Annett moving to HScott Motorsports UPDATE2 car number: Multiple sources have confirmed that Michael Annett and his Pilot/Flying J sponsorship will jump from Tommy Baldwin Racing (#7) to the HScott Motorsports stable in 2015, running the entire 36-race championship schedule as a teammate to #51-Justin Algaier. Annett finished 33rd in points at the wheel of TBR’s #7 Chevy in 2014; his rookie year of Sprint Cup Series competition. The team managed a top finish of 16th at Talladega Superspeedway in May. Annett declined to comment on the move when contacted earlier today (Tuesday), but sources close to the situation say he will race as a teammate to Algaier and the #51 Brandt Chevy, making HScott Motorsports a two-car operation for the first time in their brief Sprint Cup Series history. Calls placed to team owner Harry Scott, Jr. were not immediately returned.(Godfather Motorsports). HScott Motorsports ran an 2nd car for the Daytona 500 in 2014, with Bobby Labonte driving the #52 Florida Lottery Chevy to a 16th place finish. It was the only attempt of the season for the #52 team.(1-20-2015) UPDATE – Michael Annett joins HScott Motorsports as second full-time driver: HScott Motorsports enters the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season with a new look as it expands to two cars. Justin Allgaier will return to the #51 BRANDT Chevy while Michael Annett joins the team and will drive a Chevrolet adorned by longtime anchor partner Pilot Flying J. “The addition of a second team increases HScott’s overall ability to better utilize its resources at track and at the shop to be even more competitive,” said team owner Harry Scott Jr. “I’m proud to have seen Justin truly mature as a NSCS driver last year, and I can’t wait to see what he does this year. Like Justin, Michael is coming off his rookie year following six years of competition in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Michael is a quality driver with a great future at HScott Motorsports. These drivers compliment one another and will make great teammates.”
“This is as excited as I’ve been for a new season, I can’t wait to get to Daytona and fire the engines,” said Allgaier. “I’m looking forward to carrying the momentum from the end of last season over to this year. Michael is a great addition to our organization and I’m glad to have a teammate to compete with each week.”
BRANDT Professional Agriculture, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, returns as the primary sponsor of the #51 Chevy for 21 races, beginning with the Daytona 500 on February 22. Auto-Owners Insurance will also be the primary partner on the #51 for three races.
“Justin and the #51 team continue to be a great source of pride for BRANDT employees and customers, and we are all looking forward to a great 2015 season,” said BRANDT President and CEO Rick Brandt. “I’m excited for the opportunity to drive for HScott Motorsports,” said Annett. “I am impressed with the way Harry is building his NASCAR teams. Harry and competition director Steve Addington have a long-term vision and I’m honored to be part of it. I’m also looking forward to having Justin as a teammate.” Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel retail centers, will be a primary partner on Annett’s car. Other partners include Cypress Associates, Inc., Allstate Peterbilt Group and Northland Oil.(HScott Motorsports), no car number for Annett was announced. Annett drove the #7 Chevy for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2014.(1-27-2015) UPDATE2: at the NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Michael Annett was handing out hero cards with an image of the #46 Pilot Flying J Chevy. See an image of the car on the #46 Team Schemes page.(1-31-2015)
Key Changes at Tommy Baldwin Racing for 2015: The 2015 NASCAR season signals a year of change for Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR). Key personnel changes took place over the offseason, strengthening the foundation on which the team stands.
Bray Pemberton, General Manager and Chief Legal Counsel: Pemberton joins TBR as the newly named General Manager and Chief Legal Counsel. Pemberton has a rich family history in the sport paired with a deep knowledge of racing as well as a true passion for the sport.
Danielle Randall, Director of Business Development: Randall joined TBR as the Director of Business Development, procuring new sponsorship and business-to-business relationships for the team. Danielle has worked successfully on both the business development and management side of the industry.
Kevin “Bono” Manion, Crew Chief of the #7 Chevrolet: Returning for the second year atop the pit box with the 7 team, “Bono” brings his veteran experience and winning resume to work with Sprint Cup series sophomore Alex Bowman. The efforts of Manion and his team to assemble the most competitive cars will also be enhanced by TBR’s new state-of-the-art fabrication shop.
Mark Gutekunst, Lead Engineer: The depth of Mark Gutekunst’s engineering background elevates him to the lead engineer position on the #7 Chevrolet.
Doug Campbell, Spotter: 21-year-old Doug Campbell has worked with Tommy Baldwin Racing for over three years. Prior to working in NASCAR, Campbell got his start as a spotter in the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Moving to the #7 team in 2015, Campbell will be the “eyes in the sky” for Bowman.
“With Bono leading the #7 team again this year, Alex Bowman driving and all the changes put in place at the shop, we looking forward to the drop of the green flag at Daytona,” said owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. “As always, we are happy to be a part of Team Chevy for another year.”(TBR/140 Buzz)(1-31-2015)
Schedule for Kenseth’s DeWalt sponsored races announced: After a five-season hiatus, DEWALT will return as a primary sponsor for Matt Kenseth’s #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on March 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, for the first of their six-race primary sponsorship in 2015. Announced in Sept. of 2014, Stanley Black & Decker will partner with Joe Gibbs Racing to sponsor both the #19 entry of Carl Edwards and Kenseth’s #20 Camry beginning in 2015. While Stanley Black & Decker will grace the #19, the DEWALT brand returns to Kenseth, where the two partnered for many successes over their 11-year history together from 1999 to 2009 (at Roush Fenway Racing). DEWALT will be featured aboard the #20 Camry for a total of six races this season at tracks where Kenseth has earned a career total of 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories; recording multiple wins on five of the six tracks on this schedule: Las Vegas, Auto Club, Charlotte in May, Daytona in July, Talladega in October and Texas in November.(MattKenseth.com), see images of the scheme on the #20 Team Schemes page.(1-31-2015)
Gordon doesn’t want car number 24 retired: Jeff Gordon knows some of his fans would rather not see the #24 on the car of another Sprint Cup driver. But he believes Chase Elliott will have so much success, his fans eventually will change their minds. So he convinced team owner Rick Hendrick that Elliott, who will replace the four-time Cup champion starting in 2016, should drive a Hendrick car with the #24 on the side. “Rick wanted to retire that number for maybe one year or a certain period of time – you never know what NASCAR allows,” said Gordon, who will retire from full-time racing after the 2015 season. “He definitely threw that idea out to me, and I said, ‘No.’ I love the #24. I want to see the 24 go on to do great things. I did say if Chase was really adamant or (his dad) Bill and Chase and (his mom) Cindy all felt like that another number was more suited, that I was open to it. But I think our fans want to see the 24 continue on with the right person and be successful with the right guy, and he’s the right guy.”
Elliott, who just turned 19, didn’t try to lobby to drive the #9, the car number he mostly remembers his dad racing and the number that adorns the side of his JR Motorsports car. Richard Petty Motorsports currently runs the #9, but it could have been possible for Hendrick to negotiate with RPM to get it that number for Elliott. NASCAR issues car numbers each year but with the understanding that the teams will have the same number year to year because they build equity in numbers. NASCAR officials said Monday they had no plans to retire the number. “When you look at the sport, Jeff Gordon has certainly made an unbelievable impact on the sport and has been transcendent,” NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said Monday. “If you talk to Jeff, and we haven’t had that dialogue yet, I’m not sure he would even want that. So we’ll wait and talk to Jeff and see where he’s at.” NASCAR has not retired a number in its three national stock-car series.(Sporting News)(1-31-2015)
Dillon brothers to run seven truck series races: Austin and Ty Dillon will compete collectively in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races for GMS Racing. GMS Racing will field a full-time entry for #23-Spencer Gallagher and a 16-race program with RCR driver #33-Brandon Jones. The Dillon brothers will run the #33 Chevy for the other seven races of the 23 Truck Series schedule. Ty Dillon will make his debut with GMS Racing at Daytona in February, also running at Atlanta in March, Charlotte in May and in the Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway. At Daytona, Ty, will run three races at Daytona: Truck Series, XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series. Austin Dillon will run GMS Racing trick in the August races at Pocono and Michigan and at New Hampshire in September. Austin wants to join his brother on the starting grid at Eldora Speedway but hasn’t finalized those plans yet. Ty Dillon also said that Rheem will sponsor the seven truck races.(Catchfence)(1-31-2015)
News from January 30, 2015
2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Honors Five Iconic Wheelmen: Five legendary drivers with distinct styles and contributions to NASCAR were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina tonight during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center. Those who added their names to the list of now 30 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees, included: Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White. The group makes up the Hall’s sixth class in its history. Bill Elliott – a fan-favorite with a record 16 NASCAR Most Popular Driver Awards – compiled numerous accolades that put him near the top of many all-time NASCAR lists. In his 37-year driving career, “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” notched 44 wins (16th in NASCAR history) and 55 poles (eighth), but his most prestigious accomplishment came when he won the 1988 premier series championship. Elliott always performed on the biggest of stages, winning the Daytona 500 twice and the Southern 500 three times. “One thing I look at out here today is one common bond with all these racers, it’s the hard work and the dedication all these guys had,” Elliott said. “I mean, for me to stand up here among the guys that have already been here, it’s just totally incredible.” Fred Lorenzen – one of the first “outsiders” to capture the fancy of NASCAR’s early southeastern crowds – was one of the sport’s first true superstars, even though he never ran more than 29 of the season’s 50-plus races. The Elmhurst, Illinois, native won 26 races from 1961-67, with his best overall season coming in 1963 as he finished with six wins, 21 top fives and 23 top 10s in 29 starts. The victor of the 1965 Daytona 500 and World 600, Lorenzen boasts the fifth-highest career winning percentage (16.86) in NASCAR history. “Dad always said, ‘The sky is the limit and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,'” said Lorenzen’s son, Chris, who spoke on his behalf. “That has been dad’s most important saying in life, and he certainly lived by it. He also believed people made their own luck and that luck just doesn’t fall upon people.”
A true trailblazer, Wendell Scott was the first African-American to race fulltime in NASCAR’s premier series, as well as the first to win a NASCAR premier series race. Scott posted 147 top 10s in 495 starts, as well as finished four seasons in the top 10 of the championship points standings. He won more than 100 races at local tracks before making his premier series debut, including 22 races at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Virginia, in 1959 en route to capturing both the Sportsman Division and NASCAR Virginia Sportsman championships. “The legacy of Wendell Scott depicts him as one the great vanguards of the sport of NASCAR racing,” said the late Scott’s son, Franklin, who accepted the induction on his behalf. “Daddy was a man of great honor. He didn’t let his circumstances define who he was.” Joe Weatherly claimed consecutive premier series championships in 1962-63 and won 25 career races before his untimely death in January 1964 at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway. Known as the “Clown Prince of Racing” due to his jovial personality, Weatherly displayed impressive versatility beyond his premier series dominance. A decade earlier in 1952-53, he won 101 races in the NASCAR Modified division, capturing that championship in 1953. He even tried his hand in NASCAR’s short-lived Convertible Division from 1956-59, winning 12 times. “He loved his family and he was very generous, but I am sure there are many memories the fans could share as well, maybe ones of the practical jokes he enjoyed playing on fellow drivers,” said Joy Barbee, Weatherly’s niece. “He definitely had a sense of humor, he loved a good laugh and he loved to have a good time. He always had a big smile on his face; he was a character to be around and definitely lived up to the title given to him – the ‘Clown Prince of Racing.'”
One of the greatest short-track racers ever, consistency was the hallmark of Rex White’s NASCAR career. He finished among the top five in nearly half of his 233 races and outside the top 10 only 30 percent of the time. Of his 28 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series, only two came on tracks longer than a mile in length. Driving his own equipment, White won six times during his 1960 championship season, posting 35 top 10s in 40 starts. He finished in the top 10 six of his nine years in the series, including a runner-up finish in 1961. “Words can’t express how honored I am to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame along with the other Hall of Fame members, especially my 2015 fellow inductees,” White said. “No driver wins a championship by himself and nobody enters the Hall of Fame alone. I am the symbol of a team effort.”
Each of the five inductees had an inductor who officially welcomed them into the hall. The inductors for the five inductees: Ray Evernham for Bill Elliott; Amanda Gardstrom (daughter) for Fred Lorenzen; Wendell Scott Jr. for Wendell Scott; Bud Moore for Joe Weatherly; and James Hylton for Rex White.
Active drivers introduced each inductee during tonight’s program: Kasey Kahne for Bill Elliott; Tony Stewart for Fred Lorenzen; Jeff Gordon for Wendell Scott; Brad Keselowski for Joe Weatherly; and Kevin Harvick for Rex White.
In addition to the five inductees enshrined on Friday night, Anne B. France was awarded the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. France, paired with her husband, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., created what today is one of the largest and most popular sports in the world. Anne played a huge role in the family business. “Big Bill” organized and promoted races; she took care of the financial end of the business. She first served as secretary and treasurer of NASCAR, and when Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, served in the same roles for the International Speedway Corporation. She also managed the speedway’s ticket office. France remained active in family and business life until her passing in 1992.
Prior to tonight’s Induction Ceremony, long-time Charlotte Observer reporter Tom Higgins was awarded the third Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Higgins was the first beat writer to cover every race on the NASCAR schedule, a role he held from 1980 until his retirement in 1997. He started his journalism career in 1957 at the weekly Canton (N.C.) Enterprise where he covered racing for the first time. Higgins joined the sports staff at The Observer in 1964 as an outdoors writer and soon began covering stock car racing as well. He has continued to write motorsports nostalgia columns for the newspaper and its website ThatsRacin.com since his retirement.(NASCAR)(1-30-2015)
Anne B. France honored with inaugural Landmark Award: In one of the most emotional moments in Friday night’s NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Lesa France Kennedy accepted the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR on behalf of her grandmother, Anne Bledsoe France. Side-by-side with husband Bill France Sr., Anne B. France, affectionately known as “Annie B,” played a pivotal role in the founding and growth of NASCAR racing. Where “Big Bill” ran the competition side of the business, Anne B. France handled the business side, keeping the books, managing ticket sales and making sure bills were paid. “My grandfather was a visionary, but my grandmother was the one who kept everything together,” Kennedy told the NASCAR Wire Service during a telephone conversation on Thursday. “Without her, NASCAR might not have succeeded the way it did.” To Kennedy, there could not have been a more fitting recipient of the first Landmark Award. “I think it’s appropriate, in that it’s a unique award in the Hall of Fame,” she said. “For her to be the first recipient is very special.”
Anne B. France was the first secretary and treasurer of NASCAR, and with the construction of Daytona International Speedway, she filled the same roles with International Speedway Corporation and was active in the business of NASCAR racing until her death in 1992. In accepting the award, Kennedy, the chief executive officer of ISC, revealed to the audience that Anne B. France actually kept two sets of books. “There was the real set of books for the business, and then she had a set of books that she shared with my grandfather, Bill France Sr., just to make sure he didn’t spend us out of business,” Kennedy said. “I think everybody in this room today should be thankful for that.”
Kennedy had told the NASCAR Wire Service, “I don’t know exactly how I’m going to feel until I get up there – it’s going to be a very special night.” And when she began to describe her grandmother’s role in the growth of NASCAR, there was a catch in Kennedy’s voice as the emotion of the moment took hold. “I was fortunate enough to know her and to call her ‘Grams,'” Kennedy said, “and NASCAR will always remember her as that strong-willed, pioneering woman who helped build the foundation of our sport.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-30-2015)
Toy State to sponsor Tommy Baldwin Racing for five races UPDATE: Toy State has signed on as primary sponsor for the Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) #7 car. The Nikko/Toy State car is currently being prepped for the 2015 Daytona 500. “For nearly six decades, Toy State and Nikko-branded toys have created the thrill of auto racing through imaginative play,” says Andy Friess, senior vice president of global marketing. “We’re taking these thrills from fantasy to reality through our sponsorship with Tommy Baldwin Racing.” This sponsorship will cover the initial five races of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series. In addition to car graphics, all driver and team apparel and signage will bear Nikko and Toy State logos, along with the redesigned branding of the company’s lights and sound brand, Road Rippers. “The Daytona 500 is the crown jewel of the racing year, making it the perfect venue to re-launch Nikko R/C to the U.S. market and introduce the new look of Road Rippers,” says Friess. “It’s going to be a great day at the races!” This announcement builds on Toy State’s acquisition of Nikko last year. This year, Nikko-branded R/C vehicles will make their return to the U.S. market under the Toy State umbrella.(Toybook), see an image of the scheme on the #7 Team Schemes page(1-30-2015) UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin Racing has announced that Alex Bowman will drive the team’s #7 Chevy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the 2015 season. 21-year-old Bowman just completed his rookie season in the series with a notable 13th place finish at Daytona International Speedway. If you are engaged in numerology, Bowman’s new job should be destined for success. In addition to driving the #7, the native of Tucson, AZ, began racing at the age of seven. Progressing through the ranks, Bowman moved to full-bodied stock cars when he turned 17 years old. Making his NASCAR debut in 2012, Bowman has been at the forefront of NASCAR’s youth movement since his arrival. With NASCAR’s youth movement in full swing, Bowman will join an elite group of young talent in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. “Alex is the future of TBR, and he will be a great representative of our team,” said owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. “He is a young driver who displayed a great talent in both the XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series the past few years. We are pleased to give Alex the opportunity to further showcase his skills behind the wheel of the #7 Chevy this season.”
“I’m looking forward to working with TBR and the entire #7 team,” said Bowman. “With Tommy’s experience and his drive to run competitively, I feel like we can run well this year.” Further details on the 2015 season will continue to be announced over the next seven days as #TBR7in7 continues.(TBR/140buzz)(1-30-2015)
NASCAR not looking to expand four-car limit for teams: NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Monday there are no plans to allow teams to have more than four full-time cars even in a time when one Sprint Cup race did not have a full 43-car field and 17 other races had only 43 cars attempt to qualify last year. NASCAR instituted a four-car limit for the 2006 season, grandfathering teams that had more at that time until their sponsor contracts ended. NASCAR currently allows a fifth car but only to run seven races with a rookie driver. That rule will allow Hendrick Motorsports to run Chase Elliott in select Cup races this season. France said during Monday’s opening portion of the NASCAR media tour that “we’re not looking to expand beyond the current four, but it’s true that we’d like to see the barrier of entry lower (for car owner) than higher.” France told reporters last July at Daytona that progress has “been slow” with creating more avenues for potential new owners. Lowering that barrier to entry remains an item that France is concerned with accomplishing. “Are we making things easier … for new teams to look at coming in and competing in NASCAR?” France said. “We want to have an open sport where you’ve got the ability to compete. We’re going to make it easy as reasonably possible.”
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president & chief racing development officer, said the four-car rule has proved beneficial for the sport. “It’s allowed some of the new owners to come in, the Furniture Rows of the world, the Michael Waltrip Racings of the world, Harry Scott,” O’Donnell said. “Everyone doesn’t come into the sport immediately and become a champion. It takes time. Some of those folks who come in and maybe finish from 30th to 43rd, it’s easy to point to them and say why should they be in the sport? Fast forward five years from now and that driver could be competing for a championship. We’re comfortable where it is today. We’ll always look at that, but we want to keep that option open to bring in new owners.”(NBC Sports)(1-30-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. having too much fun to think about retiring: With Hendrick Motorsports teammate #24-Jeff Gordon ready to call it quits at the end of the upcoming season, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked Thursday about his own eventual retirement. After all, Earnhardt is only three years younger than Gordon. Will the 40-year-old still be racing past the age Gordon is now? “Jeff made his decision based on factors in his life, whether it be his health or his kids,” Earnhardt said. “… I don’t have any back issues and I don’t have any kids on the way. I don’t have any factors.” Right now, Earnhardt said he can’t think about quitting because he’s enjoying his job so much. He said the last five years have been the most fun he’s ever had driving a race car. “I didn’t even know I could have this much fun,” he said with a grin. “Last year, I felt like a kid. I had the same feeling I had when I would drive down to Myrtle Beach with my Late Model. We were just on top of the world having so much fun. That freedom came back in the last couple years to just enjoy it and just release the pressure. So that’s made me really think I can do this a lot longer. I think I’ll stop racing when my health is an issue or I don’t feel like I’m in a competitive car or I feel like I’ve lost a step.”(USA Today)(1-30-2015)
Sabates guarantees his drivers will make the Chase: Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sabates has guaranteed that both #42-Kyle Larson and #1-Jamie McMurray will make the post-season Chase in 2015. The flamboyant Sabates took to the podium Thursday during NASCAR’s pre-season Media Tour and predicted that his two-car team would secure a pair of Chase berths this season. “I’ve never guaranteed anybody anything in all the years I’ve been in racing,” Sabates said. “But I’ll guarantee you that both of these guys will be in the Chase.”(MRN)(1-30-2015)
No run for Rookie of the Year award for Bayne?: “NASCAR confirms to me that @Tbayne6 is not eligible for Rookie of the Year this season — too many accumulated Sprint Cup starts.” (Popular Speed’s Matt Weaver)(1-30-2015)
Truex’s girlfriend passes milestone in cancer recovery: #78-Martin Truex Jr. shared some welcome off-track news during Furniture Row Racing’s media session on Thursday morning at the Charlotte Convention Center. Truex’s girlfriend Sherry Pollex has been battling ovarian cancer and recently completed her last chemotherapy treatment. “We had a little celebration for her,” Truex said. “She’s feeling good, and it seems like every day she’s getting more back to normal, and it’s only been four days. So, hopefully, in the next couple weeks she’s going to be back to her old self, running 180 miles an hour. It’s been great to see. It’s been a tough road, and obviously it’s had its challenges. But, all in all, she did an amazing job. She’s special. The way she was able to get through it-like no one had ever done before-was inspiring. It’s going to make me work harder, that’s for sure.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-30-2014)
Earnhardt Jr. interested in driving in Truck Series race: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Thursday admitted an interest in making at least one start for JR Motorsports’ new Camping World Truck Series program, which will field a part-time entry for 17-year-old Cole Custer this season. “I’ve never driven a truck before and I’ve always had that interest to race in the truck,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’d tell you I would run Martinsville, today, but Cole’s going to get all the shorter tracks due to his age, and we need to get him that experience when we can, and it’s a great opportunity at Martinsville for him to run. So if I run a race, it’ll be at a bigger track where Cole’s not quite cleared to run through NASCAR’s process. It ain’t going to be Daytona.”(FoxSports)(1-30-2014)
#28 Back on Track? It’s been more than five years since the famed #28 Yates Racing Ford last spun laps around a NASCAR track. March 22, 2009 to be exact. And while the #28 is free for teams to use – with NASCAR’s permission, of course – there is a certain respect that follows that number. It’s with that respect that former team owner Doug Yates occasionally fields a call for permission to use the number that was driven famously by the likes of Fred Lorenzen, Davey Allison and Ernie Irvan. “I got a call at the beginning of last season from a driver that asked me if it would be OK to use the number,” said Yates. “He asked that I think about it and he’d check in a little later.” Yates did think about it, and even talked it over with family. And when that driver called back, it didn’t take long for him to figure out the answer. Said Yates: “I answered my phone and immediately the driver said to me – ‘I get it. Don’t say any more.’ “(CMS)(1-30-2015)
JD Motorsports announces 2015 plans: NASCAR’s #2 series has a new name – the Xfinity Series – in 2015, but the series has a lineup filled with familiar names. Few of them have been around the sport longer than South Carolina team owner Johnny Davis, who has been involved in NASCAR racing since 1981 and has fielded an Xfinity team since 2002. And JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, Davis’ Gaffney, S.C.-based team, will have a bigger footprint than ever on the Xfinity circuit in the new season. Davis plans to field three teams – one for team veteran driver Landon Cassill and others for newcomers Ross Chastain and Harrison Rhodes. Cassill will return to the #01 Chevy, while Chastain will drive the #4. Rhodes will be in the #0 Chevy. Davis and his drivers and mechanics will be building on a very successful 2014, the best year in the team’s history. Cassill finished 12th in series points last year, scoring three top 10s. He had a best start of ninth and a best finish of eighth – both at Iowa Speedway in his home state. Cassill completed 91 percent of the laps run last year and was 10th in points on four occasions. Cassill returns to run the full schedule for JD Motorsports with sponsorship from G&K Services. Veteran Dave Fuge is back as Cassill’s crew chief. Chastain, 23, has four years of experience in the Camping World Truck Series and raced in seven Xfinity races last season, scoring a top 10 at Kentucky Speedway. Chastain, from Alva, Fla., ran the full Truck schedule in 2012, posting one top five and four top 10s. In 2013, he ran 14 Truck events, with four top fives and seven top 10s. Chastain will race with sponsorship from Watermelon.org. Gary Cogswell will be the team’s crew chief. Rhodes, a 21-year-old resident of High Point, N.C., has experience in the Xfinity Series. He ran seven races in 2013 and six in 2014. He ran K&N East races in 2012 and 2013, scoring a pair of top 10s. Rhodes started his racing career at the age of 10, driving quarter- midgets. He successfully raced quarter-midgets for four seasons.(JD Motorsports)(1-30-2015)
Many Atlanta Ticket Specials Expire Feb 2nd: Fans have a very limited amount of time to take advantage of many of the ticket specials for Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR weekend Feb. 26 through March 1. A majority of the limited-time offers will expire Monday, Feb. 2 at 5 p.m., and fans are encouraged to take advantage of these value-priced offers while they are still available. There are several money-saving ticket specials available for each day of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend for single tickets, groups or families for every budget. For the ticket specials that expire and more information, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit Atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-30-2015)
Darlington announces commemorative ticket design: With the Bojangles’ Southern 500 returning to Labor Day weekend in 2015, Darlington Raceway is excited to announce it will commemorate its history with a retro-style ticket that will be issued for its events on September 5-6, 2015. The design will incorporate the look of the 1974 ticket. It features South Carolina and Darlington Raceway legend Cale Yarborough, who was highlighted as the defending champion in 1974 after winning his first career Southern 500 in 1973. The ticket will also link eras by honoring last year’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 winner and 2014 defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kevin Harvick, in a similar fashion. These special tickets will be used for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 and NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 races. Tickets are expected to be mailed to all customers starting in mid-June.
In addition, Darlington Raceway will introduce a “Fan Hall of Fame” program. The program will honor longtime ticketholders and supporters of the track. A minimum of five fans will be selected in the first year and will be honored during Bojangles’ Southern 500 pre-race ceremonies. Fan Hall of Fame members will be asked to provide feedback and ideas to the track in future years, serving in a Fan Advisory Board capacity. Ticket renewals have been mailed reminding fans to renew their seats for the 2015 Labor Day race weekend. Renewing your tickets early guarantees your seats at the best prices available prior to the opening of all remaining seats to the general public on February 18.
Guests may renew their tickets and campsites by calling 866-459-RACE (7223) or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com/renewals. The renewal deadline is Friday, Feb. 6.
The Tradition Returns to Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 is set for Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 5. Tickets are on sale now by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com.(Darlington Raceway)(1-30-2015)
Gappens faces misdemeanor charge after Manchester arrest: Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, was arrested last week and charged with indecent exposure and lewdness, a misdemeanor. Manchester Police said Gappens was engaged in sexual activity with a woman inside a car. His attorney released a statement to News 9: “Mr. Gappens acknowledges using poor judgment that has resulted in a misdemeanor charge that is both embarrassing and devastating to him and his family, and for that, he sincerely apologizes. He regrets his actions. While he made a bad decision, he did not, in my opinion, engage in conduct that violates the referenced statute or any other criminal law. Mr. Gappens cooperated fully with the police, and we hope to have this difficult situation resolved soon.”(WMUR/News 9)(1-30-2015)
News from January 29, 2015
NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and TV: the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Charlotte, NC is scheduled for Friday, January 30, 2015 and to be broadcast live at 8:00pm/et on NBC Sports Network, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Richard Petty: #9 is Chase Elliott’s if he wants it: On Wednesday, NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Richard Petty said he’s not “emotionally attached” to #9, which Marcos Ambrose carried at Richard Petty Motorsports and which Sam Hornish Jr. will carry this year. “We inherited that number [when Petty bought the remnants of the Ray Evernham/George Gillette team],” Petty said. “It doesn’t mean anything to me, but it does to the sponsors we’d already signed for this year. If the kid wants it next year, though, that’s fine with us.”
“The kid” he refers to is Chase Elliott. His famous father carried number 9 for most of his career, getting 38 of his 44 victories and his championship with it. “Awesome Bill” carried 17 other numbers during his Sprint Cup career, most notably 11 with Junior Johnson, 21 with the Wood brothers and 94 with the team he created and owned late in his career. Chase Elliott will run five Cup races this year in #25 for Hendrick Motorsports. Don’t be surprised if that number is 9 when the 2016 season opens in Daytona Beach.(AutoWeek)(1-29-2015)
Chase Elliott in the #25? UPDATE: was sent an image taken during a photo shoot showing the #25 NAPA Chevy that Chase Elliott will supposedly drive in some NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the 2015 season. One rumor has Elliott making his Sprint Cup Series debut at Atlanta on March 1st. Atlanta is his ‘home track’ as he and his father, Bill, are both from Georgia. See the little bit fuzzy image of the car on the #25 Team Schemes page.(1-28-2015) UPDATE: Chase Elliott, who became the youngest national series champion in NASCAR history last season, will join Hendrick Motorsports as a full-time Sprint Cup driver beginning in 2016. Elliott’s #24 Chevy team will be led by crew chief Alan Gustafson, who has earned 19 wins, 18 pole positions, 98 top-five finishes and 165 top-10s at the elite Cup level.
“Chase brings the kind of intangibles that make him the total package as a driver,” said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, who announced the news this morning during the team’s season kickoff employee event. “Not only is he a special talent inside the race car, but there’s a natural combination of competitiveness, work ethic and smarts that you rarely see. Chase’s personality and demeanor make him popular with fans, teammates and sponsors. He’s a great fit for our organization on many levels, and we feel he and Alan will be a successful combination. There’s a lot to be excited about.”
In preparation for 2016, Elliott, 19, will make his Sprint Cup debut later this year as part of a five-race schedule with primary sponsorship from NAPA AUTO PARTS. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native will be paired with veteran crew chief Kenny Francis during the limited campaign. Driving the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, Elliott will be entered in 2015 Cup events March 29 at Martinsville Speedway, April 25 at Richmond International Raceway, May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway.
“Chase has been a fantastic ambassador for NAPA,” said Gaylord Spencer, senior vice president of marketing for NAPA AUTO PARTS, which also is primary sponsor of Elliott’s JR Motorsports team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. “As he embarks on this important next step in his career, we’re proud to support him across both series in 2015 and look forward to an exciting year on and off the track. The NAPA Family is behind Chase 100 percent.”
At the age of 18 years, 11 months and 18 days, Elliott became the youngest champion in any NASCAR national touring series when he won the 2014 XFINITY Series title. The first racer in NASCAR history to win a championship and rookie of the year honors in the same season, he also was voted by fans as the series’ most popular driver. Elliott’s 2014 season included three wins, two pole positions and 26 top-10 finishes in 33 races. His first victory (Texas Motor Speedway) came in his sixth career series start and made him the second-youngest winner in XFINITY Series history (behind Joey Logano). He completed 99.6 percent of the 6,063 total laps run and became the first driver since 2010 to clinch the championship before the season finale.
Elliott and father Bill are only the fifth father-son duo to win NASCAR national series championships. They are members of an elite group that includes Lee and Richard Petty, Ned and Dale Jarrett, David and Larry Pearson, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bill Elliott, the 1988 Sprint Cup Series champion, will be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame tomorrow evening.
“So many people have been behind me, and the first thing I want to do is thank them,” said Chase Elliott, who will run the full 2015 XFINITY Series schedule as the defending champion. “My parents especially have believed in me every step of the way, and I know this wouldn’t be possible without all the sacrifices they’ve made to focus on my racing career. This is such a big week for our family. I’m also extremely grateful to Mr. Hendrick and my teammates at both Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports for believing in me. NAPA has been a huge supporter, and I’m honored to represent them on and off the track. Of course the fans have been amazing to me, and I’m so appreciative of that. I know how rare this opportunity is and will work as hard as I can to make everyone proud.”
Hendrick Motorsports will announce sponsorship for Elliott’s 2016 Sprint Cup season at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-29-2015)
Grainger Joins RCR in a Multi-Year Partnership: Richard Childress Racing and Graingerannounced a multi-year partnership that brings a leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products to NASCAR. Grainger will serve as the primary sponsor of the #31 Chevy driven by Ryan Newman for select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races beginning with the June 7 event at Pocono. Grainger also will be featured as an associate sponsor on the #31 for all Cup Series events in which it is not the primary sponsor. Newman earned a second-place finish in the 2014 championship standings, which came down to the final lap of the season.
This sponsorship is consistent with Grainger’s national marketing approach to make meaningful connections with its customers. In recent years, Grainger has sponsored a summer concert tour and launched a new national advertising campaign. The increasing popularity of NASCAR among its customers and the chance to partner with RCR made this sponsorship appealing to Grainger.
“Both Grainger and RCR share a similar commitment to customers, team members and community, which makes this the ideal partnership,” said Deb Oler, Vice President and General Manager with Grainger. “Our customers are hard-working men and women who represent the backbone of the U.S. economy. They are passionate about NASCAR, and we are passionate about them, so we are thrilled to sponsor and cheer on Ryan and the #31. This is a wonderful opportunity for Grainger to celebrate our customers in a personal, unique and exciting way.”
Grainger initially launched its on-track association with RCR in late 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway as an associate sponsor on the #31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevrolet SS for the final three Cup events, and also served as the primary sponsor of Austin Dillon’s#33 NASCAR XFINITY Series entry at the Texas race.
“Grainger’s slogan, ‘For the ones who get it done,’ holds true for what this partnership and RCR stand for,” said Richard Childress, CEO and Chairman of Richard Childress Racing. “We’re proud to have this association with Grainger and look forward to interacting with their customers and employees. We plan to use our Sprint Cup program and RCR campus to showcase the innovative solutions that Grainger provides to its customers.” Grainger will engage customers in its partnership with NASCAR, RCR and the #31 team through several marketing platforms including national racing-themed radio spots, social media and traditional marketing mediums.(RCR)(1-29-2015)
WIX Filters Continues Partnership with Richard Childress Racing:WIX Filters, a global manufacturer of filtration products, announced the extension of its partnership with Richard Childress Racing (RCR). The partnership includes primary branding of select events with the #31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program with driver Ryan Newman. WIX Filters will also be featured as primary sponsor for one race with the #62 XFINITY Series program and driver Brendan Gaughan for 2015. As part of the partnership, WIX Filters continues its technical support of both RCR and ECR Engines by supplying air and oil filters and providing research and development support. All RCR race cars will feature the WIX Filters logo under the hood.
“After last year’s record-breaking season, we’re thrilled to be partnering with Richard Childress Racing and Ryan Newman again,” said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. “Newman Nation brings such great passion and excitement to the racing season, and they’ve only further elevated the WIX brand. We can’t wait to see how the partnership grows in 2015.” Newman will compete in the #31 WIX Filters Chevrolet starting at Bristol in April.
“For 75 years, WIX Filters has been the industry leader at providing customers with premium quality automotive filters designed to exceed performance demands,” said Richard Childress, CEO and chairman of Richard Childress Racing. “We value those standards along with WIX’s ongoing growth and innovations. Our technical alliance is leading to advances within both of our organizations, and we’ll continue to work alongside WIX’s engineers to apply our research to their everyday performance demands. RCR is proud to continue our association with the#1 filter in motorsports and we look forward to accomplishing even more in 2015.”
Last season, WIX’s collaboration with RCR produced a championship-contenting effort with just one-point separating Newman from hoisting the Sprint Cup trophy. Adding to the accomplishment for RCR, Gaughan visited victory lane two times in the XFINITY Series. “WIX Filters has been a valued partner of mine during the last five seasons,” said Newman, who capped off his first year at RCR by turning in his best-career finish in the championship standings. “I appreciate everything WIX stands for, including reliability and innovation. Their more than 3,500 employees are incredibly passionate and dedicated about what they do for a living which is why WIX is a perfect fit with all of us at RCR.” WIX will showcase the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series across its social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For more information on WIX, please visit www.wixfilters.com.(RCR)(1-29-2015)
Visser Precision Joins Furniture Row Racing as associate sponsor :Visser Precision
, LLC, an advanced manufacturing solutions provider utilizing special alloys and proprietary manufacturing methods, joins Furniture Row Racing as an associate sponsor on the team’s #78 Chevy, driven by Martin Truex Jr. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Headquartered in a state-of-the-art facility in Denver, Colorado, Visser Precision started to manufacture its products in 2011 for industries ranging from aerospace and defense to luxury goods. Visser Precision operates with cutting-edge technologies in the areas of super alloys, precision machining, amorphous metal casting and 3D metal printing to help solve difficult engineering and manufacturing challenges. Visser Precision is owned by Barney Visser, a Vietnam veteran, who is also the owner of Furniture Row Racing. The company’s president is Ryan Coniam, a former race engineer and crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“This is an exciting move for not only our teammates at Visser Precision but also for our growing list of domestic and international clients,” said Coniam. “Visser Precision with its advanced technologies shares many of the same attributes that you will find in the high-tech, competitive world of NASCAR. There is definitely some DNA between the two businesses and we are thrilled to be included with Furniture Row Racing.”
