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News from March 31, 2015


  • Statement from Torrey Galida, President of Richard Childress Racing, regarding tire penalties:“We understand the seriousness of the penalty. In fact, RCR has been one of the most outspoken opponents against ‘tire bleeding’ since the rumors began to surface last season. Once NASCAR provides us with the specific details of the infraction we will conduct a further internal investigation, and evaluate our options for an appeal.”(RCR)(3-31-2015)

  • #31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Penalized For Rules Violations: The #31 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for rules infractions discovered as a result of NASCAR’s post-event tire audit conducted following the March 22 race at Auto Club Speedway. These infractions amount to a P5 level penalty and violate the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
    12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
    20.16: Wheels and tires
    A. Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted.
    20.16.2: Tires
    F. Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted.
    Section 12.5.3.5.1 lists P5 Penalty Violation examples that could include but are not limited to:
    A. Effecting, modifying and/or altering the standard tires in any way, other than through authorized means such as tire pressure adjustments within the recommended range, permitted tire cooling when mounted on the race vehicle; or heat-cycling on the race vehicle on the race track earlier in the event.
    12.5.3.5.2: Minimum P5 Penalty Options (includes all four points below):
    A. Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a Championship race or not
    B. $75,000-$125,000 fine
    C. Suspension for the next six series Championship Races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR
    D. Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons
    12.5.3.5.3: P5 Level infractions detected during post-race inspection:
    If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added to those listed previously in this section:
    A. Loss of an additional 25 Championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a Championship Race or not
    B. Loss of an additional $50,000
    As a result of these violations, crew chief Luke Lambert has been fined a total of $125,000 ($75,000 plus $50,000), suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, and been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. James Bender, team tire technician, and Philip Surgen, team engineer, have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, and been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.
    Driver Ryan Newman and car owner Richard Childress each have been penalized with the loss of 75 (50 plus 25) championship driver and championship car owner points.
    “NASCAR takes very seriously its responsibility to govern and regulate the rules of the sport in order to ensure competitive balance,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. “We’ve been very clear that any modifications to race vehicle tires is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated.”(NASCAR)(3-31-2015)

  • Governor McCrory Proclaims March 31 “Richard Petty Day”: Governor Pat McCrory celebrated a living legend today at the Executive Mansion, proclaiming March 31, 2015 “Richard Petty Day” in North Carolina. “It’s an honor to have ‘The King’ of NASCAR here today to celebrate what Richard has accomplished for motorsports in our state,” said Governor McCrory. “Richard retired in 1992 with the impressive record as the most decorated driver in NASCAR history. Not only that, but off the track he and his family have made great contributions to our state. One such contribution is Victory Junction, a camp which has brought joy to thousands of families of children with serious illnesses and medical conditions.”
    Petty was born July 2, 1937, in the Level Cross community of Randolph County. After watching his father on the race track, he joined NASCAR and in 1959 was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Upon retirement, he had earned a record 200 career victories and 7 NASCAR Cup championships. Governor McCrory visited Victory Junction in July of 2013 in Randleman. The camp is in memory of Adam Petty who died in a crash at the New Hampshire International Speedway while practicing for a race in May 2000. The North Carolina General Assembly also celebrated Petty today with a resolution in his honor.
    “It’s an honor to be recognized by the State where we’ve always called home,” said Petty. “It makes you feel good to be honored by the people who serve your city, county and state. Our entire family has grown up and lived here all our lives and we always tried to give back to our community. I’m proud and humbled by today.” Petty was joined by his daughters Rebecca and Sharon and son Kyle in Raleigh today. Both the State Senate and House of Representatives also paid salute to the late Lynda and Adam Petty for their contributions to North Carolina.(Breaking Limits for Richard Petty Motorsports)(3-31-2015)

  • Latest on Kyle Larson UPDATE2: #42-Kyle Larson watched Sunday’s NASCAR race on a laptop in a hospital after failing to get medical clearance to drive after fainting during an autograph session. Larson was in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was taken for further testing. “He’s good. No change since he woke up from fainting,” team owner Chip Ganassi said from the IndyCar Series season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida. All tests have come back negative, and the team maintains Larson feels fine. But doctors at Carolina’s Medical Center, where Larson traveled to by helicopter Saturday night after leaving Martinsville Memorial Hospital, are giving him a battery of tests. Larson is also seeing a neurologist in North Carolina as a precaution. “You are trying to do the right thing and you want to be safe, and you want to err on the side of safety,” Ganassi said. “I want to respect the professionals and respect what they are saying, but we want to be realistic, too.” Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon who works closely with many NASCAR teams, has visited Larson. A member of NASCAR’s care center team also has assisted.(Associated Press)(3-30-2015)
    UPDATE Larson still in hospital: As of 6:00pm/et Monday [March 30th], #42-Kyle Larson remains in a Charlotte hospital, where tests are ongoing to determine why he fainted during an autograph session Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. A spokesperson for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates told FOX Sports 1 reporter Alan Cavana that the team hoped Larson would be released sometime Monday night. The team spokesman said so far all of the tests have come back negative and that Larson is feeling well and in good spirits. Larson missed Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, where his seat was filled by Regan Smith, who finished 16th. With six races complete on the season, Larson is 24th in points.(FoxSports)(3-30-2015)
    UPDATE2: Statement from Target Chop Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates regarding Kyle Larson: “After extensive testing and observation over the last few days, Kyle Larson was released from the hospital last night and has finished up final tests today. He is currently waiting for final doctor recommendations in order to clear him to return to all NASCAR related activities.”(CGR)(3-31-2015)

  • Statement from NASCAR about the Indiana Legislation: NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes: “NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race.”(NASCAR)
    The legislation passed in Indiana is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which takes effect July 1, would prohibit laws that “substantially burden” a person’s freedom of religion unless the government can prove a compelling interest in imposing that burden.(USA Today). More information about the legislation can be found at ABC NewsESPNtheatlantic.comweeklystandard.comNBC News and be searched for online.(3-31-2015)

  • Three drivers start season with top-ten streaks: #78-Martin Truex Jr.’s 7th place finish at Martinsville marked his sixth consecutive top-10 finish. That’s the longest top-10 streak to open a season since Greg Biffle scored six top-10s to begin the 2010 campaign (finishing 6th in the standings). Truex isn’t the only one though. Points leader #4-Kevin Harvick and #22-Joey Logano also have opened the season with six consecutive top-10s to open the season. The NASCAR record for most top-10 finishes to open a season is 10 set by Lee Petty in 1955 (finished 3rd in the standings) and James Hylton in 1972 (finished 3rd in the standings).(NBC Sports)
    UPDATE: the record is actually held by Morgan Shepherd, who opened the 1990 season with 11 consecutive top-10 finishes in the #15 Motorcraft Ford owned by Bud Moore. Shepherd finished with 16 top-10 finishes in 29 races during the 1990 season, finishing 5th in the Championship.(3-31-2015)
  • Martinsville TV Ratings: The first ever NASCAR race on Fox Sports 1 was no match for coverage on FOX last year, but still put up respectable numbers. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Martinsville earned a 2.5 overnight rating on FS1 Sunday afternoon, down 34% from last year (3.8) and down 38% from 2013 (4.0), both of which aired on FOX. The 2.5 is the lowest for the race since at least 2002, the last time it aired on cable. Sunday’s telecast was the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race to air on Fox Sports 1 (previously Speed Channel). It topped other NASCAR telecasts on the network, including last year’s Sprint Cup All-Star Race (1.7), last year’s Sprint Unlimited (1.8) and this year’s four Xfinity Series races (0.8 to 1.7). Despite airing on cable, the race was the highest rated non-NCAA Tournament sporting event of the weekend in the metered markets. It more-than-tripled competing coverage of the IndyCar Series from St. Petersburg on broadcast network ABC (0.8). FOX was originally scheduled to air the Martinsville race, with FS1 making its debut April 25 from Richmond. The networks swapped the races to accommodate MLB coverage on FS1 that day.(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily)(3-31-2015)

  • American Heart Association Recognizes NASCAR as Platinum Fit-Friendly Worksite: In recognition of its initiatives to help employees live healthier lifestyles, the American Heart Association has named NASCAR a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite. “Our employees are passionate about NASCAR and we are passionate about empowering them to focus on health and wellness,” said Paula Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of human resources. “Through our initiatives and offerings, we try to make it easier for our employees to make healthy living a habit, whether traveling to races or at home. We are proud to be honored by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly worksite.” A Platinum-Level honor is the highest tier of recognition awarded by the American Heart Association. NASCAR earned Platinum-Level accolades by demonstrating a strong commitment to providing a healthy workplace for employees. Notable offerings include physical activity opportunities, increasing healthy eating options and promoting a wellness culture.
    In addition, NASCAR also received the American Heart Association’s Worksite Innovation Award for its development and implementation of innovative and effective efforts that promote physical activity, specifically in the workplace. NASCAR’s health initiatives include: annual onsite biometric screenings measuring cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (garnering over 89 percent employee participation); Rival Fit (an online program allowing a customizable workout plan and daily menu); a monthly fruit promotion; and Neighborhood Wellness (free coaching for weight management and tobacco cessation available at CVS minute clinics). NASCAR also offers tobacco-free incentives for its medical plan, a preventive care incentive, and an Aetna Fitness Reimbursement.(NASCAR)(3-31-2015)
  • Darrell Wallace Jr plans to compete full time, even without sponsorship: A sight regularly seen every week in NASCAR is of a car pulling into Victory Lane with a laundry list of sponsor decals plastered all over the body. The driver’s first priority in post-race interviews, after he’s finished celebrating, is usually to list said sponsors, thanking them and his team. This is a scenario Darrell Wallace Jr. has been fighting for last 12 years of his career. In his rookie season in both the Xfinity Series and with Roush Fenway Racing, Wallace has a very short list to thank when he gets out of a car. “It’s a struggle for everybody in the sport,” Wallace said during Texas Motor Speedway’s Media Day at the House of Blues. “I’ve never had an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, I’m Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 … such and such.’ It’s just been Ford Mustang’. But even devoid of additional sponsorship, Wallace says there’s no danger of him missing any races. “Our goal and our mission is to be at Homestead at the end of the year and winning that race,” said Wallace, whose early racing career was primarily supported financially by his father’s industrial cleaning company in Tennessee. “We also just have to keep performing on track to earn that sponsorship.” While he battles his way on track to be able to thank a permanent sponsor in Victory Lane, Wallace is grateful to have car owner Jack Roush’s support. “He wants to run for a full season,” Wallace said. “He believes in me and that’s the biggest thing. You have the support from Jack and he wants us to succeed, and I think it’s really cool that he’s in the debrief meetings with us on Monday at 2 o’clock and he want’s to know why did we finish like that? What do we need to improve on? He’s a racer. He gets it.”(NBC Sports)(3-31-2015)
  • Final closing period set for Nashville Superspeedway: NeXovation has secured the funding to close on the Nashville Superspeedway. However, the combination of the bond issue and the necessary due diligence have caused recent delays in closing. NeXovation, in cooperation with Dover, agreed on Friday, March 27th to a final closing period, which stipulates that the closing will occur within 60 days. As a show of good faith, NeXovation made an additional investment of $400,000 on March 27th, adding to previous investments made in 2014 and 2015. This fourth investment brings NeXovation’s total investment in the Nashville Superspeedway to $2.5 million: four investments equaling $1 million, in addition to its initial investment of $1.5 million, to secure NeXovation’s purchase of the Nashville Superspeedway. NeXovation looks forward to bringing its business model and vision for the Nashville Superspeedway to Wilson County, the Nashville area and the global motorsports and OEM communities.(Ackermann PR for NeXovation)(3-31-2015)
  • Ole Miss Football Coach Hugh Freeze to Serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver at Talladega:University of Mississippi Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze, who has adopted the name “Talladega” for the Rebels’ fast-paced offensive plays, will serve as the Honorary “Pace Car Driver” for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 3. Prior to the start of the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s mammoth palace of speed, Freeze will lead the 43-driver starting grid around the track’s 33-degree banked turns in the track’s Official Ford Mustang Pace Car.
    “I love watching the competition that goes on at Talladega,” said Freeze, who led Ole Miss to a 9-4 overall record a year ago. “One of my favorite races to watch is obviously at Talladega Superspeedway. The term ‘Talladega’ is one we use around here a lot for our up-tempo offense. Our kids know it as our fastest pace, and I get excited every time Talladega has a race. I am so jacked (about driving the pace car).”
    A huge NASCAR fan, Freeze has developed a good friendship with two NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers – Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Danica Patrick. Last year, Stenhouse, Jr., a native of Mississippi, made a Talladega Superspeedway appearance on the campus of Ole Miss to educate students about NASCAR’s Most Competitive track. During his visit, Stenhouse, Jr., a life-long Ole Miss Rebels fan, worked out on the practice field with the Rebels’ football players after receiving a personal guided tour of the sports facilities by Freeze.
    In addition to piloting the pace car during his visit to Talladega, Freeze, who is entering his fourth season at Ole Miss (of the Southeastern Conference), will be a part of pre-race festivities on the Driver Introductions Stage at the start/finish line. Fans can witness pre-race activities with a Sunday “Pit Pass Upgrade” for $75 (in addition to an admission ticket), which allows access to pre-race festivities including: Driver Introductions, Driver Question/Answer Session, view of the Red Carpet Entry to the Drivers Meeting, and access to pit road prior to the start of the GEICO 500.
    Only seven days remain where fans can get save $10 off pricing on single-day GEICO 500 tickets. The special offer ends on Friday, April 3. Log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 877-Go2-DEGA for more information.(TSS)(3-31-2015)


    News from March 30, 2015


  • Superspeedway Qualifying Format Updated for Talladega, Daytona: NASCAR unveiled modifications to the qualifying format at superspeedways across all three national series. The updated format will take effect at Talladega Superspeedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next month. Qualifying for May’s Talladega Superspeedway races, as well as the July events at Daytona International Speedway, will consist of the following:
    · Two rounds of qualifying, with the top-12 posted lap speeds advancing to the second round
    · Race vehicles taking one, timed lap in each round of qualifying
    · Each race vehicle will be released in a predetermined timed interval as determined by NASCAR, with the sanctioning body reserving the right to have more than one vehicle engaging in qualifying runs at the same time
    · Qualifying order for the first round will be determined by a random draw; final round qualifying order is determined by slowest to fastest speeds from the first round
    · A 10-minute break will occur between the first qualifying round and the final round
    · Upon completion of the first qualifying round, the field will be set with positions 13 and beyond determined from first round qualifying speed
    · The 12 fastest vehicles from the first round will have their speeds reset for the final round with starting positions 1-12 determined by the fastest laps in the final round
    · NASCAR will impound race vehicles following each qualifying lap; vehicles advancing to the final round will be allowed to adjust tape and utilize a cool-down unit during the 10-minute break only
    The NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at Talladega Superspeedway May 1-3. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying will air live May 2 on FOX at 1:00pm/et. The Winn Dixie 300 and GEICO 500 will air live on FOX on May 2 (3:00pm/et) and May 3 (1:00pm/et), respectively.
    The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will utilize the format for the first time when the series returns to Talladega Superspeedway with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in October. Qualifying procedures for the 2016 Daytona 500 will be announced at a later date.(NASCAR)(3-30-2015)

  • Latest on Kyle Larson: #42-Kyle Larson watched Sunday’s NASCAR race on a laptop in a hospital after failing to get medical clearance to drive after fainting during an autograph session. Larson was in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was taken for further testing. “He’s good. No change since he woke up from fainting,” team owner Chip Ganassi said from the IndyCar Series season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida. All tests have come back negative, and the team maintains Larson feels fine. But doctors at Carolina’s Medical Center, where Larson traveled to by helicopter Saturday night after leaving Martinsville Memorial Hospital, are giving him a battery of tests. Larson is also seeing a neurologist in North Carolina as a precaution. “You are trying to do the right thing and you want to be safe, and you want to err on the side of safety,” Ganassi said. “I want to respect the professionals and respect what they are saying, but we want to be realistic, too.” Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon who works closely with many NASCAR teams, has visited Larson. A member of NASCAR’s care center team also has assisted.(Associated Press)(3-30-2015)

  • Patrick ties most top 10s by a woman: Danica Patrick knows sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. On a long Sunday afternoon at Martinsville, she was both lucky and good. Patrick enjoyed a seventh-place finish in the STP 500 with a little luck, good driving and a good car. One off her career best of sixth set in August at Atlanta, this marked her fifth top-10 finish, which ties her with Janet Guthrie for the most top-10s by a woman in the Sprint Cup Series. The finish was by far her best of the season — she hadn’t finished in the top 15 this year — as she moved up seven spots in the standings to 16th. It was the first race this year where it appeared she and crew chief Daniel Knost made significant gains in getting the car better.(ESPN.com), see more stats on the Female NASCAR drivers page.(3-30-2015)

  • Ragan would like to be in the #18 until Busch returns: David Ragan accepted a congratulatory handshake and pat from team owner Joe Gibbs and then turned to face the news media with a broad smile. In his fifth start in the #18 Toyota, he finally had a result to justify his contention that the team wasn’t struggling as much as it seemed since he took over for injured Kyle Busch. But he persevered to score his first top five since his May 5, 2013 victory at Talladega Superspeedway. Even more importantly, it came after a stretch of four consecutive finishes of 18th or worse since moving into the JGR car on an interim basis from Front Row Motorsports. Ragan said multiple times in postrace interviews that he believed he could win during his stint in Busch’s car. There still is no timetable for Busch’s return, nor has it been announced when Ragan will return to Front Row. In the wake of Busch’s Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Talk has reported the plan was for Ragan to drive nine races before turning Busch’s car over to Erik Jones at Kansas Speedway. “It’s kind of week by week on how Kyle is feeling,” Ragan said. “Certainly that’s a Kyle Busch decision and a Coach Gibbs decision. There are probably a lot of different scenarios that could play out. Obviously, I hope I’m in the car until the transition for Kyle comes back. That’s what the team and everybody wants. They don’t want to have to put a third or fourth or fifth driver in, so hopefully Kyle can heal well, and he’ll be back sooner than later, and we would have won a race, and I can go back to Front Row Motorsports and carry a Chase ticket back home. That’d be cool.”(NBC Sports)(3-30-2015)

  • Another top 10 for Truex, Jr.: A strong team effort propelled #78-Martin Truex Jr. and the Furniture Row Racing team to a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. It was the sixth straight top-eight finish to start the season for Truex, who set a career best of six consecutive top-10 results. He remains third in the driver point standings as the NASCAR circuit heads into an off weekend for Easter. The top-10 finish also surpassed the five top-10s that Truex posted in 2014, his first season with the single-car Furniture Row Racing team.(Furniture Row Racing)(3-30-2015)
  • Martinsville Race and Commercial Breakdown: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 1:00 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 5:07 PM (all times are EST). FS1 was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 112
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 51
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 107
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 50
    Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 5
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 4
    Number of times Fox utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 1
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast (including company logos ‘floating’ in corners of the screen): 78
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 55 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 1:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:07 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 247
    Minutes of race broadcast: 200
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 47
    Minutes of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials (split-screen): 3
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 0
    Total race brdcst time 200 Total comm. brdcst time 47
    See full reports, sponsor links, much more details at CawsnJaws.com.(3-30-2015)


    News from March 29, 2015


  • Hamlin wins at Martinsville: #11-Denny Hamlin won the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 5th win at Martinsville Speedway and his 25th career win.
    #2-Keselowski finished second, the rest of the top 10: #22-Logano, #20-Kenseth, #18-Ragan, #78-Truex, Jr., #10-Patrick, #4-Harvick, #24-Gordon, and #1-McMurray.
    #25-Chase Elliott, making his Sprint Cup debut, was involved in an early accident and spent some time behind the wall for repairs. He finished 38th.
    #42-Regan Smith, filling in for Kyle Larson, overcame a spin midway through the race to finish 16th.
    Harvick’s 8th place finish is his first finish outside the top 2 since Martinsville in October last year.
    Harvick continues to hold the Chase points lead, now 24 points over #22-Logano.
    There were 31 lead changes among 13 drivers. There were 16 cautions for 112 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 68.843mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-29-2015)
  • 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
    [after Martinsville, race 6 of 36]
    (by wins, then by points)
    1) #4-Kevin Harvick [2 wins], 263
    2) #22-Joey Logano [1 win], 239, -24
    3) #2-Brad Keselowski [1 win], 206, -57
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 172, -91
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson [1 win], 168, -95
    6) #78-Truex Jr., 231, -32
    7) #5-Kasey Kahne, 193, -70
    8) #31-Ryan Newman, 180, -83
    9) #27-Paul Menard, 173, -90
    10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 172, -91
    11) #43-Aric Almirola, 170, -93
    12) #20-Matt Kenseth, 168, -95
    13) #18-David Ragan, 163, -100
    14) #13-Casey Mears, 161, -102
    15) #1-Jamie McMurray, 154, -109
    16) #10-Danica Patrick, 148, -115
    (ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc)
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(3-29-2015)

  • JD Gibbs being treated for symptoms impacting areas of brain function UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, is starting treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function. Gibbs has undergone a series of tests after experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms that includes speech and processing issues. Gibbs’ doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified. Gibbs has always enjoyed an active life participating in several sports including mountain biking, snowboarding, football, racing, and other extreme-type sports. Gibbs will be undergoing more testing and receiving treatments to help manage the symptoms. During that time, it is expected that his presence at the race track will be limited; however, he will continue many of his day-to-day responsibilities at JGR’s headquarters in Huntersville, NC as well as involvement with his various ministry endeavors.(Joe Gibbs Racing)
    Statement from Brian France: “All members of the NASCAR and France family extend our thoughts and prayers to J.D. Gibbs and his loved ones. We’ve all watched J.D. grow up within our community, and he always has represented himself, his family, the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and NASCAR with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm and energy. We wish him the best during this time and eagerly anticipate his recovery.”(NASCAR)(3-25-2015)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs addressed the media Sunday morning at Martinsville:
    “J.D. at our team meeting earlier this week, he got up and basically he said, ‘I know God has a plan and God puts us through things for a reason.’ I think J.D. gains his strength from the fact that he has a personal relationship with the Lord and I have to tell you that he’s my hero. I kind of watch him and I don’t know if anybody has ever dealt with anything as crazy as J.D. does. He went through a situation with his son Taylor having leukemia at two and we fought through that for about three or four years. By the way, appreciate all of you all’s prayers for Taylor and Taylor’s doing great today. Like I said, J.D. through his entire life has probably been the craziest person that I’ve ever been around or knew. Basically, his situation medically – there’s very few answers. We’ve been dealing with this for about six months and basically what the doctor’s say is that they really don’t know. J.D. has lived a very active lifestyle. All the things that he’s done in his life physically he’s loved all sporting events and it’s everything from football to snowboarding, racing cars, racing motor bikes – he’s lived in a lot of ways for him, he loved all those things. We can’t point to any one serious thing that happened to him, certainly any injury is a possibility that led us into some of the symptoms that he’s experiencing now.
    We’ve been dealing with this for about six months so as far as the management team for Joe Gibbs Racing, we have a senior management team and most of our people have been in place for the full 24 years – it’s amazing really. I think very few people have noticed anything or any difference in the way we operate with the race team. The good thing there is that J.D. and I share the same responsibilities. If I’m not there for a particular reason, J.D. will be there and if J.D. is not there for some reason, I’ll be there. As he goes through treatment, he will probably be doing less at the race track because he has a full week that demands quite a bit from him as he goes through treatment. You will probably see less of him at the race track, but he’ll be there on a day-to-day basis with the race team and be in all of our meetings and all of the key decisions that we make, J.D.’s going to have a huge impact on that.(Toyota Racing)(3-29-2015)

  • Larson taken to hospital Saturday after fainting UPDATES: #42-Kyle Larson fainted toward the end of an autograph session at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday and had to be taken to a local hospital for evaluation. A Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates official told Alex Cavanna of FOX Sports that Larson was “being checked out at a local hospital. He was awake and alert on the way to the hospital.” The Ganassi official added that the team believes he will be fine, although doctors were still completing their evaluation of him at the time the statement was made. The official also said that “at the moment,” the team has “no reason” to believe Larson won’t be in the #42 Ganassi Chevrolet for Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville.(FoxSports)(3-28-2015)
    UPDATE: NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Larson will need to have “medical clearance from the attending physician” to race in Sunday’s STP 500.(USA Today)(3-28-2015)
    UPDATE 2: “After evaluating him, doctors at Martinsville Memorial Hospital felt that everything checked out well for Kyle Larson, however, just to be safe, they felt he should also be evaluated by a neurologist. Martinsville Memorial Hospital did not have one available so they decided to have Larson make the short trip to Carolina’s Medical Center (CMC) in Charlotte to be evaluated by one. Larson arrived late this evening to Charlotte, feels fine and is just awaiting a final evaluation at CMC which we hope to have the results of later this evening.”(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-29-2015)
    UPDATE 3: After fainting yesterday at an autograph session in Martinsville, VA, Kyle Larson was first evaluated at a local hospital in Martinsville and ultimately evaluated at a Charlotte hospital. Although all tests came back negative and Larson feels completely fine, the doctors felt he should be held for more testing today. Subsequently, Larson will be unable to race today in the STP 500 in Martinsville. Regan Smith has agreed to fill-in for Larson today in the #42 Target Chevrolet SS.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-29-2015)

  • American Cancer Society featured on the #23: There will be an important message turning laps at Martinsville this weekend. For the first time, the American Cancer Society is partnering with a race team and will have a presence during the race at the STP 500. March is colon cancer awareness month and NASCAR Driver #23-JJ Yeley will be sporting the America Cancer Society logo around the track. This car has personal meaning for Richard Turner. A colon cancer survivor and now a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, Turner says it all came together perfectly. They want this car to be a voice for those who have survived cancer and to remind others to always be up to date with their check ups.(WDBJ), see an image of the car on the #23 team paint schemes page.(3-29-2015)

  • Logano has won in all 3 Series: #22-Joey Logano became the 26th driver to win in all three National Series when he won the Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville. He now has 9 Sprint Cup wins and 22 XFINITY Series wins to go with the CWTS victory.(3-29-2015)

  • DiBenedetto, Stewart not happy with each other after practice UPDATE: Matt DiBenedetto was just looking for an opening on the track during practice – that’s when he aroused the wrath of #14-Tony Stewart on Friday. On the track the three-time champion flipped off the rookie and yelled at him. Off the track when the driver of the #83 BK Racing Toyota tried to explain what happened, DiBenedetto’s attempt was futile. “I went up to him to apologize and explain the situation to him,” DiBenedetto told Motorsport.com. “I’m not an idiot. I wouldn’t just pull in front of him. I told him the 19 pulled out in front of me on the racetrack. That checked up all of my momentum and by that time – things happen so fast around here – that when I got to Turn 3, he was getting a few car lengths of me so I just pulled over to let him go. He didn’t understand. I tried to tell him what happened, but he just told me I just needed to get out of the way and whatever. He really just didn’t know what to say. He’s just an arrogant prick,” DiBenedetto said. “He has anger issues and needs to focus on driving the race car other than dedicating the whole practice session to blocking somebody when it wasn’t something I did intentionally. I don’t care who he is, he’s barking up the wrong tree.”(Motorsport)(3-28-2015)
    UPDATE: Sprint Cup Series rookie Matt DiBenedetto says all is fine now between he and three-time champion Tony Stewart, but that wasn’t the case Friday after the two crossed paths on and off the racing surface at Martinsville Speedway. During Friday’s lone NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, a relatively innocent-looking run-in between DiBenedetto and Stewart led to some harsh words and further explanation afterward. Explaining the situation to Stewart afterward, DiBenedetto said the veteran listened to him, and DiBenedetto believes Stewart now understands the situation better. “He didn’t say a whole lot,” DiBenedetto said. “I explained what happened and he didn’t have much to say, since I explained the whole deal. It is what it is. It was kind of dumb, a little bit of an overreaction. It’s all over with now. In reality it’s such a small issue. I felt like it was something minor,” said DiBenedetto, adding that he was more frustrated for his team than taking it personally. “If I was in his situation I would have kind of blown it off, especially since I made an effort to get out of his way. It is what it is. I guess it’s understandable. We’ll just move on.”(FoxSports)(3-29-2015)

  • Penske warns teams not to mess with tires: Roger Penske has warned his NASCAR team to stay out of any controversy regarding the possible manipulation of tires used during races. The team owner is aware of rampant industry speculation that some crews are drilling tiny holes in tires to allow air to escape during a race, a process known as “bleeding tires.” NASCAR has confiscated tires the last two weeks, including those of Team Penske driver #22-Joey Logano following the race at Phoenix. “It’s my understanding that there could be ways to have the tires lose pressure over a stint,” Penske said Saturday at the IndyCar Series event at St. Petersburg. Obviously with softer tires, you are going to have better grip and better performance. I’ve told our guys ‘Hey, let’s stay out of this.’ I can tell you this: we are not making any adjustments to our tires for that type of activity.” Penske didn’t know what NASCAR was looking for when it took Logano’s tires after the March 15 race at Phoenix. He also doesn’t know if anyone in the Sprint Cup Series garage is actually bleeding tires. “I can’t ever point my finger at anyone else. At the end of the day, guys go fast for different reasons, and someone has an idea that that’s going on,” Penske said. “I’ve seen no evidence at this point, at least it hasn’t been show to me, to say ‘this is happening.’ The only finger I’m pointing is at my own guys to make sure we’re not involved in anything like that.”(Associated Press)(3-29-2014)

  • Martinsville Speedway Notes & Facts – Sunday – race:
    · There have been 132 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway, one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950.
    · 48 different drivers have won at Martinsville Speedway, led by Richard Petty with 15; Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead the series among active drivers with eight wins each.
    · 24 drivers have multiple wins at Martinsville Speedway only five active drivers have multiple wins: Jimmie Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (eight), Denny Hamlin (four), Tony Stewart (three) and Kurt Busch (two).
    · Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 22.
    · There have been five NSCS green-white-checkered finishes at Martinsville Speedway: fall 2007 (500/506), fall 2008 (500/504), fall 2009 (500/501), spring 2010 (500/508), and spring 2012 (500/515).
    · Chevrolet leads series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 54 victories – including the last eight consecutive races.
    · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway is the April 1, 2007 race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.065 second.
    (NASCAR)(3-29-2015)


    News from March 28, 2015


  • Larson taken to hospital Saturday after fainting UPDATE: #42-Kyle Larson fainted toward the end of an autograph session at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday and had to be taken to a local hospital for evaluation. A Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates official told Alex Cavanna of FOX Sports that Larson was “being checked out at a local hospital. He was awake and alert on the way to the hospital.” The Ganassi official added that the team believes he will be fine, although doctors were still completing their evaluation of him at the time the statement was made. The official also said that “at the moment,” the team has “no reason” to believe Larson won’t be in the #42 Ganassi Chevrolet for Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville.(FoxSports)(3-28-2015)
    UPDATE NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Larson will need to have “medical clearance from the attending physician” to race in Sunday’s STP 500.(USA Today)(3-28-2015)
  • Final practice for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is over after 50 minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #41-Busch 97.098
    #48-Johnson 96.810
    #24-Gordon 96.726
    #11-Hamlin 96.652
    #31-Newman 96.597
    slowest: #33-Kennedy 94.055 & #23-Yeley 93.943
    notes: #16-Biffle spun out and made light contact with the outside wall.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Martinsville practice 3 speeds page (pdf).(3-28-2015)
  • First Saturday practice for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is over after 55 minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #11-Denny Hamlin 97.113
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 96.988
    #24-Jeff Gordon 96.884
    #5-Kasey Kahne 96.815
    #19-Carl Edwards 96.711
    Most laps run: #6-Bayne 91 & #55-Moffitt 73.
    slowest: #83-DiBenedetto 94.195 & #23-Yeley 94.064.
    notes: #25-Chase Elliott 20th fastest as he enters his first Cup race this weekend.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Martinsville practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-28-2015)

  • Are some teams tampering with tires? UPDATE: Hendrick crew chiefs Alan Gustafson and Chad Knaus talked to the media Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway:
    The last two weeks NASCAR has taken tires from teams. After Fontana they sent some of those tires off to an independent laboratory. NASCAR said that is a part of a regular tire audit. What do you guys make of what is going on there? Do you thing they are looking for something specific?
    GUSTAFSON: “It’s hard to speculate because that is all I could do. In my experience there is a lot of smoke around that. There is a lot of talk, there is a lot of dialogue and there are a lot of rumors in the garage. Yeah, I think it is obvious that some people think something is going on and is NASCAR reacting to that? Or do they feel uncomfortable with what is going on? I don’t know that answer. But I do think that it is something that is on the forefront of a lot of people minds. Obviously NASCAR is trying to make sure that we are all on level playing field and if anybody is violating that they will pay the price, which they reminded us this morning is very stiff. That is all I know. Anything beyond that is speculation besides the fact it is a hot topic.”
    So they warned you?
    GUSTAFSON: “I don’t want to say warned. Warned may not be the right term, just reminded.”
    Do you think something is going on?
    GUSTAFSON: “Do I think something is going on? I mean I’m busy on Sunday’s. I don’t really watch what is going on. It’s hard for me to say. I don’t feel that I have enough information that would warrant a comment.”
    KNAUS: “I don’t know. I don’t know if there is anything or not. I really don’t. Like Alan said, I’m busy on Sunday and I don’t have a lot of friends in the garage. So, I don’t talk too much. I don’t talk to anybody else either so it’s okay. My friends are outside of racing. So, I don’t know what is going on. I really don’t. I know I sent Richard Buck (Managing Director of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) a text and said ‘hey man could we poke holes in our tires is that okay?’ He sent me a text back and said ‘absolutely not’. So that is all I know.”(Chevy Racing PR)(3-27-2015)
    UPDATE: Alan Gustafson, Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, termed it a “reminder.” But those who may have engaged in alleged unapproved “bleeding” of air pressure from their racing tires-the source of prevalent rumors in the garage-would be well-advised to interpret it as a stern warning. When NASCAR assembled Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs for a Friday morning meeting at Martinsville Speedway one of the topics covered was to “remind” teams of the three primary taboos of NASCAR racing:
    ” Don’t alter the engines in a manner outside the rule book.
    ” Don’t do anything to alter the fuel provided by Sunoco.
    ” Don’t make any unapproved alterations or treatments to the tires provided by Goodyear.
    Tires, in particular, have been the center of attention since NASCAR made what it termed a routine “audit” of tires two weeks ago at Phoenix International Raceway. The consensus in the garage is that certain teams have been drilling minute holes in the tires to bleed off air pressure as it builds throughout a tire run. By maintaining consistent air pressure, it’s easier to maintain the balance of the car.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-28-2015)

  • Could the Chevy Malibu return to NASCAR? With Holden winding down its production ventures for 2017, the departure of the rear-wheel drive, 6.2-liter V8 powered Chevrolet SS will soon be upon us. That means that Chevy will no longer be interested in promoting it by using it as the body for their NASCAR Sprint Cup cars, so they will have to find a replacement. Lately, Toyota and Ford have used NASCAR to promote their mid-size models, with the two brands running the Camry and Fusion, respectively. Chevrolet will start taking the mid-size segment much more seriously when they pull the veil from the 2016 Malibu in New York next week, so it would make sense if they switched to a new Malibu body for their next Sprint Cup car to help boost sales. Chevrolet’s director of car marketing, Steve Majoros, recently told Reuters they are sitting “seventh or eighth place,” in the mid-size market and acknowledged they “have tremendous opportunity to grow.” The Camry and Fusion are some of the strongest mid-size nameplates around in regards to sales and if Chevy wants to contest them in the showroom, they might as well take it to the track, as well. It wouldn’t be the first time the Malibu nameplate appeared in professional stock car racing. The Malibu was Chevrolet’s NASCAR body style from 1973 until 1983, when the automaker switched to the more performance oriented Monte Carlo.(GM Authority)(3-28-2015)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. talks about safety efforts:
    What are your thoughts on the new tire barriers right in front of pit road? are you surprised that there are still spots in some tracks where there is absolutely nothing but concrete in places where drivers could potentially end up?
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. “I think that the changes that were made in the last 10 to 15 years to help safety have been great. We put barriers where we felt like were common places the cars hit. But as we found out over the last couple of years, specifically, we’ll find all the empty spots where there aren’t any barriers. And I think that NASCAR is taking some steps to make it right. The tracks are taking some steps to move it along. You never can be safe enough. You never can do enough to be safe and keep the competitors safe and keep the fans safe. You never can do enough. So you shouldn’t ever stop trying. But unfortunately, it takes an accident like that to wake everybody up and make things happen. I know that NASCAR was very disappointed that there wasn’t a SAFER barrier on the wall at Daytona and that Kyle (Busch) was injured. And it’s real unfortunate to have to go through that whole process to really fire this thing kind of back up and get people moving on it.
    “But, at the same time, I appreciate the things that they’re doing. And I know that the tire stuff is temporary. The tires are better than the concrete wall, but at the same time those tires can be a problem when you get into those. So I guess their intent, over time, is to get SAFER barriers where they feel like they need it. And until then, we’ll have these tires in those areas. I’m happy with the things the tracks are doing. You look back at the cockpit of these cars when I first started driving them, and look at the advances we’ve made inside the cars and outside the cars, and when I was racing in 1998 and ’99 and 2000; and when I was racing Late Models without headrests and neck restraints, I never once was worried about anything ever happening to me. You get complacent, I think.(Chevy Racing)(3-28-2015)

  • DiBenedetto, Stewart not happy with each other after practice: Matt DiBenedetto was just looking for an opening on the track during practice – that’s when he aroused the wrath of #14-Tony Stewart on Friday. On the track the three-time champion flipped off the rookie and yelled at him. Off the track when the driver of the #83 BK Racing Toyota tried to explain what happened, DiBenedetto’s attempt was futile. “I went up to him to apologize and explain the situation to him,” DiBenedetto told Motorsport.com. “I’m not an idiot. I wouldn’t just pull in front of him. I told him the 19 pulled out in front of me on the racetrack. That checked up all of my momentum and by that time – things happen so fast around here – that when I got to Turn 3, he was getting a few car lengths of me so I just pulled over to let him go. He didn’t understand. I tried to tell him what happened, but he just told me I just needed to get out of the way and whatever. He really just didn’t know what to say. He’s just an arrogant prick,” DiBenedetto said. “He has anger issues and needs to focus on driving the race car other than dedicating the whole practice session to blocking somebody when it wasn’t something I did intentionally. I don’t care who he is, he’s barking up the wrong tree.”(Motorsport)(3-28-2015)

  • Martinsville Speedway Notes & Facts – Saturday – drivers:
    · 602 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville; 380 in more than one.
    · NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty has the all-time most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville with 67; Jeff Gordon has the most starts among active drivers with 44.
    · NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in runner-up finishes at Martinsville Speedway with seven; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with five, followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson with four.
    · Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 30; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 28, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 18.
    · Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 37; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 35, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 22.
    · Jeff Gordon leads active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Martinsville Speedway with a 7.318. Denny Hamlin (9.500) and Ryan Newman (9.654) are the only other active drivers with an average starting position at Martinsville inside the top 10.
    · Three active drivers have a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series average finish in the top 10 at Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson (6.231), Jeff Gordon (6.841) and Denny Hamlin (8.722).
    · Jeff Gordon has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway without a DNF (44).
    · Mike Bliss (09/27/1998), Travis Kvapil (10/24/2004) and Michael McDowell (3/30/2008) are active drivers that made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Martinsville Speedway.
    · 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted consecutive wins at Martinsville Speedway. Fred Lorenzen won four NSCS races straight (the most) from the fall of 1963 through the spring of 1965. Jimmie Johnson is the most recent driver to win consecutive races (Fall of 2012 / Spring of 2013) at Martinsville.
    · All eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Martinsville Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Martinsville (2000) with the fewest previous appearances (three).
    · Ryan Newman competed at Martinsville Speedway 20 times before winning in the spring of 2012; the longest span of any the eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners.
    · Two active drivers have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Martinsville Speedway: Kevin Harvick (19) and Ryan Newman (20).
    · Danica Patrick is the only female driver to compete at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Below are Patrick’s stats at Martinsville.
    (NASCAR)(3-28-2015)
  • Smithley looking to run XFINITY races: Garrett Smithley’s ties with Brad Keselowski and Derrike Cope added up to getting into a NCWTS ride with a Mittler Brothers team that has helped lay the bedrock for some big names in NASCAR. Carl Edwards ran for them in 2002, Jamie McMurray in 2000, Kenny Irwin Jr. in 1996, and Brad Keselowski in 2006. Smithley is already working his connections and trying to use his one start in the #63 to parlay him into a higher series. “We’re looking at running the Xfinity Series at Texas and at Charlotte. It all depends on sponsorship and stuff like that. We’re looking at running the Xfinity Series and a few Truck races. We’re hoping by the end of the year to be full-time in Xfinity. There’s a couple of teams we’re talking too. Nothing is in stone yet.”(WSB Radio)(3-28-2015)
  • Logano wins at Martinsville: #29-Joey Logano won the Kroger 250 at the Martinsville Speedway on Saturday after taking the lead following a final restart with 2 laps to go. The yellow waved after contact between #88- Matt Crafton and #00-Cole Custer. #88-Crafton went on to finish second followed by: #4-Erik Jones, #98-Johnny Sauter, #19-Tyler Reddick, #51-Daniel Suarez, #31-James Buescher, #05-John Wes Townley, #25-Matt Tifft, and #54-Justin Boston. There were 9 caution flags for 61 laps and 14 lead changes among 5 leaders.
    Logano started the race from the pole and led 150 of the event’s 258 laps.
    With the win, he became the 26th driver to win a race in all three of NASCAR’s national series.
    Complete results are on the Martinsville race results page (pdf).(3-28-2015)
  • Martinsville Race Fast Facts:
    Joey Logano(i) won the 17th Annual Kroger 250, his first victory in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
    This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in one race at Martinsville Speedway.
    He is the 26th driver to win a race in all three of NASCAR’s national series.
    His victory was his first in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts.
    Matt Crafton (second) posted his 15th top-10 finish in 27 races at Martinsville Speedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2015.
    Erik Jones (third) posted his third top-10 finish in four races at Martinsville Speedway.
    Erik Jones (third) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Matt Crafton leads the point standings by 2 points over Tyler Reddick.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-28-2015)
  • Driver standings following Martinsville:
    1) #88-Matt Crafton, 128
    2) >#19-Tyler Reddick, 126, -2
    3) #4-Erik Jones, 122, -6
    4) #98-Johnny Sauter, 112, -16
    5) #31-James Buescher, 100, -28
    6) #05-John Wes Townley, 90, -38
    7) #13-Cameron Hayley, 84, -44
    8) #07-Ray Black, Jr., 58, -29
    9) #23-Spencer Gallagher, 84, -44
    10) #11-Ben Kennedy, 83, -45
    See complete standings on the driver standings page (pdf).(3-28-2015)
  • Owner Standings following Atlanta are posted (pdf).(3-28-2015)
  • Logano on pole at Martinsville: #29-Joey Logano won the pole for Saturday’s Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway with a speed of 97.088mph. #00-Cole Custer will start second, followed by: ##13-Cameron Hayley, #4-Erik Jones, #05-John Wes Townley, #33-Brandon Jones, #19-Tyler Reddick, #92-David Gilliland, #98-Johnny Sauter, and #02-Tyler Young.
    Fastest in the second round of qualifying was #00-Custer with a speed 96.112mph.
    #29-Logano was quickest in the opening qualifying session at 94.913mph..
    #94-Wendell Chavous, #86-Brandon Brown, #74-Paige Decker and #87-Charles Buchanan Jr. failed to qualify for the race. See complete lineup on the Starting lineup (pdf) page.(3-28-2015)
  • Martinsville Qualifying Notes:
    Joey Logano(i) won the Keystone Light Pole Award for the 17th Annual Kroger 250 with a lap of 19.504 seconds, 97.088 mph.
    This is his first pole in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
    This is his first pole and first top-10 start in 2015.
    This is his first pole in one races at Martinsville Speedway.
    Cole Custer (second) posted his first top-10 start of 2015 and his third in three races at Martinsville Speedway.
    Cameron Hayley (third) posted his first top-10 start at Martinsville Speedway. It is his second in three races this season.
    Cameron Hayley (third) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-28-2015)


    News from March 27, 2015


  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #22-Logano chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #31-Newman took pit stall 11, the first pit stall with an opening in front of it.
    #78-Truex, Jr., who starts 3rd took the 2nd pit stall.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #11-Hamlin, who starts 15th.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-27-2015)
  • Logano wins Martinsville pole: #22-Joey Logano won the Coors Light pole for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway with speed of 98.461mph for his 2nd pole of 2015, 1st at Martinsville and 10th of his career.
    #31-Newman is on the outside pole followed by #78-Truex, Jr., #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson, #14-Stewart, #42-Larson, #20-Kenseth, #5-Kahne, and #47-Allmendinger.
    #25-Chase Elliott will make his Sprint Cup debut from the 27th position.
    Missing the race were: #62-Gaughan and #30-Hornaday.
    See the starting lineup, round-by-round qualifying results and more on Jayski.com’s Martinsville Qualifying Page. (3-27-2015)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Martinsville:
    Joey Logano won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 66th Annual STP 500 with a lap of 19.232 seconds, 98.461 mph.
    This is his 10th pole in 225 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second pole and fifth top-10 start in 2015.
    This is his first pole in 13 races at Martinsville Speedway.
    Ryan Newman (second) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2015 and his 17th in 27 races at Martinsville Speedway.
    Martin Truex Jr. (third) posted his third top-10 start at Martinsville Speedway. It is his third in six races this season.
    Jeb Burton (32nd) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-27-2015)
  • Second Round of Qualifying for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is over after 10 scheduled minutes.
    #31-Newman 97.926
    #14-Stewart 97.800
    #24-Gordon 97.764
    #47-Allmendinger 97.704
    #48-Johnson 97.689
    the rest of the top 12: 42 2 22 5 20 78 19;
    out of the top 12 and not advancing to round 3: 27 88 11 10 4 43 1 18 51 3 17 13
    (3-27-2015)
  • First Round of Qualifying for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is over, after 20 scheduled minutes.
    #20-Kenseth 97.952
    #22-Logano 97.886
    #48-Johnson 97.724
    #31-Newman 97.633
    #78-Truex, Jr. 97.568
    the rest of the top 24: 5 47 17 11 19 42 2 24 10 27 13 88 51 43 1 18 14 4 3;
    out of the top 24 and not advancing to round 2: 16 41 25 46 38 15 98 26 55 40 34 6 35 9 7 32 62 30 33 23 83
    Drivers who will miss the race: #62-Gaughan, #30-Hornaday.
    (3-27-2015)

