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December 2016 News Archives

 

News from December 31, 2016


  • Two drivers in the top 10 all season: Just two drivers spent the entire 2016 Cup season in the top 10 in points: #18-Kyle Busch and #19-Carl Edwards.
    Busch spent four different weeks at the top – after Atlanta (Feb), Las Vegas (March), Texas (April), and Richmond (Sept). His lowest point in the standings was 9th, following Michigan and Sonoma in June.
    Edwards led the points after Richmond in April. He was 10th after New Hampshire and Dover in September.
    (NASCAR)(12-31-2016)
  • Haas involved in purchase of Concord, North Carolina building: A Concord building developed by racing legends Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon has sold for $11 million. The 180,000-square-foot commercial and industrial structure, called Motor Speedway Commerce Center, remains in the NASCAR racing family. It was bought by a West Coast investment buyer, Pegh Investments, which is owned by Gene Haas, a principal in the Kannapolis-based Stewart-Haas Racing. The building, located at 6301 Performance Drive, is currently split between the corporate office and distribution center for Lionel and distribution space for Fanatics Retail Group. The structure was built in 1997 by a joint-venture group including Earnhardt, Gordon and Ken Barber. It’s built on 16 acres within sight of the Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Charlotte Business Journal)(12-31-2016)
  • Sad News – Steve Allen: Steven Wayne Allen III, 33, of Advance, NC, and formerly of Rockingham, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 at Baptist Hospital. Steve was an employee of Lanier Hardware in Lexington. His main love was his daughter Lexi, sports, being at the lake with his mom Debbie and Kevin, and spending time with his dad Steve who works for ECR Engines.(Carter Funeral Home)(12-31-2016)


    News from December 30, 2016


  • NASCAR Europe launches new Elite Club Division: Building on the success of the past several seasons of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series throughout Europe, the series has announced the creation of a new division in the popular series. Drivers and stock car newcomers will be able to experiment in the NASCAR-sanctioned series by contesting four events in a new division. In addition to the regular Elite 1 and Elite 2 classes, the new Elite Club division has been specifically designed to attract drivers wanting to discover this NASCAR-sanctioned stock car championship based in Europe. The new division will stage meetings on Thursday and Friday at the following four road courses: Valencia (Spain), Hockenheim (Germany), Franciacorta (Italy) and Zolder (Belgium). Each meeting will feature three, 30-minute track sessions. These won’t be races per se, but track sessions where speed and lap time consistency will be crucial. Each driver will be offered 90 minutes of track time at each of the four events. Series’ officials will determine a “Reference Lap Time” for the track and the objective for each Elite Club driver will be to constantly produce lap times that are as close as possible to the Reference Lap Time. Each meeting will conclude with a podium ceremony. At the end of the year, the top three drivers in the Elite Club final standings will receive an invitation to attend the NASCAR Night Of Champions Touring Awards, plus an invitation for two persons to attend the upcoming NASCAR Daytona 500 or a contribution to the budget needed to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race weekend in 2018.(Motorsport)(12-30-2016)
  • Abreu preps for Chili Bowl, says ThorSport return possible: Rico Abreu believes the odds are in his favor at the 2017 Chili Bowl Nationals. After all, Abreu won the last two Golden Drillers – the trophy awarded to the last driver standing after five furious days of racing among more than 350 entries. This year’s field consists of the largest entry list yet, which is still growing as the event quickly approaches. Next month, Abreu returns to defend his title with Keith Kunz, the team owner who also supported Abreu’s successful run to the 2014 USAC Midget Championship. Following the Chili Bowl (Jan. 10-14), Abreu will jet off to Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia for six midget races. He’ll compete with the same car he won with in the 2016 Chili Bowl. He also expects to run 10 additional races for Kunz in 2017.
    As for a return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Abreu says he’s still in negotiations with ThorSport Racing. Last year in his rookie season behind the wheel of the #98 truck, Abreu posted top-five finishes at both Eldora Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. He accumulated five top 10s in 23 starts. “We just have to figure it out,” Abreu said.(Motorsport)(12-30-2016)
  • Rick Ware shutting down XFINITY program; moving to Trucks UPDATE: Rick Ware Racing will return to the Camping World Truck Series full-time in 2017, temporarily shutting down its XFINITY Series program. 21-year-old Cody Ware says he will pilot the team’s full-time truck for approximately half of the 23-race schedule. The other driver will be announced at a later date. There has been talk within the team of possibly running a second part-time truck with various drivers filling the seat. The organization has purchased the #07 team’s points, owned by Bobby Dotter and SS-Green Light Racing. That team competed in all 23 Truck Series races in 2016, finishing 25th in the owner’s championship. Ware is coming off a season in which he competed in six XFINITY Series races, finishing a season-best 21st at Watkins Glen International. Rick Ware Racing has spent part of 12 years in the Truck Series since debuting in 1999. In 2001, Coy Gibbs finished an organization-high 10th in the standings, resulting in two top-5 finishes and seven top 10s. The organization is coming off a season that witnessed 22 different drivers compete between the team’s two full-time XFINITY Series machines. But with the move to the Truck Series, RWR is leaving that merry-go-round and the sport’s second-tier division behind. In addition to selling the points of the #25 car, the organization also sold some race equipment. It will keep the rest because the family-run organization is hopeful to make a future return to the XFINITY Series.(Frontstretch)(12-29-2016)
    UPDATE: Spencer Boyd Racing and Rick Ware Racing announced today they will race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series together in 2017. With approximately half of the schedule locked in, the team will look to add as many races as possible in both Truck and Xfinity competition. Boyd drove for RWR in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Iowa earlier this year in addition to one other NXS start and three NCWTS starts in 2016. The relationship between the two dates back to 2012, when Spencer was running Legends Cars with Farbo Motorsports. He and Rick’s son, Cody, were teammates and through much of that summer, roommates as well. The Ware and Boyd families envisioned a future where the two would work together again on a bigger stage. Although the truck number has yet to be determined, Rick Ware Racing will show up with a new Chevrolet Silverado truck for Boyd’s Daytona debut. 2017 sponsors for Spencer Boyd and Rick Ware Racing will be announced at a later date including their anticipated race schedule. RWR is continuing to look for funding for the balance of the season.(Rick Ware Racing)(12-30-2016)


    News from December 29, 2016


  • NASCAR unsure if they will use “Premier Series” with “Cup” staying: NASCAR Senior VP & CMO Jill Gregory said it is to be determined whether the recently introduced term “premier series” will remain part of the NASCAR lexicon now that the term “Cup” remains in its top series’ title. While NASCAR deliberated about whether to keep “Cup” in the days leading up to its Dec. 1 announcement naming Monster Energy as its new title sponsor, the sanctioning body, teams and tracks in the sport began referring to the top series as its “premier series.” Some in the industry favored dropping “Cup,” which has been in use since ’71, believing that fans had gone from saying “the Sprint Cup Series” to simply saying “Cup Series” or “Cup,” as opposed to NASCAR’s secondary series, the Xfinity Series, where fans refer to it as “Xfinity.” Some believed that made the entitlement less valuable. However, now that “Cup” is being retained after Monster saw value in keeping it, some wonder whether “premier” will be used at all. Gregory last week noted that “premier series” will not play a leading role in marketing materials going forward, but was not ready to comment beyond that. The new name — Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series — still is somewhat of a switch from the past in that it places the brand name prior to the “NASCAR Cup Series” wording.(Sports Business Daily)(12-29-2016)
  • Rick Ware shutting down XFINITY program; moving to Trucks: Rick Ware Racing will return to the Camping World Truck Series full-time in 2017, temporarily shutting down its XFINITY Series program. 21-year-old Cody Ware says he will pilot the team’s full-time truck for approximately half of the 23-race schedule. The other driver will be announced at a later date. There has been talk within the team of possibly running a second part-time truck with various drivers filling the seat. The organization has purchased the #07 team’s points, owned by Bobby Dotter and SS-Green Light Racing. That team competed in all 23 Truck Series races in 2016, finishing 25th in the owner’s championship. Ware is coming off a season in which he competed in six XFINITY Series races, finishing a season-best 21st at Watkins Glen International. Rick Ware Racing has spent part of 12 years in the Truck Series since debuting in 1999. In 2001, Coy Gibbs finished an organization-high 10th in the standings, resulting in two top-5 finishes and seven top 10s. The organization is coming off a season that witnessed 22 different drivers compete between the team’s two full-time XFINITY Series machines. But with the move to the Truck Series, RWR is leaving that merry-go-round and the sport’s second-tier division behind. In addition to selling the points of the #25 car, the organization also sold some race equipment. It will keep the rest because the family-run organization is hopeful to make a future return to the XFINITY Series.(Frontstretch)(12-29-2016)


    News from December 28, 2016


  • Record number of entries for Chili Bowl: The 31st annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire has reached a record number of entries only weeks ahead of the event at the Tulsa Expo Raceway in Oklahoma on Jan. 10-14. The 30th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire set the previous record mark at 349 entries, but the 31st edition just smashed that record at 358 entries with even more still expected. Entries can be accepted all the way up until the final preliminary night on January 13. Of the 358 entries, 19 of those are still looking for drivers. One of the most notable is Loyet Motorsports, who found the original driver of one of their No. o5 machines was not going to be able to make the trip. Also on the that list is Clauson-Marshall Racing, Frank Manafort, Fisher-Hartman, Swindell, Mounce, RayPro Motorsports, and Felker, just to name a few. While the list of Chili Bowl veterans continues to read like a Hall of Fame induction, the list of rookies is grown at a rapid pace as well as 71 drivers will take their first swing at mastering the Tulsa Expo Raceway.(Speed Sport)
    The complete entry list can be found at chilibowl.com/entries/manual.aspx. Some of the NASCAR drivers currently entered include: J.J. Yeley, Justin Allgaier, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, and 2015-2016 Champion Rico Abreu.(12-28-2016)


    News from December 27, 2016


  • Richard Petty to be inducted into NC Drag Racing Hall of Fame: Richard Petty, the “King of NASCAR” will be inducted into the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame on Saturday February 18, at the 15th Annual Shriners Hot Rod & Drag Racing Expo at the Greensboro Coliseum. Richard Petty drag raced his “Outlaw 43 Jr.” Plymouth Barracuda all across the country from 1964 until 1966 after NASCAR banned the 426 Chrysler Hemi engine from major league stock car racing. In 1966 Petty resumed his NASCAR career as the engine was once again made legal. During his two-year stint of drag racing, Petty raced all across the country match racing against the likes of Sox & Martin and others. The restored car and Petty himself will both be at the Expo. In addition to Richard Petty, other 2017 inductees are Frank Teague of Hickory, Jean Howard of Polkton, and Terry Adams of Millers Creek. The Jeff Byrd Award will go to Thomas Pope, the sports editor at the Fayetteville Observer.(WLOS)(12-27-2016)
  • Hope For The Warriors celebrates success in year two: Operating in its second year within the NASCAR garage, Hope For The Warriors’ Drive For Hope program achieved unprecedented success in 2016. In total, over 250 service members, veterans and military family members attended Drive For Hope events, 62 fallen service members were honored on three racecars during the Coca-Cola 600, more than 20 drivers, crew chiefs and media personalities came together to support Hope For The Warriors while participating in a NASCAR-themed PSA, three drivers and teams donated space on their racecars to help gain attention for the national military nonprofit, and those within the NASCAR industry graciously gave their time for countless meet and greets, photo opportunities and at-track experiences with service members throughout 2016. Other highlights from the 2016 season included a series of 30-second PSAs that brought together more than 20 drivers, crew chiefs, team owners and media personalities to support Hope For The Warriors. With some of the sport’s biggest names participating, including Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Richard Childress, the group donated their time to help advance the cause and increase support for service members, veterans and military families. To learn more about the program visit HopeForTheWarriors.org.(PR)(12-27-2016)


    News from December 26, 2016


  • Will Tony Stewart open Columbus ranch for hunting? Retired NASCAR driver Tony Stewart could be opening his Columbus (IN)-area ranch for some commercial deer and turkey hunting, potentially becoming one of the first hunting grounds to take advantage of a law passed earlier this year legalizing high-fenced hunting in Indiana. Hidden Hollow Ranch, Stewart’s 414-acre property west of Columbus, would host guided deer and turkey hunts for groups of up to 12 paying guests, who would likely stay overnight at the residence, according to a Bartholomew County zoning application. County zoning officials voted 4-0 on Dec. 19 to allow conditional use of the property for a bed-and-breakfast-like hunting and fishing facility. It’s unclear who would be invited to hunt on Stewart’s property, or whether the hunting parties would be open to the public. The application noted that most hunts would accommodate five or fewer guests. Each hunter would have to hold a license to hunt, according to Denise Derrer, spokeswoman for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. Stewart’s representatives were not immediately reachable for comment.(full article at the Indianapolis Star)(12-26-2016)
  • Indoor Racing in PA & NJ: In addition to over 100 Three Quarter (TQ) Midget, Champ Kart and Slingshot racers, and thousands of spectators, sponsors will play a big part in the second annual Indoor Auto Racing fueled by VP events to be held inside Allentown’s PPL Center on Friday and Saturday, December 30th and 31st. VP Racing Fuels is the title sponsor of the entire Indoor Auto Racing Series which started a week ago in Trenton, NJ and ends inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Friday and Saturday, January 27th and 28th. Steve Post, a veteran NASCAR pit reporter for the Motor Racing Network will join the announcing staff of the Indoor Auto Racing Series for events in Allentown, Pa. and Atlantic City, N.J. Post will join the ‘Voice of the Three Quarter (TQ) Midgets’, Bob Marlow, and Pocono Raceway’s chief announcer Earl Krause on the series starting with the Allentown event held inside the PPL Center on December 30 and 31. Post will also play a major role on the team at the Gambler’s Classic inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on January 27 and 28. More info at indoorautoracing.com.(12-26-2016)
  • Sad News – Ryan Copeland: Ryan Copeland, 42, passed away December 22, 2016 as a result of injuries from a snowmobile accident. He graduated the University of Akron in 1998 Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He was employed by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for 18 years, the last 12 years in the NASCAR Race Tire division. He is survived by his loving wife, of 12 years, Maria; their three children, Tyler, Vincent and Gina. Full obituary, guest book and service info at Akron Beacon Journal and/or schermesserfh.com and GoFundMe (12-26-2016)


    News from December 25, 2016


  • Furniture Row Racing adding more personnel: As most know, Furniture Row Racing, is expanding to two cars. #78-Martin Truex Jr. ill be joined by #77-Erik Jones, who was the Camping World Truck Series champion in 2015. “There’s a lot of work that has to be done,” #78 crew chief Cole Pearn said. “We’re adding 40 people to Furniture Row. But Martin’s team, including myself, will stay intact. We want to build off what we accomplished this season. We’re just going to keep plugging away and working hard.”(Press of Atlantic City)(12-25-2016)


    News from December 24, 2016


  • Michael Waltrip says he will run 2017 Daytona 500: two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip was asked if he would be racing in the Daytona 500 this year (2017) and tweeted back: “Yes! In the @AaronsInc @ToyotaRacing #Camry”. No word on the team or car number but assumptions would be BK Racing as Waltrip ran their #83 Toyota in the 2016 Daytona 500, Premium Motorsports or TMG Motorsports who supposedly is changing to Toyota.(12-24-2016)
  • Gray Gaulding returns to the #30 Chevy at Homestead; Full-time in 2017? UPDATE on the team, Circle Sport? Eighteen year old Gray Gaulding with 17 starts in NASCAR’s national touring series will make his debut at a 1.5-mile speedway in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the #30 Feed the Children TMG Chevy. Last week at Phoenix a fuel pump failure neglected Gaulding to a 37th place finish (GGR Enterprises)
    AND Add Gray Gaulding to the list of drivers who will compete full-time in NASCAR’s premiere series in 2017 and a candidate for rookie-of-the-year honors. “Our plan is to run full-time in the Cup Series,” Gaulding said. “I’m really excited about [it]. We’ll probably announce in the next couple weeks, the sponsor and the manufacturer, so got a lot of good things rolling, but you should see me full-time next year in the Sprint Cup Series.” Gaulding said “the plan right now” is to run the #30 car next season for The Motorsports Group.(The Racing Experts)(11-18-2016)
    UPDATE: from the TMG website: “Season Greeting from The Motorsports Group. We want to thank all the fans, friends, family and partners for all the support this past season. 2017 brings in a lot of changes, including some key team changes and a new title sponsor. We look forward to our participation in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series”.
    AND hearing Circle Sport team owner, Joe Falk has a controlling interest in TMG Motorsports and that the team is making changes to their crew and personnel. Supposedly Pat Tryson will be the crew chief, the team could change to Toyota (ran Chevy in 2016) but no driver has been named. Falk has a Charter from his #33 Circle Sport team and leased it in 2016 to the #95 Leavine Family Racing team. Some of the personnel could come from that team (12-24-2016)
  • Kahne named one of best interviews of 2016: At least those were the takeaways for Jeff Haden, a contributing editor for Inc. who named Kahne one of the best interviews he undertook in 2016. Haden then included some tidbits of advice from Kahne in an article published Friday that was entitled, “11 Ways to Achieve Incredible Success: TheBest Interviews of 2016.” See more at FoxSports and at Inc.(12-24-2016)


    News from December 23, 2016


  • Evernham Supports Dodge Return: Ray Evernham believes a return by Dodge to NASCAR competition would be good for the sport. Earlier this month at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Daytona International Speedway, officials from the manufacturer hinted in recent days that Chrysler was considering coming back to NASCAR racing after stepping away in 2012. The possibility triggered much buzz around the NASCAR world including with Evernham, who fielded a two car Cup team between 2001-2007 before departing as a team owner. After Evernham closed his doors, Dodge continued in the sport until the end of the 2012 season when the manufacturer’s business challenges forced an exit from NASCAR competition. If Dodge were to return, Evernham believes it would be a good thing for NASCAR. “To me the more manufacturers that come in it shows that NASCAR can provide a global environment, a global opportunity for any manufacturer,” Evernham said. “Hopefully Dodge will come back again. You can’t fault them because they had financial issues. The fact that they are looking to come back says they never really wanted to leave. The more manufacturers that put money into this sport and make our racing economy better, if you will, is better for everybody.” Although Evernham remains proud of the effort his team gave under the Dodge umbrella and wishes success to a future should the manufacturer come back to NASCAR. “There isn’t anything better for NASCAR to remain healthy and grow stronger than participation from the automobile manufacturers,” he said. “Dodge has a long history in the sport and I’m sure they’d like nothing more than to be able to come back and add to that history. I’m hoping it happens.”(Motor Racing Network)(12-23-2016)
  • Snider rounds out KBM lineup: Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that Myatt Snider will compete in eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2017 with primary sponsorship from Southeastern Mills and its Louisiana Hot Sauce brand. Snider will make his KBM debut behind the wheel of the #51 Louisiana Hot Sauce Tundra in the Truck Series season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway Feb. 24. The 22-year-old is also scheduled to compete at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth June 9 and Nov. 3, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta July 6, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Sept. 15, Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway Sept. 30, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway Oct. 14 and Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway Nov. 17. Snider put his name on the national motorsports map in May of 2016 when he led 35 laps en route to victory in his ARCA Racing Series debut at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway. The North Carolina native collected one win, 68 laps led, three top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.8 across nine ARCA starts this season. He made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut for AM Racing at Phoenix International Raceway in November where he started 19th and finished on the lead lap in the 17th spot.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(12-23-2016)


