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February 2017 News Archives

News from February 28, 2017


Bobby Labonte Becomes Newest TV Analyst: With a NASCAR career spanning over 30 years, including two championships and wins in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series, Bobby Labonte has the experience and knowledge of a highly select group in the sport. He is now joining the team and contributing his expertise and insights on the popular FS1 television program, NASCAR Race Hub and NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition.[More](2-28-2017)

Daytona TV Ratings: Kurt Busch won Sunday’s season-opening DAYTONA 500 on FOX, with 23.3 million viewers tuning in for all or part of the event. An average audience of 12 million watched the race across the FOX broadcast network, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports GO, including 11.92 million on FOX alone.[More](2-28-2017)

Hendrick cars running Monster logos when required UPDATE: Car owner Rick Hendrick gave a short response to a question Friday about his cars not always displaying logos of Cup series sponsor Monster Energy when they are away from the track.
UPDATE: Monster Energy doesn’t have a problem with Hendrick Motorsports taking steps to avoid using the Monster logo when its cars or drivers are not in the garage. [More](2-28-2017)

Cope announces Atlanta sponsors: Wade Tractor and Equipment, Inc as well as Adrenalin Powersports, Inc announce they will be the primary sponsor of the #55 with Premium Motorsports driven by Derrike Cope for the Atlanta Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Folds of Honor Quick Trip 500.[More](2-28-2017)

Daytona XFINITY TV ratings: Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race on FS1 scored a +6% increase in average viewership (2,253,000 vs. 2,120,000) and a +8% bump among A18-49 (513,000 vs. 474,000) over the 2016 race. [More](2-28-2017)

Scott Lagasse Jr. joins RCR for four races: Veteran NASCAR driver Scott Lagasse Jr. will join Richard Childress Racing’s 2017 driver lineup to pilot the #3 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for four races. Lagasse Jr., 36, of St. Augustine, Florida, will race under the RCR banner at Iowa Speedway on June 25, Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. [More](2-28-2017)

LifeLink featured on Gase’s car at Atlanta: For the upcoming Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Gase will race the LifeLink #52 car in honor of his mother and others touched by donation and transplantation, like Officer Jody Smith.[More](2-28-2017)

NBTS BrainTumor.org featured on Tifft’s car at Atlanta: Matt Tifft heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in his first full season at Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). For the second race of the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) season, Tifft will make his first-career start at AMS behind the wheel of the #19 NBTS BrainTumor.org Toyota Camry. [More](2-28-2017)

Crazy Vapors joins Sieg for Atlanta: RSS Racing and driver Ryan Sieg welcome Crazy Vapors as the primary sponsor on their #39 Chevrolet Camaro for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this Saturday. Crazy Vapors is an electronic cigarette, e-liquid, and accessory store located in Augusta, Ga. [More](2-28-2017)

Circuit of the Americas would like a NASCAR race: While NASCAR gears up for Sunday’s Daytona 500, its kickoff and signature event, Circuit of the Americas officials are casting their eyes toward the most popular racing series in the United States.(2-26-2017)
UPDATE: Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage wanted to be as respectful as possible, but couldn’t help but rip the Circuit of the Americas race track in Austin for believing it could land a NASCAR race one day. “I don’t blame them for wanting NASCAR races, it’s just that they’re 20 years too late,” Gossage said Monday. “I don’t think they know the business, or they wouldn’t be saying such things.” [More](2-28-2017)

Advance Auto Parts enters partnership with Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers, has signed a strategic, multi-year partnership with the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The agreement designates Advance Auto Parts as the official partner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at events including the legendary Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, INDYCAR Grand Prix, Lights at the Brickyard, and more. [More](2-28-2017)


News from February 27, 2017


NASCAR happy with new segment formats: NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell said the sanctioning body was pleased with its first NASCAR Cup race with its new segment format. O’Donnell: “I thought the race had a flow. The stages played out exactly how they wanted them to.”[More](2-27-2017)

Earnhardt, Jr. feels fine after accident at Daytona: Dale Earnhardt Jr. climbed out of his wrecked race car, surveyed the damage, chatted with his team and hopped on a golf cart for a trip to the infield care center. Eight minutes after checking in with doctors, Earnhardt walked out. And he felt fine.[More](2-27-2017)

Kyle Busch not happy with Goodyear after wreck: Kyle Busch was not happy about his early exit from Sunday’s Daytona 500. Busch was ahead after the first 60 laps in “The Great American Race” and became the first stage winner in the new era of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Unfortunately, things went downhill from there in a big way.[More](2-27-2017)

Daytona 500 commercial breakdown: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race.[More](2-27-2017)

Congrats to Denny Hamlin and Jordan Fish: Denny Hamlin’s girlfriend, Jordan Fish, announced in a Tweet on Sunday that the couple are expecting their second child this year.[More](2-27-2017)


News from February 26, 2017


Race recap: Patient Kurt Busch wins wild Daytona 500 – without looking back: His car damaged in a wreck on the backstretch and held together with tape, Kurt Busch grabbed the lead on the final lap of the 59th Daytona 500 on Sunday and took the checkered flag in the Great American Race as a capstone to a checkered career that has trended upward since Busch joined Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.[More](2-27-2017)

Kurt Busch wins the Daytona 500: #41-Kurt Busch won the 59th Annual Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 1st win at Daytona and 29th career win. Busch led only the final lap after taking the lead from #42-Larson, who ran out of gas after taking the white flag.
#21-Blaney finished a career best 2nd, followed by #47-Allmendinger, #43-Almirola, #27-Menard, #22-Logano, #5-Kahne, #15-Waltrip (in his final Cup race), #32-DiBenedetto, and #6-Bayne.
The “big one” happened on lap 127 when contact between #1-McMurray, #48-Johnson, and #6-Bayne led to a 16 car accident that eliminated #48-Johnson, #14-Bowyer, #10-Patrick, #96-Kennignton, and #37-Buescher.
Another big wreck followed on lap 141. #1-McMurray tried to pull inside of #24-Elliott but caught his bumper. 11 cars were involved and #1-McMurray, #2-Keselowski, #13-TDillon and #19-Suarez were eliminated from the race.
#24-Chase Elliott, the pole sitter, led 23 laps on the day, and was leading with 3 laps to go, but had a hiccup on gas and fell back to 14th at the finish.
#88-Earnhardt, Jr., running in his first race since Kentucky last July, started 2nd and was running near the front of the field when he was caught in an accident with Kyle Busch on lap 106. The team could not make repairs and he finished 37th.
#18-Busch was the leader at the end of stage one on lap 60, but he spun out when a tire went down on lap 106 and finished 38th.
#4-Harvick won stage two on lap 120, but got damage in an accident and finished 22nd.
There were 37 lead changes among 18 drivers and 8 cautions for 40 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 143.187mph.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, February 27 at 3:00am/et on FS1 and Tuesday, February 28 at 6:30am/et on FS1
See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and [NOTE: money won is no longer reported] more at:
Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
Penalty Report (pdf).(2-26-2017)

Race Fast Facts – Daytona:
Kurt Busch won the 59th Annual Daytona 500, his 29th victory in 577 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races.
This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in 2017.
This is his first victory and 17th top-10 finish in 32 races at Daytona International Speedway.
Ryan Blaney (second) posted his first top-10 finish in four races at Daytona International Speedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2017.
AJ Allmendinger (third) posted his third top-10 finish in 16 races at Daytona International Speedway.
Daniel Suarez (29th) was the highest finishing rookie.
Kurt Busch leads the point standings by 12 points over Ryan Blaney.
(NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(2-26-2017)

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Driver Chase Standings:
[after Daytona, race 1 of 36]
1) #41-Busch [1 win], 56
2) #21-Blaney, 44, -12
3) #22-Logano, 43, -13
4) #4-Harvick, 42, -14
5) #47-Allmendinger, 39, -17
6) #43-Almirola, 37, -19
7) #42-Larson, 36, -20
8) #9-Elliott, 33, -23
9) #11-Hamlin, 33, -23
10) #27-Menard, 32, -24
11) #6-Bayne, 32, -24
12) #2-Keselowski, 31, -25
13) #5-Kahne, 30, -26
14) #15-Waltrip, 29, -27
15) #32-Dibenedetto, 28, -28
16) #3-ADillon, 25, -31
See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and
Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).

France addresses Daytona 500 drivers meeting: In an unusual move because of its location and tone, NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France admonished Cup drivers about blocking during Sunday’s Daytona 500. France, who admittedly doesn’t make public proclamations about competition and has tended to deal with drivers in private, made the remarks during the prerace drivers meeting at Daytona International Speedway.[More](2-26-2017)

Stewart-Haas Racing still needs sponsorship: Stewart-Haas Racing still needs sponsorship for the majority of races for Clint Bowyer and a significant number for Danica Patrick.[More](2-26-2017)

Miller explains changes to pre-race inspection: NASCAR has made a significant change in the inspection process for 2017. In years past, if a car failed one the inspection stations, the team would pull it out of line, make repairs and send it back on through.[More](2-26-2017)

Circuit of the Americas would like a NASCAR race: While NASCAR gears up for Sunday’s Daytona 500, its kickoff and signature event, Circuit of the Americas officials are casting their eyes toward the most popular racing series in the United States.[More](2-26-2017)

Coca-Cola named official soft drink at Gateway: Gateway Motorsports Park announced a new, multi-year agreement with The Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola will serve as the exclusive soft drink provider of Gateway Motorsports Park.[More](2-26-2017)


News from February 25, 2017


Daytona 500 sold out: Reserved stadium tickets for the 59th annual DAYTONA 500, the season-opening event for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, are sold out, Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile announced today.[More](2-25-2017)

Happy Hour (final) practice: for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 85 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
#17-Stenhouse, Jr. 198.452
#22-Logano 196.751
#2-Keselowski 196.747
#4-Harvick 196.726
#41-Busch 196.700
slowest: #1-McMurray 189.270 & #32-DiBenedetto 187.153.
28 cars made runs
notes: Many teams did not practice to focus on final race preparations.
See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Daytona Happy Hour Practice speeds page (pdf) (2-25-2017)

Nature’s Bakery Intends To Countersue Stewart-Haas Racing UPDATE:: Nature’s Bakery announced intentions to countersue NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing in a sponsorship issue that appears to be getting ever more contentious. SHR sued Nature’s Bakery earlier this month for breach of contract after the Nevada-based fig bar maker sent a note to SHR in mid-January saying it was going to terminate its three-year sponsorship deal worth $15.2M annually. In a sharply worded press release today, Nature’s Bakery called SHR’s suit a “false legal complaint.” A quote from company CEO Kelly Allin adds, “Contrary to its image, SHR is run by big-business types that took advantage of Nature’s Bakery. They now are threatening scorched earth litigation against a multi-generational family company. We’re obviously not going to let them bully us. We may be a small brand, but we do not think what they are doing is right. We look forward to defending ourselves in court.” The loss of Nature’s Bakery has left SHR with around 20 races to fill heading into the season, but that effort was helped with this week’s announcement that Aspen Dental was stepping up its commitment with Danica Patrick’s #10 Ford from four races to at least 10.(Sports Business Daily)(2-16-2017)

UPDATE: Nature’s Bakery’s counter claim to the breach of contract suit brought against it by Stewart-Haas Racing asserts that the NASCAR team “could not control” driver Danica Patrick as she promoted competing products on social media.[More](2-25-2017)

Television partners heavily involved in format changes: Television provided NASCAR arguably its greatest opportunity at growth. Now it will provide its greatest chance at recovery. This is a meticulous plan that includes a modified points system, segmented races and bonus points that carry into the playoffs. The theory behind the changes? Drivers will race harder, events will be more exciting, viewers will tune in and more fans will come through the turnstiles.[More](2-25-2017)

More sponsorship on the horizon for Front Row? David Ragan had only been gone from Front Row Motorsports for about two years, but when he returned in the offseason, he found a much different – and better – organization. “Absolutely. Yes, this is a very different Front Row team than I was a part of in 2012, 2013 and 2014. They have a great engineering relationship with Roush Fenway Racing. “[More](2-25-2017)

Hendrick cars running Monster logos when required: Car owner Rick Hendrick gave a short response to a question Friday about his cars not always displaying logos of Cup series sponsor Monster Energy when they are away from the track.[More](DATE-2017)

Roger Penske says NASCAR is in good shape: Ahead of Sunday’s big Daytona 500, racing legend Roger Penske dismissed claims that his sport is faltering. “I see the sport as stronger than ever from a competitive standpoint,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”[More](2-25-2017)

NASCAR’s Ready. Set. Race campaign to returns: Following a season highlighted by some of the closest, side-by-side racing NASCAR fans have seen in years, NASCAR announced the return of its 2017 season launch marketing campaign, Ready. Set. Race. The new integrated campaign, including television creative promoting the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will launch during the 2017 DAYTONA 500.[More](DATE-2017)

Ryan Reed gets second NASCAR XFINITY win where he got the first–Daytona For Ryan Reed, there’s magic in the air at the Birthplace of Speed. Reed went to Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway in February 2015 and hadn’t won since-until Saturday night, when he held off Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran Kasey Kahne in overtime to claim victory in the Powershares QQQ 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener. [Race recap and Results links](2-25-2017)

Ryan Reed wins Daytona XFINITY race: #16-Ryan Reed won the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway. It is his 2nd career XFINITY Series win. #88-Kasey Kahne finished second, followed by #2-Austin Dillon, #22-Brad Keselowski, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #24-Scott Lagasse, Jr., #52-Joey Gase, #0-Garrett Smithley, #9-William Byron, and #01-Harrison Rhodes.
#1-Elliott Sader won both the first and second stages, but wrecked late and finished 24th.
There were 10 cautions for 42 laps and 25 lead changes among 9 leaders.
The “Big One” happened on lap 24 and involved 20 cars and required an 18 minute red flag to clean the track.
Then another wreck on lap 30 caught up a dozen cars cars, including pole sitter #33-Brandon Jones, and led to another red flag of nearly 28 minutes.
The average speed was 117.141mph.
Complete results are on the Daytona race results page (pdf).
See complete owner and driver standings on the driver standings(pdf) and owner standings page (pdf).(2-25-2017)

Brandon Jones on XFINITY pole at Daytona: #33-Brandon Jones won the Coors Light pole for the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 184.472mph. #16-Ryan Reed will start second.
The rest of the top 10: #48-Brennan Poole, #21-Daniel Hemrick, #3-Ty Dillon, #22-Brad Keselowski, #42-Tyler Reddick, #11-Blake Koch, #88-Kasey Kahne,and #23-Spencer Gallagher.
Did Not Qualify: #13-Mark Thompson, #74-Mike Harmon, #89-Morgan Shepherd, #97-Stephen Leicht.
The starting lineup is posted on the Daytona starting lineup page (pdf).(2-25-2017)

Texas improvements near completion: The biggest question facing Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage these days is where to paint lines on his track’s new racing surface. He had a 30-minute conversation with Jeff Gordon about it and didn’t come to a conclusion.[More](2-25-2017)


News from February 24, 2017


Several cars to the rear for Daytona 500: With their primary cars damaged in Thursday night’s Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #27-Paul Menard and #21-Ryan Blaney will start the Daytona 500 from the rear of the field in backup race cars. They’ll be joined at the rear by three cars that failed to meet the minimum ride height requirement during inspection after the Duels.[More](2-24-2017)

Second Saturday practice: for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes: #18-Busch 197.265 #20-Kenseth 197.256 #11-Hamlin 197.109 #77-Jones 197.053 #19-Suarez 197.036 slowest: #34-Cassill 188.497 & #96-Kennington 185.033. 28 cars made runs. See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Daytona Practice 3 speeds page (pdf) (2-24-2017)

First Saturday practice: for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes: #38-Ragan 194.898 #5-Kahne 194.793 #24-Elliott 194.776 #31-Newman 194.717 #48-Johnson 194.616 slowest: #78-Truex, Jr 188.584 & #83-LaJoie 188.430. 21 cars made runs. notes: many drivers didn’t run this practice, wishing to save their car/engine. See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Daytona Practice 2 speeds page (pdf) (2-24-2017)

Commercial breakdown and links related to the 2017 Can-Am Duels at Daytona: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Thursday’s races. Began recording the times at the Invocation before the first Duel at 7:00 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag after the second Duel at 9:49 PM[More](2-24-2017)

Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” teaming up with NASCAR: Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” is teaming up with NASCAR this year as crowd favorite Lightning McQueen prepares to return to the big screen June 16, 2017. Plans for the joint effort were shared by “Cars 3” director Brian Fee, Cristela Alonzo-the voice of the film’s elite trainer Cruz Ramirez-and NASCAR’S vice president of entertainment marketing & content development Zane Stoddard today at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida as fans gear up for the DAYTONA 500[More](2-24-2017)

Glen Wood extends Speedweeks streak to 71 years: When it comes to accomplishments in the NASCAR world, Glen Wood has run up quite an impressive list. His race teams have run 1,474 races in the series now known the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and won 98 of them along with 116 poles. His drivers have led 24,580 laps, and back in the day he posted many of those numbers himself, when he was the team’s main driver. He’s in numerous Halls of Fame and has been the recipient of many an honor over the years.[More](2-24-2017)

Drive for Diversity class introduced: Reporters met the 2017 NASCAR Drive for Diversity class in the Daytona media center on Thursday. The class includes Collin Cabre and Chase Cabre, the first siblings ever to participate in the same D4D class.[More](2-24-2017)

J.J. Yeley paces final XFINITY practice: #14-J.J.Yeley was quickest in final practice at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 187.005mph. #4-Ross Chastian was second, followed by: #44-Benny Gordon, #42-Tyler Reddick, #00-Cole Custer, #07-Ray Black, Jr., #51-Jeremy Clements, #28-Dakoda Armstrong, #39-Ryan Sieg, and #13-Mark Thompson.. 37 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Daytona final practice speeds page (pdf).(2-24-2017)

Jeb Burton joins JGL Racing for multiple races: JGL Racing announced that Jeb Burton has joined their popular “Young Guns” program by signing a multi-race deal to pilot the #24 Toyota in NASCAR XFINITY Series competition. Burton will first climb behind the wheel of the #24 Toyota in the April 8th event at Texas Motor Speedway.[More](2-24-2017)

Justin Allgaier fastest in first XFINITY practice: #7-Justin Allgaier was fastest during opening practice at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 193.890mph. The rest of the top 10: #2-Brad Keselowski, #42-Tyler Reddick, #9-William Byron, #23-Spencer Gallagher, #1-Elliott Sadler, #2-Austin Dillon, #3-Ty Dillon, #33-Branson Jones, and #11-Blake Koch. 43 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Daytona practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(2-24-2017)

Grala wins Truck race at Daytona after last lap crash
A multi-truck wreck on the last lap allowed pole-sitter, 18-year-old #33-Kaz Grala to claim his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250. Defending Champion #21-Johnny Sauter and two-time series champion #88-Matt Crafton, were among those involved in the pile-up. As the trucks began wrecking, Crafton’s Toyota flipped.
#32-Austin Wayne Self scored his best career finish in second, 2016 ARCA Racing Series champion #29-Chase Briscoe was third. #8-John Hunter Nemechek, #87-Joe Nemechek, #92-Regan Smith, #24-Scott Lagasse, Jr., #4-Christopher Bell, #22-JJ Yeley, and #51-Myatt Snider closed out the top-10. There were six caution flags for 29 laps and 14 lead changes among 9 leaders.
Complete results are on the Daytona race results page(pdf)(2-24-2017)

Daytona Fast Facts:
Kaz Grala won the 18th Annual NextEra Energy Resources 250, his first victory in ten NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in 2017.
This is his first victory and first top-10 finish at Daytona International Speedway.
Austin Wayne Self (second) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Daytona International Speedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2017.Chase Briscoe (third) posted his first top-10 finish at Daytona International Speedway in his first start.
Kaz Grala (first) was the highest finishing rookie.
Kaz Grala leads the point standings by 14 points over Johnny Sauter.
Kaz Grala’s win is the fourth-time a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race has been won from the pole at Daytona – previous wins from the pole: Jack Sprague, 2007; Mark Martin, 2006; Joe Ruttman, 2001.
Kas Grala becomes the youngest Daytona winner in NASCAR national series history at 18 years, 1 month and 26 days – previous record was held by Tyler Reddick (19 years, 1 month, 9 days).(NASCAR Statistics)(2-24-2017)

Truck Series point standings following Daytona
1) #33-Kaz Grala, 56
2) #21-Johnny Sauter, 42, -14
3) ##29-Chase Briscoe, 39, -17
4) #27-Ben Rhodes, 38, -18
5) #87-Joe Nemechek, 36, -20
See complete standings on the driver standings page(pdf)

Free pass – Who got a lap back on each caution at Daytona: (and their finish)
Caution 1: none
Caution 2: none
Caution 3: #63-Gerhart, 21st
Caution 4: #8-Nemechek, 4th
Caution 5: #23-Gallagher, 13
Caution 6: none
(2-24-2017)

Truck Series stage information: 
Stage 1 – 20 laps – Winner, #21-Johnny Sauter
Stage 2 – 20 laps – Winner, #21-Johnny Sauter
Stage 3 – 60 laps – Race winner, #33-Kaz Grala

Grala on pole at Daytona:
GMS Racing started their quest for a second straight championship on the right track, sweeping the top-three positions for Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. Rookie #33-Kaz Grala was fastest at 180.676mph. Defending Champion #21-Johnny Sauter will start second. #23-Spencer Gallagher, #4-Christopher Bell, #17-Timothy Peters, #7-Brett Moffitt, #88-Matt Crafton, #27-Ben Rhodes, #87-Joe Nemechek, and #5-Korbin Forrister round out the top-10 starting spots.
#1-Timothy Viens, #6-Norm Benning, #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb, #12-Spencer Boyd, #28-Bryan Dauzat, #44-Brandon Brown, #47-Chris Fontaine, #74-Jordan Anderson, and #75-Parker Kligerman failed to qualify for the event.[Starting lineup](2-24-2017)

Qualifying Fast Facts:

Kaz Grala won the Keystone Light 21 Means 21 Pole Award for the 18th Annual NextEra Energy Resources 250 with a lap of 49.813 seconds, 180.676 mph.
This is his first pole in ten NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
This is his first pole and first top-10 start in 2017.This is his first pole at Daytona International Speedway.
Johnny Sauter (second) posted his first top-10 start of 2017 and his sixth in nine races at Daytona International Speedway.
Spencer Gallagher(i) (third) posted his second top-10 start at Daytona International Speedway.
Kaz Grala (first) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
Kaz Grala has become the youngest NASCAR national series pole winner at Daytona International Speedway at the age 18 years, 1 month and 26 days (previous record was held by Dylan Kwasniewski at the age of 18 years, 8 months and 22 days).(NASCAR Statistics)(2-24-2017)

Phoenix Raceway bringing mobile gaming to race weekend: Phoenix Raceway, a subsidiary of the International Speedway Corporation, announced today that FunWall has signed a letter of intent to bring FunWall’s proprietary mobile social gaming platform to the world of motorsports. With this partnership, the track will be the first motorsports venue to offer social mobile gaming that is fully integrated into the race day experience.[More](2-24-2017)


News from February 23, 2017


Jeff Gordon to drive Daytona 500 pace car: Three-time Daytona 500 winner and four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champ Jeff Gordon will lead the field to the start of Sunday’s Daytona 500 behind the wheel of the new 2017 Camaro ZL1 pace car.[More](2-24-2017)

Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #24-Elliott chose pit stall 4, the first stall available [as do most pole sitters]. Outside pole sitter #88-Earnhardt, Jr. took pit stall 21, with an opening in front of it. #1-McMurray, who starts 3rd, took the 20th stall. The final pit stall was taken by #2-Keselowski, who starts 7th. To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on Jayski.com’s Pit Stall Selection chart.(2-23-2017)

Logano extends contract with Penske, Shell-Pennzoil to continue sponsorship: Team Penske announced that the organization has reached an agreement with 26-year-old Joey Logano to drive for the team through the 2022 season and beyond. The multi-year extension ensures that the 2015 Daytona 500 Champion and 17-time Monster Energy Series NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) winner will continue to be an integral part of the Team Penske organization.[More](2-24-2017)

Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin win Can-Am Duel qualifying races:Daytona 500 pole winner Chase Elliott put an exclamation on his qualifying effort with a victory in Thursday night’s first Can-Am Duel at Daytona International Speedway.[More](2-23-2017)

Denny Hamlin wins 2nd Can-Am Duel 150: #11-Denny Hamlin won the 2nd Can-Am Duel 150 Qualifying race for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway. #14-Bowyerfinished 2nd then #41-Busch, #47-Allmendinger, #3-Dillon, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #10-Patrick, #31-Newman, #42-Larson, #13-Dillon, #38-Ragan, #95-McDowell, #48-Johnson, #5-Kahne, #96-Kennington, #7-Sadler, #15-Waltrip, #33-Earnhardt, #77-Jones, #21-Blaney, and #51-Hill. The top 10 finishers earned points under the new scoring system this year. #11-Hamlin’s win earns him 10 points, 10th place #13-Dillon gets 1 point. #96-Kennington was the highest finishing Open Team (non-chartered team), finishing 15th. The other two Open teams: #7-Sadler finishing 16th. #51-Hill went to the garage midway through the race and finished 21st. Kennington raced his way into the race. #7-Sadler gets in the race via his qualifying speed. #51-Hill will not make the race. There were two cautions during the race: one for a competition caution and the second when #48-Johnson cut a tire and hit the wall after contact with #21-Blaney. Johnson will have to go to a backup car for the race. The finishers of the 2nd Can-Am Duel 150 will line up on the outside (even number) line. #88-Earnhardt, Jr. will start second, #11-Hamlin will start 4th on Sunday. See results on the Second Can-Am Duel 150 Results page (pdf).(2-23-2017)

Chase Elliott wins first Can-Am Duel 150: #24-Chase Elliott won the first Can-Am Duel 150 Qualifying race for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway followed by #1-McMurray, #4-Harvick, #2-Keselowski, #20-Kenseth, #6-Bayne, #78-Truex, Jr., #43-Almirola, #22-Logano, #72-Whitt, #17-Stenhouse, Jr., #19-Suarez, #18-Busch, #32-DiBenedetto, #37-Buscher, #34-Cassill, #23-Gase, #83-LaJoie, #75-Gaughan, #27-Menard, #55-Sorenson #83-LaJoie was the highest finishing Open Team (non-chartered team), finishing 18th. The other two Open teams: #75-Gaughan finished 19th, #55-Sorenson finished last, in 21st, after contact from #83-LaJoie sent him into the inside SAFER barrier in turn 1 with 11 laps remaining in the race. #75-Gaughan will make the race based on his qualifying speed. He starts 39th. The top 10 finishers earned points under the new scoring system this year. Elliott’s win earns him 10 points, 10th place #72-Whitt gets 1 point. There were two cautions: One for a competition caution on lap 25 and the other for Sorenson’s accident. The finishers of the 1st Can-Am Duel 150 will line up on the inside (odd number) line. #24-Ellott starts on the pole and #1-McMurray will start 3rd. See results on the First Can-Am Duel 150 Results page (pdf).(2-23-2017)

FedEx extends contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin signs extension: FedEx announced its extension with Joe Gibbs Racing to serve as the sponsor of the #11 Toyota with driver Denny Hamlin in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.[More](2-23-2017)

Subway sponsoring Daniel Suarez: After a successful eight year relationship with Carl Edwards, the SUBWAY brand to announces its commitment to sponsoring Joe Gibbs Racing’s newest driver, Daniel Suarez. SUBWAY will sponsor Suarez’s #19 Toyota in four of this season’s races.[More](2-23-2017)

Rick Ware Racing and BUBBA burger partner for 2017 Cup season:Officials from Rick Ware Racing (RWR) announced that BUBBA burger has joined their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) team for the 2017 season.[More](2-23-2017)

Danica Patrick talks about concussions: #10-Danica Patrick says she has had a number of concussions in her career and Earnhardt, Jr. set a good example by getting out of the car to heal.[More](2-23-2017)

Forbes ranks NASCAR’s most valuable teams: A dozen years ago, few leagues could match the popularity of NASCAR, which boasted record-high viewership and was going toe-to-toe with the NFL. But then few leagues suffered worse during the economic crash.[More](2-23-2017)

Jimmie Johnson is now NASCAR’s highest-earning driver: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been the biggest personality in NASCAR for more than a decade. He’s clinched the fans’ most popular driver vote for 14 straight years. His merchandise sales lap the competition annually, and he’s been the highest-paid driver in the sport for eight straight years. But concussion symptoms caused Earnhardt to miss the final 18 races of the 2016 season and the prize money that comes with it[More](2-23-2017)

NASCAR expands NASCAR TrackPass to more international fans:NASCAR TrackPass, the sport’s first digital subscription product developed specifically for the international market, will now offer live racing action to more NASCAR fans than ever before. Fans around the world can watch all 38 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and 33 NASCAR XFINITY Series events either through NASCAR’s local television partner or by subscribing to NASCAR TrackPass. The product will be available in 120 countries and territories at launch, with plans to continue expanding the NASCAR TrackPass footprint throughout 2017.[More](2-23-2017)

Sad News – Henry Furr: Henry Lee Furr, 83 years of age, of Concord, passed away Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast in Concord. Henry was owner, builder and promoter of the Concord Motor Speedway.[More](2-23-2017)

Briscoe paces Daytona Truck practice: After over a two-month absence, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series action returned on Thursday, with practice in preparation of Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Rain forced NASCAR to consolidate the originally scheduled two practice sessions into one, with rookie, #29-Chase Briscoe, posting the fastest lap during the nearly two-hour session. He was followed by #24-Scott Lagasse, Jr., #13-Cody Coughlin, #27-Ben Rhodes, #17-Timothy Peters, #21-Johnny Sauter, #8-John Hunter Nemechek, #52-Stewart Friesen, #18-Noah Gragson, and #4-Christopher Bell. 42 drivers are entered. All 42 practiced.[Practice speeds](2-23-2017)

Safelite to sponsor Rhodes: ThorSport Racing announced that Safelite AutoGlass, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services, is supporting the #27 Toyota Tundra driven by Louisville, KY native, Ben Rhodes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. With 70 years of service, Safelite knows auto glass. Founded at a single location in Wichita, Kansas in 1947, the Columbus, Ohio based-company has grown into the largest auto glass specialist in the United States, employing 13,000 people with service in all 50 states.[More](2-23-2017)