Joe Garone, general manager of Furniture Row Racing, said the Visser Precision name will be positioned on the roof of the #78 Chevy. “We welcome Visser Precision as our new associate sponsor,” said Garone. “Visser Precision has a success story that is quite remarkable for such a young company. We are proud to be a partner on the car and in the race shop to help tackle the challenges of NASCAR’s competitive sport.” Visser precision joins Furniture Row’s specialty stores — Denver Mattress, Oak Express, Bedroom Expressions and Sofa Mart — as associate sponsors.(FRR)(1-29-2015)
NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson recovering from stroke: NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson is recovering after he suffered a mild stroke Dec. 9. A statement provided by Pearson’s family Wednesday said the stroke affected his left side, but the 80-year-old is 80-85% back to normal as a result of therapy. The family said “we expect a full recovery soon.” Nicknamed the “Silver Fox” for his sly, quick moves on the track and his prematurely graying hair, ?Pearson is considered by some to be the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. He is second on the all-time wins list with 105 victories and won three championships — in 1966, ’68 and ’69, before retiring in 1989. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, the leading vote-getter in his class. Only Richard Petty has more Cup wins — he retired with 200. Petty also has seven titles. The Pearson family statement also said: “He is able to walk slowly and his arm continues to get better with maneuverability. He has great grip with his left hand, so we are very much encouraged. He continues to have therapy on both his leg and arm and progresses each day. … Thanks to the NASCAR family and all of his fans and friends for their support and concern.” The stroke followed another health issue for Pearson — an abdominal aneurysm, which occurred in October and left him hospitalized for more than a week.(USA Today)(1-29-2015)
Penske could run a third team if Blaney wins Daytona 500: Roger Penske says he would certainly consider entering Ryan Blaney in a third full-time entry if his rookie driver won the Daytona 500 next month and became eligible for the Chase for the Championship. Blaney is currently scheduled to run 18 races for the Wood Brothers this season, including six with support from Penske partners PPG, SKF and Snap-On. His first race in the legendary #21 will be at Daytona, an event the Wood Brothers won with Trevor Bayne back in 2011. When asked about the possibility, Penske admitted he had forgotten that Blaney would become playoff eligible with a season-opening triumph. “Well if he won at Daytona, I guess we would have to look at our schedule,” Penske said. “That’s a great question. The fact that it would make him eligible for the Chase for the Championship, I never thought about that scenario. I certainly would have to think about it.” Blaney is not running full-time in any of the three NASCAR national divisions. The extra six races will also allow Blaney to compete for Rookie of the Year honors, as a driver must typically run half of the 36-race schedule to be eligible. A driver can run more than seven races in a series for one season and still be eligible for rookie honors the next year as long as he never earned points in the series. As it stands, the Sprint Cup Series does not have a rookie contender.(Popular Speed)(1-29-2015)
10th Anniversary in NASCAR for Furniture Row Racing: The 2015 season will be Furniture Row Racing’s 10th anniversary in NASCAR. The single-car team based in the Mile High City of Denver began its NASCAR career in the Xfinity Series (formerly known as the Nationwide Series) with driver Jerry Robertson qualifying on March 26, 2005 at Nashville Superspeedway. The team’s first Sprint Cup race was a few months later (June 5) with driver Kenny Wallace qualifying the #78 Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway. “It’s hard to imagine that it has been 10 years,” said owner Barney Visser, who defied skeptics by basing his team in Denver, Colorado, nearly 1400 miles from NASCAR’s racing hub in Charlotte, N.C. “To be involved in NASCAR has been an exciting time for everyone involved with Furniture Row and Furniture Row Racing.” Visser added, “We’ve enjoyed success over the years and also taken our lumps. But we remain committed as an organization to field a Chase-contending team on a weekly basis.” Visser, who is also owner of Furniture Row, one of America’s largest family-owned specialty home furnishings and bedding retailers with more than 330 stores in 31 states, took up auto racing as a driver after semi-retiring from his businesses. He competed at local events at Colorado National Speedway. His passion for motorsports and the marketing potential the sport provided eventually led Visser to NASCAR. Furniture Row Racing has competed in 290 NASCAR races since 2005 –19 in the Xfinity Series (2005 & 2006) and 271 in the premier Sprint Cup Series (2005 to present). Colorado native Jerry Robertson was the team’s driver for all 19 Xfinity races and there were seven different drivers who drove the No. 78 in 271 Cup races — Wallace (29), Robertson (1), Jimmy Spencer (2), Joe Nemechek (41), Regan Smith (120), Kurt Busch (42) and current driver Martin Truex Jr. (36). The only Sprint Cup team based west of the Carolinas, Furniture Row Racing has qualified for every scheduled Cup race the past five seasons.
Furniture Row’s best season was 2013 when it made history by becoming the first single-car team to qualify for NASCAR’s postseason Chase playoffs. Busch drove the #78 Chevy that season to 11 top fives, 16 top 10s and finished 10th in the final point standings. The team’s first victory was scored by Smith in 2011 at Darlington. Nemechek notched the team’s first pole in May 2008 at Talladega. The catalyst behind the growth of Furniture Row Racing since its inception has been the team’s general manager Joe Garone, a Denver native, who previously worked as a crewmember in NASCAR and later worked directly for NASCAR at its Research and Development Center in Charlotte. He also served as NASCAR’s director of officiating. “To personally see how we’ve developed over the years has been very gratifying,” said Garone. “It all starts at the top and Barney has given us the resources to compete at a contending level. By being based in Denver we had some early logistics to work out. But we figured it out fairly quickly, and right now we’re a smoothly run race team, which has been strengthened for the 2015 season.”(FRR)(1-29-2015)
NASCAR Hall of Fame sponsorships fall: A review of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s commitments for sponsorships shows that projected revenue is declining significantly, dropping from $1.5 million in 2012 to $110,000 for the fiscal year starting in July. The loss of sponsorship revenue could further explain why Bank of America and Wells Fargo recently agreed to a deal in which they would forgive $17.6 million in interest and principal from a hall-related loan in exchange for a $5 million payment. The reason: The bank’s chances of getting their money back were more grim than the city outlined to City Council. Tom Murray, chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said the hall is now focused on selling new sponsorships to help its bottom line. Under the deal reached with the banks, all sponsorship money in the future can go to pay the hall’s bills. But he said it will be a challenge. “We don’t think we will be selling sponsorships at the $1 million range,” CRVA chief executive Tom Murray said in an interview. “The sponsorship world in general is challenging today. (Businesses) are looking for more of a return on their investment.” Some of the hall’s initial sponsors, such as Belk, Sunoco and M&M, have let sponsorships expire. For the sport overall, Sprint announced last year that it would end its sponsorship of NASCAR’s highest racing level in 2016. Two of the biggest hall of fame sponsors were Bank of America and Wells Fargo, who each paid $150,000 last year. Under the deal reached with the city, the two banks will continue to sponsor the hall but won’t have to pay.(Charlotte Observer)(1-29-2015)
GoDaddy pulls lost puppy Super Bowl ad after backlash: GoDaddy has pulled its Super Bowl ad after viewers were upset about how it depicted a lost puppy. The ad, a riff on Budweiser’s spot this year, featured a little dog who falls off a pickup truck and then endures long miles and rainy weather to make his way home. Once there, running up the dirt road to a big red barn, he jumps up to greet his owner. “Look! It’s Buddy! I’m so glad you made it home,” she says as he jumps into her arms and licks her face, “because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy.” Cut to the puppy back in a van. “Ship ’em out!” says the woman. The puppy whimpers. We catch a glimpse that longtime spokeswoman Danica Patrick is the driver. Then the door slams. The ad drew negative reactions immediately after it aired exclusively on TODAY. The domain name registration company attempted to mollify the crowd via Twitter, but pressure continued to mount throughout the day as the story spread online, especially through dog lover groups. An online petition to remove the ad racked up over 42,000 signatures by day’s end. Finally at the end of the day the company decided to pull the ad.(Today)(1-29-2015)
NBC Sports’ NASCAR Gridiron Challenge debuts Jan. 30th: NBC Sports’ NASCAR Gridiron Challenge presented by Toyota, a one-hour special pairing NASCAR drivers with former NFL greats in a series of stock car races and a football challenge, debuts Friday, January 30, at 10:00pm/et on NBCSN, immediately following the NASCAR America Hall of Fame Special. A capsule from the Gridiron Challenge will air as part of NBC’s Super Bowl XLIX pre-game show on Sunday, February 1, beginning at 12:00pm/et.
The Gridiron Challenge features six retired NFL greats, including NBC Super Bowl XLIX pre-game analyst Hines Ward, suiting up to compete in races alongside current NASCAR stars at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Viewers will watch as NFL legends experience the thrill of a lifetime learning how to drive official Toyota racecars at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. In addition, six NASCAR stars, representing Joe Gibbs’ and Michael Waltrip’s racing teams, will participate in a challenge throwing passes through a Toyota target. The series culminates with a 20-lap competition, where the former NFL players will sit in the passenger seat alongside NASCAR drivers, and race around the track at speeds up to 180 mph.
NASCAR on NBC lead announcer Rick Allen will call the action from Charlotte Motor Speedway, alongside NBC Sports Group’s motorsports team of NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s former crew chief Steve Letarte, and NASCAR America reporter Kelli Stavast. In addition, Coach J.D. Gibbs will be present to give tutelage, and award the winners with their trophies.(NBC)(1-29-2015)
RCR Names Kate Dallenbach to Driver Development Program: Richard Childress Racing and Team Dillon Racing have named Kate Dallenbach as one of two female drivers in their development program for the 2015 season. The other driver joining the program is 14 year-old Ahnna Parkhurst. Dallenbach, 17, is the daughter of Wally, Jr., NASCAR driver-turned-broadcaster, and Robin Dallenbach, a former driver herself with two starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Her grandfather, Wally Dallenbach, Sr., was a successful Indy car driver and Chief Steward. The student of Davidson Day High School will compete in dirt and asphalt races under the RCR banner driving cars built and maintained by Team Dillon Racing.
“Some RCR and TDR members and I have been watching Kate for several years and have been impressed with her driving ability,” said Richard Childress, CEO and Chairman of RCR. “She is a quality driver in races and the results from her testing dirt Late Models have been very positive. I look forward to what the future holds for Kate and we will do all we can to help her succeed.” Dallenbach started racing Quarter Midgets at age eight and was the 2007 Texas Regional Champion in two different divisions. Dallenbach also competed in Bandoleros at Texas Motor Speedway in 2008 and was part of the Lyn St. James Driver Academy in 2010.
In 2011, she earned championship and rookie of the year honors in the Allison Legacy Series at Thunderhill (Tex.) Raceway. Dallenbach tested dirt Late Models for RCR/TDR in 2013 and drove Whelen Late Models at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway capturing Rookie of the Year honors and finishing second in points. Last year, she raced 10 events for RCR/TDR at Boyd (Ga.) Speedway and ran 15 asphalt Late Model races for Lee Faulk Racing at various tracks in the Southeast. For the 2015 season, Dallenbach will increase her schedule to more than 20 events with Faulk and 10 races on dirt for RCR/TDR at Boyd Speedway. “I am honored and looking forward to being a larger part of RCR’s Driver Development Program this year,” Dallenbach said. “As a driver, I’m looking forward to improving my racing skills and winning some dirt and asphalt races. I hope to start testing Trucks in the future, as well. I can’t thank Richard (Childress), Mike (Dillon) and Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops enough for this opportunity.” Dallenbach currently has sponsorship from SHE Outdoor Ladies Hunting Clothing from Bass Pro Shops.(RCR)(1-29-2015)
RCR Names Ahnna Parkhurst to Driver Development Program: Richard Childress Racing and Team Dillon Racing have named Ahnna Parkhurst as one of two female drivers in their development program for the 2015 season. The other driver joining the program is 17-year-old Kate Dallenbach. Parkhurst, 14, is an Augusta, Ga. native and is entering her second season of competitive racing. The student at Riverside Middle School will compete in dirt Crate Late Models under the RCR banner driving cars built and maintained by Team Dillon Racing this year. “Ahnna has an incredible natural talent and absorbs everything she can to become a better driver every time she races,” said Richard Childress, CEO and Chairman of RCR. “Everything I have seen and heard about her racing has been positive. She is going to learn and improve even more this year on the dirt tracks and I look forward to watching that progress.” Parkhurst competed in 42 Mini Outlaws race last season, winning 13 and finishing second in 12 of them at Millbridge (N.C.) Speedway. This year, her schedule calls for 40 races in RCR/TDR Crate Dirt Late Models at Boyd (Ga.) Speedway, Swainsboro (Ga.) Speedway and Modoc (S.C.) Speedway. “I raced just about every other Wednesday night from March until November of last year,” Parkhurst said. “RCR and TDR said they are going to give me their best effort to be competitive and try and win races. It’s up to me to give them my best efforts in return. “This is a great opportunity and I can’t thank Richard, TDR and my sponsors enough for making me part of the team. Austin and Ty Dillon have already been very supportive and I have learned a lot from them this past year.” Parkhurst will have sponsorship from LauriesFund.org, Tgen, Hunt Brothers Pizza and Bad Boy Buggies.(RCR)(1-29-2015)
WIX Filters to sponsor Gaughan in one race: WIX Filters, a global manufacturer of filtration products, announced the extension of its partnership with Richard Childress Racing. The partnership includes primary branding of select events with the #31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program with driver Ryan Newman. WIX Filters will also be featured as primary sponsor for one race with the #62 XFINITY Series program and driver Brendan Gaughan for 2015. As part of the partnership, WIX Filters continues its technical support of both RCR and ECR Engines by supplying air and oil filters and providing research and development support. All RCR race cars will feature the WIX Filters logo under the hood.(Richard Childress Racing)(1-29-2015)
Petty featured in XFINITY commercial: Stock car legends Richard “The King” Petty and the late Dale “The Intimidator” Earnhardt won the most NASCAR season titles with seven apiece-putting them in rarified air among the many drivers who have raced over the decades. NASCAR and title sponsor Comcast will tap into their regal racing legacy to position the renamed NASCAR Xfinity Series as the proving ground where future legends are born. Four out of five NASCAR fans are also NFL fans. Comcast will use the spotlight around this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX to promote the kickoff of the 2015 Xfinity series Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway. Called “Out There,” the first 30-second spot features a voiceover by the folksy Petty. The King notes there’s some aggressive young Xfinity driver out there, right now, who could “intimidate The Intimidator.” Cut to a shot of Chase Elliott, the 18-year-old rookie who won what used to be known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series last year. In a nod to Elliott’s No. 9 car, Petty says there’s some Nascar star of tomorrow who could end up winning eight or nine titles. The new spot by Goodby will be the first advertising attempt to rebrand the series under the Xfinity moniker, according to Matt Lederer, senior director of sports brand marketing for Comcast. The company signed a 10-year title sponsorship last year that will run through 2024.(Ad Week)(1-29-2015)
Earnhardt, Jr. in a truck race? Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Thursday admitted an interest in making at least one start for JR Motorsports’ new Camping World Truck Series program, which will field a part-time entry for 17-year-old Cole Custer this season. “I’ve never driven a truck before and I’ve always had that interest to race in the truck,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’d tell you I would run Martinsville, today, but Cole’s going to get all the shorter tracks due to his age, and we need to get him that experience when we can, and it’s a great opportunity at Martinsville for him to run. So if I run a race, it’ll be at a bigger track where Cole’s not quite cleared to run through NASCAR’s process. It ain’t going to be Daytona.”(Fox Sports)(1-29-2015)
News from January 28, 2015
Chase Elliott in the #25? was sent an image taken during a photo shoot showing the #25 NAPA Chevy that Chase Elliott will supposedly drive in some NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the 2015 season. One rumor has Elliott making his Sprint Cup Series debut at Atlanta on March 1st. Atlanta is his ‘home track’ as he and his father, Bill, are both from Georgia. See the little bit fuzzy image of the car on the #25 Team Schemes page.(1-28-2015)
Wood Brothers and Ryan Blaney expand their schedule: The Wood Brothers (#21 Ford) went searching for a driver for 2015 and found Ryan Blaney and are expanding their schedule with the 21-year-old winner in Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. Wood Brothers say their goal has been last five years to develop young drivers and Ryan Blaney was obvious choice to replace Trevor Bayne after he moved to a full-time Cup ride. They really want to get to 100 wins in their 65th anniversary season. Team co-owner Eddie Wood says they will run 12 races with Motorcraft on board and have tentatively added six races to the schedule, as part of working with Team Penske. Those six races will be Darlington, Bristol, Chicagoland, the fall Charlotte race, Kentucky and New Hampshire. Penske sponsors PPG, Snap-On, and SKF will sponsor the car in those races. Wood says that the team’s partnership with Team Penske is similar to what it was with Roush Fenway Racing – Penske does the body and chassis work and shares engineering data. Wood says that the #22 NXS pit crew will pit the #21 on race days.(WSB Radio Race Blog) AND EDDIE WOOD: WE UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE AN EXPANDED SEASON TO ANNOUNCE? “Yeah, our normal commitment is with Ford Motor Company and with Motorcraft Quick Lane brands and we are going to run our 12 races like we have been doing for the last few years. We will run the speedways and the fast 1.5 mile tracks but we are excited to say that we have been working really hard with our new alliance with Team Penske and we have tentatively added six races to our schedule. We can talk about those in more depth later but we are really excited about that. We have been working really hard to expand our schedule because you just want to race every week. It kills you when you are not there but we are really thankful we have been able to do that.”(Ford Racing)(1-28-2015)
Sherwin Williams to sponsor McMurray? was sent some images of the #1 Sherwin-Williams Chevy, hearing that Sherwin-Williams will be a primary sponsor, but no idea how many races, see images of the car/scheme on the #1 Team Schemes page.(1-28-2015)
Leavine Family Racing extends relationship with Thrivent Financial: Leavine Family Racing has announced an extended sponsorship with Thrivent Financial for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The financial services organization will be the primary sponsor on the #95 Ford Fusion driven by Michael McDowell for 10 races and an associate sponsor for another 10 races . Thrivent is a Fortune 500 not-for-profit financial services membership organization that helps Christians be wise with money and live generously. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Thrivent offers a broad range of products and services-including life insurance, annuities and mutual funds-along with guidance from financial representatives nationwide. For more than a century, Thrivent has helped its nearly 2.4 million members make wise money choices that reflect their values and provided opportunities for them to be even more generous.
“It’s clear we’ve aligned with the right race team and the right driver,” said Craig Stacey, a Thrivent spokesperson. “The success of this relationship is rooted in the fact that Michael and LFR have strong values that align well with our mission. We’re confident this sponsorship is helping us tell our story to more Christians who want to hear about our blend of faith and finances.”
Thrivent will kick off this season as the primary sponsor on the #95 at the 57th annual DAYTONA 500, NASCAR’s season-opener and most prestigious race. Other prominent races for the organization will include Bristol, Indianapolis and Charlotte. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Thrivent and extend it to 20 races this season,” said Jeremy Lange, Vice President at Leavine Family Racing. “Last year we were able to share unique opportunities through our race team and within the sport. We’re looking forward to continuing the momentum in 2015.” Thrivent was introduced to NASCAR last year when they teamed with Leavine Family Racing for a multi-race sponsorship of the #95 including a primary sponsorship of the team at Bristol Motor Speedway in August where McDowell secured an 18th-place finish.
(Leavine Family Racing)
BOB LEAVINE, owner, Leavine Family Racing – YOU HAD A NICE YEAR LAST YEAR, TELL US ABOUT WHERE YOU EXPECT TO GO THIS YEAR WITH THE TEAM? “It was an exciting year. First I would like to thank the Wood Brothers for sharing the stage with us this year. This is very cool. 2014 was an exciting year for us. We made some gains and advances and as always sometimes it is one step forward and two steps back but we are excited about what we did. We had some personal bests including Daytona where Michael (McDowell) finished seventh and obviously it was our best finish also. We had solid finishes in Bristol with an 18th and 21st at Homestead. We are excited about that and the steps that we made. In 2015 the momentum is really built off of what we didn’t get done last year. That is motivation. The successes are okay but if you don’t learn from what you did wrong you aren’t going to get any better. Our team is motivated by getting better. We are obviously a small team but a team with a lot of heart. I really appreciate the family, my wife and I, this group has become family to us and that is important to us. They really, really give it their all. Wally Rodgers has assembled a great group of guys and the desire and determination they show is awesome. We are going to run a minimum of 20 races this year and we are excited about our partners which you will hear about.”(Ford Racing)
See images of the car/scheme on the #95 Team Schemes page.(1-28-2015)
U.S. Air Force Returns to Iconic #43 for the 2015 Season: Following a breakout year by the #43 team, including a historic win in the Coke Zero 400, the U.S. Air Force will once again join Richard Petty Motorsports and the iconic #43 Ford team as a primary partner. Using the sponsorship as a vehicle to connect with America’s best young adults, this will be the seventh consecutive season the Air Force logo will be on the #43. Aric Almirola will once again pilot the #43 Air Force Racing Ford for the two most patriotic race weekends of the year: Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Fourth of July weekend race at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, Almirola will continue to support at-track swear-ins for the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) and entertain active duty military guests. Also, the U.S. Air Force will remain an associate partner on the historic #43 for the entirety of the 2015 season. The U.S. Air Force will continue their experiential marketing at NASCAR races, bringing the #43 U.S. Air Force Ford show car and “Hangar 43” interactive display to environments where recruiters can connect with young adults. It will also continue to hold swear-in ceremonies of Airmen in the Delayed Entry Program at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, giving fans an up-close, in-person look at the moment when groups of young Americans commit themselves to serving their country. Proving a great fit for the U.S. Air Force, Almirola was born on Eglin Air Force base in Florida while his dad served in the Air Force and appreciates the partnership and what it means for the Air Force. In 2014, Almirola drove the No. 43 Air Force Ford to victory at his home track, Daytona International Speedway, on the 30th anniversary of “The King” Richard Petty’s 200th win. This season marks the Air Force’s 15th season in NASCAR and seventh consecutive with Richard Petty Motorsports.(Breaking Limits for Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-28-2015)
U.S. Air Force Returns to Iconic #43 for the 2015 Season: Following a breakout year by the #43 team, including a historic win in the Coke Zero 400, the U.S. Air Force will once again join Richard Petty Motorsports and the iconic #43 Ford team as a primary partner. Using the sponsorship as a vehicle to connect with America’s best young adults, this will be the seventh consecutive season the Air Force logo will be on the #43. Aric Almirola will once again pilot the #43 Air Force Racing Ford for the two most patriotic race weekends of the year: Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Fourth of July weekend race at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, Almirola will continue to support at-track swear-ins for the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) and entertain active duty military guests. Also, the U.S. Air Force will remain an associate partner on the historic #43 for the entirety of the 2015 season. The U.S. Air Force will continue their experiential marketing at NASCAR races, bringing the #43 U.S. Air Force Ford show car and “Hangar 43” interactive display to environments where recruiters can connect with young adults. It will also continue to hold swear-in ceremonies of Airmen in the Delayed Entry Program at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, giving fans an up-close, in-person look at the moment when groups of young Americans commit themselves to serving their country.
Proving a great fit for the U.S. Air Force, Almirola was born on Eglin Air Force base in Florida while his dad served in the Air Force and appreciates the partnership and what it means for the Air Force. In 2014, Almirola drove the No. 43 Air Force Ford to victory at his home track, Daytona International Speedway, on the 30th anniversary of “The King” Richard Petty’s 200th win.
“Working with the Air Force for the past three years has been really rewarding,” said Almirola. “With my dad serving in the Air Force, I understand the sacrifice the men and women make to keep our country safe. It was great to be able to celebrate my first Sprint Cup win with the Air Force, and I’m so glad they will be back as we defend our win in the Coke Zero 400. To be a part of the DEP swear-ins on race weekends is such an honor. To look into those faces and know how important the promise the young men and women are making and see their bright future never gets old. Walking around ‘Hangar 43’ reinforces the parallels of technology in NASCAR and in the Air Force. It’s cool to see fans walk through and make that connection.”
This season marks the Air Force’s 15th season in NASCAR and seventh consecutive with Richard Petty Motorsports. “The Air Force is excited to partner with Richard Petty Motorsports again in 2015, for the seventh consecutive season,” said Col. Robert Trayers, Air Force Recruiting Service Operations Division chief. “NASCAR is a great venue for inspiring and building awareness about who we are as a service and what we believe. Additionally, it’s also a great way to highlight the connection between our Air Force mission and the science, technology, engineering and math principles that play a major role in NASCAR.”(Breaking Limits for Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-28-2015)
Twisted Tea to Make 2015 Debut at Daytona 500 with Richard Petty Motorsports UPDATE: It has been just over one year when Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced that Twisted Tea Brewing Company partnered with the organization in its first NASCAR sponsorship. RPM announced that the hard ice tea brewing company will return to the #9 Ford for two primary races in the 2015 season with driver Sam Hornish Jr. Twisted Tea’s return to the #9 Ford will be highlighted in NASCAR’s most iconic event, the 57th Daytona 500. Twisted Tea joins RPM at the famous track where it has a history of 12 wins, most recently in July of 2014. The prominent yellow and blue design will also be featured during the Coke Zero 400 on July 5, also at the Daytona International Speedway. Along with the two current primary races, Twisted Tea will be a season-long associate sponsor on the #9 Ford. “We are proud to continue our relationship with Richard Petty Motorsports and Sam Hornish Jr. throughout 2015,” said Robert Vail, member of the Twisted Tea team. “This has been a great partnership for us and we can’t think of a better way to kick off our year than at the Daytona 500. This is a world class event and we’re teaming up with a world class crew and driver. There is no better time to enjoy Twisted Tea than at Daytona’s biggest event, or cheering on the drivers while watching the race at home.”
“Daytona will be a career moment for me,” commented Hornish Jr. “It’s my first race driving for Richard Petty, it’s the Daytona 500 and I’ll once again have an opportunity to join heroes of motorsports if we win. It’s an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to do it with Twisted Tea who will also support us throughout 2015. They are such a fun, cool partner and to be able to celebrate with them in Victory Lane would certainly be a highlight of my career.”(RPM/Breaking Limits), see an image of the scheme on the #9 Team Schemes page. UPDATE: 2015 Charlotte Media Tour Ford Performance NSCS Notes & Quotes
BRIAN MOFFITT, CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports: “This is an exciting time at Richard Petty Motorsports. For quite some years we’ve been looking to get back to where we had the autonomy that Sammy was talking about and this year we do. We’re looking forward to the investments that Richard continues to make and Andy Murstein continues to make in the sport. We’re excited about our driver lineup. We’re excited about our crew chiefs. I have to thank everyone during this off-season. Everybody has a lot of work during the off-season, but we had a little more with the move. I can’t say enough about the families that supported our employees and the time that they put into it. We really appreciate them so much and look forward to winning some races this season with the efforts they put into our guys. With announcements, one of the things Jeff said was going to be a big question was the 9 car. We are planning to run the full season with Sam in the car and we have Twisted Tea stepping up in a big way as our primary partner. We also have some other partners that are going to be joining us and we’ll be announcing them later in the year. Blue Emu is coming aboard, R-M Automotive, as well as Medallion Bank and Petty’s Garage, so we look forward to continuing our effort to grow this sport, grow RPM and continue to put our cars in victory lane. We look forward to that. Another announcement that we have is Andy’s Medallion Sports Properties has actually hired Sean Downes, who was development director for NASCAR. He helped bring XFINITY into the sport, so we have him now helping us in our efforts to fill out the number 9 car through the season. Again, we look forward to seeing all of you in victory land as we move forward and appreciate you being here.”(Ford Performance)(1-28-2015)
Kurt Busch hasn’t discussed running Indy 500 in 2015: #41-Kurt Busch said on Tuesday during the NASCAR Media Tour that a second attempt at the Indy 500 – and with that, a second attempt at The Double of the “500” and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day – has not been discussed by him and team owners Tony Stewart and Michael Andretti. “It’s nice to have Tony Stewart’s blessing to run Indy, and Michael Andretti giving me the access to come back to give it a shot, but it’s something we haven’t talked about. There’s been plenty of other things in this offseason to stay focused on.” As for Andretti, who fielded Busch’s Verizon IndyCar Series machine at last year’s “500,” he told FoxSports.com earlier this month that while Andretti Autosport’s main focus is on fielding a fourth car for the 2015 IndyCar season, there was still a chance for something to come together with Busch for the Month of May. “He was a real professional and learned a lot to the point where I think he would be a real factor in the race if we put something together,” Andretti said in that interview. “He did a hell of a job last year without experience. Now, with one more year of experience, I think Kurt Busch could be a real factor in the Indianapolis 500 in 2015.” Busch’s ride with Andretti for last year’s “500” was not announced until March.(NBC Sports)(1-28-2015)
R-M Named Official Automotive Refinish Paint of Richard Petty Motorsports: There is only one color that has defined the Petty brand over the past 65 years, Petty Blue, And, for the last 25 years the Petty family has relied on R-M Automotive Finishes, a brand of BASF to bring that color to life. In 2015, R-M will continue that tradition on the #43 and also provide the colorful finishes to the #9 Ford and the #43 XFINITY team for Richard Petty Motorsports. R-M Onyx HD will also be the automotive finish for all custom cars prepared at Petty’s Garage. R-M is known as the paint brand in the automotive finish industry that is customer driven and committed to providing excellent results that promote high productivity and enhanced environmental awareness. Richard Petty Motorsports recently moved into a new race shop that houses two paint booths while Petty’s Garage also has an additional two booths. The need for a superior automotive finish at both locations is always an extremely high priority.(Breaking Limits for RPM)(1-28-2015)
Stewart buys All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series: #14-Tony Stewart has agreed to terms with Guy Webb, owner of the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series, to become the sole owner of the original winged sprint car tour. The All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series is one of the oldest traveling sprint car organizations and is a staple of grassroots, open-wheel racing. The transaction between Webb and Stewart will proceed immediately.(Eldora Raceway)(1-28-2015)
Bowman to Tommy Baldwin Racing: BK Racing announced on Tuesday that J.J. Yeley will be its primary driver for the 2014. While it initially seemed curious there was no mention of Alex Bowman in the release, BK Racing owner Ron Devine later confirmed he was no longer with the team. Bowman is expected to drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the #7 Chevy. Baldwin would not confirm on Tuesday that Bowman was joining TBR, but promised the team would have “7 announcements in 7 days” starting on Friday. Yeley raced as a sub for BKR last year but plans to run the entire schedule in the #23 Toyota.(Motorsport) AND Alex Bowman appears set to join Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) in the seat vacated by former driver Michael Annett (who is now with HScott Motorsports). Bowman is expected to be announced as the driver of the #7 Chevy soon, giving one of NASCAR’s few independent teams a much-needed boost with the season-opening Daytona 500 less than a month away. Despite Annett’s parting, the team (TBR) is still expected to utilize Richard Childress Racing cars and Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines for 2015. Tuesday, Toy State, an innovator and industry leader in the manufacture of licensed and highly stylized lights & sounds and radio controlled vehicles issued a press release announcing their sponsorship of TBR’s #7 Chevy beginning with NASCAR’s Super Bowl event. According to the announcement, the sponsorship is expected to cover the initial five races of the 2015 season.(Catchfence)(1-28-2015)
Kurt Busch reasserts what he said about ex: #41-Kurt Busch didn’t back down Tuesday from his testimony about ex-girlfirend Patricia Driscoll but said he didn’t know when a decision would be made in the protective hearing case. Busch has been a part of national headlines after testifying earlier this month that he believed Driscoll was a trained assassin. He also stated that she repeatedly asserted she was and claimed the work took her on missions across Central and South American and Africa. Busch reasserted his claim Tuesday: “What I said was under oath.”(NBC Sports)(1-28-2015)
Auto-Owners Insurance Re-Signs with HScott Motorsports For Multiple Races: HScott Motorsports announced that Auto-Owners Insurance will continue its relationship with the #51 Chevy driven by Justin Allgaier in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Auto-Owners Insurance will be the primary sponsor for three races during the 2015 season. The #51 will hit the track in the blue and white Auto-Owners Insurance paint scheme at Bristol in April, Talladega in October and Martinsville in November. The three-race sponsorship marks the second season Auto-Owners has been involved in the NSCS and with HScott Motorsports. Auto-Owners Insurance, a Fortune 500 company, is the 15th-largest property and casualty insurer in the country, based on written premiums. Headquartered in Lansing, Michigan, Auto-Owners Insurance employs more than 4,200 associates. The company, comprised of five property and casualty companies and a life company, writes business in 26 states through 6,200 local independent agencies. “We are pleased to continue our sponsorship of the #51 Sprint Cup Series team and driver Justin Allgaier,” said Jeff Harrold, Chairman and CEO of Auto-Owners Insurance. “We are looking forward to the race weekends at Bristol, Talladega and Martinsville. Justin had a great rookie season and we anticipate another exciting year in 2015.”
“I’m thrilled to welcome Auto-Owners Insurance back as part of our family of partners at HScott Motorsports,” said Harry Scott Jr., owner of HScott Motorsports. “I think their return speaks volumes about the direction of HScott Motorsports and Justin as a driver. Not only has their presence on the track expanded, but so has their relationship with our team away from the track by them becoming the official auto insurance for us and Justin.”
“I can’t thank Auto-Owners Insurance enough for returning to HScott Motorsports and to my car during the 2015 season,” said Allgaier. “They’re a great company, and I really enjoyed getting to know them and spending time with them last year. Having the support of such a solid company is an honor, and I want to make them proud this year.”(HScott Motorsports)(1-28-2015)
NASCAR Reinstates Crew Member: NASCAR has reinstated Kelly Johnson, a crew member in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, upon his successful completion of NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program. On Nov. 18, 2014, Johnson was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the NASCAR Rule Book.(NASCAR)(1-28-2015)
Johanna Long to run partial XFINITY, CWTS schedule: Mike Affarano Motorsports announced Wednesday that Johanna Long will compete with the team in select NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series events in 2015. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to race this season with Mike Affarano Motorsports,” said Long. “In a time when drivers are pressured to bring sponsorship money to teams in order to race, it was great to have my phone ring and be approached because of my talent.” Long competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series part time in 2012 and 2013, and looks to continue to gain experience in the series. In 2012, she became the youngest female driver to compete in the Xfinity Series. Long will make her team debut in the currently unsponsored #03 Xfinity Series Chevy on Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway. Mike Affarano Motorsports, located in Salisbury, N.C., is new to the Xfinity Series. The team made major investments over the off-season to upgrade their inventory with former Turner Scott Motorsports cars.(Affarano Motorsports)(1-28-2015)
Darrell Wallace looking for sponsorship to run full season: Roush Fenway Racing will have African-American driver Darrell Wallace Jr. work on marketing opportunities with Maverick Carter, the business manager for NBA superstar LeBron James. Wallace, whose nickname is “Bubba,” will compete full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year if the team can put together enough sponsorship money to fund the car. If not, he will run at least a partial schedule, Roush Fenway President Steve Newmark said Tuesday. Newmark said the plan is to market Wallace in venues beyond auto racing. “We think there’s a lot of creative opportunities to do some really crossover promotions with Bubba,” said Newmark. “LeBron is under the Fenway umbrella on the sports marketing side; LeBron and Johnny Manziel. John Henry has kind of created a big empire up there, obviously, with Liverpool, NESN and Roush, but there’s also a sports marketing arm that includes a lot of pretty dynamic personalities. And that gets us excited because we’re working with them to do things with our drivers, as well.”(FoxSports)(1-28-2015)
Lack of sponsorship puts Burton on hold UPDATE: Jeb Burton tweeted Wednesday morning, “Due to a lack of sponsorship,I do not have a truck program for this year. I will continue to do everything in my power to fulfill my dream!”.(1-28-2015) UPDATE: For the second consecutive January, a sponsorship implosion suddenly has Jeb Burton scrambling for a NASCAR ride with only two weeks before the season. A deal to keep him in a ThorSport Racing Toyota recently fell through for the Camping World Truck Series driver, who finished eighth in the 2014 points standings. “We worked hard trying to return at ThorSport, and we just couldn’t get the details worked out,” Burton told MotorsportsTalk in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “So the result of that is I don’t have a ride right now for this race season. I have no clue what I’m going to do to get back on the racetrack.”(NBC Sports)(1-28-2015)
News from January 27, 2015
Michael Annett joins HScott Motorsports as second full-time driver: HScott Motorsports enters the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season with a new look as it expands to two cars. Justin Allgaier will return to the #51 BRANDT Chevy while Michael Annett joins the team and will drive a Chevrolet adorned by longtime anchor partner Pilot Flying J. “The addition of a second team increases HScott’s overall ability to better utilize its resources at track and at the shop to be even more competitive,” said team owner Harry Scott Jr. “I’m proud to have seen Justin truly mature as a NSCS driver last year, and I can’t wait to see what he does this year. Like Justin, Michael is coming off his rookie year following six years of competition in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Michael is a quality driver with a great future at HScott Motorsports. These drivers compliment one another and will make great teammates.”