    News from December 22, 2016


  • NASCAR Announces 2017 Charter teams: NASCAR revealed in February 2016 a landmark new ownership structure, awarding 36 Charters that guarantee entry into every points event in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Since then, some leasing and buying of Charters has occurred. The table below shows the Charters (which were awarded following the 2015 season) for 2017. Teams listed alphabetically.
    Notes: 
    (A) Premium Motorsports sold this Charter to Furniture Row Racing for its second team, the #77. In 2016, the Charter was leased by the #46 team of HScott Motorsports.
    (B) Richard Petty Motorsports is leasing the #44 Charter to the #32 team of Go Fas Racing in 2017.
    (C) Roush Fenway Racing will lease the #16 Charter to JTG Daugherty Racing’s newly formed second team (#37) in 2017.
    (D) Near the end of the 2016 season, Tommy Baldwin Racing sold its Charter to Leavine Family Racing.
    (E) HScott Motorsports’ #15 Charter was sold to Premium Motorsports.
    (F) Go Fas Racing is leasing the #32 Charter to the #21 team of Wood Brothers Racing.
    AND: Circle Sport has a Charter that originated from the #33, but that car was not run in 2016. Instead, Circle Sport partnered with Leavine Family Racing to field the #95. The organization’s 2017 plans are unknown at this time and is the 36th Charter.
    2016 Car #; 2017 Car #; Organization with charter for 2017 (35 listed)
    23 23 BK Racing
    83 83 BK Racing
    1 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
    42 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
    34 34 Front Row Motorsports
    38 38 Front Row Motorsports
    46 77 Furniture Row Racing (A)
    78 78 Furniture Row Racing
    13 13 Germain Racing
    44 32 Go Fas Racing (B)
    5 5 Hendrick Motorsports
    24 24 Hendrick Motorsports
    48 48 Hendrick Motorsports
    88 88 Hendrick Motorsports
    11 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
    18 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
    19 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
    20 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
    16 37 JTG Daugherty Racing (C)
    47 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
    7 95 Leavine Family Racing (D)
    15 TBD Premium Motorsports (E)
    3 3 Richard Childress Racing
    27 27 Richard Childress Racing
    31 31 Richard Childress Racing
    43 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
    6 6 Roush Fenway Racing
    17 17 Roush Fenway Racing
    4 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
    10 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
    14 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
    41 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
    2 2 Team Penske
    22 22 Team Penske
    32 21 Wood Brothers Racing (F)
    95 TBD Circle Sport (could merge with TMG #30)
    (NASCAR.com)(12-22-2016)
  • Truex Jr. Named National Driver of the Year by EMPA: Martin Truex Jr. has been named the 2016 Eastern Motorsport Press Association National Driver of the Year. The award was voted on by members of the EMPA. Driving the #78 Toyota for Denver-based Furniture Row Racing, Truex’s stellar 2016 season in NASCAR’s premier division included four wins, five poles and a series’ leading 1,805 laps led, all career season highs for the native of Mayetta, NJ. His dominating victory at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte set a NASCAR record for miles led (588) and an event record for laps led – 392 out of 400. “Martin had an impressive season, winning two of the triple crown events – the Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500 (Darlington, S.C.),” said Earl Krause, a veteran motorsports journalist, EMPA board member and lead announcer at Pocono Raceway. “He nearly pulled off NASCAR’s version of the triple crown but came up inches short of winning the Daytona 500. He also had exciting Chase victories at Chicago and Dover. I covered Martin since his early racing days at Wall Stadium in New Jersey, and like his father – Martin Truex Sr. — he has always been a class act both on and off the track.” This is the second time Truex will be the recipient of the EMPA Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year trophy. He received the prestigious hardware after winning the 2004 XFINITY Series championship.
    “My racing roots are in the Northeast and to be recognized by the EMPA takes on a special meaning for the entire Truex family,” noted Truex. “My family has spent many days and nights racing at Northeastern tracks, and that’s why I always feel like I’m going home when the NASCAR series competes at Dover, Pocono and New Hampshire.” Truex added, “I want to thank the EMPA members for this humbling honor. The real heroes are my teammates at Furniture Row Racing for bringing fast race cars to the track on a weekly basis. I also want to thank our team owner Barney Visser, team president Joe Garone and our sponsors – Furniture Row, Denver Mattress, Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, TRACKER Boats, Auto-Owners Insurance and Visser Precision.”
    Truex joins an elite list of drivers from different racing disciplines who have garnered the EMPA National Driver of the Year award, including Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart and Terry Labonte from NASCAR; Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti and Mark Donohue from IndyCar; and Joe Amato and John Force from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). The annual EMPA convention will take place Jan. 6-8 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in King of Prussia, Pa. The awards banquet will be held at the Crowne Plaza on Saturday evening Jan. 7.(FRR)(12-22-2016)
  • Official 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Yearbook Almost Sold Out: Round 5 Books publisher of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Yearbook reports that the 2016 edition is close to selling out earlier than in previous years. The increased sales pace is primarily attributed to Jimmie Johnson winning his 7th NASCAR Championship tying him with NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt making the 2016 edition a true collectible. The NASCAR Yearbook has been published since the mid 1980’s and continues to be the acknowledged “must have” publication. It includes stories and results for each race featuring exciting photography by the sports best. A very limited number of 2016 NASCAR Yearbooks remain available at round5books.com.(12-22-2016)
  • Front Row Motorsports owner gets surprise Christmas present: When two of the Davids of NASCAR team up to beat all of the Goliaths, it’s a big deal. And that’s exactly what happened at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2013, when David Ragan used a great last-lap push from then-teammate David Gilliland to win the second race of his NASCAR Premier Series career and the first for Front Row Motorsports. After the race, the joy and elation from the two Davids and team owner Bob Jenkins were palpable. Jenkins fielded his first Premier Series car in 2005 and to hear the emotion from him that day after finally making it to Victory Lane was very special. And makes what is team did for him as a holiday surprise even better. Jenkins thought Ragan’s race-winning car had been sent to the crusher, but his team restored it and gave it to Jenkins as a Christmas present.(FoxSports)(12-22-2016)
  • Georgia Tech O-lineman skipping senior season to go pro in NASCAR: Georgia Tech offensive tackle Eason Fromayan has had his fill of football, so he made what some might call an unconventional choice. After the Yellow Jackets play Kentucky in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, next week, Fromayan will hang up his helmet and shoulder pads with one year of eligibility remaining and start training to earn a spot on a NASCAR pit crew. The transition feels natural to Fromayan, who has been an auto racing fan from childhood, rooting on Jeff Gordon (even dressing up like him for Halloween) and attending more races across the Southeast than he ever did football games. Fromayan says there are a “whole lot of pictures of me wearing Jeff Gordon gear all around the house.” As NASCAR pit crews have increasingly turned to athletes to fill their spots, the options have opened up for former football players. One NASCAR coach estimated former football players make up 35-40 percent of pit crews, and that number is growing. Fromayan compared the competition to earn a spot to recruiting and signing day, where racing teams hold combines and vie for the services of the best athletes available. Fromayan understands he might have to start in the minor leagues so he can get in some quality reps, but the goal is to land on a Sprint Cup team. There are plenty of role models to turn to, from former NC State tight end Asa Watson to former Wake Forest linebacker Dion Williams — the poster child for athletes-turned-crewmen.(ESPN)
    AND To pursue his dream, Fromayan will likely attend a school or camp where he can learn the skills he’ll need to be a part of a pit crew – Fromayan figures he’d work the jack or the fuel can – and then get tested by race teams in combine-type events. Quarterbacks and B-backs coach Bryan Cook and strength and conditioning coach John Sisk have helped with their connections into the world of pit-crew coaching.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(12-22-2016)
  • Burton added to 51 KBM team lineup: Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that 16-year-old Harrison Burton will compete in six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races behind the wheel of the #51 Tundra in 2017. Burton’s six-race schedule begins April 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and also includes Dover (Del.) International Speedway June 2, Iowa Speedway in Newton June 23, Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio July 19, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway Aug. 16 and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 28. The NASCAR Next product competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N; Pro Series East in 2016, earning one pole and a seventh-place finish in the final point standings as a rookie. Burton collected three Super Late Model victories this year, including a Southern Super Series victory at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., and also earned a third-place finish in his ARCA Racing Series debut at Iowa Speedway in Newton. Burton, the son of former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, made his Truck Series debut with KBM at Martinsville in October of 2016. After qualifying 17th, Burton methodically maneuvered his way through the field and was running in the ninth position just past the halfway mark of the event when he got spun from behind and ended up losing a lap while he was stuck on the curb. He ended the event with a 22nd-place finish, but earned the praise of KBM owner Kyle Busch. The talented youngster’s list of racing accomplishments includes three Quarter Midget championships, winning the pole for a Pro Late Model race at the age of 11 and wining a race at the age of 12. In 2015, he became the youngest driver ever to compete in the K&N; Pro Series West race (15 years, eight days old) and earned a sixth-place finish in the event. In 2014, he became the youngest winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history with a victory at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway. An announcement of the final driver that will share driving duties behind the wheel of the #51 Tundra with Burton (six races), Busch (five races) and Todd Gilliland (four races) is forthcoming as well as an announcement on Burton’s sponsors.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(12-22-2016)


    News from December 21, 2016


     

  • some 2017 schemes added:
    #1 GearWrench,
    #2 Miller Lite, Alliance Truck Parts, Wurth, AutoTrader,
    #3 Dow, American Ethanol, AAA,
    #4 Busch Beer FORD,
    #5 Farmers, Great Clips, LiftMaster,
    #10 Nature’s Bakery FORD,
    #14 Mobil1 FORD,
    #22 Shell Pennzoil, AAA Insurance, AutoTrader,
    #23 Best Furnishings,
    #24 NAPA Auto Parts,
    #27 Menards,
    #31 Caterpillar,
    #41 Monster Energy, Haas Automation FORD,
    #43 Smithfield, US Air Force,
    #48 Lowe’s, Kobalt Tools,
    #77 Five-Hour Energy,
    #88 Nationwide
  • Richard Childress Racing Announces 2017 Team Lineup: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will return with three full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entries and five full-time NASCAR XFINITY Series teams for the 2017 season. It will be the first time in team history that RCR will field five full-time XFINITY Series entries, and the first time since 2011 the team has fielded eight full-time teams. #3-Austin Dillon, #27-Paul Menard and #31-Ryan Newman return to carry the banner for the RCR Cup Series program in 2017. Richard “Slugger” Labbe, Matt Borland and Luke Lambert have been assigned crew chief duties, respectively.
    With the addition of rookie driver Daniel Hemric, RCR will operate five entries out of its XFINITY Series stable. The #2 and #3 Chevys in the XFINITY Series will include multiple drivers. Austin Dillon and Paul Menard will be primary drivers for the #2 Chevy, with second-year crew chief Justin Alexander atop the pit box. Ty Dillon will remain with the #3 Chevy team and will partner with rookie crew chief Matt Swiderski, who has spent 10 years at RCR in its engineering department. Swiderski made his debut as crew chief last season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he led the #3 team to a second-place finish. Additional drivers for RCR’s #2 and #3 teams will be named at a later date. Brandon Jones and Brendan Gaughan return with full-time driving duties of the #33 and #62 Chevys, respectively, and will compete for the XFINITY Series driver championship. Jones and veteran crew chief Nick Harrison will be paired together, while Gaughan returns with his long-time crew chief Shane Wilson for their 12th season together. In 2017, RCR will welcome back the storied #21 entry with Daniel Hemric behind the wheel. Hemric and two-time NASCAR championship winning crew chief Danny Stockman will work together as Hemric competes for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the XFINITY Series driver championship.(RCR)(12-21-2016)
  • Petty’s Garage Expanding Shop; more jobs: Petty’s Garage will expand the Level Cross, N.C., speed shop with a $2.4 million investment. The expansion will include renovations to the shop and the addition of 17 new jobs over the next two years. Construction is slated for the first quarter of 2017. The expansion will allow the team to continue their high-quality performance parts, restorations and custom builds that are fit for “The King”. The added renovations will increase capacity for manufacturing automotive parts, as well as restoring and modifying cars and specialty builds to decrease the service wait time and meet demand. The added jobs will include technicians, as well as management positions, and marketing and sales jobs to the existing Petty’s Garage team of 33 employees. “We’re thrilled to announce the expansion of Petty’s Garage,” said Richard Petty, owner of Petty’s Garage. “Petty’s Garage is the shop where I grew up building racecars and it is very special to me. It’s great that we’ve now built the demand to expand our team and increase our capabilities. We want to continue the tradition of renovation and innovation. To add to the economic development of Randolph County, and bring new jobs to the community, is something we’re extremely proud of as well.” Petty’s Garage was founded by Petty as a way to keep his competitive spirit alive. Petty – representing the second of four generations of Petty racers – won 200 NASCAR races in his career, a record many believe will never be broken. He also holds the record for most wins (27) in a season in 1967, including a record-setting 10 consecutive wins.(Petty’s Garage)(12-21-2017)
  • Gilliland to drive 4 races for KBM: Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that 2016 NASCAR K&N; Pro Series West champion Todd Gilliland will compete in four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2017 with primary sponsorship from Toyota – the world’s top automaker. Gilliland, who competed in seven Super Late Model races for KBM in 2016, will make his Truck Series debut behind the wheel of the #51 Toyota Tundra June 17 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. The third-generation driver will also compete at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ont., Sept. 3, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon Sept. 23 and Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway Nov. 10. With six victories this year in the K&N; Pro Series West, the 16-year-old NASCAR Next product matched three other drivers for the series record for most wins in a single season and also collected six poles, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes en route to becoming the youngest champion in the history of any NASCAR national or touring series. The K&N; West Series Rookie of the Year also competed in five K&N; Pro Series East events in 2016, registering one win, one pole, three top-five and five top-10 finishes. Gilliland was victorious in his K&N; Pro Series West debut at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in November of 2015 and opened up the 2016 season with wins in both the East Series opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and the West Series opener at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. He followed it up with a win at Kern County Raceway Park in April, giving him wins in each of his first four K&N; Starts which matched a 60-year-old record set by International Motorsports Hall of Famer Dan Gurney. In addition to his seven career K&N; Pro Series victories, Gilliland made history in his ARCA Racing Series debut at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway in May of 2015 when he became the youngest winner in series history just two days after his 15th birthday. He finished ninth in his only other ARCA start at Iowa Speedway in July of 2015. Gilliland joins owner-driver Busch (five races) as part of the multi-driver lineup that will compete behind the wheel of the #51 Tundra in 2017. Announcements for the drivers who will complete the remainder of the schedule are forthcoming.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(12-21-2016)
  • Ogata family’s racing future in question following theft: Akinori Ogata, a part-time driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, is proud of the fact that he came to America from Japan six years ago with literally nothing but a dream to race. But that dream is being put to a test now – as less than a week before Christmas, he had more than $80,000 of racing equipment stolen from his family home in Mooresville, North Carolina. According to a published report, Ogata’s pickup truck and trailer with his son’s Legends race car vanished from his garage in a matter of minutes around 1 a.m. last Monday.Ogata, 43, has made a total of five starts in the Truck Series over the last three seasons, with a best finish of 18th at New Hampshire in 2015. He made one start last season, finishing 31st in the 32-truck field at the same Loudon track. He told FOX 46 reporter Brett Baldeck that he wanted to pass along his racing aspirations to his son, so he purchased him a Legends car. With another racing season fast approaching, the Ogata family racing hopes are suddenly on hold. The Legends cars run at Charlotte Motor Speedway and other NASCAR venues, and often provide a training ground for future drivers in NASCAR’s three national touring series. For now, though, Ogata told the television station that he isn’t certain what will happen next. He simply is determined not to let this setback ruin his family’s holiday or racing future.(FOX Sports)(12-21-2016)
  • First Light Poles at Martinsville Speedway Installed: Martinsville Speedway’s “Light Up Martinsville” project hit a major milestone Tuesday as the first of 19 light poles was put in place. The project will make the track the first major motorsports facility in the United States to have LED lighting. NASCAR’s only remaining track from its original 1949 schedule will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2017 and Track President Clay Campbell said he doesn’t know of a more fitting way to celebrate the past than by celebrating the future. “It’s a big day for Martinsville,” Campbell said. “Who would have ever thought we would have had lights here? For a long time, that was not really in the cards. We’re excited to finally have the lights going up. I think it’s going to be an exciting year being our 70th anniversary. Our first night race. It’s just an exciting day. You’re finally getting to see something and it’s exciting for all of us. While the installation of the lights marks the visual, Campbell said the work started not long after the track announced they would be installing the lights. “There’s been a lot of work going on ever since we made the announcement,” Campbell said. “But, you get a visual now of what this place is going to look like with the lights on. We’re pretty excited. We’re finally getting to the point where you’re seeing something happen, not just what’s underground.” Campbell said the project is on schedule and should be completed around the end of January. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(12-21-2016)


    News from December 20, 2016


  • Joey Gase to runs some races with BK Racing: BK Racing announced a multiple race partnership with Best Home Furnishings to sponsor the #23 BK Racing Toyota with driver, Joey Gase. The Best Home Furnishings Toyota will be on track at the Daytona 500 in February, the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and additional races throughout the 2017 season. The Daytona 500 will be Gase’s first race with BK Racing. “We’re thrilled to have Joey and Best Home Furnishings, one of the largest furniture manufacturers, join us for the Daytona 500 in February, said BK Racing team owner Ron Devine. “It is the largest race of our series and a wonderful event for Joey to debut his BK Racing relationship. We’ve been watching Joey’s growth for quite some time and looking forward to seeing what he can do behind the wheel of a BK Race car.”
    “I cannot put into words how thankful I am for the opportunity everyone at Best Home Furnishings and BK Racing has given me,” said driver Joey Gase. “Racing in the Daytona 500 and the Bristol night race has been a dream of mine since I can remember. It’s very exciting to share this experience with everyone at Best Home Furnishings and those who have helped me get to this point in my career.”
    Best Home Furnishings is becoming one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the world. With five locations throughout the US and over 1,000 employees they have a very simple theme, make the best quality product at the most affordable price. “We are thrilled to be partnering with BK Racing and Joey Gase,” said Glenn Lange, CEO of Best Home Furnishings. “Joey is a young, energetic and up-and-coming driver who has shown to be competitive from an early age. His heavy involvement with the non-profit, Donate Life exemplifies our shared values and passion to exude excellence in all facets of our business and personal lives. Our family has been involved with the collection of classic and sports cars for decades. To have our company’s name as a primary sponsor on a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car is a dream come true,” said Lange.(BK Racing), see images of the scheme on the #23 Team Schemes page.(12-20-2016)
  • Kyle Busch to compete in Race of Champions: Kyle Busch is the latest star in the field of racing legends who will compete at the first Race Of Champions on American soil – inside Marlins Park in Miami on January 21-22, 2017. Busch joins a star-studded ROC Miami field that features many of the greatest stars in world motor sport. Along with the American drivers, other competitors include Formula 1 world champions Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, fellow F1 greats Felipe Massa and David Coulthard, ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen, Indianapolis 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Kanaan, IndyCar star Gabby Chaves plus double FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg. Even more big names will be announced in the run-up to January’s event. The Race Of Champions is an annual contest which has been held for over 25 years. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, Le Mans, MotoGP, Touring Cars, World Rally and action sports – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. All the racing takes place in a stunning range of superfast cars. The ROC event is run over two days: first comes the Race Of Champions itself (on Saturday, January 21) featuring a flat-out battle for individual glory. Then on Sunday, January 22 comes the ROC Nations Cup when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. In 2017, this will see America take on the rest of the world in a special contest in celebration of the host venue.(Race of Champions)(12-20-2016)
  • Poole expected to return to Ganassi UPDATE: Brennan Poole has earned his keep at Chip Ganassi Racing. The 25-year-old Sacramento, Calif. native, who pilots the #48 Chevy, will re-sign with CGR for 2017 sources have told Motorsport.com. Poole easily qualified for the inaugural Xfinity Series Chase and is currently eighth in the standings with a cut to the top eight looming at Charlotte on Friday. After running a limited schedule in 2015, when Poole posted two top-10 finishes in 17 starts, he has flourished in 2016 with four top fives and 5 top 10s in the first 28 races. Poole’s best result was third at both Talladega Superspeedway and Elkhart Lake. He’s shown tremendous consistency this season by completing 99.2-percent of all laps raced with an average finish of 12.1.(Motorsport)(10-3-2016)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing announced that DC Solar will return as the season-long partner on the #48 Chevy Camaro driven by 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase contender and Rookie of the Year candidate Brennan Poole. Veteran XFINITY Series Crew Chief Chad Norris will remain with the DC Solar team. After sharing driving duties with Kyle Larson and road-course specialist Justin Marks in 2015, Poole (25) competed full-time in the 2016 XFINITY Series, scoring four top-five and 17 top-10 finishes with a best finish of third at Talladega Superspeedway in May and Road America in August. He finished eighth in the final XFINITY Series drivers’ points and runner-up in the Rookie of the Year standings.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(12-20-2016)
  • Kyle Busch to run 5 races in 2017: Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that owner-driver Kyle Busch will compete in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in 2017. Busch’s #51 Tundra will carry primary sponsorship from Textron Aviation, an aircraft industry leader that provides its customers with the most versatile and comprehensive general aviation product portfolio in the world. KBM will promote Textron Aviation’s Cessna, Hawker and Beechcraft brands. Busch ranks second on the Truck Series All-time win list with 46. The Las Vegas native has been victorious in a remarkable 34.6 percent (46/133) of his starts since debuting in NASCAR’s third division in 2001 and has finished first or second 52.67 (70/133) percent of the time. ‘Rowdy’ collected two wins and three top-five finishes across four Truck Series starts in 2016. His 170 all-time combined NASCAR national series wins rank second to NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty (200). Busch will make his 2017 Truck Series debut Saturday March 4 at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway and will also race May 12 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, May 20 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, July 29 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Aug. 12 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Announcements for the rest of the driver lineup that will share driving duties behind the wheel of the #51 Tundra with Busch are forthcoming.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(12-20-2016)
  • NASCAR returning to Memphis: NASCAR will resurrect its relationship with Memphis International Raceway in 2017 as the NASCAR K&N; Series has confirmed a date to run at the famed �-mile tri-oval short track on June 3, 2017. The monumental announcement brings a NASCAR sanctioned event back to MIR after an eight-year absence from the Mid-South region. NASCAR and MIR have a storied history that dates back to September 1998 when the facility hosted its first-ever NASCAR event. A sold-out crowd and a national television audience, witnessed the NASCAR Truck Series Memphis 200 on that day. NASCAR returned every year since the inaugural event with two races-the Truck Series in the summer, and the Xfinity Series in the fall. Brad Keselowski won the October 24, 2009 event at the oval by holding off Kyle Busch to the finish line on the 11th and final annual racing event at MIR. Former owners, Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced the closure of the Memphis track, a week after that race. IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE), a TPG Specialty Lending company, purchased the track formerly named Memphis Motorsports Park in 2010 and has been running a full-time schedule at its championship drag strip throughout the reopening of the facility. The tri-oval has hosted various sanctioned events on a limited basis since it reopened and is home to the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. With the return of NASCAR to MIR, the facility will undergo some minor renovations and safety updates to prepare for the NASCAR K&N; Series debut in 2017.(Memphis International Raceway)(12-20-2016)


