Kenseth's spotter not healed enough to be at Daytona UPDATE: #20-Matt Kenseth will be without spotter Chris "Crazy" Osborne for next weekend's Sprint Unlimited and likely the Daytona 500. Osborne told NBC Sports that he continues to recover from injuries suffered in a Dec. 17 auto accident and will not spot for Kenseth in the Feb. 13 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. Osborne's next doctor's visit is Feb. 16. The doctor will determine then if Osborne will be able to spot for Kenseth in the Daytona 500. "My gut feeling is I won't make Daytona," said Osborne, entering his fourth season spotting for Kenseth. "I want to be there as bad as anyone. It kind of knocked the wind out of my sails when they said I absolutely would not be going to the Unlimited." Osborne, who also spots for Daniel Suarez in the Xfinity Series, is hopeful to be back spotting next month when NASCAR makes its West Coast swing. The team has not announced who will fill in for Osborne until he returns. Osborne was injured while driving home with his wife Melissa and son Austin. A car, traveling an estimated 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, according to the police report, approached from the opposite direction. The car went off the road and then cut across the median, slamming into Osborne's car.(NBC Sports)(2-6-2016)
UPDATE: The story was updated Saturday: "The team stated Saturday that Lorin Ranier, a long-time spotter who was most recently with Jamie McMurray, will spot for Kenseth in the Sprint Unlimited."(2-7-2016)
Pit crew changes for Patrick: Danica Patrick and the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS team will have a new look on its pit crew for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Nate House will take over for Tony Cardamone at jackman with Cardamone moving from jackman to gasman. House filled in for Cardamone for several races in 2015 while Cardamone recovered from a back injury. Continuing on the team from last year are front changer Eric Maycroft, front carrier Jeff Shoaf, rear carrier Matt Holzbaur and rear changer Ryan Mulder, who was on the team for nearly half of last season.(PitTalks/NASCAR.com)(2-7-2016)
Fox teaming with SI to cross promote Daytona 500, Swimsuit Issue: Fox Sports and SI announced they are joining forces to cross promote the Feb. 21 Daytona 500 and '16 SI swimsuit issue, which comes out Feb. 15. A major facet of the deal will come the night before the race, when new Fox analyst Jeff Gordon will co-host a 200-person VIP party. The event will air on Fox at 9:00pm/et and see models Erin Heatherton and Hannah Ferguson in attendance. The telecast will offer features on Daytona's renovation, plus the upcoming NASCAR season. Meanwhile, on its digital and social channels and during the party, Fox will give coverage to two other events around the issue leading up to its release -- the two-day Swim City fan festival in N.Y. and the two-day Swim Beach festival in Miami.(Sports Business Journal)(2-7-2016)
Darlington Raceway receives 'Community Pride' award: On Thursday evening, Darlington Raceway was named the recipient of the 2016 'Community Pride' Award at the annual Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet, held at the Darlington Country Club. The award was given to the track by local business leaders for its tremendous involvement and impact in the greater Darlington community. Since 2013, Darlington Raceway has increased its community events exponentially. The track annually hosts the following events for the community:
- Turn 3 Theater Movie Nights Presented by Raceway Ford & Chevrolet featuring family-fun movies such as Cars and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Movie nights occur in the spring.
- Speed & Feed BBQ Cook-Off and Car Show Presented by Sam Carbis Solutions Group. Held on the second weekend in November each year. The event features over 40 of the region's top cook teams competing for a $2,500 cash prize. Over 400 classic cars are on display for enthusiasts.
- In the spring, the track hosts a one-day running event, featuring a half marathon, 5K and 1.366-mile fun run.
- Darlington Raceway partners with the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce to host Freedom Fest. Freedom Fest is a July 4 community festival and fireworks show. Over 15,000 people attend the event annually.
- Country concert supporting the Darlington County Education Foundation (DCEF). Held in May of 2015.
- Touch-A-Truck event held in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage with proceeds benefiting the Junior League of Florence.
- The track has hosted a Walk with the Docs event, which raises funds for the free medical clinic in Darlington County.
Additionally, the track has made contributions to support local area charitable organizations, including The Lord Cares and Harvest Hope Food Banks, the YMCA of Darlington and the Darlington County School District. (Darlington Raceway)(2-7-2016)
Stewart looking at return in May? #14-Tony Stewart still faces a long and difficult road to recovery, but roughly 48 hours after undergoing spinal stabilization surgery, informed sources say the Indiana native is progressing well in his rehabilitation. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion underwent surgery Wednesday to remove dangerous bone fragments from the area of the fracture and stabilize the affected vertebra. While many victims of burst fractures are forced to wear a stabilizing brace for 2-3 months post-op, the procedure performed on Stewart reportedly will not require a brace. In fact, sources say Stewart was on his feet and walking by Friday. Sources close to the situation say that on the advice of his doctors, Stewart and his team have set a tentative return date of May 21, the day of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Stewart is highly unlikely to return earlier than that, and his timeline for return could easily be pushed back, depending on the success of his rehabilitation program.(Godfather Motorsports)(2-6-2016)
Update on Jerry Nadeau: Thirteen years ago, Jerry Nadeau's life changed forever. During a practice session at Richmond International Raceway, he crashed hard into the wall, driver's side first. That crash left Nadeau with a traumatic brain injury, immobility on his left side, a collapsed lung and broken ribs. The crash not only ended Nadeau's career, but also had great implications for his personal life. "A lot of tough things happened," Nadeau said. "I got divorced, had to sell my house and had to start over again. Then I lost my father who I was very, very close to from cancer." While Nadeau admits his road has been up and down, he has had some successes recently both on and off the track. "I've got a great wife," Nadeau said. "I have a little girl who is eight months old. I also have a thirteen year old Natalie from my first marriage. So, I have two girls and that's really interesting." Nadeau has also been keeping his hand in racing in a way that might be somewhat surprising to his fans. "I love driving and I don't think I can get that out of me," Nadeau said. "I got asked to go to Japan a month ago and I did some driving at Fuji Speedway, an old Formula One race track. His racing fix also included attending one of dirt track racing's most competitive events. "I went this year to one of the greatest weekends in racing, the Chili Bowl," Nadeau said. "It was amazing and really fun. I reconnected a little bit and saw a couple of people I knew from the past. It was just great to be back."
