News from December 31, 2015

  • Ragan to Ride on Shriners Hospitals for Children Float in 2016 Rose Parade on New Year’s Day: Shriners Hospitals for Children is scheduled to participate in the 127th Rose Parade for the sixth consecutive year. This year, NASCAR driver and Shriner David Ragan will be one of the 11 float riders to be part of the 2016 float Fezzy Races to Adventure. “I am honored to be a part of this tradition and hope to be able to spread the word about these two wonderful organizations, Shriners Hospitals and Shriners International,” said Ragan. “Racing is such a big part of my life and I thought this was such an appropriate and fun theme to encourage kids to keep strong and enjoy the adventures that life will bring.”(Breaking Limits)(12-31-2015)
  • Sad News – Marvin Panch: Marvin Panch, who gained fame by winning the 1961 Daytona 500 while driving Smokey Yunick’s backup stock car, died Thursday. Panch, 89, was born in Oakland, CA, but spent a good part of his life in Port Orange, FL with his wife Bettie. They raised two children, Richie and Marvette. Richie died in an airplane crash in 1985. Bettie passed away in 2006. Panch was found unresponsive in his car Thursday morning and pronounced dead of natural causes a short while later. He raced NASCAR in the 1950s and 1960’s and made 216 Sprint Cup Series starts and won 17 races, including that 500. Panch had a near-death experience at Daytona International Speedway in 1963, when he flipped a sports car, which caught on fire, during a practice run over the track’s road course. Several people near the crash site, including NASCAR Grand American driver Tiny Lund, came to his rescue. Panch suffered excessive burns and was unable to start the 1963 Daytona 500 for Wood Brothers Racing. The injured driver asked Wood Brothers to put Lund in his place. The team agreed and Lund went on to score the 1963 Daytona 500 victory. Panch’s last NASCAR start was in 1966. He worked in the automobile and racing business until he retired about two decades ago. After retirement, he did extensive traveling. He was heavily involved with the local club, Living Legends of Auto Racing.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-31-2015)
    NASCAR statement on the passing of Marvin Panch For more than 60 years, Marvin Panch was a familiar and friendly face around NASCAR and Daytona Beach. He was one of the true pioneers of the sport, winning races across several NASCAR divisions, including the 1961 Daytona 500. As one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, he represented the sport with class both on and off the track. Marvin will be missed dearly, especially as we approach Speedweeks at Daytona international Speedway, where he was a fixture.(NASCAR)(12-31-2015)
  • Johanna Long engaged; looking for NASCAR ride: After competing in the Snowball Derby weeks ago, former event champion and Pensacola native Johanna Long is focused on what’s next in the new year. It could be eventful. When 2015 began, Long and Mike Affarano announced their plans to race in select Xfinity and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, but those plans didn’t work out. The biggest news for Long … came in August. She announced her engagement Aug. 9 to fellow race car driver Hunter Robbins, a Montgomery native, who grew up with Long racing at Five Flags Speedway. Long would not confirm on when the wedding date is set. But while wedding bells are in Long and Robbins’ future, the Pensacola native who resides in Mooresville is looking at her future. “I have been working on me and focusing on myself,” Long said. “I want to be in the best shape possible for me physically and mentally when and if another opportunity arises for me with another race team.” The 23-year-old driver, who grew up in Pensacola and became only the second female driver in history to win the Snowball Derby, understands that opportunities do not always come her way. Long, on more than one occasion, has seen opportunities close on her career since winning the derby at her home track of Five Flags Speedway. Now with 2016 approaching, Long is not going to be disappointed if she does not get a call or opportunity to drive in one of NASCAR’s top tiers. “If I never get another opportunity, I have driven in NASCAR for four years and accomplished what I have dreamed of doing since I started in go-karts,” said Long. “If I never get a chance to race again in NASCAR no one can take away from me what I have done.(Pensacola News Journal)(12-31-2015)
  • Despite layoffs, NTS hoping to continue in 2016: Following a Facebook post from crew chief Ryan McKinney about the immediate suspension of operations for NTS Motorsports’ NASCAR Camping World Truck Series program, the organization has confirmed it will continue to compete in 2016. In an interview with Brennan Newberry, son of team owner Bob Newberry, he tells Frontstretch that while the organization’s future is currently clouded, rumors that the team is no more are false. McKinney posted to social media the weekend before Christmas, discussing his departure from the organization, which first enabled him to serve on top of the pit box in 2014. However, the organization says it will continue on in 2016. Negotiations are underway for a replacement for Hemric, who finished the year seventh in the standings, with four top 5s and 13 top 10s. “He [McKinney] was released, but as far as the team shutting down, that is false,” Brennan Newberry says. “It is a business when you get into these levels of having other drivers. You need drivers and sponsors, and that also means you need money. There are a lot of good drivers and sponsors that we are in negotiations with and are talking to. Until the contracts are signed, you aren’t really sure of what is going to happen. “On the NTS Motorsports side, we are 100 percent committed to pull the trigger at any time. We are just waiting on the secondary parties, like sponsors and drivers to put their names on the dotted line to get the funds for the team. We’re in a waiting period and it’s always scary for our employees. We have to look at our program as a business and as we would as a family. We have to think of our employees and we think of them as part of our family to give them the best opportunities and options going into the 2016 season.” Along with McKinney, NTS Motorsports released an undisclosed number of employees, but Newberry notes that it was “quite a few of them.” The team is willing to re-hire some of the crew members, but cannot do so until plans are solidified for 2016. The organization released the employees on the weekend of Dec. 19, according to Newberry. NTS cannot solidify any driver-sponsor combinations until after the new year begins, when it can then proceed to the latter stages of negotiations. (Frontstretch)(12-31-2015)

    News from December 30, 2015

  • Rogers surprised by crew chief changes at JGR: Dave Rogers will start the 2016 season as crew chief for the #19 of Carl Edwards after spending a season as the crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin. The move was part of an announcement a couple of weeks ago that also included the return of Mike Wheeler to the #11. Rogers, appearing on SiriusXM NASCAR radio, said he accepts the move even though it surprised him, especially after Hamlin and all four Joe Gibbs Racing teams made the Chase for the Sprint Cup. “Denny’s a brother to me,” Rogers said. “I love him to death. It caught me off guard, ‘You want me to work with someone other than Denny?'” Roger has spent the majority of his career with JGR. Before the 2015 season, Rogers worked on the #18 of Kyle Busch for five years. He said the decision to make the move came down to trying to improve the communication and chemistry of a “true four-car team.”
    “A couple of years ago we were tough on ourselves,” Roger said. “We openly admitted that we missed the boat on speed, the cars weren’t good enough. We were really tough on each other. The guys at the shop rebounded with such character and integrity. You have to capitalize on those situations. It’s not every year you get cars like that. Some years you’re on. Some years you’re off. Coach and the management staff felt there was room for improvement with the 19 and 11 … and they made some changes. That’s one thing that’s really complicated about JGR, we’re a true four-car team,” Rogers said. “We’re four cars working together. There’s eight race engineers sitting in a cubicle working together. All four crew chiefs sit shoulder-to-shoulder. It’s a huge team. I think we work together more than I believe other teams do and that makes it extremely complicated. There’s a ton of relationships in that that have to be managed.”(In part from NBC Sports / SiriusXM NASCAR radio)(12-30-2015)

  • McMurray and Larson to run in the Rolex 24 at Daytona: Seven-time IMSA Champions and six-time and defending Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners Ford Chip Ganassi Racing (FCGR) announced that they will field two Prototype (P) class entries at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2016. The addition of the #01 and #02 Ford EcoBoost Prototypes brings the FCGR car count to a team-record four entries for the race after previously announcing a pair of Ford GTs last month. Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ (CGRT) four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon joins teammates Tony Kanaan (2004 Champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 Winner), Kyle Larson (#42 Chevy in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 2014 Rookie of the Year) and Jamie McMurray (#1 Chevy in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 Winner) in the #02 car to defend their 2015 win, while FCGR newcomer and FIA European Formula 3 Championship race winner Lance Stroll will join former Formula One driver Alex Wurz, reigning WEC (World Endurance Championship) LMP1 Champion Brendon Hartley and three-time FIA World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx in the #01 machine.
    Kyle Larson will be racing for the third time in the Rolex 24 At Daytona after winning the event in 2015 alongside teammates Dixon, Kanaan, and McMurray.
    Jamie McMurray has competed in the Rolex 24 At Daytona seven times with FCGR (2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) and had his best finish in 2015 with an overall win alongside teammates Dixon, Kanaan, and Larson. With his victory in the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona, McMurray joined the exclusive company of two other racing legends, Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt, as the only drivers to win both the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Daytona 500.(CGR)(12-30-2015)

    News from December 29, 2015

  • Danica Patrick’s father returns to his go-kart roots: #10-Danica Patrick’s father is back to business in the go-kart game. T.J. Patrick has started a new kart team with the sole purpose of developing promising talent. Can he mold the next Danica Patrick? “I don’t know about that,” said the 56-year-old Patrick at Daytona International Speedway. “We just want to help kids and get them up to speed by showing the tricks we showed Danica, and hopefully it pans out in the long run for them.” Patrick is one of hundreds of competitors racing in the Daytona KartWeek program, which features three styles of racing – sprint course, road racing and dirt oval. Patrick’s team will compete on the .75-mile sprint course this week. T.J. Patrick and his wife, Bev, managed their daughter’s racing career through 2010. Now she is represented by IMG World. Danica started in go-karts and wound up in IndyCars, where she established her name in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 by starting fourth, leading several laps late in the race and finishing fourth. She won an IndyCar Series race in 2008. She transitioned to NASCAR and has logged the last three years in the Cup Series driving the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy. She recently signed a multi-year extension, thanks in part to replacing longtime sponsor GoDaddy with Nature’s Bakery.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-29-2015)
  • Sad News – Fremon Treadway: Fremon Arthur Treadway, 78, of Altavista died peacefully Sunday, December 27, 2015 at his home with his family by his side. He was the husband of Phyllis “Trudy” Goodman Treadway for fifty-four years. Fremon worked in the NASCAR racing industry since 1964, beginning with Richard Petty. He opened his own shop in 1970 continuing to build for Petty Enterprises which included Kyle Petty’s first Grand National race car, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Wood Brothers Racing. In 1994, he built A.J. Foyt’s Inaugural Brickyard 400 car. Full obituary, service info and condolences on’s Sad News Page.(12-29-2015)

    News from December 28, 2015

  • 3M unveils new #24 scheme: from 3M’s Twitter: “Please follow @3M for all future info about #3MRacing & check @3M on 12/28 for our #Team24 paint scheme!”. So 3M is scheduled to announced the 2016 #24 Chevy paint scheme that Chase Elliott in five 2016 races.
    UPDATE: the #24 3M Chevy that Chase Elliott is scheduled to drive in five 2016 Sprint Cup Series races has been unveiled, see a few images of the car/scheme on the 2016 #24 Team Schemes page.(12-28-2015)

    News from December 27, 2015

  • added a bunch of 2016 Sprint Cup Series schemes:
    #3 Dow, Cheerios, American Ethanol#5 Farmers Insurance, Great Clips, LiftMasters#10 Nature’s Bakery Pumpkin Spice#16 Cheez-It#18 Skittles, Interstate Batteries#19 ARRIS#20 Dollar General, DeWalt Made in USA#22 Shell-Pennzoil, AAA#27 Menard’s / Moen#31 Caterpillar, Grainger#43 Smithfield#48 Lowe’s, Lowe’s ProServices, Kobalt Tools

  • Hope for Warriors NASCAR news items: Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit that has assisted post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families since 2006, announced its hiring of Angie Skinner, radio personality, author and military family advocate, as the new Senior Director of Communications. Skinner has more than 20 years of public relations, marketing and communications experience. After beginning her career in radio broadcasting in the mid 1990s, Skinner began managing the career of NASCAR driver Mike Skinner. Today, she continues in that role while also serving as the Director of Sales and Marketing for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor Ryan Newman. Additionally, she co-hosts “Skinner Round-Up,” a NASCAR-focused radio talk show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, with her husband Mike. At Hope For The Warriors, she will lead the communications team in community and media relations, event management, fundraising and more.
    Continuing their partnership with NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, Hope For The Warriors played a key role in the Lock and Load for Land event recently held in Cornelius, NC. Supporting their relationship, the veteran nonprofit collaborated with Ryan and Krissie Newman on an event that benefited Rescue Ranch, the couple’s animal welfare charity in Statesville, N.C. The Lock and Load for Land hosted more than 50 participants in the three-stage shooting competition on Saturday, December 12 at The Range at Lake Norman. With a focus on safety, Hope For The Warriors provided two retired U.S. Marines to work with shooters on shooting tips throughout the entire competition. Additionally, Hope For The Warriors invited a group of service members, veterans and military family members from Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point and the eastern North Carolina region to participate in the contest.
    Hope For The Warriors is spending this winter celebrating a successful year for their “Drive For Hope” program. With the support of NASCAR, the organization kicked off the Drive For Hope in February at the Daytona 500 and culminated the year at the Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet in Las Vegas earlier this month. Supporting their mission to restore hope for service members, veterans and military families, the Drive For Hope reached both active duty service members and veterans while enabling Hope For The Warriors to bring more than 200 individuals to NASCAR events across the country. Hope For The Warriors is already planning their 2016 Drive For Hope activation, which will kick off at the Daytona 500 in February.
    To learn more about Hope For The Warriors visit
  • Sad News – Victoria Siegars: Victoria Danielle Siegars, 17, of Concord, NC passed away December 22, at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. Victoria was a senior at J.M. Robinson High School in Concord, NC. Victoria was the granddaughter of Charlie Seigar of Race Engines Plus and former engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports. Full Obituary and Service info at Hartsell Funeral Home website.(12-27-2015)

    News from December 26, 2015

  • Sad News – Torie Costa: After a lengthy battle with cancer, Scott Zipadelli’s stepdaughter died Friday night. She had been battling a rare form of muscular cancer for more than four years. Torie Costa’s battle began at the age of 16 just as she was completing her junior year in high school. Zipadelli functioned as crew chief for Red Horse Racing and Ben Kennedy in 2015, but never lost his focus on the family. Instead of returning to the shop after Camping World Truck Series races, he often headed straight home. Throughout the 2015 season, one of Costa’s strongest supporters was Sherry Pollex who has been fighting her own battle with ovarian cancer. “The world won’t be the same without this beautiful soul on the planet. RIP my sweet friend,” Pollex tweeted late Friday night. Costa passed at 9:37 pm.(NBC Sports / FoxSports)(12-26-2015)

    News from December 24-25, 2015

  • Matt Kenseth’s spotter and family injured in auto wreck: Chris Osborne, the spotter for Matt Kenseth’s #20 Joe Gibbs Racing team, was involved in a serious automobile accident last weekend.Osborne took to Twitter to express his thanks to all fans, friends and fellow NASCAR competitors who have wished him and his family well. Both Osborne and his wife suffered very serious injuries that will require lengthy recoveries. Osborne’s son, Austin, also suffered injuries in the accident but was treated at a hospital and released. He posted a picture of the family car after the accident on Instagram, along with some details about it from his perspective. Including: “I was in the passenger seat and escaped with just a broken nose, missing tooth, a concussion, and some liver damage but I will be fine. Mom was in the backseat behind me. She broke the back of my seat and flew over me and ended up between the dash and windshield, suffering a broken pelvis on 2 places, destroyed her elbow, a broken hip, and a broken shoulder along with some other severe damages. She has been taken off her ventilator and was able to get out of ICU, so she is recovering.”(FoxSports)(12-24-2015)

    News from December 23, 2015

  • FS1 to air 17-Hour NASCAR Programming Marathon on Christmas: NASCAR fans get a little extra under their trees on Christmas Day, as FOX Sports announces a 17-hour NASCAR marathon, beginning Friday, Dec. 25 (6:00am/et) on FS1 with three consecutive hours of NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year and includs specials about the 1979 Daytona 500, thhe 1992 NASCAR All-Star Race and the 2015 Daytona 500 (FoxSports), see more on’s TV Listings page.(12-23-2015)
  • 2017 Daytona 500 Race Date leaked: A schedule on the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds’ website lists the Air Demonstration Squadron as conducting a flyover of the 59th Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, 2017. Daytona International Speedway spokesperson Andrew Booth confirmed the date of the 2017 race, noting that the Great American Race currently falls on the Sunday after Presidents’ Day. The Thunderbirds also will be conducting the flyover for the 2016 Daytona 500, which is on Feb. 21. The Thunderbirds’ site also lists a March 5, 2017 flyover at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but track spokesman Jeff Motley said it doesn’t have any firm plans for a 2017 flyover.(NBC Sports)(12-23-2015)
  • Daughter of #23 Crew Chief Killed in Accident: Stephanie Rembert, the daughter of BK Racingcrew chief Joe Williams, was killed in “freak car crash” Saturday afternoon, team officials confirmed to NASCAR Talk Sunday. Williams is the crew chief for the No. 23 Sprint Cup Toyota driven by Jeb Burton. The crash reportedly occurred outside Asheboro, North Carolina in unincorporated Randolph County. Team officials could also get very little information from authorities, but did learn Rembert was in a vehicle with her two children, nine-year-old Jamie and six-year-old Frankie, when it was involved in a crash. Rembert was reportedly airlifted to a hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she passed away. Her children were also transported to the hospital but suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to a team official. “Obviously, everyone is in shock,” team spokesman Kate Fegley told NASCAR Talk. “It’s so close to the holidays. They’re just overwhelmed with everything that’s happened. It’s a very difficult time but we’ve had overwhelming support from the NASCAR family and community.”(NBC Sports)(12-20-2015)
    For service info and full obituary, go to the Charlotte Observer.(12-23-2015)

    News from December 22, 2015

  • The 2015 Pitty Awards: PitTalks continues a tradition that was started two years and give out some awards to culminate a long season. Some of the awards are serious and some are not:
    Pit Crew of the year (voted on by crewmen)-#11 car of JGR
    Pit Crew of the year (voted on by crew chiefs)-#41 of SHR
    Pit Crew Coach of the year (voted on by crewmen)-Trent Cherry of Team Penske
    All Pro Team (voted on by crewmen):
    Jackman: #11 Nate Bolling
    Gasman: #22 Kellen Mills
    Front Tire Changer #19 Clay Robinson
    Front Tire Carrier: #22 Dylan Dowell
    Rear Changer: #11 Mike Hicks
    Rear Tire Carrier: #19 Matt Ver Meer
    Coach: Trent Cherry…..Team Penske
    See First Team, Second Team, Third Team and more at

  • Kevin Harvick Foundation hosts shopping spree: Four Charlotte area children recently displaced when their homes were destroyed by fire still had a Merry Christmas a few days early as guests of the Kevin Harvick Foundation for a shopping spree at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet on Monday. The four children, ranging in age from six to 11 and members of two families, were treated to a four-minute shopping spree at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Matthews, N.C. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick and his wife, DeLana, co-founders of the Kevin Harvick Foundation, partnered with Ollie’s for the holiday shopping blitz. Harvick drives the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. As a last-minute surprise, the Harvicks also treated the two mothers of the children to a shopping spree. n addition to the Harvicks, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet District Team Leader Mike Ciolfi and Capt. Sylvia Smith-Phifer, Charlotte Fire Department Chief, were on hand for the holiday fun and festivities. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet first partnered with Harvick in 2009 as a personal sponsor on his race car before joining the Kevin Harvick Foundation.(Kevin Harvick Foundation)(12-22-2015)