    News from December 19, 2016


  • NASCAR announces Series name, logo:NASCAR unveiled a new official brand identity which will replace the bar mark used by the sanctioning body since 1976. The announcement was made in conjunction with the news that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be the new name of the sport’s premier series beginning January 1, 2017. The new brand mark and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series mark, which prominently features the iconic Monster Energy logo, together represent a new era in NASCAR and were first shared today across NASCAR social and digital media channels. The NASCAR brand identity has been in development since early 2016 as part of a broader effort to refresh the NASCAR brand. It was designed to pay tribute to the storied history of NASCAR, incorporating elements of all four previous marks since the company’s inaugural season of 1948. “Our new NASCAR mark is modern, timeless, and embraces the heritage of our sport,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “It was important for us to recognize our history and implement a piece of each previous mark in the new design. Our goal was to evolve the sport’s visual identity to make it concise, relevant and functional, while respecting and maintaining the unique qualities of the original mark.”(NASCAR.com)(12-19-2016)

  • Target reducing sponsorship of Larson: Target will reduce the amount of NASCAR races it serves as the primary sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing’s #42 Chevy driven by Kyle Larson in 2017 to allow other companies to work with him. Target, which along with its handful of vendor partners has been Larson’s sole major sponsor since he joined NASCAR’s premier series, will still have the majority of races on the # 42. Target previously had all the races, though it passes through a number of them annually to brands it works with like Energizer and Axe. The deal is part of a mutual agreement between CGR and Target. Sources said the move frees up about 5-10 primaries worth of inventory on the #42. Target’s deal expires on the NASCAR side after 2017, and the retailer ended a 27-year partnership on Ganassi’s IndyCar side after the ’16 season.(Sports Business Daily)(12-19-2016)
  • NASCAR Preview and Press Guide returns in 2017: The Official NASCAR Preview and Press Guide Returns for 2017, signaling the end of a four-year wait for the fan-favorite season-launch magazine. Produced by Professional Media Group (PMG), The Official 2017 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide, will be an all-new publication and include features and profiles in addition to traditional season preview information across the three NASCAR national series. The perfect way to prep for the new season, The Official NASCAR 2017 Preview and Press Guide will debut at the DAYTONA 500. The refreshed publication will take fans of all types, novice to avid, on a journey of what to expect throughout the year. The 2017 edition will include new fan elements, too.(Professional Media Group)(12-19-2016)
  • Joe Gibbs Racing running full ARCA season with Herbst: Riley Herbst will join Joe Gibbs Racing as a full-time driver behind the wheel of the #18 Toyota Camry in the ARCA series in 2017. The 17-year-old from Las Vegas native is coming off a successful 2016 season of competition in the K&N; NASCAR Pro East and West series. Under Bill McAnally Racing and Napa Automotive, Riley completed 17 races, recording seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishing spots in the K&N; East and West. Herbst also competed in the super late model division, under the Fury Racing banner, with crew chief Jeff Fultz and the guidance of Tony Eury Sr./Jr. He also did double duty as a rookie at the California Speedway in 2015, winning the track championship in the Irwindale Speed Trucks. “It’s great to have Riley join Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Steve deSouza, Executive Vice President of XFINITY/Development. “He has experienced success in a variety of racing venues and we want to provide him the opportunity to continue that success at this level of competition.” Herbst’s will drive the #18 Toyota Camry in the ARCA Series and his sponsor and crew chief will be announced at a later date.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-19-2016)


    News from December 18, 2016


  • Bruton and Marcus Smith interested in Major League Soccer team: Major League Soccer executives confirmed that they have been in talks with Bruton and Marcus Smith as potential owners of an expansion team in Charlotte. Charlotte and Raleigh are among the latest 10 cities that have expressed interest in landing an MLS team. In a call with reporters Thursday evening, Commissioner Don Garber said the Smiths have “a lot of energy, and lots of professional sports experience.” Bruton Smith is a billionaire race track owner and a recent NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. His son, Marcus, is CEO of Speedway Motorsports, based in Concord. The two have also said they would be interested in buying the Carolina Panthers when the franchise becomes available. In an emailed statement to the Observer, Marcus Smith said he is “very interested” in bringing an MLS team to Charlotte. Interested expansion owners must submit their applications by Jan. 31. The two first expansion teams – which would be the 25th and 26th in the league – would have to pay an expansion fee of $150 million each, and will be announced during the second or third quarter of 2017. They would begin play by 2020, MLS said. The owner of the Charlotte Independence soccer team has said that Memorial Stadium could be expanded if the city ever landed a Major League Soccer franchise. Raleigh’s North Carolina F.C., which operated as the Carolina RailHawks for 10 years, recently launched its own campaign to land an MLS team. The MLS currently has 20 teams, and it recently announced three expansion teams slotted to join over the next two years: Los Angeles F.C., Minnesota United and Atlanta United. MLS also says it is “making progress” with plans for an expansion team in Miami as well.(Charlotte Observer)(12-18-2016)
  • Sad News – Fred Harb: Mr. Fareed “Fred” Joseph Harb, Jr., 86, of Archdale, passed away Friday, December 16, 2016, at the Select Specialty Hospital in Greensboro. Fred was a Sgt. First Class in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne during the Korean War. He had owned and operated Harb’s Garage and Body Shop in High Point for 62 years. He was a member of Christ Community Church, formerly First United Church of Christ. He was active in the High Point Senior Golf Association, and the High Point Bowling Association. He was also a member of the Old Timers Racing Club, having been involved in stock car racing since it’s early days. He raced for the first time in 1949, in the NASCAR circuit formerly known as Grand National. He competed for a total of 10 years, and his most prized trophy was the James Naughton Sportsmanship Award which he earned for saving another driver’s life during an actual race. He was featured in the book Red Dirt Tracks which later was made into the movie, Red Dirt Rising. On December 18, 1949, Fred married the former Betty Garner, who survives of the home. Also surviving are three sons, David Harb, of High Point, Randy (Martha) Harb, of Trinity, and Jerry (Tammy) Harb, of Sophia; grandchildren, Brian Harb and wife, Ashley, Mandy Luckey and husband, Bradley, Adam Harb and wife, Aryn, Brandon Harb and Bradley Harb; great grandchildren, Everette Harb, Garrett Harb, and Emma Luckey; and two sisters, Miheepa Jones and Margaret Carroll, both of Lexington.(12-18-2016)
  • Cox Promoted to VP of Business Development for Speedway Motorsports: Speedway Motorsports, Inc. has promoted Kentucky Speedway Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Cox to Vice President of Business Development for Speedway Motorsports. Cox, who joined the Speedway Motorsports family in August of 2004 as senior director of business development for Charlotte Motor Speedway, is a 1994 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He worked for Charlotte Motor Speedway until February of 2012 when Cox made a move to Kentucky Speedway where he supervised all aspects of Corporate Sales, Ticket Sales/Operations and Consumer Marketing. In his new role, Cox will be responsible for maximizing revenues for Speedway Motorsports through customer retention as well as developing new business opportunities for the company.(Speedway Motorsports)(12-18-2016)


    News from December 17, 2016


  • Why are teams swapping charters? It’s part of a complicated NASCAR system designed to encourage performance while also allowing teams to project revenues for a season. At the start of 2016, NASCAR issued 36 charters, giving those 36 cars a guaranteed spot in each race and a guaranteed base amount of revenue for the season. That left four spots available to “open” cars, whose base amount of participation revenue is less than 35 percent of that of charter teams.
    Teams can lease out their charter for only one year over a five-year span and then must either run it or sell it. A portion of the revenue distributed to a charter team is based on the performance of that car the last three years; plus any car among the three worst charters for three consecutive years can have its charter pulled by NASCAR.
    The move for Go FAS Racing means it will have slightly more guaranteed money next season because the RPM #44 team’s past three-year history is better than Go FAS Racing’s #32 team. It also should make the original #32 charter more valuable for 2018 in two ways — the Wood Brothers should finish higher in the owner standings (it was 21st in the 2016 team standings) and therefore would increase its 2018 guaranteed revenue; and it should eliminate a chance the charter could get revoked following the 2018 season because it most likely won’t be among the three worst charter teams for three consecutive years.(ESPN.com)(12-17-2016)
  • Harvick looking forward to move to Ford; Monster sponsorship: Kevin Harvick is optimistic about NASCAR’s future after it was announced Monster Energy will be the new title sponsor of the Premier Series during Champion’s Week in Las Vegas earlier this month. Harvick has worked with Monster in previous and current business dealings. During the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Monster served as the primary sponsor on Ricky Charmichael’s #4 Chevrolet Silverado owned by Harvick. “When you look at Monster, we’ve dealt with them on (Ricky) Charmichael’s truck, we deal with them on Donald Cerrone’s deal, and they are a very aggressive company in how they want to approach things,” Harvick said. “I think that will be good for us because as a whole, NASCAR can be, in my opinion, a little bit conservative. “I think Monster will add a little bit of edginess to that. All in all, I think it’s great for the sport and I’m looking forward to seeing how they kick it all off.”
    The series title sponsor isn’t the only change Harvick is experiencing during the offseason, as Stewart-Haas Racing continues the lengthy process of transitioning from Chevrolet to Ford for the 2017 season. That’s a process the 2014 Premier Series champion knows will be an uphill battle due to everything that goes into making the manufacturer switch. “We’d be crazy to think there’s not going to be some bumps in the road just because there’s a lot of things that are changing,” said Harvick. “But I think with the amount of people that we have to go through the transition to do the things that we need to do, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people. I think it’ll be a long winter, but with a group of racers that we have, we should fire off where we have been.” Overall, Harvick is confident the switch won’t affect how competitive his #4 team will be, as well as SHR in general, at the beginning of next season.(Fox Sports)(12-17-2016)
  • Senica may run select races in 2017: Mike Senica, who finished 20th in ARCA Racing Series national points this year is in talks with a few Camping World Truck teams for 2017. Senica,who splits his time as a commercial pilot and a pro-wrestling manager, will be bringing his corporate sponsors Bell Plantation, Bolts Energy Chews and American Powerhouse with him into the truck series next year. In addition, he is in talks with a few other companies to come on board with him as well. He ran for Hixson Motorsports throughout the 2016 ARCA Racing Series and is planning to run the ARCA race in Daytona in 2017 with the Team Hixson. Senica operates Motorsport Concepts, a sports marketing company which specializes in corporate consulting and sponsorship implementation.(Senica Racing)(12-17-2016)
  • ‘Tickets for Troops’ Program continues at Daytona: Daytona International Speedway, in partnership with the Greater Jacksonville Area USO and the Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix), is creating the “Ticket for Troops” program, providing race fans the opportunity to help send members of the military to Speedweeks 2017 events at the “World Center of Racing.” Fans are able to contribute $3, $5, $10 or more, with 100 percent of all contributions going directly toward the cost of tickets given to the USO and Vet Tix for distribution to active, retired, honorably discharged veterans, reserves and Gold Star Families. Daytona International Speedway will match every dollar gifted through this program. The Ticket for Troops program is aligned with the USO and Vet Tix efforts in supporting and recognizing members of the military. Vet Tix and USO partners with major sports teams, leagues, promoters, organizations, venues and individual event ticket holders to provide tickets to currently serving and veterans of all branches of the military.(DIS)(12-17-2016)


    News from December 16, 2016


  • Charters change hands; Petty down to one team? UPDATE: Interviewed on SiriusXM NASCAR radio Thursday afternoon, Go Fas owner Archie St. Hilare said the #32 team has leased the charter from Richard Petty Motorsports’ #44 team for the 2017 season. Furthermore, Go Fas has leased the #32 team charter for next season to Wood Brothers Racing’s #21 team.
    The moves will guarantee #21-Ryan Blaney and Wood Brothers make every race next season.
    Per ESPN.com’s Bob Pockrass, “By leasing #32 charter to Wood Brothers, Go FAS likely makes sure charter isn’t bottom 3 for 3 consecutive yrs (can be revoked if so)”.
    In addition, St. Hilare says Go Fas has obtained 6 cars from Richard Petty Motorsports for next year.
    While nothing has been officially announced, the moves appear to show that Richard Petty Motorsports will contract back to a single car team next season with #43-Aric Almirola.(12-15-2016)
    UPDATE: Statement from Brian Moffitt, CEO Richard Petty Motorsports: “At the conclusion of the 2016 season, we evaluated how to best improve our on-track product. We feel that it’s in the best interest of our partners and for Richard Petty Motorsports to focus our resources on the No. 43 Ford Fusion and Aric (Almirola) in 2017. A concentrated effort on one team will position us for improvement while giving us adequate time to reestablish our two-car team in 2018. For the interim, we will lease one of our two charters.”(Richard Petty Motorsports)(12-16-2016)
  • Cassill returning to Front Row Motorsports; Ragan rejoining team: Front Row Motorsports will have two familiar faces behind the wheels of its racecars in 2017. Landon Cassill will return to the team and drive the #34 Ford after an impressive first season with the team in 2016. David Ragan, who drove for the Statesville-based organization from 2012 to 2015 and earned its first win, will rejoin the team to drive the #38 Ford. The team will continue its technical alliance with Roush Fenway Racing and its engine program with Roush Yates Engines.
    The 27-year-old Cassill earned seven top-20 finishes in his first season with Front Row. One of the series’ steadiest and most reliable competitors, he completed 98 percent of the laps run and was the only premier series driver in 2016 to finish the season with just a single DNF (Did Not Finish). The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native will enter his eighth year competing in NASCAR’s premier series.
    Ragan is a 10-year veteran of the series who made history for Front Row Motorsports in 2013 when he charged through the front of the field on the final lap to win at Talladega Superspeedway, sending owner Bob Jenkins and his team to Victory Lane for the first time. The 30-year-old Unadilla, Ga., native owns two premier series wins, 15 top-five and 36 top-10 finishes, and two poles.
    The team’s 2017 partnerships will be announced soon.(Front Row Motorsports)(12-16-2016)
  • Top 10 diecast of 2016: Lionel Racing – The Official Die-Cast of NASCAR – announced that Chase Elliott’s #24 NAPA Chevrolet is the company’s best-selling die-cast of 2016. The announcement marks the first time since 2011 that a driver other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. has claimed the top spot. Earnhardt owned the best-selling spot from 2012 to 2015. Although he was out of his race car during the second half of 2016, Elliott’s ascension to the top spot was not a result of Earnhardt’s absence. Both drivers’ standard paint schemes were ordered and shipped prior to Earnhardt’s exit. In fact, Earnhardt is still the company’s best-selling driver overall, his cars account for four of the top 10 sellers. Making the list for the first time is Kurt Busch, whose Monster Energy Chevrolet secured the seventh spot. Kevin Harvick’s new partnership with Busch gave him the fifth and tenth spots, respectively. Finally, seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson took spots six and eight, with his Lowe’s 7X Champ die-cast well inside the top 10.
    1. Chase Elliott #24 NAPA Chevrolet
    2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide/Batman Chevrolet
    3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevrolet
    4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Axalta Chevrolet
    5. Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Chevrolet
    6. Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet
    7. Kurt Busch #41 Monster Energy Chevrolet
    8. Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s 7X Time Champion Chevrolet
    9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide/Grey Ghost Darlington Chevrolet
    10. Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Chevrolet
    (Lionel Racing)(12-16-2016)
  • 2017 schemes unveiled for Johnson: Thursday Team Lowes Racing unveiled paint schemes for the #48 Chevy of Jimmie Johnson in 2017. Images for the standard blue and yellow Lowe’s scheme as well as the black Kobalt scheme were posted to Twitter. See images of the cars on the #48 team paint schemes page.(12-16-2016)
  • Race weekend garage tours available at Auto Club Speedway: Have you ever wanted to get inside the NASCAR Garage? Now you can with Auto Club Speedway’s “Garage Tour” experience where fans go behind the scenes on a guided tour to hear revving engines, see hoods raised, and watch NASCAR drivers and teams strategize for flat-out, five-wide racing during the NASCAR Auto Club 400 race weekend – March 24-26, 2017. The Garage Tour ticket package is the only way race fans can get inside the NASCAR garages on race weekend. See all the garage action for only $179.00:
    An exclusive guided Garage Tour during the Auto Club 400 weekend!
    The best seats for all 3 days of NASCAR
    One premium reserved grandstand ticket to Auto Club 400 race – March 26
    One premium reserved grandstand ticket to XFINITY 300 race – March 25
    One general admission ticket to NASCAR Cup Qualifying Day – March 24
    With a race ticket, fans have access to Auto Club Speedway’s 20th Anniversary celebrations in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone that includes a special Q&A; with racing legends, NASCAR driver appearances, historic show cars on display, Lefty’s Fun Zone, musical performances and family fun.
    (Auto Club Speedway)(12-16-2016)


    News from December 15, 2016


  • Charters change hands; Petty down to one team? Interviewed on SiriusXM NASCAR radio Thursday afternoon, Go Fas owner Archie St. Hilare said the #32 team has leased the charter from Richard Petty Motorsports’ #44 team for the 2017 season. Furthermore, Go Fas has leased the #32 team charter for next season to Wood Brothers Racing’s #21 team.
    The moves will guarantee #21-Ryan Blaney and Wood Brothers make every race next season.
    Per ESPN.com’s Bob Pockrass, “By leasing #32 charter to Wood Brothers, Go FAS likely makes sure charter isn’t bottom 3 for 3 consecutive yrs (can be revoked if so)”.
    In addition, St. Hilare says Go Fas has obtained 6 cars from Richard Petty Motorsports for next year.
    While nothing has been officially announced, the moves appear to show that Richard Petty Motorsports will contract back to a single car team next season with #43-Aric Almirola.(12-15-2016)
  • DiBenedetto to drive for Go Fas: Go Fas Racing announced that Matt DiBenedetto will pilot the #32 Go Fas Racing Ford for all 36 scheduled events in NASCAR’s Premier Series during the 2017 season. DiBenedetto comes to GFR after completing two full seasons in NASCAR’s Premier Series where he tallied 68 starts and a season-best finish of sixth place at Bristol Motor Speedway in Spring of 2016. “I am very excited to join Go Fas Racing for the 2017 season! We have a great group of people that I am very excited to work with this season! I am thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to representing the team and sponsors to the best of my ability!” said DiBenedetto Go Fas Racing is looking forward to the opportunity to focus on having one driver in the seat for all 36 scheduled races since its inception into the series in 2014. Can-Am/Kappa, Keen Parts, Visone RV, Really Cheap Floors and many more familiar faces will yet again don the #32 Go Fas Racing Ford.(Go Fas Racing)(12-15-2016)
  • NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day returning: NASCAR will honor its passionate fans with the return of NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day, which follows the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Jan. 20, will include autograph sessions with current national series drivers, NASCAR Hall of Famers and members of the NASCAR Next class, as well photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions with a number of NASCAR legends. A full driver autograph session schedule, as well as ticket/wristband information, will be announced at a later date.(NASCAR)(12-15-2016)
  • New shop for Hattori: Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE) announced today that it has moved its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) headquarters to a new facility within Mooresville, N.C. The new shop is a state of the art facility that formerly housed Rusty Wallace Racing when the organization competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. HRE plans to race full-time out of the new shop in the NCWTS in 2017 with the driver and sponsor being announced at a later date. The move marks the first for HRE in nearly nine years.(Hattori Racing Enterprises)(12-15-2016)
  • Martinsville Speedway debuts new logo for 70th Anniversary: In 1947 there were no credit cards, no computers and no NASCAR. However, there was Martinsville Speedway. The half-mile racetrack opened its doors for the first time and has held races ever since. In celebration of 70 years, the track will have a special 70th anniversary logo and will brand itself as “The Original,” an homage to its being the only track remaining from NASCAR’s original 1949 schedule. “Seventy years is something to be really proud of and something we’re taking great pride in,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “We wanted to give an iconic look to such an iconic place; a place that’s a true piece of NASCAR history. I think the logo does just that by focusing on the past, while also celebrating the present.” The 70th Anniversary logo features a 70 highlighting Martinsville’s unique paperclip-shaped layout. The seven represents the frontstretch grandstands that were in place when the track first opened at the zero represents the track, in its modern form. The words “The Original” are also featured on the logo, in a script font, much like the fonts used on early stock cars.(Martinsville Speedway)(12-15-2016)


    News from December 14, 2016


  • Jeff Gordon tests for Rolex 24: Once again, Jeff Gordon has come out of retirement and once again he’s in the Rolex 24 At Daytona field. As a high-profile part of the Wayne Taylor Racing lineup that will co-drive a new Cadillac DPi in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s headlining Prototype class, Gordon is at Daytona International Speedway this week for a two-day test session in advance of the Jan. 28-29 sports car endurance classic. Gordon will co-drive the #10 Cadillac with Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli. It will be Gordon’s second appearance in the Rolex 24; in 2007 he co-drove a Pontiac Riley with Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Jan Magnussen to a third-place finish. “I had so much fun the first time I did this,” Gordon said. “And at this point of my life and career [winning the Rolex 24] would be huge. When I came here in 2007 I was just kind of along for the ride. When you really realize how important this race is, is on race day when you see the hype and buildup and then the challenges you face over 24 hours. That’s what makes this race so thrilling. I’d be very proud [if we won].” This week’s test is the second of three preseason sessions for the Rolex 24, IMSA’s season-opening event. The first test was Nov. 15-16. The final test will be the annual “Roar Before the Rolex 24” on Jan. 6-8.(DIS)(12-14-2016)
  • Richmond selects St. John & Partners and PCG SportsDesk Media as New Agencies of Record: Richmond International Raceway announces it has named St. John & Partners and PCG SportsDesk Media as its two new agencies of record. SJ&P; was selected as the creative and media buying agency of record and PCG SportsDesk will be the digital media agency of record. RIR also announces a partnership with the Richmond, VA-based Alliance Group and Madison+Main on a long-term branding project. SJ&P; and PCG SportsDesk have experience driving results in motorsports and professional sports marketing. SJ&P; is a full-service, award-winning agency with offices in Jacksonville, Fla. and Greenville, S.C. The agency’s strategic focus is to help brands define meaning and deliver an experience to customers across points in time. In addition to Daytona International Speedway, SJ&P; has worked with clients including the National Basketball Association, Under Armour, Ford, Marriott, and Zaxby’s. PCG SportsDesk is a strategic marketing agency with offices in Chicago, Ill. and Dallas, Texas. The agency uses its digital expertise to provide a deeper understanding of online fans and customers to more effectively target and engage through digital media and content. The agency has led hundreds of ticket programs for numerous professional sports organizations and intercollegiate athletics programs. PCG SportsDesk has worked with clients including Hendrick Motorsports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Ultimate Fighting Championship, IMG College, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Cleveland Browns. RIR’s long-term partnership with the Richmond, VA-based Alliance Group and Madison+Main will lead the future branding, communications and modernization of the property. The branding project will encompass future track developments including the Richmond Raceway Complex and The Classic Amphitheater.(RIR)(12-14-2016)