  • Newtown Building Supplies sponsoring Cassill: With the three-race West Coast swing in the books – capped off by a pair of lead-lap, top-25 finishes the past two races – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Landon Cassill is looking to carry that momentum into this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Cassill will pilot the #40 Newtown Building Supplies Chevy SS in Sunday afternoon’s STP 500, the first in a multi-race partnership this season with Hillman Racing and the #40 entry. To kick off the extension of a partnership that started in 2014, Cassill was the guest speaker at the Tidewater Council Boy Scouts of America Leadership Breakfast on Wednesday in Virginia Beach, Va., presented by Newtown Building Supplies. Cassill was on hand at the annual fundraising effort that provides scouting programs to the Mid-Atlantic region. To commemorate the successful event, which netted the most donations in its history, the Tidewater Council Boy Scouts emblem with adorn the c-post of Cassill’s #40 Newtown Building Supplies car this weekend.(Hillman Racing)(3-27-2015)
  • Friday practice for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is over after 43 minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #31-Newman 97.835
    #47-Allmendinger 97.679
    #24-Gordon 97.664
    #48-Johnson 97.618
    #78-Truex, Jr. 97.558
    Most laps run: #33-Kennedy 37 & #34-Buescher 35
    slowest: #7-Bowman 94.129 & #33-Kennedy 92.416.
    notes: Practice started 2 hours late after rain at the track during the morning. #25-Chase Elliott was 29th in his first Cup practice.
    If qualifying is rained out this evening, #30-Hornaday and #25-Elliott would miss the race.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Martinsville practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-27-2015)

  • Are some teams tampering with tires? Hendrick crew chiefs Alan Gustafson and Chad Knaus talked to the media Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway:
    The last two weeks NASCAR has taken tires from teams. After Fontana they sent some of those tires off to an independent laboratory. NASCAR said that is a part of a regular tire audit. What do you guys make of what is going on there? Do you thing they are looking for something specific?
    GUSTAFSON: “It’s hard to speculate because that is all I could do. In my experience there is a lot of smoke around that. There is a lot of talk, there is a lot of dialogue and there are a lot of rumors in the garage. Yeah, I think it is obvious that some people think something is going on and is NASCAR reacting to that? Or do they feel uncomfortable with what is going on? I don’t know that answer. But I do think that it is something that is on the forefront of a lot of people minds. Obviously NASCAR is trying to make sure that we are all on level playing field and if anybody is violating that they will pay the price, which they reminded us this morning is very stiff. That is all I know. Anything beyond that is speculation besides the fact it is a hot topic.”
    So they warned you?
    GUSTAFSON: “I don’t want to say warned. Warned may not be the right term, just reminded.”
    Do you think something is going on?
    GUSTAFSON: “Do I think something is going on? I mean I’m busy on Sunday’s. I don’t really watch what is going on. It’s hard for me to say. I don’t feel that I have enough information that would warrant a comment.”
    KNAUS: “I don’t know. I don’t know if there is anything or not. I really don’t. Like Alan said, I’m busy on Sunday and I don’t have a lot of friends in the garage. So, I don’t talk too much. I don’t talk to anybody else either so it’s okay. My friends are outside of racing. So, I don’t know what is going on. I really don’t. I know I sent Richard Buck (Managing Director of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) a text and said ‘hey man could we poke holes in our tires is that okay?’ He sent me a text back and said ‘absolutely not’. So that is all I know.”(Chevy Racing PR)(3-27-2015)
  • Qualifying Order for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is posted. 45 cars/drivers are listed.
    The first of the drivers scheduled to go out is #34-Buescher.
    The final driver scheduled to go out is #13-Mears.
    Qualifying order is set by a random draw, held about an hour before the first practice.
    See the full qualifying order on Jayski.com’s Qualifying Page.(3-27-2015)

  • #44 team withdraws from Martinsville: Team Xtreme Racing has officially withdrawn from the upcoming STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. “With the threat of rain and our position in the points, we made the decision to channel our resources towards racing at Texas Motor Speedway in two weeks,” said owner John Cohen. “Our crew is hard at work and our focus remains on qualifying into races each week. We will be back after the Easter break with a renewed effort to make the Duck Commander 500.”(Team Xtreme)(3-27-2015)

  • Rain could be an issue at Martinsville Friday: Rain is expected to impact Martinsville Speedway on Friday. The forecast from the National Weather Service calls for rain Thursday night into Friday afternoon. High near 53. North wind 5 to 8 mph. The chance of precipitation is 90% with rain amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. The forecast for the rest of the weekend looks good. Friday’s Sprint Cup practice is scheduled it start at 12:00pm/et with qualifying at 4:45pm/et. The Camping World Truck Series also has 3 practices scheduled. The Weather Channel calls for a 100% chance of rain on Friday. For more weather links, see the Martinsville Race Page – Weather links.(3-27-2015)

  • Ambrose not interested in return to NASCAR: Marcose Ambrose announced last week that he would step down as lead driver of the #17 Falcon, in Australia’s V8 Supercars. He discussed rumors of going back to NASCAR:
    Pretty wild rumors in recent days – you’re not venturing back to NASCAR are you?
    Ambrose: “There’s no NASCAR on the horizon, there was no trip to Alice Springs and visiting Uluru – you know, this has just been a difficult decision to make but I think in the best interests of the team, allow me to reset my clock, just to slow it down some. We’ll jump in this car when the time’s appropriate and time will tell when that should be, depending on how Scott goes in the car and how it’s all going for the team. But certainly for me personally it just slows it down in 2015 and we can reassess as we go.”(V8 SuperCars)(3-27-2015)

  • Premium Motorsports gets Martinsville sponsor: #62 Premium Motorsports posted several images to their Facebook page showing sponsorship from Diathrive as this weekend’s sponsor for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. See images of the car on the #62 team paint schemes page.(3-26-2015)

  • K-LOVE Radio launches digital racing game: Through its partnership with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing, K-LOVE Radio has launched a digital racing game featuring the #95 Ford. The K-LOVE RACING game is an interactive game that features live action play along with educational “pit stops” where players answer questions to improve their race car performance. Correct answers during “pit stops” allow a player to increase the car’s endurance and power, allowing them to race faster and earn more rewards. K-LOVE Radio is in its second year of partnership with Leavine Family Racing and sixth with McDowell. The Christian music network is the primary sponsor of the #95 Ford in five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season. The game can be accessed online at http://www.kloveracing.com.(Leavine Family Racing)(3-27-2015)

  • Martinsville Speedway Notes & Facts – Friday – poles:
    · Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Martinsville Speedway in 1949.
    · 58 drivers have Coors Light poles at Martinsville, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with eight; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven.
    · 12 drivers have won two or more consecutive Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway. Four of the 12 have won three consecutive poles at Martinsville: Glen Wood (Fall of 1959 and 1960 sweep); Darrell Waltrip (1979 sweep and spring 1980); Mark Martin (fall of 1990 and 1991 sweep); Jeff Gordon (2003 sweep and spring 2004).
    · 21 of 132 races (15.9%) at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; seven of those 21 wins came from active drivers: Tony Stewart (2000), Jeff Gordon (2003 twice), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2012, spring 2013) and Denny Hamlin (2010).
    · Tony Stewart (4/18/1999) and Scott Riggs (4/10/2005) won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway.
    · The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Martinsville producing more wins (21) than any other starting position.
    · 36 of the 132 (27.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the front row: 21 from the pole and 15 from second-place.
    · 95 of the 132 (71.9%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position.
    · Seven of the 132 (5.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20 – including both races last season.
    · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 36th, by Kurt Busch in the fall of 2002.
    · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions eight times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway; the most recent was the fall race of 2011.
    (NASCAR)(3-27-2015)

  • Custer could move to XFINITY next season: Kelley Earnhardt Miller appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday. Among other topics, she discussed JR Motorsports’ first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of JR Motorsports, said earlier this year that there were no plans at that time to field the organization’s Camping World Truck Series team for any races beyond the 10 currently in place with driver Cole Custer. Custer, 17, made his NCWTS debut last season with Haas Racing Development and became the youngest winner in a NASCAR national series event when he won the UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In only nine starts, he scored six top-10s and two poles. Elliott, the defending XFINITY Series champion, will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville. The 19-year-old is scheduled to step into the Hendrick Motorsports #24 Chevrolet in 2016, replacing four-time series champion Jeff Gordon. With Elliott already tabbed for the move to Sprint Cup next season, Custer could be auditioning for a full-time XFINITY Series ride with the organization. “Hopefully, that (truck effort) will roll into an XFINITY Series ride for Cole, depending on how he performs,” Earnhardt Miller said. It will be the first start of the season for Custer, who is limited to competing on road courses and tracks 1.1 miles or less in length due to his age.(NASCAR.com(3-27-2015)
  • Custer fastest in practice: #00-Cole Custer was fastest during practice at Martinsville Speedway on Friday with a speed of 96.068mph. The race marks the debut for Custer’s JR Motorsports team. #13-Cameron Hayley was second, followed by #98-Johnny Sauter, #29-Joey Logano, #19-Tyler Reddick, #4-Erik Jones, #02-Tyler Young, #7-Gray Gaulding, #05-John Wes Townley,and #25-Matt Tifft. 36 drivers practiced during the session. The trucks were scheduled to have three practice sessions, but rain forced NASCAR to alter the schedule, allowing just one lengthy session. See complete results on the Martinsville practice speeds page (pdf).(3-27-2015)
  • Rain at Martinsville UPDATE: The Camping World Truck Series was scheduled for three practice sessions at Martinsville Speedway on Friday, but rain has delayed on-track activity.(3-27-2015)
    UPDATE: Rain forced NASCAR to alter the schedule. The trucks will now have one practice session, from 3:00 to 5:30 pm/et.(3-27-2015)
  • IMS considering hotel in turn 2: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants to build a 125-room hotel with apartments and a restaurant along Turn 2 of the track. Local developer Browning Investments Inc., on behalf of the IMS, put out requests for proposals, which were due March 20. How much interest the RFP generated from developers, or what timing might be for construction, is unclear. IMS President Doug Boles declined to discuss specifics. “We’re in exploratory mode,” he told Property Lines. “We’ll sort that out in the next coming weeks, or months.” But judging from the RFP, it seems IMS is operating on a pretty aggressive timetable. “The IMS would like construction to commence as soon as feasible,” the RFP states. IMS wants to have new or renovated Turn 2 VIP suites completed in time for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 next year, with completion of the hotel to follow by May 2017, according to the RFP. The hotel also could include an unspecified number of apartments and leverage other entertainment opportunities at the track such as a golf-pro shop and clubhouse to complement the Brickyard Crossing golf course, the RFP said. It must offer at least 10,000 square feet of meeting space. A new hotel would bring overnight lodging back to the track. IMS in 2009 tore down the aging Indianapolis Speedway Hotel that was located along Turn 2.(Indianapolis Business Journal)(3-27-2015)


    News from March 26, 2015


  • NASCAR sends Fontana-used tires for further evaluation: NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that it sent some of the tires used by teams at Auto Club Speedway for further evaluation in a third-party review. The tires of #4-Kevin Harvick, #41-Kurt Busch, #27-Paul Menard and #31-Ryan Newman were taken after Sunday’s Auto Club 400 and brought to the R&D Center in Concord, N.C., as part of what NASCAR deems a “tire audit.” NASCAR wouldn’t confirm which tires were sent for more examination, nor where they were sent. Goodyear is uninvolved in the process. The decision to confiscate the tires for further scrutiny was made independent of the tire supplier and unrelated to durability. Goodyear occasionally keeps tires for further examination (such as with tire failures on the cars of Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. last October at Kansas Speedway). It was the second consecutive Sprint Cup race that NASCAR conducted a tire audit. After the March 15 race at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR checked the tires used by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick and found nothing out of the ordinary. NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell told SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s NASCAR channel that the audits were “just something we like to do every once in a while.”(NBC Sports)(3-26-2015)

  • Fox tested virtual reality system in Fontana: Fox Sports is exploring virtual reality with NextVR, a technology company that captures and delivers live and on-demand virtual reality experiences. The network tested the experience last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California, where NextVR enabled the live streaming of the race in virtual reality. NextVR’s software application, which is embedded in a mobile phone that is then connected to a Samsung Gear VR headset, enables viewers to experience the event as if they were there. The footage was streamed to Fox Sports executives and producers working from the at-track television compound. Two cameras captured 180-degree and 360-degree views from an area on pit road and a second spot between the track and the pits. “NextVR has spent the last six years perfecting their VR technology, which made them the logical first choice for Fox Sports to partner with for this test,” said Mike Davies, Fox Sports senior vice president of field operation. “NextVR currently is one of the only companies with the ability to transmit live in VR, and their technology is built on a broadcast platform, making it infinitely scalable.”(Associated Press)(3-26-2015)

  • New sponsors on the #51 at Martinsville: This weekend, the Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E) and Switch Hitch adorn the #51 Chevy driven by Justin Allgaier as co-primary sponsors. F.O.E is an international non-profit membership exclusive organization that gives back in the form of grants and hosts fundraisers to assist charities. F.O.E has over 800,000 members, with more than 1,300 in the women’s auxiliary. Switch Hitch was invented by Terry Brinkley after he experienced problems with traditional hitch balls. Switch Hitch is a tri-ball hitch system designed to quickly switch from one ball to another through a patented switching and locking mechanism.(HScott Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #51 team paint schemes page.(3-26-2015)

  • TaxACT on the #10 at Martinsville: When Danica Patrick returns to make her fifth Sprint Cup start at Martinsville this weekend, her #10 Chevy SS will feature a much different look as it carries the colors of TaxACT, the official tax preparation service partner of Patrick and SHR. TaxACT is the maker of do-it-yourself digital tax filing solutions that help millions of Americans file their taxes. The company makes its on-track debut as a primary Sprint Cup sponsor with Patrick and SHR during the height of tax season as consumers are ready to file their annual income tax returns. TaxACT was the pioneer of free federal tax filing in 2005 and has continued to provide truly free federal tax return filing with no restrictions every year since.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #10 team paint schemes page.(3-26-2015)

  • Widow Wax joins Front Row Motorsports: Widow Wax Products joins Front Row Motorsports as an official car detailing partner for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The Woodward, Okla.-based company works closely with paint manufacturers, and other OEM suppliers to develop some of the industry’s most advanced detailing products in the marketplace. Widow Wax is fully committed to manufacture these products with the environment in mind, as it strives to offer products that are safe for customers and the environment, manufactured and packaged at its 65,000-square-foot facility right here in the USA.(Front Row Motorsports)(3-26-2015)

  • Logano participates in seat swap with Cruz Pedregon: Snap-on sponsored NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon and Snap-on sponsored Team Penske driver #22-Joey Logano swapped racing roles Wednesday when Pedregon got behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup Series car and Logano powered a Cobra Jet during the “Snap-on Seat Swap.” The event offered Pedregon the opportunity to “take turns” at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Logano runs down the quarter on the neighboring zMAX Dragway prior to this weekend’s NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte. Pedregon, who comes from a family of drag racers, walked Logano through the car before heading to the pit to fire up the Cobra Jet and go through the steps of making a pass. Pedregon and Logano made several practice runs in a side-by-side Cobra Jet before the Daytona 500 winner took three drag racing runs on his own. The session ended at zMAX with Pedregon, a two-time Funny Car champion, making a solo run before lunch. Logano followed by walking Pedregon through the garage area at Charlotte Motor Speedway, giving him the rundown of a Sprint Cup Series car. Pedregon rode with Logano around the 1.5 mile oval, before making three solo runs.(Team Penske)(3-26-2015)

  • Martinsville Speedway Notes & Facts – Thursday – history:
    · Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles, Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States.
    · The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948.
    · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949.
    · The track was paved in 1955.
    · The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956.
    · Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976.
    (NASCAR)(3-26-2015)

  • Earnhardt interested in running trucks, Custer auditioning for Xfinity ride: Kelley Earnhardt Miller appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday. Among other topics, she discussed JR Motorsports’ first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of JR Motorsports, said earlier this year that there were no plans at that time to field the organization’s Camping World Truck Series team for any races beyond the 10 currently in place with driver Cole Custer. On Wednesday she said that was still the case, but also said Sprint Cup Series Dale Earnhardt Jr. had broached the subject of driving the truck. “He’s definitely mentioned that that’s something he might be interested in,” Earnhardt Miller said. “I think he would want to see how the program is going to do, and make sure we have the resources and the capability to do that. Let Cole the team get off the ground first and see how that goes.” Earnhardt Miller, Earnhardt Jr. and Sprint Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick share ownership of JRM. One of the organization’s three full-time XFINITY Series teams features multiple Sprint Cup drivers, Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne, behind the wheel for select events. Two other full-time teams feature drivers Chase Elliott and Regan Smith, who finished 1-2 in points, respectively, last season.”He (Earnhardt Jr.) and some others have expressed interest in running the truck,” Earnhardt Miller said. “We’ve actually gotten calls from other people saying ‘do you want to fill out the balance of your schedule and run it full time?’ “We really don’t want to do that. We want to focus on Cole. If the opportunity exists to put a couple of the Cup drivers in there to make our program stronger, (that’s) really why would we want to do that… “I won’t say it’s not going to happen but there aren’t any concrete plans for it to happen right now.”Custer, 17, made his NCWTS debut last season with Haas Racing Development and became the youngest winner in a NASCAR national series event when he won the UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In only nine starts, he scored six top-10s and two poles. Elliott, the defending XFINITY Series champion, will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville. The 19-year-old is scheduled to step into the Hendrick Motorsports #24 Chevrolet in 2016, replacing four-time series champion Jeff Gordon. With Elliott already tabbed for the move to Sprint Cup next season, Custer could be auditioning for a full-time XFINITY Series ride with the organization. “Hopefully, that (truck effort) will roll into an XFINITY Series ride for Cole, depending on how he performs,” Earnhardt Miller said. It will be the first start of the season for Custer, who is limited to competing on road courses and tracks 1.1 miles or less in length due to his age.(NASCAR.com(3-26-2015)
  • Demolition of Sprint Cup Tower at Daytona begins: The iconic Sprint Cup Tower that has hovered above Daytona International Speedway for almost three decades has begun its white-flag lap. A 490-foot crane – nicknamed “Big Red” – started picking off pieces of the signature structure Wednesday as the Speedway’s Daytona Rising project continued to pick up the pace after a brief layoff. For 27 years, the tower housed corporate gatherings, the media and NASCAR officials on race weekends. It provided a bird’s-eye view for some of the track’s greatest moments, including Dale Earnhardt’s lone Daytona 500 victory in 1998. The crane’s first pull was a utility shed on top of the roof. It later came back and grabbed a large support beam. The crane will lift at least 2.24 million pounds of steel – the equivalent of 684 Toyota Camry race cars – and make at least 130 pulls as part of a 30-day demolition project, superintendent Ken Stiles said. Once complete, the tower – built in 1988 as the Winston Tower – and the middle section of the frontstretch grandstands will be completely removed.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(3-26-2015)


    News from March 25, 2015


  • Part taken from #33 team by NASCAR UPDATE: on Friday at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR confiscated a truck arm (rear suspension part) from the #33 Chevy driven by Brian Scott and owned by Joe Falk. The sanctioning body will take the part to its research-and-development center in Concord, North Carolina, for further evaluation.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-22-2015)
    UPDATE: The #33 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during opening day inspection March 20 at Auto Club Speedway. This infraction is a P4 level penalty and violates …. Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
    INFRACTION: The ¾ inch diameter magnetic steel truck trailing arm mounting bolt was not installed horizontally.
    INFRACTION: Truck trailing arm mounting bracket adapter was machined from Aluminum solid.
    The options for a P4 penalty are outlined in the …. sections of the NASCAR rule book
    As a result of this violation, crew chief Slugger Labbe has been fined $50,000 and suspended for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period. Labbe has also been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. In addition, car owner Joe Falk has been docked 25 championship car owner points.(NASCAR), see complete details on the penalalty on the 2015 NASCAR Penalties, Fines & Suspensions page.(3-25-2015)

  • JD Gibbs being treated for symptoms impacting areas of brain function: Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, is starting treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function. Gibbs has undergone a series of tests after experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms that includes speech and processing issues. Gibbs’ doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified. Gibbs has always enjoyed an active life participating in several sports including mountain biking, snowboarding, football, racing, and other extreme-type sports. Gibbs will be undergoing more testing and receiving treatments to help manage the symptoms. During that time, it is expected that his presence at the race track will be limited; however, he will continue many of his day-to-day responsibilities at JGR’s headquarters in Huntersville, NC as well as involvement with his various ministry endeavors.(Joe Gibbs Racing)
    Statement from Brian France: “All members of the NASCAR and France family extend our thoughts and prayers to J.D. Gibbs and his loved ones. We’ve all watched J.D. grow up within our community, and he always has represented himself, his family, the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and NASCAR with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm and energy. We wish him the best during this time and eagerly anticipate his recovery.”(NASCAR)(3-25-2015)

  • NASCAR reducing number of tires for teams at some tracks: NASCAR issued a bulletin Tuesday containing various updates to the Rule Book. The changes include a reduction in how many sets of tires a team can have for Sprint Cup races at Martinsville, Dover, Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma, Kentucky, New Hampshire Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. NASCAR cut the number of sets by one at each track for those races. Teams will be allowed 10 sets of tires for Sunday’s race at Martinsville. They’ll have nine sets of race tires available at Dover, Michigan, Kentucky and Indianapolis. Teams will have eight sets of tires for both Pocono races with seven sets available at New Hampshire’s July race and five race sets at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. With a set of tires costing about $1,900, having to buy one less set will save teams teams about $20,000. NASCAR also reduced how many sets of tires teams are allowed for practice and qualifying by one set at Talladega (now allowed three sets), Daytona (three), Sonoma (four), Watkins Glen (four) and the August Bristol event (four). This reduction will save teams about $10,000. NASCAR has not set the limits for tires for the races starting with Richmond in September through the end of the season. Those races could provide teams more savings.(NBC Sports)(3-25-2015)

  • Elliott ready for Cup debut: Martinsville Speedway is one of the most exciting tracks on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. It also just so happens to be the one where Hendrick Motorsports has seen the most success – Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2014 win was the organization’s 22nd at the track. And it’s where Chase Elliott will make his Sprint Cup Series debut, driving the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy SS. It’s the first of five Cup races for Elliott in 2015. “When we first came up with these five races it didn’t really occur to me how quickly Martinsville came up on the schedule,” Elliott said. “I don’t know why I didn’t think it was so soon in the year. I thought it was later on and thought, ‘We’ve got a while.’ Then I get to looking at the schedule at Daytona and I’m like, ‘This race is coming up quick.'” Now that it’s here, the first priority will be a strong qualifying effort. That will be the same story for all five of Elliott’s 2015 Cup races – at Martinsville, Richmond, Charlotte, Indianapolis and Darlington. “The biggest goal, first, is to try to get into all of them,” Elliott said. “That is the first thing – you don’t want to get ahead of yourself. Just try to have good qualifying efforts at all of them but not forget about the race. We definitely want to focus on that and try to be good there.”(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-25-2015)

  • Update on pit road officiating: Officials in NASCAR’s Pit Road Officiating (PRO) trailer called 12 of the 22 penalties issued during Sunday’s Auto Club 400, the second fewest through this year’s first five races. Six of the 12 were for tire violations — failure to control an outside tire. Only Phoenix saw fewer total violations (19) and those made by officials in the PRO trailer (nine). There have been 158 penalties thus far this season, including 60 that were called by the PRO group. Officials in the tower continue to call infractions for speeding when entering/exiting pit road, pitting before pit road is open and various safety-related violations. Officials in the PRO trailer use video to respond to potential infractions such as too many crewmen in contact with the pit service area, crewmen over the wall too soon and pit box tire violations.(NASCAR.com)(3-25-2015)

  • NASCAR fans remain most sponsor-loyal: NASCAR fans continue to demonstrate the greatest loyalty toward a sponsor’s brand among all sports fans in the U.S., according to SponsorLink research released by Repucom. Seven out of 10 NASCAR fans said they are loyal to a sponsor’s brand when the brand supports their sport, which is nearly 20% higher than a typical sports fan. Repucom, a trusted advisor in sports and entertainment intelligence, is again monitoring and evaluating the performance of more than 1,000 brands appearing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck series in 2015. By using leading technology and advanced data analysis, Repucom monitors the value and quality of exposure and messages getting through to fans and advises clients on how to stand out in the highly competitive commercial space. Repucom analyzes more than 350 hours of NASCAR programming per year, and evaluates how changes to the race schedules, sponsors, teams and broadcast channels impact value versus prior years and among the entire field of entries. In total, sponsors in NASCAR’s top three national series earned nearly $1.3 billion in television exposure value in 2014. In addition to audience size, Repucom considers factors such as exposure duration, size, quality and the number of competing messages when determining value. Repucom also measures the value and impact of brand exposure in digital and social media, areas that are becoming increasingly important as media consumption patterns change.(Repucom)(3-25-2015)
  • Auto Club TV Ratings: NASCAR Xfinity Series racing from Fontana earned 1.4 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 Saturday afternoon, down 21% from last year’s race on ESPN (1.8M) and down 19% from the 2013 race, also on ESPN (1.7M). Viewership was the lowest for the race since at least 2008, when it was rained out and postponed to Monday. All four Xfinity Series races on FS1 have had year-over-year declines.(Sports Media Watch via ShowBuzz Daily)(3-25-2015)
  • Behavioral Penalties issued to #8 team members: NASCAR has issued Behavioral Penalties to five crew members for their actions during pre-race March 21 at Auto Club Speedway. The crew members were working for the #8 NASCAR XFINITY Series team when the violations occurred. The crew members violated the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
    12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in a pre-race incident; failure to comply with a directive from Track Security
    12.8a: Behavioral Penalty
    Crew member Mark Armstrong has been fined $1,500, suspended from NASCAR until April 21 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Crew members Tyler Bullard, Nathaniel House, Jeremy Howard and Ryan Mulder have all been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.(NASCAR)(3-25-2015)
  • NASCAR clarifies rookie testing: NASCAR issued a bulletin Tuesday containing various updates to the Rule Book. NASCAR clarified to teams that any driver entered in the Xfinity or Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year program is eligible for two additional tests at any track during the calendar year. Each test can be no longer than two days. Multiple drivers can participate but all drivers must meet the definition of a rookie in that series. The tests can take place at a NASCAR-sanctioned track or any other track. Veteran drivers will be allowed to “shake down” each primary vehicle used for testing but must do so in a limited number of laps.
    Drivers in the Xfinity Series who are competing for Rookie of the Year program include Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Cale Conley, Ross Chastain, Harrison Rhodes and Josh Reaume.
    Drivers in the Camping World Truck Rookie of the Year program include Austin Theriault, Ray Black Jr., Korbin Forrister, Spencer Gallagher, Daniel Hemric, Justin Boston, Cameron Hayley, Cody Ware and Wendell Chavous.(NBC Sports)(3-25-2015)
  • Decker looking to run some XFINITY races: Super late model racer Paige Decker has been approved to run Camping World Truck Series short track races and is looking to make her series debut at Martinsville Speedway, pending funding. Decker hopes to run truck events in order to get NASCAR approval to potentially run three Xfinity Series events later this season.(Paige Decker)(3-25-2015)
  • Tifft returns with Venturini, honoring those battling Ebola epidemic: Matt Tifft, a Kyle Busch Motorsports driver, will pilot the Venturini Motorsports prepared #25 Clinical Research Management Toyota Tundra and carry a special message honoring a vast group of partners who’ve collaborated with ClinicalRM and their recent global efforts fighting the Ebola Virus epidemic. Saturday’s Kroger 250 at Martinsville marks the first NCWTS event since the season opener in Daytona- it’s also the site of Tifft’s 2014 series debut and career best 8th place finish. ClinicalRM has been part of a large effort in West Africa to fight the Ebola Virus epidemic. Although currently on the decline, the Ebola virus disease remains a concern and is a serious, life-threatening disease with a high rate of fatality. Many partners continue to make this a priority to proactively halt the potential for new outbreaks in other countries. Tifft, also a University of North Carolina at Charlotte freshman, will make his fourth career NCWTS start and second consecutive effort with VMS. After qualifying 16th at Daytona, Tifft settled for a disappointing 19th place finish after getting caught up in a mid-race incident which knocked him out of competition early.(See an image of the truck on the #25 Team Paint Schemes page)(Matt Tifft Racing)(3-25-2015)
  • Griffin to debut with MB: At age 14, Jake Griffin became the youngest winner in NASCAR touring series history. On Saturday, March 28th, Griffin will make his NASCAR Camping World Series debut behind the wheel of the MB Motorsports #63 Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool / People Against Distracted Driving / Melloway Fast Wraps / Motoroso Chevy Silverado. With more than 300 top five finishes to his credit, Jake has amassed over 68 feature wins, 1 regional championship, and 6 track championships since his start in quarter midgets at age seven. Since then, he has raced in the UMP A-Modified, B-Modified, Crate Late Model, NASCAR and Super Late Model series. Griffin became the youngest driver in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history to win a Feature race with a victory at Lebanon I-44 Speedway (MO). Jake then added another milestone when he became the youngest driver in the history of Nashville’s famed Fairgrounds Speedway to win a pole. 14-year-old Griffin out-qualified the 27-car field in the Pro Late Models portion of the 29th Running of the All-American 400. MB Motorsports will once again be supporting Eagle Rock Camp, a faith-based, holistic sports camp where military families learn to re-connect and re-integrate.(See an image of the truck on the #63 Team Paint Schemes page)(MB Motorsports)(3-25-2015)
  • Custer ushers JRM into truck competition: JRM enters new territory this weekend as the organization makes its debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with driver Cole Custer and the #00 Haas Automation Chevy Silverado. In addition to its NCWTS entry, JRM has competed at the regional late model level since 2002 and in the NASCAR XFINITY Series since 2006. The company amassed two track championships with its late model teams and holds a championship and 23 overall victories in NXS competition. This weekend’s event in Martinsville marks the first of 10 NCWTS races Custer will compete in for JR Motorsports. Custer will also drive the #00 Haas Automation Chevy Silverado in events at 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 2014 alone, Custer twice etched his name in the NASCAR history books in NCWTS competition. First came a pole award at Gateway Motorsports Park, which made him the youngest pole winner in NASCAR national series history. Then by virtue of an impressive win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in which he led 148 of 175 laps, Custer became the youngest victor in NASCAR national series history.(See an image of the truck on the #00 Team Paint Schemes page)(JR Motorsports)(3-25-2015)
  • Jones to begin string of races: Brandon Jones, driver of the #33 MasterForce Chevy, kicks off his 17-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for GMS Racing at Martinsville Speedway this weekend in the Kroger 250. Jones will pilot the #33 Chevy Silverado for the next eight consecutive NCWTS races. In 2014, Jones made two NCWTS starts with GMS Racing, driving the #33 Chevy. Last October at Martinsville, Jones ran inside the top five before a late race incident negated his impressive run. At Phoenix International Raceway, Jones posted his best finish with GMS Racing of 12th last November. He competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, scoring his first-career win at Iowa Speedway. Jones also earned two consecutive victories in three ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards (ARCA) starts at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind.(See an image of the truck on the #33 Team Paint Schemes page)(GMS Racing)(3-25-2015)
  • Decker hoping to debut at Martinsville UPDATE: Super late model racer Paige Decker has been approved to run Camping World Truck Series short track races and is looking to make her series debut this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, pending funding. Decker hopes to run truck events in order to get NASCAR approval to potentially run three Xfinity Series events later this season.(Paige Decker)(3-24-2015)
    UPDATE: Decker will drive the #74 for Mike Harmon Racing at Martinsville.(3-25-2015)
  • Martinsville to honor long-time photographer: The first year Mike Wray shot photos at Martinsville Speedway, Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty visited victory lane, the Beatles were still a band and Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. Since those first races in 1968 the recently-retired Martinsville Bulletin photographer shot more than 340 feature races at Martinsville Speedway in about 10 different divisions. When you add in the many heat races that used to accompany the track’s double and triple-headers, that total number of races photographed is closer to 700. Wray did more than cover races at Martinsville Speedway for the local daily paper. He shot countless other events and activities at the track every year of his more than four decades of work. He and his wife Ginny Wray, who was the Bulletin’s editor, both retired earlier this year. For his diligent work and dedication to Martinsville Speedway, the track announced it was naming its photo center the “Mike Wray Photo Center.” The Mike Wray Photo Center is the work area for photographers covering NASCAR events at Martinsville Speedway. About 50 regional and national photographers work out of it, disseminating images around the world.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-25-2015)
  • Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame names inductees: Renowned NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick headlines this year’s list of honorees for the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children’s Charities on Thursday, April 9, in The Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway. Hendrick’s induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame culminates an evening of recognizing some of the most outstanding individuals in motorsports. Along with Hendrick, other honorees include NASCAR Hall of Famer and three-time Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip; four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon; 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott; and Texas Motor Speedway’s April race title sponsor Duck Commander. Duck Commander, which has played a major role in supporting the initiatives of Speedway Children’s Charities, will receive the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. The company, made famous by the Robertson family of the popular A&E reality show Duck Dynasty, officially joined Texas Motor Speedway as a race sponsor in 2014. Since becoming a member of the Texas Motor Speedway family, the organization has made key contributions that included unique hunting experiences with TV personality John Godwin, along with signed memorabilia for Speedway Children’s Charities Live Auctions. The generosity of Duck Commander has helped Speedway Children’s Charities raise more than $55,000 to benefit children in North Texas in the last year. The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame, located in the outdoor atrium adjacent to The Speedway Club, is free to the public and remains open year round. The Hall of Fame atrium features pedestals of the inductees with a portrait painting and career highlights.(TMS)(3-25-2015)
  • Future of of Mansfield Raceway unsure: Even at 80, even after a lifetime of distinction, even after a successful career, Grant Milliron learned a lesson. He bought his way into a business he did not know, trusted the wrong guy and last week found his reputation was in jeopardy. That’s not what one of Richland County’s best businessmen set out to do on a cold day in January of 2013 when he bought Mansfield Motorsports Park at a sheriff’s sale for $800,000. “The last thing I want to do is hurt this community,” Milliron said. But that’s what threatened to happen. Milliron is from the old-school where handshakes mean something. To break an agreement with a partner is unthinkable. A deal is a deal – good ones and even the bad ones. However, Milliron had never done business with someone like Kevin Ruic. The 71-year-old motorsports promoter from Avon Lake held events and ran shows for 50 years. He had contacts in the industry, and he proposed to Milliron a win-win proposition for the newest property in the portfolio. So the future of the track goes back to being uncertain. “Maybe I was foolish and naive to even think we could even bring this thing back. Maybe I should have dismantled it the day I bought it to tell you the truth,” Milliron said. See much more at Mansfield News Journal.(3-25-2015)


    News from March 24, 2015


  • Martinsville Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Martinsville this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that these teams ran at this track last October . . . Martinsville is the only track where NASCAR teams are scheduled to run either of these two tire codes . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Martinsville.(Goodyear). See tire codes, pressures and more on the Martinsville Race Info – Goodyear section.

  • NASCAR increases time of first round qualifying at most tracks: NASCAR issued a bulletin to teams on Tuesday that will extend the time of first round qualifying at short and intermediate tracks from 15 to 20 minutes. The change applies to Sprint Cup, XFINITY, and the Truck Series.(3-24-2015)

  • NASCAR could return to single-car qualifying at Talladega: After a mostly disastrous run of group qualifying for restrictor-plate races, NASCAR is considering a hybrid version more similar to the traditional format. As first reported Tuesday morning by Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer, there is a strong possibility that single-car qualifying will be used for the May 3 race at Talladega Superspeedway. A NASCAR official confirmed Tuesday to NASCAR Talk that it still could feature a knockout format with multiple attempts and rounds. There also could be multiple cars on track but likely not in the formation of packs that have caused problems at Talladega and Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR still is reviewing the policy change with drivers, teams and tracks.(NBC Sports)(3-24-2015)
  • Fontana TV Ratings: Opposite the NCAA Tournament, overnight ratings held steady for NASCAR on FOX. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Fontana (CA) earned a 4.0 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, even with last year (4.0), down 11% from 2013 (4.5), and tied as the lowest overnight for the race in four years – since rain-shortened coverage drew a 3.4 in 2011. Overall, the 4.0 is tied the second-lowest overnight for NASCAR from Fontana since 2000 – not including the fall race that was run from 2004-10. Despite the relatively low numbers, the race was the fourth of five NASCAR Sprint Cup telecasts to avoid a year-over-year decline in overnight ratings. It was also the weekend’s top sporting event on any network, outside of the NCAA Tournament.(Sports Media Watch via Sports Business Daily)(3-24-2015)

  • Sherwin-Williams renews as ‘Official Paint Of NASCAR’: NASCAR and Sherwin-Williams, the nation’s largest specialty retailer of paint and paint supplies, announced a three-year extension to their Official Partnership. The newly signed extension will designate Sherwin-Williams as the “Official Paint of NASCAR” through 2017. Sherwin-Williams, a FORTUNE 500 company, will continue to leverage its designation for architectural paint and the power of NASCAR’s intellectual property at its more than 4,000 stores nationwide and ignite the passion of its customers – many of whom are fiercely brand-loyal fans of the sport. By continuing as an Official NASCAR Partner, Sherwin-Williams will also retain its designation in the “Official Automotive Paint of NASCAR” and the “Official Transportation Finishes of NASCAR” categories. Through its renewal, Sherwin-Williams maintains its role as a Contingency Sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series. As part of the Contingency Program, Sherwin-Williams will be title sponsor of the Fastest Lap Award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(NASCAR)(3-24-2015)

  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Martinsville Speedway:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 122.5
    #24-Jeff Gordon 119.8
    #11-Denny Hamlin 110.1
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 101.2
    #14-Tony Stewart 97.6
    #18-Kyle Busch 96.2
    #15-Clint Bowyer 95.0
    #4-Kevin Harvick 91.8
    #31-Ryan Newman 87.4
    #22-Joey Logano 85.1
    Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at Martinsville Speedway. Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.<
    See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR)
  • FLASR sponsoring Sieg for 2 races: FLASR, the 4-oz. pocket-size, portable spittoon company, will join driver Ryan Sieg and RSS Racing as the primary sponsor of the #39 car during NASCAR Xfinity series races at Texas Motor Speedway on April 10, 2015 and Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015. This is the second NASCAR sponsorship for FLASR. The company previously partnered with NASCAR driver Reed Sorenson and Tommy Baldwin Racing for his race at Phoenix International Raceway last November. In just five months, FLASR has announced six major partnerships and embarked on a multimillion dollar media campaign. Available in an extensive selection of elegant styles, pocket spittoons from FLASR make it easy to enjoy snuff, dip or chew on the go.(RSS Racing), see an image if the car on the #39 team paint schemes page.(2-24-2015)
  • Irwindale Speedway likely to be demolished for outlet mall: City officials Wednesday will likely approve plans to demolish the iconic Irwindale Speedway to pave way for a 700,000-square-foot outlet mall. City Council will hold a public hearing about the project at a meeting where officials are also expected to approve a development agreement with Irwindale Outlets Partners, LLC, change the site’s zoning code to commercial and certify the final Environmental Impact Report. The Irwindale Outlet Center project, which includes design plans for an outdoor shopping center, entertainment stage, a central plaza and dining courtyard, is expected to generate thousands of jobs and bring a new heartbeat to the community. The 63-acre site, bordered by the San Gabriel Valley Freeway and Live Oak Avenue, has changed uses several times since the 1960s, when it was a quarry, mined for sand and gravel by Pacific Rock. When the mining operation ended in the mid ’70s, it was converted into a 200-foot deep landfill of mainly construction waste for nearly 20 years. It later became home to the Irwindale Speedway in 1999. When Irwindale Outlet Partners, LLC purchased the property for $22 million in September 2013, the owner extended the lease with 211 Enterprises, which operates the Irwindale Event Center, on a year-by-year basis.(Pasadena Star News)(3-24-2015)
  • Army Herald Trumpet Band to perform Anthem before STP 500: The United States Army Training and Doctrine Command Band Herald Trumpets will perform a traditional version of the National Anthem prior to the start of Sunday’s STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. The TRADOC Herald Trumpets are a fanfare ensemble of 14 trumpeters and a snare drummer based out of Fort Eustis. The TRADOC Heralds are comprised of both soprano and tenor instruments. The ensemble produces the sound of a full-bodied orchestral brass section. The TRADOC Heralds are part of the larger TRADOC Band that serves as an outreach asset for the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. Members of the band have passed a highly selective audition and are among the finest musicians in the Army band program. The majority of band members have studied music at some of the finest colleges, universities, and conservatories in the United States and abroad.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-24-2015)
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway adding SAFER barriers: Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials plan to install 1,560 additional feet of SAFER barriers at the 2.5-mile facility before on-track activities commence in May for the Indianapolis 500. IMS, which was the first to install the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction system in 2002, will add protection, track president Doug Boles said, around sections of a curved wall that serves as an emergency vehicle entrance point on the backstretch and in the short chute, to the drivers’ left, between Turns 3 and 4. The upgrades, Boles said, had been planned before but expedited in the wake of Kyle Busch sustaining a compound fracture of the right leg and breaking left foot while slamming into an uncushioned concrete wall at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener in February. Construction is underway on the additions at IMS, Boles said. The facility currently utilizes around 9,000 feet of SAFER barriers, he said.(USA Today)(3-24-2015)
  • Daytona begins removing backstretch seats: On Monday morning, Daytona International Speedway began to remove the backstretch grandstand as part of the DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project. The full removal process will be completed later this year. By moving all seating to the frontstretch, all attendees will now have the opportunity to enjoy a full race day experience including pre-race ceremonies, pit road action and the facility’s new amenities. Beginning in January 2016, Daytona International Speedway will feature approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats.(DIS)(3-24-2015)
  • Lilly Diabetes sponsoring Spring Bristol XFINITY race: Bristol Motor Speedway officials announce a multiyear sponsorship renewal with Lilly Diabetes for the April 18 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, now known as the Drive to Stop Diabetes 300. Paired with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Pitt Lite 125, the event kicks off a Saturday racing doubleheader with a sponsorship that highlights the growing epidemic of diabetes not only in Tennessee, but nationwide. Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to make or effectively use insulin. It impacts nearly 30 million Americans with Tennessee ranking fifth nationally in percentage of adults diagnosed. A chronic condition, diabetes leads to serious complications if not properly managed and causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. A simple Diabetes Risk Test is available at www.drivetostopdiabetes.com. In 2013, Lilly Diabetes became the presenting sponsor of the American Diabetes Association’s Drive to Stop Diabetes (D2SD). NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ryan Reed is the voice of the initiative Reed, now age 21, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 17. He drives the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.(BMS)(3-24-2015)


    News from March 23, 2015


  • Entry List for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is posted, 46 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including: #25-Chase Elliott (making his Cup debut), #30-Hornaday, #32-Bliss, #33-Kennedy, #44-TBA, #83-DeBenedetto. MWR has not announced who will be in the #55, but Moffitt is expected to drive.
    Drivers who need to be in the top-36 in speed and have no provisional available to them (lowest in owners points): #44-TBA (48th in owner points), #30-Hornaday (46th), #25-Elliott (none)
    Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least race attempts): #44-TBA (4 attempts, 46th owner pts), #30-Hornaday (2, 48th) #25-Elliott (none)
    See the full entry list at my Jayski.com’s Entry List page

  • NASCAR explains calls at end of race: Kurt Busch appeared set to earn his first Sprint Cup victory of the season before a caution with less than two laps remaining in the scheduled 200-lap race ended up foiling those plans Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. The debris caution came out for what NASCAR said was a piece of metal between turns 3 and 4. Busch, no doubt in frustration of seeing a potential Auto Club 400 win slip away, radioed to his team: “WWE,” a reference to the popular wresting shows and staged results.
    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said Sunday afternoon that the officials in race control had enough confirmation from their officials in the area that there was a piece of metal on the track. Because drivers tend to use the entire width of the speedway surface at this track, any piece of metal on the track surface typically results in a caution, Buck said. Buck said the piece of debris was hit by another car after he had called for the caution. “If there’s any question whatsoever, we’re going to throw the caution,” Buck said. “There was a lot of paper flying around today, a lot of paper trash and plastic bags and those kinds of things. We got definite confirmation that it was debris and it looked like a piece of metal. It’s strictly a process that we go through [to call a caution]. We don’t have any favorites. We try to keep every emotion out of it. .. We feel very, very confident about our actions.”
    On the last lap, Greg Biffle spun on the frontstretch. NASCAR opted to let the race play out instead of ending the race under caution, and Biffle was able to drive away before the leaders had circled the 2-mile track. At Daytona earlier this year, NASCAR threw the caution on the final lap in order to get safety vehicles on to the track and tend to the drivers involved. “Safety is No. 1; we always make our best effort to let it race back and we had a well over a mile [remaining],” Buck said. “The leaders were coming off of [Turn] 2. We had multiple people watching. … Biffle got it started back up and got it turned around and headed off. We had two folks in the flagstand that were right there on top of it. We had a bird’s-eye view from their perspective that there was no debris right there so we could let it come back to a natural finish.”(ESPN.com)(3-23-2015)

  • Furniture Row Racing looking for sponsorship, ability to expand: Ever since its formation in 2005, Furniture Row Racing has been a self-sponsored team, with the name of owner Barney Visser’s business on the fenders of the team’s black #78 Chevy. But that could be about to change. In an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com, team General Manager Joe Garone said the team is actively looking for a primary sponsor for next year, with the eventual goal of becoming a multi-car team. “I think there’s a misconception that we’re sponsored and we’re really not,” Garone told FOXSports.com. “Our owner owns a company that sponsors the car, but we really would like to find a partner to come on board with us to be a part of the program. I think it will enhance our team and make it more competitive.” Asked if Furniture Row wants to become a multi-car team, Garone said, “Ultimately, absolutely. We’d like to bring some sponsorship on the 78 car and then, obviously, full sponsorship on a second program.” Garone said the Denver-based team would benefit from having a second car.(FoxSports)(3-23-2015)