  • Scott Graves expected to be new crew chief for Suarez: #18-Daniel Suarez will have a new crew chief for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Scott Graves, who won the NXS title with Chris Buescher and was expected to guide the champ through his rookie season in Sprint Cup, has parted ways with Roush Fenway Racing. Sources told Graves will guide the #18 Arris Toyota and NXS Rookie of the Year Suarez. The Clifton Springs, N.Y. native graduated from Texas Tech University in 1994 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Graves joined RFR in 2006 as a team engineer on the No. 99 Ford truck and honed his skills as a team engineer in all three series before Jack Roush offered him the opportunity to be a crew chief. Graves worked with Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne in NXS before taking over Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s team full-time at the end of the 2012 Sprint Cup season. Graves replaces Eric Phillips who guided Suarez to the rookie title this season and a fifth-place finish in the NXS standings. Phillips earned his first shot as a crew chief in Cup with Ron Fellows in 2002. While he’s enjoyed solid runs overseeing the efforts of Suarez at Gibbs and Parker Kligerman who both finished in the top 10 in the NXS, Phillips claim to fame is winning the owner’s championship (2010, 2014) as the crew chief for KBM in the Camping World Truck Series. Phillips, who has 37 truck wins with a variety of drivers including Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Brian Scott and Mike Skinner, is expected to join Dave Rogers and Edwards as the car chief for the #19 Sprint Cup team. (Motorsport)(12-22-2015)

  • Circle K signs on as title sponsor of Speed Street: Circle K has signed on as the title sponsor of Speed Street for 2016 and 2017, and event organizers say the partnership will help improve the overall quality of the festival in Charlotte, NC. That means more driver appearances, more interactive activities along Tryon Street and more musical events, says Jay Howard, president of the 600 Festival Association, the nonprofit that produces Speed Street. Circle K signed on as the title sponsor for Speed Street last year for the first time, replacing Food Lion. Speed Street, which organizers say is one of the largest street festivals in the Southeast, takes place during the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race in uptown Charlotte. The Circle K and Kangaroo Speed Street will run May 26-28 in 2016, and May 25-27 in 2017. The free event is in its 22nd year.(Charlotte Observer)(12-22-2015)

    News from December 21, 2015

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Announces Crew Chief Changes: Joe Gibbs Racing announced changes to its crew chief lineup in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the 2016 season. Dave Rogers, who most recently served as crew chief for JGR’s #11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, will transition to lead the #19 team in 2016 with driver Carl Edwards. Mike Wheeler, who had spent 10 years with the #11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team before transitioning to crew chief for JGR’s #20 XFINITY Series team in 2015, will return to work with driver Denny Hamlin in 2016.
    Darian Grubb, who had served as crew chief on the #19 Sprint Cup Series team last season, is currently exploring several opportunities for the 2016 season.
    Meanwhile Jason Ratcliff and Adam Stevens will continue in their current roles as crew chief of JGR’s #20 and #18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams respectively.
    “2015 was probably the strongest season we have ever had at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of JGR. “We won more races than we ever have, qualified all four teams into the Chase and were blessed to end it with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. I think every year you evaluate each of your teams however and sometimes during that process you find that a change might be in the best interest for all involved. Mike Wheeler is obviously someone that has a long history with Denny (Hamlin) and that #11 team. After seeing what he accomplished as a crew chief in our XFINITY Series program last year we felt the timing was right to move him back into our Cup program. Dave Rogers has also been successful in every role he has had with us and we think he will work well with Carl (Edwards) going into 2016.”(JGR)(12-21-2015)

  • Tommy Baldwin Racing Restructures Team: Tommy Baldwin Racing announced major changes within the organization for 2016. Francois “Frankie” Bergeron comes over from Joe Gibbs Racing where, as Fabrication Shop Manager, he oversaw the complete building of their cars for the past five years. Now, he’ll take his seasoned experience to TBR where he will assume the same role. “Frankie brings with him a resume full of race wins and experience,” said team owner, Tommy Baldwin. “His knowledge and leadership will be an invaluable asset to our program. We’re excited to have him join us.”
    Chad Walters, who worked at Michael Waltrip Racing for the past three years, will lead the race engineering efforts. At MWR, he served as an engineer and R&D Manager. Walters will flank Ed Nathman, who has assumed the role of Simulation and Vehicle Dynamics Manager. Veteran Mike Brill joins TBR as Car Chief of the #7 Chevy driven by Alex Bowman. Most recently at Richard Childress Racing, Brill has been a fixture in the NASCAR garage for many years. He takes over for Ken Davis, who’s focus will be at the shop as a chassis specialist and mechanic.
    The newly revamped body-building shop will benefit from the addition of two former MWR employees. Both Doug Trader and Brent Patzack bring a wealth of experience to TBR and will complement the existing staff. Additionally, longtime TBR team member, Jamie Tomaino, has been promoted to Shop Foreman. “This is probably the most excited about a season than we’ve ever been,” said Baldwin. “I feel that we’ve put together a team capable of bringing us to the next level of competition. This business is all about the people and I think we’ve assembled some of the best.” Founded in 2009, Tommy Baldwin Racing is a NASCAR organization that fields the #7 Chevy driven by Alex Bowman in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Baldwin, a native of Long Island, New York, is a Daytona 500-winning crew chief in his seventh season as a full-time Cup Series car owner.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(12-21-2015)

  • Alliance Truck Parts returns to sponsor Keselowski in 2016: Alliance Truck Parts announced that Brad Keselowski will be returning to the track in yellow and black in 2016 as they continue their sponsorship of the #2 Ford. Alliance Truck Parts is scheduled to be the primary sponsor of the #2 Team Penske Ford in eight Sprint Cup Series races, two more than in 2015. The eight races are: Phoenix in March, Richmond in April, Kansas in May, Sonoma in July, Daytona and Pocono in July, Martinsville in October and Texas in November.(Alliance Truck Parts), see image of the scheme on the 2016 #2 Team Schemes page.(12-21-2015)

  • Stenhouse wins USAC Midget race in DuQuoin: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. conjured memories of his breakout 2007 USAC season Saturday night as he passed Bryan Clauson with three laps to go to win the inaugural Junior Knepper 55 USAC midget special event at the indoor Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, Ill. Stenhouse was caught up in a lap-one logjam, but recovered after restarting the event in the 20th and last position before making his way forward to the $3,000 payday. After heat races and qualifying races accumulated finish and passing points to set feature lineups, Bryan Clauson earned the pole, but fellow front-row starter Tyler Thomas looped his mount in turn-one to set off the six-car stack-up. Clauson finished second in the Rusty Kunz/Joe Dooling Racing – B&H Contractors #63 Spike/Stanton Mopar. Bayston held off Andrew Felker by .045 seconds to finish third in the Bryan Clauson Racing – Priority Aviation Services #39 Spike/Esslinger.(NSSN)(12-21-2015)
  • Sad News – Donald Tucker: Donald L. Tucker, 78, passed away Saturday, December 19, 2015 surrounded by family. Donald retired from the Guilford County School system. He was a member of the Kernersville Moose Lodge #2181. Donald ran nine NASCAR races in 1965 and was multi-time Track Champion with 417 wins on local dirt tracks. He was also the winningest driver at Caraway Speedway. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, 2500 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405.(George Brothers Funeral Service)(12-21-2015)

    News from December 20, 2015

  • Roger Penske Tops Latest SCCA HoF Class: Team owner and former driver Roger Penske is one of five racing icons who have been announced as the newest addition to the Sports Car Club of America’s Hall of Fame. Joining Penske in the latest class are Hubert Brundage, Bob Henderson, Randy Pobst and Alec Ulmann. The group will be formally inducted to the Hall of Fame as part of the SCCA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet on Jan. 23. That event will serve as the capstone of the three-day SCCA Convention taking place at the South Point Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas. Along with the accomplishments of the 62 previous inductees, these Hall of Fame members laid the building blocks that have elevated SCCA’s stature in the motorsports world for more than 70 years.(National Speed Sport News)(12-20-2015)

  • NBCSN Recaps 2015 NASCAR Season with Special Editions of NASCAR America: NBCSN closes out the year with 12 30-minute special editions of NASCAR America. The custom shows include highlights and a look back at a season flush with controversies, victories and storylines.(more at NBC Sports)(12-20-2015)
  • Judy Allison, wife of Bobby, Passes After Complications from Surgery: The Allison Family is sad to announce the passing of Judy A. Allison, age 74, after complications from surgery earlier today at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville, NC. Bobby Allison, NASCAR Hall of Famer driver, and Judy were married for 55 years. She was surrounded by her family, daughters Bonnie Farr and Carrie Hewitt, grandson Robbie Allison, brother-in-law Donnie Allison and his wife, Pat. At this time, funeral and memorial arrangements are pending and will be announced when finalized. The family members ask for privacy during this difficult and sad time (NASCAR)
    NASCAR Statement on the Passing of Judy Allison: “NASCAR extends its condolences to the friends and family of Judy Allison, the wife of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison. Judy, the matriarch of a cornerstone NASCAR family, provided the foundation for the careers of a legendary husband and two sons who both lost their lives entirely too soon. Her love extended well beyond her own family, as many in the NASCAR family leaned upon Judy for support and compassion during many difficult times. We are deeply saddened by the loss of a true friend, and a woman who has given much to our sport.”(NASCAR)(12-18-2015)
    Services and more Service Info and full obituary at the Charlotte Observer.(12-20-2015)

    News from December 19, 2015

  • McDowell and crew make charitable pit stop: NASCAR Sprint Cup driver #95 Michael McDowell and his team made a pit stop on Friday in front of the Rowan County Department of Social Services, and the result was help for families in need. The event was sponsored by the Piedmont Regional office of Thrivent Financial, which is located in Salisbury. Thrivent Financial is one of the sponsors of the #95 Ford that McDowell drives. Thrivent Financial clients adopted families in need and purchased gifts and groceries for them. On Friday, a big haul of goodies was unloaded from a trailer by McDowell and his crew, Thrivent Financial employees, and workers with Rowan DSS. Those DSS workers will distribute the items to the families.(WBTV)(12-19-2015)

  • IndyCar Racer Matthew Brabham Interested in NASCAR: So while Matthew Brabham (the grandson of three-time F1 Champion Sir Jack Brabham) remains focused on his upcoming IndyCar Series debut in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 21-year-old wouldn’t entirely dismiss a career in NASCAR if the circumstances ever presented themselves. His flirtation with NASCAR began in June when he tested a Late Model Stock at Hickory Motor Speedway with David Gilliland Racing. At the time, he was only racing part-time and still looking for the funding needed to advance his career into full-fledged Indy cars. Knowing that opportunities in NASCAR were greater than those currently in open wheel, Brabham turned laps in a Late Model just to add the skillset to his resume. By all accounts, he delivered a good showing and enjoyed the experience. Brabham turned laps alongside Todd Gilliland, a fellow third-generation driver who has since gone on to become the youngest winner in both the ARCA Racing Series and K&N Pro Series respectively. Even though there’s mutual interest, Brabham’s focus remains exactly where it should be – with Team Murray/KV Racing and the traditional Month of May with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 100th Indianapolis 500.(Popular Speed)(12-19-2015)

    News from December 18, 2015

  • Judy Allison, wife of Bobby, Passes After Complications from Surgery: The Allison Family is sad to announce the passing of Judy A. Allison, age 74, after complications from surgery earlier today at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville, NC. Bobby Allison, NASCAR Hall of Famer driver, and Judy were married for 55 years. She was surrounded by her family, daughters Bonnie Farr and Carrie Hewitt, grandson Robbie Allison, brother-in-law Donnie Allison and his wife, Pat. At this time, funeral and memorial arrangements are pending and will be announced when finalized. The family members ask for privacy during this difficult and sad time (NASCAR)
    NASCAR Statement on the Passing of Judy Allison: “NASCAR extends its condolences to the friends and family of Judy Allison, the wife of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison. Judy, the matriarch of a cornerstone NASCAR family, provided the foundation for the careers of a legendary husband and two sons who both lost their lives entirely too soon. Her love extended well beyond her own family, as many in the NASCAR family leaned upon Judy for support and compassion during many difficult times. We are deeply saddened by the loss of a true friend, and a woman who has given much to our sport.”(NASCAR)(12-18-2015)

  • Roush Fenway Racing crew chief assignments for 2016: Roush Fenway Racing has set its crew chief lineup for 2016, adding Brian Pattie to call the shots for veteran Greg Biffle and the #16 Ford team next year. Pattie first confirmed the news on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday night. A Roush Fenway Racing representative confirmed the new-look crew chief roster Thursday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series. Pattie served as crew chief to Clint Bowyer with Michael Waltrip Racing’s #15 Toyota for most of the last four seasons, switching to David Ragan and MWR’s #55 team after the first Pocono race of 2015. The Waltrip-owned team ceased operation after the 2015 season.
    Pattie replaces Matt Puccia, who had been paired with Biffle since the midway point of the 2011 season. Bob Osborne returns as crew chief for the #6 Ford of Trevor Bayne. Nick Sandler is back with the #17 team and driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
    On the XFINITY Series side, Puccia shifts to the #6 team and driver Darrell Wallace Jr. Phil Gould, paired last season with Elliott Sadler and RFR’s #1 team, will join forces with driver Ryan Reed next year on the #16.(

  • Different look for McMurray’s Cessna car: Chip Ganassi Racing’s posted on Twitter@jamiemcmurray will be flying around the track in a new #Cessna1 in 2016! #TeamJMac@Cessna. See an image of the scheme on the #1 Team Schemes page.(12-18-2015)

  • Digital View From the Driver’s Seat: The view behind the wheel of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car will have a new look in 2016 as a digital dashboard will be implemented full-time. The new technology will replace analog gauges and feature 16 preset screens which the teams have the opportunity to customize – displaying digital readouts of RPM, water temperature, oil temperature, oil pressure, water pressure, fuel pressure and voltage (see an image of the dashboard and more info at Motor Racing Network)(12-18-2015)

  • Reed, Wallace get new crew chiefs: Both of Roush Fenway Racing’s fulltime NASCAR Xfinity Series teams will have new crew chiefs in 2016. Team officials confirmed Thursday that Matt Puccia, who served as driver Greg Biffle’s crew chief in the Sprint Cup Series this season, will be the new crew chief for Xfinity Series driver #6-Darrell Wallace Jr. in 2016. In addition, Phil Gould, who spent this past season as crew chief for Elliott Sadler, will take over the same role for driver #16-Ryan Reed in the Xfinity Series. Sadler has since moved to JR Motorsports.(Motorsport)(12-18-2015)

  • Zimmer completes his first test in NASCAR Late Model in the United States: Yann Zimmer, the Franco-Swiss driver who is trying to become the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to reach NASCAR Sprint Cup, successfully completed a test last week in a Nelson Motorsports-prepared NASCAR late model at South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va. Zimmer, 25, quickly got up to speed and before the test was over he had equalled the time Matt Bowling set of 15.8 seconds (90.7mph) to win the pole position for a 200-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model race at the four-tenths-mile paved oval in August.(Racemax PR)(12-18-2015)

    News from December 17, 2015

  • Lionel Racing announce best-selling diecast of 2015: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #24-Jeff Gordon didn’t just have the top two die-cast cars of the year, they dominated the list of best-selling cars which was unveiled today by Lionel Racing – The Official Die-Cast of NASCAR. “Since we began publishing our top 10 list in 2011, we haven’t seen such a dominant performance by two drivers as we have this year,” said Howard Hitchcock, President of Lionel Racing. “Their sales numbers are a testament both to their impact on the sport and their ability to connect with the most passionate NASCAR fans – our collectors – in a big way.” Earnhardt’s new primary paint scheme drove sales of his #88 Nationwide Insurance die-cast to the top spot, while Gordon’s wildly popular throwback, the #24 Axalta Rainbow Chevy, was the company’s second biggest seller. “We knew when the Axalta Rainbow car was first announced that this would be one of the most important die-cast of the year to longtime fans of the sport,” Hitchcock said. “I think we were just as thrilled as Gordon’s fans were to see this iconic paint scheme on track in his final year of competition.” The only driver to make the Lionel Racing list that wasn’t named Earnhardt or Gordon was Chase Elliott. Elliott’s #25 NAPA Chevy die-cast ranked a solid sixth. “Elliott’s popularity with NASCAR fans is incredibly impressive when you consider he has competed in the sport for just two years,” Hitchcock said. “That fan appeal is directly reflected in his sales numbers – his Cup debut car outsold several of our historically best-selling drivers.” The 2015 Top 10 list is below:
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevy
    Jeff Gordon. #24 Axalta Rainbow Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Mountain Dew/Dewshine Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Insurance/Talladega Win Chevy
    Jeff Gordon #24 3M Chevy
    Chase Elliott #25 NAPA Chevy
    Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta/Homestead Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Insurance/Stars and Stripes Daytona Win Chevy
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Valvoline Chevy
    Jeff Gordon #24 AARP Member Advantages/Martinsville Win Chevy
    See images of the cars on the #24 Team Schemes page#25 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page.(Lionel Racing)(12-17-2015)
  • Sad News – Lloyd Dane: Lloyd Dane, NASCAR’s first three-time champion on the West Coast, has passed away. He was 90. Dane won three of the first four championships held for the Pacific Coast Late Model championship, the forerunner to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. He was originally from Eldon, Mo., before moving to Lakewood, Calif. He relocated to Charlotte, N.C., in recent years. “Lloyd will always have a significant place in NASCAR history as one of our first champions,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, touring and weekly series. “He was well respected as a competitor and champion and will be missed. All of us at NASCAR would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.” Dane also competed in 52 races over 11 years in NASCAR’s premier series, collecting four wins. He picked up victories in 1956 at California State Fairgrounds in Sacramento and Oregon’s Portland Speedway, in 1957 at California’s Eureka Speedway and 1961 at Riverside International Raceway in California. In 1964, Dane received the Naughton Award for Sportsmanship in NASCAR racing. He withdrew from a race at Sacramento, in October and loaned his car to Ron Hornaday Sr. This helped Hornaday to win his second straight win the Pacific Coast championship. In 2010, his achievements were recognized as part of NASCAR’s Champions & Pioneers project. He took part in the championship presentation at Phoenix International Raceway that year as Eric Holmes clinched his third NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title.(see full article at the National Speed Sport News).(12-17-2015)
  • Throwback Weekend Returns to Darlington in 2016: Darlington Raceway announced the return of its award-winning throwback campaign for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend on Sept. 2-4, 2016. As the Tradition Continues in 2016, the track will be celebrating the 1975-84 era of the sport, which was a time of exceptional growth and exposure for NASCAR. “The track will be celebrating the 1975-84 time period of the sport during our throwback weekend in 2016,” Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said. “We had tremendous response from the industry last season, which included the race teams, NASCAR, NBC, Goodyear and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, to name a few. This is a fun and unique way to honor the history and heritage of NASCAR racing at one of the sport’s most iconic tracks on Labor Day weekend.” As the sport moved into the modern era, champions such as Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip, among others, made a tremendous impact on NASCAR and will be celebrated during the Labor Day weekend festivities. The honoring of champions from 1975-84 is just one part of the track’s overall strategy to celebrate its history, which enters its second year. Darlington Raceway’s throwback campaign focuses on specific eras plus the historic moments and drivers that made impacts at the track Too Tough to Tame. A number of exciting announcements about the pageantry surrounding one of the “crown jewel” events on the NASCAR schedule will be made over the next several months in regards to the 2016 campaign.
    The track’s 2015 throwback campaign last season featured a celebration of the early 1970’s (1970-74) including the following highlights:
    · 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race teams competed with throwback paint schemes for the Bojangles’ Southern 500, the most in any single NSCS event in the sport’s history.
    · Kyle Larson won the fan vote for most popular paint scheme with his retro #42 Mello Yello car originally made popular from the movie Days of Thunder.
    · Use of NASCAR’s famed “NASCAR International” logo.
    · Goodyear putting the original white lettering on its race tires specifically for the Bojangles’ Southern 500.
    · Honored 14 NASCAR Hall of Fame members at the Bojangles’ Legends Breakfast, including Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace, Rex White, Dale Jarrett and Ned Jarrett, among others.
    · 2016 NHOF inductee Terry Labonte served as the Bojangles’ Southern 500 grand marshal.
    · Unique food offerings from the early 1970’s – pimento cheese sandwiches, sausage perlo and fried green tomatoes.
    · Pre-race concert by rock legends Grand Funk Railroad and National Anthem performance by Nashville recording artist Tanya Tucker.
    · Return of the Southern 500 parade, which took place on Saturday night from downtown Darlington to the track.
    Ticket renewals will be mailed in January so fans should check their mailboxes in the coming weeks to renew their tickets and/or camping for 2016. More info about the weekend and tickets, go to Raceway)(12-17-2015)
  • Dover partners with Delaware Office of Highway Safety for the “Drive Sober 200” XFINITY race: The Delaware Office of Highway Safety will once again be the primary sponsor for a Dover International Speedway event in 2016 with the “Drive Sober 200” NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, Oct. 1. This will be the third consecutive year the Office of Highway Safety has served as an entitlement sponsor for a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the Monster Mile. Previous NASCAR XFINITY Series sponsorships have included the “Buckle Up 200” presented by Click it or Ticket races on May 30, 2015 and May 31, 2014. Dover International Speedway will welcome two NASCAR tripleheader weekends in 2016 on May 13-15 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2. In the spring, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns on Sunday, May 15, preceded by the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Saturday, May 14 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday, May 13.(Dover Speedway)(12-17-2015)
  • Daytona International Speedway Lights New Identification Sign: Daytona International Speedway (DIS) held a special ceremony Tuesday night to officially light its new identification sign as part of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising project. Members of the France family helped light the 355-foot sign, complete with 3,619 LED lights. Before arriving at DIS in October, the massive “supersign” traveled nearly 1,500 miles from manufacturer Jones Sign Company’s headquarters in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The new sign will welcome race fans and guests near the center injector/entrance upon completion of the project in January 2016.(DIS)(12-17-2015)