    News from December 13, 2016


  • Monster sponsorship reportedly for 2 years; France responds: Monster Energy’s deal to serve as title sponsor for NASCAR’s premier series beginning with the ’17 season is a two-year deal with a two-year option worth about $20M annually in rights, with activation “still being determined but expected to be less robust than predecessor Sprint,” according to sources cited by Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal. Sources said that Sprint was paying $65-75M a year in rights and activation. Last week, Monster execs and staffers flew to NASCAR HQ in Charlotte for immersion meetings and they “began to sort out activation plans, down to figuring out the name and logo of the racing series.” Monster Energy VP/Sports Marketing Mitch Covington was “not ready to release activation details but provided hints on what Monster may do.” Monster “sponsors a host of motorsports and action sports properties globally and is known for its cross-promotion acumen, and Covington confirmed that it will be looking to cross-promote in NASCAR.” He said that “virtually every form of activation imaginable is under consideration, from special NASCAR drinks to basic television advertising.” Stern notes a “main concern industry observers share privately about Monster is whether the company’s edgy style will fit with a sport that has a family ethos and atmosphere.” But many in the industry “think that for a sport trying to age down, Monster could be the ticket”(Sports Busines Daily)
    AND: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France says an announcement on what the sport’s premier series will be called under sponsorship from Monster Energy is forthcoming. “We’ll have an announcement shortly,” France said during a surprise call into SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We’re working together with them. A lot of it is, they know motorsports, so they’re not just along for the ride, they have some real good opinions on what they want to get done here as our entitlement sponsor. So, we’re going to listen to them because they’re obviously the most important partner; it’s all going to be good.” France noted the reception to the new partner has been positive, which is “what we wanted all along.” And while it took time to work through things contractually, France said company is going to be engaging both on social media and at the track.
    When asked to look at what the premier series car count will look like next year, France called it “normal times” as teams make decisions about their futures. That includes drivers moving around and organizations, like Tommy Baldwin Racing, deciding to end operation. But when it comes to the series as a whole, France made it clear that a recent report from the SportsBusiness Journal concerning the agreement between Monster Energy and NASCAR is not correct. France was quick to refute the numbers and said there would be longevity to the deal. “Those are not accurate numbers,” France said. “We have a good understanding of where this relationship is going to be, so no, those are not accurate numbers … [Monster Energy is] excited about being here. My view is, this is the biggest entitlement or biggest sponsorship yet for their company, and although they’re very successful … my view is, they’re going to build on for a long time. That’s the sense of it with me, and I made this particular sales call myself, so I have a good sense of it, and I’m a big believer in those guys. They really have an understanding of what we’re all trying to do together.”(Racer)(12-13-2016)
  • Stocks For Tots at NASCAR Technical Institute: The 28th annual Stocks For Tots holiday event and fundraiser will be held Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. The event which started in 1989 has raised more than $1 million and collected more than 60,000 toys to aid raising awareness for child abuse in North Carolina. Each year thousands of fans have attended the event where they can meet many of their favorite NASCAR drivers from the Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck Series. NASCAR Hall of Famers “The King” Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Rex White, and Dale Inman will be on hand along with road racer Elliott Forbes Robinson, Verizon Indy Car star Will Power, and rising stars Justin Alligaier and Austin Cindric. Current drivers David Ragan, Landon Cassill, Joe and John Hunter Nemechek, Kerry Earnhardt, Brandon McReynolds, Mike Bliss, Jared Irvan, will also be in attendance. Other Legends include former Charlotte Motor Speedway promoter Humpy Wheeler, Jeff Gordon’s championship crew chief and AmerCarna TV host Ray Evernham, former Cup crew chief Barry Dodson, Donnie Allison, Don Miller, Neil “Soapy” Castles, “Tiger” Tom Pistone, Bobby Dotter, Jerry Nadeau, and others. NHRA and IHRA Drag Racers will be represented by Doug Herbert, Greg Anderson, Jason Line and Buddy Martin. Media personalities such as TV broadcasters Mike Joy, Kyle Petty, Larry McReynolds, Winston Kelly from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, award winning writer Tom Higgins, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s mascot “Lug Nut”, and Santa Claus will be ready to meet the fans.(Stocks for Tots), see all the details on the NASCAR Charity Events page.(12-12-2016)
  • Obaika to run two full-time teams in 2017: Obaika racing will run two full time teams, the #77 and #97 Chevrolet Camaros, in 2017. The team has also confirmed that Greg Vandersluis will be the driver for Mid-Ohio. Vandersluis is a 28 year old professional driving instructor from Ohio. He was named NEOHIO SCCA Rookie of the Year in 2008 followed up by Driver of the Year in 2010. The team is in talks to sign drivers for other races this season.(Obaika Racing)(12-13-2016)
  • Drive Your Car on Track at Sonoma Raceway: Race enthusiasts often wonder how to get their car on track at Sonoma Raceway. Those drivers can turn their fantasies into reality as the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) hosts the 4th annual Laps for Charity event on Saturday, Jan.21. This once-a-year-event invites participants to take their vehicle for a few laps around the 12-turn road course, all in the name of charity. For just $150, this unique experience includes a pre-lap safety briefing with professional drivers, three lead-follow laps around the 2.52-mile circuit and a picture of your car on track. All proceeds benefit kids in need through Sonoma County youth organizations. SCC, the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway, has distributed more than $5.5 million to Sonoma County youth groups since 2001. A limited number of spots are now available between 12:30-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. For more information or to register for your spot, visit http://sonoma.speedwaycharities.org/events/4th_annual_laps_for_charity.(Sonoma Raceway)(12-13-2016)


    News from December 12, 2016


  • Chris Buescher’s car number revealed: JTG Daugherty racing tweeted Monday afternoon, “You have been asking and guessing what car # @Chris_Buescher will be driving in 2017, it will be the #37.”.(12-12-2016)
  • Biffle has “several offers” for next season: Asked on Twitter Sunday if he had a ride for 2017, Greg Biffle responded, “Not yet working on it. I’m blessed to have several offers just wanting to make the right decision and drive a car I can win in.”(12-12-2016)
  • Congrats to Brad Keselowski and girlfriend Paige White on their engagement. Keselowski broke the news Sunday on Twitter. The couple have a daughter, Scarlett. A wedding date was not announced.(12-12-2016)
  • Penske to receive Horatio Alger award: Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, announced the recipients of its 2017 Horatio Alger Award. Bestowed annually for the last 70 years upon exceptional corporate and philanthropic leaders from across the country who have succeeded despite facing challenges, this award recognizes the new Members’ ongoing commitment to higher education and their continued charitable efforts in their local communities. Horatio Alger Association will honor 11 individuals, all of whom represent its core values – perseverance, integrity and a commitment to excellence – with lifetime membership into the organization:
    Alain Bouchard, founder and executive chairman of the board, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
    John Elway, executive vice president of football operations/general manager, Denver Broncos
    Mellody Hobson, president, Ariel Investments, LLC
    Harold B. Matzner, chairman, CBA Industries Inc.
    Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean, Morehouse School of Medicine
    Roger S. Penske, chairman, Penske Corporation
    Byron Pitts, chief national correspondent, ABC News and co-anchor, ‘Nightline’
    John H. Scully, co-founder and managing partner, SPO Partners & Co.
    Richard J Stephenson, founder & chairman, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
    Marcia G. Taylor, president and chief executive officer, Bennett International Group, LLC
    Lenard B. Tessler, vice chairman and senior managing director, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.
    Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this goal, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. The 2017 Horatio Alger Award recipients will be formally inducted into the Association on March 30-April 1, 2017, during the Association’s 70th Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C.(Horatio Alger Association)(12-12-2016)
  • Iowa Speedway tickets now on sale: Kicking off the holiday season with a “bang,” Iowa Speedway is officially on sale with single event and weekend ticket packages for its 2017 season. Super Fans can become Superheroes by securing their seats for an action-packed summer in 2017. Single event tickets start at just $15 and event weekend ticket packages, offering as much as a 10 percent discount, begin at $32. New this year, Iowa Speedway will formally offer exclusive superpowers for children 12 and under in the form of specially priced tickets, in select seating areas. Youth Season Tickets will be offered at 50 percent off the adult ticket price allowing families to save money while enjoying the races from reserved seats. Each Youth Season Ticket is renewable, meaning you have right of first refusal for that same seat next season and for years to come. Each Youth Season Ticket Holder is also eligible for exclusive upgrades through the all-new Fans With Benefits: Kids Edition. Possible upgrades include a Casey’s General Stores Victory Lane Photo, Hauler Tour, and Kids Suite Upgrades (with parents). In addition, Iowa Speedway has joined an industry-wide NASCAR initiative granting free single event tickets for fans 12 and under (with a ticketed parent) to all NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in 2017. To further showcase a commitment to their youngest fans, Iowa Speedway is proud to extend this youth initiative to include all six event days (eight events in total) in 2017.(Iowa Speedway)(12-12-2016)


    News from December 11, 2016


  • Indy 500 not considering early start time to facilitate ‘The Double’: IndyCar head Mark Miles said Hulman and Co., which owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the open wheel series are not currently considering a return of the Indianapolis 500 to the traditional 11:00am start time to facilitate drivers competing “The Double,” in conjunction with the NASCAR Coca-Cole 600. The topic flares sporadically, but found a fresh news cycle recently when Team Penske president Tim Cindric told Motorsport.com that he believed more drivers would attempt the historic feat with more time between the Indianapolis start and the early evening NASCAR start in Charlotte. Just four drivers have attempted it, most recently NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who finished sixth in the 500 for Andretti Autosport in 2014. The endeavor is currently still possible with proper logistical effort including private helicopter travel to speed arrival to Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We aren’t revisiting whether the Indianapolis 500 is going to move into the morning,” Miles told USA TODAY Sports. “We are always open to see what can be done to help make it easier for somebody who could do it now with a 12 o’clock start, to do as it’s scheduled now, helicopters out, expediting, if they win, that sort of thing. But we’re not thinking about revisiting the time for the 500.”(Indianapolis Star)(12-11-2016)
  • Roush Fenway awarded two MarCom Awards: Roush Fenway Racing has been recognized for outstanding achievement by the prestigious MarCom Awards. The team has been awarded a pair of MarCom Platinum Awards for its marketing and communications efforts in 2016. The organization received a Platinum Award in the category of ‘Social Media Campaign’ for its innovative #RFRTruckin social campaign. In addition, Roush Fenway was awarded a Platinum Award in the ‘Social Media Branding’ category for its Social ‘Jack’ Icon program. The team also garnered Honorable Mention for its launch of the SunnyD program this season, in the Communications/PR Program category. MarCom Awards is an international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communications professionals. The awards received over 6,500 entries this year, with only 17 percent awarded Platinum status by earning the highest distinction as ‘the most outstanding entries in the competition.’ Platinum Winners are recognized for ‘their excellence in terms of quality, creativity and resourcefulness.’
    The #RFRTruckin program, which provided fans a ‘behind the scenes’ look at a NASCAR ‘road trip,’ garnered instant media attention and earned over 23 million organic impressions. The ‘Social Icon’ program represented team co-owner Jack Roush’s iconic hat and leveraged local market integration, partner programs, cause marketing and merchandise licensing. The SunnyD ‘NASCAR’ program, which featured the NASCAR remake of the classic ‘purple stuff’ commercial, generated more than 8.5 million impressions for the brand, produced more than three million video views and gained national media exposure.
    Roush Fenway Racing has now won a total of four MarCom Platinum Awards since 2011, when it took home its first Platinum for the famed ‘Ricky vs. Trevor’ campaign. The team also brought home a Platinum Award for its ‘Let Ricky Race’ campaign in 2013, as well as Gold Awards for ’25 Winning Years’, ‘RFRDriven’ and the Pillow Pets NASCAR Launch.(Roush Fenway Racing)(12-11-2016)
  • Charlotte named “Outstanding Facility of the Year” at PRI: The Greatest Place to See the Race earned one of the motorsports industry’s highest honors this week at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Charlotte Motor Speedway received The Race Track Business Conference’s “Outstanding Facility of the Year” award presented by National Speedway Directory and Track Guide. The iconic motorsports complex became only the fourth venue to earn the prestigious award thanks to its versatile offerings across Charlotte Motor Speedway, zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte – which this year included constructing a world-renowned, purpose-built motocross course at The Dirt Track for the Monster Energy MXGP of the Americas in September. The speedway’s wide variety of fan-friendly, captivating attractions includes three major NASCAR race weekends, two NHRA events, two World of Outlaws weekends and numerous car shows and exhibitions throughout the year as well as a six-week Speedway Christmas light show. Additionally, Charlotte is the only venue to host playoff events in NASCAR’s premier series and the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Previous award winners were Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2013, National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in 2014 and Daytona International Speedway in 2015.(CMS)(12-11-2016)


    News from December 10, 2016


  • DiBenedetto leaves BK Racing UPDATE: Matt DiBenedetto tweeted Thursday evening, “I’ve decided to go in a different direction next year. Exciting announcements coming soon. It’s been a great ride @BKRacing_2383 Thank you!”.(12-8-2016)
    UPDATE: “I can only say so much at this time,” DiBenedetto said Thursday night on SiriusXM Radio. “I’ve been in talks with BK, and no hard feelings. I’m appreciative of everything they’ve given me. … Just kind of evaluating the team situation for next year. From my end there’s a little too much unknown, so I just had to make that decision. I’m excited about what the future has to hold here still, and obviously everyone will have to stay tuned.”(NASCAR.com)
    AND: BK Racing confirmed DiBenedetto’s departure in a statement, “Our 33rd and 34th place finishes this year did not produce the results we were hoping to achieve. I am, however, very proud of Matt DiBenedetto and his many accomplishments over the past two years. He is a wonderful driver and a special person. I am confident that Matt will go on to be a very successful NASCAR driver, and I believe it is the right time to release him so that he can pursue other opportunities. Myself and everyone at BK Racing wishes Matt all the best in his future endeavors. I am looking forward to much success for both Matt and BK Racing.”(BK Racing)(12-10-2016)
  • BK Racing briefly locked out of race shop: Concerns over BK Racing losing their lease at their current shop location appear to be a misunderstanding and, in fact, the race team is negotiating and extended lease with BAM Property Holdings, Kickin’ the Tires has confirmed. A sign posted, Wednesday evening, on the chained door of the building where BK’s shop is housed read, “The Owner BAM Property Holdings has retaken possession of this property.” A call to the number listed was answered by a man named “Chuck,” who confirmed that BAM had taken possession of the building Wednesday evening but had returned it to the principles of BK Racing by Thursday – less than 24 hours later. “They have possession now,” said Chuck. “And they are working on negotiating their lease for a longer term. So, they should be good.” Reaching out to team owner Ron Devine, he did not address the sign when asked via text but stated, “We are fine and headed to Daytona.”(Kickin the Tires)(12-10-2016)
  • Congrats to Clint and Lorra Bowyer on the birth of their daughter, Preseley Elizabeth on Friday. Bowyer tweeted the news Friday afternoon. Presley joins brother, Cash.(12-10-2016)
  • Championship Tire Specialist award winners named: Champion Tire & Wheel announced the recipient of the 2016 Sprint Cup “Consistently Smooth” award was Kyle Collins of Hendrick MotorSports’ #48 car driven by Jimmie Johnson. The award recognizes the skill and effort of the team’s tire specialist in overseeing the #48 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 absolutely critical in the overall performance of the race car. In addition to the Sprint Cup series recipients, Champion Tire and Wheel will also present Joe Gibbs Racings’ #19, John Landham, the Championship tire specialists award for the Daniel Suarez driven Xfinity Series team, and Kyle Conroy, the tire specialist for Gallagher Motorsports and the Johnny Sauter driven Camping World Truck Series Championship effort.(Champion Tire & Wheel PR)(12-10-2016)
  • Northeastern Supply returns as associate sponsor for Allgaier: Three things are certain with the anticipation of the Northeastern Supply Company’s 24th consecutive season of driver and team sponsorship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017. The first is a fourth consecutive season supporting a driver and race team out of the JR Motorsports stable. The second is support of a driver and team that finished third in the Xfinity Series inaugural Chase for the Championship and thus challenged for the title. Third and most noteworthy is the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, hardware and water systems distributor’s decision to return to support Justin Allgaier and the #7 BRANDT Professional Agricultural team. Having backed the efforts this past season of championship runner-up finisher Elliott Sadler, Northeastern Supply was looking to move its sponsorship around the JR Motorsports organization in 2017 before settling on Allgaier, who returned to full-time Xfinity Series competition in 2016 after two years of trying his luck in the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Northeastern Supply)(12-10-2016)
  • UNOH becomes entitlement sponsor of Daytona Fanzone: Daytona International Speedway announced a multi-year partnership with University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) for the school to secure the naming rights of the Fanzone, the 211,636-square foot entertainment hub located in the infield of the “World Center of Racing.” UNOH, located in Lima, Ohio, invented the first high-performance motorsports degree program in the country, and in 2006, opened the largest U.S. facility dedicated to learning the science of high-performance vehicles – a seven-acre, 70,000-square foot high performance motorsports complex. The UNOH Fanzone, which first opened in 2005 at the “World Center of Racing,” is located between the NASCAR premier series (sponsored by Monster Energy) garages and NASCAR XFINITY Series garages and puts fans in the middle of the event action with fan forums, historic displays, autograph sessions, entertainment and merchandise as well as access to pre-race activities. Other amenities include the Fan Deck on top of the NASCAR premier series garages and garage viewing windows with autograph slots. UNOH will also continue to serve as the Official Education Partner of Daytona International Speedway and have an on-site marketing presence at the facility including event signage, display space, tickets and hospitality.(DIS)(12-10-2016)
  • Kentucky Speedway going Smoke-Free in Grandstands: Kentucky Speedway grandstands will be smoke-free, including the use of e-cigarettes and vapor cigarettes, beginning with the 2017 season. This policy applies to all seating areas, including suites, clubs and terrace boxes. The speedway will continue to permit smoking in all other areas of the grounds, including but not limited to parking lots, camping, and display areas. “We are committed to having the very best customer experience in sports at Kentucky Speedway. This non-smoking policy, along with our new kids pricing, assures that all patrons and families will fully enjoy the exciting experience of a race at Kentucky Speedway,” said Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger.(Kentucky Speedway)(12-10-2016)


