Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Indianapolis residents love NASCAR, they just don't go to the Brickyard

   Some very telling information came out this week in the Nielsen ratings for last Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway which was broadcast on ESPN. The race received a 3.6 rating - up nine percent from a year ago.

   Attendance at the track, however, was perhaps the lowest in the race's 20-year history. That was not necessarily a surprise. What was a little surprising were the details behind the ratings.

   The market with the largest rating - where the most people had their TVs tuned to the Brickyard 400 on Sunday - was Indianapolis, with a whopping 13.7 rating. And that was up 26 percent from last year's 10.9 rating.

   What that means is a very large segment of residents in the Indianapolis TV market remain firmly loyal NASCAR fans. What it also means is they were not interested in attending the race in person.

   That is the best evidence I've seen of the growing disconnect between fans who attend NASCAR races in person and those who remain at home and watch on TV.

   It's a gulf NASCAR and the tracks are going to have to work hard to bridge.

   The rest of the best
   The rest of the top 10 TV markets for Sunday's Brickyard 400:

   2. Greensboro, N.C., (10.1)
   3. Greenville, S.C., (9.4)
   4. Charlotte, N.C., (9.1).
   5. Norfolk, Va., (8.3)
   6. Jacksonville, Fla., (8.2).
   7. Nashville, Tenn., (8.1).
   8. Birmingham, Ala., (7.8)
   9. Richmond, Va., (7.7)
   10. Knoxville, Tenn., (7.2)


Monday, July 29, 2013

NASCAR at the Brickyard: 'Something is indeed wrong'

   Some thoughts on Sunday's Brickyard 400 from former Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Charlotte Motor Speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler:

   Sunday's pitiful crowd at Indy was a sore reminder that something is indeed wrong. Pocono, which is just a weird version of Indy, this Sunday will be similar except the crowd will look bigger since they only have 60,000 seats compared to Indy's 250,000.

   So, what is it?

   First, the economy is still lousy particularly for those working class people that made NASCAR what it is. I also think we have 'corporatized' the sport terribly and I blame the sponsors and some tracks for this. It has gotten too fancy and we need to get back to our roots.

   However, I believe a lot of this can be blamed on the much maligned aero push that enables the lead car on all tracks except Daytona and Talledega to simply take off and then you have a lead of 600 feet and that completely eliminates back and forth racing for the lead. The back-and-forth lead change is probably the second most exciting thing in racing (outside of the wreck) and we simply don't have that. Without it you have few if any rivalries and those intense rivalries sell more tickets than anything.

   I know that NASCAR is not only totally aware of this aero push dilemma and but their R&D department is working overtime to find the answer to this mystery. Will they? Of course, but it needs to be done with the speed of sound!

   If not, we will be running these races with "studio" crowds just for the sake of TV.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Randy Earnhardt, brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, dies

   Randy Earnhardt, the brother of seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt Sr., died Sunday, July 28, 2013 after a battle with cancer. He was 60.

   Randy's niece, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, posted the following message on her Twitter account prior to Sunday's Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

   “Prayers for our family as we have lost our Uncle Randy after a year long battle with cancer. #cancersucks #earnhardtstrong”

   Dale Earnhardt was the third-oldest of five siblings, which included Randy, their brother Danny and sisters Kaye and Cathy.

   Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked about his uncle's death after Sunday's race.

   "It was really tough. He helped me through a lot of challenges when I was trying to become a race car driver. He was there when I started driving late models. I went through the whole process of racing with Tony (Eury, Sr.) and all of them through the Bud car, Randy was always there. I hurt for Mamaw and Randy's brother and sister, Danny, Kaye and Kathy," Earnhardt said.

   "It is just very very sad, but I am glad his suffering is over with. He is going to be missed. He was awesome, such an awesome guy. He kept things together (at DEI). He was in charge of a lot of different things. Mainly in charge of where every nut and bolt was. He was accountable for everything. After the racing after I left and everything kind of went away, he stuck around. He was loyal to Dad, and really looked after everything that was there and that was my Father's and what would have been important to him as far as material things. Randy really looked after that.