  • Truex, Jr. ties last year’s top 10s: #78-Martin Truex Jr. finished eighth at Auto Club Speedway Sunday. By scoring a fifth straight top-10 finish, Truex, Jr. equaled a career best for consecutive top 10s. The five top 10s to start the season equals the number of top 10s Truex had all of last year, his first season with Furniture Row Racing.(Furniture Row Racing)(3-23-2015)
  • Auto Club Race and Commercial Breakdown: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:30 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:50 PM (all times are EST). Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 108
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 60
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 101
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 56
    Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 7
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 6
    Number of times Fox utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 1
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast (including company logos ‘floating’ in corners of the screen): 88
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:30 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:50 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 200
    Minutes of race broadcast: 151
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 49
    Minutes of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials (split-screen): 3
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 3
    Total race brdcst time 151 Total comm. brdcst time 49
    See full reports, sponsor links, much more details at CawsnJaws.com.(3-23-2015)
  • Entry list: There are 36 trucks on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. A few notes:
    Cole Custer is in the #00 for JR Motorsports;
    Gray Gaulding is in the #7 for Red Horse Racing;
    John Hunter Nemechek is in the #8;
    Joey Logano is in the #29 for BKR;
    Tommy Regan is in the #35 for WinTron Racing;
    Jake Griffin is expected in the #63, though it is listed as TBA;
    The #74 is TBA;
    Charles Buchanan, Jr. is in the #87;
    David Gilliland is in the #92;
    (3-23-2015)
    See the complete list on the Martinsville entry list page.
  • Gaulding, NTS part ways as he joins Red Horse UPDATE: NTS Motorsports announces that Gray Gaulding and Gray Gaulding Racing have parted ways with the team, effective immediately. NTS Motorsports, which was founded by Bob Newberry in Bakersfield, California, competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour, in addition to developing young talent in the ARCA Racing Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. NTS Motorsports first partnered with Gaulding and GGR in 2014, with the 17-year-old Colonial Heights, Virginia native competing full time in the NKNPSE, in addition to participating in nine NCWTS races and two NKNPSW events. “I am very appreciative of Gray [Gaulding] and everything that Gray Gaulding Racing did to help NTS Motorsports during their time with us,” said team owner Bob Newberry. “I wish them nothing but good luck in the future.”(NTS Motorsports)
    AND: Gaulding is entered for Martinsville in the #7 Toyota for Red Horse Racing.(3-23-2015)
    UPDATE: This morning during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Clemmons, N.C. Gray Gaulding announced he will reunite with Toyota Racing in partnership with Red Horse Racing in the NASCAR Camping Word Truck Series and Precision Performance Motorsports for the remaining NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. Gaulding, a second year member of the NASCAR Next class, announced that he will compete for Red Horse Racing in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway and is working on adding additional races in the #7 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Toyota Tundra. Butch Hylton will serve as crew chief of the No. 7 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Toyota Tundra, Hylton has multiple wins in the NCWTS including sweeping both races in 2010 at Martinsville Speedway. Gaulding is currently third in the NKNPSE championship point standings and will race the remaining 13-race schedule in the #20 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Toyota Camry for Precision Performance Motorsports out of Yorktown, Virginia.(See an image of the truck on the #7 Team Paint Schemes page)(White Gaulding Partners)(3-23-2015)
  • GMS hopes to help grow area with relocation: GMS Racing, operating at 310 Aviation Drive adjacent to the Statesville Regional Airport in Statesville, N.C., is being officially welcomed to the area by the Statesville Regional Development group on Tuesday, March 24th. Before the 2015 season, GMS Racing relocated to the 150,000 plus square-foot, three building complex, where they occupy a 51,000 square foot race shop just south of downtown Statesville. The facility is home to GMS Racing’s #23 and #33 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams and their #23 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards program. For the first time in its existence, GMS Racing will operate two full-time NCWTS teams and an ARCA Racing Series program. The organization’s relocation into the Statesville facility from Charlotte is vital to develop GMS Racing into a championship-caliber team in professional motorsports circuits. GMS Racing wants to play a significant role in helping to grow Statesville, and will soon be joined on Aviation Drive by Brad Keselowski Racing at the Statesville Regional Airport. In partnering with the Statesville Regional Development group, GMS Racing’s relocation contributes to Statesville’s growth by adding to the motorsports environment in the area. GMS Racing’s main building sits adjacent to two additional buildings, also owned by the organization, that are currently available for rent which feature prime location and suitable layouts for motorsport operations.(GMS Racing)(3-23-2015)
  • New sponsor for Cobb: Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (JJCR) announces two new sponsors for this week’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Ron’s Sports Cards RonsSportsCards.com is a Witherbee, New York based, online specialty sports cards and memorabilia business and will appear on the #10 Chevrolet Silverado’s TV Panel. HuntinatorHuntinator.com is an online apparel brand representing all things outdoors, for men and women. Jennifer Jo Cobb will wear items from the Huntinator women’s line during the weekend of the race. Driven2Honor, a charity to honor female service members will be the primary sponsor. Cobb is currently 16th in the standings and will compete in her 100th NCWTS race later this year. Her fans are celebrating the accomplishment on social media with #JJC100.(JJCR)(3-23-2015)
  • Martinsville to install tire barriers: After a full track evaluation by NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Martinsville Speedway will add to its existing barrier system in advance of the STP 500 weekend March 27-29. Tire pack barriers will be installed on the inside wall at the end of the backstretch, prior to the entrance of pit road. “We are committed to the continued safety of the drivers and our fans,” said Clay Campbell, Martinsville Speedway President. “We will continue to collaborate with ISC and NASCAR for additional safety enhancements deemed necessary.”(Martinsville Speedway)(3-23-2015)
  • Sad News – Earl Baltes: Earl Baltes, the founder and longtime promoter of Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, passed away this morning at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. He was 93. He is survived by Berneice, his wife of 67 years; daughter, Starr, and her husband, Joe Schmitmeyer; son, Terry, and his wife, Dee; beloved sister, Susie Barga, and six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Baltes built Eldora in 1954, first as a quarter-mile before shaping the track into its popular high-banked, half-mile oval configuration in 1958. Since then, it has become the premier dirt track in the United States. Under Baltes, the facility began hosting the highly successful Famous World 100 for Dirt Late Models, now the largest dirt race in the world, and the Dirt Late Model Dream, the richest dirt late model race in the world. A fan of sprint car racing, Baltes took great pride in his fabled Kings Royal Weekend for World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and many United States Auto Club (USAC) events, including the Four Crown Nationals. Races at Eldora were shown on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” with Keith Jackson and Al Michaels as broadcasters. ESPN, CBS and TNN also televised events that helped put Eldora on the map. Despite the track’s growing popularity, Baltes kept ticket prices affordable and concessions costs low, which continued to attract fans from around the world. In 2001, Baltes posted a remarkable $1 million payout to the winner of the “Eldora Million” Dirt Late Model race and followed that with the “Mopar Million” in 2003, which had a purse of $1 million and paid $200,000 to the winner of a non-winged sprint car race. He was inducted into many Halls of Fame, including National Sprint Car, National Dirt Late Model, USAC, Dayton Auto Racing Fans and Hoosier Auto Racing Fans, and was named USAC Race Organizer of the Year in 1984 and 1997. He was named Auto Racing Promoter of the Year in 1993, and fellow iconic promoter H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler recognized him with the Charlotte Motor Speedway Promoter of the Year Award in 2001. The state of Ohio named Route 118 “Earl Baltes Highway” from Ansonia to the south to St. Henry to the north. In 2004, Baltes began to think about selling Eldora. Despite several suitors, he reached out to a driver whose style he had always admired, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and former Eldora driver Tony Stewart. The sale was completed in the fall of 2004.(Eldora Speedway)(3-23-2015)


    News from March 22, 2015


  • Keslowski wins at Auto Club: #2-Brad Keselowski won the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 1st win at Auto Club Speedwa and his 17th career win. He took the lead from #41-Busch on the final lap of a second green-white-checker attempt.
    #4-Harvick passed Busch coming to the checkered flag to finish second. Harvick has five straight top 2 finish to start the season, the first time that has happened in NASCAR. He also has finished first or second in the last eight consecutive races. Richard Petty holds the record with 11 consecutive top 2 finishes.
    Busch held on for 3rd, the rest of the top 10: #27-Menard, #31-Newman, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #22-Logano, #78-Truex, Jr., #48-Johnson, and #24-Gordon.
    All 43 cars were running at the end of the race, the first time that has happened since the Brickyard 400 in 2013.
    Harvick continues to hold the Chase points lead, now 28 points over #22-Logano.
    There were 19 lead changes among 9 drivers. There were 7 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 140.662mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    (3-22-2015)
  • Race Fast Facts – Auto Club Speedway:
    Brad Keselowski won the 19th Annual Auto Club 400, his 17th victory in 202 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in seven races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Keselowski led only one lap of the race (Lap 209).
    Kevin Harvick (second) posted his 10th top-10 finish in 22 races at Auto Club Speedway. It is his fifth top-10 finish in 2015.
    Kevin Harvick has now finished first or second in eight consecutive races. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record is 11, by Richard Petty in 1975.
    Kurt Busch (third) posted his 12th top-10 finish in 22 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Brett Moffitt (22nd) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kevin Harvick leads the point standings by 28 points over Joey Logano.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-22-2015)
  • 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
    [after Auto Club, race 5 of 36]
    (by wins, then by points)
    1) #4-Kevin Harvick [2 wins], 228
    2) #22-Joey Logano [1 win], 197, -28
    3) #2-Brad Keselowski [1 win], 163, -62
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson [1 win], 159, -66
    5) #78-Truex Jr., 192, -33
    6) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 164, -61
    7) #31-Ryan Newman, 162, -63
    8) #5-Kasey Kahne, 159, -66
    9) #27-Paul Menard, 152, -73
    10) #43-Aric Almirola, 138, -87
    11) #47-AJ Allmendinger, 137, -88
    12) #13-Casey Mears, 132, -93
    13) #20-Matt Kenseth, 127, -98
    14) #11-Denny Hamlin, 125, -100
    15) #18-David Ragan, 124, -101
    16) #1-Jamie McMurray, 120, -105
    (ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc)
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(3-22-2015)
  • Vickers on blood thinners for 3 months: Brian Vickers said Sunday that he’ll be on blood-thinning medicine at least three months after small blood clots were found in both lungs this week. Vickers cannot race while on blood thinners. Vickers said he first experienced chest pain when taking deep breaths on a flight to Los Angeles on Thursday and went to a hospital later that day. This is the third time since 2010 that blood clots have forced Vickers out of the car. Asked Sunday if this could be the end of his career, Vickers said: “Am I worried? Yes. Have I given up hope? No. Whatever happens, I couldn’t have been more happier to have been in that (#55 Michael Waltrip Racing) car the past two weeks. By no means have I given up. I don’t know what’s next. I know I’m going to be on blood thinners for three months and after that I’m going to do all I can to get back in the race car.”(NBC Sports)(3-22-2015)
  • Auto Club Sunday Pre-Race Schedule:
    3:20 p.m.: Team Fastrax Skydiving team (landing to the Turn 1 side of the stage and in field).
    3:30 p.m.: Intro to presentation of colors, California Army National Guard Color Guard.
    3:30 p.m.: Invocation by Bill Mauldin, MRO.
    3:30 p.m.: Intro to national anthem.
    3:31 p.m.: National anthem by ‘American Idol’ contestants and Scott Borchetta.
    3:32 p.m.: Fly-by from Turn 4 to Turn 1.
    3:37 p.m.: Command to start engines by ‘American Idol’ contestants and Scott Borchetta.
    3:46 p.m.: Green flag for Auto Club 400 (200 laps, 400 miles).
    eastern time (NASCAR.com)

  • Part taken from #33 team by NASCAR: on Friday at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR confiscated a truck arm (rear suspension part) from the #33 Chevy driven by Brian Scott and owned by Joe Falk. The sanctioning body will take the part to its research-and-development center in Concord, North Carolina, for further evaluation.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-22-2015)

  • #98 team owner celebrates 200 starts: The #98 Curb Records Ford of Josh Wise will start 35th on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. This will mark team co-owner Mike Curb’s 200th start as a Sprint Cup Series team owner (Phil Parsons Racing Facebook). Curb has 2 wins (both with Richard Petty in 1984), 6 top fives and 29 top tens in 199 starts as an owner. The #98 Ford will run special decals to honor the 200th start. See an image of the scheme on the #98 Team Schemes page.(3-22-2015)

  • Kurt Busch will not run “The Double”: One thing #41-Kurt Busch doesn’t want to risk in the early goings of his return, is the momentum he has built with the #41 team. Although there had been talk of Busch returning to the Brickyard in May for another run at the Indianapolis 500, Busch, who finished sixth in his debut, says his focus is strictly on NASCAR for now. “It’s all about the 41 car, this group of guys and (team owner) for Gene Haas,” Busch said. “He’s believed in me and supported me through all of this and it wouldn’t make much sense at this time to venture off into any other type of motorsport other than get this 41 car back up into the points, challenge for wins and make ourselves Chase eligible. We’ll see. We’ll see how it pans out. I really enjoyed it. I accomplished a lot. And it would be a shame if I didn’t cash in on the experience that I have and knowing what I know now versus what I didn’t know going into the event last year. If it pans out, it would be next year for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.”(Motorsport)(3-22-2015)

  • Allmendinger interested in Indy, Charlotte double: #47-AJ Allmendinger wants to do the double. Oh, yes, he does. In an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com Friday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway, Allmendinger’s eyes grew wide when he talked about the possibility of racing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. And with good reason. Two years ago, Allmendinger drove one of Roger Penske’s IndyCar entries at the Indy 500, leading 23 of 200 laps en route to a seventh-place finish. Asked by FOXSports.com if he’d like to race Indy again, Allmendinger allowed as how he would. “You never know. You never say never,” said Allmendinger, who comes into Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race fifth in points. “The only problem is I was definitely spoiled by doing it with Roger Penske for the first time ever,” said Allmendinger. “And I would only do it if it was an opportunity to go win that race, because leading at Indy is a feeling I’ve never had before in my life. My heart was beating, shaking in the car. I want to experience that again, so if it’s the right opportunity, I’d love to do it.” Adding the Coca-Cola 600 in his #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevy would be icing on the cake. “To do the double, the cool thing is Tad (Geschickter, team co-owner) has already said he would be completely open to it, the sponsors would love to jump in on it. So, the right opportunity, yes. But at this point in my life, I’m just so focused on this #47 team. That’s where I want to be.” (FoxSports)(3-22-2015)

  • NASCAR wins PR team of the year: NASCAR’s in-house PR team took home the trophy for In-House PR Team of the Year on Thursday night at the PRWeek Awards. Last year, it was the runner up in the category. The 46-member department was cited for its work on 1,500 NASCAR-sanctioned events and more than 20 business units, including broadcasting, digital, and green innovation. The team also oversaw steady increases in social media growth, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube all seeing significant jumps in use. Honorable Mention went to Big Machine Label Group’s three-person comms team.(PR Week)(3-22-2015)

  • Auto Club Speedway Notes & Facts – Sunday – race:
    ” There have been 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway, the track hosted one NSCS race a season from 1997-2003, then two races per season from 2004-2010. In 2011 Auto Club Speedway returned to a single race season.
    ” 14 different drivers have won at ACS, led by Jimmie Johnson (five). Three other drivers have multiple wins at Auto Club Speedway: Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth each have three wins, Tony Stewart has two.
    ” Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Auto Club Speedway with nine, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven and Stewart Haas Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing each have two.
    ” There have been three green-white-checkered finishes at Auto Club Speedway: 2005 (250/254), 2006 (250/251) and 2014 (200/206).
    ” Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway was the (3/27/2011) race won by Kevin Harvick with a MOV of 0.144 second over Jimmie Johnson.
    (NASCAR)(3-22-2015)
  • “Unrestricted” VIP package avialable at Talladega: Talladega Superspeedway’s new “Unrestricted” VIP package is like no other in sports, putting fans in the center of the action during the GEICO 500/Winn-Dixie 300 weekend (May 1-3) at the biggest and baddest race track on the planet. The behind-the-scenes package gives fans exclusive, up close and personal accessibility to exciting activities leading up to the Winn-Dixie 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, May 2, and the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on Sunday, May 3. The “Unrestricted” VIP package includes: “Cold” Garage Pass that Allows Access to Area Behind Pit Road (when race cars are not on the track), Special Guided NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Garage Tour (Saturday or Sunday), Parking Passes. On Saturday: Hot Lap in Talladega Pace Car Around the 2.66-mile, 33-Degree Banked Track, Gatorade Victory Lane Photo Opportunity with Winn-Dixie 300 Winner’s Trophy, Reserved Area at Driver Introduction Stage for Winn-Dixie 300, VIP Area access for Saturday Night Infield Concert. On Sunday: Reserved Area for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Question/Answer Session, Gatorade Victory Lane Photo Opportunity with GEICO 500 Winner’s Trophy, Reserved Area at Driver Introduction Stage for GEICO 500, Guided Pit Road Tour Where Teams Ready the Pit Stalls, and Cars are Lined up for the Start, and Reserved Area at Red Carpet Entrance to Driver/Crew Chief Meeting. The unmatched access that the “Unrestricted” VIP package provides is available for only $475 (must be purchased in addition to grandstand ticket) by calling the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office at 855.518.RACE.(TSS)(3-22-2015)


    News from March 21, 2015


  • Final practice for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #41-Busch 184.971
    #27-Menard 183.885
    #4-Harvick 183.220
    #13-Mears 183.146
    #48-Johnson 182.992
    Most laps run: #41-Busch & #48-Johnson, 45
    slowest:#26-Burton 175.966 & #32-Bliss 175.161.
    notes: #55-Moffitt made light contact with the outside wall. Very little damage.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Auto Club practice 3 speeds page (pdf).(3-21-2015)
  • First Saturday practice for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #41-Busch 187.115
    #48-Johnson 184.247
    #18-Ragan 184.237
    #31-Newman 183.969
    #33-Scott 183.960
    Most laps run: #1-McMurray 46, #48-Johnson 39
    slowest: #26-Burton 175.708 & #62-Gaughan 174.419
    notes: #43-Almirola and #88-Earnhardt have made light contact with the wall. Just some sheetmetal damage for both.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Auto Club practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-21-2015)
  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #41-Busch chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #4-Harvick took pit stall 12a, with an opening in front of it.
    #20-Kenseth, who starts 3rd took the 43rd and final pit stall
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-21-2015)

  • Sprint Cup purses down as NASCAR shifts money to XFINITY, Trucks: Sprint Cup Series teams appear to be racing for just a little bit less money in 2015 as NASCAR has quietly increased the purses for its two national developmental series while Sprint Cup purses have dropped by a tick this year. NASCAR Chairman Brian France said last year that NASCAR would consider giving Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) Series and Camping World Truck Series teams a bigger portion of the new television deal that went into effect this year. That is what NASCAR has done, although it won’t say by how much. It never announced the change, but it did confirm to ESPN.com that that was the case when asked about the change in the purses after the first four races.
    In comparing the purses for the first four tracks to what the purses for those tracks’ races were last year, the only Sprint Cup race to have an increase in purse was the Daytona 500. It certainly wasn’t much of an increase at $24,408, virtually nothing (up 0.1 percent) when considering the purse was $19.8 million. The rest have gone down, none by more than $98,000 — the purses for the three races since Daytona have been between $5 million and $6.5 million — for an overall season drop of 0.2 percent for the first four races. Xfinity races, though, are up 9.1 percent with increases of $60,000 to $155,000 per race; Xfinity purses this year generally are $1.1 million-$1.5 million (the opener was $2.66 million). The truck race at Daytona was up 16.4 percent to $806,373, and that was for a 32-truck field instead of a 36-truck field. There was no Atlanta truck race last year with which to compare the earlier purse.(ESPN.com)(3-21-2015)

  • K&N Filters renews sponsorship of Pro Series: NASCAR announced it has reached a five-year agreement with K&N Filters to continue as the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series through 2021. The renewed deal ensures that K&N Filters will own exclusive rights as the title sponsor for a total of 12-consecutive years. Additionally, K&N Filters acquires the designation as the “Official Automotive Filters of NASCAR.” The NASCAR K&N Pro Series is universally recognized in the racing industry as the top rung in NASCAR’s developmental ladder – notable alumni include Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick, both finalists in last year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, as well as rising stars like Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Darrell Wallace Jr. The series introduces NASCAR fans and industry stakeholders to the next generation of stars, and the diverse mix of short tracks, road courses and national series speedways appeals to a broad range of motorsports fans. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will kick off the 2015 season at Kern County Raceway Park with the running of the NAPA Auto Parts 150 on March 28.(NASCAR)(3-21-2015)

  • Visone RV partners with Go Green Racing: Visone RV returns to Go Green Racing as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2015 NSCS season. Visone RV, based in East Bernstadt, Kentucky has the world’s largest selection of new and used Motor Home parts. Visone also takes pride and pleasure in selling new and used RVs. Visone supplies RV/Motor home repair facilities across the country with a goal to always describe and disclose as much information to the best of their ability about all RV parts they sell.(Go Green Racing)(3-21-2015)

  • Auto Club Speedway Notes & Facts – Saturday – drivers:
    ” 137 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club; 108 in more than one.
    ” Jeff Gordon leads the series in starts at Auto Club Speedway with 25.
    ” Joe Nemechek won the inaugural Coors Light pole (1997) with a speed of 183.015 mph (39.341 secs.).
    ” Jimmie Johnson leads the series in runner-up finishes at Auto Club Speedway with five; followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon with four.
    ” Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at Auto Club Speedway with 12; followed by Jeff Gordon (10), Matt Kenseth (nine), Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch (eight each).
    ” Matt Kenseth leads the series in top-10 finishes with 15; followed by Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards (14 each) and Tony Stewart (13).
    ” Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finish at ACS with a 6.650.
    ” Jimmie Johnson (6.6), Carl Edwards (8.5) and Matt Kenseth (9.8) are the only three active drivers with an average finish in the top 10 at Auto Club Speedway.
    ” Greg Biffle (4/28/02) and J.J. Yeley (9/5/04) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Auto Club Speedway.
    ” Jimmie Johnson posted his first series career win at Auto Club Speedway on April 28, 2002.
    ” Jimmie Johnson (fall of 2009 – spring of 2010) and Kyle Busch (2013, 2014) are the only drivers to win consecutive races at Auto Club Speedway.
    ” 12 of the 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Auto Club Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon (1997 – inaugural event) and Jimmie Johnson (2002) are the only drivers to win at ACS in their first appearance.
    ” Tony Stewart competed at Auto Club Speedway 18 times before winning in the fall of 2010; the longest span of any the 14 winners. Only Stewart (18) and Kevin Harvick (17) have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Auto Club Speedway.
    ” Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 22.
    ” Three reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Auto Club Speedway the following season: Tony Stewart (2012), Jeff Gordon (1999) and Jimmie Johnson – the only one to do it multiple times (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
    ” Two drivers have won at Auto Club Speedway and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (1997) and Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
    ” Two female drivers have competed at Auto Club Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick. **Note: Robinson first attempted to qualify for the race at ACS on 4/29/2001 but failed to make the event.
    (NASCAR)(3-21-2015)
  • Harvick wins XFINITY race at Auto Club: #88-Kevin Harvick won the Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway for his second XFINITY win of the year. He lead 100 of the 150 laps. #62-Brendan Gaughan finished second, followed by #20-Erik Jones, #9-Chase Elliott, #60-Chris Buescher, #2-Brian Scott, #42-Kyle Larson, #22-Brad Keselowski, #7-Regan Smith, and #1-Elliott Sadler.
    There were 3 cautions for 12 laps and 13 lead changes among 8 leaders. Complete results are on the Auto Club race results page (pdf).
    (3-21-2015)
  • Auto Club XFINITY Race Fast Facts:
    Kevin Harvick won the 17th Annual Drive4Clots.com 300, his 46th victory in 319 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his second victory and third top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his first victory and 16th top-10 finish in 19 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Harvick has finished in the top 10 in 28 consecutive races. His last finish outside the top 10 was at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2, 2013, where he finished 33rd after an accident.
    Brendan Gaughan (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Auto Club Speedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2015.
    Erik Jones (third) posted his first top-10 finish in one races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Darrell Wallace Jr. (12th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Ty Dillon leads the point standings by 5 points over Chris Buescher.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-21-2015)
  • XFINITY Driver standings following Auto Club:
    1) #3-Ty Dillon, 187
    2) #60-Chris Buescher, 182, -5
    3) #9-Chase Elliott, 172, -15
    4) #16-Ryan Reed, 168, -19
    5) #6-Darrell Wallace Jr. #, 165, -22
    6) #62-Brendan Gaughan, 164, -23
    7) #7-Regan Smith, 157, -30
    8) #1-Elliott Sadler, 148, -39
    9) #44-David Starr, 136, -51
    10) #2-Brian Scott, 134, -53
    See complete owner and driver standings on the driver standings(pdf) and owner standings page (pdf).(3-21-2015)
  • Jones on XFINITY pole at Auto Club: #20Erik Jones won the Coors Light pole for the Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway with a speed of 178.288mph. #2-Brian Scott will start second. The rest of the top 10: #54-Denny Hamlin, #22-Brad Keselowski, #7-Regan Smith, #88-Kevin Harvick, #33-Austin Dillon, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #18-Daniel Suarez, and #1-Elliott Sadler. Did Not Qualify: none. The starting lineup is posted on the Auto Club starting lineup page (pdf).(3-21-2015)
  • Auto Club XFINITY Qualifying Notes:
    Erik Jones won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award for the 17th Annual Drive4Clots.com 300 with a lap of 40.384 seconds, 178.288 mph.
    This is his first pole in eight NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his fourth top-10 start in 2015.
    Jones has two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series poles.
    Brian Scott (second) posted his third top-10 start of 2015 and his fourth in eight races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Denny Hamlin (third) posted his fifth top-10 start at Auto Club Speedway. It is his first in two races this season.
    Daniel Suarez (ninth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-21-2015)
  • Auto Club Speedway sold out: For the second straight year, Auto Club Speedway President Dave Allen announced that grandstand tickets for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 have been sold out. Those wishing to purchase standing room only tickets can still join the Auto Club 400 festivities by calling 1-800-944-RACE (7223). “All I can say to our great fans is Thank You,” said Speedway President Dave Allen. “Our fans have once again shown their passion for Auto Club Speedway and NASCAR. I’m sure the Auto Club 400 will once again be a great race.”(ACS)(3-21-2015)
  • American Idol Finalists singing National Anthem in Fontana: The Top 11 finalists from AMERICAN IDOL XIV will sing the National Anthem and serve as Grand Marshals prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 race at the Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 22. The Top 11 Finalists include: Quentin Alexander, Clark Beckham, Joey Cook, Adanna Duru, Nick Fradiani, Jax, Tyanna Jones, Qaasim Middleton, Rayvon Owen, Daniel Seavey and Maddie Walker. Nashville’s music powerhouse and IDOL’s in-house mentor Scott Borchetta will join the Top 11 contestants to call the command as Grand Marshals. Borchetta is President and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group and one of the most successful forces in the music industry today.(Auto Club Speedway)(3-21-2015)
  • Pocono extends partnership with Paciolan: Pocono Raceway, a sports and entertainment facility which hosts multiple motorsports events each year, including two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, extended its long-term partnership with Paciolan, an industry-leading provider of ticketing, marketing automation and fan management solutions to more than 500 live entertainment organizations. In conjunction with the extended partnership, Pocono Raceway will continue leveraging the company’s online ticketing and fan management solutions, and Marketing Automation platform powered by FanOne Marketing. Paciolan is a subsidiary of the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm Comcast-Spectacor. The Raceway partners with Paciolan and other Comcast-Spectacor business units to bring a holistic approach to its business as well as continuity via seamless technological integrations, enabling its ticketing, marketing, sales and commercial rights to be housed under one family of companies. Additionally, Pocono Raceway continues to partner with Front Row Marketing Services, a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor and an industry leader in commercial rights sales, to drive sponsorship opportunities, manage commercial rights and drive sales opportunities.(Pocono Raceway)(3-21-2015)


    News from March 20, 2015


  • Kurt Busch wins Auto Club pole: #41-Kurt Busch won the Coors Light pole for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway with speed of 185.142mph for his 1st pole of 2015, 4th at Auto Club and 17th of his career.
    #4-Harvick is on the outside pole followed by #20-Kenseth, #18-Ragan, #42-Larson, #11-Hamlin, #24-Gordon, #2-Keselowski, #31-Newman, #15-Bowyer, #27-Menard, and #78-Truex, Jr..
    Missing the race were: #29-Sorenson, #44-Kvapil.
    See the starting lineup, round-by-round qualifying results and more on Jayski.com’s Auto Club Qualifying Page.(3-20-2015)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Auto Club:
    Kurt Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 19th Annual Auto Club 400 with a lap of 38.889 seconds, 185.142 mph.
    This is his 17th pole in 509 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole and second top-10 start in 2015.
    This is his fourth pole in 22 races at Auto Club Speedway, a track record.
    Kevin Harvick (second) posted his third top-10 start of 2015 and his seventh in 22 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Matt Kenseth (third) posted his sixth top-10 start at Auto Club Speedway. It is his third in five races this season.
    Jeb Burton (34th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-20-2015)
  • Second Round of Qualifying for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over after 10 scheduled minutes.
    #41-Busch 185.038
    #11-Hamlin 184.615
    #24-Gordon 184.535
    #18-Ragan 184.478
    #4-Harvick 184.237
    the rest of the top 12: 2 20 31 15 42 78 27;
    out of the top 12 and not advancing to round 3: 22 48 19 9 88 47 5 14 3 10 43 46
    (3-20-2015)
  • First Round of Qualifying for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over, after 15 scheduled minutes.
    #20-Kenseth 185.610
    #4-Harvick 185.066
    #41-Busch 184.715
    #18-Ragan 184.511
    #42-Larson 184.459
    the rest of the top 24: 11 48 2 88 27 31 22 24 5 3 19 9 47 15 78 10 14 43 46;
    out of the top 24 and not advancing to round 2: 33 1 17 7 16 55 51 35 34 26 98 6 13 62 32 44 40 29 23 83 38
    Drivers who will miss the race: #44-Kvapil & #29-Sorenson.
    (3-20-2015)
  • Friday practice for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over after 76 minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #41-Busch 186.741
    #11-Hamlin 185.385
    #78-Truex, Jr. 185.180
    #2-Keselowski 185.019
    #48-Johnson 185.000
    Most laps run: #24-Gordon 22, #88-Earnhardt, Jr. 17
    slowest: #83-DiBenedetto 175.174 & #62-Gaughan 174.571.
    notes: #16-Biffle scraped the wall early in the session, suffering some sheet metal damage. #19-Edwards hit the wall coming off Turn 4 just minutes before practice ended. He will go to a backup car.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Auto Club practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-20-2015)

  • Chris Buescher to replace Moffitt in the #34: Front Row Motorsports announced that Chris Buescher will replace Brett Moffit in the #34 Ford this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Buescher drives full time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Roush Fenway Racing.(3-20-2015)

  • Moffitt replacing Vickers in the #55 at Auto Club Speedway: Brett Moffitt will drive Michael Waltrip Racing’s #55 Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The team’s regular driver Brian Vickers informed MWR he has experienced a reoccurrence of blood clots, which will require the 31-year-old driver to begin taking blood-thinning medication and he is not able to race while on the medicine. “First and foremost our thoughts are with Brian and his family,” said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. “He isn’t just our race car driver, he is our friend and we know the NASCAR community will continue to rally around Brian. We are fortunate to have Brett Moffitt in our system and marveled at his great drive in Atlanta three weeks ago, so we know he can get the job done in the #55 this weekend. As this news is very fresh and the situation is very fluid, we can only plan for this weekend at this point.” Vickers missed the season’s first two races recovering from December heart surgery. He finished 15th at Las Vegas and 41st at Phoenix. “Thankfully, because I recognized the signs and symptoms, the doctors caught this early and I’m going to be ok. I had finished my treatment for the clot I had in my leg back in 2013 and I haven’t needed to be on a blood thinner for a clot in my leg or lung since,” said Vickers. “Now I won’t be able to race because I’ll need to be back on a blood thinner. I’m going to follow doctor’s orders and do everything I need to do to get well.” “Believe it or not, it’s Blood Clot Awareness Month and I was supposed to be at the track this weekend doing some work with my partners at Janssen focused on getting the word out. I’m disappointed I can’t be there but if there is a silver lining in all of this, hopefully what’s happened to me will help to raise awareness on this important health issue,” said Vickers.(MWR)(3-20-2015)

  • Justin Boots joins Hillman Racing: Landon Cassill and the Hillman Racing team adds Justin Original Workboots (JOW) as a major associate sponsor for the 2015 race season. The #40 Chevy SS will display the Justin Original Workboots branding for the two NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway on April 11 and November 8, along with the endorsement of being “The Official Workboot of Hillman Racing.” The team’s mission will be to shine a spotlight on this incredible brand and will offer some great events and giveaways through the different social media platforms to offer race fans a chance to bag some swag.(Hillman Racing)(3-20-2015)

  • France speaks to Detroit Economic Club: It was a tough question for someone so steeped in American motorsports history. But NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France took it on the chin today in Dearborn: What was his biggest failure in his 12-year reign as stockcar racing’s top executive? France, 52, whose grandfather, Bill France Sr., founded NASCAR in 1948, didn’t flinch in admitting it was the “Car of Tomorrow,” the fifth-generation style Sprint Cup Series race car that was introduced in 2007 and was replaced in 2013 by the smaller, lighter Gen-6 model.
    “We are going to make mistakes,” said France, who has pushed the competitive envelope at NASCAR since taking over from his father Bill France Jr. in 2003, making significant changes to series qualifying rules and the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship format, among other things. “Occasionally, we make a big one now and again. I would say that if there is one thing we could have done better in the last 10 years under my watch, is when we launched what we called ‘the new car.’ It is now called the Gen-5. We just didn’t get the collaboration we needed to get from the industry, the owners, the drivers, the engineers and car manufacturers. They had a voice, but they didn’t have a loud enough voice, and so we changed that.”
    The Gen-6 car that is now used in Sprint Cup looks a lot more like your Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota. It has generally been embraced by teams and drivers, though not universally, for its racy nature. France, whose audience today included students from Henry Ford High School, Martin Luther King Jr. High School, Clarkston High School, Macomb Community College and Northwood University, also fielded and discussed topics such as NASCAR’s growth, diversity initiatives, safety standards and four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, who will retire from full-time driving at the end of this season.(Detroit Free Press)(3-20-2014)
  • Talladega adding SAFER barriers: Talladega Superspeedway will add an energy-absorbing barrier to three areas of its inside wall prior to its May 1-3 NASCAR race weekend. The high-banked track, configured much like Daytona International Speedway, will add SAFER barriers on its inside wall at the entrances to pit road, Turn 1 and Turn 3, track chairman Grant Lynch said Thursday in a statement. “We are committed to making Talladega Superspeedway a safe environment for drivers as well as our fans,” he said. Kyle Busch broke his right leg and left foot when he crashed into a concrete inside wall near the entrance of Turn 1 in February at Daytona. He is out for months, with no timetable announced for his return. NASCAR mandated that the steel-and-foam energy reduction barriers be placed on the outside walls of all ovals 10 years ago. Tracks have added them in select other areas — often in reaction to crashes. Busch’s crash resulted in NASCAR announcing it would re-evaluate its tracks to determine if more SAFER barriers are needed.(ESPN.com)(3-20-2015)

  • Rule change allows Kenseth and Newman to be eligible for All-Star Race: A rule change for the Sprint All-Star Race will allow #20-Matt Kenseth and #31-Ryan Newman to compete in the event, NASCAR confirmed to NASCAR Talk on Thursday. NASCAR stated that it changed the eligibility requirements so that any full-time driver who is a former Cup champion or former All-Star winner is eligible for the non-points event. Previously, a driver had to have won a Cup title within the past 10 years or won the All-Star event within the past 10 years to be eligible. Eliminating the limit on when a driver won a Cup title or the All-Star race is important for Kenseth and Newman. Neither driver meets the criterial of a race win either this year or the preceding year to be eligible. Both were winless last year and have not won this year. Kenseth’s title came in 2003. Newman’s All-Star win came in 2002.(NBC Sports)(3-20-2015)

  • Different look for the #48 Lowe’s Chevy at Auto Club: Jimmie Johnson will debut the #48 Lowe’s ProServices Chevy in this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway. Lowe’s Commercial Services are designed to help customers save time and money and make their businesses run smoother. Stores across the country have a dedicated ProServices team ready to help by offering five percent off everyday purchases with a Lowe’s Business Credit Account, quick-turn, customizable quotes on volume purchases, providing an order ahead option and pulling materials for pick up, giving reduced delivery rates and offering bulk discounts on supplies used the most. The Lowe’s ProServices paint scheme will adorn the #48 in eight races this season: Auto Club Speedway in March, Texas in April, Richmond in April, Dover in May, Sonoma in June, Kentucky in July, Bristol in August and New Hampshire in September (HMS), see images of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(3-19-2015)

  • Auto Club Speedway Notes & Facts – Friday – poles:
    ” 16 drivers have poles at Auto Club Speedway, led by Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch with three each.
    ” Denny Hamlin (2011, 2012), Kurt Busch (2006 sweep) and Jamie McMurray (2010 sweep) are the three drivers to win consecutive poles at Auto Club Speedway.
    ” California-native Jimmie Johnson became the first and only driver to win from the pole at Auto Club Speedway in 2008.
    ” Only two ACS races have been won from the front row both by six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, fall of 2008 (pole); and the fall of 2007 (second-place).
    ” Nine of the 25 (36%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-five starting position.
    ” 13 of the 25 (52%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position.
    ” Seven of the 24 (28%) races have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
    ” The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 31st, by Matt Kenseth in the spring of 2006.
    ” The most proficient starting position at ACS is pretty random. Three starting positions (third, ninth and 24th) have produced three winners each.
    ” Three active drivers have posted their first NSCS Coors Light pole at Auto Club Speedway: Carl Edwards (9/4/2005) and Joe Nemechek (6/22/1997). Kyle Busch won his first pole (2/27/05) and first series win (9/4/05) at ACS in 2005.
    (NASCAR)(3-20-2015)
  • Austin Dillon fastest in happy hour: #33-Austin Dillon was quickest during happy hour for the Drive4Clots.com 300 with a speed of 174.914mph. He was followed by: #22-Brad Keselowski, #7-Regan Smith, #88-Kevin Harvick, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #2-Brian Scott, #9-Chase Elliott, #54-Denny Hamlin, #20-Erik Jones, and #10-John Wes Townley. 39 drivers participated in the session. See complete results on the Auto Club practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-20-2014)
  • Harvick fastest in first practice: #88-Kevin Harvick was fastest during opening practice at Auto Club Speedway with a speed of 174.961mph. #54-Denny Hamlin was second, followed by: #22-Brad Keselowski, #7-Regan Smith, #20-Erik Jones, #42-Kyle Larson, #9-Chase Elliott, #2-Brian Scott, #62-Brendan Gaughan, and #33-Austin Dillon. 37 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Auto Club practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-20-2014)
  • Dwight Yoakam named honorary starter in Fontana: Global country music legend and superstar of the screen, Dwight Yoakam, will serve as Honorary Starter for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 22. With more than 25 million albums sold worldwide, and major motion picture roles alongside some of the world’s top thespians including Jodie Foster, Tommy Lee Jones, Forest Whitaker, and Nicolas Cage, Yoakam is amongst an elite cadre of global superstars. As Honorary Starter, Yoakam will wave the green flag to start the Auto Club 400, and watch the stock cars take their first lap on the circuit’s final stop on the West Coast Swing. As an Honorary Race Official, Yoakam will be involved with pre-race ceremony activities including driver introductions and special NASCAR awards. For over three decades, Yoakam has entertained fans across 12 gold and 9 platinum or multi-platinum albums, 5 of which have topped Billboard’s Country Albums chart, with another 14 landing in the Top 10. He is a 21-time nominated, multiple GRAMMY Award-winner, and in 2013 was named the Americana Music Association’s Artist of the Year, the most prestigious honor offered by the organization.(Auto Club Speedway)(3-20-2015)
  • Grand Home Furnishings renews as provider of Martinsville Grandfather Clock: Martinsville Speedway and Grand Home Furnishings, two companies with long and storied histories and deep Virginia roots, are continuing their long-standing relationship. Roanoke-based Grand Home Furnishings, which has long been the source of the iconic grandfather clock winner’s trophy, has extended its status as the official provider of the grandfather clocks. This marks the 51st year the track has given a grandfather clock to the race winner. Fred Lorenzen took home the first clock in 1964. Since then the clock has found its way into the homes of the sport’s biggest stars. Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are just some of the drivers who have taken home multiple clocks. Most recently Dale Earnhardt Jr. added his name to the list of clock owners, with his win last fall.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-20-2015)


    News from March 19, 2015


  • Sprint Fan Vote returns for All-Star race: A favorite isn’t always the winner – as the Sprint Fan Vote’s history suggests. In the last 10 seasons, fans have voted 10 different drivers into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including names like Danica Patrick, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. You never know who will win. That’s what makes voting so important. Polls are open for the 2015 Sprint Fan Vote – and unpredictability will take center stage until the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday, May 16. Fans can vote their favorite Sprint Fan Vote-eligible driver into the All-Star Race by casting ballots daily. Voting closes at 7:00pm/et on Friday, May 15, one day before the green flag. For the first time in program history, votes shared via Facebook and/or Twitter will count as double towards a driver’s total. Fans can vote daily with a maximum of one vote per day per unique email address by downloading the NASCAR MOBILE application or visiting NASCAR.com/SprintFanVote. Eligible voters can also enter into the Sprint Fan Vote sweepstakes, in which one lucky Sprint Fan Vote participant will win a trip for two to any 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The winner of the Sprint Fan Vote will be announced in Victory Lane following the conclusion of the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 15. To date, 32 drivers are eligible for the 2015 Sprint Fan Vote. Eligibility for participation is restricted to those drivers who have been approved by NASCAR for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition and have met all other eligibility requirements. Amongst those eligibility requirements, drivers must have attempted to qualify for the 2015 Daytona 500 and race in the Sprint Showdown. Any eligible Sprint Fan Vote candidate who wins a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race during the 2015 season will automatically earn a spot in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the driver’s name will be removed from the Sprint Fan Vote ballot with their existing votes voided.(NASCAR)(3-19-2015)

  • Elliott voted into NMPA Hall of Fame: Less than two months after being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, legendary driver Bill Elliott has been selected for induction into yet another notable motorsports hall of fame. This September, the 1988 Winston Cup champion will become the 95th inductee in the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame, the organization announced. In voting of the NMPA membership, Elliott was a near-unanimous selection, being chosen on 98 percent of the ballots. A minimum of 65 percent of the total votes is necessary for a candidate to be eligible for induction. Others receiving votes were: former drivers L.D. Ottinger and Sterling Marlin, former crew chief/driver Kirk Shelmerdine and sportswriter David Poole. Elliott’s induction will be held Sept. 4 at the Darlington (S.C.) Country Club. Founded in 1965, the NMPA Hall of Fame and museum is located on the grounds of nearby Darlington Raceway.(NBC Sports)(3-19-2015)

  • Chip Ganassi Racing expands into Red Bull Global Rallycross: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced the formation of a two-car team in the Supercar class of Red Bull Global Rallycross with new partner Loenbro and drivers Brian Deegan and Steve Arpin. CGRT joins the vibrant and growing series and looks to continue its history of on-track success while also complementing the team’s continued focus on reaching millennials as a vehicle to grow interest in motorsports. CGRT joins forces with energy services and construction company Loenbro, which serves clients throughout the Rocky Mountain region and beyond, to field the two-car team out of CGRT’s Concord, N.C.-based shop that houses their NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series programs. Founding brothers Paul and Jon Leach are entrepreneurs who built a company on a foundation of strong core values and a tireless effort to exceed clients’ expectations, and have had life-long personal interests in the world of motorsports. The 16-time X-Games medalist Deegan will pilot the #38 RockStar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST, with teammate Arpin in the #00 ENEOS Ford Fiesta ST. Arpin will run the full 12-race calendar, with Deegan competing in seven races. The two will also compete in X Games Austin this summer as it returns to Circuit of the Americas from June 4-7.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-19-2015)

  • Janssen sponsoring Vickers in California: Racing has been Brian Vickers’ passion of choice since a young age when he climbed behind the wheel of his family’s race cars. It led to fame and fortune as trophies filled the trophy case. But battles with life threatening illness in adulthood made the young racer turn his passion towards health. After overcoming health obstacles himself, he has continued to share his journey to help and inspire others. This weekend Vickers combines his passion for health and racing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. where he’ll drive the #55 Janssen Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing. Since last year Vickers has partnered with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a company that works to solve some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In addition to its relationship with Vickers and MWR, Janssen will sponsor Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY race at Auto Club Speedway. In 2013 Janssen also sponsored races at Auto Club and Chicago Speedways.(MWR), see an image of the car on the #55 team paint schemes page.(3-19-2015)

  • Aspen Dental on the #10 at Auto Club Speedway: For this weekend’s Auto Club 400, Danica Patrick’s car will sport the blue-and-white colors of Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of dental care providers in the U.S., with nearly 500 locations in communities across 30 states, providing millions of Americans with access to quality, affordable dental care. Every Aspen Dental-branded practice provides much-needed access to affordable, quality care, including dental services that range from dentures and preventive care to general dentistry and restoration. Patrick is driving the #10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS at both Fontana this weekend and at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois in September.(Stewart Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #10 team paint schemes page.(3-19-2015)

  • Clean Harbors debuts on the #16: Clean Harbors has their first primary paint scheme on the #16 of Greg Biffle this weekend in Fontana and is celebrating their 35th anniversary as North America’s leading provider of environmental, energy and industrial services. Clean Harbors provides safe, environmentally responsible solutions that help customers prevent the release of hazardous material into the environment and, in situations where that has already occurred, help recover and decontaminate any pollutants that have been released. Clean Harbors is the largest provider of emergency services in North America.(Roush Fenway Racing), see an image of the car on the #16 team paint schemes page.(3-19-2015)

  • Auto Club Speedway Notes & Facts – Thursday – history:
    ” Groundbreaking for California Speedway, as Auto Club Speedway was originally known, took place in November 1995.
    ” The first race at Auto Club Speedway was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West race won by Ken Schrader on June 21, 1997.
    ” The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on June 22, 1997 and won by Jeff Gordon.
    ” September 2004 was the first night race at Auto Club Speedway and that also was the first year both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series ran two races in a season there.
    ” The track name was changed to Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in February 2008.
    (NASCAR)(3-19-2015)
  • Shakey’s Pizza joins Chastain at Fontana: Ross Chastain will be racing with one of the country’s most popular pizza restaurants when he challenges Auto Club Speedway Saturday in the Drive4Clots.com 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Shakey’s Pizza Parlor has joined JD Motorsports with Gary Keller and Chastain for the popular Fontana, Calif. race. Shakey’s will be prominently displayed on the team’s #4 Chevy in the fifth race of the Xfinity season. Shakey’s, based in Alhambra near Los Angeles, has 60 locations, most in southern California. Shakey’s also has restaurants in Washington, Hawaii and Alabama.(JD Motorsports)(3-19-2015)

  • Stanton Barrett in the #15 at Fontana: On the heels of directing his latest Hollywood movie, stuntman Stanton Barrett eyes his own stunning performance in Saturday’s DRIVE4CLOTS.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway. Making his return to Auto Club Speedway (ACS) for the first time since 2009, Barrett hopes his 12th race at the 2.0-mile oval will produce his personal best NASCAR XFINITY Serie effort, just 50 miles west of “Tinseltown.” Barrett will drive the #15 Rick Ware Racing Chevy Camaro. Among the sponsors for the fifth NASCAR XFINITY Series race of the season is 4Caring.org. Founded by Barrett and friend Kenny Crosswhite, 4Caring.org is an organization to reach out and comfort those with personal crisis. The organization’s primary desire is to reach out those in hospital waiting rooms like children’s cancer centers, intensive care units and other related children’s area. However, the organization is not restricted to just children, but people in need for care. In addition to 4Caring.org, Rick Ware Racing in a partnership with MAKE Motorsports welcomes BUBBA burger and Burnie Grills as associate sponsors for Barrett’s 194th-career NXS start.(Rick Ware Racing)(3-19-2015)
  • Bubba Burgers sponsoring Cassill: Get ready for some great burgers – really fast. Bubba Burger has joined with JD Motorsports with Gary Keller to sponsor driver Landon Cassill in Saturday’s Drive4Clots.com 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. A long-time NASCAR sponsor, Bubba burger will have a big presence at this weekend’s race. Bubba burgers will be grilled outside the track, and fans will have a chance to enjoy the unique flavor of one of the country’s best burgers. Bubba Burger is sold nationwide though a variety of grocery store locations.(JD Motorsports)(3-19-2015)
  • Gase gets associate sponsor for Auto Club Speedway: Joey Gase and Jimmy Means Racing announced Elicit Herbal Chew will be teaming up with them as an associate sponsor for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Fontana March 21st. Elicit Herbal Chew is a new tobacco free chew for people trying to get off traditional cancer causing tobacco products. They have three different levels of nicotine in the chew you can choose from- full, half, and zero. By starting with full or half-strength Elicit Herbal Chew, and moving down the scale to zero strength, you can manage your addiction and habit with unparalleled control.(Joey Gase Racing)(3-19-2015)
  • McKnight to perform National Anthem prior to Auto Club XFINITY race: Award-winning R&B artist, Brian McKnight, will sing the National Anthem prior to the start of the NASCAR Xfinity Drive4Clots.com 300 race at Auto Club Speedway, on Saturday, March 21. As an Honorary Race Official, McKnight will be on the main stage for pre-race ceremony activities including Xfinity driver introductions and special NASCAR awards. McKnight has been honored with multiple awards including Billboard Songwriter of the Year, American Music Awards, Soul Train Awards, and 16 Grammy nominations. To date, McKnight has released 15 albums and has sold over 20 million albums which include top hits “Back at One,” “Anytime,” and “Only One For Me.” The male vocalist also plays nine instruments including piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussions, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet. He has collaborated with performers across every genre including: Quincy Jones, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Diddy, Christina Aguilera, Rascal Flatts, Nelly, Vanessa Williams, Willie Nelson and Kenny G.(ASC)(3-19-2014)
  • Shooter Jennings playing pre-race concert at Kansas: Doing it his way may be the best way to describe Shooter Jennings, who will play a pre-race concert at Kansas Speedway on May 9 before the SpongeBob SquarePants 400. Jennings, who is the son of country music legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Coulter, has been around music his entire life, and has been following his own path in the music world for almost as long. Releasing his first album in 2005 (Put the O Back in Country), he released his latest album, The Other Life (a live album) last year from label Black Country Rock (BCR). And recently, Jennings has been out on his “Don’t Wait Up (For Shooter) Tour” with the Waymore Outlaws, Waylon Jennings original recording and touring band. In addition to being a musician, Jennings is also a producer, composer, BCR president and radio host.(Kansas Speedway)(3-19-2015)
  • Keloorah – a place to celebrate race weekend at MIS: Michigan International Speedway is taking the post-race concert experience to a whole new level with “Keloorah.” Keloorah is two days of post-race live music and activities on Fridays and Saturdays during the June and August NASCAR weekends at MIS. It’s a music, party and entertainment festival inside the bigger NASCAR weekend festival at MIS. Keloorah will have live concerts, deejays, a go-kart experience a mobile video game arcade, an outdoor sports bar, tailgate games, foam parties and paint parties – all within the NASCAR event weekends and on MIS property. A Sunday admission ticket or infield or APEX wristband that allows access to the Sunday Quicken Loans 400 and/or Pure Michigan 400 will gain access to Keloorah on Friday and Saturday of those event weekends. But what is “Keloorah”? MIS staff made it up. “Keloorah” is the phonetic pronunciation of Ceiliúradh, the Celtic word for “celebration.” MIS is in the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, Michigan, and the team wanted something that would tie back to the speedway’s brand – all while being something new and different. Keloorah is open with activities from 4-11pm Friday and 4-11pm Saturday, June 12-13; and 4-11pm Friday and 4-11pm Saturday, August 14-15. The concert lineup and available activities and vendors will be announced soon.(MIS)(3-19-2015)


    News from March 18, 2015


  • Special Mountain Dew scheme at Bristol for Earnhardt Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a special Mountain Dew DewShine scheme at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. The scheme was unveiled on Twitter Wednesday evening. The announcement was made at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville, TN, to promote the upcoming race at Bristol in April. See images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(3-18-2015)
  • Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post them] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway on the Auto Club Race Info page – Chassis selection area.