“This is as excited as I’ve been for a new season, I can’t wait to get to Daytona and fire the engines,” said Allgaier. “I’m looking forward to carrying the momentum from the end of last season over to this year. Michael is a great addition to our organization and I’m glad to have a teammate to compete with each week.”
BRANDT Professional Agriculture, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, returns as the primary sponsor of the #51 Chevy for 21 races, beginning with the Daytona 500 on February 22. Auto-Owners Insurance will also be the primary partner on the #51 for three races.
“Justin and the #51 team continue to be a great source of pride for BRANDT employees and customers, and we are all looking forward to a great 2015 season,” said BRANDT President and CEO Rick Brandt. “I’m excited for the opportunity to drive for HScott Motorsports,” said Annett. “I am impressed with the way Harry is building his NASCAR teams. Harry and competition director Steve Addington have a long-term vision and I’m honored to be part of it. I’m also looking forward to having Justin as a teammate.” Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel retail centers, will be a primary partner on Annett’s car. Other partners include Cypress Associates, Inc., Allstate Peterbilt Group and Northland Oil.(HScott Motorsports), no car number for Annett was announced. Annett drove the #7 Chevy for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2014.(1-27-2015)
Alliance Truck Parts to sponsor Keselowski in six races: Alliance Truck Parts returns to the Team Penske #2 Ford Fusion team for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a primary sponsor for Brad Keselowski. The black and yellow Alliance Truck Parts colors will adorn the Team Penske Ford for six races in 2015.(Alliance Truck Parts), see an image of the scheme on the #2 Team Schemes page.(1-27-2015)
Axalta becomes title sponsor for Pocono race in June: Pocono Raceway and long-time partner, Axalta Coating Systems, announced a multi-year entitlement agreement which includes the renaming of the annual June NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race held at ‘The Tricky Triangle’ as the Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400. “We are very excited to share this great news, in cooperation with everyone at Axalta Coating Systems,” said Pocono Raceway President/CEO, Brandon Igdalsky. “They have been a great addition to the Pocono Raceway family, and we look forward to growing this relationship in 2015 and beyond. What makes this even more special is the fact we get to work hand-in-hand with a true global powerhouse who also calls the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ‘home.'”
“Axalta is proud of its 22-year motorsports partnership,” said Axalta Vice President and head of its North America business, Nigel Budden. “As a leader in the US refinish business, our paint graces racecars that burn rubber on the track each season and we proudly support four-time NASCAR® Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Now, we are pleased to expand our racing involvement as Pocono Raceway’s title sponsor of the upcoming race on June 7th. We look forward to cheering on Gordon as he vies for a seventh win at Pocono Raceway.”
Axalta Coating Systems is “The Official Finish” of Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, the two most recent NSCS championship organizations. They also sponsor the #24 Axalta Coatings Chev driven by Jeff Gordon, who is the winningest NASCAR driver at Pocono with six victories (June 1996, June 1997, July 1998, June 2007, June 2011 and August 2012).
Tickets for the June 7th Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 start at $45. Kids, ages 12 and under are eligible for half-price grandstand tickets starting at $22.50. For tickets and more information, visit www.poconoraceway.com or call 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929).(Pocono Raceway)(1-27-2015)
Moffitt in the #55 at Atlanta: Brett_Moffitt will be driving the #55 Aarons Dream Machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(MWR Twitter), doctors have medically cleared regular #55 driver Brian Vickers to return to full-time Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery and Vickers will return at Las Vegas. Team Owner Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 in the Daytona 500.(1-27-2015)
No early exit expected for title sponsor Sprint: The last time NASCAR needed a title sponsor for its premier series, the existing company was replaced with four years remaining on its contract. But executives aren’t expecting a repeat with Sprint already having announced its impending exit after the 2016 season. “Do I think (Sprint) will exit early? No,” NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps told MotorsportsTalk after NASCAR played host to the opening news conference Monday of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. “Do I think we’ll find someone for ’16? No. Only because we want to make sure the process is really followed smartly. Trying to rush through to find something for ’16 … although on one hand, people might say, ‘You get someone new, (and) they’re not a lame duck’ or whatever term, I don’t think that’s the right approach. And the good thing is since Sprint is very engaged, they are honoring their commitments to us, which are extensive. So I think we’re in a good spot.” Sprint officials have indicated they fully will honor the remainder of its deal, and NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Monday after his annual State of the Sport address that he didn’t expect Sprint would be replaced early. NASCAR and Sprint entered into negotiations about the title sponsorship last fall, and the wireless communications company announced its departure in mid-December with two years left on a three-year extension that was signed in 2011.(NBC Sports)(1-27-2015)
2016 Rules could debut at All-Star race? NASCAR heavily is considering using the May 16 Sprint All Star race as a trial run of the rules package for the 2016 season and has begun informing Sprint Cup teams of the possibility, multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk. During a state of the sport address to open Monday’s Media Tour, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell noted the All-Star Race was the goal for unveiling the rules for next season. The 2015 rules were delivered in September, which O’Donnell said was the earliest release yet. “We anticipate beating that marker in 2016, and we’ll look to bring the rules package to the teams as early as we can with a target date of around the All-Star Race for this year,” O’Donnell said.
An official with direct knowledge of the All-Star Race proposal said Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sprint were supportive of using the 2016 rules because it also would prevent teams from getting a jump on preparing for the Coca-Cola 600 and increasing the likelihood of a lackluster race. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan wasn’t finalized.
The Sprint All-Star Race could use a jolt of relevance. In nine editions since the repaving of Charlotte in 2006, there has been one lead during the final five laps of an event billed as promoting a no-holds-barred style. In the past three Sprint All-Star Races, the winner has led the final 10 laps. But a potential drawback for NASCAR could be whether the sneak preview of the 2016 rules delivers a better version of the racing than with the current rules that will be featured over four hours the following week at Charlotte in the season’s longest race. There’s no timetable for the decision on using next year’s rules in the All-Star Race, but NASCAR tested some ideas for next year during a session last month at Charlotte. More testing is expected to occur at Atlanta Motor Speedway next month and at Charlotte in March. This year’s rules will feature a significant decline in downforce and about a reduction of about 125 horsepower. Another cut in downforce is expected in 2016, which will make cars’ handling more difficult.(NBC Sports)(1-27-2015)
Kyle Busch tired of being confused with brother Kurt: #18-Kyle Busch said Monday he has not gotten involved in his older brother’s personal issues and is disappointed he has been mistaken for Kurt in coverage of assault allegations against the 2004 NASCAR champion. #41-Kurt Busch spent four days over the last two months in a Delaware courtroom as part of a hearing regarding an ex-girlfriend’s request for a no-contact order. Patricia Driscoll alleged Busch assaulted her in September during an argument at Dover International Speedway. “Haven’t spoken to him, don’t know nothing; trying to stay away from it all and let him handle his business,” Kyle Busch said. But he’s been dragged into it as the case drew national attention earlier this month when Kurt Busch testified he believes Driscoll is a trained assassin. In several instances, Kyle has been wrongly identified as his brother. “I think it’s stupid. I think people need to do a little bit more background before they write names or say names if they don’t know what the heck they are talking about,” Kyle said. “It’s not that hard to differentiate between two people that have the same last name. I think people need to do a better job and not be so slackish. It hasn’t been bothersome from a sponsorship standpoint, yet, that I know of. I know it could be if it continues to keep going, but it’s the wrong brother. But I think the relationship I have with the Mars family is far beyond that, hopefully.”(ESPN/AP)(1-27-2015)
Bobby Hamilton Jr. returns to racing: Bobby Hamilton Jr. has signed to drive for Nitroforce Industries – Titan 1000 Dodge for the entire 2015 ARCA Racing Series season. Hamilton Jr., 37, who has run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup (last race in 2005) and Busch (now XFINITY) Series in the past, was slated to drive for Carter 2 Motorsports before negotiations fell apart early in the 2014 ARCA Racing Series season. “I have worked together with (Hamilton Jr.) in the 1990s, and he is so much fun to work with,” said team owner Roger Carter. “We also believe he will be a great mentor to our younger drivers this season. He is a total asset to our team and the direction we are headed this season.” Hamilton has made a total of eight career starts in the ARCA Racing Series during the 1998 and 1999 seasons.(Tennessean), Hamilton Jr. ran a Truck Series race at Nashville in 2011 finishing 22nd.(1-27-2015)
New Names Fill 2015 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Roster: NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), the leading developmental platform for female and multicultural drivers and pit crew members, announced its 2015 class today. The program welcomes four talented program newcomers to the roster of six drivers striving to transition into the sport’s national series spotlight. Rev Racing, the program’s competition arm, has played a key role in the development of 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suarez. Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2015 class is led by returning K&N Pro Series East driver Jay Beasley and Devon Amos, who after an impressive 2014 performance in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series earned a spot in the K&N Pro Series East.
Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel’s leadership, the development program aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping NASCAR D4D drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of reaching one of NASCAR’s three national series. Growth of the program extends to pit crew members under the NASCAR D4D Crew Member Development Program, also managed by Siegel. In 2014, more than 30 multicultural athletes pitted fulltime for teams across all three national series.(NASCAR/Rev Racing), see full driver list and more on the Driver Development News page.(1-27-2015)
NASCAR Foundation’s P.I.T announced: The NASCAR Foundation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Sprint this week announced a special competition that will recognize an outstanding area middle school for its exemplary approach toward problem-solving and making real world connections using science and technology. The NASCAR Foundation’s P.I.T. (Promoting Innovation & Technology) Crew Project was created to inspire learning among middle school students (grades 6-8) in the Charlotte area. Participating schools will compete to build a unique concept or model that illustrates science and technology principles through motorsports applications. The middle school voted to have created the best concept will have its project considered for display in the NASCAR Hall of Fame this fall, and will receive a large-scale technology renovation for one of its common rooms, courtesy of The NASCAR Foundation and program sponsor Sprint. Additionally, middle school finalists will receive field trips for up to 300 students each to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
CMS schools must submit a letter of intent to participate in the P.I.T. Crew Project by Friday, Feb. 6, and there will be a special information session for teachers hosted at the NASCAR Research & Development Center later that month. The students’ final projects are due March 30 and the winning school will be announced during the 2015 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race festivities in Charlotte in May. For more information on The NASCAR Foundation’s P.I.T. Crew Project, visit NASCARFoundation.org.(NASCAR)(1-27-2015)
New team to debut at Phoenix? UPDATES: A post on the Ole Energy Drink Facebook page, says “Olé Energy is going NASCAR and joining Team Kapusta Racing. We are off to the races March 13th, 14th 2015. Add it to your calendar and come see us at Phoenix International Raceway. More details and info coming!” A website for the team says “Team Kapusta Racing is a newly-formed NASCAR Nationwide team that has already made waves in the NASCAR community with its forward-thinking philosophy to the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team is owned by Milwaukee businessman, Tom Kapusta. Tom and his family have been in the automotive industry for a combined 54 years. A past racer himself, Tom has rubbed fenders with some of Wisconsin’s most notable racers including Matt Kenseth, Scott Wimmer and Travis Kvapil as they carved their early careers in the Wisconsin late model series. Team Kapusta Racing operates out of a state-of-the-art racing facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. A full-service fabrication, race setup and repair area incorporates the shop space, while day-to-day operations of TKR take place in front office space overlooking the busiest motorsports-related industrial park in the country, Lakeside Park.” No other details available yet. See an image of the car on the #21 team paint schemes page.(1-19-2015) UPDATE: Been told this team is in no way affiliated with the #40 The Motorsports Group team, even though they use an image of the #40 car on their website.(1-19-2015) UPDATE 2: The team’s website is now down with “Coming March 2015” noted. There is now a #56 on the site, rather than #21.(1-27-2015)
Chastain to drive for JD Motorsports UPDATE: While Ross Chastain found himself on the sidelines for much of the NASCAR season last year, CATCHFENCE.com has learned that the Alva, Florida native will be quite busy in 2015. Chastain will be announced as the new driver of the #4 Chevy Camaro for the South Carolina-based JD Motorsports with Gary Keller – in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, adding himself as a teammate to already announced drivers Landon Cassill and Harrison Rhodes. JD Motorsports will elevate their program to what is expected to be three full-time campaigns this season. The 21-year old competed in seven NASCAR XFINITY Series races last year, earning a top-10 finish for car owner Shigeaki Hattori in the fall Kentucky Speedway event. The Floridian also participated in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, finishing a best 11th for Win-Tron Racing in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As a whole, JD Motorsports with Gary Keller showed considerable improvement with their program overall last season. Mainstay driver Landon Cassill earned three top-10 finishes but earned recognition for the team’s consistency and “never give up attitude”, especially with their limited budget. Team owner Johnny Davis told CATCHFENCE.com that he went the “extra mile” during the off-season, as well as keeping every employee employed, signifying their dedication towards making their 16th season of competition one of their best yet. Sponsorship of Chastain’s ride is still being finalized, as well as a car number for Rhodes. Jeffrey Earnhardt who piloted the #4 during the 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series season has departed the team for another Chevy-based ride.(Catchfence)(1-26-2015) UPDATE: Ross Chastain will drive the #4 Chevy for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, with sponsorship from Watermelon.org, on this year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series. Chastain, 23, has four years of experience in the Camping World Truck Series and raced in seven Xfinity races last season, scoring a top 10 at Kentucky Speedway. “Ross has an amazing level of experience for a young driver,” said team owner Johnny Davis. “He brings a lot to our team. We’re looking forward to seeing how far we can go this year with his input and the support of Watermelon.org and the National Watermelon Association. It’s going to be a big year.” The JD Motorsports team also will benefit from sponsorship by the Helena Chemical Company. Founded in 1957, Helena Chemical has grown to be one of the nation’s foremost agricultural and specialty formulators and distributors.(JD Motorsports)(1-27-2015)
Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff extends sponsorship of Sauter: ThorSport Racing announced that Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff and Pouches has extended their partnership with Johnny Sauter for the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. The eight-race partnership kicks-off with the season opener, NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 20. In 2014, Sauter finished fourth in the final NCWTS driver point standings and collected two top-five and four top-10 finishes while carrying the Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff colors on the #98 Toyota Tundra. In addition to the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff and Pouches will also adorn Sauter’s #98 Toyota Tundra at both Martinsville Speedway races (March/October), Charlotte Motor Speedway (May), Dover International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug.), Talladega Superspeedway (Oct.), and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (Nov.).(Thorsport Racing)(1-27-2015)
News from January 26, 2015
No changes to Chase in 2015: NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Monday afternoon that the format for the new Chase for the Sprint Cup will be unchanged for 2015. France, speaking at the kickoff event for the 2015 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, said the sanctioning body is coming off “perhaps its best Chase ever” and is carrying a lot of momentum into the season. Last year was the first time NASCAR used the expanded format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with a field of 16 drivers and a winner-take-all elimination format in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(FoxSports)(1-26-2015)
Teams will not be allowed to alter side skirts: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will no longer be allowed to alter their car’s side skirts during an event, a practice that became widespread during the 2014 season. At the NASCAR State of the Sport to kick off the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, Executive Vice President of Racing Development Steve O’Donnell said the sanctioning body will bring cars back down pit road if officials see that the side skirts have been manipulated during a pit stop in the race. O’Donnell said it would police flared skirts “by any means possible,” including use of the new pit road technology that will make its debut during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. The pieces, officially known as vertical rocker panel extensions, are located along the bottom of the car’s body between the front and rear tires. They help seal the area between the bottom of the car’s chassis and the track surface, limiting airflow underneath the vehicle. Not all teams were flaring the pieces last season, but those that did typically would make the adjustment during an early pit stop. NASCAR allowed the practice to continue as the season progressed, but said on several occasions it was something that would be addressed after the completion of the 2014 season.(NASCAR.com)(1-26-2015)
Motorsports Media to Descend Upon Charlotte starting Monday: More than 240 motorsports journalists will gather for the most prestigious preseason media event in sports, the 33rd annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. Running Jan. 26-29, the tour offers credentialed media four full days of unrivaled access to announcements from NASCAR executives, drivers, team owners and speedway operators. “This four-day event provides media outlets across the country and around the world with newsworthy content as fans gear up for the 2015 NASCAR season,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It’s always interesting to see new faces in new places and I’m always as excited as our fans to hear what the drivers and owners have to say about the upcoming NASCAR season. Our sport has a lot of momentum from 2014 as we roll into a new year.”
During the tour, credentialed media from across the United States, and as far away as Germany, will preview the 2015 racing season. The Associated Press, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, Sirius XM, Performance Racing Network, Motor Racing Network, Reuters Newswire, The New York Times, The Sporting News and USA Today are among the major outlets that will be represented on the tour.
Participating media will get the latest news from NASCAR teams such as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Joe Gibbs Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Leavine Family Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Team Penske, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, HScott Motorsports and Wood Brothers Racing. The media contingent will also visit Charlotte Motor Speedway, the new Ford Tech Center and the Mint Museum in Charlotte for special programs.
Daily updates, including video and photo galleries will be available at charlottemotorspeedway.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/CharlotteMotorSpeedway and via Twitter at twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy.(CMS) AND The schedule:
Monday, Jan. 26
1:30 pm/et: State of the Sport with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France
4:00 pm/et: Joe Gibbs Racing
Tuesday, Jan. 27
9:00 am/et: Michael Waltrip Racing
11:00 am/et: JTG Daugherty Racing and HScott Motorsports
1:00 pm/et: Stewart-Haas Racing
3:15 pm/et: NBC Sports
Wednesday, Jan. 28
9:00 am/et: Roush Fenway Racing
11:00 am/et: Richard Petty Motorsports
1:30 pm/et: Wood Brothers Racing and Leavine Family Racing
3:15 pm/et: Team Penske
Thursday, Jan. 29
9:00 am/et: Furniture Row Racing
10:30 am/et: Richard Childress Racing
1:00 pm/et: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
3:00 pm/et: Hendrick Motorsports
(fans can watch team presentations live at NASCAR.com)(1-26-2015)
Fox NASCAR Commences 15th Year of NASCAR Coverage: FOX NASCAR opens the 2015 season, its 15th year broadcasting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and the first of its new 10-year media rights agreement, with expanded coverage and the return of its popular broadcast team, coupled with new on-air faces that include a rotation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions. “Broadcasting any sports property for 15 years is a labor of love and a tremendous privilege,” said Eric Shanks, President and COO, Executive Producer, FOX Sports. “NASCAR has been part of the fabric of FOX Sports since we first hit the air at Daytona in 2001, and with our new 10-year commitment, FOX NASCAR is poised to showcase what we expect to be the most riveting competition in years with what certainly is our deepest pool of on-air personalities ever.”
Mike Joy, Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds, the original FOX Sports broadcast team which began its NASCAR run at the 2001 Daytona 500, return to the booth for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on FOX and FOX Sports 1. The team is joined on pit road by reporters Matt Yocum and newcomers Jamie Little and Chris Neville. FOX NASCAR expands its schedule from 13 to 16 races in 2015 with 10 on FOX and six on FOX Sports 1. Chris Myers hosts FOX NASCAR SUNDAY, the network’s fast-paced prerace show from the traveling Hollywood Hotel, alongside brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip.
This season, FOX Sports adds coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series, second only to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as the most-watched racing series in the country, the first 14 races of the year. FOX Sports 1 telecasts 12 of the events while FOX broadcasts the races from Phoenix and Talladega. Adam Alexander calls play-by-play alongside Michael Waltrip and a rotation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers scheduled to contribute as analysts, including reigning champion Kevin Harvick, four-time champ Jeff Gordon and 2012 champion Brad Keselowski. Vince Welch leads reporting on pit road for every XFINITY Series race, joined by a rotation of Little, Neville and Yocum.
FOX Sports 1 continues with exclusive coverage of the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season for the 13th consecutive year with Alexander, Joy and Brian Till filling in on play-by-play until Steve Byrnes returns from a medical leave of absence. Joy has the call from Daytona for the season opener. Longtime FOX Sports 1 analysts Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip are back in 2015. Hermie Sadler leads pit road reporting with a regular rotation of Welch, Yocum and Kaitlyn Vincie. FOX Sports 1 telecasts 22 of the series’ 23 races live in 2015, while FOX broadcasts the Talladega race.
NASCAR RACEDAY, FOX Sports 1’s popular prerace show, heads back to the track in 2015, live from the middle of the fans at the new and versatile FOX Sports Stage, which puts fans in the center of prerace activities prior to each Sprint Cup race. Danielle Trotta hosts during the FOX portion of the year with McReynolds and Kenny Wallace before handing off hosting duties to John Roberts for the second half of the season. Vincie and FOX Sports 1 newcomers Alan Cavanna and Andrew Doud report alongside FOX NASCAR team pit reporters covering the day’s race.
For NASCAR XFINITY SERIES prerace coverage, Trotta hosts NASCAR RACEDAY – XFINIITY live from the track, with McReynolds and Wallace offering analysis and Little, Neville, Welch and Yocum reporting. Roberts hosts NCWTS SETUP live before each Truck Series race with analysis from two-time series champion Todd Bodine.
NASCAR RACE HUB, FOX Sports 1’s daily news and update program, kicks off the 2015 season live from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour on Monday, Jan. 26 at its new time of 6:00pm/et. Alexander, Trotta and Roberts co-host the hour-long program. The network bolsters its analyst pool in 2015 to include Wally Dallenbach, Jeff Hammond and McReynolds, who are joined by a rotating team of drivers and crew chiefs that features AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, Drew Blickensderfer, Bodine, Chad Knaus and Joey Logano. For the first time, NASCAR RACE HUB features three fulltime reporters with Cavanna, Doud and Vincie reporting daily from NASCAR race shops and Ray Dunlap delivering Truck Series feature reports. NASCAR RACE HUB airs Mondays through Thursdays at 6:00pm/et.
NASCAR RACE HUB expands to the weekend in 2015 to offer at-track updates and news as it breaks throughout the course of the race weekend. Roberts hosts alongside Hammond with reporting by Cavanna and Vincie. In addition, NASCAR VICTORY LANE on FOX Sports 1 recaps each Sprint Cup Series race with highlights and analysis. Myers hosts with Wallace and Michael Waltrip and post-race reports from the garage. DAYTONA 500: FOX Sports kicks off the season by offering multi-network, multi-platform coverage from Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, culminating with live coverage of the DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22 (1:00 pm/et) on FOX with live pre-race coverage on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY (12:00 pm/et). FOX also carries POLE DAY QUALIFYING on Sunday, Feb. 15 (1:00 pm/et) and the SPRINT UNLIMITED on Saturday, Feb. 14 (8:00 pm/et), both live. FOX Sports 1 presents live coverage of its first NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race on Saturday, Feb. 21 (3:30 pm/et), the BUDWEISER DUEL AT DAYTONA on Thursday, Feb. 19 (7:00 pm/et) and live coverage of the season-opening NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race on Friday, Feb. 20 (7:30 pm/et).
In addition, FOX Sports 1 premieres two NASCAR original specials during Speedweeks in a special programming block on Friday, Feb. 13. A PERFECT STORM, debuting at 7:30 pm/et, chronicles the events of Feb. 18, 1979, detailing how a major blizzard struck the Eastern seaboard, creating a “captive” audience for the first live flag-to-flag television broadcast of the Daytona 500. The one-hour special, produced by NASCAR Productions, features excerpts from the race broadcast, recently discovered archival footage and first-person accounts from the network broadcasters, drivers and fans who witnessed the historic event that is credited with putting NASCAR on the map. A second special, entitled 1979 DAYTONA 500, premieres at 8:30 pm/et.
Also back by popular demand in May for the second consecutive year is FOX SPORTS 1 – 10 DAYS OF THUNDER. The special multi-sport programming block is anchored by two weekends of NASCAR racing from Charlotte Motor Speedway, highlighted by live coverage of the NASCAR SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE, NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race and the COCA-COLA 600, in addition to comprehensive support programming and premieres of FOX Sports 1 originals.
All NASCAR programming on FOX and FOX Sports 1 is streamed live through FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content. FOX Deportes, the leading sports network in Spanish, returns in 2015 for its third season of NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES coverage with eight live races, beginning with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb 22. Mexican driver and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES competitor German Quiroga joins the broadcast booth as analyst.(FOX Sports)(1-26-2015)
NBC adds Dale Jarrett to NASCAR Broadcast Team: NBC Sports Group has reached an agreement with 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Jarrett, who will serve as a pre- and post-race analyst during live coverage of select NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series racing on NBC and NBCSN. Jarrett, a three-time Daytona 500 winner, will be among the first to welcome fans to NBC Sports’ 10-year chapter as the home of NASCAR’s championship run when he, Krista Voda and Kyle Petty open up NBC’s live pre-race coverage from Daytona International Speedway this 4th of July weekend. In addition to handling pre- and post-race coverage, Jarrett will also serve as a booth analyst during select NASCAR XFINITY Series races and contribute to NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN. “We are excited to welcome Dale and his Hall of Fame credentials to our NASCAR broadcast team,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “As a former Champion, his experience and insights will help us set the stage and break down key races throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”
The appointment of Jarrett follows previous NBC Sports NASCAR on-air announcements for analysts Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty, race announcer Rick Allen, pre- and post-race host Krista Voda, and reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro, Dave Burns and Rutledge Wood. “I’m very pleased and excited to be a part of NBC Sports and their NASCAR coverage,” said Jarrett. “NBC has assembled an All-Star crew for their coverage, and I’m honored to be a part of this group that will bring NASCAR fans inside the sport we all love.” Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBCSN. Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2015)
Pit coach Greg Morin stepping down at HMS: The Hendrick Motorsports athletic department has gone through some turnover in the past few months and now they have another obstacle to get through. Coach Greg Morin, coach of the #48 and #88 teams, has decided to pursue other interests outside of racing and will be leaving the team at the end of January. Early in the year, pit coach Lance Munksgard also left HMS to pursue a career outside of racing. Along with both coaches being gone, HMS lost four different crew members to Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2014 season. See what Morin had to say at Pit Talks.(1-26-2015)
Harvick wins NMPA Driver of the Year Award: Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #4-Kevin Harvick has been named the recipient of the NMPA’s Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award for 2014. The award, which has been presented each year since 1969, is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership. Harvick was presented the trophy by the award’s namesake, seven-time premier series champion Richard Petty, during the annual NMPA Awards Dinner Sunday night at the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. It is the second time Harvick has been honored with the Richard Petty Driver of the Year award. Elevated to Cup competition following the 2001 death of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, Harvick responded by winning twice and finishing ninth in points in Cup while also winning the Busch (now XFINITY) Series championship. Harvick received nearly 75% of the vote cast by the membership. Other receiving votes were NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman, along with six-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz (NASCAR.com), see an image of the award presentation at Kevin Harvick’s Twitter.(1-26-2015)
Lynda Petty Named Spirit Award Winner: Lynda Petty, the wife of seven-time NASCAR premier series champion Richard Petty, has been named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s annual Spirit Award for 2014. Petty, who passed away March 30, 2014, was one of the founding members of the Racing Wives Auxiliary, a charitable organization that provided assistance to those in need within the racing community. Today the group, now known as the Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports, seeks to enrich the lives of women, children and families through various education and wellness programs. In addition to raising and caring for a family of four, Petty also was active in numerous community and civic endeavors. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, the NMPA membership selects four quarterly recipients, with an overall winner chosen from among the four candidates at season’s end. Petty was the first quarter recipient of the award for 2014. Other recognized for their efforts were driver Martin Truex Jr. (second quarter), long-time car owner W.C. “Junie” Donlavey (third quarter) and brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip (fourth quarter).(Motor Racing Network)(1-26-2015)
Chastain to drive for JD Motorsports: While Ross Chastain found himself on the sidelines for much of the NASCAR season last year, CATCHFENCE.com has learned that the Alva, Florida native will be quite busy in 2015. Chastain will be announced as the new driver of the #4 Chevy Camaro for the South Carolina-based JD Motorsports with Gary Keller – in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, adding himself as a teammate to already announced drivers Landon Cassill and Harrison Rhodes. JD Motorsports will elevate their program to what is expected to be three full-time campaigns this season. The 21-year old competed in seven NASCAR XFINITY Series races last year, earning a top-10 finish for car owner Shigeaki Hattori in the fall Kentucky Speedway event. The Floridian also participated in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, finishing a best 11th for Win-Tron Racing in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As a whole, JD Motorsports with Gary Keller showed considerable improvement with their program overall last season. Mainstay driver Landon Cassill earned three top-10 finishes but earned recognition for the team’s consistency and “never give up attitude”, especially with their limited budget. Team owner Johnny Davis told CATCHFENCE.com that he went the “extra mile” during the off-season, as well as keeping every employee employed, signifying their dedication towards making their 16th season of competition one of their best yet. Sponsorship of Chastain’s ride is still being finalized, as well as a car number for Rhodes. Jeffrey Earnhardt who piloted the #4 during the 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series season has departed the team for another Chevy-based ride.(Catchfence)(1-26-2015)
Dylan Lupton to run some XFINITY races? 2014 proved to be a career-changing season for former Bob Bruncati Motorsports driver Dylan Lupton, after the developing racer announced he will be competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for an unannounced team in 2015. The move will be a chance that allows Lupton, 22, to embark upon a career in the NASCAR national series ranks after two seasons in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – a stint that saw him pick up two victories (at Kern County Speedway and Evergreen Speedway). “I can tell everyone a little bit about my 2015 plans – but not all the details. First off, I will not be returning to the K&N West Series or the K&N Series for that matter. I will be racing part-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series – I cannot release the details of the tracks or team that I am running with though. But we have aligned verbal commitment to a racing team.” Lupton does not expect the adjustment to the new cars to be to be a difficult one, especially after watching fellow K&N drivers Chase Elliott and Dylan Kwasniewski be successful after jumping to NASCAR’s second-tier series. Along with his performances in the K&N West Series, a huge part in giving Lupton the recognition to get noticed in national spotlight was his induction to the 2014 NASCAR NEXT class, something he credits a lot for the new opportunities he has been presented with.(Race Chaser Online)(1-26-2015)
Erik Jones to drive 10 races in #20: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that longtime partner GameStop will sponsor Erik Jones for 10 races in the #20 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. This season will mark GameStop’s eighth season partnering with the Joe Gibbs Racing organization. Matt Kenseth piloted the #20 GameStop Toyota in 2013 and 2014, finishing his two-year stint with a win at the season finale XFINITY Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kenseth now hands the reins over to 18-year-old Jones who will drive the #20 GameStop Toyota Camry for 10 races this season, starting with the XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The 2015 season will mark the second season that Jones has competed in the XFINITY Series with Joe Gibbs Racing. Mike Wheeler assumes the role of crew chief for the #20 GameStop Toyota Camry team this year, his first season as crew chief. Wheeler has been with JGR since December 2002 and served as the race engineer on the #11 Cup team since the team’s formation in 2005.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-26-2015)
Celsius Energy Drinks joins Koch at associate sponsor: TriStar Motorsports announces their continued partnership with Celsius Energy Drinks for the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Celsius will continue to be the Official Energy Drink of TriStar Motorsports and will be an associate sponsor on Blake Koch’s #8 Toyota Camry this season. Celsius Negative Calorie Energy Drinks are a healthy alternative to your everyday energy drink. This product will help you burn calories, boost your metabolism and help provide you with lasting energy to power through your workout and beyond.With only 10 calories per drink, Celsius will be on hand each weekend to help boost the TriStar Motorsports drivers and crew.(TriStar Motorsports)(1-26-2015)
Atlanta Fan-Friendly Hotel Deals and Travel Packages Available: Fans attending the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway Feb. 26 through March 1 have numerous affordable options for lodging and travel in the immediate Atlanta area through local partnerships. Marriott Hotels, the official hotel partner of Atlanta Motor Speedway, as well as several other local Atlanta area hotels have partnered with Atlanta Motor Speedway to offer fans lodging options with affordable rates while they are visiting the speedway during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend. Each of these hotels will offer fans affordable nightly rates while not requiring multiple-night stays. A complete listing of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s fan-friendly hotels is available by visiting atlantamotorspeedway.com. Additionally, PrimeSport, the leader in providing direct access to the biggest sporting events and the official travel package provider for Atlanta Motor Speedway, is offering fans exclusive travel packages for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend.. For more information or to purchase tickets today, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-26-2015)
News from January 25, 2015
Is a NASCAR TV analyst career in Jeff Gordon’s future? UPDATE: Would Jeff Gordon trade his helmet for a headset after exiting his #24 Chevy after the 2015 Sprint Cup Season? The four-time series champion said Friday morning he would consider a career as a TV analyst in NASCAR after he leaves full-time competition this year. “I love the sport,” Gordon said during an interview with “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM Radio’s NASCAR channel. “I’m very passionate about it. I love to critique it. I think I could do a good job with that. I don’t think it’s an easy job. I’ll be honest. I have a lot of respect for those that do it from radio and TV. I’d entertain it.” Multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk that Gordon put out feelers to TV networks last year about the possibility of eventually entering the broadcast booth. But Gordon, who hasn’t ruled out racing in myriad series beginning in 2016, said he would be spend the season mulling his next step. “I don’t know if (TV is) at the top of my list right now,” Gordon said. “Throughout this year, one of the things I have to get acclimated to is actually to have a real job. That’s going to be an adjustment”.(NBC Sports)(1-24-2015) UPDATE: Jeff Gordon’s TV career will start this year, as the soon-to-be-former Sprint Cup Series driver will serve as a rotating analyst for FOX Sports’ Xfinity Series broadcasts. Gordon will switch off his Xfinity Series (formerly called Nationwide Series) analyst role with defending Cup champion Kevin Harvick and former Cup champ Brad Keselowski. Those are just part of many changes for FOX, which goes into this season splitting TV broadcasting duties with NBC. The news will officially be announced Monday.(USA Today)(1-25-2015)
Chip Ganassi Racing wins Rolex 24 at Daytona: Scott Dixon drove a gritty and lengthy final leg Sunday to lead Chip Ganassi Racing and its “star car” to a record-breaking sixth victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The three-time IndyCar champion relieved Kyle Larson, NASCAR’s reigning rookie of the year, with 3 hours, 32 minutes remaining in the twice-round-the-clock endurance race. Dixon was tasked with conserving fuel and making no mistakes in pursuit of the Rolex watch. The Iceman delivered, and made it look easy, too. He totaled more than seven hours behind the wheel of the Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley Prototype, and had teammates Larson, Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan watching with little worry as he closed out the victory. The win gave team owners Ganassi and Felix Sabates their sixth win in 12 Rolex attempts – most in the 53-year history of the race. It was the second win for Dixon, who was part of the 2006 victory with Casey Mears and Dan Wheldon. It was the first Rolex win for McMurray, Kanaan and Larson, who felt he was so underwhelming in his debut last season that he let his team down and never wanted to return to the sports car race. Instead, he drove his own impressive three-plus hour stint in the middle of the night, then put together a brief but error-free run Sunday morning to get the team into the time window to turn the car over to Dixon. McMurray joined AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win the Daytona 500 and the Rolex.(Associated Press)(1-25-2015)
BRANDT returns to sponsor the #51 in 2015:BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, announced they will return as a primary sponsor of the #51 driven by Justin Allgaier in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. BRANDT will be the primary sponsor for 21 races over the 2015 season. 2015 will be BRANDT’s second year in NASCAR’s top series and fifth year as a primary sponsor with driver Allgaier and team owner Harry Scott Jr. in a NASCAR national series. “The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series brings awareness to our brand beyond traditional marketing efforts and serves as a platform to conduct business in a unique atmosphere,” said Rick Brandt, President & CEO of BRANDT. “NASCAR enables us to connect and engage with our grower customers and distribution partners in ways that are otherwise impossible.”
“I am very happy to have BRANDT back aboard the #51 in 2015,” added team owner Harry Scott Jr. “This will be our fifth year partnering with the folks at BRANDT, and the second year for HScott Motorsports in the Cup Series. We learned a lot as a team in 2014 and I am excited for what 2015 will bring for Justin, Crew Chief Steve Addington and everyone at HScott Motorsports and BRANDT.”
The sponsorship marks the fifth year that BRANDT has supported Riverton, IL native Justin Allgaier. “I am thrilled that the BRANDT Professional Agriculture brand will be the primary sponsor of the #51,” said driver Justin Allgaier. “I’m looking forward to my second season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, thanks to BRANDT. They are a great partner and I’m looking forward to our continued success together.
“Justin has been a great ambassador for BRANDT both on and off the track,” explained Brandt. “The agriculture industry knows and respects Justin as a person and a driver. He really understands our business and how we can grow it through NASCAR.”