    News from December 9, 2016


  • Ragan will not return to BK Racing: BK Racing and driver #23-David Ragan have parted ways. The news comes one day after team owner Ron Devine announced Matt DiBenedetto would no longer continue with the organization. “BK Racing is in the process of trying to restructure the company,” Devine told Motorsport.com. “Our finishes of 33rd and 35th in the standings, did not achieve our goals. We had a one-year agreement with David Ragan that has since expired and we have elected not to renew his contract.” Devine expects to maintain two teams in 2017 with a variety of drivers to be named.(Motorsport)(12-9-2016)
  • Earnhardt, Jr. feeling healthy; ready to talk contract extension: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he believes he is more healthy now than he was before a crash at Michigan in June that caused a concussion, triggering balance and vision issues as well as nausea that kept him out for the final 18 races of 2016. He feels so good that he plans to resume contract negotiations with Hendrick Motorsports before he returns to racing in late February when the 2017 season opens at Daytona. The 42-year-old driver’s contract is up at the end of 2017, and contract negotiations were put on hold after he stepped out of the car in July. Earnhardt, who in August decided not to return at all in 2016, tested Wednesday at Darlington Raceway and has been cleared to return to racing.
    “We’re probably going to revisit that [contract extension] before the season starts,” Earnhardt said Friday during a teleconference with reporters. “I’ve told you guys that before I got sick, me and [team owner] Rick [Hendrick] had been sitting down and talking about our future and the extension and what we wanted to do and all that stuff was starting to come together.”
    “I wouldn’t be coming back to the seat and wanting to drive and excited about driving cars if there was any risk other than the typical risk that every driver faces on Sunday,” said Earnhardt, who also suffered two concussions early in his career. “I feel very confident in what I’ve seen in myself, my improvement and I feel confident in what my doctors tell me about my future.”
    Earnhardt said he does not expect he will have to undergo any additional tests because of his concussion history if he gets into a crash other than the evaluation given to any other driver. “I have a personal responsibility to myself, to be smart, make great decisions for myself,” Earnhardt said. “My health is No. 1. … I’m not going to take any unnecessary risks with my own health.” The driver said beyond having a new helmet, he also has not changed any of his safety devices inside the race car. During the test Wednesday, Earnhardt would drive the car for 15-30 laps and then would be evaluated by his doctor during a 20-minute break. The test lasted about five hours, and Earnhardt said it helped him build his confidence. Earnhardt will test again Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Phoenix International Raceway.(ESPN.com), read the complete transcript of Earnhardt, Jr’s teleconference.(12-9-2016)
  • Buescher ready for transition to JTG Daugherty: Having his 2017 plans in place eases much concern but Chris Buescher, 16th in points for 2016, said there are “still a lot of moving pieces floating around.” Some are comparable to what he faced heading into this past season when he transitioned from the XFINITY Series; others are entirely different. “It’s actually really similar to this year with Front Row,” Buescher said of the situation with JTG Daugherty. “This year with Front Row was a loan as well. It was a little bit easier with the (technical) alliance that Front Row and Roush have with the manufacturer (Ford) being the same.” However, JTG Daugherty Racing fields Chevrolet entries and enjoys a technical alliance with the three-team Richard Childress Racing organization. RCR provides engines through Earnhardt-Childress Racing as well as engineering support. “There are some unknowns to work through,” Buescher said. “But I’m still under contract with Roush Fenway.” Team personnel and other aspects of the new entity have yet to be announced. Cars won’t be on the track for competition until February. Until then, Buescher said he will be looking over notes from the previous season in an attempt to better understand what worked, what didn’t, and why.(NASCAR.com)(12-9-2016)
  • Chastain, Preese to return to JD Motorsports; Smithley uncertain UPDATES Preece not returning: JD Motorsports will have some familiar faces in its camp next year. Lead driver Ross Chastain is returning to the #4 car, with 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece back in the #01 car as well. “We’re trying hard and we have a lot of great people behind us,” Preece said. “We’re hoping that next year, we can keep on digging. We want more sponsorship and make a lot more great things happen.” Chastain’s return to the team comes as he caps off his second full-time season with JD Motorsports. However, he failed to finish in the top 10 this year. “Before, the [No.] 01 car was leaps and bounds over the [No.] 4 car on the racetrack and business-wise,” Chastain said. “To have equal racecars is a big deal. I’ll be back in the #4 car next year. Me and Johnny shake hands and we’re racecars who want to go racing. We want to do it at the highest level possible, and we’re trying to get this car up the leaderboard.” While the two drivers are confirmed to be returning, Garrett Smithley is unclear of whether or not he will return to pilot the team’s #0 car in 2017. “Nothing is solid yet,” Smithley said. “We’re still working on sponsors and everything. I think we will be.”(Frontstretch)(11-24-2016)
    UPDATE: With the approach of a new racing season, the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team is working toward finalizing its driver lineup for the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. Ross Chastain, one of the top young drivers in the sport, will return to JD Motorsports for a third straight season. The team is working with Garrett Smithley, who had a fine rookie season this year in JD Motorsports Chevrolets, to return Smithley to the team lineup next season. “We’re 99 percent sure Garrett will be back with us,” said team owner Johnny Davis. “But we’re still working on funding and sponsorship issues to get everything lined up.” The team has a vacancy in its third car as Ryan Preece, who ran his Xfinity rookie season with JD Motorsports, has decided to move on to other opportunities. The Florida Watermelon Association will return as a sponsor of Chastain’s cars next year.(JD Motorsports)(12-8-2016)
    UPDATE 2: The tentative plans for Berlin driver Ryan Preece for the 2017 racing season, as of right now, is to return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour full-time. Tentative being the key word in that sentence. “I think it’s time to pursue another opportunity and I hope the best for Johnny [Davis],” Preece said. “I’m sure he’s going to be just fine.” Preece said his plans right now are to focus on chasing a second Whelen Modified Tour championship, though with a “but” involved currently. “But also in pursuit of trying to get in a good [XFINITY Series] car that can win races,” Preece said. “That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”(RaceDayCT)(12-9-2016)
  • Haley a 2017 roster addition at GMS: Two wins, 13 top-five finishes and 14 top-10 results in just 14 races. That is what it took for Justin Haley to claim the 2016 NASCAR K&N; Pro Series East (NKNPSE) Championship. On Saturday night, the 17-year-old will accept his title in front of his family, teammates and competitors. He will be taking the next step in his career by joining GMS Racing for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season. Haley, who has competed in a total of six NCWTS races over the past two seasons with one top-10 finish, will pilot the #24 Chevrolet Silverado beginning at Martinsville Speedway. Haley’s rookie season will be directed by second-year crew chief Kevin Bellicourt. The Indiana native began his racing career in 2008, at the age of nine years old. He has earned wins in quarter midgets, micro sprints, the CRA Late Model Sportsman Series, JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, ARCA Racing Series, and the NASCAR K&N; Pro Series East. In 2015, Haley completed his first full-time season in the NKNPSE with six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and a ranking of sixth in the point standings. He followed that up in 2016 by earning his first NKNPSE win at Greenville-Pickens Speedway after starting from the second position and his second victory at Columbus Motor Speedway where he started from the pole position. With only one finish outside of the top five and no result worse than ninth, Haley claimed the NKNPSE title by a 22-point margin. Bellicourt joins GMS after completing his first year as a NCWTS crew chief with ThorSport Racing and driver Ben Rhodes, earning two top-five and five top-10 finishes. He also earned the 2015 NKNPSE Championship with driver William Byron. Additional details on sponsorship for all three drivers will be announced at a later date.(GMS Racing)(12-9-2016)
  • ‘Right-sizing’ at Dover continues with removal of unused seats: Dover International Speedway will have a cozier feel when the Monster Mile hosts the first of its 2017 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events June 2-4 as “right-sizing” continued at the historic raceway. Construction crews have been working all week to remove seating in the top grandstand, but raceway officials say the work being seen by anyone driving by the track is merely the conclusion of the seat removal process that was started a couple of years ago. “This is a decision we made 2-3 years ago to downsize our facility,” said Dover International Speedway President Michael Tatoian. “Our capacity will remain at 85,000. This is the right size for our current attendance.” Capacity at Dover has dwindled since 2009, when the seating capacity was 135,000. That year, a seat-widening project decreased capacity to 113,000 and the numbers have continued to drop since. [Dover International Speedway President Michael] Tatoian said that talks were ongoing to revamp the area of the grandstand that is being taken down, but in the end, there was no good way to repurpose the area of the raceway. But going forward, he said the seating removal creates a better atmosphere for the fans and leaves open the possibility to create another unique space.(Delaware News Journal)(12-9-2016)
  • Martinsville to give Grandfather Clock Trophy to Ticket Holder: In celebration of 70 years, the winner of the STP 500 won’t be the only one leaving Martinsville Speedway with an iconic grandfather clock trophy. One lucky ticket holder will win one as well. For each ticket purchased before March 29, fans will be entered into the Fans 500, a drawing to win the same Martinsville Grandfather Floor clock the winner takes home. Fred Lorenzen won the first clock in the spring of 1964 and the track has given one away to every NASCAR Premier Series winner since. Since 2005 every winner at the historic half-mile speedway has taken home a clock. For more information, eligibility and the rules and regulations for the Fans 500 Grandfather Clock Contest visit http://www.martinsvillespeedway.com/Fan-Info/Subscriptions/Clock-Sweepstakes.aspx. The STP 500 race weekend is March 31-April 2, 2017.(Martinsville Speedway)(12-9-2016)


    News from December 8, 2016


  • DiBenedetto leaves BK Racing: Matt DiBenedetto tweeted Thursday evening, “I’ve decided to go in a different direction next year. Exciting announcements coming soon. It’s been a great ride @BKRacing_2383 Thank you!”.(12-8-2016)
  • Earnhardt, Jr. medically cleared to return to racing: Following a test session Wednesday afternoon at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been medically cleared to resume NASCAR competition after making a full recovery from a concussion. He will return for the beginning of the 2017 season at the Feb. 26 Daytona 500. Earnhardt, 42, was cleared Wednesday evening by Dr. Micky Collins, medical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, in consultation with Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty. Petty attended the test at the 1.366-mile South Carolina racetrack.
    “Dale is one of the hardest-working patients I’ve ever encountered,” Collins said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked, and we believe he is ready to compete at a professional level again and can withstand the normal forces of a race car driver. Dale has been very open with us, and we’ve had plenty of time for his treatment, so we feel very good about his long-term prospects and how this has been managed by everyone involved.”
    Earnhardt, driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, completed 185 laps during a nearly five-hour session at Darlington under the guidance of his crew chief, Greg Ives. In addition to the on-track test, which was observed by NASCAR, the driver has logged more than 15 hours in a racing simulator during his recovery.
    “I feel great, and I’m excited to officially be back,” Earnhardt said. “I expected things to go really well yesterday, and that’s exactly what happened. Actually getting in a race car was an important final step, and it gives me a ton of confidence going into 2017. Thanks to the staff at Darlington for hosting our team and to NASCAR for giving us the opportunity to put a car on the track. I’ll do more testing in January to help knock the rust off. When it’s time to go to Daytona, I’ll be ready.”
    “Dale deserves so much credit,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “I’m proud of him for listening to his body and standing up to take responsibility for his health. He’s worked extremely hard and set a terrific example for others. It’s great news as we go into the off-season, and we can’t wait to see him back on the racetrack at Daytona.”
    Bowman will race the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS in the Feb. 18 season-opening, non-points The Clash at Daytona International Speedway, which will feature pole position winners from the previous year. Bowman won the #88 team’s lone 2016 pole at Phoenix in November.
    “Alex did such a great job in the car this year, and I felt like he deserved another opportunity,” Earnhardt said. “When I spoke with Rick and the team about him driving The Clash, everyone agreed that he more than earned it, and Nationwide was 100-percent on board. I’m really grateful to him and Jeff for what they did for our team, and I’m glad Alex is getting another run with us.”(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-8-2016)
  • Newmark discusses Roush Fenway’s plans: The decline in performance at Roush Fenway Racing is best expressed in one stark statistic. In 2005, half the Chase field consisted of Roush Fenway drivers — when there were only 10 drivers in the Chase. In 2016, there were no RFR entries in a 16-driver Chase field. How does that happen? RFR has been asking itself the same question while attempting to right the ship. Once the dominant organization in the Ford camp, Roush will drop to third in the pecking order upon the arrival of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017.
    RFR President Steve Newmark called the downsizing at RFR a strategic move – albeit an extremely tough decision. The company considered more than a dozen options before arriving at its current organizational chart. “The whole goal and the whole objective of doing whatever we did is to make sure we would improve our performance and make our race cars faster,” Newmark told Motorsport.com. “Obviously, there are different opinions on how you do that and ultimately what we decided is we need to be more of an engineering, laser-focussed company. We’ve always been good at production and manufacturing. I think sometimes you fall back on what you’re comfortable with.
    Over the last two weeks, close to 30 Roush employees have been displaced – some in house, some such as veteran crew chief Bob Osborne who had been overseeing Chris Buescher’s campaign at Front Row Motorsports. Together, the pair made the Chase. Buescher, Roush’s most talented prospect in its driver stable, is now on loan to JTG Daugherty Racing (along with a RFR charter) for 2017.
    Roush Fenway Racing will continue its technical alliance with Bob Jenkins and Front Row Motorsports. Newmark says the multi-year deal with FRM is one of the best collaborations Roush has had over the years. Although it’s unlikely that one of the RFR prospects will replace Buescher in the #34 Ford. “They have some great folks there and we”ll continue to work with them next year,” Newmark said. “We have dialogue with Bob quite a bit, but I don’t think that (driver development) will be part of the relationship next year.” That’s not to say that Ryan Reed or Darrell “Bubba” Wallace couldn’t see seat time in a Cup car in 2017. However, Newmark says the company’s immediate focus remains on getting Bayne and Stenhouse up to speed.(Motorsport)(12-8-2016)
  • Stewart to help broadcast Jason Leffler Memorial Race: Racing icon Tony Stewart teams with SPEED SPORT and Ralph Sheheen to broadcast the Jason Leffler Memorial Race presented by Great Clips, which airs Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:00pm & 10:00pm/et on MAVTV. The $20,000-to-win special event is co-sanctioned by USAC and the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series, bringing some of the biggest names in racing to Wayne County (Ill.) Speedway. Stewart, a multi-time champion across several styles of racing from NASCAR to IndyCar to USAC sprints and midgets, joins Sheheen to call the action with Tony Bokhoven delivering all the news trackside. Leffler, a three-time USAC midget champion who went on to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR, died from injuries sustained in a sprint car crash in 2013. The race in his memory also helps to raise funds for his son, Charlie. “I was honored to know Jason and to race with him, so I am happy to be able to share a little of his story through the broadcast of this race,” Stewart said. “The SPEED SPORT team does a tremendous job bringing events like this to television every week and it was definitely a fun experience to work with them.”(Speed Sport)(12-8-2016)
  • Chastain, Preese to return to JD Motorsports; Smithley uncertain UPDATE Preece not returning: JD Motorsports will have some familiar faces in its camp next year. Lead driver Ross Chastain is returning to the #4 car, with 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece back in the #01 car as well. “We’re trying hard and we have a lot of great people behind us,” Preece said. “We’re hoping that next year, we can keep on digging. We want more sponsorship and make a lot more great things happen.” Chastain’s return to the team comes as he caps off his second full-time season with JD Motorsports. However, he failed to finish in the top 10 this year. “Before, the [No.] 01 car was leaps and bounds over the [No.] 4 car on the racetrack and business-wise,” Chastain said. “To have equal racecars is a big deal. I’ll be back in the #4 car next year. Me and Johnny shake hands and we’re racecars who want to go racing. We want to do it at the highest level possible, and we’re trying to get this car up the leaderboard.” While the two drivers are confirmed to be returning, Garrett Smithley is unclear of whether or not he will return to pilot the team’s #0 car in 2017. “Nothing is solid yet,” Smithley said. “We’re still working on sponsors and everything. I think we will be.”(Frontstretch)(11-24-2016)
    UPDATE: With the approach of a new racing season, the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team is working toward finalizing its driver lineup for the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. Ross Chastain, one of the top young drivers in the sport, will return to JD Motorsports for a third straight season. The team is working with Garrett Smithley, who had a fine rookie season this year in JD Motorsports Chevrolets, to return Smithley to the team lineup next season. “We’re 99 percent sure Garrett will be back with us,” said team owner Johnny Davis. “But we’re still working on funding and sponsorship issues to get everything lined up.” The team has a vacancy in its third car as Ryan Preece, who ran his Xfinity rookie season with JD Motorsports, has decided to move on to other opportunities. The Florida Watermelon Association will return as a sponsor of Chastain’s cars next year.(JD Motorsports)(12-8-2016)
  • Armstrong will return to JGL UPDATE: #28-Dakoda Armstrong will be back with JGL Racing in 2017, the third-year driver confirmed Friday afternoon to Frontstretch. The 25-year-old Indiana native moved to JGL Racing this season after competing with Richard Petty Motorsports for two years. But when RPM opted to sign Jeb Burton, Armstrong was left without a ride. “The plan is to try to come back and improve on everything we’ve done with Toyota this year,” Armstrong said. “Our crew is going to be pretty stout next year. We have a lot of new cars coming in and we just need to improve.” JGL Racing will continue to get its engines from Joe Gibbs Racing, which enabled Armstrong to compete at Iowa Speedway in July. That evening, he finished in the top 5 for the first time in his XFINITY Series career as he replaced Matt Tifft, who was out for several weeks due to having surgery for a brain tumor. In 2016, Armstrong has 21 top-20 finishes and sits 13th in the standings, an improvement from 20 last year.(Frontstretch)(11-20-2016)
    UPDATE: JGL Racing announced that Dakoda Armstrong will return to the organization for the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Joining the duo once again will be sponsor WinField as they will be Primary Sponsor on the #28 Toyota for 20 races starting with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The 25-year old Armstrong finished 13th in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series final drivers’ standings in his first season with the JGL Racing organization. He went on to collect 22 top-20 finishes during the season which was highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the July event at Iowa Speedway and a 12th place finish in the July event at Daytona International Speedway. Armstrong and his #28 WinField Toyota will once again be led by veteran crew chief Steven Lane. The team will continue to utilize Joe Gibbs Racing engines and will be expanding on that relationship as well.(JGL Racing)(12-8-2016)
  • Speedway Motorsports announces award winners: As part of its effort to recognize the success across its premier motorsports facilities, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. officials have named Vice President of Operations and Development Stephen Swift as the O. Bruton Smith Award recipient for 2016. In addition, Bristol Motor Speedway earned Track of the Year honors and Bristol General Manager Jerry Caldwell was recognized as Promoter of the Year for the second straight year.
    Annually presented to one employee across all of Speedway Motorsports and its subsidiaries, the Bruton Smith Award recognizes someone who exhibits the traits that define Speedway Motorsports Executive Chairman and Founder O. Bruton Smith: character, enthusiasm, drive, a heart for helping others, respect and appreciation for team members, vision and determination. A 2000 graduate of East Tennessee State University, Swift joined the Speedway Motorsports family as a construction manager in June 2004. He became the vice president of operations and development at Kentucky Speedway in July 2011 and acquired the same title under the Speedway Motorsports banner last year. His numerous contributions to the company include playing a pivotal role in Kentucky Speedway’s repaving project, which drew positive reviews after July’s Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts.
    Bristol Motor Speedway was chosen as Track of the Year from among the eight Speedway Motorsports facilities. The award is presented annually for best overall performance in aspects such as fan friendliness, attendance, financial performance, sponsor relations and creativity. In 2016, Bristol Motor Speedway hosted a thrilling entertainment lineup which included two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, two NASCAR XFINITY Series races, one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, an NHRA drag race weekend and the first-of-its-kind Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol college football game in the speedway’s infield. The long-awaited showdown between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Virginia Tech Hokies included a record crowd of 156,900 people packed into “The Last Great Colosseum” for a showcase event that set a Guinness World Record for college football attendance. Bristol’s impressive year also featured the heralded debut of “Colossus,” the world’s largest four-sided video board which features four 30-foot-by-63-foot screens suspended from cables above the speedway.
    The Promoter of the Year award is presented by Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith to the general manager who best displayed the creativity, innovation, leadership, planning and execution that are fundamental to the company’s success. For the second consecutive year, Jerry Caldwell was honored for outstanding achievement promoting both of Bristol Motor Speedway’s 2016 NASCAR event weeks, plus the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol, “Colossus'” introduction and the Honda Ridgeline Presents Bristol’s Tailgate Party concert, which celebrated Kenny Chesney’s homecoming to his native east Tennessee. The Bristol branch of Speedway Children’s Charities also played a prominent role in the year’s success, raising more than one million dollars through events including The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights.(Speedway Motorsports)(12-8-2016)


    News from December 7, 2016


  • Mears working on 2017: Casey Mears, who will be replaced in the #13 GEICO Chevy next season by Ty Dillon, tweeted Tuesday, “Thank you for all the support out there. Working on what’s next. Having fun exploring all options and directions.”(12-7-2016)
  • NASCAR suspends one crew member, reinstates another: Tuesday afternoon, NASCAR announced the following penalty and reinstatement:
    Ryan D. Hess was given an indefinite suspension for violation of Sections 12.1; 19 (Substance Abuse Policy)
    Michael Casto successfully completed NASCAR’s Road to Recovery Program. His NASCAR suspension has been lifted.(NASCAR)
    This is the third violation for Hess, who most recently was a gas man for BK Racing. Casto was working for Stewart-Haas Racing at the time of his suspension.(12-7-2016)
  • Rinnai sponsoring XFINITY race at Atlanta: Peachtree City, Georgia-based Rinnai America Corporation has signed on as a multi-year sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, beginning with the 2017 race scheduled for Saturday, March 4. The race will officially be named the Rinnai 250 and will serve as the front-end of an XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series same-day doubleheader unique to Atlanta. The Rinnai 250 will be the first of three NASCAR national touring series races during the 2017 Atlanta NASCAR Weekend. Following the 1:30 p.m. Saturday race, the Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 will polish off the twinbill with a scheduled green flag at 4:30 p.m. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Cup Series race will round out the weekend with a 2:30 p.m. start time on Sunday, March 5. Established in 1974, Rinnai America Corporation is a subsidiary of Rinnai Corporation, based out of Nagoyoa, Japan. Rinnai is the No. 1 selling brand of tankless water heaters in North America. Rinnai also manufactures gas appliances, including a wide range of kitchen equipment and heating and air conditioning units. This year, Rinnai’s Ultra Series RUR condensing tankless water heater was named among the “Top 100 Products” in the mechanical and electrical category by Professional Remodeler Magazine.(AMS)(12-7-2016)


    News from December 6, 2016


     