  • NASCAR issues inspection penalty UPDATE: NASCAR handed out one inspection penalty Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, with a second potential penalty under review. #7-Alex Bowman of Tommy Baldwin Racing will lose 15 minutes of practice time in the opening round of practice Friday at Auto Club Speedway. Bowman’s car did not make it out of the garage on time Sunday morning at PIR. Also, AJ Allmendinger’s #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet went through inspection four times and is under review for a possible penalty. A NASCAR official said “other issues” may have been responsible for the car’s inspection problems. A decision likely would come on Monday or Tuesday.(FoxSports)(3-15-2015)
    UPDATE: NASCAR says no-harm, no-foul on the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing team following pre-race inspection issues at Phoenix International Raceway. On Sunday, the crew made four attempts to pass through the laser platform inspection station prior to the start of Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500. Before the race, a NASCAR representative said the No. 47’s situation was “under further review” at the behest of Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck. It was later determined that the wheel plate that sits inside the wheel bead and measure the toe of the rear, the forward and aft for offset and wheel base and rear end location for the truck arm crossmember was not tight enough to provide an accurate reading. Therefore, the #47 team and AJ Allmendinger will not be penalized practice time this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. NASCAR did confirm however, that the #7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy, which did not line up and get out of the garage in time and the #83 BK Racing Toyota, which did not pass inspection on the second attempt will be held for 15 minutes in first practice on Friday at Fontana.(Motorsport)(3-18-2015)

  • #66 team withdraws from California: The #66 Premium Motorsports Chevy has withdrawn from the Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway this weekend, team owner Jay Robinson confirmed on Wednesday. However, Robinson will attempt to qualify the #62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevy with Brendan Gaughan. “The #66 is not a sponsored team,” Robinson told Motorsport.com. “And if you’re not making races, then you’re not making money. Fortunately, we made the Daytona 500, so that carried us for a while. Every race is expensive and when you have to pay for tires, engines and personnel it’s hard to do.” Mike Wallace was scheduled to drive the #66 at Fontana. He finished 36th in the Daytona 500 and the team earned $313,883. But the team did not make it through inspection in time to qualify at Atlanta Motor Speedway and failed to qualify at Las Vegas. Tanner Berryhill attempted to qualify the car at Phoenix but was unsuccessful. Robinson would not speculate how long the #66 Chevy would remain on the sidelines. “You never know,” Robinson said. “If an opportunity comes up we might be at Martinsville, but as of now we won’t be taking the car to California.”(Motorsport)(3-18-2015)

  • MWR responds to tire changer lawsuit: A former Michael Waltrip Racing tire changer claims he was fired from his $160,000-a-year job in August after he demanded to have surgery for an injury suffered on pit road, while the team states he was released because he stole a specially made gun on the day he asked for permission to talk to other race teams. Brandon Hopkins sued the team in January in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte, and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) filed its response last week while also having the case moved to North Carolina Business Court. Hopkins claims he was fired the day before shoulder surgery in August for an injury he said he suffered after being hit while pitting Clint Bowyer’s car in 2013. He alleges he was told he was fired for what he characterized as unsubstantiated claims for stealing a pit-road gun, and he claims MWR retaliated against him by telling other teams that was the reason he was fired. He seeks unspecified damages. Hopkins, who began changing tires in 2005 and joined MWR in 2012, was making $160,000 per year, according to his contract that is part of the court file. His salary comprised of a base salary as an MWR employee ($50,000), an over-the-wall crew member salary ($97,000) and a fee to participate in the team’s training program ($13,000). The two-year deal, signed in September 2013, was for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
    In its response to the lawsuit, MWR detailed the pit-gun incident. The pit gun, called a “clutch gun” that MWR says teams are spending hundreds of thousands and even “millions” of dollars to develop, requires MWR to have a dedicated engineer who works specifically to tailor the guns for each crew member. MWR alleges Hopkins, angry after a bad performance at Indianapolis in 2014, demanded to have the surgery for a torn labrum a week later but wanted to work the Pocono race. Hopkins didn’t use his assigned gun at Pocono but used a backup gun for one of the other pit-crew members. Pit-crew members are supposed to only use the guns assigned to them, and Hopkins wasn’t authorized to use that gun, MWR states in court documents. The team says in its response that it has footage of Hopkins taking that gun and putting it in his car, along with four or five sockets for that gun, the Monday after Pocono — about 35 minutes after he asked for permission to waive the non-compete clause in his contract so he could seek employment elsewhere. Later in the day, MWR alleges Hopkins printed out reports that showed the effectiveness of the guns as well as documents on pit-crew members and prospects. MWR also alleges that Hopkins’ backup gun went missing earlier in the season and was never located.
    The sides also dispute whose decision it was to delay surgery after the injury was diagnosed in March 2014; Hopkins said he repeatedly asked to have the surgery but was encouraged to delay surgery until the team was eliminated from championship contention.(ESPN.com), see earlier information about the suit on the #15 team news page.(3-18-2015)

  • Triplett named Tennessee tourist commissioner: Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Tuesday that NASCAR aficionado Kevin Triplett will join his cabinet as Department of Tourist Development commissioner. Triplett, 49, is vice president of public affairs for Bristol Motor Speedway. Prior to joining BMS in 2005, he worked in various roles for NASCAR, ultimately serving as managing director of business operations, guiding the operation and administration of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series “Tourism is one of our state’s largest industries, providing $16.7 billion in direct economic impact, and Kevin brings a lot of energy and passion to the industry with decades of experience pulling together different stakeholders and constituencies,” Haslam said in a news release. From 1992 until 1994, Triplett represented General Motors Parts – GM Goodwrench and AC Delco – in NASCAR, specifically Richard Childress Racing and Ken Schrader Racing and their drivers, including Dale Earnhardt. His first day on the job is April 23 and replaces Susan Whitaker who announced her departure in December.(Tennessean)(3-18-2015)

  • Scott returns to the #33: Brian Scott is making his second Sprint Cup Series start at the Fontana, Calif., track after making his debut last season in his fourth NSCS start. Scott will also be making his eighth NASCAR XFINITY Series start this weekend at the two-mile track. Whitetail Club returns as a primary sponsor for Brian Scott in 2015. Located in the mountains of McCall, Idaho, Whitetail Club is a private gated community that has a wide array of recreational amenities including golf, water skiing, hiking and snow skiing.(Circle Sport Racing)(3-18-2015)
  • Auto Club Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will run the same tire set-up at Fontana this week . . . while this is the first time these teams have run this left-side tire code (D-4636), they have run this right-side code (D-4408) at this track since 2011 . . . compared to what was run at Fontana last year, this left-side tire features a slight construction change, and a compound change to enhance grip . . . Goodyear held a tire test at Fontana last October 28-29 . . . teams and drivers participating in that test were the #6 Roush Fenway Ford with Trevor Bayne, #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet with Kyle Larson, #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota with Brian Vickers and #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet with Martin Truex Jr. . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Fontana . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear). See tire codes, pressures and more on the Auto Club Race Info – Goodyear section.(3-18-2015)
  • Cope picks up Fontana associate sponsors: Derrike Cope Racing announces two associate sponsors for the Fontana Auto Club Speedway Xfinity NASCAR Race, both located in Southern California’s best kept secret, Crestline CA. Nestled inside the San Bernardino National Forest 4,000 feet high you will find Sleepy Hollow Cabins and Resorts which boasts the largest resort rentals in the area with romantic fireplaces and fully furnished kitchens all at great rates. Sleepy Hollow is located at 24033 Lake Drive and online at ThePlaceToRelax.com. Goodwin’s Market in Crestline has been family owned and operated since 1946. The store is located directly across the street from beautiful Lake Gregory. The store offers a variety of organic and natural foods, craft beers, and a full service deli with Boars Head Fine Meats, and their claim to fame, Tender Dry Aged Steaks. (Derrike Cope Racing)(3-18-2015)
  • RSS gets an associate sponsor this week at California: CookieDoughNoMore.com will be aboard the #39 driven by Ryan Sieg this Saturday in the Drive4Clots.com at the Auto Club Speedway. CookieDoughNoMore offers schools, and any other organization that needs to do fundraising the ability to finally bring fundraising into the 21st Century.(RSS Racing)(3-18-2015)
  • Texas World Speedway set to be closed for housing development: College Station and Bryan is growing everyday with more than 200,000 people living in the area… and counting. Texas World Speedway will shutdown in mid-June to make way for a multi-million dollar housing development. CEO Bill Mather is also the housing developer who will convert the 400 acre speedway into driveways and into what will be known as the “Southern Point” community. The $55 million dollar development will be constructed in five phases to include 1400 homes, a commercial development, nature trails, and space for a new elementary school. The development will be the first municipal utility district, or MUD, in College Station. Developers like Mather will absorb the costs of building the infrastructure, and bonds will be used to reimburse the developers quicker than waiting for the lots to be sold. Mather hopes to break ground shortly after the track closes in mid-June with the first homeowner possibly moving in by the Summer of 2016.(KBTX)(3-18-2015)
  • Jesse Jones hot dogs out at Martinsville: When fans go to the concession stand at Martinsville Speedway next weekend seeking the “Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog,” for the first time in nearly seven decades the red hots and chili will not be produced by Jesse Jones Southern Style Hot Dogs. Calling it a business decision, the track has elected to switch to Valleydale Hot Dogs, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, which is a primary sponsor on Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Sprint Cup car, driven by Aric Almirola. But according Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway, the new hot dog and chili will taste the same as the old standby.
    “Does anybody think I’m crazy enough to change something so iconic and so cherished as the ‘Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog?’ ” Campbell told NASCAR Talk. “We’re not in the habit of taking steps backward, we’re always going forward. The fans will still have the ‘Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog’ and it’ll be just as good as it has been. I assure you that. We wouldn’t do anything to change that. Number one, my grandfather would come back to get me if I did, and Bill France Jr. would be after me. So we’re not changing it to where fans will notice any difference whatsoever. The color, taste and texture will still be the same.”
    The move ends one of the longest-standing relationships between a speedway and vendor in NASCAR annals, said Jesse Jones motorsports marketing director Stephen Drummond. (NBC Sports)(3-18-2015)
  • Eric Stonestreet to drive pace car in California: Auto Club Speedway announced that two-time Emmy Award winner Eric Stonestreet will be behind the wheel of the Official NASCAR 2014 Toyota Camry Pace Car as he leads the field of 43 stock cars before the start of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. As an Honorary Race Official, Stonestreet will be involved with pre-race ceremony activities including driver introductions and special NASCAR awards. He will be joined by Miss Sprint Cup, Latin Grammy nominated musical artist, El Dasa, and other dignitaries. Stonestreet is no stranger in playing a lead role, and as the official pace car driver he will lead the top NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to the green flag to kick off the Auto Club 400. Stonestreet currently stars as Cameron Tucker on ABC’s comedy series, “Modern Family,” a role in which he earned two Emmy Awards in the “Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” category. Most recently, Stonestreet starred in the thriller “The Loft” which was released by Open Road on January 30, 2015. Upcoming, Stonestreet will voice the character of ‘Duke’ in Illumination Entertainments’ “The Secret Lift of Pets” which is set to release in 2016.(Auto Club Speedway)(3-18-2015)
  • Darlington Raceway recognized for community support: Darlington Raceway was recognized for its community support during a recent ice storm that took place in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina on Feb. 17. Darlington Raceway served as the staging area for over 200 trucks that were brought to the region by Duke Energy to assist in power restoration. Duke Energy is the main power supplier for Darlington County and surrounding areas.(Darlington Raceway)(3-18-2015)


    News from March 17, 2015


  • NASCAR examines tires from Harvick, Logano: NASCAR confirmed it found nothing out of the ordinary with the tires used by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The tires were seized during Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 in what was described as a “regularly scheduled audit” by NASCAR executive vice president chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell. “We’ve done it in the past,” O’Donnell told SiriusXM’s “The Morning Drive” during a Monday interview. “It’s something we check working with Goodyear, making sure the tires supplied are where we want them to be. It’s just another area of the car. We don’t expect to find anything; it’s just something we like to do every once in a while.” NASCAR normally examines tires at its R&D Center in Concord, N.C., but those from Logano and Harvick were checked at a remote site with NASCAR haulers on the road in the midst of a three-race swing through Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway. The decision to confiscate the tires for examination was made independent of Goodyear and unrelated to durability. The tire supplier occasionally keeps tires for further examination (such as with tire failures on the cars of Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. last October at Kansas Speedway).(NBC Sports)(3-17-2015)

  • Family court will not reopen Kurt Busch case: Kurt Busch’s request to have his protective order hearing reopened by a Kent County Family Court commissioner was denied Tuesday. The decision by Commissioner David Jones, while not in Busch’s favor, now allows Busch to proceed with his planned appeal of the decision to a family court judge. Busch’s legal team filed the motion to reopen the hearing Feb. 19, four days after Jones granted the protective order and one day before Jones released his findings and conclusions on why he had determined that Busch had likely committed an act of domestic violence on ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. In the motion to reopen the hearing, Busch’s legal team said it had three witnesses — including Beverly Young, whom Driscoll has referred to as her mother although they are not biologically related — who had come forward willing to testify to place doubt on Driscoll’s testimony and show that Driscoll was out to ruin Busch. Jones denied the motion Tuesday, ruling that the witnesses could have been compelled to give depositions in December or January and that their testimony would not have changed his opinion. “The newly discovered evidence, when considered in the context of the evidence presented at trial, would not establish that [Driscoll] was motivated by desire to ruin [Busch] when she first reported the allegations of abuse,” Jones wrote. Driscoll issued a statement Tuesday stating she was pleased with the decision.(ESPN.com)(3-17-2015)
  • Phoenix TV Ratings: For the first time all season, NASCAR had a year-over-year decline in overnights. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Phoenix drew a 3.8 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 21% from last year (4.8) and down 28% from 2013 (5.1), when it was the second race of the season. The 3.8 is the lowest overnight for the race since 2010, the year before it moved to the post-Daytona slot. Compared to last year’s fourth race of the season, a rain-plagued outing at Bristol, the 3.8 overnight declined by 7% from a 4.1. It also declined 14% from the 2013 Bristol race, which was run as scheduled. Sunday’s race was the first NASCAR telecast on FOX this season to have a decline in overnights, including the Sprint Unlimited and Daytona 500 Pole Qualifying. Despite the lower numbers, the race trailed only the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on CBS (3.9) as the highest rated sporting event of the weekend in the metered markets. It topped every college basketball game, including the Big Ten championship head-to-head (2.6).(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily)(3-17-2015)

  • Ambrose to temporarily step out of V8 Supercars: DJR Team Penske announced that Marcos Ambrose has requested to be temporarily relieved as driver of the #17 DJR Team Penske Ford, beginning with the Tasmania race. Experienced driver Scott Pye will take over the driving duties for the #17 Ford Falcon FG X. “I appreciate the effort that Marcos and DJR Team Penske have provided over the first two events of the season”, said Roger Penske. “Following the Australian Grand Prix, Marcos came to the team, requesting to be replaced from his upcoming driving responsibilities, while he continues the transition back into V8 Supercars competition. Entering the season, Marcos understood that the competition in this series is at a very high level and now realizes that more time is required for this transition. This was a difficult decision for Marcos but I appreciate him thinking about the greater good of the team. Marcos will continue to support the team and our partners including competing in the Endurance Series Races.”
    “I want to thank DJR Team Penske for the opportunity and support through the process of transitioning back into V8 Supercars. I would like to make it clear that I am fully committed to this team, ” said Ambrose, who won 28 races over five seasons and captured back-to-back V8 Supercars titles in 2003 and 2004. “Although this is a decision which has been hard to make, it has become clear to me over the first two events of the season that I need more experience in these cars to do what is required of the lead driver and to be competitive for the team and our partners. Scott is a great driver, has already worked with the team and has more experience in these cars, which will give the team the best chance to be successful right now. This decision to step aside from the lead driver role at DJR Team Penske is completely my decision. Although this decision may disappoint fans of whom I apologize to, I will continue be a great teammate and will be at the track to support the team in Tasmania. I look forward to getting back on the track later this season and will be ready to do my best for DJR Team Penske.”
    (DJR Team Penske)(3-17-2015)

  • Cars will now be backed in to start qualifying UPDATE: NASCAR continues to tweak its qualifying program, this time turning things around 180 degrees — literally. Starting next week at Auto Club Speedway, cars will be reversed along pit road, so they don’t have to back out to pull onto pit road at the start of qualifying. NASCAR officials confirmed the change Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, saying it came at the request of the drivers. By lining the cars up with their backs to the wall and not their noses, it should reduce the possibility of pit road collisions and contact, as well as make it easier for drivers to pull out at the beginning of each qualifying session. An official bulletin will be issued to the teams next week.(FoxSports)(3-16-2015)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will implement a change in procedure to qualifying beginning this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Drivers will no longer back out of their pit stalls when qualifying begins. The new rule will be in place for all three of NASCAR’s top divisions and both the XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series will employ the change this weekend at ACS. The change came at the request of the drivers who were concerned about the congestion on pit road when cars were backed out of pit stalls at the start of qualifying. Cars will be parked in their pit stall with the nose pointing toward the track at the start of this weekend’s qualifying sessions. When a driver returns to pit road they will then back into each stall. One exception is at Martinsville Speedway where Sprint Cup cars will leave from their garage stall for qualifying since Camping World Truck teams use pit road as the work area.(Motor Racing Network:)(3-17-2015)

  • NASCAR signs extension with FOX Sports Latin America: NASCAR announced it has signed a seven-year media broadcast extension with FOX Sports Latin America, ensuring that sports fans in Latin America can continue to enjoy NASCAR events and news on FOX Sports through 2021. Through this extension, FOX Sports Latin America will continue to be the home of live races for all three of NASCAR’s national series – the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – across Latin America, including Brazil. Additional NASCAR programming on FOX Sports Latin America includes the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. All NASCAR content will air exclusively on FOX Sports 3 in Spanish speaking countries in Latin America and on FOX Sports 2 in Brazil. In addition, FOX Sports’ original production “Central FOX Nitro,” – a daily motorsports news show – will feature NASCAR news and highlights.(NASCAR)(3-17-2015)

  • Team Penske named finalist for Sports Team of the Year: The Sports Business Journal (SBJ) announced that Team Penske has been named a finalist in the Sports Team of the Year category for the eighth annual Sports Business Awards. Team Penske is the only motorsports program to be nominated this year for the prestigious award. Other Team of the Year finalists include: the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), the Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS), the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and the St. Louis Cardinals (MLB). The winner will be announced on May 20, 2015 at the awards ceremony to be held at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square. Launched in 2008, the Sports Business Awards were established by the Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports. The 2015 nominees and winners are recognized for excellence and outstanding achievement in sports business for the period spanning March 1, 2014 through February 28, 2015. The 2014 season was a landmark year for Team Penske, as it included unprecedented championships in both the Verizon IndyCar Series with Will Power – the 13th open-wheel title for Team Penske – and the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where the #22 team took home it’s second-straight owners’ title. In addition, both Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano finished inside the top five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings, with Logano in contention for the title heading into the final race of the season. Across INDYCAR and NASCAR, all six of Team Penske’s full-time drivers and cars finished in the top five in series points with 22 wins equating to a winning percentage of 25 percent of the total races run.(Team Penske)(3-17-2015)

  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Auto Club Speedway:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson……………………….120.1
    #18-Kyle Busch……………………….110.0
    #20-Matt Kenseth……………………….106.2
    #14-Tony Stewart……………………….100.7
    #99-Carl Edwards……………………….97.8
    #24-Jeff Gordon……………………….97.3
    #4-Kevin Harvick……………………….94.7
    #16-Greg Biffle……………………….93.7
    #15-Clint Bowyer……………………….92.1
    #5-Kasey Kahne……………………….91.5
    Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (16 total) among active drivers at Auto Club Speedway. Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
    See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR)


    News from March 16, 2015


  • Tyler Walker arrested again: A former NASCAR driver who led police on a 150 mph chase through three southwestern states was re-arrested Monday morning after showing up 45 minutes late for a sentencing hearing. Timothy Tyler Andrew Walker, 35, was scheduled to be sentenced in southern Utah’s Washington County on Monday morning for five charges stemming from the chase. But after Walker failed to show, state Judge Eric Ludlow issued an arrest warrant for Walker, according to Washington County prosecutor Rachelle Shumway. When Walker arrived, Ludlow ordered his arrest. Shumway said Walker was taken to the county jail, where he will be held without bail until a rescheduled sentencing March 30. The Spectrum newspaper in St. George reported that Terry told the judge he had spoken with his client Sunday night and had expected him in court. Walker, of Hermosa Beach, California, pleaded guilty in December as part of a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time. He was expected to get probation in return for his guilty pleas, but Shumway said it’s possible Walker’s arrest could result in a different sentence.(Associated Press)(3-16-2015)
  • Entry List for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is posted, 46 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including: #29-Sorenson, #32-Bliss, #33-Scott, #44-Kvapil, #66-TBA, #83-DiBenedetto.
    Drivers who need to be in the top-36 in speed and have no provisional available to them (lowest in owners points): #44-Kvapil (46th in owners pts), #66-TBA (47th), #29-Sorenson (49th)
    Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least race attempts): #66-TBA (4 attempts, 47th owners pts), #29-Sorenson (3, 49th), #44-Kvapil (3, 46th)
    See the full entry list at my Jayski.com’s Auto Club Entry List

  • #47 Jack Man injured at Phoenix: It was nothing more than a routine jump off the wall during Sunday’s race in Phoenix that ended up tearing a calf muscle for Jackman Michael Klein. During the middle of the race the caution came out and pit stops were happening. Klein left the wall as he always does and when he landed he knew something was wrong. Mike did manage to finish the stop but it was slow, in his words…very slow! The team found a replacement to finish out the race and Mike said he expects to be out 6 weeks. Mike is not only the Jack Man for the #47 but doubles as the pit coach as well. Mike is relentless in the gym and you can expect to see a full effort in rehab.(Pit Talks)(3-16-2015)

  • Cars will now be backed in to start qualifying: NASCAR continues to tweak its qualifying program, this time turning things around 180 degrees — literally. Starting next week at Auto Club Speedway, cars will be reversed along pit road, so they don’t have to back out to pull onto pit road at the start of qualifying. NASCAR officials confirmed the change Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, saying it came at the request of the drivers. By lining the cars up with their backs to the wall and not their noses, it should reduce the possibility of pit road collisions and contact, as well as make it easier for drivers to pull out at the beginning of each qualifying session. An official bulletin will be issued to the teams next week.(FoxSports)(3-16-2015)

  • Haas always believed Kurt Busch: Gene Haas said Sunday he never wavered in his support of Kurt Busch in the aftermath of the controversy over whether Busch assaulted ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll at Dover International Speedway in September. “I always believed Kurt,” Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Haas told ESPN.com at the track Sunday morning. “I still believe him today.” NASCAR suspended Busch two days prior to the Daytona 500 after a Delaware family court commissioner determined that Busch likely committed an act of domestic violence against Driscoll on Sept. 26. Haas said his primary frustration over his driver’s NASCAR suspension was the timing of the legal decisions. “When he got pulled out at Daytona, that was pretty devastating. … That was very upsetting,” Haas said. “NASCAR was very up-front with us. They told us everything that was happening. I think they had to react. The upsetting part is that we just had no control over those things. We had no control over NASCAR, over the media, over the court systems. We were just adrift in a boat going down a rapid river, and we just had no idea what was going to happen.”
    Haas said he never got to the point of having to decide whether to shut down the #41 car that he sponsors through his company Haas Automation Inc. Regan Smith drove the car for the first three races of 2015. “I was always optimistic that things would work out, so I don’t think I ever got to that point,” Haas said. “Six months down the road, I probably would have had a different opinion. … Things have kind of worked a little bit in our favor [now] even though they didn’t work in our favor [initially].”
    While suspended, Busch and Haas remained in contact. “We talked every few days just to see what was happening,” Haas said. “We were all kind of waiting for something to occur so you can react to it. Kurt was always adamant that he was going to be cleared. He never varied on that. I believed him. He never said anything different from the first day all this occurred.”(ESPN.com)(3-16-2015)

  • NASCAR issues inspection penalty: NASCAR handed out one inspection penalty Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, with a second potential penalty under review. #7-Alex Bowman of Tommy Baldwin Racing will lose 15 minutes of practice time in the opening round of practice Friday at Auto Club Speedway. Bowman’s car did not make it out of the garage on time Sunday morning at PIR. Also, AJ Allmendinger’s #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet went through inspection four times and is under review for a possible penalty. A NASCAR official said “other issues” may have been responsible for the car’s inspection problems. A decision likely would come on Monday or Tuesday.(FoxSports)(3-15-2015)
  • Phoenix Race and Commercial Breakdown: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:30 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:45 PM (all times are EST). Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 106
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 59
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 95
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 58
    Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 11
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 8
    Number of times Fox utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 2
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast (including company logos ‘floating’ in corners of the screen): 65
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min. 10 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:30 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:45 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 195
    Minutes of race broadcast: 153
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 42
    Minutes of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials (split-screen): 5
    Number of missed restarts: 1
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 1
    Total race brdcst time 153 Total comm. brdcst time 42
    See full reports, sponsor links, much more details at CawsnJaws.com.(3-16-2015)

  • Jamie Dick hospitalized UPDATES: Jamie Dick, owner and driver of the #55 Viva Auto Group Chevy for Viva Motorsports, was admitted to a local hospital Saturday night for medical reasons unrelated to racing.(Viva Motorsports)(3-15-2015)
    UPDATE: Kate Richer, a spokesperson for Viva Motorsports, told FOXSports.com Dick was transported to the local hospital from the PIR infield care center, and remained there Sunday morning as doctors continued to run tests. Richer indicated doctors had found a diagnosis for Dick’s condition, saying it was “a little more series” than just a typical illness. According to the team’s Twitter account, Dick’s first words after Saturday’s race were, “I need a cold rag and water.” However, Richer said the heat was not a leading factor for his hospitalization, but could have played a role. The team plans on releasing more information as it becomes available later in the day, but according to Richer, Dick’s spirits are high and he is “doing better than he should.”(FoxSports)(3-15-2015)
    UPDATE 2: Immediately following Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200, Jamie Dick, the driver and owner of the #55 Viva Auto Group Chevy, was taken to the infield care center at Phoenix International Raceway after reporting dizziness and fatigue. Upon evaluation, the physicians on site recommended Dick visit West Valley Hospital for further tests. Dick was admitted to the hospital Saturday evening and diagnosed with new onset diabetes. Dick was released Sunday afternoon and has flown back to the Charlotte area to continue evaluation and treatment. Jeffrey Earnhardt will fill in for Dick as the driver of the #55 Viva Auto Group Chevy for the upcoming NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Auto Club Speedway. “I would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time. It was quite a surprise to hear the diagnosis from the doctors, but the response from the NASCAR and PIR medical staffs was outstanding. The support from the racing community, my Viva Motorsports team, and the fans has been overwhelming,” says Jamie Dick. “Now I need to learn about this disease and do whatever it takes to get back behind the wheel as soon as possible.”(Viva Motorsports)(3-16-2015)

  • Poole picks up 2 additional races: On the heels of a top-10 finish in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Brennan Poole has seen two races added to his 15-race schedule with HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi. CATCHFENCE.com has learned that Poole will drive the #42 DC Solar Chevy Camaro in the two standalone XFINITY races at Iowa Speedway on May 17 and August 1 respectively. The addition of the second Iowa Speedway will keep Poole in a racecar during the month of August sandwiched between a gap of New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 18) and Richmond International Raceway (September 11). The 24-year old finished an impressive ninth in the Boyd Gaming 300 last Saturday in Las Vegas after starting 16th giving HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi three consecutive top-10 finishes to the start the 2015 season.(Catchfence)(3-16-2015)
  • XFINITY Entry List:There are 39 cars on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway. A few notes:
    Jeff Green remains in the #10 for TriStar;
    The Rick Ware #15 is TBA;
    Erik Jones will be in the Joe Gibbs #20;
    Brad Keselowski will be in the #22 for Penske;
    John Wes Townly returns to the #25;
    Denny Hamlin will drive the #54 for Kyle Busch;
    Sam Hornish, Jr. is back in the #98.(3-16-2015)
    See the complete list on the Auto Club entry list page.

  • Vuzix joins RSS at Auto Club: RSS Racing announces Vuzix as new primary sponsor for this weekend’s race in Southern California. Vuzix will make its first appearance in NASCAR Saturday afternoon riding on the hood of the #39 driven by Ryan Sieg. Vuzix is a leading supplier of video eyewear and smart glasses in the consumer, commercial and entertainment markets. “We are thrilled to have a new partner joining us this weekend” said Sieg. “Each race this season we have improved our finishing position from the week before and that’s the goal once again this weekend. A top 15 is a good target for our small team.”(RSS Racing), see an image of the car on the #39 team paint schemes page.(3-16-2015)
  • Koch picks up Auto Club sponsor: TriStar Motorsports and Blake Koch have teamed up with AQUAhydrate for the Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. Koch will pilot the #8 AQUAhydrate Camry in the 300-mile race. AQUAhydrate has pioneered a new category of performance lifestyle beverages and is positioned to transform the beverage industry as consumers continue to switch from high calorie artificial beverages to more innovative and healthy options. AQUAhydrate recently achieved the status of being the fastest growing water company in the US according to AC Nielsen reporting, and is widely regarded as the leader in the alkaline water category. Koch will make his fifth start at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. With 18 starts at speedways measuring two miles or more, Koch is ready to get on track this weekend with support from AQUAhydrate.(TriStar Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #8 team paint schemes page.(3-16-2015)


    News from March 15, 2015


  • Kurt Busch talks domestic violence with Fox: Kurt Busch, returing to the seat of the #41 Chevy Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway for the first time since his indefinite suspension by NASCAR, sat down with FOX NASCAR Sunday host Chris Myers Sunday to share his thoughts on his suspension, whether he has anger-management issues and other topics. Below is a transcript of the interview that aired on FOX:
    Myers: There are still people out there who might say, ‘Well, he must have done something.’
    Busch: “Well, my reply to that would be yes, domestic violence is a serious issue. The next step is the worst problem with that is when you’re falsely accused of it. It hurts the real victims. That’s what I have to say to that.”
    Myers: There’s a real difference between a personal disagreement versus domestic violence, in your eyes?
    Busch: “In somebody who has had moments of anger issues, that is one thing when you’re frustrated about a bad finish. But going to a step to actually hurt a woman or to hurt somebody, that’s not in my realm. That’s way beyond my reach.”
    Myers: Do you feel you have anger-management issues?
    Busch: “I feel like I haven’t handled a lot of the situations in my past to the best of my ability. As I move forward and as I put things in place, yes, I want to do a better job of coming through this with class and dignity.”
    Myers: (after reading a statement released by Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, following NASCAR’s reinstatement of Busch). Your reaction?
    Busch: “There’s a road to recovery. I’m following those steps. I’ve worked with NASCAR through this whole process. I was led to believe the criminal side would have been where there was a decision made, which is the most important side. Beyond what the commissioner had to say, the next step is, yes, all these allegations are false.”
    Myers: Were there some mistakes, if any, you made along the way in this?
    Busch: One of them is not changing the code to my motorhome door, I mean. And frankly, choosing the wrong woman to date. This is a situation that everybody around me and my family has learned from, has been a part of and it’s been not just a tough five months but a tough three-and-a-half years.”
    Myers: Were you worried about your image, your reputation?
    Busch: “It’s already taken so many hits and done so many things over the years, that the biggest thing I want moving forward is I want this to be me in that car and not anything else. Look at the present. Look at the future. My signature is above the door. That’s who I am as a racer.”
    Myers: You have a fast car here at Phoenix. It’s a place you have had success before. Will you be able to focus as much as you always have once you get behind the wheel and race for the win?
    Busch: “I’ll tell you, I was a little nervous getting in the car Friday and after my first few laps, we were on top of the board and I was like, ‘What do you mean we’re on top of the board? I had no idea I’d be able to get back in the car and go that fast. I have to do my job now to focus and to be that professional athlete.”
    (FOX Sports)(3-15-2015)

  • Four consecutive Top-10s for Truex, Jr.: Four straight top-10 finishes by #78-Martin Truex Jr. is a Furniture Row Racing team record. The previous record of three straight top 10s for a Furniture Row Racing driver was set by Kurt Busch in 2012 and 2013.(Furniture Row Racing)(3-15-2015)

  • Harvick wins at Phoenix: #4-Kevin Harvick won the campingworld.com 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for his 2nd win of the season, 7th win at Phoenix and his 30th career win. Harvick is the first driver to finish in the top 2 seven consecutive times since NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty did it in 1975. He has five wins in the last ten races.
    #1-McMurray finished 2nd followed by #31-Newman, #5-Kahne, #41-Busch, #2-Keselowski, #78-Truex, Jr., #22-Logano, #24-Gordon, and #42-Larson.
    Harvick dominated most of the race, leading 225 of the 312 laps. He continues to hold the Chase points lead, now 22 points over #22-Logano.
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr. cut a tire and wrecked just past halfway and finished 43rd.
    There were 8 lead changes among 4 drivers. There were 10 cautions for 53 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 105.753mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-15-2015)
  • Race Fast Facts – Phoenix:
    Kevin Harvick won the 11th Annual CampingWorld.com 500, his 30th victory in 506 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his seventh victory and 14th top-10 finish in 25 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Jamie McMurray (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 24 races at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2015.
    Ryan Newman (third) posted his 11th top-10 finish in 26 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Jeb Burton (34th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kevin Harvick leads the point standings by 22 points over Joey Logano.
    Harvick is the first driver to win four straight races at a single track (Phoenix) since Jimmie Johnson won four straight at Charlotte from 2004 – 2005.
    Harvick is the first driver to finish in the top 2 seven consecutive times since NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty did it in 1975.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-15-2015)
  • 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
    [after Phoenix, race 4 of 36]
    (by wins, then by points)
    1) #4-Kevin Harvick [2 wins], 182
    2) #22-Joey Logano [1 win], 160, -22
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson [1 win], 124, -58
    4) #78-Truex Jr., 155, -27
    5) #5-Kasey Kahne, 132, -50
    6) #47-AJ Allmendinger, 127, -55
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 126, -56
    8) #31-Ryan Newman, 123, -59
    9) #2-Brad Keselowski, 116, -66
    10) #20-Matt Kenseth, 113, -69
    11) #27-Paul Menard, 112, -70
    12) #13-Casey Mears, 111, -71
    13) #11-Denny Hamlin, 108, -74
    14) #43-Aric Almirola, 105, -77
    15) #15-Clint Bowyer, 101, -81
    16) #16-Greg Biffle, 101, -81
    (ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc)
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(3-15-2015)
  • Phoenix Sunday Pre-Race Schedule:
    1:30 p.m.: NSCS Driver/Crew Chief Meeting
    2:54 p.m.: Official Welcome by: PIR President; Bryan Sperber
    2:55 p.m.: Intro Honorary Race Official: Doug Ducey, Honorable Governor, U.S. State of Arizona
    2:56 p.m.: Intro Honorary Race Official: Brigadier General Scott Pleus, Commander of 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB
    2:56:30 p.m.: Intro Honorary Race Official: Jared Valdheer, Offensive Tackle, Arizona Cardinals
    2:57 p.m.: Intro Honorary Race Official: Ruben Pardo, Winner of Toyota 120, NASCAR Mexico Series Race
    2:57:30 p.m.: Intro Honorary Pace Car Driver: Dan Henderson, Two-time US Olympian, Current UFC Mixed Martial Artist
    2:58:30 p.m.: Intro Grand Marshal: Brad Woods, Camping World National Training Director
    2:59 p.m.: Intro Honorary Starter: Mike Turner, Parts & Accessory Manager, Camping World of Avondale
    2:59:30 p.m.: Intro Miss Sprint Cup: Julianna White
    3:00 p.m.: NSCS Drivers Introductions
    3:30 p.m.: Presentation of Colors by: Luke Air Force Base
    3:30:20 p.m.: Invocation by: PIR Chaplain; Ken Bowers
    3:31 p.m.: National Anthem: Tori Kelly
    3:38 p.m.: “Drivers, Start Your Engines” by: Brad Woods, Camping World National Training Director
    3:45 p.m.: Green Flag — CampingWorld.com 500 (312 Laps, 312 Miles)
    eastern time (NASCAR.com)

  • Hornish would like to see Penske share more information: For the second straight season, Team Penske is leading the charge for Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Joey Logano gave the blue ovals a victory in the season-opening Daytona 500, and a Team Penske car has been the highest finishing Ford in each of the first three races of the year. That fact has not been lost on the other Ford teams in the Sprint Cup garage. Making his full-time return to Sprint Cup this season with Richard Petty Motorsports, #9-Sam Hornish Jr. knows the other Ford teams have work to do to keep up with Roger Penske’s two-car operation.
    “We know that there is work to be done and the biggest thing is being able to try to figure out how we do everything in the right way,” Hornish said Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. “How do we figure out what the Penske guys are doing that is making them better than us? That is their job: To go out there and beat us, and ours is the same way, as well as the rest of the competition. Obviously we would like to have Ford be one through 10 or whatever the number is, but we have some work to do to catch up to the Penske guys, and that is what we are trying to figure out,” he said. “While Ford would like us all to be right up there, they can’t go, ‘Hey, you guys have to share everything you are doing.’ Because it doesn’t work that way.”
    While Hornish understands Team Penske cannot open the doors of information wide to the competition, he believes pointing other Ford teams in the right direction could go a long way toward improving the overall performance of Ford Racing. “They don’t have to divulge all the secrets,” Hornish said of Penske. “If you show us where the end of the tunnel is, we might get there a little faster than if we are working our way through a maze, but it is a hard thing to do. If we were ahead, we wouldn’t want to have to share too much of our stuff, either. I think that is part of the interesting aspect; even though the cars look very similar on the racetrack, there is a lot going on underneath them that is very different.”(FoxSports)(3-15-2015)

  • Phoenix Notes & Facts – Sunday – race:
    · There have been 37 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, one per season from 1988-2004 and two each season since.
    · There have been 23 different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at Phoenix, eight have won more than once, led by Kevin Harvick, with six – (’06 spring race and Chase race, ’12 Chase race, ’13 Chase race, ’14 spring race and Chase race).
    · The eight drivers have won more than once at Phoenix: Kevin Harvick leads the series in wins with six followed by Jimmie Johnson (four), Davey Allison (two), Jeff Burton (two), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two), Jeff Gordon (two) Carl Edwards (two) and Mark Martin (two).
    · Of the eight drivers with multiple wins at Phoenix International Raceway, Mark Martin is the only driver to win in two different manufacturers: Ford (1993) and Chevrolet (2009).
    · Five drivers have won consecutive races at Phoenix: Davey Allison (1991,1992); Jeff Burton (2000, 2001); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003, 2004); Kevin Harvick (swept 2006) and (2013 Chase race and swept 2014); Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the five to win three consecutive races (fall 2007, swept 2008).
    · Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Phoenix with nine, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven.
    · Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Bobby Hamilton (10/27/1996) are the only two drivers to post their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career win at Phoenix International Raceway.
    · 21 of the 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Phoenix participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Tony Stewart (11/7/1999) are the only two drivers to win at Phoenix in their first appearance.
    · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix was the (4/10/2010) race won by Ryan Newman with a MOV of 0.13 seconds.
    (NASCAR)(3-15-2015)