Nadeau has also kept his driving skills sharp in a unique way, by helping young drivers handle the challenges of being newbies behind the wheel. "I do work for an organization called B.R.A.K.E.S.," Nadeau said. "It's a driving company where we help teenagers learn to drive." B.R.A.K.E.S., which stands for 'Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe', was started by drag racer Doug Herbert after his two boys were killed in a car accident. In addition to his work on the track and with teen drivers, Nadeau has also been focused on reaching out to others who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
"For me, right now, it's all about family and kids," Nadeau said. "Like so many people, I'm still on the fence on where I want to go and what I want to do. "I appreciate all of my former fans. But I need them to know that I'm now trying to move on and get on with my new life as it is today. I want everyone to know that you just have to keep going and marching forward, no matter what You all have to know that there will be something on the horizon that will hopefully inspire you. That is what I'm trying to hold onto at this point in my life."(Popular Speed)(2-6-2016)
Atlanta offering cheaper ticket prices: Attending the 2016 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be less expensive than in the past, as ticket prices for the Feb. 28 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race are reduced an average of 15 percent. This year, Sunday racegoers will spend no more than $99 for an individual grandstand ticket, with prices starting at just $39. Also new in 2016, AMS is offering affordable options for fans who want to attend all three days of the race weekend. Some of the best deals in NASCAR, the "Good," "Better" and "Best" ticket packages, offer reasonable options in increments that allow fans to customize their race weekend with attractive packages according to their budgets.
" The "Good" ticket package, priced at $79, includes upper Petty Grandstand seating for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, plus general admission seating to Friday's Active Pest Control Qualifying Day and Saturday's doubleheader, a savings of $40 off the regular prices.
" The "Better" ticket package is priced at $139 and offers seating in the Winners, Earnhardt or Petty Grandstand for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, general admission seating to Friday's Active Pest Control Qualifying Day and Saturday's doubleheader, a weekend FanVision rental and a Sunday pre-race pit pass, for a total savings of $125 off regular prices.
" The "Best" package, which offers the best value of all three deals, is priced at $179 and boasts an ultimate NASCAR weekend combination, including a seat in the Upper Champions Grandstand or the Upper Winners Grandstand chairback seats for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, general admission seating to Friday's Active Pest Control Qualifying Day and Saturday's doubleheader, a weekend FanVision scanner rental, a weekend pre-race pit pass, and $25 off a purchase of $50 or more in the AMS souvenir shop. In total, the "Best" package shaves a whopping $165 off normal pricing.
Again in 2016, children 17 and under will be admitted free with a paid adult to Friday's Active Pest Control Qualifying Day and Saturday's Heads Up Georgia 250 XFINITY Series and Georgia 200 Camping World Truck Series doubleheader. Students and children 17 and under can cash in on half-priced tickets for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 when they attend with a paid adult.(AMS)(2-6-2016)
Three teams for BK Racing at Daytona; Waltrip in the #83: Two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip will compete in the 2016 Daytona 500 for BK Racing. Waltrip , a commentator for Fox Sports, had sponsorship for the race from Maxwell House, but he had not announced which team he would drive for until Thursday, nine days prior to opening practice at Daytona International Speedway. BK Racing is expected to have two automatic berths in the Daytona 500 as part of the new NASCAR "charter" system that is expected to be finalized in the coming days. The team will field three cars at Daytona with Waltrip driving the #83 that typically will be driven by Matt DiBenedetto. DiBenedetto will drive a third car, the #93, while David Ragan will drive the #23 he is expected to run all season.(ESPN.com)(2-5-2016)
More details on Stewart's accident: Legendary drag racer Don "Snake" Prudhomme gave NBC Sports a first-hand account of Tony Stewart's accident in the Southern California sand dunes Sunday. Stewart and a number of current and former racers including Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Prudhomme were having a day of fun in the sun and sand when Stewart became separated from the group and went missing for about 90 minutes. Here's how Prudhomme described the incident to NBC Sports:
"We were riding these sand rails. We do that quite a bit. We were all together. What really happened is, it isn't hard to get split off from one another. In other words, if a guy makes a left turn and you're not watching his flags or there's dust or something, you can make a right turn and kind of get lost. So, we got mixed up and (Stewart) was probably missing for an hour-and-a-half from the pack, at least. He was missing, he was not there. We figured maybe he got hooked up with one of the other guys. Then we were stopped and kinda gathered up and started to shoot the s- and asked, 'Where's Tony?' One of the guys (on the dunes) came driving up and said, 'Hey, one of your buddies is hurt over on the other side of the hill.' "There was about three of us who went back on our buggies and we came upon him. He was laying there. He got out of it (the sand buggy) and was laying there in the sand on his back."
"We pulled up, asked 'How you doing, dude?' He was on the ground and said his back's hurt. We made sure he could move all his legs and everything, so everything was good there." Prudhomme said Evernham took charge of the scene. Gordon, car collector Ron Pratte and Prudhomme provided assistance.
