Friday, August 1, 2014

Why Jeff Gordon says his back may never be the same

   Earlier this season, Jeff Gordon developed severe back spasms on the day before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and missed much of practice. He did compete in the race and finished seventh. 

   On Friday at Pocono Raceway, Gordon, who has had a history of back problems, was asked whether the issue has flared up again. His answer was somewhat surprising.

   "I don’t think my back is ever going to be the same after what happened at Charlotte. I don’t know what exactly transpired there, but it’s not the same. And I have to be much more careful," Gordon said.

"I’m just having to treat it more with ice and stem and be more careful and do more stretching. Is it going to flare-up again? It could. But I’m just trying to be more cautious with the things that I do that I feel like contribute to that. But, yeah, it’s not great, that’s for sure."

Denny Hamlin statement on his NASCAR penalty

   Denny Hamlin issued the following statement on Friday regarding the penalties NASCAR handed down earlier this week on his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota team:

   "I'm obviously disappointed in the penalties, but I respect NASCAR and the appeal process," Hamlin said. "I’m confident that regardless of the outcome, our No. 11 team will continue to fight each week to try to win races, secure a spot in the Chase and compete for the championship."

   NASCAR docked Hamlin 75 points, suspended crew chief Darian Grubb six races and fined him $125,000 and suspended car chief Wesley Sherrill for six races. Grubb and Sherrill were also placed on probation for the remainder of the season. NASCAR found problems with several rear firewall plates on Hamlin's car following last Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mark Martin's NASCAR career isn't over just yet

  Mark Martin's competitive driving career in NASCAR may be offer but not his influence.

   Roush Fenway Racing announced on Thursday the NASCAR veteran will return to the organization where he spent the vast majority of his career to become a driver development coach. Martin will work with drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed.

   Martin was the first driver hired by team owner Jack Roush when he founded his NASCAR operation in 1988. During his tenure at Roush, Martin won 83 races in various series and finished as runner-up in the Cup series standings four different times.

   “I’m excited to return to Roush Fenway Racing, as it feels like I’m going home to where I belong,” said Martin. “I was fortunate to help build this team from the beginning and it’s very humbling to be a part of Jack’s team again. 

   “Nobody does a better job at developing young talent than Jack Roush. Roush Fenway has an abundance of young, talented drivers and I’m looking forward to working with each of them going forward. I am very proud of what Jack and I were able to accomplish together and I am excited to expand on those accomplishments."

   Roush said Martin "put us on the map" and he was pleased to have him rejoin the organization.

   "Mark is not only a good friend but he’s also a fierce competitor and I truly admire his passion and dedication to racing," Roush said. "I have no question that you will be able to see his influence on our young drivers. He understands what it takes to win and to be able to do that on a consistent basis and he’ll, once again, be a great asset to have back within our organization.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What does Rick Hendrick do when two of his drivers are racing for the win?

   Longtime NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick found himself holding his breath a little near the end of Sunday's Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Why? Because it looked like two of his drivers - Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne - were going to battle down to the wire for the win.

   Gordon passed Kahne on a restart with 17 laps remaining to win for a record fifth time at the Brickyard.

   After the race, Hendrick was asked if he had any conflicting emotions regarding the battle between Gordon and Kahne.

   "When you have that situation, you just hope they don't wreck each other. Two cars, kind of the class of the field at that time. You hold your breath till they get apart," Hendrick said.  "I have a lot of confidence in our guys not to do that intentionally. I know Kasey, he needed a win. He ran awful good. But Jeff had the dominant car, so it all worked out. 

   "It's like having your two kids in a state championship, one is pitching, one is hitting, you go somewhere else than by your wife."