Joining BRANDT on the car are the National FFA Organization, Nutrients for Life Foundation, PT&E, TradeMark Nitrogen, Grigg Brothers and BRANDT iHammer brands to make up a complete Ag car.(HScott Motorsports)(1-25-2015)
Bill Elliott talked to Ford about Chase Elliott: When Bill Elliott is inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, most of the highlights will show him wheeling a Ford. He made his name driving Fords and he was synonymous with the blue oval brand. So to see his son, Chase, driving a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports is a little bit strange. “I tried to make the Ford thing happen,” Elliott said. “It didn’t. I saw it one way and they saw it another way and it didn’t work out. Mr. Hendrick came to us with an opportunity that at the point in time, it wasn’t much of an opportunity but he was the only one that would talk to us.” Elliott won the 2014 Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series title, and is expected to step into the Hendrick #24 car after Gordon retires at the end of 2015. “My gratitude to (Hendrick), I just can’t say enough about the man about what his character is in the sport and what he’s done for us,” Elliott said. “That kind of went against my roots as far as the Ford goes, but that’s the path we ended up having to take at the point in time and I can’t do anything about it. Right now, it’s set and that’s the way it is.”(Sporting News)(1-25-2015)
Roush had a shot at Jeff Gordon: Fifteen years ago or so, while researching a NASCAR book, one of the people Tom Jensen interviewed was John Bickford, Jeff Gordon’s stepfather and business manager. Bickford, who was the architect of Gordon’s career from his early days as a kid in quarter midgets until Gordon was an established NASCAR star, had plenty of interesting stories. One of them surrounded how Gordon wound up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. After growing up racing open-wheel cars on asphalt and dirt, Gordon ran two full seasons in what’s now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 1991 and ’92. And while Gordon is one of the most recognizable Chevrolet drivers today, in those days he drove Ford Thunderbirds owned by Bill Davis. Naturally, Ford Motor Co. was keen to see Gordon move up to Sprint Cup in a Ford.
According to Bickford, in 1992, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush called him up and told Bickford he wanted to hire Gordon. After a brief discussion, Bickford said he was amenable to the idea of Gordon driving for Roush and he had a great young crew chief named Ray Evernham who Bickford wanted to be part of the deal. “My drivers don’t get to pick their own crew chiefs,” Roush told Bickford. “I do that.” Whereupon Bickford said he hung up the phone, because it was a package deal. Bickford knew Gordon and Evernham already had great chemistry and would be successful together. He didn’t want Gordon to have to start over with a new crew chief.
Roush called back and said there must have been a problem with the phone and Bickford said, no, he had hung up on Roush deliberately. Upon hearing that, Roush went on to explain that if he was making the expensive and potentially risky investment in a promising, but unproven young talent, he had to have the comfort level of hiring the crew chief himself. That was the way Roush always worked in the past and the way he was going to work in the future. And that’s when Bickford said he hung up on Roush a second time, and when negotiations between the two officially ended.(Tom Jensen / FoxSports)(1-25-2015)
MRN welcomes Kim Coon & Rusty Wallace; Eli Gold returns: Motor Racing Network – launching its 46th year on the air – has announced the addition of former Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon and the return of veteran voice Eli Gold to its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lineup for the 2015 season, which also will feature Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace. Coon’s duties will include reports from pit road during the network’s Cup Series qualifying shows, and interaction with fans via social media and on the air during MRN’s race coverage. Gold was a vital cog in the network’s formative years and is one of its most recognizable talents after more than three decades on the air. He will host MRN’s pre-race and post-race coverage of the Sprint Cup Series, and provide in-race updates. Coon will join Gold as a contributor to the pre-race show. Wallace, the 1989 Cup Series champion, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in February 2013. He’ll bring a driver’s perspective to MRN programming in 2015 with a presence during select race broadcasts and on weekly network shows, and provide commentary and content at MRN.com.
Coon, a Florida native, spent four seasons (2011-2014) as Miss Sprint Cup and is one of only 11 ladies to fill that role. Coon is a graduate of the University of Miami and earned a Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Alabama in 2007. Gold also has ties to the Crimson Tide as the radio voice of Alabama football. But to NASCAR fans, he’s best known for his work on the Motor Racing Network. Since 1984, Gold has hosted “NASCAR Live” each Tuesday evening and will continue to do so as a complement to his new assignment in the Sprint Cup Series.
Coon’s debut will follow with MRN’s coverage of Budweiser Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, which will begin Feb. 13 and culminate with the 57th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22. Joe Moore and Jeff Striegle will anchor Motor Racing Network’s broadcast of “The Great American Race” starting at 12 p.m., also with live streaming at MRN.com.(MRN)(1-25-2015)
Fox to announce broadcast lineup for 2015: Jeff Gordon’s TV career will start this year, as the soon-to-be-former Sprint Cup Series driver will serve as a rotating analyst for FOX Sports’ Xfinity Series broadcasts. Gordon, who announced last week he will step out of his #24 car following the season, will switch off his Xfinity Series analyst role with defending Cup champion Kevin Harvick and former Cup champ Brad Keselowski. Those are just part of many changes for FOX, which goes into this season splitting TV broadcasting duties with NBC. The news will officially be announced Monday.
— The familiar booth of Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip will remain intact for Cup Series broadcasts. Chris Myers will continue to host the Cup Series pre-race show alongside Waltrip and his brother, Michael. Fox and Fox Sports 1 have the first 16 races of the season.
— Matt Yocum, Jamie Little and Chris Neville will serve as pit reporters for both Cup and Xfinity broadcasts, joined by Vince Welch for the latter.
— Adam Alexander will serve as the play-by-play announcer for Xfinity races with analysts Michael Waltrip and the rotating trio of Gordon, Harvick and Keselowski. FOX and Fox Sports 1 have the first 14 races of the season.
— With Steve Byrnes battling cancer, Mike Joy, Adam Alexander and newcomer Brian Till will rotate play-by-play duties for the Camping World Truck Series (Joy will call the season opener). They’ll be joined in the booth by Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. Fox Sports 1 has the entire Truck schedule save for the October race at Talladega Superspeedway, which Fox will telecast.
— Pit reporters for the Truck Series include Hermie Sadler, Kaitlyn Vincie, Welch and Yocum.
— Danielle Trotta will host NASCAR RaceDay during the first half of the season and John Roberts will host the second half. They’ll be joined by analysts McReynolds and Kenny Wallace.
— Vincie, former NASCAR.com reporter Alan Cavanna and newcomer Andrew Doud will serve as reporters, alongside the team of pit reporters for RaceDay. They replace reporters Bob Dillner and Wendy Venturini.
— Trotta will host the Xfinity Series pre-race show with McReynolds and Wallace; Roberts will host the Truck Series pre-race show with former Truck champ Todd Bodine (former host Krista Voda left for NBC).
— FOX Sports 1’s daily news show, NASCAR Race Hub, will be hosted by Trotta, Alexander and Roberts and has added a large pool of analysts. Among them: Wally Dallenbach, Jeff Hammond, McReynolds, plus a rotation of AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, Drew Blickensderfer, Bodine, Chad Knaus and Joey Logano.(USA Today)(1-25-2015)
AMS Chase Elliott Ticket Package announced: Atlanta Motor Speedway has created a ticket package special for Chase Elliott fans for the Saturday, Feb. 28 Hisense 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. By purchasing a regularly-priced $40 general admission ticket to the Hisense 250 XFINITY Series and Atlanta 200 Camping World Truck Series race doubleheader in the Chase’s Crew section near the start/finish line, purchasers will receive a Chase’s Elliott foam finger. As an added bonus, the first 200 to purchase a Chase Elliott ticket package will have an opportunity to participate in an autograph session with Chase on race day at the JR Motorsports souvenir hauler in the AMS Fan Zone. Chase Elliott ticket packages are extremely limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis. For more information and to become part of Chase’s Crew, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-25-2015)
Former New York NASCAR track site being prepared for development: Staten Island (NY) Marine Development’s (SIMD) large expanse of industrial-zoned land in the West Shore Green Zone — formerly earmarked for an 82,500-seat NASCAR racetrack before it was derailed by public skepticism and political opposition — is being prepared for development. And even before the 671 acres — of which 330 acres will be developed — is fully ready for construction, real estate moguls are eyeing the site to lure big box and manufacturing industry to the borough.(Staten Island Live)(1-25-2015)
News from January 24, 2015
Investigation into Kurt Busch’s alleged assault of ex-girlfriend continues: A spokesman for the Delaware Attorney General’s office told FOXSports.com Friday afternoon that authorities are continuing to investigate allegations that former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch assaulted ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last fall during the race weekend at Dover International Speedway. Driscoll went to police last Nov. 5 — 80 days ago — alleging that Busch slammed her head into the wall of his motorhome three times during an argument. Busch has emphatically denied assaulting Driscoll. The investigation into the alleged assault is being conducted to determine whether or not Busch will face criminal charges. Carl Kanefsky, a spokesman for the state Attorney General, told FOXSports.com that “the investigation is continuing and there is no timetable” for its conclusion. Kanefsky also said no decision has been made about charging or not charging Busch. Earlier, in a Delaware family court, Driscoll sought a court order seeking no contact from Busch. That case has not yet been ruled on, but is expected to be within the next two weeks. (in part from FoxSports)(1-24-2015)
Is a NASCAR TV analyst career in Jeff Gordon’s future? Would Jeff Gordon trade his helmet for a headset after exiting his #24 Chevy after the 2015 Sprint Cup Season? The four-time series champion said Friday morning he would consider a career as a TV analyst in NASCAR after he leaves full-time competition this year. “I love the sport,” Gordon said during an interview with “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM Radio’s NASCAR channel. “I’m very passionate about it. I love to critique it. I think I could do a good job with that. I don’t think it’s an easy job. I’ll be honest. I have a lot of respect for those that do it from radio and TV. I’d entertain it.” Multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk that Gordon put out feelers to TV networks last year about the possibility of eventually entering the broadcast booth. But Gordon, who hasn’t ruled out racing in myriad series beginning in 2016, said he would be spend the season mulling his next step. “I don’t know if (TV is) at the top of my list right now,” Gordon said. “Throughout this year, one of the things I have to get acclimated to is actually to have a real job. That’s going to be an adjustment”.(NBC Sports)(1-24-2015)
Jeff Gordon’s famous colors just barely made cut: It all started with a promise from Ray Evernham in the summer of 1992. The now-legendary crew chief was a young up-and-comer at the time and was looking to give Jeff Gordon a present for his 21st birthday. Evernham headed to NASCAR artist Sam Bass’ studio near Charlotte Motor Speedway in the hopes of getting a program cover. When Bass gave him the program free of charge, he added one condition: When Evernham and Gordon went Sprint Cup racing, Bass wanted a shot at designing their car’s paint scheme. True to his word, Evernham would later call Bass and give him the green light to develop three designs to be presented to sponsor DuPont.
After putting together two designs, Bass came to the day of the presentation and a light bulb went off. “I had two of the designs done, and the morning of my presentation I was driving to work and it just hit me that DuPont and their automotive finishes brand were trying to portray that they had a rainbow of colors,” Bass told FOXSports.com. “I thought, ‘Man, if I arched three colors over the top of that DuPont logo, which is an oval, that would be your rainbow.’ I did that on the hood. I did it on the sides. I put neon red, neon green, neon blue, neon yellow.” Upon completion of his drawing, Bass said he immediately knew the rainbow design was definitely the best of the three he was submitting. “The story goes that DuPont had 43 drawings to select from,” he said. “And they chose mine. It’s pretty cool and pretty special to be associated with that car and that driver for the whole 23 years so far.”
Long before the days of car wraps, the paint scheme would have to be painted in the body shop, utilizing the multiple bright colors Bass had used in his design. “I thought the guys in the body shop were going to kill me because it was a very complex car to paint,” he said. The rest is history, and the rainbow design of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet became one of the most iconic and recognized paint schemes in NASCAR history. Bass then recalled a meeting with Gordon after the design was approved to go over the paint scheme and work out the firesuit design. Upon being shown the paint scheme, Gordon’s only request for the firesuit? He did not want to look like a clown. “I guess the design worked, because he wore that firesuit for nine years,” Bass said with a laugh.(FoxSports)(1-24-2015)
Ingersoll Rand becomes ‘Official Power Tools of NASCAR’: NASCAR and Ingersoll Rand, a global leader in reliable and innovative power tools, announced a multi-year partnership designating Ingersoll Rand as the “Official Power Tools of NASCAR.” An innovator in tool technology, Ingersoll Rand products have been a staple in NASCAR garages for more than 50 years. The multi-faceted agreement also designates Ingersoll Rand as an Official Partner of the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) and as a contingency sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series. As part of this integrated partnership, Ingersoll Rand will be at the track each weekend providing expert tool support, service, new tool demonstrations for pit crews and will offer fans the opportunity to try tools first hand. Additionally, Ingersoll Rand will launch its Home Tracks Text-to-Win contest for fans at tracks throughout the season. Fans will have opportunities to win an Ingersoll Rand prize pack and meet-and-greets with pit crews and other high-profile racing and automotive personalities.(NASCAR)(1-24-2015)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announces class of inductees: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announced its 27th class of inductees today at Daytona International Speedway, a list of legends representing a variety of racing disciplines. Ricky Carmichael, Walker Evans, Warren Johnson, Tommy Kendall, Mark Martin, Duke Nalon, and Lloyd Ruby will be inducted Thursday, June 18 at Detroit’s historic Fillmore Theater. “This year’s class truly reflects the wide range of American motorsports – which has always been the foundation for our facility,” said Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. “These gentlemen achieved success on two wheels and four, on dirt and pavement, on every kind of track – plus off the road entirely.”
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is racing’s Cooperstown, memorializing achievement in all forms of motorized competition. Over the years, 216 motorsports luminaries have been inducted. The 99-person nominating panel itself reads like a “who’s who” of racing, with stars such as Mario Andretti, Don Garlits, Craig Breedlove and Richard Petty involved in the process. Friday’s announcement was made in the Daytona International Speedway media center as part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, with domestic and international media in attendance.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(1-24-2015)
News from January 23, 2015
Gordon’s 3M scheme unveiled: 3M unveiled Jeff Gordon’s #24 3M paint scheme for 2015 via their YouTube channel. Gordon will run the 3M colors in 11 races during the 2015 season. See images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page. The first race Gordon is scheduled to run the 3M scheme is at Atlanta in March.(1-23-2015)
Gordon and Hendrick NASCAR teleconference: #24-Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports team owner, Rick Hendrick, met with members of the media to discuss Jeff Gordon’s announcement that 2015 will be his final full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. Below are some high lights from Thursday’s NASCAR teleconference: Q. I’m curious. You didn’t use the word retirement in your statement. With the way NASCAR’s rules are as far as ownership and driving, it looks pretty difficult to see you in a car after next year if it’s not — unless something were to happen to a Hendrick driver or something like that. Can you just not mentally use that word or do you really think there is a chance you could be in a Cup car at some point after 2015? JEFF GORDON: Well, the way I see myself in the world is that retirement means you go off to a beach somewhere and sit in a rocking chair on the front porch and drink your coffee and pet your dog. That’s not me. I plan on working. I’m going to be working — I’m actually going to have to get a real job now. So when I think of retirement, I just don’t think that that’s what I’m doing. I want to leave myself open, as well, to be able to get in a car. It doesn’t have to be a Cup car. It could be an [XFINITY] car. It could be a truck. It could be a prototype for Le Mans or the Rolex. It might not be any of those things. Heck, I was just out in the desert driving buggies and I maybe want to do the Baja 1000. I don’t plan on doing any racing, but I know I’m not going to be retiring because I have a lot on my plate already that we have plans for, and we’ll be talking about in the future. And I’m excited about that. I really am. Q. Rick, obviously there is a lot of speculation about Chase Elliott. Where does he fit into the plans given this announcement? RICK HENDRICK: Oh, we’re just kind of looking at what’s down the road a little bit later. We’re going to kind of focus on Jeff and what he’s accomplished, and then at a later time we’ll kind of focus on who is going to be in the car.
See the full transcript at the Team Chevy website.(1-23-2015)
NCMA Honors Mike Helton and Tom Higgins: More than 400 North Carolina motorsports industry members and enthusiasts gathered Wednesday night at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Resort to honor NASCAR President Mike Helton. Before a crowd that was a who’s who of the stock car racing community for the ninth annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards presented by Fifth Third Bank, Helton became the ninth recipient of the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award, which is given annually by the North Carolina Motorsports Ass’n. Team owner Richard Childress, who received the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award in 2010, presented the award to Helton, who was clearly humbled and somewhat uncomfortable in the role of honoree. “I’ve made a lot of these presentations in my life, but I really got nervous being on this end of it,” Helton said. “I won’t accept this award only personally, but I will accept it on behalf of our whole staff at NASCAR and in particular those at the R&D Center.” Helton talked about the importance of organizations like the NCMA looking out for the best interests of motorsports companies before concluding his remarks in typical Helton style. “I am very grateful for this recognition and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart,” Helton said. Helton was then joined on stage by Childress, Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer with the group swapping stories about Helton’s career as NASCAR’s top official.
Other former winners of the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award have been Bill France Jr., Benny Parsons, Dale Earnhardt, Bruton Smith, Junior Johnson, H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler and the Jarrett family.
Earlier in the evening longtime Charlotte Observer reporter Tom Higgins received the Jim Hunter Memorial Media Award.
The annual NCMA Motorsports Industry Awards went to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s STEM program, GoPro Motorplex, the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, the Safer Racer Tour and deBotech.
Among the other attendees were Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Larry McReynolds, Ray Evernham, Ned Jarrett, Wheeler, John Darby, Jimmy Makar, Lake Speed, Doug Herbert and Austin Dillon.(Speed Sport – NSSN)(1-23-2015)
Rick Ren sues Kyle Busch Motorsports UPDATE: Rick Ren, a former competition director and general manager at Kyle Busch Motorsports, is suing the team for $390,000. Ren was released from the organization following the 2013 season as KBM scaled back its operations to eliminate its Nationwide Series team. In a lawsuit filed last month in North Carolina Superior Court in Statesville (N.C.), Ren alleges he and his consulting company are owed a $35,000 bonus from 2012 and $355,000 in commissions from two sponsorships he landed for the organization. According to the lawsuit, Ren claims that his contract stipulated that he receive a 10 percent commission on any sponsorship he procured for KBM. He claims he was responsible for $3 million in sponsorship for Parker Kligerman from Central Kentucky Angus Sales (where Briggs Cunningham of Cunningham Motorsports, for whom Kligerman has driven for in the past, is an officer) to drive in the Nationwide Series in 2013, and $550,000 in sponsorship for Brian Scott from Sabala Whitetail (owned by Scott’s father, Joe) for select truck races in 2012. KBM attorney Adam Ross stated that the original contract Ren refers to in his lawsuit was amended with a new compensation structure and that KBM “does not owe Mr. Ren or his company a penny.”(Sporting News)(1-12-2015) UPDATE: Kyle Busch Motorsports has strongly refuted the breach of contract claim by former competition director and general manager Rick Ren, who sued the team for $390,000 in December. In a filing with the North Carolina Superior Court this week, KBM says Ren submitted “fictitious and fraudulent” invoices requesting a bonus payment and commissions for procuring two sponsorships following his release from the team after the 2013 season. “I don’t see where Mr. Ren has any kind of claim,” KBM attorney Adam Ross told USA TODAY Sports. “… Who knows? Maybe Mr. Ren’s lawyer is sitting on something I don’t know about, but from what I’ve seen so far, I don’t see any possibility of a case for him. I don’t know why he filed it.”
Ren’s suit was based off a contract he signed in 2009 and included terms such as a $35,000 end-of-year bonus and a 10% commission for any sponsorship he brought in. But KBM’s filing includes an amended contract from 2012 which laid out terms for a revised bonus structure. That agreement removed the commission language and capped bonuses at $25,000. Both documents were obtained and examined by USA TODAY Sports.
KBM says the bonus payment claim is not valid under the amendment and that the commissions would have never been considered because Ren wasn’t the one who brought in the sponsors. Ross said he plans to file a motion for dismissal. Ren’s lawsuit says he is owed $355,000 in commissions for bringing in sponsorships for Parker Kligerman (Central Kentucky Angus Sales) and Brian Scott (Sabala Whitetail, which is owned by Scott’s father). But KBM claims Ren “did absolutely nothing to procure (them).”
“(Ren) received phone calls from two different managers who had reached out to KBM in order to sign their respective drivers to the KBM team,” the team’s response said. “Central Kentucky and Sabala were preexisting sponsors of the two new drivers at the time they joined KBM.” Furthermore, since Ren never brought up the commissions while he was employed, KBM accused him of “bad faith conduct.”
“(Ren) submitted invoices to KBM with a hope and expectation that KBM would rely upon those invoices and pay them,” the filing said. Phone messages and an e-mail requesting comment from Ren attorney Eddie Gaines were not returned.(USA Today)(1-23-2015)
Fronius USA joins Viva Motorsports: Viva Motorsports announced their partnership with Fronius USA for the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Season. Fronius USA will serve as primary sponsor of the #55 Chevy Camaro for multiple races this season, beginning in Daytona. In addition to running the Fronius USA colors, Viva Motorsports has been outfitted with the latest welding technology from Fronius. Viva Motorsports ended the 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series season 25th in Owner’s Points and looks to have a strong showing to kick off the 2015 season. Crew Chief Mark Setzer and the Viva Motorsports crew are busy preparing the #55 Fronius USA Camaro for the first super-speedway race of 2015. A driver announcement for the #55 Chevy Camaro will be released at a later date.(Viva Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #55 team paint schemes page.(1-23-2015)
Campground Lake at Atlanta gets a new name: A small lake covering one of the nearly 900 acres that make up Atlanta Motor Speedway has a new name. Inspired by a pair of ever-present residents of the bird variety who have made a home out of its cozy confines and grassy banks, the AMS staff has dubbed the lake within the unreserved tent campground near the oval’s fourth turn “Swan Lake.” While visitors of many species frequent the lake for its convenient water access, feeding grounds and nearby jogging trail, its full-time residents, male and female swans affectionately known around AMS as Ricky and Danica, can be seen most days feeding, floating and frolicking – as all swans do – in and around the lake’s shoreline. But Ricky and Danica are just a small portion of the abundant wildlife population at AMS, which includes several hundred geese, an abundance of fish, the occasional wandering deer and a small group of cats, including Shaky Leg, the courageous feline who infamously scampered across the track in front of Kevin Harvick during last year’s Oral-B USA 500. Race fans can read all about Swan Lake and stay up to date with all the exciting Atlanta Motor Speedway news by signing up for the email newsletter by visiting the Atlanta Motor Speedway website at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-23-2015)
News from January 22, 2015
Jeff Gordon to run final full-time NASCAR season in 2015: Jeff Gordon will compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. He announced his decision this morning to the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team he has driven for since November 1992. “As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said. “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that. I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing. I’m a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I’m passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I’m a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that’s stood behind me every step of the way. Racing has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity that’s been extraordinarily rewarding and fulfilling in my life. The work we’re doing with the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation will continue to be extremely important to me. Outside the race car, my passion is pediatric cancer research, and my efforts will remain focused there when I’m no longer driving. I’ll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet. I’m going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship. To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you.”
Gordon, 43, has earned four career Cup championships, 92 points-paying race wins and 77 pole positions, all for longtime car owner Rick Hendrick. He is third in all-time victories behind only NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). One of the most versatile drivers of his era in any auto racing discipline, Gordon’s résumé includes three Daytona 500 victories and a record five Brickyard 400 wins. He is the sport’s winningest road course driver with nine victories, stands alone as the all-time leader with 12 restrictor plate wins and has won at every track on the Sprint Cup circuit with the exception of Kentucky Speedway.
“There’s simply no way to quantify Jeff’s impact,” said Hendrick, who first noticed Gordon during a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 1992. “He’s one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There’s been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners.” Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports) AND while nothing has been announced and it mentions in the above PR that HMS will “announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date”, most are speculating that Chase Elliott, the 2014 Xfinity Series Champ and son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, would replace Gordon in a fourth HMS Chevy starting in 2016. Elliott supposedly will run some Sprint Cup Series races in 2015 in a fifth HMS entry (a fifth team is allowed for a rookie driver).(1-22-2015)
JEFF GORDON BIO BRIEF:
FULL NAME: Jeffery Michael Gordon
BIRTHDATE: Aug. 4, 1971
BIRTHPLACE: Vallejo, California
HOMETOWN: Pittsboro, Indiana
FAMILY: Wife Ingrid Vandebosch; daughter Ella Sofia (7); son Leo Benjamin (4)
” Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001)
” 92 career Cup victories; third on the all-time list
” 77 career Cup pole positions; third on the all-time list
” Three-time Daytona 500 winner (1997, 1999, 2005)
” Five-time Brickyard 400 winner (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014)
” Three-time champion of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (1995, 1997, 2001)
” NASCAR record nine road course victories
” NASCAR record 12 restrictor plate victories
” 1997 Winston Million winner and four-time Winston No Bull 5 winner
” Seven-time winner at Darlington Raceway CUP SERIES HIGHLIGHTS AND CAREER NOTES: 2014: Captured four victories, three pole positions, 14 top-five finishes and a series-leading 23 top-10s. Scored a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 win, tying Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for the most victories at Indianapolis. Posted series-best average finish (10.4) en route to a sixth-place finish in the point standings. Extended NASCAR record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (22). Starred in the viral video “Test Drive 2,” which has surpassed 17 million views on YouTube. 2013: Finished sixth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with one win (Martinsville), two poles, eight top-fives and 17 top-10s. Set NASCAR record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (21), breaking a tie with NASCAR Hall of Fame driver David Pearson. Starred in the viral video “Test Drive,” which has surpassed 43 million views on YouTube. 2012: Recorded two wins, two poles, 11 top-fives, 18 top-10s and finished 10th in the Chase. Scored first career Homestead-Miami victory and surpassed NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Darrell Waltrip for sixth in all-time career laps led (23,147). Recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, established to recognize those in sports who give significantly to serve communities and improve the lives of others. Appeared as himself in an episode of the FOX animated television show “The Simpsons.” Returned to Rwanda for a second time in conjunction with the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. Recipient of the NMPA Myers Brothers Award, which recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. 2011: Began working with fourth full-time crew chief Alan Gustafson. Posted three wins, one pole, 13 top-fives and 18 top-10s en route to an eighth-place finish in the Chase. Moved to third in all-time wins after scoring his 85th career victory at Atlanta and claimed sole possession of third in all-time career poles (70). Voiced the character “Jeff Gorvette” in the animated film “Cars 2.” Traveled to Rwanda with the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, and visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative. 2010: Finished ninth in the Chase with one pole, 11 top-fives and 17 top-10s. Tied NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Cale Yarborough for third in all-time career poles (69) and remained sixth in all-time career wins (82), one behind Yarborough. 2009: Finished third in the Chase with one win, one pole, 16 top-fives and a series-high 25 top-10s. Scored first career Texas victory. Appeared in an episode of the long-running children’s television series “Sesame Street.” 2008: Finished seventh in the Chase with four poles, 13 top-fives and 19 top-10s. Scored first career Texas pole. Became first NASCAR driver to surpass $100 million in career prize winnings. 2007: Finished second in the Chase with six wins, seven poles, 21 top-fives and 30 top-10s — a single-season record for most top-10s in NASCAR’s modern era (1972-present). Scored first career Phoenix victory and set all-time record for most career restrictor plate wins (12). Moved to sixth all-time in career wins (81) and fourth all-time in career poles (63). 2006: Finished sixth in the Chase with two victories, two poles, 14 top-fives and 18 top-10s. Scored first career Chicagoland victory and extended own record for most road course victories (9) with fifth career win at Sonoma. 2005: Posted four wins, two poles, eight top-fives, 14 top-10s and finished 11th in the point standings. Achieved third career Daytona 500 victory, fourth win at Talladega and sixth and seventh victories at Martinsville, marking the second time in three years he swept both events at the short track. Ran first race with third full-time crew chief Steve Letarte at New Hampshire on Sept. 18. Appeared as himself in the film “Herbie: Fully Loaded.” 2004: Five wins, six poles, 16 top-fives and 25 top-10s. Finished third in the inaugural Chase, marking 11 consecutive top-10 point finishes. Led standings after 26th race before top-10 points were reset. Became the first stock car driver to capture four victories at Indianapolis and only the fourth driver in history to win there four times. Won back-to-back races for the 19th and 20th times in his career. 2003: Three wins, four poles, 15 top-fives, 20 top-10s and a series-leading 1,639 laps led. Won both events at Martinsville to complete a season sweep at the track. Finished fourth in the point standings. Became the only auto racing driver in the show’s history to host NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” 2002: Recorded three victories, three poles, 13 top-fives and 20 top-10s. At Darlington, won 60th career race. Recorded 300th career start and became first NASCAR driver to surpass $50 million in career prize winnings. 2001: Achieved a fourth career championship to become at the time only the third driver to win more than three titles. Led the series in several statistical categories: wins (6), poles (6), top-fives (18), top-10s (24), races led (25) and laps led (2,320). Became the first driver to eclipse $10 million in single-season prize winnings. Won both the all-star event and the Brickyard 400. 2000: Began working with second full-time crew chief Robbie Loomis. Earned three wins, three poles, 11 top-fives and 22 top-10s. Became the youngest driver in history to achieve 50 career wins. Won Talladega, Richmond and Sonoma. Win at Sonoma marked sixth straight road course victory, a series record. Finished ninth in points. 1999: Finished the season with seven victories to become the first driver in history to win the most races for five straight years. Also won the most poles (7) and led the most laps (1,319). Finished the season sixth in points with 18 top-fives and 21 top-10s. Ran final race with original crew chief Ray Evernham at Dover on Sept. 26. Appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine. Established the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs. Became an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports after signing a lifetime contract to drive for the team. 1998: Won third series championship with 13 victories, seven poles, 26 top-fives and 28 top-10s. Became first driver to win the Brickyard 400 twice. Won the Winston No Bull Five twice. Tied two modern-era records with 13 wins in one season and four wins in a row. Named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. 1997: Won second series championship with 10 victories, one pole, 22 top-fives and 23 top-10s. Became youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 in a Hendrick Motorsports 1-2-3 finish. Second driver ever to win the Winston Million. 1996: Led the series in wins (10), poles (5) and laps led (2,314). Also recorded 21 top-fives and 24 top-10s. Finished second in championship points, only 37 behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Terry Labonte. 1995: At 24, became youngest Cup champion in NASCAR’s modern era in only third full season in the series. Recorded seven victories, eight poles (personal record), 23 top-10 finishes and 2,610 laps led. 1994: Won twice, including first career victory at Charlotte and the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Achieved seven top-fives and 14 top-10s. 1993: Earned series Rookie of the Year to become the first driver ever to win top rookie honors in NASCAR’s two top divisions (XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year in 1991). Became first rookie in 30 years to win a 125-mile qualifying race at Daytona. 1992: Signed contract with Hendrick Motorsports and made first career series start on Nov. 15 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finishing 31st under the guidance of crew chief Evernham. The race also marked the final NASCAR event for seven-time series champion Richard Petty.
NASCAR Selects Fanatics to Operate At-Track Merchandise Business: NASCAR, NASCAR Team Properties (NTP) and Fanatics jointly announced today a 10-year agreement for the sport’s at-track merchandise business that will deliver fans an enhanced, experiential shopping environment. As part of the agreement, Fanatics has acquired certain exclusive rights from NASCAR and NTP that will make the company the primary retailer of NASCAR, team and driver merchandise at all 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends. Fanatics, the market leader for officially licensed sports merchandise, powers the e-stores for hundreds of the top sports leagues, teams and schools, including a long history running NASCAR’s e-commerce business. The NASCAR at-track deal expands Fanatics’ growing in-venue partnerships. The new trackside retail model will be phased in at NASCAR events over the course of 2015. It will evolve from using solely haulers for each specific team or driver to displaying all merchandise in a climate-controlled superstore retail environment supported by, in instances, smaller satellite retail touch points around the track. The new model will have the following enhanced benefits and added options for fans:
· Ability to offer the largest at-track selection of NASCAR merchandise ever
· Selection to include a major expansion of women’s and kids’ items
· A more functional way to browse, shop and interact with merchandise
· Separate stores within the footprint for teams, drivers, memorabilia and collectibles
· Dedicated area for driver appearances
· An interactive customization center where fans can create their own personal NASCAR gear
Fanatics Apparel, the company’s manufacturing and customization division, will also produce merchandise to complement the already extensive product line that will be offered by authorized licensees. “A merchandise center will provide a more personal, organized, comfortable and convenient shopping environment for our fans,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Partnering with an industry leader in Fanatics allows us to offer a comprehensive and seamless shopping experience for our fans – whether it is in-venue, online or on mobile devices.” The new trackside retail model will utilize the latest innovations and initiatives in retail promotional design. According to a study conducted by Experian Marketing Services (Simmons National Consumer Survey, Fall Full Year 2013), NASCAR fans are at least 20 percent more likely than non-fans to notice various types of promotions while shopping, including: video monitor displays, signs on merchandise racks or shelves, and advertising on the floor – among others.
“Fanatics is extremely excited to partner with NASCAR and NASCAR Team Properties to greatly expand their at-track retail presence,” said Ross Tannenbaum, president of Fanatics Authentic. “We have taken the time to listen to what the fans, teams, drivers and NASCAR were asking for and look forward to using our market-leading scale, technology and production capabilities to deliver an improved and entertaining shopping experience for years to come.”(NASCAR)(1-22-2015)
MSHFA Class of 2015 Finalists: Finalists for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 2015 class have been determined. The Hall will unveil its seven new members on Friday, January 23, at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The racing legends will join the Hall of Fame during the 27th Annual Induction Ceremony on June 18, 2015 at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit. The nominees are:
veteran driver and official Wally Dallenbach
nine-time Indycar Series winning owner Chip Ganassi
championship owner Carl Haas
innovative designer and safety pioneer Ted Halibrand
three-time Indy winning owner Pat Patrick
Indy 500 veteran Lloyd Ruby
father of the Chrysler 426 Hemi Tom Hoover
six-time NHRA Pro Stock Champion Warren Johnson
announcer Dave McClelland
pioneer Paula Murphy
one of the first Funny Car drivers Gene Snow
Strange Engineering’s boss Bob Stange
fifteen-time AMA Grand National race winner Everett Brashear
ten-time Motocross champ Ricky Carmichael
dirt track king Neil Keen
three-time Daytona 200 winner Dick Klamfoth
two-time world Superbike champion Fred Merkel
1950 AAA National Champion Henry Banks
NASCAR’s first champion Red Byron
1963 Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund
Novi legend Duke Nalon
mechanic and builder Ray Nichels
midget / sprint car king Bob Sweikert
youngest member of the “Alabama Gang, Davey Allison
championship owners Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush
two time NASCAR Cup chanpion Terry Labonte
40 Sprint Cup Series race winner Mark Martin
off-road champion Walker Evans
GM Racing’s Herb Fishel
NASCAR’s VP of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter
off-road racings “Iron Man” Ivan Stewart
“Miss Hurst Golden Shifter” Linda Vaughn
famed writer Brock Yates
Dyson Racing founder Rob Dyson
four-time Trans Am champ Tommy Kendall
racer and broadcaster Sam Posey
five-time 24 Hours of Daytona champion Scott Pruett
Scarab’s designer and builder Phil Remington
driver/founder of the legendary “Group 44” teams Bob Tullius
The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame of America is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(1-22-2015)
Tyler Young to run full time again in 2015 UPDATE: Young’s Motorsports announced that Midland, Texas native Tyler Young will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series full-time in 2015 behind the wheel of his family-owned #02 Chevy Silverado. The 24-year-old driver, who competed for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2014, enters the 2015 season looking to build on the foundation he made in his rookie season. Young completed his first full season in the NCWTS in 2014. Making 12 track debuts throughout the 22-race schedule, the Sunoco rookie steadily improved throughout the season, amassing five top-15 finishes including a career-best 11th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. The Young’s Motorsports driver capped off his rookie campaign 13th in the NCWTS driver point standings, a mere 10 points out of 10th place. Young’s 2015 season will once again be led by veteran crew chief, Bryan Berry. Berry, a Homestead, Fla. native, is a 12-year veteran of the NCWTS and has 200 starts to his resume, including eight top-five and 27 top-10 finishes.(Young’s Motorsports)(1-16-2015) UPDATE: Young’s Motorsports announces that Arthur Krenzel Lett (AKL) Insurance Group will return as an associate sponsor for seven races this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Tyler Young and the #02 Chevy Silverado. AKL Insurance Group is a risk management solutions firm specializing in auto, home, life, and commercial insurance products. AKL Insurance Group, with two branches located in Winfield, WV and Dublin, OH, will be displayed as an associate sponsor on the #02 Chevy Silverado driven by Young in the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway in February, Charlotte in May, Kentucky in July, Bristol in August, Chicagoland in September, Talladega in October, and Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.(Young’s Motorsports)(1-22-2015)
2015 Pocono Groundhog Day Special: It’s time for Pocono Raceway’s annual Groundhog Day Special! They have partnered up with Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for a great offer this year! On February 2nd, the eyes of the world will focus on the esteemed Punxsutawney Phil to see if he will prognosticate an early spring or six more weeks of winter. If Phil does NOT see his shadow, anyone who purchases a Pocono Raceway $25 Gift Card, as part of this Groundhog Day Special, will receive $20 in Free Slot Play from our pals over at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. More info at poconoraceway.com.(Pocono Raceway)(1-22-2015)
Atlanta Motor Speedway extends ticket office hours: To better serve customers purchasing event tickets and camping spaces for the Feb. 26-March 1 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Weekend, Atlanta Motor Speedway has extended its ticket office hours through Sunday, March 1. Beginning this Saturday, the ticket office will be open on weekends, including Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, the ticket office will extend its weekday hours an additional three hours and will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning Monday, Feb. 9. Several money-saving tickets options are still available for each day of the upcoming Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend, see these options at atlantamotorspeedway.com. For more information or to purchase tickets today, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-22-2015)
News from January 21, 2015
Ron Hornaday to drive for TMG in Cup: Veteran NASCAR driver, Ron Hornaday, will be the primary driver of the #30 TMG Chevy for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, starting at Daytona International Speedway. Hornaday, a longtime veteran in the NASCAR garage, starting off in the NASCAR K&N Series in 1989, he quickly advanced to the top series in the sport. In addition to an impressive 55 combined series wins, Hornaday also has four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championships. “I am happy to be signing on with Curtis Key and the entire TMG organization for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season,” Hornaday said. “This team has been working really hard during the offseason to get cars ready for Daytona and the rest of the season. I’m hoping to bring some guidance and racing knowledge to this start up Cup team.”