  • Jamie Dick hospitalized UPDATE: Jamie Dick, owner and driver of the #55 Viva Auto Group Chevy for Viva Motorsports, was admitted to a local hospital Saturday night for medical reasons unrelated to racing.(Viva Motorsports)(3-15-2015)
    UPDATE: Kate Richer, a spokesperson for Viva Motorsports, told FOXSports.com Dick was transported to the local hospital from the PIR infield care center, and remained there Sunday morning as doctors continued to run tests. Richer indicated doctors had found a diagnosis for Dick’s condition, saying it was “a little more series” than just a typical illness. According to the team’s Twitter account, Dick’s first words after Saturday’s race were, “I need a cold rag and water.” However, Richer said the heat was not a leading factor for his hospitalization, but could have played a role. The team plans on releasing more information as it becomes available later in the day, but according to Richer, Dick’s spirits are high and he is “doing better than he should.”(FoxSports)(3-15-2015)


    News from March 14, 2015


  • Allmendinger changes engines; will start from rear: #47AJ Allmendinger on the team making an engine change following the second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session:
    “They saw something they didn’t like. What has been awesome about this whole ECR package is this is the first time I’ve has something like this happen in over a year. The guys are working hard. They will fix it. More importantly we have just got to make the Kingsford Chevy better. We are not very good right now.””
    Did you have any sort of inclination something was going wrong?
    “No. I didn’t like the temperature and that was it. They made the call. I just worry about the race car.
    Brian Burns, #47 team crew chief: “We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted to anyway, so we decided to take the opportunity to change it (the engine) now and eliminate any doubts. We have a good race car and ECR Engines have been awesome all year. We are just taking some precautionary measures to make sure we are good to go to the end.”(Team Chevy PR)(3-14-2015)
  • Final practice for the campingworld.com 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over after 50 minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #4-Harvick 136.555
    #20-Kenseth 136.302
    #41-Busch 136.291
    #22-Logano 136.111
    #1- McMurray 136.080
    Most laps run: #2-Keselowski 55, #5-Kahne 53
    slowest: #23-Yeley 131.839, #62-Gaughan 131.186
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Phoenix practice 3 speeds page (pdf).(3-14-2015)
  • First Saturday practice for the campingworld.com 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over after 55 minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #41-Busch 136.768
    #2-Keselowski 136.379
    #4-Harvick 136.199
    #1-McMurray 136.101
    #5-Kahne 136.075
    Most laps run: #42-Larson & #18-Ragan 52, #1-McMurray 46
    slowest: #26-Burton 132.314 & #62-Gaughan 130.124
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Phoenix practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-14-2015)
  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Campingworld.com 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway have been made.
    Pole sitter #4-Harvick chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #22-Logano took pit stall 2.
    #1-McMurray, who starts 3rd took the 16th pit stall, with an opening in front of it.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #5-Kahne, who starts 9th.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-13-2015)

  • Kurt Busch discusses return to car: #41-Kurt Busch met with members of the media following Friday’s practice session:
    “It was good just to get back in the seat and shake hands with all the guys. Having the support of Stewart-Haas it’s been, like family. Then to see the other crew members that I know and some that I don’t know who shake my hand and say ‘welcome back’. It feels good. For me to just get some laps in today, in race trim the car seems fast. Q-trim, it’s a different game this year. That is why we are p.17. I have to learn the car and the feel, because it looks like the lap times are so tight. You mess up just a little bit that Haas Automation Chevy is p.17.”
    When you are strapping on your gloves and getting ready to go out finally what kind of feeling was that?
    “That feeling was home.”
    Were you concerned at all about perception in the garage?
    “We are here to race, that is all we are here to do.”
    (Chevy Racing PR)(3-14-2015)

  • Hamlin opposed to shifting at Phoenix: #11-Denny Hamlin met with the media Friday at Phoenix International Raceway:
    Are you shifting here at Phoenix?
    “I wish NASCAR would really come up with a ban on that. There is no reason why we should be shifting on a one-mile race track. This is a short track, not a road course. Make the gearing so we cannot shift because it’s just dumb for us to have the option to be able to shift. Everything that they’re trying to do with the whole gear rule and less horsepower, it throws that all out the window when you’re able to go out here and shift. It will be an option and people will try to do it. I’m sure late in the runs it will be effective, but it’s just with the gear taken out and the horsepower, we’re just lugging off these corners and you’re just flat footing it. As a driver, it’s tough to be able to race that way so we’re having to shift to try to get up off the corner. Hopefully looking forward we can change it to where you don’t have to do that.”
    If other drivers shift, are you forced to shift?
    “I think on restarts most everyone will shift when you’re all bottled up. I think people will be successful both ways, but it’s just that option. Come one, we’re on a short track, why are we shifting?”(Toyota Racing)(3-14-2015)

  • Cassill picks up new sponsor: CRC Industries, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading specialty chemicals for automotive service technicians and do-it-yourselfers, will exhibit its popular fuel system cleaner, CRC 1-TANK POWER RENEW, on the #40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car as it kicks off a five-race partnership with Hillman Racing and driver Landon Cassill for the 2015 season. CRC will be the primary sponsor of the #40 CRC 1-TANK POWER RENEW Chevy SS for Cassill at Phoenix International Raceway in Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500K. A partnership that will include five primary races in 2015, CRC Industries will also sponsor Cassill and Hillman Racing at: Texas Motor Speedway (April 11), Dover International Speedway (May 31), Kentucky Speedway (July 11) and Chicagoland Speedway (September 20). CRC 1-TANK POWER RENEW is available at participating NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Pep Boys and other quality automotive wholesale distributors and retailers.(Hillman Racing), see an image of the car on the #40 team paint schemes page.(3-14-2015)

  • Arrest warrant issued for #44 team owner UPDATE: NASCAR team owner John Cohen, whose small Team Xtreme made news last month when it had to miss the Sprint Cup race at Atlanta after its race car went missing in an apparent robbery, said Thursday he never got the paperwork that has resulted in a warrant issued for his arrest in New Jersey. The warrant was issued as part of a 2012 civil lawsuit that Cohen has agreed to settle by paying $55,000 to investors who gave him money in 2010 for a proposed New York City nightclub that never opened. One of the investors also gave Cohen $3,000 to help buy tires for a race in 2010, according to the complaint. Cohen said in a phone interview Thursday with ESPN.com that he never made a settlement and hasn’t lived at the address listed in the lawsuit for months. Cohen also said Thursday that when he first heard of the warrant listing the name John, he thought it could be for his father, who lived at that address and died several years ago. John was his father’s legal name, while Cohen’s legal name is Jonathan. Paperwork provided by Elliott Malone, an attorney for the investors, shows that at a deposition in May 2014, the listed address for Cohen was the one on the warrant and Cohen never changed his address with the court. In October, the court ordered Cohen to comply by the terms of the settlement. In January, an order to enforce the investors’ rights was issued, and that allowed the investors to get the warrant issued Feb. 27. Cohen said he never got the order to enforce the investors’ rights and found out Thursday about the warrant, which was issued the same day his race car was allegedly stolen. The race team will compete with driver Travis Kvapil this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR could take disciplinary action against Cohen for having a warrant out for his arrest, but it had not announced any discipline as of Thursday afternoon.(ESPN.com)
    AND Cohen told USA Today that the warrant was caused by a clerical error. “The bench warrant was issued because it seems like I wasn’t responding to [court documents], which I wasn’t getting any information about,” he said, according to the newspaper’s website. “Everything was being sent to an address I wasn’t living at.” But, according to a court document obtained by NJ Advance Media, Cohen’s own attorney, Tracey Hinson, and a paralegal in her office attempted to contact him multiple times – via email, certified mail and over the phone – about deadlines involving a civil-case settlement and the arrest warrant during the fall. In fact, one email – listed as Exhibit L in the 49-page document – was sent from the paralegal Ericka Nelson and delivered to Cohen’s address on Feb. 20, with an importance level marked as high. Cohen claims he never received the emails. But Hinson, in the court document, said that her paralegal called Cohen on Jan. 6, 2015 and, while he was on the phone, resent an email with the request for his arrest warrant and asked him to confirm receipt. Cohen, according to the document, told the paralegal that he was in a meeting and would have to call her back. He never did. “Defendant John Cohen claimed for the first time that he had not received the emails or correspondence and further advised that he was in a meeting and had to call her back. This despite the fact that my office has communicated with Defendant via email for the past two years and there had never been any problems with him receiving or responding to emails,” the document reads.(NJ.com)
    Statement from Cohen: A spokesperson for John Cohen stated, “This civil matter has been on-going for several years and is not connected in any way to his NASCAR team and does not jeopardize or impede the functionality of Team Xtreme Racing. Court documents allege the diversion of funds for Mr. Cohen’s race team in 2010 when, in fact, the team did not compete during that season. The bench warrant was a summons by the court for Mr. Cohen to appear before a judge and offer testimony. An additional statement regarding this matter will be forthcoming through Mr. Cohen’s attorney.”(3-13-2015)
    UPDATE: Team Xtreme car owner John Cohen, who has had a bench warrant issued in New Jersey in relation to a civil lawsuit, said he’s tried to settle the matter for three years, and that he has a new lawyer handling the case. “For three years I offered $50,000, which is the only money I received,” Cohen told NASCAR Talk in the Sprint Cup garage Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. An attorney representing the investors told USA Today that he has begun the process of placing a lien on Cohen’s assets for repayment and said “if (Cohen) doesn’t pay the judgment, then I’ll start the process of seizing assists, including the car.” Cohen’s response: “No way. If you look at the initial complaint, it had nothing to do with the race team,” he said. “A year later, they tried to say they gave me money for tires to gain leverage on the team. I wasn’t racing in 2010.” Cohen said he’s made NASCAR aware of the matter. “I contacted them, but it’s not a criminal case,” he said. “No crime has been committed.”
    Cohen also is in a lawsuit against Brandon Davis and Swan Racing. The complaint from Swan Racing alleges that in agreement to taking the car owner points from the #30 team in 2014, Cohen’s team would pay $200,000. Cohen’s team was to pay Swan Racing monthly in payments equal to 10 percent of the prize money earned by the car in Cup races. The complain alleges that after running the #30 car in one race after the agreement – April 2014 at Richmond International Raceway – the team changed the car number to #44 and failed to pay what it owed. Cohen’s response states that the team, with the assistance of Swan Racing and Brandon Davis, transferred the points to the #44 team “per the agreement to do so.” Swan Racing filed a response and denied that. As for the Swan Racing lawsuit, Cohen said: “Swan, when I first got into the deal with him, I didn’t know that he owed to a lot of money to a lot of people and I was getting lawsuits from different people, so I backed out of one of the deals we had.”(NBC Sports)(3-14-2015)

  • A.J. Foyt still recovering: A.J. Foyt continues to recover from his triple bypass surgery and subsequent complications at home in Houston. Foyt has been more active since his first return to his IndyCar Series race shop in mid-January. “I’m doing a lot better; every day I’m doing a little bit more,” Foyt said. “I’m getting more of my strength back and I’m eating a better than I was when this first happened. I feel with all of the problems I had I’m looking pretty good. I’ve been on my bulldozer a couple times. Nothing to brag about, I was very weak and very tired but I have done some stuff with it. I probably should keep that quiet because I’m not sure the doctor would enjoy hearing that.” Foyt, who has lost 50 pounds over the winter, does not expect to make it to a race before May as his current treatment keeps him tied to Houston.(Charlotte Observer)(3-14-2015)

  • Phoenix Notes & Facts – Saturday – drivers:
    · 196 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix; 143 in more than one.
    · Mark Martin leads series in starts at Phoenix with 34; Jeff Gordon (second all-time) leads all active drivers with 32.
    · Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finish at Phoenix with a 7.696; he is the only active driver with an average finish inside the top 10.
    · Three perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 have been recorded at Phoenix, Kurt Busch in April of 2005 and Kevin Harvick in November of 2006 and November 2014.
    · Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Phoenix with five; followed by Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart with three each.
    · Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at Phoenix with 14; followed by Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon with 12 each.
    · Jeff Gordon competed at Phoenix International Raceway 16 times before winning (4/21/2007); the longest span of any the 23 winners.
    · Six drivers have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Phoenix: Jeff Gordon (16), Ryan Newman (15), Kasey Kahne (14), Denny Hamlin (13), Carl Edwards (12) and Rusty Wallace (11).
    · Jamie McMurray leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix without visiting Victory Lane with 23.
    · Two drivers have won at Phoenix and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep and 2009); Dale Earnhardt (1990).
    · Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has made a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Phoenix International Raceway.
    (NASCAR)(3-14-2015)
  • Logano wins XFINITY race at Phoenix: #22-Joey Logano won the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. He dominated most of the race, leading 176 of the 200 laps. #20-Matt Kenseth finished second, followed by #88-Kevin Harvick, #33-Austin Dillon, #54-Erik Jones, #3-Ty Dillon, #9-Chase Elliott, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #7-Regan Smith, and #2-Brian Scott.
    There were 4 cautions for 26 laps and 7 lead changes among 4 leaders. Complete results are on the Phoenix race results page (pdf).
    (3-14-2015)
  • Phoenix XFINITY Race Fast Facts:
    Joey Logano(i) won the 11th Annual Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200, his 22nd victory in 137 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his second victory and ninth top-10 finish in nine races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Matt Kenseth(i) (second) posted his 13th top-10 finish in 15 races at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his second top-10 finish in 2015.
    Kevin Harvick(i) (third) posted his 19th top-10 finish in 23 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Daniel Suarez (11th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Ty Dillon leads the point standings by 14 points over Chris Buescher.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-14-2015)
  • XFINITY Driver standings following Phoenix:
    1) #3-Ty Dillon 157
    2) #60-Chris Buescher 143, -14
    3) #16-Ryan Reed, 135, -22
    4) #9-Chase Elliott, 132, -25
    5) #6-Darrell Wallace Jr. #, 132, -25
    6) #62-Brendan Gaughan, 122, -35
    7) #7-Regan Smith, 121, -36
    8) #1-Elliott Sadler, 114, -43
    9) #44-David Starr, 106, -51
    10) #18-Daniel Suarez #, 103, -54
    See complete owner and driver standings on the driver standings(pdf) and owner standings page (pdf).(3-14-2015)
  • Logano on XFINITY pole at Phoenix: #22-Joey Logano won the Coors Light pole for the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway with a track record speed of 135.201mph. #88-Kevin Harvick will start second. The rest of the top 10: #54-Erik Jones, #20-Matt Kenseth, #33-Austin Dillon, #18-Daniel Suarez, #9-Chase Elliott, #7-Regan Smith, #62-Brendan Gaughan, and #1-Elliott Sadler. Did Not Qualify: #89-Morgan Shepherd. The starting lineup is posted on the Phoenix starting lineup page (pdf).(3-14-2015)
  • Phoenix XFINITY Qualifying Notes:
    Joey Logano(i) won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 11th Annual Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 with a lap of 26.627 seconds, 135.201 mph. – new track record. (Previous Record: Kyle Busch 134.298 mph – 2/26/2011)
    This is his 28th pole in 137 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his second pole and second top-10 start in 2015.
    This is his third pole in nine races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Kevin Harvick(i) (second) posted his second top-10 start of 2015 and his 18th in 23 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Erik Jones(i) (third) posted his second top-10 start at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his third in four races this season.
    Daniel Suarez (sixth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-14-2015)
  • Seats still available at Martinsville: The STP 500 race weekend at Martinsville Speedway is just two weeks away but great seats still remain for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup short-track event of the year. The speedway, the only original NASCAR track still on the Sprint Cup schedule, not only offers some of the best racing of the season, it also boasts some of the best ticket prices. Frontstretch seats start at just $45 for the STP 500 on March 29. The .526-mile speedway offers great views of the entire track from nearly every seat, and every seat has a view of the action on pit road. For fans wanting to bring the entire family to the race, the track offers the Family Four-Pack, which includes two adult and two youth (12 and under) tickets in the Clay Earles Tower, rows 6-14, for just $110. For fans wishing to see the action from the frontstretch, there is a Family Four-Pack available in the Sprint Tower for $150. Fans can also add to their race-day experience by purchasing the Green Flag Experience. The Green Flag Experience gives fans the opportunity to see emceed question-and-answer sessions with drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, walk on the track prior to the race, take a picture in the flag stand, watch driver introductions from the track and much more. Pricing for the Green Flag Experience is $30 and does not include a ticket to the STP 500. Ticket prices increase the week of the race.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-14-2015)


    News from March 13, 2015


  • Harvick wins Phoenix pole: #4-Kevin Harvick won the Coors Light pole for the Campingworld.com 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway with speed of 140.751mph for his 1st pole of 2015, 1st at Phoenix and 15th of his career.
    #22-Logano is on the outside pole followed by #1-McMurray, #20-Kenseth, #31-Newman, #2-Keselowski, #19-Edward, #41-Busch, #5-Kahne, #24-Gordon, #3-Dillon, and #42-Larson.
    Missing the race were: #44-Kvapil and #66-Berryhill.
    See the starting lineup, round-by-round qualifying results and more on Jayski.com’s Phoenix Qualifying Page.(3-13-2015)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Phoenix:
    Kevin Harvick won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 11th Annual CampingWorld.com 500 with a lap of 25.577 seconds, 140.751 mph.
    This is his 15th pole in 506 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole and second top-10 start in 2015.
    This is his first pole in 25 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Joey Logano (second) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2015 and his eighth in 13 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Jamie McMurray (third) posted his ninth top-10 start at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his third in four races this season.
    Jeb Burton (41st) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-13-2015)
  • Second Round of Qualifying for the Campingworld.com 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over after 10 scheduled minutes.
    #4-Harvick 140.537
    #5-Kahne 140.411
    #22-Logano 140.329
    #20-Kenseth 140.040
    #19-Edwards 139.920
    the rest of the top 12: 1 2 31 41 42 24 3;
    out of the top 12 and not advancing to round 3: 18 17 78 88 14 55 16 48 27 47 10 13
    (3-13-2015)
  • First Round of Qualifying for the Campingworld.com 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over, after 15 scheduled minutes.
    #18-Ragan 138.878
    #31-Newman 138.734
    #5-Kahne 138.659
    #41-Busch 138.627
    #1-McMurray 138.584
    the rest of the top 24: 20 88 42 55 16 3 47 14 4 27 48 19 17 2 24 10 22 13 78;
    out of the top 24 and not advancing to round 2: 11 7 9 51 38 15 46 43 40 98 83 6 32 34 35 23 26 62 33 44
    Drivers who will miss the race: #44-Kvapil and #66-Berryhill.
    (3-13-2015)
  • Qualifying Order for the Campingworld.com 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is posted. 45 cars/drivers are listed.
    The first of the drivers scheduled to go out is #98-Wise.
    The final driver scheduled to go out is #7-Bowman.
    Qualifying order is set by a random draw, held about an hour before the first practice.
    See the full qualifying order on Jayski.com’s Phoenix Qualifying Page.(3-13-2015)
  • Friday practice for the campingworld.com 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over after 75 minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #22-Logano 138.771
    #5-Kahne 138.063
    #31-Newman 137.936
    #4-Harvick 137.836
    #78-Truex, Jr. 137.799
    Most laps run: #14-Stewart 29, #33-Kennedy 31
    slowest #46-Annett 130.833 & #33-Kennedy 130.369.
    notes: #88-Earnhardt, Jr. thinks the team will have to change a transmission before qualifying.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Phoenix practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-13-2015)

  • Arrest warrant issued for #44 team owner: NASCAR team owner John Cohen, whose small Team Xtreme made news last month when it had to miss the Sprint Cup race at Atlanta after its race car went missing in an apparent robbery, said Thursday he never got the paperwork that has resulted in a warrant issued for his arrest in New Jersey. The warrant was issued as part of a 2012 civil lawsuit that Cohen has agreed to settle by paying $55,000 to investors who gave him money in 2010 for a proposed New York City nightclub that never opened. One of the investors also gave Cohen $3,000 to help buy tires for a race in 2010, according to the complaint. Cohen said in a phone interview Thursday with ESPN.com that he never made a settlement and hasn’t lived at the address listed in the lawsuit for months. Cohen also said Thursday that when he first heard of the warrant listing the name John, he thought it could be for his father, who lived at that address and died several years ago. John was his father’s legal name, while Cohen’s legal name is Jonathan. Paperwork provided by Elliott Malone, an attorney for the investors, shows that at a deposition in May 2014, the listed address for Cohen was the one on the warrant and Cohen never changed his address with the court. In October, the court ordered Cohen to comply by the terms of the settlement. In January, an order to enforce the investors’ rights was issued, and that allowed the investors to get the warrant issued Feb. 27. Cohen said he never got the order to enforce the investors’ rights and found out Thursday about the warrant, which was issued the same day his race car was allegedly stolen. The race team will compete with driver Travis Kvapil this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR could take disciplinary action against Cohen for having a warrant out for his arrest, but it had not announced any discipline as of Thursday afternoon.(ESPN.com)
    AND Cohen told USA Today that the warrant was caused by a clerical error. “The bench warrant was issued because it seems like I wasn’t responding to [court documents], which I wasn’t getting any information about,” he said, according to the newspaper’s website. “Everything was being sent to an address I wasn’t living at.” But, according to a court document obtained by NJ Advance Media, Cohen’s own attorney, Tracey Hinson, and a paralegal in her office attempted to contact him multiple times – via email, certified mail and over the phone – about deadlines involving a civil-case settlement and the arrest warrant during the fall. In fact, one email – listed as Exhibit L in the 49-page document – was sent from the paralegal Ericka Nelson and delivered to Cohen’s address on Feb. 20, with an importance level marked as high. Cohen claims he never received the emails. But Hinson, in the court document, said that her paralegal called Cohen on Jan. 6, 2015 and, while he was on the phone, resent an email with the request for his arrest warrant and asked him to confirm receipt. Cohen, according to the document, told the paralegal that he was in a meeting and would have to call her back. He never did. “Defendant John Cohen claimed for the first time that he had not received the emails or correspondence and further advised that he was in a meeting and had to call her back. This despite the fact that my office has communicated with Defendant via email for the past two years and there had never been any problems with him receiving or responding to emails,” the document reads.(NJ.com)
    Statement from Cohen: A spokesperson for John Cohen stated, “This civil matter has been on-going for several years and is not connected in any way to his NASCAR team and does not jeopardize or impede the functionality of Team Xtreme Racing. Court documents allege the diversion of funds for Mr. Cohen’s race team in 2010 when, in fact, the team did not compete during that season. The bench warrant was a summons by the court for Mr. Cohen to appear before a judge and offer testimony. An additional statement regarding this matter will be forthcoming through Mr. Cohen’s attorney.”(3-13-2015)

  • RAB Racing withdraws from Phoenix race UPDATE: The #29 RAB Racing team and driver Reed Sorenson have withdrawn from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix this weekend. The team will return to action next week at Auto Club Speedway.
    And congrats to Sorenson: Reed Sorenson and his wife Laura announced that they are expecting their first child later in the year.(3-12-2015)
    UPDATE: RAB Racing has withdrawn the #29 Toyota Camry from this weekend’s CampingWorld.com 500 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. Team majority owner Robby Benton told NASCAR Talk in an email Thursday that his team’s rough start to the 2015 season prompted the decision to step back and regroup. As a result, Team RAB will skip Phoenix but plans on returning to the circuit for next week’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. “After having missed the first three events (failed to qualify in each), there’s no need to chase points,” Benton said. “We don’t have sponsorship for every event, we just wanted to attempt the first three to see how points worked out. After missing Las Vegas, it made sense to skip Phoenix and take the added time to better prepare for California (Auto Club) Speedway. That’s a home race for TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and very important for us.” Benton added that the team will scale back and run a limited schedule pending additional sponsorship.(NBC Sports)(3-13-2015)
  • Stewart completes purchase for All Star Circuit of Champions: Tony Stewart is officially the new owner of the All Star Circuit of Champions. The agreement closed Thursday afternoon. In addition, veteran race official Don Grabey was hired as Series Director. “First off, I’m ecstatic that we got the paperwork signed and we own the All Star Circuit of Champions,” Stewart said. “Further, I’m excited to have Don join the team. He is a great addition and will have the respect of the competitors and be an important piece of the long term success of the Series. I can’t wait to get the points season started in two weeks.” Grabey, 53, has worked with the World of Outlaws since 1997, first as a technical inspector and then as the competition director since 2007. The next All Star Series of Champions race will be March 28 at Atomic Speedway in Waverly, Ohio. This event will be the first points race of 2015. The complete schedule can be found at www.allstarsprint.com.(TrueSpeed Communications)(3-13-2015)

  • Acredale Vending & Coffee joins Jay Robinson: Acredale Vending & Coffee Service will return to Jay Robinson Racing/Premier Motorsports (#62 & #66) as an Associate sponsor for the rest of the 2015 season. Business owner. Scott Abshire has had a long term relationship with JRR. Acredale is based out of the Tidewater Virginia area and has been providing Vending machine sales and service since 1984. Abshire also serves as a part time pit crew member.(Acredale PR)(3-13-2015)

  • Las Vegas Notes & Facts – Friday – poles:
    · Geoffrey Bodine won the first pole in 1988 at a speed of 123.203 mph (29.220 sec.).
    · There have been 20 different Coors Light pole winners, led by Ryan Newman with four.
    · Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to win consecutive poles. Newman won three straight (2002-04), Gordon won the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007. Edwards won the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011.
    · Denny Hamlin (November, 2005) and AJ Allmendinger (April, 2010) won their first career Coors Light poles at Phoenix International Raceway.
    · Four of the 37 (10.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from the Coors Light pole: Jeff Gordon (spring 2007), Jimmie Johnson (fall 2008), Mark Martin (spring 2009) and Carl Edwards (fall 2010).
    · Seven of the 37 (18.9%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from the front row: four from the pole and three from second-place.
    · 18 of the 37 (48.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position inside the top 10.
    · 19 of the 37 (51.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.
    · 3 of the 37 (8.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
    · Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the 29th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.
    · Matt Kenseth won the 2002 race from the 28th-place starting position, the furthest back an active race winner has started.
    (NASCAR)(3-13-2015)
  • Smith fastest in happy hour: #7-Regan Smith was quickest during happy hour for the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 with a speed of 133.680mph. He was followed by: #3-Ty Dillon, #9-Chase Elliott, #18-Daniel Suarez, #33-Austin Dillon, #22-Joey Logano, #60-Chris Buescher, #54-Erik Jones, #62-Brendan Gaughan, and #88-Kevin Harvick. All 41 drivers participated in the session. See complete results on the Phoenix practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-13-2014)
  • Logano fastest in first practice: #22-Joey Logano was fastest during opening practice at Phoenix International Raceway with a speed of 131.685Xmph. #88-Kevin Harvick was second, followed by: #7-Regan Smith, #20-Matt Kenseth, #2-Brian Scott, #54-Erik Jones, #33-Austin Dillon, #9-Chase Elliott, #3-Ty Dillon, and #60-Chris Buescher. 37 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Phoenix practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-13-2014)
  • Nemechek partners with Alkame: John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the #8 SWM-NEMCO Motorsports Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for NEMCO Motorsports, has entered into a personal services agreement with Alkame Holdings, Inc. wholly owned subsidiary Alkame Water, Inc. to become the newest Team Alkame ambassador, effective since February 17. Alkame Holdings, Inc. is a health and wellness technology holding company with a focus on eco-friendly, innovative, and patentable consumer products. The Las Vegas based company has developed Alkame Water, producing a patented technology and formula that alters the molecular structure of water to produce a combination of characteristics unique in the beverage industry. This advanced water treatment technology results in the ultimate health and wellness water, complete with natural antioxidants in a premium oxygenated alkaline formula that tastes great and offers more benefits than regular water. Through this new partnership, Alkame Water will be part of Nemechek’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in addition to at-track activation. Alkame Water branding will be included on Nemechek’s firesuit and trackside apparel.(NEMCO Motorsports)(3-13-2015)
  • Little to run Dover: Jesse Little posted on his Instagram. that he will make his Camping World Truck Series debut in May at Dover International Speedway. Little was the 2013 K&N Pro Series Rookie of the Year and is NASCAR Next member, currently competing in the K&N Pro Series.(3-13-2014)
  • New sponsor for JRR: Acredale Vending & Coffee Service will return to Jay Robinson Racing’s #94 Chevy as an associate sponsor for the rest of the 2015 season. Business owner. Scott Abshire has had a long term relationship with JRR and is proud to continue this effort. Acredale is based out of the Tidewater, Virginia area and has been providing Vending machine sales and service since 1984. Abshire also serves as a part time pit crew member.(Jay Robinson Racing)(3-13-2014)
  • Jerrod Niemann in concert at Kentucky Speedway: Country music star Jerrod Niemann will entertain race fans with a special performance on Kentucky Speedway’s infield Kroger Concert Stage prior to the July 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts. The singer/songwriter’s fourth album, High Noon, made its debut last year and provides listeners with a blend of country, pop and rock mixed with a bit of electronic beats. His smash single from his latest album, “Drink to That All Night,” earned Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Gold-certified and rose to No. 6 on the Billboard Country Music Charts. It was followed-up by the second single “Donkey.” Niemann who’s influenced by Lefty Frizzell, George Strait, Randy Travis, and Keith Whitley, will share his unique mix of music on the Kroger prerace stage at the NSCS Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts race where tickets are as low as $59. Fans can enjoy stage-side and trackside views of the show by adding a daily Kroger Fan Zone pass to ticket orders. Passes also provide pit road access at designated times, the opportunity to view NASCAR inspections from the Fan Zone along with enjoying activities and concessions in an area near pit road and surrounding Victory Lane.(Kentucky Speedway) (3-13-2015)
  • Bush’s Beans sponsoring pole day at Bristol: Bush Brothers & Company, based in East Tennessee, has expanded their partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition to renewing their Aug. 19, Bush’s Beans 150 Whelen Modified Series race entitlement, they become the sponsor of Bush’s Beans Pole Day, April 17, 2015, in support of the Food City 500 race weekend. Advance tickets for Bush’s Beans Pole Day, Friday, April 17, are just $10 for adults. Prices increase to $15 on race week. Children 15 years old and under are free with a paying adult. The day includes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Food City 500 practice and qualifying, along with practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series.(BMS)(3-13-2015)


    News from March 12, 2015


  • Teams can be penalized for failing qualifying inspection: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will now be subject to 15-minute fines should their cars fail to make it through qualifying inspection after two attempts, according to the sanctioning body. Officials distributed a memo to teams informing them of the move, which will be in effect starting with this weekend’s Campingworld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Should a team require more than two trips through inspection, the 15-minute penalty would come during the next scheduled practice. It would not be imposed as part of a qualifying session. The pre-qualifying inspection process has been a source of concern this year as teams adapted to the 2015 rules package. Teams have 50 minutes to present their cars for pre-qualifying inspection following the conclusion of practice. If a team’s car does not pass on an attempt, the team must wait until all cars have made at least one pass through the station before they may go through again.(NASCAR.com)(3-12-2015)

  • Gordon to meet with NASCAR about Safety UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon met with members of the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and discussed may topics including the further installation of SAFER barriers. The transcript in part:
    Q) WHAT DO YOU THINK THESE TRACKS SHOULD BE DOING WHILE THEY ARE LOOKING AT PLACES TO PUT MORE SOFT WALLS? 
    Gordon: “I think it’s important to note that the tracks and NASCAR, I know they are doing a lot to put as much effort into answering the question what can we do right away? You see it here. You saw it last week. But there is only so much that can be done in a short period of time. That is what I want to see. I have a meeting with NASCAR next week. I wasn’t able to do it this week, but I have a meeting with them next week. I’m looking forward to getting together with them to hear a little bit more detail in that progress. I don’t want to allude to too much because I have just enough details to get myself in trouble by bringing them up because I don’t have the full scope of it. I would prefer to have the full scope of it. I think that the most important thing is just to continue to see progress.”
    “The one thing that I would question is when did SAFER barriers start being put at race tracks and what was the plan for them to be complete and where are we in that plan. I was under the impression when they started going in it was going to be a three or four year plan to complete the SAFER barriers in every wall that needed to have a SAFER barrier. I don’t think anybody expected them to have SAFER barriers around every wall day one. I think I’m realistic to know that they can’t just have it next week. It takes a while to manufacturer them. There are only a couple of groups or distributors or however you want to put it. The people that make them that are certified to even do it. My question is what is the time frame to have those built and installed? I think everybody knows it’s a priority, but it seems to be kind of pushed further a long since Kyle’s (Busch) accident. Where were we prior to Kyle’s accident on that plan?”
    Q) WITHOUT GOING INTO ANYTHING PROPRIETARY, THIS MEETING YOU’RE HAVING WITH NASCAR, DID THEY INVITE YOU? DID YOU ASK TO SEE THEM? DO YOU KNOW IF THEY’RE SEEING OTHER DRIVERS?
    Gordon: “I reached out to them not necessarily for a meeting, but I just reached out to them to discuss some things and that being one of them. And they said they’d like to share some information with you when you have a chance. They have been sharing a lot of information with drivers a lot more than I’ve ever seen in the past. So, I’ve been pretty happy with that. This just happened. And whatever comes out of that, I’ll share with other drivers and my team, for sure.”
    INAUDIBLE
    Gordon: “Whoever shows up; it might be me by myself sitting there. I don’t know.”
    (Team Chevy Transcript)(3-7-2015)
    UPDATE: Jeff Gordon eased up on NASCAR after discussing track safety issues with officials behind closed doors. Gordon said Thursday he was “getting a little bit ahead of himself” when he questioned where NASCAR was with planned installations of SAFER barriers after hitting a concrete wall two weekends ago in Atlanta. The energy-absorbing barriers are common at tracks, but not installed in every place a car might crash. The popular driver of the #24 Chevy said Tuesday’s meeting with officials was “informative.” The series began installing softer walls on portions of most tracks in 2002. He spoke at an event in downtown Dallas honoring Gordon during his final full season as a Sprint Cup driver. The first of two Texas races in NASCAR’s top series is April 11.(Associated Press)(3-12-2015)

  • RAB Racing withdraws from Phoenix race: The #29 RAB Racing team and driver Reed Sorenson have withdrawn from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix this weekend. The team will return to action next week at Auto Club Speedway.
    And congrats to Sorenson: Reed Sorenson and his wife Laura announced that they are expecting their first child later in the year.(3-12-2015)

  • Mike Wallace looking for another ride: Having lost his ride in the #66 Premium Motorsports Chevy, Mike Wallace is back to knocking on doors and making phone calls to find a new racing home. “My status is I’m a free agent in all categories, from the Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Truck Series,” Wallace told NASCAR Talk on Wednesday. “This (being without a ride) wasn’t something that was on my agenda to be looking at. I thought we were going to run more races with the 66 car, at least that’s what was told to me.” Now, just three races into the new Sprint Cup season, Wallace is faced with the hardest time of year to find a new ride. “Nobody’s called,” Wallace said. “I don’t see anything opening up. Everybody’s on the west coast swing. It’s hard to find actual driving positions for people at this early stage of the game (season).” Wallace posted last Saturday on his Facebook page that the 66 team would not be racing for the foreseeable future. But 21-year-old Tanner Berryhill announced Monday that he’ll make his Sprint Cup Series racing debut in the #66 this weekend at Phoenix. “The car was going to run at Vegas and Phoenix with no sponsorship on it,” Wallace said. “The Berryhill family was able to bring some funds to the 66 car, as far as I can figure.” The brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace and NASCAR TV analyst Kenny Wallace, Mike Wallace has at least one upcoming race lined up. He’ll compete in the May 2 Xfinity Series race at Talladega for JGL Racing, for which he finished 13th in this year’s season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona.(NBC Sports)(3-12-2015)

  • Sprouts Farmers Market on the #35 at Phoenix: Cole Whitt comments on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
    “We will have a new sponsor with us this week in Phoenix, Sprouts Farmers Market. It’s a great partner for me because I believe in eating healthy and they’re committed to providing healthy food to their customers. Sprouts has a lot of locations in the Phoenix area, so I’ll be sure to stop at one on my way to the track.”(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #35 team paint schemes page.(3-12-2015)

  • Phoenix Notes & Facts – Thursday – history:
    · Construction was completed in January 1964. The facility consisted of a one-mile oval and a 2.5-mile road course.
    · Alan Kulwicki won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 1988.
    · The first spring race was held on April 23, 2005 and also the first night race, which was won by Kurt Busch.
    · The track underwent its first repave in 2011. The construction began in March and concluded in September of that year.
    · The following changes were made during the construction period (March – Sept., 2011):
    o Widened the frontstretch from 52 to 62 feet
    o Reconfigured pit road with the installation of concrete pit stalls
    o Pushed the dog-leg curve between Turn 2 and Turn 3 out 95 feet
    o Tightened the turn radius of the dog-leg from 800 to 500 feet
    o Implemented variable banking to ensure the immediate use of two racing grooves, including 10-11 degree banking between Turn 1 and Turn 2; 10-11 degree banking in the apex of the dog-leg; and 8-9 degree banking in Turn 4
    (NASCAR)(3-12-2015)
  • Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post them] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the Campingworld.com 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on the Phoenix Race Info page – Chassis selection area.
  • Sellers in the #97 at Phoenix: Peyton Sellers scored a sweep of the twin 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division races in last year’s season-opening event at South Boston Speedway. However, he will not return to South Boston Speedway on Saturday to defend those victories in the track’s 2 p.m. running of the season-opening Danville Toyota NASCAR Whelen Late Model Twin 100’s racing program. Sellers said Wednesday afternoon he has been given an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and will be in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend attempting to qualify and race a car fielded by Obaika Racing in Saturday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. The car is a black Chevrolet Camaro carrying the number 97. He will also be with the team and will attempt to qualify for and race in next week’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race in California. The former NASCAR Whelen All American Series national champion and defending South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division champion said the opportunity to drive for the new team that was formed about a month ago came on Monday. “It’s a new opportunity I’m looking forward to,” Sellers said. “They released their driver Sunday and called me Monday. They have one car, and I’m going to Phoenix this weekend to try to make the race and run the race.” This new opportunity, Sellers says, could lead to a full-time ride in NASCAR’s second-tier XFINITY Series. “That’s the intention for everybody right now,” he noted.(Gazette-Virginian)(3-12-2015)
  • Lupton to make XFINITY debut at Phoenix: After monstrous success in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Dylan Lupton will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway. Lupton will drive the #25 Zaxby’s Chevy Camaro for Concord, North Carolina-based Athenian Motorsports. For the past two seasons, Lupton has competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series driving for Sunrise Ford Racing. In the two years driving the #9 Ford Fusion, Lupton notched two wins, 13 top-fives and 26 top-10s in 29 races. After finishing fifth in points in 2013, Lupton battled Greg Pursley for the championship last year, but fell short and finished second.(Lupton PR)(3-12-2015)
  • Las Vegas XFINITY TV Ratings: NASCAR Xfinity Series racing from Las Vegas drew 1.9 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 Saturday afternoon, down 5% from last year on ESPN2 (2.0M), down 9% from the 2013 race, also on ESPN2 (2.1M), and the smallest audience for the race since at least 2007. All three Xfinity Series races on FS1 have had year-over-year declines. With that said, viewership increased 26% from the previous week’s race from Atlanta (1.5M).(Sports Media Watchvia ShowBuzz Daily)(3-12-2015)
  • Auto Club Speedway to install tire barriers prior to race: Following a full track review with NASCAR and ISC, Auto Club Speedway will add additional safeguards to those already in place in advance of its Auto Club 400 Weekend March 20-22. Auto Club Speedway will install tire pack barriers inside Turn 1 prior to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots300.com and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400. Following our upcoming race weekend, Auto Club Speedway will begin installation of SAFER barrier along the frontstretch and backstretch walls. Once completed, the entire frontstretch and backstretch will have SAFER barriers for 2016 events at Auto Club Speedway. In preparation for the 2016 racing season, we will continue to collaborate and evaluate additional safety enhancements. “The safety of drivers, and our fans and staff is, and always has been, a top priority,” said Dave Allen, Auto Club Speedway President. “As part of our continued commitment to safety, we will work hand-in-hand with NASCAR and all sanctioning bodies that race at our track to make improvements that will further enhance safety.”(Auto Club Speedway)(3-12-2015)
  • Officials determine economic impact of Bristol Motor Speedway: Representatives from the Bristol TN/VA Chamber of Commerce, along with officials from Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, released figures during a Wednesday news conference that highlight the racing complex’s positive economic impact on the region. According to the combined research, the direct economic impact of Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway totaled more than $417 million for 2012 through 2014. This figure was derived from racing and ancillary activities held on-site, charitable events, contributions and tax revenue. The indirect economic impact of the venue totaled more than $1.4 billion moving through the regional economy.
    For this year’s NASCAR events, [Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager for Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway] also announced that response to BMS’ August 2014 introduction of Boxes at The Edge – open-air box seats in Turn One – resulted in the construction of additional boxes during the off-season. These plush seats include inbox attendant service, a Racing Electronics headset and scanner, and access to The Edge Deck, a mixing and mingling area located just 22 feet from the wheel fence. The Edge Deck ticket is transferable and comes with a pre-race track walk pass and a $25 Levy food credit. Race fans can purchase a Box at The Edge or an add-on ticket for The Edge Deck and enjoy an up-close and personal racing experience. In addition, Caldwell elaborated on a newly expanded Park-and-Ride option for fans who attend next month’s Food City 500 race weekend. Through an arrangement with RallyBus, a crowd-powered, on-demand event travel company, fans have Park-and-Ride options in four Tri-Cities locations – Bristol, Virginia, Johnson City and Blountville, Tennessee, and a soon-to-be-named site in Kingsport, Tennessee. To reserve a space for Saturday, April 18, and/or Sunday, April 19, visit Rallybus.net/MyBristol. In addition, RallyBus will offer a reduced price of $20 per round-trip ticket. Reservations are required for all Tennessee locations.(BMS)(3-12-2015)


    News from March 11, 2015


  • Teams testing this week at Charlotte UPDATES: Four teams are scheduled to take part in a Goodyear tire test test Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Those teams are Hendrick Motorsports (#5-Kasey Kahne), Furniture Row Racing (#78-Martin Truex Jr.), Richard Petty Motorsports (#43-Aric Almirola) and BK Racing (#23-JJ Yeley). Tuesday’s session is closed to the public. There will be an open test Wednesday at the track. Charlotte Motor Speedway officials state that teams expected to test that day include Kahne, Truex, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray and about half a dozen other teams. Wednesday’s session is open to the public. Gates open at 9:00am. Testing is scheduled to run from 9:00am-12:00pm and from 1:00-5:00pm/et. The next scheduled test is April 7-8 at Richmond International Raceway. Four teams will test there. Each will have one car. Those teams testing will be Stewart-Haas Racing, JTG Daugherty, Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing. That begins a busy test period. Tire tests are scheduled April 13-15 at Kentucky Speedway and April 27-29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(NBC Sports)(3-10-2015
    UPDATE: There are 11 drivers (and teams) scheduled to drive in the Charlotte test [Wednesday]: #11-Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing), #43-Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports), #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing), #4-Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing), #22-Joey Logano (Team Penske), #5-Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports), #1-Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing), #78-Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing), #15-Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing), Brian Scott (Richard Childress Racing), #95-Michael McDowell (Leavine Family Racing)(NBC Sports)(3-11-2015)
    UPDATE 2: More than one dozen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams spent Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, validating information gleaned from simulation programs while testing on a track and a tire that they will see approximately two months from now. The open test, part of NASCAR National Series Unified Testing Program for 2015, provides one team from each Sprint Cup organization the opportunity to participate. It is the second open test conducted this season, following NASCAR’s elimination of private team testing at the conclusion of 2014.
    “Just being able to try things and look at the data acquisition and see exactly what it did,” Keith Rodden, crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne said of the advantages of the test. “Because on a race weekend we don’t get to run those sensors so you always have some questions. When I run tests, I try to make big changes, I don’t try to ‘Happy Hour’ it and try to run fast. I don’t really care what (speeds) we’re running today … we’re trying to make big picture changes, do things to the car to make it act differently. Being able to look at that data that comes right off the car when we come in is really valuable.
    Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR’s Vice President for Innovation and Racing Development, said such open team tests were helpful to the sanctioning body, but primarily for the teams’ benefit. Three elements, he said, stand out. Unlike previous tests conducted prior to the ’15 testing program, teams did not test at tracks where Sprint Cup races were held, and they tested on tires that likely wouldn’t be used. That combination limited the amount of knowledge that could be gained. Stefanyshyn also said such tests are able to be conducted in a more cost-efficient manner for teams “and we provide them with a higher level of service as they do all this.”(NASCAR.com)(3-11-2015)

  • Kurt Busch discusses reinstatement: #41-Kurt Busch held a teleconference Wednesday afternoon:
    KURT BUSCH: It means the world to me to be back in the car. It’s been a tough situation the last few months, and I’ve gone through this with confidence knowing that I know the truth and that I never did any of the things that I was accused of. It was a complete fabrication. But it’s unfortunate that my personal life crossed over and affected my business life, but I can’t wait to get to the track, to see my team, to shake their hands and say thanks for the support, and to go out there and make my first lap this weekend.
    Q. I’m wondering during the last few weeks what you felt you were fighting for, and maybe the answer is all of the above, if you were fighting for your reputation, your innocence, or your career?
    KURT BUSCH: Well, I understand why NASCAR needed to take the action that it did. This is a very serious issue. I mean, the way that NASCAR reacted, it was different than what we had been told all along. They were more focused on the criminal side, as were we, but the commissioner’s ruling was not necessarily what was the important factor here. The important factor is that what I was accused of was a complete fabrication, and I never wavered through this whole process because of the confidence in the truth, and I had the support from Gene Haas and everybody at SHR, and that’s where my focus has been. It’s been on the racing side of it, and I never lost that confidence and that drive, and so it’s a humbling experience, but it’s made me more focused and determined.
    Q. Kurt, you talked about kind of regaining your reputation. Will you still keep “Outlaw” above the door to your car? Do you still kind of go with that outlaw persona? Does that have to change or is that still who you are?
    KURT BUSCH: You know, my focus is the race car. My reputation has always been what I’ve done behind the wheel, and it’s moments that I hope to battle and put out on the track like I did with Ricky Craven in the closest finish in the history of NASCAR, it’s to focus on the wins at the tracks that I haven’t won on or to deliver for Gene Haas on the trophies that he signed me on for that he wants in his trophy room. My reputation will iron itself out in whichever way that it is, but my focus is the race car, and as I move forward, I’m putting my signature above the door of the car, and I’m proud to have my signature on the side of a car that Gene Haas has and to carry his name into victory lane.
    Q. I’m curious if you can give any details about what NASCAR and the outside expert that they summoned to put you through the paces here required of you, and secondly, what’s been the hardest part about this whole thing for you?
    KURT BUSCH: You know, I’m appreciative of the process, of the road to recovery. To me it’s a roadmap that they laid out that I am respecting. It’s created such a good foundation to utilize moving forward that I wish I would have done it sooner. And the hardest part about all of this has been sitting out watching the 41 car go around the racetrack, especially at the Daytona 500. Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks, and Las Vegas is my hometown track. It’s been torture sitting out of the car.
    Q. What did you learn being out of the race car, because difficult times teach everybody something. As you sat out of the car and went through all of this for a very long time, what did you learn being out of the car? What did you learn during this time period? And will it be hard to race the way that you race with all attention on you as you move forward?
    KURT BUSCH: You know what I learned, the best thing is or what I have been to deal with and what’s been the hardest is out of the race car. Being in that race car is a privilege, and it’s a feeling that you can’t describe when you go out there for practice each and every weekend. You drive down into the corner, the car sticks, you stand on the gas, and you drive out of the corner, it’s an experience that not a lot of people get to do, and I get a chance to race against the best in the world in NASCAR. Talking with Brian France and going through this road, he told me, he says, don’t change. Don’t be the person that’s different in the car, but be a different person outside of the car, and so Brian said, go be yourself in that car. That’s what we really love. We love Kurt Busch behind the wheel. Go out there, use that passion, go for those wins, and that’s my focus is to be humble through this whole process but let actions speak louder than words. (Chevy Racing)(3-11-2015)

