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  • Update on Steve Byrnes: Fox Sports' Steve Byrnes, who has been on leave from the network while battling Stage 4 head-and-neck cancer, tweeted Wednesday evening, "My Oncologist just called and said my PET scan showed 'progress.' Thanks for your prayers, and Happy Thanksgiving. Grateful!"(11-27-2014)

  • NASCAR will address side skirts next season: Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer, held an impromptu fan question-and-answer session Tuesday on Twitter while waiting for his flight to take off. Here are some of the best nuggets from his replies to fan tweets:
    - This season, teams found it was legal for crew members to yank the side skirts just in front of the rear wheels during pit stops, which created an odd image during races (it provided an aerodynamic benefit). But NASCAR plans to address the flared side skirts with a rule change next season, O'Donnell tweeted.
    - One fan asked O'Donnell if he could change the Chase for the Sprint Cup format back to how it was from 2004-2013 (officials have said they view the new format as a major plus for the sport).
    "No, but thanks for asking," O'Donnell tweeted, including the surprised smiley face emoji.
    - The finale will remain at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the foreseeable future, O'Donnell indicated. A fan asked if NASCAR considered moving the championship race to different cities.
    "We have, but drivers love (the) track and it has been some great racing," O'Donnell tweeted. "We are happy there."
    - There are no plans to add a road course to the Chase, O'Donnell tweeted. There are currently two road races on the 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule - Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International -- but neither are in the 10-race playoff.
    "Not right now," he said. "Still like (the) mix where they are at."
    On a similar note, O'Donnell said NASCAR would look at changing the lineup of Chase tracks in 2016 (it's the same for next season).
    - With the new testing ban now in place, some teams are hopeful to use Goodyear tire tests as a chance to try different setups on their cars.
    How many Goodyear tests will there be next year? O'Donnell said the exact number is still to be determined, but estimated 10-12.(USA Today)(11-27-2014)

  • Ryan Blaney focusing on Cup in 2015: Ryan Blaney, who won races in both Nationwide and truck in 2014, doesn't have full sponsorship for any series. He will run at least 12 Sprint Cup races for Wood Brothers Racing and will split time in Xfinity with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano and maybe run a few truck races for Keselowski's team. Blaney isn't even worrying about running full time anywhere next season. He sees Cup as his future and is working on finding more money to add Cup races, whether that be with the Wood Brothers or a third Penske car for select events, for next season. "I hope we can get it upwards to 17 to 20 (Cup races)," Blaney said. "We're working really hard to get that done. I'm going to be racing a lot next year and fortunate to be in great cars, so I can't worry about it too much. My mindset is try to do more Cup races, just with that is the ultimate goal, obviously, and try to get more experience in that. I want to try to find more Cup races instead of Nationwide just because it progresses you a lot faster learning the cars."(Sporting News)(11-27-2014)

  • Black Friday deals at Auto Club Speedway: Purchase a ticket to Auto Club Speedway's Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race between Black Friday (Nov. 28) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 1) and Auto Club Speedway will put a little jingle back in your pocket by waiving ALL SERVICE FEES on ANY tickets purchased during that period. Auto Club Speedway is offering several ticket packages to fit everyone's price range including, just in time for the holidays, the Auto Club Speedway Holiday Package. The special, limited-time package includes two tickets to the Auto Club 400 on March 22, two pit passes and a scanner rental with a set of headphones all for $99 (a $225 value). Purchase now and we'll waive the SERVICE FEES. The special offer expires Dec. 31, 2015. Visit www.autoclubspeedway.com/holiday.(ACS)(11-27-2014)

  • Black Friday-Cyber Monday Special at NHMS: It's the perfect gift for the NASCAR fan in your life, and you don't have to camp outside in the cold to take advantage of this discount from New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Over the biggest shopping weekend of the year from Black Friday (Nov. 28) through Cyber Monday (Dec. 1), NHMS is offering a limited-time ticket offer. The package includes a pre-race pit pass to get up close to the action before the action, check out the cars, the concert, and the pre-race ceremonies. Of course, it also includes a frontstretch race ticket with a great view of the entire track, valued at $100. No interest payment plans are available and buyers have the option to skip payment in December. Please call Guest Services at (603) 783-4931 for more information about options.(NHMS)(11-27-2014)

  • Daytona offers Black Friday and Cyber Monday Ticket Specials: Holiday shoppers looking to give the gift of horsepower on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway will find a wide selection of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" Thanksgiving holiday ticket specials at the "World Center of Racing." Highlighting the holiday specials is a ticket package designed around six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and two-time DAYTONA 500 champion Jimmie Johnson. Included in the Jimmie Johnson DAYTONA 500 Ticket Package, which is available for $148, is:
    " One adult Daytona 500 backstretch tower seat
    " One child (ages 12 & under) Daytona 500 backstretch tower seat
    " 15-minute question and answer session with Johnson
    " Each child in attendance can participate in NASA Rockets 2 Racecars STEM education hands on activities either before or after Johnson's appearance
    " Each child in attendance will receive a Jimmie Johnson 12-page activity booklet
    " Daytona International Speedway special giveaways
    The Jimmie Johnson DAYTONA 500 Ticket Package will be available throughout the holiday shopping season and leading up to Budweiser Speedweeks 2015, while supplies last. On Friday, Nov. 28 (Black Friday) and Monday, Dec. 1 (Cyber Monday), Daytona International Speedway will also have additional ticket package specials available for race fans to select from as they conduct their holiday shopping. To take advantage of the "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" ticket specials, race fans can call 1-800-PITSHOP between 9:00am-5:00pm or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/deals.(DIS)(11-27-2014)

  • Whitt replacing Ragan at Front Row? UPDATES: According to a Tweet by BK Racing's minority owner Anthony Marlowe, Cole Whitt will be taking over the #34 Ford of Front Row Motorosports that has been driven by David Ragan for the previous three years.(11-26-2014)
    UPDATE: Anthony Marlowe, who was the co-owner of the #26 team with Cole Whitt at Swan Racing and now is the part-owner at BK Racing, posted an interesting tweet late Tuesday night. Apparently, Whtt's representation sent a letter to BK Racing late last week informing team principals the driver would not be returning in 2015. Whitt moved with Marlowe to BKR before Richmond in April after Swan folded. When Motorsport.com reached out to Ragan on Wednesday morning about Marlowe's tweet, the veteran replied via text, "I don't know. I haven't been told anything is changing on my end."(Motorsport)(11-26-2014)
    UPDATE 2 A BK Racing co-owner tweeted congratulations to Cole Whitt on landing the #34 ride at Front Row Motorsports for next season, but a Front Row Motorsports spokesperson said there are "no expected changes with the 34 car." David Ragan drove the #34 car this past season, finishing 32nd in points. Shari Spiewak, a spokesperson for Front Row Motorsports said Wednesday morning that it was anticipated that Ragan will be with the team again in 2015. "The team is working on getting its 2015 plans finalized and, hopefully, should be able to have everything buttoned up in a few weeks," Spiewak told Motor Racing Network. Ian Moye, a spokesperson for BK Racing, said that the team has not announced any of its drivers for next season. Whitt, JJ Yeley and Alex Bowman finished the season with the team this past year.(Motor Racing Network)(11-26-2014)