TMG Owner Curtis Key commented, “We are glad to have Ron Hornaday come on board with The Motorsports Group. Ron has been involved in the NASCAR industry for over 20 years now. His experience and knowledge of the industry is exactly what we need this first year in the Sprint Cup Series.” Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the #30 TMG Chevy. More information on sponsorships will be announced in the coming weeks leading into the start of the 2015 NASCAR season.
The Motorsports Group, TMG is owned by Virginia businessman, Curtis Key. Purchasing the team in 1993 from 2-time Busch Series Champ, Tommy Ellis, the team currently resides in Mooresville, NC. In 2009, TMG entered into the NASCAR Nationwide Series as a full time competitor, and in September 2014, announced participation in the top tier, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(TMG)(1-21-2015)
Vickers medically cleared to race in early March: Doctors have medically cleared Brian Vickers to return to full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery. Vickers will make his season debut in the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8. MWR co-founder and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 in the 57th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 22. MWR will name a substitute driver for the March 1 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway later. “The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before,” said Vickers, the 31-year-old Thomasville, N.C. native whose health issues interrupted his racing seasons in 2010 and again in 2013. “The advancements in modern medicine and surgical procedures are amazing and I have to thank my doctors at the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and Carolinas Medical Center for their extraordinary care. I have literally put my life in their hands twice and I cannot begin to express my level of gratitude. I was not feeling well in December, so I went to see Dr. William Downey in Charlotte. He discovered my body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in my heart a few years ago. He and Dr. R. Mark Stiegel immediately went to work on correcting the problem. I also want to thank the great counsel along the way by Dr. Jerry Petty, Dr. Robert Heyer and my hematologist Dr. Stephan Moll from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who is the founder of www.clotconnect.org. “Now all of my focus is getting ready so when I return we are prepared to win races and the championship in my Aaron’s Dream Machine.”(MWR)(1-21-2015)
Stewart-Haas Racing’s #4-#14 pit crew swap is permanent: A 2014 late season pit crew swap between Stewart-Haas Racing teammates #14-Tony Stewart and #4-Kevin Harvick will be permanent, Stewart said Tuesday while making a USO visit with troops and military families at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner/driver and Harvick switched crews in September in time for the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup elimination playoff that culminated with Harvick hoisting his first trophy. Stewart, who did not qualify for last year’s Chase, said Tuesday the teams will continue with the lineup as they left it last season. “The pit crew I had that pitted Kevin’s car at the end of the year, we kept that switch permanent for this year,” said Stewart.(NASCAR.com)(1-21-2015)
Tony Stewart tours MacDill AFB refueling operation: Every weekend during racing season, #14-Tony Stewart deals with the pressure of going around a track very fast. Stewart got a taste of a different degree of pressure Tuesday afternoon [Jan 20] at MacDill Air Force Base when he took a spin on a console that simulates the delicate operation of mid-air refueling. “You are trying to push a needle through a haystack and see how intense it is and the condition these guys have to go through,” Stewart said, describing his turn at the BOWST simulator used to help train those who operate the boom on the KC-135 aerial refueling jet. “To think there is only a three-man crew and two of them are on the front of the plane, and one guy is laying on his stomach in the back of the plane, running the nozzle … you can tell that takes a lot of precision to do that. We’re not talking about scratching a body panel. You’re talking about scratching a multi-million dollar airplane. So definitely that’s a lot of pressure for the guy that runs the nozzle.” Stewart, fellow driver Kyle Larson and Joie Chitwood III, Daytona International Speedway president, were at MacDill on Tuesday to kick off the annual USO tour of military bases. “This is something we wish we got to do more often,” said Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. “Without these men and women we wouldn’t get the chance to do what we do every weekend.” Aside from the simulator, the NASCAR contingent witnessed a military dog exhibition and got to tour a KC-135 that rolled off the assembly line in 1962.(Tampa Tribune)(1-21-2015)
NASCAR considering multiyear track contracts: After a longtime policy of one-year engagements, NASCAR is poised to enter long-term relationships with its racetracks. There have been multiple meetings after the 2014 season to discuss the concept of multiyear sanctioning agreements that effectively would set much of the Sprint Cup schedule beyond the current season for the first time. NASCAR traditionally has signed annual deals with every track, pushing the yearly release of the schedule to late summer or early fall. “I think it’s fair to say we have had discussions with the tracks about multiyear agreements,” NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell told USA TODAY Sports. “We’re not there yet. If we can put something together where it’s helpful for fans to know, our goal is to get the schedule out as early as we can. That helps fans making plans for going to tracks. Some fans travel a long way. If we can make that better through a multiyear (deal), that is something we’re considering.” A multiyear deal would offer tracks the ability to sell season ticket packages and sponsorships with more flexibility and security.(USA Today)(1-21-2015)
Gordon comments on his back: #24-Jeff Gordon had a question-and-answer session on the telephone with NASCAR This Week, one question concerned his back: Q) Can you update us about your back spasms? Gordon: “It’s not worth talking about. Nothing has changed since last year. It’s an ongoing process for me to maintain it. It’s not something I’m just going to fix. It’s not something I can do and all of a sudden my back will be healed. Other than what happened at Charlotte, it didn’t hinder me or my performance throughout the whole 2014 season.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-21-2015)
Jackman for Hamlin re-injured during off season: Last year during the Charlotte race in October, #11 Jackman for Joe Gibbs Racing, Nate Bolling, suffered a torn tricep and was sidelined throughout the Chase. Pit Talks is getting word that Bolling has torn the same tricep during the off season. Details of how it happened are not very clear but talking with guys familiar with this kind of injury suggest that he might be out till mid April and even May. Nate is a top level Jackman on the Cup Series and his absence will be missed. As far as who is going in on the #11 team….not sure yet. When the injury went down last year the #11 team had back up Kenneth Purcell step in and he did a great job. Purcell is scheduled to be the Gasman on the #19 JGR team and Carl Edwards this year. To make the situation even trickier, Jackman Jeff Fender of the JGR #18 just recently retired this year.(Pit Talks)(1-21-2015)
Wood Brothers Racing is the longest active NASCAR team: Wood Brothers Racing [#21-Ryan Blaney] has become something of a common face in NASCAR. Their consistent attendance year in and year out has possibly gone unnoticed to some, so one member of the family has set out to make sure the team’s founding fathers get the recognition they finally deserve for their unwavering show of perseverance. Jon Wood, third-generation family member and former Wood Brothers Racing driver, grew up with a fascination for a very peculiar book. That book came to his elementary school once a year when the bookmobile would roll into town. The one book that was so captivating was the Guinness Book of World Records. “From the beginning I have been fascinated with the Guinness Book of World Records,” said Wood. “I remember thinking that one day I would figure out a way to do something worthy of being in the Book. I think that’s just part of a child’s fairytale-like thought process.” His family’s race team, founded in 1950 by his grandfather Glen Wood, is generally considered NASCAR’s longest active race team. The Woods have fielded cars every year since 1950, and while other established teams have come and gone, the Woods have maintained the same ownership through the present. That fact; however, has never been officially recognized, and Wood wanted to do something about that. He got on the Guinness World Records website and submitted an application for a record claim. “Very quickly I got a response from their sports records coordinator, and he was highly interested in helping with this claim,” Wood said. The next step was finding a way to substantiate the record. For that he turned to Buz McKim, Historian at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. McKim quickly verified the Woods’ record, and as they say, the rest is history. For Jon, getting his family’s accomplishment documented in the Guinness Book of World Records makes the record that much more meaningful. Getting this documented and on paper brings feelings of accomplishment that is shared by members of three generations of Woods, each of whom has played a role in the team’s longevity.(Wood Brothers Racing)(1-21-2015)
Nate Ryan and Dustin Long join NBCSN’s NASCAR AMERICA lineup: NBC Sports announced Tuesday the addition of veteran journalists Nate Ryan and Dustin Long to its coverage team, dovetailing with the media group’s expanded presence as a returning NASCAR broadcast partner in 2015. Ryan, who has been a regular contributor to NBC Sports Network’s “NASCAR America” program since the start of the 2014 season, will leave his spot as USA Today’s primary motorsports writer for a multi-faceted role with NBC. According to a release provided by the media company, Ryan will serve as an on-air reporter during broadcasts, but will also contribute to the organization’s online publishing arm as a writer. Long, who most recently served as a writer and editor with Motor Racing Network (MRN) Radio’s website, will transition to the same role with NBC Sports, also working alongside Ryan to produce video content. Before his stint with MRN, Long was the lead NASCAR writer for the Landmark newspaper group. In a related move, USA Today Sports announced that Brant James — most recently a correspondent for ESPN — would fill the vacancy created by Ryan’s departure on the newspaper’s motorsports staff.(NASCAR.com)(1-21-2015)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Cover of ESPN the Magazine “Music” Issue: On the eve of Super Bowl – and the Grammys – ESPN The Magazine releases its third annual “Music Issue” with pages paying tribute to the converging worlds of sport and song. The issue – which hits newsstands Friday, January 23 – highlights the intersection of music and sports including features “Entertainers of the Year,” as two of the biggest stars of the year – pop star Katy Perry and NFL powerhouse JJ Watt – collide; and “The Perfect Strangers,” which highlights the developing relationship between NASCAR’s native son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and platinum-selling hip-hop artist, J. Cole, and how they were forever linked by a single lyric before they even met.(ESPN)(1-21-2015)
Chili Bowl winner gets NASCAR ride: HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks announced that USAC National Midget champion and open wheel standout, Rico Abreu, will join the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East team in 2015. Abreu, 22, competed in more than 100 open-wheel races in 2014 in the United States and New Zealand. He posted 26 wins across 410 winged and non-winged sprint car, 360 winged sprints, and USAC midget competition in which he also won the national championship. Abreu most recently won the 2015 Chili Bowl Nationals last weekend. Abreu’s #98 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East entry will be led by veteran K&N crew chief Mardy Lindley. Lindley has amassed five-career victories in three seasons, along with the 2013 K&N title with driver Dylan Kwasniewski. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season gets underway on February 15 at New Smyrna Speedway. Abreu will kick-start his experience in stock cars and on pavement by competing in the Pete Orr Memorial Super Late Model event also at New Smyrna Speedway this Saturday, February 24.(PR) AND Sources tell ESPN The Magazine that these races will serve as the first stages of a driver development agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing, whom Larson drives for in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ganassi did little to keep the secret on Saturday night, following the Chili Bowl finish by excitedly posting in his second-ever (and since deleted) tweet: “There’s a name you’ll be hearing more of. Stay Tuned!” Also among the most notable post-Chili Bowl congratulatory tweets was one from NASCAR VP of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell: “Congrats @Rico_Abreu looking forward to seeing you in #nascar.”(ESPN)(1-21-2015)
Rascal Flatts to sing National Anthem at Las Vegas: Award-winning country group Rascal Flatts will sing the national anthem at the Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The performance will take place in the midst of the band’s first-ever, nine-show residency, Rascal Flatts Vegas Riot!, at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino from Wednesday, Feb. 25 to Saturday, March 14. Rascal Flatts will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of more than 100,000 race fans to kick off Nevada’s largest sports event. The 18th annual Kobalt 400 headlines a race weekend that includes Stratosphere Pole Day on Friday, March 6 and the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series event on Saturday, March 7. For more tickets and information on the Kobalt 400 or Las Vegas Motor Speedway, please visit www.lvms.com or call 1.800.644.4444.(LVMS)(1-21-2015)
Clements to return for full season: Jeremy Clements Racing announced that the team will run full time in the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series, with Jeremy Clements driving the #51 Chevy. This will be the fifth full time season for the single car, family owned team. Clements closed out the 2014 season 15th in the point standings, with 2 top 10 finishes at Road America and Daytona. “The 2014 season was the best season for us so far,” said Clements. “We are looking to build on what we accomplished last year and hope to make this season even better.” The team continues to pursue marketing partners for the season, and announcements of those partnerships will be made at a later date.(Jeremy Clements Racing)(1-21-2015)
News from January 20, 2015
Annett moving to HScott Motorsports? Multiple sources have confirmed that Michael Annett and his Pilot/Flying J sponsorship will jump from Tommy Baldwin Racing (#7) to the HScott Motorsports stable in 2015, running the entire 36-race championship schedule as a teammate to #51-Justin Algaier. Annett finished 33rd in points at the wheel of TBR’s #7 Chevy in 2014; his rookie year of Sprint Cup Series competition. The team managed a top finish of 16th at Talladega Superspeedway in May. Annett declined to comment on the move when contacted earlier today (Tuesday), but sources close to the situation say he will race as a teammate to Algaier and the #51 Brandt Chevy, making HScott Motorsports a two-car operation for the first time in their brief Sprint Cup Series history. Calls placed to team owner Harry Scott, Jr. were not immediately returned.(Godfather Motorsports). HScott Motorsports ran an 2nd car for the Daytona 500 in 2014, with Bobby Labonte driving the #52 Florida Lottery Chevy to a 16th place finish. It was the only attempt of the season for the #52 team.(1-20-2015)
Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas UPDATE: The first NASCAR test of the 2015 season is scheduled to take place Monday when four Sprint Cup Series teams participate in a one-day Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The teams of #41-Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and #47-AJ Allmendinger (JTG Daugherty Racing) will be on hand as representatives for Chevy; #20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing) is the Toyota entry while Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) and his #2 Ford team will be on hand to round out the test teams and vehicles. According to a Team Penske representative, Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano, crew chief Todd Gordon and several members of the #22 Team Penske group will be on hand as well to help and observe. In previous years, tire tests haven’t generated a great deal of interest. Now that NASCAR no longer allows private team testing, however, track time is considered more valuable. Goodyear has scheduled 14 tests for the upcoming season; Monday’s trip to Las Vegas is the only one currently on the schedule that does not dovetail with a team test. Others will be either one- or two-day tires tests followed by a single-day team test. For now, only a stop next month at Atlanta will see teams test prior to a Goodyear tire test at the facility. Teams will be given a four-hour window for testing one day before the start of that track’s race weekend. A two-day Goodyear tire test will be conducted at the track on March 2-3 after the completion of the Sprint Cup event. In all other cases, the team test will come after the Goodyear test is completed.(NASCAR.com)(1-19-2015) UPDATE: Monday’s Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway took on added importance for drivers #20-Matt Kenseth and #2-Brad Keselowski because of a slew of rules changes put in place this year by NASCAR. Kenseth and Keselowski were joined by fellow Sprint Cup Series drivers #41-Kurt Busch and #47-AJ Allmendinger for the one-day test on the 1.5-mile LVMS speedway. Although all Cup drivers will have to adjust to a number of changes this season, including a reduction in horsepower and a modified aero package, the biggest change will be NASCAR’s ban on all private testing in 2015.
“I think any track time you get is really important with the new testing rules, banning all off-season testing, which I think we all like, but you’ve really got to take advantage of the tests when you get them and try to gather as much information as you can – hopefully useful information that you can use down the road,” Kenseth said. “For us, we didn’t run particularly well last year and we’ve got a new nose on the Camry this year and new rules changes and aero package and all that stuff, so we’re just trying to get it sorted out and try to find a baseline and hopefully find something that drives good so we’ve got something decent when we come back here (March 6-8).
Keselowski, the defending winner of both the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race and the Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said he agreed with Kenseth. “More so than the changes to the car, the testing ban makes every test you do have that much more critical because you have so much less,” Keselowski said. “In that light, a lot of what testing is isn’t always developing the car, but you’re developing your people, developing your techniques. We added two or three more people to our team so we’re trying to develop them and get them up to speed, so it’s really a great time for us as a team to have a test.”(Las Vegas Motor Speedway)(1-20-2015)
Rockingham Speedway could turn into center for veterans: The troubled Rockingham Speedway could soon have new life. A judge gave owners a Jan. 1 deadline to find a buyer or put the property up for auction in March. A veterans charity called Help-Vets.Org (looks like it is supposed to be vets-help.org) told Channel 9 that it plans to buy the track and the property and turn it into a reintegration center for veterans. “What’s key about this property is Camp Mackall, the training center for Special Forces, is six miles down the road — Fort Bragg is right here,” Help-Vets.Org Executive Director Craig Northacker said. Northacker has big ideas for a $50 million investment, including housing, vocational training and even schooling. Richmond County Community College spokesman Andy Cagle told Channel 9 that the office met with Northacker. “RCC has always taught classes in off-campus locations across our service area, and would welcome any viable opportunity to support our veterans, the local economy and continue the rich traditions of racing in Richmond County,” said Dale McInnis, RCC President. City and county officials are skeptical. Richmond County Manager Rick Sago said he hasn’t seen any real financing plans. “We’ll see when the rubber hits the road what really happens. Bottom line is, it is a speedway, it has been since the ’60s and that’s what we want is a racetrack,” Sago said. “We have talked to JP Morgan Chase,” Northacker said. “There is another financing group in Florida, and we’re speaking with Royal Bank of Canada.” According to Northacker, the group is in the process of getting the property appraised and hopes to close on the property in mid-March. Channel 9 spoke to one of the speedway owners, Andy Hillenburg. He acknowledged conversations with Northacker but said he couldn’t comment on the ongoing legal matter.(WSOC and Richmond County Daily Journal)(1-20-2015)
New company developing NASCAR video game: A NASCAR game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC is in development at a newly announced studio, DMi Games. As of January 1, the North Carolina-based DMi Games had acquired the license to develop and publish games in the series from previous custodian Eutechnyx. The change in ownership was said to be complex due to the complexity of the licence agreements. DMi Games president Ed Martin explains: “Just to give you some context, a contemporary NASCAR video game has more than 1,000 licensed and approved properties in it. That’s a lot of stakeholders and people to get organized!” Martin, who has been working on NASCAR games since the early ’90s, announced the new deal in an open letter to fans. “We are already hard at work on several new games including an all-new NASCAR racing sim created by DMi for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC that we expect to release in 2016,” he explained.(GameSpot)(1-20-2015)
Buy one, get one at Atlanta: For one week only, Atlanta Motor Speedway is making an unbelievable discount offer available to fans for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday, March 1. Race fans can purchase “buy one, get one,” or “BOGO” Lower Champions Grandstands or Upper Winners Grandstands seats located on the AMS front stretch. This offer presents a 50 percent discount off the normal value and allows purchasers the opportunity to get two front stretch tickets for the price of one. Lower Champions Grandstands tickets, normally $99 apiece, will be available for $49.50 each, while Upper Winners Grandstands tickets, regularly priced $135, are on sale for $67.50 each. The BOGO promotion is only available while supplies last and will end at 5:00pm on Monday, Jan. 26. Fans are strongly encouraged to act quickly before the limited inventory runs out. All BOGO tickets must be purchased in pairs.(AMS)(1-20-2015)
Spencer Gallagher full-time with GSM in 2015: Spencer Gallagher will compete in all 23 NCWTS events in 2015 with GMS Racing. Gallagher will pilot the #23 Allegiant Travel Chevy alongside teammate Brandon Jones in the #33 Chevrolet. In 2013, Gallagher made his debut start in the series at Kansas and ran a total of 12 starts during the previous two seasons. Gallagher will team up with veteran crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz who recorded three top-five and 10 top-10 NCWTS finishes with GMS Racing last year. “A full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for GMS Racing is something I have been looking forward to for a long time. We all made a lot of progress and noise throughout 2014. I cannot wait to be behind the wheel for all 23 events,” said Gallagher. “I know Brandon (Jones) and I have the equipment and personnel behind us to go race for wins.”(GMS Racing)(1-20-2015)
POPULAR SPEED Announces Promotions and Expansion, looking for writers:POPULARSPEED.com is proud to announce the promotion of Kayla Darrow to Associate Editor. Darrow began her career with POPULAR SPEED as a Development Journalist where she received her first taste of published writing. She quickly rose through the ranks to Contributor and has had her byline featured on numerous editorial and news assignments. Her passion and dedication have given way to her most recent advancement. Darrow is a graduate of the Development Journalist program which is pleased to announce the promotion of Joey Chapman. Chapman joined POPULAR SPEED as a Development Journalist working to hone his craft of NASCAR-based journalism. Advancing to a Contributor, he will focus on gaining experience writing news-based stories and editorials, under the guidance of Executive Managing Editor Kelly Crandall.
“Joey has been a shining example of what the Development Journalist program is all about,” said Crandall. “He’s young, talented and eager to gain experience by learning from those who are in a position he hopes to reach one day. Since joining the POPULAR SPEED family, not only has Joey’s writing improved but he has grown into a team player and someone we’re proud to have represent us.”
The Development Journalist program aims to highlight young aspiring motorsports journalists by providing hands-on experience. Under the direction of numerous editors, Development Journalists are guided to both develop and improve their writing skills. They are also granted an inside look at the motorsports media world and the publishing process.
“Having started out in the DJ program helped me learn the basics of motorsports journalism, I’m excited to see how the program continues to grow and succeed,” said Darrow. “Personally, I’ve seen my writing and editing techniques strengthen, as well as those of my fellow journalists. The program is a great springboard for those wanting to get involved in the industry. I know it has well prepared me to take on a larger role at POPULAR SPEED.” The Development Journalist program seeks to expand to their next class of writers entering the 2015 NASCAR season. Additional writers are welcome as POPULAR SPEED embarks on their second full season. Those interested should inquire to firstname.lastname@example.org upon which they will be assigned an essay for evaluation. Submissions will be accepted until Friday, January 23rd, 2015. All participants must be 15 years of age or older.(Popular Speed)
News from January 19, 2015
RCR to field #29 for Scott in Daytona 500: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will field the #29 Chevy in the Daytona 500 for RCR XFNITY Series driver Brian Scott, who will attempt his second Daytona 500. The #29 will return to Sprint Cup Series competition for the first time since 2013 at Homestead, where reigning Cup champion Kevin Harvick wheeled a 10th place finish in final start for RCR. Richard “Slugger” Labbe, who stepped down as crew chief for Paul Menard following the Charlotte race last October to take a leadership role in research and development is the leading candidate to lead Scott during Speedweeks 2015. Scott competed in last season’s Daytona 500, qualifying a strong 12th, before finishing 25th in the #33 Whitetail Club Chevy for Circle Sport Racing. Circle Sport, which carries an affiliation with RCR will field an entry for Ty Dillon at Daytona [#33 Cheerios/Kroger Chevy]. Shore Lodge, a longtime backer of Scott’s NASCAR career is expected to sponsor him in his eighth Sprint Cup Series race. Scott’s pole at Talladega earned him an a spot in next month’s Sprint Unlimited, but Scott is not scheduled to compete in the non-points event, which opens the door for RCR teammate #27 Paul Menard to take his place, based on the new Sprint Unlimited guidelines unveiled by NASCAR last month. Scott’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program has not been outlined, but he is expected to run a limited schedule with hopes of a full-time campaign in 2016.(Catchfence)(1-19-2015)
Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas: The first NASCAR test of the 2015 season is scheduled to take place Monday when four Sprint Cup Series teams participate in a one-day Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The teams of #41-Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and #47-AJ Allmendinger (JTG Daugherty Racing) will be on hand as representatives for Chevy; #20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing) is the Toyota entry while Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) and his #2 Ford team will be on hand to round out the test teams and vehicles. According to a Team Penske representative, Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano, crew chief Todd Gordon and several members of the #22 Team Penske group will be on hand as well to help and observe. In previous years, tire tests haven’t generated a great deal of interest. Now that NASCAR no longer allows private team testing, however, track time is considered more valuable. Goodyear has scheduled 14 tests for the upcoming season; Monday’s trip to Las Vegas is the only one currently on the schedule that does not dovetail with a team test. Others will be either one- or two-day tires tests followed by a single-day team test. For now, only a stop next month at Atlanta will see teams test prior to a Goodyear tire test at the facility. Teams will be given a four-hour window for testing one day before the start of that track’s race weekend. A two-day Goodyear tire test will be conducted at the track on March 2-3 after the completion of the Sprint Cup event. In all other cases, the team test will come after the Goodyear test is completed.(NASCAR.com)(1-19-2015)
NASCAR spotters at the Rolex 24: NASCAR is NASCAR and sports cars are sports cars – and never the two shall meet, right? But at the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway [January 24-25], that demarcation line is getting more blurry than ever. Two of the best spotters in NASCAR will be lending their eyes and (hopefully) calming voices on the team radio in this year’s Rolex 24. Tim Fedewa, himself a former NASCAR driver and primary spotter for reigning 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion #4-Kevin Harvick, will give this sports car thing a whirl for a second time, having also done so in last year’s Rolex. Also, Tyler Green, who has served as #43-Aric Almirola’s spotter the last five years – including for Almirola’s first career Cup win last summer in the Coke Zero 400 at DIS – will also be for a second straight year at the Rolex. Both Fedewa and Green will be part of a team for Mazda drivers, that also includes Mazda primary spotter Chris Long (who works full-time with Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR team), as well as Daniel Tremblay, son of Mazda SpeedSource team owner and driver, Sylvain Tremblay.
Spotters work four-hour shifts during the race. “We will do four hours on, and four off,” Green said. “We’re used to long days on the spotter stand at NASCAR races, but this is like doing three 500-mile Cup races in one day.”
Spotters must be like postal carriers in the 24, in a sense. Neither gloom, nor dark, nor storms, nor chills will keep them from their appointed rounds in keeping their respective drivers safe and out of trouble. “It’s pretty straightforward in the daytime,” Fedewa said. “But, it’s not lit up like a NASCAR race when it’s dark. So, you have to focus that much more.”(NBC Sports)(1-19-2015)
Sad News – Jason Anderson: Dover International Speedway is mourning the loss of a dedicated employee who died yesterday from injuries sustained during a multi-vehicle collision on I-476 in Broomall, Pa. Jason Anderson, 33, senior director of ticket sales and operations for Dover International Speedway, died in the accident. Jason was a dedicated husband, father, employee and friend. He will be greatly missed. Anderson was a member of the Dover Motorsports, Inc. team for six years, and moved to Dover, Del. after operations were ceased at Memphis Motorsports Park. He worked at the New Orleans Saints prior to joining the Dover team. He was a proud Syracuse University graduate and recently received his master’s degree in Sports Management from Ohio University. Memorial services will be announced when more information is available.(Dover Speedway)(1-19-2015)
Rhodes to drive full-time for JD Motorsports UPDATE: Harrison Rhodes tweeted Friday that he will join JD Motorsports for the full season:”I’m excited to announce that I’ll be driving full time for @JDMotorsports01 this year in the @NASCAR_XFINITY Series!”. No additional details were announced. Landon Cassill will return full time to the #01 team. No announcement has been made on the status of the #4 team or last year’s driver, Jeffrey Earnhardt.(1-16-2015) UPDATE: JD Motorsports posted an update to their Facebook page, “Landon Cassill will be back in the #01 this season and yes, Harrison Rhodes Racing is also driving for us full time this season. However, Harrison is not going to be in the #4. Who will be driving the #4 car and what number will Harrison be racing in? With the incredible mind of Johnny Davis, anything is possible.”(1-19-2015)
New team to debut at Phoenix? A post on the Ole Energy Drink Facebook page, says “Olé Energy is going NASCAR and joining Team Kapusta Racing. We are off to the races March 13th, 14th 2015. Add it to your calendar and come see us at Phoenix International Raceway. More details and info coming!” A website for the team says “Team Kapusta Racing is a newly-formed NASCAR Nationwide team that has already made waves in the NASCAR community with its forward-thinking philosophy to the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team is owned by Milwaukee businessman, Tom Kapusta. Tom and his family have been in the automotive industry for a combined 54 years. A past racer himself, Tom has rubbed fenders with some of Wisconsin’s most notable racers including Matt Kenseth, Scott Wimmer and Travis Kvapil as they carved their early careers in the Wisconsin late model series. Team Kapusta Racing operates out of a state-of-the-art racing facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. A full-service fabrication, race setup and repair area incorporates the shop space, while day-to-day operations of TKR take place in front office space overlooking the busiest motorsports-related industrial park in the country, Lakeside Park.” No other details available yet. See an image of the car on the #21 team paint schemes page.(1-19-2015)
News from January 18, 2015
Abreu wins Chili Bowl: Rico Abreu scored one of the biggest wins of his racing career Saturday on one of short-track open-wheel racing’s biggest stages. Abreu took first place with a bold pass of leader Bryan Clauson on the 27th of 55 laps and held on to win the Chili Bowl, one of the nation’s major Midget races. It was the first Chili Bowl victory for Abreu, who runs both sprint-car and Midget series. Former Chili Bowl champion Kevin Swindell finished second after he made mid-race contact with his father, Sammy, also a previous Bowl winner. Damion Gardner was third. Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson, a teammate of Abreu’s, spun out twice during the race and finished seventh.(USA Today), J.J. Yeley finished 17th and Chad Boat was 21st in the final.(1-18-2015)
Zing Zang to return to Tommy Baldwin Racing: Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix, who sponsored Tommy Baldwin Racing’s #36 and driver Reed Sorenson for four races in 2014, announced on Twitterthat: “Hey NASCAR fans! Green Flag! It’s go time! We just signed with Tommy Baldwin Racing to support Reed Sorenson for the Sprint Cup season – starting with the Martinsville Speedway Race on March 29!” Doesn’t say how many races.(1-18-2015)
Kurt Busch has no comment on legal issues: Inside the Panic Switch Army retail trailer in one corner of the Chili Bowl souvenir area, Kurt Busch was at rest Saturday. It has been a long January. On the way to a NASCAR/Goodyear tire test scheduled Monday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch dropped in on the Chili Bowl Friday and Saturday to get a taste of the country’s No. 1 Midget racing event – and to sell a few T-shirts. Busch had spent two days this week in Kent County (Del.) Family Court, where he and others testified in hearings about a protection order filed against Busch by Patricia Driscoll, his former girlfriend. The hearings created interest far beyond the normal reach of NASCAR news, particularly when Busch claimed that Driscoll is a trained assassin, leading Driscoll to insist – again – that Busch is a candidate for treatment for alcoholism and depression. So Busch, weeks away from the start of his second Sprint Cup season with Stewart-Haas Racing, was more than happy to drop in on the Chili Bowl – his first visit, he said – and to leave the legal craziness behind for a while. The judge’s decision in the case is expected within the next month. Busch wouldn’t talk about his off-track troubles Friday or Saturday. Instead, he roamed the track area meeting fans, visited team co-owner Tony Stewart (who’s working with the track-preparation crew here) and relaxed at the Panic Switch Army traveling headquarters. Busch is a partner (along with company executives Luke and Charis Burrett) in Panic Switch, an “urban and streetwear” clothing company that is making inroads in the NASCAR (and other motor sports) souvenir area with on-the-edge apparel and accessories. Among Panic Switch’s “team” members are Busch (whose T-shirts are labeled “Outlaw”), Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart and wrestler Bill Goldberg.(USA Today)(1-18-2015)
Stewart expects at least one more leg surgery: The long recovery process from a broken leg suffered in a dirt-track race in August 2013 continues for Tony Stewart. He had a fourth surgery last month, and a fifth – and, he hopes, final – operation is scheduled after the 2015 Sprint Cup season to remove the titanium rod that supports the right leg. “The leg isn’t bad,” he said. “I was out here (working at the track [at the Chili Bowl]) on it for 12 hours Monday and didn’t have a problem. That’s a long day for anybody on their feet. I’m in pain, but I’m walking back and forth, so it’s not terrible. The last surgery wasn’t that bad. I feel better at this time this year than at the same time last year. I’m much further along.”(USA Today)(1-18-2015)
Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham Begin 2015 Living in the Past UPDATE: Jeff Gordon and former crew chief Ray Evernham will team up again in 2015. On Jan. 16 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the duo will auction off their final race-winning car at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. Proceeds from the sale of the 1999 #24 Pepsi Chevrolet Monte Carlo that won the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series (then known as the NASCAR Busch Series) race at Phoenix International Raceway will benefit Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. In 1999, Gordon/Evernham Motorsports (GEM) was formed to compete in six NASCAR XFINITY Series races with Gordon as driver and Evernham as crew chief. Evernham hosts Velocity’s AmeriCarna, and the television series will feature the restoration and sale of this 1999 #24 Chevy (Lot No. 3007; scheduled to be auctioned at 7 p.m. local time) during an upcoming episode.(VMG)(1-13-2015) UPDATE: Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham’s final race-winning stock car sold for $500,000 at auction on Friday night at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, to benefit the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. The car reached $450,000 and then hit a half million when Gordon sweetened the deal by adding his Pepsi uniform and autographed helmet. Both Gordon and Evernham were in attendance to watch the car go across the auction block. Evernham, who currently hosts “AmeriCarna” on Velocity, was also part of the Barrett-Jackson broadcast with the auction moving over to that channel this week. One of the upcoming episodes of “AmeriCarna” will feature the restoration and sale of the #24 Chevrolet. Season 2 of “AmeriCarna” is set to debut Feb. 17 on Velocity. Along with the Gordon car, one of the shows will be Elvis Presley-themed and it’s one that Dale Earnhardt Jr. helped Evernham with.(Motor Racing Network)(1-18-2015)
Sad News – Edward Doebler: Edward John Doebler, father of Richard Petty Motorsports fabricator and body hanger Kevin Doebler, passed away in a motor vehicle accident near his home in Troutman, NC the evening of Tuesday, January 13, 2015. He was 62. Ed retired from IBM in Endicott, NY after over 30 years of service. He was a racer who had feature wins at the former Shangri-La Speedway in Owego, NY where he was nicknamed “The Leadfoot”. While maintaining his full time job Ed assisted among others Alan Kulwicki Racing, Jimmy Means Racing and Brett Bodine Racing as a tire specialist, jackman, tire changer even crew chief when the series shifted to the northern tracks. Ed was a family man who is survived by his wife of 39 years, Patricia Doebler; his mother, Dorothy Doebler of Binghamton, NY; two sons, Joseph Doebler and Kevin Doebler both of Mooresville, NC, and his daughter, Kristi Doebler of Wilmington, NC. He was preceded in death by his Father, Richard Doebler. Celebrations of life will be held in Ed’s honor on Monday, January 19 in Mooresville, NC at the Wingate Hotel from 6:30-8:30pm and on Thursday, January 22 in Binghamton, NY at American Legion Post 1194 from 6:00-8:00pm. In lieu of flowers please donate to your local Humane Society or favorite children’s charity.(1-18-2015)
News from January 17, 2015
Kahne looks forward to return to sprint cars: #5-Kasey Kahne hopes to race a sprint car again after spending five nights this month wheeling one of the fastest cars on dirt. He certainly hopes it doesn’t take another three years to run his next sprint-car race. After a 2011 wreck where he flipped out of Williams Grove (Pa.) Raceway, Kahne ran a few more sprint-car races in 2012 before Rick Hendrick stopped approving him to compete in the open-cockpit cars that tend to flip more than a stock car. Kahne convinced his NASCAR team owner to allow him to get back into a sprint car powered by 410-cubic-inch engine at Cocopah Speedway in Arizona the first two weekends in January. Kahne finished 10th overall in points after the five races, with a best finish of fifth. He would have liked to have run better, but he just relished the opportunity to be in the cars again. He owns a sprint-car team and is around them daily. Kahne said he wasn’t trying to make a statement about sprint-car racing by competing in the inaugural sprint-car “Winter Heat” event at the Arizona track. As far as his racing schedule, Kahne says he has no idea when he’ll be back in a sprint car. “I definitely won’t be waiting two-and-a-half years again,” Kahne said. “I’m not sure when that next time will be. I think it”s definitely better to do it sooner than later so you can kind of keep with it and understand things. Me and Mr. H just talked about these five races and doing them. We did them and now I’m just focused on the Cup car. I would hope to get back in one at some point within three years.”(Sporting News)(1-17-2015)
Hendrick buys limited-edition BMW at Barrett-Jackson: NASCAR team owner and inveterate car collector Rick Hendrick is at it again. Thursday night at the Barrett-Jackson Collector-Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., Hendrick paid $700,000 for a special 30th Jahre — German for “year” — Anniversary Edition 2014 BMW M5 sedan, with all proceeds going to the BMW Car Club of America Foundation, which helps train young drivers. The car was one of just 30 imported in to the U.S. market, and one of just 300 produced worldwide. The $700,000 hammer price was the high sale of the auction so far. And it hauls asphalt, too, thanks to a 600-horsepower engine, which propels it from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds. The consignor described this car as “the last unsold example in this country” and “the most powerful production BMW ever.” Hendrick said the car will join the more than 200 cars in his Concord, N.C., museum. In fact, it will be parked next to a BMW i8 hybrid supercar in the same color. “We were fortunate enough to get the i8 in this color,” said Hendrick. “This baby’s going to go right beside the i8 in the museum. The only miles it’s going to get are in the truck (sending it from Arizona to North Carolina.)”(FoxSports)(1-17-2014)
Nelson Piquet, Jr. would be interested in NASCAR return: While Nelson Piquet Jr. looks happy being back in open-wheels and driving in one of FIA’s main series with major exposure around the world, there’s something that sit right on top of Nelson’s mind and has him dreaming about a return. No sir, this is not about Formula One, those days are fully behind. NASCAR is what hit him hard since day one he jumped-in for a test. “I would love to return and would love to win a Truck championship and be the first Latin American to win a NASCAR championship, but all depends. I mean, still have 30 years at least in my career and a lot can happen”, he told Motorsport.com. “At the moment things are going very well over here so I’m going to focus my time in my dedication over here, but I’m never going say no to NASCAR. It’s a great sport, a great category, I love them very much and I love the racing, love the fighting and I wish I’d be doing both basically”, he states.(Motorsport)(1-17-2015)
Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety sponsoring qualifying at Atlanta: The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will serve as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying day at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, Feb. 27. The event will be named the Drive Sober Georgia Qualifying Day. GOHS’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is a safe driving program that targets impaired drivers through concentrated patrols and sobriety checkpoints. The zero tolerance campaign reminds motorists that if they get caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, they will be arrested and go to jail. The Drive Sober Georgia Qualifying Day will feature a full day of high-speed NASCAR action on the Atlanta Motor Speedway oval. NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series, XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series teams will each take part in practice sessions during the day before Sprint Cup Series qualifying begins at 5:45pm to determine the pole winner and the starting order for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.(AMS)(1-17-2015)
News from January 16, 2015
Cole Whitt moves to Front Row Motorsports: Up-and-coming driver Cole Whitt will expand the Front Row Motorsports racing stable to three full-time cars in 2015, piloting the #35 Ford with support from Speed Stick for 10 races, including the season-opening Daytona 500. Randy Cox will also join the Front Row team to continue his relationship with Whitt as crew chief. The 23-year-old Whitt will enter his second full-time Sprint Cup Series season after progressively climbing the NASCAR racing ranks of the Nationwide, Camping World Truck and K&N series. The Alpine, Calif., native made his transition to stock cars after an early career in open-wheel racing, which included a 2008 USAC National Midget championship. Speed Stick is also on board to support Whitt during his sophomore season. Speed Stick®, known for its line of high-performing antiperspirants and deodorants, previously sponsored Whitt during his rookie year and connected with fans by documenting the driver’s first race at the Daytona 500 through a unique, online video series.Additional Speed Stick brand sponsored races this year will include high-profile events such as the Talladega Superspeedway race in May, the 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Bristol Motor Speedway Night Race.(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on the #35 Team Schemes page and see earlier news/updates on Whitt to Front Row on the #26 Team News page.(1-16-2015)
Fox Sports & NBC will focus on “second screen” in NASCAR coverage: As Fox Sports heads into 2015, it is taking more of a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy with the second screen. Fox Sports executives view established social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as the place where its viewers can have a second-screen experience. During this year’s NASCAR coverage, for example, Fox Sports plans to program highlights, commentary, photographs and behind-the-scenes information on its NASCAR Facebook pages.
