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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
    Radio: Performance 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

  • Logano wins Atlanta pole: #22-Joey Logano won the Coors Light pole for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway with speed of 194.683mph for his 1st pole of 2015, 1st at Atlanta and 9th of his career. Logano has won 2 races from the pole out of 8 previous poles.
    #4-Harvick is on the outside pole followed by #1-McMurray, #11-Hamlin, #19-Edwards, #42-Larson, #31-Newman, #9-Hornish Jr., #88-Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kahne, #47-Allmendinger and #2-Keselowski.
    Thirteen cars didn't get to make a run during the first round as they didn't get thru pre-qualifying tech inspection, including #24-Gordon, #20-Kenseth, #48-Johnson, #14-Stewart, #41-Smith.
    Missing the race were: #66-Wallace, #83-DiBenedetto, #46-Annett, #29-Sorenson.
    Annett take over the #33 for Scott, with Pilot / Flying J as the sponsor.
    See round-by-round qualifying results, starting lineup, notes on the Atlanta Starting Lineup / Qualifying page.(2-27-2015)

  • Happy Hour practice for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is over, after 80 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest two and some notes:
    #4-Harvick 191.054 (engine blew)
    #5-Kahne 189.805
    #3-Dillon 189.746
    #11-Hamlin 189.571
    #19-Edwards 189.493
    Most laps run: #88-Earnhardt Jr., 65; #3-Dillon, 64
    slowest: #30-Hornaday 177.978 and #34-Nemechek 179.476
    notes: #4-Harvick had an engine failure mid-way thru practice. He was scheduled to start 2nd in the race, will have to fall to the rear of the field before the green flag on Sunday.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 Consecutive Lap Average on the Atlanta Happy Hour practice speeds page (pdf).(2-28-2015)

  • 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 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the Atlanta Race Info page - Chassis selection area.

  • Atlanta Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same Goodyear tire set-up at Atlanta this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Sprint Cup and Xfinity teams have run at this track the last two seasons . . . this left-side tire code has actually been run at Atlanta since 2012 . . . this right-side tire code incorporates Goodyear Racing's multi-zone tread technology, which debuted at Atlanta in 2013 . . . the tire features two distinct tread compounds -- one for endurance and heat resistance on the inboard two inches of the tread and one for traction on the outboard 10 inches . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Atlanta . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire (Goodyear), see full tire notes, tire codes, pressures, set limits on the Atlanta Race Info page - Goodyear section.

  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #22-Logano chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #4-Harvick took pit stall 21, the first pit stall with an opening in front of it.
    #1-McMurray, who starts 3rd took the 43rd and last pit stall.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #1-McMurray, who starts 3rd.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(2-28-2015)

  • Harvick comments on engine failure in AMS Happy Hour: #4-Kevin Harvick's Jimmy John's Chevy experienced an engine failure during the final practice session, answers a few questions:
    ON WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE PRACTICE SESSION:
    Harvick: "Mainly the Hendrick engine guys just wanting to know what I felt. This is a very rare occasion. This is the first one I have ever had. The engine shop does a great job. I am just glad that it happened today. Our Jimmy John's/Budweiser team is doing a great job and the car is handling good. If we were going to have something happen, this is a good place to have it happen because you can pass."
    ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT STARTING IN THE BACK TOMORROW? IT'S GOING TO BE A HECK OF A RACE WITH THE NAMES BACK THERE:
    Harvick: "It will just make for a better show."(Team Chevy)(2-28-2015)

  • #44 car stolen outside hotel UPDATE3 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)
    UPDATE2 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)
    UPDATE3: 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)

  • Annett to run the #33 at Atlanta: Michael Annett will race in Sunday's Folds of Honor/Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta after all. Pending NASCAR approval, Annett will drive the #33 Pilot Flying J Chevy for Circle Sport Racing according to HScott Motorspors team owner Harry Scott,. Annett, 28, just started his sophomore Sprint Cup Season with HScott Motorsports in the #46 Chevy this season. However Annett was one of 13 cars that were unable to make it through NASCAR technical inspection in time to qualify on Friday. His good friend Brian Scott, who qualified 32nd but is running for the championship in the XFINITY Series, relinquished his ride to Annett. "Many thanks to (team principal) Mike Hillman, Sr. and Brian Scott," Harry Scott added in the text to Motorsport.com. Annett finished 13th last week in the Daytona 500. He is currently 12th in the Sprint Cup point standings.(Motorsport)(2-28-2015)


    Jeff Gordon gets a special gift from AMS's president Ed Clark.(Harold Hinson Photo)

  • Gordon receives gifts from Atlanta Motor Speedway: "Jeff you're going to be receiving quite a few things this year, I'm sure, as people pay tribute to you," track president and general manager Ed Clark said. "Atlanta has a special bond with Jeff Gordon. He started here and some of the most memorable moments in Atlanta Motor Speedway have involved Jeff. He's had five wins and celebrated four championships here. He's a real ambassador for the sport and someone we're all real proud to have been able to work with. You're not going anywhere, so this isn't a goodbye, but we have two things we want to present to you." The first was a framed replica of this year's souvenir program featuring Gordon signed by the entire full-time track staff. The big unveiling, literally, was a maroon and yellow bandolero for Gordon's kids, Ella and Leo. "Leo is going to want to sleep in this," Gordon said on inspection. "I have a feeling this might end up in his bedroom for a year or two before he can drive it. But that's awesome. I was watching practice for XFINITY earlier and I saw the 'Thanks 24' out there in the grass. It put a big smile on my face. You're right, it's a very special place to me." Gordon said he'd never forget his first race - or his first driver's meeting at Atlanta. His first race was Richard Petty's last and the King gave all the drivers a money clip with their starting position on it. Which Gordon still has. "I wasn't that proud of (my starting position) at the moment," Gordon said with a chuckle. "I think we started 21st. But I'll remember that forever."(AMS)(2-28-2015)

  • Atlanta Notes & Facts - Saturday - drivers:
    552 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway; 367 in more than one.
    Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Atlanta with 65. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 41 starts, followed by Joe Nemechek with 38.
    Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson lead the series in runner-up finishes at Atlanta with seven each; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with five.
    Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-five finishes at Atlanta with 26; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 16.
    Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Atlanta with 33; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 26.
    Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Atlanta with a 7.409.
    Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at 11.522.
    Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career start at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Jeff Gordon (11/15/1992) and Martin Truex Jr. (10/31/2004).
    Cale Yarborough leads all drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Atlanta with 3,283 laps led in 47 starts. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in laps led at Atlanta with 1,297.
    Three female drivers have competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick. (NASCAR)(2-28-2015)

  • Kyle Busch released from hospital: Kyle Busch has been released from a Charlotte, NC, hospital and is home, wife Samantha tweeted, and a Joe Gibbs Racing spokesperson confirmed Friday morning. Busch spent three nights in a Daytona Beach, Fla., hospital after he suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a fractured left foot in last weekend's NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona. Busch slammed into an inside wall not protected by a SAFER barrier. He was transferred to North Carolina on Tuesday. He had surgery on his right leg last Saturday and surgery on his left foot Wednesday.(NBC Sports)(2-28-2015)

  • Gordon talks about not being able to qualify at AMS: #24-Jeff Gordon, who was going for his third consecutive pole [Homestead, Daytona], did not participate in Round 1 Qualifying session due to the inspection mess at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon was among the 13 drivers who did not get a chance to post qualifying times Friday after their cars didn't get through inspection in time to make a qualifying attempt.
    Q) HAVE YOU EVER BEEN AT THE RACE TRACK AND NOT BE ABLE TO QUALIFY?
    Gordon: "First time ever. There's a first time for everything, I guess. This is absolutely embarrassing. I just feel so bad for my guys and for 3M. To not even get a chance to go out on the race track is ridiculous. I know the fans deserve an apology. I don't know how many cars there must be back here (the garage) that never even got a chance to go on the track. I know we went through twice. When you have this many.....I've seen five or six or even 10 cars that have issues going through (tech) with certain little things. But this many cars that didn't go; that's not on these teams. And they deserve better than this. I can't believe how disappointing this is. I assume I made the race; I mean, who knows what even happened with the points and what's going on? There are guys that don't have the points that are going home that never even got a chance to even get out there. It's a big letdown for me and for our series, right now, that this happened. There is no way that this should ever happen."
    ON QUALIFYING:
    Gordon: "There is something wrong. Or there is something wrong with the system. Or there is something wrong with the amount of time they allot to get through. There is no way this many good cars, talented people that they can't figure out how to get these cars through inspection. These guys are too smart. Yes we are pushing limits, but there is something wrong here. I'm embarrassed; I'm embarrassed for our series right now that this just happened. I'm really upset for my sponsor 3M that just came on for this weekend where we didn't even get a chance to qualify. We are just fortunate - I'm assuming we aren't going home because of points from last year. I know there are a lot of teams out here that aren't going to be that fortunate. I hate it for these guys that work so hard. We were excited about qualifying today. I thought we had a great shot at being up front. This is absolutely ridiculous."(Team Chevy)(2-28-2015)

  • Kenseth discusses not being able to qualify at AMS: #20-Matt Kenseth did not participate in Round 1 Qualifying session due to the inspection mess at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kenseth was among the 13 drivers who did not get a chance to post qualifying times Friday after their cars didn't get through inspection in time to make a qualifying attempt, a few comments by Kenseth
    What caused the issues with tech inspection?
    Kenseth: "Yeah, I don't know. Obviously, they weren't organized enough to get everybody through tech it appears, so I don't know. We've got all the people up there to watch qualifying and they don't really get top watch everybody qualify, so it's kind of confusing and disappointing for sure."
    Are you upset to start in the rear of the field?
    Kenseth: "It's better than not starting. I feel bad for whoever didn't get through there and didn't make the race. I'm glad they're still on last year's points instead of this year's points or probably we wouldn't have made the race either, so I'm not really sure what the issue was, but when I walked up 10 minutes before qualifying was scheduled to start and it was only 14 cars on pit road, so I have a hard time believing it was the teams."
    Do you know why this happened?
    Kenseth: "I don't really know. I'm not educated enough on that to give you a good answer. I think you'd have to ask Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) or somebody there. I don't really know. I don't typically go with the car through inspections, so I don't know."(Toyota Racing)(2-28-2015)

  • Hamlin motorcoach hit by rolling SUV: A driver parking his white SUV adjacent to the driver motorcoach lot mistakenly left his car in gear Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, allowing it to roll backward through a fence and into the side of #11-Denny Hamlin's personal coach. A team spokesman said Hamlin's rolling house sustained superficial damage and that no one was injured.(USA Today)(2-28-2015)

  • Jeff Gordon pushing forward on Fort Erie track: Representatives from Jeff Gordon say they remain committed towards the development of the $400 million Canadian Motor Speedway in Fort Erie. Pending approvals from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Province of Ontario, officials expect to file this spring for the necessary permits to resume construction for the massive track complex along Bowen Road and just off of the Queen Elizabeth Way. The track, whose centerpiece is a Gordon-designed signature speedway, could see its first race take place by 2017. "Jeff has very precise and intimate ideas on how he wants the CMS oval designed and built," said John Bickford Sr., Jeff Gordon Inc. vice president and general manager. Bickford is Gordon's stepfather. Billed as a motorsport innovation park, Canadian Motor Speedway will have a 3/4 mile banked oval track and a 2-mile graded road course. The grandstand will hold 60,000 race fans plus an enclosed club seat section for another 5,000 fans and 40 luxury suites.(Buffalo Busniess First)
    AND For the $400-million Canadian Motor Speedway to keep moving forward changes need to be made at QEW-Bowen Rd. interchange. "That overpass at Bowen Rd., does need to be upgraded," said CMS spokesman Erik Tomas. "But because it's going to be the main access and egress point to the speedway development, meetings are being conducted with the Ministry of Transportation to determine what has to go there, and whether that will be a two or four-lane design." Tomas said the track has spent a large sum of money on traffic studies, and even though there will be about 60,000 people in the stands initially for auto-racing events, it might not be necessarily to have an expensive four-lane interchange. The track might be able to do it with two lanes.(Niagara Falls Review)(2-28-2015)

