Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Investigation of Tony Stewart sprint car racing incident 'still on-going'

   The investigation into the Aug. 9 racing incident involving NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and killed driver Kevin Ward Jr. is "still on-going," a spokeswoman with the Ontario County (N.Y) Sheriff's office told the Observer on Wednesday.

   The spokeswoman said there was no timetable on when the investigation would be completed.

   It was just over two weeks ago Sheriff Philip Povero held its last news conference in which he said it would be "two weeks or more" before the investigation would be concluded. The resolution of the investigation will be released by the sheriff's office, or jointly with the district attorney's office, the spokeswoman said.

   During a sprint car race on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park, a sprint car driven by Stewart struck and killed Ward, a 20-year-old driver from Port Leyden, N.Y., who was standing on the track while the race was under caution.

   Stewart has not raced in any NASCAR events - or in any other series - since. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A sneak peek at some 2015 Sprint Cup Series dates

   NASCAR will officially unveil its 2015 schedules for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide (although the name will change next season) and Camping World Trucks series on Tuesday evening on Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports Network.

   Here is a sneak peek at several of the Cup series dates based on information already announced, ticket renewal information received from fans and other track sources. Again, the official schedules will be released Tuesday evening.

   Some 2015 Sprint Cup Series race dates:

   Feb. 22  Daytona 500

   March 1  Atlanta 

   March 8  Las Vegas

   March 15  Phoenix

   March 22  Fontana

   March 29  Martinsville

   April 11  Texas

   April 19  Bristol

   April 26  Richmond

   May 16  All-Star Race, Charlotte

   May 24  Coke 600, Charlotte

   May 31  Dover

   June 7  Pocono

   June 14  Michigan

   June 28  Sonoma

   July 5  Daytona

   July 11  Kentucky

   July 26  Indianapolis

   Aug. 9  Watkins Glen

   Sept. 12  Richmond

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kyle Busch walks away from a frustrating night at Bristol

   After taking the lead early in Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch picked up a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 63 of 500 and his night went downhill after that.

   He got caught up in a wreck on Lap 125 and repeatedly claimed there was so much damage to the car, he couldn’t drive it. 

   Late in the race, Busch again complained over his team radio, “I need a whole new right-front suspension” and said he was about to hit the wall. 

   His crew chief, Dave Rogers, replied over the radio: “Park it behind the truck and take your whiny little ass to the bus.” 

   Busch ended up parking his No. 18 Toyota on pit road near Turn 2 and left the infield while his crew arrived shortly thereafter and pushed the car to the hauler. Before leaving the track, Busch and Rogers met at the team's hauler.

   Team owner Joe Gibbs called the situation a “series of bad circumstances.” “Something like that happens (and) you can get frustrated,” he said.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Former NASCAR team owner Ed Whitaker dies

   Former NASCAR team owner Ed Whitaker, who won 20 races in what is now the Nationwide Series with Harry Gant, died Friday in Bristol, Va. He was 76.

   Despite never fielding a team for a full-season schedule, Whitaker-built cars won 28 times in 246 career Nationwide Series races, a ratio of more than one in every 10 races they entered.

   The list of drivers who drove for Whitaker includes Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Harry Gant, Jimmy Hensley, Alan Kulwicki, Butch Lindley, Mark Martin, Tim Richmond, Hermie Sadler, Morgan Shepherd, Mike Wallace and two drivers in Friday night's Food City 300, Brendan Gaughan and Regan Smith.

   “Ed Whitaker proved you can have big success with a small operation,” said Jerry Caldwell, Bristol Motor Speedway General Manager. “The term ‘throwback' gets used a lot but Ed was a true definition of it. We are proud of the achievements he had in a sport we all love. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
   Whitaker's greatest success came with Gant behind the wheel for 20 of the team's 28 wins. Shepherd collected the remaining eight. Three of those victories, Shepherd in 1983 and 1986 and Gant in 1992 came at Bristol Motor Speedway.

   Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Roush Fenway adds new sponsor for driver Greg Biffle

   Roush Fenway Racing announced Friday that Ortho and its line of home, lawn and garden pest control products will serve as the anchor partner on the No. 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry driven by Greg Biffle in a multi-year deal.

   Ortho will make its debut on Biffle's car next weekend at Atlanta and will appear on the car for two more races this season before debuting next season as an anchor partner, where it will appear on the car for approximately half the season.

   3M has been Biffle's primary sponsor but they are leaving Roush to move to Jeff Gordon's  No. 24 car at Hendrick Motorsports next season.

    “In this sport, I think everybody is familiar with this, but you’re always looking for more partners and to try to build that program," said team president Steve Newmark. "We had engaged in discussions with Scotts because of that history even before some of those things unfolded, so this, like a lot of other things, was in process and it stood alone based on the marketing potential I think both partners see.”

   Ortho’s parent company, Scotts Miracle-Gro teamed with Roush Fenway from 2005 until 2011, teaming for 12 wins and 14 poles across all three of NASCAR’s major series.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bristol NASCAR race gets bumped from ABC in Charlotte for Redskins game

   Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway is scheduled to be shown on ABC but WSOC-TV in Charlotte will instead air a preseason Washington Redskins NFL game.

   The Bristol race will instead air on TV-64 and will be viewable to cable subscribers as follows: Time Warner channel 1230, Charter channel 703, Compas channel 16 and Comporium channel 110.

   Fans in Charlotte area who are satellite TV subscribers will be able to watch the race on ESPN alternate channels (DirecTV – channel 209-1; DISH – channel 145). 

   WSOC-TV will join the race in progress after football game ends and the telecast will air simultaneously on both.  ABC affiliates are independently operated and can make their own programming decisions.

Tony Stewart to sit out third consecutive Cup series race

   Three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will sit out Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway - the third consecutive race he has missed since being involved in an incident Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park that left another racer dead.

    As he did last weekend at Michigan, veteran Jeff Burton will drive Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet in Saturday night's race. Burton, a 21-time winner in the Cup series, has 40 career starts at Bristol, including a victory in 2008 in the Food City 500.
   Team officials said the driver change pertains only to Bristol. Stewart’s plans for upcoming Cup races have yet to be determined.