“You go where the people are,” Fox Sports President Eric Shanks said at an industry conference last month. “It’s naïve to think that you can wave a magic wand and that there’s going to appear a second screen that’s more powerful than Facebook.”
Sports networks are making some second-screen inroads with the launch of streaming services. NBC Sports Group executives, for example, have found that putting content around the live streams for “Sunday Night Football” helps keep online viewers watching the game longer. Both NBC and Fox plan to stream every NASCAR race this season and will program second-screen applications around those services.
“We’ll play around as much as we are allowed to around our streaming product and make that not only a first-screen but a second-screen experience,” NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said last month. Both Lazarus and Shanks believe the streaming services will help Fox and NBC attract younger viewers to their NASCAR programming. Lazarus also said that NBC’s marketing plan, which will include NBC’s entertainment and news assets, also should help attract younger viewers.(Sports Business Daily)(1-16-2015)
A.J. Foyt released from hospital: Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt has been released from a Houston hospital more than three weeks after triple-bypass heart surgery. Spokeswoman Anne Fornoro says Foyt was released from Baylor-St. Luke’s Medical Center on Tuesday and is recovering at home. She says the Nov. 12 surgery was successful, but he developed serious complications and was kept on a ventilator for eight days to allow his lungs to recover full function. In all, Foyt spent 25 days in the hospital after being admitted Nov. 7 with chest pains, including 10 days in intensive care. Fornoro said previously that doctors found blockages in three arteries in which the 79-year-old Foyt previously had stents placed. He is expected to make a full recovery.(Associated Press/ESPN)(1-16-2015)
Rhodes to drive full-time for JD Motorsports: Harrison Rhodes tweeted Friday that he will join JD Motorsports for the full season:”I’m excited to announce that I’ll be driving full time for @JDMotorsports01 this year in the @NASCAR_XFINITY Series!”. No additional details were announced. Landon Cassill will return full time to the #01 team. No announcement has been made on the status of the #4 team or last year’s driver, Jeffrey Earnhardt.(1-16-2015)
White driving for Carl Long at Daytona: Carl Long Motorsports posted on their Facebook page, that Derek While will be behind the wheel of their #13 Dodge at Daytona.(1-16-2015)
New crew chief for Sauter? hearing that Doug George will be the new crew chief for Johnny Sauter on the #98 ThorSport Racing team. George was the crew chief for Turner-Scott Motorsports team in 2014.(1-16-2015)
Tyler Young to run full time again in 2015: Young’s Motorsports announced that Midland, Texas native Tyler Young will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series full-time in 2015 behind the wheel of his family-owned #02 Chevy Silverado. The 24-year-old driver, who competed for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2014, enters the 2015 season looking to build on the foundation he made in his rookie season. Young completed his first full season in the NCWTS in 2014. Making 12 track debuts throughout the 22-race schedule, the Sunoco rookie steadily improved throughout the season, amassing five top-15 finishes including a career-best 11th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. The Young’s Motorsports driver capped off his rookie campaign 13th in the NCWTS driver point standings, a mere 10 points out of 10th place. Young’s 2015 season will once again be led by veteran crew chief, Bryan Berry. Berry, a Homestead, Fla. native, is a 12-year veteran of the NCWTS and has 200 starts to his resume, including eight top-five and 27 top-10 finishes.(Young’s Motorsports)(1-16-2015)
Brandon Jones Joins GMS Racing for 16 races: Brandon Jones will drive GMS Racing’s #33 Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 16 races. Jones joins Spencer Gallagher as part of the driver lineup for the 2015 season. Jones’ season with the Statesville, N.C., team kicks off at Martinsville Speedway in March with veteran crew chief Shane Huffman calling the shots for #33 Chevy team. The duo previously worked together last season. The Atlanta, Ga., native made his debut with GMS Racing in October 2014, driving the #33 Chevy in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway. In his second start with GMS Racing, Jones led the three-truck contingent with a 12th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway. Jones made five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts in 2014 and posted his career-best finish of fourth at Dover International Speedway. Aside from his truck racing duties last season, Jones competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, capturing his first series victory at Iowa Speedway and finished the season fourth in the championship point standings on the strength of 11 top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.(GMS Racing)(1-16-2015)
Schneider Electric named “We Build Daytona” partner: Daytona International Speedway announced that Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, has become the latest partner in the “We Built Daytona” marketing platform for the $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project. Schneider Electric will provide a single view into all critical infrastructure systems through its EcoStruxure solution, allowing for a reliable and energy efficient fan experience. Additionally, Schneider Electric will coordinate with its other partners to provide an integrated solution including power distribution, electrical metering, building management controls and further integration of elevators, escalators, lighting, fire systems and generators. The “We Built Daytona” platform is designed specifically for partners involved in the construction of DAYTONA Rising and enables them to showcase their involvement through a marketing presence (once their role in the project begins).(Daytana International Speedway)(1-16-2015)
News from January 15, 2015
NASCAR explains new pit road technology: NASCAR officials will no longer be standing alongside crewmen to police pit stops in 2015, but that doesn’t mean the sanctioning body won’t be watching what takes place. A new, technologically driven system that incorporates the use of 45 cameras will feed video of every stop made by every team to a central location, where eight officials will log pertinent information and report any violations. How will it work?
Each of the cameras will display two specific pit stalls. Once a car is on pit road, the individual cameras will record its progress as it moves through each area. The use of tracking software and pit road scoring loops identifies and verifies each car. That same system software tracking its movement will indicate any infractions, such as too many men over the wall or driving through too many pit boxes when entering or exiting the pits based on information ingested prior to the event. If there are no infractions logged by the system, one of the eight officials will still monitor the stop, noting the number of tires taken, whether fuel was added and whether any changes (chassis adjustments or repair to a damaged area, for example) to the car were made. Infractions fall into three groups — vehicle (such as pitting outside pit box), equipment (leaving pit box with gas can still attached, etc.) and personnel/crew (too many men over the wall; over the wall too soon, etc.) When the software picks up an infraction, it will be displayed on the monitor where an official will quickly view the stop and either confirm the issue (and subsequently notify the tower) or clear it if it can be determined that no infraction took place. Although it was in place during the final portion of the ’14 season, the system was tested, but not used for official purposes. The expectation is for each pit stop to be viewed and cleared in no more than eight seconds and stops are prioritized — those that are flagged as infractions are moved to the top of the list for immediate attention. The eight officials work through each stop until all have been cleared, reported when necessary and logged. Teams will be notified of any penalties that occur once a stop has been completed. “We’re not going to tell anyone of any violations until they leave pit road,” [Shawn Rogers, Managing Director of Business Operations for NASCAR] said. “That’s how we do speeding violations now. So we don’t get into this person found out a little bit sooner than that person.
The use of the technology will change the number of officials along pit road. Instead of the approximately two dozen that policed pit stops last year, only 10 will be in the pits this year. And Rogers said they would be stationed behind pit wall where they can respond to any team inquiries and monitor actions from that side of the car when necessary. The officiating system will not be used at stand-alone events for the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, according to Rogers.(NASCAR.com)(1-15-2015)
What is Mark Martin up to? Jared Landers will team with late model dirt-race legend Scott Bloomquist, with both drivers competing for the Lucas Oil Late Model Championship in 2015. Landers Triple 7 machine will carry primary partnership from Crop Production Services, along with Mark Martin Automotive, Bad Boy Mowers, Auto Services’ Company and Paul McKenna of Big Dog Motorsports. “We are very excited about the opportunity to team Jared up with Scott Bloomquist this season,” said NASCAR legend Mark Martin, who cut his racing teeth at the dirt track before moving on to NASCAR stardom. “Scott is the master of racing dirt models and anytime you can team with someone of that caliber, you can rest assured it will have a great impact on your program.”(Mark Martin Automotive)(1-15-2015)
Chiquita closing headquarters at NASCAR Hall of Fame: Chiquita Brands International is closing its Charlotte headquarters barely more than three years after deciding to move here, the company said Wednesday. Chiquita employs about 320 office workers uptown. Chiquita was acquired earlier this month for about $681 million by two Brazilian companies, who took the banana-and-salads firm private after a bruising takeover fight. The move out of Charlotte will help streamline Chiquita’s business and move its employees closer to suppliers and customers, Chiquita said in its message to employees. The company was lured to Charlotte from Cincinnati in 2011 with the promise of $22 million worth of state and local incentives. Chiquita moved into the NASCAR Plaza office tower, putting its iconic blue and yellow logo atop the building. The company has agreed to refund the city and county $1 million worth of the incentives money.(Charlotte Observer)(1-15-2015)
Sad News – Ray Williams: Ray Williams, father of veteran motorsports writer Deb Williams, passed away Tuesday at his Canton, N.C., home where he was born after a gallant 1 ½ year battle with prostate cancer. He was 91. A World War II veteran, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps for three years before returning to his hometown where he spent 45 years as a machinist at Champion Paper and Fiber Co., which became International Paper. A man whose family was always first in his life and his heart, he is survived by his wife of 72 years, Christine “Cricket” Scroggs Williams; two daughters, Gail Williams O’Brien and her husband Tony La Vopa of Raleigh, N.C., and Deb Williams of Concord, N.C.; a granddaughter, Kelly Christina O’Brien of Albany, Calif.; and several loving nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alvers Joshua Williams and Bertha Winchester Williams, and a brother, Earl Williams Sr. Crawford/Ray Funeral Home in Canton is handling the arrangements.(1-15-2015)
Martinsville Speedway Offers High Level Of Action For Small Price: The first short-track race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, comes with an amazingly high excitement level and at an equally amazing low price. Tickets for the STP 500 begin at just $45 and family packages start at only $110. If past races at the .526-mile oval are any indication, the STP 500 will be full of edge-of-your-seat action and close racing. In last spring’s race there were 33 lead changes and 14 caution periods. Last fall’s Goody’s FAST Pain Relief 500 had perhaps the most exciting finish ever at Martinsville with Dale Earnhardt Jr. holding off Jeff Gordon to claim his first grandfather clock. Post-race fan surveys consistently show Martinsville Speedway events as some of the most popular on the circuit, not only in the quality of racing, but in affordability, staff friendliness and ticketing, among others. STP 500 tickets are remarkably affordable from top to bottom. While the entry level ticket is $45, the most expensive is just $85. Martinsville Speedway also offers two Family Four Pack packages.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-15-2015)
News from January 14, 2015
Kurt Busch court hearing resumes UPDATES: NASCAR driver #41-Kurt Busch is returning to court as a hearing resumes on his ex-girlfriend’s request for a no-contact order. Patricia Driscoll claims that Busch assaulted her inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September, and that she still fears for her safety.A Family Court hearing on Driscoll’s request for a no-contact order was to resume Monday. Her claims are also subject to a separate criminal investigation. Busch’s attorneys have denied the assault investigations and have tried to portray Driscoll as a scorned woman out to destroy Busch’s career after he ended their relationship.(Associated Press) UPDATE: NASCAR’s Kurt Busch denied allegations of domestic assault during a court hearing Monday, saying that all he did was cup his hands around his ex-girlfriend’s face and tell her to leave. The denials came as he and his defense attorney, Rusty Hardin, re-enacted the events of Sept. 26. It was that night that Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, alleged the driver slammed her head three times against the bedroom wall of Busch’s motor home that was parked at Dover Downs International Speedway. Monday was the third day of a hearing related to a protection order filed by Driscoll last year. Hardin spent most of Monday disputing Driscoll’s allegations and calling her credibility into question. He has said that Driscoll is a jilted ex-lover who is out to destroy Busch’s reputation. Hardin has argued that Driscoll showed up uninvited and refused to leave the night of the alleged assault. Several people testified during the hearing, including Busch, that Driscoll claimed she was a trained assassin who had killed people, including drug lords. While on the stand, Busch said Driscoll claimed that Jessica Chastain’s character in the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was partly based on her and other females working in counterintelligence and defense. When Hardin asked how he’d fare in a physical confrontation, Busch said he knew she could overpower him. “I knew she could take me down at any moment,” Busch said. Earlier on Monday, proceedings began with one of NASCAR’s chaplains, Nick Terry. Terry testified that Driscoll told him Busch had grabbed her by the neck and pushed her up against the wall, but that was it. He said that Driscoll asked he and his wife to look for marks or redness on her neck, but they found none. Busch’s assistant, Kristy Cloutier, also testified on Monday, saying that she had doubts about Driscoll’s claims. Busch would never harm another person intentionally, she said.The hearing resumes Tuesday morning.(Delaware News Journal)(1-12-2015) UPDATE 2: The NASCAR driver known as “The Outlaw” testified Tuesday he believes his ex-girlfriend is a trained assassin dispatched on covert missions around the world who once returned home in a blood-splattered gown. Kurt Busch, appearing in court again over Patricia Driscoll’s request for a no-contact order, continued the push of his legal team to discredit his ex as a scorned woman out to destroy his career, portraying her as a character fit for a screenplay. Busch said Driscoll repeatedly asserted her assassin status and claimed the work took her on missions across Central and South America and Africa. She once left in camouflage only to return wearing a trench coat over a blood-flecked evening gown, he said. The testimony came a day after the driver said his ex-girlfriend told him she was a mercenary who killed people for a living and that she showed him pictures of bodies with gunshot wounds. During the hearing, which stretched over four days, neither Driscoll nor her attorney refuted testimony about her telling people she was a trained assassin.Busch told reporters outside the courtroom: “I’m just glad that the truth got told and we will wait for the commissioner’s decision.” That decision is expected in a couple of weeks. Busch testified Monday that he decided to end his relationship last fall because she was monopolizing his schedule and he needed to focus on racing.(Associated Press / Delaware News Journal)(1-13-2015) UPDATE 3: Patricia Driscoll, ex-girlfriend of Kurt Busch, issued a statement Wednesday countering Busch’s claim that she is an assassin. “Over the past 7 years I have worked on a movie script with producers about a female CIA operative and her work on classified missions for the U.S.,” Driscoll’s statement read. “The script was bought by a couple different production companies. Over the years many people have heard the many variations the script has taken each time it was purchased by another studio. Mr. Busch has seen and given commentary to me on the latest script because some of the stories he told on the stand are straight from the script. Mr. Busch’s statements in court serve to confirm my belief that he needs professional counseling to deal with his alcoholism and issues of depression. Since day one I have stood by my statements that my motive was not greed but in fact concern for the man I loved. I have previously shared my concerns for Mr. Busch’s mental state since the onset of this case only to be dismissed by his legal team. Perhaps now his family and those around him recognize his fragile state and will provide him the mental health care and support he needs. He clearly believes fiction is reality and that’s all the more reason he needs help.”(Motor Racing Network)(1-14-2015)
Sport Clips to sponsor Edwards and Hamlin: Sport Clips Racing enters its seventh season (2015) as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin will continue to have Sport Clips as the primary sponsor of the #11 Toyota in two 2015 Sprint Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway in March and Darlington in September. Carl Edwards starts a new chapter in 2015 joining Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the #19 Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series. Sport Clips will be the primary sponsor of the #19 in two Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire in July and Texas in November.(SportClips / JGR), see images of the #11 and #19 on the #11 Team Schemes page and the #19 Team Schemes page.(1-14-2015)
NASCAR adds new members to Hall of Fame voting panel: NASCAR announced several revisions to the NASCAR Hall of Fame (NHOF) Voting Panel. The 58-member panel will vote for the NHOF Class of 2016 on Wednesday, May 20 in Charlotte, North Carolina, to be announced that afternoon in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Great Hall. For the first time, new NASCAR broadcast partner NBC will be represented on the Voting Panel. Below are the eight new members of the NHOF Voting Panel.
” Ron Bennett, Holland (New York) Motorsports Complex
” Jeff Burton, NBC Sports Network
” Steve Byrnes, FOX Sports 1
” Brent Dewar, NASCAR
” Eli Gold, Motor Racing Network
” Kevin Harvick, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
” Marty Smith, ESPN
” Jim Utter, Charlotte Observer
“These eight new voters collectively hold a vast array of NASCAR knowledge from all disciplines of the industry,” said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer. “Each new member brings a unique background and passion for the history of NASCAR and will contribute greatly to the Hall of Fame voting process.” The 22-member Nominating Committee — which includes the additions of Bennett and Dewar — will meet on Friday, Feb. 20 in Daytona Beach, Florida, to discuss, debate, and vote for the 20 NHOF Class of 2016 nominees and five nominees for the second Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The results will be announced that afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Dr. Jerry Punch will move to the voting panel for the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. The fifth recipient of the award will be announced during the July race weekend at Daytona. The NHOF Class of 2015, which includes Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White, will be officially inducted on Friday, Jan. 30 at 8:00pm/et live on NBC Sports Network.(NASCAR)(1-14-2015)
Several NASCAR connections in the Chili Bowl UPATE: Three Sprint Cup drivers are among those with NASCAR ties entered in this week’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, one of the biggest annual events for racers of sprint midget cars. Cup drivers #42-Kyle Larson, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and JJ Yeley will compete in the event at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa. Qualifying races to set up the lineups for Saturday’s championship day will run Tuesday-Friday for the more than 300 drivers in the event. Larson, Stenhouse and Yeley also will compete in a 16-driver invitation-only all-star event Tuesday night. Among those in the invitation-only event is four-time Chili Bowl champion Kevin Swindell, who has competed part-time in the XFINITY Series. Former Cup and Xfinity Series driver Kenny Wallace is competing for the first time in the event. Among other drivers with NASCAR connections competing are Xfinity drivers Tanner Berryhill and Ryan Ellis and Camping World Truck Series driver Cole Custer.(Sporting News)(1-13-2015) UPDATE: Kyle Larson scored his second checkered flag of 2015 by winning the opening night of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. After winning the second round of the Winter Heat Showdown at Cocopah Speedway on Jan. 3, Larson showed no signs of slowing down. He rebounded from a Heat Race crash in Tuesday’s qualifying night at the Tulsa Expo Center to win the C, B and A-Features. The “A” victory locked Larson into Saturday night’s championship event. “I thought it’d be tough to get to the ‘A’,” Larson said. “I could get through the ‘C’ and thought it would be close on getting to the ‘A’ from the ‘B’. If I was to get to the ‘A’, I thought if I could finish in the top-six or seven, it would be a solid recovery. Everything seemed to fall my way after that Heat Race accident.” Qualifying for the 29th Chili Bowl Midget Nationals continues Wednesday with 82 drivers scheduled to qualify.(Motor Racing Network)(1-14-2015)
Tire changer sues MWR: A former top tire changer for Michael Waltrip Racing sued the Cornelius-based motorsports team on Tuesday, claiming he was fired a day before undergoing surgery for a shoulder injury suffered when he was struck by a car during a NASCAR race. Brandon Hopkins helped Michael Waltrip Racing to its first Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award in 2012. He contends team officials “blacklisted” him after his surgery by falsely accusing him of stealing a pit gun used to remove lug nuts. As a result, he lost an unpaid internship with another NASCAR Sprint Cup team and paid work with a NASCAR Truck Series team, Hopkins says in the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Charlotte employment law lawyer Joshua Van Kampen in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. Hopkins is suing for damages, citing breach of contract, defamation, intentional interference with a contract and violation of the N.C. blacklisting statute, according to his lawsuit. Hopkins says he was injured while changing tires for the #15 car driven by Clint Bowyer at Chicagoland Speedway in September 2013. In March 2014, a doctor with OrthoCarolina told Hopkins he needed surgery. Hopkins says he told a team official he would delay the surgery until he could no longer perform. After the April 2014 race at Texas Motor Speedway, he says he started losing feeling in his arm and requested surgery as soon as possible. A team official asked him to wait until after the season, or until the team knew whether it would make The Chase, according to the lawsuit. Hopkins says he “sucked it up” and worked through the summer. He says the Aug. 7, 2014, surgery was a success and he “diligently” attended physical therapy. In late October, a doctor cleared him to return to work, the lawsuit says. But Michael Waltrip Racing officials told the teams that later retained Hopkins that he’d stolen a pit gun, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit calls those claims “demonstrably false,” noting that Hopkins was the team member entrusted to transport the guns to each race. Just before his surgery, the lawsuit says, he mistakenly brought a pit gun home, thinking it was his personal pit gun. He didn’t want to leave it at the race shop because he knew the surgery would keep him out for a while.(Charlotte Observer)(1-14-2015)
Childress employee accused of stealing racing suits: An employee of Richard Childress Racing in Welcome is accused of taking a driver’s suit and three crew member suits and selling them on eBay. Kenneth Lane Wilkes, 65, of 266 Glenn Link Road, was released from custody Friday under a $10,000 unsecured bond. He has been charged with a count of felony larceny by employee. Davidson County Sheriff David Grice said the driver’s suit was valued at $3,000 and each crew member suit at $1,000. The suits were not marked with a particular driver or team, according to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff explained he couldn’t comment on whether Wilkes has been fired. It was unclear Monday in what capacity Wilkes was employed with Richard Childress Racing. A spokesman with Richard Childress Racing declined comment.(Lexington Dispatch)(1-14-2015)
NASCAR Industry’s Medical, Security, and Track Services Personnel gather for pre-season preparation: What began more than a decade ago in early January as a small gathering of medical, safety, security and track services personnel to share best practices and prepare for the coming NASCAR season has ballooned into one of the most vital and unique preseason conventions in all of motorsports. The annual NASCAR Summit will concluded its three-day agenda Tuesday at the Concord (North Carolina) Convention Center, where a record number of over 800 attendees in those aforementioned fields representing the facilities that host NASCAR’s national, touring and weekly and IMSA series events converged to ideate and address numerous key topics in their areas of expertise prior to the start of the 2015 NASCAR and IMSA racing seasons. The Summit is organized each year by NASCAR’s Racing Operations group, led by its Medical Liaison, Security and Track Services teams. General sessions featuring top keynote speakers, breakout sessions, round tables, workshops specific to top-line subjects in their respective disciplines and at-track demonstrations at Charlotte Motor Speedway make up the always-evolving agenda. Attendees utilize the Summit as a baseline for the coming year while planning for their individual events which continue to include update meetings before, during and after each race weekend. Awards are also presented by NASCAR to individuals who excelled during the previous season in their various fields. Those honored for their work in 2014 were:
” Above and Beyond Award – Blaine Bates, Field Investigator, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
” Nursing Director Award – Robbie Parks, RN, EMT-P, Bristol Motor Speedway
” Medical Director Award – Dennis Allin, MD, Kansas Speedway
” Teamwork Award – Texas Motor Speedway Infield Care Center
” NASCAR Security Award for Excellence – Gerald Baker, Security Director, Texas Motor Speedway; Lt. David Meade (Law Enforcement Supervisor, Sullivan Co. Sheriff’s Office, Bristol Motor Speedway)
” Jim Bockoven Track Services Lifetime Achievement Award – Ken Burdine (Miller Industries)
” Excellence in Track Services Award – Donald “Doc” Jernigan, Richmond International Raceway
” Track Services Innovation Award – Jeff Miles (Key Equipment)
” Track Services Mission Award – Kentucky Speedway
” Track Services Teamwork Award – Phoenix International Raceway
Jake Griffin to drive for MB Motorsports at Martinsville: 16-year-old Jake Griffin announced that he has inked a deal with MB Motorsports to pilot their #63 Chevy Silverado entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, March 28th. The Kroger 250 will mark Griffin’s first start in NCWTS competition, and it will be coming with a historic team. MB Motorsports is the oldest team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Their history with the tour dates back to the inaugural season in 1995. The team, which is owned by Missouri-based, Mittler Brothers, will be teaming with Jake Griffin, who became the youngest driver to ever win a NASCAR sanctioned event after a claiming win at the age of 14-years-old in 2013. The team is currently seeking sponsorship to enter more events during the 2015 campaign. At 16-years-old, Jake can enter up to nine races this season.(Jake Griffin PR)(1-14-2015)
Texas Motor Speedway seeking Fan Council members: For a fourth consecutive year, Texas Motor Speedway is seeking fans to become part of the Texas Motor Speedway Fan Council which provides insightful feedback in an effort to enhance the raceday experience for all speedway’s guests. Continuing through Feb. 6, fans can submit their application by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com to be considered for a seat on the Texas Motor Speedway Fan Council. The group will consist of 20 to 30 fans that will maintain an active role in providing constructive feedback to speedway management throughout the upcoming season. The council will possess a diverse makeup, consisting of PSL holders, individual ticket purchasers, suite holders, campers and new race fans. The Texas Motor Speedway Fan Council will host an on-site meeting during each of the speedway’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends in April and November and a one-hour teleconference following the Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar Series/NASCAR Camping World Truck Series doubleheader in June. Members also will be requested to complete five e-mail questionnaires over the course of the term to prepare Texas Motor Speedway management for meetings and recaps following race weekends. Selections will be made Feb. 16 and members will be notified no later than Feb. 20. Once the term expires, new members will be chosen for the 2016 season.(TMS)(1-14-2015)
News from January 13, 2015
Kurt Busch court hearing resumes UPDATES: NASCAR driver #41-Kurt Busch is returning to court as a hearing resumes on his ex-girlfriend’s request for a no-contact order. Patricia Driscoll claims that Busch assaulted her inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September, and that she still fears for her safety.A Family Court hearing on Driscoll’s request for a no-contact order was to resume Monday. Her claims are also subject to a separate criminal investigation. Busch’s attorneys have denied the assault investigations and have tried to portray Driscoll as a scorned woman out to destroy Busch’s career after he ended their relationship.(Associated Press) UPDATE: NASCAR’s Kurt Busch denied allegations of domestic assault during a court hearing Monday, saying that all he did was cup his hands around his ex-girlfriend’s face and tell her to leave. The denials came as he and his defense attorney, Rusty Hardin, re-enacted the events of Sept. 26. It was that night that Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, alleged the driver slammed her head three times against the bedroom wall of Busch’s motor home that was parked at Dover Downs International Speedway. Monday was the third day of a hearing related to a protection order filed by Driscoll last year. Hardin spent most of Monday disputing Driscoll’s allegations and calling her credibility into question. He has said that Driscoll is a jilted ex-lover who is out to destroy Busch’s reputation. Hardin has argued that Driscoll showed up uninvited and refused to leave the night of the alleged assault. Several people testified during the hearing, including Busch, that Driscoll claimed she was a trained assassin who had killed people, including drug lords. While on the stand, Busch said Driscoll claimed that Jessica Chastain’s character in the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was partly based on her and other females working in counterintelligence and defense. When Hardin asked how he’d fare in a physical confrontation, Busch said he knew she could overpower him. “I knew she could take me down at any moment,” Busch said. Earlier on Monday, proceedings began with one of NASCAR’s chaplains, Nick Terry. Terry testified that Driscoll told him Busch had grabbed her by the neck and pushed her up against the wall, but that was it. He said that Driscoll asked he and his wife to look for marks or redness on her neck, but they found none. Busch’s assistant, Kristy Cloutier, also testified on Monday, saying that she had doubts about Driscoll’s claims. Busch would never harm another person intentionally, she said.The hearing resumes Tuesday morning.(Delaware News Journal)(1-12-2015) UPDATE 2: The NASCAR driver known as “The Outlaw” testified Tuesday he believes his ex-girlfriend is a trained assassin dispatched on covert missions around the world who once returned home in a blood-splattered gown. Kurt Busch, appearing in court again over Patricia Driscoll’s request for a no-contact order, continued the push of his legal team to discredit his ex as a scorned woman out to destroy his career, portraying her as a character fit for a screenplay. Busch said Driscoll repeatedly asserted her assassin status and claimed the work took her on missions across Central and South America and Africa. She once left in camouflage only to return wearing a trench coat over a blood-flecked evening gown, he said. The testimony came a day after the driver said his ex-girlfriend told him she was a mercenary who killed people for a living and that she showed him pictures of bodies with gunshot wounds. During the hearing, which stretched over four days, neither Driscoll nor her attorney refuted testimony about her telling people she was a trained assassin.Busch told reporters outside the courtroom: “I’m just glad that the truth got told and we will wait for the commissioner’s decision.” That decision is expected in a couple of weeks. Busch testified Monday that he decided to end his relationship last fall because she was monopolizing his schedule and he needed to focus on racing.(Associated Press / Delaware News Journal)(1-13-2015)
Love’s Travel Stops expands sponsorship of Gilliland: David Gilliland will return to Front Row Motorsports in 2015, and his #38 Ford will carry the colors of Love’s Travel Stops for an expanded 18 races. The extended partnership will once again anchor Love’s as Gilliland’s principal sponsor for the season and will return the familiar yellow, red and black scheme to the #38 Ford Fusion for half of the 2015 points races. The 2015 Sprint Cup season will mark Gilliland’s 10th year in NASCAR’s top series and sixth with the Statesville, N.C.-based race team. The 38-year-old driver earned Front Row’s first pole position in 2014, owns Front Row’s highest-ever points finish (26th in 2013) and has been a consistent threat for the team on superspeedways, road courses and short tracks. Gilliland and the Love’s Travel Stops Ford famously pushed teammate David Ragan to a Front Row 1-2 finish at Talladega Superspeedway in 2013 for the team’s first victory. Love’s Travel Stops enters its third year as a partner with the team, having progressively grown its commitment with each season. The 18-race program will include events such as the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, both races at Texas Motor Speedway, and road-course races at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #38 team paint schemes page.(1-13-2015)
TaxACT sponsoring Patrick in two races: TaxACT, the critically-acclaimed leader of affordable tax preparation solutions, has partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing to sponsor the #10 team and driver Danica Patrick in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. TaxACT will serve as the co-primary sponsor with GoDaddy during the Feb. 14 Sprint Unlimited exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway. For the remainder of Budweiser Speedweeks at Daytona, which includes Daytona 500 Qualifying Feb. 15, the Budweiser Duel Feb. 19 and the 57th Daytona 500 Feb. 22, TaxACT will be seen on the C-post of the #10 GoDaddy Chevy SS. And during the heart of tax season, TaxACT will serve as the primary sponsor of the #10 team and Patrick during the March 27-29 race weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Strong activation by TaxACT augments the sponsorship with SHR and Patrick. By going to www.TaxACT.com/Danica for the TaxACT Fast Cars, Fast Refunds Sweepstakes with Danica Patrick, NASCAR fans can register for a chance to win a behind-the-scenes, VIP experience with Patrick and the #10 GoDaddy team during the Daytona 500. Secondary prizes include an autographed TaxACT firesuit from Patrick and autographed pieces of sheet metal from the #10 Chevy, as well as a match of up to $2,500 on an IRS refund or balance due for a TaxACT e-filed return.(TrueSpeed Communications/Stewart-Haas), see an image of the car on the #10 team paint schemes page.(1-13-2015)
Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham Begin 2015 Living in the Past: Jeff Gordon and former crew chief Ray Evernham will team up again in 2015. On Jan. 16 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the duo will auction off their final race-winning car at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. Proceeds from the sale of the 1999 #24 Pepsi Chevrolet Monte Carlo that won the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series (then known as the NASCAR Busch Series) race at Phoenix International Raceway will benefit Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. In 1999, Gordon/Evernham Motorsports (GEM) was formed to compete in six NASCAR XFINITY Series races with Gordon as driver and Evernham as crew chief. Evernham hosts Velocity’s AmeriCarna, and the television series will feature the restoration and sale of this 1999 #24 Chevy (Lot No. 3007; scheduled to be auctioned at 7 p.m. local time) during an upcoming episode.(VMG)(1-13-2015)
Charlotte city council approves changes to NASCAR Hall of Fame loans NASCAR Hall of Fame loan debt forgiveness was discussed Monday night by the Charlotte City Council. The issue was whether to approve an agreement with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and NASCAR to forgive more than $22 million in debt from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Under the agreement, the city will pay the two banks $5 million. In exchange, the banks will write off $14.1 million in principal and $3.5 million in accrued interest. In addition, NASCAR will waive $3.2 million in royalties that it’s owed since the hall opened in 2010. The hall hasn’t been able to pay those royalties because the hall has lost more than $1 million a year each year. In the future, NASCAR agreed to reduce the amount of royalties it’s owed from as much as 10 percent on hall sales to 3 percent. The city doesn’t have to pay royalties until the hall makes $10 million in annual revenue, which hasn’t yet happened. The City Council voted 10-1 to approve the deal. Republican Kenny Smith voted no. After the vote, Smith said the primary benefit to the city was to “end operational discussions” about losses at the hall. Other council members defended the terms of the deal, saying the city, the banks and NASCAR all shared in the pain.(Charlotte Observer)(1-13-2015)
Several NASCAR connections in the Chili Bowl: Three Sprint Cup drivers are among those with NASCAR ties entered in this week’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, one of the biggest annual events for racers of sprint midget cars. Cup drivers #42-Kyle Larson, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and JJ Yeley will compete in the event at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa. Qualifying races to set up the lineups for Saturday’s championship day will run Tuesday-Friday for the more than 300 drivers in the event. Larson, Stenhouse and Yeley also will compete in a 16-driver invitation-only all-star event Tuesday night. Among those in the invitation-only event is four-time Chili Bowl champion Kevin Swindell, who has competed part-time in the XFINITY Series. Former Cup and Xfinity Series driver Kenny Wallace is competing for the first time in the event. Among other drivers with NASCAR connections competing are Xfinity drivers Tanner Berryhill and Ryan Ellis and Camping World Truck Series driver Cole Custer.(Sporting News)(1-13-2015)
3M releases schedule of races with Gordon: Jeff Gordon will carry new sponsorship looks in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season with help from new partner 3M. Monday, the innovative technology company announced which races it would be the focal point on Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports entry. 3M will be featured on Gordon’s #24 Chevrolet as primary sponsor in 11 Sprint Cup events next season: Atlanta, Las Vegas, Bristol (Apr), Kansas (May & Oct), Dover (May), Indianapolis (July), Darlington (Sept), Richmond (Sept), Charlotte (Oct), and Talladega (Oct).(NASCAR.com).(1-13-2015)
Fan Appreciation Day Returns to the NASCAR Hall Of Fame: For the second straight year, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will open its doors for free for NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day. On Saturday, Jan. 31, fans will have free access to the Hall for a full day of activities, including autographs and Q&A sessions with current drivers and NASCAR Hall of Famers. Fans will be admitted into the Hall on a first-come, first-served basis in lieu of needing a ticket. However, tickets to the autograph sessions, highlighted by 12-time Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott, must be secured in advance. Vouchers for autograph sessions will be available for free on NASCARHall.com starting at 10:00am/et on Saturday, Jan. 17. Each fan can secure up to two autograph session vouchers. In addition, up-and-coming stars of the NASCAR NEXT program and NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015 inductees Bill Elliott and Rex White will participate in Q&A’s and autographs throughout the day. Advance vouchers are not required for these sessions. Fans in attendance will be among the first to see a series of new exhibits and facility upgrades. Artifacts from all five Class of 2015 inductees will be on display in the Hall of Honor, an exhibit that opens Friday, Jan. 30. Fans can also relive the 2014 NASCAR season with updated Memorable Moments and Champions displays.(NASCAR Hall of Fame)(1-13-2015)
Cope returns to Daytona with Charlie’s Soap: Derrike Cope will arrive at Daytona International Speedway in February – the site of his first NASCAR Cup victory – ready for intense drafting and announcing the return of Charlie’s Soap as primary sponsor for Derrike Cope Racing for the Feb. 21 Xfinity Series race. Cope spent the 2014 season on the Nationwide NASCAR circuit, now sponsored by Comcast’s XFINITY division. This year’s Daytona 500 marks the 25th anniversary of the day he passed Dale Earnhardt on the last lap after Earnhardt ran over debris in Turn 3. Cope had been on Earnhardt’s tail all day and the Purolator Chevy had led laps in the middle and at the end of the race among 13 different drivers. Much later Earnhardt was heard to graciously say to Cope regarding the missed victory, “It’s the Daytona 500 not the Daytona 499.” This race is listed as one of the biggest upsets and best finishes in NASCAR history. Cope went on to win at Dover a few months later after almost being a lap down to solidify the fact that he was a force to be reckoned with. Family owned and operated since 1976, Charlie’s Soap has been dedicated to the development, manufacture and worldwide distribution of the highest quality biodegradable, safer-for-environment and hypo-allergenic detergents and cleaners. The Charlie’s Soap motto: Cleans everything from false teeth to Diesel engines, from silk frillies to shop rags.(Derrike Cop Racing)(1-13-2015)
BKR announces 2015 lineup; Austin Theriault to run partial schedule UPDATE: Austin Theriault has received an early birthday present. The race car driver, who will turn 21 on Jan. 23, will be making his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Feb. 20 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Last season, Theriault landed a three-race deal in the Nationwide Series (now XFINITY Series) for JR Motorsports, Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team. The specifics of the deal have not been released, so Theriault couldn’t divulge the details other than to say it is with an established team and it will be for several races. And he has been able to secure sponsorship. There will be 23 races in the Truck Series, and he said he has a “better than 50-50 chance” that his deal will allow him to run at least 10 races for his new team.(Bangor Daily News)(1-9-2015) UPDATE: Brad Keselowski Racing announced its team lineup in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The organization will field two full-time entries in the 23 race series. Cooper Standard returns as primary sponsor of the #29 Ford F-150 while Broken Bow Records and Cequent Performance (through its Draw-Tite, Reese and Bulldog brands) will share primary sponsorship of the #19 truck. Tyler Reddick, 18, will compete full-time behind the wheel of the #19 Ford F-150. Reddick made 16 starts in 2014, winning two pole positons and scoring nine top 10 finishes. His season was highlighted by three fourth-place finishes – Chicagoland (Joliet, Ill.) Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and the fall event at Texas Motor Speedway. Doug Randolph will return as the team’s crew chief. The #29 Ford F-150 will compete full-time for an owner’s championship with primary sponsorship from Cooper Standard and the company’s Careers For Veterans program. The entry will feature a rotation among four different drivers, highlighted by team owner, 2012 Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski, 2014 NCWTS runner-up Ryan Blaney, NASCAR Sprint Cup star Joey Logano and up and coming young talent Austin Theriault. Chad Kendrick returns as crew chief for the all-star lineup.(Brad Keselowski Racing)(1-13-2015)
Fans can ride Metrolink to Auto Club Speedway for free on race weekend: Race fans can take Metrolink for free to the Auto Club Speedway’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on March 22, 2015. The free train ride will be offered to a limited number of race fans with the support of Clean Transportation Funding from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC). After the limited number of free tickets are depleted, race fans will once again be able to purchase the discounted $19 round trip train tickets. Riders, however, must sign up in advance at www.autoclubspeedway.com/metrolink. Like last year, Metrolink will operate three trains originating from Oxnard, Lancaster and Oceanside with limited stops in between for faster service. Metrolink’s Speedway trains stop at a specially constructed station just off the back straight-away at the race track. From there, passengers will board a free tram that takes them to the entrance gates. Trains depart Auto Club Speedway one hour after the end of the race, or checkered flag.(ACS)(1-13-2015)
News from January 12, 2015
Kurt Busch court hearing resumes UPDATE: NASCAR driver #41-Kurt Busch is returning to court as a hearing resumes on his ex-girlfriend’s request for a no-contact order. Patricia Driscoll claims that Busch assaulted her inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September, and that she still fears for her safety.A Family Court hearing on Driscoll’s request for a no-contact order was to resume Monday. Her claims are also subject to a separate criminal investigation. Busch’s attorneys have denied the assault investigations and have tried to portray Driscoll as a scorned woman out to destroy Busch’s career after he ended their relationship.(Associated Press) UPDATE: NASCAR’s Kurt Busch denied allegations of domestic assault during a court hearing Monday, saying that all he did was cup his hands around his ex-girlfriend’s face and tell her to leave. The denials came as he and his defense attorney, Rusty Hardin, re-enacted the events of Sept. 26. It was that night that Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, alleged the driver slammed her head three times against the bedroom wall of Busch’s motor home that was parked at Dover Downs International Speedway. Monday was the third day of a hearing related to a protection order filed by Driscoll last year. Hardin spent most of Monday disputing Driscoll’s allegations and calling her credibility into question. He has said that Driscoll is a jilted ex-lover who is out to destroy Busch’s reputation. Hardin has argued that Driscoll showed up uninvited and refused to leave the night of the alleged assault. Several people testified during the hearing, including Busch, that Driscoll claimed she was a trained assassin who had killed people, including drug lords. While on the stand, Busch said Driscoll claimed that Jessica Chastain’s character in the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was partly based on her and other females working in counterintelligence and defense. When Hardin asked how he’d fare in a physical confrontation, Busch said he knew she could overpower him. “I knew she could take me down at any moment,” Busch said. Earlier on Monday, proceedings began with one of NASCAR’s chaplains, Nick Terry. Terry testified that Driscoll told him Busch had grabbed her by the neck and pushed her up against the wall, but that was it. He said that Driscoll asked he and his wife to look for marks or redness on her neck, but they found none. Busch’s assistant, Kristy Cloutier, also testified on Monday, saying that she had doubts about Driscoll’s claims. Busch would never harm another person intentionally, she said.The hearing resumes Tuesday morning.(Delaware News Journal)(1-12-2015)
Keselowski, Logano to drive concept car: A group of students from Cedarville University will be getting some national attention at the Detroit Auto Show next week. And they’ll be getting some feedback on their urban concept car from a pair of NASCAR stars. The team of eight was invited to the show by Shell, which is moving its annual Eco-Marathon from Houston to the Motor City. Cedarville engineering students have a long history of success at the event, leading to the invitation to participate in the auto show’s media days Monday and Tuesday. NASCAR’s Brad Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion, and Joey Logano, the 2009 Sprint Cup rookie of the year, are expected to test drive the Cedarville vehicle. The students are hoping the NASCAR drivers will be able to evaluate Urbie’s suspension and overall user friendliness as they continue to tweak the vehicle for the best results. The students will also participate in a question and answer session with the drivers, according to the auto show’s schedule.(Xenia Gazette)(1-12-2015)
Victory Lane Racing Association to honor Ard, others: On Tuesday night, February 17, one of the top drivers to ever strap himself into a race car will be honored along with five others at the 10th annual Victory Lane Racing Association Awards Banquet scheduled to be held at the Pelican Bay Country Club. Sam Ard will be honored with the Fireball Roberts Award. Others being honored for their accomplishments in auto racing are Curtis Turner, Mike Duvall, Dick Hutcherson, Gene Stokes and Steve Waid.