Check out the 2014 Summer Shootout champions at Charlotte Motor Speedway

   Six champions were crowned Tuesday night at the final round of the 21st annual Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Daniel Hemric, Joshua Brimecombe, Tom Pistone and Carson Ferguson were among the season champions. 
   Hemric, of Kannapolis, N.C., capped the series with his sixth Legend Car Pro division win of the season, charging through the field to claim the lead by Lap 7. He led the rest of the way to drive away from second place William Byron. Hemric clinched his third Pro division championship when he started the feature race.
    Ferguson entered the Legend Car Young Lions division race with a 52-point lead and left with both a victory in the night's race and the division championship. Ferguson, of Charlotte, sparred with Matt Thomas for first place during the first half of the 20-lap race but eventually took over the top spot on Lap 8 and stayed there until the end of the race.
   The Quaker Steak and Lube Legend Car Semi-Pro race was the tightest points competition of the night with three possible champions going into the race. Devin O'Connell led the division by only five points at the start of the night, with Brimecombe and Dillon Faggart close behind. Faggart, of Concord, N.C., took the checkered flag but it wasn't quite enough to edge out Brimecombe, also of Concord, who finished third and ultimately won the division championship.
   In other Legend Car action, Robby Faggart claimed his first win of the season in the Security Force Legend Car Masters division while Tom Pistone, of Mooresville, N.C., who won seven of 10 races, finished second and won his third series championship in a row.
   Jensen Jorgensen, a Stockbridge, Ga., native, began the race with a 17-point lead in the Bandolero Outlaw standings and finished in fourth place to capture his first championship.
   In the LiveWell Homes Bandolero Bandits feature, DJ Canipe, of Fallston, N.C., ruined Chandler Smith's pursuit of perfection, claiming the win for his first victory of the season. Smith, a Jasper, Georgia, native, started the race 54 points in front of Canipe, but his second place finish solidified the points championship for the 12 year-old.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Denny Hamlin's Cup team gets penalized by NASCAR

   NASCAR Press Release


No. 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Penalized For Rules Infraction At Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Daytona Beach, Fla. (July 29, 2014) — The No. 11 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered in post-race inspection July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This infraction is a P5 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.5 A (9) of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:
Approved parts that fail or are improperly installed to fail in their intended use of great importance (e.g.; rear wheel well panels that fail and allow air evacuation in the trunk area; oil box cover that fails and allows air evacuation in the driver compartment; shifter boot cover that fails and allows air evacuation through the floor pan. 

This infraction violates Sections:
12-1 - Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
20-2.1 – Car body must be acceptable to NASCAR officials and meet the following requirements:
·         K – Any device or ductwork that permits air to pass from one area of the interior of the car to another, or to the outside of the car, will not be permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, the inside of the car to the trunk area, or the floors, firewalls, crush panels and wheel wells passing air into or out of the car;
·         L – All seams of the interior sheet metal and all interior sheet metal to exterior sheet metal contact point must be sealed and caulked. This includes, but is not limited to, floors, firewalls, wheel wells, package trays, crush panels and any removable covers;
20-3.4 - All references to the inspection surface in sub-section 20-3.4 have been determined with the front lower edge of both main frame rails set at six inches and the rear lower edge of both main frame rails set at eight inches. For driver protection, all firewalls, floors, tunnels, and access panels must be installed and completely secured in place when the car is in competition;
20-3.4.5 - A rear firewall, including any removable panels or access doors, constructed using magnetic sheet steel a minimum of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick), must be located between the trunk area and the driver’s compartment and must be welded in place. Block-off plates/covers used in rear firewalls in place of blowers, oil coolers, etc., must be constructed of 22 gauge (0.031 inch thick) magnetic sheet steel. Block-off plates/covers must be installed with positive fasteners and sealed to prevent air leakage. Carbon fiber or aluminum block-off plates/covers will not be permitted.

      Per Section 12-4.5 B, the minimum P5 penalty includes:
·         Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a championship race or not;

·         $75,000 to $125,000 fine;

·         Suspension for the next six series championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR;
·         Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons.

Since this infraction is a P5 level penalty and was discovered in post-race inspection, Section 12-4.5 C (1,2) also applies:
·         If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added:
o   Loss of an additional 25 championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a championship race or not;
o   Loss of an additional $50,000.

As a result of these violations, crew chief Darian Grubb has been fined $75,000 plus an additional $50,000 post-race fine for a total of $125,000. Grubb has also been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period. Grubb will also be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.
            Car chief Wesley Sherrill has been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period and will be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.
            This infraction has also cost the No. 11 team the loss of 50 championship driver and owner (Denny Hamlin and J.D. Gibbs) points plus an additional 25 post-race points for a total loss of 75 championship driver and 75 championship owner points.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Two NASCAR team planes collide on ground at Concord Regional Airport

   A team Joe Gibbs Racing team plane collided with a parked plane from Stewart Haas Racing at Concord (N.C.) Regional Airport on Sunday night as NASCAR teams were returning to the Charlotte area following Sunday's Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

   A team spokesman for SHR said an empty and parked SHR plane was hit by another plane as that plane was parking. The plane's wing hit the tail of the parked SHR plane. 

   No one was hurt, the spokesman said.

   Several members from various NASCAR teams posted comments about the incident on Twitter, including some pictures (one is posted above).