Ed Roland to sing national anthem at Atlanta: Ed Roland, front man for multi-platinum rock band Collective Soul, will perform the national anthem at the March 5 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway with his band, Ed Roland & the Sweet Tea Project.[More](2-23-2017)

Hulman Terrace Club tickets on sale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Premium seating in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hulman Terrace Club is on-sale now for the 2017 racing season and beyond.[More](2-23-2017)


News from February 22, 2017


New format can help ease pressure in Jimmie Johnson’s quest for eighth title: The new format in place for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship this year will help Jimmie Johnson keep his mind off what could be a monumental accomplishment.[More](2-22-2017)

Michael Waltrip confirms Daytona will be his final race: Michael Waltrip spoke members of the media Wednesday at Daytona 500 media day and discussed his decision to retire after Sunday’s race.[More](2-22-2017)

Team Penske expands sponsorship with Fitzgerald Glider Kits: Team Penske announced that it has renewed its partnership with Fitzgerald Glider Kits, North America’s leading glider kit assembler, for the 2017 NASCAR season. The new agreement will extend the relationship into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), while continuing Fitzgerald’s involvement in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS).[More](-2017)

Rick Ware Racing picks up Daytona 500 sponsor: In their bid to make the 59th annual Daytona 500, officials from Rick Ware Racing (RWR) announced that have secured a primary sponsor for their #51 Chevrolet SS driven by mainstay driver Timmy Hill.[More](2-22-2017)

Drivers complete two-day test session at Las Vegas: NASCAR drivers Daniel Suarez, Landon Cassill, Alex Bowman and Drew Herring completed two days of successful wheel force testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday.[More](2-22-2017)

NASCAR, TSN, and RDS Announce Multi-Year Media Rights Extension: TSN and RDS announced they have reached a multi-year media rights extension with NASCAR, with the networks retaining exclusive Canadian media rights to all MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES and NASCAR XFINITY SERIES races across all platforms. A longtime partner of the sport, TSN has helped NASCAR to diversify its fan base and build domestic brand recognition by broadcasting races since the network’s inception in 1984.[More](2-22-2017)

NASCAR increasing social media efforts around Daytona 500:NASCAR has begun rolling out an expansive social media plan heading into this weekend’s Daytona 500 as the sanctioning body looks to drum up viewership for and engagement around the sports biggest race. NASCAR Managing Dir of Social Media Scott Warfield said his group had two overarching goals heading into the offseason — build awareness and excitement for Daytona earlier in the offseason than it previously had, and help onboard new Cup Series title sponsor Monster Energy from a social media perspective.[More](2-22-2017)

Team Penske formes technical partnership with Stratasys: Team Penske announced that it has formed a technical partnership with Stratasys Ltd., the 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company.[More](2-22-2017)

NASCAR Foundation Executive Director leaving: Lorene King, who has led The NASCAR Foundation as its executive director since 2012, has accepted a position with Daytona State College to serve as vice president of advancement and executive director of the Daytona State College Foundation.[More](2-22-2017)

Kettelle Roofing joins JD Motorsports at Dayona: Robert W. Kettelle Roofing Contractors of Florida will serve as a key associate sponsor for the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team’s three-way run in Saturday’s Xfinity Series opener at Daytona International Speedway. [More](2-22-2017)

New team Copp Motorsports joins Truck Series: A new race team is entering the national touring ranks of NASCAR in 2017. Copp Motorsports, owned by DJ Copp, is going to field the #83 Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series. The assets were acquired from the former Contreras Motorsports team that raced the #71 truck in 2016. The team plans to run the entire Camping World Truck Season.[More](2-22-2017)

Chastain to pilot Bolen entry in Daytona: Ross Chastain will pilot the #66 Rugged Cross Blinds Chevrolet for Bolen Motorsports in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. Chastain last saw action with Bolen Motorsports on the high banks of Talladega where he finished 15th. The #66 entry will feature the Rugged Cross blinds brand as well as Realtree’s Xtra camo pattern for the Daytona event.[More](2-22-2017)

Bojangles’ Legends Breakfast will return to Darlington: Darlington Raceway is once again giving fans the opportunity to participate in a special race-day celebration featuring several NASCAR Hall of Famers and other industry legends that helped build the foundation of the sport.[More](2-22-2017)

Colt Ford in concert at Phoenix: Race fans attending the Camping World 500 on Sunday, March 19 at Phoenix Raceway will be treated to a performance by country music star Colt Ford before the green flag drops. The concert, which will take place on the Fan Midway area at 10:30am/mt, is just one part of race-day excitement that is free to all fans with a grandstand ticket for the Camping World 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, March 19. [More](2-22-2017)


News from February 21, 2017


Richard Petty to Visit ESPN Headquarters: On Tuesday, February 21, “The King” Richard Petty will spend a day at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. Petty, the seven-time Daytona 500 champion and current owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, will promote the upcoming running of the “Great American Race,” the Daytona 500.[More]

Larson, team not happy with early exit from Clash: #42-Kyle Larson’s car was parked with 14 laps remaining in the Clash at Daytona exhibition Sunday when his team had more than six crewmen over the wall to work on the car. NASCAR’s new damaged vehicle policy states that the penalty for “too many men over the wall” is the car can’t continue in the race.[More]

Ambrose opens up on comeback and retirement: Marcos Ambrose has opened up on his decision to retire from V8 Supercars in 2015, just months after returning to the sport. The Tasmanian won championships in 2003 and 2004 before moving to the USA to chase a career in NASCAR.[More]

Passion to race drives Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s return to the track: Dale Earnhardt Jr. felt “wobbly” and didn’t know why. In his motor coach last July at Kentucky Speedway, Earnhardt felt the first hint of the concussion symptoms that would keep him out of the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the last half of the 2016 season. [More]

Statistical Advance: Analyzing The Daytona 500: [More]

Gase announces partners for NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona Joey Gase and Jimmy Means Racing announce their sponsors for the Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday, February 25th. [More](2-21-2017)

David Starr partners with B.J. McLeod Motorsports in Daytona David Starr will join forces with B.J. McLeod Motorsports for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on February 25th piloting the # 99 Chevrolet Camaro. UPDATE: To kick off their sophomore season of NASCAR XFINITY Series competition, B.J. McLeod Motorsports will field three cars in Saturday afternoon’s PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway. 21-year-old Clint King will drive the team’s flagship #78.[More](2-20/21-2017)

Nexteer Automotive returns to Richard Childress Racing Following a successful 2016 season, Nexteer Automotive will kick off the second year of its partnership with Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR XFINITY Series program at Daytona International Speedway by serving as the primary sponsor of the #33 Chevrolet Camaro, driven by Brandon Jones.[More](2-21-2017)

Menards extends sponsorship of Richard Childress Racing’s XFINITY program: Looking to continue building success both on and off the track, Menards has renewed its partnership with Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR XFINITY Series program for a fifth year. Menards will serve as a primary sponsor for select races throughout the 2017 season with Paul Menard and Ben Kennedy driving the #2 Chevrolet and Brandon Jones in the #33 Chevrolet.[More](2-21-2017)

Self to run second truck for AM Racing: AM Racing confirmed that 20-year-old Austin Wayne Self will drive the team’s newest entry, the #32 Toyota Tundra in Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Aiding Self’s efforts this week is longtime partner AM Technical Solutions. Bill Henderson will crew chief Self’s efforts this weekend at Daytona.[More](2-21-2017)

Forrister set for full season with Wauters: Korbin Forrister will run the full 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season for Wauters Motorsports, beginning with the season opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Advanced Medical Laboratories will be the primary sponsor of the #5 Toyota Tundra entry at DIS and Atlanta Motor Speedway.[More](2-21-2017)


News from February 20, 2017


Small Crowd for the Clash at Daytona: Sunday’s Clash at Daytona was the 39th running of the annual exhibition. For much of its existence, it’s been a show unto itself. This time, moved to Sunday’s bright sunshine due to Saturday night’s rain clouds, it served somewhat as a primer for the Daytona 500, which will also presumably run in warm sunshine. But unlike the 500, the Clash rolled out before the smallest crowd for a big-league Daytona race in memory, an estimated 15,000. You can blame the rain-mandated rescheduling. You can blame Dale Earnhardt Jr., who spent the day in the TV booth instead of his racecar. There’s some rationale to both of those, but still, it wasn’t a busy day at the ticket windows, and that’s always troubling for Speedway officials. “If I’m disappointed, I’m disappointed for our team, because they’ve worked so hard to make sure we put on a great show for the fans,” said Chip Wile, in his first Speedweeks as Speedway president.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-20-2017)

Pocono Raceway Weekend NASCAR Schedules Announced: Pocono Raceway announced the official race weekend schedule for its 2017 NASCAR race weekends. Pocono Raceway will host a pair of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekends at the 2.5-mile ‘Tricky Triangle’ this summer. The Pocono 400 in June (9-11) will be the typical three-day weekend with Cup practice and qualifying scheduled for Friday, two practices scheduled for Saturday and the race scheduled for Sunday at 3:00pm/et. The Pennsylvania 400 in July (28-30) is scheduled to be a two-day show with two Cup practices scheduled for Saturday. Qualifying is scheduled for Sunday at 12:05pm/et with the race following at 3:00pm/et. See the schedule at poconoraceway.com. Pocono Raceway will host seven major events in 2017, including two NASCAR and one Verizon IndyCar Series weekend. Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.poconoraceway.com, by calling 1-800-RACEWAY or in person at the Pocono Raceway Ticket Office.(Pocono Raceway)(2-20-2017)

Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 11:15 AM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 12:53 PM (all times are EST). FS1 was the broadcast team for this event. Start time to record race/commercial periods: 11:15 AM End time to record race/commercial periods: 12:53 PM Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 98 Minutes of race broadcast: 81 Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 17 Number of missed restarts: 0 Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 0 Total number of commercials: 36 Total number of companies or entities advertised: 24 Number of times FS1 utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 0 Total race brdcst time 81 Total comm. brdcst time 17 See full report, past races, more info on the commercials with links at CawsnJaws.com.(2-20-2017)

New members for the NASCAR Cup Drivers Council: Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola are the new members of the NASCAR Cup Drivers Council. They join returning members Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick. The new drivers replace Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson. Drivers earn a spot on the 10-member council based on their performance the previous year or by being elected by fellow competitors. The group regularly meets with NASCAR officials to discuss on-track and off-track matters.(NBC Sports)(2-20-2017)

Rear tire changer for the #88 suffers injury in post race accident:Over coming adversity and figuring out a way to make things happen is what NASCAR is all about. For the #88 crew this has come earlier than later. Following the Clash Sunday afternoon in Daytona, rear tire changer Devin DelRicco had his ankle run over by a pit road utility cart. The details are a little sketchy at the moment but sources that were around the accident said the cart got DelRicco’s ankle and that he was having trouble putting any weight on it.(Pit Talks)(2-20-2017)

Does Jimmie Johnson’s Daytona DNF spell trouble for Hendrick drivers? Twice during Sunday’s rain-delayed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, #48-Jimmie Johnson spun without provocation off Turn 4. The first time, on Lap 17, he took out the #41 Ford of Kurt Busch. The second time, Johnson nosed into the inside wall near the entrance to pit road crashed out of the 75-lap exhibition race. Forget that Johnson failed to finish the Clash for the sixth straight year. More important is the observation that the balance of the Hendrick Motorsports cars has been problematic at restrictor-plate tracks. Watching from the TV booth as Alex Bowman drove his #88 Chevy to a third-place finish Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed apprehension when Johnson spun once, then twice. Remember, Earnhardt spun three times on plate tracks last year before a concussion sidelined him for the final 18 races of the season. Unlike last year, Earnhardt plans to practice extensively for next Sunday’s Daytona 500. Sunday’s accidents left Johnson thinking in the same vein. “It’s bizarre, because it drove really good everywhere else,” Johnson said after the second wreck. “Then off of (Turn) 4, the first time I had a handling problem was when it broke free and I got into the #41, and then after that it was really loose after that caution and the last long stretch before I crashed again. “Just off of Turn 4. The sun certainly sits on that edge of the track a little bit harder than anywhere else. We will take some notes and learn from those mistakes and apply that to the (Daytona) 500 car.” As to possible solutions, Johnson already was pondering potential fixes. “I would have to assume that it’s relative to the height of the rear spoiler,” said the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion. “When there is less air and the air is so turbulent back there, the spoiler is so small it’s real easy to get the pressure off of it, and then the back just rotates around. We can adjust rear shocks, rear ride height and try to get more pitch in the car in a sense to keep the spoiler up in the air longer.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-20-2017)

Casey Mears to run 12 races for Biagi-DenBeste: NASCAR veteran Casey Mears and sponsor GEICO will partner with Biagi-DenBeste Racing for 12 races in the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season.Mears will pilot the #98 GEICO Military Ford Mustang, which will pay tribute to our nation’s military and its service members. This partnership reunites a sponsor and team who previously experienced success together in the Xfinity Series from 2002 to 2006, where Biagi-DenBeste Racing handed GEICO their first NASCAR win on July 2, 2004, at the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway. 11-years later, they are back together and looking to achieve similar results with Mears behind the wheel, beginning in Fontana, CA, on March 26th. Aside from being the longtime sponsor of Germain Racing’s #13 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entry, GEICO has become synonymous with the sport of auto racing, establishing itself as an entitlement sponsor at Talladega Superspeedway with the GEICO 500, while also blanketing racetracks across the country with the GEICO logo, including campgrounds where fans make their home during each race weekend.(Player Management International), see an image of the car on the #98 team paint schemes page.(2-20-2017)

David Starr in the #99 at Daytona: David Starr will join forces with B.J. McLeod Motorsports for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on February 25th piloting the #99 Chevrolet Camaro. Tyler, Texas based Striping Technology L.P. will be on board as the primary sponsor for the Powershares QQQ 300. “It’s an honor to have our long-term partner and friend, Linda Rudd of Striping Technology, on the car to kick-off the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY season”, stated Starr. “All of us at Striping Technology couldn’t be more proud to sponsor David and the #99 Team. He’s such a positive role model and representative for our company on and off the track”, adds Linda Rudd.(David Starr Racing)(2-20-2017)


News from February 19, 2017


Elliott wins Daytona 500 pole again: #24-Chase Elliott win the Coors Light pole for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 192.872mph, his 2nd Daytona pole and 3rd career pole. Elliott has never won from the pole. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 2nd after running 192.864mph. The front row is locked into those spots. The rest of the field will be determined by the Can-Am Duel 150 Qualifying Races on Thursday (7pm/et on FS1). The rest of the top12: #2-Keselowski, #14=Bowyer, #78-Truex Jr., #11-Hamlin, #4-Harvick, #5-Kahne, #20-Kenseth, #31-Newman, #18-Busch and #13-Ty Dillon. Winning back-to-back Daytona 500 poles is something of a family tradition, as #24-Chase Elliott proved by the skin of his teeth on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. The last driver to take a lap in the second and final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Elliott covered the distance in 46.663 seconds (192.872 mph) to edge Hendrick Motorsports teammate #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. by .002 seconds. The pole was the second straight for Elliott, who led the field to green last year as a Sunoco rookie. It was the third straight for Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, who won the pole with driver Jeff Gordon in 2015 in Gordon’s last year as a full-time driver. With three straight poles as a crew, Gustafson shares a record previously held solely by Ernie Elliott, Chase Elliott’s uncle, who fielded cars driven by former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, Chase’s father. “Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has done a lot of work this off-season,” said Elliott, who claimed the third Coors Light Pole Award of his career, all at restrictor-plate tracks. “This team definitely has a knack for these plate tracks, as they showed with Jeff Gordon and then last year with here and Talladega (where Elliott also won the pole). But that stuff doesn’t just happen by staying the same, as everybody knows. Everyone is always trying to get better and make their cars better and faster; and the engine shop is always finding new things. So I think that’s just proof that they’re improving with everybody else and taking that next step, which is really impressive. I’m happy to be a part of it, and hopefully we can run good next Sunday.” Elliott and Earnhardt are the only two drivers locked into their starting spots for next Sunday’s 59th running of the Great American Race. They will lead the field to the green flag in the first and second Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday night, Elliott in the first Duel, Earnhardt in the second. Earnhardt is racing for the first time since a concussion sidelined him for the final 18 events of the 2016 season. The satisfaction of locking in a front-row starting position tempered his disappointment at missing the pole by the slimmest of margins. “I certainly would have loved to have gotten a pole, but my boss man (Rick Hendrick) is happy,” Earnhardt said. “I just talked to him on the phone, and he’s got to be thrilled with having his cars up front.” Brad Keselowski qualified third at 192.691 mph and will start on the outside of the front row in Thursday night’s first Duel. Clint Bowyer, in his first competitive effort in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will start beside Earnhardt in the second Duel after posting the fourth fastest speed (192.571 mph). With 36 chartered teams knowing they will race next Sunday, six “Open” entries are vying for the four remaining berths in the Daytona 500 field. Sunday’s time trials brought good news for Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler, who know they will race next Sunday as the two fastest qualifiers among the “go-or-go-homers.” Conversely, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Timmy Hill, who posted the two slowest times in the field, can race in the 500 only if they are the fastest Open drivers in their respective Duels.(NASCAR Wire Service) During round one of qualifying #24-Elliott was also fastest at 192.308mph, followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr., #2-Keselowski, #78-Truex Jr., #20-Kenseth, #11-Hamlin, #14-Bowyer, #18-Busch, #31-Newman, #5-Kahne, #4-Harvick and #13-Dillon, these 12 drivers advanced to the 2nd/final round and went for the two locked positions of the pole and outside pole. Not Advancing: 17, 48, 19, 42, 22, 21, 6, 77, 27, 41, 1, 10, 43, 3, 34, 47, 32, 95, 37, 38, 75*, 72, 15, 7*, 55*, 96*, 23, 83*, 33, 51*. The six Open/non-Charter, teams running for the four open Daytona 500 spots, #75-Gaughan and #7-Sadler secured spots by being the two fastest non-charter cars in qualifying. Gaughan was 33rd fastest and Sadler was 36th fastest. The next two drivers in speed are #55-Sorenson and #96-Kennington. If either Gaughan or Sadler are the highest finisher in their Duels, Sorenson would make the race on speed. If both Gaughan and Sadler are the highest finisher in their Duels, then both Sorenson and Kennington would make the Daytona 50 field. The remaining two drivers: #83-LaJoie and #51-Hill, have to be the highest finishing non-Charter car to make the race. For round-by-round qualifying results, see the Daytona 500 Qualifying Results page (pdf).(2-19-2017)

Can-Am Duel 150’s Starting Lineups Can-Am Duel Race 2 Starting Lineup (pdf) Can-Am Duel Race 1 Starting Lineup (pdf)

Daytona Qualifying Fast Facts: #24-Chase Elliott won the Coors Light Pole Award for the The 59th Annual Daytona 500 with a lap of 46.663 seconds, 192.872 mph. This is his third pole in 42 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races. This is his first pole and first top-10 start in 2017. This is his second Daytona 500 pole (2016-2017) in three races at Daytona International Speedway. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (second) posted his first top-10 start of 2017 and his 23rd in 35 races at Daytona International Speedway. #2-Brad Keselowski (third) posted his third top-10 start at Daytona International Speedway. #13-Ty Dillon (12th) was the fastest qualifying rookie. Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Chase Elliott, posted his third consecutive Daytona 500 pole (Jeff Gordon, 2015; Chase Elliott, 2016-2017) tieing the record Ernie Elliott set in 1985-1987. Chase Elliott becomes the fifth driver in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history to win consecutive Daytona 500 poles joining Fireball Roberts, Buddy Baker, Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader. Chase and Bill Elliott are the fourth father-son duo to win the Daytona 500 pole joining Richard and Kyle Petty, Bobby and Davey Allison and Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.; the Elliott’s are the first father-son duo to win consecutive Daytona 500 poles.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-19-2017)

Daytona 500 Front Row Qualifying Research Notes: – Chase Elliott: 1st driver to win pole in first 2 Daytona 500 starts – Elliott: 1st driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500 poles since Ken Schrader (3 straight from 1988-90); 5th driver with consecutive Daytona 500 poles (Fireball Roberts, Buddy Baker, Bill Elliott, Schrader) – Elliott: joins Jimmie Johnson as only active drivers with multiple Daytona 500 poles – Dale Earnhardt Jr.: will start 2nd; 4th front-row start in Daytona 500 – Hendrick Motorsports: 4th time sweeping front row in last 8 Daytona 500s (Roush Fenway Racing also did so once in span) – Elliott Sadler, Brendan Gaughan: qualified for field (2 remaining unclaimed spots up in Thursday’s Can-Am Dual races) (ESPN Stats)(2-19-2017)

Daytona 500 Qualifying: Sunday’s qualifying only locks in the front row for the following week’s Daytona 500, but it will also determine 2 of the 4 starting positions that aren’t guaranteed to teams with charters before the race. The 2 fastest of the non-locked in teams will be assured spots, regardless of how they finish in Thursday’s qualifying races. The qualifying will also determine the starting lineups for the qualifying races. How the Field is Set – 2017 Daytona 500 – First 2 positions determined by Sunday’s qualifying – 36 of 40 starters already determined by charter teams – Top non-qualified finisher in each of Thursday’s qualifying races are locked in – Fastest 2 non-qualified drivers Sunday are locked into field (ESPN Stats)(2-19-2017)

Recently, the trend has been for the Daytona 500 pole winners to make history that same season: Daytona 500 Pole Winners – Last 4 Years ” 2013: Danica Patrick becomes 1st woman to win NASCAR Cup Series pole ” 2014: Austin Dillon wins pole in 1st race by driver in #3 since Dale Earnhardt’s death ” 2015: Jeff Gordon wins pole for final Daytona 500; fastest pole speed since 1987 (201.293 MPH) ” 2016: Chase Elliott wins the pole in the #24’s first race since Jeff Gordon’s retirement; youngest pole winner in Daytona 500 history Could a rookie, win a Daytona 500 pole? It’s happened 3 of the last 4 years, with Chase Elliott in 2016, Austin Dillon in 2014, Danica Patrick in 2013. Previously, rookies had only won 3 Daytona 500 poles (Jimmie Johnson in 2002, Mike Skinner in 1997, Loy Allen in 1994). This year: Daniel Súarez, Erik Jones and Ty Dillon are rookies attempting to qualify.(ESPN Stats)(2-19-2017)

What it takes to make the Daytona 500: Christmas comes but once a year. The same is true of the unique qualifying format for the Daytona 500. Unlike Christmas, however, the setting and ordering of the field for the Great American Race takes five days, from single-car qualifying on Sunday through the Can-Am Duel at Daytona twin 150-mile races on Thursday. The basics are straightforward. Only two cars in Sunday’s time trails are locked into their starting positions for the Daytona 500-the pole winner and the car that qualifies on the outside of the front row. Of the 42 entries for the race, 36 hold Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series charters and are guaranteed to compete on Feb. 26. That leaves six drivers fighting for the four remaining positions in the 500. Those drivers are #7-Elliott Sadler, #51-Timmy Hill, #55-Reed Sorenson, #75-Brendan Gaughan, #83-Corey LaJoie and #96-DJ Kennington. Qualifying on Sunday sets the starting order for the Can-Am Duel races on Thursday, with the odd-number qualifiers (positions 1-3-5, etc.) running the first Duel, and even numbers competing in the second Duel. The finishing positions in the Thursday races determine the starting positions for the 500, with the exception of the front row. The winner of the first Duel, which forms the inside row, starts third in the Great American Race, with the winner of the second Duel starting fourth, on the outside of the second row. If either of the front row starters wins a Duel, then the second-row position goes to second place finisher in that particular Duel. Open drivers, those competing without charters, have two avenues into the 500. The highest-finishing driver in each of the Can-Am Duels earns a starting position on Feb. 26. The final two positions go to the two fastest among the open drivers in Sunday’s time trials, if not already qualified through the Duels.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-19-2017)

Joey Logano wins wild Clash at Daytona: When #2-Brad Keselowski and #11-Denny Hamlin collided in Turn 2 on the final lap of Sunday’s rain-delayed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, #22-Joey Logano was there to seize the moment. Charging to the outside and grabbing the lead near the entry to the Superstretch at the 2.5-mile speedway, Logano took the checkered flag 1.121 seconds ahead of runner-up #18-Kyle Busch, who beat third-place finisher #88-Alex Bowman to the stripe by .018 seconds. #10-Danica Patrick dodged the Turn 2 melee to surge from 10th to fourth on the final lap to post her first top-five finish in any Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, though the result is not official because the Clash is an exhibition event with a limited field. #4-Kevin Harvick, driving a Ford for the first time at NASCAR’s highest level, came home fifth. #19-Daniel Suárez, in his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start, finished eighth. Logano’s victory was the first in the Clash for a Ford driver since Dale Jarrett took the checkered flag in 2004. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas settled into the first four spots after a restart on Lap 65, but Team Penske teammates Keselowski and Logano sped toward the front in the outside lane and successfully side-drafted and broke up the Camry armada. The race was decided when Keselowski challenged defending winner Hamlin for the lead on the final lap. Keselowski, who came home sixth, powered his Ford to the bottom of Turn 2. Hamlin tried to protect his position, and the cars collided, Hamlin’s Toyota spinning wildly and Keselowski’s Ford losing momentum off the corner. Logano pulled out to a 100-yard lead and maintained it as Busch and Bowman battled side-by-side behind him. “That was the play,” Logano said of the side-drafting strategy. “The Toyotas are so selfless, I guess is the way to look at it. They’re able to work together and think of one car winning, and they’re really good at that. We had to think that same way as Ford (drivers), and we Stewart-Haas and the Penske cars, we were able to get a good enough run to work together enough to break them up and make the passes, and then there at the end, it was kind of a mess. Everything was going really fast, and I was just in the right place at the right time.” Even though the Clash featured a mandatory caution at Lap 25, and even though the cars had been set up for racing under the lights, drivers were uniformly aggressive in the opening segment, often running three-wide in an attempt to gain track position. On Lap 17, #41-Kurt Busch fell victim to a handling problem with reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Chevy. Johnson got loose in Turn 4 and spun into the right rear of Busch’s #41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, turning Busch hard into the outside wall. “I was just minding my own business in the low groove and we got tagged in the right rear,” Kurt Busch said after exiting the Infield Care Center. “It’s kind of a shame – all of the hard work and the effort everybody puts into the off-season – Doug Yates and his engines and everybody from Ford and everybody at Stewart-Haas, all of the effort put towards building a car and we didn’t even make it to the first pit stop, so it’s kind of a bummer.” Johnson car survived that wreck, but the handling remained evil, and on Lap 49 he spun again off Turn 4 and clobbered the inside wall near the entrance to pit road. The wreck put Johnson out of the race, his sixth straight DNF in the season-opening exhibition event. With 14 laps left, #78-Martin Truex Jr. tried to fill a hole that wasn’t there and clipped the right front of Kyle Larson’s #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy. Truex spun in Turn 3, rocketed toward the outside wall and caught the left rear of Chris Buescher’s #37 Chevy, which needed two trips to pit road to repair the damage. That wreck set up the wild 11-lap run to the finish that saw the opportunistic Logano take advantage of the last-lap tangle between Keselowski and Hamlin.(NASCAR Wire Service), see results on the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Results page (pdf)(2-19-2017)

Results of the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona: 1) #22-Joey Logano, Shell/Pennzoil Ford 2) #18-Kyle Busch, M&M’s Toyota 3) #88-Alex Bowman, Nationwide Chevy 4) #10-Danica Patrick, TaxAct Ford 5) #4-Kevin Harvick, Busch Beer Ford 6) #2-Brad Keselowski, SKF Ford 7) #24-Chase Elliott, NAPA Chevy 8) #19-Daniel Suarez, ARRIS Toyota 9) #37-Chris Buescher, Kroger Click List Chevy 10) #1-Jamie McMurray, McDonald’s Big Mac Chevy 11) #20-Matt Kenseth, Interstate Batteries Toyota 12) #3-Austin Dillon, Dow Chevy 13) #11-Denny Hamlin, Fedex Express Toyota, 74 laps 14) #42-Kyle Larson, Credit One Chevy, 61 laps, damage 15) #78-Martin Truex Jr, 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota, 60 laps, accident 16) #48-Jimmie Johnson, Lowe’s Chevy, 48 laps, accident 17) #41-Kurt Busch, Monster Energy / Haas Automation Ford, 16 laps, accident Average Speed of Race Winner: 143.831 mph. Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 18 Mins, 13 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.120 Seconds. Caution Flags: 4 for 16 laps. Lead Changes: 6 among 4 drivers. Lap Leaders: B. Keselowski 1-8; D. Hamlin 9; B. Keselowski 10-19; Kyle Busch 20-24; J. Logano 25-27; D. Hamlin 28-74; J. Logano 75;. Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): D. Hamlin 2 times for 48 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 18 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 5 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 4 laps.(2-19-2017)

Annual Advance Auto Parts Clash – Race Fast Facts: #22-Joey Logano won the The 39th Annual Advance Auto Parts Clash, his first victory in the preseason event. In nine starts in the Advance Auto Parts Clash Logano has posted one win (2017), four top fives and six top 10s. This is the third Advance Auto Parts Clash victory for Team Penske – Joey Logano (2017), Kurt Busch (2011) and Rusty Wallace (1998). #18-Kyle Busch (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish in the Advance Auto Parts Clash. #88-Alex Bowman (third) posted his first top-10 finish in the Advance Auto Parts Clash. #19-Daniel Suarez (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie. Logano is the 22nd different driver to win the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. #10-Danica Patrick finished fourth in the Advance Auto Parts Clash – the highest finish by a female driver in the event – previous best was Patrick’s 10th-place finish in 2010.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-19-2017)

The Clash at Daytona: – Joey Logano: 1st Clash win; 3rd career win at Daytona (2015 Daytona 500, 2011 July NXS race) – Team Penske: 3rd time winning The Clash (2011 Kurt Busch, 1998 Rusty Wallace) – Kyle Busch: finished 2nd; 2012 winner of race – Alex Bowman: finished 3rd; making Clash debut (does not have ride for 2016 Cup Series season) – Danica Patrick: finished 4th; first finish better than 10th in 4th career Clash start – Denny Hamlin: was leading on final lap (finished 13th after contact from Brad Keselowski); had won race 2 of last 3 years – Jimmie Johnson: finished 16th; 6th straight year wrecking out of event (7th DNF in The Clash ties Jeff Gordon’s record) – First win for a Ford driver since Dale Jarrett won in 2004.(ESPN Stats)(2-19-2017)