   "It is tough. It is part of life, and it is hard to get used to. I am just glad his suffering is over with, he was having a real hard time. I loved him dearly, and will miss him a lot."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Where does Ryan Newman rank among NASCAR's all-time pole winners?

   Ryan Newman's pole for Sunday's Brickyard 400 is the 50th of his Sprint Cup Series career and he became the ninth driver in NASCAR history to win at least 50 poles.

    All-time pole winners
    Driver                    Wins

    Richard Petty        123
    David Pearson      113
    Jeff Gordon*           72
    Cale Yarborough    69
    Darrell Waltrip        59
    Bobby Allison         58
    Mark Martin*           56
    Bill Elliott                 55
    Ryan Newman*       50


CMS' Summer Shootout Series set to go out with a bang this week

   Charlotte Motor Speedway will wrap-up its 20th annual Summer Shootout Series on Monday and Tuesday nights. 

   The doubleheader will be highlighted by a fireworks display on Tuesday and a 'Grudge Match Bus Race' on Monday night featuring NASCAR drivers Max Papis and Miguel Paludo; Legend Car Pro drivers Daniel Hemric and Tyler Green; Security Force Legend Car Masters drivers Bruce Silver and Eddie Harwell; and the World's Fastest Mascot, Lug Nut, and the Carolina Panthers' Sir Purr.

   Monday night's action will also feature a car cruise promoting the fall AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Local car clubs will cruise around the 1.5-mile superspeedway to show off their classic rides. In addition, in honor of the birth of the royal baby, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, any fan that shows a photo ID proving their first name is George at the main ticket office will receive one free adult admission.

   On Tuesday night, champions will be crowned in six divisions, each featuring a tight points battle, as drivers look to lock up a Summer Shootout championship. Also Tuesday night, Stadium Stocks from Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., will take to the frontstretch quarter-mile in an exhibition race. The evening will be capped off with a 15-minute fireworks extravaganza, which will include not only the originally scheduled show, but the fireworks postponed from the Fourth of July celebration.

   For more information, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Statement from H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler on NASCAR's new TV deal


   "Is this better for them than the ESPN-ABC deal?  Is the parking meter full of dimes or quarters? With no info on the meter who knows? However, I think the meter is pretty full. If so, it is a major step for NASCAR and NBC. NBC stuck its toe in NASCAR waters a few years ago but I think they are much more serious this time.

   "Mark Lazaurus (NBC sports president) has been around a long time and knows NASCAR from the time he spent with Turner. They've done some good stuff lately and the new NBC Sports Channel will greatly benefit NASCAR particularly if they show a lot of the minor league races like the modifiers and K&N. The sport needs that to show off new talent and we are sadly lacking that now."