    News from December 16, 2015

  • Brian Scott’s crew chief named: Richard Petty Motorsports announced the addition of Chris Heroy as Crew Chief for #9-Brian Scott. Heroy brings four years of experience as a Sprint Cup Series crew chief. The team announced Scott’s addition to the team last week. Heroy will work with Scott during his first full-time season as a Sprint Cup Series driver. This won’t be the first time that Heroy worked with a rookie driver. He led Kyle Larson to Rookie of the Year honors in 2014. In 144 races as a Sprint Cup Series crew chief, Heroy posted 14 Top-Fives, 37 Top-10s and three poles with both rookie driver Larson and IndyCar Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Prior to joining Chip Ganassi Racing, Heroy was an engineer at Hendrick Motorsports. “I’m really excited to join the team,” said Heroy. “I really enjoyed working with Kyle (Larson) for his rookie season, and I’m looking forward to working with Brian (Scott) as he works toward the Rookie of the Year title. This team has done a great job building consistency over the past year and continuing their winning tradition is a top priority, and I believe we can accomplish that this season. I’m excited to work with Trent (Owens) as well. We worked together when Kyle was racing for both Ganassi and TurnerScott. I think we will work well together, and we can get Richard Petty Motorsports to Victory Lane.”
    As Richard Petty Motorsports continues to build consistency, they are making strides toward running up front on a weekly basis, including the addition of Heroy. In 2015, the team was consistently a top-finisher in the Ford camp and posted three Top-Five, nine Top-10 and 22 Top-15 finishes. “Chris (Heroy) will be a great addition to our team,” said Vice President of Competition Sammy Johns. “Not only does he have experience working with a rookie driver, he’s also worked with Trent (Owens) in the past. So, he will be able to hit the ground running. There is a very talented rookie class this year in the Sprint Cup Series, and I expect to see Brian and Chris challenging for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.” The duo of Heroy and Scott will hit the track for the first time during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway to prepare for the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 21.(RPM)(12-16-2015)

  • Bowyer to keep the #15 in 2016? an image of the #15 PEAK Chevy started popping up on Twitter mid-day Tuesday, December 15th. Looks like part of a photo shoot, the 5-Hour Energy drink car can be seen in the background. Clint Bowyer, who will drive for HScott Motorsports in 2016, was expected to run the #15 or #51 Chevy, looks like it’ll be #15. See the image on the 2016 #15 Team Schemes page (12-16-2015)
  • Bruton Smith cancer free: Speedway Motorsports, Inc.’s O. Bruton Smith is reportedly cancer free. Smith’s daughter-in-law (Cassi Mitchell Smith) spread the good news Tuesday via Twitter. BMS officials confirmed Twitter post saying, “the news from Bruton’s most recent screening was confirmed by SMI. Great news!” Back in August, with the speedway as his backdrop, Smith announced that doctors treated him for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma earlier in the summer.(WJHL)(12-16-2015)

  • Tommy Baldwin Racing announces sponsorship deal UPDATE2: Toy State has renewed with Tommy Baldwin Racing for a multi-year sponsorship deal. No word on number or races or length of the deal. Toy State was the primary sponsor on the #7 Chevy and driver Alex Bowman for ten races in 2016.(Tommy Baldwin Racing Facebook / Twitter)(12-15-2015)
    UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin Racing and Toy State have announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement for the #7 Chevy driven by Alex Bowman. Toy State sponsored Bowman for nine races this past year (was on the car for the Daytona 500 which the team failed to qualify for), and will be stepping up to 13 Sprint Cup Series races in 2016 and 17 in 2017. TBR is entering its eighth year, but it’s the first off-season where the team can concentrate on the upcoming season with sponsorship secured. “It’s a nice way to start the new year,” Baldwin said, “to have a company like Toy State with all its different brands of toys and Nikko radio-controlled cars.” Throughout the season, Bowman’s #7 entry will feature many paint schemes closer to what the consumer will actually see in the toy lines. During the announcement, which was held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the team unveiled one of the new paint schemes that resembles an RC shark monster truck in the product line. Last year, Bowman and the team participated in many events at hospitals to give toys away to kids and will continue that through this partnership. “It’s great to be a part of this,” Bowman said. “To have them on our car and to be able to put smiles on kids’ faces everywhere we go has been really special.” TBR will have an alliance with Richard Childress Racing and ECR engines for 2016. “We’ve hired a lot of good people to join the good people we already have for next year,” Baldwin said. “We’re rebuilding our whole fleet and updating to the latest, greatest thing that we need. It’s an exciting time for me.”(Motor Racing Network), see images of one of the schemes on the 2016 #7 team paint schemes page.(12-15-2015)
    UPDATE 2: Tommy Baldwin Racing has announced that Nikko RC/Toy State will become the majority sponsor of driver Alex Bowman and his #7 Chevy team for the 2016 season. Announced Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, team owner Tommy Baldwin was joined on stage by Toy State President Andy Friess and driver Alex Bowman. NASCAR fans were first introduced to Toy State’s extensive portfolio as the #7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy featured their flagship Road Rippers and Nikko brands during the 2015 season. The company boasts brands that include Hot Wheels, WWE and James Bond 007 “lights & sound” and radio controlled vehicles, as well as Cat and Cat Preschool construction toys.
    The partnership between Nikko RC/ Toy State and Tommy Baldwin Racing will feature their brand as a primary sponsor of the #7 team in 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup races during the 2016 season and as an associate-level partner in 14 other races. “Nikko RC/Toy State’s level of commitment to our team during the 2015 season allowed us to strengthen our program. The multi-year partnership has enabled us to set realistic goals and expectations for towards our continued growth,” said team owner, Tommy Baldwin.
    “2015 was a great experience for Toy State as a first-time team sponsor with Tommy Baldwin Racing,” said Andy Friess, President of Toy State. “We are thrilled to announce this multi-year sponsorship with the team. The growth potential of TBR and Toy State is limitless and we’re excited about the many business opportunities throughout NASCAR as a whole.”(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(12-16-2015)

  • Three named to 2016 NMPA Hall of Fame: Three of the biggest names in motorsports will make up the 2016 induction class for entry into the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame. NASCAR multi-championship team owners Rick Hendrick and Joe Gibbs, along with four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time IndyCar champion driver Al Unser, were chosen in voting by NMPA members. The trio will be inducted at the media organization’s annual convention on January 16, 2016, at the Embassy Suites hotel in Concord, NC. Hendrick received 88% of votes cast by NMPA members, Gibbs received 76% and Unser received 66%. Others receiving votes were four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time IndyCar champ Rick Mears, as well as NASCAR Winston Cup championship-winning crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine. The NMPA Hall of Fame is located on the grounds of Darlington Raceway and has been in operation since 1965. Hendrick, Gibbs and Unser become the 96th through 98th members of the Hall (NBC Sports)(12-16-2015)
  • Sad News – Don Arnold: Donald L. Arnold, Loving “Patriarch,” passed away on December 12, 2015 surrounded by his family. Don, born on October 27, 1942, was originally from Chicago, IL and a Naples resident since 1959. After attending the University of Florida on a Basketball scholarship Don and the Arnold Family were proprietors of Arnold’s Variety Store and Gulf Sporting Goods. Don along with his father Arthur, established the family real estate business, Arnold and Arnold developing several of the Gulf Shore Boulevard Condominiums before continuing as Arnold Development Companies, developing commercial and industrial office parks in Naples and throughout the Southwest Florida area. Don’s local business endeavors also included Don Arnold Lincoln Mercury/Honda which he sold in the early 1980s. His enthusiasm for automobiles inspired the forming of Arnold Motorsports a Winston Cup NASCAR team (Naples Daily News).
    Arnold Motorsports ran 44 races using the #50 Dodge from 2004-2005 with drivers Todd Bodine(11 races), Derrike Cope(12), Jeff Fuller(3), P.J. Jones(5), Mike Wallace(3), Jorge Goeters(1) and Jimmy Spencer(9). Spencer has the best finish for the team, a 21st at Bristol in 2005. Arnold also owned a share of a Craftsman Truck Series team with Germain Motor Company as the #30 Toyota.
    Condolences, full obituary and service info on the Sad News Page.(12-16-2015)

  • Dakoda Armstrong parts ways with Petty UPDATE: Dakoda Armstrong and Richard Petty Motorsports have parted ways. The 24-year-old New Castle, Ind. native spent the last two seasons behind the wheel of the #43 WinField Ford. Armstrong earned one pole and posted three top 10s over the last two years. He finished 13th in the Xfinity Series point standings in 2014 and 12th this year under the direction of crew chief Frank Kerr. He also posted a career-best finish of sixth at Daytona in July. Sources told Armstrong is still searching for a ride. Richard Childress Racing is among the teams that has been considered over the last few months.(Motorsport)(11-24-2015)
    UPDATE New Castle driver Dakota Armstrong is in the process of finding a new ride in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series after parting ways with Richard Petty Motorsports. Armstrong competed the past two years in the Xfinity Series, placing 12th in the point standings this year after finishing 13th in 2014. Armstrong is rumored to be in discussions with Richard Childress Racing for a possible ride next year. He has been sponsored by WinField and recorded a career-best finish of sixth at Daytona in July.(Herald Bulletin)(12-16-2015)
  • Brickyard 400 Tickets on sale: Tickets are now on sale for a sure-to-be legendary and historic season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fans who have not already pre-ordered tickets can visit the IMS ticket office or to purchase their seats for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and an action-packed slate of Verizon IndyCar Series, NASCAR and vintage racing at IMS. In July, the stars of stock car racing will arrive for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250 on July 23 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard on July 24. Columbus native and two-time Brickyard 400 winner Tony Stewart will compete for his last chance to kiss the world-famous Yard of Bricks. More info at (IMS)(12-16-2015)
  • Speedway Children’s Charities Distributes Nearly $2.9 Million Nationwide: Speedway Children’s Charities officials have announced that the nonprofit will distribute nearly $2.9 million in grants to more than 390 different charitable organizations across the country in 2015, bringing the total funds distributed since 1982 to more than $46 million. Funds distributed by Speedway Children’s Charities chapters at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway totaled $2,886,902 in 2015. Speedway Children’s Charities raises grant money through various fundraising activities, including clay shoots, track events, auctions, holiday light displays and more. For more information on SCC or to see how to volunteer or make a donation, visit

    News from December 15, 2015

  • Tommy Baldwin Racing announces sponsorship deal UPDATE: Toy State has renewed with Tommy Baldwin Racing for a multi-year sponsorship deal. No word on number or races or length of the deal. Toy State was the primary sponsor on the #7 Chevy and driver Alex Bowman for ten races in 2016.(Tommy Baldwin Racing Facebook / Twitter)(12-15-2015)
    UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin Racing and Toy State have announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement for the #7 Chevy driven by Alex Bowman. Toy State sponsored Bowman for nine races this past year (was on the car for the Daytona 500 which the team failed to qualify for), and will be stepping up to 13 Sprint Cup Series races in 2016 and 17 in 2017. TBR is entering its eighth year, but it’s the first off-season where the team can concentrate on the upcoming season with sponsorship secured. “It’s a nice way to start the new year,” Baldwin said, “to have a company like Toy State with all its different brands of toys and Nikko radio-controlled cars.” Throughout the season, Bowman’s #7 entry will feature many paint schemes closer to what the consumer will actually see in the toy lines. During the announcement, which was held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the team unveiled one of the new paint schemes that resembles an RC shark monster truck in the product line. Last year, Bowman and the team participated in many events at hospitals to give toys away to kids and will continue that through this partnership. “It’s great to be a part of this,” Bowman said. “To have them on our car and to be able to put smiles on kids’ faces everywhere we go has been really special.” TBR will have an alliance with Richard Childress Racing and ECR engines for 2016. “We’ve hired a lot of good people to join the good people we already have for next year,” Baldwin said. “We’re rebuilding our whole fleet and updating to the latest, greatest thing that we need. It’s an exciting time for me.”(Motor Racing Network), see images of one of the schemes on the 2016 #7 team paint schemes page.(12-15-2015)

  • Roush Fenway Racing Bolsters Competition Effort: Roush Fenway Racing has bolstered its competitive efforts with three key personnel additions to its NASCAR team. Kurt Romberg, Dr. Kent Day and Vojin Jaksic have each taken on high-level roles within the team that captured its eighth NASCAR championship in 2015. “It takes great talent to win in this sport and we are very pleased with the additions we have made on the competition front,” said team owner Jack Roush. “We recognize the importance of putting the appropriate personnel into place, as we continue our relentless pursuit to put the best and most competitive race teams on the track.”
    Kurt Romberg, who spent the last 15 years heading up aerodynamics at Hendrick Motorsports, joins the team as the Technical Director of Aerodynamics. Romberg worked with General Motors and Petty Enterprises before becoming the chief aerodynamicist at Hendrick.
    Dr. Kent Day will serve as Manager of Simulation. Day, who holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University, brings over two decades of experience to Roush Fenway and has held technical director positions with Team Penske and RCR and most recently specialized in vehicle dynamics at MWR.
    Vojin Jaksic returns to Roush Fenway Racing as the research and development/special projects manager after serving in similar positions at MWR and Joe Gibbs Racing. Jaksic previously worked at Roush Fenway Racing from 2005 until 2011.
    The additions are part of a strategic plan to expand organizational capabilities and follows the hiring of industry veterans Mark McArdle and Kevin Kidd to lead engineering and Sprint Cup competition last season.(Roush Fenway Racing)(12-15-2015)

  • Furniture Row expected to have several new pit crew members: Last year #78-Martin Truex Jr. made an impressive run for a championship. In 2016 he looks to back that up with a new and improved pit crew. As of next year, the #78 pit crew will be trained and assembled by [Joe Gibbs Racing]. With that being said, it appears that the #78 will have a whole new look to their team. There is no official word on this nor will [Pit Talks] claim this is a final roster, but we do have an idea of what the team might end up looking like. At the end of last year JGR hired long time front man David Mayo. Mayo spent the last couple of years at [Hendrick] on the fronts so it would make sense that he would get a shot on the #78. You also have Adam Hartman who was a changer on the #78 last year that could compete for that spot. At the front carrier position we are hearing that MWR #55 carrier Chris Hall could be an option. Jacking the car could look like this, if Jason Tate comes back and jacks the #20, which we think he is, it would make sense for Baily Walker to move over to the #78. Walker was hired mid season to take over on the #20 when Tate went out with an injury. So that leads us to the rear. Lee Cunningham, who changed on the #15 last year, has been rumored to be a JGR guy next year. If so, we would expect him to be on this team as well. This leaves the rear carrier and Gas Man as the only two guys we’re missing. We’ve heard that Adam Mosher and Brian Dheel, who pitted the #78 last year, will continue next year at those two positions.(Pit Talks)(12-15-2015)

  • Toy State becomes NASCAR Licensee: Toy State, a toy industry leader and innovator of licensed and highly-stylized ‘lights and sound’ and radio-controlled toy vehicles, has entered into a global licensing agreement with NASCAR. The relationship will allow Toy State to introduce NASCAR-licensed products specially designed to connect with the next generation of NASCAR fans. With a portfolio that already includes licensing agreements with leading global properties including Caterpillar, Hot Wheels, DC Super Friends, Barbie and WWE, the addition of the NASCAR brand further strengthens this lineup and fortifies Toy State’s motorsports program. This deal is the latest activation piece of Toy State’s entry into motorsports after serving as a primary sponsor for Tommy Baldwin Racing’s #7 Chevy during the 2015 season. While no plans have been announced concerning the company’s sponsorship plans in 2016, this new licensing deal will allow Toy State to create ‘lights and sound’ and radio-controlled toy versions of on-track car replicas for distribution across a broad network of retail channels. Development is currently underway on the toy line.(Toy State)
    AND While there may be no connection, Tommy Baldwin Racing has a sponsorship announcement scheduled for Tuesday morning.(12-15-2015)

  • #88 team gets new chief engineer: Hendrick Motorsports confirmed the hiring of Tim O’Brien as the new engineer of the #88 Chevy for Dale Earnhardt Jr next season. O’Brien joined Hendrick in late November after a stint at Michael Waltrip Racing, which included serving as the lead engineer for the #55 Toyota this season. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native joined MWR and driver Clint Bowyer in 2012 after a healthy tenure at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates from 2005 to 2011. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University and soon joined Ganassi’s IndyCar program before leaping to his XFINITY Series program with driver Reed Sorenson. He has worked alongside veteran crew chief Brian Pattie for the past 10 seasons. O’Brien replaces Kevin Meendering who left HMS for a crew chief role at JR Motorsports and driver Elliott Sadler next season.(Catchfence)(12-15-2015)
  • Charlotte Penalty UPDATES: NASCAR member Chicago Paskiecz has been penalized for infractions that occurred during last weekend’s events at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is a behavioral penalty (Sections 12.1 and 12.8 of the NASCAR rule book) and Paskiecz has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.(NASCAR)(10-14-2015)
    UPDATE: Paskiecz has appealed the suspension and supposedly the appeal is scheduled for November 4, 2015.(10-22-2015)
    UPDATE 2: The National Motorsports Appeals Panel today heard and considered the appeal of a Behavioral Penalty issued on Oct. 14 to NASCAR member Chicago Paskiecz following events at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The penalty concerns the following sections in the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book: Sections 12.1 and 12.8. The original penalty assessed included indefinite suspension from NASCAR. Upon hearing the testimony, the decisions of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel are:
    1. That the Appellant violated the Rule or Rules set forth in the Penalty Notice.
    2. That the Panel affirms and upholds the original Penalty levied by NASCAR.
    The panel consisted of the following three individuals: Mr. Lee Baumgarten, Mr. Ken Clapp, and Mr. Steve Lewis.
    The Appellant has the right to appeal the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer in accordance with Section 15 of the NASCAR Rule Book.(NASCAR)(11-12-2015)
    UPDATE 3: Bob Pockrass tweeted Monday night that NASCAR final appeal officer Bryan Moss has denied XFINITY crewman Chicago Paskiewcz’s appeal.(12-15-2015)