Joey Logano wins wild Clash at Daytona: When #2-Brad Keselowski and #11-Denny Hamlin collided in Turn 2 on the final lap of Sunday’s rain-delayed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, #22-Joey Logano was there to seize the moment. Charging to the outside and grabbing the lead near the entry to the Superstretch at the 2.5-mile speedway, Logano took the checkered flag 1.121 seconds ahead of runner-up #18-Kyle Busch, who beat third-place finisher #88-Alex Bowman to the stripe by .018 seconds. #10-Danica Patrick dodged the Turn 2 melee to surge from 10th to fourth on the final lap to post her first top-five finish in any Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, though the result is not official because the Clash is an exhibition event with a limited field. #4-Kevin Harvick, driving a Ford for the first time at NASCAR’s highest level, came home fifth. #19-Daniel Suárez, in his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start, finished eighth. Logano’s victory was the first in the Clash for a Ford driver since Dale Jarrett took the checkered flag in 2004. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas settled into the first four spots after a restart on Lap 65, but Team Penske teammates Keselowski and Logano sped toward the front in the outside lane and successfully side-drafted and broke up the Camry armada. The race was decided when Keselowski challenged defending winner Hamlin for the lead on the final lap. Keselowski, who came home sixth, powered his Ford to the bottom of Turn 2. Hamlin tried to protect his position, and the cars collided, Hamlin’s Toyota spinning wildly and Keselowski’s Ford losing momentum off the corner. Logano pulled out to a 100-yard lead and maintained it as Busch and Bowman battled side-by-side behind him. “That was the play,” Logano said of the side-drafting strategy. “The Toyotas are so selfless, I guess is the way to look at it. They’re able to work together and think of one car winning, and they’re really good at that. We had to think that same way as Ford (drivers), and we Stewart-Haas and the Penske cars, we were able to get a good enough run to work together enough to break them up and make the passes, and then there at the end, it was kind of a mess. Everything was going really fast, and I was just in the right place at the right time.” Even though the Clash featured a mandatory caution at Lap 25, and even though the cars had been set up for racing under the lights, drivers were uniformly aggressive in the opening segment, often running three-wide in an attempt to gain track position. On Lap 17, #41-Kurt Busch fell victim to a handling problem with reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Chevy. Johnson got loose in Turn 4 and spun into the right rear of Busch’s #41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, turning Busch hard into the outside wall. “I was just minding my own business in the low groove and we got tagged in the right rear,” Kurt Busch said after exiting the Infield Care Center. “It’s kind of a shame – all of the hard work and the effort everybody puts into the off-season – Doug Yates and his engines and everybody from Ford and everybody at Stewart-Haas, all of the effort put towards building a car and we didn’t even make it to the first pit stop, so it’s kind of a bummer.” Johnson car survived that wreck, but the handling remained evil, and on Lap 49 he spun again off Turn 4 and clobbered the inside wall near the entrance to pit road. The wreck put Johnson out of the race, his sixth straight DNF in the season-opening exhibition event. With 14 laps left, #78-Martin Truex Jr. tried to fill a hole that wasn’t there and clipped the right front of Kyle Larson’s #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy. Truex spun in Turn 3, rocketed toward the outside wall and caught the left rear of Chris Buescher’s #37 Chevy, which needed two trips to pit road to repair the damage. That wreck set up the wild 11-lap run to the finish that saw the opportunistic Logano take advantage of the last-lap tangle between Keselowski and Hamlin.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-19-2017)

Results of the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona: 1) #22-Joey Logano, Shell/Pennzoil Ford 2) #18-Kyle Busch, M&M’s Toyota 3) #88-Alex Bowman, Nationwide Chevy 4) #10-Danica Patrick, TaxAct Ford 5) #4-Kevin Harvick, Busch Beer Ford 6) #2-Brad Keselowski, SKF Ford 7) #24-Chase Elliott, NAPA Chevy 8) #19-Daniel Suarez, ARRIS Toyota 9) #37-Chris Buescher, Kroger Click List Chevy 10) #1-Jamie McMurray, McDonald’s Big Mac Chevy 11) #20-Matt Kenseth, Interstate Batteries Toyota 12) #3-Austin Dillon, Dow Chevy 13) #11-Denny Hamlin, Fedex Express Toyota, 74 laps 14) #42-Kyle Larson, Credit One Chevy, 61 laps, damage 15) #78-Martin Truex Jr, 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota, 60 laps, accident 16) #48-Jimmie Johnson, Lowe’s Chevy, 48 laps, accident 17) #41-Kurt Busch, Monster Energy / Haas Automation Ford, 16 laps, accident Average Speed of Race Winner: 143.831 mph. Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 18 Mins, 13 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.120 Seconds. Caution Flags: 4 for 16 laps. Lead Changes: 6 among 4 drivers. Lap Leaders: B. Keselowski 1-8; D. Hamlin 9; B. Keselowski 10-19; Kyle Busch 20-24; J. Logano 25-27; D. Hamlin 28-74; J. Logano 75;. Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): D. Hamlin 2 times for 48 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 18 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 5 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 4 laps.(2-19-2017)

Annual Advance Auto Parts Clash – Race Fast Facts: #22-Joey Logano won the The 39th Annual Advance Auto Parts Clash, his first victory in the preseason event. In nine starts in the Advance Auto Parts Clash Logano has posted one win (2017), four top fives and six top 10s. This is the third Advance Auto Parts Clash victory for Team Penske – Joey Logano (2017), Kurt Busch (2011) and Rusty Wallace (1998). #18-Kyle Busch (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish in the Advance Auto Parts Clash. #88-Alex Bowman (third) posted his first top-10 finish in the Advance Auto Parts Clash. #19-Daniel Suarez (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie. Logano is the 22nd different driver to win the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. #10-Danica Patrick finished fourth in the Advance Auto Parts Clash – the highest finish by a female driver in the event – previous best was Patrick’s 10th-place finish in 2010.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-19-2017)

The Clash at Daytona: – Joey Logano: 1st Clash win; 3rd career win at Daytona (2015 Daytona 500, 2011 July NXS race) – Team Penske: 3rd time winning The Clash (2011 Kurt Busch, 1998 Rusty Wallace) – Kyle Busch: finished 2nd; 2012 winner of race – Alex Bowman: finished 3rd; making Clash debut (does not have ride for 2016 Cup Series season) – Danica Patrick: finished 4th; first finish better than 10th in 4th career Clash start – Denny Hamlin: was leading on final lap (finished 13th after contact from Brad Keselowski); had won race 2 of last 3 years – Jimmie Johnson: finished 16th; 6th straight year wrecking out of event (7th DNF in The Clash ties Jeff Gordon’s record) – First win for a Ford driver since Dale Jarrett won in 2004.(ESPN Stats)(2-19-2017)

Earnhardt Jr. to wait a couple months before deciding to extend contract: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the last year of his contract with Hendrick Motorsports. He plans to race for a couple of months, see how he feels, before he decides whether to sign up for more. After his time off, retirement no longer feels like a distant notion. “I’ve done everything I ever thought I would do,” he says. “I’ve done more than I thought I was capable of doing. I look at my trophies and can’t believe they’re mine.” But his mind is still not quite settled. As much as his time off made him a better human being, it couldn’t replace the feeling he gets inside a race car — that happiness at making so many other people happy. “I’ve had a hard time trying to find something that’s comparable,” he says.(see full article at ESPN The MagazineANDEarnhardt said the delay is not a sign he is ready to quit driving; rather, he just wants a couple months to figure out whether his health will allow him to continue racing beyond this season. “When I got hurt last year and what I saw it put the company through….I don’t want to do that again,” he told a group of reporters Saturday. “So I want to get some races under my belt and get confidence in my health before I can commit to him. I don’t want to make any promises I can’t deliver on.” Earnhardt said he thinks he can race for “a couple” more years, but – despite asking himself the question – hasn’t been able to put a date on exactly when he might stop (should his health allow him to keep going).(JeffGluck.com)(2-19-2017)


News from February 18, 2017


Rain forces postponement of Daytona Clash to Sunday: Persistent rain on Saturday night forced postponement of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. The race has been rescheduled for Sunday morning, with green flag at 11:35am/et, broadcast on FS1 (coverage starts at 11:00am/et). The Clash will precede Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying for the Daytona 500, which is scheduled to take place at 3:00pm/et Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-18-2017)

Race Coverage of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is rescheduled for Sunday, February 19, 2016. Television (TV): FS1 at 11:00 am/et; green flag approx. 11:35am/et RadioMotor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90 Starting lineup was set by a random draw, see the lineup on the Advance Auto Parts Clash race info page

Race Coverage of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, February 18, 2016. Television (TV): FS1 at 8:00 pm/et; NASCAR Raceday Pre-Race show at 6:00 pm/et; green flag approx. 8:25pm/et RadioMotor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Sunday, February 19 at 1:00am/et on FS1; Monday, February 20 at 2:00pm/et on FS2 Starting lineup was set by a random draw, see the lineup on the Advance Auto Parts Clash race info page

Advance Auto Parts Clast at Daytona Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pre-Race Schedule for Saturday, February 18: (eastern time) 7:40:00pm: Driver Introductions 8:05:00pm: Intro Colors by: Embry-Riddle Naval ROTC 8:05:20pm: Invocation by: Central Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, FL; Sonny Gallman 8:06:00pm: National Anthem by: Orlando, FL; Candace Walker 8:12:30pm: Command to Start Engines by Owner of Triangle Auto of Merritt Island; Marcus Herman 8:24:30pm: Green Flag Advance Auto Parts Clash eastern time (NASCAR.com)

Some Clash Stats: Last year, #11-Denny Hamlin won his 3rd Clash, and his 2nd in the last 3 years after also winning in 2014. No driver has ever won the race 3 times in 4 years. Most Wins – In Daytona Clash – Last Win Dale Earnhardt 6 1995 Denny Hamlin >>3 2016 Kevin Harvick 3 2013 Tony Stewart 3 2007 Dale Jarrett 3 2004 >>Won 2 of last 3 years Won Daytona Clash and Daytona 500 – In Same Season – Season Points Finish 2016 Denny Hamlin 6th 2000 Dale Jarrett 4th 1997 Jeff Gordon 1st 1996 Dale Jarrett 3rd 1987 Bill Elliott 2nd 1982 Bobby Allison 2nd (ESPN Stats)(2-18-2017)

Qualifying Order for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is posted. The order is set by practice speeds ran on Saturday, slowest goes out first, fastest will go out last. #33-Jeffrey Earnhardt will go out first in round 1 of qualifying and #22-Joey Logano will be the final driver to qualifying in round 1. Qualifying order for the 2nd and final round of qualifying will be set by round 1 qualifying speeds. The 12 fastest drivers advance to round two, the final round, with the slowest going out first and the fastest being the final driver to make a qualifying attempt. Daytona 500 Qualifying Format: Single car, one lap run, fastest 12 advance to final round Top two in final round set the front row for the Daytona 500 Remaining 38 starting spots determined by the Can-Am Duels on Thursday For the qualifying order, see the Daytona 500 Qualifying Order page (pdf).(2-18-2016)

Saturday practice for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 235 scheduled minutes, the top-five and notes: #22-Logano 193.116 #43-Almirola 193.054 #2-Keselowski 193.046 #42-Larson 193.034 #21-Blaney 192.980 slowest: #33-JEarnhardt 183.906 & #51-Hill 184.219 most laps run: #18-Busch, 32; #42-Larson, 31 open teams: #75-Gaughan(32nd), #7-Sadler(33rd), #55-Sorenson(38th), #96-Kennington(39th), #83-LaJoie(40th), #51-Hill(41st) No driver ran 10 consecutive laps during this practice. See fastest speeds, laps run on the Daytona 500 Practice 1 Speeds page (pdf) (2-18-2017)

Dale Earnhardt Candlelight Tribute and Remembrance Day..Today:Dale Earnhardt Inc. invites you to join in honoring and remembering Dale Earnhardt on Saturday, February 18, 2017, during their annual Candlelight Tribute and Remembrance Day. Dale Earnhardt Inc. Museum and Retail Store will be open to the public from 11am until 4pm, and will feature a special showing of a painting of Dale by the late Jeanne Barnes. A guest book will be available throughout the day for those wishing to share their memories of Dale. The building will be illuminated with candles from 5pm until 7pm. More info at DEI’s Facebook page (2-18-2017)

Camping World and Jacob Companies join #38 FRM team: Front Row Motorsports’ partnership base continues to grow with two additional companies joining the team for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Camping World will be the primary sponsor of David Ragan’s #38 Ford for nine races, including the season-opening Daytona 500. Jacob Companies, a design and construction firm, will be a primary partner for six races on the #38 Ford. Camping World, a national retailer of RVs, RV accessories and RV-related services, as well as the title sponsor of NASCAR’s Truck Series, is partnering with Front Row Motorsports for the first time. Jacob Companies also joins the team with an existing motorsports background, having sponsored events and teams in various racing series in recent years. The full-service general contractor offers design, development, construction, technology and management services, specializing in high-rise structures, universities, hotels, automotive dealerships, athletic facilities and parking structures. The 2017 season will mark the company’s first partnership with Front Row Motorsports. The Jacob Companies scheme will be on the #38 Ford for six races, including the March 19 race at Phoenix. Front Row Motorsports has multiple races for which it still seeks partners.(Front Row Motorsports), see images of the schemes on the #38 Team Schemes page (2-18-2017)

Bowman happy to be aligned with Hendrick: After a stellar performance as a substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. last year, Alex Bowman got several offers of NASCAR rides – but none that could induce him to leave Hendrick Motorsports, where he spends most of his time driving a simulator. “I was kind of surprised that a winning XFINITY car or something like that didn’t open up,” Bowman said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway, where he’ll race in Saturday night’s Advance Auto Parts Clash as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole winner from 2016. “At the same time, I had quite a few full-time Cup opportunities that were offered, but there really wasn’t anything that was going to make me leave Hendrick Motorsports. I feel like I want to be part of a winning organization whether I’m driving, just working for the team, doing testing or doing the simulation stuff. Whatever I’m doing, I want to be part of a winning team. Nothing was going to drag me away from here.” Not only that. Bowman figures he’ll get the nod, should the organization need another super sub for any of its four drivers. “Obviously, you never hope that situation comes up,” Bowman said. “But I think after last year, as easy as it is for me as far as already being here with Hendrick Motorsports, I think if something did come up that I would think I would be the one that would get called for it.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-18-2017)

NASCAR cracks down on inspection “games”: It’s a given that a smart NASCAR crew chief will push the limits of the rules – and find loopholes in existing legislation wherever they’re available. Between seasons, however, NASCAR has gone a long way to close a loophole in the inspection process. This year, if a car fails at any stage of pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection, the team must take the car back to the garage, return to specifications and start the entire process over again. Last year, a car simply had to repeat the station it failed, the Laser Inspection Station (LIS), for example. “Teams would go across the LIS, and purposely fail, so they would go off to the side and ’em up on jack stands,” said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR vice president, officiating and technical inspection. “Not only would they fix the LIS issue, then they’d completely rebuild the top of the car and aerodynamics. So we’d only send them back through the LIS. OK, as a competitor, you do that, and we have to react this way.” Even with the new procedures in place Sawyer thinks crew chiefs will continue to push the envelope – at least initially. “I think they will,” Sawyer said. “They will have to see how much teeth we’re going to put into it. If we do what we’ve said – which I know we will – then we’ll see.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-18-2017)


News from February 18, 2017


Final practice for the Advance Auto Parts Clash Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is over. After 55 scheduled minutes, the top five and notes: #11-Hamlin was the fastest in drafting practice at 196.528mph followed by #19-Suarez, #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #22-Logano, #10-Patrick, #88-Bowman, #4-Harvick, #3-Dillon and #2-Keselowski. 16 of 17 cars ran laps. no laps run: #1-McMurray. More info about the race on the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona page See the practice speeds on the Clash Practice 2 Speeds page (pdf).(2-17-2017)

First practice for the Advance Auto Parts Clash Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is over. After 55 scheduled minutes, the top five and notes: #2-Keselowski was the fastest at 191.604mph followed by #42-Larson, #22-Logano, #4-Harvick, #10-Patrick, #3-Dillon, #24-Elliott, #48-Johnson, #1-McMurray, #88-Bowman and #37-Buescher. 17 cars are entered. no laps run: #11-Hamlin, #18-Busch, #19-Suarez, #20-Kenseth, #41-Busch and #78-Truex Jr. there will be a final Clash practice from 6:30-7:25pm/et, TV=FS1. More info about the race on the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona page See the practice speeds on the Clash Practice 1 Speeds page (pdf).(2-17-2017)

2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona schemes: #1 Big Mac#2 SKF#3 Dow#4 Busch Beer#10 TaxAct#11 FedEx Express#18 M&Ms#19 ARRIS#20 Interstate Batteries#22 Shell Pennzoil#24 NAPA Auto Parts#37 Kroger#41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation#42 Credit One Bank#48 Lowe’s#78 Five Hour Energy#88 Nationwide

NASCAR Expands Concussion Protocol: NASCAR announced updates to its concussion protocol for competitors, adding a consistent screening tool for all venues and increasing available neurological support for race event weekends through its new partnership with AMR. “NASCAR has worked very closely with the industry to ensure our concussion protocol reflects emerging best practices in this rapidly developing area of sports medicine,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We will continue to utilize relationships we’ve had for years with leaders in the neurological research field who helped to shape these updates.” NASCAR’s protocol now includes: – As part of the new rule regarding damaged vehicles, a driver whose car sustains damage from an accident or contact of any kind and goes behind the pit wall or to the garage is required to visit the Infield Care Center to be evaluated. – The medical portion of NASCAR’s Event Standards now require that Infield Care Center physicians incorporate the SCAT-3 diagnostic tool in screening for head injuries. – AMR will provide on-site neurological consultative support at select NASCAR events during the 2017 season and will work directly with NASCAR in the continued development of concussion protocol. The new protocol goes into effect immediately for all NASCAR national series.(NASCAR)(2-17-2017)

Tide returns to sponsor Kenseth: Tide will return to Joe Gibbs Racing this season in a three-race deal. Tide will sponsor #20-Matt Kenseth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix in March, Indy in July and Charlotte in October.(Sports Business Daily), see images of the scheme on the #20 Team Schemes page.(2-17-2017)

Biffle gets a TV gig: Former Roush Fenway Racing driver, Greg Biffle tweeted: “I’ve accepted a great opportunity @NBCSports as a reoccurring guest analyst on their show #NASCARAmerica, my first appearance is March 1”. Also adding “If the right opportunity arises I may return to the driver’s seat” and “After a great deal of consideration from all the offers I’ve received, I’ve decided not to participate full time in #NASCAR this season.”(2-17-2017)

Kurt Busch being sued by former agent: Sports Management Network alleges NASCAR driver #41-Kurt Busch owes more than $1 million in contractual obligations after he abruptly ended his contract. A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court this month claims Busch, a former NASCAR champion, agreed in or around July 2012 to the compensate 10% of all revenue paid from personal services agreements to the network under a representation agreement beginning in January 2013. The move took place after “it became apparent that the money Defendants would receive in 2012 from KB’s professional driving activities would be a fraction of what they previously receive,” reads the lawsuit. SMN offered to modify Busch’s payment obligation from $250,000 to $125,000 in 2012, which was accepted by the driver and Kurt Busch Inc. with the 10% stipulation through 2018, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims payments were made under the new terms through the first quarter of 2016 without any issues until Busch terminated his relationship with SMN and “ceased paying SMN altogether from that point forward.” Alan Miller, a Birmingham, Michigan-based attorney representing Busch said they will fight against the lawsuit, which includes nine counts such as breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. “We believe the lawsuit is without merit, and we plan to vigorously defend the lawsuit,” he said. He declined any further comment at this time. They have not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.(Michigan Live)(2-17-2017)

Truex Jr. to debut new sponsor in The Clash: It will be Martin Truex Jr., who will ring in Furniture Row Racing’s new sponsor – 5-hour Energy — with the primary paint scheme of the company on his #78 Toyota in Saturday night’s NASCAR season kick off – the invitational Clash at Daytona International Speedway. After the 75-lap non-points Clash, which is expected to have a field of 18 drivers, the 5-hour Energy primary colors will switch to Furniture Row Racing’s new team — the #77 Toyota driven by rookie Erik Jones – for the remainder of Speedweeks. Truex’s race car post-Clash will be in the Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats colors. “We welcome 5-hour Energy to our family of sponsors and are very proud to have them as one of our major partners,” said Truex. “I personally welcome Erik to our team and look forward to working and sharing information with him. Everything is trending upward and it’s up to us to continue the momentum. We’re going to give it our best shot to drive the #78 5-hour Energy Toyota to Victory Lane.” Truex will make his fifth career start in the Clash and his third as a Furniture Row Racing driver. His best finish was runner-up in 2015 after leading 28 laps. Last year, he had a strong run going but was a victim in a final lap multicar accident at the 2.5-mile oval. The first criteria for Truex earning a Clash berth was being a former Daytona 500 pole winner (2009). He would have also qualified, if needed, as a previous season pole winner.(FRR), see images of the scheme on the #78 Team Schemes page(2-17-2017)

TaxAct to sponsor Patrick in Clash: As the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season gets underway with the 59th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Danica Patrick and the #10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) return to Daytona with a smile, refreshed and ready to kick off a new year. Before festivities get underway for the Daytona 500, the #10 team will first focus on Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash. With the 2017 tax filing season underway, TaxAct, long known for being the best deal during tax season, will serve as primary sponsor of Patrick’s #10 Ford Fusion in Saturday night’s non-points race. The event marks the first of four events in which TaxAct, the official tax preparation software partner of SHR and Patrick, will serve as the primary sponsor of the #10 Ford Fusion this year. As Patrick returns to Daytona for her sixth start in the Daytona 500, her #10 Ford Fusion will feature the blue-and-white branding of Aspen Dental. It was announced earlier this week that the company, one of the largest and fastest-growing brands in the United States, has expanded its partnership with SHR to become the lead sponsor of Patrick and the #10 team during the 2017 season.(SHR), see images of BOTH scheme on the #10 Team Schemes page (2-17-2017)

Kroger sponsoring Buescher in the Clash: For the Clash, #37-Chris Buescher has Kroger ClickList on the hood of the #37 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevy. ClickList is an online grocery ordering service where the customer can pick up their groceries at their convenience (JTG Daugherty Racing), see image of the scheme on the #37 Team Schemes page (2-17-2017)

Suarez makes Cup debut in the Clash: Daniel Suárez heads to Daytona to kick off his rookie season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) this weekend in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. Just like last year’s event, the starting line-up with be determined by a random draw. The race will consist of 75 total laps and will be broken down into two segments with the competition caution coming out after lap 25. A total of 20 drivers are eligible for the 2017 event after the eligibility criteria was changed to include only drivers who were 2016 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Clash race winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016, and drivers who qualified for the 2016 Chase are eligible. Suárez is eligible for The Clash after taking over for Carl Edwards after he stepped away from racing in January.(JGR)(2-17-2017)

Morgan Shepherd plans to attempt Daytona NXS race UPDATE: This year marks the 50th anniversary of Morgan Shepherd running his first race at Hickory Motor Speedway in 1967. He’s run 976 races in NASCAR’s top 3 levels with wins in the Cup and Xfinity Series. Shepherd is already the oldest driver to start a race in a Cup level, the oldest driver to lead an Xfinity race at age 74, and the oldest driver to start a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Shepherd plans to take his black and gold Camaro race in the Power Shares 300 at Daytona on Saturday, February 25, and that won’t be the end of the line. “If we get in Daytona and everything’s okay, we’ll continue right on and do the west coast swing,” Shepherd added.(WBTV)(2-10-2017) UPDATE: It was in 1967 that Morgan Shepherd made his debut in a race car – long before most of his competitors were even born. To mark this achievement, Morgan will be celebrating his 50th Anniversary during the 2017 season. The celebration kicks off in Daytona, where Morgan will drive his familiar #89 Chevy Camaro SS, but with a new gold and black paint scheme to mark his 50th Anniversary.(MorganShepherd.com), see an image of the car on the #89 team paint schemes page.(2-17-2017)

Moffitt joins Peters at Red Horse: After picking up one win and three top-five finishes in six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts for Red Horse Racing in 2016, Brett Moffitt will pilot the #7 Toyota Tundra at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, joining series veteran Timothy Peters at Red Horse Racing. Both teams are continuing to look for sponsorship to fill out the year. The 24-year-old from Grimes, Iowa was the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year in 2015 and has earned nine wins in the K&N Pro Series East. Peters returns to the #17 Toyota Tundra after making a run for the title in the inaugural NCWTS Chase for the Championship, finishing fourth in the points standings after earning eight top-five and 16-top 10 finishes along the way. It will be Peters’ ninth full time season in the NCWTS and in 230 series starts, he has earned 10 wins, 56 top-fives, 118 top-tens and eight poles. The #17 team will be led by crew chief Chad Kendrick, who returns to Red Horse Racing. Kendrick first arrived at Red Horse Racing with Peters in 2009 when the driver made his debut with the team. Prior to that, the duo campaigned together in 2008 and early 2009 at Premier Racing. Kendrick led the Danville, Va. native to his first win with Red Horse Racing at Martinsville Speedway in 2009 and in their time together, they picked up a total of five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. Industry veteran Butch Hylton will lead the #7 team. Hylton, who began his career as a national series crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2002, has worked with a plethora of drivers across all three national series, earning a total of eight NXS and eight NCWTS wins with various drivers including Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Peters.(Red Horse Racing)(2-17-2017)

“Jimmie Johnson Day” celebrated in Phoenix: Seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson took Governor Doug Ducey on a ride along in the #48 on Thursday, Feb. 16. The ride around the State Capitol in Downtown Phoenix ended with a ceremonial burnout followed by a proclamation from the Governor to celebrate “Jimmie Johnson Day” throughout the State of Arizona. Johnson was in town to promote the upcoming Camping World 500 NASCAR race weekend at Phoenix Raceway on March 17-19. Johnson received the official proclamation from the Governor, and gave him autographed racing gloves worn in the Nov. 2016 Can-Am 500 in return. To celebrate “Jimmie Johnson Day”, Phoenix Raceway is offering special champion-sized savings for the Camping World 500 on March 19. For 48 hours only, fans can purchase an Upper Foyt Grandstand ticket for just $48 – a savings of over 46%. The Jimmie Johnson Day offer expires Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 11:59pm or while supplies last. Tickets are available by calling a Phoenix Raceway representative at 866-408-RACE (7223) or by visiting online.(PIR)(2-17-2017)

GEICO Restart Zone to debut during Speedweeks 2017 events: The GEICO Restart Zone will be unveiled during Speedweeks’ 2017 list of events and the 59th annual DAYTONA 500, which will also serve as the season-opening event to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The big unveil will begin this weekend at the Advance Auto Parts Clash and the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire ARCA Racing Series event. The GEICO Restart Zone adds significant brand visibility to the area just prior to the start/finish line, indicating where the leader is allowed to accelerate when the race is beginning or continuing following a caution. GEICO’s prominent signage will also be located on the apron near the entrance to pit road and will be seen by both guests in attendance during Speedweeks’ events and those watching on television. GEICO will be represented in the Restart Zones at 10 additional International Speedway Corporation tracks beginning in 2017 including Chicago, Darlington, Homestead, Kansas, Martinsville, Michigan, Phoenix, Richmond, Talladega and Watkins Glen.(DIS)(2-17-2017)

Lynyrd Skynyrd to hold Coca-Cola 600 Concert: Fans will roar and the red, white and blue will wave before the green flag on May 28 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Iconic rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will salute America with the ultimate Memorial Day Weekend mix of rock and racing in front of a captivated audience in the Coca-Cola 600 Concert presented by Speed Perks. The 2006 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees will perform hits including world-renowned, Southern rock anthems “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” for Coca-Cola 600 ticket holders on the Pit Party stage on pit road. The Lynyrd Skynyrd Coca-Cola 600 Concert presented by Speed Perks will come to life on the Pit Party stage located on pit road near the frontstretch scoring pylon. The concert is part of a series of exciting pre-race festivities for the Coca-Cola 600. The Pit Party also includes attractions like games and driver appearances. Additionally, the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert will be shown on the giant Speedway TV. Pit pass and driver intro pass buyers will have stage-area infield access. To purchase tickets, camping and race-day upgrades including Driver Intro passes and Pit Party admission, fans can call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(2-17-2017)


News from February 16, 2017


Entry List for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is posted, 42 teams/drivers [for 40 spots] are listed. 36 teams with Charters are guaranteed to make the field. The rest need to make the field via qualifying / qualifying races / rules book (owners attempts/points), four will make the field. Some of the drivers entered include: #7-Elliott Sadler*, #15-Michael Waltrip, #23-Gase, #32-DiBenedetto, #33-JEarnhardt, #37-Buescher, #51-Timmy Hill*, #55-Sorenson*, #75-Gaughan*, #83-Corey LaJoie*, #95-McDowell and #96-Kennington*. Drivers who currently to not drive for a team with a Charter and need to race into the field: #7-Sadler*, #51-Hill*, #55-Sorenson*, #75-Gaughan*, #83-LaJoie* and #96-Kennington*. Open Teams (no Charter)* See the full entry list on Jayski.com’s Daytona 500 Entry List

