Dover police spokesman Cpl. Mark] Hoffman said in a Monday email. The investigation has been particularly difficult because of the delayed reporting of the incident and the frequent travel related to some of the witnesses, Hoffman said.(Delaware News Journal)(12-16-2014)
    UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch’s breakup with his ex-girlfriend turned into an ugly court battle Tuesday when she described Busch in testimony as unstable and struggling with alcoholism and depression. His attorneys countered, describing her as untrustworthy and “extremely mercenary.” Patricia Driscoll, who is seeking a court order for Busch to stay away from her, told a family court commissioner that he had choked her and smashed her head into a wall inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway after she drove from her Maryland home to check on him. Busch attorney Rusty Hardin suggested that whatever happened the night of Sept. 26 could have been prevented had Driscoll left when Busch told her to. “I am not to blame for him putting his hands on me,” said Driscoll, at times defiant and other times sobbing, prompting Family Court commissioner David Jones to order a recess at one point so she could regain her composure.” Defense attorneys have denied the assault allegations, which are the subject of a separate criminal investigation by Dover police. Hardin said Driscoll has not presented any evidence to suggest that Busch has ever physically threatened her. Driscoll said Busch’s representatives have repeatedly tried to contact people close to her, and that she fears for her safety. “I don’t know what he’s capable of doing,” she said. Driscoll, 36, was the only witness to testify during Tuesday’s six-hour hearing. Lawyers for Driscoll and Busch declined to comment after Tuesday’s session as a stern-faced Busch left the courthouse. The hearing is set to continue Wednesday. See more details from the Associated Press.(12-17-2014)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch took the stand during the second day of a protection order hearing in Kent County (Del.) Family Court on Wednesday, calling his ex-girlfriend’s allegations that he smashed her head into a wall a “fabrication.” The testimony came as a family court commissioner prepared to decide on a protection order filed by Patricia Driscoll last month. There was no decision Wednesday and the hearing will resume Jan. 12, when Busch’s lawyer Rusty Hardin will cross-examine him. Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion who has shown flashes of his temper on and off the track earning him the nickname ”The Outlaw,” kept a cool head as he staunchly denied Driscoll’s version of the story during an hour of direct questioning by her lawyer, Carolyn McNeice. Busch also testified he ended their four-year relationship following a race in New Hampshire, a week before the race at Dover International Speedway, where the alleged altercation occurred Sept. 26. He said the two of them had a discussion en route to Logan International Airport in Boston and in the process he had damaged a rental car. She left him stranded at the airport, he added. The two had no contact in the week leading up to the Dover race, but Driscoll said she did reach out to Busch’s mother and was concerned about his alcoholism and depression. Busch said he did not drink the night of the alleged assault and has avoided alcohol during race weekends for 15 years. That night in Dover, Busch said he had been sleeping when Driscoll arrived unannounced at his motorhome with her nine-year-old son. He says he told her repeatedly to leave, but she kept bringing her son in from another room, saying that Busch needed to tell the boy that the relationship was over. Busch said he was naked during the entire encounter, and finally put his hands on either side of Driscoll’s face. “I took my hands and cupped her cheeks. I looked her eye-to-eye. I said, ‘You have to leave’. I was diffusing the situation,” he told the courtroom. “It needs to be described because of the fabrication we listened to yesterday,” he later said of the details he shared in court after holding up his hands, showing how he held Driscoll’s face. Michael Doncheff, Busch’s motorhome driver and personal assistant to the couple, testified Wednesday that Driscoll had instructed him at the beginning of the year to not bring any alcohol on the bus because Busch had a problem. He was the first witness called by Busch’s attorneys. Doncheff said he believed Driscoll when she said Busch had assaulted her, but added she had also told him several stories that he thought were exaggerated. He said Busch treated him well but had a temper at times. Busch often deferred decisions to Driscoll, who Doncheff said could be “high maintenance.” Doncheff said on the night of the motorhome encounter, Driscoll sent him a screenshot from her earlier text conversation with Busch. He said he thought it might be a good idea for Driscoll to drive to Dover.(Wilmington News Journal)(12-18-2014)

  • Marketing pros look at process for replacing Sprint: Don’t worry, NASCAR fans, about Sprint leaving as the sponsor of the stockcar racing’s premier series. At least not yet. Those in the marketing world think NASCAR will find a sponsor to replace the telecom company when it exits after the 2016 season. It remains to be seen whether NASCAR can attract a company to spend an estimated $70 million-$75 million annually as it did when it first signed Nextel back in 2003 to start in 2004. But the quick service restaurant industry (Subway, Burger King, etc.), packaged goods (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Unilever, etc.), consumer products (Panasonic, LG, etc.) or companies looking to boost their product line (as was Nextel) will be prime candidates for NASCAR’s next deal. There also could be interest from new or quickly developing industries, such as the energy sector. These types of sponsorship deals typically take three to six months to complete, and NASCAR likely needs to have a good idea of who will sponsor the series by next July, [Just Marketing International CEO Zak] Brown said. That would be a little late to Humpy Wheeler, the former president of Charlotte Motor Speedway and parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc. He’d like to see a sponsor in place by this time next year, and he’s optimistic that NASCAR will land one. NASCAR’s most recent deals for its top two series were for seven and 10 years, so it likely will want this one will to have a similar term. But with things changing so quickly in so many industries, a potential sponsor’s executive might prefer a shorter term considering the price.(Sporting News)(12-18-2014)

  • Motorsports facilities get tax break: Track operators got the tax break they’ve been waiting for all year when the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a tax extenders package for the remainder of 2014. Included in the extensive list of tax breaks to be continued was a provision that allows motorsports facilities to depreciate new construction over seven years instead of the life of the project, which typically is 25 years or more. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the provision will result in an $11 million tax break for motorsports facilities in 2015, a total $32 million from 2015 to 2019 and $33 million from 2015 to 2024. It was part of an estimated $41.6 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years that were approved by the House of Representatives 378-46 earlier this month and then by the Senate 76-16 (60 votes need for passage) on Tuesday. All that awaits now is the expected signature of President Barack Obama. The provision is similar to those granted to amusement parks, and track operators felt that the same break should apply to their facilities. After arguing the issue with the Internal Revenue Service, the issue became moot when Congress, as part of the Jobs Creation Act of 2004, granted the seven-year depreciation provision for new motorsports construction. The provision covers all motorsports facilities, not just NASCAR facilities.(Sporting News)(12-18-2014)

  • Wallace asks for release from JGR for potential move to Roush Fenway UPDATES: Darrell Wallace Jr., who won four races this season in the NASCAR Truck Series and finished third in the series standings, has asked out of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, multiple sources confirmed to ThatsRacin.com and the Charlotte Observer. Although Wallace, 21, has experienced substantial success in the Truck series with Kyle Busch Motorsports the past two seasons, JGR – with whom he is under contract – had been unable to secure sponsorship for Wallace to run fulltime in any NASCAR national series in 2015. The move will allow Wallace, whose victory at Martinsville, Va., last season made him just the second African-American to win a national series race in NASCAR history, to join another organization that can provide him a fulltime ride. A spokesman for JGR declined to comment when asked by the Observer if Wallace had received a release from his contract with the organization. The most likely destination for Wallace appears to be Roush Fenway Racing, sources said. RFR already plans to field Nationwide teams for drivers Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed in 2015. A request for comment was not immediately returned by RFR. Wallace was expected to run up to a 10 races next season with JGR in what will become the Xfinity Series on Jan. 1. JGR owner Joe Gibbs had said he expected to have a “big program” for the driver who was born in Mobile, Ala., but grew up in the Charlotte area. In interviews before the end of the season, Wallace said he was not worried about the lack of a fulltime ride. “I’ll take what I can get,” he said. “I can only go out there and continue to run up front, lead laps, and win races.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-7-2014)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed Monday morning that it has released Darrell Wallace Jr. from his contract, as Wallace requested, so he can drive elsewhere. The 21-year-old Wallace is coming off a career-best four-win year in the Camping World Truck Series that saw him place third in the points. Wallace also ran two Nationwide races for Joe Gibbs Racing. After winning last month’s Truck season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Wallace said he was unsure where he would race. JGR was unable to secure sponsorship for him in the Xfinity Series for this coming season.(Motor Racing Network)(12-8-2014)
    UPDATE 2:A formal announcement is expected soon, but Motorsport.com has learned that 21-year-old NASCAR Camping World truck series driver Darrell Wallace, Jr., will move to the Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) series in 2015 driving not for Joe Gibbs Racing, but for Roush Fenway as a fourth entry. Chad Norris is expected to be named Wallace’s crew chief. Wallace was granted a release from his Gibbs contract to take the Ford ride after Gibbs was unable to guarantee the former Drive for Diversity racer a full-time job for 2015. Wallace became the first African-American driver since 1963 to win a race in a NASCAR touring series when he took a victory in the Camping World series in 2013, and he backed that up with four more wins in 2014. Wallace had been driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports with Gibbs backing. Norris had been crew chief for Cup driver Carl Edwards and most recently Trevor Bayne.(Motorsport.com)(12-9-2014)
    UPDATE 3: Roush Fenway Racing has announced that Bubba Wallace will drive the #6 Ford Mustang for the team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season. The signing pairs NASCAR’s winningest NXS team with a young driver widely regarded as one of the most talented up-and-coming competitors in NASCAR. The 21-year-old Wallace has posted five wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, including four trips to victory lane in 2014.
    “I’ve had a remarkable journey over the last few years thanks to people who have put me in a position to win the races that I have,” said Wallace. “When I first joined the sport, many said I would never compete with the real drivers. Now, as I join the winningest team in NASCAR history, I take that as a responsibility to add more wins to the team’s legacy and help tear down the barriers for the next generation of NASCAR drivers.”(Roush Fenway Racing).(12-18-2014)

  • Menards will return to RCR #33 team: Menards will continue its partnership with Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, positioning the third-largest home improvement store in the United States as a primary sponsor for select races on RCR’s #33 Chevy entry with drivers Paul Menard and Brandon Jones in 2015. Menards has played a pivotal role in RCR’s NXS campaign since 2012. Menard will drive the #33 Menards Chevy Camaro for select events in 2015, while maintaining a full-time schedule in the #27 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry for RCR. The Eau Claire, Wis.-native is a two-time XFINITY Series race winner with five pole awards, 31 top-five and 81 top-10 finishes. As previously announced, Jones, a 17-year-old driver hailing from Atlanta, Ga., joins the RCR stable for a number of NXS events.(RCR)(12-18-2014)
  • Crew member suspended: Marshal Faust, a crew member in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s Substance Abuse Policy. On Dec. 12, 2014, Faust was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the 2014 NASCAR Rule Book.(NASCAR)(12-18-2014)
  • Michigan Heritage trophy presented to Chevy Racing: The Michigan Heritage trophy is a recognition and celebration of the automobile and its importance to the race track and manufacturers competing in NASCAR. The trophy is presented to the winning manufacturer in each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. MIS President Roger Curtis officially presented the Michigan Heritage to Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, for its two wins at NASCAR’s fastest track in 2014. The handover took place Tuesday at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights with several Chevrolet drivers looking on, including Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. As part of the Michigan Heritage presentation, each contending manufacturer as well as MIS, committed $10,000 to be given to a youth-focused and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related charity in Michigan. Chevy, who won both NASCAR Sprint Cup events at MIS this summer, chose the Michigan Science Center (MiSci) as this year’s recipient. Chevy Racing will keep the trophy until the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series return to the Irish Hills for the Quicken Loans 400 on June 14, 2015.(MIS)(12-18-2014)
  • Darlington to celebrate past, present and future in 2015: With Darlington Raceway entering its 66th consecutive year hosting NASCAR’s top-tier touring series, the track will commemorate its return to Labor Day weekend in 2015 by honoring its storied past while celebrating the future. With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 returning to its celebrated Labor Day weekend date, the Lady in Black will recognize past champions of the 1970’s as part of its 2015 campaign. A number of exciting announcements are planned over the next several months in regards to the campaign, which will focus on years 1970-74. NASCAR Hall of Famers Leonard Wood, Cale Yarborough and Wendell Scott, among others, will be celebrated during the event weekend. All of these drivers played an integral role in building the foundation, which has made Darlington Raceway special to both drivers and fans alike for over six decades. The honoring of champions from the early 1970’s is just one part of the track’s overall strategy to celebrate its rich history. Each year, Darlington Raceway will focus on specific eras, plus the historic moments and drivers that made impacts at the track Too Tough to Tame. Additionally, the track will link the generations by celebrating current and future stars of NASCAR, including Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and Darrell Wallace Jr. The 2015 season will see the return of Darlington, S.C. native Kaitlyn Bailey as the track’s “Lady in Black.” Bailey will enter her second year in the position and will don a new 70’s retro-style firesuit. In her role, Bailey serves as the face of Darlington Raceway. She has made a positive impact in the track’s efforts to focus on the fans and serve as an ambassador in the community. Her friendly and engaging personality has made her a fan favorite.(Darlington Raceway)(12-18-2014)


    News from December 17, 2014


  • Kurt Busch has court date Tuesday UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is scheduled to appear at Kent County Family Court on Tuesday for a hearing related to a protective order filed by his ex-girlfriend, who last month alleged that Busch had “smashed” her head three times against a bedroom wall in their motor coach following a September race in Dover. Busch will be present at the courthouse, said Dover attorney James Liguori, who is part of Busch’s legal team. Busch has to report to the court at 9:00am/et and will be among eleven other hearings at the court on Tuesday, he said. A previously scheduled hearing was postponed earlier this month because Busch was out of the country. “At this point, the evidence, witness statements, etc. are being reviewed on the criminal investigation,” [Dover police spokesman Cpl. Mark] Hoffman said in a Monday email. The investigation has been particularly difficult because of the delayed reporting of the incident and the frequent travel related to some of the witnesses, Hoffman said.(Delaware News Journal)(12-16-2014)
    UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch’s breakup with his ex-girlfriend turned into an ugly court battle Tuesday when she described Busch in testimony as unstable and struggling with alcoholism and depression. His attorneys countered, describing her as untrustworthy and “extremely mercenary.” Patricia Driscoll, who is seeking a court order for Busch to stay away from her, told a family court commissioner that he had choked her and smashed her head into a wall inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway after she drove from her Maryland home to check on him. Busch attorney Rusty Hardin suggested that whatever happened the night of Sept. 26 could have been prevented had Driscoll left when Busch told her to. “I am not to blame for him putting his hands on me,” said Driscoll, at times defiant and other times sobbing, prompting Family Court commissioner David Jones to order a recess at one point so she could regain her composure.” Defense attorneys have denied the assault allegations, which are the subject of a separate criminal investigation by Dover police. Hardin said Driscoll has not presented any evidence to suggest that Busch has ever physically threatened her. Driscoll said Busch’s representatives have repeatedly tried to contact people close to her, and that she fears for her safety. “I don’t know what he’s capable of doing,” she said. Driscoll, 36, was the only witness to testify during Tuesday’s six-hour hearing. Lawyers for Driscoll and Busch declined to comment after Tuesday’s session as a stern-faced Busch left the courthouse. The hearing is set to continue Wednesday. See more details from the Associated Press.(12-17-2014)

  • 2015 Sprint Unlimited Field to feature Chase drivers, Daytona 500 pole winners UPDATE:Coming off an exciting 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, NASCAR announced all 16 Chase drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. The 75-lap, non-points race will once again kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing season Saturday, Feb. 14 (FOX, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and will feature an expanded field of drivers based on new eligibility requirements. A minimum of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are eligible to participate in the Sprint Unlimited at DIS. In addition to the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup participants, the field also will include 2014 Coors Light Pole Award winners, as well as former Sprint Unlimited race winners and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full time in 2014. Any remaining spots will be filled by drivers highest in 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship points who are not already eligible. The 2015 eligible participants include:
    ” #18-Kyle Busch (2014 pole winner)
    ” #3-Austin Dillon (2014 pole winner)
    ” #24-Jeff Gordon (2014 pole winner)
    ” #38-David Gilliland (2014 pole winner)
    ” #11-Denny Hamlin (2014 pole winner)
    ” #4-Kevin Harvick (2014 pole winner)
    ” #48-Jimmie Johnson (2014 pole winner)
    ” #20-Matt Kenseth (2014 pole winner)
    ” #2-Brad Keselowski (2014 pole winner)
    ” #42-Kyle Larson (2014 pole winner)
    ” #22-Joey Logano (2014 pole winner)
    ” #1-Jamie McMurray (2014 pole winner)
    ” #33-Brian Scott (2014 pole winner)
    ” #14-Tony Stewart (2014 pole winner)
    ” #55-Brian Vickers* (2014 pole winner)
    ” #41-Kurt Busch (former Unlimited winner)
    ” #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (former Unlimited winner)
    ” #19-Carl Edwards (former D500 pole winner)
    ” #10-Danica Patrick (former D500 pole winner)
    ” #16-Greg Biffle (former D500 pole winner)
    ” #78-Martin Truex Jr. (former D500 pole winner)
    ” #31-Ryan Newman (2014 Chase driver)
    ” #47-AJ Allmendinger (2014 Chase driver)
    ” #5-Kasey Kahne (2014 Chase driver)
    ” #43-Aric Almirola (2014 Chase driver)
    (* – Michael Waltrip Racing today announced that Brian Vickers will not be available to race during the early part of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues.) (NASCAR),for more information, check out Jayski’s Sprint Unlimited Race page.(12-15-2014)
    UPDATE: If the race expands to 25 to meet the minimum because of Vickers missing the race, his teammate #15-Clint Bowyer would get in. Bowyer is neither a former race winner of the Unlimited or Daytona 500 pole winner and was 19th in the 2014 points standings. Drivers 1-18 all are eligible for the race.(Yahoo Sports)(12-17-2014)
  • Kennedy joins Red Horse UPDATE: 2014 Sonoco Rookie of the Year Ben Kennedy will join Timothy Peters at Red Horse Racing in 2015, the team announced on Wednesday. Peters will return to the #17 Toyota and Kennedy will join the team behind the wheel of the #11. German Quiroga, who has driven the #77 for RHR the last two seasons, will not return.(Twitter)(12-17-2014)
    UPDATE: Red Horse Racing announced today that 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Ben Kennedy will join the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team to drive the #11 Toyota Tundra. Kennedy began his racing career in quarter-midgets, later graduating to full-sized stock trucks on the short tracks of central Florida. The Daytona Beach native won Pro-Truck championship titles in 2009, and followed with a Super Late Model championship and Rookie of the Year honors in 2010. Kennedy entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2011. In 2012, he made history winning the first NASCAR-sanctioned Euro Racecar Series oval track event at Tours Speedway in France. In 2013, Kennedy finished fourth in the K&N Pro Series East championship point standings with two wins, one pole award, three top-five and nine top-10 finishes, and was crowned the series’ Most Popular Driver. He entered full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition in 2014, starting on the pole for the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, one top-five and seven top-10 finishes, and claiming Rookie of the Year honors.(Red Horse Racing)(12-17-2014)
  • Workers getting Daytona grandstands ready for 2015: The $400 million Daytona Rising project has a timeline that suggests marathon, but the primary contractor is in an all-out sprint to complete a section of the grandstands before Speedweeks 2015. A growing work force at Daytona International Speedway is putting the finishing touches on the western-most area of the new grandstands near Turn 1, an area that could hold up to 40,000 race fans for events in January and February. On Wednesday, 1,002 workers – the highest head count since the project started 16 months ago – were at the Speedway. Not only do the grandstand seats need to be installed, but the concourse areas and fan amenities behind those seats need to be 100 percent operational for the 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona sports-car race, scheduled for Jan. 24-25. The stock-car portion of Speedweeks is scheduled to get underway Feb. 14 with The Sprint Unlimited and wrap up on Feb. 22 with the 57th running of the Daytona 500.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(12-17-2014)


    News from December 16, 2014


  • Sprint will not return as Series sponsor: Citing a need to focus more directly on its core business priorities, Sprint announced it has informed NASCAR it will not extend the title sponsorship of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after the current agreement expires at the end of the 2016 season. “We are proud of our association with NASCAR’s top series but have made the decision not to extend our sponsorship beyond the next two years,” said Steve Gaffney, vice president-Marketing, Sprint. “As we look to the future, Sprint is focused on investing in maintaining a competitive edge and providing consumers with the best value in wireless.Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports. Without question, the NASCAR sponsorship property has been a valuable investment for us and will be for our successor.”
    Since the partnership began in 2004, Sprint has worked closely with NASCAR to bring many fan-friendly innovations to life, including the introduction of the FanView next generation scanner (2005), the creation of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile wireless application (2008) and the debut of Miss Sprint Cup (2007), an ambassador program that now has more than 1.5 million social media followers. The constant evolution of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race pre-race show and the improvements to the Sprint Vision trackside programming also highlight Sprint’s portfolio of fan enhancements.
    “We genuinely appreciate the fans, teams, drivers, tracks and media who have been so supportive and welcoming to us during these many race seasons,” said Gaffney. “We look forward to our remaining time as sponsor of the Sprint Cup Series and eventually assisting with the transition to NASCAR’s next title partner.”
    The sponsorship extends back to 2004 when Nextel signed a 10-year partnership with NASCAR for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The name changed to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008 as a result of the Nextel/Sprint corporate merger. At the conclusion of the first 10 years, Sprint extended the partnership an additional three years taking the contract through the end of the 2016 season(Sprint)
    NASCAR Statement: “NASCAR and Sprint have enjoyed a long and productive partnership that has returned significant value to both parties. We understand significant changes within Sprint and the highly competitive business environment it is in has led to a decision not to extend its Cup Series entitlement position following the 2016 season. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a very unique, premium sports marketing platform with strong momentum, so we are very confident of moving forward in 2017 with an outstanding new partner. In the meantime, we look forward to Sprint’s partnership on the best racing series in the world for the next two seasons.”(12-16-2014)

  • Rutledge Wood joins NBC Sports: NBC Sports Group added reporter Rutledge Wood to its multiplatform coverage of NASCAR, Formula 1, IndyCar, Global Rallycross and Mecum Auctions. Among his contributions, Wood will present features on the storied raceways, unique towns and enthusiastic fans that make NASCAR an American treasure. The announcement was made by Jeff Behnke, Vice President of NASCAR Production for NBC Sports and NBCSN. “Rutledge brings a unique combination of knowledge and enthusiasm to his work that will help us shine a spotlight on the tracks and communities we visit throughout the year, and bring them to life,” said Behnke. Wood’s first experience in NASCAR came during his first job in entertainment: traveling with the NASCAR circuit for Country Music Television’s mobile marketing activation. Soon after, he was hired by SPEED, where he has worked continuously for the past 10 seasons covering NASCAR. Wood most recently was a correspondent for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay, on Fox Sports 1, and has also hosted or co-hosted several NASCAR events, including the annual NASCAR Awards Banquet. In addition, Wood has been the co-host of Top Gear on the History Channel, the American iteration of the BBC program of the same name, for the past four seasons.(NBC Sports)(12-16-2014)

  • Kurt Busch has court date Tuesday: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is scheduled to appear at Kent County Family Court on Tuesday for a hearing related to a protective order filed by his ex-girlfriend, who last month alleged that Busch had “smashed” her head three times against a bedroom wall in their motor coach following a September race in Dover. Busch will be present at the courthouse, said Dover attorney James Liguori, who is part of Busch’s legal team. Busch has to report to the court at 9:00am/et and will be among eleven other hearings at the court on Tuesday, he said. A previously scheduled hearing was postponed earlier this month because Busch was out of the country. “At this point, the evidence, witness statements, etc. are being reviewed on the criminal investigation,” [Dover police spokesman Cpl. Mark] Hoffman said in a Monday email. The investigation has been particularly difficult because of the delayed reporting of the incident and the frequent travel related to some of the witnesses, Hoffman said.(Delaware News Journal)(12-16-2014)