Ard, a native of Scranton, South Carolina, set many records after joining the Busch Grand National Series of NASCAR in 1982 at the age of 43. After a storied career running mainly short tracks across the country, the sanctioning body saw fit to cater more to the factory-backed teams and most of the cars back then and even more today, are driven by Cup regulars and the independently financed teams have to take what’s left, but not Ard. He finished his first year in the BGN division in second place to Hall of Fame driver Jack Ingram. He competed in 29 events and was in the top 5 at the finish 20 times and finished in the top ten 23 times with four wins to his credit. He also ran the Late Model Sportsman circuit and in 1982, Ard competed in 52 events, winning 16 times and finishing in the top five 41 times. He won the Mid-Atlantic Regional title as well. The following year, Ard was in the top ten 30 times in 35 races, with 23 top five finishes and ten victories. At the end of the season, he was the points champion. He repeated as the points champion in 1984, winning eight times and finishing in the top five 24 times in 28 races. His driving career ended on October 20, 1984 at North Carolina Motor Speedway near Rockingham when he was involved in a terrible crash. Ard suffered a head injury which led to other complications and eventually brought on the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. He is now confined to a bed and requires supervised care 24 hours a day.(Victory Lane Racing Association)(1-12-2015)
Sad News – “Dusty” Jones: Henry Clay “Dusty” Jones Jr., who died Wednesday [Jan 7th] at 90 in a local hospital, was a NASCAR man and Richmond’s “sand man.” After returning from World War II Navy service in the South Pacific, he and Wesley C. “Junie” Donlavey Jr. teamed up to build Modified Stock Cars in Donlavey’s Midlothian shop and raced them all over Virginia. Mr. Jones’ car, a 1939 Ford Coupe that he ran until 1952, was car number 91, and Donlavey’s car was number 90. “One of his main claims to fame was that when he built the number 91 car, he beat Junie the first five times they raced,” said Joe Kelly, radio co-host with his wife, Ruth, of “Let’s Talk Racing.” Some of Mr. Jones’ drivers included Emanuel “The Greek” Zervakis and Ernest L. “Sonny” Hutchins. Mr. Jones left racing as an owner-driver in the early 1950s to take over the trucking business of his father, who had died, and to take care of his mother. He converted the business into H.C. Jones Sand & Gravel, which sold sandbox sand to Richmond schools and day cares, as well as to individuals. He became Richmond’s “sand man” because no one else was doing it, according to Jean Green Jones, his wife since 1953. “You could buy a cup, or you could buy a bag of sand,” she remembered. However, the racing bug never left him. He began a secondary career with NASCAR in 1952 as a flagman starter and worked races from Daytona on up the East Coast. Mr. Jones served as chief steward – the ranking NASCAR representative – at local speedways for 25 years, Kelly said. He was chief steward at Southside Speedway from 1974 until the end of the 1985 season, as well as for one year at Beltsville Speedway in Beltsville, Md., and at South Boston Speedway in South Boston. In 1975, he also became a Winston Cup technical inspector. “He inspected engines in cars before and after races to make sure they were legal,” Kelly said. He had officiated at venues including Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas and Langley Speedway in Hampton and was an official at all racing events in Richmond until the late 1980s, Kelly said. Mr. Jones retired in 2000 when he was diagnosed with cancer and his health began to decline. See the obituary at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.(1-12-2015)
Rick Ren sues Kyle Busch Motorsports: Rick Ren, a former competition director and general manager at Kyle Busch Motorsports, is suing the team for $390,000. Ren was released from the organization following the 2013 season as KBM scaled back its operations to eliminate its Nationwide Series team. In a lawsuit filed last month in North Carolina Superior Court in Statesville (N.C.), Ren alleges he and his consulting company are owed a $35,000 bonus from 2012 and $355,000 in commissions from two sponsorships he landed for the organization. According to the lawsuit, Ren claims that his contract stipulated that he receive a 10 percent commission on any sponsorship he procured for KBM. He claims he was responsible for $3 million in sponsorship for Parker Kligerman from Central Kentucky Angus Sales (where Briggs Cunningham of Cunningham Motorsports, for whom Kligerman has driven for in the past, is an officer) to drive in the Nationwide Series in 2013, and $550,000 in sponsorship for Brian Scott from Sabala Whitetail (owned by Scott’s father, Joe) for select truck races in 2012. KBM attorney Adam Ross stated that the original contract Ren refers to in his lawsuit was amended with a new compensation structure and that KBM “does not owe Mr. Ren or his company a penny.”(Sporting News)(1-12-2015)
Mingus returns to #15 Truck for 2015: Twenty-year-old Mason Mingus will follow up his rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a return to the #15 Chevy Silverado of Billy Boat Motorsports for the 2015 season. He’ll enter the 23-race campaign with the continuing support of 811, a new crew chief and momentum generated in the final races of the 2014 season. The Brentwood, Tenn., native finished 11th in the NCWTS championship last year, earning one top-10 and six top-15 finishes in a campaign that included 16 races with Win-Tron Racing and the final six races with BBM, owned by former open-wheel racer Billy Boat. Mingus will return to the #15 BBM team with a new crew chief in Dennis Connor. The 34-year NASCAR veteran has three NCWTS championships to his credit and has worked with drivers including Tim Richmond, Jack Sprague and, most recently, Johnny Sauter. The underground damage prevention phone line 811 will return as a year-long associate sponsor with Mingus’ racing program. The 811 line encourages homeowners and professional excavators to “Call Before You Dig” to prevent damaging underground utility lines while working on digging projects.(Breaking Limits)(1-12-2015)
JR Motorsports forming Truck team; Custer to drive: JR Motorsports will expand into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 10 races in 2015 with driver Cole Custer, general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced. Custer, who turns 17 this month, became the youngest winner in NASCAR national touring series history last year with a truck series victory in only his seventh start. He and the #00 Chevy Silverado team will receive primary sponsorship from Haas Automation Inc., the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. Haas Automation has sponsored Custer for four years. The company was founded in 1983 by industrialist Gene Haas, and it manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers in the company’s one million square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California. Distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets, Haas Automation provides the industry’s best sales, service and support while offering unparalleled cost-to-performance value. Custer’s trucks will be based out of a JR Motorsports satellite shop in Mooresville, North Carolina. Joe Shear, Jr., will serve as the team’s crew chief. Shear Jr. was Custer’s crew chief in 2014 when they competed in nine truck races with one win, two top-five and six top-10 finishes with two poles. Shear Jr. is a nine-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series. Custer’s 10-race NCWTS schedule includes races at Martinsville Speedway (March 28), Dover International Speedway (May 29), Gateway Motorsports Park (June 13), Iowa Speedway (June 19), Eldora Speedway (July 22), Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 19), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Aug. 30), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 26), Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 31) and Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13). In addition to NCWTS competition, JR Motorsports will field cars in select NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) events in 2015 as part of Custer’s development. Specifics to Custer’s schedule in those two series will be announced at a later date.(JR Motorsports)(1-12-2015)
Cheap Trick headlining RaceJam in Las Vegas: Cheap Trick will headline NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas with the 12th Annual RaceJam concert at Fremont Street Experience on Saturday, March 7 at 9:00pm on the 3rd Street Stage. The legendary rock band will rev up crowds for a free concert with iconic songs including: “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender,” “Dream Police” and more. The concert is part of the 12th Annual RaceJam 2015, a four-day event celebrating NASCAR Weekend with free nightly entertainment plus NASCAR merchandise booths taking place Thursday, March 5 – Sunday, March 8. The annual downtown Las Vegas street festival and concert is held in conjunction with NASCAR Weekend, which features the Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 8 and the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, March 7, both at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Cheap Trick may be one of the most covered bands of all time. Since the ’70s they’ve been blending elements of pop, punk and even metal in a way that is instantly catchy and recognizable. With more than 5,000 performances, 20 million records sold, 29 movie soundtracks and 40 gold and platinum recording awards, the band was honored in October 2007 by the Chicago Chapter of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) for their contributions to the music industry. All concerts are free and open to the public and parking is available at the Fremont Street Experience parking garage located at Carson and 4th Street.(Vegas News)(1-12-2015)
News from January 11, 2015
Johnson, Wise, Cassill complete triathlon: The casual fan probably missed him. He emerged from the ocean after a long swim around 7:30am wearing a light blue cap and a wet suit. Two-and-a-half hours later, he finished a bike ride on Vanderbilt Beach Road, near the shore, with a dark helmet and sunglasses. And when the race had run its course, at the finish line, he looked like everyone else looked: exhausted. Competing in the HITS Triathlon Series in Naples, Florida on Saturday, Jimmie Johnson mostly kept his head down. To spectators, Johnson may have been just another swimmer, biker and runner, perhaps distinguishable by his close-kept beard or the noticeable bags under his eyes. No matter the awareness of the fans, this was a significant day for Johnson. For the first time, he completed a half triathlon – a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run. He finished in 4 hours and 42 minutes, in 15th place among the men [and 2nd in his age group]. In a brief post-race interview with the Daily News, Johnson said he wanted to finish about 10 minutes faster, but he missed his first turn during his bike ride and pedaled about a mile in the wrong direction.
Two of Johnson’s friends and fellow NASCAR drivers, Josh Wise and Landon Cassill, did the half-triathlon with Johnson. Colleen Cassill, Landon’s mother, said the drivers’ all participated because “they’re competitive people all the way around.”(Naples Daily News)
Josh Wise finished in 4:26:34, good enough for 1st in his age ground and 6th overall. Cassill completed the race in 4:30:13, 9th place overall and first in his age group.(1-11-2015)
Felix Sabates honored by Allegro Foundation: The Allegro Foundation and its board of directors will [honored] NASCAR team owner Felix Sabates at its sixth annual Ambassador’s Ball Saturday night at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. The foundation combines movement instruction with medical and educational expertise to create new techniques to teach children with disabilities and enhance their quality of life. The foundation [honored] Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, for his support for the organization over the past decade. All proceeds from the ball go directly to Allegro’s free movement education programs for more than 700 children with disabilities throughout the Charlotte and Fort Mill, S.C., areas.(Charlotte Observer)(1-11-2015)
Martinsville Speedway’s local charitable impact topped $750,000 in 2014: Martinsville Speedway proved once again in 2014 it has a mighty big heart when it comes to its neighbors. In 2014, Martinsville Speedway gave more than three-quarters of a million dollars to the Martinsville and Henry County area, either in cash and ticket contributions, in-kind donations, free use of the facility, fundraising activities or staff hours worked at different community events at the track. The largest and most visible is the annual Fourth of July Celebration event the speedway has hosted for 16 years. It is a free-to-the-public community party with nationally-known musical acts, carnival rides and fireworks. Many area businesses support the show with financial donations and the speedway promotes it as if it were a race, the track’s entire staff spending days working on the show. Area food banks also benefited from Celebration 2014 with a canned food drive spearheaded by the United Way of Henry County and Martinsville. While race weekends are big money-makers for area businesses, they also provide a boost for local fire and rescue units and other non-profits. Area volunteer fire departments and rescue squads were awarded over $25,000 for their race-weekend work during 2014. Americrown, International Speedway Corp.’s food service division, paid out almost $100,000 to area non-profits for staffing concession stands during 2014 race events at Martinsville Speedway. The speedway worked with many non-profits, governmental and community agencies to host fundraisers, meetings and training events in 2014.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-11-2015)
News from January 10, 2015
Brian Scott expects to run some Cup races: Brian Scott hopes to once again compete in several Sprint Cup events in ’15 (he made six starts in ’14), a bit of extracurricular activity that he said he believes to be very beneficial. “When you get in (an XFINITY Series) car after you’ve just got out of a Cup car where you’ve been going 200 (mph) at the end of the straightaways and … you’re going 180, it feels like everything slows down,” he said. “It really feels like you’re able to utilize your talents … more effectively.(NASCAR.com), Scott ran 6 races in the #33 last season. He won the pole at Talladega in May.(1-10-2015)
William Levy working with NASCAR on reality TV series: William Levy, star of movies and television, has teamed with Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Productions to produce a non-scripted reality series about Hispanic race car drivers. “I’m truly thrilled about partnering with NASCAR and I can’t wait to show my fans worldwide this creative endeavor,” the Cuban-born actor and star of telenovela “Triunfo del Amor” (“Triumph of Love”) said. The show will follow drivers as they attempt to make it in NASCAR while transitioning to life in America, and it will be pitched to networks in February. Levy, who will join Vince Vaughn on the big screen in “Term Life” later this year, attended the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “Our goal is to produce original TV, film and digital projects that highlight some of the most compelling stories in NASCAR,” Zane Stoddard, NASCAR’s vice president of entertainment marketing and content development, said. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with William Levy and his team on a project we believe both sports and non-sports fans alike will enjoy.”(NASCAR)(1-10-2015)
New Children and Student ticket pricing at Atlanta: Atlanta Motor Speedway has raised the age for children’s tickets for its annual NASCAR weekend, making it more affordable for families to enjoy the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend. Specially priced Sunday grandstand tickets for children ages 17 and under as well as students with a valid ID are available for as low as $19. Half-priced tickets are also available for children and students in all grandstand sections. Children 17 and under are also admitted free to both Friday, Feb. 27 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying as well as the Feb. 28 NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Atlanta 200. To purchase, call 877-9-AMS-TIX or purchase online.(AMS)(1-10-2015)
News from January 9, 2015
Michael Andretti would welcome Kurt Busch back for another Indy 500: Despite his latest issues involving a domestic violence allegation from former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll, NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver Kurt Busch would be welcomed back to Andretti Autosport in the 99th Indianapolis 500, team owner Michael Andretti told FOXSports.com. Andretti has told Busch he can drive for his Verizon IndyCar Series team “any time” and stands behind that promise for the 99th Indianapolis 500 on May 24, 2015. “I am a big supporter of Kurt and if we are able to put a deal together for him to run the Indianapolis 500 I will still run him,” Andretti told FOXSports.com. “He did a great job at the Indy 500 last year. Right now, our focus is on putting a fourth car together but there is still a possibility for something to come together for Indy. I would love to do it with Kurt Busch again. He was a pleasure to work with.” Busch was the Sunoco Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after starting 12th and finishing sixth at the 2014 Indy 500 – completing all 200 laps. He was the first true NASCAR driver to win Rookie of the Year since Donnie Allison in 1970, who finished fourth in the 500-Mile Race. “We want to have a fourth full-time car. That’s our goal. We are working very hard to get to four cars. My ultimate goal is to run five cars for the full year but, if we don’t, we want to do a one-off at Indy at least and, if we can put something together with Kurt Busch, we would love to do it. He was a real professional and learned a lot to the point where I think he would be a real factor in the race if we put something together. He did a hell of a job last year without experience. Now, with one more year of experience, I think Kurt Busch could be a real factor in the Indianapolis 500 in 2015.”(FoxSports)(1-9-2015)
Bray Pemberton joins Tommy Baldwin Racing as General Manager and Chief Legal Counsel:Tommy Baldwin Racing announced the team has hired Bray Pemberton as General Manager and Chief Legal Counsel for the two car NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Team. Bray, 29, is a 2012 graduate from The University of South Carolina School of Law and became licensed in North Carolina to practice law in July 2012. Prior to joining TBR, Pemberton, whose family has a long history in the sport of NASCAR, was general manager at Swan Racing and spent a short time with Randy Humphrey Racing. “While I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have had with race teams in NASCAR, I can honestly say I’ve never been so excited about the possibilities I now have working along-side Tommy Baldwin,” said Pemberton. “I have the utmost respect for what Tommy and Beth (Baldwin’s wife) have done over the past few years in building this team, basically on their own. I see so many great opportunities to help continue to grow their dream and see TBR compete with the top teams in NASCAR,” he added.(TBR)(1-9-2015)
TriStar Motorsports announces changes for 2015: TriStar Motorsports has beefed up its’ personnel in the offseason. With the addition of three new hires, TriStar Motorsports has also moved around some of their veteran employees. New and Noteworthy:
Keith Barnwell – Former TriStar Motorsports General Manager, Keith Barnwell, will return to the team as the new Executive Vice President of Motorsports for 2015. The congenial Barnwell has been directing drivers since 1986. Barnwell has a Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 win as a spotter for Jamie McMurray in addition to two XFINITY Series Championships. The Hudson, NC native has worn many “hats” in the Motorsports industry and will be a substantial asset to TriStar Motorsports. Barnwell will also spot for the #44 Toyota Camry in the XFINITY Series.
Rick Viers – Joining TriStar Motorsports for the 2015 season, Rick Viers will be the new General Manager of TriStar Motorsports. Viers has many career highlights as both a tire changer and as a Crew Chief, among those are winning four races in a row with Harry Gant, winning the Brickyard 400 with Dale Earnhardt and winning the Busch Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with Elton Sawyer. Viers will play a significant role in TriStar Motorsport’s growth this season.
Bruce Cook – Bruce Cook joins TriStar Motorsports as the Crew Chief for the #8 Toyota Camry, driven by Blake Koch. Along with more than 25 years of racing experience, Cook brings notable victories and championships with his veteran status. Previously working for JR Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Kevin Harvick, Inc, Cook has had the opportunity to work with some of the best drivers in the business, which will serve as attributes to TriStar’s surging operation.
Wes Ward – Hanging up his Crew Chief hat after the 2014 season, Wes Ward will now serve as Shop Foreman at TriStar Motorsports. Ward has over 15 years of Crew Chief experience under his belt. Working with some of NASCAR’s most prominent drivers, such as, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and veteran Dale Jarrett, Ward will utilize his experiences to improve the shop flow at TriStar Motorsports.
Eddie Pardue – Eddie Pardue will now serve as the Crew Chief for Cale Conley’s #14 Toyota Camry for the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. During the 2014 season, Pardue held the title of Competition Director for TriStar Motorsports. Pardue has over 10 years experience as a Crew Chief and has worked with drivers such as Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Jason Leffler.
Mike Bliss- NASCAR Veteran Mike Bliss will continue his partnership with TriStar Motorsports for their fifth NASCAR XFINITY Series season together. In addition to his return to TriStar Motorsports, Crew Chief Paul Clapprood will also continue to call the shots for Bliss this season. Bliss and Clapprood have over 133 starts together as a Driver/Crew Chief combo. Bliss has over 700 starts across NASCAR’s top three series and earned a Camping World Truck Series Championship in 2002.
Greg Conner- Greg Conner will continue to Crew Chief the #44 Toyota Camry this season. The Virginia native has been with TriStar Motorsports as a Crew Chief since 2013. Driver and sponsor announcement for the No. 44 Toyota Camry will be announced in the upcoming weeks.(TriStar Motorsports)(1-9-2015)
Austin Theriault to run partial CWTS schedule: Austin Theriault has received an early birthday present. The race car driver, who will turn 21 on Jan. 23, will be making his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Feb. 20 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Last season, Theriault landed a three-race deal in the Nationwide Series (now XFINITY Series) for JR Motorsports, Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team. The specifics of the deal have not been released, so Theriault couldn’t divulge the details other than to say it is with an established team and it will be for several races. And he has been able to secure sponsorship. There will be 23 races in the Truck Series, and he said he has a “better than 50-50 chance” that his deal will allow him to run at least 10 races for his new team.(Bangor Daily News)(1-9-2015)
Scott Zipadelli joins Red Horse Racing: Red Horse Racing announced that veteran crew chief Scott Zipadelli has joined the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series organization and will lead the #11 Toyota Tundra team in 2015. It was announced in December that Ben Kennedy, the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year, would pilot the No. 11 machine for Red Horse Racing. Zipadelli first assumed the role of crew chief in 2007 and since then has led 17 drivers to three wins, 32 top-five and 86 top-10 finishes, and two pole awards in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The Berlin, Connecticut native is coming off of the most successful season of his career. Under Zipadelli’s leadership Kyle Larson made two visits to Victory Lane, earned one pole position and recorded an average finishing position of 8.4 in 2014.(Red Horse Racing)(1-9-2015)
NEMCO Motorsports running Chevys in 2015: NEMCO Motorsports will reunite with Chevy as Joe Nemechek and John Hunter Nemechek join Team Chevy beginning with the 2015 NASCAR season. NEMCO Motorsports’ teams will compete with Chevy Silverados in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In addition, the NEMCO Motorsports Late Model program will also feature the iconic manufacturer. The move to Chevy represents a return for NEMCO Motorsports, as team owner Joe Nemechek raced with Chevy from 1991 to 2011. Through three of NASCAR’s top national touring series (Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series) with Chevy, Nemechek and NEMCO Motorsports have earned 19 victories (18 in the Xfinity Series and one in the Camping World Truck Series) and 15 pole positions (14 in the Xfinity Series and one in the Camping World Truck Series). In 2015, John Hunter Nemechek returns to the #8 SWM-NEMCO Motorsports Chevy, sharing driving duties with his father until he turns 18-years old, when he plans to compete in the remainder of the truck series schedule beginning at Kentucky Speedway on July 9. The NEMCO Motorsports’ switch to Chevy includes the conversion to ECR Engines to supply the team with horsepower for the 2015 season.(NEMCO)(1-9-2015)
Reserve your camping spot at New Hampshire: Reserved camping makes it easier than ever to start a party with your friends. The NHMS team has worked hard to improve the camping experience for our guests. Changes include transitioning all camping spaces into reserved, widening spaces from 18 feet to 20 feet and reducing prices for designated spaces. Calls to reserve spaces will be processed starting on January 12 at 9:00am. The NHMS Guest Services team is available to help campers through the process and reservations will be processed in the order they are received. Please call (603) 783-4931 for personal assistance. Spaces can be combined to accommodate units of different sizes in order to allow groups to camp together. Any claimed spaces that are not paid for or on a payment plan by January 30 will become available to the general public.(NHMS)(1-9-2015)
News from January 8, 2015
How much will the testing ban save teams? From Larry McReynold’s most recent article at FoxSports: “It doesn’t matter what rules NASCAR hands down — be them about testing, the type of cars, etc. — the cream is still always going to rise to the top. Now it’s true that some rule changes affect some teams more than others. I think we saw that last year with the rule changes for the 2014 season. Last year there probably wasn’t a single week that at least one of the teams from the powerhouse organizations wasn’t testing someplace while the smaller teams sat at home unable to afford to go test. So if anything, this rule closes the gap a little bit between the smaller teams and the bigger organizations. The biggest thing this no-testing rule does is save the owners money. In talking with car owner Michael Waltrip, he told me it’s going to save his organization anywhere from $1.25 million to $1.5 million in 2015. Any way you slice it, that is significant savings for anyone.(FoxSports)(1-8-2015)
Jeff Gordon in the #46? What might have been? All those #24 tattoos vowing allegiance to Jeff Gordon would have never decorated torsos, arms and legs. Those #24 diecast cars would have never been made. And a losing streak of epic proportions would have continued. Yes, Jeff Gordon’s car number was to have been #46. You know that if you saw the jaw-dropping tweet from Ray Evernham, Gordon’s former crew chief, that showed two pictures of Rainbow-colored race cars with the #46 on the door instead of the #24. But that is only part of the story. You likely haven’t heard the whole story of how one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers nearly had a number that has had little significance throughout sports.
Gordon joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1992 and the plan was to run the #46. Hendrick used that number for one race in 1989 and another in 1990 with Greg Sacks driving a car to film racing scenes for “Days of Thunder.” Cole Trickle (played by Tom Cruise) drove the #46 car in the movie. An issue arose when John Bickford, Gordon’s stepfather, looked into trademarking the #46. Bickford sought to create a licensing program around Gordon but discovered that Paramount Pictures had secured the licensing rights for that number for toys, apparel and other souvenirs affiliated with the movie – released two years before Gordon’s series debut. Bickford told Hendrick Motorsports officials that they would have to change the number to something other than 46.
“They went through a series of numbers available from NASCAR, presented those numbers to Rick (Hendrick) and Jeff,” Bickford said told Motor Racing Network. “What our thinking was we wanted a number that had no real historical connection to anything, certainly wasn’t going to have any licensing problems. The #24 sat there and it had no significant relevance to the industry.” The #24 had never won a race in NASCAR’s top series.
The next issue was the paint scheme. The Rainbow theme was there but Evernham said that the middle of the car was black not blue. That’s how artist Sam Bass originally drew the car. Bickford recalls that DuPont officials wanted more than just drawings to see how the car looked, so the team painted a couple of cars and kept them locked behind closed doors since Gordon’s debut had not been announced. Photographs of the car were sent to DuPont and then company officials came to Hendrick Motorsports to inspect the car. That leads to the photographs of a #46 Rainbow-colored car Evernham posted this week. It came from a fan. Evernham admits he forgot about the number and the story behind it until seeing the pictures.(Motor Racing Network)(1-8-2015)
Richard Petty Motorsports forms partnership with northAmerican Van Lines: northAmerican Van Lines has been named the “Official Moving Partner for Richard Petty Motorsports” for the 2015 and 2016 race seasons. northAmerican has been helping people move since 1933 and they’ll add “The King” Richard Petty to their list of clientele. Richard Petty Motorsports has partnered with the moving company to assist with their relocation to their new racing facility in Mooresville, N.C. from a facility in Concord, N.C. As part of the partnership, northAmerican will be an associate sponsor on the team’s Xfinity Series program. The sponsorship platform allows the company to showcase their commercial and residential moving services throughout key markets on the NASCAR circuit. The moving services company will also provide behind-the-scenes exclusives centered on moving The King and his race shop.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-8-2015)
Kwasniewski will only run part-time: Dylan Kwasniewski said he was fired up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season, that he was eager to show what he could do in a car and on a team with a real chance to win every week. But the Las Vegan will have to share the #42 Chevy with Kyle Larson, last season’s Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. They are part of the newly formed one-car racing team of HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi. How Kwasniewski and Larson divide the car has not been determined. The season begins Feb. 21 at Daytona Beach, Fla., and Kwasniewski said he didn’t know who would be behind the wheel when the series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7 for the Boyd Gaming 300. Even with the uncertainty, Kwasniewski didn’t sound concerned about losing so much track time. “It’s still a lot of races,” he said. “I think we’re going to have better results. You’re running up front with the guys you’re going to race for the rest of your life. I think that’s better than running midpack.” This is Kwasniewski’s second season in the Xfinity Series, formerly known as Nationwide. He drove for Turner Scott Motorsports last year, but that team disbanded after a legal dispute between the owners. Harry Scott Jr. then united with Ganassi to form the current team. Funding allowed the team to run just one car, but Kwasniewski said logistics would make it difficult to operate a second Chevy on a full-time basis even if the money was there. “They’re trying to put everything into one shop,” he said.(Las Vegas Review-Journal)(1-8-2015)
Coulter will not drive in 2015: Florida native Joey Coulter will not return to the cockpit of the #21 GMS Motorsports Chevy Silverado this season, instead assuming the post of Team Relationships Coordinator for the team. “I am excited to continue my relationship with GMS Racing,” said Coulter this week. “Unfortunately, due to a lack of sponsorship, I will not be in a truck this season. Taking on a new position with GMS allows me to continue my involvement in the racing community and also stay involved as a driver with my family’s dirt racing program. So I get the best of both worlds.” After relocating to the former Evernham/Richard Petty Motorsports building in Statesville, NC, GMS Racing continues to plan for the 2015 season, with additional announcements surrounding driver, sponsor and team lineups still to come.(Godfather Motorsports)(1-8-2015)
News from January 7, 2015
Burns to return as crew chief for Allmendinger: Brian Burns made it official this week by signing a contract to continue his journey at JTG Daugherty Racing as crew chief for driver AJ Allmendinger and the #47 Chevy SS team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The 38-year-old led the single-car operation to their first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2014, which clinched a coveted spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In addition to a win and clinching a Chase berth, the team earned their highest points finish (13th) under Burns’ direction since their series debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Australian driver Marcos Ambrose on July 27, 2008. Burns, a Purdue University mechanical engineer graduate and former Indiana Army National Guard Sergeant (E-5), enters his third full-time season at the helm and is focused on having a more consistent year.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(1-7-2015)
Brian France answers fan questions: NASCAR Chairman Brian France discussed shorter races, midweek events and the new Chase during his appearance Tuesday night on Motor Racing Network’s “NASCAR Live.” France appeared on the show with host Eli Gold and took questions from fans, discussing a variety of subjects.