NASCAR’s new inspection procedures, penalties announced:NASCAR is implementing new inspection rules for the Monster Energy Cup Series that will go into effect during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. According to the bulletin issued Thursday, opening inspection of stock cars will focus on fuel systems, engines and safety components. Before stock cars take to the course for qualifying or races, they will be put under more scrutiny. NASCAR officials will check fuel systems, safety components, chassis, templates, and weights and measurements. Adjustments won’t be allowed in or around the inspection area any longer. “If a race vehicle fails any station, that car must correct the issue in its garage stall, and return to the first station for a full inspection, regardless of previous inspection passings,” the bulletin said. This rule bulletin also covers deterrence and penalty issues. If a team is found in violation of rules, NASCAR will issue an immediate penalty rather than waiting days later. “Where possible, infractions which occur during a race weekend will be contained to that race weekend,” the bulletin said. “Significant infractions will still be subject to post-event penalties.”(Daytona Beach News JournalAND NASCAR has revised its penalty structure from six levels to two levels and plans to dish out penalties more often during race weekends for violations that occur before the race. In new rules released Thursday, NASCAR said it will replace its “warning” system with a new series of penalties. Failing inspections repeatedly and other mechanical violations found during the weekend before the race could result in penalties in the new system, such as lost practice time, lost pit selection, starting at the rear for a race or a stop-and-go on the first lap of a race. The series director will determine those penalties, basing them on severity, timing and recurrence of infractions. Unlike in the past, when a team needed to accumulate four warnings during the year before it lost pit-stall selection, the new system gives the series director more leeway in issuing punishment during the race weekend in which the violation occurred. It also eliminates speculation of what could happen if NASCAR were to confiscate a piece during inspections over the weekend. Any prerace violations NASCAR finds that it deems significant could still fall into NASCAR’s new penalty structure, which now has two levels. Level 1 infractions — which include missing three or more lug nuts in postrace inspection; failing weight, heights or NASCAR’s laser platform; as well as violations of chassis, fuel storage and gear ratio rules — will result in a penalty of 10-40 points, a crew-chief suspension of up to three races and a $25,000-$75,000 fine. Drivers whose race-winning cars violate these rules would not be able to use the victory to qualify or advance in the playoffs, nor would they be able to use the “playoff points” associated with the win. The same “encumbered win” rule applies to the more serious Level 2 infractions, which include using traction control, unapproved electronics or manipulating the engine or tires. Level 2 penalties could result in a 75-point deduction, a six-race crew-chief suspension and a $100,000-$200,000 fine.(ESPNAND II The new system replaces the P1-through-P6 penalty classification which had been in effect since the start of the 2014 season. The new structure grades significant penalties into Levels 1 and 2, both of which involve points deductions and crew chief or team member suspensions that increase with a given violation’s severity. LIS infractions discovered after Coors Light Pole Qualifying will result in a team’s time being disallowed. Post-race, the violation falls under an L1 heading with a three-race crew chief suspension, a $65,000 fine and the loss of 35 championship points. Teams with one improperly attached or missing lug nut post-race are subject to a $10,000 fine. That fine doubles and includes a one-race suspension for the crew chief if two lug nuts are improperly attached or missing. If three or more lug nuts are in violation of the rules, the penalty rises to the L1 level with three-race suspension for the crew chief, a $65,000 fine and the deduction of 35 championship points. • “Encumbered” finishes — a rules concept introduced before the Monster Energy Series’ playoffs last year — will remain in effect this season for post-race L1 and L2 violations. The rules allow a victory to stand in the event of an infraction, but a winning team will be stripped of the benefits associated with the win.(NASCAR.com)(2-16-2017)

ARRIS Renews sponsorship with Joe Gibbs Racing: ARRIS Renews Multi-Year Sponsorship with Joe Gibbs Racing. Under the agreement, ARRIS will extend its primary sponsorship of Daniel Suárez to 22 races (up from 17 last year) in this season’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, following Carl Edwards’ decision to step away from racing in January. Following his momentous win as the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR championship, Suárez will move up as the driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota Camry to compete in NASCAR’s highest series. “ARRIS is a strategic and dedicated partner on and off the track,” said Joe Gibbs, founder and owner of JGR. “Their commitment to advancing the sport-from a sponsorship and technology perspective-makes them a genuine leader that our fans have recognized and embraced. We look forward to years of rewarding collaboration and to many more trips to victory lane.” “Our partnership with JGR and our involvement with NASCAR has been instrumental in introducing the ARRIS brand to millions of NASCAR fans. We had a great run with the legendary Carl Edwards, and now we’re proud to continue our work with JGR by extending our race-day sponsorship to 22 events in support of Daniel Suárez’s history-making trajectory,” said Ron Coppock, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Customer Operations at ARRIS. “Daniel represents the future of racing, and we’re looking forward to joining him on the podium in his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.”(PR)(2-16-2017)

Nature’s Bakery Intends To Countersue Stewart-Haas Racing:Nature’s Bakery announced intentions to countersue NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing in a sponsorship issue that appears to be getting ever more contentious. SHR sued Nature’s Bakery earlier this month for breach of contract after the Nevada-based fig bar maker sent a note to SHR in mid-January saying it was going to terminate its three-year sponsorship deal worth $15.2M annually. In a sharply worded press release today, Nature’s Bakery called SHR’s suit a “false legal complaint.” A quote from company CEO Kelly Allin adds, “Contrary to its image, SHR is run by big-business types that took advantage of Nature’s Bakery. They now are threatening scorched earth litigation against a multi-generational family company. We’re obviously not going to let them bully us. We may be a small brand, but we do not think what they are doing is right. We look forward to defending ourselves in court.” The loss of Nature’s Bakery has left SHR with around 20 races to fill heading into the season, but that effort was helped with this week’s announcement that Aspen Dental was stepping up its commitment with Danica Patrick’s #10 Ford from four races to at least 10.(Sports Business Daily)(2-16-2017)

NASCAR Unveils Enhanced Format Stage Lengths for All Three National Series: NASCAR announced the 2017 stage lengths for each race in all three of its national series. A number of factors went into determining the lap count for Stage 1, Stage 2 and the Final Stage of each race, with a singular goal in mind – the best racing for NASCAR fans. “Every track is unique for its characteristics in length, surface and overall racing conditions,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “We worked closely with race teams on expected fuel and tire runs over the entirety of an event when considering stage lengths. And in the end, stage lengths were decided based upon what would provide the best race for fans.” Races are official at the end of Stage 2 (not halfway). See the list of stages on the: 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule page 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Schedule page 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule page.(2-16-2017)

Denny Hamlin shows support for J.D. Gibbs: Defending Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin showed up Wednesday night to attend an Orlando Magic NBA game and help promote the upcoming Daytona Speedweeks, conceding there remains a lot of positive feedback about a special and sentimental move he made a day earlier for one of the sport’s favorite sons. On Tuesday, Hamlin revealed on social media that he will carry his car owner J.D. Gibbs’ first name above the driver door on his #11 FedEx Toyota Camry. Like Gibbs, Hamlin’s initials are J.D. — James Dennis. Gibbs’ initials J.D. stand for Jason Dean. Gibbs, a popular and well-liked personality has been sidelined from his once-busy role running the Joe Gibbs Racing team because of health reasons. He has been treated for symptoms affecting his brain function and his welfare is always on the mind of team members. Hamlin reminded that it was actually J.D. that persuaded his famous father, Joe Gibbs, to hire Hamlin and give him a chance in the big leagues.(NASCAR.com)(2-6-2017)

Pioneer Technology Saves Historical Petty Documents: In April 2016, the Petty Museum experienced a fire in the multimedia room of the original Petty Enterprises building. Following the fire, the museum knew they needed to find an alternative to store and keep the thousands of unique and one-of-a-kind documents from the storied Petty family history. They looked no further than Richard Petty Motorsports partner, Pioneer Technology. The Pioneer Records Management team performed a thorough assessment and determined approximately more than 1 million documents containing Petty Enterprises related historical financial documents, contracts, miscellaneous team documents, photographs, engineering notes, marketing material, partner information and other one-of-a-kind documents were at risk. The Pioneer team worked with the Petty Museum to establish a plan to index, digitize and organize the documents at risk. The first phase of the project started in the fall of 2016. Pioneer salvaged over 100,000 historical documents. Preparation is now underway to begin the second phase of the project. Upon completion of the project, the Petty Museum will not only have their unique historical documents digitized and archived, but they will be securely stored and available for online access via Pioneer’s secure document hosting solution, YourDox.(RPM)(2-16-2017)

Herring, LaJoie returning to JGL Racing: JGL Racing announces the return of Drew Herring and Corey LaJoie to their “Young Guns” program for the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. LaJoie will make his debut behind the wheel of the#24 Toyota in the second race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The following week will find Herring fill the seat as the XFINITY Series moves to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first of three west coast races. In addition to the Las Vegas event, Herring will once again be behind the wheel of the #24 Young Guns Toyota the following week at Phoenix International Raceway. Drew made four starts last season for the Young Guns program garnering three top-20 finishes with a best finish of 12th at Iowa Speedway. LaJoie will return to the seat of the #24 Toyota for the final of the three west coast races at Auto Club Speedway. Corey made 10 starts for JGL Racing last season earning two top-10 finishes and a career best finish of sixth at Dover International Speedway in October.(JGL Racing)(2-16-2017)

Booyah Mortgage to sponsor Ryan Sieg at Daytona: RSS Racing and driver Ryan Sieg welcome Booyah Mortgage as the primary sponsor on their #39 Chevrolet Camaro for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. Booyah Mortgage is a Veteran owned and operated business in central Florida and marks the company’s first foray into Motorsports. Owner Shane Johnson served as a United States Marine and is dedicated to helping other military Veterans. Additionally, Sugar Hill, Ga.-based RSS Racing will be racing in honor of Veterans and homeless Veterans at the “World Center of Racing.” Furthermore, the family-owned team will welcome the support of Booyah Productions, Baseball Racks, Midstate Basement, Pro Line Rentals and Crazy Vapors as associate marketing partners sponsors for the 120-lap PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona. Kevin “Cowboy” Starland will lead the #39 team for the fourth straight year as crew chief. Industry veteran Mike Ford, who joined the team last season, will be an active team consultant for all 33 races in 2017.(RSS Racing), see an image of the car on the #39 team paint schemes page.(2-16-2017)

Benny Gordon driving for TriStar at Daytona: In addition to serving as the primary sponsor for the Monster Energy Cup Series #72 with Cole Whitt, the Florida Lottery will also participate in the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway with Benny Gordon behind the wheel of the #44 Florida Lottery Toyota. Gordon’s last run at Daytona International Speedway was July 2016, where he qualified 12th and was unfortunately caught up in an incident near race end.(TriStar Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #44 team paint schemes page.(2-16-2017)

NASCAR unveils race stage lengths: NASCAR announced the 2017 stage lengths for each race in all three of its national series. A number of factors went into determining the lap count for Stage 1, Stage 2 and the Final Stage of each race, with a singular goal in mind – the best racing for NASCAR fans. “Every track is unique for its characteristics in length, surface and overall racing conditions,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “We worked closely with race teams on expected fuel and tire runs over the entirety of an event when considering stage lengths. And in the end, stage lengths were decided based upon what would provide the best race for fans.”(NASCAR), see the complete breakdown of XFINITY race segments on the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY race schedule page.(2-16-2017)

Kvapil to remain with Beaver, MAKE owner renames team: Beaver Motorsports today announced its debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Led by veteran team owner Mark Beaver, Beaver Motorsports will field the #50 Chevrolet full time in 2017 with driver Travis Kvapil. Beaver Motorsports will kick off its 2017 campaign at Daytona International Speedway in the NextEra Energy Resources 250, with the Florida Lottery as the primary sponsor for the #50 Chevrolet. Travis Kvapil, the 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, has served as the primary driver for Mark Beaver for the past two years, with a partial season in 2014. Kvapil collected a top-five finish last year at Daytona.(See an image of the truck on the #50 team paint schemes page)(Beaver Motorsports)(2-16-2017)

NASCAR announces stages: NASCAR announced the 2017 stage lengths for each race in all three of its national series. A number of factors went into determining the lap count for Stage 1, Stage 2 and the Final Stage of each race, with a singular goal in mind – the best racing for NASCAR fans. “Every track is unique for its characteristics in length, surface and overall racing conditions,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “We worked closely with race teams on expected fuel and tire runs over the entirety of an event when considering stage lengths. And in the end, stage lengths were decided based upon what would provide the best race for fans.”(NASCAR)(See the segment breakdown on the 2017 Truck Series schedule page)(2-16-2017)

Gerhart to attempt Daytona: Bobby Gerhart Racing will be making their 30th consecutive trip to the World Center of Racing. The team is looking forward to getting back to Daytona to kick off the 2017 season. First, Bobby will be going for his ninth ARCA victory at Daytona in the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 on Saturday. We will also attempt to qualify for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250.(See an image of the truck on the #63 team paint schemes page)(Bobby Gerhart Racing)(2-16-2017)

Tickets go on sale February 16 for Michigan race: The wait is almost over to get in on all the action at Michigan International Speedway in 2017. Tickets and camping go on sale on February 16 for both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekends at NASCAR’s fastest track. The speedway is making it easy for fans to get the best tickets and camping this summer. Fans can purchase tickets and campsites at www.mispeedway.com or by calling 800-354-1010. The first of the tracks two traditional NASCAR weekends in 2017 is June 16-18 with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Corrigan Oil 200 on June 16; NASCAR XFINITY Series on June 17; and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 is on Father’s Day on June 18.(MIS)(2-16-2017)

Pocono Stages announced UPDATE CORRECTION: Both NASCAR weekends at Pocono Raceway will follow the same format with three race stages. The Pocono 400 and the Pennsylvania 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races will run two 40-lap stages and then one 80-lap stage. Points will be awarded for top-10 finishers in the first two stages with full field points following the conclusion of the 80-lap stage. Pocono Raceway is home to the Worry-Free Weather Guarantee that ensures fans that purchased Sunday tickets in advance directly from Pocono Raceway will be reimbursed the face value if weather postpones the race and they are unable to make the re-scheduled event. Additional information can be found at poconoraceway.com/guarantee.(Pocono Raceway)(2-9-2017) CORRECTIONNASCAR has announced official stage lengths for all three of its series that will race at Pocono Raceway this summer. Following unprecedented collaboration between NASCAR, drivers and teams, media partners and race track owners, stages were announced as part of the 2017 schedule creating three winning moments in each race as well as playoff points. Race stages will now be utilized at all race tracks and through all three series’ – The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. NASCAR utilized in-depth review on fuel mileage at each track in setting the stage length. The fuel window at Pocono Raceway is approximately 35 laps so that strategy will most certainly come into play at ‘The Tricky Triangle.’ Pocono Raceway Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races(June 11 and July 30) Stage 1 will end on lap 50 Stage 2 will end on lap 100 Final Stage will end on lap 160 Pocono Raceway Pocono Green 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race (June 10) Stage 1 will end on lap 25 Stage 2 will end on lap 50 Final Stage will end on lap 100 Pocono Raceway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (July 29) Stage 1 will end on lap 15 Stage 2 will end on lap 30 Final Stage will end on lap 60 Pocono Raceway is home to the Worry-Free Weather Guarantee that ensures fans that purchased Sunday tickets in advance directly from Pocono Raceway will be reimbursed the face value if weather postpones the race and they are unable to make the re-scheduled event. Additional information can be found at www.poconoraceway.com/guarantee. Pocono Raceway will host seven major events in 2017, including two NASCAR and one Verizon IndyCar Series weekend. Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.poconoraceway.com, by calling 1-800-RACEWAY or in person at the Pocono Raceway Ticket Office.(Pocono Raceway)(2-16-2017)

Sad News – Gary Cressey: Gary Cressey ran the Shasta Speedway into the early 1990s, nearly 25 years, also announcing races there and at speedways across the West, died Wednesday morning at 80. In 1989, Cressey worked as a co-anchor for a NASCAR Winston Cup Series, stock car’s premier circuit, event at Sears Point International Raceway in Sonoma. Two years ago, the road behind Shasta Speedway was named Gary Cressey Boulevard. Cressey was born in Seattle and moved to Redding in 1951 before graduating from Shasta High School in 1954. He purchased Shasta Speedway with driver Bill Schmitt before Cressey purchased Schmitt’s share in 1978, according to a 1981 Record Searchlight story. Cressey is survived by his wife, Janette; daughters Debra Herndon, Diane Delong, Denise Besser and Donna Cressey; and son David Cressey.(Record Searchlight)(2-16-2017)


News from February 15, 2017


McDonald’s Big Mac featured on McMurray’s car in Clash: The iconic McDonald’s Big Mac will be joined by two new burgers that will be featured on the Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy, driven by 2010 Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray, at the season-opening, “The Clash at Daytona”. The Mac Jr. and Grand Mac will join Big Mac on the #1 Chevy when the green flag drops on the 2017 NASCAR racing season at Daytona International Speedway. The Clash at Daytona is a limited-eligibility, elite field of drivers, that starts the new racing season with a non-points paying event. McMurray has made 10 appearances in The Clash during his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career. Notes of Interest – Top Billing: The Grand Mac and Mac Jr. recently joined the legendary Big Mac roster for a limited time on McDonald’s national menu. This marks the first time, in the eight year partnership between McDonald’s and CGR, that Big Mac or any other menu item will be featured as a full paint scheme on the #1 Chevy. – Making of a Legend: The Big Mac was first introduced in 1967 by Jim Delligatti, a McDonald’s franchisee from Pennsylvania, before being available nationwide the following year. In honor of the Big Mac creator, who recently passed away (Nov. 28, 2016), the #1 Chevy will feature his name over the right side door to pay tribute to the memory of the long-time McDonald’s franchisee. – Daytona Success: McMurray is a two-time winner in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition at DIS. He won the 2007 Coke Zero 400 and the 2010 Daytona 500. Additionally he was on the winning team for the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona. McMurray is one of only four drivers to ever win the Daytona 500 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona (AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti and Jeff Gordon) McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 36,000 locations in over 100 countries. More than 80% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business men and women.(CGR), see images of the scheme/car on the #1 Team Schemes page.(2-15-2017)

Daytona Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Daytona throughout Speedweeks . . . this exact combination of left- and right-side tires is unique to Daytona and has been well suited to this superspeedway application since its debut at this track in July 2013 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Daytona . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Goodyear Blimp: Goodyear’s “Wingfoot One,” based out of Pompano Beach. Fla., will be in the air over Daytona International Speedway throughout Speedweeks . . .the ship will be a part of Fox and Fox Sports 1’s television coverage of The Clash and Cup qualifying during the first week, and the Can-Am Duel, Camping World Truck, Xfinity and Cup races during the second week (Goodyear), see full notes, tire codes, tire pressures and more on the Advance Auto Parts Clash race info page (2-15-2017)

Charges dropped for men accused of assaulting Mike Wallace, family: The criminal cases against three men charged in a June 17 fight with former NASCAR driver Mike Wallace have been dropped. The fight, which occurred following a Rascal Flatts concert, resulted in four misdemeanor assault charges against Paul Lucas and two misdemeanor assault charges against Lucas’ brother, Nathan, and Randolph Mangum. The 57-year-old Wallace said during a trial in October he still had black floaters in his right eye from getting hit in the face as well as a broken tooth that he needed to have replaced and lacerations in his mouth. His daughter, Lindsey Van Wingerden, suffered a broken wrist and black eye. The trial abruptly ended in a mistrial when prosecutors realized potential witnesses had sat in the courtroom during some of the testimony. The defense never got to present its side of what occurred, and a new trial was never rescheduled in North Carolina District Court. The district attorney’s office dismissed the charges Friday, according to court documents. Wallace faced the prospect of reliving the fight at least three additional times. Misdemeanor cases in North Carolina are heard in front of a judge in district court, with appeals automatically going to a jury trial in superior court. Then there could be civil litigation. An attorney for Wallace declined comment and said neither he nor Wallace could comment on why the charges were dropped or the status of any civil claims.(ESPN)(2-15-2017)

By the Numbers: The Advance Auto Parts Clash At Daytona: .013 – Margin of victory in seconds by Kyle Busch over Tony Stewart in 2012, the closest margin in the Clash at Daytona history .058 – Margin of victory in seconds by Kurt Busch over Jamie McMurray in 2011, the second closest margin in the Clash at Daytona history .08 – Margin of victory in seconds by Dale Earnhardt over Sterling Marlin in 1995, the third closest margin of victory in the Clash at Daytona history 1 – Laps led by Rusty Wallace (1998), Neil Bonnett (1983-84), Dale Earnhardt (1980), Dale Jarrett (2000 and 2004) and Kevin Harvick (2009) in the Clash at Daytona races they won 2.75 – Average finish by Dale Earnhardt, best by any driver with multiple starts 4 – Number of drivers to win the Clash at Daytona from the pole position – Darrell Waltrip (1981), Bill Elliott (1987), Ken Schrader (1989) and Denny Hamlin (2014). 5 – Drivers who have won the event in their first appearance (Buddy Baker, 1979; Dale Earnhardt, 1980; Jeff Gordon, 1994; Dale Jarrett, 1996; Denny Hamlin, 2006) 6 – Number of the Clash at Daytona wins by Dale Earnhardt, the series leader (1980, 86, 88, 91, 93, 95) 7 – Number of fewest starters in the field for the Clash at Daytona (1981) 11 – Number of starts before winning, most since race began in 1979 (Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin) 14 – Number of different leaders in the 2009 event, most since race began in 1979 20 – Number of wins by Chevrolet in the Clash at Daytona, leads all manufacturers 22 – Most consecutive starts in the Clash at Daytona by Jeff Gordon (1994-2015). 27 – Kevin Harvick’s starting position in 2009, the lowest by a race winner in the event’s history 28 – Number of lead changes in the 2011 event, highest number since race began in 1979 44 – Laps led by Greg Biffle in 2005, the most by a driver who did not win the event 47 – Laps led by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008, the most in a single Clash at Daytona. 197.802 mph – The fastest average speed of the race for the Clash at Daytona was in 1987 won by Bill Elliott.

The Advance Auto Parts Clash At Daytona Tidbits: · The number of participants has ranged from a low of seven in 1981 to a high of 28 in 2009. Unlike previous years, the starting field for the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona will not be a predetermined number of cars; rather, the field is limited to drivers who meet more exclusive criteria. (20 drivers are eligible for this year’s event). · Jeff Gordon has appeared in the most consecutive Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona races, competing in 22 consecutive events from 1994-2015. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in consecutive Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona starts with 14 (2003 – 2016). · The top five drivers with the most Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona appearances: Mark Martin (24), Bill Elliott (23), Jeff Gordon (22), Ken Schrader (19) and Rusty Wallace (19). · There have been nine multiple winners in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona: o Dale Earnhardt won six events, most all-time (1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995). o Dale Jarrett won in 1996, 2000 and 2004. o Kevin Harvick won in 2009, 2010 and 2013. o Tony Stewart won in 2001, 2002 and 2007. o Denny Hamlin won in 2006, 2014 and 2016. o Other multiple winners: Neil Bonnett (1983-1984), Ken Schrader, (1989-1990), Jeff Gordon (1994 and 1997), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003 and 2008). o Bonnett, Schrader, Stewart and Harvick are the only drivers to win back-to-back Clash at Daytona races. No driver has won three consecutive Clash events. · Buddy Baker (1979), Dale Earnhardt (1980), Jeff Gordon (1994), Dale Jarrett (1996) and Denny Hamlin (2006) all won the first Clash at Daytona in which they competed. · Only six times in the 33-year history of the race has the winner gone on to win the Daytona 500: Bobby Allison (1982) Bill Elliott (1987) Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000) Jeff Gordon (1997) Denny Hamlin (2016) · There have been four winners from the pole: Darrell Waltrip (1981), Bill Elliott (1987), Ken Schrader (1989) and Denny Hamlin (2014). · Two drivers have swept the Clash at Daytona, Daytona 500 pole and Daytona 500 from 1979-2016: Dale Jarrett (2000) and Bill Elliott (1987) · One driver has swept the Clash at Daytona, Daytona 500 and the Coke Zero 400 from 1979-2016: Bobby Allison (1982). · Seven drivers have won the Clash at Daytona (1979-2016) and the championship in the same season. Dale Earnhardt is the only one to have accomplished it multiple times (four). Tony Stewart (2002) Jeff Gordon (1997) Dale Earnhardt (1993, 1991, 1986 and 1980) Darrell Waltrip (1981) · Four drivers have won consecutive Clash at Daytona races (1979-2016). None went on to win that year’s Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick (2009-10) Tony Stewart (2000-01) Ken Schrader (1990-91) Neil Bonnett (1983-84) · The format for The Clash at Daytona has changed 14 times since its inception into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 1979. · Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has competed in the Clash at Daytona (1979 – 2016)

Veterans Motorsport partners with Mike Harmon for 2017: Veterans Motorsports Inc announced they have partnered with Mike Harmon Racing for the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. The team will debut their new partnership at Daytona International Speedway for the Powershares QQQ300 on February 23, 2017. “I’m pleased and proud to have been approached with this business partnership with Veterans Motorsports and glad to have been chosen to not only partner on the business side but also pilot the 2017 Dodge Charger for the 2017 season.” Mike Harmon, Harmon Racing said. Veterans Motorsports is committed to provide employment to Veterans with PTSD or who have been wounded. The team will be training and employing Veterans to work at the race shop and at the track.(Veterans Motorsport), no additional details regarding schedule or driver were released.(2-15-2017)

Sport Clips, VFW renew sponsorship of Darlington XFINITY race:Longtime partners, Sport Clips Haircuts and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) will once again return to sponsor the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Darlington Raceway, extending their entitlement sponsorship through the 2020 race season. The Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 is slated for Saturday, Sept. 2 at the track Too Tough To Tame, as part of Darlington Raceway’s award-winning throwback weekend. Sport Clips and the VFW are proud supporters of Darlington’s throwback campaign, having run special paint schemes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series races since the program began in 2015. Last year’s MENCS scheme on Denny Hamlin’s #11 Sport Clips Toyota car for Joe Gibbs Racing featured a tribute to NASCAR Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip. The 2017 Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 race will also feature special retro-style designed tickets for the first time. Similar to the special Bojangles’ Southern 500 tickets produced the past two years, the XFINITY Series ticket will tie the past and present of the sport together by recognizing 1987 race winner Dale Earnhardt Sr., along with last year’s victor Elliott Sadler. Sport Clips and the VFW will continue to use their NASCAR entitlement partnership to raise awareness about the struggles many military families are facing and the VFW’s mission to support active-duty military, veterans and their families.(Darlington Raceway)(2-15-2017)

Gallagher, Elliott to run fourth GMS entry: GMS Racing will field a fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) entry throughout the 2017 season. The #23 All-Star Team will debut at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) with NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) driver Spencer Gallagher behind the wheel. NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott will pilot the Chevrolet Silverado at Atlanta Motor Speedway the following weekend. Gallagher will compete in Friday night’s season-opener at DIS in the #23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet before participating in Saturday’s NXS race. Following the first race of 2017, Elliott will head up the #23 Allegiant Travel team at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Additional drivers for the #23 team will be announced at a later date.(GMS Racing)(2-15-2017)

Bell to kick off partial schedule for Niece Motorsports: Newly formed Niece Motorsports will compete in a partial schedule this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with multiple drivers. Veteran driver TJ Bell, from Sparks, will kick off the season for Niece Motorsports, piloting the #45 at Daytona International Speedway. Last season, Niece Motorsports made one start at Texas Motor Speedway in the fall, earning a respectable 23rd-place finish in the team’s debut start. Niece Motorsports, which is owned by Al Niece, will look to run between 12-15 select races during the 2017 season, with plans of running full time moving into 2018 as the team looks for potential sponsorship. Following Daytona, the team plans to attempt races at Atlanta, Martinsville, Kansas, Charlotte and Texas.(Reno Gazette Journal)(2-15-2017)

NHRA Star Courtney Force Named Honorary Pace Car Driver for Advance Auto Parts Clash: Courtney Force, the winningest female Funny Car drag racer in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) history, will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the Advance Auto Parts Clash on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. The Advance Auto Parts Clash is the annual non-points/high-profile season-opening race for NASCAR, featuring an exclusive field of drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The event, which debuted in 1979, features an exclusive field of drivers: 2016 pole winners, former Clash champions, former DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016 and drivers from 2016 playoffs. The 75-lap/187.5-mile race will be split into two segments, separated by a mandatory caution period at Lap 25. The race will be broadcast live on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 8pm/et. Force, the daughter of NHRA legend John Force, drives the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS for John Force Racing in Funny Car competition. She has eight career NHRA national event victories, with career-best runs of 3.849 seconds (set in Pomona last weekend) and 331.45 mph. Force has finished in the top 10 of the final Funny Car point standings in five of her six seasons. She has 134 round wins in her career. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts Clash, the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 on Feb. 26 and all other Speedweeks events can be purchased online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS)(2-15-2017)

Ty Pennington to serve as Grand Marshal for Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500: Acclaimed television personality and designer Ty Pennington has been named grand marshal for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. An Atlanta native and alumnus of The Art Institute of Atlanta, Pennington will return to his home state to visit with race fans, attend the pre-race drivers’ meeting and give the drivers’ command as part of his grand marshal duties. Pennington first won national attention as the quirky and creative carpenter on the groundbreaking home-improvement series Trading Spaces. Later, as host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Pennington helped transform the lives of thousands while inspiring millions more around the world to volunteer their time to help others. Pennington recently was the host of Food Network’s American Diner Revival, a hit show that showcases both design and food in an emotionally charged format. Ty travels the country breathing new life into the heart and soul of many communities and local diners. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(2-15-2017)


News from February 14, 2017


Interstate Batteries to sponsor Kenseth in Clash: Interstate Batteries will kick off its 26th season with Joe Gibbs Racing as part of Saturday night’s Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway. It will be the first time in 12 years that the brand will be part of the event that serves as the unofficial season opener to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. And the company is doing it in a big way, serving as the primary sponsor of the #20 JGR Toyota Camry entry and driver Matt Kenseth. Interstate Batteries has been a sponsor on the #18 JGR Toyota with driver Kyle Busch for select Cup Series races during the last nine NASCAR seasons but has not made a start in the annual Clash at Daytona since 2005. Prior to that, the brand had appeared on the #18 JGR entry with 2000 Cup Series champ Bobby Labonte, who made 10 straight starts in the Clash from 1994 to 2005 as the driver of the Interstate Batteries car. While Interstate Batteries is making its return to the Clash this weekend, Kenseth is aiming to improve upon an already impressive resume at the “World Center of Racing.” The winner of the 2015 edition of the Clash, Kenseth will make his 11th start in the non-points event Saturday night when he jumps behind the wheel of the #20 Interstate Batteries Toyota. When the 2003 Cup Series Champ scored the victory in the Clash two years ago, he did so in fairly convincing fashion, leading 21 of the 75 laps run after starting 16th. In addition to the win, Kenseth’s stats in the Clash feature three top-five finishes and six top-10s with 53 laps led and an average finish of 9.5. And while he only has one win in the Clash, Kenseth is no stranger to victory lane at Daytona. He is a two-time winner of the iconic Daytona 500, winning the 2009 and 2012 editions of the Great American Race. In 34 career starts during points-paying races at the superspeedway, the Wisconsin-native has led at least one lap in 19 different races for a total of 362 laps led. In addition to the two Daytona 500 wins, Kenseth’s record at Daytona includes six top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes. The 2017 season is Kenseth’s 18th as a full-time driver in NASCAR’s elite series. Like Interstate Batteries, he’s been here for years and his goals are the same – to score wins and be in the hunt for a Cup Series championship when the season ends in November. That effort begins in earnest this weekend at Daytona. (JGR)(2-14-2017)