  • Kurt Busch gets delay on protection hearing: A Delaware family court commissioner has granted NASCAR driver Kurt Busch's request to delay a hearing on a protection from abuse petition filed by his ex-girlfriend. Busch's attorney asked for the delay in court papers filed last Friday, saying Busch is participating in a race car rally in Italy and that his return flight is Dec. 2, the same day as the scheduled hearing. The postponement was granted over the objections of an attorney for Patricia Driscoll, who said Driscoll wants a no-contact order entered as soon as possible. The new hearing date is Dec. 16. The family court matter is separate from an ongoing criminal investigation by Dover police into Driscoll's allegations that Busch assaulted her inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September. (Associated Press)(11-26-2014)

  • Schedule set for Champion's Week in Las Vegas: After a season filled with exciting racing fueled by the revamped Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" format, NASCAR will return to Las Vegas in December for its annual postseason celebration - this edition with first-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick as the guest of honor. NASCAR dignitaries, Hollywood stars and race fans will convene for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week, Dec. 2 through Dec. 5, for an exciting lineup featuring new consumer activations, fan-favorite events and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. Once again, NASCAR headquarters will be anchored at Wynn Las Vegas, a premier resort destination in Las Vegas. Among the fan-friendly and interactive events this year will be Champion's Week Live at The LINQ Promenade, a new open-air fan hub located in the shadow of the 550-foot tall High Roller experience, offering an assortment of new activities. Returning will be the fan-favorite NASCAR Victory Lap parade, which provides fans with up-close views of Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers in their race cars beginning at Miracle Mile Shops and ending at The LINQ. Another notable event on the schedule is the annual NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, where drivers and teams collect a number of year-end awards and accolades. In addition, NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola and Sprint, will feature an interactive Q&A where Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers share their biggest moments of the season, followed by an event-closing performance by Republic Nashville artist Cassadee Pope. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week will culminate with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, where this year's Chase drivers will be recognized for their accomplishments on stage before a star-studded audience comprised of teams, owners, celebrities and fans. FOX Sports 1 will provide coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards beginning at 9:00pm/et. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 8:00pm/et.(NASCAR) See the complete schedule on the Spring Cup Series Awards page.(11-26-2014)

  • Bristol offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals: Holiday shoppers are encouraged to add Bristol Motor Speedway to their Black Friday shopping schedules as the World's Fastest Half-Mile offers commemorative, autographed tickets to those purchasing at BMS on Friday, Nov. 28. Richard Childress, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards are just a few of the notable NASCAR personalities whose autograph customers can choose from after securing or verifying their seats inside the iconic short track. Black Friday shoppers purchasing tickets on site also will receive a 25% discount at the Speedway World Store, making it easy to fill Christmas stockings with coveted NASCAR driver and Bristol gear. For those who prefer to do their holiday shopping on line this holiday season, Bristol Motor Speedway brings back a Cyber Monday offering. Visit BristolMotorSpeedway.com for details on the Food City 500 and IRWIN Tools Night Race ticket offers. Ticket prices for the April 19 Food City 500 are as low as $64 with pricing for kids 15 and under beginning at $32. Weekend packages are also available, starting at $89 for adults and $49 for youth.(BMS)(11-26-2014)

  • Fans can drive the track at Charlotte on Black Friday: During the Black Friday Blowout sale, Friday, Nov. 28, race fans seeking discounts and thrills will visit Charlotte Motor Speedway for the opportunity to drive their personal vehicles on the high banks of the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway. The sale is this from 8 am until 5 pm. Shoppers who spend at least $50 on souvenirs, race tickets or pit passes, or donate at least $25 to Speedway Children's Charities during the event, will have the unique opportunity to drive their personal vehicle for three laps around the same 24-degree high banks where NASCAR legends like Richard Petty, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt and so many others raced. Bargain-hunting shoppers will be treated to souvenir items in our "Super Sale" tent priced as low as $1. Additionally, the merchandise trailer from newly crowned, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kevin Harvick will be on hand with the very latest apparel and mementos commemorating his historic 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The merchandise trailers of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Brad Keslowski, Duck Commander, Ford Racing, zMAX and others are also scheduled to attend.(CMS)(11-26-2014)

  • Mohr to host 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: The slogan is as recognizable as any: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But NASCAR will make an exception on Dec. 5 when it gives audiences a front row seat as Jay Mohr, Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc and Lennon and Maisy take the stage at the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards show from the Wynn Las Vegas live on FOX Sports 1. This year, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will honor 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick, as well as celebrate the other Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers. FOX Sports 1 will provide coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards beginning at 9:00pm/et. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 80:00pm/et.
    Mohr will serve as the host for the second consecutive year. The actor, comedian, radio host and best-selling author has one of the most expansive backgrounds in show business. After landing his dream job at "Saturday Night Live" and launching his career in film alongside Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire," Mohr appeared in approximately 200 network television episodes and more than 25 feature films. Additionally, his national radio show, "Jay Mohr Sports," is syndicated in more than 155 markets across the U.S. With a career in entertainment that spans over three decades, Mohr has become an artist who knows no limits, making him the perfect person to help celebrate NASCAR's most prominent drivers.
    Keeping his NASCAR performance streak rolling following his act at NASCAR's season-opening, crown jewel event the 2014 DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Blacc will kick off the musical entertainment for the night with the soulful selection that has "woken up" audiences around the world. The singer / songwriter collaborated as vocalist and co-writer on well-known DJ/producer Avicci's 2013 track "Wake Me Up," which topped the charts in more than 100 countries across the globe, before releasing his third album "Lift Your Spirit" in March 2014. The rapper-turned-singer uses his surging popularity to affect social change and to deliver messages of positivity and passion.
    Later in the evening, the seven-time GRAMMY Award winning trio Lady Antebellum will keep the audience rocking with a new song from their fifth album entitled "747." The 11-song disc has already spawned the PLATINUM certified multi-week chart-topping smash hit "Bartender," and its new single "Freestyle" is quickly climbing the charts. The new album follows over 11 million albums sold worldwide, nine trips to No. 1 on the country radio charts, six Platinum singles and "Vocal Group of the Year" honors from both the CMA and ACMs three years in a row.
    Additionally, 15-year-old Lennon Stella and her 10-year-old sister Maisy Stella from ABC's hit drama "Nashville" will perform. The daughters of the recording duo Brad and MaryLynne Stella, Lennon and Maisy's musical roots run deep. In 2013, the sisters had a show-stopping performance of "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers on "Nashville," which quickly entered the top 40 of Billboard's "Hot Country Songs" list.(NASCAR)(11-25-2014)

  • Austin Dillon to run a majority of Xfinity season: Two-time NASCAR Champion #3-Austin Dillon will return to the NASCAR XFINITY Series with Rheem Manufacturing Company as primary sponsor on Richard Childress Racing's #33 Chevy for a majority of the 2015 season. Dillon, the 2013 XFINITY Series Champion, will drive the #33 Rheem Chevy under the RCR banner during the 2015 season while maintaining a full schedule in RCR's #3 Chevy SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He is a two-time XFINITY Series race winner, 10-time pole winner and holds the record for most consecutive poles in series history. Rheem Manufacturing Company has a long history of success with RCR having participated as a primary or associate sponsor since 2007 in various NASCAR series. Rheem has been the official heating, cooling and water heating provider to RCR for more than eight years and was the co-primary sponsor with Realtree of Ty Dillon's Sprint Cup Series debut this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(RCR)(11-25-2014)