  • Thirteen cars don't get to make a qualifying lap due to inspection issues: Former Sprint Cup champions #48-Jimmie Johnson, #24-Jeff Gordon, #14-Tony Stewart and #20-Matt Kenseth were among the 13 drivers who did not get a chance to post qualifying times Friday after their cars didn't get through inspection in time at Atlanta Motor Speedway. As several teams had problems in the tech area, reportedly in the rear camber area, and had to go through inspection a second time, NASCAR delayed the start of qualifying for 15 minutes. But that wasn't enough as the 15-minute first round was completed before 13 cars could get through and then make a qualifying lap. With 36 spots available on speed and only 34 taking times, everyone who posted a first-round time got into the QuikTrip 500 on Sunday. The remaining nine spots were based on 2014 owner points. #46-Michael Annett, #66-Mike Wallace, #83-Matt DiBenedetto and #29-Reed Sorenson never took a lap and missed the race pending post-qualifying technical inspection.
    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director Richard Buck said the laser inspection bay was open during the test Thursday and many teams were pushing the tolerances looking for mechanical group as part of the new aerodynamic rules. He said every team had gone through tech at least once 17 minutes before qualifying started and with a television window, there was no consideration of an additional delay beyond 15 minutes. He said 20 teams had to go through at least two times -- about twice the average on a normal race weekend last year. "Their job is to push it to that very limit," Buck said. "Our job is to treat everybody fairly and give everybody an opportunity to come through that inspection room. But their responsibility is to come through there right but to the limit. I think that's what you saw today, was everybody pushing the limits." It was not rare last year for a car or two not to get through inspection, but more than a dozen cars was virtually unheard of since NASCAR went to group qualifying last year. All the cars that didn't get through inspection before the end of the first round still had to go through inspection and be approved.(ESPN in part)(2-27-2015)

  • Atlanta Notes & Facts - Friday - poles:
    Fireball Roberts won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Atlanta in 1960 with a speed of 133.870 mph.
    48 drivers have Coors Light poles at Atlanta, led by Buddy Baker and Ryan Newman with seven each.
    Winning consecutive Coors Light poles has happened eight times at Atlanta, among six drivers.
    Ryan Newman holds the record for most consecutive poles at Atlanta with six; spring of 2003 through 2005.
    14 of the 107 (13.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Kasey Kahne in 2006.
    The fifth starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Atlanta Motor Speedway; the most recent was Jeff Gordon in 2011.
    26 of the 107 (24.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from the front row: 14 from the pole and 12 from second-place.
    60 of the 107 (56.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta have been won from a top-five starting position.
    85 of the 107 (79.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta have been won from a top-10 starting position.
    Seven of the 107 (6.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
    The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Atlanta is 39th, by Bobby Labonte in the fall of 2001.
    Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway five times; most recently the fall of 2010.
    One active driver has posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (9/01/2013).
    (NASCAR)(2-27-2015)

  • Nemechek to Drive #34 CSX 'Play It Safe' Ford at Atlanta: Joe Nemechek, a 23-year Sprint Cup Series veteran and 1992 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, will drive the #34 CSX "Play It Safe" Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will be Nemechek's 39th Sprint Cup Series start at Atlanta and his first event with Front Row Motorsports. The Atlanta race marks the debut of the 2015 CSX primary paint scheme on the #34 Ford. The company is using the NASCAR program to once again promote its safety message to "Play It Safe" around railroad tracks among the millennial generation of 18- to 34-year-old males, the demographic mostly likely to be involved in a crossing collision and to trespass on tracks. "David (Ragan) has been and still is an outstanding spokesperson for our campaign. Our goal with the 'Play it Safe' program is to save lives by reminding motorists and pedestrians not try to beat a train at a grade crossing or walk along railroad tracks. It's a message so important that everyone can be a part of promoting it," says John Claybrooks, CSX Director of Brand, Digital Media & Marketing Communications. "We look forward to Joe carrying this important message for us as well." Nemechek has three top-five and seven top-10 finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(FRM/Breaking Limits)(2-27-2015)

  • Refresher on the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Package:
    -- Reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer
    -- Roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter
    -- Lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM
    -- Rear spoiler adjustment to 6 inches high (2014 height: 8 inches)
    -- Optional driver adjustable track bar
    -- 38-inch wide radiator pan
    -- Minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs. via ballast reduction (2014 weight: 3,300 w/o driver)
    -- Updated qualifying formats for all tracks
    (2-27-2015)

  • If Ragan wins, he can get in the Chase: David Ragan doesn't know how long he'll get to drive the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota, but he'll relish every opportunity he can to compete for one of NASCAR's elite teams. Front Row has loaned Ragan to JGR as the replacement for the injured Kyle Busch, who has had surgery on a compound fracture in his right leg and on a broken left foot suffered in a crash Saturday during the Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway. JGR officials have not said how long Busch will be out. While no more surgeries are scheduled, Busch must be able to work pedals with both his feet because he likes to brake with his left foot. He remained hospitalized in a Charlotte area hospital Thursday. Ragan will drive the car for the next "several weeks," and JGR officials will re-evaluate the program at some point to see if they want to give development driver Erik Jones a shot. "As far as the length of time Kyle will be out, I don't think anyone really knows that yet," Ragan said Thursday after a test day at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "I know for the next several weeks, I'll be in the 18 car. I don't know that we have really a hard time frame on it just yet. There's a lot of moving parts and pieces and certainly it all goes back to how quickly Kyle can heal up and get back driving for them." If Ragan can win a race, he would be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup as long as he finishes the regular season in the top 30 in the standings. Ragan is expected to have returned to Front Row well before the Chase starts in September, creating a possible windfall for Front Row Motorsports to have a driver in the Chase.(ESPN)
    AND Supposedly the plan is for Ragan to drive the car for nine races before Camping World Truck Series driver Erik Jones would take the wheel of the #18 in the May 9 race at Kansas Speedway. Ragan then would return to the #34.(NBC Sports)(2-27-2015)

  • Medallion Bank to Sponsor #9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford: Medallion Bank announced a strategic partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) to support RPM and the #9 Ford team driven by Sam Hornish Jr. Medallion Bank, a recreational and home improvement lending institution will serve as the primary sponsor of the #9 in select events throughout 2015 beginning this weekend at the Atlanta. Medallion Bank, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is owned by Medallion Financial Corp., a publicly traded specialty finance company and co-owner of RPM. Medallion Bank specializes in recreation loans, home improvement loans, asset based loans and taxi medallion loans. For recreation loans, Medallion Bank offers an alternative financing option to other lenders' credit scoring requirements. Its home improvement loan program gives contractors flexible financing options for homeowners wishing to make improvements.
    Medallion Bank has reached an agreement with Camping World to serve as a co-primary sponsor for the race at Las Vegas in March and again at Phoenix in March 15. This is the first of many business collaborations that will benefit Medallion Bank, its dealers and RPM.(RPM), see an image of the Medallion Bank/Camping World scheme on the #9 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2015)

  • Bliss debuts with Go Green Racing: Going into Atlanta Motor Speedway Mike Bliss will make his first start with #32 Go Green Racing. Said Bliss:"I'm ready to go & excited to get behind the wheel of the Rimrock Design Ford for this weekends race. We are hoping that being there for the test will help us for the race and it gives me a chance to work with the Go Green Racing team." Rimrock Designs joins GGR: "I can't express enough how excited Rimrock Design is to be sponsoring the #32 Ford for this weekends race at Atlanta," said owner Micah Linton. "We are looking forward to getting the Rimrock brand out to the public by partnering with Go Green Racing for this great event. On behalf of myself, and my great staff ,I want to thank Archie St.Hilaire for this tremendous opportunity." Rimrock Design Inc. specializes in providing full service tile & flooring solutions for commercial construction and renovation projects. Our professional strength lies in our strong partnerships with manufacturers and never ending commitment to industry research and knowledge which affords us an unprecedented competitive advantage.(GoGreenRacing)(2-27-2015)

  • Sad News - Thee Dixon: Thee Carlin Dixon, of Durham, NC, the first African American team owner in NASCAR, passed away on Feb. 20, 2015. He was 76 years old. In 1989, he fielded his first Winston Cup entry, under the banner of Mansion Racing, with Mike Potter driving. In 1990, Dixon attempted two races with Mike Skinner. Carl Long and Dixon made three of an attempted twelve starts in 2001 and one of five in 2002. Dixon didn't field another Cup car after. His best Cup finish was 28th in the 1992 AC Delco 500 at Rockingham with Skinner (Frontstretch). Funeral arrangements at hwdfuneral.com.(2-25-2015)
    NASCAR Statement on the Passing of Thee Dixon: "NASCAR extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Thee Dixon, a passionate team owner whose love for racing fueled his unmatched positive spirit. Dixon was one of NASCAR's early African-American team owners, fielding teams in NASCAR's Sportsman Series, Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from the late 1980s through the turn of the century. He was universally admired by all who knew him, a friendly presence on pit road and in garages throughout the series, and his dedication to the sport will forever serve as an example for the NASCAR family."(2-27-2015)

  • Chris Banker Joins Watkins Glen as Public Relations Manager: Watkins Glen International announced the addition of Chris Banker as Public Relations Manager, effective immediately. Banker comes to WGI by way of New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J., where he served as Manager of Communications for the past two years. Banker will be assigned a wide range of responsibilities in his new role at The Glen. His primary duties will include drafting press releases, managing the media credential process, pitching media on story opportunities, and scheduling on-air appearances with local and regional affiliates for drivers and WGI staff. During event weekends, Banker will assist with the operation of the WGI media center along with pre- and post-race activities. "We are excited to welcome Chris to the Watkins Glen International team and know he will be a valuable asset to us moving forward," WGI President Michael Printup said. A 2012 graduate of York College of Pennsylvania, Banker earned a degree in Public Relations. His previous experience also includes time with Comcast Spectacor, a sports and entertainment firm in Philadelphia, PA.(WGI)(2-26-2015)

  • NASCAR changes rule regarding reporting criminal charges: On Wednesday, NASCAR issued a series of technical bulletins to teams, with most of the additions to the rule book focused on aspects of the cars such as the minimum weight of front and rear hubs, approved brake ducts and other miscellaneous items. However, the first item on the bulletin was listed as "Section 2.11 Required Notice." Under the Membership section of the rule book, this new addition states, "Any NASCAR Member charged with any violation of the law (misdemeanor and/or felony) shall notify NASCAR ... prior to the next scheduled Event or within 72 hours of being so charged, whichever is earlier." This amendment to the rule book has been implemented throughout NASCAR's top national touring series, as well as down to the weekly racing series. Tom Bryant, director, racing operations communications for NASCAR, told FOXSports.com Thursday the new language now requires members to report criminal misdemeanors to the sanctioning body, something that was not the case before Wednesday. "We expect our NASCAR members to maintain a certain standard of professional behavior and this is another mechanism to ensure we're doing that," said Bryant. "NASCAR has made it very clear to our entire membership and the broader industry that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry," NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell said last Friday in Daytona while addressing Kurt Busch's suspension. "I want to make it clear that any inference that there is a culture or a tolerance for this type of behavior is patently false."(FoxSports)(2-26-2015)

  • Daytona 500 and Daytona Speedweeks TV Ratings: After suffering through a daylong weather delay in 2014, the Daytona 500 began working its way back last weekend, scoring 13.4 million viewers on FOX, a +44% increase over last year's 9.3 million. A total of 23.5 million viewers watched all or part of Sunday's telecast. Additionally, 11 days of Speedweeks programming on FOX Sports 1 enjoyed a 14% increase in average viewership (293,000 vs. 257,000).
    NASCAR shoulder programming surrounding the Daytona 500 was strong overall on Sunday, Feb. 22, as NASCAR Raceday averaged 973,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1, a 31% increase over last year's 742,000 for a one-hour edition of the show. NASCAR Victory Lane posted 464,000 viewers, up 21% over the last post-Daytona run in 2013 (383,000). The week leading up to the Daytona 500 was the third most-watched in FOX Sports 1 history and the highest since last season's National League Championship Series.
    FOX kicked off the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season Saturday, Feb. 14 with the SPRINT Unlimited averaging 5.6 million viewers, a 60% increase over 2014 (3.5 million) when it aired on FOX Sports 1. The race powered FOX to a first-place finish in prime time among broadcast networks across all key male and adult demos including A18-49 and A18-34.
    A variety of sports programming led FOX Sports 1 to its eighth most-watched Saturday since launch, averaging 490,000 viewers on Saturday, Feb. 14. Motor sports programming started at 10:30 am/et with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice from Daytona drawing 698,000 viewers, up 27% from the equivalent practice last year (551,000). Saturday afternoon's ARCA Racing Series race from Daytona was the most-watched program of the day on FOX Sports 1 with 919,000 viewers.
    Daytona Pole Day Qualifying, airing Sunday, Feb. 15 on FOX, averaged 3.4 million viewers, up 17% from 2014. The first ever "group qualifying" format at Daytona is the highest rated and most watched session since 2009, with Jeff Gordon scoring the pole for his final race at Daytona International Speedway. The four-time champion announced he will be retiring at the end of the 2014 season.
    The 2015 Budweiser Duel at Daytona scored 3,018,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1, a slight dip from last year's 3,122,000 prime time debut, but strong enough to be No. 1 in ad-supported cable from 7:00-10:30 PM ET in total viewers and Adults 18-49 on Thursday, Feb. 19. Earlier in the day, a slate of Daytona practices (Sprint Cup Final, NCWTS and NCWTS Final) averaged 244,000 viewers, a 16% increase in viewership (vs. 210,000) compared to the same three Thursday practice sessions last year.
    On Friday, Feb. 20, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Daytona garnered 1,550,000 viewers, a 3% increase from last year's 1,502,000 viewers. Earlier in the day, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying posted a 15% gain over 2013 (472,000 vs. 409,000).
    The first 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series race under the new television deal on FOX Sports 1 delivered 2,944,000 viewers on Saturday, Feb. 21, an 8% increase over last year's race on ESPN and good for the most-watched sports event on ad-supported cable on the weekend. The race was the 13th most-watched telecast in FOX Sports 1 history.(FOX Sports)(2-26-2015)