  • Statement from Chevy on Kurt Busch: Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports:
    “Now that Kurt Busch has been reinstated by NASCAR and is able to fulfill his obligations associated with our agreement, we have lifted our suspension and will continue to monitor the situation.”(Chevy Racing)(3-11-2015)

  • SHR statement on Kurt Busch: The following is from Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer regarding NASCAR’s reinstatement of driver Kurt Busch.
    “We appreciate the steps Kurt Busch has made while following NASCAR’s process for reinstatement. He has taken this path seriously, which allowed him to return to our race team. With his reinstatement and the conclusion by the Delaware Attorney General to not file charges, our focus is on the future.”(SHR / TrueSpeed Communications), Stewart-Hass says Busch will return to the #41 this weekend at Phoenix.(3-11-2015)

  • NASCAR Lifts Kurt Busch’s Suspension; will be Chase-eligible: NASCAR announced that, effectively immediately, the indefinite suspension of Kurt Busch has been lifted. He is eligible to return to NASCAR racing under indefinite probation subject to additional mandatory requirements that include but are not limited to participation in a treatment program and full compliance with any judicial requirements placed upon him. On Feb. 20, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 car, was found to be in violation of:
    • Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
    • Section 12.8: Behavioral Penalty
    The decision to lift the suspension was made by NASCAR after Kurt Busch:
    • Complied with all requirements in its reinstatement program;
    • Completed the mandatory behavioral assessment sessions; and
    • The behavioral health care expert who conducted the sessions recommended to NASCAR that Kurt Busch be allowed to return to competition.
    Kurt Busch now will undergo additional steps to address the behavior for which he was penalized.
    The requirement that a driver must compete in all Championship Events of the current season to be eligible for The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has been waived for the period of Kurt Busch’s suspension. Assuming he returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, Kurt Busch would have zero Championship points to date after missing the Daytona 500 and the two most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    “As we stated last week, the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges removed a significant impediment to Kurt Busch’s return to full status as a NASCAR member,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. “We therefore have decided to move him to indefinite probation and waive the Chase requirement. He has fully complied with our reinstatement program during his suspension and the health care expert who conducted his evaluation recommended his immediate return. “We have made it very clear to Kurt Busch our expectations for him moving forward, which includes participation in a treatment program and full compliance with all judicial requirements as a result of his off-track behavior.”(NASCAR)(3-11-2015)

  • Teams testing this week at Charlotte UPDATE: Four teams are scheduled to take part in a Goodyear tire test test Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Those teams are Hendrick Motorsports (#5-Kasey Kahne), Furniture Row Racing (#78-Martin Truex Jr.), Richard Petty Motorsports (#43-Aric Almirola) and BK Racing (#23-JJ Yeley). Tuesday’s session is closed to the public. There will be an open test Wednesday at the track. Charlotte Motor Speedway officials state that teams expected to test that day include Kahne, Truex, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray and about half a dozen other teams. Wednesday’s session is open to the public. Gates open at 9:00am. Testing is scheduled to run from 9:00am-12:00pm and from 1:00-5:00pm/et. The next scheduled test is April 7-8 at Richmond International Raceway. Four teams will test there. Each will have one car. Those teams testing will be Stewart-Haas Racing, JTG Daugherty, Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing. That begins a busy test period. Tire tests are scheduled April 13-15 at Kentucky Speedway and April 27-29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(NBC Sports)(3-10-2015
    UPDATE: There are 11 drivers (and teams) scheduled to drive in the Charlotte test [Wednesday]: #11-Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing), #43-Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports), #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing), #4-Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing), #22-Joey Logano (Team Penske), #5-Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports), #1-Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing), #78-Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing), #15-Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing), Brian Scott (Richard Childress Racing), #95-Michael McDowell (Leavine Family Racing)(NBC Sports)(3-11-2015)

  • TMG skipping West Coast races: The Motorsports Group tweeted Tuesday, “TMG30PR will skip the “West Coast Sweep” entirely. Next event for @RonHornaday in the #30 will be @MartinsvilleSwy.”(3-11-2015)

  • 400th start for Kahne: This Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, #5-Kasey Kahne will make his 400th career Cup start. In 399 career starts to this point, Kahne has accumulated 17 wins, 83 top-five finishes and 147 top-10 finishes. One of those wins occurred at Phoenix in 2011.(3-11-2015)

  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Phoenix
    #48-Jimmie Johnson…………………… 114.0
    #4-Kevin Harvick………………………. 106.2
    #24-Jeff Gordon………………………… 100.5
    #19-Carl Edwards………………………… 99.2
    #11-Denny Hamlin……………………….. 96.6
    #14-Tony Stewart…………………………. 96.4
    #2-Brad Keselowski……………………. 91.5
    #16-Greg Biffle……………………………. 90.1
    #31-Ryan Newman……………………….. 87.9
    #20-Matt Kenseth………………………… 87.9
    Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at Phoenix International Raceway. Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
    See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR)
  • Phoenix Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will run the same Goodyear tire set-up at Phoenix this week . . . while this is the first time these teams have run this right-side tire code (D-4626), they have run this left-side code (D-4612) at this track since November 2013 . . . compared to what was run at Phoenix last year, this right-side tire features a compound change to enhance grip and help rubber-in the track, and a construction change to bring this track in line with what is run at Richmond . . . Goodyear held a tire test at Phoenix last October . . . drivers participating in that test were Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Michael McDowell . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. (Goodyear). See tire codes, pressures and more on the Phoenix Race Info – Goodyear section.(3-11-2015)
  • CARBuretor Crunch sandwich available at Phoenix: It’s Spring Break, NASCAR-style, and fans coming to the CampingWorld.com 500 race weekend are encouraged to take a bite out of the CARBuretor Crunch, the first-ever signature item of Phoenix International Raceway. A collaboration between PIR and Americrown, the item is a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich encrusted with Cap’n Crunch, covered with bacon crumbles, fresh sliced bananas and caramel drizzle. The CARBuretor Crunch, which comes in at roughly 900 calories, will be exclusively sold in the new ZOOMTOWN Food Court located in the heart of the Midway. Fans can purchase a single CARBuretor Crunch for $7, or a double order for $13, and will have social media bragging rights with a photo station declaring, “I ate the CARBuretor Crunch.” Also featured at the new ZOOMTOWN Food Court will be the Bootleggers bar, in addition to a variety of other food options including bar-b-que, hot dogs, quesadillas and tacos. The ZOOMTOWN Food Court offers free WiFi and covered seating to patrons.(PIR)(3-11-2015)
  • Sad News – Ron Lemasters Sr.: Ron Lemasters Sr., a longtime contributor to National Speed Sport News, passed away March 9 at Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, IN after a sudden illness. He was 76. Lemasters, former sports editor at The Muncie (Ind.) Star, began his stint with NSSN in the 1970s, writing copy from Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and other races in the area. Later, he covered the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and other major motorsports events for the paper, and penned news stories from the area. Lemasters spent his childhood near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and loved open-wheel racing his whole life. A member of the Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Association, Lemasters was an integral part of the News Bureau at IMS for the past 17 years. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joyce Lemasters; sons Ron Lemasters Jr. (Chris) of Concord, N.C.; Mike Lemasters (Christy) of Boulder City, Nev.; five grandchildren; and brother Frank LeMasters, Brunswick, Ga. Lemasters served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, including two tours of the Western Pacific.
    He was named sports editor of Muncie’s morning newspaper in 1982, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1999. Lemasters was inducted into the Delaware County Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989, and was twice voted Sportswriter of the Year by the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. He was also named to that organization’s Hall of Fame in 2001. He was inducted into the Mid-American Conference Media Hall of Fame for his coverage of Ball State athletics. Burial is set for Thursday in Muncie.(Muncie Star-Press / National Speed Sport News)(3-11-2015)
  • Daytona to make safety improvements before July races: Following the completion of the February race events, Daytona International Speedway, working closely with NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC), performed an extensive review of the facility and developed a significant plan for additional safety initiatives. Prior to the July NASCAR weekend, the following safety initiatives will be completed:
    ” Additional 20,000 square feet of asphalt in Turn 1
    ” Realignment of a portion of the inside retaining wall from infield road course exit to Turn 1
    ” Installation of SAFER barrier (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) on realigned retaining wall and existing retaining wall in Turn 1
    ” Installation of SAFER barrier on retaining wall at pit road exit
    ” Installation of SAFER barrier between the exit of Turn 4 to pit road entry
    “In addition, based on material availability and timing, we will install SAFER barrier on the outside backstretch wall and will complete as much as possible prior to the July NASCAR weekend. Following the July races, we will complete any remaining installation of SAFER barrier on the outside backstretch wall, and continue to install SAFER barrier on the remaining areas of the property. We will provide additional updates regarding our safety initiatives as circumstances warrant. The safety of the competitors and our fans is our top priority.” DIS president Joie Chitwood III.(DIS)(3-11-2015)


    News from March 10, 2015


  • Allgaier and Keselowski penalized after Las Vegas: The #51 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during post-race inspection March 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This infraction is a P3 level penalty and violates the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
    12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
    20.3.5: Added ballast containers:
    a. Any and all ballast added to the vehicle must be bolted inside an added ballast container, inside the main frame rails, and/or inside the front sway bar.
    b. Added ballast must be secured in a manner that will prevent movement of the ballast during an event.
    20.17.2.2: Overall vehicle weight after competition:
    b. After a vehicle has raced, only water in the radiator, oil in the engine reservoir tank, and fuel in the fuel cell may be added. Wheels and tires may not be changed, unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR Officials.
    c. After a vehicle has raced, the minimum overall vehicle weight of all vehicles must be within 0.5% of the minimum overall vehicle weight required at the start of the race.
    Ballast was observed falling off the #51 car during the race and the #51 car did not meet post-race minimum weight requirements. As a result of the violation, crew chief Steve Addington has been fined $25,000.
    AND The #2 team has been penalized for a rules infraction committed when it was discovered that the right and left rear quarter panel wheel openings were modified after qualifying inspection on March 6. This infraction is a P2 level penalty and violates the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
    12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
    20.4.b: Body – All approved OEM-manufactured body components must be used as supplied except as required to stiffen, or to attach to other vehicle components. Tolerances from CAD surfaces and template tolerances are provided to allow for manufacturing, fabrication, and installation variability;
    20.4.2: Surface Conformance – Coordinate measuring machines, scanning equipment, and templates, among other tools, will be used to inspect body surfaces for conformance to the approved OEM and NASCAR CAD files.
    As a result of this violation, crew chief Paul Wolfe has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.(NASCAR)(3-10-2015)

  • Teams testing this week at Charlotte: Four teams are scheduled to take part in a Goodyear tire test test Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Those teams are Hendrick Motorsports (#5-Kasey Kahne), Furniture Row Racing (#78-Martin Truex Jr.), Richard Petty Motorsports (#43-Aric Almirola) and BK Racing (#23-JJ Yeley). Tuesday’s session is closed to the public. There will be an open test Wednesday at the track. Charlotte Motor Speedway officials state that teams expected to test that day include Kahne, Truex, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray and about half a dozen other teams. Wednesday’s session is open to the public. Gates open at 9:00am. Testing is scheduled to run from 9:00am-12:00pm and from 1:00-5:00pm/et. The next scheduled test is April 7-8 at Richmond International Raceway. Four teams will test there. Each will have one car. Those teams testing will be Stewart-Haas Racing, JTG Daugherty, Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing. That begins a busy test period. Tire tests are scheduled April 13-15 at Kentucky Speedway and April 27-29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(NBC Sports)(3-10-2015)
  • Las Vegas TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Las Vegas drew a 4.3 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, up 5% from last year (4.1) but down 7% from 2013 (4.6). All five NASCAR on FOX telecasts this season, including the Sprint Unlimited and Daytona Pole Qualifying, have had increases in overnights. The race was the highest rated sporting event of the weekend in the metered markets – topping the Duke/North Carolina college basketball game on ESPN and final round of the PGA Tour at Doral, both of which earned a 2.6.(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily)(3-10-2015)

  • Arrest warrant issued in theft of Team Xtreme’s race car: An arrest warrant has been issued in the theft of Team Xtreme’s #44 NASCAR Sprint Cup car, which was stolen from a hotel parking lot Feb. 27. Sgt. Larry Oglesby of the Morrow (Ga.) Police Department, told NASCAR Talk that the warrant was issued Friday. Oglesby said the warrant was for a person of interest in the case who declined to be interviewed by police. Oglesby said he’s talked to the person’s attorney. The stock car and pickup truck have been recovered. The trailer remains missing. Among items not recovered include a spare race engine and various tools.(NBC Sports)(3-10-2015)
  • PIR considering SAFER upgrade to safety tire wall: NASCAR drivers apparently won’t know until after Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 if the tires stacked inside Phoenix International Raceway’s Turn 4, near pit entrance, will be replaced with a permanent SAFER barrier to soften impact against the concrete wall. Safety – specifically, increased use of so-called “soft” wall technology – has been a major issue since Kyle Busch suffered leg and foot fractures last month at Daytona International Speedway. He’s sidelined indefinitely. Jeff Gordon avoided injury after a hard hit two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Both struck walls not protected with SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers, first used at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002, which reduces G-force impact kinetic energy by over 50%. A NASCAR official last week recommended the 160-foot long tire wall – four high and two deep – after a track inspection. “The way we’re going to approach this is work closely with NASCAR and ISC (International Speedway Corp., PIR’s parent) on a thorough and updated review,” said PIR President Bryan Sperber. “We’ll be thoughtful about it. It will be a constant evolution.” SAFER costs about $500 a foot. Race cars have sometimes bounced off tire walls and back into oncoming traffic. “If that was a concern, it wasn’t mentioned to me,” Sperber said.(Arizona Republic)(3-10-2015)

  • Financial reports provide insight into seating capacities for tracks that host NASCAR races:Each year, publicly traded companies that own race tracks must list their grandstand seating capacities. International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 tracks that NASCAR races, issued its report in January. Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns eight tracks NASCAR races, and Dover Motorsports Inc., which owns one track with Sprint Cup races, issued their reports last week. With those reports, a list of seating capacities can be compiled for the NASCAR circuit. Only Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway – both privately owned – do not release such information. The Indianapolis Star has reported the seating capacity at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as 235,000. Among tracks that report seating capacity, Daytona International Speedway remains the largest at 147,000 – but that won’t last much longer. Once the Daytona Rising project is completed, Daytona will have about 101,000 seats. That project is set to be completed in time for next year’s Daytona 500. Six of the top 10 tracks that report seating capacities are owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., including Bristol Motor Speedway, which is set to take over the No. 1 spot next year with its seating capacity of 146,000.(see more at NBC Sports)(3-10-2015)

  • Tony Furr named crew chief for Cassill: Tony Furr, a veteran crew chief with experience across several NASCAR series, will serve as interim crew chief for driver Landon Cassill and the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller #01 Chevy in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Furr has worked for several of the top organizations in NASCAR and will give Cassill a veteran’s approach from the top of the pit wagon. “I’m excited to have Tony come on board for this week’s race,” said team owner Johnny Davis. “He’s been around the sport for a long time and knows all the ins and outs of racing. We’ll go to Phoenix with a really good shot at doing well.” Former crew chief Dave Fuge is no longer with the JD Motorsports team.(JD Motorsports)(3-10-2015)
  • Lilly sponsorship at Roush estimated at $5 million: Sponsoring #16-Ryan Reed’s team is a relatively small investment for Lilly. Though it’s partnering with the ADA, ADA officials said Lilly is footing the bill-which sources close to the deal pegged at $5 million annually. Lilly will spend as much to activate and promote its sponsorship-through activities at NASCAR tracks before and during races and hospital visits featuring Reed in NASCAR markets-as it spends on the deal itself, said sources familiar with the deal. That would bring Lilly’s annual spend to $10 million. While nothing to sneeze at, that amount pales next to the $445 million Nielsen Media Research estimates Lilly spends a year on direct-to-consumer marketing. Spending on the Reed sponsorship could increase dramatically. ADA’s Wosahla is hopeful Lilly will follow Reed as he advances to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. A primary sponsorship there would likely cost $25 million a year. Last July, Lilly showed its commitment to NASCAR by becoming title sponsor for the Xfinity Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now called the Lilly Diabetes 250. As far as following Reed to the Cup Series, Lilly’s Mason said there’s interest, but he wouldn’t comment further. “We’re evaluating every possibility,” he said. “We certainly want Ryan to fulfill his dream of driving at NASCAR’s highest level.”(Indanapolis Business Journal)(3-10-2015)
  • PIR’s Park ‘N Ride program available for fans: Phoenix International Raceway has announced the operating schedule for its Park ‘N Ride program – encouraging race fans to take advantage of the convenient shuttle service when traveling to and from the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 15. After much success in recent years, the Park ‘N Ride program returns to Ak-Chin Pavilion, located just two blocks north of I-10 on 83rd Avenue (Exit 135) at 2121 N. 83rd Ave. All NASCAR fans heading to PIR are encouraged to enter at the 83rd Avenue entrance and park on Pavilion grounds, from where shuttle bus service (provided by First Student Charter of Phoenix) will take you to the Gate 4 area at the track.
    Cost for parking and shuttle services to PIR will remain at $7 per car. Those with a PIR-issued parking pass may ride for free. Shuttle buses will take guests to PIR via preferential traffic routes, offering guests an earlier arrival to the facility. With the green flag dropping on the CampingWorld.com 500 at 12:30 p.m. PST, Park ‘N Ride services will be available for 12 hours – from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. – on Sunday, giving all NASCAR fans an alternate transportation option before and after the race. The first shuttle will depart at 7:30 a.m., with PIR gates open to the public at 8 a.m.
    Tickets for the CampingWorld.com 500 are available starting at $25; and tickets and pit passes may be purchased online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the track ticket office.(PIR)(3-10-2015)
  • PIR invites fans to leave a note for Gordon: NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon left his mark on Phoenix International Raceway – literally – when he tore up the first chunks of asphalt at the start/finish line in April, 2011 to kick off PIR’s repaving project. With Gordon embarking on his final full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, PIR is inviting fans to write a note to him on the start/finish line prior to the CampingWorld.com 500 on Sunday, March 15. Tickets for the CampingWorld.com 500 are available starting at $25; and tickets and pit passes may be purchased online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the track ticket office.(PIR)(3-10-2015)
  • Pocono Raceway and ID.me introduce First Responder Benefits: Pocono Raceway announced they will offer a 10% ticket discount for first responders through their existing partner ID.me. First responders will also be able to receive additional benefits from dozens of others event venues and online retailers through ID.me’s award-winning identity verification service. Pocono and ID.me began their partnership in May 2014 by first offering this verification service to U.S. military servicemen and women. The enhancement of their partnership now includes first responders, who will be able to instantaneously verify themselves against an authoritative database, and, once verified, enjoy the benefits offered at www.ID.me. Founded by two Army Rangers, ID.me is a digital identity network that enables brands to securely offer exclusive promotions to specific communities by verifying the consumer’s group affiliation. Previously, retailers had no way to offer special discounts online for groups, as there was no widely adopted solution where brands could easily see if a consumer was eligible for a particular promotion. To take advantage of the benefits to upcoming races at Pocono Raceway, first responders can visit poconoraceway.com and get verified with ID.me to receive the discount.(Pocono Raceway)(3-10-2015)


    News from March 9, 2015


  • #66 Premium Motorsports to skip Phoenix and other races UPDATE: driver Mike Wallace posted on Facebook: “Looking for additional racing (driving) opportunities Cup, Xfinity, Trucks. The 66 NASCAR Sprint Cup series car I was driving for Premium Motorsports has decided not to field the car at every race starting with not going to Phoenix next week and no additional race schedule at this time. I enjoyed qualifying 16th and making the Daytona 500 with the team.” The team has failed to qualify for the last two races at Atlanta and Las Vegas after making the Daytona 500. The other Premium Motorsports team is the #62 Chevy that Brendan Gaughan will drive for the rest of the Sprint Cup series season.(3-8-2015)
    UPDATE: Tanner Berryhill posted a press release on his Facebook page: Weeks after Tanner Berryhill was forced out of full-time NASCAR XFINITY Series competition due to a lack of sponsorship with his family-owned car, he is set to attempt his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway with Premium Motorsports in the #66 Chevy. Berryhill, 21, has 40 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts since his debut in the series in 2012. 2014 saw full-time competition for Berryhill as he competed in the 33-event schedule, finishing 22nd in points. Berryhill earned a career and team best finish for Vision Racing of 17th at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Bixby, Oklahoma native will be the first driver from the state of Oklahoma to run in NASCAR’s premier series since 1981. “I’m really excited about the opportunity Premium Motorsports has given me in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix. This is a big step in my career, and I plan on making the most of it when I hit the track this weekend,” said Berryhill.(Tanner Berryhill Facebook)(3-9-2015)

  • #51 car found to be too light after race: Following the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR announced that the #51 HScott Motorsports Chevy, driven by Justin Allgaier, was light on the scales in post-race inspection. Some weight was found on the track, and NASCAR said it will check to see if it came off the car. Along with Allgaier’s car, NASCAR will take the winning #4 Stewart-Haas Racing car (to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC), driven by Kevin Harvick, and the runner-up #78 Furniture Row ride of Martin Truex Jr. Any infractions for the #51 team likely would be announced on Tuesday.(NASCAR.com)(3-9-2015)

  • What happened to Johnson at Vegas? #48-Jimmie Johnson, who led 46 laps early in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, had tire problems twice during the race, amcking the wall both times, resulting in a 41st finishing spot, Johnson’s comment:
    Q) DO YOU KNOW THE CAUSE OF THE RIGHT FRONT TIRE BLOWING?
    Johnson: “Yeah, the first one, they said the bead blew on it. We don’t have any brake temp here, so I don’t know what could have caused that. That’s kind of a freak deal. The second one, it went soft. So there could have been some damage that caused it or some rub or something like that, and it went soft going into Turn 3 and I hit the wall, unfortunately. I’m disappointed. We certainly had an awesome race car. I wish we could have won this Koblat race in this Kobalt car, but we’ll come back next week.”(Team Chevy)(3-9-2015)
  • Las Vegas Race and Commercial Breakdown: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:30 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:36 PM (all times are EST). Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 116
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 56
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 103
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 54
    Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 13
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 8
    Number of times Fox utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 2
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast (including company logos ‘floating’ in corners of the screen): 80
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min. 40 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:30 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:30 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 186
    Minutes of race broadcast: 143
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 43
    Minutes of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials (split-screen): 5
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 1
    Total race brdcst time 143 Total comm. brdcst time 43
    See full reports, sponsor links, much more details at CawsnJaws.com.(3-9-2015)

  • Would Kurt Busch be Chase-eligible if he returns?: Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas on Sunday said Chase-eligibility was a factor in whether Kurt Busch, indefinitely suspended by NASCAR following domestic abuse allegations, would be allowed to return to the #41 Chevy. “At this time that’s really up to NASCAR,” Haas said. “Some of our concerns are, obviously, if he does come back, could we get in the Chase. So, those issues now kind of really reside with NASCAR.” The sanctioning body can grant exemptions for drivers who miss races. NASCAR gave exemptions to Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers, who had to sit out with medical problems. And NASCAR said SHR Tony Stewart, who missed three races last year after his sprint car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in an August race in upstate New York, would be eligible for the Chase if he won at Atlanta or Richmond – the two races he drove in before the field was set. Stewart did not notch a victory. Xfinity Series driver Regan Smith has driven the #41 for SHR in the first three races this season in place of Busch, suspended on Feb. 20.(USA Today), the #41 team is now currently 13 in owners points after 3 races. Regan Smith, would be 12th in drivers points if he was running for Sprint Cup Series points, but he is running for XFINITY Series points in 2015. (3-9-2015)

  • Allmendinger battles flu, finishes 6th: #47-AJ Allmendinger battled the flu – and 42 of NASCAR’s best to finish sixth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. After a trip to the infield care center for antibiotics, the driver of the #47 Clorox Chevy, remained in bed from about 2:00pm Saturday until it was time to attend the drivers meeting prior to the Kobalt 400. He acknowledged that had the race been held Saturday night, Allmendinger doesn’t know if he would have made it. But when it was time to strap in, Allmedinger gutted it out to a sixth-place finish. “We started out during the weekend and kept picking away at it and each session we got a little bit better and a little bit better,” said Allmedinger, who started 22nd on Sunday. “A lot of credit goes to the RCR (Richard Childress Racing) alliance. The 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and the 31 (Ryan Newman) were really fast all weekend. We kind of stole from them a little bit going into final practice. That helped us and really helped us today. Allmendinger credited the tire test he participated in for Goodyear here in January along with the RCR alliance in helping the #47 Clorox Chevy get up to speed particularly with the new rules package. Although intermediate tracks were a stumbling block for the team last season, Allmendinger has posted two top 10 finishes on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. After Allmendinger’s second top 10 of the season, he finished seventh at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend, he moved up to fifth in the point standings – a career-best after three races.(Motorsport)(3-9-2015)
  • XFINITY Entry List:There are 41 cars on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. A few notes:
    Jeff Green is back in the #10 for TriStar;
    Derek While will drive the #13;
    The #15 for Rick Ware is TBA;
    Matt Kenseth will drive the Joe Gibbs #20;
    Dylan Lupton will make his debut in the #25 for Athenian Motorsports;
    Carl Long will drive the #40;
    Brennan Poole returns to the #42 for HScott Motorsports;
    Charles Lewandoski will make his season debut in the #56 for Team Kapusta.(3-9-2015)
    See the complete list on the Phoenix entry list page.
  • Former Olympian Dan Henderson to serve as pace car driver at Phoenix: Two-time Olympian and current UFC star Dan Henderson will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official Toyota Camry Pace Car at the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15. Henderson’s appearance was the result of a partnership between PIR and Niner Sports & Entertainment. As the official pace car driver, the 44-year old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval. “I’m excited to get behind the wheel and pull out onto the track at Phoenix International Raceway and help start the CampingWorld.com 500,” Henderson said. “NASCAR drivers are the best in the world at what they do, and I can’t wait to see them in my rear view mirror just before they take the green flag. It’s a great honor and it’s going to be a huge thrill.” Henderson represented the United States in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. Tickets for the CampingWorld.com 500 on March 15 start at just $25. For tickets and information, visit PhoenixRaceway.com or call 866-408-RACE (7223)(Phoenix Raceway)(3-9-2015)
  • Daytona Rising March Project Update: Prepares to Remove Iconic Sprint Tower: After providing fans with a sneak preview of DAYTONA Rising during Budweiser Speedweeks 2015, Daytona International Speedway (DIS) is now preparing to ramp up construction once again. Shortly following the Daytona 200 Week at Daytona International Speedway, a 490-foot Manitowoc 2250 Crawler Crane will help to remove and disassemble the iconic Sprint Tower as part of a 30-day demolition process. The crane will remove 30 large individual sections of the tower (representing 1,000 gross tons of steel) and further disassemble the materials once they’re placed on the ground. More than 40 tractor trailers recently transported the massive crane to DIS where it was assembled and positioned to begin the demolition. “The removal of the Sprint Tower marks another huge milestone for the DAYTONA Rising project,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. “Construction will accelerate during the next few months as we continue to create the world’s first motorsports stadium.” Additional upcoming construction activities include: · Ongoing elevator and escalator installation · Development of hospitality areas/suites Race fans can follow the progress of the DAYTONA Rising project by visiting www.DAYTONARising.com.(DIS)(3-9-2015)


    News from March 8, 2015


  • Kevin Harvick wins at Las Vegas: #4-Kevin Harvick won the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 1st win at LVMS and his 29th career win. Harvick has won at least one race in six straight seasons. Harvick has won or finished 2nd in six straight races and has won four times in the last nine races
    #78-Truex Jr. finished 2nd followed by #31-Newman, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #11-Hamlin, #47-Allmendinger, #2-Keselowski, #42-Larson, #20-Kenseth and #22-Logano,.
    Harvick led the most laps of the race with 142 and took the Chase points lead, 9 points over #88-Earnhardt Jr.
    Pole winner #24-Gordon, was in a backup car and had to start from the rear of the field. Gordon ran into the rear of #26-Burton during the race doing damage to the nose, but recovered to finish 18th, leading one lap.
    There were 18 lead changes among 9 drivers. There were 6 cautions for 28 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 143.677 mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-8-2015)
  • Race Fast Facts – Las Vegas:
    #4-Kevin Harvick won the 18th Annual Kobalt 400, his 29th victory in 505 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his first victory and sixth top-10 finish in 15 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His previous best finish was second in 2010.
    This is the sixth consecutive race where Harvick has finished either first or second, extending back to the race at Texas Motor Speedway in 2014. The last time a driver had six consecutive top-two finishes was Jeff Gordon in 1996.
    #78-Martin Truex Jr. (second) posted his third top-10 finish in ten races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . It is his third top-10 finish in 2015.
    #31-Ryan Newman (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 15 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    #9-Kevin Harvick leads the point standings by 9 points over #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-8-2015)
  • 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
    [after Las Vegas, race 3 of 36]
    (by wins, then by points)
    1) #4-Kevin Harvick [1 win], 134
    2) #22-Joey Logano [1 win], 123, -11
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson [1 win], 91, -43
    4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 125, -9
    5) #78-Truex Jr., 118, -16
    6) #47-AJ Allmendinger, 100, -34
    7) #5-Kasey Kahne, 92, -42
    8) #11-Denny Hamlin, 87, -47
    9) #13-Casey Mears, 87, -47
    10) #20-Matt Kenseth, 85, -49
    11) #16-Greg Biffle, 84, -50
    12) #31-Ryan Newman, 82, -52
    13) #27-Paul Menard, 82, -52
    14) #15-Clint Bowyer, 81, -53
    15) #43-Aric Almirola, 80, -54
    16) #2-Brad Keselowski, 77, -57
    (ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc)
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-8/9-2015)
  • Las Vegas Sunday Pre-Race Schedule:
    1:30 pm: NSCS Driver/Crew Chief Meeting
    2:36 pm: Intro Honorary Starter: Ben Martinez, Store Manager, Lowe’s
    2:37 pm: Intro Grand Marshal: Rascal Flatts
    2:56 pm: USAF Enlistment Ceremony
    3:05 pm: Driver Introductions
    3:30 pm: Presentation of Colors by: Nellis AFB Honor Guard
    3:30:20 pm: Invocation by: Kurt Schulke, Chaplain, LVMS
    3:31 pm: National Anthem by: Rascal Flatts
    3:32:30 pm.: Fly-By: US Air Force Thunderbirds
    3:37:30 pm: “Drivers, Start Your Engines” by: Rascal Flatts
    3:46 pm: Start of the Kobalt 400
    eastern time (NASCAR.com)

  • #66 Premium Motorsports to skip Phoenix and other races: driver Mike Wallace posted on Facebook: “Looking for additional racing (driving) opportunities Cup, Xfinity, Trucks. The 66 NASCAR Sprint Cup series car I was driving for Premium Motorsports has decided not to field the car at every race starting with not going to Phoenix next week and no additional race schedule at this time. I enjoyed qualifying 16th and making the Daytona 500 with the team.” The team has failed to qualify for the last two races at Atlanta and Las Vegas after making the Daytona 500. The other Premium Motorsports team is the #62 Chevy that Brendan Gaughan will drive for the rest of the Sprint Cup series season.(3-8-2015)

  • Las Vegas Notes & Facts – Sunday – race:
    · There have been 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    · 10 different drivers have won at LVMS, led by Jimmie Johnson (four). Three other drivers have multiple wins at Las Vegas: Matt Kenseth (three), Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards (each have two).
    · Three drivers have won consecutive races at Las Vegas: Jeff Burton (1999, 2000); Matt Kenseth (2003, 2004) and Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the three to win three consecutive races (2005, 2006 and 2007).
    · Three reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Las Vegas the following season: Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson is the only one to do it multiple times (2007, 2010) and Tony Stewart (2012).
    · Three drivers have won at Las Vegas and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (2001), Matt Kenseth (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2007 and 2010).
    · Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Las Vegas with seven, followed by Hendrick Motorsports with five.
    · Only two car numbers have produced three or more Las Vegas NSCS wins:
    o #48 – Jimmie Johnson (2005-2007 and 2010)
    o #99 – Jeff Burton (1999, 2000) Carl Edwards (2008, 2011)
    · There has been one green-white-checkered finish at Las Vegas: 2006 (270/267).
    · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas was the (3/12/2006) race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.045 second.(NASCAR)(3-8-2015)

  • Another driver hits unprotected wall: For the third week in a row, a NASCAR race car went headfirst into a concrete wall unprotected by a SAFER barrier, though this time the driver was uninjured. On a Lap 173 restart during Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ryan Blaney got loose on the bottom lane, his Team Penske Ford drifting up into the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Erik Jones. After the contact, Jones lost control of his car, which first swung left and then turned back to the right, where it went hard headfirst into a concrete wall. Jones was able to get under the car on his own and appeared uninjured.
    Last week, Jeff Gordon crashed headfirst into a concrete infield wall at Atlanta Motor Speedway after being hit by Jamie McMurray and turned down the track. During the same incident, Denny Hamlin hit a section of the outside wall that had no SAFER barrier. In the season-opening XFINITIY race at Daytona International Speedway last month, JGR driver Kyle Busch suffered a compound fracture of the lower-right leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot when his car hit an unprotected infield wall. Numerous tracks have begun programs to improve safety, either by adding more SAFER barriers, tire walls and other enhancements. Gordon has a meeting with NASCAR next week to discuss safety.(FoxSports)(3-8-2015)

  • RCR Partners with Hitachi Power Tools as Preferred Power Tool Supplier: Richard Childress Racing has entered into a partnership with Hitachi Koki USA, Ltd (d.b.a. Hitachi Power Tools) to become the preferred Power Tool Supplier of RCR. Hitachi Power Tools, based in Braselton, GA, is a premier manufacturer of professional grade power tools and accessories for residential, commercial construction, tradesmen and do-it-yourselfers. The partnership debuted during the recent Speedweeks activities at Daytona International Speedway.
    “In an industry driven by performance, it’s important for RCR to align ourselves with companies and brands that are proven and can be integrated into our team’s success,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. “This partnership with Hitachi Power Tools aligns with our race teams as we rely heavily on the use of durable and advanced power tools both at our race shop and at the race track, and we can showcase Hitachi’s extensive line of performance power tools.”
    Hitachi is keenly focused on producing the most technologically advanced power tools on the market. Their commitment to technological excellence has resulted in making the Hitachi brand of power tools superior in the industry and a perfect fit for the demanding environment of NASCAR.
    “This is a really powerful partnership for Hitachi Power Tools,” said Joe Leffler, Vice President Sales & Marketing for Hitachi Power Tools. “I am thrilled RCR has chosen to partner with Hitachi and it’s a tremendous honor to provide all the power tools for RCR’s race shops, the race track garages, and on pit road. RCR is built on performance, innovation and execution. Our Hitachi power tools will provide the RCR teams with all the technology, speed, precision, durability and power that is possible to execute their jobs successfully.”(RCR)(3-8-2015)

  • NASCAR Test Fest to Rev Up Fans at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday: Fans will have the chance to see some of NASCAR’s biggest names take to the track Wednesday, March 11, as well as get special ticket offers and an autograph from NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson as part of NASCAR Test Fest at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Grandstand admission is free for fans to watch more than a dozen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams participate in this crucial one-day open test at the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway. Teams will be trying different set-ups to prepare for the 10 Days of Thunder May race events including the May 16 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the May 24 Coca-Cola 600.
    Among the drivers expected to participate in the on-track test session are 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #4-Kevin Harvick, current Daytona 500 champion #22-Joey Logano, 2014 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner #1-Jamie McMurray, 2012 Coca-Cola 600 winner #5-Kasey Kahne and more. The driver lineup is subject to change. In addition to watching the test, fans will be able to get an autograph from Johnson from 11:00am/et to 12:00noon/et and try their luck with spin-to-win, one-day ticket offers in the ticket office, including big discounts on camping and half-price Hisense 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race tickets.
    While at the track, families can also enjoy interactive games at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Van and appearances by Lug Nut, the world’s fastest mascot, as well as test drive the members-only Speedway Club for lunch. Testing will run from 9:00am to 5:00pm/et, with a break for lunch at noon. The frontstretch grandstands will open at 9:00am for the public to enjoy the test session. Fans should enter through gate 5A, by the main ticket office. For ticket information for the 10 Days of Thunder in May, contact the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(3-8-2015)

  • Military Family Honored by Eckrich, Smith’s and Aric Almirola: Thanks to Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, Retired Army Specialist Blaine Sullivan and his family were honored by NASCAR driver Aric Almirola Saturday before the race at Las Vegas. Sullivan and his family were greeted at the race track by the Richard Petty Motorsports team and escorted to the garage area to meet the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner. Almirola then surprised the family with a Smith’s gift card for $1,000 towards the purchase of groceries, courtesy of Eckrich. The family will also have the opportunity to watch as Almirola races on Sunday afternoon. Eckrich, a sponsor of the famed #43, has previously partnered with Almirola for similar events to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Sullivan and his wife have received support through Operation Homefront’s Hearts of Valor program, which provides support for our Nation’s post 9/11 wounded, ill and injured warriors. Almirola, who was born on Eglin Air Force base in Florida, knows the importance of giving back to military families.
    “I’m proud to work with Eckrich to honor our military families,” said Almirola. “I have two children of my own and I can’t imagine how hard it is for our military families. This is a great way for Eckrich to assist them and I’m glad that I can do my part to help.” Eckrich, in its fourth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, has already donated more than $750,000 to the charity since 2012. Eckrich is again donating up to $250,000 this year through the contribution of five cents from each purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4. “Like Eckrich, Smith’s and Aric Almirola are great supporters of our military families,” said Chuck Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for John Morrell Food Group. “We are proud and honored to be able to show our appreciation with a once in a lifetime NASCAR experience and $1,000 in free groceries at Smith’s.”(Breaking Limits for Richard Petty Motorsports)(3-8-2015)
  • Eldora Speedway’s website hacked: The website of a dirt track owned by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart was hacked Saturday, and a message on the site credits the Islamic State. The message was on the webpage for Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio less than half an hour before it was removed by Eldora officials. Track general manager Roger Slack said authorities had not confirmed that the incident involved an actual message from the Islamic radical group. Slack said officials investigating the incident told him that the hacking apparently impacted several websites based in the Cincinnati-Dayton, Ohio area, including two well-known restaurants.(USA Today)(3-8-2015)
  • Toyota named official vehicle of Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Toyota has joined forces with Las Vegas Motor Speedway to become the speedway’s new official vehicle. The multi-year deal was announced Friday by officials from the speedway and Toyota. “Toyota has had incredible success in all forms of motorsports, and we’re elated to welcome it as the new official vehicle of Nevada’s largest sports facility,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “We pride ourselves for being the most diverse racing facility in the world, and Toyota’s success in NASCAR, NHRA, open-wheel and off-road racing makes this a perfect partnership.”
    Toyota and Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A. (TRD) entered NASCAR racing in 2004 when they began fielding trucks in the Camping World Truck Series. Three years later, Toyota moved into the Sprint Cup Series and has won 65 races in that span, including Matt Kenseth’s win in the 2013 Kobalt 400 at LVMS marking the 50th NSCS victory for the Camry. TRD was founded in 1979 in Southern California and made its racing debut in American motorsports in 1983 and went on to dominate off-road racing over 20 years and enter open-wheel racing with CART. In 2002, Toyota entered the NHRA and a year later joined IndyCar and took Gil de Ferran to victory in the Indianapolis 500.
    “This was a great opportunity to partner Las Vegas Motor Speedway where we’ll see the bold, new Toyota Camry lead the field to the green flag this weekend,” said Paul Doleshal, motorsports marketing manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “We’re looking forward to showcasing the new production Camry and our redesigned Camry race car as the series begins the west coast swing.” As part of the partnership, Toyota Camry’s will pace the field to start this year’s Boyd Gaming 300 and Kobalt 400 on March 7 and 8 respectively.(Toyota)(3-8-2015)
  • Nationwide Extends Partnership With Speedway Motorsports: Nationwide is continuing its long-time relationship with Speedway Motorsports, renewing its status as the official insurance company of Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway through 2017. In addition to its partnership with Charlotte and Bristol Motor Speedways, Nationwide will feature at-track infield hospitality for their business partners at four SMI NASCAR event weekends throughout the 2015 race season. The new Nationwide mobile hospitality unit will be activated at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 6-8, Charlotte Motor Speedway May 15-24, Kentucky Speedway July 9-11 and Bristol Motor Speedway August 19-22.(SMI)(3-8-2015)


    News from March 7, 2015



    ESPN.com’s Racecast – Live Coverage and Chat
    Racing Live! on ESPN.com
    Listen Live Online at Performance Racing Network
    Jayski.com Twitter – race updates

  • Race Coverage of the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, March 8, 2015.
    Television (TV): FOX at 3:30 pm/et; Pre-Race show at 3:00pm/et; green flag approx. 3:46pm/et
    RadioPerformance Racing Network (PRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, March 9 at 10:00am/et on FS1
  • Happy Hour (final) practice for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #48-Johnson 187.637
    #22-Logano 186.916
    #13-Mears 186.458
    #78-Truex Jr. 186.438
    #4-Harvick 186.342
    Most laps run: #48-Johnson, 47; three drivers with 44: #2-Keselowski, #11-Hamlin, #33-Scott
    slowest: #62-Gaughan 176.974 & #98-Wise 178.843
    notes: The pole winner, #24-Gordon got some damage after #10-Patrick spun, Gordon got into the wall, doing damage to the #24 Chevy, Gordon will go to a backup car and have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Sunday. Also, late in practice #18-Ragan slapped the wall and the team will pull out the backup car.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Las Vegas Happy Hour speeds page (pdf).(3-7-2015)

  • Pole winner, Gordon, wrecks in Happy Hour at Las Vegas, goes to backup: Polesitter #24-Jeff Gordon couldn’t avoid hitting #10-Danica Patrick after she lost control of her car exiting Turn 2 in the closing minute of Happy Hour at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. “Danica spun out and we hit her,” Gordon said. “Oh my (expletive) god,” replied crew chief Alan Gustafson. “It shouldn’t be too bad, just the right front,” Gordon said. “Isn’t she smart enough to know when (indiscernible) to watch out,” Gustafson added. Gordon scored his 79th pole on Friday for the Kobalt 400. He was 14th on the speed chart after posting a lap of 185.306 mph. He was on stickers tires at the time when Patrick lost control of her car. “The right front fender is pretty bad,” spotter Eddie D’Hondt said from above the track. “Gosh, darn it.”
    “We’ll have to get a backup,” Gustafson concluded. Gordon wasn’t alone. David Ragan also had an issue and slapped the right rear of the #18 M&Ms Toyota. “Got in a little too high in the gray stuff,” Ragan radioed to the crew. Ragan will also go to a backup car.(Motorsport)
    AND Pole-sitter #24-Jeff Gordon will go to a backup car after it was damaged when #10-Danica Patrick’s car spun late in Saturday’s final practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Patrick spun and Gordon reported damage to his car. Gordon’s spokesperson confirmed on Twitter that Gordon will go to a backup car. Gordon will start at the rear of the field because of the move. Gordon raced his backup car last season at Chicago, Charlotte and Texas. He finished second at Chicagoland and Charlotte during the Chase. He was racing for the lead late at Texas before contact with #2-Brad Keselowski saddled Gordon with a 29th-place finish.
    Also, #18-David Ragan, driving for the injured Kyle Busch, hit the Turn 2 wall in the final minutes of the practice session. The Joe Gibbs Racing team rolled out a backup car for Ragan.(NBC Sports)(3-7-2015)
  • First Saturday practice for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #48-Johnson 191.891
    #31-Newman 189.773
    #4-Harvick 189.667
    #22-Logano 189.620
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 189.394
    Most laps run: #42-Larson, 36; #20-Kenseth & #21-Blaney, 35
    slowest: #40-Cassill 176.765 & #98-Wise 181.159
    notes: with less then 10 minutes to go, #43-Almirola spun out in turn 2, blew two tires but no damage to the car.
    Happy Hour (final) practice is scheduled for 2:30-3:25pm/et and will be aired on FoxSports1.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Las Vegas practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-7-2015)
  • Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post them] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the Las Vegas Race Info page – Chassis selection area.

