Friday, April 24, 2015

Three arrested in Richmond International Raceway NASCAR garage in jacket thefts

   Three men from Newport News, Va., were arrested Friday afternoon in the infield of Richmond International Raceway and charged with grand larceny, police confirmed. 

   According to Lt. Chris Eley with the Henrico County Police Department, Henrico Police were contacted at about 4 p.m. by the victim, who remains unidentified, who stated three males had taken jackets belonging to the victim without consent.

   The suspects were located by police wearing the stolen property, arrested, and charged, Eley said. The property was recovered and returned to the victim.

   The incident took place in the Xfinity Series garage area, according to several witnesses.

   Arrested were Zachary T. Garner, 22; Colton S. Ketchum, 19; and Joshua G. Moschler, 21; all of Newport News.

   Officials with RIR and NASCAR declined any further comment.


Timothy Peters wins the Denny Hamlin Short Track Challenge

   NASCAR Truck Series regular Timothy Peters ended up an unexpected winner in Thursday night's Denny Hamlin Short Track Challenge at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.

   It was unexpected because Peters wasn't capable of winning but rather the circumstances that determined the outcome.

    Peters avoided a spinning Lee Pulliam on the final lap of the green-white-checkered finish to claim his first win in the charity race at his home track. Peters started second to Pulliam on Lap 208 and the two raced side-by-side for the lead at the white flag.

   Josh Berry, who was third at the time, slammed into Pulliam going in to the final turn of the final lap, sending Pulliam around. Peters was able to stay high and finish just ahead of runner-up William Byron.

   Mark Wertz, who started on the final row, finished third with Tommy Lemons Jr. and Tyler Ankrum rounding out the top five. Berry was penalized for aggressive driving and finished 17th after being moved to the last car on the lead lap.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Services scheduled for Fox broadcaster Steve Byrnes and where to send cards

    Services for Steve Byrnes

   Visitation is 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at Calvary Church of Charlotte, 5801 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Charlotte. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, with visitation to follow, also at Calvary Church. 

   Palmetto Funeral Home of Fort Mill, S.C., is in charge of the arrangements.

   If you are interested in sending a card to the Byrnes' family, you can send them to :

   Attention: Family of Steve Byrnes
   c/o Fox Sports
   1220 W. W.T. Harris Blvd.
   Charlotte, NC   28262 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Complete text of President Obama's remarks honoring NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick

Remarks made by President Barack Obama honoring reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick and his team

   THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  Please have a seat.  Welcome to the White House on this beautiful day.  And congratulations to Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.  Hey!  (Applause.)  It is always wonderful to have the NASCAR family here.  We’ve got huge fans in the White House, and we’ve got some big fans, including some members of Congress who are here. 

   It’s great to have Kevin’s crew chief, Rodney Childers, who is here. We’ve also got Greg Zipadelli – almost messed it up there; it’s like Obama, too many vowels.  And the team from Stewart-Haas Racing. NASCAR’s leadership is here as well. Brian France is here and Mike Helton. Welcome back.  

   And even though the Budweiser Chevy got the White House parking pass this year, I am sure Tony Stewart doesn’t mind adding another Owner’s Championship to his collection.  So congratulations to Tony.  

   I also want to offer my condolences to everybody in the NASCAR community on the passing of a legendary reporter and broadcaster, Steve Byrnes. And I know a lot of fans’ thoughts and prayers today are with his wife, Karen, and his son, Bryson.  

   We are here to celebrate, though, Kevin Harvick. This was an exciting year for the “Four Car.” As the season started, Kevin had a new team, a new crew chief to adjust to. It usually takes a little time for a driver and a crew chief to find their groove, but Kevin and Rodney seemed to figure out each other in a hurry -- sort of like when Joe Biden joined my team.
So they had instant chemistry. And as Kevin can tell you, when you have a trusted partner shouting world-class advice into your ear at every turn, you can’t lose. 