See more information at NBC Sports.(2-5-2015)
What is a burst fracture? #14-Tony Stewart suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra and had surgery Wednesday in North Carolina. There are varying degrees of burst fractures, said ESPN college sports and motorsports announcer and reporter Dr. Jerry Punch, who also said he expects Stewart to be out for months. Punch has not talked with Stewart and is not treating him but said the burst fracture is worse than a compression fracture. Denny Hamlin missed five weeks after a compression fracture of his L-1 vertebra (the highest bone in the lower back) in 2013. "[A burst fracture] is basically an explosion of the vertebrae, typically the body of the vertebrae," Punch said in a phone interview. "Unlike a compression fracture, where it sort of gets pushed down on itself, a burst fracture usually involves multiple fractures and multiple fragments. ... Normally when someone has a burst fracture, you're talking months of healing, you're talking people wearing these big lumbar braces for two to three months." Stewart will not be able to return until an MRI or a CT scan shows that the bone has healed. Stewart also will need to have rehab to strengthen his back if any of the bone fragments caused weakness to his spinal column, Punch said. "It's not like a broken arm where you can put a plate in it where you can deal with the pain and get in the car," Punch said. "With the back, it can impact your ability to walk and move the rest of your life. You can't take a chance on hitting something at all."(ESPN.com)(2-5-2016)
Team Penske and Bosch extend partnership: Building on one of the most successful and longest-lasting partnerships in motorsports, Team Penske and Bosch Automotive Aftermarket North America have announced a multi-year extension that will carry on the long-standing relationship between the two companies. Under the terms of the new agreement, Bosch will return as an associate partner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Verizon IndyCar Series and in the V8 Supercars Championship with Team Penske. Bosch has helped Team Penske get the most of its results on track by providing starters, alternators, oxygen sensors, fuel injectors and spark plugs - all key components in racing. With the extension of the agreement, Bosch will continue to leverage the Team Penske relationship across multiple platforms including retail programs, customer hospitality experiences and by utilizing the Team Penske facilities and business-to-business relationships through the Penske Corporation, Penske Automotive Group and other existing Team Penske partners. The Bosch-Penske pairing is one of many long-term partnerships in the Team Penske organization. With an average tenure of 13 years amongst its partners, Team Penske will celebrate its 25th year working with Bosch this season while also commemorating its 50th anniversary of racing.(Team Penske)(2-5-2016)
Fire destroys inn owned by Pocono Raceway: A blazing fire, that required fire companies from four counties, did extensive damage Wednesday to the Blakeslee Inn in Tobyhanna Township. The inn and restaurants, which are on Route 940, are owned by the Mattioli family, which also owns and operates Pocono Raceway, just a few miles from the inn. Brandon Igdalsky, the grandson of Pocono Raceway founder and the late Dr. Joseph Mattioli, is now the president of Pocono Raceway. In the mid-2000s, Igdalsky ran the Blakeslee Inn before turning his full attention to the raceway. Crews from Monroe, Carbon, Lackawanna and Luzerne counties fought the fire which started around 8:30 a.m. and was not contained until the afternoon. About 60 to 70 percent of the building was damaged, according to Tobyhanna Township Fire Chief Troy Counterman. Counterman said there were workers in the kitchen area of the restaurant, but everyone got out of the building safely. He said it appears that the fire started in the kitchen area, but the state police fire marshal was at the scene and will make the official determination of the cause of the fire.(Pocono Record)(2-5-2016)
University of Northwestern Ohio extends partnership with Kentucky Speedway: The University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) extends its longtime relationship with Kentucky Speedway for three years and will continue to be the "Official Education Partner of Kentucky Speedway." Kentucky Speedway will provide UNOH with numerous advertising and promotional components. Plus, the speedway will utilize its racing platform and large loyal fan base to promote UNOH, host an orientation program for future students and provide business to business opportunities for the UNOH motorsports program through 2018. Located in Lima, Ohio, UNOH grants masters, baccalaureate, and associate degrees through its Colleges of Applied Technologies, Business, Occupational Professions, Health Professions, and Graduate Programs along with online degree options. The College of Applied Technologies prepares students for careers in the motorsports and automotive industries through specialized automotive, high performance motorsports, diesel, agricultural, and alternate fuels programs. The UNOH College of Applied Technologies has built a storied motorsports history through its involvement in the ARCA Racing Series, three NASCAR national touring series, and NHRA. In 1992, UNOH became the first university in the world to feature a high performance motorsports program. More than 4,500 students are currently enrolled at UNOH from all 50 states and 32 foreign countries.(Kentucky Speedway)(2-5-2016)
Joe Gibbs Racing makes changes to executive team: J.D. Gibbs will join his father Joe Gibbs as Co-Chairman of JGR with Coy Gibbs officially joining the NASCAR operations as Vice-Chairman/Chief Operating Officer, and Dave Alpern, who has been with Joe Gibbs Racing since its beginning, has been named President of the organization. In addition, JGR announces Tim Carmichael will assume expanded responsibilities in his role as Chief Financial Officer, while Wally Brown will serve as Competition Director and Todd Bowland has been named Technical Director. Todd Meredith has resigned his position as Chief Operating Officer but will continue to consult for the organization over the next several months as he explores new opportunities.
"The Lord has blessed me and my family with something that is truly remarkable and as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary at Joe Gibbs Racing this year, it is more apparent than ever that our people are responsible for the success we have experienced," said Joe Gibbs. "We feel the timing is right to bring Coy into the NASCAR operations in a more official capacity. He has done an outstanding job with our motocross operations and will continue to provide his leadership there as well.
Coy Gibbs launched JGRMX in 2008 and has been at the center of every aspect of the operations from personnel decisions to sponsor acquisitions and competition direction. He will primarily be focused on the operations side for JGR's NASCAR team while continuing his daily role with JGRMX.
"I'm excited to be more involved with our NASCAR operations," said Coy Gibbs. "I take great pride in what we have accomplished with our motocross operations and I will continue to provide direction there, while working more closely with my father and brother on the NASCAR side of the business. I know we have a tremendous team in place already and I'm looking forward to being more involved now in this official capacity."