NASCAR statement on construction of new TV deal

NASCAR and NBC Sports Group Reach Landmark Media Rights Agreement

Ten-Year Agreement Returns NASCAR to NBC Family of Networks Beginning in 2015, Further Underscores Strength of NASCAR’s Live Racing Product
And Positions Industry for Continued Growth
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and NEW YORK (July 23, 2013) – NASCAR and NBC Sports Group announced today they have reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content beginning in 2015. Financial terms of the agreement, which runs through the 2024 season, were not disclosed.
With this partnership, NBC’s 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes becoming the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s final 10 races of the season, including its season-ending championship event which will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.
“NBC is known for being an exceptional partner and delivering outstanding production quality and presentation of live sports, as well as its broad portfolio of broadcast and digital properties so we are thrilled with the commitment they have made to NASCAR and its future,” said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brian France. “We know this partnership will yield great value to our entire industry, provide a premium experience to our most important stakeholders, the fans, and help us achieve a number of strategic growth objectives. Our new partnership with NBC and the recent extension by FOX validate the strength of our fan base and the many bold steps we have taken the last several years to provide fans with better, more accessible racing.”
In addition to rights to NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series races, NBC has also obtained exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for NBC’s national series events during their portion of the season, as well as rights to broadcast the NASCAR K&N Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NASCAR’s season-ending banquets. Further, NBC has been granted Spanish-language rights, certain video-on-demand rights and exclusive TV Everywhere rights for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events.
“Acquiring the rights and bringing NASCAR back to NBC comes at an important point in time for NBC Sports Network, NBC, and all of our distributors and affiliates,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman, Mark Lazarus. “We look forward to working with Brian and his management team, who have brought a renewed focus to NASCAR's intersection of sports and technology.”
“We are excited about the cross-promotional opportunities NBC provides, especially in the timeframes right before NBC’s NASCAR schedule and during the Chase,” said NASCAR VP of Broadcasting and Productions, Steve Herbst. “We’re confident NBC will utilize its powerful Championship Season lineup, including the NHL Playoffs, Premier League, the French Open, the Kentucky Derby and other events, to build interest and excitement for NASCAR. Those opportunities, combined with the opportunity to lead into the number one show on television – NBC’s Sunday Night Football – for select Chase races, were both very attractive prospects when considering this partnership.”
Summary of key NBC Sports Group Exclusive Rights – 2015-2024:
·         Final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (7 on NBC, 13 on NBCSN)
·         Final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races (4 on NBC, 15 on NBCSN)
·         NASCAR K&N Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events
·         NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series events
·         NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and season-ending banquets
·         ‘TV Everywhere’ live-streaming rights for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series
·         Spanish-language broadcast rights on Telemundo and Mun2 for national series events and NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series

Monday, July 22, 2013

Clint Bowyer is trading racing for talking this week

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Clint Bowyer trades his driving suit for a microphone on Wednesday night, joining the FOX Sports’ SPEED broadcast team and its live coverage of the inaugural CarCash Mudsummer Classic from Tony Stewart’s half-mile Eldora Speedway dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio starting at 9:30 p.m. ET
Bowyer and Krista Voda co-host all the action from the “Hollywood Hotel,” which includes qualifying races at 7 p.m. ET, NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda at 9 p.m. ET and the Mudsummer Classic, a historic first dirt race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Calling the race is long-time Truck Series voice Rick Allen, teamed with color commentators Phil Parsons and Bowyer’s Sprint Cup Series car owner Michael Waltrip. Truck Series insider Ray Dunlap, former driver Hermie Sadler and NASCAR analyst Bob Dillner are set to cover everything unfolding throughout the pits.
Bowyer replaces Kenny Wallace, who received late entry into the race and will handle in-race reporter duties for the show.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The driver feud that won't end continues at Bowman Gray Stadium

This week's incident

A wild driver feud at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., which became a YouTube hit this week, took another crazy turn on Saturday night.

Bryant Robertson, who was spun from the lead a week earlier by Derek Stoltz, slammed into Stoltz’s car under caution in the closing stages of the second of two Sportsman races Saturday night. Robertson was immediately suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season by track officials.

Last week, Mike Robertson, Bryant's brother, climbed aboard Stoltz's car and was dragged across the track and flung into a wall. Mike Robertson felt like he got bumped out of the way by Stoltz. Stoltz said he felt Mike was blocking for his brother Bryant.

Last week's incident:

Elliott Sadler 'still ticked' over incident with Regan Smith

   NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler was asked Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway about whether he and Regan Smith had spoken about their on-track incident last weekend at New Hampshire.

    This was Sadler's complete response:

    "You can ask us all you want, and we understand you have a job to do also. Yes, Regan (Smith) did reach out to me this week and we had a 20 or 30 minute conversation and also Dale Jr. (Earnhardt) reached out to me this week because he's the owner of the car and he and I have been friends since we were teenagers, and had some good conversation. 