  • Kerr joins Richard Petty Motorsports Xfinity team: Frank Kerr has joined Richard Petty Motorsports. The veteran crew chief will lead the #43 Ford team and Dakoda Armstrong in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Kerr, a former Sprint Car champion who started racing quarter midgets at six and retired from competition in 2000 at the age of 39, starts his new position on Monday. Kerr most recently worked at Front Row Motorsports as the crew chief for #38-David Gilliland. He parted ways with the team after Kansas in October during his second season with the #38 Bob Jenkins-owned team. Kerr enjoyed his greatest success with Marcus Ambrose in both the Cup and Nationwide Series. Together, Kerr led Ambrose six top fives and 12 top 10s in Cup and two NNS victories with JTG/Daugherty Racing.(Motorsport)(12-16-2014)

  • Johnson helps Carolina Panthers ‘Keep Pounding’: Keep pounding. It’s the motto of the Carolina Panthers, and it’s what six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson did beore Sunday’s game at Bank of America Stadium. Johnson was given the honor of striking the Keep Pounding drum to kick off Sunday’s contest. It’s a tradition before Panthers games that has been taken up by current and former players, Make a Wish kids, military personnel, Olympic athletes and now Johnson. Johnson’s daughter, Evie, even got a chance to hit the drum after posing for a photo with the Panthers cheerleaders, the TopCats.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-16-2014)
  • G&K Services returns to JD Motorsports: G&K Services will return in 2015 as a full-time associate sponsor with multiple primary sponsorship in select markets with driver Landon Cassill and the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team, an operation that showed remarkable strength and improved results in the 2014 season. The 2015 season will be G&K’s sixth with JD Motorsports, making their partnership one of the steadiest and most enduring in the newly named Xfinity Series. A review of the 2014 season shows the G&K Services No. 01 team and Cassill as the best non-Sprint Cup-affiliated operation in the Xfinity garage area. Cassill, who also ran the full Sprint Cup schedule in ’14, finished 12th in the Nationwide (now Xfinity) driver standings. He was 10th in points for several weeks in the middle of the season despite racing against much heavier-funded teams with connections to Cup racing.(JD MOtorsports)(12-16-2014)
  • Turner Scott equipment sold: The closure of Turner Scott Motorsports concluded with the selling of equipment over the last few weeks. Employees were laid off following the season-finale in November, and the building, located at 112 Byers Creek Road in Mooresville, NC now sits empty awaiting new tenants, Richard Petty Motorsports. Ben Kennedy, who ended the season as the only remaining full-time Camping World Truck Series driver for the team, earned the 2014 Rookie of the Year award, has not yet announced his 2015 racing plans. Steve Turner had fielded truck entries since 2009. The team won the 2012 truck championship with driver James Buescher. In August, the team announced initial layoffs and the closure of the #30 team with driver Ron Hornaday, Jr. as co-owners Steve Turner and Harry Scott, Jr. each filed lawsuits against each other over various financial issues. Scott, who also runs the HScott Motorsports #51 Sprint Cup Series team, recently announced he was merging with Chip Ganassi Racing to field a team in the Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) Series for 2015.(12-16-2014)
  • Black to run full schedule with SS in 2015: After running seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2014, SS Green Light Racing is pleased to announce that Ray Black Jr. will run the full NCWTS schedule for the Mooresville based team in 2015 driving the #07 ScubaLife Chevy Silverado. ScubaLife will be the primary sponsor for Black’s #07 Dive Truck with support from NASE Worldwide and CDA Technical Institute. The Florida native will run for the NCWTS Rookie of the Year award. Black started in motorsports at age 14 racing in the Florida Mini Cup Racing Association (FMCRA). After a couple seasons, he progressed through the asphalt ranks running in the Advance Auto Parts Pro Truck series and various late model series throughout the Southeastern United States. In 2014 Ray ran several late model races in addition to his limited NCWTS schedule where he proved his consistency behind the wheel finishing 6 of 7 races and completing over 92% of total possible laps. One of the most tenured teams in all of NASCAR racing, the SS Green Light Racing team has run 335 consecutive NCWTS races, a streak that dates back to 2001.(SS Green Light Racing)(12-16-2014)
  • Brannock promoted To Vice President At Martinsville: Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell announced that Matthew Brannock has been promoted to Vice President, Operations. It was one of two promotions and a new hire announced by Campbell. Ashley Oakes has been promoted to Marketing Coordinator while Heather Motley has been hired as a ticket agent. Brannock, a Ridgeway native, joined the speedway as Director of Operations in 2011 after a 12-year career with the Virginia State Police. Brannock is a member of the 2014 NASCAR Services Event Standards Development Committee; a member of the ISC Severe Weather Preparedness Committee; and presently chairs the Martinsville Speedway Event Traffic Management Committee in association with representatives from Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. Brannock, a 1993 graduate of Magna Vista High School in Ridgeway, is married and has two children.(Martinsville Speedway)(12-16-2014)
  • Brennan promoted to Vice President at Sonoma: Diana Brennan, who has been a member of the Sonoma Raceway Media Relations department since 1999, has been promoted to Vice President of Media & Community Relations. In her new position, Brennan will continue her management role in the department, overseeing all media events and communications, as well as the facility’s community initiatives and the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Brennan, 35, has worked full-time in the media relations department at Sonoma Raceway since 2001, most recently as Senior Director of Media and Community Relations. Brennan was first hired as an intern in 1999. During her tenure, Brennan has played an integral role in elevating Sonoma Raceway’s visibility at both the local and national levels. She has developed new and creative media initiatives, as well as some of the raceway’s most successful community events. Brennan graduated from the University of the Pacific in 2001 with a degree in Communication. She is a native of San Ramon in the East Bay and currently resides in Benicia.(Sonoma Raceway)(12-16-2014)


    News from December 15, 2014


  • 2015 Sprint Unlimited Field to feature Chase drivers, Daytona 500 pole winners: Coming off an exciting 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, NASCAR announced all 16 Chase drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. The 75-lap, non-points race will once again kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing season Saturday, Feb. 14 (FOX, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and will feature an expanded field of drivers based on new eligibility requirements. A minimum of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are eligible to participate in the Sprint Unlimited at DIS. In addition to the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup participants, the field also will include 2014 Coors Light Pole Award winners, as well as former Sprint Unlimited race winners and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full time in 2014. Any remaining spots will be filled by drivers highest in 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship points who are not already eligible. The 2015 eligible participants include:
    ” #18-Kyle Busch (2014 pole winner)
    ” #3-Austin Dillon (2014 pole winner)
    ” #24-Jeff Gordon (2014 pole winner)
    ” #38-David Gilliland (2014 pole winner)
    ” #11-Denny Hamlin (2014 pole winner)
    ” #4-Kevin Harvick (2014 pole winner)
    ” #48-Jimmie Johnson (2014 pole winner)
    ” #20-Matt Kenseth (2014 pole winner)
    ” #2-Brad Keselowski (2014 pole winner)
    ” #42-Kyle Larson (2014 pole winner)
    ” #22-Joey Logano (2014 pole winner)
    ” #1-Jamie McMurray (2014 pole winner)
    ” #33-Brian Scott (2014 pole winner)
    ” #14-Tony Stewart (2014 pole winner)
    ” #55-Brian Vickers* (2014 pole winner)
    ” #41-Kurt Busch (former Unlimited winner)
    ” #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (former Unlimited winner)
    ” #19-Carl Edwards (former D500 pole winner)
    ” #10-Danica Patrick (former D500 pole winner)
    ” #16-Greg Biffle (former D500 pole winner)
    ” #78-Martin Truex Jr. (former D500 pole winner)
    ” #31-Ryan Newman (2014 Chase driver)
    ” #47-AJ Allmendinger (2014 Chase driver)
    ” #5-Kasey Kahne (2014 Chase driver)
    ” #43-Aric Almirola (2014 Chase driver)
    (* – Michael Waltrip Racing today announced that Brian Vickers will not be available to race during the early part of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues.) (NASCAR)(12-15-2014)

  • Vickers to miss start of season: Michael Waltrip Racing driver Brian Vickers will not be available to race during the early part of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues. In 58 races driving MWR’s #55 Aaron’s Toyota, Vickers scored eight top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. He won the July race at New Hampshire in 2013 and captured the pole at Talladega in October 2014. The 2003 Nationwide champion owns three victories and 12 poles in 316 career Sprint Cup starts. “Brian has been a part of the MWR family since 2012 and our thoughts today are with Brian, his wife Sarah and the Vickers family,” said MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman. “As a race team, MWR has plenty to consider and we will confer with our partners, including Aaron’s and Toyota. As this is fresh news, we will adjust our future plans as more information becomes available.”
    VICKERS STATEMENT: “First, I want to thank everyone for their sincere support. I have faced obstacles before and it has made victory that much sweeter and I know that will be the case again. My previous experiences have given me a very keen understanding of my body. Late last week I knew something wasn’t right, so I went to the hospital to be checked out. Following several tests, it was discovered that my body was rejecting an artificial patch that was inserted in 2010 to fix a hole in my heart. Saturday, I had to have corrective surgery to repair the hole and now I am beginning the recovery process. I will need plenty of time, rest and rehab but this temporary setback will not stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.”(MWR)(12-15-2014)

  • 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)

  • Congress cuts National Guard sponsorship funds: Congress has stripped funding for the Army National Guard’s sponsorship of motor sports following revelations that advertising on race cars did little to generate recruits. Lawmakers cut the Guard’s advertising budget by $13.8 million, the same amount the service had requested to sponsor race cars, said Maj. Earl Brown, a Guard spokesman. In August, the Guard announced that it was ending its sponsorships of Dale Earnhardt Jr. of NASCAR and Graham Rahal in the Indy Racing League. In 2014, the Guard spent $105 million on advertising aimed at attracting recruits and enhancing its image. That included sponsorships for NASCAR that cost $32 million and $12 million on IndyCar. The Guard has said it sponsorship of NASCAR was aimed at building “brand awareness” for the service.(USA Today)(12-15-2014)

  • Stewart ok with Busch running the Double again: If Kurt Busch decides to do “The Double” again in 2015, he has the blessing of teammate and Stewart-Haas Racing team co-owner Tony Stewart. Busch, who became the first driver to attempt The Double in a decade this past May, is reportedly mulling over an encore performance for next Memorial Day weekend where he’d again race in the Indianapolis 500 in the early afternoon, hop a plane to Charlotte and then race in that evening’s Coca-Cola 600 for an encore. If Busch wants to do it, he’s got Stewart’s vote. Of course, Stewart is a bit biased – he tried The Double twice in his career, the last time being in 2001, when he finished sixth in the Indianapolis 500 and third in the Coca-Cola 600 later that evening. “I’m 100 percent supportive if he wants to do that again,” Stewart said.(NBC Sports)(12-15-2014)

  • Kerr joins Richard Petty Motorsports Xfinity team: Frank Kerr has joined Richard Petty Motorsports. The veteran crew chief will lead the #43 Ford team and Dakoda Armstrong in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Kerr, a former Sprint Car champion who started racing quarter midgets at six and retired from competition in 2000 at the age of 39, starts his new position on Monday. Kerr most recently worked at Front Row Motorsports as the crew chief for David Gilliland. He parted ways with the team after Kansas in October during his second season with the #38 Bob Jenkins-owned team. Kerr enjoyed his greatest success with Marcus Ambrose in both the Cup and Nationwide Series. Together, Kerr led Ambrose six top fives and 12 top 10s in Cup and two NNS victories with JTG/Daugherty Racing.(Motorsport)(12-15-2014)
  • Minor to run more races in 2015: McCallister Precision Marketing and Findit.net announce a key sponsorship for two drivers in the 2015 season. Findit.net will be sponsoring NASCAR driver, Ted Minor and Southeast Super Truck Series driver, Cole Glasson. For Ted Minor, having Findit.net on board for another season will mean more races for him. “I am elated to have Findit.net return as a sponsor for 2015. This will allow us to compete in even more Camping World Truck Series races next season. It is nice to be affiliated with a product such as Findit.net. Our hope is to help brand them in motorsports with some of the sports most loyal fans.”(MPM Marketing)(12-15-2014)
  • GMS moving race shop: GMS Racing, currently fielding multiple teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as well as in the Automobile Racing Club of America Racing Series, will have a new place to call home. GMS Racing announced today that the team’s race operations will move from their current location in Charlotte to Statesville, N.C. at the end of the year. GMS Racing’s new address will be 310 Aviation Drive in Statesville. This location formerly housed Richard Petty Motorsports. The new facility is a sizeable expansion of space from the current location in Charlotte that will allow for growth in race operations as well as further opportunities to increase performance development potential. The new shop will allow for GMS Racing to be an all-in-one facility for the growing team, and allowing the team to have additional space for engineering and simulation. The team acquired three industrial buildings located adjacent to the Statesville Regional Airport in October. The three buildings that once housed Richard Petty Motorsports and Evernham Motorsports totals 157,743 square feet. The new site will be the home of GMS Racing’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams as well as their ARCA Racing Series team. By January 2015, all of GMS Racing’s race teams will be able to call the campus home.(GMS Racing)(12-15-2014)
  • Folds Of Honor and QuikTrip named Atlanta race sponsor: QuikTrip, along with the nonprofit organization Folds of Honor, have been named the title sponsors of the March 1, 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The event will be named the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. “I have had a love for speed my entire life. To combine the speed of NASCAR with the powerful, life-changing force of Folds of Honor is simply beyond my wildest dreams,” said Major Dan Rooney, founder of Folds of Honor. “Thank you to QuikTrip for being a long-term partner to Folds of Honor and for fueling the future of our military families.” Based in Owasso, Oklahoma, Folds of Honor is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2007 that provides educational scholarships and assistance to families of military men and women who have been killed or disabled while serving our country. Assistance helps support private education tuition and tutoring for children in grades K-12, as well as higher educational tuition assistance for spouses and children. Since its founding in 2007, the organization is proud to have awarded over 7,500 scholarships, including more than 2,000 in 2014. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will cap three days of thrilling racing action on Sunday, March 1. The weekend begins Friday, Feb. 27 with Sprint Cup Series qualifying. A rare doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 28 will feature back-to-back Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series races. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is the second race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and will provide drivers an early-season opportunity to secure a win and qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.(AMS)(12-15-2014)
  • Dave Allen named president of Auto Club Speedway: International Speedway Corporation announced it has named Dave Allen President of Auto Club Speedway effective immediately. Allen accepts the role from his most recent position as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ACS. Allen replaces Gillian Zucker who was recently named President of Business Operations for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. Allen, 41, a 17-year veteran in the sports marketing industry, will report to ISC President, John R. Saunders and will be responsible for all operations of Auto Club Speedway and Auto Club Dragway. Allen joined Penske Motorsports at previously-named California Speedway in April of 1999 after spending one year at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. From 2002-2006, Allen served as Senior Director of Sales and Marketing. He was named Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2006 with oversight of all sponsorship, hospitality, suite and consumer sales. In 2008 Allen, along with former track president Gillian Zucker, completed the Speedway’s groundbreaking naming rights partnership with Auto Club of Southern California. Allen, his wife and three children reside in Upland, CA.(ACS)(12-15-2014)
  • 12 Days of Christmas Contest at Bristol: Race fans are foregoing three French hens and four calling birds for infield access and Battle at Bristol tickets as Bristol Motor Speedway brings back its popular “12 Days of Christmas” promotion. Offering the opportunity to win enhanced at-track experiences including tower access during Bristol Dragway’s Thunder Valley Nationals event and access to the Ole Smoky Roof At Turn 4 during the April Food City 500, this year’s prize list promises to brighten the holiday of any racing enthusiast. The complete list of 2014 prizes is:
    December 14 – April NASCAR Race Weekend Tickets (2)
    December 15 – NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals 3-Day Passes (2)
    December 16 – Ole Smoky Roof At Turn 4 for the Food City 500 (2)
    December 17 – Edge Deck Access for the IRWIN Tools Night Race (2)
    December 18 – Food City 500 Cold Passes (2)
    December 19 – Battle At Bristol Football Tickets (2)
    December 20 – IRWIN Tools Night Race Cold Passes (2)
    December 21 – Food City 500 Pre-Race SuperPasses (2)
    December 22 – August NASCAR Race Week Hot Passes (2)
    December 23 – August NASCAR Race Weekend Tickets (2)
    December 24 – Tower Roof Access at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
    December 25 – April NASCAR Race Weekend Hot Passes (2)
    Fans may submit one entry per day at BristolMotorSpeedway.com/12Days. Daily winners are announced on the track’s website and social media accounts.(BMS)(12-15-2014)


    News from December 14, 2014


  • Logano getting married in the off season UPDATE: Next week, #22-Joey Logano and fiancée Brittany Baca will be married in North Carolina, with a trip to Costa Rica on tap for the honeymoon. “We’re going to have some fun, but it’s only going to be for about a week because I can’t handle any longer than that,” Logano, 24, said Thursday following the annual Myers Brothers Award luncheon. “She’s like, ‘Let’s go for two weeks.’ I said, ‘How about five days?’ So we kind of met in the middle — a week. I can’t sit still; I’ve got to go all the time. We’ll enjoy it, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to the wedding — we’ve got a lot of people going, a lot of people you haven’t seen in a while, a lot of people from the race team.” The plan, he said, is to “party our butts off.” The wedding date is scheduled for Dec. 13, and was decided by Baca for a specific reason. Earlier this year, she told AL.com that the use of sequential numbers, 12/13/14, would make it easy for Logano to recall. “He has a busy enough life,” she said. “I don’t want to give him anything else to remember.”(NASCAR.com)(12-8-2014)
    UPDATE: Congrats to Joey Logano on Brittany Baca on their wedding Saturday night. Several pictures are posted on Joey’s Twitter feed.(12-14-2014)

  • Busch fails to advance at Race of Champions: Nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and new FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg captured the Race of Champions Nations Cup on the first day of ROC action from Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados. Kristensen and Solberg, paired together as Team Nordic, defeated the Team Scotland group of former F1 pilot David Coulthard and current F1 reserve driver Susie Wolff, 2-1, in the final. The home team, Team Barbados, also had a strong Saturday as drivers Dane Skeete and Rhett Watson advanced out of the group stage and then pushed Team Scotland to a third race in the semifinals. Additionally, the local boys won the ROC Caribbean tournament over driving teams from Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad & Tobago. The U.S. was represented by Indy 500 champ Ryan Hunter-Reay and former NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Kurt Busch (Team USA) as well as jack of all trades Robby Gordon, who was paired with FIA World Touring Car champ Jose Maria Lopez of Argentina as Team Americas. Unfortunately for the star-spangled trio, neither of their teams managed to escape the aforementioned group stage. Hunter-Reay and Busch combined for three wins in Group B (two from RHR, one from Busch) to put them level with Team Barbados behind Team Scotland’s five wins. But the Barbadians grabbed the last advance spot over Team USA on fastest lap time.(NBC Sports)(12-14-2014)

  • Additional changes to pit rules: There was a meeting this week between NASCAR and the sport’s various pit crew coaches regarding the new pit road rules for 2015. The main story line we’ve seen emphasized this week is the fact that NASCAR is no longer going to enforce a lug nut rule. But that isn’t the only thing to come out of that meeting. There are other new rules and ways of enforcement that could have much more drastic impacts on races.
    The big move for next season is the removal of more officials from pit road. Starting at Daytona, a new video system will monitor pit road, and penalties will be called from a central video-review location. That means far fewer “judgement” calls by officials. Cut and dry video evidence will rule. And the one area that nobody in the media has mentioned that will be affected the most is crews jumping from the wall early. The rule for when crews can leave the wall goes like this: teams are allowed to be on the ground in their pit stall as soon as their car crosses the back line of the stall directly behind their own. You didn’t see this rule enforced all that often, because it had to be fairly blatant for an official to even notice it. Now, if a crew member is down even a split second early, the penalty will be called. Supposedly once NASCAR started testing this video system late in 2014, they were hundreds of “jumping early” penalties flagged by the system. What this means, is that you could potentially see a lot of these penalties called early in the season until pit crews figure out what they can and can’t get away with. All coaches are emphasizing this point to their teams this offseason, but it will be an issue in 2015.
    Another rule that will be more actively enforced with this video system is the drivers rolling through too many pit boxes before their own on entry. Drivers are only allowed to drive through three (I think) pit boxes before they enter their own. This was also a judgement call in the past, but this new video system will catch more of these in the future.
    Other smaller points of emphasis for NASCAR included the elimination of helping your neighbor on pit road gather up his tires by being over the wall. You would often see a member of another pit crew over the wall helping a team corral it’s tires. Now, if a crewman wants to help, they have to stay behind the wall. NASCAR is also going to pay closer attention to tire control by the pit crews. If tires aren’t in control of a crewman at least half way back to the wall, NASCAR will call a penalty. This rule isn’t new, but will be more actively enforced.(NASCAR Insiders)(12-14-2014)

  • Gase meets with organ donor recipient: An emotional meeting Friday in Waterloo as a liver transplant recipient met the organ donor’s family for the very first time. The Iowa Donor Network estimates about half of organ donation recipients meet the family of the donor. Maggie Schmeiser met her donor’s family so she could thank them. She received a liver transplant in April 2011. 3-and-a-half years later, she finally met the family of the woman who gave her the gift of life. “I wanted to connect with them and tell them how grateful I was and will always be so I couldn’t wait to meet em,” said Schmeiser. So she met with Joey Gase and his sister. Their mother died of a brain aneurysm. “It’s cool to be able to see your mom live on through them and especially see how thankful they are for your mom’s gift,” said Gase. Gase also brought one of his race cars. He stars in the Nationwide series [in the #52 for Jimmy Means], while driving in some Sprint Cup races [in the #32 for GoGreen Racing]. While trying to win races, he’s also using his high-profile to draw attention to organ donation. After his mom died, he made the decision for the donation. “I want people to make that decision before that time comes, as a family, and have people discuss that in their family and even if it’s a “no”, at least that way you know what your loved one wants,” said Gase. “The issue of organ donation is so important to Gase and his family, he’s put his mother’s picture on the front of his race car and he’s also made dozens of appearances all over the country for organ donation. To have somebody like Joey, who’s doing more for organ donation than perhaps anyone, he travels to 33 Nationwide races, 4 Sprint Cup events, everywhere he goes he tells his story, he talks to other families, gets people to register as donors, he’s saving lives,” said Tony Hakes, public outreach manager of the Iowa Donor network. The Gase family has already met another recipient of Mary Jo Gase’s organs. Jordan Shaw received one of Gase’s kidneys. The family met with Shaw at a Nationwide race in Newton in 2012(KWWL)(12-14-2014)


    News from December 13, 2014


  • Allgiaer will return to #51 team: Harry Scott has moved on from his partnership with Steve Turner. Scott announced on Thursday the formation of two new entities: HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi and HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks. Scott will continue his Sprint Cup operation with Justin Allgaier behind the wheel. Scott’s alliance with Ganassi will provide a home for his former #42 team Nationwide effort. However, the 2015 Xfinity Series team will now feature a combined effort for Kyle Larson and Dylan Kwasniewski and be based out of Ganiassi’s Sprint Cup shop in Concord, N.C. In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Scott and Marks will provide a platform for four teams next season featuring Scott Heckert and rookie candidates William Byron, J.J. Haley and Dalton Sargeant.(Motorsport)(12-13-2014)

  • Lawsuit against Bowyer dismissed: South Dakota courts have no jurisdiction over a lawsuit between Kustom Cycles and NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, according to the South Dakota Supreme Court’s reversal of a circuit court ruling. The underlying lawsuit involves a motorcycle Kustom Cycles built for Bowyer who, in addition to racing in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, is also a motorcycle enthusiast. According to the Supreme Court brief, Bowyer first met Brian Klock, owner of South Dakota-based Kustom Cycles – which does business as Klock Werks – at a NASCAR race in Florida in 2008, then again in Arizona shortly thereafter. Bowyer hired Klock to design a custom motorcycle that would match his 1949 Mercury. As payment, Bowyer let Klock film the motorcycle driving on the NASCAR track and gave Klock and his friends special access to a Daytona race. Bowyer also attended a four-hour photo shoot and allowed Klock to use his name and likeness for promotional purposes, the opinion said. Eight months after Bowyer received his motorcycle, he received a bill for over $30,000. Bowyer refused to pay, claiming he had already provided “compensation in the form of the promotions, endorsements, and special access to NASCAR events,” the opinion stated. Bowyer moved to dismiss the ensuing lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction, which the circuit court denied. On appeal, Bowyer argued that he did not have sufficient contact with South Dakota for its courts to have personal jurisdiction over him. South Dakota’s highest court agreed on Wednesday, noting that Bowyer had not engaged in “significant activities” in the state – the contract was negotiated in Florida and Arizona, the motorcycle was purchased in Minnesota and delivered to Bowyer in South Carolina, the justices said.(Courthouse News Service)(12-13-2014)