  • Danica Patrick will appear in another Super Bowl ad: #10-Danica Patrick will be back for her record 14th Super Bowl commercial for GoDaddy, but this one will be different than those she's done in the past. No walking naked across the commercial set with Jillian Michaels while crewmen stand gape-jawed. No steamy shower scene for teenage computer geeks to leer at. No body painting a nude model. No dressing up like Lisa from "Weird Science" or teasingly unzipping a black leather jacket. This time around, Danica will be featured with a puppy. Yes, a puppy. And an inspirational message in the 30-second spot. "We are taking an advertising tradition -- a tried-and-true Super Bowl commercial convention -- and turning it upside down," said GoDaddy chief marketing officer Barb Rechterman. "People love cute, little puppies in Super Bowl commercials, right? The power of our next Super Bowl ad is how it pivots from what you think is a traditional 'Hallmark' style commercial into something unexpected, while highlighting how our products help a small business owner drive their business online."
    "I'm pretty sure this little GoDaddy puppy is going to steal the show," said Patrick, the proud mother of Dallas Stenhouse, a dog she got earlier this year. "Our Super Bowl commercials have evolved over the years, and it's been pretty cool to be a part of the transformation. I love this year's surprise ending. I really don't think people will see the punch line coming."(FoxSports)(11-25-2014)

  • Michigan seeks Youth Fan Advisory Board members: Michigan International Speedway strives to provide a memorable experience for fans of all ages. After a successful first-time effort in 2014, MIS is again seeking knowledgeable and passionate youth to share their insight and ideas to improve NASCAR's fastest racetrack as part of a Youth Fan Advisory Board. The Youth FAB provides a unique opportunity for young NASCAR fans to communicate directly with the MIS staff through email and conference calls about the guest experience, as well as assist in the future planning of the track. All youth ages 14-20 who attend races at MIS are encouraged to apply to be a Youth FAB member. Youth can download the application and bylaws at the MIS website. The application must be returned to MIS by Jan. 23, 2015. The Youth Fan Advisory Board is modeled after the successful Fan Advisory Board instituted by the track in 2008. The discussions with the FAB have provided many ideas and initiatives to improve the facility for all guests. We look forward to the same success with the youth FAB to welcome fans of all ages to NASCAR's fastest track. The Youth FAB is associated with many functions at MIS and members will have an opportunity to improve all facets of the track. The track believes all ideas are important and appreciates all feedback.(MIS)(11-25-2014)

  • "Fresh From Florida" extends sponsorship of Almirola: The marketing arm of Richard Petty Motorsports announced the extension of their relationship with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. RPM will continue to develop and execute a fully-integrated motorsports marketing campaign in 2015 for "Fresh From Florida," a marketing, advertising and promotional campaign focused on building awareness and sales of fresh seafood, produce and other Florida products. The "Fresh From Florida" campaign includes various marketing elements centered around motorsports including race promotion, team sponsorship, track sponsorship, marketing services, public relations, experiential marketing and retail partnerships along with traditional and digital media. The platform will be executed across the state of Florida and throughout the Southeast at motorsports events including NASCAR, IMSA and events at iconic motorsports venues. In 2015, "Fresh From Florida" will again partner with RPM and Tampa area native Aric Almirola as the primary brand ambassador via events in two NASCAR series. "Fresh From Florida" will be featured on the famed #43 Sprint Cup car at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March and Talladega Superspeedway in May and have associate placement at Martinsville Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and Darlington Raceway. They will also support Almirola in both NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona International Speedway. RPM will place media assets and procure at-track relationships at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Sebring International Raceway with the presenting sponsorship of the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring. In addition, RPM will build strategic activation programs throughout the Southeastern United States in partnership with key Fresh From Florida retail partners.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(11-24-2014)

  • Ambrose ready to race in Australia: Marcos Ambrose is wasting little time in his return to racing V8 Supercars. Two days after the season-ending NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last Sunday, the former two-time Supercar champ flew back to his native Australia. He's already had two tests and preparing for his first race in nearly a decade in the Supercars series, the Sydney 500, on Dec. 5-7, as a wildcard entry for his new team, DJR Team Penske. "I am happy with my choices. I am very comfortable with what I have done," Ambrose told New Zealand's Stuff.co.nz. At 38, Ambrose could very easily have had another 5-10 years in NASCAR, but he chose to return home for family reasons, plus the challenge of racing in the Supercars series for Penske. "I left some unticked boxes but nothing is ever perfect, is it," Ambrose said. "It was nothing but success for me," Ambrose said. "I went across there on a whim and tried to make it work. I survived for a long time, won races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup level and left on my own terms, knowing I could compete against the best." Now he'll be competing against the best in the Supercars series, including Jamie Whincup, who has dominated the series by winning the last four V8 championships and six of the last seven. Ambrose's return to Supercars has motorsport fans in his homeland buzzing in a positive way, particularly wanting to see what he can do against Whincup. In another interview with The Telegraph of Sydney, Australia, Ambrose said returning to his homeland and Supercars is actually a significant step down financially for a man the newspaper said is worth at least $20 million and is reportedly taking at least a $4 million per year pay cut. "I am really motivated to come back here and take Team Penske to the top," Ambrose said. "I am bringing Team Penske and DJR together and I want to give them the best chance of success. I am really motivated to do this and I am not doing it for money. That is not my motivation." Ambrose still has a couple more tests planned in his new ride in preparation for the first race back in two weeks. But he already feels very much into the swing of things and old times when he was winning past championships.(NBC Sports)(11-24-2014)