Alpern joined JGR in 1992 and has worked in the organization's marketing department since his arrival and most recently served in the capacity of Chief Marketing Officer the past two years. Alpern has been a key figure to JGR's involvement in the RTA and is well respected by his peers within the industry. Meredith joined JGR in 1992 and has spent the past 25 years working in the competition and operations departments of the organization. He was named Chief Operating Office in 2013.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-4-2016)
Stewart hospitalized for a back injury UPDATES: #14-Tony Stewart is being hospitalized for a back injury he suffered in a non-racing accident while driving an all-terrain vehicle, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tuesday. Stewart is awake, alert and able to move his extremities, according to a statement from Stewart-Haas Racing spokesman Mike Arning, who said the accident happened Sunday on the West Coast and wouldn't specify where Stewart is hospitalized. Fox Sports reports that Stewart flipped a sand buggy outside of San Diego and was airlifted to a hospital. Arning said the team is not expected to make any further announcements about Stewart's condition until Thursday afternoon. Stewart was in Arizona on Saturday night at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale and was interviewed on live television from the event. "We have received word from Stewart-Haas Racing of Tony Stewart's accident and injury," NASCAR chairman Brian France said. "On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, I wish Tony a full recovery and look forward to seeing him back in our sport when he's ready to return."(ESPN)(2-2-2016)
UPDATE: Greg Biffle was among a group riding with Tony Stewart in the sand dunes of Southern California when Stewart suffered a back injury on Sunday, he told SiriusXM's NASCAR channel on Wednesday night. Biffle confirmed to Sirius he was in Stewart's group, though he "wasn't near what went on" and didn't see exactly what happened. "We were kind of all riding as a group," Biffle told Sirius. "We started kind of hearing bits and pieces that he hurt his back. That's all we knew. I do know the people that helped him ... (said) he was walking and moving all of his extremities, but he was in a lot of pain."(USA Today)(2-4-2016)
UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, sustained a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in an all-terrain vehicle accident Sunday while vacationing on the West Coast. Stewart was transported to a local hospital following the non-racing accident and promptly evaluated. He was awake and alert throughout the process and able to move all of his extremities. Stewart flew to North Carolina Tuesday evening and was admitted to a Charlotte-area hospital for further evaluation. On Wednesday, he underwent surgery. The subsequent recovery period means Stewart will miss the beginning of the Sprint Cup season. A timetable for Stewart's return has not been determined, but he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the #14 Chevrolet in 2016. Plans for an interim driver have not been finalized.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(2-4-2016)
Earnhardt, Jr's car chief delivers his own daughter: When you sign up to be the car chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. 's #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, there's quite a bit of understood pressure that comes along with the job. Sometimes there's even more pressure that comes along with being a husband, as Travis Mack learned early Wednesday morning. According to Mhis Twitter account, Mack, who heads into his second season as Earnhardt's car chief under crew chief Greg Ives, delivered his own baby girl at 3:15 a.m. in his home bathroom. "I delivered my baby girl at 3:15 this morning in our bathroom! Amazing experience. #GodIsGood My Wife is so strong." Mack tweeted.(NASCAR.com)(2-4-2016)
EnerSys extends partnership with Penske: Team Penske announced that it has reached a multi-year extension with EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications. EnerSys is a premiere business-to-business partner with Team Penske and other Penske Corporation companies and will continue to maximize the relationship with hospitality at race events next season and into the future. EnerSys joined the team in 2014 as an associate sponsor for Team Penske's NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series programs. EnerSys has collaborated with many Team Penske partners such as AutoZone and Cintas, as well as working closely with Penske Truck Leasing, providing an array of battery options for consumer and commercial use. The B2B opportunities are an important aspect of the relationship as the portfolio of Penske partners allows EnerSys to generate quality leads, create more business and garner extra exposure for its brands.(Team Penske)(2-4-2016)
Switchfoot to perform National Anthem at Auto Club Speedway: SoCal native alternative rock band, Switchfoot, will sing the National Anthem and headline the pre-race concert on the O'Reilly Auto Parts Main Stage at 10:15am on Sunday, March 20, just before the NASCAR Auto Club 400 race gets underway at Auto Club Speedway. Switchfoot traces its roots to the beaches of San Diego and are currently working on their 10th studio album. Fans will hear alternative radio hit singles like "Meant to Live," "Dare You To Move," "Mess of Me," "Dark Horses," and "Afterlife". With a race ticket, fans will have access to the O'Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone that includes the Switchfoot concert, NASCAR driver autograph sessions, Lefty's Kids Zone, freestyle motocross stunt show demonstrations, vendors, and to shop Fanatics "Trackside Superstore" - a 50,000 square-foot store - with a breadth of product unmatched anywhere else as well as specific sections for most drivers and dedicated specialty shops for ladies, kids and collectables.(Auto Club Speedway)(2-4-2016)
SunEnergy1 to sponsor Elliott? UPDATE: This past weekend, Kenny Habul was part of the driving team for Stevenson Motorsports' #9 Audi R8 LMS GT3 in the GT-Daytona class at the Rolex 24. Habul, along with Boris Said, Tristan Vautier and Dion von Moltke, finished eighth in the GT-Daytona class. During an Audi Meet the Teams free-for-all on Friday, Habul said that his company (SunEnergy1) will enter the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports on a sponsorship deal. "SunEnergy1 will be sponsoring the 24 car for Chase Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports," Habul said during the meet and greet. "It is a full sponsorship deal for certain races with Elliott." However, the deal is not fully set in stone. Habul says that he and Hendrick Motorsports are still working on the details of the deal. Expect an announcement sometime in the near future that will include the races that will feature the SunEnergy1 colors.(Frontstretch)(2-2-2016)