  • Todd Parrott hired by Richard Childress Racing: Richard Childress Racing has hired industry veteran and championship-winning crew chief Todd Parrott as its Competition Director for the NASCAR XFINITY Series, effective immediately. Parrott brings a wealth of experience to RCR with 20 years as a crew chief in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. During that time, he won 31 races while earning 144 top-five and 230 top-10 finishes. Through a span of 606 starts, he also led teams to 23 pole awards and finished in the top-five driver points standings six times. His best season was in 1999 when he led Dale Jarrett to the Sprint Cup championship. Parrott, 50, is a native of Charlotte, N.C. and followed in the footsteps of his father, Buddy Parrott, who won 49 races in 511 Sprint Cup Series starts during a 22-year career. The second-generation crew chief will report to Dr. Eric Warren, Director of Competition for RCR.(RCR), In 2014, Parrott was the crew chief for Reed Sorenson in Tommy Baldwin Racing’s Sprint Cup Series #36 Chevy.(12-13-2014)
  • Gase meets with organ donor recipient: An emotional meeting Friday in Waterloo as a liver transplant recipient met the organ donor’s family for the very first time. The Iowa Donor Network estimates about half of organ donation recipients meet the family of the donor. Maggie Schmeiser met her donor’s family so she could thank them. She received a liver transplant in April 2011. 3-and-a-half years later, she finally met the family of the woman who gave her the gift of life. “I wanted to connect with them and tell them how grateful I was and will always be so I couldn’t wait to meet em,” said Schmeiser. So she met with Joey Gase and his sister. Their mother died of a brain aneurysm. “It’s cool to be able to see your mom live on through them and especially see how thankful they are for your mom’s gift,” said Gase. Gase also brought one of his race cars. He stars in the Nationwide series, while driving in some Sprint Cup races. While trying to win races, he’s also using his high-profile to draw attention to organ donation. After his mom died, he made the decision for the donation. “I want people to make that decision before that time comes, as a family, and have people discuss that in their family and even if it’s a “no”, at least that way you know what your loved one wants,” said Gase. “The issue of organ donation is so important to Gase and his family, he’s put his mother’s picture on the front of his race car and he’s also made dozens of appearances all over the country for organ donation. To have somebody like Joey, who’s doing more for organ donation than perhaps anyone, he travels to 33 Nationwide races, 4 Sprint Cup events, everywhere he goes he tells his story, he talks to other families, gets people to register as donors, he’s saving lives,” said Tony Hakes, public outreach manager of the Iowa Donor network. The Gase family has already met another recipient of Mary Jo Gase’s organs. Jordan Shaw received one of Gase’s kidneys. The family met with Shaw at a Nationwide race in Newton in 2012(KWWL)(12-13-2014)
  • Martinsville begins construction Of new restrooms: Work has begun on the demolition of an existing restroom facility and the construction of a new one in the second-turn area of Martinsville Speedway. This construction marks the replacement of all original fan restrooms at the speedway. The completion date for the project is early March, well before the STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend scheduled for March 27-29. The new building, located behind the Clay Earles Tower in turn two, will be approximately 1,500 square feet. It will contain full men’s and women’s restroom facilities, including baby-changing stations. Both restrooms will be handicap accessible.(Martinsville Speedway)(12-13-2014)


    News from December 12, 2014


  • Added some new 2015 schemes: #48-Lowe’s Chevy of Jimmie Johnson; #16 Cheez-It and CleanHarbors Ford of Greg Biffle and #43 EckRick Ford of Aric Almirola. See the schemes on the #16 Team Schemes page#43 Team Schemes page and #48 Team Schemes page.(12-12-2014)

  • Stewart to have fifth surgery on leg: #14-Tony Stewart walked into the Performance Racing Industry trade show Thursday at the Indiana Convention Center, which was a big deal given the physical stress his injured right leg has endured over the past 16 months. Stewart recently had the fourth of what will be five planned surgeries last week. “I don’t look like I’m walking really good, but I was on crutches two days ago,” he said. “It’s nice to get off crutches again. I’m looking forward to the day my leg doesn’t hurt anymore. I think that’s coming sooner rather than later.” Stewart said the final surgery will remove the rod in the leg he broke in August 2013 at a dirt track race in southeastern Iowa. He acknowledged that the injuries haven’t healed as quickly as doctors wanted to see, which is why the current rod, along with a small ring to help blood flow, was inserted in a prior surgery. Last week’s surgery, he said, was small by comparison, and a spokesman for his team described it as routine maintenance. Stewart hasn’t driven a sprint car since running into and killing New York racer Kevin Ward Jr. in August, but he said he “thinks about it every day.” He again plans to attend next month’s Chili Bowl, a prestigious dirt-track midget race in Tulsa, Okla., to help the event promoter with track preparation. Stewart won the event in 2002 and ’07.(Indianapolis Star)(12-12-2014)
  • Proposed 2015 NASCAR testing dates for Sprint Cup Series UPDATE: When NASCAR announced in September it was banning all private team testing, the perception was teams would not likely see the opportunity to do much on-track testing. NASCAR at the time said it hoped to incorporate more teams into the 12 to 15 tire tests done each season by Goodyear but that plan seemed to hit logistical roadblocks in recent months. The finished product, outlined in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rulebook, actually provides teams many opportunities to test on series tracks in the coming season. At Atlanta, an extra testing day has been added to the regular weekend schedule. In addition, an extra day of open testing as been added to Goodyear tire tests at Charlotte; Richmond; Kentucky; Indianapolis; Dover; Darlington; Chicago Bristol; Homestead; Kansas; Phoenix; and Auto Club Speedway:
    Proposed 2015 NASCAR testing dates for Sprint Cup Series
    Date: Type of test
    Jan. 19: Goodyear tire test, Las Vegas
    Feb. 26: Open team test, Atlanta
    March 2-3: Goodyear tire test, Atlanta
    March 10: Goodyear tire test, Charlotte
    March 11: Open team test, Charlotte
    April 7: Goodyear tire test, Richmond
    April 8: Open team test, Richmond
    April 13-14: Goodyear tire test, Kentucky
    April 15: Open team test, Kentucky
    April 27-28: Goodyear tire test, Indianapolis
    April 29: Open team test, Indianapolis
    May 11-12: Goodyear tire test, Dover
    May 13: Open team test, Dover
    June 9-10: Goodyear tire test, Darlington
    June 11: Open team test, Darlington
    July 13-14: Goodyear tire test, Chicago
    July 15: Open team test, Chicago
    July 28-29: Goodyear tire test, Bristol
    July 30: Open team test, Bristol
    Aug. 24-25: Goodyear tire test, Homestead
    Aug. 26: Open team test, Homestead
    Sept. 14-15: Goodyear tire test, Kansas
    Sept. 16: Open team test, Kansas
    Oct. 12-13: Goodyear tire test, Phoenix
    Oct. 14: Open team test, Phoenix
    Oct. 27-28: Goodyear tire test, Auto Club Speedway
    Oct. 29: Open team test, Auto Club Speedway
    (Charlotte Observer)(12-11-2014)
    UPDATE: While teams will be prohibited from testing independently, there will be 12 Goodyear tire tests (with four teams apiece) that will be followed by a one-day open test that will allow one car per organization. Attendance isn’t mandatory, and teams must indicate their attendance at least three weeks ahead. If a multicar organization has participated in the preceding tire test, it must use the same driver and team in the open test. The Goodyear tests will be held with a rotating set of three groups of four full-time teams. The first group comprises Stewart-Haas Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. The second group: Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. The third group: Hendrick Motorsports, Furniture Row Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and BK Racing.
    NASCAR also will hold “Rule Change Open Tests” in which all teams are allowed to “familiarize themselves with any rule changes from previous race seasons.” The sessions will be limited to one “per racetrack grouping” (i.e. short tracks, road courses, speedways). A four-hour session Feb. 26 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (a 1.5-mile superspeedway) is the only Rule Change Open Test scheduled so far for the 2015 season.
    While any other tests are banned for existing teams, the 2015 rulebook allows “New Organization Testing” for those “new to NASCAR to establish themselves.” Those teams will be allowed five two-day tests at any track and must be approved by NASCAR. The rulebook defines a “New Organization” as a team that hasn’t competed in more than 20 races or two seasons, whichever is first. Teams absent from a circuit for five years also can qualify for new organization status. The Goodyear tests are closed to the public and the news media. The news media will be allowed at open tests, and the public will be permitted access at each track’s discretion.(USA Today)(12-12-2014)

  • Best Selling Diecast of 2014: It’s official. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Daytona 500 Race Win die-cast isn’t just the best-selling car of 2014; it’s also the best-selling die-cast in the history of Lionel Racing. Lionel Racing – The Official Die-Cast of NASCAR – unveiled its annual top 10 list today and, as projected, Earnhardt’s Daytona win car ruled them all. “When the NASCAR season kicks off with Dale Jr. winning the Daytona 500, it’s a safe bet that die-cast sales across the board will skyrocket,” said Howard Hitchcock, President of Lionel Racing. “His win really set the tone for our year overall – we have had a very good season.” Earnhardt’s on-track success this season resulted in the driver also clinching spots two, three, five, six, and 10 – a feat largely driven by his wins at Pocono Raceway and the popular National Guard/Superman special paint scheme. While Earnhardt dominated, other drivers did make some noise. The return of the iconic #3 Chevy to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series helped propel Austin Dillon’s Dow Automotive Chevrolet SS to the fourth spot. “The story of the #3 car’s return to Cup competition really resonated with both long-time and new NASCAR fans,” said Hitchcock. “It’s great to see a rising star like Dillon make our top 10 list.” Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick also made the list, with his #4 Budweiser Chevrolet ranking eighth among the company’s best sellers:
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard/Daytona 500 Win Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Hall of Heroes/Superman Chevy
    Austin Dillon #3 Dow Automotive Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard/Pocono Win Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Michael Baker/Pocono Win Chevy
    Jeff Gordon #24 AARP/Drive to End Hunger Chevy
    Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy
    Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy
    In addition to the top 10 cars of the year, Lionel Racing also announced the best-selling drivers of 2014. While Earnhardt topped the driver list, three of NASCAR’s newest stars also made the cut:
    Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Jeff Gordon
    Kevin Harvick
    Jimmie Johnson
    Austin Dillon
    Chase Elliott
    Tony Stewart
    Kyle Busch
    Brad Keselowski
    Kyle Larson
    “It’s exciting to see the rising stars of the sport make such an impact on the core fan,” Hitchcock said. “Austin, Chase and Kyle Larson beat out some heavy hitters when it comes to merchandise sales, and that only bodes well for the future of NASCAR.”(Lionel Racing)(12-12-2014)

  • Newman Surprises Texas Woman with Brand New Chevy SS: Stephanie Gaines received a new Chevy SS and a year’s worth of mortgage payments from Quicken Loans. Ryan Newman gave Dalhart resident Stephanie Gaines the surprise of a lifetime Saturday afternoon when he arrived at her home driving a brand new Chevy SS that she won through the Quicken Loans “Drive Home a Winner” Sweepstakes. Stephanie also received a year’s worth of mortgage payments as part of the sweepstakes courtesy of Quicken Loans, the nation’s second largest retail mortgage lender and largest online mortgage company. “The look on Stephanie’s face when she saw the car was priceless; she couldn’t believe she’d won,” said Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. “Once Stephanie’s surprise subsided, she couldn’t wait to jump in and take it for a ride.”
    “It was just like any other Saturday morning until Ryan Newman showed up at my door with a new car,” said Gaines. “My husband and kids were so excited, we didn’t know what was going on.”(RCR)(12-12-2014)

  • NASCAR Elevates Five to Vice President: NASCAR announced it has promoted five leaders in its Daytona Beach, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, offices to Vice President, in recognition of their various achievements and leadership roles in key business units. The five promoted today include: David Higdon, Integrated Marketing Communications (Daytona Beach); Cory Posocco, NASCAR Events Group (Daytona Beach); Chad Seigler, Team Marketing Services (Charlotte); Colin Smith, NASCAR Digital Media (Charlotte); and Tshneka Tate, Legal (Charlotte). “We have developed a very strong and deep leadership team that has provided expertise and strong results during a period of unique challenge and opportunity for our industry,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer. “Each of these individuals has demonstrated success in driving key initiatives across NASCAR and now become part of an overall leadership group that has us well positioned for the future.”
    David Higdon, Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications – Since joining NASCAR in 2011, Higdon has overseen several divisions within IMC and led numerous marketing communications campaigns and public affairs initiatives for the company and industry. He has also played a lead role in crisis communications and provided senior communications counsel and leadership during the creation of IMSA, which unified sports car racing in America, and through its inaugural season in 2014.
    Cory Posocco, Vice President, NASCAR Events Group – After beginning his career as Stafford Speedway’s marketing / public relations director and special events coordinator, Posocco joined NASCAR in 2000. Since then he has steadily taken on greater roles in orchestrating special events, including NASCAR’s annual Sprint Cup Series Awards show, Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and countless other events at every level of NASCAR racing.
    Chad Seigler, Vice President, Team Marketing Services – As a senior leader who helped create the Industry Services function at NASCAR, Seigler currently oversees Team Marketing Services which helps drive sponsorship sales for race teams at all three national series levels and ensures the deployment of broad NASCAR resources to support various team initiatives. He joined NASCAR in 2007 after two years at Nextel and five seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
    Colin Smith, Vice President, NASCAR Digital Media – Joining NASCAR in 2012 after 14 years in various roles focused on college sports at RAYCOM, Smith has overseen the dramatic growth of NASCAR’s digital platform including NASCAR.com and a suite of touted mobile applications. He plays a key role driving integration of the digital portfolio with NASCAR’s broadcast partners, various NASCAR departments and the broader industry, as well as content distribution through various channels.
    Tshneka Tate, Vice President, Senior Assistant General Counsel – A member of NASCAR’s legal team since 2000, Tate has risen to become senior in-house counsel with oversight of all legal issues for NASCAR Media Group, NASCAR Productions and NASCAR Digital Media. Recently, she played a key role in new rights agreements with FOX, NBC, IMG and was lead counsel on the transition of digital rights from Turner Sports back to NASCAR in 2012. Before joining NASCAR, Tate worked in the Maryland Attorney General’s office.(NASCAR)(12-12-20104)

  • Xfinity, Truck teams will get more on track time: While NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will have numerous opportunities to take part in open team tests in 2015, organizations competing in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series will also get additional track time. But unlike the Sprint Cup sessions, which will coincide with Goodyear tire and NASCAR tests, the two series will be provided extended practice sessions during race weekends. The only off-site test currently scheduled for XFINITY and the NCWTS is a Goodyear tire test set for May 5 at Iowa Speedway. The use of extended practice sessions “is a cost-effective way for giving XFINITY and Trucks testing without sending them off on a separate trip,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn said. “So we’re giving those two series where cost is a bigger concern extends practice sessions, which we will fit into the race-schedule weekends. We’re not going to add days (at the track) and all that; we’re going to figure out how to stuff it in there.” The extended sessions will be only for XFINITY and NCWTS teams, although sessions for Sprint Cup have been altered in the past when necessary (such as due to weather issues). The length of the extended sessions will vary, depending on at-track activities for each event, with a maximum of three hours.(NASCAR.com)(12-12-2014)
  • Watkins Glen Awarded State Funding for Modernization and Repaving: Watkins Glen International announced that it has been awarded $2.25 million by the State of New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo to assist in modernization efforts and repaving of the historic facility. Watkins Glen International receives the award after being named a Priority Project by the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC) in 2014. The grant comes on the heels of $33.5 million in private capital investments at Watkins Glen International over the past 10 years, with an additional $12 million committed for 2015. The investments cement The Glen’s position as the premier road racing facility in North America. “We’re extremely grateful to have the support of Governor Cuomo, Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Co-chairs of STREDC Tom Tranter and Harvey Stenger,” said Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup. “Watkins Glen International has been a worldwide tourist destination in upstate New York for more than 50 years. With the support of our elected officials, regional council and dedicated race fans around the world, we’re poised to continue shining an international spotlight on the Finger Lakes region for another 50 years.” Watkins Glen International announced in November its intentions to repave the historic road course following the 2015 Cheez-It 355 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend. The $12 million in private and $2.25 million in public funds will be applied towards infrastructure modernization & marketing during the repaving project.(WGI)(12-12-2014)
  • Daytona Rising Reaches 1,000 Daily On-Site Workers for First Time: Daytona Rising, the historic $400 million redevelopment project at Daytona International Speedway, reached a major milestone on Wednesday when, for the first time since the project broke ground in July 2013, the on-site daily construction worker count exceeded 1,000. Construction of Daytona Rising is cited in ManpowerGroup’s Employment Outlook Survey as a primary reason the Deltona, Fla., MSA (Daytona Beach included in this area) ranks third nationwide for growth in 2015. On Wednesday, 1,002 workers were on site at the “World Center of Racing” helping to create the nation’s first true motorsports stadium with the Daytona Rising project. The average daily worker count has been steadily rising since the fall. “This is another significant and important milestone in the project,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “Construction workers are moving at full speed on Daytona Rising to ensure that all the amenities within the facility are ready for the 2015 racing season.” After achieving significant construction milestones related to the Daytona Rising project during the past year, including installation of the highest piece of steel in October, Daytona International Speedway is busy preparing for Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events. For tickets and more information on Daytona International Speedway events, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(12-12-2014)


    News from December 11, 2014


  • Kyle Busch Undergoes Scheduled Offseason Foot Surgery: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) had successful surgery on his left foot this morning. Busch is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2015 NASCAR season in February. The scheduled offseason surgery was performed to relieve a recurring source of inflammation in his left foot. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson of OrthoCarolina.(JGR)(12-11-2014)

  • NASCAR will let teams regulate lug nuts during pit stops in 2015: One rule that stands out as a game changer will be the fact that NASCAR is letting teams regulate lug nuts during their stops. Basically, NASCAR won’t penalize or monitor missed lug nuts or lug nuts that get knocked off during a stop. The new rule…or lack of rule, could be a huge gain for teams that want to gamble. Everyone knows that it doesn’t take all 5 nuts tight to keep a tire on. The tricky part is how many nuts does it take? There are stories floating around pit road of teams that have come into victory lane with 1,2 and 3 nuts on a wheel, and everyone is amazed. Every situation is different and every situation could have a different outcome, but hitting only 3 or 4 nuts per side could speed up a stop and if teams are willing to gamble on that then it could pay off. In the past, teams had to make sure all 5 nuts were on the studs and if an official were to see a nut get knocked off they would hold the car until the nut was put back on. Changers were very aware of the rules and hit nuts with a speed they could control. Jack men were also aware of the rule and MOST would wait on the left side for all 5 to get hit. Now, all that changes.
    The risk: there is always risk with reward and there is plenty of risks associated with taking this rule out. The first and most obvious risk is a loose wheel. Most changers are very concerned with the repercussions of a loose wheel and won’t risk it for a standard stop. This rule comes into play when teams are at a place that eats tires up and a caution with 10 laps to go comes out and the whole field comes down to pit. This is when teams will gamble and may only hit 3-4 nuts and let it ride. With only a few laps left in the race, why not! That’s when this rule will become interesting. It should be mentioned that NASCAR will still penalize a team if a tire comes off the car during a run due to a loose wheel. You don’t see that very often but it has and does happen.(Pit Talks)(12-11-2014)
  • Proposed 2015 NASCAR testing dates for Sprint Cup Series: When NASCAR announced in September it was banning all private team testing, the perception was teams would not likely see the opportunity to do much on-track testing. NASCAR at the time said it hoped to incorporate more teams into the 12 to 15 tire tests done each season by Goodyear but that plan seemed to hit logistical roadblocks in recent months. The finished product, outlined in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rulebook, actually provides teams many opportunities to test on series tracks in the coming season. At Atlanta, an extra testing day has been added to the regular weekend schedule. In addition, an extra day of open testing as been added to Goodyear tire tests at Charlotte; Richmond; Kentucky; Indianapolis; Dover; Darlington; Chicago Bristol; Homestead; Kansas; Phoenix; and Auto Club Speedway:
    Proposed 2015 NASCAR testing dates for Sprint Cup Series
    Date: Type of test
    Jan. 19: Goodyear tire test, Las Vegas
    Feb. 26: Open team test, Atlanta
    March 2-3: Goodyear tire test, Atlanta
    March 10: Goodyear tire test, Charlotte
    March 11: Open team test, Charlotte
    April 7: Goodyear tire test, Richmond
    April 8: Open team test, Richmond
    April 13-14: Goodyear tire test, Kentucky
    April 15: Open team test, Kentucky
    April 27-28: Goodyear tire test, Indianapolis
    April 29: Open team test, Indianapolis
    May 11-12: Goodyear tire test, Dover
    May 13: Open team test, Dover
    June 9-10: Goodyear tire test, Darlington
    June 11: Open team test, Darlington
    July 13-14: Goodyear tire test, Chicagoland
    July 15: Open team test, Chicagoland
    July 28-29: Goodyear tire test, Bristol
    July 30: Open team test, Bristol
    Aug. 24-25: Goodyear tire test, Homestead
    Aug. 26: Open team test, Homestead
    Sept. 14-15: Goodyear tire test, Kansas
    Sept. 16: Open team test, Kansas
    Oct. 12-13: Goodyear tire test, Phoenix
    Oct. 14: Open team test, Phoenix
    Oct. 27-28: Goodyear tire test, Fontana
    Oct. 29: Open team test, Fontana
    (Charlotte Observer)(12-11-2014)