  • Sad News - Denny Darnell UPDATES: Denny Darnell, a sportswriter turned track general manager and respected public relations representative, died Saturday. A sportswriter for the Kingsport (Tennessee) Times-News, Darnell was VP/general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway from 1983 through 1988. During his time with the track, he worked with ESPN to televise both NASCAR race weekends live from Thunder Valley. From 1991 to 1998, Darnell served as director of communications for the National Hot Rod Association before becoming senior manager, media relations for Sports Marketing Enterprises at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for five years. He supported the company's motorsports sponsorships, including NASCAR's premier series. As president and CEO of Darnell Communications, he managed public relations for Dodge Motorsports from 2008 through 2013. His tenure included a Daytona 500 win by Ryan Newman in the 50th Daytona 500 in 2008, a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship with Brad Keselowski in 2010 and Keselowski's 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Darnell retired at the beginning of 2014.(NASCAR.com)(11-22-2014)
    UPDATE: "NASCAR offers its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Denny Darnell. For decades working with Bristol Motor Speedway, RJ Reynolds, NEXTEL and Dodge, Denny was a familiar and friendly face in media centers and NASCAR garages throughout the country. He approached his job seriously and professionally, but few could bring laughter like Denny. He was a public relations institution, and will be greatly missed."(NASCAR)(11-22-2014)
    OBIT: Denny Darnell, known as "The General" by his peers, 70, passed away peacefully of an apparent heart attack Saturday, November 22, 2014 in Tazewell, VA, surrounded by family and friends. Born in Coeburn, VA on September 1, 1944, a son of the late Denny F. and Hazel Campbell Darnell, growing up in Slant, VA, he has resided in Kingsport for the past 40 years. He graduated from Rye Cove High School in 1962. After graduating from ETSU in 1975, he got his start as a sports writer at Kingsport Times News. Denny's motorsports career had many pit stops. He served as Vice-President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, and Director of Communications at NHRA. His next pit stop was as the head of public relations for R.J. Reynolds Winston and NEXTEL. His final pit stop was as the head of public relations for Dodge Motorsports as CEO of Darnell Communications. His proudest moments included a Daytona 500 win by Ryan Newman in the 50th Daytona 500 in 2008, a NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship with Brad Keselowski in 2010 and Keselowski's 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Jean Honaker Darnell of the home and his son Denny F. "Trey" Darnell, III and husband Matthew Smith of Gray; one granddaughter, "Little Miss" Harper Darnell; one sister: Betty Carter and husband, Clay of Kingsport; one brother: Sidney Darnell and wife, Eva of Kingsport; Sister-in-law: Peggy Darnell of Weber City; Several Nieces and Nephews; two dogs: Dutchess and Ginger "Diggy". Denny was a conservative Republican who enjoyed talking politics to his peers and anyone else that would listen. Due to his comments on social media regarding how our country is being handled, he and his wife listened every day for a helicopter to fly over containing the CIA. After several years of saying "just one more year" before retirement, he retired earlier this year. Although he loved the media and missed the NASCAR community, he didn't miss the travel. He was often asked, "How are you enjoying retirement?" His answer was "I didn't do anything today, and I didn't get finished, and I plan on doing the same thing tomorrow". Family will receive friends Tuesday, November 25, 2014 from 4-7 p.m at Springdale Missionary Baptist Church, 1616 Haga Rd, Kingsport, TN. A celebration of his life service will follow at 7 p.m. with Pastor Alan Buckles, Pastor Dave Rossetti and Dr. David Troutman. Burial following graveside services at 11 a.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at Holston View Cemetery. Pallbearers will be nephews and friends. Those attending committal services are asked to assemble at the church by 10:15 a.m. Wednesday and then proceed to the cemetery. Those wishing to make memorial contributions may do so to Rye Cove High School Athletic Department, 164 Eagles Nest Ln, Duffield, VA or to Speedway Children's Charities, 151 Speedway Blvd, Bristol, TN 37620.(Hamlett-Dobson)(11-24-2014)

  • Swan Racing suing Xxxreme Motorsports: not much info but a Swan Racing Company, LLC v. XXXtreme Motorsport, LLC et al lawsuit was filed on September 24, 2014 in North Carolina Western District Court, Statesville Office. Cause of Action is Diversity-Breach of Contract. More info at justia.com. XXXtreme Motorsport is now know as Team Xtreme Racing. Swan Racing ceased operations in April 2014 and haven't been heard from since. Haven't seen any updates or news on the case.(11-23-2014)

  • Who's pitting for Edwards in 2015? You never know what a team or pit crew will do with a few months to think, but [Pit Talks] have an idea of who might be pitting the 4th JGR car for Carl Edwards next year. This is not official by any means and strictly rumors, but we think it's pretty dang close to being correct. So here you go.
    We've heard that Front Changer Clay Robinson and Front Carrier Kevin Harris will be coming over to JGR from [Hendrick]. Both guys were on the front of Dale Jr.'s #88 last year and will be sticking together at Gibbs next year.
    We also heard that Jackman Trey Burklin will be coming back to JGR after leaving a year ago to go jack the #5 at Hendrick. Trey was the back up at JGR a few years back and jacked the NNS cars for Gibss before heading over the HMS to jack the #5 this year.
    On the rear will be Changer Kip Wolfmier and Matt Ver Meer. Wolfmier was the old rear changer for the #5 car of HMS this year before being replaced by Jeremy fuller. Matt Ver Meer was on the #88 of Dale Jr. and had been for the last few years.
    The gas man will be Kenneth Purcell. Kenneth has been at JGR for years now as a NNS jackman and back up Cup guy. Kenneth won 4 championships as a jack man on the #48 and has been with JGR for the last 4 or so years. Now, he is converting to a gasman for this 4th team.
    This is just what we have heard and we are treating this as rumor for now. I'm sure JGR will make an announcement at some point and it will become official.(Pit Talks)(11-23-2014)

  • Newman's Crew Chief named 'Problem Solver of the Year': Sprint Cup racing's youngest crew chief is now also one if its most celebrated, as Luke Lambert of the #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy team clinched Federal-Mogul Motorparts' $100,000 MOOG Steering and Suspension "Problem Solver of the Year" Award during Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 31-year-old Lambert, in just his second full year as a Cup Series crew chief and first with driver Ryan Newman, finished 2014 with a series-leading four weekly MOOG "Problem Solver of the Race" Awards. He will receive his $100,000 Problem Solver of the Year check and a handcrafted MOOG ball joint trophy during the NASCAR Myers Brothers Award Ceremony December 4 in Las Vegas. The MOOG Problem Solver of the Race and Problem Solver of the Year awards recognize the vital in-race contributions of Sprint Cup crew chiefs. The weekly Problem Solver of the Race award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. The prestigious year-end Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief with the best overall performance throughout the season. Four crew chiefs - Jimmy Fennig (#99 Ford, Carl Edwards), Chris Heroy (#42 Chevy, Kyle Larson), Chad Knaus (#48 Chevy, Jimmie Johnson) and Steve Letarte (#88 Chevy, Dale Earnhardt Jr.) - tied for second in the final Problem Solver standings with three wins each. Eighteen different crew chiefs won a weekly MOOG award in 2014.(PR)(11-22-2014)

  • Almirola nominated for Premios Univision Deportes Award: Univision Deportes, the sport division of Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America, announced that Cuban American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver #43-Aric Almirola is nominated for the Best Car Racing Performance Award in the inaugural Premios Univision Deportes awards. The two-hour show is the ultimate sports award show for U.S. Hispanics honoring top athletes and teams from the leagues and sports that Hispanics care about most. Nomination is based on athletic performance and accomplishments in 2014. Almirola became the first Cuban American driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when he captured his first win in the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway in July. The win secured him a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR's official playoffs, another first for a Cuban American driver in the sport. Premios Univision Deportes will air on UniMás on Thursday, December 18th at 9:00pm/et with a simulcast on UDN (Univision Deportes Network).(RPM)(11-22-2014)

  • What are Sprint Cup plans for Chase Elliott? In a Thursday interview on SiriusXM Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel, Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt said the team planned to field a car for Chase Elliott in a handful of Sprint Cup races next season under the guidance of Kenny Francis (who was promoted Wednesday from crew chief of the #5 to vehicle technical director by Hendrick). Duchardt didn't speculate further on the future for Elliott. The 18-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott will run the rebranded Xfinity Series next year for JRM. "We'll see what the right steps are for the future, but right now, we're just going to take 2015 and take a look at how things are progressing," Duchardt said. "It's like having a prospect in Triple A batting .380 and when's he going to come up to the club. I get it. But we'll work on that and see where that all heads. Right now, he'll run the NAPA Camaro in '15, and we'll run some Cup races and see where that leads us. I understand it's part of the fun and speculation of what could or should be done. I completely understand it. We're going to try to make sure we put him in the best position to be successful when he does come here full time."
    Hendrick also has signed Jimmie Johnson through next season. At a Thursday event to announce more than $500,000 in education grants from his foundation, the six-time series champion indicated he hoped to have an extension soon and said he had been unaware of Kahne's deal. "That's good news for Kasey," he said. Asked if Elliott was in line for his #48, Johnson said with a laugh, "No. I think there's maybe somebody else in line to retire before I do."(USA Today)(11-21-2014)