Aspen Dental Expands Partnership with SHR and Danica: Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing brands in the United States, has expanded its partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to become the lead sponsor of Danica Patrick and the #10 team during the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. The #10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion will debut in the season-opening Daytona 500. Aspen Dental has been a partner of SHR since 2012 and aligned with Patrick since 2014. As the brand enters its sixth year with SHR and fourth with Patrick, it will serve as the primary sponsor of Patrick’s #10 Ford for a double-digit slate of races in 2017. “Our commitment to Danica Patrick goes back almost four years and our relationship with SHR even further,” said Bob Fontana, chairman and CEO of Aspen Dental Management, Inc. “She is a strong advocate for the Aspen Dental brand and a wonderful ambassador for programs like the Healthy Mouth Movement. Danica and Stewart-Haas Racing have encouraged fans to get started on the road to better oral health care while showcasing how Aspen Dental practices make it easy for them. We look forward to our enhanced partnership.” Patrick has shined a spotlight on oral health across a multitude of channels. As part of the promotion of the Healthy Mouth Movement – a community-giving initiative which has delivered more than $7.5 million in donated dentistry for veterans since its inception – Patrick’s #10 car displayed a special paint scheme during the NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in September 2015 that featured the names of 2,200 veterans who had been honored by their friends and family. Patrick also appeared in “A Taste of the Future” – a hidden-camera video campaign designed to raise awareness about the long-term consequences of delaying dental care. “From the first time I visited Aspen Dental’s headquarters in 2013, I was struck by their commitment to helping people and changing lives,” Patrick said. “I love working with organizations that care about people, and teaming up with a group that has such an important mission – breaking down barriers and helping patients get the dental care they need – is very rewarding. In the years since I first partnered with Aspen Dental, it’s been fun to work on some unique projects with their team. From the ‘Taste of the Future’ video to launching the MouthMobile and then having the ‘Turbocharged Tooth Fairy Squad’ at Talladega last spring, we’ve worked together on some pretty impactful programs. It’s incredible to see firsthand how many people they’ve helped. I’m looking forward to delivering the company’s message at even more races this year.” There are nearly 600 Aspen Dental practices across 35 states and each practice offers patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to address their dental challenges. Every Aspen Dental practice offers a full range of dental and denture services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work – allowing patients to have the peace of mind that they are taken care of and protected, so they can focus on getting the healthy mouth they deserve. In 2016, Aspen Dental practices recorded more than 4.1 million patient visits and welcomed nearly 900,000 new patients. “Aspen Dental has been a great partner for Stewart-Haas Racing for many years,” said Tony Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “We’ve both grown with this sponsorship and we know we can achieve even more thanks to their increased role with Danica and our #10 team.”(Stewart-Haas Racing), see images of the car on the #10 Team Schemes page.(2-14-2017)

M&M’s Carmel to be featured on #18 Toyota in 2017: Mars this year is rolling out what likely is its largest launch ever for a new kind of M&M’s with M&M’s Caramel, and the company will support the roll-out with a major push in NASCAR. M&M’s will start selling the Caramel product in May. Part of that will be in NASCAR, where the M&M’s Caramel brand will run as the primary paint scheme of Kyle Busch’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for a third of the season’s 36 races. Due to the spring release of the candy, M&M’s will hold off on running its first Caramel paint scheme until the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race in Charlotte. M&M’s will support the launch with TV, digital, social and in-store activation, as well as shoot a digital content series with Busch about “unsquaring” caramel. M&M’s is looking at having at-track activation on midway fanzones, and will have a non-Caramel display to start the season at the Daytona 500. The other brands Mars will run paint schemes around this year are original M&M’s, Skittles, Pedigree Dog Food and Banfield Pet Hospital, plus special red, white and blue and Halloween paint schemes around the Fourth of July and Halloween, respectively. Mars, which sponsors around 30 races a year with JGR in a deal worth eight figures annually and has been involved in NASCAR for more than 25 years, renewed its official deal with the sanctioning body last year through 2019.(Sports Business Daily)(2-14-2017)

Practice time not scaled back in schedule released: NASCAR has backpedaled on plans to significantly reduce practice time at most tracks this year. Tentative schedules released a few weeks ago for race weekends early in the season showed a reduction in practice time of 34% to 46%, but the most recent schedule for the March 5 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway shows the same 165 minutes of practice time for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers as a year ago. In its tentative schedule released Jan. 24 to help teams and media plan, NASCAR initially had dropped 30 minutes from each of the Friday and Saturday sessions at Atlanta, but it added back the 30 minutes in a schedule released Monday. NASCAR was looking to streamline race weekends, but a NASCAR spokesman confirmed Monday that the schedules will be more similar to last year. The issue of practice time isn’t as simple as trying to figure out how much preparation drivers and crews need. Track operators often want more track activity to attract fans, and the practices often are televised.(ESPNAND time was also added to some of the practices at Daytona (2-14-2017)

Andrea Mueller takes the lead as engineer for #21 team: Andrea Mueller will have a much different job for this year’s Daytona 500 than the last one she worked. As an engineer at Team Penske in 2009, Mueller’s race-day job did not rank among the most thrilling. She spent race days as the team scorer, where she would sit in a NASCAR-provided booth and push a button every time the car crossed the start/finish line as a way for NASCAR to have a backup scoring system. With the advancement in electronic scoring, that job no longer exists. Her job Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway will feel significantly more important as well as provide an incredible thrill — and likely way more stress — as a culmination of her path over the past 10 years. She will work in her first NASCAR Cup race as the lead engineer for #21-Wood Brothers Racing driver Ryan Blaney. The Cal Poly graduate worked for Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, doing projects for the space shuttle program at NASA before joining Team Penske in 2007. She steadily worked her way up, having served as the lead engineer for Penske’s Xfinity Series #22 team, which won 25 races and three owners titles in her five seasons. About a month ago, Mueller was offered the job as lead engineer for Blaney, who drives for Penske affiliate Wood Brothers Racing. Her role will give her the highest profile of any female in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage.(full article at ESPN)(2-14-2017)

Shannon Spake named Co-host of NASCAR Race Hub: FOX Sports named Shannon Spake co-host of its NASCAR RACE HUB (Monday through Thursday at 6:00pm/et on FS1) alongside Adam Alexander for the 2017 NASCAR race season. Spake, who joined FOX Sports in July 2016, also will host NASCAR RACEDAY-XFINITY, live from the track preceding each weekend’s NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race, in addition to continuing to serve as a sideline reporter for college basketball and several NFL games airing on FOX Sports. Spake has extensive NASCAR television experience after multiple years as a pit reporter covering the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series, in addition to studio hosting duties, for ESPN.(FoxSports)(2-14-2017)

Danielle Trotta leaves FOX Sports 1: Danielle Trotta, who rose from an intern at WBTV (Channel 3) to prominence in TV motorsports coverage, announced Monday that she was leaving Fox Sports 1, her professional home for the last seven years. “I’m thankful to Fox for the chance to pursue new opportunities and excited for what the future holds,” Trotta said in a statement. “My departure comes at a time where I’m ready to grow and tackle new challenges … this was the right time personally and professionally to follow where the next story leads.” Trotta is engaged to Robby Benton, owner of RAB Racing. Trotta had a variety of assignments with Fox, including NFL sideline coverage, “NASCAR Race Hub,” “NASCAR Raceday” and NASCAR Xfinity Series, motor sports specials, Supercross and MotoGP races.(Charlotte Observer)(2-14-2017)

Gase returning for full season with Jimmy Means: Several weeks after announcing a multi-race deal to compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Joey Gase revealed to Fronstretch he will be returning to full-time competition in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The 24-year-old will be back for his fourth straight season driving Jimmy Means Racing’s #52 car on a full-time basis. “I’ll be back full-time in the XFINITY Series,” Gase said. “We’re trying to expand, but the competition level is rising. Stewart-Haas [Racing] is coming in and GMS Racing. RCR and JR Motorsports are adding teams, so we are going to have to get better if we want to survive in this sport.”(Frontstretch)(2-14-2017)

Chicagoland special offer for fans if Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins Daytona 500: Chicagoland Speedway announced the release of all remaining inventory following the renewal period for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend Sept. 14-17, 2017. All ticket levels and premium experiences are on sale now including Infield Fan Zone Pit Passes, Green Flag Garage and Legends Club. Not only are tickets now available for purchase, Chicagoland Speedway is presenting a limited-time offer where fans could enjoy a full refund. With this offer, fans who purchase a single-day NASCAR Cup Series ticket between now and the Daytona 500 will receive a complete refund following the race if #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. earns the victory. Eligibility for “Winning with Dale” is limited to single-day Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR Cup Series purchasers in all sections of the grandstands by using offer code: 17DALE500 when logging onto chicagolandspeedway.com/dalejr500.(Chicagoland Speedway)(2-14-2017)


News from February 14, 2017


Edwards getting paid to sit out? to Penske in 2018? Denied: when NASCAR star Carl Edwards announced last month that he too is retiring there was no such clarity. Edwards said only that he wanted to spend more time with his family but his press conference left most people unconvinced. Meanwhile I’m [Motorsports writer Gordon Kirby] told that Edwards is being paid more than $15 million to sit-out this year and that he will return to action next year at the wheel of a third Penske Racing Ford. Penske runs two cars for Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano and has been planning to expand to three cars. Penske currently runs a third car for Ryan Blaney in partnership with the Wood Brothers, one of NASCAR’s longest-running teams, so RP’s team is entirely prepared to run Edwards next year.(gordonkirby.comUPDATE: per Motorsports writer Lewis Franck’s Twitter: “OFFICIAL Just got off the phone with a senior @Team_Penske official who said no truth to Kirby’s Carl Edwards story.”(2-13-2017)

Mario Andretti Named Honorary Race Official for Daytona 500:Mario Andretti, who along with A.J. Foyt, Jamie McMurray and most recently Jeff Gordon, are the only drivers to win both the DAYTONA 500 and the Rolex 24 At Daytona, will serve as a Honorary Race Official for the Daytona 500. Andretti and Daytona International Speedway will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his epic 1967 DAYTONA 500 triumph throughout Speedweeks 2017. As part of his Honorary Race Official duties for “The Great American Race,” Andretti will be introduced at the drivers’ meeting, participate in pre-race ceremonies, ride in one of the parade cars and take part in question-and-answer sessions in fan hospitality areas and the UNOH Fanzone. In addition, a replica of Andretti’s 1967 Daytona 500-winning #11 Holman-Moody Ford will be on display on Daytona 500 Weekend in the UNOH Fanzone. “It’s an honor to host Mario Andretti for the DAYTONA 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “Mario is part of an exclusive club of champions at the ‘World Center of Racing’ and arguably has the most recognizable name in the entire history of auto racing. His victory here in 1967 has grown to legendary status and is truly one of the most significant moments in the history of the speedway and our community.” Andretti is considered by many to be the greatest driver in the history of motorsports, having been named Co-Driver of Century by the Associated Press in 1999. He won the 1978 Formula One World Championship, four IndyCar Series championships and the Indianapolis 500 in 1969. Andretti and Foyt are the only drivers to have won both the DAYTONA 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Tickets for the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 and other Speedweeks events can be purchased online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(2-13-2017)

Precision Performance Motorsports returning to XFINITY Series:Fresh off the heels of a breakthrough 2016 NASCAR season, Precision Performance Motorsports has been hard at work building a fleet of NASCAR XFINITY and K&N Pro Series East cars, improving their new facility in North Carolina, and preparing for the 2017 season. With ten XFINITY Series cars and four K&N Pro Series East cars, equipment and talented people, PPM plans to further progress both programs in the upcoming year. PPM made their debut in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Watkins Glen International with rookie Brandon Gdovic behind the wheel. In his first-ever trip to a NASCAR road course, the team posted a 13th-place finish, besting many veteran teams and drivers. 2016 saw continued success with Rookies Anthony Kumpen and Jordan Anderson having career-best races with PPM, while Gdovic continued to showcase his talent on oval tracks. Principle driver, Gdovic, has since transitioned into the General Manager role at PPM. This new leadership role has been coupled with a successful foray into road course racing. Only two months into 2017 and he has already competed in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the 24 Hours at Dubai, and four TCR Middle East races. His busy road course racing schedule has opened the door (or seat, should we say) for other drivers to grow in their stock car racing careers with the backing of a team that has proven success. In 2017, PPM plans to run a partial XFINITY Series schedule, beginning with the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway in February with NASCAR Euro Series Champion Anthony Kumpen, and the K&N Pro Series East schedule with drivers to be announced. PPM still has races available in the XFINITY Series.(Precision Performance Motorsports)(2-13-2017)

Congrats: to Joey Gase on his engagement to Caitlin Himmelsbach. Gase announced the news on Twitter Sunday evening, “I broke down & bought Caitlin a ring, she said yes! The last 4 years have been amazing with you in my life. Looking forward to forever!”.(2-13-2017)

ISC partners with Ingenuity Sun Media to sponsor video boards:International Speedway Corporation (ISC), owner / operator of 13 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities, announced its partnership with ISM, a pioneer and leader in sports venue digital activation, to form ISM Vision Powered by BoldVu, the World’s Largest 360-degree Digital Engagement Venue Network. The new technology will debut during Speedweeks, beginning February 18 and running through the 59th Daytona 500 on February 26, at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, ISM Vision Powered by BoldVu will be employed at all ISC facilities beginning in 2017. ISC’s trackside network of modular, large-format digital video boards will become ISM Vision Powered by BoldVu. Displaying thrilling racing action, driver interviews and promotional content, ISM Vision Powered by BoldVu will also be fully integrated with each track’s and Motor Racing Network’s (MRN) mobile app allowing fans to utilize way-finding technologies, and realize real-time traffic and weather alerts and event schedules. The ISM platform allows for a more integrated marketing experience and provides rich onsite activation opportunities. In addition, ISC and its advertisers and partners will benefit from expanded consumer analytics and for the first time, consumer insights on fan behavior, campaign engagement and the overall visitor experience. Manufacturing Resources International (MRI), the technology leader in outdoor LCD displays, has partnered with ISM to be the cornerstone sponsor of ISM Vision Powered by BoldVu at all ISC facilities. ISM Vision, Powered by BoldVu, will include nearly 200 IP-connected digital displays, including each track’s large-format digital screens and dozens of 86-inch BoldVu displays. Initially temporary, these displays will become permanent by the end of 2017.(ISC)(2-13-2017)

Dover International Speedway extending SAFER barriers: Dover International Speedway will extend SAFER barriers across the frontstretch and backstretch of the facility in preparation for the 2017 NASCAR season. Work will be complete on the project before the June 2-4, 2017, NASCAR tripleheader weekend at the Monster Mile, which includes the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, June 4. Facts on the project plans are listed below: — Approximately 1,800 feet of Steel And Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers will be added to the one-mile, high-banked, concrete oval. Outside walls along the frontstretch and backstretch, including the gates for track entry, will now include SAFER barriers. With this project, all of the Monster Mile’s outside walls will have SAFER barriers installed. — The installation company will be Smith Fence of Clearwater, Fla. — Construction will begin in March. “Continued improvements to our facility, particularly in the areas of fan and driver safety, are of the utmost importance to us,” said Mike Tatoian, president and CEO of Dover International Speedway. “The decision to add more SAFER barriers is a collaborative decision with NASCAR and various stakeholders and collectively we felt this is something that needed to be completed prior to NASCAR’s return to the Monster Mile this spring.” Before the NASCAR tripleheader weekend in October 2016, Dover International Speedway added approximately 500 feet of SAFER barriers along the outside wall in Turn 2, under the walkover bridge, and along the outside wall of Turn 4 entering the frontstretch. “Dover has really done a great job in making the facility as safe as possible for us as drivers,” said Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Ford Fusion for Team Penske. “The Monster Mile is an extremely fast track. For only being a one-mile track, the high-banked corners and concrete surface produce really high speeds and with that you increase the risk for heavier impacts. As a driver I really appreciate the investment in safety. The initiative to add 1,800 feet of SAFER barrier to completely cover the outside walls is another great step.” The June 2-4, 2017, NASCAR tripleheader weekend at Dover International Speedway includes the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, June 2 and the NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, June 3. The Monster Mile is also hosting a NASCAR tripleheader weekend from Sept. 29-Oct. 1, including the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, Oct. 1, the “Drive Sober 200” presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, Sept. 30 and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Friday, Sept. 29. For tickets or more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover International Speedway)(2-13-2017)

Helio Castroneves helps Phoenix Raceway break ground on solar project: With the help of Phoenix Raceway’s “Speed King” Helio Castroneves, Phoenix Raceway officially broke ground on the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar during a special ceremony at its second annual Verizon IndyCar Series “Prix View” Testing event. On hand to ring in the occasion alongside Sperber were Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Chevy for Team Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series, President of Competition and Operations for INDYCAR Jay Frye, Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, Arizona Senator Lupe Contreras and City of Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise as well as former IndyCar legends Tom Sneva, Lyn St. James and Dick Simon. Among the many highlights of the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar is a completely redesigned infield featuring a first-of-its-kind garage viewing experience, placing fans face-to-face with the superstars of the sport. Phoenix Raceway’s start/finish line will also be repositioned in Turn 2 just before the track’s well-known dog leg. Fans can learn more about the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar and obtain news, updates and alerts by visiting www.newphoenixraceway.com.(Phoenix Raceway)(2-13-2017)


News from February 12, 2017


Congrats – Brad Keselowski: #2-Brad Keselowski married Paige White on Friday, February 10th.(Brad Keselowski tweet)(2-12-2017)

Some details on #33 Circle-Sport/TMG team: Joe Falk is partnering this year with fellow Chesapeake businessman Curtis Key, merging to create the #33 Circle Sports/The Motorsports Team, to race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Key brings a shop in Mooresville, N.C., that he calls three to fourtimes a day from his Indian River plumbing office – Falk checks in once daily from his used car lot – to direct and monitor work done by their 15 employees. The team has 16 cars and 11 engines. Falk cut a deal with Jeffrey Earnhardt to drive the #33 Chevy, and the driver also brought a sponsor – Starter sporting apparel – for the first four races. Other Falk deals include one with Richard Childress Racing for restrictor-plate motors and engineers for Daytona and Talladega (at about $80,000 per race); and one with the Hendrick organization to provide a trained pit crew and manager each week. Falk also brings potentially the most valuable asset to a team looking toward the future: one of the 36 charters NASCAR hands out. It’s what guarantees a spot in every race’s 40-car field and with it a revenue stream, if not a profit. Key recognizes the value of the charter from experience.(The Virginian-Pilot)(2-12-2017)

Earnhardt Jr.visit’s Newman’s Rescue Ranch: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy paid a visit Friday to the Rescue Ranch, an 87-acre ranch in Statesville, NC that offers rehabilitation and rescue for animals. Earnhardt sent out several tweets about the visit. He obviously enjoyed spending time with the animals.(Charlotte Observer)(2-12-2017)

RFR looking to improve on pit road with plenty of pit crew changes:The pit world looks a whole lot different this year for Roush Fenway Racing than a year ago this time. New coach Scott Bowan took over towards the end of last year and is making moves within the teams to help improve performance and pick up time. With the removal of the #16 team from the RFR stables there was a group of 18 crewmen fighting for 12 spots. Pit Talks did their best to find out what the new teams would look like in 2017. It appears that the only returning #6 car pit crew members for Trevor Bayne from last year will be front changer Kale Uphoff and gasman Josh Pech. New to the #6 crew will be front carrier Ryan McCray (moving over from the #17), jackman Mike Brown (moving over from the #17), rear changer Chris Schuman (moving over from RPM), and rear carrier Justin Edgell (moving over from the #16). As far as the #17 car goes, the pit crew for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will look like this: Front changer Mike Lingerfelt will be the lone returner on the crew. Rear changer Jon Moore is back from injury and will return to the rear as well. The front carrier position will be Kevin Richards (moving over from the #34), jack man will be Sean Meckelson (moving over from the #16), the rear carrier will be Brad Sutton (moving over from the #6), and gassing the car will be Kevin Wing (moving over from the #16).(Pit Talks)(2-12-2017)

Brown, Martins team up: Martins Motorsports is pleased to announce a new partnership with Brandonbilt Motorsports for the 2017 NASCAR Truck Series season. Brandon Brown will be the driver for the #44 Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway and select other races to be determined on the schedule. With Martins Motorsports still on the hunt for a primary sponsor in 2017, the partnership with Brandonbilt Motorsports will allow the team to relieve some of the financial stresses of a full schedule. For fans of regular driver Tommy Joe Martins, don’t worry; you’ll still see him behind the wheel of a truck at Daytona.(Martins Motorsports Twitter)(2-12-2017)

Anderson back on his own: Jordan Anderson is coming off a career-best 20th place finish in the Camping World Truck Series standings, but he will not be with the team that saw the Famously Hot color become a staple at tracks across the country. Bolen Motorsports, who owns the #66 Chevy which Anderson drove for most of the 2016 schedule, recently announced on its Facebook page that Anderson would not be driving in the season opener at Daytona and that future announcements about a driver and sponsor would be coming. While that was a strong signal that Anderson would not be back in that truck for 2017, the Forest Acres product confirmed to News19 that he is returning to a familiar role of running his own team as driver, mechanic and publicist. Anderson dropped by the News19 studios to discuss his plans which do include going to Daytona for the season opener. However, Anderson will have to qualify for that event and will not be locked into the field. It’s unclear if Columbia SC will return as a sponsor although Anderson has had discussions with that group who could always come on board in a different role. In the meantime, Anderson has locked in deals with Lucas Oil and Wix Filters, both companies are long-term supporters of all forms of racing.(WLTX 19)(2-12-2017)

Justin Moore to perform All-Star Race Concert: On the heels of back-to-back tours and his chart-topping album “Kinda Don’t Care,” Justin Moore will electrify fans at the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on May 20 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with a FREE All-Star Race Concert presented by Rayovac Batteries and Kwikset. Moore will his performance for fans at the entrance outside of Turn 1. No stranger to the Charlotte area or its deeply rooted history in motorsports, Moore played Speed Street during Coca-Cola 600 week in uptown Charlotte in 2012. The Justin Moore All-Star Race Concert presented by Rayovac Batteries and Kwikset will kick off pre-race festivities for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on a stage located near the Turn 1 entrance. For just $20, fans can upgrade to a special Golden Ticket for early access to a reserved area directly in front of the stage. Golden Tickets are limited and can be purchased by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(2-12-2017)


News from February 11, 2017


Stewart returns to Sprint Car Racing: Tony Stewart has returned to sprint car racing, though his first race back provided him more frustration than frivolity. Stewart finished a disappointing 17th in the 26-car main event late Thursday at Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL), and he ended the night arguing with a fellow driver and complaining with officials. Stewart was driving a sprint car for the first time since he accidentally struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in upstate New York in 2014. Stewart is still facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the fellow driver’s family. Stewart, who retired [from NASCAR] after last season, declined comment after the dirt-track event out of respect for the Ward family and later said he didn’t want his racing to even appear like he’s “rubbing it in the Wards’ faces.” He plans to keep a low profile during the event, racing again Friday and Saturday at the three-eighths mile track.(read full article at the Associated Press), on Friday night, Stewart finished 21st in the A-Main (Bubba Raceway Park Facebook)(2-11-2017) UPDATE: Stewart withdrew from Saturday night’s finale, which resulted in the release of this statement from his public relations representative: “Tony Stewart has scratched for the evening (Saturday night) and is reconsidering his schedule with the All Star Circuit of Champions due to his ownership of the series. Requirements of owning and managing the series supersede his own driving ambitions. We apologize for the change in tonight’s schedule and appreciate everyone’s understanding.”(FoxSports)(2-12-2017)

Changes with Kurt Busch’s crew; going for championship record: As #41-Kurt Busch embarks on his 17th full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and his fourth with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), he has a good reason to feel right at home as the driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, as the 2017 marks a homecoming for Busch to Ford Motor Company, the manufacturer with whom he won the 2004 Cup Series championship. It was Busch’s first Cup Series title and Ford’s most recent. Busch will attempt to surpass NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte’s record for time between championships -12 seasons separated Labonte’s two titles in 1984 and 1996 – and do it with the Dearborn, Michigan-based manufacturer with whom his NASCAR Cup Series career began. Five new crew members join the Tony Gibson-led Haas Automation/Monster Energy crew 2017 season. Scott Barnette, J.D. Frey, Todd Hamm, Matthew Kennedy and Tony Raines join Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and the #41 team. Barnette will serve as the second gas man, Frey as a mechanic, Hamm as the engine tuner, Kennedy as the third engineer and Raines as the spotter.(SHR)(2-11-2017)

BK Racing Hires New Manager of Partnership Sales: BK Racing announced that Ryan Tuttle has joined the team as Manager of Partnership Sales. Tuttle brings over eight years of sales, client services, and business development experience to the team. Assuming a wide scope of responsibilities at BK Racing, Tuttle will be responsible for new sponsorship business development and growing existing sponsorships. He will also assist BK Racing CMO, Doug Fritz, with on-boarding new sponsors, sponsorship renewals, and new sponsors’ at-track and in-market activation. “I’m excited to join BK Racing as their Manager of Partnership Sales,” said Tuttle. “To be able to help build onto the success that everyone at BK Racing has already achieved is a tremendous opportunity. I look forward to working with our existing sponsors as well as help new companies grow their brands with BK Racing in 2017.” “Ryan is going to make an excellent addition to our team,” said Doug Fritz, Chief Marketing Officer at BK Racing. “Together we will work to build on the momentum from our very successful 2016 season. BK Racing has a very talented group of young drivers this year, and we believe these drivers will represent our sponsors very well. We are all looking forward to showcasing what we can do starting at Daytona in a couple weeks.”(BK Racing)(2-11-2017)

Fox announces Cup drivers as XFINITY race analysts: For the third consecutive year, FOX Sports features a rotation of prominent MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers as guest driver analysts for its 2017 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race telecasts, beginning with the season opener at Daytona. FOX NASCAR adds to the TV booth for the first time Chase Elliott (one race) and Jamie McMurray (one), who join Kevin Harvick (five), Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano (two each). The Cup Series drivers will team with FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip to offer analysis for the entire race to which they are assigned. In 2016, Harvick, Keselowski, Logano, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. took a turn in the FOX NASCAR booth. FOX Sports began using MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers as analysts for its NASCAR XFINITY SERIES races in 2015, utilizing Harvick, Keselowski, Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, now a full-time FOX NASCAR analyst, and Patrick.(FoxSports)(2-10-2017)

Morgan Shepherd plans to attempt Daytona: This year marks the 50th anniversary of Morgan Shepherd running his first race at Hickory Motor Speedway in 1967. He’s run 976 races in NASCAR’s top 3 levels with wins in the Cup and Xfinity Series. Shepherd is already the oldest driver to start a race in a Cup level, the oldest driver to lead an Xfinity race at age 74, and the oldest driver to start a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Shepherd plans to take his black and gold Camaro race in the Power Shares 300 at Daytona on Saturday, February 25, and that won’t be the end of the line. “If we get in Daytona and everything’s okay, we’ll continue right on and do the west coast swing,” Shepherd added.(WBTV)(2-11-2017)

Faith Motorsports to continue partnership with SMD: North Canton, Ohio based graphic design firm, Shawn Magee Design (SMD) confirms that they signed a contract extension through the 2017 season with Faith Motorsports. SMD will continue to be the official graphics partner of FMS and will be featured on the truck as a primary and contingency sponsor through the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. The races that the SMD paint scheme will appear will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Through this strategic partnership, SMD will support Faith Motorsports with creative services including but not limited to paint scheme design, sponsorship presentations, website content and event promotions.(See an image of the truck on the #62 Team Paint Schemes page)(Shawn Magee Design)(2-11-2017)

Keanu Reeves to star as NASCAR driver in “Rally Car”: On the first day of the Berlin Film Market, Lionsgate has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Keanu Reeves starrer Rally Car. The movie, which will be directed by Olivier Megaton (Taken 2, Taken 3, Colombiana) from a script by Jeremy Lott based on a treatment by Stephen Hamel. Rally Car will be produced by Hamel and Reeves of Company Films and Mark Gao and Gregory Ouanhon of Fundamental Films. Gary Glushon will executive produce. The film tells the story of a self-centered NASCAR driver (Reeves) who revitalizes his career by entering an international rally car race across China and learns to win as part of a team when he joins forces with a young Chinese woman who yearns to become a driver. The film will shoot in China and the U.S.(Hollywood Reporter) The film, described as in the vein of Cannonball Run, will shoot in China and the United States in the summer.(Deadline)(2-10-2017)

Experience a Full Weekend with the Family at Martinsville Speedway: This year families can take in the STP 500 race weekend presented by whosyourdriver.org at Martinsville Speedway for just $324 with the Weekend Getaway Family 4 pack. The package includes camping, race tickets for all on track activity and food. The Weekend Getaway Family 4 pack is geared toward families with children 12-and-under, giving them the opportunity to spend a weekend at the track with only one click of the mouse. Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway March 31-April 2 for the STP 500 race weekend. The campgrounds open on March 25. This year the historic track celebrates its 70th anniversary. The weekend starts on Friday with Virginia Lottery Pole Day and continues on Saturday with the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be in action on Sunday with the running of the STP 500. The race is the first short-track race of the season and marks the series’ return to the east coast after the “West Coast Swing.” Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(2-11-2017)