  • Charlotte Test Notes from Charlotte Motor Speedway: The four drivers participating this week in Goodyear’s tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway couldn’t be much different. They drive for different teams and different manufacturers. They have different driving styles and different personalities on and off the track. But one thing #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #19-Carl Edwards, #9-Sam Hornish and #27-Paul Menard all have in common is a strong desire to get a points race win at NASCAR’s home track. With new rules limiting testing opportunities, all four drivers know that every practice lap is a chance to get a leg up on the competition before the 10 Greatest Days in Racing in May. Edwards, who joined Joe Gibbs Racing following the 2014 season, said that while it’s hard to get good data for May’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600, the test is a good chance for his new team to get some practice under their belts.
    “Conditions are really cool. There’s not a lot of rubber on the racetrack. We’re basically in the lower downforce 2016 trim,” Edwards said of the conditions and setup for this week’s test. “The biggest thing this test is helping me out with is to get used to this car, the new seat, (crew chief) Darian (Grubb) and the guys and how they do things here. It’s been very good for me from that perspective.”
    Earnhardt said the test is a good chance to establish a winning chemistry with his new crew chief, Greg Ives, but also to keep his driving acumen sharp during the off season. “We’re definitely going to take advantage of every little bit of track time we can get because the testing rules are a little tighter this year,” Earnhardt said. “It’s good for me and Greg to get to work together – to get a little rapport going – so when we take off and go to Atlanta, Vegas and Phoenix, we’re communicating really well. When I go back to the track for the first time after a long layoff, I feel like I have a little rust to kick off. It’s good to get out and exercise your legs a little bit.”
    While both Earnhardt (2000) and Edwards (2011) have scored NASCAR Sprint All-Star wins at the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway, neither has visited Winner’s Circle after a points race at Charlotte. In 16 career starts, Menard’s best points finish is eighth, while Hornish has a career-best 13th place finish in seven starts.(CMS)(12-11-2014)
  • Fan who climbed fence at RIR convicted: A Hopewell man who climbed a fence overhanging the Richmond International Raceway track during the Federated Auto Parts 400 Sprint Cup race on Sept. 6 was convicted Thursday of disorderly conduct and being drunk in public. Henrico General District Judge Thomas Jones sentenced James Dennis, 53, to 12 months in jail with 11 months suspended for disorderly conduct, and fined him $100 for being drunk in public. Dennis’ lawyer, Greg Hough, said his client will serve the one-month sentence on weekends. Dennis Bickmeier, RIR’s president, said he was pleased with the outcome in court and said such actions represent a threat not only to drivers during a race but to members of the public. “We want people to feel like coming to the races is something that is a safe thing to do,” he said. Dennis told authorities at the time he was celebrating his birthday, though the judge noted that was two days earlier. Hough said in court that Dennis had suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from his military experience and was also being treated for other conditions.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(12-11-2014)
  • Atlanta removing 17,000 seats, Charlotte 41,000 UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway’s parent company, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., announced Tuesday that they will remove 17,000 seats from the track’s grandstands. The company anticipates using those areas for premium hospitality, advertising and other facility purposes. Their sister track, Charlotte Motor Speedway, is losing 41,000 seats.(wgxa.tv), see image of the CMS construction at Slugger Labbe’s Twitter.(12-10-2014)
    UPDATE: Alterations announced this week are in line with a trend of tracks removing seats. Charlotte, after removing 41,000 seats this winter, will be down to permanent seating of 89,000 in 2015, a startlingly low capacity considering its location in NASCAR’s epicenter. But it’s par for the course. Atlanta is removing 17,000 seats to get down to 75,000; Dover is removing 17,500 seats to get down to 95,500; and Daytona is removing its backstretch grandstands of 46,500 next spring to go to 101,500 seats. Other tracks on the circuit have made similar changes.
    At its peak in 2007, International Speedway Corp.’s 12 major tracks had 1.1 million grandstand seats (not including suites). After the Daytona renovation, ISC will be down 30 percent to approximately 761,000 seats.
    In 2013 alone, the following ISC tracks cut seats: Talladega (from 108,000 to 78,000), Richmond (91,000 to 71,000), Chicagoland (69,000 to 55,500), Michigan (84,000 to 71,000), California (81,000 to 68,000), Darlington (60,000 to 58,000) and Homestead (56,000 to 46,000). Any additional cuts likely will be revealed when its annual report comes out in January.
    With the current Charlotte and Atlanta reductions, Speedway Motorsports has cut 101,000 seats (12 percent) across seven of its tracks since 2009, although it added 38,000 at Kentucky when it moved a Cup race to that track. SMI, which includes suites in its capacity estimates, cut capacity in 2013 at Atlanta (from 98,000 to 92,000), Bristol (158,000 to 153,000) and New Hampshire (96,000 to 95,000).
    Dover listed 135,000 seats in 2009, so its reduction in recent years is 29 percent. At one point, it reduced 20,000 seats by replacing the current seats with wider ones for more fan comfort, a move done by many racetracks. Indianapolis and Pocono, privately owned, do not have to report their capacities, but Indianapolis also has removed seats.(see full article at the Sporting News)(12-11-2014)

  • Hornish Encouraged By Charlotte Tire Test: It took a while for #9-Sam Hornish Jr.’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test with Richard Petty Motorsports to get going on Tuesday, but he made the most of it. RPM’s newest hire made laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway in the first of two days of Goodyear tire testing at CMS for the 2015 season. Hornish, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #27-Paul Menard and #19-Carl Edwards tested NASCAR’s new lower speed, lower downforce chassis. The good news was Hornish liked his car. The bad? He didn’t get to drive it enough. “I enjoyed it a lot, but it rained overnight and we didn’t get to go out on the track until noon,” Hornish told SPEED SPORT. “It cut everything short as far as our day. We didn’t get to tune on the car as much as we wanted to, but we got to go through some of the stuff that Goodyear wanted us to do. We’ve got (Wednesday) and hopefully things will cool off and we’ll get a lot of testing in.” Hornish’s first day of on-track action with the 15 percent horsepower reduction was as productive as it could be, given the delay. His first impressions of driving the #9 car were positive as well. “I’m just excited about getting the opportunity to work with the people at RPM,” Hornish said. “It’s a new group of people and you need to (use the test to) talk to them and get to know them.”(NSSN)(12-11-2014)

  • Bobby Labonte to drive some races in #32 car UPDATE: GoFAS Racing announced that 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Champion Bobby Labonte will pilot the #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion in 2015. Labonte will run the four Superspeedway events [Daytona and Talladega] with support from Texas based C&J Energy Services. “I’m excited for the opportunity to go racing next season with GoFAS Racing and C&J,” Labonte said. “The people at C&J are good friends of our family, and like me, have a passion for the sport. I want to thank them, along with Frank and Archie for allowing me the opportunity to take over where my brother left off.”
    “I am so proud to have C&J Energy Services back with us for a fifth season,” said Frank Stoddard. “With the addition of Bobby to our partnership with C&J Energy Services, I am confident we can continue to build our team. We had an outstanding finish in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last July with Terry, and we look forward to continuing those strong results with Bobby. We have a busy off-season to get ready for 2015, but everyone is excited about what the season holds for us.”
    With older brother Terry Labonte retiring after the fall event at Talladega Superspeedway where he qualified ninth, it was a natural fit to put the 2000 NSCS champion behind the wheel. “It’s great to have a champion like Bobby Labonte on board for 2015.” Said team co-owner Archie St.Hilaire. “Our guys are really busy at the shop preparing two fast superspeedway cars, and we can’t wait for Daytona.” In 2015, The C&J Energy Services colors will appear during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, May 3 at Talladega Superspeedway, July 5 at Daytona International Speedway, and October 25 at Talladega Superspeedway. “C&J is very excited about our continued relationship with GoFAS Racing.” Said CEO Josh Comstock. “We are very fortunate to have Bobby Labonte behind the wheel for the 2015 plate races. Like C&J, Bobby, the champion he is, prides himself on always striving for excellence and finding ways to continually improve. Together, we see 2015 as a great opportunity and look forward to further success, on and off the track.”
    Frank Stoddard, owner of FAS Lane racing, and Archie St. Hilaire, owner of Go Green Racing, will continue their joint venture for 2015 and beyond. The formation of GoFAS Racing is in its second season. The team will continue to compete with horsepower from Roush Yates Engines.(Go Fas Racing)(12-10-2014)
    UPDATE: Road course specialist Boris Said will also return to Go FAS Racing for the two road course races at Watkins Glen and Sonoma Raceway. Several drivers are being considered for the other races, including 20-year-old Fort Kent, Maine native Austin Theriault, according to team owner Archie St. Hilaire. St. Hilaire said they are also trying to help Theriault land a NASCAR Nationwide Series ride. The team is leaning toward signing young drivers for 28 races while putting New England or northeast drivers in the cars for the two Cup races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Travis Kvapil drove 16 races for them and J.J. Yeley manned the cockpit for three races. Blake Koch and Joey Gase each drove four races with Timmy Hill, Kyle Fowler and Eddie MacDonald each driving one. Massachusetts native MacDonald ran one of the New Hampshire events. Yeley will definitely not be back, said Archie St. Hilaire. Clint Cram will return as the crew chief, although co-owner Frank Stoddard will be the crew chief for Labonte’s four restrictor plate races.(Bangor Daily News)(12-11-2014)

  • Kevin Harvick wins 2014 Driver of the Year: #4-Kevin Harvick swept the voting for both the 2014 Driver of the Year Award and the Fourth Quarter winner, respectively, by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists. Just as Harvick walked off with his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship; he was the undisputed winner in both polls of the media. Driving the #4 Budweiser Chevy, Harvick, who turned 39 this Monday, won three races in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup including the final two events. The Bakersfield, CA native won this honor in his first year driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. Tony Stewart, co-owner of the team and a two-time winner of the Driver of the Year Award, was the first owner/driver to win the award (2011). Upon learning of the media award which relates to all automobile racing in the United States or American drivers racing globally Harvick said “it’s quite an honor and goes with the respect of the media.” Any time you gain that (respect) it has something to do with performance obviously as well.”
    Harvick was destined to be a Sprint Cup Champion,” said Driver of the Year president Barry Schmoyer continuing, “it was not a question of if, but, when. His performance on and off the track makes him a deserving Driver of the Year.” Harvick scored 13 of the 16 votes cast by journalists and broadcasters, who voted in a secret ballot for a single driver. Will Power (the IndyCar Champion), Chase Elliott (the NASCAR Nationwide series champion), and Donny Schatz, (the World Of Outlaws series champion) each received one vote. I’m pretty excited about it,” Harvick added, “it’s a great honor.” In the quarterly voting Harvick beat the NHRA’s Erica Enders-Stevens and Tony Schumacher more than double the points in a points-based ballot. In its’ 48th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the original award of its’ type that encompasses all of the racing series and all of the drivers in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. are eligible to vote. Harvick will receive his trophies and Tissot wristwatches at presentations at places and times to be announced later. James Cranos is the Executive Director of the Driver of the Year Award and Barry Schmoyer, a businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida, is the president of the award.(DOTY)(12-11-2014)
  • Roush & Yates Racing Engines Announces School Of Technology: Roush & Yates Racing Engines announced the opening of Roush Yates School of Technology. This decision is a result of the tremendous demand for entry level, well-trained and skilled machinists. CEO Doug Yates stated: “Bridging the skills gap for Engine Technology Education in the US is critical for the future of the racing industry and manufacturing in general.” With a successful history of engine building and racing leading to multiple engine builder awards, Doug Yates has had a vision of sharing Roush Yates’ experience and knowledge via a structured curriculum taught by experienced industry professionals. Roush Yates School of Technology will offer programs in Engine Block and Cylinder Head Machining. The primary objective of the programs is to give students the opportunity to receive hands-on machining experience that will allow them to start as entry-level machinists upon completion of the training. The students will learn the theory and fundamentals of cylinder heads and blocks as they relate to engine performance. Classes are scheduled to begin in February 2015 and will be held for a period of 36 weeks for each program. Roush Yates School of Technology is a part of a long time vision to continuously improve the skills available to make the best designed, highest quality components required in Roush & Yates Racing Engines as well as other quality focused industry needs. To learn more about Roush Yates School of Technology, call 704-360-1434 or visit roushyates.com/school.(Roush Yates)(12-11-2014)

  • Ganassi Partners with Harry Scott for Xfinity team: Chip Ganassi and Harry Scott, Jr. announced that they have joined forces to field a one-car NASCAR Xfinity Series entry beginning in 2015. The entry will be run from the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team shop in Concord, NC and will race under the team name, HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi. The HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi #42 Chevy Camaro entry will feature a driver line-up combination of at least 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson, along with 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie Dylan Kwasniewski. Mike Shiplett, a former crew chief and car chief with Richard Petty Motorsports, Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) and Gillett Evernham Motorsports has been tabbed as the crew chief of the #2 Chevry Camaro.(HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi)(12-11-2014)

  • Conley joins TriStar for full season:TriStar Motorsports announces the addition of Cale Conley to our driver line-up for the 2015 season. The 22-year-old, West Virginia native will run the full 33-race 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule for TriStar Motorsports. Starting at the age of five, Conley worked his way through go-karts, quarter midgets and open wheeled USAC Kenyon midgets. Conley collected multiple poles and feature wins throughout the Midwest before transitioning into sprint cars competing with the World of Outlaws and All Star series at the age of 16. Conley made his NASCAR debut in the K&N East Series in 2011 and captured his first win in 2012 at Columbus Motor Speedway. In 2013, Conley competed full-time in the K&N East Series, scoring four top-5’s, five top-10’s and one pole. After competing in NASCAR’s K&N series, Conley moved up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2014 and competed in 11 races for Richard Childress Racing with one 6th place finish at Kentucky Speedway and five top 15 finishes.(TriStar Motorsports), the team number was not announced.(12-11-2014)

  • KBM names crew chiefs: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter will move over to call the shots for the back-to-back reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Champion #51 team and the addition of Shannon Rursch as crew chief for Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Boston’s full-time effort for 2015 in the #54 Tundra. The two join Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, who was previously announced as the crew chief for Erik Jones’ full-time campaign next season behind the wheel of the #4 Tundra, as the signal callers for the team’s three-truck effort next season. Baxter joined KBM at the beginning of 2013 and served as crew chief for the #54 Tundra team with Darrell Wallace Jr. the last two seasons. Under the veteran’s guidance, Wallace Jr. finished third in the Truck Series championship standings in 2014 and led all series regulars in wins (4), laps led (623), driver rating (109.5) and fastest laps run (280). Combined in two seasons, the duo posted five wins, three poles, 963 laps led, 14 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes across 44 starts. The California native, who will be one of six members that will be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2015, will have team owner-driver Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez and Matt Tifft sharing the seat of his #51 Tundra next season. Rursch comes to KBM from Turner Scott Motorsports, where he most recently served as crew chief for the #31 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In addition to his time atop the pit box for the Nationwide Series team in 2014, he collected three top-10 finishes in four starts calling the shots for TSM in select Truck Series events last season. The Iowa native is a 2004 graduate of the NASCAR Technical Institute and upon his promotion in July became the first alumnus of the school to be named a crew chief in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions. The 10-year veteran of the sport got his start as a mechanic at Sadler Racing in 2004 and then served as a car chief at Evernham Motorsports, Phoenix Racing and Robby Gordon Motorsports before moving to the same position at TSM in 2010.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(12-11-2014)
  • LVMS receives third straight SMI Speedway of the Year award: Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s position as the premier motorsports facility in the world was further solidified with its third consecutive selection as Speedway Motorsports’ Speedway of the Year. LVMS, which hosts more than 1,400 event days a year, is the only winner in the three-year history of the award. The announcement was made by Speedway Motorsports Inc. President Marcus Smith. “This award is all about the employees who work tirelessly and take great pride in what we do here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” said Chris Powell, LVMS president. “I’m thrilled for our staff. This has been a remarkable year at LVMS with successful racing events and track-rental business. We have eight fantastic facilities within the SMI family, and to be selected as the top-performing speedway out of that group for a third straight year has excited everyone on our staff.” In 2014, LVMS again hosted many racing events, including the annual NASCAR Weekend, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and two NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events. The Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) returned for the third consecutive year and featured record crowds. The speedway also buttressed its reputation as one of the world’s most diverse facilities by hosting the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. “The 2014 season was a special one for us here at the speedway,” Powell said. “On any given day there can be as many as eight or 10 different events going on. As we look ahead to 2015, we’ll continue to stage NASCAR and other premier racing series as well as several ‘non-traditional’ events, including EDC and the Red Bull Air Race. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to explore new avenues that help maximize the use of our world-class venue.”(LVMS)(12-11-2014)


    News from December 10, 2014


  • Brian France: no changes planned to the Chase in 2015: NASCAR Chairman Brian France was a guest on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Tuesday, December 9th with SiriusXM Speedway hosts Dave Moody and Angie Skinner. One question concerned the 2015 Chase rules:
    Dave Moody: “Do you anticipate any changes or tweaks or massaging of the Chase format for next year?”
    Brian France: “No, I don’t. We’re obviously pleased with everything. And there may be some adjustments down the road. They’ll be very small. Nothing, for ’15, nothing anybody would notice. But if we can make an already great thing better we will always look at that but we are very content that we have the right positioning of elevating the drivers to have moments as I just described, and then also balancing this whole thing in auto racing, which is very difficult to balance, which is how do you balance winning and consistency? And they don’t necessarily always go together. And how do you have any kind of a championship run that represents that? I think we’ve done the best job that we think we can do to balance that.”
    In the interview (which lasted about 15 minutes) France also talks about;
    – The elevation of competition.
    – Kevin Harvick pulled him aside in Las Vegas and said he wasn’t a big fan of the new format when it was announced but once they got into it, it made them dig up talent and effort they never thought possible.
    – The prospect of having a winless champion. Would not have bothered them at all if Newman won.
    – Truck and Xfinity series formats – Will look at it in offseason. Doesn’t anticipate a big change.
    – Bubba Wallace – As puzzled as anybody else that he has trouble attracting sponsorships, tells you the market is difficult. What NASCAR does to help.
    – Drop in gas prices is a welcomed development, hopes it stays that way.
    – Building on the momentum for 2015.(link to interview at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)(12-10-2014)

  • Bobby Labonte to drive some races in #32 car: GoFAS Racing announced that 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Champion Bobby Labonte will pilot the #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion in 2015. Labonte will run the four Superspeedway events [Daytona and Talladega] with support from Texas based C&J Energy Services. “I’m excited for the opportunity to go racing next season with GoFAS Racing and C&J,” Labonte said. “The people at C&J are good friends of our family, and like me, have a passion for the sport. I want to thank them, along with Frank and Archie for allowing me the opportunity to take over where my brother left off.”
    “I am so proud to have C&J Energy Services back with us for a fifth season,” said Frank Stoddard. “With the addition of Bobby to our partnership with C&J Energy Services, I am confident we can continue to build our team. We had an outstanding finish in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last July with Terry, and we look forward to continuing those strong results with Bobby. We have a busy off-season to get ready for 2015, but everyone is excited about what the season holds for us.”
    With older brother Terry Labonte retiring after the fall event at Talladega Superspeedway where he qualified ninth, it was a natural fit to put the 2000 NSCS champion behind the wheel. “It’s great to have a champion like Bobby Labonte on board for 2015.” Said team co-owner Archie St.Hilaire. “Our guys are really busy at the shop preparing two fast superspeedway cars, and we can’t wait for Daytona.” In 2015, The C&J Energy Services colors will appear during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, May 3 at Talladega Superspeedway, July 5 at Daytona International Speedway, and October 25 at Talladega Superspeedway. “C&J is very excited about our continued relationship with GoFAS Racing.” Said CEO Josh Comstock. “We are very fortunate to have Bobby Labonte behind the wheel for the 2015 plate races. Like C&J, Bobby, the champion he is, prides himself on always striving for excellence and finding ways to continually improve. Together, we see 2015 as a great opportunity and look forward to further success, on and off the track.”
    Frank Stoddard, owner of FAS Lane racing, and Archie St. Hilaire, owner of Go Green Racing, will continue their joint venture for 2015 and beyond. The formation of GoFAS Racing is in its second season. The team will continue to compete with horsepower from Roush Yates Engines.(Go Fas Racing)(12-10-2014)

  • Teaming Up with NASCAR to Act on Climate: When NASCAR drivers take a corner at top speed, they – and their tires – experience G-forces that are just about equivalent to what astronauts feel as they’re being launched into space. So NASCAR knows a thing or two about tire performance and safety. And that’s why NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney joined Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and John Podesta, Counselor to the President at the White House on Tuesday to talk about proper tire maintenance – and he brought along his #22 Mustang and the #18 “M&Ms” car to really drive the point home. Making our cars and trucks go farther on less fuel has been a key component of President Obama’s plans to combat climate change. In the President’s first term, the Administration issued historic fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks that will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the pump and reduce oil consumption by 12 billion barrels over the lifetime of the program. We also issued the first-ever efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles, like school buses and tractor-trailer trucks, which will cut carbon pollution by some 270 million metric tons and $50 billion through model year 2018. This February, the President announced that the Department of Transportation will be updating and refining those heavy-duty vehicle standards for future model years. All of these efforts will be further supported by Secretary Foxx’s announcement of a schedule for new DOT standards establishing a tire fuel efficiency consumer information program. With support from the tire industry, this “labeling rule” will help consumers identify the most energy-efficient tires.(White House)(12-10-2014)

  • Target Shifting Funds, one Indycar team; one NASCAR team: Three-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon will return for a 14th season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, though he will be one of only two drivers piloting the red and white bulls-eye cars next year. Target will go from two sponsored IndyCar entries to just one in 2015 as the retailer shifts spending to promoting its drivers. Target also sponsors #42-Kyle Larson, who just wrapped up NASCAR’s top rookie honors in the Sprint Cup Series. “We are just reallocating dollars, there’s no difference in anything else,” said Dan Griffis, vice president of experiential marketing and alliances at Target. “I would put our investment in racing as the only full-time sponsor in both IndyCar and NASCAR, against any other sponsor in the sport.” Ganassi and Target celebrated their 25th anniversary this year. The partnership began in open wheel, eventually grew to the sponsorship of two IndyCar entries, and expanded into both NASCAR as a primary sponsor and sports cars as an associate sponsor. “You don’t know how fortunate I feel to begin another season partnering with Target in both IndyCar and NASCAR,” Ganassi said Tuesday. “They have been far more than a partner for a very long time and have been so committed to the sport of auto racing. I am also very much looking forward to their new marketing campaign that supports the racing program. I know it will be fantastic.” But as the retailer increased spending on the sponsorship of cars, it got away from the popular commercials it produced in the 1990s starring Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Montoya and an occasional cameo by Ganassi. Target will now try to recapture some of that buzz in new marketing strategies that will debut next year and feature Dixon and Larson. Griffis said the two drivers will not appear together in any broadcast spots, but each ad will have different versions.(Associated Press)(12-10-2014)

  • Kurt Busch prepares for this weekend’s Race of Champions: Champions and driving greats from the world’s major racing series are sizing up their opposition for this weekend’s Race Of Champions, to be held at Bushy Park Barbados on Dec. 13-14, following Tuesday’s draw for the event. The annual end-of-season race, which has been running for more than 25 years, brings together some of the world’s best drivers from motorsport’s major disciplines and sets them free to battle head to head in identical machinery on a unique track with two parallel lanes linked by a crossover bridge. This year’s track at Bushy Park will be twice as long as recent years, leading to even more speed. There are two prestigious titles up for grabs over the weekend, which will feature over 60 individual duels. First, on Saturday, Dec. 13, the drivers pair up in teams based on country/region for the ROC Nations Cup. Then on Sunday, Dec. 14, all friendly cooperation goes out of the window in the Race Of Champions as they slug it out to be crowned individual “Champion of Champions.” The ROC 2014 field includes this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will partner with past NASCAR champion Kurt Busch for Team USA. The pair will have to compete against drivers including Hunter-Reay’s own brother-in-law, Robby Gordon.(AutoWeek)(12-10-2014)
  • VisitMyrtleBeach.com renews sponsorship of Kentucky Xfinity race: One of the fastest-growing family and vacation destinations in the nation, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina will continue to be the title sponsor of the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. The 2015 event will take the green flag at Kentucky Speedway Saturday, Sept. 26 at 8:00 p.m. and be televised on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). The VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway will conclude a two-race weekend that begins Friday, Sept. 25 with the ARCA Racing Series (ARS) Kentucky 150. Tickets, campsites and Fan Zone passes for all Kentucky Speedway events can be purchased through www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by calling (859) 578-2300 or visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive in Sparta, Ky., just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.(Kentucky Speedway)(12-10-2014)
  • Atlanta removing 17,000 seats, Charlotte 41,000: Atlanta Motor Speedway’s parent company, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., announced Tuesday that they will remove 17,000 seats from the track’s grandstands. The company anticipates using those areas for premium hospitality, advertising and other facility purposes. Their sister track, Charlotte Motor Speedway, is losing 41,000 seats.(wgxa.tv), see image of the CMS construction at Slugger Labbe’s Twitter.(12-10-2014)
  • USAF Thunderbirds to Perform Flyover for the Daytona 500: For the fifth straight year, the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will provide the flyover for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener on Sunday, Feb. 22. The Thunderbirds, officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, will fly their signature “Delta” formation over the “World Center of Racing” during the finale of the national anthem for “The Great American Race.” The Thunderbirds have visited Daytona International Speedway to perform the flyover for the DAYTONA 500 for the past five years. In addition, the Thunderbirds also provided the flyover in 2008 for the historic 50th running of the DAYTONA 500. “The flyover by the Thunderbirds is a signature moment in the pre-race festivities for the DAYTONA 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We’re proud and honored to be able to host this elite flying team and the thousands of race fans and the millions more watching on FOX Sports are looking forward to seeing them soar over Daytona International Speedway.”
    “We have a long-standing relationship with the Daytona 500,” said LtCol Greg Moseley, the squadron’s commander and lead pilot. “We’re grateful to the Speedway for allowing us to share the Air Force story with race fans.” The Thunderbirds feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter aircraft. Assigned to Air Combat Command, the squadron is composed of 12 officers and more than 100 enlisted Airmen serving in about 30 Air Force job specialties. Since the unit’s inception in 1953, more than 350 million people in all 50 states and more than 60 countries have witnessed the distinctive red, white and blue jets in thousands of official aerial demonstrations. Tickets for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS)((12-10-2014)
  • Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive Offers Something For Kids Of All Ages: The Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive is going to make a lot of kids happy … including some big kids. This is the 18th year for the toy drive and as always, the goal is to enrich Christmas for as many children as possible in Martinsville and Henry County. There is a different route to that goal this year with several online auctions of Martinsville Speedway race weekend packages serving as the key fundraiser. The two-week campaign will culminate on Saturday, December 13 with a toy collection at the Martinsville Lowe’s between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Santa will make an appearance on December 13. The Martinsville Speedway pace car and a mock victory lane will be available for photos. The auctions, which started last week on eBay and will run through December 12, give the fundraiser national appeal, attracting Martinsville Speedway and NASCAR fans from coast-to-coast. All proceeds will benefit Grace Network, an association of more than 100 churches in the Martinsville and Henry County area, to help families in need at Christmas (Martinsville Speedway), see more info and links on Jayski.com’s Racing Charities page.(12-10-2014)