Asked about shorter races, France said: “We think that shorter races in general makes sense. Sometimes a specific venue or a track believes differently, and they have their own fan base and research that says, ‘Hey we like a 500-mile race on this particular weekend’ or in the case of Charlotte a 600-mile event. Generally speaking, we’re very open to working with the tracks and the local markets … to shorten races whenever it’s possible and we will continue to do that.”
One notion that has been discussed in recent years has been the idea of a midweek NASCAR Sprint Cup race. France talked more of the challenges of such events than any possible advantages. He said no track operators want to trade a weekend race for a midweek event.
As to the idea of a road course in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, France said neither of the two road courses on the circuit are willing to trade their dates. France said that officials are not opposed to it but doesn’t see it happening soon.
While the Chase provided some memorable moments, not all fans were happy with the format that saw drivers eliminated every third race. France said any changes to the Chase would have to keep the format simple. “We will be open-minded, but we want to balance making sure that whatever format we have that everybody understands it,” France said.
France also discussed how the sport will react to domestic violence issues. Dover Police stated Tuesday that it has completed its investigation of an alleged domestic violence complaint against Kurt Busch and forwarded its findings to prosecutors who will determine if to charge Busch.
France also said there is no specific timeline on when officials will sign a company to replace Sprint as series sponsor. Sprint’s sponsorship goes through the 2016 season.
France also was asked by a fan about ringing tracks with SAFER barriers. “I’m in favor of SAFER barriers wherever they need to be,” France said. “If that’s the whole racetrack, that’s fine. If it’s just to put them when there’s no impact, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. That’s how we view it. It’s always under review. We typically do add quite a bit of SAFER barriers depending on what venue every year.”
Another fan asked France how series officials determine when to penalize drivers for their comments. “We try to give the most latitude of any other sport in terms of what our drivers and our other participants can say and do,” France said. “Where we take objection is when there … (are comments) derogatory toward the racing product. When that happens, we have to draw a line.”(Motor Racing Networks)(1-7-2015)
Blake Koch returning to TriStar: TriStar Motorsports announces the return of Blake Koch for the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Koch will be behind the wheel of a new car number as he pilots the #8 Toyota Camry in all 33 NASCAR XFINITY Series races this season. “After a good 2014 season, I am excited to be back with TriStar Motorsports for the 2015 season,” said Koch. “I am looking forward to working with Bruce Cook and the #8 crew and can’t wait to get to Daytona.” During the 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series season, Koch drove the #10 Camry in 16 races and the #44 Camry in 10. Koch captured nine top-25 finishes in 2014. Look for additional announcements regarding the #8 Toyota Camry sponsor in the upcoming weeks.(TriStar Motorsports)(1-7-2015)
My Martinsville program will reward Martinsville Speedway’s most loyal fans: Martinsville Speedway has announced a new fan-loyalty program that rewards ticket renewal customers with exclusive benefits and allows them to show off their pride in being one of Martinsville Speedway’s most loyal fans. The advantages of becoming a My Martinsville member include:
” Exclusive My Martinsville membership hard-card and lanyard which is separate from the race ticket.
” Access to My Martinsville quick-entry gates.
” My Martinsville members event Saturday of race week which will include question and answer session with Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell and others to be announced. Live music and snacks included.
” Hot laps around Martinsville Speedway, dates TBA.
” Opportunity to win surprise gifts on race weekends when spotted wearing My Martinsville membership card.
Ticket customers who have already renewed their tickets for the STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race on March 29 are automatically members of My Martinsville and will receive information in the coming days. For those who have not renewed their seats, the speedway is re-opening the STP 500 renewal price period for three days, January 7-9, to offer the opportunity to become My Martinsville members. You may take advantage of this offer by calling 877.RACE.TIX or visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com online.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-7-2015)
News from January 6, 2015
Baldwin may not run #36 full-time: Tommy Baldwin Racing may not field its familiar #36 Sprint Cup Chevrolet on a full-time basis in 2015, focusing instead on the team’s #7 Chevy while forging a new partnership with Jay Robinson Racing to keep the #36 entry on track. Multiple sources tell GodfatherMotorsports.com that negotiations are underway to campaign the #36 under the Jay Robinson Racing banner in 2015, with TBR handling fabrication and preparation for the four restrictor plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. That move, if finalized, will result in the layoff of approximately eight TBR employees, all of whom have been invited to apply for positions at JRR’s facility on Rolling Hill Road in Mooresville, NC. Baldwin reportedly informed team personnel of the move Monday, saying the deal will be finalized later this week. Baldwin stressed today that he has no plans to sell TBR, and is speaking with a number of parties in an effort to improve the performance of the #36 team. Baldwin has made a total of 321 career Sprint Cup Series starts since becoming a team owner in 2009, with a best finish of third at Talladega in 2011 with driver Dave Blaney. Michael Annett ran the full, 36-race schedule in Baldwin’s #7 Pilot/Flying J Chevy last season, finishing 32nd in championship points. He is expected to return in 2015. Reed Sorenson drove the #36 Chevy to 34th in the final standings.(Godfather Motorsports)(1-6-2015)
New crew chief for Stenhouse? UPDATE: hearing that Nick Sandler, former #99 Roush Fenway Racing engineer will be the crew chief for #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2015. Former #17 crew chief, Mike Kelley, supposedly sticks with the team as the car chief.(1-6-2015) UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing has announced its 2015 crew chief lineup. The lineup features the return of Bob Osborne atop the pit box as the crew chief of Trevor Bayne and the #6 AdvoCare Ford, which makes its return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Osborne served as a crew chief for Roush Fenway from 2004 until 2012, leading teams to 18 wins, 86 top-five finishes and 142 top-10 finishes, before moving over to assist with the team’s engineering efforts. Greg Biffle’s #16 Ortho Ford will again be headed up by Matt Puccia, who has led Biffle to ‘Chase’ appearances in each of his three full seasons at the helm. The #17 Fastenal team will be led by Nick Sandler, who spent the last four seasons working as the head engineer for the #99 team under Jimmy Fennig. Mike Kelley, who served as the team’s crew chief last season will make the shift to car chief in 2015. Kelley and Stenhouse Jr. have a long history, with the pair teaming for back-to-back championships in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2011 and 2012.
In addition, Roush Fenway has named legendary crew chief Jimmy Fennig as research and development coordinator. Fennig, who most recently served as crew chief on the No. 99 Sprint Cup Team amassed 36 career wins as a crew chief and helped lead the organization to its second NSCS Championship in 2004 and the team’s historic 300th win in the 2012 Daytona 500. He will now play an integral role in the direction of the team’s car builds.
On the NASCAR XFINITY Series front, Phil Gould will lead the #1 One Main Financial team in 2015. Gould previously worked with Brian Scott the last two seasons, guiding the #2 team to a fourth-place finish in the final standings last season. Both Seth Barbour and Scott Graves will return atop the boxes of the #16 and #60 NXS teams. Chad Norris, who served as crew chief for #6 NXS team last season, will sit atop the pit box for Bubba Wallace.(Roush Fenway Racing)(1-6-2015)
Kurt Busch case forwarded on to prosecutors: The police investigation into allegations that NASCAR driver Kurt Busch assaulted his ex-girlfriend has been finished and forwarded to Delaware state prosecutors to decide whether charges will be filed. Cpl. Mark Hoffman with the Dover Police Department said Tuesday that the agency’s investigation into the allegations was finished but declined to say whether investigators were recommending that Busch be charged. He declined to release the report. Hoffman says the Delaware Attorney General’s Office will decide whether to charge Busch. A spokesman for the office didn’t immediately respond to a request about timing.(Associated Press)(1-6-2015)
Jack Men changes so far in 2015 season: There are a lot of teams making moves in the off season and the Jack Man position seems to be one that is getting a lot of attention. Below is a list of changes for 2015 with more to come.
#5 of HMS replaces Jack Man Trey Burklin with long time HMS Jack Man Eric Ludwig
#9 of RPM replaces Kevin Wing with Gabe Martin from the #10 team
#10 of SHR-We arn’t sure about this but we heard Tony Cardamone will be replacing Gabe Martin who is now at the #9
#18 of JGR replacing retired Jeff Fender with David Odell from the #78
#19 of JGR has hired Trey Burklin from the #5
#27 of RCR replacing Carey Wimbish with Sam Abney
#42 of GR is replacing long time Jack Man Mark Jacobs with Mark Janssen
#43 of RPM is replacing Mike Brown with T.J. Ford from the #48
#78 of Furniture Row is replacing David Odell-who left for the #18- with Carey Wimbish from the #27.(Pit Talks)(1-6-2015)
Charlotte City Council to hear proposed changes to NASCAR HOF loan UPDATE: Efforts to persuade two banks to forgive a $19.1 million loan to the city of Charlotte that helped build the NASCAR Hall of Fame appear to have made progress, with City Council members set to hear about “proposed amendments” on Monday to that agreement. On Friday, Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble wouldn’t talk about the proposed amendment or the negotiations, saying council members needed to be updated first on the so-called sponsorship loan and another agreement concerning NASCAR royalties. But an agenda item that Kimble wrote for Monday’s meeting suggests that some agreement has been reached, with council members hearing the proposed changes. They won’t take action until their Jan. 12 meeting. In November, the Observer reported that the city and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which manages the racing museum, had begun negotiations with Wells Fargo and Bank of America to forgive the loan. Growing to $21 million with interest, it was supposed to be repaid from the sale of sponsorships and commemorative bricks. Yet money from those two sources hasn’t come close to paying off the loan. When the hall opened in 2010, NASCAR was supposed to get royalties on such items as tickets, T-shirts, and food and drinks – but only if the museum was making money. The facility has lost money, according to the CRVA. It lost $1.4 million for the fiscal year that ended in June, and $1.6 million the previous fiscal year. But CRVA leaders are hopeful that the hall’s finances are stabilizing with attendance essentially leveling off. Still, no royalties to NASCAR have been paid.(full story at the Charlotte Observer)(1-4-2015) UPDATE: The city of Charlotte has proposed making a one-time payment of $5 million to Bank of America and Wells Fargo on a construction loan for the NASCAR Hall of Fame – but the banks would be required to write off the rest of a $19.1 million loan. In addition, NASCAR has agreed as part of the plan to waive $3.2 million in past royalties it was supposed to receive from the racing museum. The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which operates the city-owned hall, hasn’t been able to pay NASCAR any royalties on ticket sales, merchandise, and food and beverages because the hall has been losing more than $1 million a year since it opened in 2010. The proposal is part of a city plan to get out of about $22.8 million of NASCAR hall obligations. If the deal is approved, the hall would also be given a break from future payments owed to NASCAR. The City Council, which heard the proposal Monday, will vote on the loan modifications next week. But even if the agreement is approved, the hall is still estimated to lose between $200,000 and $500,000 a year in the future. The hall was supposed to attract 400,000 visitors a year. Last year, it attracted 170,000 people. CRVA chief executive Tom Murray said he’s confident that annual financial losses can be eliminated eventually. The $5 million payment to the banks would come from the city’s hospitality taxes, which are levied on hotels and motels, as well as restaurant and bar tabs. Under the original agreement, NASCAR was supposed to receive as much as 10% from hall revenues. Because the hall wasn’t making money, those payments haven’t been made. In addition to wiping out past royalty payments, NASCAR agreed that its future royalty payments would be cut to 3% of revenues. But those royalties are only paid on hall revenues over $10 million.(Charlotte Observer)(1-6-2015)
Dick Hutcherson will presented the Tim Flock Driver’s Award: The 10th annual Victory Lane Racing Association will hold its 10th annual awards banquet on Tuesday night, February 17, 2015 at the Pelican Bay Country Club in Daytona Beach, FL and the late Dick Hutcherson will be honored, along with five other racing legends. Hutcherson will presented the Tim Flock Driver’s Award by former driver and close friend, Ken Ragan. Others being honored are: Curtis Turner, Mike Duvall, Sam Ard, Gene Stokes and Steve Waid. A meet and greet social hour will start at 6:00pm/et and the banquet will follow at 7:00pm/et. Tickets for the banquet may be purchased by contacting Gary Phillipson at 386-295-3487.
Hutcherson started his racing career in 1956. After returning home to Keokuk Iowa from Iceland, where he was stationed during the Korean War, he learned that his brothers-in-law were building a race car to compete at his hometown track, Keokuk Sportsman Park. They asked Hutch if he wanted to drive the car. He later made the comment that he just did it as a favor to them. He had never considered racing as a vocation. Before the war he had worked for his dad’s construction company and was an excellent carpenter. But the night he drove his first race at KSP he was hooked and knew he would be doing it on a regular basis! He raced jalopies for a couple years, winning on a regular basis.
In 1959, he started racing in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA), and found success immediately, winning his first time out. In his five seasons in IMCA, he won 91 races and finished in the top three in points each season, reaching the very top his final two seasons, winning 60 races, (29 in 1963 and 31 in 1964), and the national points title both seasons. As if that wasn’t enough, Hutch was his own chief mechanic his whole IMCA career and in 64 won the prestigious P.A. Sturtevant Co. Master Mechanic of The Year award, THE TORQUE WRENCH! Ironically he went on to win that award again in 68 as crew chief for David Pearson as the team paired to win the NASCAR Grand National (now known as Sprint Cup) Championship. Hutch ran four NASCAR races in 1964, winning the pole in his very first start in the series at Greenville Pickens Speedway on March, 28th. He went on to win a second pole and have two top 5 finishes in only four starts that season. He then headed back to Iowa to successfully defend his ’63 IMCA National Championship.
In late ’64, Ford Motor Company invited Hutch to move down south and race NASCAR full time for the famed Holman-Moody organization. It was the opportunity he’d been waiting for, so in December of ’64 he packed his tool box, his pregnant wife, Betty, and headed south. His rookie season in NASCAR’s premiere series 1964 and what a season it was! He ran great right from the start of the season and found victory lane in the 10th race of the season on April 17th at a bullring in Hillsborough, N. C, a mere five days after his son, Ricky, was born. He went on to win nine races and captured nine pole positions and battled Ned Jarrett for the championship right down to the end of the season, settling for second place, by far the best rookie season ever in NASCAR.
Ironically Hutch didn’t win the Rookie of The Year honor because at the time, the rule book stated that any driver who had won a championship in any other series wasn’t eligible to run for rookie of award. Just imagine if that rule was still in effect, NASCAR wouldn’t be able to crown any rookies of the year because in order to make it to the top racing series drivers, have won championships somewhere along the way!
In 1966 Hutch was without factory backing because Ford boycotted NASCAR because of its new engine rules, so he only raced in 14 GN races. He did, however, drive a GT40 in the 24 Hours of LeMans for Ford and finished third overall in that event! What a long way he had come from a dirt racer in Iowa to race against world talent in the biggest sports car race in the world in France and showing them he was a real wheel man! Back in NASCAR he won two races in his shortened season! In ’67, he moved to Bondy Long’s team and won three more races including the 500 lapper at Bristol, Tenn. and the Dixie 500 in Atlanta.
His wife talked him into retiring at the end of the ’67 season because it terrified her every time he raced, afraid he was going to get seriously hurt or even worse. John Holman hated losing such a talent and told Hutch he would have a car if he changed his mind and wanted to continue racing. But he was committed to following his wife’s desires so he didn’t race again for many years. John Holman and Ralph Moody offered Hutch the General Managers position at Holman Moody and asked him to oversee the cars and be the crew chief for new hire David Pearson. The duo immediately found success winning in their fifth attempt, at Bristol Speedway. They won 16 times that season and capped it off with the championship! The team found more success the next year with 11 more wins and a second consecutive championship.
But he grew tired of the constant traveling and didn’t like being in the middle between Holman and Moody, so in 1970, he started putting things in place to open his own business. So in December of that year, he and good friend Eddie Pagan, also a former driver, broke from H-M and started building Hutcherson Pagan Enterprise Incorporated. Their goal was to build race cars, fix wrecks and sell parts. Within a few short years, because of their attention to detail and customer service, they rose to the top of their field where they remained until Hutch’s death in 2005! They built cars for Dale Earnhardt , A J Foyt, Darrell Waltrip and Harry Gant, just to name a few. In fact, when Earnhardt was giving his acceptance speech after winning his seventh Cup Championship, he thanked Hutch by name for helping him in his early years by extending him credit and continuing to work on his cars when he couldn’t afford to pay! Another example of what kind of man Hutch was! He built, and was crew chief for his brother, Ron as the duo paired to win three consecutive ARCA championships between 1972-1974.
He became great friends with Foyt through the years and built all of his USAC and NASCAR Stock Cars and acted as crew chief for him through the mid ’90’s. The pairing was very successful, winning the USAC stock car championship in back-to-back seasons in ’78 and ’79. Hutch and AJ remained close friends until Hutch passed away in 2005. It would be interesting to know just how many races were won in the cars he built over the years at HP. The number would be well over a hundred!(Victory Lane Racing Association)(1-6-2015)
Armstrong, WinField returning to Richard Petty Motorsports: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Dakoda Armstrong and sponsor WinField have renewed their partnership for the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Armstrong returns for his second season with the team after accumulating three top-10 finishes and the pole at Daytona in July. Armstrong finished 13th in the championship point standings. He’ll look to improve that position during his second season with the team. Helping him do that will be Frankie Kerr who will take over the crew chief responsibilities. Kerr most recently worked for Front Row Motorsports as a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In his nine years calling the shots for teams in NASCAR’s top series, he’s earned eight top-fives, 17 top-10 finishes and one pole in 217 starts. This will be Kerr’s first full season working in the Xfinity Series. Former Xfinity series Crew Chief Philippe Lopez has been promoted to Operations Manager for the organization. WinField will return to the #43 Xfinity Ford for the second consecutive year. The agricultural company will be on the #43 car for 23 races this season.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-6-2015)
VF Imagewear renews sponsorship of Ty Dillon: VF Imagewear, Inc., a leading manufacturer of workwear apparel and a division of VF Corporation, the world’s largest apparel company, announced it has renewed its partnership with Richard Childress Racing’s #3 XFINITY Series program and driver Ty Dillon for the 2015 season. VF Imagewear’s brands, including Red Kap, Bulwark, Horace Small and Wrangler Workwear, will be featured as primary sponsors for select XFINITY Series races in 2015. Red Kap is also the official workwear provider for RCR and ECR Engines employees. Dillon, who finished fifth in the 2014 driver point standings, will race full time in the XFINITY Series for the second-consecutive season.(Richard Childress Racing)(1-6-2015)
Roush Fenway announces crew chief lineup: Roush Fenway Racing has announced its 2015 crew chief lineup. The lineup features the return of Bob Osborne atop the pit box as the crew chief of Trevor Bayne and the #6 AdvoCare Ford, which makes its return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Osborne served as a crew chief for Roush Fenway from 2004 until 2012, leading teams to 18 wins, 86 top-five finishes and 142 top-10 finishes, before moving over to assist with the team’s engineering efforts. Greg Biffle’s #16 Ortho Ford will again be headed up by Matt Puccia, who has led Biffle to ‘Chase’ appearances in each of his three full seasons at the helm. The #17 Fastenal team will be led by Nick Sandler, who spent the last four seasons working as the head engineer for the #99 team under Jimmy Fennig. Mike Kelley, who served as the team’s crew chief last season will make the shift to car chief in 2015. Kelley and Stenhouse Jr. have a long history, with the pair teaming for back-to-back championships in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2011 and 2012.
In addition, Roush Fenway has named legendary crew chief Jimmy Fennig as research and development coordinator. Fennig, who most recently served as crew chief on the No. 99 Sprint Cup Team amassed 36 career wins as a crew chief and helped lead the organization to its second NSCS Championship in 2004 and the team’s historic 300th win in the 2012 Daytona 500. He will now play an integral role in the direction of the team’s car builds.
On the NASCAR XFINITY Series front, Phil Gould will lead the #1 One Main Financial team in 2015. Gould previously worked with Brian Scott the last two seasons, guiding the #2 team to a fourth-place finish in the final standings last season. Both Seth Barbour and Scott Graves will return atop the boxes of the #16 and #60 NXS teams. Chad Norris, who served as crew chief for #6 NXS team last season, will sit atop the pit box for Bubba Wallace.(Roush Fenway Racing)(1-6-2015)
New ARCA team could run some Truck races: A new ARCA Racing Series team headquartered in Mooresville, NC plans to debut next month at Daytona. On Tuesday, veteran ARCA Racing Series driver Terry Jones announced the creation of Rette Jones Racing (RJR), a new team started by the Amherstburg, Ontario native and 2009 ARCA Racing Series championship crew chief Mark Rette. Together, the two racers will field a part-time ARCA Racing Series team beginning with February’s Lucas Oil 200. The team also hopes to expand into other racing divisions, such as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and NASCAR K&N Pro Series as they build their platform.(Motorsport)(1-6-2015)
News from January 5, 2015
Wingo to crew chief David Gilliland’s #38: Veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo will oversee the #38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford team and driver David Gilliland at Front Row Motorsports. Gilliland worked most recently with interim crew chief Jay Guy after Frank Kerr was released after Kansas in October. Said Wingo, “I’m looking forward to working with David. I think he has a lot of talent. It’s a little different opportunity than what I’ve had lately, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m looking forwards to working with David. I think he has a lot of talent. He’s been great at restrictor plate track and road courses, two areas where I’ve had success in the past.” Wingo, most recently worked with the Wood Brothers and #21 Motorcraft Ford, returned to the Statesville, N.C. shop on Monday where he first enjoyed success with Jimmy Spencer at Haas-Carter Motorsports.(Motorsport), former crew chief Jay Guy left FRM and heads to the #24 JGL Racing Xfinity Series team with driver Eric McClure.(1-5-2015)
Knost to return as Patrick’s crew chief: #10-Danica Patrick returned to Mobile this weekend for the GoDaddy Bowl. The visit marked the third time she has appeared at the game and its activities. She served as grand marshal of the GoDaddy Bowl parade Saturday night and on Sunday took part in the coin toss to start the game and she was scheduled to present the trophy to the winning time at the game’s conclusion. In between her activities at Sunday’s game, Patrick took a few minutes to talk with AL.com: Q: You’re going to have a new crew chief this season. Are you excited about that aspect. Patrick: “I think something new is both scary but also exciting. Until you go there you don’t know how great it could be. We (she and Daniel Knost) worked together a little bit at the end of last season. I think that was a really good thing to do in preparation for 2015. Everybody at Stewart-Haas has been working very hard to make sure that every team is as good from top to bottom as possible, and we’ll probably have some changes for next year within the team, but it’s like I said, you never know what you can have until you dare to try something different. Daniel is a very smart guy and I’m excited to see what we can do.”(Alabama Live)(1-5-2015)
Larson Wins Wild Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown Slide Fest on Night 2 : Kyle Larson outlasted sprint car veterans Stevie Smith and Danny Lasoski in an epic duel on the dirt Saturday in the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown at Cocopah Speedway, which hosts the midpoint of the five-race event next Tuesday. “It ranks right up there mainly because I haven’t been in a sprint car in a long time,” Larson said after securing the $12,000-to-win top prize. “To beat Danny Lasoski and Stevie Smith in a duel like that was pretty amazing. I think it’s a great event. It’s a great race track. The purse is really good. I think this event will grow each year.”(Inside Line Promotions)(1-5-2015)
Press Pass, reportedly will be ceasing operations UPDATE: NASCAR’s lone trading card manufacturer, Press Pass, reportedly will be ceasing operations. “Sports card manufacturer Press Pass is closing its doors. Hard to stay healthy these days,” tweeted ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell on Friday afternoon. Messages to Nick Matijevich, who had worked as the VP of Operations since February 2013 after a previous four-plus-year stint with the company were not yet returned. Other calls and messages into the Huntersville, N.C.-based company’s offices were not answered. Founded in 1992, Press Pass released more then 300 products for auto racing, football, basketball, baseball rodeo, non-sports and multi-sports programs during that run. Its primary focus for years had been NASCAR, particularly since the company lost college logos for its popular basketball and football draft picks sets when the Collegiate Licensing Company license went to Upper Deck on an exclusive basis in 2010.(Beckett)(1-4-2015) UPDATE: from the Press Pass Facebook page on Monday: “We’re disappointed to announce that Press Pass is closing day to day operations, effective immediately. We are very thankful for the years of support from all of our customers and consumers and will greatly miss our interactions with them. Over the past 22 years we’ve strived to produce compelling products that serve the interests of our end consumers. While it has not always been perfect, we have truly enjoyed our successes, and the relationships that we’ve built with so many who share our passion for trading cards.”(1-5-2015)
Hisense to sponsor Atlanta XFINITY race: Multinational electronics manufacturer Hisense has been named the title sponsor of the Feb. 28, 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The event will be named the Hisense 250 and will be the first race of a rare NASCAR XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series doubleheader. Based in Qingdao, China, Hisense began in 1969 as a small radio factory and has since grown into a multibillion-dollar global conglomerate with a workforce of over 75,000 worldwide. The company is a world leader of flat-panel TVs, household appliances and mobile communication devices. Hisense USA, a subsidiary of Hisense Company Ltd. was established in 2001 and operates a Georgia-based R&D center to bring a more market-centric approach to product development and technological innovations. Today, Hisense USA sells into retailers across North America such as hhgregg, Best Buy, Walmart, Costco.com, Canadian Tire and many others. Hisense products are exported to over 130 countries and regions around the world. The Hisense 250 will kick off a unique NASCAR racing doubleheader at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 28, followed closely by a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.(Atlanta Motor Speedway)(1-5-2015)
McClure moving to JGL Racing UPDATE: Longtime NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Eric McClure will have a new home for the 2015 season. McClure confirmed to Catchfence.com of his new endeavor with JGL Racing, which will begin with the Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway. An official announcement is expected this week. McClure who has 254 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts departs Mark Smith’s TriStar Motorsports after four seasons and 117 starts. McClure earned his career-best finish in 2013, finishing eighth at Daytona International Speedway in the season-opening race. JGL Racing owned by James Whitener and Gregg Mixon will begin its second year of competition with McClure behind the wheel of the #24 Toyota Camry for the entire season. Longtime supporters Hefty and Reynolds Wrap will also make the move with the Chilhowie, Virginia-based driver. However, McClure has primary sponsorship sealed for all but eight XFINITY Series races. Hefty and Reynolds Wrap will serve as associate sponsors for those eight races. McClure currently has the longest active driver-sponsorship partnership in the series dating back to 2006. JGL Racing officials have not yet announced how many cars they will run in 2015, or whether J.J. Yeley will return.(Catchfence)(1-5-2015) UPDATE: Team McClure Inc. & JGL Racing announced a partnership that will place Eric McClure in a JGL Toyota Camry for the full 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Reynolds Consumer Products marks a tenth consecutive season as a series team partner and will serve as primary sponsor on the #24 entry for a minimum of 25 events. The relationship with McClure continues the longest active driver/sponsor combination in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and one of the longest current partnerships in the overall industry. JGL Racing, with owner James Whitener and General Manager Gregg Mixon, made its debut during the 2014 season-opening event at Daytona Int’l Speedway. The freshman team featured various driver combinations throughout the season for its two-car operation and, collectively, scored one top-five, two top-10, and three top-15 finishes. Jay Guy, a 28-year NASCAR veteran, has joined JLG Racing and will serve as crew chief of the #24 team. Guy brings vast knowledge and race-winning experience to the team from his time leading teams in both the Xfinity and Sprint Cup Series. McClure, a Chilhowie, Virginia native, will be beginning his 13th season of NXS competition, piloting the #24 Camry in all 33 scheduled events. RCP will feature its well-known Reynolds Wrap and Hefty brands on the #24 entry throughout the season, with the first scheduled race being the series’ first event at Daytona. RCP’s remaining races and additional program details will be announced at a later date.(TMI)(1-5-2015)
News from January 4, 2015
Press Pass, reportedly will be ceasing operations: NASCAR’s lone trading card manufacturer, Press Pass, reportedly will be ceasing operations. “Sports card manufacturer Press Pass is closing its doors. Hard to stay healthy these days,” tweeted ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell on Friday afternoon. Messages to Nick Matijevich, who had worked as the VP of Operations since February 2013 after a previous four-plus-year stint with the company were not yet returned. Other calls and messages into the Huntersville, N.C.-based company’s offices were not answered. Founded in 1992, Press Pass released more then 300 products for auto racing, football, basketball, baseball rodeo, non-sports and multi-sports programs during that run. Its primary focus for years had been NASCAR, particularly since the company lost college logos for its popular basketball and football draft picks sets when the Collegiate Licensing Company license went to Upper Deck on an exclusive basis in 2010.(Beckett)(1-4-2015)
Charlotte City Council to hear proposed changes to NASCAR HOF loan: Efforts to persuade two banks to forgive a $19.1 million loan to the city of Charlotte that helped build the NASCAR Hall of Fame appear to have made progress, with City Council members set to hear about “proposed amendments” on Monday to that agreement. On Friday, Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble wouldn’t talk about the proposed amendment or the negotiations, saying council members needed to be updated first on the so-called sponsorship loan and another agreement concerning NASCAR royalties. But an agenda item that Kimble wrote for Monday’s meeting suggests that some agreement has been reached, with council members hearing the proposed changes. They won’t take action until their Jan. 12 meeting. In November, the Observer reported that the city and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which manages the racing museum, had begun negotiations with Wells Fargo and Bank of America to forgive the loan. Growing to $21 million with interest, it was supposed to be repaid from the sale of sponsorships and commemorative bricks. Yet money from those two sources hasn’t come close to paying off the loan. When the hall opened in 2010, NASCAR was supposed to get royalties on such items as tickets, T-shirts, and food and drinks – but only if the museum was making money. The facility has lost money, according to the CRVA. It lost $1.4 million for the fiscal year that ended in June, and $1.6 million the previous fiscal year. But CRVA leaders are hopeful that the hall’s finances are stabilizing with attendance essentially leveling off. Still, no royalties to NASCAR have been paid.(full story at the Charlotte Observer)(1-4-2015)
LFR Driver Development Group formed: LFR Chassis has announced the formation of the LFR Driver Development Group, a company that will provide professional and experienced coaching with state of the art race cars for developing drivers in all late model and modified divisions nationwide. The company’s goal is to provide top-level racing experience and equipment to drivers looking to progress through the motorsports ranks. LFR Chassis has quickly made a mark in the short track racing industry by providing top notch equipment along with a racing staff that is unparalleled in the industry.
Four racing veterans will lead the group: Rob Fuller, Tony Eury Jr., Jeff Fultz and Ryan Stone. From Daytona International Speedway to Hickory Motor Speedway, these racing veterans have collectively won more than three dozen championships and over 700 victories at the highest level of motorsports, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to new drivers. The LFR Driver Development Group will utilize equipment and racecars from LFR Chassis. These chassis were designed and constructed by some of the best racing minds in the industry. The group will offer several different packages for all experience levels. The LFR Driver Development Group will also offer marketing and communications support for this next generation of drivers. Nealie Stufflet, a veteran NASCAR public relations professional, partnered with LFR Chassis in its inception to offer PR, social media and sponsorship services to its customers and will do the same for the development drivers. Interview skills training, media coaching and landscape insight will also be offered.(LFR Chassis)(1-4-2015)
News from January 3, 2015
#13 Crew Chief Bootie Barker explains flaring the skirt out: Q) “How does the post-race inspection process work with the body – specifically with the “flare” on the right side, side skirt by the wheel well? I race on a short-track level, and our officials would never let that through tech.” Barker: “We flare the skirt out to increase the car’s downforce and side force. They’re big hitters on just planting the car more. I use the term “capability.” A car has two limitations on how fast it can go: the driver and its capability. When you flare out the sides like that, you’re adding downforce, you’re adding capability to the car. It can physically run faster because it sticks more. How can we get away with it? NASCAR’s not blind. They know we’re doing it. You have to go through initial inspection in a certain way, and for whatever reason, they have deemed it acceptable for us to do those things during the race and we aren’t suffering the consequences afterwards. Now, will they one day go, ‘This has gotten ridiculous and we have to stop this?’ That’s really their decision, and we won’t know what that “too far” is until one of us does it. So, that’s what happens. We just keep pushing the limit until somebody kind of establishes what the limit is.”(see full interview at NASCAR Illustrated)(1-3-2015)
No word on Rockingham Speedway sale or auction: Owners have yet to announce a sale or auction of Richmond County’s NASCAR track following a Thursday deadline for the court-ordered deal. Superior Court Judge David Lee’s Oct. 14 consent order required Rockingham Speedway owners Andy Hillenburg and Bill Silas to “enter into a binding agreement with a third party for the sale or other disposition” of the track by Jan. 1 in order to avoid foreclosure. No new documents have appeared in the case file since Dec. 15, and it remained unclear Friday whether Hillenburg and Silas had met the New Year’s Day deadline. Lee’s order does not require that a sale or auction agreement be on file with the Richmond County Clerk of Superior Court’s office by a specific date. A Friday phone message left for Hillenburg was not returned in time for this story.(Richmond County Daily Journal)(1-3-2015)
News from January 2, 2015
Keen Parts to return to the #32 in 2015: Keensparts.com and corevetteparts.com will return to sponsor the #32 Go FAS Racing Ford for at least eight races in 2015. No word who the driver will be. See an image of the scheme on the #32 Team Schemes page.(1-2-2015)
Toyoda Machinery partners with MWR:Toyoda Machinery USA announced its partnership agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing in early December. “Partnering with a top NASCAR team is something we’ve wanted to do for quite some time,” said Tim Leoni, Toyoda’s vice president of sales, “Because of our company’s automotive background, it makes sense that we team up with one of Toyota Racing Development’s top NASCAR outfits. This synergy is something the engineers will immediately recognize in the shop, the crew will feel in the pits, and the fans will see on the track.” With this partnership, Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) has added four Toyoda vertical machining centers to its shop floor. MWR selected Toyoda’s FV1165 and FV1565 machines for their 8,000 RPM, geared head spindles and robust construction. Steel parts, such as the spring buckets, center links, and idler arms, are all machined on the boxway series. “Our tools have to have a long reach to be able to machine around different suspension components,” explained Dale Brown, machine shop supervisor at MWR, “We needed a couple of really good, rigid machines to do some of the heavy machining.” The timing of the Toyoda installation couldn’t come at a better time for MWR. The end of the racing season is when the shop begins putting in long hours building cars for next year. Brown said the shop is looking forward to improved quality and productivity with the Toyoda machines. “Everything fits together really tight. It seems to be a really good, quality machine.”(MWR)(1-2-2015)
News from January 1, 2015
RCR Sues former employee: Richard Childress Racing failed to prove that an engineer who became another team’s crew chief stole trade secrets, the North Carolina Business Court ruled. Matthew McCall started working for RCR as a race engineer on the Camping World Truck Series team in 2010. Two years later, RCR promoted him to similar position working on the #31 Chevy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. McCall’s contract included provisions that, if he resigned, he could not work for a competitor in a similar capacity for 12 months. During the 2014 season, McCall said several times that he would like to work as a crew chief for a Sprint Cup team. When RCR offered McCall a crew-chief spot on the Nationwide Series, NASCAR’s second-ranked circuit, he resigned at the end of the 2014 Sprint Cup season. Two days later, Chip Ganassi Racing hired McCall as the crew chief for Jamie McMurray’s #1 Chevy on the Sprint Cup circuit.
RCR sued McCall in Davidson County, N.C., in November for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. It moved on Dec. 3 for a temporary restraining order to keep McCall from working for Ganassi or another competitor. As quoted in the Dec. 19 ruling, RCR argued that the positions were similar because McCall “routinely performed the tasks of the crew chief (and complained about doing so),” and filled in for the crew chief when he was unavailable. (Parentheses in original.) The team also noted that McCall officially served as the crew chief during the 2013 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. McCall responded that he filled in as crew chief during for just one practice session and one testing session. During the Brickyard 400, the regular crew chief was suffering from an eye injury but made the critical decisions from a trailer, where he was watching the race, McCall added. The North Carolina Business Court denied RCR’s request for a restraining order. “Plaintiff has not shown, at this time, a likelihood of success on its claim that by accepting a crew chief position with Ganassi, Defendant has become employed in a ‘capacity identical or similar to that in which he participated while employed by (plaintiff) and therefore as breached the employment contract,” Judge Louis Bledsoe III wrote. RCR also did not prove that McCall had or would disclose its trade secrets, the court found.(Court House News)(1-1-2015)
Sad News: #42-Kyle Larson’s grandmother passed away on Tuesday, December 30th. From Kyle Larson’s Twitter: “RIP Grandma Patty. I know you missed Grandpa and couldn’t wait to be with him again in heaven. I love you guys!” )(1-5-2015)