   "I'm still pissed about it and Regan knows that and he knows where I stand. He took 100 percent of the blame and understood why I'm upset and why I was upset. The biggest problem I had with it is I gave him a huge break at Iowa -- a huge break -- he hit the wall off Turn 4 and went into Turn 1 and I could have easily made it three-wide, that was the same day as the Pocono race, so none of us, a lot of us that use spotters, so I knew he didn't have his (regular) spotter at Iowa and I gave him a huge break and could have easily -- he could have easily wrecked.

   "I felt like he didn't give me the same courtesy and I actually gave him a big break at the beginning of the race at New Hampshire -- I caught him from a straightaway behind, raced him for 15 laps and got in the back of him in the middle of (Turns) 3 and 4 and I just slowed down and stopped and let him get back in front of me and then tried to race him clean again. For him to do what he did at New Hampshire -- I'm still ticked about it. But, we talked and we agreed that our racing is going to change a little bit between us, but we know that we're going to be racing around each other a lot between now and Homestead and they feel like they have a chance to win the championship. We feel like we have a chance amongst other drivers, so we're probably going to see each other a lot between now and November."

Tough day? See how this Hendrick Motorsports employee gets through his

   The Sunday, July 21, 10 a.m. ET edition of ESPN's flagship news and information program SportsCenter will include a feature on Richie Parker, an engineer for the Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR team. Parker, who was born without arms, has risen to the top of NASCAR through determination. The program airs on ESPN2.

   You can watch a video teaser here.


Friday, July 19, 2013

NASCAR suspends use of aerial camera systems at its events

   NASCAR on Friday issued a statement indicating that it has suspended all use of aerial camera systems at its events pending further investigation of the incident which took place during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

   Here is the statement issued by NASCAR:

   "Pending further investigation of the cable camera system incident during the NASCAR race in Concord, North Carolina in May, NASCAR has decided, in collaboration with its broadcast partners, to suspend all media partner usage of aerial camera systems that hang over race tracks during its sanctioned events. The safety of our competitors and our fans remains NASCAR’s number one priority, and until total evaluation and analysis have been completed, usage of this particular technology enhancement and any similar enhancements, has been suspended."

   You can read the original story of what took place at Charlotte here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ryan Newman is going Truckin'

   Sprint Cup Series star Ryan Newman, a former Camping World Truck Series winner, will to the Truck series for the first time in over two years for Wednesday's Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway.

   Newman will pilot the No. 34 Oral-B/Aggressive Hydraulics/WIX Filter Silverado for Turner Scott Motorsports. Newman has four previous starts in the series, collecting one victory, one pole and four top-five finishes. Newman's most recent Truck start was at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the fall of 2011, where he started and finished fifth while competing for Turner Scott Motorsports.

   Newman participated in a recent test session for Turner Scott Motorsports on July 8 at 311 Motor Speedway in Pine Hall, N.C. TSM's NASCAR Nationwide Series crew chief Chris Carrier will be calling the shots atop the pit box for Newman in the race.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kyle Busch clarifies his comments about Ryan Newman

   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch posted the following message Tuesday evening to his Twitter account in which he said he wanted to clarify comments he made regarding driver Ryan Newman after Sunday's race at New Hampshire.

   Here is his message:

   "I want to clarify that I was answering what I felt was two separate questions asked to me at the same time in an interview following the race in Loudon. The first was about how fast Kurt was and the second was how I felt about Ryan Newman blaming me for him getting wrecked.

    "First I answered the Kurt part. He was fast... Great to see them running well... Was a shame to see him crashed... Nowhere there did I place blame on who wrecked who. I didn't see it and I still haven't seen it.

    "My second answer came from being upset over an incident I had with RN on the track during the race. I answered it in the same response, but it was intended as a completely separate answer.