    News from December 9, 2014


  • Ty Dillon and Cheerios Team Up for the 2015 Daytona 500: Richard Childress Racing will continue a long-standing partnership with General Mills when NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon makes his Daytona 500 debut driving the #33 Cheerios/Kroger Chevy for Circle Sport Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener on February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway. “We are fortunate to have a great partner like General Mills giving me the opportunity to race in one of the most prestigious events in all of sports,” Dillon said. “Not only has General Mills been a long-time supporter of RCR but also my family, partnering with Austin (Dillon) for the 2013 Daytona 500 and this past season. I can’t thank General Mills and Kroger enough for being part of this race.” General Mills continued its six-year partnership in 2014, helping to bring back the legendary #3 to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. The Minneapolis-based company’s Honey Nut Cheerios brand, America’s Favorite Cereal, was featured on the hood of the #33 Chevrolet in 2013 with older brother and current RCR driver, Austin Dillon made his career-debut in the Daytona 500. Now, younger brother Ty Dillon will make his Daytona 500 debut with Cheerios and Kroger. “We are proud to support Ty Dillon as he makes his Daytona 500 debut,” said Brian Kittelson, director of Shopper Marketing and Motorsports at General Mills. “We have been an active sponsor within NASCAR for many years and look forward to joining Kroger in another season opener at Daytona.”
    “The Daytona 500 is a major step in Ty’s career and it’s terrific to have General Mills as a big part of this monumental race,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “General Mills has such a great history in NASCAR and we are proud to feature the Cheerios colors on Ty’s race car for the Daytona 500 and the millions of NASCAR fans who will be watching. We hope to bring Cheerios a victory.”(RCR)(12-9-2014)

  • 50 Most Influential in Sports Business: Sports Business Journal announced thier top 50 Most Influential in Sports Business, a few NASCAR related mentions:
    10. Brian France, NASCAR
    11. Mark Lazarus, NBC Sports Group (New NASCAR TV partner)
    12. Eric Shanks, Fox Sports
    30. John Henry, Fenway Sports Group (part owner on Roush Fenway Racing) (Sports Business Daily)(12-9-2014)

  • Repucom Assesses NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Battle of the Brands: NASCAR is a big platform for brands wanting to showcase themselves to a national audience, and 2014 was no exception. Repucom, a global sports research and consultancy firm, measures the value of sponsorships for all of the major sports around the world. For the complete NASCAR Sprint Cup broadcast season, Repucom found that Chevrolet, Sprint, Toyota, Lowe’s and Ford received the highest overall media exposure value. The series’ manufacturer champion, Chevrolet, surpassed entitlement sponsor, Sprint, for the second time in three years. Repucom considers audience size and the quality of a brand’s exposure in determining value. Location, size and duration of signage, and the amount of simultaneous brand messages are also taken into account. The primary car sponsor brands receiving the most exposure value in 2014 were Lowe’s, Target, Drive to End Hunger, Miller Lite and Shell-Pennzoil.
    “Two of the primary sponsor brands with big year-over-year growth were on cars that changed drivers in 2014. Caterpillar grew 92% with #31-Ryan Newman driving for Richard Childress Racing and making the Chase. Target, primary sponsor of rookie-of-the-year winner #42-Kyle Larson jumped 50% and ranked second overall,” said Peter Laatz, executive vice president of Repucom. “Other big movers were McDonald’s and Shell-Pennzoil.”
    Sprint earned the highest media value from on-track signage and also led the way for overall time spent on screen. Toyota, Sunoco, Gatorade and Food City were among the other highest performing brands on track assets. Repucom develops solutions for rights holders, brands, agencies and broadcasters to assess the impact and sports marketing efforts and to maximize the value of partnerships.(Repucom)(12-9-2014)

  • Richard Petty Honored at Autosport Awards in London: Richard “The King” Petty has an impressive new jewel in his crown. Sunday, Petty, NASCAR’s most decorated driver with 200 wins and seven championships, received Autosport Magazine’s Gregor Grant Award, a lifetime achievement presentation named after the publication’s founding editor. The honor was bestowed on the 77-year-old racing legend in London during the annual Autosport Awards. Petty was in attendance at the ceremony to accept the award, which has previously been given to racing icons such as Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss. The Gregor Grant Award has been presented as part of the annual awards since 1989. Grant founded Autosport in 1950 and served as the weekly motorsport magazine’s editor until 1968. Each year, Autosport chooses a member of the motorsport community to be honored in Grant’s name for his or her lifetime contributions to the sport of auto racing. “This is a pretty big deal,” Petty said after receiving the award. “This puts me in the company of some the best drivers in the world, and I’m proud to be included with them. I’m thankful to Autosport for recognizing us and inviting me to London for their Awards show.”(Autosport Magazine PR)(12-9-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. to flip coin at Tax Slayer Bowl: TaxSlayerBowl Twitter posted: @DaleJr will toss the coin for the #TaxSlayerBowl. Yes, you can win a trip to Jax and a chance to meet Dale. taxslayerplayer.com.(12-9-2014)
  • Affarano expanding team to Xfinity, looking at Long as driver: In an effort to provide a solid foundation for his business and provide greater appeal to sponsors, race car driver and team owner, Mike Affarano, announced today that he is working to increase his current stable of vehicles from NASCAR’s Camping World Trucks to now include race cars that are to run in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series starting in February’s inaugural Daytona race. Affarano has been in closed door talks and discussions with race driver and winner of the 2010 Snowball Derby: Johanna Long and her manager, Brett Griffin. Johanna Long the 22 year old from Pensacola, Florida has already made a name for herself with her 2010 Snowball Derby win and with over 66 starts in both the NASCAR Truck and Nationwide Series. “Johanna will bring with her a wealth of experience, skill and raw talent that our race shop and team needs to expand our business on and off of the track.” Mike Affarano said.
    “My desire is to secure sponsorship for Johanna and I to run the full season of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series that would be ideal for us,” Mike stated. “But, I’d be willing to running a limited season or take a backseat and just be an owner if that means that Johanna can run a full season and be competitive against the other contenders on the field.”(Affarano Motorsports)(12-9-2014)
  • Affarano expanding team: In an effort to provide a solid foundation for his business and provide greater appeal to sponsors, race car driver and team owner, Mike Affarano, announced today that he is working to increase his current stable of vehicles from NASCAR’s Camping World Trucks to now include race cars that are to run in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series starting in February’s inaugural Daytona race. Affarano has been in closed door talks and discussions with race driver and winner of the 2010 Snowball Derby: Johanna Long and her manager, Brett Griffin. Johanna Long the 22 year old from Pensacola, Florida has already made a name for herself with her 2010 Snowball Derby win and with over 66 starts in both the NASCAR Truck and Nationwide Series.
    “My desire is to secure sponsorship for Johanna and I to run the full season of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series that would be ideal for us,” Mike stated. “But, I’d be willing to running a limited season or take a backseat and just be an owner if that means that Johanna can run a full season and be competitive against the other contenders on the field.”(Affarano Motorsports)(12-9-2014)

  • Wallace asks for release from JGR for potential move to Roush Fenway UPDATE 2: Darrell Wallace Jr., who won four races this season in the NASCAR Truck Series and finished third in the series standings, has asked out of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, multiple sources confirmed to ThatsRacin.com and the Charlotte Observer. Although Wallace, 21, has experienced substantial success in the Truck series with Kyle Busch Motorsports the past two seasons, JGR – with whom he is under contract – had been unable to secure sponsorship for Wallace to run fulltime in any NASCAR national series in 2015. The move will allow Wallace, whose victory at Martinsville, Va., last season made him just the second African-American to win a national series race in NASCAR history, to join another organization that can provide him a fulltime ride. A spokesman for JGR declined to comment when asked by the Observer if Wallace had received a release from his contract with the organization. The most likely destination for Wallace appears to be Roush Fenway Racing, sources said. RFR already plans to field Nationwide teams for drivers Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed in 2015. A request for comment was not immediately returned by RFR. Wallace was expected to run up to a 10 races next season with JGR in what will become the Xfinity Series on Jan. 1. JGR owner Joe Gibbs had said he expected to have a “big program” for the driver who was born in Mobile, Ala., but grew up in the Charlotte area. In interviews before the end of the season, Wallace said he was not worried about the lack of a fulltime ride. “I’ll take what I can get,” he said. “I can only go out there and continue to run up front, lead laps, and win races.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-7-2014)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed Monday morning that it has released Darrell Wallace Jr. from his contract, as Wallace requested, so he can drive elsewhere. The 21-year-old Wallace is coming off a career-best four-win year in the Camping World Truck Series that saw him place third in the points. Wallace also ran two Nationwide races for Joe Gibbs Racing. After winning last month’s Truck season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Wallace said he was unsure where he would race. JGR was unable to secure sponsorship for him in the Xfinity Series for this coming season.(Motor Racing Network)(12-8-2014)
    UPDATE 2:A formal announcement is expected soon, but Motorsport.com has learned that 21-year-old NASCAR Camping World truck series driver Darrell Wallace, Jr., will move to the Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) series in 2015 driving not for Joe Gibbs Racing, but for Roush Fenway as a fourth entry. Chad Norris is expected to be named Wallace’s crew chief. Wallace was granted a release from his Gibbs contract to take the Ford ride after Gibbs was unable to guarantee the former Drive for Diversity racer a full-time job for 2015. Wallace became the first African-American driver since 1963 to win a race in a NASCAR touring series when he took a victory in the Camping World series in 2013, and he backed that up with four more wins in 2014. Wallace had been driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports with Gibbs backing. Norris had been crew chief for Cup driver Carl Edwards and most recently Trevor Bayne.(Motorsport.com)(12-9-2014)

  • Wallace asks for release from JGR for potential move to Roush Fenway UPDATE 2: Darrell Wallace Jr., who won four races this season in the NASCAR Truck Series and finished third in the series standings, has asked out of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, multiple sources confirmed to ThatsRacin.com and the Charlotte Observer. Although Wallace, 21, has experienced substantial success in the Truck series with Kyle Busch Motorsports the past two seasons, JGR – with whom he is under contract – had been unable to secure sponsorship for Wallace to run fulltime in any NASCAR national series in 2015. The move will allow Wallace, whose victory at Martinsville, Va., last season made him just the second African-American to win a national series race in NASCAR history, to join another organization that can provide him a fulltime ride. A spokesman for JGR declined to comment when asked by the Observer if Wallace had received a release from his contract with the organization. The most likely destination for Wallace appears to be Roush Fenway Racing, sources said. RFR already plans to field Nationwide teams for drivers Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed in 2015. A request for comment was not immediately returned by RFR. Wallace was expected to run up to a 10 races next season with JGR in what will become the Xfinity Series on Jan. 1. JGR owner Joe Gibbs had said he expected to have a “big program” for the driver who was born in Mobile, Ala., but grew up in the Charlotte area. In interviews before the end of the season, Wallace said he was not worried about the lack of a fulltime ride. “I’ll take what I can get,” he said. “I can only go out there and continue to run up front, lead laps, and win races.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-7-2014)
    UPDATE: Darrell Wallace Jr., the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series race in nearly 50 years, has been granted his release from Joe Gibbs Racing so he can sign with another team for 2015. According to sources, Roush Fenway Racing is the leading candidate for the 21-year-old Wallace with a full-time ride in the Xfinity Series. Neither Roush Fenway officials nor Wallace’s agent immediately returned messages seeking comment. A JGR spokesman confirmed Wallace’s release Monday morning. In 2013 and 2014, Wallace drove on loan to Kyle Busch Motorsports, where he finished eighth in the Camping World Truck Series standings as a rookie and then third in 2014. He earned his first truck win in October 2013 at Martinsville, the first African-American to win a NASCAR national series race since Wendell Scott won a Cup event in December 1963 in Jacksonville. Wallace won three more races in the series in 2014. He also competed in two Nationwide Series (now Xfinity Series) events in 2014 for JGR, finishing seventh in the July race in Daytona. Despite his success, JGR had trouble finding sponsorship for him. It was angling to have at least 15 races in the Xfinity Series for him in 2015, but Wallace obviously wanted a full season.(Sporting News)(12-8-2014)
    UPDATE 2:A formal announcement is expected soon, but Motorsport.com has learned that 21-year-old NASCAR Camping World truck series driver Darrell Wallace, Jr., will move to the Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) series in 2015 driving not for Joe Gibbs Racing, but for Roush Fenway as a fourth entry. Chad Norris is expected to be named Wallace’s crew chief. Wallace was granted a release from his Gibbs contract to take the Ford ride after Gibbs was unable to guarantee the former Drive for Diversity racer a full-time job for 2015. Wallace became the first African-American driver since 1963 to win a race in a NASCAR touring series when he took a victory in the Camping World series in 2013, and he backed that up with four more wins in 2014. Wallace had been driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports with Gibbs backing. Norris had been crew chief for Cup driver Carl Edwards and most recently Trevor Bayne.(Motorsport.com)(12-9-2014)


    News from December 8, 2014


  • Goodyear tire test set for Charlotte UPDATE: The official start of the 2015 NASCAR season is more than two months away, but four Sprint Cup Series teams will be back on the track next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Goodyear officials have scheduled a tire test for Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 9-10 at the 1.5-mile speedway, with representatives from each of the three auto manufacturers scheduled to participate. Slated to take part in the test are drivers #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #9-Sam Hornish Jr., #19-Carl Edwards and #27-Paul Manard. It will be the first official on-track effort for Edwards since he departed Roush Fenway Racing to join JGR as well as the first for Hornish with RPM.(12-3-2014)
    UPDATE: Goodyear officials are looking to get a baseline for how the 2015 NASCAR rules package for intermediate tracks – which includes a reduction in horsepower as well as less downforce – impacts tire wear. With NASCAR banning private testing for 2015, such tire tests are expected to make up the bulk of the on-track time for teams outside of race weekend activities. Fans will be allowed to attend the test, according to CMS vice president of communications Scott Cooper. The track will open its fifth floor clubhouse seating. Fans can enter the second floor ticket office and take the elevator to the fifth floor between 9am to 5pm/et. It is expected that many of those tests could be intertwined with open tests for all NASCAR teams, although the process for how that will work has yet to be announced. Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear, said last month that officials had been trying to map out a plan to allow each of the parties involved to “get their work done” during such opportunities while still reducing the number of overall tests. Goodyear officials have said the next tire test is expected to come in January at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(12/3-12/8-2014)
  • Stocks for Tots set for December 9th at NASCAR Technical Institute: The 26th annual Stocks For Tots holiday event and fundraiser will be held Tuesday, Dec. 9 at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. The event which started in 1989 has raised more than $1 million and collected more than 50,000 toys to aide raising awareness for child abuse in North Carolina. Each year thousands of fans have attended the event where they can meet many of their favorite NASCAR drivers such as NASCAR’S Sprint Cup Champion Chase runner-up Ryan Newman and the “First Lady of Drag Racing”, Shirley Muldowney. NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Leonard Wood, and Rex White will also be on hand along rising NASCAR Sprint Cup stars Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney. Current drivers Kerry Earnhardt, Ron Hornaday, Morgan Shepherd, Mike Bliss and many drivers from other NASCAR Racing Series are coming to the event.
    There will even be some items donated up for auction, such as: Jayski.com Tshirt, Jayski.com deck of cards, diecast, prints, etc.
    Others attending include Rolex 24 Hour race winner Elliot Forbes Robinson, former Formula One, Road Racing, Cart, Indy Car racing standout Max Papis, and World of Outlaws Sprint Car driver Cody Darrah from Kasey Kahn’s team. Retired drivers and legends include former Charlotte Motor Speedway promoter Humpy Wheeler, Harry Gant, Dave Marcus, Derrick Cope, Donnie Allison, Ernie Irvan, Hut Strickland, Neil “Soapy” Castles, “Tiger” Tom Pistone, Jim Vandiver and others. NHRA Drag Racers will be represented by Doug Herbert, Greg Anderson, and Jason Line. Media personalities such as TV broadcasters Mike Joy, Larry MacReynolds, Ray Dunlap, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s mascot “Lug Nut”, and Santa Claus will be ready to meet the fans. For a full list of driver appearances please visit: www.stocksfortots.com/driver_appearances.html.
    The money raised will support the Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) nonprofit organization which is dedicated to helping children, supporting parents and improving the community.
    Don Miller, chairman of the Stocks For Tots Foundation and the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, is noted for his humanitarian efforts as he was the recipient of the inaugural NASCAR Humanitarian Award. Stocks For Tots is his favorite program. “This is the most worthy thing we do”, said Miller. “We’ve been collecting toys at our hall of fame and other locations in the area. We’ve partnered with Sam’s Club, and to hold the event again at the NASCAR Institute with John Dodson’s help is a great venue for this fundraiser.”
    “I am as excited as Don to hold Stocks For Tots at the NASCAR Institute,” beamed Dodson. “With all the great drivers who will be here signing autographs, the fans will be in for a special treat while helping out on a truly worthwhile cause.”
    The Stocks For Tots fundraiser at the NASCAR Institute will begin at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9 and will end at 9 p.m. A cash donation of $10 and a new unwrapped toy with a $10 value will be required for admission. In addition to the celebrity autograph session there will be a silent auction and a chance to visit with Santa Claus. A “shop only” wrist band is available for $10. The NASCAR Institute is located at 220 Byers Creek Road in Mooresville, NC 28117. Their phone number is (704) 658-1950.
    This year’s event requires wristbands which are needed to enter the event, obtain an autograph and/or attend the silent auction and gift shop. Wristbands will go on sale the day of the event at the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame (704-663-5331) located at 119 Knob Hill Road in Mooresville, NC from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. or at the NASCAR Technical Institute at 4:30.
    Stocks For Tots was created as a way to bring together stock car racing and its fans while raising awareness of the child abuse problem in North Carolina. The idea was to collect toys and raise money during a festive, family-oriented holiday event. For a full list of driver appearances and more information on the event visit: www.stocksfortots.com.(12-8-2014)
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. leaves JGR: Joe Gibbs Racing confirms that Darrell Wallace Jr has been released from his contract, see more on Jayski.com’s Xfinity Series page.(12-8-2014)

  • HBO State of Play: First Ladies premieres Tuesday, Harvick’s featured: HBO Sports and executive producers Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey team up again for the innovative topical series STATE OF PLAY, continuing with FIRST LADIES on TUESDAY, DEC. 9 at 10:00pm/et, exclusively on HBO. Presented by Film 44 and HBO Sports, STATE OF PLAY takes on complex, multi-layered themes in sports, exploring their relationship to larger society. Each edition spotlights a topic or person with undeniable impact on the contemporary sports world, opening with a brief overview, followed by a cinéma vérité documentary and an in-depth roundtable discussion featuring filmmakers, subjects and guest experts, hosted by Berg.
    STATE OF PLAY: FIRST LADIES
    Debut: TUESDAY, DEC. 9 (10:00-11:00pm/et/pt) Other HBO playdates: Dec. 10 (6:15pm, 11:30pm), 11 (2:30pm), 12 (4:15pm), 13 (1:00pm), 14 (11:30am) and 15 (12:45pm)
    HBO2 playdates: Dec. 10 (2:30am) and (10:00pm)
    A deeply personal look at another side of professional sports, this film focuses on the challenges of balancing the pursuit of professional success and family obligations. FIRST LADIES focuses on three couples whose vows shape their decisions on the field and at home. What role has each of these spouses played in her family’s success? Profiled are Mike and Kiya Tomlin, Kevin and DeLana Harvick, and Scott and Megan Lehnhoff. Mike Tomlin is head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kevin Harvick captured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship last month, and Scott Lehnhoff is head football coach at Steele High School in Cibolo, Tex. After the documentary, Berg hosts a roundtable discussion featuring Kiya Tomlin, DeLana Harvick and Megan Lehnhoff.(HBO)(12-8-2014)
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. leaves JGR: Joe Gibbs Racing confirms that Darrell Wallace Jr has been released from his contract, headed to Roush? see more on Jayski.com’s Xfinity Series page.(12-8-2014)

  • Logano getting married in the off season: Next week, #22-Joey Logano and fiancée Brittany Baca will be married in North Carolina, with a trip to Costa Rica on tap for the honeymoon. “We’re going to have some fun, but it’s only going to be for about a week because I can’t handle any longer than that,” Logano, 24, said Thursday following the annual Myers Brothers Award luncheon. “She’s like, ‘Let’s go for two weeks.’ I said, ‘How about five days?’ So we kind of met in the middle — a week. I can’t sit still; I’ve got to go all the time. We’ll enjoy it, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to the wedding — we’ve got a lot of people going, a lot of people you haven’t seen in a while, a lot of people from the race team.” The plan, he said, is to “party our butts off.” The wedding date is scheduled for Dec. 13, and was decided by Baca for a specific reason. Earlier this year, she told AL.com that the use of sequential numbers, 12/13/14, would make it easy for Logano to recall. “He has a busy enough life,” she said. “I don’t want to give him anything else to remember.”(NASCAR.com)(12-8-2014)

  • Latest on Danica’s 2015 crew chief: The late-season crew chief swap among #41-Kurt Busch and #10-Danica Patrick seems to have worked well for Busch but not Patrick. Busch got Patrick’s crew chief, Tony Gibson, for the final three races and finished no worse than 11th in those events. “It was great to get back to an old-school crew chief,” Busch said. “Real refreshing. (Gibson) understands the car and is able to finesse it in a way to where you’re not relying so much on simulation as well as the engineering side of things.” Patrick got Busch’s crew chief, Daniel Knost, who has an engineering background. Patrick finished no better than 18th in her three races with Knost.
    So who will be Patrick’s crew chief in 2015? “We honestly thought that Daniel is a good choice for Danica, he’s very technical, he’s very smart, he’s been an engineer for a number of years,” car owner Gene Haas said. “Now that he has one year as a crew chief, we believe that he has the potential to help her improve. Now what Danica feels is really what Danica wants. We’re here to give Danica what she feels comfortable with. We’ll see how that all plays out. We have a few months to work on that.”(Motor Racing Network)(12-8-2014)