  • Rhodes joins ThorSport for 2016: Former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Ben Rhodes announced he will join ThorSport Racing to compete full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2016. The 18-year-old driver will pilot the # 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota next season, competing for both the series championship and the Rookie of the Year Award. Rhodes competed in 10 XFINITY Series events for JR Motorsports during the 2015 season, earning a pole a Road America and scoring a season-best finish of seventh at Iowa Speedway in May. The Louisville, Kentucky, native also has four Camping World Truck Series starts, all coming during the 2014 season. His best NCWTS finish is a fifth at Phoenix International Raceway. Rhodes’ crew chief, additional sponsors and paint scheme will be released in January, according to the team. (Fox Sports)(12-15-2015)
    AND: 18-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) Champion, Ben Rhodes announced today he has signed with ThorSport Racing for the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season. Rhodes will pilot the #41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra as he competes for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the series’ championship title in 2016. Rhodes, the 2014 NKNPSE Champion, Rookie of the Year, and Most Popular Driver, is looking forward to competing with a championship-caliber organization in 2016. After his championship year in the NKNPSE, Rhodes raced a part-time, 10-race schedule in the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series, earning his first NASCAR national series pole in just his seventh start at Road America in Elkart Lake, Wisc. (August), and picking up a series-best seventh-place finish in his first series start at Iowa Speedway in Newton (May). Based out of Sandusky, Ohio, ThorSport Racing is the longest-tenured NCWTS team, competing annually since 1996, and NASCAR’s only full-time team based in Ohio. Rhodes is not new to the NCWTS. The Louisville, Kentucky, native made four starts in the series in 2014, picking up three top-10 finishes, including a series-best fifth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, AZ (November). Alpha Energy Solutions, a commercial and industrial mechanical self-performing service provider, based out of Rhodes’ home-town of Louisville, Kentucky, will continue to support Rhodes as the primary sponsor on his Toyota Tundra in 2016. Furthermore, a familiar number will adorn the quarter panels during his rookie season, the #41, a number Rhodes utilized in two seasons of NKNPSE and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock competition, earning eight poles, 11 wins, 27 top-five finishes, and 35 top-10 finishes in 46 starts. Rhodes’ crew chief, additional sponsors, and the paint scheme will be revealed in January.(
  • Sad News – Sid Mauldin: Sid Mauldin, co-owner of the #8 Chevrolet for NEMCO Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), passed away last night, December 14, from complications stemming from his courageous fight with gastric cancer. He was 61 years-old. Mauldin was diagnosed in February 2013 and made his battle with Stage IV gastric cancer in public in an effort to inspire others also struggling with the emotional and physical strains of cancer. As a rancher and owner of SWM International Inc., Mauldin initially was reluctant to talk about his disease with his NASCAR friends and business associates. But more than two years later, he spoke openly about his cancer and his treatment. He had been an in-and-out patient at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since October 2013, with a typical stay lasting four days. The cancer had metastasized to his liver and lungs.
    “Sid (Mauldin) was a great man,” NEMCO Motorsports co-owner Joe Nemechek said. “From meeting him the first time in the parking lot of the Bristol Motor Speedway to becoming a partner of ours in John Hunter’s racing career – it was all pretty phenomenal. “He had a vision, and wanted to be involved in racing, and I cannot thank Sid and Dawna enough for helping getting John Hunter going. We will truly miss him.”
    As requested by Dawna Mauldin, wife of Sid, the # 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado driven by John Hunter Nemechek at the Texas Motor Speedway on November 6 featured on the deck lid No Stomach For Cancer, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support research and unite the caring power of people worldwide affected by stomach cancer. It is very safe to say that John Hunter Nemechek’s motorsports career would not have begun to bud at age 16 years-old without Mauldin’s involvement. Likewise, Mauldin wouldn’t be co-owner of the #8 Chevrolet Silverado without John Hunter Nemechek, son of NASCAR veteran Joe Nemechek.Mauldin’s business in NASCAR was rooted in the bonds of a deep mutual affection, and together they have put to life their respective dreams. The family will hold a private memorial for Mauldin.(NEMCO Motorsports)(12-15-2015)
  • Super Cup Stock Car Series expected to race at Rockingham: The Super Cup Stock Car Series is reportedly going to close its 2016 schedule with a race at Rockingham Speedway, the former NASCAR track that’s been idle for almost three years. SCSCS has operated for eight seasons, primarily in the northeast but extending as far west as Columbus, Ohio. Its 2016 schedule currently lists eight dates, but half of those are shown as “To Be Announced.” The track last hosted racing in April 2013 with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. According to the Richmond County Daily Journal, Farmers and Merchants Bank began foreclose proceedings against owners Andy Hillenburg and Bill Silas, accusing them of defaulting on a $4.2 million loan. The lien has since been assigned to BK Rock Holdings of Stuart, Florida.(Fayetteville Observer)(12-15-2015)

    News from December 14, 2015

  • Goodyear Tire test at Homestead: Goodyear will hold a one day tire test Monday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers scheduled to participate are: #4-Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing), #24-Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports), #9-Scott (Richard Petty Motorsports), and #78-Truex, Jr. (Furniture Row Racing). Testing is not open to the public.(12-14-2015)

  • Congrats to Kyle Petty on his wedding Saturday to Morgan Castano. Petty announced the news on his Twitter account. Morgan is the executive director of the Kyle Petty Charity Ridea, an annual fundraising trip for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(12-14-2015)

  • Drivers that gained/lost most positions in the standings: If you go by how drivers finished in each of the first two seasons under the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format, you’d find some interesting surprises.
    Most positions gained (2014 vs. 2015 and number of spots gained):
    The biggest gainer from 2014 to 2015, by far, was #78-Martin Truex Jr., who finished 20 places higher in the standings in 2015 (4th) than he did in 2014 (24th). After failing to make the Chase in 2014, Truex not only made it in 2015, but also went on to enjoy a career-best single-season finish and performance.
    Newly crowned Sprint Cup champion #18-Kyle Busch jumped the second largest number of spots (nine) in the standings from 2014 (10th) to 2015 (1st, including missing 11 races due to injury).
    #27-Paul Menard 21 – 14 = +7 positions
    #1-Jamie McMurray 18 – 13 = +5
    #55-David Ragan 32 – 27 = +5
    Most positions lost (2014 vs. 2015 and number of spots lost):
    #31-Ryan Newman 2 – 11 = -9 places
    #47-AJ Allmendinger 13 – 22 = -9
    #20-Matt Kenseth 7 – 15 (missed 2 races because of suspension) = -8
    #11-Denny Hamlin 3 (missed 1 race because of injury) – 9 = -6
    #16-Greg Biffle 14 – 20 = -6
    See more at NBC Sports.(12-14-2015)

  • NASCAR to sponsor MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference: For the first time, NASCAR will become an official sponsor of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference. The 2016 event will happen March 11-12. In just a decade, the conference has grown from a small experts-only affair on the MIT campus to a 3,500 person multifaceted event, that now takes place in a convention center in downtown Boston. NASCAR’s event sponsorship makes sense as the industry has experienced increased growth in data, statistics, and analytics. Many Cup-level crew chiefs have college degrees and engineering backgrounds now, a noticeable shift from the more traditional and old school mechanics that dominated the sports in previous generations. In past versions of the MIT conference, there have been panels focused specifically on motorsports, with speakers from NASCAR and IndyCar among others. What many fans may not see are the massive data feeds that teams are working with, tracking all kinds of movement in the car. Some of the strategy innovations teams have been playing with include more customized fuel and tire strategies, especially late in the race. A lot of the statistical innovations that originated from baseball and basketball can be modified for use in a racing context.(NBC Sports)(12-14-2015)

    News from December 13, 2015

  • Johnson, Wise, Marty Smith run half marathon: It’s NASCAR’s offseason, but drivers Jimmie Johnson and Josh Wise can’t get enough of racing. Johnson, a six-time series champion; and fellow Sprint Cup driver took part in a half marathon on Saturday in Huntersville, N.C. As would be expected in their stockcar races, Johnson won. He was 12th overall. Johnson set a personal record by completing the 13.1-mile run in 1 hour, 27 minutes. He finished more than two minutes faster than Wise. Also running was [ESPN’s] Marty Smith, who finished in 1 hour, 40 minutes. Wise’s time of 1:30.01 placed him 22nd overall and third in 30-34 age bracket. Smith was 112th overall and 85th among 35-39 year olds.(Sporting News)(12-13-2015)

  • Harvick makes Sports Illustrated Social 100: Sports Illustrated annually compiles a list of people and organizations to follow on on social media. In previous years, the list was Twitter-only. This year it was expanded to include Facebook, Instagram, and Vine. #4-Kevin Harvick was the only NASCAR driver to make the Sports Illustrated Social 100. They said, “Few athletes do a better job of connecting with fans on Twitter.” Of media members listed, USA Today’s NASCAR reporter Jeff Gluckis “A must-follow for all things NASCAR”.(12-13-2015)
  • Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive Raises More Than $10,000: Martinsville Speedway took full advantage of unseasonably warm temperatures and sunny skies to raise more than $10,000 and more than 300 toys for Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County, through the 19th Annual Martinsville Speedway Christmas Toy Drive. The money raised goes to give Christmas presents to underprivileged and underserved children in the Martinsville and Henry County area. Grace Network Executive Director Tracy Hinchcliff said there are more than 175 children who will benefit from the drive. Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell got in on the action himself, giving laps in a two-seater stock car to people who paid $50. Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County is a network of more than 100 area churches that help provide assistance to people in need throughout the year.(Martinsville Speedway)(12-13-2015)

    News from December 12, 2015

  • #9 team will get new crew chief: Kevin “Bono” Manion parted ways with Richard Petty Motorsports on Thursday. RPM confirmed Manion’s departure and is continuing to evaluate potential candidates for the position. Trent Owens will oversee the Goodyear tire test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Monday. Manion most recently worked with Sam Hornish Jr. on the #9 Ford. RPM announced last month that Hornish would not return the team. On Friday, RPM officially announced that Brian Scott will drive the car. Manion replaced Drew Blickensderfer with the #9 team following the May race at Talladega Superspeedway. Blickensderfer remained with the organization as the Director of research and development and is a candidate for Scott’s crew chief.(Motorsport)(12-12-2015)

  • David Ragan still looking for a ride: David Ragan issued a statement Friday on his current status, following the closing of Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of the season:
    “I’m still looking for the best opportunity for me for 2016. I’ve had conversations with several teams – some went farther along that others – but haven’t gotten anything locked down yet. I definitely fell like I have a lot to give to a team and, turning 30 later this month, have a lot of racing years left in me.
    I’m opening to competing in any of the three national series in NASCAR, but, for me, it needs to be a competitive team. I don’t want to put myself in a position where every week is a struggle on track, just so I can say I have a ride. I’m fortunate to have a lot of good relationships in the sport, both among competitors and sponsors, so we’ll keep the conversations going and hopefully be able to put something together for next season.
    I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built with the sponsors I’ve worked with in my career. I can definitely say I put my all into being a good ambassador for them in NASCAR, and I think any one of them would tell you that their partnerships with me were successful ones.”(12-12-2015)
  • Active Pest Control sponsoring qualifying day at Atlanta: McDonough, Georgia-based Active Pest Control will serve as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying day, Feb. 26, as NASCAR returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2016. The official event title is the Active Pest Control Qualifying Day. The Active Pest Control Qualifying Day will feature a full day of high-speed NASCAR action on the historic AMS oval to kick off Atlanta’s 2016 NASCAR weekend. Camping World Truck Series, XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series teams will each take part in practice sessions during the day before Sprint Cup Series qualifying revs up at 5:45pm to determine the pole winner and the starting order for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Active Pest Control is a full-service pest control, termite, wildlife removal and exclusion, attic insulation, and crawlspace encapsulation company serving metro Atlanta and Texas. The family-owned business has been operating since 1985.(AMS)(12-12-2015)
  • Daytona adds more SAFER barrier to inside retaining walls: Looking ahead to 2016, [track president Joie Chitwood III] Chitwood says the track will be safer for competitors and fans thanks to additional SAFER barriers and grandstand seats built higher and away from the catch fence. The Speedway had two chilling moments in 2015. Toward the end of the Speedweeks’ Xfinity Series race, driver Kyle Busch broke his leg and foot when he crashed hard into the inside retaining wall. In response to the crash, Chitwood said every inside retaining wall around the 2.5-mile tri-oval now has steel and form energy reduction (SAFER) barrier protecting drivers when racing resumes in January. Since the end of Speedweeks, the track has added >8,600 linear feet of SAFER installation, which is designed to absorb the shock of impact of a crashing race car. Then on the last lap of July’s Coke Zero 400, which was delayed several hours by rain, Austin Dillon’s car launched from the track surface into the catch fence, injuring 13 fans, sending one to the hospital. With the Daytona Rising design, fans will be less likely to deal with catch fence debris in the event of an incident. “With the new stadium, the set-back and raised first row provides an additional element to make sure we have our fans in a safer environment for the racing on the track” Chitwood said. “Whether it is SAFER barrier, the set-back of the seats and height of the first row, I think we have done a really good job for 2016. The goal is to make sure fans have a safe and great experience, no different for our drivers.”(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(12-12-2015)

    News from December 11, 2015

  • Brian Scott to replace Hornish in the #9 UPDATES: After a lengthy process, Richard Petty Motorsports has selected NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Brian Scott as the new driver of its #9 Fords in the Sprint Cup Series, multiple sources confirmed to An official announcement of Scott’s hire is expected by the end of the week, sources said. A spokesman from RPM said the organization had no comment on the report of Scott’s hire. Scott, 27, has competed fulltime in the Xfinity Series the past six seasons, the last three with Richard Childress Racing. In 208 starts, Scott has 20 top-five and 77 top-10 finishes and won five poles. His best finish in the series standings was fourth in 2014. Scott, an Idaho native, has received sponsorship support in his NASCAR career most recently from Shore Lodge, owned by his father, Joe, who is also heir to the Albertsons enterprise. He will make his debut with the team at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Goodyear tire test on Monday.(Motorsport)(12-9-2015)
    UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports has scheduled a press conference for Friday morning to make a driver announcement “for 2016 and beyond”.
    AND: According to Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal, the “sponsor will be Albertsons, which struck [business to business] deal with Smithfield as part of pact.”(12-10-2015)
    UPDATE 2: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that XFINITY Series veteran Brian Scott will join Aric Almirola in their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lineup. The 2016 season will mark Scott’s first full-time Sprint Cup Series schedule, where he will have the opportunity to compete for the Rookie of the Year. Scott will make his debut with Richard Petty Motorsports at the Goodyear tire test at Homestead-Miami Speedway Monday, December 14, before hitting the track for the season opener Daytona 500, in February. Scott brings nine years of experience in NASCAR’s top three series after making his NASCAR debut in 2007 in the Camping World Truck Series. Since then, he tallied 17 Sprint Cup, 208 XFINITY and 62 Camping World Truck Series starts. He scored his best Championship Points finish of fourth during the 2014 XFINITY season. In his six full seasons competing in the XFINITY series, he has five Poles, an average finish of 15th, and 20 Top-Five and 77 Top-10 finishes, including four runner-up finishes. Not a stranger to Sprint Cup competition, Scott earned a Pole at Talladega Superspeedway in 2014 and best finish of 12th at Kansas Speedway this fall.
    “I am thrilled to go Sprint Cup Series racing full time next year and to do it with such an iconic team,” said Scott. “When you think NASCAR racing, you think Petty. I’m glad to now be a part of that legacy. I had a lot of fun competing in the XFINITY Series for the last seven years, and I’m excited to take the next step. I ran some races in the Sprint Cup Series the last few years and learned a lot. I feel like we are in a good position to compete for the Rookie of the Year next year and continue the consistency that RPM built over the last few years.”
    Richard Petty Motorsports has shown its commitment to winning, and through relationships with Ford Performance, Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines, it continues to build consistency on the track. In 2015, the team was consistently a top-finisher in the Ford camp and posted three Top-Five, nine Top-10 and 22 Top-15 finishes.
    “We’re happy to welcome Brian to the team,” said co-owner Richard Petty. “Our team has worked very hard to continue our winning tradition and building consistency. We feel Brian is a great addition to that. He’s made a steady progression through the ranks, and now, we feel he’s ready to compete in the Sprint Cup Series.”
    More details, including sponsorship, will be released in the upcoming weeks.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(12-11-2015)

  • Gilliland’s plan for 2016 unknown: Front Row Motorsports driver David Gilliland is weighing his options for 2016. With Front Row’s announcement that Chris Buescher will pilot the #34 Ford next season and the possibility of the organization down-sizing from three teams to two, Gilliland is hoping to lock down a permanent ride. The second-generation Cup driver graduated to NASCAR’s top tour with Yates Racing in 2006. In 330 starts over the last decade, Gilliland has earned four top-fives, eight top 10s and three poles including the 2007 Daytona 500. He was also victorious in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky Speedway in 2006. In 2010, Gilliland, 39, joined the Bob Jenkins-owned team.(Motorsport)
    AND Gilliland tweeted Thursday evening, “Not really sure what’s gonna happen next year. [Front Row] has been great to me. I wish them nothing but the best.”(12-11-2015)

  • ditech will sponsor Harvick in 2 races: ditech announced its primary sponsorship races of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Kevin Harvick, and the Stewart-Haas Racing #4 team for the 2016 season. Ditech’s new logo and paint scheme, featuring the return of the popular “ditech blue,” will be displayed on the #4 ditech Chevrolet SS at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN on April 17th and at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH on September 25th. “We are excited to continue our sponsorship with SHR and Kevin Harvick through 2016,” said Rich Smith, Chief Marketing Officer. “The support from NASCAR fans has been exceptional, and the increased awareness of the ditech brand is proof. After a successful 2015 season, we look forward to continued success for the #4 team as we move into the next year.” Since the Ditech partnership began with Kevin Harvick on September 14, 2014 at the Chicagoland Speedway, he has recorded one championship, six wins, 20 top-two finishes, 29 top-five finishes, 35 top-10 finishes, four poles, and 3,245 laps led.(ditech)(12-11-2015)

  • Truex Jr. named Colorado Professional Athlete of the Year: Mile High Sports Magazine has named Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. the 2015 Colorado Professional Athlete of the Year. Truex, who enjoyed his best season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, joins a list of famed athletes who previously received the Mile High Sports Magazine honor, including Peyton Manning (NFL Denver Broncos), Carmelo Anthony (NBA Denver Nuggets) and Joe Sakic (NHL Colorado Avalanche). Driving for the Denver-based single-car team headquartered 1500 miles from the racing hub in Charlotte, N.C., Truex defied the pundits by advancing to the final four in NASCAR’s Chase playoffs. His season statistics were highlighted with a victory at Pocono Raceway, eight top fives, 22 top 10s and 567 laps led. He was NASCAR’s biggest gainer in the point standings, vaulting from 24th in 2014 to fourth in 2015. “On Monday mornings in Colorado, you talk about how the Broncos played on Sunday. It’s just what you do. But this year, on more than one occasion, Monday morning included conversations about how well Furniture Row Racing and Martin Truex Jr. did over the weekend,” said Mile High Sports Magazine editor-in-chief Doug Ottewill. “The fact that this team got the general sports fan talking about, and interested in, motor sports is remarkable. Truex and his team put our state on the map in a sport where we’d previously had little, if any, representation. That’s a remarkable feat, and it’s exactly why we chose to honor him. Simply put, they were excellent all season long.”(Furniture Row Racing)(12-11-2015)