   It wasn’t long before Kevin and Rodney and the team behind the Budweiser Chevy were firing on all cylinders. ut the season was not without its ups and downs. By the second race in the season, Kevin had picked up his first checkered flag with Stewart-Haas. And then came a tough stretch – the kind where most championship seasons are forged. There were blown tires, engine failures, cut oil lines, a slew of obstacles that held the “Four Car” from finishing any higher than 36th in three out of four straight races. 

   But Kevin and Rodney stuck with it, and by the time the Chase rolled around, this team was ready. A win at Homestead capped a season where Kevin picked up five wins, led more laps than anybody on the grid – picking up his first Sprint Cup championship.  

   And by the looks of it, with two quick wins and the points lead already in place, 2015 isn’t shaping up to be too much different. 

   Kevin has also found the time to match his contributions on the track with his commitment to family and community away from racing. His wife, DeLana, and his son, Keelan, are constant presences on the track. And I know at one point, DeLana even had her own fire-suit. I’m sure it looked better than it did on Kevin. And I’m sure that if Michelle decided we were going to start wearing matching outfits, it would be me who adapted to her style. 

   Together, Kevin and DeLana run the Kevin Harvick Foundation, which aims to help underprivileged youth to excel both as students and as athletes. From helping his hometown Boys and Girls Club in Bakersfield, California renovate a gym and a playground, to supporting programming which prevents bullying and violence in his former high school, Kevin – like so many others across NASCAR – is working to make a difference. 

   So, Kevin, congratulations to you again for an outstanding season. The whole team at Stewart-Haas Racing, keep up the great work.  NASCAR, looking forward to seeing more excitement on the track. 

   Thank you so much.

Longtime NASCAR on Fox TV broadcaster Steve Byrnes dies at age 56

   Longtime NASCAR on Fox Sports TV broadcaster Steven Patrick Byrnes, who has waged a difficult and public battle with cancer over the last two years, died Tuesday. Byrnes, a resident of Fort Mill, S.C., was 56.

   Byrnes joined Fox Sports in 2001, hosting and reporting for multiple NASCAR programs and served as a pit road reporter for NASCAR on Fox’s broadcast of Sprint Cup Series races from 2001 through the 2014 season. He most recently served as the play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports 1 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and was co-host of "NASCAR Race Hub" for the network.

   Last weekend, in conjunction with Fox, Speedway Motorsports Inc. and NASCAR, the Cup race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway was renamed the Food City 500 In Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up To Cancer. 

   Prior to joining Fox, Byrnes also hosted "Darrell Waltrip's Racers" on TNN, worked as a pit road reporter for CBS, WTBS and TNN, and hosted a variety of NASCAR programs for The History Channel and TNN. A 1981 graduate of the University of Maryland, Byrnes' first on-air job was at WCIV-TV in Charleston, S.C., in 1982. Byrnes also called play-by-play for a Carolina Panthers/Minnesota Vikings NFL game on Fox and Cup series races for DirecTV's "Hot Pass."
   Survivors are his wife, Karen; son Bryson; parents, Jerry and Claire Byrnes of Charlotte; sister, Betsy Byrnes of Charlotte; brother, Dan Byrnes and his wife, Tammy, of Charlotte; nephews, Tyler and Dylan Byrnes; and niece, Samantha Byrnes.  

   In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Church of Christ at Gold Hill Road, 1055 Gold Hill Road, Fort Mill, SC  29708; Charlotte Christian School, 7301 Sardis Road, Charlotte, NC 28270; or NASCAR Foundation, One Daytona Blvd., 6th Floor, Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Why did Kurt Busch pit from the lead late in Sunday's race?

   It's probably one of the most puzzling questions from Sunday night's rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway - and that's saying a lot considering all that transpired.

   Why did Kurt Busch - in the lead late in the race - elect to pit for new tires? As it ended up, Busch was the only lead-lap car to pit which left him with a lot of ground to make up once the race went back to green.