    "I was upset because I felt RN raced me poorly, making contact and causing damage to my RF fender that affected the handling on my racecar. This isn't the first time that I've been raced poorly by RN either, which added to my frustration. All this built up and allowed my emotions to spill over for how I felt. I'm not sorry for how I feel in those moments, but could have expressed it better and certainly my comments about someone's livelihood went too far."

   You can see Busch's original comments here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Where NASCAR ranks in spending on lobbyists on Capitol Hill

   According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the National Football League spent far and away the most money of any sports league or entity on lobbyists on Capitol Hill in 2012.

   NASCAR was tied for seventh-most with the NCAA and International Speedway Corp., which owns several NASCAR tracks. If you combined NASCAR with ISC, the two would rank fifth-highest.

   The top 2012 spending by major sports organizations:

    1. National Football League - $1,140,000
    2. Ultimate Fighting Championship - $620,000
    3. Professional Golfer's Association - $380,000
    4. Major League Baseball - $310,000
    5. Bowl Championship Series - $270,000
    6. U.S. Olympic Committee - $240,000
    T-7. National Collegiate Athletic Association - $150,000
    T-7. NASCAR - $150,000

    T-7. International Speedway Corp. - $150,000
    9. National Basketball Association - $125,000
    10. National Football League Player's Association - $120,000

   You can see the Center for Responsive Politics' report here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ryan Newman responds to Kyle Busch

   On Monday, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman responded to Kyle Busch's comments made after Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

    Here is what Newman told SiriusXM Satellite Radio.:

    "I’m just afraid if I re-arranged his face I might fix it. (laughs). He’s frustrated finishing third or wherever he was after hitting me first and then getting a little rub down the straightaway, then just imagine how I feel. It is what it is. We know that he’s not very bright. He’s a heck of a talent but he’s not very bright. And I’ll leave it at that.”

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kyle Busch calls Ryan Newman 'the biggest stupid idiot out here'

   When speaking after Sunday's race at New Hampshire about the strong run by his brother, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch had this to say:

   "The No. 78 was good.  I really hated that Kurt got tore up.  I felt like he had the best car here today.  He was definitely good.  He could definitely roll the long runs for sure.  And was proud of them guys but, man, just stupidity.  I mean, Ryan Newman's the biggest stupid idiot out here and he's a big ogre and can do whatever he wants because he can probably kick anybody's butt.  So no sense in getting in a fight with him but glad he's out of a job."

   The interview was aired on SiriusXM Satellite Radio's postrace show with Claire B. Lang.

NASCAR set to unveil R&D and competition side changes on Monday

  NASCAR is set to unveil a set of initiatives on Monday which will include several changes to its research and development and competition areas, sources familiar with the changes told the Observer. 

   NASCAR has scheduled briefing with members of the media on Monday at its research and development center in Concord in which it is expected to address the changes.

   According to sources, among the changes to be adapted include ending the practice of NASCAR inspectors being assigned to specific series; a change to the process for approval of parts; and a change to the process of how and how often cars are inspected each weekend at the race track.

   A reshuffling or reclassification of some responsibilities of personnel is also likely, sources said. 

   NASCAR officials elected to defer comment until their briefing on Monday.
   The initiatives have been in the works for some time but do address issues which arose as recently as last week at Daytona when 31 Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams had roof-flap spacers confiscated because they did not conform to rules.

   NASCAR eventually elected not to penalize the teams.
   Several teams recently penalized by NASCAR or had parts confiscated for being unapproved have complained of difficulties with the approval process.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jamie McMurray talks about his wreck in final practice

   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray, who has been fast all weekend at New Hampshire, was involved in wreck in the closing minutes of Saturday's final practice session. 