UPDATE: SunEnergy1, one of the world's largest privately held solar energy companies, has joined 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of rookie of the year contender Chase Elliott. With a three-year contract, SunEnergy1 will be a primary sponsor of Elliott's #24 Chevrolet SS team for four Sprint Cup races annually. The agreement, which covers the 2016, 2017 and 2018 NASCAR seasons, also includes associate-level sponsorship. In 2016, SunEnergy1 will be featured as a primary sponsor July 2 at Daytona International Speedway, Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen International, Oct. 16 at Kansas Speedway and Nov. 13 at Phoenix International Raceway.(Hendrick Motorsports(2-3-2016)
SKF to sponsor Keselowski in Sprint Unlimited: posted two images of the #2 SKF Ford taken at Team Penske recently. SKF is supposedly scheduled to sponsor the #2 in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on Feb 13th. See images of the car on the #2 Team Schemes page (2-3-2016)
GM Inaugurates New Performance and Racing Center: General Motors opened the doors to the all-new GM Powertrain Performance and Racing Center - a state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance the development processes for the company's diverse racing engine programs. The new, 111,420-square-foot facility is connected to GM's Global Powertrain Engineering Center and is part of a $200-million investment at the Pontiac, Mich., campus. It relocates the Racing center from Wixom, Mich. to the Pontiac Powertrain Campus, bringing together under one roof an additional team of nearly 100 engine builders, engineers and other support staff. The Performance and Racing team is responsible for developing engines for NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, IMSA and other racing series. It also leverages the resources at the Global Powertrain Engineering Center, enabling faster and more integrated technology transfer between GM's racing experience and production-vehicle powertrains. The racing engines under responsibility at the new center include the NASCAR "R07" - a unique 358-cubic-inch V-8 engine designed and developed exclusively for NASCAR Sprint Cup racing along with engines for IndyCar, NHRA, Corvette Racing and Cadillac ATSV.R Twin Turbo. Additionally, the high-performance crate engines and crate powertrain systems offered by Chevrolet Performance are developed at the new facility. Facility highlights include engine assembly, machining, engine testing, calibration and an interactive lobby and meeting space. RCR driver #31-Ryan Newman addressed the gathering at the opening of the new Powertrain Performance and Racing Center.(Team Chevy, see images at the Detroit News)(2-3-2016)
Four KU football players try out for NASCAR: The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development program put four former Kansas University football players through a series of exercises on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, to project their potential as pit road crew members. One running back and three defensive lineman took part. The program's director of athletic performance, Phil Horton, was a former football trainer at Memphis and Florida A&M. He envisions a series of qualities transferring from the football field to the pit, and 17 athletes have made their way from the introductory stage of the program to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The four former KU football players will find out over the next few weeks whether they impressed enough to qualify for the national combine in Charlotte in the spring. From there, a group of 10 people will be offered relocation stipends for a six-month training period.(Kansas City Star)(2-3-2016)
DIS Teams Up With Jeff Gordon For Special Daytona Ticket Package: Daytona International Speedway has teamed up with three-time Daytona 500 champion and new FOX Sports analyst Jeff Gordon for a special ticket package around the PowerShares QQQ 300 season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, Feb. 20. The package, which is available to adults starting at $115 and children 12 and under for $10, includes:
ˇ One stadium seat for the PowerShares QQQ 300
ˇ Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access
ˇ A 15-minute question and answer session with Gordon in a climate-controlled room located on Level 2 of the new motorsports stadium scheduled to occur on Feb. 20
Gordon, a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, recently completed his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and will make his debut in the broadcast booth with FOX Sports with the prestigious 58th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 21. Tickets for the Jeff Gordon Ticket Package for the PowerShares QQQ 300 are available at daytonainternationalspeedway.com/gordon or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(2-3-2016)
Auto Club Speedway unveils private, fine-dining, club experience: It is Auto Club Speedway's honor to put the name 'Richter' on one of the most distinguished clubs in Southern California. Because, in life, 'Coach' was both. With Les Richter in mind, Auto Club Speedway will unveil an exclusive, high-end private club which will provide its 60-80 members the ultimate business and entertainment environment, not just on NASCAR Weekend, but year-round. The décor features a collection of racing memorabilia and historical photos of Auto Club Speedway. The Speedway's marquee club will offer a unique dining experience on race-day, offering all-inclusive upscale food and beverage in a high-class pit road setting offering incredible views overlooking the start finish line. It's someplace that no doubt, Richter himself would be delighted to spend time in. To attend a special preview event or to purchase tickets call 909-429-5306 or autoclubspeedway.com/Richters.(ACS)(2-3-2016)
Premium Motorsports signs Cole Whitt to drive the #98: Premium Motorsports announced it has signed Cole Whitt to drive the #98 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. The 24-year-old Whitt, who will be entering his third full season in the premier Sprint Cup Series, finished 31st in driver points each of his first two seasons. "We believe Cole is an accomplished young driver who drives aggressively, yet smart," team owner Jay Robinson said. "He's a great fit for our team as we look to improve our competitiveness in the Sprint Cup Series." This off season, Premium Motorsports made several strategic moves to upgrade the team and its race cars. On the competition side, Premium acquired additional updated equipment along with hiring Mike Hillman to fill the role of competition director and Mark Hillman to serve as crew chief. Mike and Mark join team manager Scott Eggleston along with owner Jay Robinson to round out the Premium Motorsports management team.