    News from December 10, 2015

  • JTG Daugherty Racing makes crew chief change UPDATE: Sources say Randall Burnett will oversee the #47 JTG/Daugherty team next season. He replaces crew chief Brian Burns, who will remain with the team. Burnett joined Ganassi Racing in 2005 after he graduated from UNC Charlotte with a degree in mechanical engineering. The 35-year-old St. Louis native – and former Late Model racer – most recently worked as the team engineer on the #42 Target Chevy under crew chief Chris Heroy. Burnett will join Ernie Cope, who spent the last season as crew chief for Chase Elliott at JR Motorsports. Cope will be JTGD’s new competition director starting Dec. 1.(Motorsport)(11-24-2015)
    UPDATE: JTG Daugherty Racing welcomes two exceptional leaders with the recent addition of Ernie Cope as Director of Competition and Randall Burnett as Crew Chief of the #47 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry driven by AJ Allmendinger. Cope returns home to JTG Daugherty Racing, transitioning from JR Motorsports where he was crew chief for 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Chase Elliott. In 2015, Elliott collected one win, 11 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes and finished runner-up in the championship standings with Cope at the helm. Before Cope’s time at JR Motorsports, his journey included six seasons working with Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) and Richard Childress Racing (RCR). He racked up nine victories in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), including eight with Harvick. During his tenure at KHI in the NXS, he also led teams to 79 top-five and 120 top-10 finishes. Over 13 seasons, Cope earned 15 victories in the NXS and nine in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
    Burnett was hand selected by Allmendinger and JTG Daugherty Racing team officials to lead the team as they vie for a coveted spot in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the championship. Burnett has been a racer all his life whether it was building and racing his own cars on a local level or holding a leadership role as a team lead engineer in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He joins JTG Daugherty Racing after a 10-year stint at Chip Ganassi Racing. 2014 was a big year for Burnett as rookie Kyle Larson landed the #42 ride. With an inexperienced NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Burnett helped the team earn eight top-five finishes and 17 top-10 finishes and came close to victory several times. For their efforts, Larson earned the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. Burnett continued his work with Larson throughout 2015.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(12-10-2015)>
  • Sad News – Ron Bouchard: Former Modified great and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Ron Bouchard passed away Thursday. Bouchard, a native of Fitchburg, Mass. and a member of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame, was 67 years old. Ed Flemke Jr. confirmed that Bouchard passed away early Thursday morning after battling cancer for many years. “It was a tough battle,” said Flemke, Bouchard’s brother-in-law. “But he fought the good fight, as he always did.” Bouchard’s wife Paula is the daughter of legendary Modified driver Ed Flemke Sr. “They were such a tremendous team,” Ed Flemke Jr. said. Bouchard was a member of the charter class of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame in 1998. Bouchard began his racing career at 14 years old at the former Brookline Speedway in the 1960’s. He made his name winning in Modified events across the Northeast and became the star attraction at Stafford Motor Speedway in the 1970’s. Though Bouchard was most known for his lone Sprint Cup Series victory, coming in the Talladega 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway on Aug. 2, 1981. It was his eleventh career Sprint Cup Series start. Bouchard was the 1981 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. He had 160 Sprint Cup Series starts between 1981 and 1987 with 19 top-five finishes, 60 top-10’s and three poles. He won the Talladega event driving for New England car owner Jack Beebe and New England crew chief Bob Johnson. He also made 20 XFINITY Series starts from 1983 to 1987 with two victories and eight top-fives.(RaceDay CT)(12-10-2015)

  • Congrats to Trevor and Ashton Bayne: on the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth Kate, on Thursday morning. The news was announced on Bayne’s Instagram account.(12-10-2015)

  • Chris Buescher joining Front Row; team forming alliance with Roush: Roush Fenway Racing has announced an enhanced technical alliance with Front Row Motorsports, with the championship organization now providing engineering, equipment and driver support to Front Row in 2016. As a key part of the alliance, 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion and Roush Fenway driver Chris Buescher will drive the #34 Front Row Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during the 2016 season, with the team receiving full engineering and pit support from Roush Fenway.
    “We are thrilled to announce this alliance,” said Roush Fenway President Steve Newmark. “Not only will it foster increased communication within the Ford camp, it will allow our newest champion Chris Buescher to continue to hone his skills with substantial seat time behind the wheel in the Sprint Cup Series in top-grade equipment. We look forward to working more closely with Front Row on many levels and we believe it is a relationship that will be mutually beneficial for both parties,” added Newmark.
    Buescher, in only his second season of full-time NASCAR racing in 2015, powered his way to the XFINITY Championship and added to his list of accomplishments that already included becoming the youngest driver to ever win an ARCA title in 2012. Buescher scored his first NASCAR win last season at Mid-Ohio and followed up his rookie-year performance with wins at Iowa and Dover this season en route to the championship. Buescher never ranked lower than third in the driver championship standings, and the Prosper, Texas native completed the season with zero DNFs (Did Not Finish). He finished inside of the top-20 in all of the 33 races on the season, completing 99.9 percent of the laps during the 2015 campaign, while leading a total of 263 laps.
    Plans for Front Row Motorsports’ second Sprint Cup Series entry will be announced at a later date.(Roush Fenway Racing)(12-10-2015)

  • Brian Scott to replace Hornish in the #9 UPDATE: After a lengthy process, Richard Petty Motorsports has selected NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Brian Scott as the new driver of its #9 Fords in the Sprint Cup Series, multiple sources confirmed to An official announcement of Scott’s hire is expected by the end of the week, sources said. A spokesman from RPM said the organization had no comment on the report of Scott’s hire. Scott, 27, has competed fulltime in the Xfinity Series the past six seasons, the last three with Richard Childress Racing. In 208 starts, Scott has 20 top-five and 77 top-10 finishes and won five poles. His best finish in the series standings was fourth in 2014. Scott, an Idaho native, has received sponsorship support in his NASCAR career most recently from Shore Lodge, owned by his father, Joe, who is also heir to the Albertsons enterprise. He will make his debut with the team at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Goodyear tire test on Monday.(Motorsport)(12-9-2015)
    UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports has scheduled a press conference for Friday morning to make a driver announcement “for 2016 and beyond”.
    AND: According to Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal, the “sponsor will be Albertsons, which struck [business to business] deal with Smithfield as part of pact.”(12-10-2015)

  • Miss Coors Light program discontinued UPDATE: 2015’s Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz announced Monday night on her Facebook page that the Miss Coors Light program will not exist next season:
    “I’m sure many of you have heard about the recent SAB MillerCoors merger, I had prayed that things would remotely stay the same within the company. In fact, we already had a 2016 contract drawn up, a photoshoot for next season POS & my fire suit just arrived. I am sad to announce that Coors Light is going through a rebranding/budget cut phase & they had to make a last second decision, there will no longer be a Miss Coors Light program within the sport of NASCAR.(12-8-2015)
    UPDATE: While the Coors Light Pole Award will continue in NASCAR, there no longer will be a Miss Coors Light to present it. MillerCoors confirmed Wednesday that the 2015 season was the sixth and final year of the Miss Coors Light program. “Yes, we can confirm that this season will be the final year for the Miss Coors Light program,” MillerCoors spokesperson Kirby Nardo said in email to NASCAR Talk. While the role of Miss Coors Light is over, all other partnerships between MillerCoors and NASCAR will continue. “Nothing will change on the sponsorship front,” Nardo wrote. “Coors Light will still remain the official beer of NASCAR, including the official sponsor of the Coors Light Pole Award.”(NBC Sports)(12-10-2015)

  • Latest on Kevin Swindell: Kevin Swindell wrote a blog entry at to update fans on his status following his wreck at the Knoxville Nationals in August.
    “You could say I’m semi-paralyzed from the waist down. I can voluntarily kick both legs outward to a straight position. I can also lock out my knees enough to stand with a walker. I haven’t gotten any movement back in my ankles or feet to this point, but the doctors and therapists say that the upper leg comes back before the lower. Right now I go to therapy for two hours, three days a week. I also just added an extra hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays to try and get as much as I can. I spend 30 minutes or so standing with the help of my therapist. They place electrode pads on each muscle group of my legs. This helps them contract to strengthen them. It also serves as a method to try to activate the nerves, which could encourage them to wake them. I can’t say this doesn’t suck, because it does. Though with the help of my fiancé, family, and a lot of great friends there hasn’t been much that I haven’t been able to do just three and a half months after breaking my back in two places and going through 16 hours of surgery. I’m really looking forward to heading to PRI in Indianapolis this week. I’m hoping to spend some time meeting with people to discuss how we can prevent what happened to me from happening to others. We’ve spent a lot of time worrying about our necks in Sprint Cars. It’s time to think about our lower back and realize that the driver is truly the only thing there is to give when a car lands flat on the frame the way I did. I had every piece of equipment to the newest standards you can get. From a HANS device connected to the best Arai helmet to a full containment Butlerbuilt seat with an insert under me I had everything. Yet one of the softest flips I’ve probably ever taken is the only one that’s ever hurt me.”(One Dirt)(12-10-2015)

    News from December 9, 2015

  • Brian Scott to replace Hornish in the #9: After a lengthy process, Richard Petty Motorsports has selected NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Brian Scott as the new driver of its #9 Fords in the Sprint Cup Series, multiple sources confirmed to An official announcement of Scott’s hire is expected by the end of the week, sources said. A spokesman from RPM said the organization had no comment on the report of Scott’s hire. Scott, 27, has competed fulltime in the Xfinity Series the past six seasons, the last three with Richard Childress Racing. In 208 starts, Scott has 20 top-five and 77 top-10 finishes and won five poles. His best finish in the series standings was fourth in 2014. Scott, an Idaho native, has received sponsorship support in his NASCAR career most recently from Shore Lodge, owned by his father, Joe, who is also heir to the Albertsons enterprise. He will make his debut with the team at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Goodyear tire test on Monday.(Motorsport)(12-9-2015)

  • Harvick tops all drivers in season winnings: Kyle Busch capped his 2015 championship season by earning a combined $8,393,925 from race winnings, special awards and from the Sprint Cup points fund. But it was Kevin Harvick who earned the most money among Sprint Cup drivers in 2015 at $11,730,460, according to NASCAR officials. A significant part of why Harvick amassed more earnings than the younger Busch brother was because the latter missed the first 11 races of the season recovering from racing-related injuries. A total of 44 drivers earned more than $1 million this past season.
    Joey Logano earned the second-highest amount ($9,663,863) followed by Kyle Busch ($8,393,925), Jimmie Johnson ($8,152,877), Jeff Gordon ($7,614,469), Brad Keselowski ($7,477,096), Denny Hamlin ($7,473,268), Matt Kenseth ($6,806,416), Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($6,761,500) and Martin Truex Jr. ($6,751,609).
    Eleventh through 20th were Ryan Newman ($5,923,403), Carl Edwards ($5,787,488), David Ragan ($5,757,006), Kurt Busch ($5,752,866), Clint Bowyer ($5,702,243), Jamie McMurray ($5,680,016), Aric Almirola ($5,598,831), Greg Biffle ($5,555,082), Austin Dillon ($5,186,719) and Kyle Larson ($5,092,490).
    A total of 78 drivers earned money for competing in at least one of this year’s 36 races.(NBC Sports)(12-9-2015)

  • MWR’s pit crew coach hired by Stewart-Haas: Pit coach Walt Smith has been hired by SHR to help out in the pit department for the upcoming 2016 season. We know that sounds vague but we haven’t heard his exact role yet. We do know he’s been hired just not sure on weather he will take over as the Cup coach, adviser, recruiter, or all of the above. Walt is a coach that has seen plenty of years on pit road. He is a very accomplished coach and has spent years with HMS, DEI, EGR, and MWR. As far as the current situation at SHR, they are in good shape.! From what we know, coaches Joe Piette and Kevin Sharpe are both staying there and why wouldn’t they? They’ve won championships with Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick while also winning Mechanix Wear back to back pit crew MVP awards with their #4 and #41 teams.(Pit Talks)(12-9-2015)

    News from December 8, 2015

  • Miss Coors Light program discontinued: 2015’s Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz announced Monday night on her Facebook page that the Miss Coors Light program will not exist next season:
    “I’m sure many of you have heard about the recent SAB MillerCoors merger, I had prayed that things would remotely stay the same within the company. In fact, we already had a 2016 contract drawn up, a photoshoot for next season POS & my fire suit just arrived. I am sad to announce that Coors Light is going through a rebranding/budget cut phase & they had to make a last second decision, there will no longer be a Miss Coors Light program within the sport of NASCAR.(12-8-2015)

  • Brian France among “Most Influential”: Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR is #13 on Sports Business Journal’s list of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. They say:
    “It was a busy year for NASCAR. The spor’s new elimination-style Chase for the Sprint Cup continued to garner attention, as did new TV deals with Fox and NBC. NASCAR also made gains in social media and developed a new trackside retail model. Now France must find a replacement for departing title sponsor Sprint, and finalize the coming ‘charter’ system designed to give team owners equity in the sport.”
    Number 1 on the list is Bob Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney Co.(Sports Business Daily)(12-8-2015)

  • Some 2015 season caution stats: If the Cup drivers are so good, why do they tend to wreck more than their counterparts in the Xfinity and Trucks series? Well, OK, the Cup races include more cars (43, compared to 40 in Xfinity and 32 in Trucks) and the races are about twice as lengthy. But still, aren’t they supposed to be head and shoulders above the rest? A examination of this year’s stats show that Cup races were interrupted by caution flags more than eight times at each event – 8.2 cautions per race. Compare that to 5.5 cautions in Xfinity and 5.9 in Trucks. Cup races averaged just under two multi-car accidents per event, same as the Truck Series. Xfinity: 1.4. Here’s a look at some facts and figures that race fans – and maybe an Allstate adjuster – would find interesting from the past season.
    • On paper, Daytona and Talladega can appear safer than the other tracks if you only look at the total number of caution flags. The three series ran a combined five Daytona races, averaging 6.5 cautions per race, and not all of them were for accidents. In four combined races at Talladega, the average was 5.25 cautions. However the quantity of flags was overshadowed by the quantity of cars involved. In the Daytona 500, four of the seven cautions were for accidents. Two of those involved a total of 15 cars, and frankly, that’s rather tame compared to the Cup Series’ July visit, when the three multi-car wrecks involved nine, seven and 11 cars, including the last-lap craziness that was easily the scariest accident of the year. Talladega, which is a shade bigger with a tad more elbow room, was much safer than Daytona in 2015, but it had its moments. The one multi-car wreck at the second Talladega Cup race included 11 cars. Xfinity and Trucks raced there once each, with a combined 12 cautions and seven multi-vehicle crashes.
    • The two old half-milers were hard on the sheet-metal crews this year. The two Cup races at both Martinsville and Bristol were particularly beastly. The Cup Series flagger brought out the yellow 34 times in the two events at Martinsville – 13 times for multi-car accidents. Nine of those were in the Nov. 1 Chase race, with the ninth being Matt Kenseth’s famous (or infamous, depending on your tastes) dumping of Joey Logano. But the Cup cars also did much damage at Bristol, with three of eight cautions flying for multi-car wrecks in the late-August night race. Oh, that was an early-evening hayride compared Bristol’s spring race, where seven of the 11 cautions (eating up 117 laps, by the way) were for multi-car mishaps.
    • The “Lady in Black” was in a dark mood for the Southern 500 this year. A season-high 18 caution flags flew at Darlington in September. Five were for multi-car wrecks, most others for single-car issues, and two for debris. Only two for debris after all that.
    • By and large, the cleanest races are at the road courses. Between NASCAR’s three series, six races were run at road-racing venues, with only five accidents involving two or more cars. The Sprint Cup cars ran at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, with the only two-car wreck involving Carl Edwards and David Ragan on Lap 80 at Sonoma in June.
    • As for ovals, Texas brought out the best in everyone. In four combined races between Cup and Xfinity, there was just one multi-car wreck. The Truck Series was absolutely orderly in Fort Worth. In the first race there in 2015, there were a few spins, but on the second visit in November, the one and only caution flag was for debris on the track.
    See more stats and info at the Daytona Beach News-Journal.(12-8-2015)

  • NASCAR and Pinty’s reach six-year agreement for sponsorship of Canadian Series: NASCAR in Canada has a new name and entitlement sponsor – one that’s familiar to race fans across the country. NASCAR and Pinty’s Delicious Foods Inc. announced a six-year series entitlement sponsorship agreement of NASCAR’s Canadian-based series. Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, the series will be known as the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. In addition, NASCAR announced a three-year deal for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series to run as part of the Honda Indy Toronto weekend. Pinty’s (Pin-tees), founded in 1943, produces and provides a complete range of premium quality fresh and frozen chicken products to the retail and food service industry throughout Canada. Pinty’s has been a contingency sponsor of the series since 2012. The 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series season will take the green flag on the traditional Victoria Day weekend, on Sunday, May 22 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, outside of Toronto. Earlier this year, NASCAR’s Canadian Series celebrated its 100th race, which was hosted at Autodrome Chaudiere in Vallée-Jonction, Quebec. Through its first nine seasons, the series has competed on 17 different tracks in six provinces, from Nova Scotia to Alberta.(NASCAR)(12-8-2015)
  • U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds to perform flyover for DAYTONA 500: The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will perform the flyover for the 58th annual DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 21. It will be the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener after the completion of DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch redevelopment project that will transform Daytona International Speedway into the first motorsports stadium in the world. The Thunderbirds will also commence the 2017 season with a flyover before the 59th annual DAYTONA 500. These performances will mark seven straight years, and eight total, that “America’s Ambassadors in Blue” – officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron – will exhibit their world-class talent and precise choreography flying their signature “Delta” formation over the “World Center of Racing” at the end of the national anthem for “The Great American Race.” 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 120 enlisted personnel serving in nearly 30 Air Force job specialties. They have a rigorous schedule, performing hour-long demonstrations across the United States nearly 40 weekends between February and November. 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.(DIS)(12-8-2015)

    News from December 7, 2015

  • Danica Patrick among most searched athletes of 2015: #10-Danica Patrick has earned a top-five finish on Yahoo’s list of the most-searched athletes of 2015. Despite a 24th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, Patrick is the fourth most-searched athlete of the year according to data compiled by Yahoo, Polyvore, Flickr and Tumblr. Patrick is the lone NASCAR representative on the list. The top 5:
    Ronda Rousey, Lindsey Vonn, Maria Sharapova, Danica Patrick, and Caroline Wozniacki.(Fox Sports)(12-7-2015)

  • Most-Mentioned drivers of 2015: According to Joyce Julius, a company that tracks media mentions for sport sponsors, #4-Kevin Harvick was the most-mentioned NASCAR driver on TV this year (the same position he held last season) while#11-Hamlin had the most interview time. Sprint Cup champion #18-Busch was the 12th most-mentioned:
    Interview Time
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr.
    #78-Truex, Jr.

    Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.(Joyce Julius)(12-7-2015)

    News from December 6, 2015

  • Several NASCAR drivers in Snowball Derby UPDATE: On Sunday, Pensacola, Fla., hosts the 48th annual Snowball Derby Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway. The tentative 67-driver field will be vying for the $20,000 prize to the winner. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Hunter Nemechek will return to defend last year’s Snowball Derby championship in his #8 McDonald’s Chevy for NEMCO Motorsports. Since the first edition of the Derby in 1968, there have only been eight repeat winners of the 300-lap event. Among other NASCAR and ARCA notables entered in Sunday’s main event are: Johanna Long, Harrison Burton (son of Jeff Burton), Grant Enfinger, Christopher Bell, Dalton Sargeant, Mason Mingus, Chase Elliott, Rico Abreu, Ross Kenseth, Corey LaJoie and Daniel Hemric. The Snowball Derby will be broadcast live on on Sunday, beginning with the pre-race show at 1:00pm/et.(NBC Sports)(12-6-2015)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Christopher Bell’s victory in the 48th annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Florida lasted less than 30 minutes. After taking the checkered flag, Bell, 21, was subsequently disqualified after post-race technical inspection at Five Flags Speedway found his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota over the limit of left-side weight. As a result, runner-up Chase Elliott – who will replace Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2016 – was awarded the victory in the 300-lap Super Late Model race on the ½-mile asphalt track. It was Elliott’s second Snowball triumph, having also won there in 2011. Zane Smith finished second, followed by Ty Majewski, Dalton Sargeant and Bubba Pollard. It is the fourth time in the last 10 years that the Derby winner has subsequently been disqualified. Elliott can probably feel for Bell, as he went through a similar situation in the 2013 Derby. Elliott was initially declared the winner, only to be disqualified in post-race inspection. The win that year then went to Kyle Busch Motorsports driver and 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champ Erik Jones, who also won the 2012 Derby.(NBC Sports)(12-6-2015)

  • Oddsmakers have Harvick the 2016 Championship favorite: #18-Kyle Busch may have just won NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, but when setting odds for the 2016 season, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook went with last year’s champion, #4-Kevin Harvick, as the 5-to-1 favorite, while installing Busch and two others as co-second favorites at 7-to-1 odds. It’s easy to understand why Harvick is the favorite. His consistency over the past two seasons has been amazing, and there is little reason to believe his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet won’t be every bit as good in 2016. Along with Busch at 7-to-1 odds are #22-Joey Logano and six-time Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson. Johnson won five races last season and finished 10th in points, but had a rough summer after jumping out of the gate with four wins through May. Former Cup champions #20-Matt Kenseth and #2-Brad Keselowski are each listed at 8-to-1, while #19-Carl Edwards, #11-Denny Hamlin and #41-Kurt Busch are 12-to-1.(Sporting News)(12-6-2015)

  • NASCAR TV series could debut by late next year: The producers of a NASCAR-based drama series said this week in Las Vegas that they’re hopeful the show can debut in late 2016 or early 2017. Husband-wife producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey made the comment this week at Sports Business Journal’s Motorsports Marketing Forum. Sports Business Journal reported that a writer for the series has been selected. Burnett, described this year by AdWeek as “the most powerful producer in television” for being responsible for such shows as “Survivor,” “The Voice,” and “The Bible,” said one storyline in the NASCAR drama viewers could expect to see would focus on the wives of drivers. Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president entertainment marketing and content development, said at the forum that the goal of the series: “While it can be about sports, we’re talking about a general audience, so at the heart of it, it has to be about characters, relationships and families – and our sport is laden with those things and some of the attributes that really drive great storytelling, like independence, rebellion and … family.”(NBC Sports)(12-6-2015)

    News from December 5, 2015

  • NASCAR honors Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon: Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards gala at the Wynn Las Vegas honored series champion Kyle Busch for one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of professional sports. But Busch, car owner Joe Gibbs and champion crew chief Adam Stevens had to share the stage and the limelight with retiring four-time champion Jeff Gordon, who bade a tearful farewell after 23 full-time seasons and 797 consecutive races in NASCAR’s premier series – complete with a surprise introduction by mega movie star Tom Cruise. The awards banquet capped an extraordinary year for Busch, who missed the first 11 events of the season after breaking his right leg and left foot when his #54 Toyota plowed into a concrete wall inside Turn 1 at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener. Against all odds, Busch returned to action at Charlotte in May and proceeded to win five of the final 25 races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the event that made him a champion.
    “We’ve all heard the old saying ‘Break a leg!’ which means, you’re wishing someone good luck in show biz,” Busch said. “Well, as I stand here today and think about how lucky I am, I can say without a doubt, that breaking a leg AND a foot works just as good in racing. One day, I went from being able to win races, to the next where I was just thinking about how I was going to be able to walk into the delivery room with (wife) Samantha to be a part of the birth of our son Brexton. I can’t thank Dr. Todd McCall and Dr. Bob Anderson for putting me back together as well as they did. Anyone looking to have leg or foot surgery, just ask for the Kyle Busch special.” The surgery and extensive rehabilitation paid off, as Busch was able to hold off defending series champion Kevin Harvick in the Championship Round race at Homestead.
    Cruise, who played California driver Cole Trickle in the movie “Days of Thunder” (an interloper much as Vallejo, California native Gordon was when he came to stock car racing in the early 1990s), summed up Gordon’s stature as a champion driver and a statesman for the sport in one sentence. “He felt as comfortable discussing a championship with George Bush as he did breaking down a Homestead race with Kyle Busch,” said Cruise, who went on to introduce Gordon as “my friend, the four-time champion, the legend – Jeff Gordon.” After Cruise’s appearance came another surprise. NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France conferred the seldom given Bill France Award on the retiring champion, an recognition that had not been presented since Gordon’s car owner, Rick Hendrick, was honored in 2009. “You’re the very definition of a champion, and quite simply, you changed the sport for the better,” France said. Indeed, Gordon’s most emotional moment during a heartfelt speech came when he choked back tears while thanking Rick and Linda Hendrick for hiring him in the first place.
    “Rick and Linda Hendrick, thank you so much for choosing me to be your driver,” said Gordon, who finished third in the championship standings. “I’m so proud to say I only drove for one car owner – and the best car owner – my entire Sprint Cup career.”
    Fourth-place finisher Martin Truex Jr. provided another emotional moment when he spoke of long-time partner Sherry Pollex’s battle against ovarian cancer. “I’d like to thank Sharon, Sherry’s mom, and her family for their incredible support throughout Sherry’s battle,” Truex said. “Sherry, I can’t thank you enough for being in my life, you’re a true inspiration and I love you very much.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-5-2015)
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins Most Popular Driver Award: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. collected his 13th consecutive NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver award Friday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ annual Awards Ceremony held at the Wynn Las Vegas. Earnhardt is the only driver to have won the award since 16-time winner Bill Elliott was named the recipient at the conclusion of the 2002 season. Earnhardt was awarded the trophy and the National Motorsports Press Association will donate $10,000 in Earnhardt’s name to the charity of his choice. NASCAR fans cast 410,000 votes during the year’s 11-week voting window that ended with the Sprint Cup Series finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22. The NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver award completed its 63rd season, making it one of the oldest awards presented in NASCAR. The fan-driven contest is the only major award in NASCAR determined solely by race fans. “NASCAR fans are the greatest in all of sports,” said NMPA President Brian Nelson, “and I’m delighted that Sprint and the NMPA have given them an opportunity to voice their support. The fans spoke loud and clear, and it’s obvious they support Dale Jr.” Voting totals increased 14 percent over 2014 in spite of a shorter voting window, and more than 40 Sprint Cup Series drivers received one or more votes this season. Race fans were encouraged to vote daily online and using the NASCAR Mobile app. “It is our duty as an organization to provide NASCAR fans with the best possible platform in which to participate, and to provide them with the best possible experience,” said Nelson. The award is sponsored by Sprint, the entitlement sponsor and official wireless partner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(NMPA)(12-5-2015)

  • Jeff Hanson wins Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award: Picture this: a remarkable young artist whose talent sprang from the challenges of a childhood fight against cancer is the 2015 winner of The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide. Jeff Hanson, 22, from Overland Park, Kansas, emerged from an elite group of four finalists after two months of online fan voting on The voting ended Thursday night; the fifth annual award was presented on Friday night during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards at Wynn Las Vegas. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award was established in honor of the foundation’s chairwoman emeritus and founder Betty Jane France, for her longstanding charitable and community service efforts. Since its inception, the award has benefited more than 52,000 children nationally. Hanson will receive a $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation for the charity he represents, the New York-based Children’s Tumor Foundation, in addition to a 2016 vehicle from Official Car Sponsor, Ford.
    Hanson was only six years old when he was diagnosed with optic glioma, a tumor that was attacking his optic nerve. The tumor was caused by the rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF). After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he was legally blind at the age of 12. During chemotherapy treatments in 2005, Hanson began painting with bright colors suited for someone with limited vision. In 2006 he turned his paintings into a fundraising platform for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, selling them from his family’s driveway. He raised $15,000 that summer – and then, continued to paint. His paintings have now raised more than $250,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation and more than $1.3 million for charities worldwide. “What this means to me … is I’m thrilled, I’m honored,” Hanson said. “It means so much to me, that I can help the Children’s Tumor Foundation with a $100,000 donation.
    This year’s award finalists also included Charlotte, North Carolina’s Bob Bowler of Special Olympics North Carolina; Sellersburg, Indiana’s Stephanie Decker of the Stephanie Decker Foundation; and Dunedin Florida’s Carl Flatley of the Sepsis Alliance. All three will receive $25,000 donations from The NASCAR Foundation for their respective causes.(NASCAR)(12-5-2015)

  • Overall 2015 TV Ratings: The first season of NASCAR’s new television deal was good for its television partners, if not quite for the sport. The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season averaged 5.1 million viewers across FOX, Fox Sports 1, NBC and NBCSN, according to Sports Business Daily – down 4% from last year on FOX, TNT, ESPN and ABC (5.3M) and down 12% from 2013 across the same four networks (5.8M). The Chase For the Cup in particular averaged 4.1 million viewers on NBC and NBCSN, down 6% from last year on ESPN and ABC (4.4M). Keep in mind that excludes races from Charlotte and Phoenix, both of which moved from NBC to NBCSN due to rain. The season both started and ended well, with increases for the opening three races from Daytona, Atlanta and Las Vegas as well as for the finale from Homestead. In between, however, 24 of the 28 races that could be compared to last year had declines in ratings and/or viewership. Despite the downward trend, NASCAR coverage benefited new broadcast partners Fox Sports 1 and NBCSN. This year’s Sprint Cup slate accounted for six of the 15 largest audiences on FS1 since it rebranded from Speed Channel in 2013, with Martinsville (4.1M) and Dover (3.9M) ranking among the top ten. For NBCSN, NASCAR races delivered the four largest audiences in the history of the network (previously VERSUS and OLN) and five of the top ten, with the caveat that some highly viewed Olympic events were not counted as distinct programs. Since it began airing NASCAR coverage in July, NBCSN has averaged 183,000 total-day viewers – up 120% increase over last year, the highest year-over-year increase for any cable network over that span.(Sports Media Watch)(12-5-2015)

  • Dale Jr.’s wedding will be after 2016 season: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won’t be having a June 2016 wedding. Although NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver tried to use his influence with the sanctioning body to expedite the release of the 2016 Sprint Cup schedule to select a date for his upcoming nuptials, Earnhardt and his fiancee Amy Reimann are likely looking at a winter wedding. “We haven’t set a date,” Earnhardt told “We know what time of year we want to do it – and it’s probably going to be in next year’s off-season. We have a long-time to plan things out. We’ve just kind of small-talked some venues – where and when – but we haven’t sat down and talked about real plans. We’ve got to start soon though because it’s going to be here before you know it. We were thinking about doing it next summer but then the schedule changes every year and we didn’t want the race to fall on our anniversary. So we’re going to do it in the off-season so we’ll have the opportunity to celebrate it however we want.”(Motorsport)(12-5-2016)
  • Daytona Prepares for Final Month of Construction Activities: With nearly one month remaining until the completion of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising project, Daytona International Speedway is now finalizing key construction activities in preparation for the first event in the new motorsports stadium – the 54th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31. DIS recently completed installation of the trackside tower “WORLD CENTER OF RACING” signage. “Wrapping” of the new Toyota, Florida Hospital, Chevrolet and Sunoco injectors/entrances is also underway. Later this month, DIS will hold a special ceremony to light its new massive identification sign. The “supersign” is located near the new center injector/entrance, welcoming race fans and guests to the motorsports stadium. Additional upcoming construction activities include: “Wrapping” of the “World Center of Racing” center injector, Final inspection of elevators/escalators, Completion of sports lighting testing.(DIS)(12-5-2015)

    News from December 4, 2015

  • Busch to have surgery in December UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch has looked forward for months to offseason surgery on his left foot to have the plates and screws removed so that his foot can feel normal again. But he’s also decided to have a second surgery, one to remove the rod in his right leg. It’s not so he can feel good immediately, but it’s preventative. If he gets in another high-impact crash, he wouldn’t have complications of a possible broken rod in his leg. The 2015 Sprint Cup champion said Tuesday he hopes to have the surgeries on the same day in mid-December, possibly Dec. 14 or Dec. 15. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver should not have any problems being ready for the 2016 season in February. “I’m going to be down for probably, they said, about four weeks with the leg,” Busch said in a teleconference Tuesday to talk about winning the championship. “Just having to re-go through the knee and to cut the knee open again in order to pull the rod out, that’s going to be the most traumatic part — and just having that have to heal and go back together and let the muscle get back together, and of course the tendon as well.” Busch said he expects to be able to walk on his left foot right away following the surgery. “[I’ll have] rehab to make sure that all the joints that have been immobilized for the last nine months, we get them kind of woken back up in a smooth fashion and ‘break it in,’ let’s say,” Busch said.(
    UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch will undergo a pair of surgeries Dec. 17 to remove metal parts from his left foot and right leg, he said Thursday. The surgeries will be done at the same time and will require a lengthy recovery process, but Busch expects to be ready in time for Daytona Speedweeks. Busch said he’s confident he’ll be back to normal about nine months after the surgery, given his recovery in a similar time period this year. Doctors are “pretty shocked” at how well he feels with the plate in his foot, although the rod in his leg already feels normal unless it’s a cold day. “I still have pain today and every day it still continues to get better,” he said.(USA Today)(12-4-2015)

  • NBCSN Presents 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards TONIGHT: Following 21 consecutive weeks of live NASCAR race coverage, NBC Sports Group puts a bow on its 2015 season with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards ceremony Friday, Dec. 4, at 9:00pm/et on NBCSN from Las Vegas, Nev. NBCSN joins NASCAR in celebrating the remarkable season that was, featuring special tributes to this year’s Champion, Kyle Busch, and retiring legend, Jeff Gordon. Friday evening’s NASCAR coverage begins with two special editions of Scan All 43, starting at 6:00pm/et on NBCSN. First up is an in-depth look and listen at the races that set the stage for this year’s Sprint Cup Championship, with all-access passes to the Chase events at Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. At 6:30pm/et, NBCSN presents a Scan All 43 featuring dedicated audio from the Nov. 22nd NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship race in Miami. At 7:00pm NBCSN’s pre-award coverage begins with a special edition of NASCAR America hosted by Dave Briggs alongside analysts Kyle Petty in studio and Dale Jarrett from Burton’s Garage. Krista Voda, Kelli Stavast, Rick Allen and Rutledge Wood report on-site from the Sprint Cup Series Awards in Las Vegas, NV. Red carpet coverage from the Wynn Las Vegas begins at 8:00pm/et on NBCSN. Wood and Stavast deliver interviews with drivers, their guests and celebrities as they enter the celebration. The official award ceremony, hosted by Drew Carey, begins at 9:00pm/et on NBCSN. The evening’s musical lineup includes triple-platinum selling recording artist Andy Grammer, country star Sam Hunt, singer of double platinum hit single “Fight Song” Rachel Platten, and multi-talented singer and songwriter Sabrina Carpenter.(NBC Sports)(12-4-2015)

  • Gordon honored as first Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award recipient: Thursday in Las Vegas, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France kicked off the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2015 Awards Luncheon by celebrating Jeff Gordon, noting the impact he has left for drivers that will follow in his footsteps. “Can you put back in more than you take out?” France said of Gordon’s impact on the sport. “Nobody’s done that better than Jeff Gordon.” As the driver of the #24 Chevrolet SS’ full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career comes to a close, the manufacturer for which he has driven since his very first race in 1992 made sure to honor him in the best way possible. After a video highlighting Gordon’s many accomplishments, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Jim Campbell presented the driver with the first ever Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award. Gordon joined Campbell on stage to accept the trophy, which features the famous cross flags from the 1965 Chevrolet Corvette. In addition, Chevrolet announced the donation of a 2016 Corvette Z06 to benefit the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-4-2015)

  • Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell Receives Buddy Shuman Award: Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell was honored as the 2015 NASCAR Buddy Shuman Award recipient at the annual NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon in Las Vegas. The award was established in 1957 and named for racing pioneer Buddy Shuman. The Buddy Shuman Award is given to annually to recognize individuals and organizations that have played vital roles in the growth of professional stock car racing. Past recipients have included Bill France Sr., Richard Petty, Ken Squier, and Rick Hendrick. “All I can say is I am quite honored to be among the list of recipients of this award,” Campbell said. “When I was young I remember seeing the passion people like my grandfather (Martinsville Speedway Founder H. Clay Earles), Bill France Sr. and Richard Petty had for our sport. I got a lot of my passion for NASCAR from them and I just hope that I have been able to share it with others.” Starting at a young age, Campbell could often be found at the speedway following in his grandfather’s footsteps. When he graduated high school he started working full-time at the track and was named track president in 1988. Martinsville Speedway was founded in 1947 and is the only remaining track from NASCAR’s original schedule. “Nearly 70 years since its founding, Martinsville remains a cornerstone of Cup racing, an impressive feat that is largely due to Clay Campbell’s visionary leadership and relentless focus on the fan experience,” said Michael Proud, director of marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul Motorparts, the award sponsor. “We are proud to celebrate his significant contributions to our sport through this prestigious award.”(Martinsville Speedway)(12-4-2015)

  • Hendrick Motorsports receives MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award: The NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2015 Awards Luncheon was a big one for Hendrick Motorsports. First, Jeff Gordon was presented with the very first Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award. #88 crew chief Greg Ives was then named the MOOG Steering and Suspension Problem Solver of the Year. In between both awards, Hendrick Motorsports was honored with the MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award for the 19th time. In particular, engine assembler Sam Vernatter was singled out as the winner of the award. Points toward the Engine Builder of the Year Award were granted after every race based on qualifying and finishing position, with bonus points for the team that led the most laps. “Randy Dorton started the legacy of Hendrick Motorsports and it lives daily in Jeff Andrews, Jim Wall, Scott Maxim and David Evans,” Vernatter said. “Their leadership paves the way for our success.” Hendrick Motorsports engines powered five of the top 12 finishing teams at the end of the 2015 season, including two of the top three.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-4-2015)

  • Greg Ives receives MOOG ‘Problem Solver of the Year’ Award: Greg Ives, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Hendrick Motorsports-owned #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, received Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ prestigious MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award – including a handcrafted MOOG ball joint trophy and a check for $100,000 – during the NASCAR Sprint Cup NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. Ives is the eighth recipient of the award, which honors the crew chief with the best overall performance during the Sprint Cup season. MOOG is the Official Steering and Suspension of NASCAR. Ives won the year-end MOOG award after earning a series-leading five weekly MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Awards. The weekly Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief whose car delivers the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. Runner-up for the Problem Solver of the Year award, with four weekly MOOG wins, was Justin Alexander, crew chief for Paul Menard and the #27 Chevrolet SS. A record 20 different crew chiefs won at least one weekly Problem Solver award. The MOOG brand, celebrating its 50th year of Cup racing, is the preferred choice of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs. In recognition of the vital importance of steering and suspension components in overall vehicle safety and performance, NASCAR now mandates that Cup teams use MOOG Problem Solver parts, specifically ball joints and tie rod ends.(Federal-Mogul Motorparts)(12-4-2015)