News from February 10, 2017


Stages Announced (so far): Track/Race: three stages; total scheduled laps, scheduled miles Daytona 500: 60/60/80; 200, 500 Las Vegas: 80/80/107; 267, 400.5 Dover: 100/100/200; 400, 400 (both races) Pocono: 40/40/80; 160, 400 (both) Indianapolis: 45/45/70; 160, 400 Watkins Glen: 20/20/50; 90, 220.5 Stages (segments) show on the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule (2-10-2017)

LVMS announces race-stage information for 2017 NASCAR Weekend: Race breaks have been set for all 2017 NASCAR national events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, LVMS announced on Friday. Under NASCAR’s new stage-based racing format, each track’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series races are being broken into three segments in an effort to enhance in-race excitement for fans. LVMS’s 267-lap Kobalt 400 will have breaks after laps 80 and 160, on Sunday, March 12, while the 200-lap Boyd Gaming 300 on Saturday, March 11, will break after laps 45 and 90. In addition, the 146-lap Sept. 30 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will have breaks at laps 35 and 70. In the new format, the top 10 finishers of the first two stages of each race will be awarded additional championship points, and the winner of each stage will receive one playoff point. The caution flag will come out to signify the end of each stage, and race teams are permitted to access pit road if they choose during the scheduled breaks. “NASCAR has always been committed to improving its product, and we are excited to see how these new changes will enhance an already thrilling race weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” LVMS President Chris Powell said. “The Kobalt 400 and Boyd Gaming 300 will be more exciting than ever before, and we are confident our fans will enjoy the added intensity of every lap at our 1.5-mile cathedral. It’s going to be another great NASCAR Weekend at LVMS, and we can’t wait to see the action get started in four weeks.” LVMS’ 2017 NASCAR Weekend begins with Stratosphere Pole Day on Friday, March 10, continues with the NASCAR Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300 on Saturday, March 11, and finishes with the 20th Kobalt 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, March 12. All children 12 and under get in free on Friday and Saturday with a ticketed adult and can attend the Kobalt 400 alongside a ticketed adult for just $10 on Sunday. Call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to www.LVMS.com to order tickets.(LVMS)(2-10-2017)

Elgin Sweeper renews partnership with NASCAR: Elgin Sweeper, the leading manufacturer of street sweepers for general street maintenance, special industrial and airport applications, has renewed its partnership with NASCAR Green for three years and will continue to serve as the Official Sweeper of NASCAR Green. As the Official Sweeper of NASCAR Green, Elgin Sweeper is present at each NASCAR race event weekend to support NASCAR’s Air Titan equipment to dry rain-soaked racetracks, saving jet fuel and reduce NASCAR’s overall carbon footprint. In addition to supporting the Air Titan equipment with the revolutionary Elgin Crosswind Specialty Track Sweeper, the company helps clean and dry the tracks during caution periods when necessary. In 2016, the Elgin Track Sweeper helped with drying rain-soaked tracks and vacuuming up standing water, rubber and debris around the pit area at 76 races of the National Series and more than 200 National Series practice sessions.(NASCAR.com)(2-10-2017)

KRC Power Steering & Leavine Family Racing Form Technical Alliance: KRC Power Steering has partnered with Leavine Family Racing as a product and technology sponsor for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Season. LFR will exclusively utilize KRC Pro Series III Power Steering Pumps and High Performance KRC Power Steering Fluid. In turn, KRC will incorporate LFR into their marketing plan for 2017. Technical knowledge developed in conjunction with the alliance will be funneled to Short Track Racers completing the circle of information sharing. KRC Pro Series III Power Steering Pumps are manufactured in Kennesaw, GA and are engineered to perform at the highest levels of motorsports. 9 levels of adjustable feel allows LFR driver, Michael McDowell, to tailor his steering system feel to turn through 500 tough laps at the Bristol half mile to the high speeds found at the 2.5 miles of the Daytona 500.(KRC Power Steering PR)(2-10-2017)

‘The Simpsons’ welcome Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. FOX Sports welcomes back Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and the rest of the gang from Springfield – and, this time, The Simpsons are bringing along some of their NASCAR pals. Four-time NASCAR champion and FOX NASCAR analyst Jeff Gordon joins NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., as part of an animated promo for Daytona Day, the expanded, second-year marketing initiative in support of the Daytona 500. “It was really cool … it’s such a popular show,” Gordon said. “Whether they are making fun of you or not, it’s just an honor to be a part of it.” Viewers of Sunday’s Super Bowl LI on FOX got a sneak peek of the Daytona Day promo with Gordon and Earnhardt, now scheduled to air in episodes of The Simpsons on Feb. 12 and Feb. 19. The Simpsons airs Sundays on FOX. Now, in its second year, the Daytona Day campaign, which now includes support from NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway and multiple consumer marketing partners, continues to recognize and celebrates the parties and social gatherings happening around the country on the day of the Daytona 500.(FoxSports)(2-10-2017)

Morgan Shepherd plans to attempt Daytona NXS race: This year marks the 50th anniversary of Morgan Shepherd running his first race at Hickory Motor Speedway in 1967. He’s run 976 races in NASCAR’s top 3 levels with wins in the Cup and Xfinity Series. Shepherd is already the oldest driver to start a race in a Cup level, the oldest driver to lead an Xfinity race at age 74, and the oldest driver to start a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Shepherd plans to take his black and gold Camaro race in the Power Shares 300 at Daytona on Saturday, February 25, and that won’t be the end of the line. “If we get in Daytona and everything’s okay, we’ll continue right on and do the west coast swing,” Shepherd added.(WBTV)

Scott Lagasse Jr. in the #24 at Daytona: JGL Racing announces that Scott Lagasse Jr. has joined the organization for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Lagasse Jr., a native of St. Augustine, Florida, will pilot the #24 Toyota in the running of the PowerShares QQQ 300 at the “World Center of Speed”. Lagasse Jr. will be making his 62nd career start in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and his 11th career NXS start at Daytona. Scott also has three career starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and two in the ARCA Racing Series at the 2.5-mile track. Clinton Cram will lead the St. Augustine, FL native as crew chief of the #24 Toyota. Lagasse Jr. will join JGL Racing’s full-time driver Dakoda Armstrong as he enters his second season piloting the team’s #28 WinField United Toyota entry. The team and Lagasse Jr. will have some exciting sponsor announcements as the season opening race draws closer.(JGL Racing)(2-10-2017)

Fox announces Cup drivers as XFINITY race analysts: For the third consecutive year, FOX Sports features a rotation of prominent MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers as guest driver analysts for its 2017 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race telecasts, beginning with the season opener at Daytona. FOX NASCAR adds to the TV booth for the first time Chase Elliott (one race) and Jamie McMurray (one), who join Kevin Harvick (five), Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano (two each). The Cup Series drivers will team with FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip to offer analysis for the entire race to which they are assigned. In 2016, Harvick, Keselowski, Logano, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. took a turn in the FOX NASCAR booth. FOX Sports began using MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers as analysts for its NASCAR XFINITY SERIES races in 2015, utilizing Harvick, Keselowski, Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, now a full-time FOX NASCAR analyst, and Patrick.(Fox Sports)(2-10-2017)

Clements ready for full season: Jeremy Clements Racing announces that they will run the full 2017 NASCAR XFINITY season. The family run single car team will be competing in their seventh full time season. JCR finished the 2016 season with 3 Top 10s and 15th in the driver standings. JCR will extend their sponsorship with RepairableVehicles.com as a season-long partner on the #51 Chevrolet Camaro SS. Repairable Vehicles will be the primary sponsor for both Daytona International Speedway races and Talladega Superspeedway and other races to be named in the coming weeks. JCR also announces the return of long time partners All South Electrical out of Cartersville, GA, BRT Extrusions out of Niles, OH and Harrison’s – Upstate SC out of Mauldin, SC as associate sponsors for Daytona. All South Electrical will also be a primary sponsor for four races in 2017 beginning in Atlanta. BRT and Harrison’s will also return during the season as associate sponsors in up-coming races.(Jeremy Clements Racing), see an image of the car on the #51 team paint schemes page.(2-10-2017)

Yeley to drive for AM Racing at Daytona: Officials from AM Racing announced that NASCAR veteran driver JJ Yeley will pilot the team’s #22 Toyota Tundra for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Friday night, February 24th. Yeley, a native of Phoenix, Ariz. will make his 23rd career NCWTS start and first since last March’s race at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway. In Yeley’s previous 22 starts, the two-time USAC Sprint Car champion has one start at the “World Center of Racing” in 2010 resulting in 10th place finish. The partnership for now is a one-race agreement with industry veteran Rick Ren serving as crew chief. Yeley’s efforts will be backed by Legrand and Superior Essex. Overall, Yeley, 40, has a combined 23 starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway across NASCAR’s top-three national divisions with two XFINITY Series poles, one top-five and four top-10s. Yeley’s best finish at Daytona is fourth in the 2006 XFINITY Series opener after starting on the pole driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Details of AM Racing’s second driver and marketing partnership(s) lineup for Daytona is forthcoming.(See an image of the truck on the #22 Team Paint Schemes page)(AM Racing)(2-10-2017)

International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announces new Director of Multicultural Affairs: International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announced that Shameeka E. Quallo, Esq., Corporate Counsel, ISC Legal, is now adding Director of Multicultural Affairs to her title. Quallo will strengthen ISC’s diversity and inclusion efforts working in collaboration with the NASCAR Multicultural Development team. Quallo moves into the newly-formed role of Director of Multicultural Affairs. She will work closely with the NASCAR Multicultural Development team, focusing on initiatives designed to address diversity and inclusion including employee training, diversity internships, and outreach to multicultural opinion leaders. During Speedweeks, Quallo will participate in the annual NASCAR Diversity Awards Luncheon at Daytona International Speedway on February 23.(ISC)(2-10-2017)

Dover Stages: format at Dover for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races will have two 100-lap stages and a 200-lap final stage.(2-10-2017)


News from February 9, 2017


NASCAR Drivers Council happy with safety team: After lobbying multiple times for the addition of a traveling safety team, a NASCAR Drivers Council member was pleased to see its arrival Wednesday in the Cup Series. “(The safety team) is something that the council has brought up quite a few times, and it’s a struggle to figure out how to do that with insurance and legally,” Joey Logano said Wednesday in an interview with NBC Sports. “It’s a little over my head. “But why can’t we have someone who is on site when get there? What are we waiting on? You’re not the only person to ask that question. Believe me, I think every driver has asked this question at some point in their careers. Why don’t we have a physician that we know? … When I got the call they were announcing it, I was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ It’s super.”(NBC Sports)(2-9-2017)

Inspection process changes: NASCAR announced was a new procedure for pre-race inspections. Previously if a team fails a stage in pre-race inspection they could work on the issue and just go back to the inspection stage they failed. Now if a car fails any of the stages, they must go back through all stages of pre-race inspection. While most old-school fans – and even some newer fans – have complained about constant changes every year to the race formats and points structures, the dwindling television ratings and track attendance proved that something needed to be done. I applaud NASCAR for thinking outside of the box. Whether or not the changes work, NASCAR and its partners deserve the opportunity to see how the new formats and points structure evolve and whether fans are engaged in the process. The proof will come in increased fan traffic.(Motorsport)(2-9-2017)

Sport Clips returns with Hamlin in 2017; sponsors Jones UPDATE:Sport Clips Haircuts is an active sponsor in NASCAR and is excited to enter its ninth season (2017) as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin enters his 12th full season with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017 behind the wheel of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2017, following an incredible 2016 season that saw him win his first Dayton 500. Sport Clips is scheduled to sponsor Hamlin at: Auto Club Speedway in March and Darlington (usually a throwback scheme) in September. Sport Clips will also sponsor #77-Erik Jones for four races in 2017″ Bristol in April, Daytona in July, Indianapolis in July and Texas in November (Sport Clips). Sport Clips had sponsored Carl Edwards the past few years in the #19 JGR Toyota, but Edwards recently left the team and the sport and doesn’t plan on racing in 2017.(1-14-2017) UPDATE: Sport Clips Haircuts announced its continued partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Denny Hamlin for the 2017 season, and the addition of Furniture Row Racing and driver Erik Jones. Sport Clips will increase its sponsorship in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to include two races with Hamlin and four races with Jones. In addition, Sport Clips will continue to have a presence in the XFINITY Series with one race with Hamlin. Veteran Denny Hamlin will pilot the #11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races during the 2017 season beginning at Auto Club Speedway io March and at Darlington in Sept. In addition, the 2016 Daytona 500 winner will return to the XFINITY Series behind the wheel of the #18 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for the Sport Clips-sponsored Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 2. New to the Sport Clips program for the 2017 season will be Furniture Row Racing with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Erik Jones. Entering his first season with Furniture Row Racing, Jones will pilot the #77 Sport Clips Toyota for four races beginning at Bristol in April followed by Daytona in July 1, Indianapolis in July 23 and ending with Sport Clips’ home track at Texas Motor in Nov. Jones has previously represented Sport Clips for two races in the #20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, earning one pole and a best finish of second, both coming in 2016 at Pocono Raceway. The 2017 season will mark the ninth season that Sport Clips has been involved with the Joe Gibbs Racing family of partners and the first season as a partner of Furniture Row Racing.(PR Newswire)(2-9-2017)

E.J. Wade Foundation to Sponsor Go Fas Racing in Daytona 500: Go Fas Racing announced that the E.J. Wade Foundation will be debuting as the primary sponsor of the #32 Ford in the Daytona 500. The E.J. Wade Foundation, founded by Jeff and Janet Wade, is a public 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focusing on rheumatoid arthritis patient assistance, aid for the people of Niger, Africa, as well as disaster preparedness relief across the United States. Each pillar of philanthropy represents a deep personal meaning for the Wade family. The E.J. Wade Foundation will continue to encompass all three tenants of the elder foundations, adding a fourth focus: community partnerships. “Obviously it’s great to have E.J. Wade come with me to Go Fas Racing,” DiBenedetto said. “But it really means so much to me to have a foundation so close to Mr. and Mrs. Wade’s heart on our racecar. The foundation does so many great things for people in need and it’s a great honor to have them with our No.32 team. We hope to be able to raise awareness and money for all of these great causes while continuing to grow their business.” “My family and I are excited to be sponsoring Matt DiBenedetto through Go Fas Racing this year,” said Jeff Wade, President of E.J. Wade Construction. “The Lord has blessed us throughout the years and we are glad to be able to pass that blessing on. It has been a privilege to get to know Matt and wish him well during this upcoming NASCAR season.” “I’m really glad to have Jeff and Janet with the E.J. Wade Foundation on board for the Daytona 500 this year,” said Archie St. Hilaire, owner of Go Fas Racing. “From helping kids in Africa, to disaster relief here in the United States, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, which is prevalent here in the northeast where I’m from, we look forward to being a platform for both Jeff and Janet to get the message out about all the great things that their foundation does.” As in years past, Go Fas Racing’s #32 Ford will be undertaking an overnight makeover from the E.J. Wade Foundation’s colors of purple and white, to Can-Am’s familiar yellow and black during Thursday night’s Can-Am duels. Once the Can-Am duels have been completed, DiBenedetto’s Ford will return back to representing the E.J. Wade Foundation for the rest of the Daytona 500 weekend.(Go Fas Racing), see image of the scheme on the #32 Team Schemes page (2-9-2017)

Mark Martin to Enter IWK 250 at Riverside in July: Less than a month ago he was on stage at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC, seeing his extraordinary racing career being officially acknowledged as he joined an elite group of inductees in the hallowed hall. This July 15, NASCAR legend Mark Martin will enter the IWK 250 presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body at Riverside International Speedway. “I’ve heard nothing but good things from my NASCAR buddies about the race, the competition and the fans,” said Martin, who hails from Batesville, Arkansas. “It’s always fun to get back to your roots. My career began at local short tracks and I got the opportunity to go to so many great speedways. I can’t wait to check this one out along with the competition, and the fans.” “It’s going to be a real thrill to compete against Mark Martin,” said Donald Chisholm, from Antigonish, defending champion of the IWK 250 and 2015 Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour champion. “He has had such an amazing career and the fact that he has just gone into the NASCAR Hall of Fame makes his visit even more special. It will be cool to see him driving a car from our shop. You don’t get a chance to prepare a car for a racing legend very often. There is no doubt Mark will be one of the drivers to beat in order to defend our win from last year. Our whole team is looking forward to the event.” Martin will drive a car out of the Nova Racing stable as a teammate to Chisholm and New Glasgow’s George Koszkulics. Martin has raced at one other track in Canada, Cayuga Motor Speedway in Ontario, in the late 70s in ASA competition. His journey to the IWK 250 will be his first visit to Nova Scotia. With his win in 2008, Regan Smith is the only NASCAR guest driver to take the checkers at the IWK 250. Other NASCAR racers that have challenged the regions best in the event include Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose, Matt Crafton, Ricky Craven, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and David Reutimann. Riverside International Speedway, a 1/3-mile high banked asphalt oval, is located in James River. more info on the track and race at riversidespeedway.ca.(2-9-2017)

BK Racing announced 2-sponsor for #23 car: BK Racing and Schluter-Systems announced today that they will continue their partnership into the 2017. Gray Gaulding’s #23 Toyota will carry Schluters’ signature orange and gray colors at Las Vegas in March and at Martinsville in October. Schluter will continue to be an associate sponsor on the #23 for the entire season. Schluter-Systems improves and promotes tile installation through the development of products for ceramic and stone tile at facilities in Plattsburgh, Reno, Canada, and Europe.(BK Racing), see image of the scheme on the #23 Team Schemes page (2-9-2017)

Team Penske and Big Kaiser Precision Tooling form alliance: Team Penske announced that it has formed a technical alliance with Big Kaiser Precision Tooling, a worldwide leader in high-precision tooling systems and solutions for the metal cutting industry that guarantees extreme accuracy and repeatability. As the “Official Performance Technical Partner of Team Penske,” Big Kaiser will bring its most advanced technology to Team Penske in order to maximize production capacity. Under the terms of the new multi-year agreement, Hoffman Estates and Illinois-based Big Kaiser will provide Team Penske with its latest CNC tool-holding, presetting and boring equipment for use within the team’s machining department that produces elements used on its Ford Fusions racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and its Ford Mustangs in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The high-precision boring equipment will significantly increase precision while reducing time and waste of machined parts. Team Penske recently put the finishing touches on a 2,500-square foot expansion to its machining department as the team continues to create parts for the racecars produced in its Mooresville, NC-based facility. The addition of Big Kaiser is the final key element of the project that keeps the team in the upper echelons of machining in North American motorsports. Big Kaiser plans to incorporate the new partnership with Team Penske into the company’s future marketing and promotional efforts. Through specific case studies, Big Kaiser will highlight how its equipment and support continue to raise the level of performance of Team Penske’s racing programs.(Team Penske)(2-9-2017)

Steve Letarte creates Racingjobs.com: RacingJobs.com, a new innovative website for matching race teams with employees, was launched this week by Steve Letarte, the NBC Sports NASCAR booth analyst who scored 15 victories as a crew chief for Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (including a 2014 Daytona 500 triumph). Using a smart, searchable database that creates anonymous but detailed online profiles for prospective racing employees, race teams can fill needed positions based on desired qualifications such as education, work experience, skill sets and pay scale. “The response from the industry is clear,” Letarte said. “Race teams are excited for RacingJobs.com and the service it provides in helping them find the right candidates for the right job.” Every job that is necessary in the competition side of auto racing – from pit crews to road crews to race shops, from engineers to interior mechanics to fabricators – will be available to be filled by a talent pool that will represent every series, from NASCAR to drag racing to IndyCar. Race teams can search based on potential openings, ensuring that the prospective employees’ education, experience and proficiency are commensurate with the job’s qualifications. A list of potential candidates is populated off the search, and the race team winnows the list to the best matches. RacingJobs.com then emails prospects on that filtered list to provide contact information and instructions for reaching the race team – keeping candidates anonymous until they decide to pursue an opportunity. Because individuals are the foundation to any successful company, RacingJobs.com streamlines the hiring model for the racing industry. In keeping the profiles anonymous, all prospective employees are on equal ground, and the barriers to entry in a tough job market are reduced. Instead of a search based solely on “who you know” or word-of-mouth networking, having the desired qualifications and correct skill sets will earn consideration on their own merits.(2-9-2017)

Race Stages announced for Daytona: This year’s Daytona 500 will feature two 60-lap stages followed by a final 80-lap stage, with points available in all stages. Under NASCAR’s 2017 race structure, the top 10 drivers in the first two stages will earn points, with the stage winners also earning one playoff point. The race winner gets 40 points, as well as five playoff points which can be carried forward until the season finale at Homestead. The PowerShares QQQ 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race will consistent of two 30-lap stages followed by a 60-lap final stage. The NextEra Energy 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will feature two stages of 20 laps each followed by a final stage of 60 laps. A race will be considered official after the first two stages are complete. The season-opening Daytona 500, for example, will be official after 120 of 200 laps, not after the halfway point as in the past.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-9-2017)

Pocono Stages announced: Both NASCAR weekends at Pocono Raceway will follow the same format with three race stages. The Pocono 400 and the Pennsylvania 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races will run two 40-lap stages and then one 80-lap stage. Points will be awarded for top-10 finishers in the first two stages with full field points following the conclusion of the 80-lap stage. Pocono Raceway is home to the Worry-Free Weather Guarantee that ensures fans that purchased Sunday tickets in advance directly from Pocono Raceway will be reimbursed the face value if weather postpones the race and they are unable to make the re-scheduled event. Additional information can be found at poconoraceway.com/guarantee.(Pocono Raceway)(2-9-2017)

BBR Music Group partners with Tyler Reddick: Chip Ganassi Racing announced a partnership with Nashville-based entertainment powerhouse BBR Music Group on the #42 Chevrolet Camaro with Tyler Reddick for multiple NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2017. The car will feature the multi-media superstar Trace Adkins (whose new album SOMETHING’S GOING ON will be released on March 31), for the season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. BBR Music Group, a BMG company, includes Broken Bow Records, Stoney Creek Records, Red Bow Records, Wheelhouse Records and publishing company Magic Mustang Music. BBR Music Group possesses a roster of talented artists including the RIAA’s #1 digital selling male Country artist of all-time Jason Aldean; multi-media superstar Trace Adkins; #1 chart-toppers Randy Houser, Dustin Lynch, Joe Nichols, Parmalee, Granger Smith, Thompson Square, as well as a plethora of rising young stars.(Chip Ganassi Racing), see an image of the car on the #42 team paint schemes page.(2-9-2017)

Anderson’s Maple Syrup sponsoring Brandon Jones: Richard Childress Racing has partnered with Anderson’s Maple Syrup to serve as a primary sponsor for multiple races this season with driver Brandon Jones and the #33 NASCAR XFINITY Series team. The Wisconsin-based company will also have an associate sponsorship presence throughout the 2017 season. This is the second partnership between the two family-owned companies, as Anderson’s Maple Syrup was featured on the #2 Chevrolet Camaro for two XFINITY Series events in 2014. The #33 Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet Camaro will be driven by Jones, who begins his second full-time season with RCR in 2017. Jones earned a Chase berth in his rookie season, ultimately finishing 10th in the NXS driver point standings in 2016. Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup can be found in grocery stores and specialty shops across the country.(Richard Childress Racing), see an image of the car on the #33 team paint schemes page.(2-9-2017)

Kligerman to expand schedule with Henderson UPDATE: Parker Kligerman will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017, partnering with Henderson Motorsports to compete in the organization’s #75 truck for at least eight to 10 races. Kligerman attempted to make his debut with the organization at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2016, but failed to qualify. In addition to Kligerman’s time in the truck, the team’s primary driver since 2012, Caleb Holman, will be back for select events. Holman competed in five races in 2016, with a best finish of ninth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the team’s first event of the year.(Frontstretch)(1-20-2017) UPDATE: Henderson Motorsports announced Parker Kligerman and Caleb Holman will share driving duties for the Food Country USA sponsored team in 2017 in the NASCAR Truck Series. Between the two drivers the team plans to run 12-15 races. Kligerman plans to run the Daytona truck race in two weeks. Kligerman finished third in last year’s truck race at Daytona. Holman’s first truck race will be in the spring at Martinsville. Chris Carrier will serve as crew chief. He and Holman earned a pole position last year at Eldora. Carrier and Kligerman have worked together in the past and shared 9 victories together in the ARCA Series. Henderson Motorsports, owned by Charlie Henderson runs one of the oldest active teams in NASCAR.(Henderson Motorsports)(2-9-2017)

Smith, Benton team up for part-time effort: If you thought Regan Smith might not find a ride in any of NASCAR’s national series this year, think again. The journeyman driver has landed a 12-race deal with Ricky Benton Racing in the Camping World Truck Series, which puts him on the track while also helps keep his options open to drive in the Cup Series should something come along. Smith will run Daytona for Benton’s team, then do the next five races after that. The team has sponsorship from Benton’s companies – BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors and Black’s Tire Service, as well as Advance Auto Parts, Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Network and Valvoline.(JeffGluck.com)(2-8-2017) AND: Ricky Benton Racing (RBR) Enterprises announced that Regan Smith will be behind the wheel of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) #92 BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors/Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Network/Advance Auto Parts/Valvoline Ford F-150 for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway and 11 other series events in 2017. The plan is for Smith to run 12 races with RBR this year, including the first six starting at Daytona. Even with a new driver this year, there is a great deal of continuity at RBR this year. Long-time crew chief Hester will again be again calling the shots on race day. The team is running Ford F-150s with Roush-Yates engines for the fourth year. Also returning are sponsors Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Network, Valvoline and Advance Auto Parts.(See an image of the #92 truck on the #92 Team Paint Schemes page)(Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises)(2-9-2017)

Richard Petty Ticket Package includes Q&A with the King at ACS:Richard Petty is giving Southern California race fans a birthday present! To celebrate the NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and owner’s upcoming 80th Birthday, race fans can purchase a Richard Petty Ticket Package that includes a Q&A at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 race weekend – March 25-26, 2017. The first 80 ticket packages purchased will receive an exclusive autograph session with “The King.” Richard Petty’s 80th Birthday Ticket Package is $99.00 and must be purchased before March 10. ” Reserved ticket to the Auto Club 400 – Sunday ” GA ticket to the NXS 300 – Saturday ” Pre-Race Pit Pass ” Q&A on race weekend for ticket purchases. The first 80 purchased also receive an autograph session. ” $10 donation to the Petty Family Foundation/Victory Junction To purchase the Richard Petty 80th Birthday ticket package and tickets to NASCAR’s Auto Club 400 Weekend at Auto Club Speedway, call 1-800-944-RACE (7223), shop online at autoclubspeedway.com, or stop by the Auto Club Speedway ticket office at 9300 Cherry Ave. in Fontana.(About Auto Club Speedway)(2-9-2017)


News from February 8, 2017


NASCAR announces updated damaged vehicle policy: NASCAR officials unveiled a new Damaged Vehicle Policy on Wednesday at the sanctioning body’s Research & Development Center, a policy that will be enforced in all three national series — Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. Under the guidelines, teams no longer will be allowed to replace damaged body parts that are the result of accidents or contact. Repairs, such as fixing damaged sheet metal, will be allowed; however, teams will be given five minutes to fix damage once they enter pit road. If the damage requires the car to go behind pit wall or to the garage for repairs, the car will not be allowed to return to the race. Also, if the repairs take longer than the five minutes allowed, the car will not be permitted to return to the race. Once repairs have been made, a car is still required to maintain the minimum speed determined for that event. Once that has been accomplished, the five-minute clock is reset in case the car needs to come back down pit road. Previously, teams were allowed to replace any damaged panels or parts with no time limit and no penalty. Quarter panels, splitters, hoods and deck lids damaged in accidents were often removed and replaced. Some repairs were completed on pit road; more extensive damage often meant a trip to the garage. Each time, the driver was sent back out onto the track as quickly as possible. Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition said the move is to help officials, who didn’t often see what goes on in the garage but can better observe repairs on pit road. Safety is a crucial component of the policy, and for any vehicle undergoing repairs, the integrity of the safety systems “must be maintained.” Teams will be allowed to correct mechanical or electrical failures that aren’t the result of an accident or contact without penalty. Such repairs may be done on pit road or in the garage area, and the five-minute clock will not be in play in those instances. “We’re not going to tell a guy who breaks his transmission at Watkins Glen or Pocono, for instance, and coasts into the garage area that he’s out,” Miller said. “Because that doesn’t create an unsafe situation; that is a mechanical failure. It’s more about crashed vehicles and all that is involved with that, from the crew guys to the drivers to dropping more debris on the track, which always happens. … So there are exceptions for mechanical failures, those things can be rectified in the garage. That’s going to be up to the series director’s discretion to make those calls, but it’s not going to be that difficult.” There will be modifications to at least two pit-road penalties under the policy for those making repairs. Any driver receiving a pit-road speeding penalty (entry or exit) will lose 15 seconds from the five-minute clock. Any team sending too many men over the wall will result in that car being removed from the race. When a car is damaged and repairs are made on pit road, teams know they will be at the tail end of the longest line, so extra men often go over the wall. (Each team is allowed six to work on the car and one to service the driver and/or windshield.)(NASCAR)(2-8-2017)