"Jay and the crew at Premium Motorsports impressed me with their vision for the future and commitment to making the #98 car competitive week in and week out," said Whitt. "I look forward to being a big part of the family atmosphere at Premium and having a successful start at the Daytona 500 in a few weeks." Many of Whitt's previous partners (sponsors) in the Sprint Cup Series the past two years are expected to support him again in 2016 at Premium. More details regarding car sponsors will be released at a further date.(Premium Motorsports)(2-2-2016)
Kauffman says RTA close to NASCAR agreement: Rob Kauffman has partnered with team owner Chip Ganassi Racing after pulling his resources from Michael Waltrip Racing, which closed its competition department after the 2015 NASCAR season. Kauffman arrived in NASCAR from the world of high finance and was picked by an elite group of Cup car owners to chair the Race Team Alliance. The RTA has been tasked with improving series-wide efficiency among race teams - such as saving money on travel and pooling together for things such as health insurance. Last year Kauffman and RTA members started a conversation with NASCAR to create some sort of charter system to give race teams more tangible value, similar to a league franchise. NASCAR and RTA are expected to announce the charter plan before the start of this season, which begins with the Feb. 21 Daytona 500. Daytona Beach News Journal Motorsports Editor Godwin Kelly conducted an exclusive one on one interview with Kauffman during the Rolex 24 At Daytona for NASCAR This Week.
A few of the Q&A's:
Q) Define your function with Ganassi Racing?
Kauffman: Business partner. This is the early days of us figuring it out. Both of us are pragmatic people and we'll see what makes the most sense for me and what areas I can help benefit the team the most. I'm pretty flexible.
Q) Based on your history at Waltrip Racing, you seem to be able to spark performance with a race team.
Kauffman: We achieved some level of success at MWR but not the level that we wanted to reach. Chip is pretty successful and hopefully I can add to the mix. We did combine some parts of (Waltrip Racing) with Ganassi Racing, so some of the people, technology came over and we hope that makes us stronger on the NASCAR side.
Q) Talk about what you have been talking about with NASCAR.
Kauffman: I think it is pretty well known by now, this is a charter system with NASCAR to put more structure around teams so there is more value potentially to teams over time, so that NASCAR racing looks like other sports, which are organized and structured. We'd like team ownership to (look like) that of baseball or football. We are quite optimistic we will have something in place for 2016.
Q) Where does that now stand?
Kauffman: We have worked on this for a while. The teams have been working on it with NASCAR for a number of months. I think we are quite close to getting something done for the 2016 season, and the season starts in three weeks. I think all the major issues have been ironed out at this stage and now it's a matter of dotting the I's and crossing the T's and getting the paperwork sorted out. I'm quite optimistic we'll have something for this season. Read the full interview at the Daytona Beach News Journal (2-2-2016)
2016 Crew Chief changes: There have been a number of crew chief changes since the end of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, including:
#6-Matt Puccia moves over from the #16 team, Bob Osbourne moves to the #34 Front Row Motorsports team.
#10-Billy Scott, from the closed #15 MWR team, replaces Daniel Knost, promoted within SHR
#11-Mike Wheeler, moves up from JGR's XFINITY program, Dave Rogers moves to #19 JGR team
#14-Mike Bugarewicz, engineer moves over from #4 SHR team, replaces Chad Johnston, who heads to #42 CGR team
#15[was #51]-No word if Steve Addington stays on a the crew chief of this team, now with driver Clint Bowyer
#16-Brain Pattie, moves from closed #55 MWR team, replaces Matt Puccia, who moves to the #6 RFR team.
#19-Dave Rogers, moves over from #11 JGR team, Darian Grubb heads to Hendrick as vehicle production director.
#32-Wally Rogers, takes over after being with the #95 team a few years, Clayton Cram goes back to car chief, Frank Stoddard a consultant.
#34-Bob Osbourne comes over from Roush Fenway Racing (FRM Technical partner), Derrick Finley stays in FRM's competition director spot
#42-Chad Johnston, moves over from #14 SHR team, replaces Chris Heroy who heads to #9 RPM team
#44[was #9]-Chris Heroy, from #42 CGR team, replaces Kevin "Bono" Manion, who goes to Kyle Busch's Truck Series program
#47-Randall Burnett, the engineer comes over from CGR, replaces Brian Burns, who stays with JTG Daugherty
#95-Dave Winston takes over, recently at BK Racing, replaces Wally Rogers who left late in the 2015 season.
Other teams made crew chief changes during the 2015 season, including #3-Richard Childress Racing, #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #15 & #55 Michael Waltrip Racing teams (swapped crew chiefs, team ceased operations after 2015)
For all the changes see Jayski.com's 2016 Driver/Team Silly Season Chart. (2-2-2016)
Allmendinger wants to run Le Mans: AJ Allmendinger, whose full-time job is wheeling the #47 Chevy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, co-drove the #60 Honda Ligier Prototype in the Rolex 24 At Daytona Saturday and Sunday. Allmendinger has been doing the sports-car thing for more than 10 years with IMSA team owner Michael Shank. Michael Shank Racing won the 2012 Rolex 24 with Allmendinger behind the wheel of the Prototype at the checkered flag. Allmendinger can compete the 24-hour race because it starts before the NASCAR season begins. There is no conflict with his NASCAR schedule. The one race on Allmendinger's bucket list is the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. The 34-year-old driver may get his chance this year. "If AJ can find a way to get to Le Mans, we'll make it work from our end," Shank told NASCAR This Week. "He has been with me many years. I would love to see it happen. It sounds fun to talk about it, but the reality is, AJ has a lot of (NASCAR) sponsor programs built around him." The Le Mans 24 program will be staged on a NASCAR Cup Series off week, June 14-18. NASCAR races at Michigan on June 12 and goes to Sonoma June 26.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(2-2-2016)