  • 2015 All Pit Road Team: When [PitTalks] started the All Pit Road Team four years ago we wanted to make it as legitimate as possible. We wanted pit crew members to vote on who they thought were the best of the best. This year we changed it up and only members of the 16 Chase pit crews were eligible for the awards. We had the best turnout in voting since we started. We had over 1,730 total votes cast among all the positions. The position votes were as tight as they’ve ever been. Congratulations to everyone who won.
    Front Tire Changer #19 Clay Robinson
    Front Tire Carrier #22 Dylan Dowell
    Jackman #11 Nate Bolling
    Rear Changer #11 Mike Hicks
    Rear Tire Carrier #19 Matt Ver Meer
    Gasmen #22 Kellen Mills
    Coach Trent Cherry: Team Penske
    (PitTalks/, see the complete list on the 2015 Pit Crew news page.(12-4-2015)

  • 2015 Championship “Tire Specialist” award announced: Champion Tire & Wheel has announced the recipient of the 2015 Sprint Cup “Consistently Smooth” award is Greg “Henry” Katzke of Joe Gibbs Racing’s #18 car driven by Kyle Busch. The award recognizes the skill and effort of the team’s tire specialist in overseeing the #18 teams’ tire and wheel program. The tire specialists’ craft is an essential 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 Katzke at the team’s shop in Huntersville with Driver Kyle Busch, owner Joe Gibbs, Senior VP of Racing Operations – Jimmy Makar, COO-Todd Meredith and Crew Chief- Adam Stevens. In addition to the Sprint Cup series recipients, Champion Tire and Wheel will also present Roush Fenway Racings’ #60, Bill Campana, the Championship tire specialists award for the Chris Buescher driven Xfinity Series team, and Tyler Keiper, the tire specialist for Kyle Busch Motorsports and the Erik Jones driven Camping World Truck Series Championship effort.(Champion Tire & Wheel PR)(12-4-2015)

  • NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards List The complete list of Thursday’s award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon:
    • NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Darlington Raceway
    • Buddy Shuman Award: Clay Campbell, President Martinsville Speedway
    • NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Sunoco
    • Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award: Jeff Gordon
    • 3M Lap Leader Award: Kevin Harvick
    • American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick
    • Coors Light Pole Award: Joey Logano
    • Duralast Brakes “Brake in the Race” Award: Kevin Harvick
    • Freescale “Wide Open” Award: Kevin Harvick
    • Goodyear Tires Award: Kyle Busch
    • Ingersoll Rand Power Move Award: No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet team
    • MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Sam Vernatter, Hendrick Engines No. 4 team
    • Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 team
    • Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kyle Busch
    • MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Greg Ives, crew chief No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team
    • Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Matt Kenseth
    • Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Kyle Busch
    • Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Brett Moffitt
    • Champion Sponsor Award: Mars, Inc.
    • Champion Crew Chief: Adam Stevens
  • Northeastern Supply Company joins Sadler as associate sponsor: The Northeastern Supply Company will mark its 23rd consecutive year of NASCAR Xfinity Series team sponsorship in 2016 by remaining with JR Motorsports for a 4th season as an associate sponsor of veteran Emporia, Virginia driver Elliott Sadler and the new OneMain Financial Chevrolet race team. Northeastern had sponsored Regan Smith and the #7 Chevrolet Team from JRM the last three seasons. Smith registered five wins during that time frame and was a contender for the Series Championship in all three campaigns. With Smith’s departure from the team, Sadler will take over as the new veteran driver. Justin Allgaier joins Sadler at JRM to drive the #7 BRANDT Chevrolet after two seasons in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It gives JRM two teams competing for an Xfinity Series championship.(Northeastern Supply)(12-4-2015)

    News from December 3, 2015

  • Darlington Raceway selected 2015 Myers Brothers Award recipient: Darlington Raceway moved forward by going back in 2015. NASCAR’s first paved superspeedway paid homage to stock car racing’s past when it launched a “throwback” campaign for this year’s Bojangles’ Southern 500, and the move proved to be one of the most talked about, most popular events of the year. So much so that the program has earned the track the National Motorsports Press Association’s 2015 Myers Brothers Award. The award was presented Thursday during the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2015 Awards Luncheon at the Wynn Las Vegas. Given annually by the NMPA, the Myers Brothers Award is named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers. Its’ purpose is to recognize individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. Others receiving votes for this year’s award were four-time series champion Jeff Gordon and 2015 Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch.
    Darlington Raceway has hosted one or more NASCAR premier series events since 1950. The Southern 500, which returned to its long-held Labor Day weekend date this past season, is considered one of the series’ “crown jewel” events. More than 30 cars in this year’s 43-car field featured throwback schemes, honoring everything from long-time sponsors to drivers and popular paint schemes from the early 1970s. Several teams got in the act by wearing crew uniforms similar to those worn at the time; concession stand fare included items that were offered at the time and tickets in some sections were even priced similar to that specific time period. Even television partner NBC got in the act, bringing back former announcers Ken Squier and two-time champion Ned Jarrett to call a portion of the race from the broadcast booth. Jarrett’s son, Dale – a former series champion as well – joined his father in the booth, marking the first time the two had called a race together. Track President Chip Wile said at the time that the throwback program is “a five-year platform; this isn’t a one-year deal. “We felt like if we could get eight or 10 teams on board to really showcase what we’re trying to accomplish, we felt like in 2016 we could get more, in 2017 we would get more and so on,” he said. “But the response that we’ve gotten from everyone in the industry has been incredible. It was a fully integrated plan that made our event something special for the fans.”(NMPA)(12-4-2015)

  • NASCAR continues search for Cup Series title sponsor: Recent fundamental changes in NASCAR have helped broaden its appeal in its search for a new title sponsor for its premier Cup series, according to Brent Dewar, NASCAR’s chief operating officer. The Cup series’ current title sponsor, Sprint, will conclude its sponsorship deal at the end of the 2016 season. “If you haven’t been around NASCAR in the last two or three years, you really haven’t been around NASCAR,” Dewar said. “It’s really allowing us an opportunity to talk to a wide group, whether it’s blue-chip domestic companies, to internationals, to regional companies – and we have a great story to tell. It’s casting a wide net. We’re in a nice place, and we’ve been to some really cool companies, talking about our sport. We hope to find a partner that will deliver equally the strength that we’ve gotten from Sprint.” Dewar maintained there is no specific timetable for the announcement of a new title sponsor but added NASCAR hopes to give its new sponsor time to get make a seamless transition into the new role much like it did with the arrival of Nextel-then-Sprint.(Motorsport)(12-3-2015)

  • RTA, NASCAR nearing deal on franchising: A new system that would award guaranteed spots to NASCAR race teams could be put into place by the start of 2016. NASCAR chief operations officer Brent Dewar and Race Team Alliance chairman Rob Kauffman both said Wednesday they are “cautiously optimistic” that a deal would get done in time for next season. They spoke during separate sessions of the SportsBusiness Journal Motorsports Marketing Forum, an annual event that coincides with championship week. It appears that any animosity between NASCAR and the RTA from its inception in 2014 has gone away. “We’re close,” Kauffman said. “Definitely like most things, the devil is in the details. There is a large amount of contractual stuff. … We are on a good track. We’re very collaborative. Some of the early day [infighting] stuff is long gone. There is very productive and collaborative relationship between the sanctioning body and all the teams.”
    Dewar said that he speaks with Kauffman daily and that NASCAR is committed to giving the owners something that can increase value in their teams and help them sell either pieces or majority portions to interested investors. Neither spilled any details of the plan, which at least initially was targeting a 40-car field with 36 guaranteed spots that would come with a certain portion of the television revenue. The split of television revenue — 65 percent to tracks, 25 percent to teams through the purse and 10 percent to NASCAR — is not expected to change.
    “These are big investments, and the more you understand to attract investors into the sport, to attract ownership interests, we need that kind of [deal],” Dewar said. “We support that. We’re trying to implement a system in our 66th year, so with that, comes some thoughtful navigation of how to do that.”(

  • Joe Gibbs Racing expected to make crew chief changes: Joe Gibbs Racing is changing the complexion of its Sprint Cup crew chief line up for 2016. Sources have confirmed to that Darian Grubb will no longer oversee the #19 Arris/Stanley Tools Toyota driven by Carl Edwards. Dave Rogers, who is currently crew chief for the #11 Fed Ex team and Denny Hamlin, is expected to move into the role. With Rogers taking over the #19 team, Mike Wheeler is expected to be named crew chief of the #11 crew and Hamlin. “Wheels” was Hamlin’s race engineer on the #11 team and even filled in for Grubb for one event before he was promoted to crew chief of the #20 Xfinity Series team at JGR. In Edwards first season at JGR, the Grubb-led crew scored two wins – Charlotte Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway – seven top fives and 15 top-10 finishes. With the exception of earning three poles and finishing fifth in the 2015 standings, Edwards’s stats were nearly identical to his last season with Roush Fenway Racing.(Motorsport)(12-3-2015)

  • Stewart files counterclaim against insurance company: Tony Stewart’s attorney countered an insurance company’s claim that its policy does not cover Stewart in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. Brian Gwitt, Stewart’s New York-based attorney, filed the claim Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Axis Insurance Company stated in court documents in September that it should not be held responsible for damages Stewart might have to pay the Ward family. The family filed a lawsuit Aug. 7 against Stewart, seeking unspecified damages for the death of their 20-year-old son. Axis claimed in documents that clauses in its policy with Tony Stewart Racing precluded it from paying any damages. Stewart’s counterclaim states that various clauses show that Axis should be responsible for such damages. Stewart’s counterclaim states that the Liability Policy includes a segment titled “Commercial General Coverage Part” with a primary-layer coverage of $1 million “per occurrence” for claims covered under it. That, according to Stewart’s counterclaim, provides coverage for, among other things, “Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability” and “Participant Legal Liability – Motorsports.” Axis stated in its court filing that its Participant Legal Liability – Motorsports section contained the following exclusion: “This insurance does not apply to claims or actions brought by one racing vehicle driver against another racing vehicle driver.” Axis also states that its policy is limited to the events specifically listed by Tony Stewart Racing. The Empire Sprint Series event was not listed, according to Axis. Stewart’s counterclaim contends that the Axis’ policy “provides Axis with the right and the duty to defend any lawsuit asserting covered liabilities.”(NBC Sports)(12-3-2015)

  • Marlowe close to sale of stake in BK Racing: Social media has grown to become the megaphone for all things these days, from breaking news and marketing products to communicating with friends and even showing off what’s for dinner. But using the medium to advertise the sale of a professional sports team? That’s one of the few things that hadn’t been done – until recently, that is. NASCAR team investor Anthony Marlowe said last week that his plan to sell his 10 percent stake in BK Racing via Twitter is bearing fruit. Marlowe, who joined BK Racing last year from now-defunct Swan Racing, is believed to be the first sports team owner to advertise the sale of a stake in a team on the social media platform. And according to Marlowe, the current “lead sled dog” for the sale found out about the opportunity from two tweets he sent out in recent months. “We’re moving swiftly toward getting a deal done by the end of the year,” Marlowe said. The asking price is $1 million. Marlowe’s first tweet on the subject came in mid-September, when he announced the sale, the amount of equity involved and his contact info. He then sent a second message – this time a promoted tweet – in mid-October, noting the stake’s price and that the sale was open only to accredited investors who could receive venture financing. Marlowe believes he can turn a slight profit from his initial investment – something that many former NASCAR team owners never had the opportunity to do. “With the prospective charter system being discussed, I’m looking at this as a window of opportunity where I’m likely selling too early,” he said. “But it’s an opportunity to get out whole or make a little bit of money, something that 95 percent of NASCAR owners up until this point had a very difficult time doing.” Marlowe, who said the sale could still fall apart but hopes to have it done by the time the NASCAR owner agreement is signed in 2016, is planning to maintain a presence in motorsports. For example, he is in talks with Iowa Speedway executives about possibly buying race title sponsorships or hospitality packages there because many of his company’s locations are in that state or nearby South Dakota. In the meantime, he is trying to help BK Racing accomplish a spate of business-side goals – including finding a company that wants to take over naming rights of the team.(Sports Business Daily)(12-3-2015)

  • Sunoco Earns NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Sunoco, the Official Fuel of NASCAR, will be honored Thursday with the 2015 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held in the Encore Ballroom at Wynn Las Vegas. Since 2004, the iconic red and blue Sunoco can has been a fixture at the track each weekend, fueling the most competitive racing in the world. The best drivers in the world rely on Sunoco race fuel to get the most out of their cars, win races, and ultimately, championships. Off the track, Sunoco utilized an integrated marketing approach to engage fans, customers and employees through promotions, B2B, digital, broadcast, event marketing and social media. This year, Sunoco debuted its national campaign “Burnt Rubbér” featuring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson in dramatic television creative. The campaign aired both during and outside motorsports programming, featured digital and social extensions, and was supported with earned media and at-track activations. The creative approach garnered more than 255 million impressions and nearly nine million engagements since its launch in May.(12-3-2015)

  • Hendrick Motorsports names new Manager of Aerodynamics: Diane Holl is the new manager of aerodynamics for Hendrick Motorsports. Holl, 51, joined HMS last month after eight seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing where she served as Director of Vehicle Design. After earning her degree in mechanical engineering, the Guildford, England native’s career started in Formula 1 with Ferrari as a chassis designer in 1987. Holl returned to England in 2002, where she worked with the McLaren Group as Principle Engineer. She returned to the U.S. five years later to join MWR. Holl replaces Kurt Romberg, who has since taken a similar role at Roush Fenway Racing.(Motorsports)(12-3-2015)

  • Lesa France Kennedy named Most Powerful Woman in Sports: Who are the most powerful women in sports? Managing over 1,000 employees and helping drive an estimated $700 million in annual revenues, racing heiress Lesa France Kennedy has established herself as the most influential female in the business of sports. As CEO of International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Kennedy manages thirteen of America’s biggest race tracks, while also playing a key role in steering the multibillion-dollar juggernaut that is NASCAR as a member of its board of directors. The granddaughter of Bill France Sr., a 1930s-era stockcar racer who founded NASCAR in 1948, and the daughter of Bill France Jr., who ran the organization from 1972 to 2000, the 54-year-old Kennedy has spent more than three decades leading ISC’s expansion out of the South with the construction and acquisition of tracks in Illinois, New York, California and several other states. More significantly, Kennedy has served as a mentor and inspiration for hundreds of aspiring female sports executives, which is why a panel of sports insiders ranked her first on this list of The 25 Most Powerful Women In Sports.
    Coming in second is Michele Roberts, the recently appointed executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. In third is Christine Driessen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of ESPN.(Forbes)(12-3-2015)

  • Eldora to change race name after conflicts with MLB: Eldora Speedway announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement with Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., that will change the name of the annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the half-mile dirt track. The Rossburg, Ohio facility will discontinue the names “Mudsummer Classic” and “Mud Summer Classic” for NASCAR’s only national series event on dirt. The race name was tweaked to “Mud Summer” for 2015 in an effort to further distance the event from the Major League Baseball All-Star Game’s nickname of “Midsummer Classic.” The play on words was part of the race’s name since Eldora joined the Camping World Truck Series schedule in 2013. Roger Slack, Eldora’s general manager, didn’t let the name go without one last swipe. “We hope all of the baseball fans who traveled to Rossburg, Ohio the past three years in anticipation of the MLB All-Star Game enjoyed the race and the $2 beers,” Slack said in a statement provided by the track.(

  • Richmond, Hensley join GMS: GMS Racing announced the addition of crew chiefs Marcus Richmond and Jeff Hensley for the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season, bolstering the previously announced signing of NCWTS driver Johnny Sauter to the Statesville, N.C.-based organization. Richmond will serve as crew chief for Sauter, while Hensley will help with the development of Spencer Gallagher in his second full-time NCWTS season. Gallagher’s former crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz will return to GMS Racing as crew chief for Grant Enfinger, who will pilot a third GMS Racing NCWTS entry. “I can’t explain how excited I am for the 2016 season and to get to work with Johnny Sauter and the rest of the GMS Racing team. This is a strong organization that has the ability to compete for a title,” states Richmond, who joins GMS Racing after spending the previous two seasons at Red Horse Racing as crew chief for Timothy Peters. He contributes 10 years of experience as crew chief, including eight wins over 198 races. I look forward to working with Jeff Hensley and Jeff Stankiewicz and building off of the experience we all have. We have three drivers that will be able to learn a lot from each other and contribute to the overall success of GMS Racing.”
    Hensley’s crew chief experience spans 12 seasons and 283 races, 13 of which resulted in victories, and most recently served as crew chief at ThorSport Racing with drivers Johnny Sauter and Cameron Hayley. The Ridgeway, Va., native also spent 15 years as crew chief in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (427 races, 11 wins), following a four-year driving career.
    The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship duo from 2015 will be kept intact as Stankiewicz and Enfinger elevate their partnership to the next level. Since establishing an undisputed rapport throughout 2015, Stankiewicz looks forward to transferring that level of performance to the NCWTS with his new teammates.
    The announced driver / crew chief combinations have GMS Racing positioned to continue the growth from 2015 and continue the organization’s progression into a championship contender.(GMS Racing)(12-3-2015)
  • Ackerman replaces Huffman as crew chief UPDATE 2: Tom Ackerman will replace Shane Huffman atop the pit box for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The #33 GMS Racing team has made a change in crew chiefs following the departure of Huffman, who served in that role for the entire season and parts of 2014. Huffman started his racing career behind the wheel, first running late models and winning the 2003 Pro Cup title before advancing into NASCAR’s Xfinity Series with JR Motorsports in 2006. He transitioned to the pit box in 2007 at Rusty Wallace Racing and then oversaw Brandon Jones’ effort in 2014 on the K&N Pro Series Tour and a limited ARCA run. Jones finished fourth in the NKNPS standings. This season Huffman guided the 18-year-old driver’s 16-race truck schedule. Jones posted four top fives and eight top 10s in 16 starts. However, Huffman earned his first Truck series win as a crew chief with Austin Dillon behind the wheel at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September from the pole. Austin’s younger brother Ty Dillon and Brandon Jones have also piloted that truck this year. After finishing second at Talladega, GMS was handed a P4 level penalty due an infraction found in pre-qualifying inspection. Huffman was fined $10,000 and suspended for the next three races, but due to a subsequent appeal, he was granted a one week deferment. The three-member appeals panel reduced the original three-race suspension on Huffman from three races to two, citing a delay in the originally scheduled appeals hearing. As a result, Huffman was suspended for the final two truck races at Phoenix and Homestead, but his suspension will not carry over to 2016. The team also lost 25 driver and owner points. Jones will be in the driver’s seat this weekend, working with Ackerman (who also replaced Huffman at Phoenix). Ackerman has spent 50 CWTS race atop the pit box for several drivers including Ted Musgrave.(
    UPDATE: has learned that Shane Huffman, who recently departed the role as crew chief at GMS Racing has taken a new job with a Toyota truck team and could be expected to be announced as (Marcus) Richmond’s replacement (at Red Horse Racing) in the coming weeks. The spokesperson added the team didn’t have anything to announce for 2016 at this time. (
    UPDATE 2: Huffman confirmed on his Twitter that he started work this week as crew chief for Peters at Red Horse.(12-3-2015)
  • Drive Your Car on Track at Sonoma Raceway: Fans who’ve dreamed of taking a few laps around the Sonoma Raceway road course can turn those fantasies into reality, as the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) hosts the 3rd annual Laps for Charity event on Saturday, Jan.16. Race fans and community members are invited to drive their very own vehicle for a few laps around the challenging track, all in the name of charity. This unique experience includes a pre-lap safety briefing with professional drivers, three lead-follow laps around the 12-turn, 2.52-mile circuit and a picture of your car on track. Cost is just $150, and all proceeds benefit kids in need through Sonoma County youth organizations. Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway, has distributed more than $5.1 million to Sonoma County youth groups since 2001. A limited number of spots in half-hour increments are now available between 11:30am – 4:00pm. on Saturday, Jan. 16. Participants must be 18 years old or older, and passengers are not permitted. All cars must have shoulder strap seat belt restraints, mufflers and pass a basic technical inspection. For more information or to register for your spot, visit Raceway)(12-3-2015)