  • Biffle talks about 2015 rules package: Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford Fusion, gave his impression on the new rules package for 2015 between sessions of today's test at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "My Ortho Ford Fusion drove pretty good and had a lot of grip. I felt like I needed a little bit more front turn, but as the session went it seemed like we didn't really slow down and everybody else did, which was a good thing. We're hoping we can get a little more speed right out of the gate for this next session and then hold consistent. My car didn't feel hugely different. I could tell it's got less power, but it wasn't like, 'Oh my gosh, this is a whole different car.'"
    ANY DIFFERENT HANDLING CHARACTERISTICS WITH A SMALLER SPOILER? "No. It felt pretty normal, so it's not a huge change, which is good for the sport and good for what we've got coming up."(Ford Racing)(2-26-2015)

  • Larson talks about the new track bar setting: #42-Kyle Larson, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed the opening session of the test and other topics. The transcript in part:
    TALK ABOUT YOUR CAR AND TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS WENT FOR YOU IN THE FIRST PART OF THIS TEST:
    Larson: "We were all pretty anxious to get out there I think. This is really what I feel like is the start of our season because this is the majority of the size race tracks we run on. I was excited to get out there, first car out. The track had a lot of grip at first, so that is why Jamie (McMurray) and I are both up there I think. It was fast. I felt like the car really didn't drive much different here than how it did with the old rules package. This track is pretty tough to run on anyway. The characteristics between the way the cars handled were about the same. That is good, nice that Chip Ganassi Racing is one-two after this first test. I hope we can carry this speed on throughout the rest of the weekend and rest of the year."
    DID YOU TRY THE ADJUSTABLE TRACK BAR AT ALL THAT YOU CAN WORK ON? HOW WAS THAT?
    Larson: "Yeah, that last run I did. I had played with it before at other testing that we did at the end of last year. Really so far when I played with it I thought it affected my exit of the corner. Where I was hoping it would kind of free up my center of the corner. It didn't really touch that just got my exit really loose, when I went up with the track bar. I would say I learned that kind of stuff and how far you can go with it. I think that will be a really neat tool that we get to use as driver. Because when I ran midgets and stuff like that we had shock adjusters. In winged sprint cars you have wing valve adjusters. It is nice that they allow us to put a little bit more into the driver's hands."
    DO YOU HAVE TO TELL THE CREW CHIEF WHAT YOU ARE DOING WITH THAT ADJUSTMENT OR DO YOU JUST DO IT?
    Larson: "I think they can see it right now during the test on the screen. Yeah, once we get done with today I will have to remind them how far I'm moving it up or down. We have a little gauge on our screen that tells us how far we are moving it. It is easy to keep track."
    WHERE DID YOU GUYS ELECT TO PUT THE SWITCH FOR THE TRACK BAR ADJUSTMENT AND HAS YOUR CREW CHIEF GIVEN YOU ANY INSTRUCTIONS OR ORDERS ON HOW MUCH YOU CAN USE IT?
    Larson: "No, he hasn't given me any order on how far or how much I use it. I think that is all up to me right now. Maybe once I start going too far with it he will crack the whip. My gauge is right next to my seat on my left side, down near my leg brace, kind of. It is easy access. I don't know where other drivers have it, but that is where Jamie (McMurray) and I have ours."
    IS IT A DIAL?
    Larson: "It's just a switch. I push the switch forward to move it up and back to move it down."
    IN ADDITION TO WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THE CAR INSIDE YOU ARE ALSO LOOKING AT A LOWER HORSEPOWER. DID THE CAR FEEL ANY DIFFERENT ON THE RACE TRACK BECAUSE OF THE CHANGE IN HORSEPOWER?
    Larson: "I really didn't notice anything. I thought it still came up to speed pretty well. Maybe it doesn't carry to the end of the straightaway as hard as what it did before, but we have less downforce too, it still feels fast. Maybe once we get to like a Michigan or a track where we will probably run even more wide open now we will notice more. I really didn't notice much difference between this year versus last year."
    GOING BACK TO THE TRACK BAR IS THAT SOMETHING YOU ANTICIPATE ADJUSTING SOME AS YOU GO IN A TIRE RUN OR DURING CAUTION OR TUNING YOURSELF UP FOR A GREEN/WHITE/CHECKERED? HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO USE IT DURING A RACE?
    Larson: "Yeah, for sure, when I ran some testing with it at the end of last year I would do a 30 lap run and I would adjust it quite a bit. It just depends on how your car is handling. If your car is really good you might not touch it that much. As far as green/white/checkered and things like that I definitely think that will come into play. Where you either move it up or down or whatever it may be to get the most speed out of your car at the end."
    DOES THIS MEAN WE WON'T SEE CREW MEMBERS FOOLING WITH THE TRACK BAR ADJUSTMENT DURING PIT STOPS?
    Larson: "Well I think they can still make wedge adjustments and things like that. I think we will do the track bar ourselves. Yeah, I mean fewer mistakes on pit road probably since they will be doing fewer things. It is easier for us just to move a switch than for them to crank some rounds in it."(Team Chevy)(2-26-2015)

  • Rinnai on board the #35 with Whitt for Atlanta: Cole Whitt, driver of the #35 Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters Ford, comments on racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway: "Atlanta is still a pretty new track to me, but I'm looking forward to going there. I expect it to have a lot of speed. But we'll definitely have tire fall-off. It's one of the coolest things about Atlanta. We fall off so much there. There are cars that could be a half second faster than somebody for one lap. But then five laps into a run, they could be a full second slower than you. It's probably the track we go to that has the biggest swing as far as tires. We're happy to have Rinnai on our #35 Ford Fusion for the Atlanta race. Rinnai is the number-one selling brand of tankless water heaters in the U.S. and Canada, and we're proud to showcase them to the NASCAR audience."(Breaking Limits/FRM), see an image of the scheme on the #35 Team Schemes page.(2-26-2015)

  • Travis Kvapil joins Team Xtreme: After competing in the Daytona 500 for the first time in the organization's history, Team Xtreme heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway with added confidence in their young program. Travis Kvapil climbs into the #44 Phoenix Warehouse Chevrolet this weekend after competing in the Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona. Returning to Team Xtreme for a multi-race deal throughout the 2015 season is Phoenix Warehouse of New Jersey and California. Phoenix Warehouse is a full-service logistics warehouse and distribution company founded in 1976. Their clear objective has been and remains, "Provide comprehensive and superior logistic services to a myriad of industries." Kvapil says: "Atlanta is a fast track - it is also one of the few tracks we go to that we use up the entire track. From the bottom white line to riding up alongside the wall, it gives you options to figure out where your car handles the best. Tire management and pit strategy will be keys to succeeding in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500."(140Buzz / Team Xtreme)(2-26-2015)

  • New sponsor for JTG Daugherty Racing at AMS: "This week we are Fueled with Flavor," AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Chevy, said "I can't think of a better weekend to unveil our #47 Better Than Bouillon Chevrolet scheme than Atlanta Motor Speedway. It's going to be so cold there and I'll be opening up a jar of Better than Bouillon - which is a Southeastern Mills brand - to make some chicken noodle soup. You can use it for so many different meals. Visit www.betterthanbouillon.com to learn more about all of the ways you can use it. I really like this paint scheme, it looks fast."(JTG Daugherty), see an image of the scheme on the #47 Team Schemes page.(2-26-2015)

  • Matt DiBenedetto joins BK Racing starting at Atlanta: Matt Dibenedetto joins BK Racing as the driver of the #83 Burger King Toyota, starting at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Matt DiBenedetto, a first generation driver, started his NASCAR career as a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2009-2010. Competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and Xfinity Series, Dibenedetto made a name for himself in the racing community. After much success, Matt's opportunity got cut short due to a tough economy and lack of sponsorship. Starting in 2011, Dibenedetto has done extensive Sprint Cup testing for various teams and last year competed in the Xfinity Series for The Motorsports Group (TMG) and got some of the teams best finishes in their 9 year history. Dibenedetto will share the #83 ride with last weeks driver, Johnny Sauter, for several races throughout the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. "I am so excited to get an opportunity to drive in the Sprint Cup Series for BK Racing. I truly can not put into words how thankful I am for Ron Devine, Anthony Marlowe, and the whole organization giving me a chance to be a part of their team. I look forward to proving my ability behind the wheel and I hope to grow with the team for years to come."
    "BK Racing's third full-time entry is a great platform to allow young talents like Matt DiBenedetto to gain experience," said Ron Devine, "I'm happy to know that we'll be working with someone who has a strong appreciation for the ride, is self made, and has the confidence of his peers." Joining Dibenedetto this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway is Jeb Burton in the #26 Maxim Fantasy Sports App Toyota and JJ Yeley in the #23 Dr Pepper Toyota. Burton looks to make his debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Sunday's Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500.(BK Racing)(2-26-2015)

  • The End Of The Beginning for Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon goes back to where it all began this weekend for perhaps his final race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the 1992 season finale at AMS, sprouting a storied career highlighted by four championships and 92 wins entering his last full-time campaign. The #24 Hendrick Motorsports driver placed 29th in the Hooters 500 that November afternoon, a finish he has rarely replicated since. Gordon leads all active full-time drivers with five wins in his 41 starts at AMS. He also boasts 16 top fives (39%). 26 top 10s (63.4%) and two poles. Gordon last won at Atlanta in 2011.(NASCAR)(2-26-2015)

  • NASCAR Productions and SPIKE TV Present 'I Am Dale Earnhardt': 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. 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)

  • Atlanta Notes & Facts - Thursday - history:
    Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway.
    The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta was on July 31, 1960, won by Fireball Roberts from the pole.
    The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970.
    It was renamed Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990.
    The track layout was reversed and the track was re-configured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997.
    (NASCAR)(2-26-2015)

  • Atlanta Traffic Plan for the race weekend: During this week's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the south side of Atlanta may experience increased highway congestion. Atlanta Motor Speedway provides a free shuttle and tram service from all parking lots to each gate.
    Basic Traffic Plan for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend (Feb. 26-March 1):
    Southbound fans traveling via Interstate Highway 75 have a choice of major routes to take: either Georgia Highway 19/41via Exit 235 or Georgia Highway 20 via Exit 218. Northbound fans traveling via Interstate 75 can choose from Hampton-Locust Grove Road at Exit 212 or Georgia Highway 20 at Exit 218. Fans are encouraged to choose their route based on where they would like to park on property. Fans will be directed to a certain lot based on the direction from which they enter the speedway. Trams, shuttle buses and sidewalks will allow fans to easily access their seats, regardless of where they park on property. Fans are advised that the direction from which they enter speedway property is the same direction to which they will exit.(AMS), for more details and links see Jayski.com's Atlanta Motor Speedway Track News and Links page.(2-26-2015)

  • RCR Partner Chartwell Seeks Equity Sale: Richard Childress Racing Enterprises, a premier sports enterprise focused primarily on NASCAR race teams, has advised its employees, drivers and key sponsors that RCR's minority partner, Chartwell Investments and RCR have hired Houlihan Lokey to assist in exploring strategic alternatives for the sale of its equity position in the company. Houlihan Lokey is serving as financial advisor to RCR. Questions regarding the process should be directed to Lee Ann Gliha (RCR).(2-26-2015)

  • Kyle Busch Undergoes Successful Surgery On Left Foot: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), underwent successful surgery this afternoon on his left foot, which was injured in an accident during last Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson of OrthoCarolina. Busch is resting comfortably and will remain hospitalized for observation.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-25-2015)

  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Atlanta
    #24-Jeff Gordon.............................. 106.0
    #48-Jimmie Johnson........................ 104.9
    #19-Carl Edwards............................ 100.1
    #14-Tony Stewart............................... 98.1
    #20-Matt Kenseth.............................. 97.9
    #11-Denny Hamlin............................. 97.4
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr........................ 92.7
    #42-Kyle Larson................................ 91.1
    #16-Greg Biffle.................................. 90.8
    #4-Kevin Harvick................................ 90.4
    Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (16 total) among active drivers at Atlanta 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)