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation announces grants: Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife Chandra, announced the recipients of the 2014 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants. The grants, which are awarded to K-12 public and charter schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson's respective hometowns of Muskogee, Oklahoma, El Cajon, California, and where they currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina, totaled $556,623. The announcement took place at Garinger High School. Garinger is one of five schools in the Charlotte area to receive a Champions Grant. Students and staff from the five local schools were in attendance as the Johnsons made the announcement on behalf of the Foundation and program partner Lowe's. The Johnsons shared that these schools, along with seven others from Muskogee and the San Diego area, have been selected to receive the grants. This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grant awards included $257,870 toward science and technology needs, $168,316 for health and fitness activities, $80,458 toward arts programs and $49,979 toward literacy initiatives. The funded projects for 2014 range from constructing an outdoor classroom and kitchen to creating a district-wide e-library to creating a visual arts program. Several schools also received technology grants to purchase new computers. Nearly $3.7 million has been contributed through the Champions Grant program since 2009. To see a detailed list of the 2014 Champions Grant projects, visit Jimmie Johnson Foundation.(Jimmie Johnson Foundation)(11-21-2014)

  • Tyler Walker gets 13th postponement for plea: At a hearing Tuesday, 5th District Judge Eric Ludlow postponed taking a plea on behalf of Timothy Tyler Andrew Walker for the 13th time as he did not appear in person and his defense attorney said his paperwork had not yet been received. Tyler was arrested after leading law enforcement on a high speed chase in January 2013. "This will be the 13th time he's missed this," Walker's defense attorney Douglas Terry said. Ludlow gave Walker until Dec. 2 to deliver his plea-by-mail. "He has until the 2nd, then he has to appear in person and we'll go from there," Ludlow said. Charges against Walker stem from the January 2013 incident in which he is accused of fleeing from officers and drug possession. At the time, the Nevada Highway Patrol was alerted to be on the lookout for a reckless driver on northbound Interstate 15. Once located, a pursuit began and one Nevada trooper clocked the car, a BMW, traveling at 140 mph. The BMW passed into Arizona and then into Utah where the tires were spiked at Utah mile post 2 and all four tires were blown. The car then pulled over at mile post 6 and, once stopped, Walker attempted to flee on foot but was quickly subdued by an Arizona Highway Patrol trooper. His girlfriend at the time, Raelle McDonald who was traveling with him, was taken into custody without incident. According to a UHP statement, a subsequent search of the BMW produced alleged methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and alcohol.(St. George News)(11-21-2014)

  • Cheez-It returns as sponsor at Watkins Glen: Watkins Glen International and Kellogg Company announced Cheez-It renews its place as the title sponsor of The Glen's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. WGI's marquee event, Cheez-It 355 at The Glen returns August 6-9. This will be the company's third-consecutive year as the race's entitlement sponsor, while the iconic snack brand's parent company, the Kellogg Company, has been involved with NASCAR since 1991. "NASCAR provides a great way for Cheez-It crackers to reach our fans and Watkins Glen provides an amazing venue that is unlike any other," said Melissa Pawlowicz, senior director of integrated promotions for the Kellogg Company. "Cheez-It is proud to be associated with 'The Glen' and to play a role in bringing the excitement of the Cheez-It" 355 to life."(Watkins Glen International)(11-21-2014)

  • #17 team has parts confiscated, could face penalty UPDATES: NASCAR announced late Friday that officials have confiscated the rear-end suspension parts on Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s #17 Ford Fusion after finding an issue during prequalifying inspection for Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Saturday afternoon that NASCAR will take Stenhouse's rear-end suspension back to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluation early next week. Any penalties resulting from the issue on Stenhouse's car will likely be handed down on Tuesday -- two days after the season's final race -- and could affect the final points standings.(FoxSports)(11-16-2014)
    UPDATE Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. faces a likely points penalty for rear suspension pieces confiscated during pre-qualifying inspection Friday. Pemberton said NASCAR will begin its review of the Stenhouse suspensions pieces Monday. Having unapproved rear suspension parts is considered a P5 penalty on NASCAR's penalty system, meaning it could be as much as a penalty of 50 points, a fine of up to $125,000 and a six-week suspension for crew chief Mike Kelley.(Sporting News)(11-17-2014)
    UPDATE 2: The #17 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during pre-qualifying inspection Nov. 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This infraction is a P3 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.3 of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:
    Violations resulting in P3 penalties tend to fall between serious and intermediate in nature. While they might include general "categories" of infractions similar to those in P4 (e.g. unauthorized parts; failing to meet specs; etc.), they tend to pertain more to secondary componentry or systems; modifications of lessor significance; go/no-go measurement failures of an intermediate nature.
    This infraction violates Sections:
    12-1 - Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
    20-12 - Suspension: All front end and rear suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension/drive line component beyond normal rotation or suspension/drive line travel.
    As a result of these violations, crew chief Mike Kelley has been fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for six months starting Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015. Additionally, car chief Patrick Magee has also been placed on NASCAR probation for six months starting Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015.(NASCAR)(11-20-2014)

  • LiftMaster to sponsor Kahne: LiftMaster, the number-one brand of professionally installed residential garage door openers, will join 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports beginning with the 2015 NASCAR season when it will become a primary sponsor of driver Kasey Kahne and his #5 Chevy SS team. The new relationship will feature LiftMaster, which is headquartered in Elmhurst, Illinois, as a primary sponsor in three Sprint Cup races annually and as an associate-level partner in all other events. The agreement covers the 2015, 2016 and 2017 NASCAR seasons. In 2015, the #5 LiftMaster Chevy SS will appear in Sprint Cup Series races May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 11 at Kentucky Speedway and Oct. 18 at Kansas Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #5 team paint schemes page.(11-20-2014)

  • Kahne signs 3 year extension with Hendrick: Hendrick Motorsports and Kasey Kahne have agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep the driver with the #5 Chevy SS team through the end of the 2018 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
    "It's extremely gratifying to work with a driver like Kasey," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "I think the world of him both as a driver with championship-level talent and an overall terrific young man. Our whole organization has a great deal of respect for how hard he works, the professionalism he displays with our partners and the way he carries himself every day. We're committed to winning races and competing for titles with him for many years to come."
    Kahne, 34, originally signed with Hendrick Motorsports in April 2010 and officially joined the team's four-car stable for the 2012 season. Over the past three years (2012-14), he ranks among the top-10 drivers in Sprint Cup wins (5), pole positions (4), top-five finishes (26) and laps led (1,177). The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career wins in NASCAR's top division.
    "I've found a home at Hendrick Motorsports," said Kahne, who since 2012 has earned at least one victory each season while securing three consecutive Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths. "We have incredible people and partners supporting us, and I couldn't be more excited about the direction we're headed as a team and a company. It's the right place for me, and I'm looking forward to being here for a long time." Kahne's contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire following the 2015 NASCAR season.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-20-2014)