  • Dodge talking to NASCAR about returning UPDATE2: Sergio Marchionne, who is the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said he spoke with NASCAR vice-chairman Jim France and International Speedway Inc. CEO Lesa France Kennedy about the return of Dodge to the stock-car series. The three had dinner Saturday night during the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Daytona International Speedway. Marchionne, who is also CEO of Ferrari, was in town for the Ferrari-only World Finals and Sunday’s Formula One exhibition. Asked about the return to NASCAR, Marchionne said, “Yes,” then explained it. “I talked to Jim France about this (Saturday) night,” he said. “I was the one who made the decision to pull out of NASCAR. I am the guilty party at the table. In 2009, we came out bankruptcy and tried to race NASCAR (but) with the big bills and make payroll was a stretch. We are in a different place now. I think it is possible we can come back to NASCAR. I think we need to find the right way to come back in, but I agreed with both Jim and Lesa we would come back to the issue.” France confirmed that he had spoken to Marchionne about bringing Dodge back into NASCAR’s top series.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-4-2016)
    UPDATE: NASCAR vice president of marketing and communications David Higdon commented: “There is increasing excitement around NASCAR. We continue to have on-going dialogue with a number of auto manufacturers about their interest in joining our sport. We look forward to exploration with them on this topic.”(12-5-2016)
    UPDATE2: Any manufacturer wanting to come into NASCAR for the 2017 season would have had to make a formal request by September 2015. The current NASCAR rules require race-car renderings for new models to be submitted by more than a year before they ever are raced on the track. The deadline is Oct. 1 (more than 15 months before the actual debut), if the production car is already in production, and Jan. 1 (13 months before the debut), if the production car will start being sold in the year the Cup model debuts. A full-scale race car must be submitted to NASCAR by April 1 prior to the year of debut. To accomplish those tasks, an incoming manufacturer likely would have to hire some top personnel away from current NASCAR teams, and that has yet to happen (ESPN)(12-6-2016)
  • HScott Motorsports Will Not Compete in NASCAR in 2017 UPDATE: Harry Scott, Jr. announced in a team meeting that HScott Motorsports would not field a NASCAR entry during the 2017 season. Below is Mr. Scott’s statement: “Over the past several months I considered a number of options for moving forward with the team. Regrettably there are no viable sponsor/driver options immediately available to allow the team to participate in 2017. One thing I learned about NASCAR is that it is a ‘people business.’ I will forever be grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly to make HScott Motorsports successful. This includes our dedicated employees, sponsors and partners. We were fortunate to have the support of world-class sponsors like Brandt, DC Solar, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Pilot Flying J, and 5 hour ENERGY. Our racing program would not have been possible without the assistance of Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports, and Chevrolet. I love this sport and being part of it. I invested in NASCAR because I truly believe it represents the best racing competition in the world and the best people in all sports. Looking back, I will always be especially proud of the unprecedented success of our NASCAR K&N; Series teams, including four consecutive championships and for the lifelong friendships that were forged over the last seven years. My hope is that we were able to develop drivers that will thrive at the highest levels for years to come. In a deal that was finalized late last week the #15 Charter, which was owned by HScott Motorsports, has been sold to Premium Motorsports (#55 & #98). The charter that was leased for the #46 team was sold by Premium Motorsports to Furniture Row Racing.”(HScott Motorsports). So that means the 2nd FRR #77 with Erik Jone has a Charter for 2017. Premium Motorsports still has one Charter left (from the #15) to use, sell or lease in 2017.(12-5-2016)
    UPDATE: Scott had leased a charter from Premium Motorsports owner Jay Robinson for Annett’s #46 car in 2016. That charter was returned to Premium, who then sold it to Furniture Row Racing, which is adding a car for rookie Erik Jones next season. Premium then bought the single charter Scott owned for the #15 car of Bowyer.(ESPN)(12-6-2016)
  • 50 Most Influential: Introduction in Sports Business: NASCAR’s CEO and Chairman, Brian France, is ranked 23rd by the Sports Business Journal on its list of 50 most influential in sports business. 50 Most Influential: No. 23 – Brian France, Change from 2015: -10: The last 12 months were quieter for France after a two-year run of progressive moves that included a new playoff format, green initiatives, new TV deals, a new retail model and the sport’s charter system. Critics debate the relevance of NASCAR compared to years ago, but France is hoping to end his year on a high note by landing a new title sponsor that could help the sport skew younger.(Sports Business Daily)(12-6-2016)
  • Johnson, Gordon gear up for ‘high-spirited races’ on Disney Junior: Disney Junior is racing into the new year with “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” a car-racing adventure series for preschoolers, featuring Mickey Mouse and his Disney friends, along with several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, including Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. The first episode of the series — which features Johnson’s animated character — will premier Sunday, Jan. 15 at 9:00am/et and 9:25am/et on Disney Channel and Disney Junior, respectively. Two additional episodes will air Monday, Jan. 16 at 9:00am/et and 9:25am/et on Disney Channel. Episodes will also be available on the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior VOD, as well as on iTunes. The series follows Mickey, his friends and their transforming vehicles as they race around the world and in their hometown of Hot Dog Hills. Off the track, Minnie and Daisy Duck run the Happy Helpers business, offering a helping hand to anyone in need. Johnson and Gordon appear as recurring race car drivers Jiminy Johnson and Gordon Gear, respectively. The two join a star-studded guest cast which includes Jay Leno, Gordon Ramsay and Hoda Kotb, among others. Designed for children ages two to seven, the episodes and story lines are geared toward teaching kids social and emotional lessons about friendship, teamwork, optimism and good sportsmanship.(HMS)(12-6-2016)
  • Cindric: An earlier Indy 500 start would bring NASCAR drivers: Team Penske president Tim Cindric says that the Indy 500’s noon start is a major negative for NASCAR drivers who wish to attempt the Indy 500/Coke 600 ‘double’ on Memorial Day Weekend. Cindric believes one obvious way to regularly encourage more fans through the gate for the race, and to boost TV viewership, is to encourage drivers to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C.. He says the idea last attempted by Kurt Busch in 2014 could become more widespread were the Indy 500 to move from 12 noon back to its once-traditional 11a.m. start time. He commented: “The Indy 500’s heritage was about getting the best drivers in the world racing there, whatever their specialized form of racing. So I’m in favor of anything that can add to the race’s legacy, and someone doing the Indy 500/Coke 600 IndyCar/NASCAR double is an intriguing thing.”(Motorsport)(12-6-2016)
  • Daniel Su�rez receives hero’s welcome in Mexico City: A NASCAR championship aside, Daniel Su�rez is still making his name known in the United States. In his native Mexico, his name is etched in gold. He’s a rock star, the kind of guy who draws large crowds of adoring fans, each one seeking an autograph or selfie or handshake or high-five. Need proof? Just look at the crowd that packed Aut�dromo Hermanos Rodr�guez on Sunday. Su�rez served as the grand marshal of the NASCAR PEAK Mexcio Series exhibition race, continuing a whirlwind celebration that hasn’t stopped since he won the NASCAR XFINTIY Series championship last month. Su�rez could barely take a step without posing for a picture, signing an autograph or hearing the words “felicidades campe�n (translation: congratulations, champion).” Su�rez went out of his way to show his appreciation to fans who came to see him in Mexico City. After being interviewed over the public address system, Su�rez slowly walked down the length of the frontstretch and waved to all of his fans. Chants of “Dani! Dani! Dani!” could be heard as a beehive of photographers followed his every step. The 24-year-old from Monterry, Mexico, was the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series Rookie of the Year in 2010. He finished third in the championship battle in 2012 and runner-up in 2013.(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-6-2016)
  • NASCAR offers big economic boom for Virginia: NASCAR has seen attendance decline at its events in recent years, from 7.66 million in 2008 to under 6 million in 2015, and tracks are removing seating. Its teams struggled to get by as the Great Recession left sponsors less able to put money into their brand and into the sport. But despite these setbacks, the sport continues to be profitable and popular. Not only that, but it has proved to be a major draw and huge economic driver in the state. The Old Dominion University report said that while many studies and surveys talk about economic impact of sporting events and activities, such as college football games, it often excludes what it called “displaced expenditures.” NASCAR fans from across the country come to where a race is being held and spend days in the area. They spend money lodging at local hotels, fueling up at area gas stations, eating at local restaurants and shopping at local stores. The report highlights two economic studies from 2009 on tracks in Virginia. One showed that Richmond International Raceway, which hosts two NASCAR premier series events every year, generates $557 million for the state, including $36 million in local and state tax revenues. The other showed that Martinsville Speedway generates $170 million a year statewide. That track also hosts two events a year. The report said stock car racing plays a major role in many parts of the state, both economically and socially. However, its concern is that if the trend of weakening attendance continues, it not only affects the sport, but also hurts the economies of these smaller communities in southern Virginia that in many cases are already struggling.(in part from WTOP)(12-6-2016)


    News from December 5, 2016


  • HScott Motorsports Will Not Compete in NASCAR in 2017: Harry Scott, Jr. announced in a team meeting that HScott Motorsports would not field a NASCAR entry during the 2017 season. Below is Mr. Scott’s statement: “Over the past several months I considered a number of options for moving forward with the team. Regrettably there are no viable sponsor/driver options immediately available to allow the team to participate in 2017. One thing I learned about NASCAR is that it is a ‘people business.’ I will forever be grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly to make HScott Motorsports successful. This includes our dedicated employees, sponsors and partners. We were fortunate to have the support of world-class sponsors like Brandt, DC Solar, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Pilot Flying J, and 5 hour ENERGY. Our racing program would not have been possible without the assistance of Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports, and Chevrolet. I love this sport and being part of it. I invested in NASCAR because I truly believe it represents the best racing competition in the world and the best people in all sports. Looking back, I will always be especially proud of the unprecedented success of our NASCAR K&N; Series teams, including four consecutive championships and for the lifelong friendships that were forged over the last seven years. My hope is that we were able to develop drivers that will thrive at the highest levels for years to come. In a deal that was finalized late last week the #15 Charter, which was owned by HScott Motorsports, has been sold to Premium Motorsports (#55 & #98). The charter that was leased for the #46 team was sold by Premium Motorsports to Furniture Row Racing.”(HScott Motorsports). So that means the 2nd FRR #77 with Erik Jone has a Charter for 2017. Premium Motorsports still has one Charter left (from the #15) to use, sell or lease in 2017.(12-5-2016)
  • Dodge talking to NASCAR about returning UPDATE: Sergio Marchionne, who is the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said he spoke with NASCAR vice-chairman Jim France and International Speedway Inc. CEO Lesa France Kennedy about the return of Dodge to the stock-car series. The three had dinner Saturday night during the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Daytona International Speedway. Marchionne, who is also CEO of Ferrari, was in town for the Ferrari-only World Finals and Sunday’s Formula One exhibition. Asked about the return to NASCAR, Marchionne said, “Yes,” then explained it. “I talked to Jim France about this (Saturday) night,” he said. “I was the one who made the decision to pull out of NASCAR. I am the guilty party at the table. In 2009, we came out bankruptcy and tried to race NASCAR (but) with the big bills and make payroll was a stretch. We are in a different place now. I think it is possible we can come back to NASCAR. I think we need to find the right way to come back in, but I agreed with both Jim and Lesa we would come back to the issue.” France confirmed that he had spoken to Marchionne about bringing Dodge back into NASCAR’s top series.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-4-2016)
    UPDATE: NASCAR vice president of marketing and communications David Higdon commented: “There is increasing excitement around NASCAR. We continue to have on-going dialogue with a number of auto manufacturers about their interest in joining our sport. We look forward to exploration with them on this topic.”(12-5-2016)
  • Bowman to run the Clash at Daytona: ESPN’s Bob Pockrass Tweeted: Rick Hendrick said Alex Bowman would compete in The Clash at Daytona, he’s just not sure for who/what car.(ESPN), Bowman is eligible after winning the pole at Phoeinx in November, subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr., out with a concussion.(12-5-2016)
  • Most Mentioned Drivers 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
    Driver, Interviews, Interview Time, Mentions #4-Kevin Harvick, 34, 0:35:16, 3,923
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 21, 0:21:31, 3,071
    #18-Kyle Busch, 28, 0:28:27, 3,031
    #78-Martin Truex Jr., 26, 0:30:52, 2,834
    #22-Joey Logano, 25, 0:34:06, 2,688
    #19-Carl Edwards, 28, 0:27:40, 2,529
    #20-Matt Kenseth, 18, 0:14:01, 2,469
    #2-Brad Keselowski, 25, 0:24:12, 2,385
    #11-Denny Hamlin, 29, 0:26:59, 2,189
    #24-Casey Elliott, 21, 0:15:36, 1,871
    #41-Kurt Busch, 15, 0:11:19, 1,671
    #42-Kyle Larson, 13, 0:14:38, 1,549
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 17, 0:12:26, 1,247
    #3-Austin Dillon, 23, 0:17:01, 1,090
    #14-Tony Stewart, 18, 0:20:41, 1,084
    (Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season)
    (Joyce Julius & Associates)(12-5-2016)
  • Kaz Grala joins GMS for full 2017 season: GMS Racing announced that Massachusetts-native Kaz Grala will pilot the #33 Chevrolet Silverado full time in 2017, across all 23 races of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The soon-to-be 18-year-old rookie, a part-time driver at GMS Racing in 2016, accomplished three top-10 results in only nine races and has now earned a larger opportunity to step up to full-time competition in one of NASCAR’s premier racing series. In recent years, Kaz has made a name for himself in Late Model racing by breaking records. In his first race at fabled Hickory Motor Speedway, Kaz won the 2013 UARA 150 and became the youngest winner in series history. The following year, he became the youngest NASCAR winner in Caraway Speedway history when he held off the Whelen All-American Series National Champion to win the 171-lap event. In 2015, Kaz won his Pro All Stars Series debut at South Boston Speedway with a dominant performance, leading 131 of 150 laps. Kaz differentiates himself by tearing up road-course events each year. He has won the 12 hours of NJMP, the 13 hours of VIR, and competed in the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the pinnacle of sports-car racing in America. Kaz made it to the final round in NCWTS qualifying in all but one race in 2016. He scored his first top-10 finish in only his second start in the series at Dover International Speedway. In his first race at Gateway Motorsports Park, Kaz brought home yet another top-10 finish. At the rookie’s home track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he brought home his best finish of 2016, a 7th-place result. Joining the GMS Racing stable in 2017 is veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter who claims time in the principal team role in all three of NASCAR’s top racing series, dating back to 1986.(GMS Racing)(12-5-2016)


    News from December 4, 2016


  • Cassill returning to Front Row UPDATE: Landon Cassill will return to the Cup Series for Front Row Motorsports in 2017. The 27-year-old has competed full-time in the Cup Series for the past six seasons, finishing a career-high 29th in the championship standings in 2016. At Bristol in the spring, the #38 car was out front for 20 laps, the most laps he has ever led in a single race. Cassill is seeking to secure sponsorship for next year, much like he did in 2016, in hopes of moving forward after a career year. “We’re continuing to work forward on everything with Front Row Motorsports,” Cassill said. “I don’t see any changes being made, but everything will be getting buttoned up in the next few weeks I’m sure.” Cassill had a career-high seven top-20 finishes in 2016, led by veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo. With a best finish of 11th at Talladega, the Iowa native is tired of being underrated, instead wishing he was “overrated.” Cassill wants to climb the ladder with FRM, moving them up the ranks to be a more competitive team in 2017. Jerry Freeze, General Manager at Front Row Motorsports, confirmed to Frontstretch that Cassill will return in 2017, admitting that the organization’s plans are not completely laid out for 2017. “I think so, too,” Freeze said of Cassill remaining with the team. “We still have to get everything worked out with all the partners, but we are really close.”(Frontstretch)(11-26-2016)
    UPDATE: The contract for (Lamdon) Cassill to return (to Front Row Motorports) for next season is not official. Cassill said this week that it’s in the process of being finalized and “should be in the next week or so that it’s all buttoned up, but they’ve made it clear this is what they’re working towards and what they want to do, and I’m completely fine with that.” Cassill is currently the only driver in FRM’s stable for NASCAR’s premier series after (Chris) Buescher was announced to be moving to JTG-Daugherty Racing with a leased charter from Roush Fenway Racing. What FRM does with the #34 still is to be determined, but Cassill said his entry looks to be in good shape sponsor-wise headed into 2017. A return to FRM is ideal for Cassill because, he said, he’s seen what his team has done with technology and information from the alliance with RFR, and in turn what he’s then been able to do with that behind the wheel.(The Gazette)(12-4-2016)
  • Reiser out as general manager at Roush Fenway UPDATE: Robbie Reiser was relieved of his duties as general manager at Roush Fenway Racing on Tuesday, Motorsport.com has learned. Reiser, 53, has been with the company for 17 seasons, first as a crew chief and eventually graduating to a managerial role. Reiser has been offered a position in the car production side of RFR, but he has yet to decide where his future lies. Calls to Roush Fenway Racing were not immediately returned. Neither Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne or Greg Biffle finished inside the top 20 in the Sprint Cup standings this season. For the second year, there was not a Roush driver in the Chase.(Motorsport)(11-23-2016)
    UPDATE: Robbie Reiser didn’t really have a lot he wanted to say about his situation at Roush Fenway Racing. He was relieved of his duties as vice president of competition. But he’s not going anywhere. He doesn’t yet have a title or even a full job description for his next role as the team struggles to regain its footing. But he is as dedicated to doing his part to bring success as he was in 2003, when he won a NASCAR title as Matt Kenseth’s crew chief, or in 2007, when he answered Jack Roush’s call to lead the whole operation. And at this point in his life, the 53-year-old, second-generation racer from Allenton is OK with it all. “This is going to free me up for my family, to be able to spend some time with them,” said Reiser, who has one son in college and twin boys in high school, one of them a dirt-bike racer he has rarely watched. Reiser’s choice of words Thursday was interesting – he was “relieved” of his duties – because you have to believe there’s a part of him that is relieved. He works hard, he’s stubborn and he’s not cut out to lose.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-4-2016)
  • Some NBC NASCAR TV Ratings news: After 21 consecutive weeks of race coverage, NBC Sports Group concluded the 2016 NASCAR season on Nov. 20th with more than 8.4 million peak viewers tuning in for the Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This bookended a successful year that kicked off at Daytona International Speedway in July, which stands as most-watched summer Daytona race since 2011, with 5.7 million viewers on NBC.
    Highlights surrounding the 2016 NASCAR on NBC season include:
    The 2016 Brickyard 400 stands as the most watched NBCSN telecast on record (5.2 million). Sprint Cup races now account for the 5 most watched telecasts ever on NBCSN.
    Seven of NBCSN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup races ranked as the top cable sports program of their respective weekends.
    Consumption of NASCAR content on NBC Sports’ digital properties (NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and connected devices) garnered 105 million live minutes and 873,000 unique devices this season, up +56% and +50%, respectively, compared to the 2015 NASCAR season.
    This season has featured four Sprint Cup races with more than 5 million live minutes streamed (Bristol, Texas, Indianapolis, and Pocono). Last year, no Sprint Cup Series race finished with more than 5 million minutes streamed.
    The average Sprint Cup Series race is up 43% in live minutes streamed over the 2015 average.
    In 2016 NASCAR America has reached a total audience of 4.5 million viewers, up 13% vs. 2015.
    The Nov. 20, 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship on NBC and NBCSN combined to average 6.08 million viewers and a 3.51 national HH rating, marking increases of +16% (vs. 5.22 million) and +12% (vs. 3.14 HH), respectively, over 2014’s presentation on ESPN.
    Viewing peaked from 6:45 – 7 p.m. ET with more than 8.4 million viewers and a 4.8 HH rating as the Championship Four drivers battled for position in the final laps.
    Excluding last year’s decade-high Championship race, which was delayed into primetime by rain and celebrated Jeff Gordon’s retirement, the 2016 Sprint Cup race from Homestead-Miami Speedway was the most-watched and highest rated NASCAR season finale since Tony Stewart’s Championship win in 2011.(NBC PR)(12-4-2016)
  • Matt Long Named Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Salesperson of the Year: Charlotte Motor Speedway named Senior Director of Business Development Matt Long as its 2016 Salesperson of the Year. Presented annually, the award recognizes an employee who goes above and beyond the call of duty in executing his or her responsibilities in the corporate sales department. A Cambridge, Ohio, native and a dirt late model racer in his spare time, Long earned a bachelor’s degree in Business from Lynchburg College in 2001 and an MBA in Sports Management from Ohio University in 2003. Long joined Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2005 and claimed his third Salesperson of the Year honor this fall. Long has led the speedway’s corporate sales department in billings for the last 11 years. His efforts this year included a contract renewal with Bank of America and the establishment of a new partnership with Advance Auto Parts. As this year’s Salesperson of the Year, Long received a trip to Las Vegas for this week’s 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, among other perks.(CMS)(12-4-2016)