  • Car Numbers that have produced three or more Daytona 500 victories:
    Car Number (wins) - Drivers (years)
    o #43(7) - Richard Petty (1964, '66, '71, '73, '74, '79, '81)
    o #21(5) - Tiny Lund (1963), Cale Yarborough (1968), A.J. Foyt (1972), David Pearson (1976) and Trevor Bayne (2011)
    o #28(5) - Fred Lorenzen (1965), Buddy Baker (1980), Cale Yarborough (1983 and 1984) and Davey Allison (1992).
    o #88(4) - Bobby Allison (1982), Dale Jarrett (1996, 2000), Dale Earnhardt Jr.(2014)
    o #4(3) - Ernie Irvan (1991), Sterling Marlin (1994 and 1995)
    o #15(3) - Bobby Allison (1978), Michael Waltrip (2001 and 2003)
    o #17(3) - Darrell Waltrip (1989), Matt Kenseth (2009 and 2012)
    o #24(3) - Jeff Gordon (1997, 1999 and 2005)
    o #22(3) - Fireball Roberts (1962), Ward Burton (2002) and Joey Logano (2015)

  • AC/DC's lead singer buys Mustang from Petty's Garage: AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson has bought his first Mustang GT from Richard Petty's Garage, based in Randleman, NC "This Mustang has just taken my breath away," said Johnson, according to Ford. "It really is one of the best cars I've ever driven. I didn't have an American car, but I do now!" Ford is teaming with Petty's Garage to create a new 627-hp Mustang GT, according to Auto World News. Two versions will reportedly be built this year. The car that Johnson bought comes in at $92,210. Orders for the limited edition Mustang can be placed at any Ford dealership.(MyFox8)(2-26-2015)

  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Grand Marshal Named: Major Dan Rooney, the founder and CEO of Folds of Honor, will serve as the grand marshal of Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 1. Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, founded Folds of Honor in 2007 after returning home from his second tour of duty in Iraq. The charity is dedicated to providing educational, opportunities to family members of those who have been killed or disabled while on active duty. For more information about Atlanta Motor Speedway's NASCAR weekend or to purchase tickets, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(2-25-2015)

  • Open Test Session Gives Fans a Four-Day Weekend of NASCAR at AMS: NASCAR will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway one day earlier during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR weekend. NASCAR will conduct an open test session for its Sprint Cup Series teams on Feb. 26, giving teams an opportunity to gain valuable track time in advance of the season's first race on an intermediate track with the new rules package. The Speedway welcomes fans to attend the event and watch from the grandstands and enter at Gate 13. Admission is free with a Sunday grandstand ticket or a $10 donation to the Atlanta chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. For more information on the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR weekend, call 877-9-AMS-TIX or go to atlantamotorspeedway.com/tickets.(AMS), this test session will not be televised.(2-25-2015)

  • High-Performance Energizer EcoAdvanced AA Battery featured on #42 at Atlanta: As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) for the first race of the season at an intermediate track, and first race with the new rules package, Energizer is set to serve as the primary partner on Kyle Larson's #42 Chevy. Energizer will be highlighting a first. Following several years of development, Energizer recently introduced the EcoAdvanced AA battery, which is a first-of-its-kind battery made with four percent recycled battery material that delivers long-lasting power while creating less impact on the planet. Although this will only be the second time that Larson has raced the Energizer Chevy, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Energizer have enjoyed a strong relationship for nearly 20 years (Chip Ganassi Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #42 Team Schemes page.(2-25-2015)

  • Congrats - Regan Smith: #41 SHR Cup driver / JRR XFINITY driver, Regan Smith announced on Twitter: "Welcome to this world Rhett Lee Smith 5lbs 14oz 18"long May all your dreams become reality :(2-25-2015)

  • Fox swaps networks for Martinsville and Richmond: FOX Sports announced the Sunday, March 29 (1:00pm/et) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 from Martinsville Speedway will air on FOX Sports 1, in turn moving the Saturday, April 25 (7:00 pm/et) Toyota Owners 400 night race from Richmond International Raceway to the FOX broadcast network. With approval from NASCAR, the swap is being made to avoid a potential conflict with another live event on FOX Sports 1 that leads into the Richmond event. Martinsville now marks the debut of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing on FOX Sports 1.(FOX Sports)(2-25-2015)

  • #10 Team Issued a Written Warning For Rules Infraction at Daytona: The #10 team [Danica Patrick, Stewart Haas Racing] that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been issued a Written Warning for a rules infraction discovered during opening day inspection Feb. 13 at Daytona International Speedway. Written Warnings are outlined in Section 12.5.3.1 in the 2015 NASCAR rule book. This warning is for violation of Sections:
    12-1 - Actions detrimental to stock car racing
    20.11.2.2.2.1.b - Unapproved left-side driver heat shield; the outer exterior exhaust heat shield panel must follow the horizontal surface plane of the left side floorboard forward section to the bottom edge of the left side toe board.(NASCAR)(2-25-2015)

  • Who will drive the #34? UPDATE: Front Row Motorsports needed a replacement, but... David Reutimann is kicking himself. The former Sprint Cup driver had the opportunity to race for Front Row Motorsports this weekend in the #34 Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway. However, Reutimann, who is traveling in California, told Motorsport.com on Tuesday he had not renewed his NASCAR license for 2015. Reutimann says he hopes to return to racing at some point. Renewing his NASCAR license and getting his physical would be a good place to start.
    Bobby Labonte has been mentioned as a fill in for David Ragan this weekend. Sources confirmed that the team has talked to the 2000 NASCAR champ. With 48 entries for the Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Labonte's past champion's provisional would come in handy.(Motorsport)(2-24-2015)
    UPDATE: Front Row Motorsports tweeted: "Happy to have Joe Nemechek on board this weekend, driving the #34 @CSX #PlayItSafe Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(2-25-2015)

  • Bowyer latest Cup driver to be guest analyst of FOX: Clint Bowyer is the latest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver confirmed as a race analyst for FOX and FOX Sports 1's coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015. Bowyer is scheduled to offer analysis alongside Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip for the NASCAR XFINITY Series races from Auto Club Speedway in March and Charlotte in May. Bowyer is the fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver announced as part of a rotation in the FOX and FOX Sports 1 booth for FOX Sports' coverage of the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season.(FOX)(2-25-2015)

  • Sad News - Thee Dixon: Thee Carlin Dixon, of Durham, NC, the first African American team owner in NASCAR, passed away on Feb. 20, 2015. He was 76 years old. In 1989, he fielded his first Winston Cup entry, under the banner of Mansion Racing, with Mike Potter driving. In 1990, Dixon attempted two races with Mike Skinner. Carl Long and Dixon made three of an attempted twelve starts in 2001 and one of five in 2002. Dixon didn't field another Cup car after. His best Cup finish was 28th in the 1992 AC Delco 500 at Rockingham with Skinner. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.(Frontstretch / hwdfuneral.com)(2-25-2015)

  • ISC to review safety at all facilities: Statement from International Speedway Corporation (ISC) President John Saunders:
    "Beginning with our two superspeedway motorsports entertainment facilities, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, ISC is developing a significant plan for the installation of additional impact-absorbing technologies including but not limited to SAFER barriers (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction). We will utilize all available tools to ensure the safety of the drivers and our fans. It will remain our top priority. A thorough review of our other ISC facilities will continue with the focus to prioritize each track's most critical areas first. This includes but is not limited to our upcoming races at Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. ISC is working very closely with NASCAR and industry experts to identify areas for additional safety protections. As we finalize our plans, we will communicate them to the drivers and necessary stakeholders ahead of our races at each ISC facility."(ISC)(2-24-2015)

  • Ragan to sub for Kyle Busch? UPDATE: #34-David Ragan has been contacted by Joe Gibbs Racing about driving the #18 Toyota while Kyle Busch recovers from a compound fracture in his right leg. JGR is considering a plan that would share the ride between Ragan and Camping World Truck Series driver Erik Jones, who is under contract to the team, while Busch recovers from his injury. There is no timetable on the return for Busch, who spent a third consecutive night in a Daytona Beach hospital after being hurt in a Saturday crash during the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona.
    Ragan has driven the #34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series the past four seasons. He has two victories in Cup, at Daytona in 2011 for Roush Fenway Racing and at Talladega in 2013 for Front Row. Ragan met with JGR officials Tuesday morning at the team's Huntserville, N.C., headquarters. Team owner Joe Gibbs met Monday morning with Jones, who has four career victories in the truck series, about taking over the No. 18, but there are concerns about how it might impact the 18-year-old's future sponsorship prospects if he struggled in Busch's absence.
    Jones races full time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the truck series and is running 10 races in the Xfinity Series for JGR. He is a likely candidate to take over Busch's part-time schedule in the #54 Toyota on the Xfinity circuit. Among the plans being considered would be to put Ragan in the #18 for several races and then allow Jones some time behind the wheel after he has more Xfinity and truck experience.
    It wasn't clear immediately how Ragan's Ford relationship might be affected, but multiple sources said JGR had received approval from Ford and Roush Fenway Racing to put driver Elliott Sadler in the #18 for the Daytona 500 before electing to run truck series champion Matt Crafton. Requests for comment from Ragan and Front Row Motorsports hadn't been returned Tuesday morning.(NBC Sports)(2-24-2015)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces that David Ragan will fill in for Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with this weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch was released this morning from Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, FL and transferred to a hospital near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina for further treatment. Busch sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. No specific timetable has been announced for Busch's return to the race track. It is expected that Ragan will pilot the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota for at least the next several weeks. Ragan's current race team Front Row Motorsports and sponsor CSX accommodated the move by Ragan and Ragan is expected to return to the team later this season. Additional updates on Busch's condition will be provided as necessary. In addition, JGR announces that Erik Jones will pilot the #54 Monster Energy Toyota in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend in Atlanta. An announcement on who will drive the Monster Energy Camry following Atlanta will be made at a later date.
    "We appreciate being able to work with Front Row Motorsports and CSX for David's (Ragan) availability," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We are fortunate to be able to have someone of David's caliber behind the wheel while Kyle recovers. Erik is a big part of our future at JGR and we will be increasing his schedule in the XFINITY Series beginning this weekend in Atlanta and seeking the earliest opportunity to provide him Cup experience. We appreciate all the support we have received from the NASCAR community including our fans and we look forward to getting Kyle back in the car as soon as possible."
    "Everyone at Mars is thankful that Kyle is doing well and we continue to wish him a speedy recovery," said William Clements, vice president of sponsorship and sports marketing for Mars Incorporated. "While we can't wait until Kyle returns behind the wheel of the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota, we are excited to work with David and we're pleased JGR was able to work it out for him to step in during Kyle's absence."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-24-2015)

  • Sad News - Michael Colabucci Sr.: On Monday, February 23, 2015, Michael Anthony Colabucci Sr., passed from this world. Born to Lawrence and Angela "Tootsie" Colabucci on December 16th, 1962 in Washington, D.C., Mike attended Frederick Douglass High School. He was the beloved husband of Maureen; father of Mike Colabucci, Jr.; and survived by one granddaughter; brother of Brian, Kevin, Patrick, Lauren and Lesley. He also loved his 2 dogs, Toby and Bucci. Michael worked for 3 decades in the automotive business as a salesman, manager, general manager and dealer. He spent the majority of his career with Lustine Chevrolet in Hyattsville, MD and most recently in Waldorf, MD. He loved automobiles and in his younger days raced motorcycles, stock cars and competed in the NACAR Craftsman Truck Series. Family and friends are invited to Mike's Life Celebration on Friday, February 27 from 9:30am until a Mass of Christian Burial is offered at 11:00am at The Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 11704 Duley Station Rd., Upper Marlboro, MD. Interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions my be made to Little Sisters of the Poor, Jeanne Jugan Residence, 4200 Harwood Rd., N.E., Washington, DC or to Servants of the Lord, 1714 Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774.(2-25-2015)

  • Special scheme on the #55 at Atlanta, Moffitt gets the call: Brett Moffitt will drive Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 Aaron's 60th Anniversary Dream Machine Toyota replacing Brian Vickers who'll make his 2015 debut next weekend in Las Vegas after recovering from heart surgery. Michael Waltrip finished 26th at Daytona last weekend driving the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine. Atlanta-based Aaron's will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a special paint scheme on the #55 this weekend. Aaron's joined MWR in 2000 serving as a primary sponsor in Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races. With more than 2,100 stores across the country, Aaron's helps customers own the life they want. Though Moffitt owns a few Sprint Cup starts, he's never had a chance to demonstrate his talent with a full-time team, crew and car that's competing for wins and a championship. Moffitt sees this weekend's race as a chance to show the world he belongs with the sport's young stars. In five years of fulltime NASCAR Pro Series East competition (2009-13), Moffitt won nine of the 61 races he entered. In 2014, Moffitt made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Dover International Speedway, where he started 18th and finished 22nd. He has since competed in six additional Sprint Cup events.(MWR), see images of the car on the #55 Team Schemes page.(2-24-2015)