  • Greensboro Leads ESPN's NASCAR Ratings for 2014 Season: For the seventh time in eight years, the Greensboro, N.C., television market led the nation's metered markets with the highest average rating for ESPN's 17 weeks of NASCAR Sprint Cup telecasts, according to Nielsen Media. The 2014 season concluded Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Greensboro market averaged an 8.5 rating for the 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races on ESPN's schedule (including three Saturday night races that aired on ABC), edging out Greenville, S.C., (8.4) for the top spot. Indianapolis was third with a 7.7 average rating, followed by Birmingham, Ala., at 6.3 and Charlotte, N.C., at 6.2. Rounding out the top 10 markets were Raleigh-Durham, N.C., 6.0; Richmond, Va., 5.8; Knoxville, Tenn., and Nashville, Tenn., tied for eighth at 5.5; and Orlando, Fla., Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., and Norfolk, Va., tied for 10^th at 5.1.
    Over the eight years of ESPN's NASCAR TV contract, which expired at the end of this season, Greensboro led the nation with the highest average rating every year but 2009, when Knoxville, Tenn., took the top spot. Greensboro slipped to fifth that year but bounced back the following year and led every year afterward.
    The Greensboro market also led the nation with the highest average rating this year for the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, averaging an 8.2 rating. Greenville, S.C., was again second at 7.7, with Indianapolis (6.6), Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham (tied at 6.0) completing the top five.
    ESPN averaged a 2.9 U.S. household rating for its 17-race NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule for the fourth straight year in 2014, while the Chase averaged a 2.7 U.S. household rating for the third straight year.(ESPN)(11-20-2014)

  • 2014 First Team All Pit Road: After 4 weeks of peer voting, PitTalks.com has announced the names that got the most votes. They received over 350 votes from pit crew members and feel this is the most accurate and legit All Pit Road Team there is. Thanks to all the crew members who helped vote and congratulations to all the award winners:
    Gas Man: Justin White #14
    Jack Man: Nate Bolling #11
    Front Tire Changer: Dustin Necaise #11
    Front Tire Carrier: Kevin Harris #88
    Rear Tire Changer: Mike Hicks #11
    Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry #11
    Pit Coach of the year: Mike Lepp, Joe Gibbs Racing
    Pit Crew of the Year: 1st. Team-#11 car of Joe Gibbs Racing For 2nd team, 3rd team and honorable mention, see the lists at PitTalks.com
    and see the latest pit crew lists on Jayski.com's 2014 Pit Crew Chart page.(11-20-2014)

  • Stump named technical director at Stewart Haas: Stewart-Haas Racing, the championship-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, has hired Rex Stump as its technical director, effective immediately. Stump comes to Stewart-Haas Racing after an 18-year career at Hendrick Motorsports. There, he founded the organization's research and development program and has been instrumental in chassis design and technology. Stump graduated from Kettering University (formerly the General Motors Institute) in 1989 with bachelor's degrees in mechanical and automotive engineering. Upon graduation, Stump worked at General Motors and participated in the Sloan Fellowship program, pursuing a master's degree in structural analysis from Wayne State University in Detroit. While at General Motors, he began working with the Corvette team in developing the active-suspension of the C5, which was slated to debut in the early 1990s. When the active-suspension program was canceled and the C5 was delayed, Stump delved into motorsports, becoming a race engineer for Team Penske in 1991. Working with a group of engineers dedicated to improving the performance of the #2 team of driver Rusty Wallace, Stump helped advance Wallace from a two-win season in 1991 to a massive, 10-win season in 1993. By the end of 1993, Corvette had reactivated the C5. Stump returned to General Motors to assist with the project and stayed until the end of 1995, joining Hendrick Motorsports in 1996.(Stewart Haas Racing)(11-20-2014)

  • NASCAR Goes Orange to Recognize World COPD Day: NASCAR announced on World COPD Day that it is joining the fight to help NASCAR fans with COPD breathe easier. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a life threatening lung disease, is the fourth leading cause of death globally and affects more than 300 million individuals worldwide. Within the United States, COPD ranks as the third leading cause of death, with more than 24 million Americans affected and approximately half that number remaining undiagnosed. However, a simple, painless breathing test, called spirometry, can determine whether or not a person has COPD. DRIVE4COPD has been the Official Health Initiative of NASCAR since 2010 and has been responsible for screening nearly three million NASCAR fans. NASCAR and DRIVE4COPD are embarking on activities this month to help generate awareness and encourage fans to get screened, including:
    " NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte will be lit orange throughout the remainder of the month
    " SiriusXM will run PSAs encouraging fans to be screened
    " NASCAR will recognize World COPD Day across its digital platforms
    " DRIVE4COPD to host sweepstakes with NASCAR-themed prizing
    World COPD Day is an annual global event that aims to raise awareness of COPD. World COPD Day 2014 takes place around the theme "It's not too late." This positive message was chosen to emphasize the meaningful actions people can take to improve their respiratory health, at any stage, before or after a COPD diagnosis. DRIVE4COPD is a public health initiative that aims to help people identify symptoms of COPD and take action by utilizing public health screenings offered by the nonprofit group. For more information about the COPD Foundation and DRIVE4COPD, please visit www.drive4copd.org.(NASCAR)(11-20-2014)

  • Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive Has New Look, Same Goals: This year's Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive will have a new look and feel, but the goal will remain the same: to brighten Christmas morning for as many children as possible in Martinsville and Henry County. The centerpieces of the 2014 toy drive will be five online auctions of VIP race experiences at Martinsville Speedway and toy collection at the Lowe's in Martinsville between 11am and 2pm on December 13 complete with Santa Claus, the Martinsville Speedway pace car and a mock victory lane for photos. The auctions, which will be on eBay, will make the fundraiser a national event, drawing from Martinsville Speedway and NASCAR fans from all over the country, which in turn should mean the ability to raise more money. The auctions will be announced on Martinsville Speedway's website, www.martinsvillespeedway.com and via social media. Some of the items included in the auctions will be pre-race passes, pit passes, suite tickets and victory lane passes. All proceeds will go to the Grace Network, an association of more than 100 churches in the Martinsville and Henry County area, to help families in need at Christmas. Fans will still be able to drive their personal cars around the historic Martinsville Speedway as part of the toy drive, but this year the window of opportunity is much larger. Beginning Dec. 1 and running through Dec. 12, Monday through Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm, five laps around the track will be offered for the donation of a new, unwrapped toy or a $10 donation.(Martinsville Speedway)(11-20-2014)