  • Gordon to meet with NASCAR about Safety: #24-Jeff Gordon met with members of the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and discussed may topics including the further installation of SAFER barriers. The transcript in part:
    Q) WHAT DO YOU THINK THESE TRACKS SHOULD BE DOING WHILE THEY ARE LOOKING AT PLACES TO PUT MORE SOFT WALLS? 
    Gordon: “I think it’s important to note that the tracks and NASCAR, I know they are doing a lot to put as much effort into answering the question what can we do right away? You see it here. You saw it last week. But there is only so much that can be done in a short period of time. That is what I want to see. I have a meeting with NASCAR next week. I wasn’t able to do it this week, but I have a meeting with them next week. I’m looking forward to getting together with them to hear a little bit more detail in that progress. I don’t want to allude to too much because I have just enough details to get myself in trouble by bringing them up because I don’t have the full scope of it. I would prefer to have the full scope of it. I think that the most important thing is just to continue to see progress.”
    “The one thing that I would question is when did SAFER barriers start being put at race tracks and what was the plan for them to be complete and where are we in that plan. I was under the impression when they started going in it was going to be a three or four year plan to complete the SAFER barriers in every wall that needed to have a SAFER barrier. I don’t think anybody expected them to have SAFER barriers around every wall day one. I think I’m realistic to know that they can’t just have it next week. It takes a while to manufacturer them. There are only a couple of groups or distributors or however you want to put it. The people that make them that are certified to even do it. My question is what is the time frame to have those built and installed? I think everybody knows it’s a priority, but it seems to be kind of pushed further a long since Kyle’s (Busch) accident. Where were we prior to Kyle’s accident on that plan?”
    Q) WITHOUT GOING INTO ANYTHING PROPRIETARY, THIS MEETING YOU’RE HAVING WITH NASCAR, DID THEY INVITE YOU? DID YOU ASK TO SEE THEM? DO YOU KNOW IF THEY’RE SEEING OTHER DRIVERS?
    Gordon: “I reached out to them not necessarily for a meeting, but I just reached out to them to discuss some things and that being one of them. And they said they’d like to share some information with you when you have a chance. They have been sharing a lot of information with drivers a lot more than I’ve ever seen in the past. So, I’ve been pretty happy with that. This just happened. And whatever comes out of that, I’ll share with other drivers and my team, for sure.”
    INAUDIBLE
    Gordon: “Whoever shows up; it might be me by myself sitting there. I don’t know.”
    (Team Chevy Transcript)(3-7-2015)

  • Keselowski crew caught in attempt to manipulate fenders: Brad Keselowski was pulled from pit road just minutes before qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after NASCAR officials discovered the Team Penske crew had pulled out the fenders around the wheel wells on the #2 Miller Ford. Keselowski’s crew was forced to return to NASCAR’s template inspection room prior to returning to the track for the first round of qualifying, missing the first six minutes of the session.
    “We got to the final round I just couldn’t make anything of it,” said Keselowski. “It was a decent effort today. It is better than starting last.” In regards to being called back to tech, “I honestly don’t know enough to speak intelligently about it so I will let the smart guys do that part.”
    “They just wanted to see it pushed in a little bit,” said crew chief Paul Wolfe. “I’m not sure (if it was changed). The officials were out on the grid after the guys got through inspection to make sure guys don’t have their skirts out too far. They didn’t like how wide ours was and we had to come back (through inspection) and push it in and then get on our way.” NASCAR’s Kerry Tharp said teams were warned prior to Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway not to pull out the side skirts following inspection and prior qualifying. Tharp would not speculate as to what/or if penalties would be forthcoming. Asked if he was expecting any penalties, Wolfe said, “No, I’m not expecting any.”(Motorsport)(3-7-2015)

  • Las Vegas Notes & Facts – Saturday – drivers:
    · 135 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas; 100 in more than one.
    · Two drivers have participated in all 17 races: Jeff Burton (now retired) and Jeff Gordon.
    · Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series in runner-up finishes at Las Vegas with three; followed by Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart with two each.
    · Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart lead the series in top-five finishes at Las Vegas with six each.
    · Mark Martin has 10 top-10 finishes, more than any other driver. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with nine top-10 finishes.
    · Carl Edwards leads the series in average finish at LVMS with a 9.200; Jimmie Johnson (9.231) is the only other active driver with an average finish in the top 10.
    · Aric Almirola made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2007.
    · Eight of the 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Las Vegas participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Mark Martin (1998; inaugural event) is the only driver to win at Las Vegas in his first appearance.
    · Tony Stewart competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway 13 times before winning (2012); the longest span of any the nine winners. Stewart is the only driver to have made 10 or more attempts before his first win at LVMS.
    · Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Las Vegas without visiting Victory Lane with 15.
    · No driver has won the first three races of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The five drivers that have won the first two events of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season are: Matt Kenseth (2009), Jeff Gordon (1997), David Pearson (1976), Bob Welborn (1959) and Marvin Panch (1957).
    · Danica Patrick and Shawna Robinson are the only two female drivers to compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
    (NASCAR)(3-7-2015)

    Wendell Scott 1st start

  • Honoring Wendell Scott at Las Vegas: The recognition of newly inducted NASCAR Hall of Fame member Wendell Scott continues this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where all teams in Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series will be given decals commemorating Scott’s first start in NASCAR’s top series. On Mar. 4, 1961 at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, S.C., Scott made his first start in what was then the NASCAR Grand National Series. He finished 17th, retiring because of an oil pressure problem after 52 of 200 laps. Honoring Scott with decals commemorating his first start during race weekends in early March is a tradition that has continued since its inception in 2010. The first African-American driver to win a race in NASCAR’s top series (Dec. 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla.), Scott was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-7-2015)

  • Carsforsale.com returns to sponsor Cassill at Las Vegas: Carsforsale.com, one of the Internet’s largest online automotive inventory websites, will return as the primary sponsor of the #40 Carsforsale.com Chevry with Landon Cassill and Hillman Smith Motorsports in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Building on a relationship established in 2014, this is the second of six primary races for the #40 Carsforsale.com Chevy this racing season. “We are very proud to have the Carsforsale.com name on the #40 Chevrolet this weekend in Las Vegas,” said Sean Coffman of Carsforsale.com. “This team has both talent and heart which we are confident will show on the track this weekend.”
    “It’s been a tough start to the season, but we know we have fast race cars and the improvements we’ve made in the off-season are paying off, we just haven’t have the finishing results to show for it,” said Cassill. “The switch to ECR engines have elevated our on-track performance and I can’t think of a better place to go to change our luck than Las Vegas.”
    A partnership that includes six primary races in 2015, Carsforsale.com is showcased on the #40 Hillman Racing Chevy for the second of six races this season with additional races at: Kansas in May, Michigan in June, Bristol in August and Talladega in October.(Mike Hillman Racing), see an image of the car on the #40 Team Schemes page.(3-7-2015)
  • Sad News – Brian Hilderbrand: Brian Hilderbrand was an outstanding auto racing writer, and before that he was an outstanding baseball writer. Before that he was the best man at my wedding. Know this: The man could throw a hell of a bachelor party. I saw Brian at the speedway on Jan. 19 when some of the NASCAR drivers were in town to test tires and work on their setups. He asked if he could borrow my truck. He wanted to haul some stuff to the dump. Sure, I said. Let’s do it on a weekend. I’ll go with you. I think there’s a bar just around the corner from the waste disposal station. The next time I saw him was Jan. 27. It wasn’t a weekend. It was a Tuesday morning. Paramedics were carrying Brian from his home on a gurney. He had suffered a massive stroke. Brian Hilderbrand died Wednesday. He was 55 years old.(see full article at the Las Vegas Review Journal)(3-7-2015)
  • Austin Dillon wins XFINITY race at Las Vegas: #33-Austin Dillon won the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He dominated the weekend, running fastest in both practices, qualifying on the pole and leading 183 of the 200 laps in the race. #22-Ryan Blaney finished second, followed by #7-Regan Smith, #54-Denny Hamlin, #9-Chase Elliott, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #6-Darrell Wallace, Jr., #3-Ty Dillon, #42-Brennan Poole, and #18-Daniel Suarez.
    There were 6 cautions for 34 laps and 13 lead changes among 7 leaders. Complete results are on the Las Vegas race results page (pdf).
    (3-7-2015)
  • Las Vegas XFINITY Race Fast Facts:
    Austin Dillon, the 2013 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, won the 19th Annual Boyd Gaming 300, his third victory in 80 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    Dillon’s first two career wins both came at Kentucky Speedway in 2012.
    This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in three races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Ryan Blaney (second) posted his first top-10 finish in one races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2015.
    Regan Smith (third) posted his third top-10 finish in six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Darrell Wallace Jr. (seventh) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Ty Dillon leads the point standings by 6 points over Chris Buescher.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-7-2015)
  • XFINITY Driver standings following Las Vegas:
    1) #3-Ty Dillon, 119
    2) #60-Chris Buescher, 113, -6
    3) #16-Ryan Reed, 104, -15
    4) #6-Darrell Wallace, Jr., 103, -16
    5) #9-Chase Elliott, 95, -24
    6) #7-Regan Smith, 86, -33
    7) #62-Brendan Gaughan, 86, -33
    8) #44-David Starr, 83, -36
    9) #1-Elliott Sadler, 82, -37
    10) #4-Ross Chastain, 81, -38
    See complete owner and driver standings on the driver standings(pdf) and owner standings page (pdf).(3-7-2015)
  • Austin Dillon on XFINITY pole at Las Vegas: #33-Austin Dillon won the Coors Light pole for the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a speed of 184.332mph. #2-Brian Scott will start second. The rest of the top 10: #20-Erik Jones, #22-Ryan Blaney, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #7-Regan Smith, #9-Chase Elliott, #98-Aric Almirola, and #60-Chris Buescher. Did Not Qualify: #92-Dexter Bean & #97-Josh Reaume. The starting lineup is posted on the Las Vegas starting lineup page (pdf).(2-20-2015)
  • Las Vegas XFINITY Qualifying Notes:
    Austin Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 19th Annual Boyd Gaming 300 with a lap of 29.295 seconds, 184.332 mph.
    This is his 12th pole in 80 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his second pole and second top-10 start in 2015. He also won the pole for Daytona.
    This is his first pole in three races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Brian Scott (second) posted his second top-10 start of 2015 and his fifth in six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Erik Jones (third) posted his first top-10 start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . It is his second in three races this season.
    Darrell Wallace Jr. (12th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-7-2015)
  • Lowe’s, Stratosphere renew entitlements at LVMS: Extending relationships that have proven to be some of the strongest in all of NASCAR, Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials announced today that Lowe’s Companies Inc. and Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower have agreed to multi-year deals to remain the title sponsors of the Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Sup Series race and Stratosphere Pole Day. “We can’t say enough about the relationships we have with Lowe’s and Stratosphere,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “Lowe’s continues to build and grow within the sport, and Stratosphere continues to be one of the must-see properties for Las Vegas visitors and locals. These are the type of businesses we are proud to partner with here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.”
    “Kobalt has been the title sponsor of the Sprint Cup Series race here in Las Vegas for the past five years, and we are proud to continue our longtime support of NASCAR,” said Lawrence Lobpries, vice president of consumer marketing at Lowe’s. “We are looking forward to a great race this weekend and hope to see the Kobalt Chevrolet in Victory Lane with Team 48 on Sunday.”
    “We’re thrilled about renewing our partnership with LVMS,” said Stratosphere General Manager Paul Hobson. “Our customers are huge NASCAR fans and we’re proud to be official Pole Day sponsors.”(LVMS)(3-7-2015)
  • USO of NC offers free Bristol tickets to the Military: Diet Mountain Dew and the USO of North Carolina invite you to join them Sunday, April 19, 2015 for the Food City 500 race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard and a guest are invited to the sport’s most popular race track courtesy of Diet Mountain Dew. Due to the limited amount of tickets available, only 2 vouchers per military ID card holder will be distributed. Additional tickets can be purchased at a discounted military rate of $50 at the time that vouchers are redeemed at the Bristol Motor Speedway ticket booth. Vouchers must be printed out in order to be redeemed. To request tickets, visit: uso-nc.org.(VMG)(3-7-2015)


    News from March 6, 2015


  • Gordon wins Las Vegas pole: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Coors Light pole for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a track record speed of 194.679mph for his 2nd pole of 2015, 1st ever at Las Vegas and 79th of his career. Gordon has won 20 races from the pole out of 78 previous poles. Gordon now has two tracks he has not won a pole at: Kansas and Kentucky.
    #22-Logano is on the outside pole followed by #5-Kahne, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #42-Larson, #20-Kenseth, #31-Newman, #78-Truex Jr., #48-Johnson, #1-McMurray, #2-Keselowski and #14-Stewart.
    Missing the race were: #29-Sorenson, #44-Kvapil, #83-DiBenedetto, #66-Wallace and #32-Bliss.
    See the starting lineup, round-by-round qualifying results and more on Jayski.com’s Las Vegas Qualifying Page.(3-6-2015)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Las Vegas:
    #24-Jeff Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 18th Annual Kobalt 400 with a track qualifying record lap of 27.738 seconds, 194.679 mph. The previous record was set in 2014 by Joey Logano (27.939 sec/193.278 mph).
    This is his 79th pole in 764 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Gordon’s pole total is third on the all-time series poles list.
    This is his second pole and second top-10 start in 2015. Gordon also won the pole for the Daytona 500.
    This is his first pole in 18 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His previous best starting position at Las Vegas was second, twice (2003 and 2010).
    Gordon has now won at least one pole at every track except Kentucky Speedway and Kansas Speedway. He has started four races at Kentucky and 18 races at Kansas.
    #22-Joey Logano (second) posted his third top-10 start of 2015 and his fifth in seven races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway .
    #5-Kasey Kahne (third) posted his eighth top-10 start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . It is his second in three races this season.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-6-2015)
  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #24-Gordon chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #22-Logano took pit stall 2, right behind Gordon.
    #5-Kahne, who starts 3rd took the 31st pit stall, the 4th stall with an opening in front of it.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #42-Larson, who starts 5th.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-6-2015)
  • Second Round of Qualifying for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over after 10 scheduled minutes. The top seven drivers were faster than the old track record of 193.278mph, set in 2014 by Logano.
    #1-McMurray 193.833 (new track record)
    #42-Larson 192.898
    #24-Gordon 193.653
    #22-Logano 193.493
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 193.354
    the rest of the top 12: 5 20 48 78 31 2 14;
    out of the top 12 and not advancing to round 3: 18 19 43 16 13 4 11 15 10 47 33 27
    (3-6-2015)
  • First Round of Qualifying for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, after 15 scheduled minutes.
    #22-Logano 193.092
    #42-Larson 192.898
    #20-Kenseth 192.465
    #5-Kahne 192.181
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 192.137
    the rest of the top 24: 2 48 78 19 13 14 18 1 24 10 31 11 16 33 15 4 47 43 27;
    out of the top 24 and not advancing to round 2: 3 51 7 55 9 21 17 95 46 41 6 34 38 35 98 23 26 40 62 32 29 44 66 83
    Drivers who will miss the race: #29-Sorenson, #44-Kvapil, #83-DiBenedetto, #66-Wallace and #32-Bliss.
    (3-6-2015)

  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Friday, March 6, 2015 at 7:50pm/et.
    Television (TV): FS1, 7:30pm/et
    Radio: Live online at Performance Racing Network (PRN)
    Scheduled Qualifying Re-Air: Saturday, March 7 at 4:30am/et and 10:00am/et on FS1
  • Qualifying Order for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is posted. 48 cars/drivers are listed.
    The driver scheduled to line up first on pit road is #41-Smith.
    The driver scheduled to line up last on pit road is #83-DiBenedetto.
    Qualifying order is set by a random draw, held about an hour before the first practice.
    Cars are lined up on pit road, nose in, by this order.
    See the full qualifying order on Jayski.com’s Las Vegas Qualifying Page.(3-6-2015)
  • Friday practice for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, after 75 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #42-Larson 191.646
    #24-Gordon 191.225
    #2-Keselowski, 191.035
    #18-Ragan 190.975
    #1-McMurray 190.833
    Most laps run: #55-Vickers, 23; #26-Burton, 20
    slowest: #83-DiBennedetto 178.489 & #40-Cassill 178.944
    notes: ten minutes into practice, #46-Annett spun off turn 4, went thru the infield grass a bit, went to garage and Annett came out for practice later..
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Las Vegas practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-6-2015)

  • Chip Ganassi Racing makes changes on #42 pit crew: Chip Ganassi Racing has made major changes to one of their top cars. 4 of the 6 crewmen on #42-Kyle Larson have been moved to another team that CGR supplies crews for (#7, #46). Tire Changer Chris McMullen, Carrier Doug Riepe, Jackman Mark Jannsen and Changer Dennis Terry were all told this week that they would not be on the #42 in Las Vegas. No word which team these crew members went to.
    Taking their places on the #42 CGR team will be Front Changer Nick Krizmanich, Jackman Graham Molach, Rear Changer Steve Tautges and Rear Carrier Gene Cornwell. Krizmanich is a veteran changer who spent time at JGR #11 and Team Penske #2 before heading over to CGR. Tautges has been with CGR for a few years now after making the switch from HMS and Gene Cornwell was a longtime carrier on the #24 until making his move to CGR this year. Front Carrier Aaron Schields will stay on the fronts for the #42 as well as longtime Gasman “Big” Ed Watkins. Supposedly veteran tire changer Dennis Terry has chosen not to be moved to another CGR team and is now a free agent.(PitTalks)(3-6-2015)

  • NASCAR’s Higdon Says Sanctioning Body “Had To Act” By Suspending Busch: NASCAR vice president of Integrated Marketing Communications David Higdon told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” today that NASCAR had no choice but to suspend driver Kurt Busch in the aftermath of a Delaware Family Court’s decision to grant a no-contact order to former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. Higdon said NASCAR’s decision to suspend Busch during Speedweeks 2015 at Daytona was “based on what we heard from the Commissioner in the Family Court of the state of Delaware.”
    Asked about the timing of the decision – just days before the season-opening Daytona 500 — Higdon said, “We were called to task for waiting like we did. We utilized the patience that was necessary to gather the appropriate information. Then, unfortunately, the timing hit us during the Daytona 500 where Kurt received a court order from the Family Court of the state of Delaware. That was a 25-page document that we simply couldn’t ignore. It was a very clear case made by that court. When you have a legitimate court in Delaware make a statement like they did, it would have been ridiculous for us to not act. We had been very patient over three months. We were dragged through lot of mud during that period, but we also felt that it was only fair to the driver that the facts come through. When they ultimately did come… we had to act. We had to make a decision (and) it was unanimous among those involved in that decision.”
    Yesterday, the Delaware Department of Justice announced that it would not file criminal domestic assault charges against Busch, citing insufficient evidence to prosecute. “We knew there was a chance that the Attorney General could go one way or the other,” said Higdon, “(and) the Department of Justice was very clear in their statement. They determined that admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be inefficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed a crime. They were very clear on that, just as the Commissioner in the Family Court was very clear that they were satisfied with the evidence that was presented at the trial that there was a case here.”
    Higdon repeated the sanctioning body’s earlier statement that the decision by Delaware’s Department of Justice not charge Busch “certainly is something that is removing a significant impediment to his reinstatement.” He did not provide a timeline for Busch’s return, or comment on conditions the sanctioning body has placed on his reinstatement.(See more quotes/notes at Godfather Motorsportsand NBCSports)(3-6-2015)

  • SHR and Chevy comment on the Kurt Busch situation: SHR co-owner Gene Haas, whose machinery company (Haas Automation) has logos plastered across Busch’s firesuit and car, has been a staunch supporter of Busch but has not commented since the suspension. “We appreciate the thoroughness of the Dover Police Department’s investigation into the allegations made against Kurt Busch and respect the time the attorney general put into his decision,” SHR executive vice president Joe Custer said in a statement. “They are the experts in these matters and the decision not to pursue charges is an important one. We’re currently working with NASCAR to understand how this impacts Kurt’s reinstatement process.”
    Chevrolet Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Jim Campbell said the company has not reinstated its personal services agreement with Busch. “Our relationship with Kurt Busch remains unchanged,” Campbell said in a statement. “He remains suspended, and we will continue to monitor all aspects of this situation.”
    Regan Smith has filled in for the first two races of the season and will drive the #41 Haas Automation Chevy this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(NBC Sports), see Thursdays news, plus past news on the incident and court case on the #41 Team News and Links page.(3-6-2015)

  • Team and Millercoors celebrates 25-year partnership: Team Penske and long-time partner MillerCoors will embark on their 25th year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) competition together in 2015. They will celebrate the partnership throughout the season with promotions and special paint schemes. The two elite brands began their current NASCAR relationship at the outset of the 1991 NSCS season and the #2 Miller Lite look has become a racing icon ever since. To kick off the celebration of the 25th anniversary of primary sponsorship on the #2 Ford Fusion, Team Penske and Miller Lite have created a commemorative 25th anniversary logo that will be displayed on the hood of the Miller Lite Ford Fusion at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend and run on the TV panel of the Ford Fusion for each Miller Lite sponosred race in 2015.
    “It has been a privilege to race in NASCAR for the past 25 years with MillerCoors as a partner,” said Roger Penske. “Success in racing is based on having the right people and the right partners. MillerCoors is a company that shares those values with us, and it has shown in what we have been able to accomplish together over the last quarter century. Together we have won many races and brought home a championship. I am grateful for all that Miller has done for our team, and I look forward to our continued success.”
    Miller Lite and Team Penske will use the milestone occasion to involve fans as they will have the opportunity to vote on three different itinerations for the Miller Lite “Blue Deuce,” now affectionately dubbed the “Blanco Deuce.” The winning paint scheme will appear in the All-Star race at Charlotte in May. The anniversary will also be marked throughout the season with two additional significant paint schemes. First, the #2 will feature the iconic black and gold Miller Genuine Draft scheme for the Michigan race in August and then feature the red and white Miller High Life design that was featured in 1980s for the return to Darlington on Labor Day weekend.
    “Penske has been a great partner throughout the decades in driving the success of our brand, our drivers and the fan experience,” said Andy England, Chief Marketing Officer. “We’re honored and proud to be a part of such a long-standing, victory-filled relationship.” Over the course of its 25-year campaign with Team Penske, the #2 car has represented multiple beers in the Miller family and had several special paint schemes with different drivers. Starting in 1991, Rusty Wallace carried the torch for 15 years, amassing a remarkable 37 victories for the Miller Genuine Draft, Miller and Miller Lite brands. The #2 Miller Lite Blue Deuce saw action from 2006 to 2010 with Kurt Busch, who notched eight victories during his term.
    In 2011, Brad Keselowski assumed command of the #2 Miller Lite car and, just one year later, took it to the pinnacle of stock car racing – the NSCS championship – marking a first for both Team Penske and MillerCoors. In the time since, Keselowski has continued to build upon the brand’s excellence and the team’s heritage by accruing 15 victories, seven poles, and 49 top-five finishes. “It is remarkable that Team Penske and Miller have been racing together for 25 years,” said Keselowski. “It is definitely an honor for me to be able to drive a car that has such a rich and storied tradition of excellence. I look forward to continuing that tradition and will do my best to keep the #2 Miller Lite Ford at the front.” The partnership between Team Penske and MillerCoors actually spans more than 30 years, dating back to the organization’s IndyCar program as well as sponsorship of race tracks formerly owned by Penske Corporation, making it one of the most enduring and strongest sponsor-team relationships in all of sports.(Team Penske), see images of both cars on the #2 Team Schemes page.(3-6-2015)

  • Las Vegas Notes & Facts – Friday – poles:
    · Dale Jarrett won the inaugural pole with a speed of 168.224 mph (32.773 secs.).
    · 11 drivers have poles at LVMS, led by Kasey Kahne with three (2004, 2007 and 2012).
    · Kyle Busch is the only driver to win consecutive poles at LVMS from (2008-’09).
    · Las Vegas-native Kyle Busch became the first and only driver to win from the pole, in 2009.
    · Only three LVMS races (17.6%) have been won from the front row: Kyle Busch, 2009 (pole); Carl Edwards, 2008 (second-place); Brad Keselowski, 2014 (second-place).
    · Four of the 17 races (23.5%) have been won from a top-five starting position at Las Vegas.
    · Eight of the 17 (47%) races have been won from a top-10 starting position at Las Vegas.
    · Four of the 17 races (23.5%) at Las Vegas have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
    · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 25th, by Matt Kenseth in 2004.
    · Kyle Busch made his first start and Kasey Kahne won his first pole at Las Vegas, in the same event (2004).
    (NASCAR)(3-6-2015)

  • K-LOVE returns to sponsor McDowell at Vegas: The blue and black colors of K-LOVE Radio will take over the #95 Leavine Family Racing Ford Fusion of Michael McDowell this weekend at LVMS as the contemporary Christian radio network will be the primary paint scheme on the #95 for the first time this season. Leavine Family Racing continues its partnership with the Monte Carlo this weekend in Las Vegas as the hotel will be featured on the decklid and rear quarter panel of the #95 Ford (LFR), see images of both cars on the #95 Team Schemes page.(3-6-2015)

  • Team Xtreme Pre-Race: Back on Track at Vegas: After making national headlines last week, #44 Team Xtreme is focused on one goal, heading back on track this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After being forced to withdraw in Atlanta, Travis Kvapil will attempt to qualify into the Kobalt Tools 400 and make his first start with Team Xtreme. Safe and sound back back with her rightful owner, the #44 Phoenix Warehouse Chevy appropriately named “Old Faithful” is right back to work and ready to hit the track. Kvapil says: “Las Vegas is one of my favorite tracks we visit. After winning here in the Craftsman Truck Series this place has special meaning to me. After the week we had in Atlanta, coming to Vegas with Team Xtreme means a lot.”(140 Buzz), see images of both cars on the #44 Team Schemes page.(3-6-2015)
  • Austin Dillon fastest in happy hour: #33-Austin Dillon was quickest during happy hour for the Boyd Gaming 300 with a speed of 182.927mph. He was followed by: #2-Brian Scott, #39-Ryan Sieg, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #7-Regan Smith, #1-Elliott Sadler, #54-Denny Hamlin, #8-Blake Koch, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., and #22-Ryan Blaney. 41 drivers participated in the session. See complete results on the Las Vegas practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-6-2014)
  • Austin Dillon fastest in first practice: #33-Austin Dillon was fastest during opening practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a speed of 180.977mph. #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was second, followed by: #7-Regan Smith, #22-Ryan Blaney, #54-Denny Hamlin, #3-Ty Dillon, #98-Aric Almirola, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #20-Matt Kenseth/Daniel Suarez, and #20-Erik Jones. 33 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Las Vegas practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-6-2014)
  • AT&T U-Verse, FoxSports dispute impacts XFINITY Series: AT&T U-Verse customers could continue to miss out on select auto racing, college basketball and golf contest on Fox Sports 1 this weekend, over a dispute concerning additional charges in its current carriage agreement. According to Fox, U-Verse customers already missed last Saturday’s NASCAR XFinity Series race from Atlanta, and will miss this weekend’s NASCAR XFinity Series race in Las Vegas if a deal isn’t reached. If the dispute drags on, U-Verse customers could miss Big East Conference college basketball games, the first two round’s of the USGA U.S. Open and U.S. Men’s and Women’s soccer matches. U-Verse has a current carriage agreement with Fox Sports 1, but the network is apparently asking for an additional fee to carry the contests in question. The dispute is similar to one the sports network had with Dish Network last year, concerning college football games over the Labor Day weekend. That dispute, which was resolved at the eleventh hour on Labor Day, had its origins in the launch of FS1. The channel was borne from the now-defunct Speed Channel, a Fox cable network devoted to motor sports. According to sources in the cable financial community, subscribers who already had Speed Channel deals were given the option of riding out the remainder of their original Speed agreement or reaching a new deal with FS1. Many distributors opted to stick the old agreement, mainly over cost. According to SNL Kagan data, Speed Channel was priced at about 24 cents per subscriber per month. FS1 has reportedly asked for fees of 80 cents per subscriber per month, escalating to $1.50 over time. But those sources said there as a catch to sticking with the less costly deal – Fox was able to charge additionally for sports programming that normally wouldn’t have aired on Speed. The dispute is different than other carriage fights in that the channel is still carried by U-Verse, only specific games are being blacked out. Neither side seemed to be optimistic that a deal would be reached soon.(MultiChannel)(3-6-2015)
  • New app to bring race fans closer to the action at LVMS: Race fans attending this weekend’s NASCAR events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be able to stay up to date on every aspect of the weekend with the speedway’s new app for iPhone and Android users. Las Vegas Motor Speedway has partnered with Sporting Innovations, the industry leader in sports technology to bring a platform that will provide users exclusive content as well as personalized offers and experiences. The app will be updated real-time with schedules, driver appearances, ticket upgrade information, maps, directions, traffic tips, as well as live audio. More info at LVMS.com.(LVMS)(3-6-2015)
  • Deadline Approaching for Fans to Own Their Seat from Daytona: Daytona International Speedway ticket holders who want to secure a piece of history have until Friday, March 6 to purchase their own seat that they’ve used to watch races throughout the years before they go on sale to the general public. Daytona International Speedway ticket holders who interested in making a purchase should visit www.fanaticsauthentic.com/DAYTONA_RISING or call 1-866-578-0541. After March 6, generic seats and other Speedway relics will continue to be available through Fanatics Authentic online or via phone.(DIS)(3-6-2015)


    News from March 5, 2015


  • Kurt Busch will not be charged by the Delaware Attorney General’s office: Kurt Busch will not be charged by the Delaware Attorney General’s office. Attorney General Matt Denn’s office declined to file charges stemming from a complaint filed in November by the driver’s ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. Thursday’s decision concludes a months-long investigation that has kept the NASCAR world guessing what would happen to the driver known as “The Outlaw.”
    “After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the Sept. 26 incident,” Delaware Attorney General spokesman Carl Kanefsky said in an email. “Likelihood of meeting that high burden of proof is the standard for prosecutors in bringing a case. For this reason, the Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges in this case.”
    Driscoll, president of the Armed Forces Foundation and a defense contractor, alleges Busch grabbed her by the throat and slammed her head three times against the bedroom wall of his motor home during a race weekend in Dover. A Kent County Family Court commissioner ruled in favor of Driscoll last week and granted a protection order against the driver in a separate civil matter. NASCAR, acting off that civil decision, suspended the driver indefinitely, two days before the Daytona 500.
    The order, which expires in 2016, stipulates that Busch has to stay 100 yards away from Driscoll, her home and workplace. At NASCAR races he has to maintain the maximum “practicable” distance from her and not attempt to contact her. “We’re very disappointed that the Attorney General’s office chose not to prosecute, but it only makes the order for the (protection order) that much more important,” said Carolyn McNeice, Driscoll’s attorney. “I understand their position, but I am disappointed.”(Delaware News Journal)(3-5-2015)

  • Las Vegas Notes & Facts – Thursday – history:
    · The construction to build the superspeedway known today as Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) began in 1995. Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired the property in 1998.
    · The first NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race won by Ken Schrader on Nov. 2, 1996.
    · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held on March 1, 1998, won by Mark Martin.
    · In 2006, the track was reconfigured to include progressive banking.
    (NASCAR)(3-5-2015)

  • NASCAR adjusts track schedules for next three races:
    NASCAR officials have tweaked the opening day schedules for upcoming Spring Cup Series races at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway after delays in pre-qualifying inspection a week ago resulted in 13 teams failing to make it onto the track in time for qualifying. Friday’s opening practice for Sprint Cup teams, originally scheduled to last 1 hour, 25 minutes, has been shortened by 10 minutes at all three tracks. Qualifying for the three events will now take place five minutes later than previously scheduled. Those changes provide an additional 15 minutes of time for teams to prepare their cars for inspection and for officials to complete the inspection process. The revised schedules, which also note that qualifying inspection now begins five minutes after the completion of Friday’s practice, are for the three West Coast races. No adjustments have been made for races beyond the Auto Club event. Teams have 50 minutes after practice to present their cars for inspection, at which time all work on the entries must cease.(NASCAR.com)(3-5-2015)

  • Cheez-It debuts on the #16 at Las Vegas: Greg Biffle will drive the #16 Cheez-It Ford Fusion this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Cheez-It is a primary partner on the #16 Ford and will make their 2015 debut in the Sprint Cup Series this weekend. “I love going to Vegas and I can’t think of a better track for Cheez-It to be on my Ford,” said Biffle. “Vegas has been a good track for us in the past and I feel confident we can get a solid run this weekend. Cheez-It crackers are one of my favorite snacks and the car looks really good.” Not only will Cheez-It be featured on the car this weekend, but they have also launched a new racing website. Check out www.cheezitracing.com for information on the #16 team and the ‘Cheez-It Racing’ Roush Fenway Racing drivers, which includes Buescher, Biffle and Bubba Wallace. Cheez-It ‘Snack Mix’ is representing racing in the “Most Valuable Cheese” competition on www.cheezitmvc.com, you can help racing pull ahead from the other sports by casting your vote. Voting ends March 31st (RFR), see images of the scheme/car on the #16 Team Schemes page.(3-5-2015)

  • Cypress Associates Makes 2015 Debut: Michael Annett’s #46 Chevy takes on the purple paint scheme of Cypress Associates, a partner for three of Annett’s races in the fall of 2014, as the Houston, Texas-based company will make its first appearance on the #46 car this season with its CypressHQ brand. Cypress Associates was founded in 2008 with the goal of providing simple solutions to the complex problem of employee benefits. One of the fastest growing companies in the health insurance industry, Cypress has made a name for itself as a developer of innovative, savings-focused programs like CypressHQ, the world’s first fully insured wellness indemnity policy (HScott Motorsports), no word how many races CypressHQ will be the primary sponsor in 2015. See an image of the scheme on the #46 Team Schemes page.(3-5-2015)

  • Ryan “Frenchie” Dubois is Named General Manager of BK Racing: BK Racing nameed Ryan “Frenchie” Dubois the new General Manager of the multi NASCAR Sprint Cup team.Ryan “Frenchie” Dubois has been involved in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 1999, when he started with Evernham Motorsports. He moved to Melling 92 for a year, before heading to Hendrick Motorsports to work on the 48 working under Chad Knaus in 2005. In 2013, Dubois found his way to BK Racing as the Shop Foreman. For the past 2 years, Frenchie has worked hard and dedicated his time to bettering the three car program at BK Racing. “I am looking forward to my new position at BK Racing,” Dubois commented. “We’ve rebuilt the team going into Daytona, for the good of this team, and I’m eager to help implement and grow this group. We have a lot of great guys that pour their heart and soul into this team, and it is slowly starting to show.”
    BK Racing Owner, Ron Devine commented, “We are very proud to announce that Ryan Dubois will be the General Manager of BK Racing. He has been earned the position by being a tremendous asset to the team since he started in 2013. I believe that Ryan has the knowledge, experience and dedication to take BK Racing to the next level. I look forward to seeing the progressive changes and accomplishments that I’m sure are soon to come.”(BK Racing)(3-5-2015)

  • Third-generation Allison to begin his stock car career: Robbie Allison will get his first experience in full-body stock cars in 2015, and he’ll be leaning heavily on the advice of his racing coach and grandfather – 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Allison. The 23-year-old third-generation driver is the son of the late NASCAR star Davey Allison, who was killed in a helicopter crash in 1993. As a child, Robbie began racing in the typical junior divisions where tomorrow’s racing stars cut their teeth. But following a serious crash, his mother put her foot down. “I grew up racing Bandoleros, karts – half-scale Cup cars – mini Cup cars basically,” Robbie told the Times-News Saturday. “I had a really horrible accident, relatively speaking for a Bandolero car. It freaked my mom out a little bit, so she basically told me you don’t race until you go to college.” While attending college, he started getting back into racing, driving in the three-quarter scale Allison Legacy Series founded by his great-uncle Donnie Allison and grandfather Bobby. Robbie graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with degrees in journalism and marketing, and now he’s ready to graduate to racing full-size cars as well. He joined dozens of racers Saturday at the annual Kingsport Speedway car show at the Kingsport Town Center. In 2015, Robbie will compete as a rookie in the Street Stock division at both Kingsport Speedway, which races Friday nights, and Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Va., which races Saturday nights. It’s always better to learn in quality equipment, and Robbie will be starting out in two proven winners – a couple of Camaros owned by local racers Tony Vance and Duke Bare. The deal came about with the help of Lorin Ranier, who is the son of Davey Allison’s first Cup car owner, Harry Ranier. Robbie’s goals for 2015 are to compete in every Street Stock event at both Kingsport and Lonesome Pine, acquire experience, and hopefully put himself in a position to take over a Late Model ride in the near future.(see full story at the Kingsport Times News)(3-5-2015)

  • No races planned for Kwasniewski UPDATE: Restructuring at HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi, formerly known as Turner Scott Motorsports, has left one driver without a ride for the 2015 season. Dylan Kwasniewski, who raced the #31 car full-time in 2014, is not scheduled to race this season. Following a year that consisted of three top 10s and four DNFs caused by wrecks, the former NASCAR Next member does not have a sponsor after being backed by Rockstar Energy Drink for the majority of last year. Ian Moye, a spokesperson for HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi, confirmed with Frontstretch.com on Friday afternoon that Kwasniewski is still under a developmental deal with Ganassi. However, there are no planned events at this time for him, and it is unknown is team co-owner Harry Scott is willing to field a second car if sponsorship is found.(Frontstretch)(3-3-2015)
    UPDATE: Dylan Kwasniewski is trying to maintain a positive attitude, as difficult as that is for someone used to spending this time of the year preparing to compete in races, not watch them. But he doesn’t have a ride for the NASCAR Xfinity Series season, and Kwasniewski doesn’t know when he will get one. He was expected to share the #42 HScott Motorsports Chevy with Kyle Larson, but Kwasniewski didn’t reach an agreement with Rockstar Energy Drink, which sponsored his car last season. So now Kwasniewski waits and hopes to get enough sponsorship money together to put his own car on the track. “If we can get the funding, we’ve got to decide if we can get the second car or not,” he said. “If we do get the money, do we put it toward the end of the year or (earlier) this year? Do we try to get a full season in ’16? Ideally, we would do the races after the first half of the season and get ’16 funded. That’s what we’re working on right now.”(Las Vegas Review Journal)(3-5-2015)
  • Poole’s first NXS start at Las Vegas: Brennan Poole, 23, will pilot the #42 DC Solar Chevry Camaro in 15 races in 2015. The Texas native will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Poole is a veteran of ARCA Racing Series competition. In 35 starts, the young driver has six wins, 18 top-fives and 27 top-10s to go with four career poles. Poole’s career began in the quarter midget ranks, where he compiled 90 wins en route to a 2002 National Championship. After his quarter midget successes, Poole began racing Legends Cars all across the south, winning 96 races in two years. He transitioned to dirt and went on to win seven times and collect the Texas World Dirt Track Championship. In 2009, Poole made the jump to asphalt late models and over the course of three years won 10 times, including the 2011 United Auto Racing Association Series Championship. Poole made his ARCA debut in 2011, winning in his first start at Salem (Ind.) Speedway.(HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi)(3-5-2015)
  • Tracks report big profits, even with attendance down: Ticket sales are down but profits are up for the racetracks that have NASCAR events. The tracks cleared more than $100 million in 2014. It sounds as if, even though they are spending money tearing down seats at many places and putting up seats at a couple of others, they have money they can spend on other projects.
    There are two main track operators with NASCAR national races: International Speedway Corp., which has a majority of its stock owned by the NASCAR-owning France family, has 21 Cup events (including the Sprint Unlimited and Daytona 500 qualifying races); and Speedway Motorsports Inc., which has a majority of its stock owned by Bruton Smith, has 13 Cup events (including the All-Star Race). Dover Motorsports Inc., also a publicly traded company, has two. Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway are owned privately and aren’t required to release their earnings.
    ISC and Dover released their 2014 results in late January, and SMI released its results Wednesday. The three companies combined for $101.64 million in profits in 2014. Although the companies do have other events besides NASCAR (some NHRA races, some IndyCar races), NASCAR makes up 86% of ISC’s revenues and, as of 2013, about 82% of SMI revenues.
    Ever wonder why television gets to dictate so much? The tracks report that ticket sales were down 2.5% over the past year as they took in over $239 million in ticket sales. Meanwhile, they took in approximately $388 million in television revenues in 2014. That’s right. They make much more money from the television contracts than they do from tickets sold. It wasn’t that way 10 years ago, when the tracks took in approximately $450 million in ticket sales. Overall revenues were up 0.8% thanks to television revenue being up about 3.6-4.2% depending on the company. And the tracks reported that profits from core operations (when taking out various accounting measures) were up 2.6%.(see full story at ESPN.com)(3-5-2015)
  • LVMS making safety modifications ahead of races: In response to Sunday’s latest incident involving one of NASCAR’s top drivers hitting a wall unprotected by a SAFER barrier, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is making some adjustments ahead of this weekend’s Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races at the 1.5-mile track. “NASCAR on Monday conducted a thorough inspection of the racing conditions here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” LVMS track president Chris Powell said in a statement released late Tuesday. “NASCAR has requested that we make several minor modifications adjacent to both the 1.5-mile oval and the openings on pit road. At the conclusion of this weekend’s Kobalt 400 and Boyd Gaming 300, we will reconvene with NASCAR regarding any long-term alterations.”(FoxSports)(3-5-2015)
  • Phoenix International Raceway to install tire packs: Statement from Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber on safety barrier system; “Following a review of the existing safety barriers at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) with ISC and NASCAR officials, PIR will supplement its existing barrier system. A new tire pack barrier will be installed along the interior wall of Turn 4 in advance of the CampingWorld.com 500 race weekend. The additional protective barrier represents PIR’s ongoing commitment to providing a safe racing environment for its drivers, teams and fans. PIR will continue to work in tandem with NASCAR to expedite the adoption of additional impact-absorbing technologies, as deemed necessary, at our facility.”(PIR)(3-5-2015)


    News from March 4, 2015


  • Moffitt to Drive #34 FRM Ford for three races: Twenty-two-year-old up-and-coming driver Brett Moffitt will pilot Front Row Motorsports’ #34 Ford Fusion for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. The young driver, who finished eighth in Sunday’s race at Atlanta, will drive the #34 Shaw’s Southern Belle Seafood Ford this week at Las Vegas. He will also be behind the wheel of the #34 at Phoenix on March 15 and Auto Club Speedway on March 22. Moffitt fills the seat temporarily vacated by Front Row Motorsports veteran David Ragan, who is subbing for the injured Kyle Busch in the #18 car. Moffitt turned heads in Sunday’s 500-mile race in Atlanta, earning a top-10 finish in just his eighth Sprint Cup Series start. The young driver is a nine-time winner in K&N Pro Series East competition and currently serves as a test driver for Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and Michael Waltrip Racing. He made starts in the NASCAR XFINITY (2012) and Camping World Truck (2013) series before making his Sprint Cup Series debut last June at Dover. Sunday’s Kobalt 400 will be Moffitt’s ninth Sprint Cup Series start and his second of 2015.
    “I’m excited about the opportunity to run some races for Front Row,” Moffitt said. “After last weekend, I’m obviously eager to get back into a car and keep racing. I’m grateful to Bob Jenkins and his team for giving me the chance to do that. I’ll do my best to get some good finishes for them. I’m also thankful that Michael Waltrip Racing is allowing me to pursue this opportunity. I think it’s going to benefit everyone in the end.”
    Team owner Bob Jenkins believes Moffitt brings valuable experience — plus an eagerness to continue learning — to the #34 team. “We know Brett doesn’t have a ton of Sprint Cup experience, but he’s got a lot of hours behind the wheel in testing time, and he was certainly impressive Sunday in Atlanta,” Jenkins said. “For only his eighth start, he showed a lot of poise, patience and maturity that you don’t often see in drivers that age.”
    Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman is supportive of the arrangement. “As we anticipated, there has been heightened interest for Brett Moffitt’s services after his solid performance last weekend in Atlanta,” Kauffman said. “While he is committed to MWR, we are happy for him to gain further valuable experience and help Bob Jenkins, Jerry Freeze and the team at Front Row Motorsports over the next few races. Bob and Front Row were very gracious with our Toyota teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing after Kyle Busch’s unfortunate injuries by allowing David Ragan to vacate the #34 to drive the #18. We will continue to work on future opportunities for Brett.”
    Shaw’s Southern Belle Seafood joins Moffitt as a first-time partner with Front Row Motorsports for the Las Vegas event. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based, “Made in the USA” premium seafood company makes award-winning crab cakes and stuffed crabs, sold in fine supermarkets across the country. The Shaw family has owned and operated the business, using recipes from original Southern Belle “Mama Shaw,” since 1934.(FRM), see an image of the scheme on the #34 Team Schemes page.(3-4-2015)

  • Gordon has started worse..and finished 2nd: #24-Jeff Gordon has been involved in two accidents in two races with finishes of 33rd and 41st to begin the 2015 campaign. In 1996, Gordon started the season with finishes of 42nd and 40th before rallying to earn 10 wins and finish second to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Terry Labonte in the season-long points championship.(HMS)(3-4-2014)
  • Atlanta TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Atlanta drew a 5.1 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, up 6% from the second race of last season (4.8) but down 4% from the second race in 2013 (5.3), both of which took place from Phoenix. Last year’s Atlanta race, which aired on ESPN over Labor Day weekend, drew a 3.0 overnight. Overnights have now increased for all four NASCAR telecasts on FOX this season – the Sprint Unlimited, Daytona 500 Pole Qualifying, Daytona 500 and Sunday’s race. Despite the increase, the 5.1 overnight is the fourth-lowest for the second Sprint Cup race of the season since FOX began airing NASCAR in 2001 – ahead of only last year, 2010 (5.0) and 2012 (also 5.0). After topping a 6.0 overnight in six straight seasons (2003-08), the season’s second race has failed to reach 5.5 in the past seven (2009-15). NASCAR was the highest rated sporting event of the weekend in the metered markets, finishing well ahead of second-place NBA action on ABC (3.7 for Cavaliers/Rockets).(Sports Media Watch / showbuzzdaily.com)(3-4-2015)