  • Fresh From Florida debuts at Atlanta on the #43: In the off-season, Richard Petty Motorsports took on the responsibility to hang their own bodies. This weekend, the #43 Fresh From Florida team will bring a brand new body to their first intermediate race of the season. The team is eager to use this race as a benchmark for their new body program. Aric Almirola and team will have the opportunity to test out the car on Thursday during a test session at Atlanta Motor Speedway before the regular race weekend begins on Friday. This weekend, the Fresh From Florida campaign will makes its 2015 debut on the famed #43. The campaign, led by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is focused on building awareness and sales of fresh seafood, produce and other Florida products.(RPM), see am image of the scheme on the #43 Team Schemes page.(2-24-2015)

  • Logano on Letterman: See the video clip of #22-Joey Logano, winner of the 2015 Daytona 500, on Late Night with David Letterman from Monday, Feb 23rd at cbs.com.(2-24-2015)

  • Kyle Busch spends another night in the hospital UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch will spend a third night at Halifax Health Medical Center of Daytona Beach, where he is recovering from leg and foot injuries, according to a team spokesman at Joe Gibbs Racing, who said Busch is "resting comfortably."(FoxSports)(2-24-2015)
    UPDATE Kyle Busch's wife Samantha tweeted with a pic: Off to NC! Thank u to everyone at Halifax for taking such good care of Kyle! Leaving Daytona.(2-24-2015)

  • Shell Saver Cardholders Can Save When #22 Ford Fusion Wins: This past weekend Joey Logano took the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion to victory lane at Daytona, and now it's current Shell $aver CardSM customers' time to win! Shell Saver Cardholders can save 22 cents per gallon on all three grades of Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines, and Shell Diesel. Savings apply up to 25 gallons at participating stations and are good for purchases made this upcoming Wednesday, or as we like to call it WINsday, February 25. The season-long WINsday promotion will be applicable after every points race in which Joey Logano takes the checkered flag. For additional information go to shell.us/winsday.(Shell)(2-24-2015)

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway Statement on Protective Barriers: Following discussions yesterday between Atlanta Motor Speedway and NASCAR officials and a subsequent review of the existing SAFER barriers at the facility, AMS will add a number of additions to its existing barrier system. The protective wall at the exit of pit road near Turn 1 will be extended, and a tire barrier will be added along the inside wall of Turn 4 to offer supplementary safety protection. The installations will add a total of 130 linear feet of additional protective barrier prior to this weekend's NASCAR events. Further review regarding future installation of additional SAFER barriers at the facility will take place following Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Atlanta Motor Speedway is dedicated to providing the safest possible facility for its fans and drivers.(AMS)(2-24-2015)

  • Nashville Superspeedway sale deadline extended for fifth time: The closing deadline on the sale of Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County by Dover Motorsports to NeXovation Inc. has been extended to March 27, according to recent filing. NeXovation Inc. announced in May an agreement to purchase the race track from Dover and its subsidiary Nashville Speedway U.S.A. Inc. for nearly $46 million - $27 million in cash and the assumption of about $18.8 million in bond obligations owed to Wilson County. It's the fifth time the closing has been extended. The most recent deadline had been set for Feb. 25. NeXovation has already paid $1.7 million in non-refundable payments that will be applied to the purchase price. The filing Dover filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission states NeXovation paid $200,000 for the latest extension, which is non-refundable, but will not be applied toward the purchase price. NeXovation has now paid $400,000 total for the last two deadline extensions, that is nonrefundable and won't be refunded nor applied to the purchase price.(Tennessean)(2-24-2015)

  • France: Safety, performance are NASCAR hallmarks: On Monday, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France explained the secret to the sport's success in creating a level playing field and expressed the importance of safety. He also told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Joey Logano leads a group of young drivers coming up in the sport. "Everybody gets an opportunity on equal footing to compete, and that's a very hard task for us because we have 43 teams, three manufacturers and a lot of smart people trying to game any rules package that we put forward," France said. "To get an advantage, that's what they do. That's what they should do. When we're able to boil through all that and make sure that everybody is on equal footing, that's when we win, and if we do that in a safe way, then we really win." France addressed the caution flag that ended the Great American Race with a multi-car wreck on the backstretch at the World Center of Racing. "We obviously err on the side of safety," France said of the yellow flag that ended the race after the field received the white flag on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. "That's of course what we're going to do. In this case, (NASCAR officials) believed that they couldn't clear it off, and it was just too dramatic. "We would have loved to finish it perfectly under green, but that wasn't the case. I don't think it really would have changed anything in this case. Joey (Logano) had broken out and established himself. It would have been very difficult to overcome him under any situation."
    France also addressed Kyle Busch's crash in Saturday's XFINITY Series race and Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III's pledge to ring the track with SAFER barriers. "Joie Chitwood said it best that, 'hey, look, that's unacceptable,'" France said of not having a SAFER barrier on the frontstretch where Busch crashed. "We're going to own that and move forward. That's how we're wired. That's a cornerstone of what we do. Safety and performance are the hallmarks of NASCAR." He added, "If we don't get safety right, then nothing else really matters."(NASCAR.com)(2-24-2015)

  • Kentucky Speedway adding SAFER barriers to walls: Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger says track officials have long considered adding more Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers to the Sparta, Ky., track's walls. "And then with what happened to Kyle Busch, it ratcheted up the urgency," Simendinger said Monday. Simendinger said Monday that by this July's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend, his track plans to add the so-called soft to its back stretch. "Sometimes you have to see what can possibly happen before you realize that you've got a problem that needs to be corrected," Simendinger said. "Obviously it's an expensive thing to do. It takes time. But it's something we're committed to. I've always said safety is our No. 1 thing, so that's what we're going to do assuming we can get the work done between now and our races," set for July 9-11. Already, SAFER barriers cover Kentucky's entry to corners through exits -- spots consultants deemed most likely to result in contact with race cars. Along the backstretch, the new walls could catch spinning cars off Turn 2. Ultimately, Simendinger says that "as an industry" NASCAR-sanctioned tracks will eventually cover every inch of exposed concrete wall. But it comes at a hefty cost -- approximately $500 per square foot. "It's something we work hand-in-hand with NACAR and their consultants on," he said. "...But there's not that many people that make SAFER barriers, so we've got to make sure we can get it, get it installed and do it properly."(Courier Journal)(2-24-2015)

  • Talladega adding SAFER barriers after Kyle Busch crash: Two days after Kyle Busch -- one of NASCAR's biggest stars -- broke his leg and foot in a head-on crash into a concrete wall at Daytona International Speedway, the president of the facility's sister track said more SAFER barriers will be installed before it hosts racing in May. "We'll look at our facility and reassess how we can make it better for the competitors as we've done with the catchfences and other things over the past 20 years," Talladega Superspeedway president Grant Lynch told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. "I think based upon what happened ... there will be a big focus on Talladega," Lynch said. At 2.66 miles, Talladega -- located about 55 miles east of Birmingham, Ala. -- is the biggest oval track in NASCAR and one of the fastest speedways in the world. Violent, multi-car crashes are practically staples of racing at the facility, which hosts two NASCAR weekends each year. Its 2015 dates are May 1-3 and Oct. 23-25. "I think we've put more (SAFER barriers) up than anybody, but that stands to reason because we're the biggest track with the most inside and outside walls," Lynch said. "We're certainly near the top percentage-wise for our company (International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 venues). Lynch said he didn't know what percentage of Talladega's walls is barrier-protected now. "As we've seen unusual wrecks happen, we've added more as we go," he said. "This is another opportunity to say, 'Let's ratchet it up again and take a good, hard look at the safety factors and see where we need it.' "(USA Today)(2-24-2015)


    During the Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast, DIS President Joie Chitwood III
    presents Joey Logano with a steel-and-gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch

  • Logano Gets Champion's Treatment at Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast: Newly crowned Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano was off-and-running again Monday morning. It started early with the annual Champion's Breakfast in the Bill France Room at Daytona International Speedway, where Logano was presented with the traditional champion's jacket. He also was surprised with a new first-year presentation for Daytona 500 champions: a steel-and-gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch. The timepiece will come in handy. Logano has a jam-packed schedule of media activities this week, including appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight and the TODAY show Tuesday, plus a trip to ESPN's studios in Bristol, Conn.
    "I didn't sleep much [last night], that's for sure," Logano said. "I didn't go to sleep, really. My mind just kept thinking about the whole race, how it all played out. I just kept reliving the moment over and over again. It's amazing ... the Daytona 500. It's something that's very special. And now, I'm excited about the [media] adventure that's ahead of me."
    At Monday morning's breakfast, Logano, crew chief Todd Gordon and car owner Roger Penske spoke with media prior to another tradition being renewed: installing the Daytona 500 winning car - in this instance the yellow-and-red #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford - inside the Speedway Ticket and Tours Building. The car will be part of the Speedway tours program and will be returned to the team at the 2016 Daytona 500, a tradition that began in 1996.
    During the Champion's Breakfast, DIS President Joie Chitwood III presented champion's jackets to Logano, Gordon and Penske; the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy to Penske; and the Cannonball Baker trophy to Gordon. Chitwood and Logano also unveiled the logo for next year's 58th annual Daytona 500.(DIS)(2-23-2015)

  • SHR says #41 will race at Atlanta UPDATE: A spokesperson for Stewart-Haas Racing says that the #41 Chevy will compete this weekend at Atlanta but no driver has been confirmed. Regan Smith drove the car to a 16th-place finish in Sunday's Daytona 500 in place of Kurt Busch. NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch on Friday after a Delaware Family Court Commissioner concluded that "it is more likely than not'' that Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll in September. The commissioner made the pronouncement after granting a protective order for Driscoll. Busch lost two appeals to NASCAR on Saturday to get back in the car. A NASCAR spokesperson said the sanctioning body would send guidelines to Busch on what he must do to be reinstated. The #41 car's primary sponsor for most races is Haas Automation, which is owned by car owner Gene Haas. That led to some questions of it Haas would continue to run the car after Daytona.(NBC Sports)(2-23-2015)
    UPDATE: Stewart-Haas Racing has named Regan Smith interim driver of its #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend Feb. 26-March 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Smith will begin driving the #41 car during the open test session on Thursday. The race on Sunday will be Smith's seventh Sprint Cup start at Atlanta. His most recent Sprint Cup start at the 1.54-mile oval was on Sept. 2, 2012 when he finished 14th. Atlanta will be Smith's second race in the #41 car. He drove the Haas Automation Chevrolet to a 16th-place finish last Sunday in the Daytona 500. Smith already had some history with Stewart-Haas Racing prior to Daytona. He subbed for Tony Stewart in the team's #14 car last August at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. An interim driver for the #41 team at next weekend's Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and subsequent races has not been determined.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(2-23-2015)(

  • Erik Jones meets with Joe Gibbs about subbing for injured Busch in #18 ride: Erik Jones has emerged as the leading candidate to replace injured Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones, who drives for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series and is under contract with JGR, met Monday morning with team owner Joe Gibbs to discuss taking over the ride. Busch is out indefinitely after suffering a compound fracture in his right leg in an Xfinity Series crash Saturday at Daytona. JGR could make an announcement on an interim driver as early as Monday afternoon. Jones, 18, is scheduled to run a full truck season for KBM and a 10-race Xfinity schedule for JGR. There are no major scheduling conflicts that would preclude him from driving in NASCAR's premier series until the Martinsville Speedway weekend in late March. The team is expected to receive approval from NASCAR to put Jones in a Sprint Cup car. He wasn't approved for the Daytona 500 as NASCAR typically doesn't allow drivers to make their Cup debut in a restrictor-plate race at Daytona or Talladega without having raced at a lower-tier event at those tracks.(NBC Sports)(2-23-2015)

  • NASCAR cites 'competitor safety' in throwing the final caution: NASCAR officials say they felt the backstretch crash Sunday on the final lap of the Daytona 500 had enough hard hits with the wall that they had to throw the caution as leader and eventual winner Joey Logano entered Turn 3. It resulted in a somewhat anticlimactic finish with the race ending on a judgment call under yellow-flag conditions without a scramble to the finish line. But it was a finish that NASCAR said was necessary for safety reasons. NASCAR rules dictate that once the leader has taken the white flag, it will not restart the race if the caution comes out. Drivers keep their position as long as they maintain a reasonable speed to the finish line. "We make every effort to finish a race under the green flag," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "However, when cars get disrupted and hit the wall as they did on that last lap, we are going to react in the best interest of competitor safety."(ESPN.com)(2-23-2015)