NASCAR, AMR Partner for At-Track Response Team: Sources have confirmed that NASCAR will expand its at-track, on-scene medical personnel through an agreement with American Medical Response (AMR), the nation’s largest medical transport company. Beginning in 2017 at Daytona International Speedway, AMR personnel will respond when a racecar is involved in an accident on the track. The company will have paramedics and doctors embedded with NASCAR’s Safety Crew and treat any injured driver or crew member needing medical assistance prior to being transported to the infield care center or to an off-site hospital/trauma center. It is believed there will be, as many as, four or five AMR personnel at the track each week staged with the safety crew and they will be amongst the first on the scene of a crash. It will be up to the AMR team to determine if they stay with the driver to the next point of care or release them for further evaluation and treatment. The source said the new AMR team increases the current travelling safety crew’s ability to quickly assess an emergency situation and provide medical care.(Kickin’ the TiresAND NASCAR will have a group of American Medical Response doctors and paramedics that will be among the emergency personnel who travel to each race. An AMR physician will serve as the NASCAR’s medical director.(ESPNUPDATE: NASCAR announced it is partnering with American Medical Response (AMR) to expand the capabilities of NASCAR’s medical support model and enhance on-track incident response. AMR, a recognized leader in the emergency medical services, will add a doctor and paramedic to the on-track safety team for each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend. NASCAR’s industry-leading medical standards remain in place; Infield Care Centers will continue to be staffed with experienced local emergency room physicians, maintaining the valuable connection with local medical facilities at every track. Combining the experience of local emergency practitioners with the familiarity that the AMR team will develop with drivers will positively impact the process for years to come. “This partnership further strengthens NASCAR’s medical response capability, making our well-established, medical response system even better,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “AMR is a leader in the emergency services sector, and its doctors and paramedics add another layer of expertise to the immediate response team.” AMR will position state licensed doctors and paramedics in a chase vehicle along with two NASCAR Track Services team members and immediately respond to an on-track incident. The paramedic and doctor will provide an assessment at the scene. “We’re excited about this partnership with NASCAR,” said Edward Van Horne, president and chief executive officer, AMR. “We’re going to work collaboratively with NASCAR and local teams to share best EMS practices and ensure the highest quality of care.” AMR, which currently delivers EMS support at a number of NASCAR events, will provide a physician to serve as the national medical director of the AMR Safety Team to oversee all services provided by AMR and work with the NASCAR Medical Liaisons and NASCAR Consulting Physicians. AMR, a subsidiary of Envision Healthcare, is the largest provider of emergency medical transportation services in the U.S. and a leader in pre-hospital care and treatment. Furthermore, AMR becomes the Official Emergency Medical Services Partner of NASCAR, and AMR will be the presenting partner of the annual NASCAR (Track Services) Summit.(NASCAR)(2-8-2016)

Derrike Cope returns to Cup series: Former Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope will be returning to the most elite division of NASCAR in the Monster Energy Cup Series in 2017 with Premium Motorsports. Cope will be running a limited schedule in the #55, with the possibility of a full schedule dependent on sponsorship beginning in Atlanta in March. With over 700 top three series NASCAR starts, the far majority being in the Cup Series, Cope’s career started in Winston West ( now K&N ) and spans 35 years with multiple wins.(Derrike Cope Racing)(2-8-2017)

Gordon remains eligible to NHOF class of 2019: Jeff Gordon will remain eligible for the 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame class as a NASCAR spokesman confirmed his coming out of retirement to substitute for eight races for Dale Earnhardt Jr. won’t count against the two-year waiting period for Gordon to be on the ballot. He will be eligible to be on the ballot in 2018 for the 2019 class. NASCAR spokesman Kurt Culbert: “Jeff’s eligibility status for the NASCAR Hall of Fame remains unchanged. The unique situation in which he drove last year was as a substitute. As it stands, Jeff can be nominated in 2018 for the class of 2019.”(ESPN)(2-8-2017)

Alan Kulwicki’s memory lives on in park, scholarships: Alan Kulwicki’s memory is celebrated in his sport-and in his hometown. Alan Kulwicki Memorial Park is a 28-acre parcel in Greenfield, Wisconsin, where Kulwicki grew up. The park includes a pavilion featuring memorabilia from Kulwicki’s racing career. Bristol Motor Speedway, the track where Kulwicki was scheduled to race the week he died, has a grandstand named in his honor. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where Kulwicki earned an engineering degree, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte offer scholarships in Kulwicki’s name. UWM also has an Alan Kulwicki Memorial Student Center. In 2015, several Kulwicki friends and former associates started the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, designed to support short-track racers trying to follow Kulwicki’s path to stardom. The program-run by Tom Roberts, Kulwicki’s public relations representative at the time of his death – selects seven drivers every year and supports their efforts in numerous ways, including a $7,777 check for each (7 was Kulwicki’s car number).(AutoWeek)(2-8-2017)

Rush Truck Centers Joins Stewart’s ‘Return to Dirt’: Rush Enterprises, which operates the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in North America, announced a continuation of its relationship with motorsports icon Tony Stewart by sponsoring his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) team. The company’s Rush Truck Centers brand will serve as co-primary sponsor on the TSR #14 Rush Truck Centers/Arctic Cat J&J that Stewart will compete with in more than 50 dirt races in 2017. Stewart is returning to his dirt track roots following an illustrious 20-year NASCAR driving career. After spending the past 18 seasons competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Stewart begins what he calls the next chapter of his career behind the wheel of a 900-horsepower Sprint car this week competing in the Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions-sanctioned Bubba Army Winter Nationals at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.(Tony Stewart Racing)(2-8-2017)

Tony Stewart Foundation to Sponsor Entry for Indy 500: Former Verizon IndyCar Series and three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart is returning to the Indianapolis 500 – as a car sponsor. Stewart’s charitable wing, the Tony Stewart Foundation, announced that it has formed Team One Cure to create awareness, enthusiasm and understanding for the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University that develops cutting-edge cancer treatments for humans and pets. To raise more awareness of the program, Team One Cure will sponsor the entry for the #77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in the 101st Running of the Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. The driver of the car will be announced at a future date.(IMS/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)(2-8-2017)

Kentucky Speedway to Celebrate Richard Petty’s 80th with Birthday Festivities: Kentucky Speedway, Alsco Linen and Uniform Rental Services, and Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) have collaborated on a multi-layer celebration to begin at approximately 2:00 p.m., on Saturday, July 8. The King will participate in the celebration at The King’s 80th Birthday presented by Alsco Linen and Uniform Rental Services fan hospitality tent located in the Kentucky Speedway Hospitality Village where he’ll be part of a question-and-answer session hosted by his son, former NASCAR driver, Kyle Petty. Other significant members of the NASCAR community including drivers, team owners, sponsors, and more are also scheduled to make appearances throughout the day to offer their personal birthday wishes, share a favorite story or talk about what The King has meant to the sport. Kentucky Speedway, Alsco, and RPM will be unveiling several tiers of activation in the coming weeks as part of the overall celebration. Fans can join the party by calling (859) 578-2300 or by visiting kentuckyspeedway.com/KINGs80th and can join in the conversation at any time through social media using the hashtag #KINGs80th across all Petty, Alsco and Kentucky Speedway entities.(RPM)(2-8-2017)

Sad News – Rodney Shearer: Rodney Albert Shearer Sr., 48, of Mooresville, NC passed away Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017. He was born April 24, 1968, in Greenville, Pa., to Nancy Stevenson Hill and the late Bruce Shearer. Rodney was a mechanic and crewman in all aspects of racing. He worked with JGL Racing and Spraker Motorsports. Full obituary, guest book, condolences and service info, go to cavin-cook.com)(2-8-2017)

Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff sponsoring Hemric: Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff has returned to Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, partnering with rookie driver Daniel Hemric. Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff will serve as the primary sponsor for the #21 Chevrolet team in the season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway, as well as additional events during the year. The tobacco-free, smokeless brand will also serve as an associate sponsor throughout the 2017 season. Known as America’s original and best-selling, tobacco-free smokeless brand, Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff can be found in retailers across the country in long cut and easy-to-use pouches. Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff is notably the world’s largest tobacco-free smokeless company. An industry leader and inventor, the tobacco-free and nicotine-free chew, is an option for consumers who are looking to quit or reduce their consumption.(Richard Childress Racing), see an image of the car on the #21 team paint schemes page(2-8-2017)

NASCAR announces updated damaged vehicle policy: NASCAR officials unveiled a new Damaged Vehicle Policy on Wednesday at the sanctioning body’s Research & Development Center, a policy that will be enforced in all three national series — Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. Under the guidelines, teams no longer will be allowed to replace damaged body parts that are the result of accidents or contact. Repairs, such as fixing damaged sheet metal, will be allowed; however, teams will be given five minutes to fix damage once they enter pit road. If the damage requires the car to go behind pit wall or to the garage for repairs, the car will not be allowed to return to the race. Also, if the repairs take longer than the five minutes allowed, the car will not be permitted to return to the race. Once repairs have been made, a car is still required to maintain the minimum speed determined for that event. Once that has been accomplished, the five-minute clock is reset in case the car needs to come back down pit road. Previously, teams were allowed to replace any damaged panels or parts with no time limit and no penalty. Quarter panels, splitters, hoods and deck lids damaged in accidents were often removed and replaced. Some repairs were completed on pit road; more extensive damage often meant a trip to the garage. Each time, the driver was sent back out onto the track as quickly as possible. Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition said the move is to help officials, who didn’t often see what goes on in the garage but can better observe repairs on pit road. Safety is a crucial component of the policy, and for any vehicle undergoing repairs, the integrity of the safety systems “must be maintained.” Teams will be allowed to correct mechanical or electrical failures that aren’t the result of an accident or contact without penalty. Such repairs may be done on pit road or in the garage area, and the five-minute clock will not be in play in those instances. “We’re not going to tell a guy who breaks his transmission at Watkins Glen or Pocono, for instance, and coasts into the garage area that he’s out,” Miller said. “Because that doesn’t create an unsafe situation; that is a mechanical failure. It’s more about crashed vehicles and all that is involved with that, from the crew guys to the drivers to dropping more debris on the track, which always happens. … So there are exceptions for mechanical failures, those things can be rectified in the garage. That’s going to be up to the series director’s discretion to make those calls, but it’s not going to be that difficult.” There will be modifications to at least two pit-road penalties under the policy for those making repairs. Any driver receiving a pit-road speeding penalty (entry or exit) will lose 15 seconds from the five-minute clock. Any team sending too many men over the wall will result in that car being removed from the race. When a car is damaged and repairs are made on pit road, teams know they will be at the tail end of the longest line, so extra men often go over the wall. (Each team is allowed six to work on the car and one to service the driver and/or windshield.)(NASCAR)(2-8-2017)

Phoenix to host Dash 4 Cash race UPDATE: Changes are coming to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program as, at least, one race from last year’s schedule will be dropped from the slate of events and replaced with Phoenix Raceway on March 18, according to information on the new PhoenixRaceway.com Web site. There had been rumors changes would be made but nothing was definitive. However, a search for fan schedules through the first five weeks of the season to prepare for NASCAR’s West Coast Swing revealed curious wording that isn’t present at the previous three racetracks on the schedule. The races are identified as “Heat Race” at Phoenix but at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway there was no such delineation. At the first three tracks on the 2017 schedule the races are listed as single-event, 300-mile (Daytona), 250-mile (Atlanta) and 300-mile (Las Vegas) competitions. The only oddity is that NASCAR implemented stage races in all three of its touring series for 2017. In 2016, the Dash 4 Cash was held at Dover International Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is not currently known if there will be a new format for the Dash 4 Cash in 2017; however, it is known that Cup drivers with more than five full years of experience are not allowed to participate.(Kickin the Tires)(2-7-2017) UPDATE: The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash has an updated format for 2017 with the implementation of stages in each race of the series’ 33-event circuit. Stage 1 and Stage 2 will determine which four drivers are eligible in the main race for the Dash 4 Cash prize, and a $100,000 check for each event. The top-two finishing NASCAR XFINITY Series points-earning drivers in each of the two stages will make up the four-driver Dash 4 Cash field for the Final Stage. Once Stage 1 is complete, the two drivers who lock into the main field won’t have their position counted following Stage 2 to ensure a four-driver field. Dash 4 Cash drivers will carry a red windshield header to signify their Dash 4 Cash eligibility. The highest finisher in the final stage among the four eligible drivers wins the Dash 4 Cash and a $100,000 prize. Should a driver win the first three Dash 4 Cash prizes and the Dover race outright, that driver will earn an additional $600,000. If a driver earns two Dash 4 Cash wins (not race wins) over the four Dash 4 Cash races, that is equivalent to a regular-season race win for XFINITY Series Chase eligibility.(NASCAR.com) The Dash 4 Cash races will be Phoenix Raceway (March 18)
, Bristol Motor Speedway (April 22)
, Richmond International Raceway (April 29), and Dover International Speedway (June 3).(2-8-2017)

Former CMS SVP Dan Farrell will work with Palm Beach International Equestrian Center: Dan Farrell has been named Chief Revenue Officer of Equestrian Sport Productions. After seventeen years with Charlotte Motor Speedway, most recently as Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales, Farrell will be responsible for identifying, initiating and closing revenue opportunities at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Tryon International Equestrian Center, and The Colorado Horse Park. Responsibilities will include sponsorship, special events, corporate events and a variety of guest experiences. Farrell will also be responsible for the same business opportunities for the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 Tryon. Tryon International Equestrian Center is hosting the Games on September 10 through 23, 2018. Based on results from previous Games, the global event is expected to attract more than 500,000 attendees from over 70 nations during the two-week period. A sports management graduate of SUNY Courtland, Farrell has spent more than 20 years in sports sponsorship sales. He joined Charlotte Motor Speedway in May 1999 as Director of Sales for the Performance Racing Network (PRN) before being promoted to his most recent position in 2002. As Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales, Farrell led a team overseeing corporate sponsorships and entertainment, corporate event rentals and account management for properties including NASCAR, NHRA, World of Outlaws, concerts, and special events including the World Premier of Pixar’s “Cars” and Ford Mustang’s 50th Anniversary.(PR/GoUpdtate)(2-8-2017)


News from February 7, 2017


Watkins Glen stage lengths revealed for August NASCAR race weekend: When the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series roll into Watkins Glen International this coming August, it will be with a twist. As announced previously by the sanctioning body, the 2017 season will feature an enhanced competition format that will be implemented in both series. Races will now consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage. The Top-10 finishers of the first two stages will be awarded additional championship points, with the race winner being the recipient of additional championship and playoff points at the conclusion of the final stage. In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, the first two stages will be made up of 20 laps each, ending with caution periods on laps 20 and 40, respectively. Then, a 50-lap third segment will take the field to the checkered flag. In the NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200, the first two stages will be made up of 20 laps each, ending with caution periods on laps 20 and 40, respectively. Then, a 42-lap third segment will take the field to the checkered flag. NASCAR returns to Watkins Glen this summer during the August 3-6 race weekend. For tickets and additional information, call 1-866-461-RACE or log on to www.theglen.com.(WGI)(2-7-2017)

Possible sponsorship issues for Patrick, Stewart-Haas UPDATES:Danica Patrick wore an all-white Tax Act uniform to NASCAR’s preseason media event, raising eyebrows about her sponsorship situation. Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing last year signed a deal with Nature’s Bakery as Patrick’s primary sponsor. The company founded in 2010 by the father-and-son duo of Dave and Sam Marson was new to NASCAR last season and was scheduled to sponsor more than 20 races this year. SHR told The Associated Press on Tuesday that conversations with Nature’s Bakery are ongoing. “Nature’s Bakery and Stewart-Haas Racing are in discussions about how the sponsorship might look in 2017. Both sides have options, and it’s a matter of determining what is best for both parties,” the team told AP. SHR stressed it is moving forward with a full season for Patrick and its other three entries. Nature’s Bakery is one of the smallest primary sponsors in NASCAR, with fewer than 500 employees in the United States. The company’s products are sold in all 50 states and 22 countries.(Associated Press)(1-24-2017) UPDATE: Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Friday, accusing the company of refusing to pay millions of dollars it owes the team to sponsor driver Danica Patrick this season. Nature’s Bakery was scheduled to sponsor at least 20 races this NASCAR season, the second year of a three-year deal to be the primary sponsor for Patrick. The lawsuit filed in state superior court says Nature’s Bakery had cash flow issues not long after signing its sponsorship agreement and asked to rework the payment schedule on the more than $15 million the company owes the team each season. SHR also accused the company of eventually concocting “a scheme to avoid further payments” by claiming Patrick had been endorsing competing products and was not using her social media presence enough to promote Nature’s Bakery. The suit says Nature’s Bakery sent a letter to the team on Jan. 19 terminating the sponsorship agreement, and that the company has missed several re-scheduled deadlines to pay. The lawsuit seeks $31.7 million, plus interest for the breach of contract. The pairing with Nature’s Bakery was a natural fit for Patrick because she heavily promotes a healthy lifestyle and clean eating. She has started a fitness program that will be turned into a book, has launched an active-wear clothing line and uses her social media channels to encourage fans with recipes and workouts. Patrick has also promoted Nature’s Bakery on social media, and has claimed she ate the fig bars before she was partnered with the company. According to the lawsuit, Nature’s Bakery took issue with Patrick using Instagram to promote Six Star Pro Nutrition Protein Powder, Purely Inspired Protein, home-made energy balls, a homemade spinach smoothie and various other homemade meals. SHR maintains none of those products is in competition with fig bars or brownies, and that Nature’s Bakery “liked” most of the Instagram posts. An exhibit filed with the suit includes numerous Patrick photos from Instagram that show Nature’s Bakery had “liked” the post. SHR claimed Nature’s Bakery never complained about the Instagram posts until it began missing payments and accused Patrick to be in breach of contract.(Associated PressAND: The initial report has been updated with additional details: The lawsuit filed in state superior court says Stewart-Haas Racing had “significant concern” Nature’s Bakery could afford a primary sponsorship, but founder David Marson “provided repeated assurances that Nature’s Bakery had the cash flow and funds to meet all the financial requirements.” Nature’s Bakery did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Friday. “It is an unfortunate situation, as the team has delivered on all aspects of its contract and was prepared to do so again in 2017. Ultimately, this is a situation that will be resolved in a court of law,” the statement said, adding the team is moving forward with plans to field four cars in the Monster Energy Cup Series while also expanding to include a full-time Xfinity Series team. “The litigation with Nature’s Bakery will not impact the organization’s on-track efforts,” the statement said. (Associated Press)(2-3-2017) UPDATE 2: Some sources have pointed to the ’16 minority investment by private-equity firm VMG Partners into Nature’s Bakery as a turning point for the deal, as the fig-bar company had previously been solely owned by the Marson family. The suit indicates that VMG Partners, which declined comment for this story, became responsible for large decisions after it made the investment, according to ESPN, and industry observers noted that private equity firms are typically solely interested in boosting a company’s bottom line before flipping it. However, three sources close to Nature’s Bakery said that the company is claiming that it saw no meaningful increase in sales revenue last year. One of those sources said that because of the claimed lack of a revenue jump, the deal was creating issues for the company regardless of any outside factors including new investors. Many in the industry had speculated over the last week and a half that SHR would look for a settlement in bid to avoid litigation.(Sports Business DailyAND Dave Pericak, Director of Ford Performance, was asked about Ford’s commitment to the team: There’s a sponsorship issue with Danica’s car. if there is a need for sponsorship, is that something that would fall under your parameters? Pericak: “What I would say is we’re gonna let that unfortunately play out through the court system and see how it works out. I’m hopeful that we’re gonna come to a resolution on that, but at the end of the day what I can say is that you have my commitment and the commitment of Stewart-Haas Racing and everyone that’s involved that it is not gonna affect our ability to hit the track and run that car and run it the way that it needs to be run. I don’t really want to make any additional comments given where we are in the whole situation, and it’s very unfortunate that we’re going through it right now, but one way or another I can just tell you that you will have that 10 car on the track and it will be ready to perform.”(Ford Racing)(2-7-2017)

NASCAR settles lawsuit with fan over Daytona wreck: NASCAR has settled with a spectator injured in a February 2013 Xfinity Series crash at Daytona International Speedway, and in doing so was able to avoid having drivers deposed as well as have its crash and fencing reports made public. Allen Davis sued NASCAR and the track parent company International Speedway Corp., in November 2015. The Florida man was sitting in the upper deck and, according to the lawsuit, “was struck in the head by a heavy piece of debris and suffered a catastrophic, traumatic brain injury.” Attorneys for NASCAR and the track filed a notice Monday with the court that parties had settled, and Davis attorney Dan Iracki confirmed the sides had agreed to a settlement with terms remaining confidential. He said Davis suffered permanent brain damage and will need medical care the remainder of his life. The settlement notice was filed during a week when Iracki had previously planned to take depositions of six drivers – Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon. All but Newman had competed in that race and all either have been advocates for safety or served on the NASCAR Drivers Council. A judge denied NASCAR’s request to postpone the depositions but left open the option for each driver to challenge the necessity of his deposition. “Certainly that could have been one aspect as to way it was resolved, as well as others,” Iracki said. It was Larson’s car that flew into the catch fence in the wreck, where his car hit what is commonly referred to as the crossover gate. It is a gate in the fencing that allows fans and officials to go from the racing surface to the grandstands prior to the start of the race. The gate buckled, appeared to shear off the front of Larson’s car and allowed a wheel with suspension pieces still attached, to fly into the stands along with other pieces of the car and fencing. More than 30 fans were injured in the accident. The Davis lawsuit was the final current one pending, although the statute of limitations for filing a claim doesn’t run out until Feb. 22. While there is video of the accident, NASCAR and the track have not made any crash analysis public. NASCAR had its two top safety engineers, Tom Gideon and John Palatak, do a crash reconstruction to analyze what happened. Daytona and NASCAR refused to give that report up to Iracki, citing it as a legal work document. Bill Braniff, ISC Vice President of Construction, said in an affidavit filed in December that the NASCAR report, as well as other reports conducted by outside experts, were done for “legal advice,” meaning that they are protected by attorney-client privilege.(ESPN.com)(2-7-2017)

NASCAR Announces 2017 Charter teams UPDATED: 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, which will run the #15, not the #98. (F) Go Fas Racing is leasing the #32 Charter to the #21 team of Wood Brothers Racing. (G) Circle Sport and The Motorsports Group merged operations to field the #33 team with the Charter Circle Sport had. In 2016, Circle Sport partnered with Leavine Family Racing to field the #95 for the season. (H) TriStar Motorsports has leased a Charter from Front Row Motorsports, who bought the #83 BK Racing Charter, for the new #72 team. 2016 Car #; 2017 Car #; Organization with charter for 2017 (36 teams listed) 23 23 BK Racing 1 1 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 42 Chip Ganassi Racing 95 33 Circle Sport w/The Motorsports Group (G) 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 15 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 83 72 TriStar Motorsport (H) 32 21 Wood Brothers Racing (F) (NASCAR.com)(12-22-2016/2-3-2017)

Robert Yates still fighting cancer: Robert Yates continues to battle liver cancer, after being diagnosed last year. Monday his son Doug was asked how he’s doing during a Ford conference call: Question: How is your dad doing? Yates “My dad is hanging tough. He’s got two more chemo treatments and then hopefully they can go to surgery, but he’s hanging tough. He gets excited when we start racing, so he’s ready for us to get to Daytona. After the Rolex standing there in Victory Lane with Dave and Raj (Nair) and the guys from Ford and Chip Ganassi. I had Chip call him up and that was really special to me and gave him some more encouragement, but I appreciate you asking about him and hopefully he’ll get through this thing.”(Ford Racing)(2-7-2017)

Chastain, Smithley, Rhodes driving for JD Motorsports: Veteran NASCAR team owner Johnny Davis will attack the 2017 Xfinity Series schedule with a young but experienced group of drivers. Davis, owner of JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, one of the NASCAR garage’s most established teams, announced Tuesday that Ross Chastain, Garrett Smithley and Harrison Rhodes will drive the team’s Chevrolets in NASCAR’s #2 series this season. Chastain, 24, returns to JD Motorsports for a third straight season, while Smithley, also 24, is back with the team after his rookie year last season. Rhodes, 23, drove for JD Motorsports in 2015 and is returning for another full-season run this year.(JD Motorsports)(2-7-2017)

AM to use JGR power in 2017: In an effort to enhance their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) program for the 2017 season, officials from AM Racing announced their Toyota Tundra’s will be powered by Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) engines. AM Racing headquartered in Mooresville, N.C. is entering their second season of NCWTS competition beginning with this month’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 24. Details of AM Racing’s driver and marketing partnership(s) lineup for Daytona is forthcoming.(AM Racing)(2-7-2017)

Texas students have opportunity to design diecast: Lionel Racing is providing more than 5,000 Dallas/Fort Worth elementary school students with an extraordinary opportunity to produce a paint scheme for a NASCAR Cup Series stock car that will join the company’s NASCAR die-cast line and be available at national retailers. Lionel Racing, the Official Die-Cast of NASCAR, will began the week-long competition Monday at the 10 schools that are taking part in Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read program for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. For the third consecutive year as a partner of the speedway’s educational program, Lionel Racing will have students design their own paint scheme for a NASCAR Cup Series stock car. The winning designs will be reproduced on actual 1:24 scale, hood-opening, trunk-opening die-casts. Winners will be selected in both the KG-2nd and 3rd-5th grade divisions and each will have their respective car presented to them in an acrylic case during a school assembly coinciding with April’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR doubleheader race week at Texas Motor Speedway. The two winners also will receive four tickets each to the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. The overall winning design among those two will have the distinction of having their paint scheme added to Lionel Racing’s commercial NASCAR Authentics line and be available at various national retailers including Walmart, Target, Toys “R” Us, and more. Lionel Racing also will celebrate the winner at their respective school by providing every student and faculty member with that die-cast as a memento of the accomplishment.(Texas Motor Speedway)(2-7-2017)


News from February 6, 2017


Jeffrey Earnhardt to Circle Sport/TMG ride? UPDATES: indications on the Twitter feeds of Jeffrey Earnhardt and #33 Circle Sport/TMG owner Joe Falk that Earnhardt will be the new driver of the #33 Chevy for the 2017 season. No word if it is a full-time deal or part-time. The team also plans to run some races in the #30-Chevy, an Open team (no Charter). The #33 team has a Charter and is guaranteed to run all the 2017 races. Supposedly an announcement could be made on Wednesday.(1-23-2017) UPDATE: Circle Sport/TMG tweeted Monday evening, “@CSTMG3330 welcomes [Jeffrey Earnhardt]. Will make first @DISupdates 500! [Starter Black Label] returns [as sponsor] in 2017”.(1-30-2017) UPDATE: Jeffrey Earnhardt, a grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., will make his first Daytona 500 start later this month, as he has secured a ride as the primary driver of the Circle Sport-TMG #33 car. The 27-year-old has 24 NASCAR Cup Series starts with a best finish of 26th last October in Charlotte. Veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will guide the team. Sponsorship was not announced.(ESPN.com)(2-3-2017) UPDATE: Earnhardt tweeted that the deal is not full-time, but they are working towards that. “I know a lot of you have been askin is this deal is full time. Thats the goal but gotta get more sponsors involved for that. #fingerscrossed”.(2-6-2017)

Kyle Busch to run Winter Showdown: The SRL Winter Showdown is in just its third year of existence, but the event has quickly grown into one of the biggest Super Late Model races of the year in North America. The payout is a whopping $30,000 to the winner, and as a result, the entry list has become a who’s-who in asphalt Super Late Model racing. The latest entrant is non-other than 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch will be piloting the #51 Toyota Camry sponsored by JBL in his first trip to Kern County Raceway Park for the Saturday, February 11, 2017 Winter Showdown. “They have a pretty strong field lined up again this year with Bubba Pollard coming back and trying to make it three-in-a-row. And then you add in some of the West Coast guys like Derek Thorn, David Mayhew and Noah Gragson, who will be running one of my trucks full-time this season, and it has a lot of great drivers,” Busch told Speed51.com. “One of the things that is going to be really cool is that this will be the first time that Erik Jones and I get to race against each other in the supers since he beat me in the Snowball Derby back in 2013.” Busch said he has only one goal for his first trip to Kern County and that’s to win.(Speed 51)(2-6-2017)

Sam Bass & Chris Lafferty to host ESPN Radio show in Charlotte:Chris Lafferty Productions announced that motorsports artist Sam Bass and NASCAR driver Chris Lafferty have inked a deal with ESPN Radio to host a new racing-themed talk show, aptly named The Sam and Chris Show. The show will be prerecorded and will air each Saturday, beginning February 11 at 11am/et on ESPN Charlotte 730 AM. Listeners will also be able to tune in on the ESPN Charlotte website. The Sam and Chris show will bring a different perspective to the traditional radio talk show. Fun and energetic, listeners will get a unique insight from the drawing table to the driver’s seat. The hosts and their guests will cover hot racing topics with some classic rock talk thrown in as the two share a keen mutual interest in music across the board. Sam is the First Officially Licensed Artist Of NASCAR. With decades of experience in the sport, Sam is recognized for designing Jeff Gordon’s iconic “Rainbow Warriors” paint scheme and, just recently, unveiled his work on Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s Axalta ride. Chris is best known for being a driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Owning a team and recognized as one of NASCAR’s best engine builders, Chris has been in NASCAR for nearly 20 years.(Sam Bass PR)(2-6-2017)

Sad News – Gene Sanders: Harry Eugene (Gene) Sanders, Sr., 76, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, February 5, 2017. Mr. Sanders was born on August 19, 1940 in Sumter County. He grew up in Conway, S.C. but has lived in the Orangeburg-Cordova area for the past 50 years. He taught at Cope Area Vocational Center for 31 years and he worked with NASCAR for 17 years. He was awarded Orangeburg District #4 Teacher of the Year and S.C. Vocational Teacher of the year. Mr. Gene was a member and former deacon of Ebenezer Baptist Church. He was a founding member of the Edisto Jaycees. He was Past Master of the Progress Lodge 356 and a member of the Omar Shriners. Mr. Gene was an avid Clemson Tiger Fan and a longtime supporter of IPTAY. He loved NASCAR and Go Kart racing with his sons; camping with his family and spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brothers, Windell Sanders and Edward Sanders and sisters, Patricia Sanders and Wanda Sanders. A visitation will be held from 6:00-8:00 P.M. on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at Edisto Primary School Gymnasium. Memorials may be made to Ebenezer Baptist Church New Vision Fund 3144 Cordova Road, Cordova, S.C. 29039; Grove Park Hospice 1324 Grove Park NE, Orangeburg, S.C. 29115; The National Parkinson Foundation 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami FL 33131 or The Shriner’s Hospital for Children 950 Faris Road, Greenville, S.C. 29605. Services are under the direction of Thompson Funeral Home.(2-6-2017)

Ben Kennedy to drive partial schedule for Childress: Rheem, Menards and Richard Childress Racing are committed to championing the NASCAR XFINITY Series charge to be the series where “names are made,” and each have long histories of supporting aspiring drivers from local short tracks to NASCAR’s feeder series. Ben Kennedy will be the latest up-and-coming driver to be given that opportunity when he climbs into the #2 Chevrolet Camaro for nine NXS races, the first of which will be at Talladega Superspeedway this spring. Kennedy has worked his way up through the NASCAR development ladder. In 2016, he competed full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and secured his first NASCAR national touring series win at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. He also finished 10th in his NXS debut last season at Iowa Speedway, driving the #2 Ruud Chevrolet for RCR. Dillon, Menard and Kennedy will share the #2 Chevrolet Camaro throughout the 2017 season.(Richard Childress Racing)(2-6-2017)