   Here is what Busch said about the decision to pit:  

   "We had 100 laps on our tires. I thought we needed to pit. (John) Klausmeier (engineer) thought we needed to pit. Then I was thinking this is the Bristol of old we might be able to get away with staying out. It turned out that (Matt) Kenseth brought it on home to Victory Lane. Congratulations to him," Busch said.

   "We had fresh tires coming up through. (Carl) Edwards pushed the cushion. He hit some ice, I hit the same stuff or he was throwing the marbles out on the track and I just got sucked right in there. I was like, 'I’m avoiding the wreck,' but I couldn’t do anything to avoid them.  We salvaged 15th.  The car could have won."

Pair of NASCAR's future stars battle it out for K&N Series win at Bristol

   They were both 17-years-old, battling not only for a victory in Saturday's K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol Motor Speedway, but also for bragging rights.

   And perhaps to cement their respective futures in NASCAR.

   Kyle Benjamin and William Byron battled side-by-side in the last 30 laps of Saturday's PittLite 125 before Benjamin finally pulled away for his first series victory in seven career starts. Byron, who won the series' most recent race at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway, finished second.

   Benjamin, a Roush Fenway development driver, won by 0.910-seconds over Byron, who also runs Late Models for JR Motorsports.Scott Heckert followed in third with Kaz Grala and Brandon Jones completing the top five.

   Eddie MacDonald, last year's winner of this race, rebounded from a spin early in the race to finish sixth with Austin Hill, Daniel Hemric, J.J. Haley and Rico Abreu completing the top 10.

   Bryon takes over the points lead by three points over Austin Hill (128-125) with Benjamin third with 119 points. 

PittLite125 Results

(Start position in parentheses)
1. (8) Kyle Benjamin, Easley, S.C., Ford, 125 laps, 69.968 mph.
2. (4) William Byron, Charlotte, N.C., Chevrolet, 125.
3. (6) Scott Heckert, Ridgefield, Conn., Chevrolet, 125.
4. (12) Kaz Grala, Westborough, Mass., Toyota, 125.
5. (2) Brandon Jones, Atlanta, Ga., Chevrolet, 125.
6. (16) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass., Chevrolet, 125.
7. (11) Austin Hill, Winston, Ga., Ford, 125.
8. (3) Daniel Hemric, Kannapolis, N.C., Chevrolet, 125.
9. (5) J.J. Haley, Winamac, IN, Chevrolet, 125.
10. (7) Rico Abreu, St. Helena, Calif., Chevrolet, 125.
11. (19) Gray Gaulding, Colonial Heights, Va., Toyota, 125.
12. (20) David Garbo, Jr., Stonington, Conn., Chevrolet, 125.
13. (10) Nick Drake, Mooresville, N.C., Toyota, 125.
14. (15) Travis Miller, Chesapeake, Va., Chevrolet, 125.
15. (14) Ronnie Bassett, Jr., Winston-Salem, NC, Ford, 125.
16. (13) Trey Hutchens, Lexington, NC, Chevrolet, 125.
17. (23) Chad Finchum, Knoxville, Tenn., Toyota, 125.
18. (28) Dillon Bassett, Winston-Salem, N.C., 125.
19. (24) John Holleman, IV, Winston-Salem, N.C., Chevrolet, 125.
20. (26) Sarah Cornett-Ching, Summerland, B.C., Toyota, 124.
21. (21) Jay Beasley, Las Vegas, Nev., Toyota, 122.
22. (9) Codie Rohrbaugh, Petersburg, W.Va., Chevrolet, 122.
23. (27) Chuck Buchanan, Jr., Hildebran, N.C., Chevrolet, 117.
24. (22) Collin Cabre, Tampa, FL, Toyota, 100, accident.
25. (1) Jesse Little, Sherrills Ford, N.C., Toyota, 63, electrical.
26. (17) Dalton Sargeant, Boca Raton, FL, Chevrolet, 61, accident.
27. (18) Kenzie Ruston, El Reno, Okla., Toyota, 52, engine.
28. (25) Devon Amos, Rio Rancho, N.M., Toyota, 36, accident.