  • Brian Vickers returns to the seat of the #55: Excuse Brian Vickers if taking the green flag to start Sunday’s Las Vegas race seems as rewarding as a trip to victory lane. Vickers missed the 2015 season’s first two races as he recovered from Dec. 13 heart surgery. Three months later, he’ll strap himself into the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine and prepare for battle at 200 mph. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver has no doubts about his health. “The doctors say I will be as strong if not better than before,” said the 31-year-old Thomasville, N.C. native. “The surgery was a lot higher risk, but they feel really good about how everything has progressed. My sternum is stronger than before. It’s wired together making loops like a coat hanger.” Vickers latest health battle began on Dec. 11 after he arrived in Charlotte and prepared to drive to Mooresville, N.C. to an Aaron’s photo shoot. He knew something was wrong. “At the hospital they discovered my body was rejecting an artificial patch that was inserted in 2010 to fix a hole in my heart. The procedure was painful but it went great and they feel better about my heart than before.” He wouldn’t be human if he didn’t have his doubts in December. “Your first question is ‘Am I going to live,'” he recalled. “Once I knew that then I had to decide about racing. Maybe, if I had already won a championship and done everything I wanted to do in racing I would have given serious thought to walking away, but I really want to win races and a championship. There’s more to do and I didn’t want to someday look back and regret not coming back. And, I’m not going to lie, I enjoy going 200 mph. Overcoming problems like this is just what you have to do in life. There’s a lot of people battling things tougher than what I have battled.” Inserting the original heart patch in 2010 and blood clots in 2013 forced Vickers to miss races. Add in the December surgery and few people have a better appreciation of life than Vickers. “You just have this notion that tomorrow is going to be there and when you go through something that jeopardizes all that, you understand how important living for today is.”
    Aaron’s will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a special paint scheme on the #55 this weekend (MWR), see an image of the scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(3-4-2015)

  • Start #200 for Keselowski: #2-Brad Keselowski will make his 200th career start in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 31-year-old Ford driver will try to make his deuce wild, and show up in Victory Lane for the second straight season as Sin City’s defending race winner. Now in his sixth full-time season on the NSCS circuit, Keselowski boasts the 2012 Sprint Cup Series Championship, 16 wins, 50 top fives, 80 tops 10s and eight Coors Light Pole Awards.(NASCAR)(3-4-2015)

  • Bliss returns to the #32 at Vegas: Draft Demons will be the sponsor of the #32 Go FAS Racing Ford of Mike Bliss in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bliss will be making his third career NSCS start at the 1.5 mile track with a best finish of 16th, which came back in 2005. The 2001 NCWTS Champion will once again be pulling double duty, running for Tri-Star Motorsports in Saturday’s Xfinity race. Mike Bliss on Las Vegas: “I feel really confident heading out west and going to Las Vegas with the way our team is moving forward. Vegas is a fast, rough, and bumpy track, which creates its own challenges, and that’s one of the things that makes it such a unique and fun track.” Launched in February of 2015, Draft Demons is a daily fantasy sports website providing fantasy sports leagues and contests lasting one day.(Go FAS Racing), see images of the car on the #32 Team Schemes page.(3-4-2015)

  • J5 Tactical Will Serve as Associate Sponsor for Edwards: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced that J5 Tactical will serve as an associate sponsor on the #19 Toyota Camry driven by Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the 2015 season In addition, J5 Tactical will become the official flashlight for Joe Gibbs Racing. J5 Tactical produces industrial strength flashlights for everyday carry and use. With competitive pricing, the highest quality engineering and manufacturing, and world class customer support, the J5 Tactical flashlight brand is an exceptional choice for flashlight needs. They offer three models, our V1 with 250 Lumen power, the V2 with 750 lumen power, and the 732A with 1000 Lumen power. Their products and further information can be found at www.J5Tactical.com. “J5 Tactical is excited to be associated with Joe Gibbs Racing and #19 Carl Edwards,” said TJ Johnson, CEO of J5 Tactical. “We’re looking forward to our flashlights shining bright in the winner’s circle this year.”(JGR)(3-3-2015)
  • Las Vegas Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will run the same tire set-up at Las Vegas this weekend . . . this is the first time these teams will run this combination of left- and right-side tires at Las Vegas, though Sprint Cup teams did run this right-side tire code at Talladega last October . . . compared to what was run at Las Vegas last year, this right-side features a compound change for better wear . . . this weekend’s left-side tire code features both construction and compound changes vs. the 2014 Las Vegas left-side . . . the construction change is to align this track with other, similar tracks; while the compound change will enhance grip . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Las Vegas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire (Goodyear). See tire codes, pressures and more on the Las Vegas Race Info – Goodyear section.(3-4-2015)
  • IAVA on the #14 at Las Vegas: TriStar Motorsports and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) announce a new partnership for the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. The IAVA will grace the hood and quarter panels of the #14 Toyota Camry piloted by Rookie of the Year contender, Cale Conley. Founded in 2004 by an Iraq veteran, the IAVA has quickly become the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing new veterans and their families. With nearly 300,000 veterans and civilian supporters nationwide, IAVA is the only 21st Century veterans’ service organization (VSO) dedicated to standing with the 2.8 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan from their first day home through the rest of their lives.(TriStar Motorsports)(3-4-2015)
  • Jamie Dick making first start of 2015: Jamie Dick will be making his season debut this weekend in the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Having last driven in the penultimate event of the 2014 Xfinity Series season, Dick is ready to knock off the winter rust and get back into the drivers seat. Viva Auto Group will adorn the hood and the quarter panels with a fresh paint scheme for the 2015 season. Additional support is provided by Bestway Autos and Viva Powersports. Dick is entering his 5th season of part time NASCAR Xfinity Series completion, having accumulated 55 previous starts. He will be the pilot of the #55 Camaro for the next three events as the Xfinity Series completes the West Coast swing. Jeffrey Earnhardt drove the #55 entry in the first two races for Viva Motorsports and will get back behind the wheel for future races this season. (Viva Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #55 team paint schemes paage.(3-4-2015)
  • XFINITY Atlanta TV Ratings: NASCAR Xfinity Series racing from Atlanta drew 1.5 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 Saturday afternoon, down 19% from last year’s comparable Phoenix race on ABC (1.9M) and down 26% from the 2013 Phoenix race on ESPN2 (2.1M). Last year’s Atlanta race, which aired on ESPN2 over Labor Day weekend, drew slightly more viewers (1.54M to 1.51M).(Sports Media Watch via ShowBuzz Daily)(3-4-2015)
  • Interstate Batteries on the #20 at Vegas: One start. One victory. For what it’s worth, those numbers for Erik Jones at Las Vegas Motor Speedway can be considered nothing short of impressive. Last September, in his first career start at the 1.5-mile oval, the 18-year-old Jones drove the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra to victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. After starting the race 13th, Jones methodically picked his way through the field, providing valuable feedback to his crew along the way that helped make his truck better throughout the 146-lap race. In the closing laps, Jones passed his then-KBM teammate Darrell Wallace Jr., to move into the lead for the final 14 circuits and take the checkered flag. It’s just one of four victories in 19 career starts for Jones, who is competing full-time in the Truck series this season for KBM. This weekend, Jones returns to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, during which he will pilot the #20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. This weekend’s race will also mark his first start with JGR founding partner Interstate Batteries.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-4-2015)
  • Gordon to be honored by Texas Motor Speedway March 12th: #24-Jeff Gordon, who announced in January that this will be the final season of his illustrious Sprint Cup Series career, will be honored by Texas Motor Speedway, the city of Dallas and a Dallas sports great on Thursday, March 12, during a special public event at Klyde Warren Park in the Dallas Arts District. Gordon is scheduled to make a grand entrance at 12:30pm/ct in the famed #24 Panasonic-sponsored Chevy with Godwin from A&E’s hit television reality show Duck Dynasty riding shotgun in the two-seater stock car. Following the presentations, Gordon will conduct a Q&A with the crowd. Gordon, as well as the other special guests, also will conduct media availability sessions following their segment on the park stage. Gordon is visiting on behalf of Texas Motor Speedway to promote the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, April 11, at Texas Motor Speedway. Tickets are available for the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR doubleheader weekend by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com or calling (817) 215-8500.(TMS)(3-4-2015)


    News from March 3, 2015


  • The Entry List for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is posted, 48 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including: #21-Ryan Blaney, #29-Sorenson, #32-Bliss, #33-Scott, #34-Moffitt, #44-Kvapil, #55-Vickers, #66-Wallace, #83-DiBenedetto, #95-McDowell.
    This is the final race of the 2015 season where 2014 owners points will be used, at Phoenix, 2015 owners points/attempts take over.
    Drivers who need to be in the top-36 in speed and have no provisional available to them (lowest in 2014 owners points): #19-Edwards, #21-Blaney, #29-Sorenson, #44-Kvapil, #46-Annett.
    Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least 2015 race attempts, then lowest 2015 owners pts): #21-Blaney (1 attempt, 46th in 2015 owners pts), #44-Kvapil (1/42), #29-Sorenson (2/49), #66-Wallace (2/45), #98-Wise (2/43)
    If qualifying is cancelled, #19-Edwards makes the race as a 2014 race winner, plus the team is 16th in 2015 owners points.
    See the full entry list at my Jayski.com’s Las Vegas Entry List
  • Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America announces its route for 2015: The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has announced the route for its 21st Anniversary motorcycle trek, taking place May 2-8, 2015. NBC Sports NASCAR analyst and former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will lead 200 motorcyclists along the 2,500 mile-route, stretching from Santa Cruz, Calif. to Branson, Mo., to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction – a camp created to enrich the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. “Each year, we select a route that’s full of breathtaking scenery, while also allowing us to spread the word and build excitement around our mission along the way,” said Petty. “Year after year, the Ride creates lasting memories for our riders, most importantly, it provides life-changing opportunities for children at Victory Junction.” For the route, links and more info, go to Jayski.com’s Victory Junction page.(3-3-2015)

  • NASCAR looking for $1 billion over 10 years from new title sponsor of top series? NASCAR is asking $1 billion over 10 years for its soon-to-be-open Sprint Cup Series title sponsorship, according to sources. The sanctioning body has hit the market for Sprint’s replacement with a price tag of $45 million to $50 million annually in rights fees and the same in activation over a decade, according to sources. Sprint confirmed in December that it would end its 13-year sponsorship of NASCAR’s top series after the 2016 season. NASCAR declined to comment for this story. The asking price represents a 33% increase from the original deal, which was signed in 2004 with Nextel for a reported $750 million over 10 years before Sprint and Nextel merged. Amid struggling TV ratings and attendance for NASCAR at the time, Sprint negotiated that down to approximately $50 million annually when it signed a three-year extension in 2011, according to sources. The Sprint deal is the largest sports sponsorship in North America.(Sports Business Journal)(3-3-2015)

  • Brian Scott to attempt Las Vegas: Brian Scott will make his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in only his eighth career Sprint Cup start [Ty Dillon was listed on the initial entry list in the #33]. Scott will also be making his sixth NASCAR XFINITY Series start this weekend in the Boyd Gaming 300. In five previous starts, Scott has an average start of 6.6 and an average finish of 19. Scott also has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the track. Whitetail Club returns as a primary sponsor for Brian Scott in 2015. Located in the mountains of McCall, Idaho, Whitetail Club is a private gated community that has a wide array of recreational amenities including golf, water skiing, hiking and snow skiing. In addition to competing at Las Vegas in the Sprint Cup Series event this weekend, Scott is scheduled to drive the #2 Albertsons/Sanderson Farms Chevy in the XFINITY Series race on Saturday.(Circle Sport)(3-3-2015)

  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Las Vegas
    #48-Jimmie Johnson…………………… 113.6
    #24-Jeff Gordon………………………… 103.7
    Kyle Busch…………………………. 103.4
    #20-Matt Kenseth………………………… 98.1
    #16-Greg Biffle……………………………. 97.9
    #19-Carl Edwards………………………… 97.8
    #14-Tony Stewart…………………………. 97.1
    #4-Kevin Harvick………………………… 94.5
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 91.5
    #5-Kasey Kahne………………………… 88.1
    Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (10 total) among active drivers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
    See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR)

  • Statement from MWR Co-Owner Rob Kauffman about Brent Moffitt: “We are proud of how the entire #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine team has performed while Brian Vickers was recovering from his December surgery. The race in Atlanta showcased the progress of the entire organization, as well as a promising young driver in Brett Moffitt. Brett has been in the MWR system the past couple of years and we’re enthusiastic about his potential. Brett is under a multi-year agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing. MWR would love to get back to a three-car team and grow with him into the future. Before this past weekend we stated that we felt his name should be mentioned among the impressive crop of young drivers coming into the sport, and the Atlanta result validated that claim. While we work towards a fully supported in-house program, it is MWR’s desire that Brett get more quality opportunities in either of NASCAR’s top divisions and we will work diligently to make that happen.”(MWR)(3-3-2015)

  • Police find a ‘person of interest’ in race car theft: A Morrow detective hopes he is close to overtaking the potential thief of NASCAR Sprint Cup car #44 [Team Xtreme Racing], the theft of which forced a driver to withdraw from a [Atlanta] race last weekend. “I have a person of interest I have spoken to and I am setting up an interview with him as well,’ Detective Sgt. Larry Oglesby told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. NASCAR driver Travis Kvapil was forced to withdraw from the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton when he discovered his Sprint Cup car missing Thursday. That might be the greater crime in the eyes of fans, but the rare theft itself has generated accelerated police work.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), see the past news about the theft on the #44 Team News and Links page.(3-3-2015)
  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation announces Helmet of Hope campaign: The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced the launch of the 2015 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign, which will award $125,000 to five non-profits in April. The Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate their favorite education-focused charities, including Parent/Teacher Associations, to receive a $25,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party, and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet. For more information and to make nominations go to Jayski.com’s NASCAR Charity page.(3-3-2015)

  • NASCAR’s Jim France makes Forbes’ richest list: Jim France, the head of the first family of NASCAR, is among the richest people in the world, according to an annual ranking released by Forbes magazine Monday. The magazine placed France’s estimated net worth at $2.1 billion, making him the 894th richest billionaire in the world and the 318th wealthiest in the United States. His father, Bill France Sr., co-founded NASCAR. Jim France, 70, serves as chairman of International Speedway Corp, which owns Daytona International Speedway Corp. and a dozen other motorsports tracks around the country.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-3-2015)

  • 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.
    UPDATE 3: Team Kapusta Racing LLC announced its partnership with Olé Energy Drink for its debut entry into the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Phoenix International Raceway. Team Kapusta Racing, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, will field the #56 Chevy Camaro with driver Charles Lewandoski in the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 on Saturday, March 14. Sudden Impact Partners (SIP) will debut in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race in correlation with their recent Olé Energy Drink product debut on amazon.com. Olé is a powerful, refreshing and smart energy drink that delivers a bold, unforgettable taste and sustained energy for any adventurous active lifestyle. Team Kapusta Racing with driver Charles Lewandoski has a limited schedule planned for the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Further details on the team’s schedule will be announced soon.(Team Kapusta)(1-27-2015)

  • No races planned for Kwasniewski: Restructuring at HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi, formerly known as Turner Scott Motorsports, has left one driver without a ride for the 2015 season. Dylan Kwasniewski, who raced the #31 car full-time in 2014, is not scheduled to race this season. Following a year that consisted of three top 10s and four DNFs caused by wrecks, the former NASCAR Next member does not have a sponsor after being backed by Rockstar Energy Drink for the majority of last year. Ian Moye, a spokesperson for HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi, confirmed with Frontstretch.com on Friday afternoon that Kwasniewski is still under a developmental deal with Ganassi. However, there are no planned events at this time for him, and it is unknown is team co-owner Harry Scott is willing to field a second car if sponsorship is found.(Frontstretch)(3-3-2015)
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hauler Parade returns to Thursday night in Vegas: Lights, haulers, action. The immensely popular NASCAR Hauler Parade, which signals the start of NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will return to its traditional Thursday date this year. Approximately 50 bright and colorful NASCAR haulers will roll through the vibrant lights of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip on the evening of March 5 starting at 6:00pm. The parade route will stretch for nearly five miles, beginning at the historic Welcome to Las Vegas sign and heading north on Las Vegas Boulevard before ending at Sahara Avenue, where the haulers will jump onto Interstate 15 toward Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The parade, which is free of charge, will be visible for race fans on both sides of the Strip and from any of the hotels and casinos along Las Vegas Boulevard. The superspeedway’s NASCAR weekend will begin with Stratosphere Pole Day on Friday, March 6 – highlighted by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at 4:45pm. The Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300 will be the featured event on Saturday, March 7 at 1:00pm, while the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 caps off the weekend on Sunday, March 8 at 12:30pm. Tickets for NASCAR Weekend are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling (800) 644-4444. Neon Garage passes, Lucky 7 preferred parking and driver introduction passes also are available.(LVMS)(3-3-2015)
  • LVMS expecting smooth vehicle flow for NASCAR Weekend: Officials at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have worked diligently with local and county representatives to make vehicle flow into and out of the 1.5-mile superspeedway an easier and more efficient process. The upcoming NASCAR weekend should put that on full display, as the speedway prepares to welcome more than 100,000 rabid fans to Sunday’s Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Speedway officials recommend fans head to the track early and also remember that Sunday at 2 a.m. is Daylight Savings Time and everyone needs to turn their clocks ahead one hour.
    The speedway also will put more emphasis on exiting from all lots. Speedway officials will have three gates dedicated to the Lucky 7 Preferred Lot for the first hour following the races on Saturday and Sunday. All fans parked in the Blue Lot can exit through the remaining gates until Lot 7 is cleared. Once Lot 7 is empty, all gates will be opened to those parked in the Blue Lot.
    “We obviously want to do all that we can to create a smooth flow of vehicles in and out of our parking areas,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “Little things like planning to arrive early, remembering to move clocks ahead one hour and patience when exiting are ways all race fans can help us achieve that goal. We also have a very strong responsibility to our fans that purchase parking passes to accelerate their ability to leave quicker. Like last year, we recommend purchasing a Lot 7 pass or using mass transportation as alternatives.”
    Traffic updates will be provided on Sunday, March 8 via the LVMS Twitter feed (@lvmotorspeedway) and radio on KBAD AM-920.
    Race Day Shuttles, which began service during the 2013 race season, is the preferred means of mass transportation from downtown and the Strip. To book this service, fans can log on to www.racedayshuttles.com or call (702) 362-0264.
    For those wishing to take a private charter to the races, LVMS recommends Key Tours. Key Tours has been providing service to the speedway for several years. Key Tours can be contacted at www.keytourslv.com or (800) 261-2691. All buses and taxis will have dedicated exit lanes following the events.
    Counterfeit handicapped placards have been an issue in the past, and speedway security will continue to monitor and examine the authenticity of such passes on every vehicle. Fans also will have the ability to use the speedway’s video assist feature, which shows preferred entry points and exits. The video can be found online at www.lvms.com.
    For more information on the traffic plan and links, go to lvms.com. Tickets for all events, Neon Garage passes and Lucky 7 parking permits are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling (800) 644-4444.(LVMS)(3-3-2015)


    News from March 2, 2015


  • NASCAR Productions and SPIKE TV Present ‘I Am Dale Earnhardt’ TONIGHT: NASCAR Productions and SPIKE TV have joined forces to create a captivating and revealing documentary on the life of a legendary American sports hero – Dale Earnhardt. The original film, “I AM DALE EARNHARDT,” premieres exclusively on Monday, March 2 at 10:00pm/et/pt on SPIKE TV [it runs 91 minutes and there is NO scheduled re-air of the special]. With in-depth and insightful interviews with some of the biggest names in the sport, unforgettable highlights from Earnhardt’s greatest moments on the track, and rare footage of Earnhardt’s life off-the track, the film is an up-close-and-personal look at the man behind the iconic mustache. Among those interviewed for the film include some of the biggest names in NASCAR such as Jimmie Johnson, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Gordon, Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt Jr.(NASCAR)(2-26-2015)
    MORE: NASCAR Productions and SPIKE TV have joined forces to create a captivating and revealing documentary on the life of a legendary American sports hero – Dale Earnhardt. The original film, “I AM DALE EARNHARDT,” premieres exclusively on Monday, March 2 at 10:00pm/et/pt on SPIKE TV. With in-depth and insightful interviews with some of the biggest names in the sport, unforgettable highlights from Earnhardt’s greatest moments on the track, and rare footage of Earnhardt’s life off-the track, the film is an up-close-and-personal look at the man behind the iconic mustache. The film includes in-depth interviews with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Richard Childress, Darrell Waltrip, Morgan Spurlock, Michael Rooker and others across sports and entertainment, as well as highlights from Earnhardt’s greatest moments on and off the track. (RCR)(3-2-2015)
  • Nickelodeon announces Entitlement Sponsorship of SpongeBob SquarePants 400:Nickelodeon announced that it is the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, May 9 at Kansas Speedway dubbed the SpongeBob SquarePants 400. The SpongeBob SquarePants 400, which will be broadcasted on 7:30pm/et on FOX Sports 1, will feature a weekend of Bikini Bottom-themed activities and fun for the entire family.
    Also at the speedway, attendees will be able to enjoy some pre-Mother’s Day fun in the Nickelodeon Kids Zone, which will be located in the Kansas Speedway Fan Zone. The area will feature appearances from the SpongeBob SquarePants costumed characters, a SpongeBob SquarePants photo station and more.(VMG/Nickelodeon/Kansas Speedway)(3-2-2015)

  • NASCAR says implementing SAFER remains “highest priority”: In the wake of #24-Jeff Gordon smacking a concrete wall Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a NASCAR executive said SAFER barrier development remained “the highest priority for the sport.” Gordon was unhurt after his #24 3M Chevy was destroyed by heavy contact with an inside wall unprotected by the energy-absorbing barrier that NASCAR has mandated for many sections of tracks. “It was just another reminder how important it is,” NASCAR executive vice president and chief development officer Steve O’Donnell said of Gordon’s crash Monday morning on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM Radio’s NASCAR channel. O’Donnell said NASCAR had dispatched staff members to the West Coast, where the circuit is headed for races at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway. Tire barriers were erected along the interior pit lane walls at Atlanta after Busch’s crash. “We’ll employ temporary solutions anywhere we can (with) SAFER everywhere it’s feasible,” he said. “Obviously there are places that presents a challenge, but that’s the highest priority. We have follow-up meetings with all of the ISC tracks. We talked with Marcus Smith (president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns Atlanta and six more Cup tracks), and they know the urgency.” During the multicar accident, the cars of Denny Hamlin and Jamie McMurray also struck unprotected exterior walls on the backstretch. That prompted questions about why the tire barriers weren’t implemented around the track. “Sometimes when you put a tire barrier on a straight wall on the backstretch, it has a negative effect where it can propel the car back into traffic,” O’Donnell said. “There’s a short-term balance, but we’re trying to prioritize everything with the ultimate goal being SAFER as soon as we can.” Another obstacle could be the available companies and resources to install the barriers. “The challenge is going to be, quite honestly, as I understand it from our development guys, right now there’s only two companies approved to build these things,” Atlanta president Ed Clark told NASCAR Talk’s Dustin Long. A NASCAR official told NASCAR Talk that Clark’s number was incorrect but didn’t have the exact number of companies approved for such work. Clark said Atlanta should be ringed with SAFER when NASCAR returns next year.(NBC)(3-2-2015)

  • Smith named to drive the #41 at Las Vegas: Stewart-Haas Racing has named Regan Smith interim driver of its #41 Haas Automation Chevy for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend March 6-8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race on Sunday will be Smith’s sixth Sprint Cup start at Las Vegas. His most recent Sprint Cup start at the 1.5-mile oval was on March 11, 2012 when he finished 15th. Las Vegas will be Smith’s third race in the #41 car. He drove the Haas Automation Chevy to a 16th-place finish Feb. 22 at Daytona and a 17th-place finish last Sunday at Atlanta. A driver for the #41 team at next weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix and subsequent races has not been determined.(Stewart Haas Racing)(3-2-2015)

  • Kurt Busch agrees to NASCAR terms: Kurt Busch has agreed to the terms and conditions dictated by NASCAR that he must complete to get reinstated from his suspension. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said Monday that Busch informed the sanctioning body late last week that he would go through the process. Higdon would not reveal details of the terms and conditions, saying that is between the driver and the “expert facilitator” of the program. He said there is no timetable for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver to complete the program. Busch was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 20, two days before the Daytona 500, after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court commissioner released his findings that Busch had committed an act of domestic violence Sept. 26 against his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll (ESPN), for full past news on the suspension and court case, go to #41 Team News and Links page.(3-2-2015)

  • Comcast to sponsor Edwards in four races: Comcast announced it will join Carl Edwards and the #19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing as primary sponsor for four races in 2015. The partnership will kick off at the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, with Comcast Business as the primary paint scheme for Edwards’ Toyota Camry, marking the first major sponsorship deal in NASCAR for Comcast’s business services unit that provides data, Internet, TV and Phone services to organizations of all sizes. Comcast Business will also be featured at Bristol in April. The four-race partnership will round out with XFINITY, the company’s residential brand for Internet, TV and Phone services, taking over as primary paint scheme at New Hampshire in September and Martinsville in November.
    “We’re excited about this partnership with Comcast as they continue to grow in the sport, and I’ve had a great time so far working with them in preparation for Las Vegas,” said Edwards, who will have ARRIS on board his #19 Toyota for the balance of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events this season. “I’m excited to continue to build the relationship with them this year and hopefully we can put them into victory lane.”
    “We could not be more excited to partner with Carl Edwards and Joe Gibbs Racing as a sponsor of the #19 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” said Matt Lederer, Senior Director of Sports Marketing for Comcast. “Carl’s success on the track and his affinity for technology off the track makes him a great ambassador for Comcast. We are confident he will do an outstanding job representing our organization as well as our customers, and we can’t wait to kick off this relationship at Las Vegas.”
    In 2015 Comcast joined the NASCAR family as its XFINITY brand became the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series, formerly the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and the Official Entertainment Provider of NASCAR. Comcast and NASCAR announced the agreement in September 2014 to make XFINITY the third title sponsor in the storied 30+year history of the series.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the Comcast Business scheme on the #19 Team Schemes page.(3-2-2015)
  • Atlanta Race and Commercial Breakdown: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 1:33 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:10 PM (all times are EST). Did not keep records for the pre- and post-race coverage. FOX was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 107
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 59
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 100
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 59
    Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 7
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 3
    Number of times Fox utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 2
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast (including company logos ‘floating’ in corners of the screen): 98
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 6 min. 40 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 1:33 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:10 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 277
    Minutes of race broadcast: 230
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 47
    Minutes of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials (split-screen): 3
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 3
    Total race brdcst time 230 Total comm. brdcst time 47
    Commercials during race broadcast: ‘Side-by-Side’ (‘Thank you!’ to all of the participating sponsors!)
    2:19 PM – 2:21 PM: Coca-Cola Racing; Sprint.com/halfprice; Toyota/Camry
    5:29 PM – 5:30 PM: Coca-Cola Racing; Sprint.com/halfprice #KDLaw; Toyota/Camry; Coca-Cola Racing
    See full reports, sponsor links, much more details at CawsnJaws.com.(3-2-2015)

  • Cassill First Driver To Sweep Opening Two Last-Place Finishes Since 1949: #40-Landon Cassill picked up the 7th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway when his #40 Snap Fitness Chevrolet fell out with engine failure after he completed 92 of the race’s 325 laps. The finish came in Cassill’s 153rd series start. It is Cassill’s second-consecutive Cup Series last-place finish. Cassill is just the second driver in Cup Series history to finish last in the first two races of the season. The only other time it happened was in NASCAR’s inaugural season in 1949, when Glenn Dunaway followed up his disqualification at Charlotte with a DNF at the Daytona Beach-Roadcourse. This is the first-ever last-place finish for Cassill and the #40 in a Cup Series race at Atlanta.(Lastcar)(3-2-2015)

  • Hamlin, Jones, Said filling in for Busch: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Denny Hamlin will fill in for Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry in this weekend’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and in four subsequent events. Kyle Busch continues to rest comfortably in his home in Charlotte, North Carolina before rehabilitating from a compound fracture of the right lower leg and left mid-foot fracture, both injuries resulted from an accident during the February 21 XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. No specific timetable has been announced for Busch’s return to the race track, however interim drivers have been confirmed to pilot the #54 Monster Energy Toyota moving forward. JGR teammate Hamlin will compete in the role this Saturday, March 7, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and again March 21 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, April 10 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, April 18 at Bristol Motor Speedway and May 23 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hamlin is currently running a full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing in the #11 Toyota and was previously confirmed to run in six JGR XFINITY Series events this season in support of other team sponsors. This brings Hamlin’s 2015 XFINITY Series schedule now to 11 events.
    In addition, JGR announces that team member Erik Jones will again drive the #54 Monster Energy Toyota in the XFINITY Series next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway on March 14 and subsequently April 24 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, for a total of three race events supporting the #54 team.
    Jones continues to run a full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and a partial schedule for JGR in the #20 NASCAR XFINITY Series Camry. This brings Jones’ 2015 XFINITY Series schedule now to an estimated 19 events.
    Also joining the Monster Energy/Joe Gibbs Racing stable of drivers to support the #54 Toyota this season is Carlsbad, California native Boris Said. As in the previous two years when JGR named substitute drivers to supplement Busch’s schedule, the 52-year old NASCAR veteran will pilot seven XFINITY Series events with the #54 team including Talladega Superspeedway on May 2 and non-companion XFINITY series events at Iowa Speedway in Newton on May 17 and August 1, Chicagoland Speedway on June 20, Mid Ohio Sportscar Course on August 15, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on August 29 and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on September 26.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-2-2015)
  • XFINITY Entry List:There are 42 cars on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A few notes:
    Jeff Green is again entered in TriStar’s #10;
    Derek White will drive the #13;
    Carlos Contreras is back in the Rick Ware #15;
    Erik Jones will drive the #20 for Joe Gibbs;
    Carl Long will drive the #40;
    Denny Hamlin replaces Kyle Busch in the #54;
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes another start in the #88;
    Dexter Bean will drive the #92.(3-2-2015)
    See the complete list on the Las Vegas entry list page.
  • Five Star DEF joins Cope for West Coast races: Five Star DEF will be a sponsor of Derrike Cope Racing and the #70 Chevy for the Xfinity series in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Fontana. Five Star DEFprovides practical and economical diesel exhaust fluid products, such as reusable jugs, spouts, kits for making your own DEF, and a magnetic release device for pump nozzles. Owners Erich Weinberg and Kathryn Whiting have designed and manufactured environmentally conscious DEF products since 2013.(Derrike Cope Racing)(3-2-2015)


    News from March 1, 2015


  • Jimmie Johnson wins at Atlanta: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 4th win at Atlanta and his 71st career win.
    #4-Harvick finished 2nd (again) followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr., #22-Logano, #20-Kenseth, #78-Truex Jr., #47-Allmendinger, #55-Moffitt (best career finish), #2-Keselowski and #31-Newman.
    Harvick has now either won or finished 2nd in five consecutive races and led the most laps of the race with 115.
    Pole winner #22-Logano led much of the first part of the race, leading 84 laps, finishing 4th.
    There were 28 lead changes among 12 drivers. There were 10 cautions for 54 yellow flag laps with a nine minute red flag with 19 laps to go after a big wreck..
    The average speed was 131.078 mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-1/2-2015)
  • Race Fast Facts – Atlanta:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson won the 56th Annual Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, his 71st victory in 473 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his fourth victory and 15th top-10 finish in 24 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    #4-Kevin Harvick (second) posted his 10th top-10 finish in 25 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It is his second top-10 finish in 2015.
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) posted his 13th top-10 finish in 28 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    #26-Jeb Burton (35th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    #22-Joey Logano leads the point standings by 1 points over #48-Jimmie Johnson.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-1-2015)
  • 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
    [after Atlanta, race 2 of 36]
    1) #22-Joey Logano [1 win], 88
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson [1 win], 87, -1
    3) #4-Kevin Harvick, 86, -2
    4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 84, -4
    5) #78-Truex Jr., 75, -13
    6) #13-Casey Mears, 68, -20
    7) #5-Kasey Kahne, 65, -23
    8) #47-AJ Allmendinger, 62, -26
    9) #43-Aric Almirola, 62, -26
    10) #15-Clint Bowyer, 58, -30
    11) #38-David Gilliland, 56, -32
    12) #9-Sam Hornish Jr., 55, -33
    13) #16-Greg Biffle, 54, -34
    14) #19-Carl Edwards, 54, -34
    15) #18/#34-David Ragan, 53, -35
    16) #10-Danica Patrick, 51, -37
    (ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc)
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(3-1-2015)

  • Hamlin talks about the accident at Atlanta: #11-Denny Hamlin got lose on lap 256 in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, spinning and collecting other drivers in a wreck, including #24-Gordon, #17-Stenhouse Jr and #1-McMurray. Hamlin finished 38th. A comment by Hamlin:
    What happened to cause your accident?
    Hamlin: “I was right on the 19 (Carl Edwards) entering (turn) one and he checked up and if I didn’t move to the right, I was going to spin him out. I was going to run right in the back of him and when I moved to the right of him it put me right on the door of the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and I just sucked around and that was it. I apologize to all those cars involved, but it’s tough. I mean, we had a good FedEx Ground Toyota for most the day. Just lost the handle there on the last run and kind of put us in a spot where we hadn’t restarted all day and just got sucked around and got a little loose.”(Toyota Racing)(3-1-2015)

  • Gordon and McMurray comment about wreck at Atlanta: #24-Jeff Gordon and #1-Jamie McMurray were victims of a late wreck on lap 256 in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Comments by Jeff Gordon:
    WHAT HAPPENED?
    Gordon: “I saw the #11 (Denny Hamlin) going sideways. I had him cleared. I stood on the gas and went by him; but I guess he might have clipped the #1 (Jamie McMurray) and it turned the #1 back into me. After that I was just along for the ride. It looks like maybe the #31 (Ryan Newman) came down in trying to avoid the #11 and got into the #1 and then he clipped me in the left rear and sent me down the back straightaway. It wouldn’t have been too bad except that I found that one spot where there’s no SAFER barrier. I can’t believe it. That’s amazing to me. Anyway, hopefully soon that will get fixed. It was a pretty big impact. I hate it for this team. We were struggling. We didn’t have the 3M Chevrolet that I thought we were going to have, but we weren’t giving up on it. We were going to make gains and we finally got ourselves in the top 10 and I think we had a shot of getting into the top five. But obviously it’s not the way we want to start our season.”
    WAS IT THE INTENSITY OF THE RACE YOU THINK THAT CAUSED THAT INCIDENT?
    Gordon: “He (Denny Hamlin) was loose before that. He looked like he struggled on the restarts. He would go up the race track. I think he was just real loose in the beginning of a run. Guys, yeah, they are getting aggressive. I don’t know if somebody got into the back of him, but they may have. He went around and at that point everybody is just trying to avoid him. You know how on those restarts it gets pretty wild down there in (turns) one and two. The later you get in the race like everywhere it gets more intense and guys start pushing harder and giving a lot less.”
    IS IT TIME FOR DRIVERS TO DO MORE TO MAKE SURE SAFER BARRIERS ARE ALL OVER EVERY TRACK?
    Gordon: “I am very frustrated with the fact there are no SAFER barriers down there. I knew it was a hard hit. I was like ‘man I can’t believe…’ I didn’t expect it to be that hard. Then I got out and I looked and I saw ‘oh wow big surprise I found the one wall here on the back straightaway that doesn’t have a SAFER barrier. I don’t think we can say any more after Kyle’s (Busch) incident at Daytona. Everybody knows we have to do something and it should have been done a long time ago. All we can do now is hope they do it as fast as they possibly can.”
    ON WHAT HAPPENED:
    Gordon: “I saw the #11 (Denny Hamlin) get loose and come around. He was just trying to save it, and guys were trying to avoid him, and got collected. I went by the No.11 on the outside and cleared him. I thought I was in good shape then I saw the #1 (Jamie McMurray) coming fast. I tried to get by him and he clipped me in the left rear and spun us around and sent us into the wall on the back straightaway. We weren’t having a great day, I thought we would be better than that. We were struggling but I’m proud of the way we were fighting through. We had gotten ourselves into the top-10 right there. We might have had a shot at a top-five but we won’t know now. It’s unfortunate way to start the season. We just have to dig ourselves out of this hole.”
    Comments by Jamie McMurray:
    WHAT HAPPENED?
    McMurray: “So, the #11 (Denny Hamlin) just got loose. It’s pretty hard to pass. And you run wide-open so long that you take what you can get when you can get it. And the restarts are the best place to pass on the track; especially if you’re on the bottom. That’s a pretty big advantage here. You’re just racing as hard as you can and unfortunately we just had an accident there. Our McDonald’s Chevy was really good today. I was really proud of our whole team. The track bar adjuster was really interesting if you got to play with that and there were times you’d get your car back. I don’t know that it necessarily created passing, but it saved you at times if the car got a longs way off. So yeah, interesting day.”
    ON WHAT HAPPENED:
    McMurray: “I didn’t see the #11 (Denny Hamlin) spin out there. I was trying to pass the #31 (Ryan Newman) on the bottom and I honestly thought I got hit by the #31. I had to watch the replay to see that the #11 had lost it on top and came down. I don’t know if he clipped the #31 or if he clipped me. I didn’t see any of that coming. That was kind of out of the blue. You just try to get all you can on the restarts and he just got loose.”
    ON HOW HE WAS RUNNING BEFORE THE INCIDENT:
    McMurray: “Atlanta hasn’t been very good for me, and it hasn’t been very good for our group. So to run as good as we did today I think that is going to be really good for Las Vegas and some of the other tracks with a lot of grip.”(Team Chevy)(3-1-2015)


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  • Race Coverage of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, March 1, 2015.
    Television (TV): FOX at 1:00 pm/et; Pre-Race show at 12:30pm/et; green flag approx. 1:16pm/et
    RadioPerformance Racing Network (PRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    Monday, March 2, 2015 at 2:30 am/et on FS1
    Monday, March 2, 2015 at 10:00 am/et on FS1
  • Due to the rain over night and this morning, there will be a competition caution on lap 25 so team can check tires. Unless there is a caution before lap 25.
  • Atlanta Sunday Pre-Race Schedule:
    11 a.m.: NSCS Driver/Crew Chief Meeting
    12:30 p.m.: NSCS Drivers Introductions w/ NASCAR Special Awards
    12:55 p.m.: Team FasTrax Skydiving Team
    12:59 p.m.: God Bless America: Rick Schroeder, United States Air Force Veteran
    1 p.m.: Taps by: James Brannon, Dobbins Base Honor Guard
    1:00:30 p.m.: Presentation of Colors by: Riverside Military Academy- Gainesville, GA
    1:00:50 p.m.: Invocation by: Billy Mauldin- President & CEO of MRO
    1:01:30 p.m.: National Anthem by: Brent Whitaker, Air National Guard “Band of the South” – McGhee Tyson ANGB, TN
    1:03 p.m.: TOT Fly-by: 2 T-38’s Talons from the 301st Fighter Squadron Tyndall AFB, FL
    1:08 p.m.: “Drivers, Start Your Engines” by: Maj. Dan Rooney, CEO and Founder of Folds of Honor Foundation
    1:16 p.m.: Start of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
    eastern time (NASCAR.com)

  • Keselowski to run a special throwback paint scheme: The 2015 season marks the 25th anniversary of Team Penske’s relationship with sponsor MillerCoors, and the team plans to celebrate the occasion in a big way. The team will announce a throwback paint scheme for Brad Keselowski’s #2 Penske Ford NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Multiple sources confirmed the team would announce a program in which fans will have the opportunity to vote on the throwback paint scheme. The choices will reportedly be between a classic Miller High Life look and the black-and-gold Miller Genuine Draft paint scheme made famous by Rusty Wallace in the 1990s. While Keselowski would not confirm the throwback paint scheme program, he also did not deny the report. “All your questions will be answered in Vegas,” Keselowski told FOXSports.com Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. An official announcement in expected next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(FoxSports)(3-1-2015)

  • Last time a Daytona 500 winner won the pole for following race?: Jamie McMurray in 2010, who won the Daytona 500 and then won the pole for the following race at Auto Club Speedway finishing 17th.(3-1-2015)

  • New rules limits crew members on pit road at end of race: A new NASCAR postrace procedure for Sprint Cup teams could limit the possibility of a big postrace brawl breaking out, as one did at Texas Motor Speedway last November. NASCAR officials confirmed Saturday they will stop all cars on pit road following a race because NASCAR must collect the tapered spacer used to limit air flow through the engine. That piece is issued to teams on a weekly basis so that teams cannot alter it. With just a couple of crew members needed to remove the spacer, NASCAR has issued an edict that only two crew members per car will be allowed at each Cup car immediately after the race. That will keep pit road from getting too cluttered, officials say. With only two crew members at each car after a Cup race, that will limit the number of crew members from each team in a contained area. In the past, several crew members would surround the top-5 cars on pit road and the crews would surround the rest when they parked at their haulers postrace.(ESPN)(3-1-2015)

  • Asbury Automotive Group Honors the Boy Scouts of America: On Sunday March 1st Preston Chandler, an Eagle Scout, will be celebrating his 16th birthday with his family at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Preston will be featured on the rear deck lid of Joey Logano’s #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford. If Logano and the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford make it to Victory Lane this weekend in the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500, the Asbury Automotive Group will make a $50,00 donation to the Boy Scouts of America.(AMS)(3-1-2015)

  • Pennzoil Makes Donation to PVA after Joey Logano’s Win in Daytona 500: After Joey Logano jump-started his season by winning the Daytona 500 on 2/22 in the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford; Pennzoil commemorated the milestone victory by donating $22,222 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). Upon learning about the donation Logano announced he would match the $22,222 contribution to his personal charity. To take the offer to the next level, Pennzoil is incentivizing Logano to bring the #22 to Victory Lane again at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8th. Should he grab the checkered flag again in the #22 Pennzoil Platinum Ford, Pennzoil will add another ‘2’ to the donation figure and donate an additional $222,222 to the PVA.(AMS)(3-1-2015)

  • Castrol Premium Lube Express featured on #13 at Atlanta: Castrol Premium Lube Express is a featured associate sponsor on the #13 GEICO Chevrolet SS driven by Casey Mears this weekend at Atlanta. Georgia features many Castrol Premium Lube Express (CPLE) locations – find a location list at CastrolAtlanta.com.(Germain Racing)(3-1-2015)

  • #44 car stolen outside hotel UPDATE4 truck found: A trailer carrying a NASCAR racing team’s car was stolen overnight in Morrow, GA, according to the driver of the vehicle hauling the trailer [NJ plates]. The driver says the unmarked white Xtreme Racing trailer had the #44 car inside and was stolen from a hotel sometime overnight. Local authorities have been notified.kfvs12.com.
    AND A spokeswoman for Team Xtreme (#44 car) confirms Atlanta car and trailer were stolen from outside the team hotel.(Jeff Gluck/USA Today twitter)
    MORE Travis Kvapil’s car for this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway has apparently been stolen. A spokeswoman for Team Xtreme confirmed a Missouri TV station’s report that the #44 car and its hauler disappeared from outside the team’s hotel [Drury Inn & Suites] in Morrow, Ga. overnight. KFVS reported the trailer was white and unmarked and said the hauler driver reported it missing. Team Xtreme, owned by John Cohen, qualified for the Daytona 500 last week and finished 32nd with driver Reed Sorenson. But Kvapil is in the car this week with Sorenson driving for another [#29 RAB Racing] team. NASCAR teams tested at Atlanta on Thursday, meaning all the other cars are already secured inside the track (USA Today)
    UPDATE: Sgt. Larry Oglesby of the Morrow (Ga.) Police Department told ESPN.com that they are treating the car’s disappearance as a stolen vehicle after a report was filed at 5:50am/et at the Drury Inn. Team owner John Cohen, who was not at the track, told ESPN.com by phone that the team will have to withdraw from the race and was still trying to gather information as to what had happened. The first practice for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is scheduled for 1:00pm/et Friday, and teams typically must present a car for inspection an hour or two prior to the start of Sprint Cup practice.(ESPN.com)
    UPDATE 2 Statement by Team Xtreme Racing: Team Xtreme Racing can officially confirm that we have withdrawn the #44 entry from the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The #44 hauler was sent ahead of the bad weather that hit the Charlotte area on Wednesday night and parked at Atlanta Motor Speedway. With minor work remaining on the #44 Chevrolet, the car was brought separate from the hauler, in an enclosed 26-foot trailer pulled by a pickup, which arrived at the team hotel in Morrow, Georgia on Thursday night at 11:00pm/et. Hotel surveillance video shows the theft occurred at 5:32am/et. According to the police report a silver or grey Jeep Cherokee was spotted leaving the hotel at the time of the theft. “While this is obviously a setback for this weekend, our plans remain to compete in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season,” said team owner John Cohen. “We are working closely with the Morrow police in hopes that our truck, trailer and race car are safely returned”.(2-27-2015)
    UPDATE 3: The Team Xtreme #44 Chevy that had been stolen from a Georgia hotel parking lot was found early Saturday morning. Gwinnett County police found the car in Loganville, Georgia — northwest of Atlanta, according to Team Xtreme Racing. The team tweeted several photos of the #44 car Saturday, one day after it was stolen from a hotel parking lot near Atlanta Motor Speedway, the site of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Cohen told ESPN.com that the car was located off Lenora Road in Loganville. Only the car was found; police did not recover the other contents of the trailer, which included a spare engine valued at $100,000 and racing equipment valued at $17,500. Cohen was relieved that at least the car, which he said is the most consistently fast in his fleet, was found. “You can’t buy that back or time put into it,” he said. The recovery of the car will help the low-budget team go forward with its plans to race at Las Vegas next weekend.(ESPN)(2-28-2015)
    UPDATE 4: While the truck and trailer that were hauling the race car weren’t found at the scene, the truck was spotted a few hours later in Stockbridge, Georgia, not far from the hotel where the theft took place, said Morrow police Detective Sgt. Larry Oglesby, who led the investigation in the south Atlanta suburb. “The truck was on the side of the road,” Oglesby said. “A citizen driving by noticed it and said, ‘Hey, that looks like the truck on TV.'” He said the handle on the driver side door was busted, as well as the ignition switch. While no arrests had been made, Oglesby said his department had a “person of interest” and was continuing to pursue leads to determine just how many people were involved. He also identified a vehicle used by the thieves, which was spotted on a surveillance video. There was still no sign of the trailer and its other contents, which included a spare engine valued at $100,000 and racing equipment valued at $17,500. “We’ve got two out of three,” Oglesby said. “Now we’re looking for the trailer.” Since the #44 car wasn’t damaged, Cohen said it should be able to run at Las Vegas with Kvapil behind the wheel. The team also plans to send a backup car. Kvapil is also set to run for Team XTREME the following week at Phoenix. (Associated Press)(3-1-2015)