Harvick back to FOX Sports NASCAR XFINITY booth: Former NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES champion Kevin Harvick is scheduled to return as race analyst for FOX Sports' coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES in 2016, beginning with the season opener from Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 20 on FS1. The 2014 champion was the first of five NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES drivers in 2015 to rotate in the FOX and FS1 booth for FOX Sports' inaugural year of NASCAR XFINITY SERIES coverage. Harvick, who called three races for FOX in 2015, also kicked off his roster of races at Daytona last year. In 2016, offers analysis at Daytona alongside play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander and analyst Michael Waltrip. Announcements regarding additional Cup Series drivers in the FOX NASCAR booth for XFINITY Series races are forthcoming.(FoxSports)(2-2-2015)
Visine to sponsor Bowyer in 2016: Visine will sponsor Clint Bowyer's #15 HScott Motorsports Chevy in three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events this season: Auto Club Speedway on March 20, Texas Motor Speedway on April 9 and Pocono Raceway on June 5. Visine will also serve as an associate sponsor and marketing partner for the entire season.(NASCAR.com)(2-1-2016)
Kyle Larson finally meets his crew chief: Kyle Larson has a new crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but it took a while before the driver actually had his first-face-to-face meeting with Chad Johnston, the successor to Chris Heroy on the pit box for the #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy. The delay was understandable. Larson sped through a whirlwind offseason where, among other things, he competed in the Chili Bowl, the premier event for Midget cars, in Tulsa, OK. Johnston, who comes to Ganassi after two years as Tony Stewart's crew chief, paid a visit to the simulator with Larson, who will start his third full season in Cup racing in February. "He could see my driving style a little bit, even though the simulator isn't quite (the same as on-track driving)," Larson told the NASCAR Wire Service a day before he begins his defense of the Rolex 24 title he won with Jamie McMurray, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan last year. "We went through some changes, and the communication was nice. He's a really good guy, really quiet, calm and focused. So I think we'll be really good." Johnston's experience with Stewart should translate well to Larson's effort. "Me and Tony, I feel like aside from attitude, have a pretty similar feel as far as driving race cars and how we communicate about race cars," Larson said. "So I don't think it's going to be too much of a transition, but you don't really know until it actually happens."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-1-2016)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Trophy Stops in Macon, GA: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship trophy was in Macon, GA on Thursday. The trophy was at Food Depot on Northside Drive as part of a promotion for Atlanta Motor Speedway's upcoming race weekend. NASCAR returns to AMS the last weekend of February when the Camping World Truck Series, XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series all race at AMS. AMS is going back to its Georgia roots this year with pre-race performances from a few Peach State celebrities, including Robin Meade and Mark Willis. They'll also have some Georgia-grown foods items at the concession stands. "We're going to really have an emphasis on our Georgia-based food items using peanuts and pecans," says Dustin Bixby, director of marketing and promotion for AMS. "Speaking of peanuts, we've got a great Georgia Peanut Butter and Jelly milkshake that will be sold at the concession stand." No grandstand ticket is over $99 this year, plus there's a "perfect weather guarantee." If it rains or fails to reach 50 degrees (like last year), you can get a credit for next year's race weekend.(41NBC/WMGT)(2-1-2016)
Ganassi receives the Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence: Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi, of Pittsburgh, Pa., has been named the recipient of the 2015 Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence. The announcement was made during the traditional prelude to the Rolex 24 At Daytona - the Grand Marshal Dinner - which was held at the Daytona 500 Club on Friday, January 29, 2016. The Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence recognizes a team owner or manager who has demonstrated the qualities of honesty, integrity, passion for the sport of automobile racing and an infinite love of cars altogether. The other candidates for the 2015 award were Bobby Rahal, Kevin Buckler and Bill Riley. A fixture in the auto racing industry for over 30 years as a race-car driver and team owner, Ganassi is considered one of the most successful and innovative owners in the sport. He currently counts two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, four in the Verizon IndyCar Series, two in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, two in the World Endurance Championship and two cars in Global Rally Cross (RRDC/The Road Racing Drivers Club)(2-1-2016)
Rolex 24 at Daytona: Luis Felipe Derani turned in a dominant final driving stint on Sunday, delivering a Rolex 24 At Daytona championship to Tequila Patrón ESM Racing at Daytona International Speedway. Derani was joined in Gatorade Victory Lane by co-drivers Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown, who combined efforts in the #2 Honda Ligier JS P2 entry in the race's headlining Prototype class. It marked the first victory in the Rolex 24 for a Honda-powered car. For Sharp, it was a second Rolex 24 triumph, following up on his 1996 championship. Derani crossed the finish line 26.166 seconds of the #10 Corvette DP of Wayne Taylor Racing driven by Max Angelelli. Brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor of Apopka and Rubens Barrichello. Finishing third was the #90 Corvette DP of VisitFlorida Racing, co-driven by Ryan Dalziel of Orlando, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marc Goossens. Over the 24 hour-span, the top-three finishing teams completed 736 laps around the 3.56-mile DIS road course - a total of 2,620.16 miles, the approximate distance from Daytona Beach to Bakersfield, California.
