Thursday, December 5, 2013
On Thursday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was announced as the 2013 NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver at the Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon in Las Vegas.
It's the 11th straight year that Junior has won the award, a NASCAR record. He was tied with Bill Elliott for the most consecutive wins in a row.
Elliott won the award from 1991 through 2000. Elliott is also the last driver outside of Earnhardt Jr. to win the award, having done so in 2002. (In 2001, the year he died at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the award.)
Final order of vote totals:
1. D. Earnhardt Jr.
2. Kasey Kahne
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Tony Stewart
5. Danica Patrick
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Kyle Busch
10. Carl Edwards.
Summary of changes made to NASCAR Hall of Fame nomination and eligibility rules:
-Drivers who have competed for a minimum of 10 years and reached their 55th birthday on or before Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year are immediately eligible for the NHOF. Also, any competitor who has competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR competition by Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year is automatically eligible, regardless of age.
Nominating Committee Will Select Five Fewer Nominees for Enshrinement
-Throughout its history, the NHOF Nominating Committee has selected 25 nominees each year to be discussed and voted on for NHOF enshrinement. That number will be reduced to 20 starting with the selection process for the 2015 class.
Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR
-Beginning with the 2015 class, a new award – Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR – will be initiated to honor significant contributions to the growth and esteem of NASCAR.
Nominating Committee to Meet, Vote on 20 NHOF Nominees / Five Landmark Award Nominees
-For the first time, the Nominating Committee will meet in person to discuss, debate and vote to create two ballots – the NHOF ballot and the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR ballot. The Nominating Committee will meet during Speedweeks at Daytona on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
Nominees To Be Recused From the Nominating / Voting Process
-Any member of the Nominating Committee or Voting Panel who appeared on the previous year’s ballot or current year’s ballot will now be recused from participating in the nominating and / or voting process for as long as he / she appears on the ballot.
Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Added To Voting Panel
-As was already announced on Nov. 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the annual NASCAR Championship Contenders Press Conference, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be added to the following year’s voting panel.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Richard Petty Motorsports announced on Wednesday it has signed 22-year-old Dakoda Armstrong, who will drive the organization's No. 43 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series next season.
Armstrong signed a multi-year contract with RPM. WinFieldTM, Armstrong's primary sponsor during his tenure with Turn One Racing and Richard Childress Racing, will continue its sponsorship of the driver for the majority of the 2014 season; Fresh From Florida will sponsor the remaining three races.
The team's current crew chief, Philippe Lopez, will remain in the same role with Armstrong, who finished 12th in the Truck series standings this season.
Michael Annett most recently drove the No. 43 in the Nationwide Series but will move to the Sprint Cup Series in 2014 with Tommy Baldwin Racing.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
NASCAR veteran Jeff Burton will get a jump start on his next career as he finishes up his current one.
On Tuesday, NBC Sports announced Burton will join its broadcast team as an analyst when the network becomes one of NASCAR’s TV partners in the 2015 season.
Burton, however, will begin work right away and contribute to NASCAR programming which will debut on NBC Sports Network in 2014. He will also run a partial schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in the Sprint Cup Series and do testing for the organization.
“This is an exciting new challenge and I am thrilled to be joining the NBC Sports family,” Burton said in a statement. “I will prepare for each race as if I were driving in it, and I look forward to sharing my experience, views and insights with all the dedicated and passionate NASCAR fans.”
Burton is the first entry to fill what is expected to be a three-person booth for NASCAR broadcasts on NBC.
Rick Allen, who currently does play-by-play on Fox Sports 1 for NASCAR Truck series broadcasts, will be officially named this week to the same role for NBC, multiple sources confirmed.
In addition, NBC Sports is looking at a current Cup series crew chief to fulfill its third spot in the booth, sources said.
Sam Flood, executive producer of NBC Sports and NBCSN, said Burton was “the first person we called for this role.”
“His insights, keen observations and many trophies have earned the respect of everyone involved with the sport,” Flood said. “He will be an outstanding analyst, and has everyone here looking even more forward to getting started.”
Change.org is a website that provides a free petition tool for 45 million users and hosts sponsored campaigns for organizations. The site's stated mission is to "empower people everywhere to create the change they want to see."
Some NASCAR fans have apparently taken some of their issues to Change.org hoping to spur action on their motorsports-related causes.
Among the petitions currently hosted on the site:
-To remove six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, from NASCAR.
-To eliminate the Chase for the Sprint Cup 10-race playoff which determines the series' champion.
-To bring back Ray Evernham as driver Jeff Gordon's crew chief.
-To retire the No. 3 used by the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.
And there are many others.
To see a listing of the NASCAR-related petitions currently housed on the site, go here.
Monday, December 2, 2013
NASCAR veteran Jeff Burton has landed at least a part-time ride for the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season.
Michael Waltrip Racing announced on Monday it has contracted Burton to test and drive in a select number of races during the 2014 season in the No. 66 Toyota. Burton, a 21-time winner in the Cup series, will participate in next week's NASCAR test at Charlotte Motor Speedway for MWR.
In addition, Burton will also test in place of Brian Vickers in the No. 55 Toyota in January at Daytona. Vickers is on medical leave until the end of January. Burton's first race in the No. 66 is scheduled for March 9 at Las Vegas.
In the upcoming weeks, MWR will announce any other events added to Burton’s schedule.
Team co-owner Rob Kauffman said Burton will help MWR both on and off the track.
“Michael Waltrip Racing has two teams and drivers racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2014 and our third team will play a very important role in that pursuit,” said Kauffman.
“We were extremely fortunate to have a driver as experienced and respected as Jeff Burton come available. He will be able to have an immediate impact as we continue to strive for that last one percent that separates champions from contenders.”
Burton said he relishes his new role.
“I’ve heard all good things from the drivers who raced at MWR over the last couple of years and I certainly have seen how fast their cars have been,” he said. "These are great people who have dedicated themselves to become winners at the highest level. Michael and Rob are so committed to success and I wanted to be a part of that. I’m excited to do something new and will work hard to help the other two teams compete for wins and a championship.”
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week kicks off Tuesday for its fifth installment in Las Vegas.
Four days of glitz and fan activities with the 13 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers is scheduled, culminating Friday with the feting of six-time champion Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Coverage of the awards takes place Friday at 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2 and streamed live on NASCAR.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Radio coverage on MRN affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio is scheduled to begin at 8 ET.
Other events this week:
Tuesday -- "NASCAR Live" with Eli Gold will host Johnson in an hour-long, audience-participation radio show from 7-8 p.m. ET at the Wynn Sports Book. The Motorsports Marketing Forum presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal also kicks off for the first of two days, providing a comprehensive look at the business of the NASCAR industry.
Wednesday -- The red carpet will be out for all 13 Chase drivers in the Fanfest presented by Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Beginning at 4:30 pm ET at the Fremont Street Experience, the drivers will engage in a game-show style face-off with a prize of two tickets to the Friday night awards banquet available for fans.
Thursday -- One of the busiest days of the week in Vegas begins with the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. The awards ceremonies are followed by NASCAR Victory Lap at 6:30 pm ET when the top 10 Chase drivers will offer a taste of the race-day experience with burnouts and a rumbling drive down Las Vegas Boulevard. "NASCAR After the Lap" concludes the day at the Palms Hotel & Casino with an offbeat, unfiltered roundtable involving every Chase driver. Fans can watch NASCAR Victory Lap and NASCAR After the Lap live on NASCAR.com.
Friday -- Johnson and the rest of the top 10 drivers in the final Sprint Cup Series standings will be honored, marking the official close of the 2013 season.