  • Crafton finishes 18th in first Cup start: Now that the Daytona 500 is history, and Matt Crafton brought home an 18th-place finish in an emergency relief role for injured Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing will have to turn its attention to the future. Busch suffered a broken right leg and a broken left foot after his #54 Toyota slammed nose-first into a concrete wall inside Turn 1 during Saturday's XFINITY Series race. Unknown at this point is the number of races Busch will miss as he recovers from his injuries. Whether Crafton races again in the #18 Toyota as Busch mends, he's due a vote of thanks from JGR for an excellent effort under exigent circumstances. Crafton flew back down to Daytona on Saturday night and started the Daytona 500 without the chance to run a single practice lap. "Pretty gnarly," Crafton said of the experience. "It was very, very tough, but that's what we get paid to do, drive race cars and figure it out quick. It was a learning curve. The first half (of the race) we just rode around and tried to learn, learn, learn. I made a mistake. I had a pretty good surge up top, and I tried the bottom and shuffled myself all the way to the back. I should have had a little better finish there at the end, but it is what it is."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-23-2015)

  • Daytona 500 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 1:11 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 4:47 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: 136
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 127
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
    Number of 'Side-by-Side' commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 9
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 4
    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): 69
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min. 5 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 1:11 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 4:47 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 216
    Minutes of race broadcast: 158
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 58
    Minutes of 'Side-by-Side' commercials (split-screen): 3
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 1
    Total race brdcst time 158 Total comm. brdcst time 58
    See full reports, sponsor links, much more details at CawsnJaws.com.(2-23-2015)

  • Tough Day for Stewart in 17th Daytona 500: #14-Tony Stewart was sidelined in the Daytona 500 with suspension problems due to multi-car accident on lap 41, ended up completing 72 laps, finishing 42nd. Some comments by Stewart:
    MISSED QUESTION?
    Stewart: "As long as we were two wide, then when it got three wide that particular lap it got away from me, and I got out of the gas and couldn't even get the front end caught up when I got out of the gas. I'm not sure if Ryan (Blaney) wasn't there, I still was going to hit the fence."
    GOOD EFFORT BY YOUR CREW TO REPLACE THE WHOLE FRONT END.
    Stewart: "It was fast enough to stay with the pack there. I actually just stayed with Mike Wallace to help my buddy out there. We ran as many laps as we could that would get us....we couldn't run any more laps and gain anything. It's the biggest race of the year and the last thing you want to do is stay out there and have something else happen to get in the middle of something. Let's just let those guys have their day."
    HOW FRUSTRATING:
    Stewart: "Well, it is just part of it. Yes, it's not what we had planned, but we stuck with the plan from the start of the race and that was to stay up front as much as we could. We knew the first two runs of the race we were probably going to have to adjust on the car; I just didn't make it far enough into the second run there to get a chance to adjust on it."(Team Chevy)(2-23-2015)

  • Race Week Arrives in Atlanta: After a stirring season-opening weekend in Daytona, the 2015 NASCAR season shifts 400 miles north to Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. One of the most storied tracks on the circuit and a favorite among drivers, Atlanta Motor Speedway promises to continue the intense competition seen in the season's opening event, as drivers get their taste of the 2015 intermediate rules package. Kevin Harvick, last year's NACAR Sprint Cup Series champion and tonight's second-place finisher in the Daytona 500, will get things started with a special race week-opening burnout in his #4 Chevrolet in front of Phillips Arena in Downtown Atlanta Monday afternoon. On-track action gets underway Thursday with the first open team test of the new NASCAR season. Sprint cup teams will get their first true taste of the 2015 rules package with a four-hour practice session from 1:00 to 5:00pm/et (no TV). Sprint Cup Series drivers will then vie for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 pole position Friday evening, beginning at 5:45pm/et in the Drive Sober Georgia Qualifying Day. The racing cranks up with a unique same-day doubleheader Saturday afternoon with the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series hitting the AMS asphalt in the Hisense 250 and the Hyundai Construction Equipment 200. Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race highlights the weekend and caps off Atlanta's 2015 NASCAR week in what is shaping up to be an intriguing second race of the season. For more information about Atlanta Motor Speedway's NASCAR week or to purchase tickets, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(2-23-2015)

  • Richard Petty to be inducted into Speedway Lane Hall of Fame HOF: Richard Petty, a seven-time NASCAR champion, winner of over 200 career races and a 2010 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, continues to collect numerous accolades for a legendary career behind the wheel of a stock car that began nearly 60 years ago. Petty will be inducted into the City of Hampton, Georgia's Speedway Lane Hall of Fame in a ceremony at 6:00pm/et on Thursday, Feb. 26 at Downtown Hampton's Depot Park, as the home city of Atlanta Motor Speedway honors the racing legend to kick off its four-day 2015 NASCAR weekend. Established in 2013, Hampton's Speedway Lane Hall of Fame honors influential drivers with strong ties to Georgia and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Its current members include Fayetteville, Georgia's Rex White and Dawsonville, Georgia's Bill Elliott, both 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees.
    Special guest speakers at the induction ceremony will include Petty, Hampton mayor Steve Hutchison and Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark. Additionally, a special tribute will honor the late Captain Herb Emory, longtime local Atlanta traffic reporter, impassioned civic activist and icon in the motorsports press community. Following the ceremony, Petty will serve as the grand marshal of the 3rd Annual Hauler Parade, as NASCAR XFINITY Series transporters cruise through Downtown Hampton prior to entering Atlanta Motor Speedway's main infield tunnel. The parade will kick off at 6:30pm/et, beginning near Depot Park and proceed down Main Street. Fans of all ages are invited to attend the parade and experience the charm of Downtown Hampton, as the thrill of NASCAR arrives for its annual stop at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hampton, approximately 25 miles south of Atlanta, is easily accessible from Interstate-75 via Highway 19/41 by taking Exit 235 or via Highway 20 by taking Exit 218. For more information about Atlanta Motor Speedway's NASCAR weekend or to purchase tickets today, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(2-23-2015)

  • Joey Logano wins the Daytona 500: #22-Joey Logano won the DAYTONA 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway in a green-white-checkered finish for his 1st win of the season, 1st win at Daytona and his 9h career win. The race win was worth $1,581,453.
    #4-Harvick finished 2nd followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr., #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson, #13-Mears, #15-Bowyer, #78-Truex Jr., #5-Kahne and #16-Biffle.
    Pole winner #24-Gordon dominated early in the race, leading 87 of 200 laps until getting caught up in a wreck on the final lap, finishing 33rd.
    There were 27 lead changes among 12 drivers. There were 7 cautions for 26 yellow flag laps with a 7 minute red flag before the green-white-checkered finish.
    The average speed was 161.939 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).(2-22-2015)

  • Race Fast Facts - Daytona:
    #22-Joey Logano won the 57th Annual Daytona 500, his ninth victory in 221 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in 2015.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 14 races at Daytona International Speedway.
    #4-Kevin Harvick (second) posted his 12th top-10 finish in 29 races at Daytona International Speedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2015.
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) posted his 18th top-10 finish in 31 races at Daytona International Speedway.
    Joey Logano leads the point standings by 5 points over Kevin Harvick.
    This is Team Penske and car owner Roger Penske's second Daytona 500 victory, his first was in 2008 with driver Ryan Newman.
    Joey Logano is the second youngest driver in series history to win the Daytona 500 at the age of 24 years, 8 months, 29 days. The youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 is Trevor Bayne at the age of 20 years, 0 months, 1 day.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(2-22-2015)

  • 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
    [after Daytona, race 1 of 36]
    1) #22-Joey Logano [1 win], 47
    2) #4-Kevin Harvick, 42, -5
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 42, -5
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin, 41, -6
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 40, -7
    6) #13-Casey Mears, 39, -8
    7) #15-Clint Bowyer, 37, -10
    8) #78-Truex Jr., 37, -10
    9) #5-Kasey Kahne, 35, -12
    10) #16-Greg Biffle, 35, -12
    11) #38-David Gilliland, 33, -14
    12) #9-Sam Hornish Jr., 32, -15
    13) #46-Michael Annett, 32, -15
    14) #3-Austin Dillon, 30, -17
    15) #43-Aric Almirola, 29, -18
    16) #27-Paul Menard, 27, -20
    (ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc)
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(2-22/23-2015)

  • Joe Gibbs Quotes about Kyle Busch's accident at Daytona: Joe Gibbs, owners of Joe Gibbs Racing and the car of #18-Kyle Busch, who was injured in a wreck at Daytona in the XFINITY Series race on Saturday, met with the media on Sunday morning, February 22, 2015, the transcript:
    Joe Gibbs, team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing Opening Statement:
    "First of all, I want to say that what really impresses you at a time like this is the NASCAR family. Last night - our drivers are intense competition and all the race teams are intense in competition. Something like this happens, it was just an outpouring of spirit, prayers - we had drivers coming by last night while we were at the hospital. We had NASCAR officials and everybody coming by and certainly I think that's one of the most impressive things about our sport and the way we adjust to things and the way we rally behind people particularly when we have a situation like we had last night with Kyle (Busch). I'd like to address a couple of things with him - I talked to him before surgery and then we waited until after surgery. Kyle, to be quite truthful, was kind of light-hearted and joking around with me and talking about wanting to get back in the car right away before surgery. Afterwards the doctors came in and Sam (Busch, wife) stayed there with Kyle last night and for us, we waited to get a report from the doctor. He said everything went very well. The major portion of what they did yesterday was his lower right leg where the injury was - they took care of that. They're going to wait on his foot - his left foot - and it remains to be seen there what the situation is, but that will probably be taken care of. They said there's not a rush on that and we'll probably be dealing with that in Charlotte with Dr. Anderson. I felt like considering everything that happened last night, I felt like everybody banded together. Certainly, we appreciate all the prayers and I would like to say this, we've been in racing for all the Gibbs family - J.D. (team president) and Coy and everybody -- we've been in racing 24 years and up until this point we've had one driver miss four weeks. I think that says a lot about the safety of the sport and I think yesterday in that wreck, the great thing was that Kyle had nothing from the knees up. Everything was fine and I think NASCAR does a great job of adjusting to things like this and making decisions. I think this will be the same in this case. I know the race track had a press conference yesterday and made some statements about that and I think this is probably one that again will make some good decisions again based on that. NASCAR certainly knows that the most important asset that we have is our drivers and I really applaud the fact that we have had some of the wrecks and everything that we have in sport and yet the safety factor has really been outstanding with some of the improvements that have been made. This will be a learning experience for everybody and I'm sure that the tracks will be a part of that and will probably reach the point with everything to do with the walls and everything -- we'll probably have those protected. I know there's been some decisions made today on that too. I appreciate all that and the way NASCAR handles anything like this. They took our helmet last night, they took the HANS device and they take all those things when we have a wreck like this and do an in-depth study of it. We appreciate that."
    Have you thought about drivers past this race and how long will Kyle Busch be out of the car?
    "We haven't put thought into other than just today. We were thrilled to get Matt (Crafton) - I should have brought the fact that Matt has driven some of Kyle's stuff. He's a veteran guy and we felt like it was the perfect fit. We sent him over to the race shop last night. He met our person in charge of seats and they sat in all of our cars and he's real comfortable with Kyle's seat. We brought him down last night and he climbed into the car today and he told me, 'everything's perfect.' I appreciate Matt. As far as time or length, I don't have a good understanding of that with the doctors and everything -- I think we're just going to pray for him to bounce back. I can tell you this, Kyle's already telling Sam, he said, 'Hey, I just want to get back to racing.' He has a great spirit about things like that."
    Have you determined how many races Kyle could miss and still be eligible for the Chase?
    "I really hadn't got into that other than I had a brief conversation last night about it and I'm not even sure that I'm clarified on all the rules and what would take place. I think our focus, we had so much going on last night, it was just to get everything arranged as best we could for today. I'm sure there will be some conversations on that going forward."
    (Toyota Racing), see the full transcript on the #18 Team News and Links page.(2-22-2015)