    News from December 2, 2015

  • Axalta to sponsor Dale Jr. in 2016 IMAGE: Axalta Coatings Systems will continue its long-standing partnership with Hendrick Motorsports after agreeing to a contract extension that will expand its presence and take one of the most enduring sponsorships in NASCAR through 2018. Beginning in 2016, Axalta will become a primary sponsor of the #88 Chevy team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 13 Sprint Cup Series races annually, an increase of three per season. Axalta will also be featured as a major associate sponsor during all non-primary events.
    The agreement extends a multi-faceted partnership — now in its 23rd full season — that began in November 1992 when the company (as DuPont) first sponsored driver Jeff Gordon and the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team. Gordon, who is in the midst of his final full-time Sprint Cup campaign, will continue to work with Axalta as a spokesperson and global business advisor. The multi-year relationship was announced earlier this year.
    “We began a journey 23 years ago with Hendrick Motorsports and a young driver named Jeff Gordon. Eighty poles, 92 wins and four championships later, we are proud of the run we’ve had with Jeff,” said Nigel Budden, Axalta vice president and head of its North America business. “Now, we are delighted to continue our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and to adorn the hood of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 Chevy SS with the Axalta logo in 2016. As our slogan says, ‘We Paint Winners,’ and by joining Dale we will continue to do so for years to come.”
    On the racetrack, Axalta’s relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has yielded four Sprint Cup Series championships and 92 victories. Axalta has hosted thousands of customers at events and fashioned some of the most iconic paint schemes in NASCAR history. Earlier this month, the two companies broke ground on Axalta’s 45,000-square-foot Customer Experience Center that will be located on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, NC.
    “Axalta has built a model sponsorship program,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “For 23 years, they’ve recognized the opportunities NASCAR provides and understood how it drives value for their business. It’s a unique relationship that’s evolved with the times and has been consistently effective. We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished as partners and look forward to more successes together with Dale and the #88 team.”
    “Axalta and Hendrick Motorsports have an incredible story,” Earnhardt said. “For me, it’s meaningful to work with a sponsor that’s been so committed to our sport and has such a rich history in NASCAR. Continuing the partnership is special for all of us, and I’m already excited about what the car will look like. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-6-2015)
    IMAGE Axalta Racing debuted the #88 Axalta Chevy Tuesday afternoon at the Cromwell in Las Vegas. See images of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(12-2-2015)

  • Pemberton leaving NASCAR UPDATES: NASCAR announced that Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton will leave the organization at the end of 2015. With a racing career that has spanned five decades, Pemberton joined the sanctioning body in August of 2004. Since that time, he has overseen all areas of NASCAR competition and been credited as a key component in bridging the gap between the sanctioning body and the racing community.
    “Robin has left an indelible mark on the sport while at NASCAR,” said NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton. “He joined us at a critical time and very quickly gave our highly visible competition group the credibility and confidence it needed to be successful with the industry. He traded a successful career as a competitor to help lead the sport for 12 seasons. We’re extremely grateful for his many contributions.”
    During Pemberton’s tenure, NASCAR has seen a great number of technical and safety advancements. Against the backdrop of the massive NASCAR Research & Development Center, Pemberton’s Competition teams overhauled the inspection and rules process and procedures for all vehicles racing in the national series. He oversaw the transitions of NASCAR to Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and to race fuels with blended Sunoco E15. Among the largest undertakings under his purview was the launch of the acclaimed Generation 6 style car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013. That style just completed its third season of on-track racing.
    “I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish during my time at NASCAR,” Pemberton said. “This sport has been my entire professional career and working with all the competitors and the auto manufacturers for the last 12 seasons has been a thrill. I feel good knowing that the work this team has done has had a positive impact on the sport. I look forward to the next challenge.” Pemberton will help in the transition to a new competition lead for the balance of the year.(NASCAR)(12-1-2015)
    UPDATE: The “Boys, have at it” era of NASCAR is over as Scott Miller replaces Robin Pemberton as senior vice president of competition, effective immediately. Miller, 58, spent the last four years as the Executive Vice President of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing. In his first season with organization, he helped transform a mid-pack team to championship contenders, as both Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. transferred into the 2012 Chase. Five of the MWR’s seven Cup wins were earned during Miller’s tenure. Over the last two decades that Miller has developed solid relationships throughout the garage. He’s earned the respect of his teammates and competitors alike for his personal yet pragmatic approach to racing. Miller also understands the challenges current racing organizations face with the multitude of changes and alterations directed from the sanctioning body.(Motorsport)(12-2-2015)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced that Scott Miller has joined the organization as Senior Vice President of Competition, responsible for managing all competition efforts related to technology, inspection, rule development and officiating across NASCAR’s wide portfolio of racing. Miller will report directly to Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell, and work closely with Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn. All three are based at NASCAR’s Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. Miller most recently served as Executive Vice President of Competition at Michael Waltrip Racing. There he was responsible for managing all areas of competition. During his four-year tenure, MWR teams qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2012, 2013, and 2015.(NASCAR)(12-2-2015)

  • Gordon leads in 2015 television time: As the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season offered excitement on the track, it also provided nearly $1-billion in media value during race broadcasts according to Repucom, a trusted advisor in sports and entertainment intelligence. Repucom takes into account audience size and the quality of a brand exposure during in-race broadcasts. The location, size and duration of signage are among some of the factors that are also considered. The top five overall brands ranked by media value in 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series broadcasts were entitlement sponsor Sprint; followed by Chevrolet, Toyota, Ford and Coca-Cola.
    The top five primary sponsors for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams in 2015 ranked by media value as analyzed by Repucom were Lowe’s, Nationwide, Jimmy John’s, Shell-Pennzoil and Haas Automation.
    • #24-Jeff Gordon topped all competitors for media value and time on screen during race broadcasts, accumulating just over 24 hours of television time in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.
    • In addition to finishing second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and collecting a record 13 second-place finishes, #4-Kevin Harvick ranked second for time on screen and media value in 2015.
    • 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #18-Kyle Busch improved the primary sponsor ranking for M&Ms, moving it up six positions to seventh this year. The team also increased its time on screen. The car, driven by substitute drivers and Busch, accumulated just shy of 16 hours of television broadcast time, four more hours than last year.
    • The biggest mover in 2015 was #78-Martin Truex, Jr. It took just seven weeks into the 2015 season for Furniture Row Racing to surpass its total 2014 exposure level. The media value increased three and a half times over last year and Furniture Row moved up 18 positions in the primary car sponsor rankings.

  • 2015 NASCAR season full of records, milestones: The sport fittingly crowned a first-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch, in what was a transformational season that saw the championship format produce a series of records, milestones and firsts on and off the track. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Race on NBC and NBCSN was the most-watched finale since 2005 – peaking with nearly 12.4 million average viewers. This concluded a successful first season of the largest and most lucrative television partnerships in NASCAR history with FOX and NBC. A record number of fans consumed NASCAR through digital and social media in 2015. NASCAR amassed 4.1 billion social media impressions, 1.1 billion page views – up more than 20 percent from 2014 – and a 34 percent year-over-year increase in its mobile audience. In addition, driver merchandise sales at tracks increased more than 20 percent since the Fanatics Trackside Superstore launched in July.
    NASCAR Next, a program that identifies and nurtures young drivers, produced the Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner in all three national series: Brett Moffitt in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Daniel Suárez, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate, in the NASCAR XFINITY Series; and Erik Jones in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
    NASCAR today also announced the top five selling drivers for the 2015 season at the Fanatics Trackside Superstore. Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the list at #1, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and newly crowned champion Kyle Busch rounded out the list at #5.
    (NASCAR), see other milestones, records and firsts achieved during the 2015 season on the NASCAR Rules & News page.(12-2-2015)
  • Tully’s Coffee and Papa John’s to feature new branded locations at Daytona: Daytona International Speedway announced that Tully’s Coffee and Papa John’s International will establish new branded locations at the Speedway as part of the amenities associated with the $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project. The new locations, each measuring 650 square feet, will be featured on the concourse levels and include customized branding and activation for each company. “For the first time ever, we’re thrilled to offer dedicated locations for our restaurant partners,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “These leading brands will provide elevated dining options for fans at our new motorsports stadium.” Papa John’s, the world’s third-largest pizza delivery company, will feature four locations within the stadium. The branded locations will be operated by the local Papa John’s franchisee group, QS America, LLC. In addition to its new location at DIS, Tully’s Coffee, a leading specialty coffee retailer and wholesaler, will become the official coffee of the “World Center of Racing.” The new locations will debut in January 2016 during the Rolex 24 At Daytona Weekend.(DIS)(12-2-2015)
  • Iowa Speedway Season Tickets on Sale: Cast your vote for the candidate that exemplifies all that is right about America by purchasing Season Tickets to Iowa Speedway. With election season fast approaching, race fans, and Iowans who support great entertainment, are being asked to “re-elect” Iowa Speedway for summer excitement in 2016. Season Tickets will go on sale to voters beginning Wednesday, Dec. 2. Returning fans can ensure themselves the best seats at the lowest prices by renewing their tickets before the February 24 renewal deadline. Current Season Ticket Holders will receive a letter in the mail as in past years. Season Ticket Packages will remain on sale for new purchases through June 18. Payment plans are available and offer great flexibility to fans who want to spread out their payments. In response to an Iowa Speedway exit poll, Wide Opening Weekend will feature both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series during Father’s Day Weekend June on 18-19. The second weekend of racing is a bipartisan effort as the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and the INDYCAR Series Iowa Corn 300, Indy Lights and Pro Mazda Championship come together on July 9-10. The 2016 race season will close on July 29-30 with a pair of surging incumbents, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East / West Casey’s General Stores 150 and NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250, in yet another exhilarating weekend at “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.” Savings for Season Ticket Holders start at over $40 in the first four rows and increase to more than $120 off regular retail prices in the upper grandstands. Packages start at the low price of $99 for eight high-powered races over three weekends in 2016.(Iowa Speedway)(12-2-2015)

    News from December 1, 2015

  • Pemberton leaving NASCAR: NASCAR announced that Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton will leave the organization at the end of 2015. With a racing career that has spanned five decades, Pemberton joined the sanctioning body in August of 2004. Since that time, he has overseen all areas of NASCAR competition and been credited as a key component in bridging the gap between the sanctioning body and the racing community.
    “Robin has left an indelible mark on the sport while at NASCAR,” said NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton. “He joined us at a critical time and very quickly gave our highly visible competition group the credibility and confidence it needed to be successful with the industry. He traded a successful career as a competitor to help lead the sport for 12 seasons. We’re extremely grateful for his many contributions.”
    During Pemberton’s tenure, NASCAR has seen a great number of technical and safety advancements. Against the backdrop of the massive NASCAR Research & Development Center, Pemberton’s Competition teams overhauled the inspection and rules process and procedures for all vehicles racing in the national series. He oversaw the transitions of NASCAR to Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and to race fuels with blended Sunoco E15. Among the largest undertakings under his purview was the launch of the acclaimed Generation 6 style car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013. That style just completed its third season of on-track racing.
    “I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish during my time at NASCAR,” Pemberton said. “This sport has been my entire professional career and working with all the competitors and the auto manufacturers for the last 12 seasons has been a thrill. I feel good knowing that the work this team has done has had a positive impact on the sport. I look forward to the next challenge.” Pemberton will help in the transition to a new competition lead for the balance of the year.(NASCAR)(12-1-2015)

  • Quicken Loans to Join Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne in 2016 Detroit-based Quicken Loans, the nation’s second largest retail mortgage lender, announced it will partner with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016, serving as a three-race primary sponsor of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS driven by Kasey Kahne in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The company will be an associate sponsor for all remaining races. One of Quicken Loans’ primary sponsorship races will include a joint promotion with Hendrick Automotive Group, the largest privately held operator of auto dealerships in the United States. Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Kahne, 35, has seen significant success – earning three berths in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. The Enumclaw, Washington, native boasts 17 career wins and 156 top-10 finishes in NASCAR’s top division. Quicken Loans’ move to Hendrick Motorsports comes after serving as a primary sponsor of the #31 Chevrolet and driver Ryan Newman for two seasons at Richard Childress Racing, as well as the two years prior at Stewart-Haas Racing. Quicken Loans ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Primary Mortgage Origination” in the United States by J.D. Power for the past six consecutive years (2010 – 2015) and highest in customer satisfaction among all mortgage servicers in 2014 and 2015.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-1-2015)

  • Champion’s Week Begins In Las Vegas: Festivities in Las Vegas begin Tuesday for the annual postseason celebration honoring the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Brett MOffitt. Running Dec. 1-4, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week will once again bring together the “who’s who” of the racing industry, celebrities and fans for a robust schedule of events. Tuesday’s events include:
    Tuesday, Dec. 1
    • NASCAR Live: Eli Gold will sit down with 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch to discuss his road to the championship. NASCAR Live will air from inside the Race and Sports Book at Wynn Las Vegas from 4 – 5pm on Motor Racing Network. This event is free to the public. Fans in attendance will have a chance to participate in the live broadcast.
    • Miss Sprint Cup will chat live with 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch from 2:30 -3 p.m. ET. The chat will be streamed live on
    Tuesday – Wednesday, Dec. 1 – 2
    • DAYTONA Rising / NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum: Part one of the annual DAYTONA Rising / NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal, will bring together industry decision-makers for insights and thought-provoking discussions on the state of motorsports. The event will be held at The Mirage Las Vegas.
    (NASCAR), for more information and the complete list of Champion’s Week activities on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards 2015 page.(12-1-2015)

  • NASCAR on NBC: 2015 season by the numbers: NBC Sports Group’s first season return as the home of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series Championships continues this Friday on NBCSN with the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at 9:00pm/et from Las Vegas, NV. The special presentation wraps up an exciting 2015 season featuring live coverage from 22 states, more than 12 thousand miles of racing and 569 hours of NASCAR programming. Listed below are some key metrics from NBC Sports Group’s 2015 NASCAR coverage.
    2 – NASCAR Champions crowned on NBC
    19 – NASCAR XFINITY Series races on NBC and NBCSN
    20 – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on NBC and NBCSN
    21 – Consecutive weeks of NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series race coverage
    22 – States NASCAR on NBC delivered Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series race coverage
    363 – Total hours of live trackside coverage across NBC, NBCSN and CNBC
    206 – Total hours of non-trackside NASCAR coverage on NBCSN
    569 – Total hours of NASCAR Programming in 2015
    3,370 – NASCAR XFINITY Series race laps covered on NBC and NBCSN
    4,559.75 – Total miles of NASCAR XFINITY Series races on NBC and NBCSN
    5,696 – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race laps covered on NBC and NBCSN
    7,548.21 – Total miles of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on NBC and NBCSN
    15,196 – Miles traveled by NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR mobile production convoy covering races on NBC and NBCSN
    84,000 – Unique users who watched 2015 Sprint Cup Championship from Miami on NBC Sports Live Extra
    12.4 Million – Number of TV viewers watching as Kyle Busch captured the Ford EcoBoost 400 checkered flag and the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship on NBC
    (NBC Sports)(12-1-2015)
  • Sad News – Ryan McNulty: Ryan Christopher McNulty, son of long time Toronto Sun motor racing writer Dean McNulty, passed away suddenly on Sunday, November 29th, 2015 at the age of 33 years. Ryan was a member of the United Association Local 46. Donations to the Sick Kids Foundation (Toronto, ON) would be gratefully appreciated.
    Service info on the Sad News Page.(12-1-2015)
  • Sargeant, Hemric hoping for success at Snowball Derby: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers, Dalton Sargeant and Daniel Hemric will be piloting the Wauters Motorsports Super Late Model (SLM) entries in the 48th Annual Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway, December 6, 2015. Sargeant, the 17-year-old high school senior, was the runner-up in the 2014 Derby piloting the #5 GALT Toyota Camry for Wauters Motorsports and hopes to advance one spot this year and claim the Tom Dawson Trophy. Hemric has three previous Derby starts leading in two of the three events and was considered a serious contender for the win in 2014 but he was caught up in a crash in the late stages of the 300 lap race. Wauters Motorsports finished second with Sargeant in 2014 and won the coveted 2004 Snowball Derby with Steven Wallace.(Wauters Motorsports)
    AND: Chase Elliott, John Hunter Nemechek, Mason Mingus, Christopher Bell, Rico Abreu, Johanna Long, Chad Finley, Chris Fontaine, JJ Haley, William Byron, and Ross Kenseth are some other NASCAR-familiar names that are entered in the Snowball Derby.(SPEED 51))(12-1-2015)
  • LVMS to host free Fanfest as NASCAR Champion’s Week kicks off in Las Vegas on Wednesday: NASCAR fans will have several opportunities to see their favorite Sprint Cup Series drivers, including 2015 Sprint Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch, when NASCAR Champion’s Week in Las Vegas kicks off Wednesday with the popular Fanfest, hosted by Las Vegas Motor Speedway, at the Fremont Street Experience. Wednesday’s free Fanfest will feature Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, including Busch, a Las Vegas native, and his older brother, Kurt, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. Beginning at 2:00pm Pacific Time, the drivers will walk a red carpet through the crowd en route to the Third Street Stage. The highlight of Fanfest will be a Jeopardy!-style game show involving Chase drivers. They will be joined onstage by fans chosen through local media outlets and LVMS social media, and the show will be hosted by FOX Sports reporter and Las Vegas resident Jamie Little and Miss Sprint Cup. In addition to the Fanfest, the Chase drivers also will participate in the traditional NASCAR Victory Lap on Las Vegas Boulevard beginning at 3:30pm on Thursday. The drivers also will take part in NASCAR’s “After The Lap” at 5:00pm on Thursday at The Pearl Concert Theater at The Palms Casino Resort. The week will culminate with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Friday night at Wynn Las Vegas.(LVMS)(12-1-2015)
  • Phoenix extends Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales through end of week: For people looking for that perfect gift for the race fan in their life, Phoenix International Raceway has extended its Black Friday and Cyber Monday special offers through the end of the week. That means four extra days to take advantage of holiday sale pricing on tickets for both the Good Sam 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on March 13 and the Phoenix Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series race on April 2. PIR’s “Fast Friday 2-for-1 Package” includes one ticket in the Richard Petty Grandstand for the Good Sam 500 and one seat in the Bobby Allison Grandstand for the Phoenix Grand Prix for just $79. That represents a savings of nearly 35% over race week pricing for the combination. The Fast Friday offer is valid through Friday, December 4 at 11:59pm/mt. The “Cyber Monday Fun Day Package” includes a ticket in the Jimmy Bryan Grandstand or the Bobby Allison Grandstand for the Good Sam 500, along with a FanVision rental for just $59, a savings of more than 40% compared to race week pricing. The offer is also valid through Friday, December 4 at 11:59pm/mt.(PIR)(12-1-2015)