   Q: Looks like you had a tire going down?
   McMurray: Yeah, I actually felt it pop or go flat really early.  I just couldn’t get slowed down.  Every time I got on the brakes it wheel hopped.  I felt like I was going to turn right.  I was trying to get the car slowed down and I knew for a long time I just couldn’t get slowed down enough.    
   We cut a left rear tire down. It’s the exact same thing that happened to the No. 42 car (Juan Pablo Montoya) the third lap of practice yesterday. It’s weird, because we had just put new tires on and actually added air to the left rear, trying to make it better. We hadn’t had a problem, but we were just trying to be safe. So it’s a little puzzling that it actually blew out now, when we were trying to be more conservative.
   Q: Looks like the car has a lot of damage. Are you going to be able to get it fixed?
   McMurray: I don’t know.  It’s torn up pretty good, but we qualified okay so I hope they tell me they can fix it, but I’m not real sure.
   Q: Are you Okay? You looked a little ginger when you got out of the car?
   McMurray: I’m fine. It’s ironic that happened because we actually had added air to the left-rear tire to try to be safe. Then we had a tire go down, so I’m a little bit puzzled more than I am hurt.
   Q: Has a decision been made whether to fix the car or use a backup?
   McMurray: So, we’re going to try to fix it because we qualified 11th and it’s really hard to pass here. And I thought our car was really good in practice; it’s definitely the best car I’ve had here at Loudon. So we want to race this car. It’s mainly cosmetic. So if they can get the panels out and get it where it’s presentable, I think we’re going to try to race this car tomorrow.
   It does look better now that they’ve pulled some of the bent pieces off. The right-rear quarter panel I think is going to be the most critical thing because it was tore up pretty good. But it looks much better than it did 20 minutes ago.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ryan Newman will not return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014

   Although not a total surprise, Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart confirmed on Friday that driver Ryan Newman will not return to the Sprint Cup Series organization in 2014.

   Newman had only signed a one-year deal that expires at the end of this season. After officially announcing Kevin Harvick's move to the organization next year, Stewart said SHR was not in position to run a fourth Cup team.

   "We're not ready to expand to a fourth team," said Stewart. "Unfortunately, this will be the last year we have Ryan."

   Danica Patrick also drives fulltime for SHR.

   "I believe in him 100 percent," Stewart said of Newman. "I truly wish we were able to facilitate four teams."

   Newman said he’s “had a good run” at SHR.

   “I look forward to the opportunity to make the Chase this season and win the championship. I do not know what my future holds,” Newman said.

   “There are organizations out there that are capable of winning races and championships and it is obvious there are seats that could potentially become available.”

Sponsor Budweiser to move with Kevin Harvick to SHR

   Press release from Budweiser:

King of Beers to be Primary Sponsor of No. 4 Chevrolet SS in 2014 

    ST. LOUIS (July 12, 2013) – For more than 30 years Budweiser has sponsored some of NASCAR’s top race car drivers. The King of Beers will continue its rich tradition in the sport by joining Kevin Harvick as he moves to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 to drive the No. 4 Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

   “Over the last three years, Kevin has been an amazing ambassador for Budweiser, both on and off the track,” said Blaise D’Sylva, vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing, Anheuser-Busch.  “We value that level of commitment, and we’re proud to join him at Stewart-Haas Racing next season.”

   Under the terms of the deal, Budweiser will serve as primary sponsor of the No. 4 Chevrolet for 20 races as well as the Budweiser Duel during Budweiser Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Budweiser will serve as a major associate sponsor for the remaining races on the Sprint Cup Series schedule.

   “I’ve developed a great relationship with so many people at Budweiser and am very happy it’s an association that will continue for many years to come,” said Harvick, who has represented Budweiser since 2011. “We’ve enjoyed a lot of success together and our expectations match right up with those of Stewart-Haas Racing.”

   With the move to Stewart-Haas Racing next year, Harvick will utilize the No. 4. The transition to the team comes as Harvick enters his 14th year in NASCAR’s top series. Thus far, he has earned 21 Sprint Cup Series wins, 96 top-five and 198 top-10 finishes.

   “We’re very proud to have such an iconic brand in Budweiser and an incredibly accomplished racer in Kevin Harvick join Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Tony Stewart, three-time Sprint Cup Series champion and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “Budweiser is the leader in its industry and Kevin has proven himself year-after-year in our sport. It’s a partnership we welcome as it will make our entire organization stronger.”