  • John Hunter Nemechek wins Snowball Derby: John Hunter Nemechek won the 47th Annual Snowball Derby Race at Five Flags Speedway with a bold four-wide move on new tires with just five laps to go. Technical inspection has completed without any issues. Pole winner Hunter Robbins finished 4th. Some other NASCAR drivers in the race: Grant Enfinger finished 5th; Clay Rogers 12th, Corey LaJoie 13th; Johanna Long 17th; Erik Jones 27th; Chase Elliott 29th; Ross Kenseth 35th.(speed51)(12-8-2014)
  • Wallace asks for release from JGR for potential move to Roush Fenway UPDATE: Darrell Wallace Jr., who won four races this season in the NASCAR Truck Series and finished third in the series standings, has asked out of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, multiple sources confirmed to ThatsRacin.com and the Charlotte Observer. Although Wallace, 21, has experienced substantial success in the Truck series with Kyle Busch Motorsports the past two seasons, JGR – with whom he is under contract – had been unable to secure sponsorship for Wallace to run fulltime in any NASCAR national series in 2015. The move will allow Wallace, whose victory at Martinsville, Va., last season made him just the second African-American to win a national series race in NASCAR history, to join another organization that can provide him a fulltime ride. A spokesman for JGR declined to comment when asked by the Observer if Wallace had received a release from his contract with the organization. The most likely destination for Wallace appears to be Roush Fenway Racing, sources said. RFR already plans to field Nationwide teams for drivers Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed in 2015. A request for comment was not immediately returned by RFR. Wallace was expected to run up to a 10 races next season with JGR in what will become the Xfinity Series on Jan. 1. JGR owner Joe Gibbs had said he expected to have a “big program” for the driver who was born in Mobile, Ala., but grew up in the Charlotte area. In interviews before the end of the season, Wallace said he was not worried about the lack of a fulltime ride. “I’ll take what I can get,” he said. “I can only go out there and continue to run up front, lead laps, and win races.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-7-2014)
    UPDATE: Darrell Wallace Jr., the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series race in nearly 50 years, has been granted his release from Joe Gibbs Racing so he can sign with another team for 2015. According to sources, Roush Fenway Racing is the leading candidate for the 21-year-old Wallace with a full-time ride in the Xfinity Series. Neither Roush Fenway officials nor Wallace’s agent immediately returned messages seeking comment. A JGR spokesman confirmed Wallace’s release Monday morning. In 2013 and 2014, Wallace drove on loan to Kyle Busch Motorsports, where he finished eighth in the Camping World Truck Series standings as a rookie and then third in 2014. He earned his first truck win in October 2013 at Martinsville, the first African-American to win a NASCAR national series race since Wendell Scott won a Cup event in December 1963 in Jacksonville. Wallace won three more races in the series in 2014. He also competed in two Nationwide Series (now Xfinity Series) events in 2014 for JGR, finishing seventh in the July race in Daytona. Despite his success, JGR had trouble finding sponsorship for him. It was angling to have at least 15 races in the Xfinity Series for him in 2015, but Wallace obviously wanted a full season.(Sporting News)(12-8-2014)
  • Nemechek wins Snowball Derby: John Hunter Nemechek raced to the win taking the 47th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. today in his third start in the event. Nemechek, who took the lead at lap 286, was not to be dismissed in his second of two races at Five Flags this weekend. He finished second in the Snowflake 100 which had finished mere hours earlier but with a gutsy pit call and undeniable talent, the rising star brought home his crowning achievement in the Pensacola win. Nemechek, who started racing in quarter midgets at age five, has made a steady progression and has had much success along the way including winning 15 of 18 races en route to the Allison Legacy Touring Series Championship in 2013. Competing in his NEMCO Motorsports late model is a by-design initiative that has been fundamental in his development. Competing in his second Snowflake and third Snowball event, he relied on his previous experience there as well as the momentum from his most recent win in the All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (Tenn.) on November 1. Nemechek also competed on a limited-schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where in just 10 starts, he earned an impressive six top-10 finishes including a top-five run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Plans for 2015 include a similar late model program as well as returning to his #8 SWM-NEMCO Motorsports entry in truck series action. At age 17, Nemechek is restricted to running on tracks 1.25-miles or less and the road course. Turning 18 on June 11, he will finish out the remainder of the truck series schedule beginning with Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2015.(NEMCO Motorsports)(12-8-2014)
  • SCC Distributes More Than $400,000 to 64 Charities in Charlotte Region: Christmas time is here and the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) spent Monday afternoon (Dec 1st) spreading holiday cheer to 64 nonprofits in the Charlotte region, distributing more than $400,000 in grants during a special presentation at Charlotte Motor Speedway. More than 350 children and adults representing the benefiting charities joined SCC officials in the infield Christmas Village, meeting Santa Claus, playing games and enjoying holiday treats before the grants were presented. The 2014 grants totaled $407,000, enough to assist more than 47,000 Charlotte-area children in educational, financial, social and medical need. Since its inception, the Charlotte Chapter has distributed more than $10 million.(CMS)(12-8-2014)


    News from December 7, 2014


  • #4 SHR Pit Crew Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Kevin Harvick’s #4 Stewart-Haas Racing pit crew is awarded Mechanix Wear’s Most Valuable Pit Crew Award at the Myers Brothers Luncheon during NASCAR Champion’s Week. Kevin Harvick and his #4 pit crew arrived in high-fashion with the NASCAR Sprint Cup trophy in tow. The veteran Stewart-Haas Racing pit crew led by coach Joe Piette Jr. will take home Mechanix Wear’s prestigious MVPC Award and a check for $100,000 for their outstanding performance in Chase. In its 12th year running, the Mechanix Wear MVPC Award is the longest running and most coveted pit crew award in NASCAR. Every quarter of the Sprint Cup season, NASCAR Crew Chiefs vote for the pit crew contributing the most to the success of their team on race day. The 2014 Championship is the second one for these guys and the third for Front Tire Changer Ira Jo as he was on Tony’s 2005 Championship team. Front carrier Todd Drakulich, Rear Changer Daniel Smith, Rear Carrier Mike Morneau and Jackman Mike Casto have been members of Tony Stewart’s pit crew for many years and all were apart of Tony’s 2011 Championship team. Gas Man Justin White joined the crew in 2013 and completed the championship line-up for Kevin Harvick’s championship run.(Mechanix Wear)(12-7-2014)

  • Odds to win the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship:
    Jimmie Johnson 5/1
    Jeff Gordon 6/1
    Kevin Harvick 6/1
    Brad Keselowski 7/1
    Joey Logano 8/1
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. 10/1
    Matt Kenseth 10/1
    Carl Edwards 12/1
    Kyle Busch 12/1
    Denny Hamlin 14/1
    Kyle Larson 18/1
    Tony Stewart 22/1
    Kasey Kahne 25/1
    Kurt Busch 25/1
    Ryan Newman 33/1
    Clint Bowyer 40/1
    Greg Biffle 40/1
    Jamie McMurray 40/1
    Austin Dillon 50/1
    Brian Vickers 100/1
    A.J. Allmendinger 200/1
    (Bovada)(12-7-2014)
  • Sad News – Ted Proctor: Ted Wilson Proctor, 76, of Terrell, NC, died unexpectedly Friday, December 5, 2014 at Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC. Mr. Proctor graduated from Lenoir Rhyne College, Hickory and was a veteran of the US Air Force serving in Korea. He is the retired former President and part-owner of Piedmont Distributors, Salisbury and part-owner of Proctor Wholesale, Hickory. He was an avid race fan and for the past 15 years has been working for NASCAR. Mr. Proctor was a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners, Salisbury Elks Lodge #699, American Legion Post #342 and the Hudson- Miller-Tatum, VFW Post 3006.(Summersett Funeral Home)(12-7-2014)
  • Sad News – Bill Bigley Sr.: Bill Bigley, Sr., 74, Naples, FL, passed away peacefully at home on November 28, 2014. Online condolences may be made at the Fuller Funeral Home website: www.fullernaples.com.
    AND Stock car racing was in Bill Bigley Sr.’s tank. It was a passion he passed on to his son and his grandsons. He was the ex-driver, track owner and workaholic who just couldn’t get enough of the ovals. At the big tracks – or little ones like the Collier County Speedway he operated for a dozen years on Radio Road east of Naples – Bigley put the family name in many a winner’s circle when others would have parked the hauler and given up. The elder Bigley, the patriarch of the Pen Air Conditioning business he started in 1982, unexpectedly passed away in his sleep on Nov. 28.(much more at the Naple Daily News)(12-7-2014)
  • Wallace asks for release from JGR for potential move to Roush Fenway: Darrell Wallace Jr., who won four races this season in the NASCAR Truck Series and finished third in the series standings, has asked out of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, multiple sources confirmed to ThatsRacin.com and the Charlotte Observer. Although Wallace, 21, has experienced substantial success in the Truck series with Kyle Busch Motorsports the past two seasons, JGR – with whom he is under contract – had been unable to secure sponsorship for Wallace to run fulltime in any NASCAR national series in 2015. The move will allow Wallace, whose victory at Martinsville, Va., last season made him just the second African-American to win a national series race in NASCAR history, to join another organization that can provide him a fulltime ride. A spokesman for JGR declined to comment when asked by the Observer if Wallace had received a release from his contract with the organization. The most likely destination for Wallace appears to be Roush Fenway Racing, sources said. RFR already plans to field Nationwide teams for drivers Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed in 2015. A request for comment was not immediately returned by RFR. Wallace was expected to run up to a 10 races next season with JGR in what will become the Xfinity Series on Jan. 1. JGR owner Joe Gibbs had said he expected to have a “big program” for the driver who was born in Mobile, Ala., but grew up in the Charlotte area. In interviews before the end of the season, Wallace said he was not worried about the lack of a fulltime ride. “I’ll take what I can get,” he said. “I can only go out there and continue to run up front, lead laps, and win races.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-7-2014)
  • Volunteer at WGI for the 2015 season: Watkins Glen International reminds the community of this season’s volunteer opportunities on International Volunteer Day (December 5). For local and regional non-profit, school, civic and church charitable organizations there are a variety of ways to get involved at The Glen this summer. The Corning Lions Club will return for its 10th year as a volunteer group at WGI in 2015. The members of The Corning Lions Club enjoy the opportunity to provide customer service to guests who utilize disability carts. Organizations interested in volunteering during the 2015 season have a variety of opportunities at the following events: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (June 25-28), Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey’s Fancy New York’s Artisan Cheese (July 10-12), Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver (July 24-26) and Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (August 6-9). Volunteer positions include, but are not limited to: disability cart operators, food and beverage service assistance, gate support, grandstand ushers, guest services, retail sales and worker registration. Each non-profit group or charitable organization receives a donation from The Glen, acknowledging the time and effort provided. If a non-profit group or organization is interested in volunteering during any or all 2015 event weekends applications are available online and must be submitted by January 31, 2015. Applications may be sent via email to Marianne Shoemaker (mshoemaker@theglen.com) or by mail to WGI Guest Services, P.O. Box 500, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.(WGI)(12-7-2014)


    News from December 6, 2014


  • NASCAR industry honors Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick at year-end gala: As the culmination of a calculated risk that led to a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, the NASCAR industry joined together Friday night at the Wynn to honor 2014 titleholder Kevin Harvick, who claimed stock car racing’s most coveted prize in his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing. In his speech at the Sprint Cup Awards Banquet, Harvick revealed just how much of a risk he took in changing teams after the 2013 season. “After 13 seasons at Richard Childress Racing, I made the move to Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Harvick, who joined forces with long-time friend and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart this year. “And I have to admit, I was scared to death. I tried to play it cool, but it was a pivotal moment in my career. I was venturing outside my comfort zone, and I had to make it work. Tony, I consider you to be one of my best friends. You promised me if I came to Stewart-Haas Racing, we would win a championship, and we did just that. You are a man of your word.”
    In the first year of a new elimination format for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Harvick claimed the title with victories in the final two races. His win at Phoenix International Raceway propelled him into the Championship Round of the Chase at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he secured the title by triumphing in the season finale. All told, Harvick won five races, three in the Chase, won a career-best eight poles and led a series-best 2,137 laps. From day one at SHR, he showed tremendous speed. “The first time I was able to get in my #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, we were fast,” Harvick said. “It didn’t matter if it was an open test at Charlotte last December. A practice, a qualifying session or a race-we wanted to be at the top of the board.”
    Nor was Harvick hesitant in offering praise to the architect of his race team, crew chief Rodney Childers. “He built new race cars and assembled a whole new group of guys between the end of the 2013 season right until we loaded up for the Daytona 500,” Harvick said. “Under his direction, we accomplished a lot and became great friends in the process. From the lead-up to the Daytona 500 until the checkered flag dropped at Homestead, Rodney asked for a lot from our people on this race team. Rodney, I can’t say thank you enough for all that you’ve done.”
    In accepting the championship owner’s award, SHR co-owner Gene Haas pointed out that both titles won by the organization since he partnered with Stewart in 2009 required drivers Stewart (2011) and Harvick to win the final race of the season at Homestead. And in fact, Harvick finished one position and a mere half-second ahead of series runner-up Ryan Newman in the season finale. “We were one point away from our best finish of the season at Homestead,” Newman said after leaving the stage.
    The overwhelming consensus among the 16 drivers who appeared during the ceremony was that the new Chase format had transformed the sport. “Even though we didn’t make it to Homestead to battle for the championship, I truly believe NASCAR got it right this year with the new knockout format for the Sprint Cup,” said Jeff Gordon, who won four times in 2014 but was eliminated from the Chase at Phoenix by a single point. “I cannot begin to describe the pressure and the intensity we faced week after week, race after race-and this year crowned a deserving champion.”
    NOTABLE QUOTES
    “If I look like a wreck, it’s not because I have a hangover. It’s because I wrestled a two-year-old down the red carpet and up here on stage.” – Kevin Harvick, who brought son Keelan with him to the head table.
    “I’d love to have an opportunity to tie the greats in Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.” – Jimmie Johnson. The six-time champion finished 11th in the final standings, his worst position since joining the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2002.
    “I stand up here as an honorary member of the Hendrick Drivers’ Club.” – former Hendrick driver Kyle Busch, now with Joe Gibbs Racing, standing with Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr., all of whom were eliminated from the Chase in the Contender Round.
    “I’m not saying Joey Logano’s pit crew is slow, but tomorrow they’re celebrating Thanksgiving.” – Banquet host Jay Mohr in a reference to the mistake on pit road that cost Logano a shot at the title.(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-6-2014)
  • Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony re-air: is scheduled to re-air scheduled on Monday, December 15, 2014 at 8:00pm/et on FoxSports2.
    and the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series Awards Ceremony re-air is scheduled for Saturday, December 6 at 8:00pm/et on FoxSports2. Have not seen any other re-air dates/times

  • Gordon Explains Pit Strategy at Homestead: Jeff Gordon appeared to have a race-winning car in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but a decision to pit for four tires late in the race dropped him far back in the running order and relegated the driver of the #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy to a 10th-place finish. In tying up that loose end from Homestead, Gordon explained that his decision was dictated by a choice made earlier in the race. “I think the question really needs to be about, before that, why we didn’t pit,” Gordon told the NASCAR Wire Service after the Myers Brothers Luncheon. “You take all the information you have from past history of long green-flag runs to the end of the race, track position, who’s coming, who’s not…We dominated that race, had a car that I think could have and should have won that race. But we all came in and got four tires, they throw the green, and caution comes out in three or four laps. We stay out, and I think we went one more round of green-flag run, four or five laps, and caution comes out again. At that point, that’s where the race changed for us and really took us out of contention, because we decided to stay out, and all those other guys decided to come in, and there were just too many cautions at the end.”
    Gordon scoffed at the suggestion that he might not have wanted to restart up front on old tires at the end of the race, with the potential to effect the outcome of the championship battle. “Heck, no, that had nothing to do with it,” Gordon said. “It was all about winning the race, and knowing that those guys behind us had fresh tires, because they elected to pit-and that place eats tires up…what’s really interesting is, when you look at (Sprint Cup champion) Kevin Harvick’s position, he came down pit road and took four (tires) where some other guys took two, and he saw his championship chances completely go out the window. If you listened to his radio communication, it was ‘We’re done, we’re done. But enough cautions fell after that to bring them back into it, and he did a great job, obviously, moving up through there. And that exact same thing that helped win him the championship is what cost us the win for that race.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-6-2014)

  • New #18 crew chief talks about jump to Sprint Cup: While new #18 crew chief Adam Stevens will be making his Sprint Cup debut in 2015, he’s a very familiar face to the driver he’ll be working with: Kyle Busch. Stevens has collected 31 wins as a crew chief for JGR’s NASCAR XFINITY Series program over the last four years. 19 of them have come over the last two seasons alone from working with Busch; after racking up a staggering 12 wins together in 2013, the duo followed up with seven more this past year. In an interview today on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Stevens touched on how he and Busch quickly became a successful pair. “Kyle and I, we have a little bit of history now of building some communication and some success behind us,” he said. “The cool thing about him and I is we look at race cars the same way, and immediately when we started working together, his feedback and what I’m thinking and how I think race cars work just seemed to mesh really well. And in our brief history [together], it’s added up to quite a few wins. We’re hoping to see if we can carry some of that into the Cup Series. There are certain aspects of the race that will make it a little bit more easier, comparatively. But the [Cup] races as a whole – being so much longer, the track conditions, and the preferred line and handling conditions you’re fighting – tend to change a lot more through the race. You’re trading one set of problems – managing your tire sets – for another set of problems, which is managing changing track conditions.”(NBC Sports)(12-6-2014)

  • Who’s pitting for Edwards in 2015? UPDATE: You never know what a team or pit crew will do with a few months to think, but [Pit Talks] have an idea of who might be pitting the 4th JGR car for Carl Edwards next year. This is not official by any means and strictly rumors, but we think it’s pretty dang close to being correct.
    Pit Talks hears that Front Changer Clay Robinson and Front Carrier Kevin Harris will be coming over to JGR from [Hendrick]. Both guys were on the front of Dale Jr.’s #88 last year and will be sticking together at Gibbs next year.
    Pit Talks also hear that Jackman Trey Burklin will be coming back to JGR after leaving a year ago to go jack the #5 at Hendrick. Trey was the back up at JGR a few years back and jacked the NNS cars for Gibss before heading over the HMS to jack the #5 this year.
    On the rear will be Changer Kip Wolfmier and Matt Ver Meer. Wolfmier was the old rear changer for the #5 car of HMS this year before being replaced by Jeremy Fuller. Matt Ver Meer was on the #88 of Dale Jr. and had been for the last few years.
    The gas man will be Kenneth Purcell. Kenneth has been at JGR for years now as a NNS jackman and back up Cup guy. Kenneth won 4 championships as a jack man on the #48 and has been with JGR for the last 4 or so years. Now, he is converting to a gasman for this 4th team.(Pit Talks)(11-23-2014)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt will lose his car chief as well as at least three of his over-the-wall crew members. His car chief has his blessing, considering Jason Burdett will move to JR Motorsports to crew chief an Xfinity Series car for Regan Smith. Earnhardt acknowledged Thursday that crew members leaving after their contracts expire is part of the business. “It is a business, and those guys saw an opportunity to do something else elsewhere,” Earnhardt said following a NASCAR awards luncheon at the Encore in Las Vegas. “We had a great run together. They were the best team on pit road for the last two years. I never once felt at a disadvantage when I pulled on to pit road. It’s going to be a challenge to replace those guys.” Hendrick Motorsports has several over-the-wall crew members on contract and training to replace those leaving. “We’ve got a lot of great potential crew members that are training every day,” Earnhardt said. “I was over there Tuesday, and they were working their guts out. We’ve got guys in the wings ready to move up, ready for that challenge. It’s going to be a difficult challenge to replace the talent we have because those guys were amazing.” In addition to having new over-the-wall crew members and a new crew chief, Earnhardt will have a new car chief. Travis Mack, car chief this year for Greg Ives on the Nationwide Series championship car driven by Chase Elliott, will move with Ives to the Hendrick Cup car with Earnhardt. “Burdett has been looking for that opportunity for a really long time,” Earnhardt said. “The deck sort of got shuffled there at the last minute and it opened the door for Burdett and it also opened the door for Travis Mack. … We were excited, really, to give both of them the opportunity they wanted. Burdett wanted the opportunity to crew chief and Mack wanted the opportunity to move into a car-chief role at the Cup level. So both of these guys get what they want.” Earnhardt emphasized that having engineer Kevin Meendering returning is the key to having a smooth transition with the crew-chief change. Ives and Mack will get their first chance to work with Earnhardt in their new roles Tuesday and Wednesday at a Goodyear tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Sporting News)(12-6-2014)
  • Daytona Rising December Project Update: After achieving significant construction milestones related to the $400 million Daytona Rising project during the past year, Daytona International Speedway (DIS) is now preparing for the 53rd Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Budweiser Speedweeks 2015. “We had another great year and hit several major milestones along the way,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We’re now beginning to prepare the facility for the 2015 racing season to ensure that our fans enjoy some of its new amenities.” Fans can get an early preview of Daytona Rising during Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 (the stadium will officially open in 2016). Approximately 40,000 new seats will be available along with two of the five injectors/entrances, new concessions, several of the neighborhoods or social areas and the new vertical transportation. For tickets and more information on Daytona International Speedway events, visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(12-6-2014)


    News from December 5, 2014


  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. is Most Popular Driver: during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, it was announced that #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 2014 NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award. Dale Earnhardt Jr., has won the MPD award for the past 12 seasons. Only NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott has more MPD awards with 16. The Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Award is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote.
    AND The top-10 vote-getters for this year’s award (listed alphabetically): Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart and Josh Wise.(USA Today)
    For info on the award and past news, see Jayski.com’s Most Popular Driver page.(12-5-2014)
  • ‘Best Buddies’ Ambassador Daniel Noltemeyer Wins Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award:Daniel Noltemeyer of Louisville, Kentucky, representing Best Buddies Kentucky, was presented with the fourth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award on Friday night, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at Wynn Las Vegas. Noltemeyer, one of four national finalists for the award, will receive a $100,000 donation for Best Buddies Kentucky from The NASCAR Foundation, in addition to a 2015 Toyota Camry provided by Toyota, the award’s 2014 Official Car Sponsor. The other finalists will receive $25,000 donations for their respective charitable causes. Noltemeyer, 32, was chosen via an online vote conducted on NASCAR.com. He is a founder of Best Buddies Kentucky, an organization committed to facilitating social inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Noltemeyer, who has Down syndrome, has become a renowned Best Buddies spokesman – and not only in his home state. He also is an ambassador for Best Buddies International via an appointment by Best Buddies International founder Anthony Kennedy Shriver (NASCAR), See full press release and info on Jayski’s Racing Charities page.(12-5-2014)

  • Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, Friday, Dec. 5:
    · Pit Pass Check-In: Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 3, fans can pick up a Pit Pass at NASCAR fan headquarters, Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade, and start checking in at various locations around the city where NASCAR partners will feature displays, including show cars. Running from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day, check-in locations include Tropicana (Ford), Treasure Island (Daytona International Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway), Paris Las Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Caesars Palace (Chevrolet), Lagasse Stadium at The Palazzo (Toyota), and Excalibur (Mechanix Wear).
    · 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: This black-tie celebration will be held at Wynn Las Vegas, where the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and the other Chase drivers will be honored. The drivers and stars will walk the Red Carpet from 4 – 5 p.m. and NASCAR.com will live stream the arrivals from 4:30 – 5:00pm. FOX Sports 1 will air the show live beginning at 9:00pm/et. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 8:00pm/et.
    · Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Reveal: The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be given to one dedicated NASCAR fan who has made a profound impact on children in his or her community. The NASCAR Foundation will announce the national award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. Fans can cast their vote for the 2014 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visiting www.NASCAR.com/Award before 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 4.(NASCAR)(12-5-2014)

  • Yates Denies Rumors of Roush Fenway Buyout: Roush Yates Engines CEO Doug Yates responded yesterday (Dec 4th) to rumors that he will replace Jack Roush at the helm of Roush Fenway Racing when Roush steps down in the near future. “Jack is committed to NASCAR racing,” said Yates, son of legendary NASCAR engine builder and team owner Robert Yates. “He loves two things besides his family; racing and flying airplanes. He is not planning to stop the racing part, anyway. I know that for a fact.” Yates admitted, however, that he is interested in following his father into the ownership ranks one day. “It’s flattering to hear my name out there (in the rumor mill) and if the right situation came along, I’d love to carry on what my dad started and what he accomplished. But right now, my focus is on building great engines for Ford Motor Company and making Ford and Roush proud. That’s what I’m going to try to stick with and be focused on in the near future. Jack Roush is not going anywhere” he said, “…and one thing he’s not going to do is quit before he gets (Roush Fenway Racing) back where he wants it.” Yates also said Roush has been instrumental in his success as an engine builder, adding, “He’s been really good to me… a lot like my dad. I’ve been so fortunate to learn and watch and be around him. He’s taught me a lot.”(Godfather Motorsports)(12-5-2014)