  • Steve O'Donnell and Joie Chitwood III discuss SAFER at Daytona: From a NASCAR Press Conference held at Daytona International Speedway Saturday evening after Kyle Busch was injured in a wreck where his car impacted the inside wall entering turn 1. The wall currently has no SAFER Barriers. The transcript of that press conference: Kerry Tharp: "Good evening. We have with us NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell, and also Joie Chitwood, who is president of Daytona International Speedway. At this time let's hear from Joie."
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: Obviously the first thing is that our thoughts and prayers go to Kyle. Last thing we want to see is a competitor injured here at the Daytona International Speedway. Our thoughts and prayers go to him. The Daytona International Speedway did not live up to its responsibility today. We should have had a SAFER barrier there today, we did not. We're going to fix that. We're going to fix that right now. We've got the team out tonight. We're going to install tire packs along that 850-foot linear square feet of wall, so we're ready to go racing tomorrow. Following that, the Daytona International Speedway is going to install SAFER barrier on every inch at this property. This is not going to happen again. We're going to live up to our responsibility. We're going to fix this and it starts right now.
    KERRY THARP: Steve.
    STEVE O'DONNELL: From our perspective, obviously I want to echo what Joie said. Thoughts and prayers with Kyle and his family. Certainly wishing him a speedy recovery. As Joie said, from our perspective, what happened tonight should not have happened. That's on us. We're going to fix it. We're going to fix it immediately. I think you heard from Joie where we stand from Daytona. I think we all know that racing is an inherently dangerous sport, but our priority is safety and we'll continue to put things in place that make this sport as safe as possible.
    KERRY THARP: We'll take a handful of questions.
    Q. Is there a reason beyond cost why this hasn't been done before, why all the walls haven't been covered?
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I don't have a good answer for that. SAFER barrier should have been there tonight. We're going to fix that. We don't want to see any competitors injured here. We have to fix that. We can't allow this to happen again.
    Q. Steve, since you guys have been the ones that have worked closest with the group that deals with the SAFER barriers, have y'all ever been told it would be unwise to place SAFER barriers in certain parts of a racetrack?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: We have. I think it goes to NASCAR is not the only sanctioning body that races at a specific track. I can use Eldora, for instance, where a SAFER barrier was looked at, but wouldn't have been the safest solution. One of the other challenges is there's a lot of other racing series that race at the racetracks we race at, but I wouldn't say it's a very common occurrence.
    Q. Joie, you talked about fixing it now. How much discussion has there been over time over fixing this previously, how much debate, looking at financials or whatever to get it fixed before?
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: For us, we really can't look at financials as a reason for this. We have to have a venue which we can put on NASCAR racing and have competitors be safe. We've put in SAFER barriers over a number of years. Again, we have to fix this right now. We're going to fix it for tomorrow. We have the team out there with the tire packs. We're going to be ready for tomorrow's race. Come Monday, we're going to start the plan so we can put SAFER barrier everywhere here. Finances don't come into play. That's really not a question. We're going to get this fixed and be sure we're ready for the next event here.
    Q. Steve, we just heard Joie say that he's going to put SAFER barriers all around this track. There are a lot of tracks on the circuit that do not have SAFER barriers. Is this going to become a NASCAR mandate or is this something that NASCAR is going to start talking to tracks about covering more of its walls with barriers from this point moving forward?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: I'll answer the last part first. We always have those conversations with the racetracks. The racetracks know that and work together with us on the SAFER barrier recommendations. What we've said here tonight is we will accelerate those talks with the tracks. We want this sport to be as safe as possible for not only our drivers, but everyone who participates in the sport and the race fans as well.
    Q. Steve, we talk about the obligations or the recommendations from the sanctioning body. From a financial standpoint, does NASCAR help out the tracks when it comes to installing the barriers?
    STEVE O'DONNELL: The tracks pay for the actual installation. I would say our responsibility in that process is looking at the latest technology that may be in place through our R&D center, our safety experts. But then it's working with the racetracks to actually install them.
    Q. Joie, do you know in terms of feet or percentage how much wall is covered and how much isn't?
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I know that we've installed SAFER barrier in five different years. At this point I don't have the exact number, but it's in tens of thousands of linear feet. The first installation was 1995, 100 linear feet. We've continued to add ever since. We added 2400 linear feet last year following the Daytona 500.
    Q. Do you know in percentage how much of the wall is covered and how much isn't?
    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I do not.
    KERRY THARP: Joie, Steve, thank you very much for your time. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.(NASCAR)(2-2-2015)

  • IndyCar is monitoring Kurt Busch case: IndyCar says it is closely monitoring the Kurt Busch situation and ''will act firmly and strongly in responding to all matters of domestic violence." Busch attempted the double last May, running in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend. He finished sixth in a Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport, but has not applied yet for this year's race. Andretti Autosport had said he was welcomed back after last year's run.(USA Today)(2-22-2015)

  • Added ALL the schemes from Daytona 500 practice/qualifying:
    #1 Cessna/McDonald's, #2 Miller Lite, #3 DOW, #4 Budweiser, #5 Farmers Insurance, #6 AdvoCare, #7 Nikko/Toy State, #9 Twisted Tea, #10 GoDaddy, #11 FedEx Express, #13 GEICO, #14 Bass Pro Shops, #15 Five-Hour Energy, #16 Ortho Bug B Gone, #17 Fastenal, #18 Crispy M&M's, #19 ARRIS, #20 Dollar General, #21 Motorcraft, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, #23 Dr. Pepper / MAXIM, #24 Drive to End Hunger, #26 LiveDeals, #27 Menards / PEAK, #29 American Born Moonshine, #30 Smokey Mountain Snuff, #31 Caterpillar, #32 C&J Energy Services, #33 Cheerios/Kroger, #34 KFC, #35 Speed Stick GEAR, #38 Love's Travel Stops, #40 Carsforsale.com, #41 Haas Automation, #42 Target, #43 Smithfield, #44 Golden Corral, #46 Pilot Flying J, #47 Kroger / USO, #48 Lowe's, #51 Brandt, #55 Aaron's, #62 Shore Lodge, #66 Crazy Vapors / X8 Energy Gum, #78 Furniture Row, #83 Dustless Blasting, #88 Nationwide Insurance, #95 Thrivent Financial, #98 Phoenix Construction,

  • Statement from Toyota on Kyle Busch Accident: "Kyle Busch is a key member of our Toyota NASCAR family and it goes without saying that everyone at Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), U.S.A. has Kyle in their thoughts and prayers. Kyle is as tough a competitor as you'll find in motorsports and I'm confident he'll recover quickly and return to the track with an even greater passion to win. We know fellow Toyota driver Matt Crafton will represent not only Toyota, but Joe Gibbs Racing well in today's Daytona 500." Ed Laukes, Vice President marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A.(Toyota Racing)(2-22-2015)

  • Kyle Busch injured in XFINITY Series race at Daytona, will NOT race in Daytona 500 UPDATE: Kyle Busch will miss the Daytona 500 with a right leg injury after a hard crash into a concrete wall during an Xfinity Series race Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Busch, in obvious pain, had his right leg placed in an air cast before being transported to Halifax Health Medical Center. He was awake and alert at the hospital, Joe Gibbs Racing officials said. He was supposed to start fourth Sunday in the Daytona 500. A replacement driver hasn't yet been named.
    The accident occurred when Busch was racing directly behind JGR teammate Erik Jones. Jones got turned and Busch got clipped. Busch's car sped across an area of the track used as an entrance to the road course portion of the speedway and then slammed hard into a concrete wall. Busch climbed out of the car before laying down on the grass near his car. The wall did not have a steel-and-foam energy-reduction barrier (SAFER), which NASCAR has had installed in the turns and other areas at tracks but has consistently been criticized for not having everywhere on the inside and outside walls on ovals.
    If Busch cannot start Sunday's Daytona 500, he would not be awarded any points. NASCAR, which requires drivers to compete each week to be eligible for its season-long championship, would have to grant Busch an exemption to not start a race he qualified for as well as to miss any future events and still be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(ESPN)
    AND #18-Kyle Busch will miss Sunday's Daytona 500 following a hard crash in the closing laps of Saturday's Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Busch was caught up in a 10-car crash near the end of the frontstretch on Lap 112 of the 120-lap event, his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota careening head-on into a section of infield wall that had no SAFER barrier. After the crash, Busch was transported directly to Halifax Health Medical Center of Daytona Beach. Medical updates are pending. He is being evaluated for injuries to his right leg. Joe Gibbs Racing has not named Busch's replacement or indicated how long he will be out (FoxSports)(2-21-2015)
    UPDATE: Matt Crafton will replace Kyle Busch in the Daytona 500, a person familiar with the arrangement told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter. Crafton, the Camping World Truck Series champion, went to Joe Gibbs Racing on Saturday night to get fitted for a seat in the #18 car. The team thought of using Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones, but NASCAR overruled it based on his inexperience in a Cup car. Busch and Crafton are not only both Toyota drivers, but also close friends. Crafton was a groomsman in Busch's wedding.(USA Today)
    Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing: Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. Busch was transported to a local hospital for treatment immediately following the accident and is currently undergoing surgery on his right leg. Busch's injuries will sideline him for an undetermined period of time. Veteran Matt Crafton will serve as the interim driver for Busch's #18 Toyota during Sunday's 57th Daytona 500. An interim driver has not been determined for the following race March 1 at Atlanta or for any future races. Additional updates will be provided as needed.(JGR).(2-21-2015)
    Kyle Busch Undergoes Successful Surgery Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), underwent successful surgery tonight to repair a compound fracture to his lower right leg suffered earlier today during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Busch is resting comfortable and will remain hospitalized for observation. There will be no additional updates tonight. Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs is scheduled to address the media at 9:20am/et in the media center at Daytona International Speedway.(JGR)(2-21-2015)

  • National Motorsports Final Appeal Hearing Statement regarding Kurt Busch: This evening, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, Mr. Bryan Moss, heard and considered the appeal of driver Kurt Busch. The penalty concerns Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; 12.8: Behavioral penalty.
    The penalty stems from activities last year involving Kurt Busch that resulted in a decision by the Family Court of the State of Delaware to issue an Order of Protection of Abuse against him. The penalty is an indefinite suspension. Earlier today, a three-person National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld the original penalty assessed by NASCAR.
    Tonight [Saturday, February 21, 2015], Kurt Busch presented his position to the Final Appeals Officer. Representing NASCAR was Jim Cassidy, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. The Appellate Administrator is NASCAR Vice President George Silbermann.
    Upon hearing tonight's testimony, Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, made the following decisions:
    The appellant violated the Rules set forth in the penalty notice and the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel was correct;
    The penalty was within the scope of the guidelines;
    The National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer upholds the original penalty levied by NASCAR
    The decision of the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer is final and binding on all parties. Kurt Busch now has exhausted his appeal options under the NASCAR Rulebook, and the indefinite suspension remains in effect. He will not be allowed to race nor participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice.(NASCAR)(2-21-2015)