    News from December 3, 2016


  • NASCAR luminaries gather to honor Johnson, Stewart at awards gala: Jimmie Johnson was unfailingly humble, even on a night when the NASCAR community came together to honor his monumental accomplishment. With a victory on Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Johnson claimed his record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Nevertheless, the driver of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was reluctant to claim the same stature as the two seven-time champions who preceded him – Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. “Dale said this in ’94 after winning his seventh,” Johnson said in concluding his remarks during the Sprint Cup Awards on Friday night at the Wynn Las Vegas. “I might’ve won as many championships as Richard Petty, but he will always be the King. I completely agree and must say, I might’ve won as many championships as Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt but… I will never be the King or the Intimidator. I’m just a guy from California who always wanted to race.” But Johnson will continue to shape his own legacy, having brought a 12th series title to team owner Rick Hendrick, who also fielded championship cars for Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte.
    As he addressed the packed house in the Latour ballroom, Johnson said the magnitude of the seventh title was still sinking in. “Loyalty and a never-quit attitude are at the foundation of our success,” Johnson said. “Add that with Mr. Hendrick’s leadership and the unwavering support from (sponsor) Lowe’s, and put it all in a Chevy… good stuff happens. We’ve been through a lot over the years. Ups and downs, winning and losing, heartache and heartbreak. Even a golf cart incident (a reference to Johnson’s fall from the roof of a golf cart after his first championship in 2006). Amongst it all, we are still together and more unified than ever.”
    Hendrick also was an integral part of an unexpected honor for three-time champion Tony Stewart, who is retiring from NASCAR Sprint Cup competition after 18 years. Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, who befriended Stewart earlier this year, introduced the driver, and Hendrick added a surprise. Hendrick announced a $1.8-million donation from the motorsports industry in Stewart’s name to Vedder’s effort to combat EB, a pernicious skin disease. Stewart said he got involved with Vedder’s charity, “when I met him earlier this year is South Carolina. It’s a very important charity to him and his wife. When you meet people like him that are that passionate about something, it immediately makes you want to be that passionate as well. That’s why we got involved.”
    For his part, Hendrick also had strong words for his seven-time champion driver and his crew chief, Chad Knaus. “Jimmie, you are a champion in every sense of the word,” Hendrick said. “Chad, you are what your record says you are, the best crew chief of all time.” Even Johnson’s fiercest competitors expressed deep admiration for his accomplishments. “If I had to finish second to someone, I guess the third seven-time champion in our sport’s history is acceptable,” said Joey Logano, who finished second to Johnson in the final standings. “Congrats to Jimmie, and thank you for always being a great representative for the sport.”
    “Great to finally see you guys make it up here on the big stage,” quipped 2015 champion Kyle Busch. “But seriously, when you tie a record set by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, the accomplishment pretty much speaks for itself.”
    Despite missing half the NASCAR Sprint Cup season because of a concussion, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the series’ most popular driver for the 14th straight year. The fan support, Earnhardt said, “really motivated me to get healthy. It motivated me to come back.” Earnhardt will test in December and expects to be back in the #88 Chevrolet for the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.
    Team owner Roger Penske, who celebrated his 50th year in motorsports this season, received the Bill France Award of Excellence from NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France (NASCAR Wire Service)(12-3-2016)
  • Earnhardt voted Most Popular Driver for 14th consecutive year: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hot streak in Las Vegas continued Friday night. The driver of the #88 Chevy was named the National Motorsports Press Association Sprint Most Popular Driver for the 14th consecutive year, extending his record streak. “That’s pretty cool,” Earnhardt said to open his acceptance speech. Earnhardt’s 14 consecutive wins mark the longest streak since the award was first presented in 1953. Bill Elliott — Chase’s father — holds the record for all-time Most Popular Driver honors with 16. He was presented with the award at the black-tie NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards held at Wynn Las Vegas. The award is determined solely by fan voting, and Earnhardt said it was especially touching to know that his fans supported him even during a year in which he missed the second half of the season due to a concussion. “This year was a difficult year for us and our team,” Earnhardt said. “You think you know just how incredible the NASCAR fans are and how supportive they are. You see them support the drivers through victories and through defeat. But when you go through recovery from an injury or maybe the loss of a loved one or something like that, you really get to the core of what’s great about our fan base.” Earnhardt’s 2016 season came to an end when he was sidelined after the race at Kentucky Speedway in July. In the 18 races in which he participated, he earned five top-five finishes — including four runner-up results — and six top-10s. “I want to thank the fans for all the support and all the well-wishes,” he said. “It really motivated me to get healthy and it also motivated me to come back. I’m looking forward to next year.”(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-3-2016)
  • Dale Jr. wedding date announced: While in Las Vegas for the Sprint Cup Series Awards ceremony in Las Vegas, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed when he and fianc�e Amy Reimann are tying the knot. The longtime couple are set to wed on New Year’s Eve. No wedding location was revealed.(NASCAR.com)(12-3-2016)
  • Kurt Busch getting married: He finished seventh in final points, making NASCAR’s Elite Eight, as he calls the Round of 8 in the Chase for the championship, for the second straight year. Plus, his beloved Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series, and he was witness to Game 2 in Cleveland and Game 5 in Chicago. Plus, he’s getting married soon. So all things considered – especially the last two – native NASCAR son Kurt Busch said the 2016 season has been a good one. He sneaked in the bit about an impending marriage to girlfriend Ashley Van Metre toward the end of the media scrum with Chase drivers leading up to Friday’s Champion’s Week black-tie awards soiree at Wynn Las Vegas. The two have been engaged since 2015. “To be up in Virginia with my fiancee’s family, and then a wedding shortly thereafter,” the 2004 Cup Series champion said about his holiday plans. “It’s going to be fantastic to be able to go to the Caribbean, and to get married to the love of my life, Ashley, and have my family there, her family, and then before we know it, we’ll be back in Daytona. It’s going to be a nice off-season. I can’t wait.” Busch said there would be a grand reception in Florida during January for family and friends.(Las Vegas Review-Journal)(12-3-2016)
  • Earnhardt Jr. confident ahead of upcoming private test: “I feel 100 percent,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday after accepting the NMPA Most Popular Driver award during the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards at the Wynn Las Vegas. “I don’t feel we’re going to have any issues.” Earnhardt, 42, missed the final 18 races of the 2016 Sprint Cup season because of a concussion in June that impacted his vision and balance. He plans to return for the 2017 Daytona 500 as long as NASCAR-approved on-track tests don’t trigger any symptoms. Earnhardt will do a private half-day test this month in which he won’t be able to have data-acquisition sensors on the car in order to limit any advantage the organization gets from the private test. The test had not been allowed until NASCAR made a rule earlier this year that permits a private test following injury. “I had balance and vision issues and some nausea when I was going through the illness, so we’ll just make sure that I don’t have any vision issues and no nausea,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t expect anything, because I’ve been through the simulator several times. I was getting sick in the simulator before I was injured. I have been able to do the simulator without any nausea or any vision issues at all.” If things go well, Earnhardt will do the NASCAR open test Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt said he probably will have a doctor at the first test but that he shouldn’t need a follow-up examination if he feels fine during the test.(ESPN)(12-3-2016)
  • Motorsports Industry Honors Tony Stewart with Sizeable Charitable Donation On His Behalf to EB Research Partnership: To honor three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewartas he retires from his 20-year NASCAR driving career, the motorsports industry came together in unprecedented fashion at the season-ending NASCAR Awards Banquet by making a $1.8 million contribution on Stewart’s behalf to the EB Research Partnership, the largest global non-profit dedicating to curing EB. EB, or Epidermolysis Bullosa, is a devastating skin disorder. Those with EB lack critical proteins that bind the layers of skin together. Without these proteins, the skin can tear apart, blister and sheer off, leading to severe pain, disfigurement and wounds that never heal. EB can also affect the body internally, causing blisters in the eyes, mouth, esophagus and the fusing together of fingers and toes. EB affects one in every 50,000 births and is not specific to any ethnicity or gender, but because it only affects an estimated 25-30,000 people in the United States, advancing research to combat this disease relies on the generosity of individuals and corporations.
    The industry initially targeted a $1.4 million donation to the EB Research Partnership as a subtle nod to Stewart’s #14 car number, which he drove to his third Sprint Cup title in 2011 and chose in honor of his hero and friend, the iconic A.J. Foyt who raced the #14 throughout his versatile career. However, widespread support for this initiative quickly gained momentum and the original $1.4 million target was easily surpassed.
    “Tony wanted to have a very low-key sendoff during his final NASCAR season and he was pretty emphatic about it. He certainly earned a lot of recognition for all that he accomplished, and as an industry we felt it was important to honor him,” said Mike Helton, vice chairman, NASCAR. “People know how passionate he is about motorsports, but he’s equally passionate about helping others. On behalf of the entire motorsports industry, we felt this collective donation in Tony’s name was a fitting tribute to all that he’s accomplished during his NASCAR career.”
    Well known for his accolades on the racetrack, which includes 12 driving championships and victories in nearly every American-based racing series, Stewart is also known for his philanthropy. In 2003, he formed his own charitable foundation. Known simply as the Tony Stewart Foundation, the 501(c)(3) organization’s goal is to raise funds primarily distributed to serving three specific groups – chronically ill and physically disabled children, animals that are endangered or at-risk, and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $6.5 million to assist charitable initiatives for more than 150 well-qualified organizations throughout the United States. Stewart’s work on behalf of the foundation crossed paths with his love for music earlier this year when he met Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. The two discussed their work in racing and in music, respectively, before the conversation dovetailed into their mutual commitment to charity. It was here where Stewart learned about EB from an impassioned Vedder, who co-founded the EB Research Partnership.
    “When I first heard about it, it was quite hard to grasp the intensity of the condition,” Vedder said. “It’s about the most insane skin disorder you could imagine. And when you realize it also affects the internal organs, you see it as diabolical. It’s very hard to describe until you meet the young folks with it, and they make you realize how much you take for granted. You also realize that these are some of the strongest, coolest, most admirable people on the face of the Earth.” The tenacious and sometimes cantankerous demeanor Stewart carries at the racetrack vanishes when he is off the track and in the presence of children, especially those who face physical and mental challenges. Children fighting EB have a perseverance and strength that is unworldly, and it has resonated with Stewart. “The pain these kids face is constant, and yet they still find ways to stay upbeat,” Stewart said. “You quickly realize that your idea of a bad day is nothing. It puts your life and the things you take for granted in perspective. But it also makes you mad, because this is a devastating disorder that no one should have to endure. Yet it exists, and after seeing it, you want to do anything you can to make it go away.”
    Stewart’s $1.8 million donation to the EB Research Partnership will accelerate life-changing research and reduce the timeframe of getting results for children with EB, while ensuring treatments go to those in need as swiftly as possible. This donation on Stewart’s behalf is an embodiment of all the philanthropic work Stewart has performed as a NASCAR driver. He never sought accolades for his work, but his charitable efforts have been noticed nonetheless.(SHR)(12-3-2016)
  • Gallagher to run full season with GMS Racing UPDATE: Statesville-based GMS Racing announced that, beginning in 2017, the team will compete full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with driver Spencer Gallagher. The Las Vegas native will continue to the pilot the #23, a number that he has raced since 2006 in honor of former NASCAR driver TJ Clark and his son, Spencer Clark. Gallagher has been with GMS since 2014, first competing in the ARCA Racing Series and most recently the NCWTS. Over three seasons and 58 starts, Gallagher earned three top-fives, 15 top-10 finishes, and two pole awards. The 27-year-old made his NXS debut this past season, earning a best finish of eighth place at Daytona International Speedway in July. The team debuted the GMS Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix International Speedway with a goal of building the program in preparation of running a full-time season in 2017. Additional details regarding sponsorship and crew chief will be announced at a later date.(GMS Racing)(12-1-2016)
    UPDATE: GMS Racing announced that Joey Cohen will return as crew chief for the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) program in 2017. Gallagher competed in seven races this past season with Cohen atop the pit box. The Chesapeake, Va., native helped steer Gallagher to earn his highest finish of eighth place at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). In 2016, Cohen also served as crew chief for Ben Kennedy, collecting both the driver and crew chief’s first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway.(GMS Racing)(12-3-2016)


    News from December 2, 2016


     

  • NBCSN presents the Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday: NBC Sports Group caps off the 2016 NASCAR season this Friday with the Sprint Cup Series Awards from Las Vegas. NBCSN’s celebration of a memorable and historic season of NASCAR action begins at 7:00pm/et with a special two-hour NASCAR America: Red Carpet Special, followed by the awards banquet at 9:00pm/et.
    Carolyn Manno and Parker Kligerman kick off Friday’s coverage at 7:00pm/et on NBCSN, live from NBC Sports Group’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn. Steve Letarte contributes from NBC Sports Charlotte. Meanwhile, Rutledge Wood and Marty Snider bring viewers onto the red carpet for interviews with all 16 playoff drivers, their guests and celebrities from the Wynn Las Vegas.
    Krista Voda and Rick Allen host NBCSN’s coverage as the official award ceremony gets underway at 9:00pm/et. The special includes an essay by Ken Squier that pays tribute to Jimmie Johnson’s historic seventh championship, as well as the always anticipated-announcement of this year’s NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver, a title held by Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the past 13 years.
    The evening’s musical lineup includes sixteen-time Grammy Award-winning artist Sting, along with award-winning musical artists American Authors, Skylar Grey and Olivia Holt. Grammy-nominated actor, comedian and radio personality Jay Mohr returns to host the black-tie celebration for the sixth time.(NBC PR)
    NOTE: have not seen any dates/times of a re-air of the Awards show (12-2-2016)
  • NASCAR Champion’s Week in Las Vegas: Friday, Dec. 2
    � Claire B. Lang’s annual Championship Year in Review on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Channel 90: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio host Claire B. Lang will be joined by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, crew chief, team owner and team members live from 1 – 3 p.m. for a two-hour retrospective on their championship-winning season.
    � NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: This exclusive black-tie celebration will be held at Wynn Las Vegas, where the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, team owner and other Chase drivers will be honored (and Most Popular Driver will be announced). The red carpet will take place at 4 p.m. followed by the awards show at 5 p.m. NBCSN presents complete coverage from Wynn Las Vegas beginning at 7 p.m. ET with “NASCAR America,” followed by red carpet coverage at 8 p.m. ET and subsequent coverage of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90 will broadcast the show live at 8 p.m. ET.(NASCAR)(12-1-2016)
  • Five-Hour Energy Statement about their future sponsorship: While its current Cup sponsorship of Erik Jones at Furniture Row Racing has been grandfathered in, 5-Hour Energy’s ability to change teams in the future is unclear after Monster has signed to sponsor the series. Statement from Living Essentials (5-Hour Energy): “Living Essentials is not privy to any negotiated provisions of the agreement between NASCAR and its new entitlement sponsor, therefore we could not speak with any clarity on whether yesterday’s announcement has any bearing on Living Essentials’ primary sponsorship of Furniture Row Racing 5-Hour ENERGY car and driver Erik Jones. We value NASCAR as a marketing platform and have been a sponsor of races, media, promotions, teams and drivers. We will gather more information in the near future and expect to remain a part of the racing community.”(ESPN)(12-2-2016)
  • NASCAR Press Conference – Monster Energy named entitlement sponsor: NASCAR has announced the will hold a press conference with Brian France, NASCAR Chairman & CEO’ Steve Phelps, NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Global Sales and Marketing Officer; and “Special Guests” for Thursday, Dec. 1 at 1:45pm/pt – 4:45pm/et at Margaux 2, Wynn Las Vegas. The press conference will be streamed live on NASCAR.com/presspass.(NASCAR)
    AND NASCAR is expected to announce Monster Energy as the replacement for Sprint as the sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series, industry sources have told ESPN. NASCAR has scheduled a news conference Thursday afternoon with Chairman Brian France, Global Marketing Officer Steve Phelps and “guests” in Las Vegas, and industry sources said Monster Energy would be named as the new sponsor. Monster Energy Vice President of Sports Marketing Mitch Covington said he had no news when asked Thursday morning about the status of negotiations. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon would not confirm Thursday afternoon when asked about whether the news conference would introduce Monster as the new sponsor. Sprint announced in December 2014 it would not return after the 2016 season, and NASCAR has spent nearly the last two years searching for a replacement. A powerful force in the energy drink category and owned 16.8% by Coca-Cola, Monster Energy turned a $546 million profit in 2015.(ESPN)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced on Thursday at Wynn Las Vegas a multi-year deal that will make Monster Energy only the third entitlement sponsor (RJ Reynolds/Winston and Sprint/Nextel) in premier series history. The length and terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both parties hailed the partnership as the perfect fit for both brands. “Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history.”
    Monster Energy has existing sponsorships with a number of motorsports sanctioning bodies, athletes and teams, but the NASCAR deal signals the biggest sponsorship step in the company’s history. “Monster has built its brand on racing and motorsports, and NASCAR is the pinnacle of motorsports in America,” said Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing at Monster Beverage Company. “It’s American racing; we’re an American brand that’s a global company, and NASCAR is, too. When the opportunity came along to further associate yourself with a sport like NASCAR, it was the perfect fit for us. … NASCAR is just a hard-hitting, close-racing, fun property to be associated with.”
    Along with naming rights to NASCAR’s top series, Monster Energy will also hold race sponsorship to the NASCAR All-Star Race and become the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR. Monster Energy also said it will continue to sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing’s #41 Ford of Kurt Busch.
    Thursday’s announcement is the culmination of a lengthy and thorough search by NASCAR to find the successor to Sprint, whose entitlement sponsorship will end on December 31, 2016. Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer, said that the sanctioning body spoke with numerous companies throughout the process, ultimately choosing Monster Energy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its lifestyle culture. “We have the good fortune of finding a brand that we believe works for our sport,” Phelps said. “They’re going to bring their lifestyle to their activation. … They’re going to bring their brand, their excitement, their energy to this partnership, and the fans are going to be the winners. It’s all about engaging the fans and having the fans have unique, fun experiences whether at the race track or through different mediums, through social, digital, content.” Phelps said a number of ancillary details will be announced in the coming weeks. Among those still under discussion is the name of the series, the series mark and the championship trophy. Under the agreement, energy drink sponsors already involved in NASCAR may remain in place. Potential sponsors from the energy drink category will not be eligible for future sponsorship if not already involved in the sport.(NASCAR)(12-1-2016)
    UPDATE2: Monster will carry “official energy drink” status and any energy drink not currently sponsoring a driver in Sprint Cup will not be able to sponsor a Cup car, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said. Higdon would not talk about the details of the grandfather clause and whether 5-Hour Energy, sponsor of Erik Jones at Furniture Row Racing, would be included — as an energy shot, it is slightly different from an energy drink. 5-Hour Energy, according to the agency that handles its NASCAR marketing, has not gotten details yet from NASCAR on whether it will be affected.(ESPN)(12-2-2016)
  • A.J. Foyt surprises Stewart: Tony Stewart has long had an admiration for A.J. Foyt and that admiration was on display during NASCAR’s After The Lap program in Las Vegas. Stewart, who was holding court on the stage with the 15 other Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and hosts Rutledge Wood and Guy Fieri while reminiscing and telling tales from his NASCAR racing days. Wood stopped the chatting to bring out Foyt, a seven-time victor in NASCAR’s premier series and four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. “This is the baddest man on the planet right here,” Stewart said of Foyt. Foyt sat next to Stewart and the two told a handful of stories — in a playful back-and-forth banter — while the rest of the drivers listened on.(NASCAR.com)(12-2-2016)
  • Earnhardt Jr. close to returning after worrying ‘I may never race again’: A few months from believing he “may never race again” in NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. now believes he is only a few weeks from being cleared to return. The Hendrick Motorsports driver, who missed the last half of the 2016 season after suffering a concussion, said he hopes to turn laps in a December test and again in a January session before racing his #88 Chevy in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. Earnhardt declined to specify where the tests would occur but intimated they were the final steps he alluded to last week on his podcast. “Basically, the test in December would be the final box checked,” he told NBC Sports in a Tuesday interview at Hendrick Motorsports, where he unveiled a new paint scheme he designed with primary sponsor Nationwide for the 2017 season. “Once that’s done, I am jumping into the hamster wheel again. I’m excited.” In his first extensive comments since a late August news conference to announce he would miss the rest of the 2016 season, Earnhardt revealed the depths of his long recovery from a concussion that he sustained in a June 12 wreck at Michigan International Speedway. It was at least the fifth concussion that Earnhardt has sustained during his NASCAR career, but the severity of the symptoms were enough to worry the 13-time most popular driver that his career was over. “I mean I went through some really doubtful moments with this whole process when I was not doing well and my symptoms were really, really bad, and they lingered,” he said. “I’d never had the symptoms stay that long. I was thinking, ‘I may never race again. I don’t know how this is going to end.’ So I went from not knowing if I could do it to having to build my confidence back one little Lego at a time.” Earnhardt said the symptoms, which centered on problems with balance and vision (known as “gaze stability”), began to dissipate over the past month. During the photo shoot Tuesday, he wasn’t wearing the thick, black glasses that he often wore in public during his recovery.(see more at NBC Sports)(12-2-2016)
  • Betty Jane France Posthumously Receives 2016 Myers Brothers Award: In recognition of her leadership and accomplishments as founder and chairwoman emeritus of the NASCAR Foundation, the late Betty Jane France was named the recipient of the 2016 Myers Brothers Award. The prestigious honor recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to stock car racing and is voted upon by the National Motorsports Press Association. A philanthropist in support of children’s health causes, France started the NASCAR Foundation in 2006. Through her leadership and passion over the past decade, the NASCAR Foundation has raised more than $25 million and improved the lives of one million children across the country. In 2011, the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide was created in her honor. Each year it is granted to a person who exhibits the unwavering commitment to philanthropic and community efforts that Betty Jane demonstrated throughout her life. France, a longtime community leader in Daytona Beach, Florida, helped establish the “Speediatrics” children’s care units at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Florida, and NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. In addition to her guidance of the NASCAR Foundation, she served as NASCAR executive vice president and assistant treasurer, helping her husband, former NASCAR President Bill France Jr., elevate the sanctioning body to America’s #1 form of motorsports. France is the mother of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy. The Myers Brothers Award – named after pioneer NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers – has been presented every year since 1958.
    Eighteen other awards were given out at the luncheon, acknowledging achievements ranging from marketing excellence to success on the track and skill in the garage, the winners: ï¿½ NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Betty Jane France
    � Buddy Shuman Award: Jack Roush
    � NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Comcast XFINITY
    � Chevrolet Cross Flags Award: Tony Stewart
    � American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick
    � Coors Light Pole Award: Carl Edwards
    � Duralast Brakes “Brake in the Race” Award: Kyle Busch
    � Goodyear NASCAR Series Champion Award: Jimmie Johnson
    � Ingersoll Rand Power Move Award: Dave Rogers, Joe Gibbs Racing #19 Crew Chief
    � MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Scott Vester, Hendrick Engines #4 team
    � Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Hendrick Motorsports #48 team
    � Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kyle Busch
    � MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Alan Gustafson, crew chief #24 Hendrick Motorsports team
    � Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Kyle Busch
    � Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Jimmie Johnson
    � Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Chase Elliott
    � Champion Sponsor Award: Lowe’s
    � Champion Crew Chief Award: Chad Knaus
    � Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide: Andy Hoffman
    (NASCAR)(12-2-2106)
  • McLeod planning on two full-time teams: BJ McLeod Motorsports will run two-full time NASCAR XFINTY Series cars in 2017 – and potentially a third, depending on how things go through the first three races. “Two cars for sure full-time,” team owner/driver BJ McLeod told Frontstretch following a 31st-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. “We’re going to start a third car for the first three races and see how we maintain it. Obviously, we’ve been doing OK the last three weeks. We’re going to see how we can handle three cars and make a decision after the third race whether we are going to continue on with a full-time effort or not.” This season marked the first time that BJ McLeod Motorsports competed in a full season. Over the course of the 33-race season, McLeod had a pair of 19th-place finishes at Dover International Speedway and Iowa Speedway. Hoping to have a final driver lineup by the beginning of the new year, McLeod said he needs more partners to jump on board with the organization. More money will secure a third car for the entirety of the 2017 schedule.(Frontstretch)(12-2-2016)
  • Sauter, Shear to return to GMS: On October 15, 2015, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) veteran Johnny Sauter announced he would be joining GMS Racing for the 2016 season in an effort to claim his first NCWTS championship. The move was unexpected and some questioned if a young team, like GMS, could outperform the more established teams of NASCAR’s roughest series. In his 13th NCWTS season, Sauter raised the championship trophy alongside his family and a team that had just completed its third full-time season in NASCAR. He completed what was statistically one of his best seasons with 3 wins, 12 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. His three wins contributed to an overall total of six victories for GMS, who only had one win in the series heading into the 2016 season. Sauter has found a home with GMS and will return in 2017 to defend not only his win at Daytona International Speedway, but his NCWTS Championship as well. He will continue to build on the Sauter-Shear legacy, a history that started in the Midwest with their fathers competing against each other. GMS will release details about plans for the 2017 season, including additional drivers and sponsors, at a later date.(GMS Racing)(12-2-2016)