  • Todd Berrier joins Joe Gibbs Racing: Todd Berrier has joined Joe Gibbs Racing. The veteran crew chief started his new job on Monday and is expected to transition into Jimmy Makar’s role. Makar, who has been with JGR since its inception in 1992 as Dale Jarrett’s crew chief, is currently the senior vice president of racing operations. JGR president J.D. Gibbs confirmed Berrier’s hiring on Thursday but was not certain of his title. Berrier was most recently the crew chief for Furniture Row Racing and the #78 Chevy but transitioned out of his role over the last year. Berrier honed his crew chief skills at Richard Childress Racing starting with truck in 1997. He led Kevin Harvick to the Nationwide Series title in 2001 before graduating to Cup full-time in 2002. Berrier has four Chase appearances, eight Cup wins, six Nationwide Series wins and four truck victories.(Motorsport)(12-5-2014)

  • 2014 Championship “Tire Specialist” award announced: Champion Tire & Wheel has announced the recipient of the 2014 Sprint Cup “Consistently Smooth” award is; Todd Chafee of Stewart-Haas Racing’s #4 car driven by Kevin Harvick. The award recognizes the skill and effort of the team’s tire specialist in overseeing the Budweiser #4 teams’ tire and wheel program. The tire specialist is an important piece in the performance formula for a championship effort as it requires managing a program of over 2,500 tires and wheels used throughout the full Sprint Cup season. When the call for a pit stop comes, the efforts to find the right combination of tires, wheels, and air pressure is critical in the overall performance of the race car. The lead crystal trophy will be presented to Chafee at the team’s shop in of Kannapolis, NC with co-owner Tony Stewart, and Crew Chief Rodney Childers. In addition to the Sprint Cup series recipients, Champion Tire and Wheel will also present JR Motorsports, Will Coats, the Championship tire specialists award for the Chase Elliot driven Nationwide Series team, and Chris Rock, the tire specialist for Thorsport Racing and the Matt Crafton driven Camping World Truck Series Championship effort.(Champion Tire and Wheel PR) (12-5-2014)

  • Ambrose totally focused on V8 Supercars, not thinking of NASCAR: The man who will make his shock V8 comeback today and attempt to spoil Jamie Whincup’s championship party declared; “I haven’t thought about NASCAR once”. Ahead of the mouth-watering battle between two Australian racing giants, beginning on Friday at the Sydney 500, Marcos Ambrose brushed aside talk that he had come home to retire in a V8 following a 10-year stint that saw him conquer America by vowing to make DJR/Team Penske a championship force. Less than two weeks after landing in Australia following his final NASCAR race, Ambrose said he had been living and breathing V8 Supercars and did not miss his former category – which happens to be the second biggest in the world – a bit. “I have to be honest,” Ambrose said. “It was great to do, a great to be part of, but I have been back in Australia now for two-and-a-half weeks and I haven’t thought about NASCAR once. I am really in the moment now and I have come back and experienced the new generation V8 Supercar for the first time and I am thrilled with it so far. It is a nice handling car and does everything really well. It has incredible stopping power and the tyres are pretty good. The car itself is pretty faultless. My experience (in America) was great but I am looking to the future and to this weekend. That is where we are going to kick start this DJR/Team Penske alliance and hopefully start the process of building it up into a championship team.”(The Daily Telegraph)(12-5-2014)

  • NASCAR considering changes to Xfinity, Trucks championship format: NASCAR is discussing how to determine the XFINITY and Camping World Truck champions this coming season. Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer for NASCAR, declined to say Wednesday to Motor Racing Network what the format will be for those two series this coming season. “We look at every championship every year,” O’Donnell said after speaking at Sports Business Journal’s Motorsports Marketing Forum at Aria Resort. “I can’t tell you if it’s going to change. We’re still looking at it.” Although NASCAR is examining the issue, it does not mean that a change is coming. Still, NASCAR is pleased with the results of the new Chase format, which created a buzz with its eliminations and one-race championship battle at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “We think we hit a home run,” O’Donnell said about the Chase during his presentation. “We are really excited with how it came out. I think one of the biggest assets of the Chase is the dialogue around the number of teams, which means more sponsors are being talked about, more drivers. If you take that same mentality, why wouldn’t we want 10 or 12 drivers being talked about in the XFINITY Series, 10 or 12 drivers being talked about Camping World? I’m not saying we’re there yet, but there is some dialogue going on about what we could do in the future.” O’Donnell also addressed other topics during his speech, including shortening races and if another series other than the Camping World Trucks could run at Eldora Speedway.(MRN)(12-5-2014)
  • A.J. Foyt released from hospital, recovering at home: A.J. Foyt was released from Baylor-St. Luke’s Medical Center Tuesday afternoon and is recovering at home from his Nov. 12 triple bypass heart surgery. Although his heart surgery was successful, Foyt developed serious complications with his lungs. He was kept on a ventilator for eight days to allow his lungs to recover full functionality. Ten days in the Intensive Care Unit was followed by an additional 10 days in the hospital. The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner’s stay was his longest ever-a total of 25 days from when he was admitted Nov. 7 with chest pains. “It’s been pretty rough but I guess I slept through the roughest part,” said Foyt, who will turn 80 in January. “I had some problems that most people don’t have after open heart surgery so I made my doctors work extra hard but they saved my life. We’ve turned a corner so everything’s pretty good. I’ve got a long way to go but I’m feeling better every day.” Foyt is expected to make a full recovery but his doctors have explained to him that it may take longer than he is anticipating. For Foyt, that is called motivation.(PR)(12-5-2014)
  • Toyota Honored With NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Toyota was honored with the 2014 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held in the Encore Ballroom at Wynn Las Vegas. An official partner since 2004, Toyota joins Coca-Cola as the only multiple-time winner of the award. Utilizing an integrated marketing approach, Toyota has engaged fans, customers and employees across every facet of the NASCAR industry, including intellectual property, promotions, B2B, online, broadcast, at track, event marketing, and social media. “Toyota is a world class marketer that consistently demonstrates how to effectively leverage its strong brand across all NASCAR platforms to drive measurable performance both on and off the track, said NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar. “Celebrating its tenth year in the sport, Toyota is a true partner to NASCAR at all levels.” This year, Toyota played a vital role in advancing core NASCAR initiatives including engaging fans across digital platforms, heavily investing in creative and media to connect with fans, developing activation geared towards reaching diverse audiences, and leading the way in promoting the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format.
    “Toyota is honored to receive the NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award for the second time in only four years,” said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota. “Our commitment to NASCAR, both on the race track and to our fans and consumers, has grown each and every year since we formed our partnership in 2004. Our continued development of new initiatives to engage the fans and help enhance their experience is paramount. We thank NASCAR for its continued support, and look forward to introducing everyone to the 2015 Camry along with other initiatives when we get to Daytona in February.”
    Key Toyota integrated marketing highlights that reached NASCAR stakeholders this year include:
    · Partnered to help launch the Air Titan 2.0, NASCAR’s innovative track drying system, which is pulled by Toyota Tundra trucks
    · Supported The NASCAR Foundation by contributing a Toyota Camry to the 2014 Betty Jane France Award winner
    · Became the first founding partner of the Daytona Rising Project
    · Introduced its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series”, 2015 Camry race car in unison with its Camry production cars’ arrival in the showroom
    · Executed four race entitlements across three tracks and major at-track presence, activating at 32 tracks
    · Prominently featured NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth in national TV creative
    · Continued support of NASCAR multi-cultural marketing efforts, including; integration with NASCAR Te Mueve Hispanic marketing platform, entitling the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series Toyota 120 at Phoenix International Raceway, sponsoring NASCAR Drive for Diversity and Rev Racing drivers Darrell Wallace, Jr., German Quiroga and Daniel Suarez
    · First Official Partner to support and integrate into the new NASCAR Chase Grid digital game platform
    · Sponsored the new interactive Chase fan event in Chicago, Chase Grid Live Sponsored by Toyota and Sprint
    · Built cultural relevance in NASCAR by using its “Made in America” core message to establish the company as an American carmaker, and supported our nation’s military and their families through its backing of Hiring Our Heroes and NASCAR – An American Salute initiatives
    Other previous winners of the NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award include: Mars, Incorporated; ESPN; FOX / TNT / NBC; Nationwide Insurance; and Sprint.(NASCAR)(12-5-2014)

  • Ben Rhodes to run 10 races for JR Motorsports JR Motorsports announced that Ben Rhodes, the reigning K&N Pro Series East champion, will drive 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series races in the #88 Chevy in 2015. The 17-year-old Rhodes joins an all-star lineup of drivers for the #88 team that includes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne in select races. Alpha Energy Solutions will sponsor the Rhodes-driven races. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Rhodes won the K&N Pro Series East championship as a rookie. With the title he also claimed Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the series’ most popular driver award. His mammoth 2014 included five wins, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. Rhodes also competed four times in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, earning one top-five and three top-10 finishes. Alpha Energy Solutions, Inc. is a commercial and industrial mechanical service provider with multiple specialties. It is one of the largest self-performing service providers in the Midwest. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Alpha Energy Solutions provides building management services to commercial and industrial customers. With more than 200 service technicians located throughout Kentucky and surrounding states, Alpha delivers exceptional service. The #88 team will compete in the full 33-race XFINITY Series schedule in 2015. Rhodes’ complete schedule in the #88 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevy includes races at Iowa Speedway (May 17), Chicagoland Speedway (June 20), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 18), a second event at Iowa Speedway (Aug. 1), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 8), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 15), Road America (Aug. 29), Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 26), Dover International Speedway (Oct. 3) and the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 21).(JR Motorsports)(12-5-2014)
  • Pocono Raceway Holiday Offer: Pocono Raceway announced their 2014 holiday offer. Included with the purchase of a Pocono Raceway $100 Gift Card is one Tricky Triangle Garage Experience for either the Pocono 400 on June 7, 2015, or the Pennsylvania 400 on August, 2, 2015. The Tricky Triangle Garage Experience includes a pre-race, guided tour of the Pocono Raceway Garage Area. Space is limited for this exclusive opportunity. Only the first 150 Gift Card purchasers, per event, qualify for the Tricky Triangle Garage Experience. A Sunday NASCAR Pocono event ticket and Pre-Race Pit/Paddock Pass are also required to take advantage of the Tricky Triangle Garage Experience. To purchase this holiday offer, which expires on December 19, 2014, please visit www.poconoraceway.com/holiday14. Pocono Raceway Gift Cards may be used to purchase any Pocono event ticket. These Gift Cards do not have an expiration date and can be redeemed online or by calling 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929).(Pocono Raceway)(12-5-2014)
  • TMS’s SCC Annual Tree Lighting & Grant Ceremony: The season of giving came early for five North Texas non-profit organizations Tuesday, Dec 2nd, as Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter ushered in the holiday season by awarding more than $300,000 in funds, including the $150,000 Founder’s Grant to the Tarrant Area Food Bank, during its annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Grant Ceremony at Texas Motor Speedway.(TMS)(12-5-2014)
  • Michael Gibson Named CMS’s Employee of the Year: Michael Gibson has been named Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 2014 Employee of the Year. Presented annually, the award recognizes an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty in executing his or her responsibilities. The winner is determined by a vote of the speedway’s executive committee and is selected from Employee of the Month award recipients presented throughout the previous 12 months and voted on by their peers. After attending University of North Carolina of Charlotte, Gibson joined the speedway family in July 2005. He was hired on as lead plumber in the speedway’s Operations department, but has not limited himself to that role. From helping to construct various projects around the track to earning the name “the snake wrangler,” Gibson is always willing to lend a hand. As this year’s Employee of the Year, Gibson received a trip to Las Vegas for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Dec. 5, among other perks.(CMS)(12-5-2014)


    News from December 4, 2014


  • Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 4:
    NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will take place from 11 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. in the Encore Ballroom at Wynn Las Vegas, where several team and individual awards will be presented. The event will be live-streamed on www.NASCAR.com.
    NASCAR Victory Lap: The green flag on the Victory Lap will fly at 3:30 p.m. when the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers parade down Las Vegas Boulevard in their race cars. NASCAR Victory Lap will start in front of the Miracle Mile Shops and finish at The LINQ Promenade. Fans will once again have the unique opportunity to experience the excitement of NASCAR with two burnout sections and viewing areas along the route. Portions of the event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and www.NASCAR.com will live-stream the event.
    NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford, Coca-Cola and Sprint: Another highly-anticipated event is NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford, Coca-Cola and Sprint, which will be held from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at The Pearl Theater inside Palms Casino Resort. Featuring the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers and a performance by country artist Cassadee Pope, the sold-out event will be live-streamed on www.NASCAR.com and will air later that evening on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio from midnight – 2 a.m. ET.(NASCAR)(12-4-2014)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Receives 2014 NMPA Myers Brothers Award: In recognition of his career achievements as a champion driver, team owner and philanthropist, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the recipient of the 2014 NMPA Myers Brothers Award, a prestigious accolade recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. “This doesn’t even seem real,” said an emotional Earnhardt after receiving the honor at the 2014 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held at Wynn Las Vegas. “The truth is obviously I’m extremely humbled by this award, but I feel like I share it on so many levels – my sister Kelley (Earnhardt Miller) along with everyone at JR Motorsports is as deserving of this as anyone. I have a lot of passions with NASCAR, but I wouldn’t be able to know how to make them realities without all those folks.” An accomplished driver, evidenced by his 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories and two NASCAR Nationwide Series championships, Earnhardt was cited just as much for his achievements outside his #88 Chevrolet, namely as the owner of JR Motorsports and a tireless community benefactor.
    This season, JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott became the youngest competitor to win a NASCAR national series championship after clinching the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series title. The 18 year old will likely join Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt as Sprint Cup regulars who have developed under Earnhardt full time at the Nationwide level.
    In addition to his Nationwide Series program, Earnhardt contributes to racing at its grassroots levels, fielding Late Model or Street Stock cars since founding JR Motorsports. His Late Model drivers Josh Berry and William Byron finished first and second, respectively, this season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Hickory Motor Speedway. Earnhardt’s work extends off the track into the community. He has made 235 appearances on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a number that ranks in the top five among professional athletes. Furthermore, his Dale Jr. Foundation raised $913,000 to be distributed to more than 70 different charities. “I’m just as proud of what we’ve accomplished there as anything we’ve ever done on the race track,” Earnhardt said about his foundation.
    The NMPA Myers Brothers Award has been presented annually since 1958 in the names of pioneer NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers and its winner is chosen by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association. Past recipients are a virtual who’s-who of the industry – drivers, owners, track operators, sponsors and members of the media – and include nearly every current member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.(NASCAR)(12-4-2014)

  • Awards from NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: Seventeen awards were given out at the 2014 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held at Wynn Las Vegas on Thursday, spanning from achievements in marketing, performance on the track and exemplary work in the garage. 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick garnered seven honors, including the 3M Lap Leader Award and Mobil 1 Driver of the Year. “This is really the first time I’ve gotten to stand up here and actually realize what we’ve accomplished,” Harvick said. “Thank you to everyone who has participated in making our sport what it is.”
    Here is the complete list of Thursday’s award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon:
    · NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    · Buddy Shuman Award: Bill Joyner, Sunoco’s Manager of Automotive Events
    · NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Toyota
    · 3M Lap Leader Award: Kevin Harvick
    · American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick
    · Coors Light Pole Award: Brad Keselowski
    · Duralast Brakes “Brake in the Race” Award: Kevin Harvick
    · Freescale “Wide Open” Award: Kevin Harvick
    · Goodyear Tires Award: Kevin Harvick
    · MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Billy Davis, Hendrick Engines #4 team
    · Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Stewart-Haas Racing #4 team
    · Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kevin Harvick
    · MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Luke Lambert, crew chief #31 Richard Childress Racing team
    · Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Matt Kenseth
    · Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Kevin Harvick
    · Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Kyle Larson
    · Champion Sponsor Award: Budweiser
    · Champion Crew Chief: Rodney Childers
    (NASCAR)(12-4-2014)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Announces 2015 Crew Chief Lineup: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced crew chief assignments for each of its four 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and three NASCAR XFINITY Series teams.
    JGR’s 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crew Chief lineup:
    Jason Ratcliff, #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth
    Dave Rogers, #11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin
    Darian Grubb, #19 Toyota driven by Carl Edwards
    Adam Stevens, #18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch
    (Rogers moves from #18 Cup team, Grubb moves from #11 Cup team, Stevens moves up from JGR’s NNS team)
    JGR’s 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Crew Chief lineup:
    Eric Phillips, #18 Toyota driven by Daniel Suarez
    Chris Gayle, #54 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
    Mike Wheeler, #20 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
    “With the expansion of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operations to four teams next year with the addition of Carl Edwards, we have been able to take a step back and evaluate each of our teams and make decisions that we feel are best for our organization long term,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Like Jason and Dave previously, Adam (Stevens) has clearly proven that he is ready to move into the Cup Series and we feel that his familiarity with Kyle (Busch) provides the opportunity for us to make that move now. We think pairing Dave (Rogers) with Denny (Hamlin) and Darian (Grubb) with Carl (Edwards) will also make each team stronger heading into next season. Jason (Ratcliff) and Matt (Kenseth) came together quickly and we felt it was in the best interest of the 20 team to keep it as is.
    Stevens joins the Sprint Cup Series after spending the previous four seasons as a crew chief in JGR’s NASCAR Nationwide Series. Over that time, Stevens has been a part of 31 wins, 73 top-five and 95 top-ten finishes in 124 starts.
    “The XFINITY Series has been very important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing. Not only from a driver development standpoint, but also in the development of crew chiefs and other team members that eventually make their way into our Cup programs. Mike Wheeler has been a vital part of our success with Denny on the Cup side and we’re excited that he will have a chance to be a crew chief. It is a similar transition to the one we made with Chris Gayle a couple of years ago, and Chris will remain with us, but move over to the 54 Toyota with Kyle. We’re also excited to have Eric Phillips join our operations from KBM to work with Daniel Suarez next season.”
    Mike Wheeler has been with JGR since December 2002 and served as the race engineer on the #11 Cup team since that team’s formation in 2005. He will now serve as crew chief on the #20 XFINITY team which will run a full season with multiple drivers. Gayle, who has served as the crew chief on JGR’s #11 Nationwide Series team the previous two seasons and was an engineer on JGR’s #18 Sprint Cup Series team prior to that, will now lead the organization’s #54 XFINITY Series team. Eric Phillips joins JGR from Kyle Busch Motorsports where he served as crew chief for the NASCAR Camping World Series Owner’s Championship #51 Tundra team. Phillips, who joined KBM in 2010, will work with Daniel Suarez on the #18 XFINITY Series team in 2015.(JGR)(12-4-2014)

  • Kyle Petty joins NBC’s Broadcast team: NBC Sports Group welcomes one of the most-liked personalities in motorsports to its multiplatform NASCAR coverage as Kyle Petty joins its upcoming race day broadcast team on NBC and NBCSN. Petty will work alongside host Krista Voda as an analyst during pre- and post-race shows surrounding Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series race coverage, which launches this July. In addition, Petty will continue his role as a regular contributor to NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN. The announcement was made today by Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN.
    “Kyle Petty brings a lifetime of experience to our team that is unmatched,” said Flood. “As a driver, team owner, philanthropist, and multigenerational observer of the sport, he has seen it all, and has great perspectives across NASCAR’s full spectrum.”
    “I learned the history of this sport from my grandfather, I saw the history made by my father, and I was a competitor to some of the greatest drivers in the history of NASCAR,” said Petty. “I’m excited to be a part of NBC’s return to NASCAR. During this past year as a guest analyst on NASCAR AMERICA, I saw firsthand the commitment, energy and excitement that this team has for the sport that I love. I can’t wait for the fans to see the same.”
    The appointment of Petty follows previous NBC Sports NASCAR on-air announcements for analysts Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte, race announcer Rick Allen, pre- and post-race host Krista Voda, and reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro and Dave Burns. Throughout his racing years and since retirement in 2008, he has worked as an on-air commentator for several networks, including TNT, SPEED, ESPN, Turner, Fox Sports 1 and the Performance Racing Network.(NBC)(12-4-2014)

  • NASCAR expects to begin talks to extend deal with Sprint: Feeling bullish after the first season of the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format, NASCAR COO Brent Dewar expressed plenty of confidence about the future during a one-on-one interview yesterday at the ’14 NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, held at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. Dewar said the mainstream allure of the new knockout-style Chase reinvigorated both fans and the industry, leading to growth in ratings and the potential for new sponsorships. Dewar said he expects more drama in the early part of next season as drivers start to utilize what they learned this season about how the new format works. He added that he expects ESPN to continue to cover the sport meaningfully despite the fact that media rights are shifting to NBC and Fox. Dewar, a longtime GM exec before joining NASCAR, also revealed that he and other key execs will soon begin talks with Sprint, whose title sponsorship runs through ’16, about a new deal. Citing Sprint’s recent challenges in the telecom industry, Dewar conceded that the task will be a tall one. “That will be a big effort,” he said.(Sports Business Daily)(12-4-2014)

  • NBC & FOX join forces to co-create on-air promotion: FOX Sports and NBC Sports have co-created an adrenaline-charged on-air promotion that is set to unfold on multiple network platforms. The announcement was made as part of a panel featuring NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus and FOX Sports President, COO and Executive Producer Eric Shanks at the 2014 Sports Business Journal Motorsports Marketing Forum in Las Vegas. Overseen by NBC Sports Group’s CMO John Miller and Robert Gottlieb, EVP of Marketing, FOX Sports, the collaboration is designed to promote the 2015 season and further the momentum NASCAR has been enjoying since the thrilling conclusion of the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In February, the green flag waves over a new 10-year broadcasting partnership in which FOX Sports and FOX Sports 1 handle the Daytona 500 and first half of the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series seasons, before turning over the keys to NBC and NBCSN for the seasons’ second half and the reinvigorated Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.(NBC / FOX)(12-4-2014)

  • Chevy SS to go away?: The SS is the first Chevrolet-badged V8 sedan launched in the last 17 years, yet it seems GM (General Motors) is not all that content with it and will not give it a follow-up model. It was confirmed to Motoring, on the sidelines of the SEMA show in Las Vegas, when they asked for information on a possible next rear-driven Holden Commodore (now a rebadged SS). We (almost) know for a fact that the next Commodore will be an Opel Insignia based model (or a rebadged Buick made in China), and therefor fwd-biased and unable to carry a V8 under its bonnet. It will be a very different vehicle to the current Commodore/SS and it will be curious to see what GM replaces it with in the US.(CarSnoops)
    AND When reached for comment by Autoblog, Chevy spokesperson Michael Albano said the automaker isn’t able to discuss the SS beyond the 2015 model year.(Autoblog)
    AND While General Motors Company execs have hinted in the past that the Alpha rear-wheel-drive platform could be used for a successor the SS, one built here in the U.S., a report out of Australia claims there will be no such successor. The news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as SS sales for the year through October totaled a paltry 2,281 cars, though it should be noted that GM has limited the car’s availability. GM also has CAFE regulations to deal with, so renewing a slow-selling V-8 sedan isn’t likely to be much of a priority for the automaker.(Motor Authority)
    MORE The Chevrolet SS Sedan has a bit of a troubled life. Since it was just revealed for the US market, reinvigorating GM’s ability to make a rear-wheel drive sports sedan for North America, despite being an Australian-made GM sedan, the SS’s future is already in trouble as GM’s global operations plans to shut the doors on Holden, meaning the SS won’t have any spare barebones parts from Holden’s Commodore line to base its own self on. That said, Australia’s Motoring said the next generation SS sedan could follow its roots back to origin by being based on the Impala, to reignite the classic combo of the Impala SS. This could also mean the Impala might go rear-wheel drive in general as the new SS was rumored to be based on the new Alpha platform, the same rear-wheel drive platform as the Cadillac CTS, the ATS, and the future CT6.(egmCarTech)(12-4-2014)

  • Congrats…twice for #55 crewman: Rear tire carrier on the MWR #55 Toyota Blake Haugland started his honeymoon with wife Melissa in Cozumel Mexico by competing in the Cozumel Ironman, Sunday November 30th. Blake finished the ironman in 12:07:42 by Swimming 2.4Miles in 1:12:41, Biking 112.5 Miles in 6:24:46 and Running 26.2 Miles in 4:19:03.Finishing 74th in his division, 432 overall out of a field of 2292 athletes.(12-4-2014)
  • Last day to vote for Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists: Voting for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists ends today, Thursday, December 4 at 11:59pm/et, is your last day to vote for your favorite finalist at NASCAR.com/award. More info on Jayski’s Racing Charities page. The Fourth Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award national winner will be announced on Friday, December 5 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards show.