Richmond to Host Daytona Day Watch Party: Richmond International Raceway is gearing up for the 2017 NASCAR season by celebrating The Great American Race. RIR invites fans to our Daytona Day Watch Party on Sunday, February 26 to cheer on their favorite drivers during the 59th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. The event will begin at noon and continue until the end of the Daytona 500. The Daytona Day Watch Party will take place at Big Al’s Sports Bar & Grill, 3641 Cox Road, Henrico, V.A. Fans will be treated to food and beverage specials courtesy of Big Al’s. Fans will also have the opportunity to win prizes and exclusive giveaways from RIR throughout the watch party.(RIR)(2-6-2017)


News from February 5, 2017


JAS Expedited Trucking returning to BK Racing: The partnership between BK Racing and JAS will keep trucking into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Season. After making their NASCAR debut as a sponsor last year with BK Racing, JAS Expedited Trucking will be on board the #83 Toyota Camry of Corey LaJoie as the primary sponsor at both Michigan International Speedway races in 2017. JAS will kick-off the season as an associate sponsor on LaJoie’s #83 for the Daytona 500. JAS Expedited Trucking LLC. is a small family-owned expedited trucking company, located in Imlay City, Michigan. JAS is currently looking for qualified I.C. professional drivers to join and expand their team.(BK Racing)(2-5-2017)

Lawsuit against Stewart still moving forward: A required mediation session is set for April 18 in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. against Tony Stewart, according to a court filing Thursday. The Ward family has asked for unspecified damages against Stewart, who was not indicted by a grand jury, and has said in court documents he didn’t see Ward until just before Ward, on foot, attempted to make contact with his car during an Empire Super Sprints race Aug. 9, 2014 at Canandaigua (NY) Motorsports Park. Stewart’s court filings show Ward’s toxicology report indicates Ward used marijuana within five hours of the race. Also Thursday, Stewart’s appeal was officially withdrawn in a related case, where a federal judge ruled that Stewart’s insurance company does not have to cover any legal fees or settlements because ESS races were not listed among the series in his policy.(ESPN.com)(2-5-2017)

Darlington Raceway to host Watch Party for Daytona 500: Darlington Raceway will celebrate Daytona Day and the start of the 2017 NASCAR season by hosting its sixth annual Daytona 500 Community Watch Party on Feb. 26. The event will start at 1:30pm and continue until the conclusion of the Daytona 500. The party will be hosted at Mellow Mushroom, 120 Dunbarton Dr., in Florence, S.C. Proud partners Crown Beverages and Coca-Cola will also be supporting the event with a variety of activities and giveaways. Media partners include iHeart Media (Eagle 92.9 FM) and WMBF News (NBC). The Community Watch Party will feature a food and drink special courtesy of Mellow Mushroom. Fans who attend will have the chance to win tickets, pit passes and pre-race ceremony wristbands, along with other prizes and giveaways to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend.(Darlington Raceway)(2-5-2017)


News from February 4, 2017


Monster finalizing NASCAR activation plans: With a month left before the Daytona 500, activation plans for new NASCAR Cup Series title sponsor Monster Energy are coming into view. Corona, California-based Monster plans to have in-market retail promos as soon as Daytona, and an at-track sampling presence at every race on NASCAR’s 36-race schedule, according to Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing for Monster. Monster’s activation plans are still being finalized, but its spend is expected to be smaller than Sprint’s. Though declining to name which convenience stores it is targeting, Covington said Monster will leverage its rights at retail. For example, Monster, which often uses merchandise giveaways to build brand awareness, has a long-running retail promotion where people who buy Monster beverages get a free Monster sticker. Monster is considering running that promo around Daytona but with stickers that feature the new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series logo. At the track, Monster has expressed interest in having signage on all four turns of many oval tracks, sources said. However, Covington was not able to confirm that and said plans could vary by track. Sources added that Monster has shown less interest in non-track-facing signage than Sprint, which had a presence throughout many tracks’ footprints. At track, Monster has had a hospitality presence for years with a custom infield structure where it did sampling with guests, and plans to offer hospitality guest sampling at every NASCAR race this year. Monster also now intends to do consumer sampling at a number of races on midway fan zones to reach all fans at the track. Monster typically gives away full cans for sampling rather than pouring drinks in containers because it believes consumers should sample its beverages the same way they’ll buy it, and because “a can in someone’s hand is the best advertising we can do,” Covington said. The company plans to continue doing so in NASCAR. To that point, Covington said Monster plans to have its products strategically placed around tracks but “we’re not going to ask or force the drivers at all to drink a Monster Energy can because it looks staged, and we think today’s consumers are smarter than that; we really don’t want it to look like they’re being sold.” Monster plans to take about a dozen Monster Girls to races. The models serve alongside celebrity endorsers as Monster’s most visible ambassadors. Monster took only two to four Monster Girls in prior years, when it was solely a team sponsor of Stewart-Haas Racing’s #41 Chevy driven by Kurt Busch. Covington said there is a good chance Monster will have a presence in victory lane, but he was not ready to release further details. Monster continues to work out its media plans as well. Mike Petruzzi, Fox Sports’ senior vice president of ad sales and sports management, said Fox is in discussions with Monster and anticipates “a partnership that is more in line with a custom-content opportunity that will amplify what they’re doing day in and day out with the sport.”(Los Angeles Business Journal)(2-4-2017)

Regan Smith still looking for opportunities: Southern 500 winner Regan Smith told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Friday that he’s looking for a ride for the upcoming NASCAR season and didn’t rule out running in any of the top three national series. Smith, who co-hosted “The Morning Drive,” was left without a ride after Tommy Baldwin Racing sold its charter after last season and reduced its involvement in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The organization has stated it would seek to make the Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler but not announced any other Cup plans. Asked what he will be doing this season, Smith told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “Working on stuff. I wish I had a better answer for you. It’s down to crunch time. We’ll see what happens. There have been some opportunities here and there. I’ll just be brutally honest, when it comes to and pertains to the Cup series, you want to be competitive when you’re out there. This year I’m willing to wait until I can get myself in a situation to where I’m competitive and I can actually go out and do what I feel like I’m capable of. With that said, you have a little different mindset during the offseason when that is your thought process. We’re working through some stuff. That’s not to say that I won’t do some Xfinity and Truck races here and there in the meantime. I like racing at Daytona, so I’d like to be down there in something. We’ll see how that all plays out. I’m not done racing. I love racing. I love driving cars. I enjoy different kind of things. I’d like to be a part of the sport. Whether that is behind the wheel or different avenues or different things, we’ll see how it goes.”(NBC Sports)(2-4-2017)

Charlie Daniels in concert at Talladega: Talladega Superspeedway announced that legendary Southern rocker – Charlie Daniels – and The Charlie Daniels Band will perform as the headliner for the traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert, May 6, as part of the much-anticipated motorsports triple-header weekend, featuring the GEICO 500. The country rock legend and longtime NASCAR fan has been a household name since the 1970s. He is known for hits like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” and “Uneasy Rider,” but being a devoted fan of racing he even recorded a song about Talladega Superspeedway’s all-time winner and one of his favorite drivers, Dale Earnhardt Sr. The song is titled “The Intimidator,” which was inspired after Daniels and Earnhardt met for the first time at Talladega’s Alabama 500 on Oct. 15, 2000, the last victory of the iconic driver’s career. The Charlie Daniels Band will take to the stage for the ‘Dega faithful inside NASCAR’s “Party Capital” just off of historic Talladega Blvd. merely hours after a day of monumental racing with the Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Admission to the Saturday Night Concert is free with the purchase of a race ticket to Sunday’s GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.(TSS)(2-4-2017)


News from February 3, 2017


Possible sponsorship issues for Patrick, Stewart-Haas UPDATE:Danica Patrick wore an all-white Tax Act uniform to NASCAR’s preseason media event, raising eyebrows about her sponsorship situation. Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing last year signed a deal with Nature’s Bakery as Patrick’s primary sponsor. The company founded in 2010 by the father-and-son duo of Dave and Sam Marson was new to NASCAR last season and was scheduled to sponsor more than 20 races this year. SHR told The Associated Press on Tuesday that conversations with Nature’s Bakery are ongoing. “Nature’s Bakery and Stewart-Haas Racing are in discussions about how the sponsorship might look in 2017. Both sides have options, and it’s a matter of determining what is best for both parties,” the team told AP. SHR stressed it is moving forward with a full season for Patrick and its other three entries. Nature’s Bakery is one of the smallest primary sponsors in NASCAR, with fewer than 500 employees in the United States. The company’s products are sold in all 50 states and 22 countries.(Associated Press)(1-24-2017) UPDATE: Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Friday, accusing the company of refusing to pay millions of dollars it owes the team to sponsor driver Danica Patrick this season. Nature’s Bakery was scheduled to sponsor at least 20 races this NASCAR season, the second year of a three-year deal to be the primary sponsor for Patrick. The lawsuit filed in state superior court says Nature’s Bakery had cash flow issues not long after signing its sponsorship agreement and asked to rework the payment schedule on the more than $15 million the company owes the team each season. SHR also accused the company of eventually concocting “a scheme to avoid further payments” by claiming Patrick had been endorsing competing products and was not using her social media presence enough to promote Nature’s Bakery. The suit says Nature’s Bakery sent a letter to the team on Jan. 19 terminating the sponsorship agreement, and that the company has missed several re-scheduled deadlines to pay. The lawsuit seeks $31.7 million, plus interest for the breach of contract. The pairing with Nature’s Bakery was a natural fit for Patrick because she heavily promotes a healthy lifestyle and clean eating. She has started a fitness program that will be turned into a book, has launched an active-wear clothing line and uses her social media channels to encourage fans with recipes and workouts. Patrick has also promoted Nature’s Bakery on social media, and has claimed she ate the fig bars before she was partnered with the company. According to the lawsuit, Nature’s Bakery took issue with Patrick using Instagram to promote Six Star Pro Nutrition Protein Powder, Purely Inspired Protein, home-made energy balls, a homemade spinach smoothie and various other homemade meals. SHR maintains none of those products is in competition with fig bars or brownies, and that Nature’s Bakery “liked” most of the Instagram posts. An exhibit filed with the suit includes numerous Patrick photos from Instagram that show Nature’s Bakery had “liked” the post. SHR claimed Nature’s Bakery never complained about the Instagram posts until it began missing payments and accused Patrick to be in breach of contract.(Associated PressAND: The initial report has been updated with additional details: The lawsuit filed in state superior court says Stewart-Haas Racing had “significant concern” Nature’s Bakery could afford a primary sponsorship, but founder David Marson “provided repeated assurances that Nature’s Bakery had the cash flow and funds to meet all the financial requirements.” Nature’s Bakery did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Friday. “It is an unfortunate situation, as the team has delivered on all aspects of its contract and was prepared to do so again in 2017. Ultimately, this is a situation that will be resolved in a court of law,” the statement said, adding the team is moving forward with plans to field four cars in the Monster Energy Cup Series while also expanding to include a full-time Xfinity Series team. “The litigation with Nature’s Bakery will not impact the organization’s on-track efforts,” the statement said. (Associated Press)(2-3-2017)

Front Row buys charter from BK Racing, leases it to TriStar: Front Row Motorsports completed the purchase of a Charter Member Agreement from BK Racing to give the team three guaranteed entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. NASCAR transferred ownership of the charter, which was used by BK Racing’s #83 team in 2016, on December 6. Front Row Motorsports will lease the newly acquired charter to TriStar Motorsports for the 2017 season as FRM prepares to expand to three chartered cars in 2018. The Bob Jenkins-owned team currently fields two entries with NASCAR charters, the #34 driven by Landon Cassill and the #38 of David Ragan. The organization has steadily grown since its full-time entry into the series in 2009, earning its second win and first playoff berth in 2016. The team will focus on building on those accomplishments with its two existing cars in 2017 as it prepares its infrastructure for expansion in 2018.(Front Row Motorsports)(2-3-2017)

Jeffrey Earnhardt to Circle Sport/TMG ride? UPDATES: indications on the Twitter feeds of Jeffrey Earnhardt and #33 Circle Sport/TMG owner Joe Falk that Earnhardt will be the new driver of the #33 Chevy for the 2017 season. No word if it is a full-time deal or part-time. The team also plans to run some races in the #30-Chevy, an Open team (no Charter). The #33 team has a Charter and is guaranteed to run all the 2017 races. Supposedly an announcement could be made on Wednesday.(1-23-2017) UPDATE: Circle Sport/TMG tweeted Monday evening, “@CSTMG3330 welcomes [Jeffrey Earnhardt]. Will make first @DISupdates 500! [Starter Black Label] returns [as sponsor] in 2017”.(1-30-2017) UPDATE: Jeffrey Earnhardt, a grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., will make his first Daytona 500 start later this month, as he has secured a ride as the primary driver of the Circle Sport-TMG #33 car. The 27-year-old has 24 NASCAR Cup Series starts with a best finish of 26th last October in Charlotte. Veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will guide the team. Sponsorship was not announced.(ESPN.com)(2-3-2017)

New race flag for segments? Here’s how [the race segments] will work at Phoenix Raceway’s March 19 Camping World 500: When approximately 25 percent of the 312 laps are complete (a little more than 75 laps; teams will be told in advance the exact distance), stage one will end. NASCAR is likely to signal this with a newly designed – and as yet not revealed – flag color and design. Points ranging from 10 to 1 will be awarded to the top drivers. They then can pit. Laps between stages will count toward the total distance. Restart positions will be based on the order drivers leave the pits. The process will be repeated halfway through the race, about lap 150. The third stage will go to the finish with overall race points scored. The green-white-checker “overtime” rule still applies.(Arizona Republic)(2-3-2017)

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in TV booth for the Clash: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to join the FOX NASCAR television booth as a guest driver analyst during FS1’s live coverage of THE CLASH AT DAYTONA, the exhibition race that serves as a precursor to the 2017 NASCAR season, on Saturday, Feb. 18. Earnhardt, a two-time winner of THE CLASH, will team with FOX NASCAR announcers Mike Joy, Hall of Famer and three-time champion Darrell Waltrip and four-time champ and former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. THE CLASH AT DAYTONA marks Earnhardt’s second race in the FOX Sports booth. In June 2016, he served as a driver analyst for the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race from Michigan International Speedway with Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip, joining a roster of NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers to rotate in the XFINITY booth.(Fox Sports)(2-3-2017)

Repaving of Texas track about to get underway: The final stage of Texas Motor Speedway’s major capital improvement project will begin next week with the repaving of the track surface for the 1.5-mile oval configuration at the world-renowned motorsports facility that annually plays host to NASCAR and INDYCAR events. The project began Jan. 9 and construction crews already have completed the installation of the drainage system on the backstretch and frontstretch as well as the grade changes in Turns 1 and 2. The re-profiling of that segment of the track will reduce the banking from 24 to 20 degrees and expand the racing surface from 60 to 80 feet. Turns 3 and 4 will remain unchanged from the current configuration of 24 degrees of banking and 60 feet of racing surface. Lane Construction Corp., known as the preeminent paving company for NASCAR speedways, will direct the repaving project. The entire 1.5-mile oval racing surface will be repaved, along with pit road being recently added to the project list and scheduled for a complete repave. The paving phase is expected to take 28 days barring any delays.(Texas Motor Speedway)(2-3-2017)


News from February 2, 2017


Cole Whitt to drive for TriStar in full-time Cup effort UPDATE:TriStar Motorsports announces it will return to competition in NASCAR’s premier series fielding one full-time entry in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series for the 2017 season. Cole Whitt has secured the seat of the #72 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Whitt brings with him Florida Lottery to serve as the primary sponsor of the #72 for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Whitt will continue partnership with RTIC Coolers, Rinnai and Carolina Skiff throughout the 2017 season. Frank Kerr has been named Crew Chief for Whitt and will oversee competitive efforts for the #72. Whitt’s NASCAR career includes six years on the circuit and races in which he has competed in NASCAR K&N Pro Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Monster Energy Cup Series. TriStar Motorsports first competed in the NASCAR Cup Series in 1989 for the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and lastly in 2013 at Watkins Glen International Raceway; completing a total of 197 races.(TriStar Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #72 team paint schemes page.(2-2-2017) UPDATE: Motorsport.com has learned that they’ve acquired a Charter from Front Row Motorsports, so they are guaranteed a starting position in all events.(Motorsport)(2-2-2017)

Teams complete Phoenix test: Thirteen Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams completed an organizational test at Phoenix Raceway on Wednesday. The four sessions over two days featured the 2017 rules package, the on-track return of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., a trio of Rookie of the Year candidates and Stewart-Haas Racing’s debut with Ford. Earnhardt, who was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms halfway through last season, posted the fastest lap overall at 26.555 seconds (135.568 mph), coming in Wednesday’s morning session. Earnhardt is a three-time winner at Phoenix and has finished eighth or better in six of his last seven races there. #77-Erik Jones, #19-Daniel Suarez and #13-Ty Dillon made up the rookies at the test, each debuting with new teams this season. Dillon, driving the #13 Chevrolet for Germain Racing, was second fastest (26.722 seconds) in the afternoon on the first day. #22-Joey Logano (26.674 seconds) topped Tuesday’s opening session while #42-Kyle Larson was quickest in the afternoon sessions both days – 26.586 and 26.667 seconds, respectively. #4-Kevin Harvick made his debut in a Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing after the organization made a manufacturer switch in the off-season. Harvick was fourth fastest Wednesday morning (26.685 seconds) and second in the final session (26.698 seconds).(Motor Racing Network), lap times from each session are posted at JeffGluck.com.(2-2-2017)

Many pit crew changes this season: In the next week or so [PitTalks] will be putting out the updated pit crew rosters for the 2017 season. In years past, there have always been changes, but not nearly as many as we are seeing this year. Very few crews are staying the same from last year and that could cause problems early on in the season. So why are so many teams changing? We don’t know for sure but we can share some ideas! 1. There are fewer teams out there and more crewmen to pick from. In other words, there’s more talent to pull from so teams are taking a look at what best fits their situation and making more moves than they normally would. 2. Money talks. Crewmen make good money and it keeps getting bigger. The incentive for crewmen to move around is more than it used to be. 3. Pressure, there is pressure for the guys to perform at an almost perfect level. When things turn south, personnel starts to change. …And last but not least, there have been some really talented crewmen retire after last year and decide to move on from pit road. (PitTalks)(2-2-2017)

Penske receives Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award: More than 400 members of the motorsports industry gathered Tuesday night to honor Roger Penske during the 11th annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony at the Embassy Suites Hotel. With his wife, Kathy, and current team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden among those in attendance, Penske was this year’s recipient of the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award, which has been presented annually since 2007 by the membership of the North Carolina Motorsports Association. Previous winners of the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award are Bill France Jr., Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Richard Childress, Junior Johnson, O. Bruton Smith, H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, the Ned Jarrett family, Mike Helton and Jeff Gordon. Among the others in the room to honor Penske on this night were NASCAR Hall of Famers Rick Hendrick and Bobby Allison, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears, NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton and Team Penske President Tim Cindric. Earlier in the program, longtime racing announcer Ken Squier, who was unable to attend, was presented with the Jim Hunter Memorial Media Award. Motorsports Industry Awards went to the Cabarrus Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bojangles, SRI Performance, B.R.A.K.E.S. and Max Papis Innovations.(Speed Sport)(2-2-2017)

MBM announces some XFINITY plans: From the Carl Long Motorsports Facebook page, “MBM will field car #66 Ford in the ARCA series at Daytona for Mark Thompson and Phoenix Air. The following week Mark returns in #13 Toyota Xfinity Series. Brandon Hightower is in the process of finalizing his sponsor partners, and will be in the #40 Advanced Specialized Carriers Toyota. Atlanta, Vegas, and California are in need of sponsorship or funded driver. Phoenix and Bristol have a really good young driver putting things together.”.(2-2-2017)

LaDainian Tomlinson named Honorary Starter for 59th DAYTONA 500: NFL great LaDainian Tomlinson has been named the Honorary Starter for the 59th DAYTONA 500, the opening race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season on Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway. Tomlinson, a former All-Pro running back with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets, is one of 18 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2017 class. The 2017 class of inductees will be announced on Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl. Having retired from the NFL in 2012, Tomlinson is now an analyst for the NFL Network and an Ambassador for DAV (Disabled American Veterans). He will soon make his feature-film acting debut in the movie “God Bless The Broken Road.” Multi-platinum recording artist Jordin Sparks also stars in the film and will be singing the National Anthem at this year’s DAYTONA 500. “God Bless The Broken Road” will be appearing in theaters later this year.(DIS)(2-2-2017)

Autism Awareness Day at the Races set for Dover: Dover International Speedway is once again hosting a special event for families of children on the autism spectrum. On Sunday, June 4, during the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, Autism Awareness Day at the Races will provide families with a sensory-friendly environment to enjoy 400 laps of North America’s top motorsports series. The event, in its sixth consecutive year, is a joint effort between Dover International Speedway and Autism Delaware, supported by AAA Mid-Atlantic and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. The Autism Awareness Day at the Races ticket package will include seating in the enclosed grandstands at the Monster Mile, which offers views of the backstretch as well as the highly-banked concrete turns. In five years, more than 3,000 people have participated in the program. Other highlights include pre-race appearances by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and personalities, information booths with items of interest to families affected by autism, a hot lunch buffet, non-alcoholic beverages and much more. Drivers will be announced closer to event day. As in years past, a reserved area near the grandstand seats will provide a quiet zone, with muted lighting and sound, allowing attendees to take a break from the race and crowds when necessary. The room includes comfortable seating, games, and video screens to help fans keep up with the race or watch family friendly movies. Autism Delaware’s service professionals will also be on hand to assist families as needed. Autism Awareness Day at the Races tickets cost $95 for adults and $25 for children ages 12 and under.(Dover International Speedway)(2-2-2017)


News from February 1, 2017


Twisted Tea to the #13 UPDATE: Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reports that Twisted Tea will be the primary sponsor on Ty Dillon’s #13 Germain Racing’s Chevy for a few races. GEICO will be the primary for 32/36 points races (Adam Stern’s Twitter). Twister Tea was the sponsor of the since closed #44 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford for some races in 2016. Brian Scott drove the #44 before retiring after the 2016 season. See an image of the scheme on the #13 Team Schemes page.(2-1-2017) UPDATE: Twisted Tea, the #1 maker of hard iced tea in the United States, has partnered with Ty Dillon, Germain Racing and Richard Childress Racing in a multi-year agreement to be primary sponsor of the #13 Chevrolet SS. Twisted Tea will serve as primary sponsor for select races during the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season along with an associate sponsorship for the entire 2017 season with RCR’s #3 XFINITY Series team. Twisted Tea will use program assets provided by RCR and Germain Racing to continue to reach its loyal fan base, which largely consists of NASCAR fans. The #13 Chevrolet SS will be featured on select Twisted Tea packaging. The car, along with Dillon, 24, will also be featured among other brand initiatives in 2017. Last December, Germain Racing announced Dillon will compete full time in the #13 GEICO Chevrolet SS after racing full time since 2014 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Dillon will compete in 2017 for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. He is a four-time winner in NASCAR’s three national series and won the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver Award. Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Germain Racing formed a technical alliance with RCR in 2014 which includes engineering, crew support and engine power from ECR Engines.(Richard Childress Racing)(2-1-2017)

Larson, Logano fastest during Tuesday test at Phoenix: Even though most of the attention centered on Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the two-day NASCAR test opened up Tuesday at Phoenix International Raceway, there were plenty of other drivers who took their cars to the track as well. #42-Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap, turning it in 26.586 seconds at the 1-mile venue. But #22-Joey Logano, who had the second-fastest overall lap (26.595), was the fastest for the most laps – recording 19 of the fastest 22 lap times in the opening morning session.[Earnhardt, Jr.] was fifth-fastest in the opening test session at Phoenix, turning a lap in 26.807 seconds.(Fox Sports)(2-1-2017)

Gaulding to BK Racing UPDATE: 18 year-old Gray Gaulding will pilot the #23 Toyota Camry in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The team made the announcement at Richmond International Raceway, home track to BK Racing and Gaulding. Gaulding has been competing in some form of racing since the age of three. Gaulding’s rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2013 started with a bang with a 2nd place finish in the inaugural Battle at the Beach on the Daytona International Speedway’s back straightaway. Gaulding’s impressive three year stint in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West included 13 top-five finishes, 25 top-tens, and three pole awards. His first pole award was here at RIR in 2013, making Gaulding the youngest driver to do so at 15 years, 2 months, and 15 days. That same year, Gaulding picked up a win at Phoenix International Raceway making him the youngest driver to win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at 15 years, 8 months, and 30 days. In 2014-2015, Gaulding moved up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he made 13 starts with one top-five and two top ten finishes. In 2016, Gaulding furthered his career by making starts in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Gaulding’s first race in the #23 will be the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 5, 2017. The team will announce sponsorship for Gaulding at a later date.(BK Racing) Gaulding’s first race will be Atlanta because he has not been approved by NASCAR to run at Daytona.(1-24-2017)
UPDATE: At only 18 years of age, Gaulding has achieved a lifetime goal of competing full-time in NASCAR’s premier Cup Series. His first season begins this March at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gaulding will drive BK Racing’s #23 Toyota for 33 of the 36 points races on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Although sponsorship is slated to be announced at a later date, it is expected that Gaulding’s main primary sponsor on the #23 will be Dr. Pepper. Although Gaulding’s teammate Joey Gase will have the #23 and Best Home Furnishings as his primary sponsor in three races this season – Daytona in February, Kentucky in July and Bristol in August – the two drivers are really only sharing the same car number. Gaulding is expected to have the #83 at Kentucky in July and Bristol in August, and he is slated to retain his crew and points for those two races. The only race that Gaulding will miss in 2017 is the season-opening Daytona 500, as he has not received approval from NASCAR to run the race due to the requirement that he has to race a Cup race at a track that is 1.5-plus miles in length before he can compete at the 2.5-mile superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega. His two starts last season in Cup were at the half-mile short track of Martinsville and the one-mile raceway of Phoenix.(Progress-Index)(2-1-2017)

Earnhardt, Jr. excited about return to racing: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. walked into the Phoenix Raceway garage about 30 minutes prior to the start of testing. There used to be days where he might not arrive that early for a monotonous test. Earnhardt now values his time in a race car as he prepares to mount a comeback in 2017 after missing half the 2016 season because of a concussion. He tested on Dec. 7 at Darlington Raceway to earn approval to return to racing in the Daytona 500 qualifying races Feb. 23. Tuesday was the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s first time in a NASCAR Cup car since on the first day of a two-day test at Phoenix Raceway where each race organization could field one car. “I was texting the guys [last night], ‘Man, I don’t know why, I’m just freakin’ pumped up about this,'” Earnhardt said during the lunch break Tuesday. “You miss the camaraderie and the friendships I have with my road crew,” said Earnhardt, whose last race was July 9 at Kentucky. “I think they miss me. So that makes you feel good. They seem excited that we’re working together and we’re back together.” As far as his expectations for the upcoming season, Earnhardt wouldn’t mention specific goals. “I’m just a little nervous if there will be any kind of learning curve but I don’t know,” Earnhardt said. “I hope there ain’t. Sometimes you see guys in sport, no matter the type of sport, that are away for a while have to adjust to how much has changed since they have taken time off. Then there are some guys that have come back like they’ve never missed a day. I hope there’s no rust to shake off. I’m really anxious to kind of get back there and have some success, go out there and run well and check that box that I’m right where we need to be.”(ESPN.com)(2-1-2017)

Yates thinks Dodge could return next season “if they really wanted”:A top NASCAR engine builder said Tuesday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Dodge could race the Daytona 500 in 2018 “if they really wanted to be there.” In an interview on “The Morning Drive” with hosts Pete Pistone and Lee Spencer, Roush Yates Engines CEO and president Doug Yates said Dodge retains a relevant for blueprint for a Cup Series engine from five years ago. The manufacturer exited NASCAR after winning the 2012 championship with Brad Keselowski. “Obviously, I’m not as close on the car and other aspects, but from an engine perspective, the engine they had in 2012, we had the same FR9 engines racing then,” Yates said. “Obviously, there (have) been many years of development in between, and they would have some catching up to do, but the base engine is probably OK.” In December at Daytona International Speedway, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters he thought the Dodge brand (owned by Chrysler) possibly could return to NASCAR. Marchionne said he had dinner with NASCAR vice chairman Jim France and International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy. The Drive reported that NASCAR and Dodge executives met at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. There are major hurdles to clear for Dodge to return. Fiat Chrysler could face EPA sanctions for diesel emissions and accompanying massive fines, and its year-over-year U.S. sales for light cars and trucks fell 10 percent in December. The manufacturer also would need to either find a new or existing team partner and shoulder some massive startup costs.(NBC Sports)(2-1-2017)

Spotter changes in 2017: Monday evening Fox Sports’ Alan Cavana tweeteda list of known spotter changes in the Cup series this season: #20-Matt Kenseth – Jason Hedlesky #41-Kurt Busch – Tony Raines #77-Erik Jones – Rick Carelli #34-Landon Cassill – Freddie Kraft AND: As previously announced, Kenseth’s former spotter, Chris Osborne, will work with #19-Daniel Suarez.(2-1-2017)

Armour sponsoring Sadler, Kahne: JR Motorsports and Pinnacle Foods’ Armour brand have agreed to a multi-year partnership extension, the team announced. A JRM partner since 2014, Armour will have primary branding in four races with Elliott Sadler and the #1 team in each of the next two NASCAR Xfinity Series seasons. Pinnacle Foods is a leading producer, marketer and distributor of high-quality branded food products, and its brands can be found in more than 85 percent of American households. Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017, the Armour brand specializes in canned meats and includes Vienna sausages, chili, luncheon meat, beef stew and more. In addition to primary races with Sadler and the #1 team at Bristol Motor Speedway (April 22), Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 27), Daytona International Speedway (June 30) and Darlington Raceway (Sept. 2), Kasey Kahne will carry Armour colors with the #88 entry at Talladega Superspeedway (May 6) in 2017. The brand will also receive associate placement on William Byron’s #9 entry and JRM team cars in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.(JR Motorsports)(2-1-2017)