  • Crew chief change for Kahne? UPDATE: Since #5-Kasey Kahne's struggles earlier this season, rumors have persisted that Hendrick Motorsports would make a crew chief change on the #5 Farmer's Insurance Chevy. Although Kenny Francis has guided Kahne to 16 wins and five Chase appearances, this season the team barely made the playoffs after pulling off a last-minute victory at Atlanta. After eight seasons with Francis, the success the pair once enjoyed appeared to evaporate after team engineer Keith Rodden left to join Ganassi Racing as crew chief for #1-Jamie McMurray. But if the rumor mill is right, Rodden could be returning to Hendrick Motorsports next season as Kahne's crew chief. The trio of Kahne, Francis and Rodden moved to HMS three seasons ago. Francis, who has a year remaining on his contract, would remain on in a technical director type of role. When asked about his status for next year, Francis declined comment. Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick said on Sunday morning, "I don't know what we're going to do yet. Doug Duchardt is working on some projects...nothing is done. Nothing is signed. We're looking at some options, but we're really happy with what we have." When asked whether Rodden was returning to HMS, Hendrick said, "I'm not sure." Ganassi Racing reps offered a similar reply. Long-time Hendrick Motorsports engineering director Rex Stump is moving to Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the season.(Motorsport)(11-9-2014)
    UPDATE: In preparation for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and revised rules that affect race car development and on-track testing, Hendrick Motorsports has named Kenny Francis to the new position of vehicle technical director and Keith Rodden as crew chief of the #5 Chevy SS team of driver Kasey Kahne. The roles take effect immediately. Francis, 44, will oversee organization-wide car design and development with day-to-day management of Hendrick Motorsports' chassis, body, research and development, on-track testing, vehicle engineering and simulation programs. Reporting to general manager Doug Duchardt, he will serve as the primary liaison between Hendrick Motorsports' crew chiefs and its vehicle group. Rodden will return to Hendrick Motorsports where he worked alongside Francis in 2012 and 2013 while the lead engineer for Kahne and the #5 team. For 2014, he was named crew chief for the #1 team at Chip Ganassi Racing where he won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, earned two pole positions and helped driver Jamie McMurray set a career-best season in laps led.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-19-2014)

  • ESPN's Live NASCAR Race Coverage Takes Checkered Flag: After 28 years and 398 races, ESPN's live telecasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing took the checkered flag Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the telecast of the 2014 season finale. The race marked the end of ESPN's eight-year contract with NASCAR, which began in 2007. Previously, ESPN had televised live NASCAR racing from 1981-2000. Beginning in 2015, Fox and NBC will split the NASCAR season.
    "We've enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with NASCAR," said John Skipper, ESPN president. "NASCAR was a fundamental building block for ESPN during our first two decades and will always be an important part of our history. We have tremendous respect for all in the sport and wish them well. While we won't be televising NASCAR races after this season, the only thing ending in our relationship with NASCAR is the live racing. NASCAR coverage will continue to live on all ESPN platforms going into the future."
    ESPN's history with NASCAR began in March of 1981, less than two years after the network launched in September of 1979, with the tape-delayed airing of its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Rockingham, N.C. At the time, only the Daytona 500, NASCAR's biggest race, aired live in its entirety, and that had only started in 1979. Selected other events either aired live in part or on a delayed basis, sometimes weeks later, on broadcast network television. After three more delayed telecasts in 1981, ESPN aired its first live flag-to-flag telecast of a NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Nov. 8, 1981, from Atlanta. From that race forward, with a few exceptions, the NASCAR races airing on ESPN were live and the entire race was shown, setting a pattern that resonated with viewers. And as ESPN added races to its schedule in the next several years, and other networks did as well, the NASCAR premier series schedule was on its way to being fully televised. ESPN televised 262 races from NASCAR's premier series from 1981-2000, an era of unprecedented growth for both NASCAR and ESPN. During a time when individual racetracks made their own deals for television, ESPN introduced a national audience to races telecast from classic NASCAR tracks such as Bristol, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Rockingham and others that had seldom been seen on TV. In 1990, ESPN aired its all-time high of 20 events.
    Bob Jenkins was a central figure in ESPN's live NASCAR race telecasts for the first 20 years as the lap-by-lap announcer, joined by analyst Larry Nuber in the early years and then later by former NASCAR champions Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons in the booth as analysts. Dr. Jerry Punch, who joined ESPN in 1984, was a pit reporter for 17 of ESPN's first 20 years of NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage and also called some races from the booth, including the memorable Talladega race in 2000 that was the last win for the late Dale Earnhardt. Punch remains with ESPN today and was the only announcer who worked on Sprint Cup race telecasts in both ESPN eras. Dr. Dick Berggren and John Kernan also had long runs as pit reporters during ESPN's first 20 years in NASCAR while Nuber, Jack Arute, Bill Weber and Ray Dunlap also contributed to coverage from the pits. Bestwick and analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree were the voices calling the race in ESPN's NASCAR booth in recent years, with pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Vince Welch and Punch. Analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty joined host Nicole Briscoe on the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program. Among other announcers who contributed to ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecasts over the past eight seasons: analysts Tim Brewer, Ricky Craven and Ray Evernham, anchor Marty Reid, pit reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake, reporter Marty Smith and pre-race show hosts Brent Musburger and Suzy Kolber.
    Along the way in both periods of NASCAR on ESPN, the network has been a leader in innovations to elevate the coverage of the sport, with the live racing honored with 19 Sports Emmy Awards, as well as many industry honors, including the NASCAR Award of Excellence (1989) and the National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Award (1987). Notable innovations and firsts in ESPN's NASCAR coverage:
    1981 - ESPN airs its first live, flag-to-flag telecast of a NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Atlanta on Nov. 8.
    1985 - ESPN is first network to have live telecast of qualifying for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race
    1989 - Introduction of "crew cam" attached to a member of Rusty Wallace's crew at Rockingham - followed by other unique innovations including telemetry, "CableCam," "FootCam," "RoofCam," "SuspensionCam" and the use of an infrared camera and roving reporters.
    1991 - Introduction of "Tread Cam" buried in the asphalt at Indianapolis Raceway Park for telecast of a NASCAR Nationwide Series race - the innovation won a Sports Emmy Award for Point of View Technology.
    1996 - "rpm2night" becomes TV's first daily motorsports news show
    2007 - First time a single network had televised entire NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule
    2007 - ESPN is first network to televise NASCAR fully in high definition with the first use of HD in-car cameras
    2007 - First network to record/have available for playback all 43 team radios during a race telecast
    2007 - First network to have enclosed mobile studio for cutaway race car and demonstration of technical elements of racing (Emmy Award-winning ESPN Tech Garage)
    2008 - First network to have two female pit reporters on NASCAR Sprint Cup telecasts (Jamie Little and Shannon Spake)
    2009 - ESPN2's NASCAR Now originates live from the White House, the first regularly-scheduled ESPN program ever to do so. President Obama is interviewed on the program.
    2011 - Introduction of "NASCAR NonStop" for split-screen commercial breaks during second half of all Chase races (ESPN pioneered split-screen commercial breaks in IndyCar coverage in 2006)
    2011 - Introduction of dual path technology in Sprint Cup coverage, allowing views from two different onboard cameras in same shot for first time
    2013 - NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson becomes first active athlete to guest host ESPN's signature news and information program SportsCenter
    (ESPN)(11-19-2014)

  • Discount Tire renews with Team Penske: Team Penske announced that it has reached a multi-year extension with Discount Tire, the world's largest tire and wheel retailer, to continue as a key marketing partner with the team. Discount Tire will remain a primary sponsor of the #22 Team Penske Ford Mustang for at least 24 races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and serve as an associate sponsor for both the #2 and #22 Ford Fusions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A long-time NASCAR supporter, Discount Tire established a successful relationship with Team Penske after joining forces for the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. That year, the #22 Discount Tire team earned a series-record 26 top-five finishes en route to the NNS Championship with Brad Keselowski, which gave Roger Penske his first NASCAR title as a team owner. In 2013, Discount Tire and Team Penske continued their success together, earning the NNS Owners' Championship and 12 wins with four different drivers, including Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger. The production continued this season with the #22 Discount Tire Ford team once again claiming the 2014 NNS Owners' Championship with Keselowski, Logano, Blaney, Alex Tagliani and Michael McDowell sharing driving duties.(Team Penske)(11-19-2014)