  • Former stock car driver faces meth charges: A former NASCAR driver is facing several drug-related charges after officers reportedly found meth-making materials in the outdoor garbage can of his Goose Creek home. Robert Powell, 49, is charged with possession of meth, and manufacturing of meth. According to a police report, investigators collected a garbage can by the house, which was set by the curb for pick-up. Investigators informed the Drug Enforcement Agency, which noted it found many meth-making materials in the can, including empty containers of drain cleaner, batteries and cold medicine. Agents say many syringes were found, including one that tested positive for meth. Powell and another resident, Elma Buchanan, were both arrested and charged. Powell competed in many NASCAR-sanctioned races in the 1980’s (and 1990’s including 15 Nationwide races)(wistv.com)(12-4-2014)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing announces crew chief lineup: Joe Gibbs Racing announces crew chief assignments for each of its four 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and three NASCAR XFINITY Series teams.
    JGR’s 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crew Chief lineup:
    Jason Ratcliff, #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth
    Dave Rogers, #11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin
    Darian Grubb, #19 Toyota driven by Carl Edwards
    Adam Stevens, #18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch
    JGR’s 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Crew Chief lineup:
    Eric Phillips, #18 Toyota driven by Daniel Suarez
    Chris Gayle, #54 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
    Mike Wheeler, #20 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
    “With the expansion of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operations to four teams next year with the addition of Carl Edwards, we have been able to take a step back and evaluate each of our teams and make decisions that we feel are best for our organization long term,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “The XFINITY Series has been very important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing. Not only from a driver development standpoint, but also in the development of crew chiefs and other team members that eventually make their way into our Cup programs. Mike Wheeler has been a vital part of our success with Denny on the Cup side and we’re excited that he will have a chance to be a crew chief. It is a similar transition to the one we made with Chris Gayle a couple of years ago, and Chris will remain with us, but move over to the #54 Toyota with Kyle. We’re also excited to have Eric Phillips join our operations from KBM to work with Daniel Suarez next season.”
    Mike Wheeler has been with JGR since December 2002 and served as the race engineer on the #11 Cup team since that team’s formation in 2005. He will now serve as crew chief on the #20 XFINITY team which will run a full season with multiple drivers. Gayle, who has served as the crew chief on JGR’s #11 Nationwide Series team the previous two seasons and was an engineer on JGR’s #18 Sprint Cup Series team prior to that, will now lead the organization’s #54 XFINITY Series team. Eric Phillips joins JGR from Kyle Busch Motorsports where he served as crew chief for the NASCAR Camping World Series Owner’s Championship #51 Tundra team. Phillips, who joined KBM in 2010, will work with Daniel Suarez on the #18 XFINITY Series team in 2015.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-4-2014)


    News from December 3, 2014


  • New look for the M&M car in 2015: Kyle Busch goes green in 2015 as the #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry will take the track for 24 races next season, starting with the Daytona 500 (JGR), see an image of the scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page.(12-4-2014)

  • Furniture Row Racing Announces New Crew Chief: Furniture Row Racing announced that Cole Pearn has been promoted from lead race engineer to crew chief of the #78 Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Pearn, 32, replaces Todd Berrier, who has been offered a key position to remain at Furniture Row Racing. Joe Garone, Furniture Row Racing’s general manager, said the team has also made new hires to strengthen the engineering staff. “In an effort to continue to move the team forward we feel the personnel changes and new additions will yield positive results on the race track,” said Garone. “Cole has played a vital role in our growth. The well-rounded skill sets that be brings to the table in his new position as crew chief will he instrumental in our commitment to once again become a Chase participant. As a former racer and an experienced engineer, Cole has a thorough understanding of what it takes to bring us to that level.” Pearn initially joined Furniture Row Racing from Richard Childress Racing at the start of the 2010 season. He led Furniture Row’s race-engineering staff through mid-year of 2011. He returned to the Denver-based team as the lead race engineer in the middle of 2012. “I am looking forward with a great deal of enthusiasm to continue our work in progress at Furniture Row Racing,” said Pearn. “The ownership is 100 percent committed of fielding a competitive team on a weekly basis. We have the resources to be a Chase contender.” A native of London, Ontario, Pearn competed as a racer in what is now known as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. He also raced late models and was a three-time Canadian national go-kart champion. Pearn is a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario.(FRR)(12-3-2014)

  • Stewart has surgery on leg, heads to Vegas: #14-Tony Stewart has undergone a fourth surgery on the leg he broke last year during a sprint car race in Iowa. Stewart was released from the hospital on Wednesday. He was then headed to Las Vegas to celebrate Stewart-Haas Racing teammate #4-Kevin Harvick’s championship. Stewart broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg during the Aug. 5, 2013, crash and underwent two surgeries immediately after the accident, including one to insert a metal rod inside the tibia. A third surgery last year was to close a wound on his shin. Stewart spokesman Mike Arning called Monday’s surgery in Charlotte, NC, the equivalent of routine maintenance. Arning said Stewart will be on crutches in Las Vegas, where he will attend an industry-wide luncheon on Thursday and the season-ending awards ceremony that will fete Harvick. But because of the surgery, Stewart will defer team owner duties to co-owner Gene Haas. SHR will have Haas sit with Harvick at the head table and handle speaking duties, while Stewart planned to sit in the audience.(Associated Press)(12-3-2014)

  • Goodyear tire test set for Charlotte: The official start of the 2015 NASCAR season is more than two months away, but four Sprint Cup Series teams will be back on the track next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Goodyear officials have scheduled a tire test for Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 9-10 at the 1.5-mile speedway, with representatives from each of the three auto manufacturers scheduled to participate. The test is not open to public. Slated to take part in the test are drivers #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #9-Sam Hornish Jr., and #19-Carl Edwards. One of three entries from Richard Childress Racing will participate as well although RCR officials declined to confirm which team would be involved. The organization fields Chevy teams for drivers Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman. It will be the first official on-track effort for Edwards since the 35-year-old departed Roush Fenway Racing to join JGR as well as the first for Hornish with RPM.(NASCAR.com)(12-3-2014)

  • Darrell & Michael Waltrip receive NMPA Spirit Award: Three-time NASCAR premier series champion Darrell Waltrip and younger brother Michael, a two-time winner of the Daytona 500, have been named fourth-quarter recipients of the National Motorsports Press Association Spirit Award for 2014. The two were recognized for their annual Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event, which raised $450,000 through a dinner, auction and golf tournament. Proceeds from the fifth annual event will benefit the Motor Racing Outreach (MRO), a non-profit organization that ministers to the needs of the families of those involved in NASCAR; Feed the Children, one of the largest U.S.-based anti-hunger organizations; and Tucker’s House, which seeks to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities that require home modifications for safety, accessibility and therapy. Also receiving votes for the fourth quarter were the Kyle Busch Foundation and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Joey Coulter. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. The Waltrips join Lynda Petty, wife of seven-time premier series champion Richard Petty, Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr., and long-time car owner W.C. “Junie” Donlavey as this year’s quarterly award recipients. An overall winner of the 2014 NMPA Spirit Award will be determined by a vote of the NMPA membership and announced during the association’s annual convention, scheduled for Jan. 25, 2015 in Concord, N.C.(NMPA)(12-3-2014)

  • Most popular driver to be announced Friday: The National Motorsports Press Association will announce the winner of this year’s Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Award during Friday evening’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas. The award has been a part of the annual Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held the day before the Sprint Cup ceremony in recent years. However, Sprint’s sponsorship of the program, which began this year, provided the NMPA the opportunity to make the presentation as part of Friday’s ceremony. It will mark just the second time in recent years that the award has been moved to Friday’s program. In 2001, Teresa Earnhardt, widow of seven-time premier series champion Dale Earnhardt, accepted the award on behalf of her husband during the annual awards show. Earnhardt’s son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has won the MPD award for the past 11 seasons. Only NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott has more MPD awards with 16. The Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Award is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote.(NASCAR.com)(12-3-2014)

  • Arrest warrant issued for Tyler Walker: Tuesday, 5th District Judge Eric Ludlow issued an arrest warrant for former NASCAR driver Timothy Tyler Andrew Walker after Walker failed to mail in his plea agreement or appear in court in lieu of the agreement. Walker was originally arrested after leading police on a high speed chase in January 2013. Defense attorney Trevor Terry told Ludlow that Walker had mailed in his plea agreement but accidentally mailed in the wrong agreement. Terry said he was expecting the correct plea agreement to arrive Tuesday afternoon, but Ludlow’s patience was short. This is the 13th time a resolution to this case has been stalled, and Walker has failed to mail in his plea multiple times. This led to a quick decision by Ludlow to issue a warrant for Walker’s arrest. “The court has been more than patient. The court has been more than fair,” Ludlow said. “I’m issuing a $25,000 cash-only warrant. I said that if (the plea agreement) was not here today, this morning, right now, that he would have to be here. I won’t accept an agreement anymore.”(St. George News)(12-3-2014)
  • NASCAR considering changes to Xfinity, Trucks championship format: NASCAR is discussing how to determine the XFINITY and Camping World Truck champions this coming season. Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer for NASCAR, declined to say Wednesday to Motor Racing Network what the format will be for those two series this coming season. “We look at every championship every year,” O’Donnell said after speaking at Sports Business Journal’s Motorsports Marketing Forum at Aria Resort. “I can’t tell you if it’s going to change. We’re still looking at it.” Although NASCAR is examining the issue, it does not mean that a change is coming. Still, NASCAR is pleased with the results of the new Chase format, which created a buzz with its eliminations and one-race championship battle at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “We think we hit a home run,” O’Donnell said about the Chase during his presentation. “We are really excited with how it came out. I think one of the biggest assets of the Chase is the dialogue around the number of teams, which means more sponsors are being talked about, more drivers. If you take that same mentality, why wouldn’t we want 10 or 12 drivers being talked about in the XFINITY Series, 10 or 12 drivers being talked about Camping World? I’m not saying we’re there yet, but there is some dialogue going on about what we could do in the future.”(Motor Racing Network)(12-3-2014)

  • Elenz to be named crew chief for JR Motorsports UPDATE: The trend is continuing at JR Motorsports for promoting Hendrick Motorsports’ engineers as crew chiefs. Dave Elenz will be the new crew chief for the #5 JRM Chevy in 2015. He is replacing Ernie Cope, who is taking the place of Greg Ives on the #9 crew with driver Chase Elliott. Ives, the former team engineer for Jimmie Johnson at HMS, was named Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief for next season. Elenz, a Gaylord Mich.-native who attended Clemson University, moved from the #88 team with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and replaced Ives on the #48 Hendrick team after the 2013 season. Ives spent one year with Regan Smith at JRM before guiding Elliott to the top of the standings this season. Elenz started at Jasper Racing, where he first met JRM competition director Ryan Pemberton. The pair worked together at Ginn Racing and Red Bull Racing prior to Elenz joining the Hendrick Motorsports stable. The #5 team campaigned with Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne this season.(Motorsport), the team is expected to change from the #5 to #88 next season.(11-3-2014)
    UPDATE: JR Motorsports announced the additions of Dave Elenz and Jason Burdett to its 2015 crew chief lineup. The two newcomers join veteran Ernie Cope to complete the crew chief roster that JR Motorsports will take into the new NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Elenz will serve as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s, Kevin Harvick’s, and Kasey Kahne’s crew chief on the multi-driver #88 team (formerly the #5/88 team). Burdett will serve as Regan Smith’s crew chief on the #7 Taxslayer.com team, allowing Ryan Pemberton to return to his original post as the company’s director of competition. Both Elenz and Burdett come to JR Motorsports by way of Hendrick Motorsports. Cope begins his second season at JR Motorsports but will transition to the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team and spearhead Chase Elliott’s defense of his 2014 XFINITY Series championship. The upcoming season will be Cope’s 13th as a crew chief. Despite his 14 career victories, this will mark only the second time Cope has been paired with a full-time driver to compete for a championship. Previously an engineer on both the #88 and #48 teams at Hendrick Motorsports, Elenz is a native of Gaylord, Michigan, and graduate of Clemson University. He joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 as engineer on Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 team after stints at Jasper Racing (2001-02), Ginn Racing (2003-07) and Red Bull Racing (2009-11). Elenz spent one year on the #88 team before becoming an engineer on Jimmie Johnson’s championship-winning team in 2013. Burdett is a native of Arkport, New York. His 17-year NASCAR career includes eight seasons as a car chief at Hendrick Motorsports for Johnson (2002), Jeff Gordon (2008-10) and Earnhardt Jr. (2011-14). He also was on Dale Jarrett’s teams at Robert Yates Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing, the latter in which he served as Jarrett’s crew chief for a bulk of the 2007 season. Burdett played an integral role in Earnhardt Jr.’s four-win 2014 season, in which the team earned a Daytona 500 victory, a Pocono sweep, and a long-awaited Martinsville win. All three JRM teams will compete in the full 33-race XFINITY Series schedule in 2015. Elliott and Smith will vie for the driver’s championship, while the #88 team will compete for the owner’s championship with multiple drivers. A full schedule of drivers for the #88 team is still being finalized.(JR Motorsports)(12-3-2014)
  • Keselowski limits involvement despite financial loss: Brad Keselowski says his NASCAR Camping Work Truck team lost $1 million this past season and admits he’s at his financial breaking point. Keselowski revealed his team’s financial loss Tuesday while speaking at the Motorsports Marketing Forum sponsored by Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal. Keselowski said that his organization brings in between $7-$8 million in revenue a year and loses about $1 million a season. “The role that I have as an owner in the Truck Series is not about the financials,” he said. “There’s a lot better investments.” Keselowski, who grew up in a racing family, continues to operate the team despite the losses to reinvest in the sport.
    Brad Keselowski Racing will field two teams this coming season. Tyler Reddick will drive the #19 Truck. The driver for the #29 Truck has yet to be announced. Keselowski said he’ll run only three races in that Truck.
    The organization suffered financial hardships despite its most successful season this past year. Ryan Blaney finished second in the points, scoring one win. Reddick, running a majority of the races, finished 12th in points. Keselowski ran three races, winning once. So, how does Keselowski hope to help his team survive? “It’s really simple, you’ve got to cut costs and raise more revenue,” he told Motor Racing Network. “It’s easier said than done. It’s all hands on deck to make that happen. I worry all the time about it. “I’m not interested in being involved in the Truck Series if I don’t feel like we can be competitive. My breaking point is two areas – it’s going broke and not being competitive. We have to walk that line every day with every decision we make.” One solution would be for Keselowski to run more races. It’s easier to find sponsorship for established drivers – especially a Sprint Cup champion such as Keselowski – than drivers who are not as well known to sponsors. It’s among the reasons why some Cup drivers race in Truck and Nationwide events. Keselowski, though, is steadfast in his three-race limit. “I refuse to run more than that,” Keselowski told MRN. “That’s my breaking point. It’s about feeling right about my level of involvement. I don’t want to run 10 races and the question becomes what am I doing here? Am I doing this because I want to win races as a driver or I want to win races as an owner? “If I’m doing it to just to win races as a driver, quite honestly, it doesn’t make any sense because essentially I’m paying to win a Truck race or to run a Truck race. Why would I want to do that? That’s not reinvesting in the sport. “If I ran the whole season I could bring in all the revenue to prop the program up. I feel like once you get over three races as a Cup driver in the Truck series you’ve kind of worn out your welcome.”(Motor Racing Network)(12-3-2014)
  • Print at home and have Martinsville tickets for Christmas: What’s the easiest way to make sure there are Martinsville Speedway tickets under the Christmas tree? Martinsville Speedway’s print-at-home tickets. The print-at-home option allows you to have access to your tickets for the STP 500 on March 29 almost immediately. “This is a great way fans can guarantee they have Martinsville tickets for Christmas morning,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “It’s an easy process that just takes a few minutes online. And I guarantee it will help make for a lot of smiles Christmas day.” The print-at-home process is simple. First, call Martinsville Speedway at 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com and order your tickets. After selecting the print-at-home delivery option, log-in to your account from the track website and print your tickets. Tickets for the STP 500 weekend, including the Virginia Lottery Pole Day on March 27 and the Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on March 28 and the STP 500 on March 29 are on sale.(Martinsville Speedway)(12-3-2014)


    News from December 2, 2014


  • Wise will return to #98 team: After competing in 35 Sprint Cup races for Phil Parsons Racing in 2014, Josh Wise will return to the driver’s seat for the team in 2015. Wise, who is in his first season with Phil Parsons Racing, finished 36th in the final point standings. Finishing on the lead lap four times, Wise’s best finish of 2014, a 20th place effort, came at Talladega in May. Wise talked about how he wants to continue driving for the single-car operation. “This is where I plan to be,” he said. “I think that [co-owner] Phil [Parsons], myself, we all came into this this year knowing that we wanted to work hard and build this thing from the ground up.” Phil Parsons said he’s grateful for the team’s backing from different sponsors this year. Parsons hopes 2015 can attract more sponsorship, but said the off-season will be a busy time. “We’ll be in a building mode,” he said. “People don’t realize you don’t have quite the travel that you have during the season, obviously, but you work just as hard-probably more hours during the off-season, building new cars, repairing cars, putting new bodies on cars, things like that.”(The Racing Experts)(12-2-2014)
  • NASCAR driver Brian Rose accused of scamming investors UPDATE: A former NASCAR driver is at the center of a $15 million fraud investigation and is accused of creating a fake coal mining company to get money from investors. Federal agents launched a massive investigation into Brian Rose after an alleged victim from Charlotte came forward. The Secret Service said the accused tried to cover every detail to convince investors it was the real deal. In the indictment, federal prosecutors named Rose as the ringleader of this elaborate coal-mining scheme. The defendants would call investors saying New Century Coal was looking to mine low sulfur and low ash coal in Kentucky and Tennessee, according to the documents. They promised a quarterly return of 6 percent until operations began. After that, investors would receive 100 percent or more during the first year of mining. The indictment stated the nine defendants were very careful to cover their tracks. Two of them legally changed their names and attached those names to New Century Coal. The defendants also created ghost companies to ease investors’ suspicions. Prosecutors said the defendants also spent part of the $15 million on “lavish gambling trips to Las Vegas” and buying and training thoroughbred horses. All nine defendants are now charged with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. The Secret Service already seized a number of race cars, race horses and property from Rose and the other defendants. Channel 9 learned Rose’s father was sentenced to four years in prison for bilking $15 million out of investors for fraudulent oil and gas companies. The Secret Service said they are currently investigating another company called Earth Energy Exploration that was run by Rose and his family.(WSOC), Rose ran 41 Camping World Truck Series races between 2001 & 2010. He attempted the October 2002 Sprint Cup race at Martinsville, but did not qualify.(6-28-2014)
    UPDATE: Former NASCAR driver Brian Rose has entered an agreement to plead guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud in association with a scheme that federal authorities allege he spearheaded to raise money, including funding to revive his racing career. The plea agreement was filed Monday in federal court in Tennessee. Rose faces a likely sentence between eight and 20 years in jail plus restitution, according to the sentencing levels described in the agreement. The government, in return for the plea, will drop additional charges of wire fraud that were part of the Ponzi scheme that the indictment states bilked more than 160 coal mine investors of $15 million.Once suspended by NASCAR for violating its substance-abuse policy, Rose’s past marijuana and drug paraphernalia conviction, three DUI convictions and an assault conviction could increase his sentence. The 35-year-old driver has been in federal custody since June. No sentencing date has been set, and a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office had no comment. Rose’s attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.
    Rose competed in 41 Camping World Truck Series races, primarily in 2001-02. He was suspended in April 2003 when he failed to take a NASCAR-mandated drug test, which he said at the time that he went to the wrong location. Five months later, he was arrested on drug possession charges. He was reinstated in 2010 and competed in three events that year. He hasn’t competed in NASCAR since, but did compete in two ARCA races in 2011 and the 2014 season opener at Daytona.
    According to the indictment, Rose, who went under the fake name of John Hankins, lured investors for coal mines, promising quarterly payments of six percent, a 100 percent return in the first year plus royalties of $4 per ton of coal produced. The government also asserts that after the Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating in late 2013, Rose continued the Ponzi scheme under the guise of a new business entity, according to court filings. Rose and his co-conspirators created ghost vendor companies to help with the scheme and when no funds were paid, they persuaded investors to swap ownership to different mines, allegedly providing false financial statements, list of mining expenses and documentation of coal produced. While the money went for Las Vegas trips and to purchase several horses, the indictment said Rose used some of the money for his race team and “acquisition of racing cars.” Federal authorities are well acquainted with the Rose family. His father was once convicted of tax evasion and ordered to pay $15.4 million to settle securities fraud allegations.(Sporting News)(12-2-2014)


    News from December 1, 2014


  • 2014 Most Mentioned Drivers: According to Joyce Julius, a company that tracks media mentions for sport sponsors, Kevin Harvick was the most-mentioned NASCAR driver on TV this year, but Jeff Gordon grabbed the most interview time. The top 10:
    #4-Kevin Harvick, 54 interviews, time of 53:12, 5,740 media mentions
    #24-Jeff Gordon, 47 interviews, time of 1:00:33, 5,094 media mentions
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 47 interviews, time of 42:41, 4,830 media mentions
    #2-Brad Keselowski, 45 interviews, time of 41:30, 4,164 media mentions
    #22-Joey Logano, 40 interviews, time of 43:00, 3,482 media mentions
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., 50 interviews, time of 56:32, 3,311 media mentions
    #20-Matt Kenseth, 40 interviews, time of 36:16, 2,892 media mentions
    #11-Denny Hamlin, 37 interviews, time of 39:29, 2,768 media mentions
    #18-Kyle Busch, 31 interviews, time of 24:27, 2,371 media mentions
    #5-Kasey Kahne, 25 interviews, time of 24:13, 1,889 media mentions
    Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. (Joyce Julius)(12-1-2014)

  • Richard and Kyle Petty named Persons Of The Year: Weave your way through Randleman, North Carolina, past its verdant pastures and timeworn gas stations, and you’ll happen upon a magical place. About four miles outside town, a stone’s throw from Richard Petty’s residence, you’ll find Victory Junction. But it might as well be at the intersection of healing and hope. The 80-acre camp, situated on land that Petty roamed as a child before donating it a dozen years ago, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Since it opened in 2004, Victory Junction has enriched the lives of children with serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences at no cost to them or their families. It has also honored the memory of Adam Petty in a most fitting way. Due to that incredible achievement, NASCAR Illustrated is naming Richard and Kyle Petty the 2014 Persons Of The Year. Although they would surely prefer the award go to the thousands of people who have helped turn Adam’s idea into reality, we honor these two for their tireless efforts and singular contribution to children. Victory Junction has welcomed more than 20,000 children and family members from all 50 states and several foreign countries in its first decade of operation. It has succeeded in its mission to create a place that fosters independence, confidence and continuous growth after camp to better the quality of life for children. Adam’s legacy is palpable on these healing grounds. The patriarch of the Petty family noted that he’d been blessed with four children, 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. His singular success in stock car racing afforded fame, fortune and worldwide acclaim. And yet, at 77, you get the suspicion that what’s been built in the rolling hills of Randleman will mean more to him in the end. “This is the place that I come and I look around and say, ‘Thank you, good Lord, for letting me be in this position to try to help all these other kids,’ ” he said. “To me, that’s basically what it’s all about.” For Kyle Petty, the loss of his son served as prelude to healing on a grander scale than any of the family members could have imagined. He was asked what Adam would think, how he might feel, about the number of lives that have been so positively impacted by Victory Junction since it opened. “It’s been like dropping not a pebble in still water, it’s been like dropping a boulder in still water with the ripple effect and how it continues to just overwhelm you,” he said. “I think from that perspective, he would be like us. He would just be humbled by the fact that the boulder that was dropped in the water was him, but when you look at it, the ripple effect still continues this much later.”(NASCAR.com), see more about the camp on the Victory Junction Gang Camp page..(12-1-2014)