   With eight races remaining before the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Harvick is ranked fourth in the Sprint Cup Series standings with two wins, five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.

   “Richard Childress has been a great partner to us and we value the efforts of everyone at Richard Childress Racing,” said D’Sylva. “As we enter the second half of the season, we’re focused on supporting the No. 29 Budweiser Racing team as they contend for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.”

   “I can’t thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR enough for everything they’ve done for my career,” Harvick added. “I was just trying to make a name for myself in the Truck Series and Richard believed in me enough to make me a part of his race team back in 1999. Without him, and without the hard work of so many people at RCR, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

   While Budweiser adorned the hood of the No. 29 Chevrolet for the past three seasons, the iconic bowtie has been a staple in the Sprint Cup Series garage dating back to its sponsorship of Terry Labonte’s No. 44 Chevrolet at Stratograph Racing in 1983. In the years since, Budweiser has celebrated a championship and nearly 60 wins in NASCAR’s elite division with the likes of Darrell Waltrip, Geoff Bodine, Bill Elliott, Kenny Schrader, Ricky Craven, Wally Dallenbach, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Harvick.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

NASCAR team owner Michael Waltrip crossing the Atlantic to find speed

  NASCAR driver and team owner Michael Waltrip will make his second appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England this weekend. Waltrip will drive a 2012 No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota at the annual festival that features a hill climb by historic motor racing vehicles.

    The Goodwood Festival has become one of the largest and most diverse motorsports events in the world. The festival includes everything from modern concept cars to historical vehicles dating back to 1902, along with race cars from all disciplines of motorsports. NASCAR stock cars, Formula 1 Grand Prix racers, Le Mans style cars and various motorcycles will all make a run up the hill at Goodwood.

    NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer won three races last seasonfor Michael Waltrip Racing in the No. 15 car Waltrip will use in the event.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

NASCAR elects not to penalize teams for roof-flap violations

NASCAR Determines No Penalties Coming Out of Daytona Race Weekend

   DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 10, 2013) – Following a thorough review, NASCAR announced Wednesday that it will not assess penalties to the teams that had to change out the spacers that support the hinge bar of the car’s roof flaps last week at Daytona International Speedway. There were 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams and 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series teams that were involved.

    “We examined this from every aspect we possibly could and determined that there would be no penalties involved,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “Based upon our inspection and subsequent review, it was our determination that the functionality and safety aspects of the roof flaps were not compromised and the on track competition would not be impacted. Moving forward we will work with the roof flap manufacturer and the race teams to evaluate and optimize the associated installation hardware, review the process in its totality and communicate in a timely manner to the garage area any revisions that we determine need to be made.”

Monday, July 8, 2013

Penske crew member hit by debris from Daytona wreck

   Penske Racing confirmed Monday that Jay Hackney, the front tire changer for Joey Logano's No. 22 Sprint Cup Series team, was hit by debris from the last-lap wreck on the frontstretch in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

   Hackney, who was standing in front of the team's pit box when the multi-car wreck unfolded, was hit on the wrist by a piece of metal that first bounced off the pit box.

   According to a team spokesman, Hackney on Monday was "100 percent fine."

   Here is a photo of the debris:

   The full story on PitTalks.com can be read here.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

What Dale Junior thinks about the No. 3 in the NASCAR Cup series again

   In Daytona on Thursday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked about the possibility of Austin Dillon moving to the Sprint Cup Series next season and driving the No. 3 made famous by his late father.