  • McCall named new crew chief for McMurray: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced that Matt McCall has been named crew chief for Jamie McMurray and the #1 team. McCall will assume the role effective immediately to prepare for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. McCall joins CGRFS from Richard Childress Racing where he most recently has been the race engineer for the #31 Chevy that made it to the Championship round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, ultimately finishing the season second in the championship point standings. McCall is also a former driver who has competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series. In fact, racing has been in his blood from an early age as he began racing go-karts at age nine and eventually joined the World Karting Association Dirt Series where he would ultimately win the honor of Grand National Champion. He would also go on to race in Super Sport events as well. The Denver, NC native graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a major in mechanical engineering. The 33-year-old McCall is also passionate about fitness and holds a third-degree black belt in karate.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(11-18-2014)

  • Borland to move over to Haas' F1 team UPDATE: One of Gene Haas' first hires for his Formula One, Matt Borland, was recruited from right next door, Stewart-Haas Racing. Although Borland, 43, has straddled his duties between SHR and Haas F1, the engineer turned crew chief and now vice president of competition on the NASCAR side will take of the role as vice president of special projects for the F1 team at seasons end. "Formula One is certainly a lot more technical and I think Borland is looking for the challenge," Haas told Motorsport.com. "He's been doing this a long time and even I have been doing NASCAR a long time and I look at Formula One, like next year we'll have a whole year to see how these cars are built. I've already had a couple of opportunities to see how the cars are built and they're just very fascinating. It's going to give us an opportunity to take some of our NASCAR crew people and say, 'hey, here's an opportunity to learn something new, can you apply that to Formula One and vice versa. The Formula One people from Ferrari are also interested in how we do things." Haas and Borland attended the F1 race at Circuit of the Americas last month. Haas also visited the Maranello-based Ferrari during the Italian Grand Prix. In Austin, Borland preferred to remain under the radar while on his fact-finding mission.(Motorsport)(11-13-2014)
    UPDATE: Veteran motorsports engineer Matt Borland has been named vice president of technology for Haas F1 Team and Stewart-Haas Racing. In this role, Borland will serve as a liaison between the two organizations - Haas F1 Team in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Borland will oversee the transfer of Formula One technology to Stewart-Haas Racing while providing Haas F1 Team with deep engineering resources. Concurrently, the highly-respected Borland will serve as a gatekeeper, ensuring the privacy of proprietary information respective to each team. Borland joined Haas CNC Racing, the precursor to Stewart-Haas Racing, in May 2007. He has served in numerous capacities, including crew chief, competition director, technical director and, most recently, vice president of engineering, where he oversaw all of the team's technical initiatives and research and development projects. Borland came to Haas CNC Racing with significant NASCAR experience, first with Team Penske from the end of the 1999 season through 2006 and then with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2007. Prior to coming to NASCAR, Borland was the race engineer for driver Mark Blundell at PacWest Racing in Champ Car and before that, Borland was at Pi Research, a well-known engineering organization specializing in motorsports.(SHR)(11-18-2014)


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Countdown to Race Time: 2/22/2015 ~1:20pm/et



Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL

FOX, 1:00pm/et
Motor Racing Network
SiriusXM Radio Channel 90

Qualifying:
Sunday, February 15, 2015, 1:10pm/et
FOX, 1:00pm/et
Live Radio online at motorracingnetwork.com

Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 21, 2015, TBA pm/et


Congratulations Kevin Harvick


2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion

Owners Champ

#4 Stewart Haas Racing - Owners Champ

Rookie of the Year

#42-Kyle Larson - Rookie of the Year


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Article / Column / Blog Links



added a CORNUCOPIA of new links
on NOVEMBER 27, 2014
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

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Born on Dates / Birthday's

Born in NOVEMBER:

27 Billy Standridge, Kate Dallenbach, Ricky Carmichael, Kaitlyn Punch

28 Chase Elliott, Billy Sutphin, Mitch Way, Nelson Stacy, Mason Mingus

29 Bob Dillner, Zach Brewer, Ryan Ellis, Tanner Berryhill

30 Danny Earnhardt, Dave Dion, Dick Hutcherson, Shawna Robinson, Chris Hussey, Andy Kirby, Brittany Glover

Born in DECEMBER:

1 Stanton Barrett Jr, Kenny Francis, David Evans, Danny Gill, Larry Gunselman

2 Erik Darnell, Kelly Kellis, Victoria Trickle

3 Bobby Allison, Cody Cook

4 Dean Johnson, Evelyn Andrews, Doug Keller

5 J.D. McDuffie, Jim Paschal, Jim Hurtubise

6 Stacey Witzke, Christian Elder

7 Geoff Smith, Paul Moore, Richmond Gage

8 Susan Adamczyk (sister), Garry Hill, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Kerry Earnhardt, Nadine Lubejko, Zachary Jarrett

9 Steve Richards, Coy Gibbs, Brad Teague, Lori Wetzel

10 Mike 'Jimbo' Barrientos, Makayla Ann McSwain, Jerry Honeycut

11 Frankie Adamczyk, Mariah Belber, Eric McClure, Chris Horn, Tony Eury Sr.

12 Ed Watkins, Rick Pennington, Emerson Fittipaldi

13 Army National Guard, Jim Vandiver, Jarrett Andretti, David Stover, Mark Nickels, Michael Mumford

14 NASCAR (meeting at Streamline Hotel), Alan Kulwicki, Hershel McGriff, Darrin Dykes, Steve Hmiel, Bob Tracey, Harry McMullen

15 Lance McGrew, Jeff Beck, Eli Gold

16 A.J. Allmendinger

17 Mike Beam, Dustin Long, Matt Martin, Montgomery Lee Petty, Bobby East

18 Ted Musgrave, Vic Irvan, Tom Polansky

19 Patty Moise, Paul Tracy, Sheldon Schrader, John Monsham

20 Erin Marco, Taylor Nicole Earnhardt, Kinsley Parsons

21 Michael McDowell, Travis Kittleson

22 David Pearson

23 Greg Biffle, Peter Sospenzo, Ray Dunlap, Chris Cook, Addison Frye

24 Fr. Steven Janoski, David Ragan, Krista Marie Allison, Mike Gooch

25 Jesus Christ, Charles Comstock, Randy Earnhardt, Jimmy Buffett, Starr Elliott, Butch Lamoreux, Curtis W. Key, Noel Schafer

26 Blair Makenzie Nemechek, Josh Mick

27 Mike Laughlin, Don Radebaugh

28 Nelson Stacy, Brittany Wallace, Joyce Kearns

29 Waddell Wilson, Boston Reid, Mike Bagley, Owen Kearns Jr., Jessica Stroupe

30 Fred Lorenzen, Donnie Mergard, Ryan Hemphill, Kole Kahne, Cooper Berrier

31 Beth Simons-Dykes, Dorthy Schrader, Riley Craven, Ryan Blaney, Joe Hicks, Benny Ertel

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