XFINITY Series driver Brendan Gaughan was NASCAR's highest finisher this year, his #20 ORECA FLM09 finishing third in the PC class; nine laps behind the class winner and eight laps ahead of the next car in class; 43 laps down to the overall winner. Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year (2011) Andy Lally claimed his fifth class win in the GTD classification. The defending overall Rolex race winning team of McMurray and co-drivers Kyle Larson, IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and former Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan finished 13th overall, 28 laps down after a crash with approximately three hours remaining thwarted any chance of a podium finish. NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger was scored 50th in the 54-car field. His #60 Honda prototype -- which won the 50th anniversary of this race four years ago -- suffered engine failure about nine and a half hours into the 24-hour affair.(DIS / ESPN / NASCAR.com)(2-1-2016)
Even 15 wins and a title won't make Stewart reconsider retirement: Tony Stewart isn't anticipating a dream season in his final tour of the Sprint Cup circuit. And if it materializes, the three-time champion isn't sticking around NASCAR anyway. The Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner and driver said even the most successful campaign of his 18-season career won't cause him to reverse course on exiting the #14 Chevy after the 2016 season. "The reason I'm retiring is not performance based, but when you go into your last season, you hope you go out on top," Stewart said last week during the preseason Media Tour. "Whether the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, you want to finish on top. That's the way every athlete wants to finish. If we went out there and won 15 races and won the championship, it would not make me go, 'Man, I want to come back next year.' It'd be like, 'That's the way I want to go out. I'll take that.' When (the 2016 season is over), no matter how the year went, it's done. If it's a terrible year, I'm not going to say that defined my career. The stats will show what we did over 18 years. I think no matter how the season goes, I'm going to be able to say I had a successful run in the Sprint Cup Series." Stewart has 48 victories on NASCAR's premier circuit but none since Dover International Speedway in June 2013.(full article at NBC Sports)(1-31-2016)
Members of SHR help out family of stricken crewman: The family of a Stewart-Haas Racing team member who suffered a stroke on New Year's Day is getting a helping hand from fellow team members with the Kannapolis, NC based organization. Les Huntley, a front suspension mechanic for SHR and second gas man for #10-Danica Patrick last season, was left with paralysis on his left side in the wake of his medical emergency. As of a week ago, Huntley was still not walking, nor able to use his left arm and hand. Members of SHR spent their Saturday providing assistance to Huntley's family as they move into a new home.(FoxSports)(1-31-2016)
NASCAR, Sprint Cup teams meet on charters; sides 'close' to deal: NASCAR officials and Sprint Cup car owners have been meeting this week, moving closer to resolution on a new charter system intended to guarantee financial stability and security to teams. A source who was present for a meeting Friday said that no deal had been signed, but that the sides were "close." The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the talks. Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal tweeted that the system was likely to be unveiled in two weeks, which would point to an announcement during Speedweeks. NASCAR teams will arrive Feb. 11 at the Daytona International Speedway garage in preparation for the Feb. 21 season-opening Daytona 500. Stern also tweeted the charter system deal would be for five years with a four-year option. Asked for comment, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said in a release: "NASCAR and NASCAR Sprint Cup team owners have continued to make progress in our discussions. There still is work to be done, but we remain very optimistic that we'll have agreements completed prior to the start of the 2016 season." Rob Kauffman, chairman of the Race Team Alliance consortium that has been brokering the deal on behalf of the owners, also tweeted he felt positive about negotiations.(NBC Sports)(1-30-2016)
Rule change for pit road - wrench color: This is not a ground breaking rule changes but its something that NASCAR wants to see changed. Starting next year, all track bar and wedge wrenches will need be yellow. We don't know for sure but we're guessing that it has something to do with being able to see it with the video cameras that NASCAR implemented last year. Once again, that is just a guess as to why they want them all the same color but for years teams have had all kinds of colors on their wrenches. In some cases it was to help the carriers know which wrench was a right side wrench vs. left or even to help determine if it was their track bar wrench vs. wedge wrench. Either way, teams will now all have the same looking wrench for the races. The actual rule book reads as such: 21.2.5 Wrenches a. Wrenches used to manually adjust the track bar and/or left and right side rear jack screw during a pit stop must be painted bright yellow.(Pit Talks)(1-30-2016)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 28th class of inductees: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) announced its 28th class of inductees at Daytona International Speedway, continuing a long-standing tradition of honoring legendary figures from a wide variety of racing disciplines.
The seven-person class of 2016 inductees: Everett Brashear, Richard Childress, Gary Gabelich, Chip Ganassi, Dave McClelland, Sam Posey and Bob Sweikert. Collectively, the illustrious group represents motorcycles, stock cars, sports cars, land speed records, drag boat records, drag racing and open-wheel racing. They will be enshrined at the 28th Annual Induction Ceremony presented by Bridgestone on the evening of June 29 at Daytona International Speedway, the new home of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Friday's announcement was made in the Daytona International Speedway media center as part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, with domestic and international media in attendance. The MSHFA has previously inducted 223 motorsports luminaries; inductees are selected by a 200-person voting panel that includes past racing greats Mario Andretti, Craig Breedlove, Don Emde, Don Garlits and Richard Petty. Tickets for the 2016 Induction Ceremony can be purchased by calling 248.349.7223 or through the MSHFA website at www.mshf.com.(MSHFA)(1-30-2016)
Coke to sponsor Logano UPDATE: Walt Czarnicki, Executive VP, Penske Corporation & Vice Chairman, Team Penske was asked: YOU ALSO HAVE GREAT CONTINUITY WITH YOUR SPONSORS. TALK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE RELATIONSHIP AND PROGRAMS. "I think one of the hallmarks of our team over the years has been continuity of sponsorship. Miller Brewing Company has been with us since 1983-84, Snap On tools and other companies like that. PPG for example. Over the course of time we have expanded that context to sponsors and we are at a point now where we are happy to announce here that we have extended our relationship with Bosch. They have been with us for more than 30 years across all our motorsports disciplines. Coca Cola will be coming back to be featured on the 22 Ford Fusion. Joey is part of the Coke family of drivers. Auto Trader is an important partner of ours in our retail business and will be with us on the 2 and 22 cars this year. I think we bring a leverage with those sponsors because we are able to give back more than the value on the race track. We are able to establish business to business relationships so they get real value from our partnership."(Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes)(1-21-2016)
UPDATE: Team Penske and Coca-Cola have announced that the two entities will continue their alliance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Under the multi-year agreement, Coca-Cola will continue to be featured on the #22 Ford and Team Penske driver Joey Logano will once again be a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family. Team Penske and Coca-Cola first joined forces at the beginning of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the two companies have enhanced the partnership over the past five years. In addition to the branding and marketing activation elements of the relationship, Coca-Cola's products are served throughout the entire Team Penske organization, including in its facilities and at-track operations. Logano has been a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family since joining the series full time in 2009. Over the years, Logano has thrived as a brand ambassador and Coca-Cola has donated more than $300,000 to the Joey Logano Foundation through its "Chug For Charity" effort.(Team Penske)(1-29-2016)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 12:15 pm/et
TV: FoxSports1 12:15pm/et
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