    News from December 1, 2016


  • NASCAR Press Conference Today: NASCAR has announced the will hold a press conference with Brian France, NASCAR Chairman & CEO’ Steve Phelps, NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Global Sales and Marketing Officer; and “Special Guests” for Thursday, Dec. 1 at 1:45pm/pt – 4:45pm/et at Margaux 2, Wynn Las Vegas. The press conference will be streamed live on NASCAR.com/presspass.(NASCAR)
    AND NASCAR is expected to announce Monster Energy as the replacement for Sprint as the sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series, industry sources have told ESPN. NASCAR has scheduled a news conference Thursday afternoon with Chairman Brian France, Global Marketing Officer Steve Phelps and “guests” in Las Vegas, and industry sources said Monster Energy would be named as the new sponsor. Monster Energy Vice President of Sports Marketing Mitch Covington said he had no news when asked Thursday morning about the status of negotiations. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon would not confirm Thursday afternoon when asked about whether the news conference would introduce Monster as the new sponsor. Sprint announced in December 2014 it would not return after the 2016 season, and NASCAR has spent nearly the last two years searching for a replacement. A powerful force in the energy drink category and owned 16.8% by Coca-Cola, Monster Energy turned a $546 million profit in 2015.(ESPN)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced on Thursday at Wynn Las Vegas a multi-year deal that will make Monster Energy only the third entitlement sponsor (RJ Reynolds/Winston and Sprint/Nextel) in premier series history. The length and terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both parties hailed the partnership as the perfect fit for both brands. “Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history.”
    Monster Energy has existing sponsorships with a number of motorsports sanctioning bodies, athletes and teams, but the NASCAR deal signals the biggest sponsorship step in the company’s history. “Monster has built its brand on racing and motorsports, and NASCAR is the pinnacle of motorsports in America,” said Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing at Monster Beverage Company. “It’s American racing; we’re an American brand that’s a global company, and NASCAR is, too. When the opportunity came along to further associate yourself with a sport like NASCAR, it was the perfect fit for us. … NASCAR is just a hard-hitting, close-racing, fun property to be associated with.”
    Along with naming rights to NASCAR’s top series, Monster Energy will also hold race sponsorship to the NASCAR All-Star Race and become the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR. Monster Energy also said it will continue to sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing’s #41 Ford of Kurt Busch.
    Thursday’s announcement is the culmination of a lengthy and thorough search by NASCAR to find the successor to Sprint, whose entitlement sponsorship will end on December 31, 2016. Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer, said that the sanctioning body spoke with numerous companies throughout the process, ultimately choosing Monster Energy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its lifestyle culture. “We have the good fortune of finding a brand that we believe works for our sport,” Phelps said. “They’re going to bring their lifestyle to their activation. … They’re going to bring their brand, their excitement, their energy to this partnership, and the fans are going to be the winners. It’s all about engaging the fans and having the fans have unique, fun experiences whether at the race track or through different mediums, through social, digital, content.” Phelps said a number of ancillary details will be announced in the coming weeks. Among those still under discussion is the name of the series, the series mark and the championship trophy. Under the agreement, energy drink sponsors already involved in NASCAR may remain in place. Potential sponsors from the energy drink category will not be eligible for future sponsorship if not already involved in the sport.(NASCAR)(12-1-2016)
  • Bowyer suing HScott Motorsports UPDATE settled: One day after finishing a frustrating season with HScott Motorsports, Clint Bowyer sued the team for at least $2.223 million, alleging it missed two monthly payments and a commission for bringing sponsorship to the team. Bowyer, through his business arm Clint Bowyer Racing Inc., filed the lawsuit for breach of contract and fraud Nov. 21 against team owner Harry Scott and HScott Motorsports in North Carolina Superior Court. Bowyer alleges in the lawsuit that Scott, who is expected to shut down the Cup team, is using money owed to him to pay other creditors and “repeatedly failed to make the scheduled payments” owed on the 20th of each month. “[Scott and the team] are in financial distress and in negotiations with various creditors to settle substantial debts … all the while [they] refuse to pay [Bowyer] for services performed,” the complaint states. In the lawsuit, Bowyer alleges that Scott has not paid money owed to him Oct. 20 and Nov. 20 for a total of $1.2 million and that he is also owed at least $1 million from sponsorship of at least five companies — 5-Hour Energy, Maxwell House, Peak, Visine and AAA Insurance — that Bowyer claims he brought to the team. “We are aware of the lawsuit,” HScott Motorsports spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “Obviously we won’t speak about the details of the suit, but I can say that overall it is frivolous and capricious. Bowyer obtained an order of attachment, which requires Scott to hold on to at least $2.223 million in property while the lawsuit makes its way through court.(ESPN.com)(11-28-2016)
    UPDATE – settled: Joint press release from Clint Bowyer Racing and HScott Motorsports: Harry Scott, Jr., owner of HScott Motorsports, and Clint Bowyer and his company Clint Bowyer Racing (“CBR”), jointly announced today they have settled the recent lawsuit filed by CBR. Mr. Scott provided additional information to Mr. Bowyer, of which he was not aware, which satisfied him that the claims asserted against Mr. Scott should be dismissed. CBR and HScott Motorsports then reached a mutual and amicable confidential settlement as to the claims for the debt owed to CBR. “I am glad our race team and Clint Bowyer Racing were able to reach a quick resolution,” said Mr. Scott. “I wish Clint the best of luck in his career moving forward.” Mr. Bowyer also commented, saying, ” I want to thank all the team members for their hard work all season. I’m looking forward to the 2017 season and beyond and wish Harry Scott all the best in the future.”(HSM PR Ramsey Poston Twitter)(12-1-2016)
  • NASCAR Champion’s Week in Las Vegas: Thursday, Dec. 1
    � NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will take place from 11 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. at Wynn Las Vegas, where several team and individual awards will be presented. Hosted by Mike Joy, the event will be live-streamed on NASCAR.com.
    � NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco: All 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will parade their race cars down Las Vegas Boulevard and perform burnouts beginning at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and finishing in front of The Park. Fans can catch pre-race introductions hosted by Jamie Little at 2:45 p.m. followed by green flag at 3:30 p.m. For a list of burnout locations, fans can visit the NASCAR Fan Lounge at Beerhaus or ChampionsWeek.NASCAR.com. The event will be simulcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and NASCAR.com.
    � NASCAR After The Lap Sponsored by Chevrolet, Ford & Toyota: Beginning at 5 p.m., all 16 Chase Challengers will appear on stage at the Pearl Theater inside the Palms Casino Resort for NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. Hosted by Rutledge Wood and restauranteur Guy Fieri, fans can watch live by purchasing tickets here or tune-in to NASCAR.com and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio for behind-the-scenes insight into the drivers’ lives both on and off the track.
    � NASCAR Silver Bullet Bash Presented by Coors Light: To commemorate and celebrate the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and toast the 2016 Champion, Coors Light will host the NASCAR Silver Bullet Bash starting at 10 p.m. in XS at Encore Las Vegas. Recording artists American Authors will give a special performance at the invite-only event.(NASCAR)(12-1-2016)
  • Jimmy John’s Renews with Stewart-Haas Racing: Jimmy John’s, the “freaky fast” gourmet sandwich chain since 1983, has extended its partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing in a multiyear agreement to continue as a primary sponsor of driver Kevin Harvick and the #4 team in the NASCAR Premier Series. Jimmy John’s will be the primary sponsor of Harvick and the #4 team for 16 races in 2017, highlighted by the season-opening Daytona 500. For the remaining 22 races on the Premier Series schedule, Jimmy John’s will serve as a major associate sponsor of the #4 entry.
    “We are fortunate to partner with Kevin for many years in a very meaningful way,” said Jimmy John Liautaud, owner and founder of Jimmy John’s. “On and off the track, Kevin and (wife) DeLana Harvick are winners in all they do, and Stewart-Haas Racing has proven to be an excellent home for them and for Jimmy John’s.”
    From humble beginnings in Charleston, Illinois, in 1983, Jimmy John’s has grown to become a dominant entity in the quick-service restaurant industry. With more than 2,600 stores throughout the United States, Jimmy John’s success is attributed to an innate desire to simply be the best. Its award-winning bread is baked fresh each day, and its meat and vegetables are sliced fresh daily. Its food contains no additives and no vegetable-based fillers. Augmenting the company’s unmatched product is equally unmatched service, with every sandwich made fresh-to-order.
    “I’ve known Jimmy since 2009 and I’ve personally seen how driven he is and how his work ethic is embraced by Jimmy John’s franchise owners,” said Harvick, the 2014 Premier Series champion. “He wants to be the best, period. And he’ll out-work everyone to be the best. That’s the same mindset we have in racing. I’m proud to continue this partnership with Jimmy John’s at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
    “Jimmy’s passion for quality products and service has made Jimmy John’s what it is today,” said Stewart, the three-time Premier Series champion who co-owns SHR with industrialist Gene Haas. “He’s a savvy marketer who has seen the benefit of a NASCAR team sponsorship. We’re pleased to continue our partnership with Jimmy John’s because combining quality with quickness is what Stewart-Haas Racing is all about.”(SHR)(12-1-2016)
  • Jeff Gordon to run the Rolex 24 at Daytona: Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who was part of the driver lineup when Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) competed in its very first race in 2007, returns to join full-time co-drivers of the all-new No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Ricky and Jordan Taylor and veteran Italian Max “The Ax” Angelelli for next month’s 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 2017 season opener.(Wayne Taylor Racing)(12-1-2016)
  • #48 team named Mechanix Wear’s Most Valuable Pit Crew: In addition to Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, also celebrating #se7en is the #48 Lowe’s team, who has been with the driver and crew chief every step of the way during the 2016 season. In the midst of their champion’s week celebrations, the Lowe’s pit crew received their own award as they were named the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew of 2016. The six over-the-wall members of the #48 team include: Kyle Tudor (jackman), R.J. Barnette (front-tire carrier), Kevin Novak (front-tire changer), Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (rear-tire carrier) and Brandon Harder (fueler). The #48 Lowe’s team aided Johnson in claiming five wins, 11 top-five finishes, 16 top-10s and one pole award throughout the 36-race season. In the 15 years since the award’s inception in 2002, the #48 Lowe’s team has won the award a total of four times (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2016). The title of Most Valuable Pit Crew is awarded to the team who shows the most consistency on pit road throughout the season and is the longest-running and most prestigious pit crew award in the sport. Every nine races (each quarter of the season), the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs vote for the pit crew they believe contributes the most value to their team on race day. Each quarter, a semifinalist is chosen to receive an award and is given the opportunity to win the overall Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew award at the end of the season.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-1-2016)
  • Tony Stewart racing at Le Mans in 2017? Tony Stewart said his 2017 racing schedule is coming together, announcing two dates and hinting at other possibilities. Stewart, who has retired from driving in NASCAR but will compete in plenty of races in other series, talked about his 2017 schedule during Tuesday night’s “Tony Stewart Live” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The sprint car schedules are starting to come out, but the cool thing is I’ve kind of put it off a little bit because we’ve had some really interesting e-mails and phone calls from car owners,” Stewart said on the show. “There’s a possibility I might have an offer to go race at Le Mans next year, which I never thought I would have an opportunity to do that. I had a conversation with a car owner about possibly running this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. There’s a lot of cool stuff and the fun part is kind of not exactly knowing yet what we’re going to do. I do have some races that are confirmed and scheduled. One of them is going to be at Texas Motor Speedway in April; we’re going to run two nights with the sprint car at the Texas Motor Speedway dirt track. That’s one I’m really looking forward to. As we start filling in the schedule, we’ll start letting everybody know for sure. It’s going to be full, I guarantee you.” Stewart will compete in the Tony Stewart Presents the Texas Sprint Car Nationals April 7-8 at the dirt track at Texas Motor Speedway.(NBC Sports)(12-1-2016)
  • Jeff Gordon on ‘Destiny’ to Be Race Car Driver, New Biography: The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon reflected back on his illustrious career, and his personal life in the spotlight, in an interview with Michael Strahan that aired today on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”
    “It was sort of my destiny to, to be a race car driver,” the three-time Daytona 500 winner said. “I mean, I have been at the racetrack probably every weekend just about since I was maybe 6 or 7 years old.” Gordon said that his biography, “Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive, and Destiny,” which came out last week, offers fans a candid glimpse at many aspects of his personal life, from his childhood to his highly-publicized relationship with his ex-wife. He said what he thinks will surprise fans the most in his book is how hard his parents had to work in order for him to be able to pursue his dreams.(for more and the video, see ABC Sports)(12-1-2016)
  • Davis Named Managing Director and Chief Security Officer: NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation have named veteran FBI executive and risk management expert Christopher Davis as Managing Director and Chief Security Officer. Davis will lead strategy development and execution for corporate, facility and event security, working closely with international and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies on behalf of fans, venues, teams, and infrastructure. Davis will assume leadership of the NASCAR and ISC senior management-directed implementation of their enterprise-wide security strategies. Through his role at NASCAR, Davis also will work closely with other venues that host NASCAR-sanctioned races. Davis brings a distinguished public and private sector leadership background to the new position, including service as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge and Inspector for the FBI. In addition to his lengthy FBI tenure, Davis held senior executive positions with private firms Contemporary Services Corporation and Sequrus, LLC.(NASCAR)(12-1-2016)
  • Gallagher to run full season with GMS Racing: Statesville-based GMS Racing announced that, beginning in 2017, the team will compete full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with driver Spencer Gallagher. The Las Vegas native will continue to the pilot the #23, a number that he has raced since 2006 in honor of former NASCAR driver TJ Clark and his son, Spencer Clark. Gallagher has been with GMS since 2014, first competing in the ARCA Racing Series and most recently the NCWTS. Over three seasons and 58 starts, Gallagher earned three top-fives, 15 top-10 finishes, and two pole awards. The 27-year-old made his NXS debut this past season, earning a best finish of eighth place at Daytona International Speedway in July. The team debuted the GMS Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix International Speedway with a goal of building the program in preparation of running a full-time season in 2017. Additional details regarding sponsorship and crew chief will be announced at a later date.(GMS Racing)(12-1-2016)
  • XFINITY named 2016 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award Recipient: Comcast will be honored with the 2016 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award for its support of the NASCAR XFINITY Series, known as the series “Where Names Are Made.” The company, which also serves as the Official Entertainment Provider of NASCAR, will be recognized at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Wednesday. Entering the sport with a historic 10-year entitlement agreement last year, XFINITY is changing the way fans experience NASCAR by introducing live race stats and data directly to the TV through their XFINITY X1 platform. XFINITY X1 provides an insider’s look at the action taking place across NASCAR’s three national series each race weekend, along with custom video content, weekly exclusive VOD content, live leaderboards, up-to-the-second race stats, interactive championship point standings, and much more. At the track, Comcast engaged fans, the industry and media at its state-of-the-art activation space, the XFINITY Zone. The award-winning fan zone allowed thousands of fans to interact with drivers and utilize the technology that is changing the live sports TV experience. Off the track, Comcast is working to recognize charitable efforts of NASCAR team members through the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, which was created in 2015. In year two of the partnership, NASCAR and XFINITY collaborated on changes that differentiated the series and further integrated the XFINITY brand into the sport. The introduction of an elimination-style Chase and a new Dash 4 Cash format enhanced competition, spiked fan interest, and generated even more drama around the series. The competition changes were accompanied by a new visual identity, providing the NASCAR XFINITY Series with its own distinct look across digital, social, at-track and on broadcast.(NASCAR)(12-1-2016)
  • $178 million makeover headed for Phoenix International Raceway: Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale will receive a major overhaul worth $178 million, its parent company International Speedway Corp. announced Wednesday. The plans include new and upgraded grandstands, added structures for competitors and sponsors in the infield area, more RV parking and new steel and metal exteriors. ISC will pay for the upgrades without seeking help from taxpayers. PIR President Bryan R. Sperber said in a statement that the changes will enhance the experience for both fans and competitors. “The racetrack itself will remain unchanged as one of the most exciting circuits in motorsports, but we will modernize much of the venue and provide our fans with a high-quality, leading-edge experience,” he said. The $178 renovation project is expected to start in early 2017 and should finish by late 2018, according to the statement from ISC. The start and finish line also will move under the new plan to the area between Turn Two and the following bend, according to Michael Knight, a motorsports industry analyst and contributor to azcentral sports. Elevated RV parking will replace the existing grandstand along the current start and finish line, according to renderings of the renovation. The upgrade also includes new concourses and stairs.(Arizona Republic)(12-1-2016)
  • Food City And Bristol Motor Speedway Host Drives To Benefit Gatlinburg/Sevier County Relief Fund: In the wake of the devastating fires sweeping Gatlinburg and Sevier County, Tenn., Food City and Bristol Motor Speedway have teamed up to host a number relief effort initiatives. Beginning Thursday, Dec. 1 and continuing through Wednesday Dec. 7, Food City locations throughout Kentucky, Virginia and east Tennessee will participate in a fundraising campaign. Customers wishing to make a monetary donation will be invited to do so at the checkout, with the contribution conveniently added to their order total. 100% of the funds raised will benefit the Gatlinburg/Sevier County Relief Fund. Food City has pledged a $50,000 contribution to kick-off the fundraising efforts. Earlier in the week, the company also donated a tractor-trailer load of bottled water and Gatorade to assist local crews battling the raging fires. BMS will also be collecting donations for the Gatlinburg/Sevier County Relief Fund initiatives from The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights (SIL) via red buckets at the holiday display ticket booths beginning tomorrow. The program will run through the end of SIL on Saturday, Jan. 7. In addition, BMS will match proceeds raised at this Thursday’s The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights towards the relief efforts. The Speedway has also opened the Medallion campground to the RV community / campers displaced by the fires. The lot offers complimentary camping spaces with full water and electrical hook-up at no charge. Those interested should contact the BMS ticket office at 423-BRISTOL. Anyone interested in making a monetary donation via Bristol Motor Speedway can call or visit the main ticket office at the O. Bruton Smith Building during normal business hours. (Mon. -Thurs: 9 a.m.- 8 p.m., Fri: 9 a.m.- 7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.)(BMS)(12-1-2016)
  • Donate a toy, drive a lap at Michigan International Speedway: Cars are hitting the track again this weekend at Michigan International Speedway, but the most important drive is taking place in the track’s infield. The eighth annual MIS Charity Track and Toy Drive goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Participants are asked to bring an unwrapped toy or bag of nonperishable food. The weather-dependent event is hosted by MIS Cares, a donor-advised fund of the non-profit NASCAR Foundation that supports programs that assist and inspire youth in Jackson and Lenawee counties. Donated toys will go to the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots campaign in Jackson and Lenawee counties, while the food goes to the Brooklyn Food Pantry and St. Mary’s of Good Counsel in Adrian. Last year, a 30-foot truck was filled with toys and a 20-foot truck was stuffed with food from the donations.(Michigan Live)(12-1-2016)