    Here was Earnhardt's response:

   “I think it will be great. It was an iconic number for my father and it means a lot to a lot of his fans. This sport doesn’t really retire numbers and all the numbers have history tied to them for several different reasons. The No. 3 is no different. I think that for Austin (Dillon) a kid like Austin in this regard any kid that wants to come up through the ranks and he drove the No. 3 in dirt racing and he drove the No. 3 in his Truck series and Nationwide series. He has earned the right to run that number as long as he wants. It could have been anybody, but it’s Austin. It could have been any kid coming up through the ranks that had ran that number and that’s his number. Maybe he’s not even an Earnhardt fan maybe that is just his number. He wants to run it I think it’s not really fair to deny somebody that opportunity. I’m okay with it. I know that might not be the way a lot of people feel or some people feel, but I’m sure it’s the minority that feels that way. I think that a lot of people will be telling Austin positive things about it.”

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sports Car Club of America convention coming to Charlotte in 2014

   Sports Car Club of America and National Trade Productions have announced a new, unique event: MSX, the North American MotorSports Expo, launching March 7-9, 2014 at the Charlotte Convention Center, in Charlotte, N.C.

   SCCA has partnered with NTP to create a conference and expo expanding the annual SCCA National Convention and Hall of Fame Induction. Targeted toward SCCA’s 60,000 membership base, national car clubs and associations, as well as enthusiasts from around the country, MSX will provide educational programs and seminars for current and potential participants in SCCA competition and an exhibit hall devoted to racing parts, equipment, safety and technology.

   “We frequently hear that our members would like more content geared toward building, maintaining and driving competition cars at our National Convention,” SCCA President & CEO Jeff Dahnert said. “Likewise, there has never been a show to specifically cater to the programs that SCCA offers—road racing, autocross and rally. Our partnership with NTP gives us the opportunity to provide that for our current and potential members.”

   Located in Charlotte to provide easy access to the largest concentration of SCCA members and motorsport enthusiasts in the country, MSX will provide product and performance solutions for those that buy and drive in all forms of SCCA competition.

   “Charlotte’s longstanding history and culture within the motorsports industry makes it the perfect location to stage an event for the best amateur racing organization in America,” NTP Chairman and CEO Robert E. Harar said. “In addition to the MSX and SCCA Convention activities, the SCCA Hall of Fame Induction is a special event that makes the entire weekend a can’t miss event for motorsports enthusiasts.”

   MSX will feature world-class exhibitors, racing legends, technical seminars, show floor demonstrations, banquets and special events.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Charlote Motor Speedway ready to celebrate the Fourth on Tuesday night

  Charlotte Motor Speedway will celebrate the birth of our nation with a dynamic fireworks display during Round Five of the 20th annual Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series on Tuesday night.

   The spectacular Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza is one of the first in the area and will start immediately following the conclusion of an exciting night of Legend Car and Bandolero racing. The evening will also include the Little Luggies 600, a Power Wheels race for children ages 4-7.

   More than 35 competitors are registered to race their battery-powered vehicles, from Barbie Jeeps to miniature Mustangs, down the frontstretch at Charlotte Motor Speedway at blistering speeds near 5 mph. Each night of the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series features a full slate of the nation's best Legend Car and Bandolero racing on the frontstretch quarter-mile, as well as appearances by the World's Fastest Mascot, Lug Nut, and tons of family fun.

   Tuesday marks the halfway point in the 10-round series with drivers in each division battling for crucial points in search of a season championship. Families are also welcome to come get a cool down from Charlotte Motor Speedway's fire truck, Engine 343, as it sprays water into the grandstands. The Charlotte Motor Speedway Play Zone will be open and will feature bounce houses, face painting and interactive games at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Van.

   Tickets for the Summer Shootout Series are $7 for adults and are available in advance at the speedway ticket office or at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Kids 13 and under get in free. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action starting at 5:10 p.m.

   Opening ceremonies are at 6:45 p.m. and feature races are scheduled to conclude by approximately 10 p.m. Racing will be televised on the Fox Sports South network, with a recap show airing each Monday following the event at 6 p.m. and a re-air on the following Saturday. Fans should check their local listings for more information.

   For tickets to the Summer Shootout Series, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.