  • Kurt Busch's appeal to be heard Saturday UPDATE 3 both appeals denied: #41-Kurt Busch's attorney said he plans to "immediately" appeal NASCAR's suspension of his client. NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch on Friday after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court Commissioner concluded that "it is more likely than not'' that Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, in September. NASCAR said that Busch could appeal the suspension and that it would "expedite" the process. A ruling on the appeal likely will come before Sunday's Daytona 500. Busch's appeal will be heard on Saturday by a three-member panel. He cannot have a lawyer argue the cause on his behalf, but can have other representatives with him during the hearing. Additionally, Busch can appeal the panel's decision to Bryan Moss, Final Appeals Officer.(NBC Sports)
    UPDATE: Busch has appealed, and the hearing begins Saturday at noon at NASCAR headquarters (in Daytona). Regardless of the outcome, SHR plans to stick with Regan Smith for the Daytona 500.(Associated Press)(2-21-2015)
    UPDATE 2: The National Motorsports Appeals Panel today heard and considered the appeal of driver Kurt Busch. The penalty concerns Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; 12.8: Behavioral penalty.
    The penalty stems from activities last year involving Kurt Busch that resulted in a decision by the Family Court of the State of Delaware to issue an Order of Protection of Abuse against him. The penalty is an indefinite suspension. The Appellant appealed both penalties. Upon hearing the testimony, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel decided that the Appellant violated the rules set forth in the penalty notice. The Panel therefore decided to uphold the original penalty assessed by NASCAR. The panel consisted of the following three individuals: Mr. Paul Brooks, Ms. Lyn St. James, Mr. Kevin Whitaker. Kurt Busch presented his position to the panel. Representing NASCAR was Jim Cassidy, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. The Appellate Administrator is NASCAR Vice President George Silbermann. Kurt Busch has the right to appeal the decision to the Final Appeals Officer, Mr. Bryan Moss. Kurt Busch must inform NASCAR of his intent to do so within the guidelines provided to him. The Final Appeals Officer has indicated that he would hear the final appeal, if requested, this evening at the International Motorsports Center in Daytona Beach, Florida.(NASCAR)(2-21-2015)
    UPDATE 3: Busch has one last-ditch appeal available, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said, and NASCAR Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss will hear the Stewart-Haas Racing driver's case Saturday night at 7:30pm/et.
    "We are very disappointed that our appeal was rejected by NASCAR's appeal panel," Busch attorney Rusty Hardin said in a statement. "We are re-appealing immediately, per the proscribed process. We have significant and strong evidence that contradicts the commissioner's conclusions. In the end we are confident that Kurt will be vindicated and he will be back racing. Until then we will continue to fight on his behalf by ensuring that the entire truth is known."
    The NASCAR appeals panel rarely overturns behavioral penalties because of NASCAR's broad behavior rule: "NASCAR membership is a privilege. With that privilege comes certain benefits, responsibilities and obligations. Correct and proper conduct, both on and off the race track, is part of a Member's responsibilities."
    NASCAR has no specific penalty for behavioral infractions, which is different than its six-level scale it uses to determine penalties for technical violations. "Behavioral infractions differ from technical infractions in that each is handled on a case-by-case basis, viewed in context, with an understanding of the prominence of the sport, the large fan following that the sport has garnered, the large corporate and sponsor support that the sport attracts, and also with an understanding of the passions that the sport can evoke, as well as, the competitive nature of most NASCAR members," the rule book states.
    The final appeal is different than the initial one because now Busch has the burden proof rather than NASCAR. Busch must show that he did not violate a rule, that the penalty is not within the scope of NASCAR guidelines and/or he was denied his rights during the initial appeal. Moss, the former president of Gulfstream, can ask questions and call any witnesses he wants.
    NASCAR Chairman Brian France also can step in at any time and lift the suspension.(ESPN)
    2nd Appeal Denied: Kurt Busch lost a second appeal of his NASCAR suspension Saturday night, leaving his immediate NASCAR future in doubt. Busch lost an appeal to a three-member panel Saturday afternoon, but appealed that decision to NASCAR's Final Appeals Officer. The second appeal also was denied and the suspension upheld Saturday night. Busch likely would now have to get a court order to block the suspension and allow him to continue racing. "We are unhappy with the latest decision to deny our re-appeal, but we will continue to exhaust every procedural and legal remedy we have available to us until Kurt Busch is vindicated," Busch attorney Rusty Hardin said in a statement late Saturday night. "Along the way we intend to continue to call attention to the facts and witnesses that will shed light on Ms. Driscoll's true character, motivations and history."(Sporting News)(2-21-2015)

  • Kurt Busch Suspended Indefinitely by NASCAR UPDATE2 Smith to Drive: #41-Kurt Busch has been suspended indefinitely, according to ESPN's Marty Smith and multiple reports. Earlier Friday it was ruled that Busch smashed his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll's head against his motor home wall Sept. 26 at Dover International Speedway, according to the conclusions of a Kent County (Del.) family court commissioner who granted Driscoll's request for a protective order Monday. Busch was scheduled to race Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, where he was slated to start 24th in the Daytona 500, the sport's biggest event.(ESPN)
    see more about the findings at ESPN: Court: Kurt Busch smashed ex's head and Delaware News Journal: Busch likely committed an act of abuse, judge says.
    Sources report XFINITY Series driver Regan Smith is expected to replace Busch in SHR's #41 Chevy in the Daytona 500.
    NASCAR Indefinitely Suspends Driver Kurt Busch: NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch for actions detrimental to stock car racing following the release today of a supplemental disposition setting forth the findings and conclusions that formed the basis for the Family Court of the State of Delaware's decision on Monday to issue an Order of Protection from Abuse against him. 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
    "Given the serious nature of the findings and conclusions made by the Commissioner of the Family Court of the State of Delaware, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch, effective immediately. He will not be allowed to race nor participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice. Kurt Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing team are fully aware of our position and why this decision was made. We will continue to respect the process and timetable of the authorities involved."(NASCAR)
    Statement from Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Motorsports and Performance Vehicles: "Chevrolet has suspended its relationship with Kurt Busch indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Busch and are prepared to take additional action if necessary."(Team Chevy)
    Statement from Stewart-Haas Racing Regarding Kurt Busch The following is a statement from Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer regarding Kurt Busch. "We understand NASCAR's position regarding Kurt Busch and accept their decision. We are in the midst of finalizing our plans for the Daytona 500 and we will announce those details as soon as we're ready."(SHR)
    UPDATE: Busch's attorney Rusty Hardin said the suspension will be appealed. "We are extremely disappointed that NASCAR has suspended Kurt Busch and we plan an immediate appeal," Hardin said in a statement. "We assure everyone, including NASCAR, that this action against Mr. Busch will turn out to be a travesty of justice, apparent to all, as this story continues to unfold." An expedited appeal could occur before the race Sunday. Hardin, who cannot represent Busch in the NASCAR appeal because the appeal process does not allow for lawyers to represent NASCAR members, reiterated his hope that the family court commissioner reconsiders his opinion based on additional evidence that would show Driscoll is not credible.(ESPN)
    UPDATE2: Stewart-Haas Racing has named Regan Smith interim driver of its #41 Haas Automation Chevy for the Daytona 500. Smith has some history with Stewart-Haas Racing, as he subbed for Tony Stewart in the team's #14 car last August at Watkins Glen. Smith was the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year and won the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington. He is a fulltime driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and finished second in the 2014 championship standings. Smith, 31, is from Cato, New York. An interim driver for the #41 team at next weekend's Sprint Cup race at Atlanta and subsequent races has not been determined.(SHR)
    See all the past news about the case and updates on the #41 Team News and Links page.(2-20-2015)

  • FOX Sports to air more NASCAR in Canada: FOX Sports announced the re-branding of SPEED International, its motor sports and automotive network in Canada and the Caribbean, as FOX Sports Racing, bolstering the high-octane programming lineup to deliver additional motor sports and big-event competition programming for 2015 and beyond. FOX Sports Racing returned to Rogers in Canada on Friday, February 20. Additionally, FOX Sports Racing continues to be available to pay-TV subscribers in the Caribbean. With a 2015 schedule that includes 785 events and nearly 900 hours of competition-driven programming, the FOX SPORTS RACING lineup is highlighted by a full season of live NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing, practice and qualifying sessions from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series events. For a look at the complete FOX Sports Racing programming lineup, please visit: FOXSportsRacing.com.(FOX Sports)
    ALSO: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races will be televised in Canada on the TSN network, see the Sprint Cup and XFINITY series schedules at tsn.ca.(2-21-2015)

  • NASCAR Announces Nominees For 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class, Landmark Award: Legendary engine builders, crew chiefs, owners and drivers. Their roles and responsibilities may have differed, but they all have one trait in common - each made an everlasting mark on NASCAR history. On Friday, NASCAR announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2016, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Included among the list are five first-time nominees - legends all - who excelled in various disciplines, at various levels.
    Among them are three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Evernham; 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Harry Hyde; 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki; winner of a combined 96 NASCAR national series races, Mark Martin; and 1986 NASCAR west series champion Hershel McGriff. The nominees were selected by a nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks and the media. The committee's votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young. From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting Day for the 2016 class will be Wednesday, May 20.
    The five nominees for the Landmark Award are Harold Brasington, H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier (more on each below). Potential Landmark Award recipients include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners remain eligible for NASCAR Hall of Fame enshrinement.
    Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically:
    Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR's premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500
    Red Byron, first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949
    Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
    Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion
    Ray Evernham, three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief
    Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others
    Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
    Harry Hyde, 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief
    Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier series champion
    Alan Kulwicki, 1992 NASCAR premier series champion
    Terry Labonte, two-time NASCAR premier series champion
    Mark Martin, 96-time race winner in NASCAR national series competition
    Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion
    Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first champion car owner
    Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier series champion
    Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion
    O. Bruton Smith, builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc.
    Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships
    Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing"
    Robert Yates, won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner
    The five nominees for the Landmark Award are as follows:
    Harold Brasington, founder of Darlington Speedway
    H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway
    Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first champion car owner
    Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
    Ken Squier, legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner / namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence
    The 22-person Nominating Committee are as follows:
    NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim.
    NASCAR Officials: Chairman / CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice Chairman of NASCAR Mike Helton; Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar; Executive Vice President / Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell; Executive Vice President / Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps; Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook (Note: Due to Jerry Cook's inclusion on the ballot for the NHOF Class of 2015, he was recused from voting for the Class of 2016 nominees.)
    Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of directors member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Holland Motorsports Complex operator Ron Bennett; Rockford Speedway operator Jody Deery; West Coast representative Ken Clapp.
    Media: Mike Joy, FOX.
    (NASCAR Hall of Fame PR)(2-21-2015)


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Next Race: QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500

Countdown to Race Time: 3/1/2015 ~1:16pm/et

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Article / Column / Blog Links

added a 2nd GALAXY of new links
on FEBRUARY 28, 2015
to the Article Links page, including.......



NOTE: the 20-25 links that seemed the most interesting to me are posted in the basic order they are shown on the Article / Column / Blog Links page with approx 10 days worth of links

Born on Dates / Birthday's

Born in FEBRUARY

28 Mario Andretti, Teddy McClure, Jeff Almond, Billy Wade

29 Ralph Earnhardt, Noreen Hoffman, Scott Cluka, Chuck Romeo

Born in MARCH

1 Jim Horton, Dave Marcis, Travis Kvapil, Tim Steele, Nate Ryan, Bob Pockrass, Stu Hothem, Mike Morrison

2 David Reutimann, Robert "Bootie" Barker, Cully Barraclough, Harold Holly, Erin Blaney, Lisa Price, Blake Mallory, Charles Comstock, Dr. Seuss

3 Bruton Smith, Dave Rodman, Chad Trickle, Tiny Lund, Donald Epling, Bill Snyder, Bobby Lord

4 Buck Baker, Rick Mast, Gary Cogswell, Pat Tryson, Chris Passantino

5 Cale Gale, Sutherlin Marlin

6 Jenny Umscheid, Bruce Martin

7 Janet Guthrie, Katelyn Benson

8 Buddy Barnes, Mark Green, Tommy Norton, Frank Parrish, Ronnie Thomas, Mark Smith, Kirk Shelmerdine, Wendy Calkins

9 Jeanne Barnes, Kevin Graves, Fred Bickford, Wilma Blevins, Danny Sullivan

10 Matt Kenseth, Mike Wallace, Roy McCauley, Ginny McClure, Kelly Denton, Randy Biggs, Louis Ossinsky Sr

11 Kathy Cindric, Albert Garwood, Derek Daly, Troy Ruttman

12 Casey Mears, John Andretti, Red Byron, Terri Brooks, Lorrie Earp

13 Jeff Spraker

14 Lee Petty, Artie Kempner, Aric Almirola, Bill Rexford, Albert Einstein, Kristen Yeley, Harold E. Holly Jr., David Poole

15 Andy Graves, Matthew Holzbaur

16 Jay Guarneri, Kevin Cywinski, Troy Andrews, Katrina Spencer, Wes Adams

17 Tom 'Tiger' Pistone, Gloria Lewis, Dee Eolin, Doug Rice

18 Mark Donohue, Ryan Truex, Alex Garcia, Jack Smith, Derrick Gilchrist

19 Brian Burns, Wyatt Dallenbach, Chris Graves, Tom Umscheid

20 Jeff Thousand, Mike Messick Jr.

21 Larry McClure, Fonty Flock, Jeff Krogh, Bob Hayden, Joe Menzer, Mike Moore

22 Marianne Fairlie, Billy Hagan, Pam Miller, Todd Trickle, Ronald Hayden, Eric Bilyeu, Mike Bodick, Jerry Wittig, Randy Heffner, Darrel Haskins, Tim Harrison

23 Andrew Fairlie, Erin Crocker, Mike McCarthy, Wes Adams, chaplain Tim Griffin, Johnny Beauchamp

24 Brenda Young, Jimmy Makar, Jim Makar, Pam Hill, Austin Petty, Scott Pruett

25 Peg Adamczyk, Danica Patrick, Dave Moody, Donnie Disharoon, Justin Marks, John Ray, Doyle Ford, Bobby Calkins, Aaron Eaton

26 Nathaniel O'Hare, Nina Feeney, Austin Green, Doug Williams, Natalee Jarrett, Dan Ford, Blaise Alexander

27 Cale Yarborough, Maurice Petty, Andy Hall, Keith Wilson, Jeff Fuller, Bob Kelly, Rodney Combs, Gary DeHart

28 Shelby Pressley, Chris Meyers, Peter Jellen

29 Kim Wood Hall, Jamie DiPietro, Carole Houchins, Olivia Andretti

30 Pam Bickford

31 Angus Young, Richard Jackson, Scott Houston, Dana White, Rocky Ryan

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