Sunday, September 29, 2013

Motorsports broadcaster Marty Reid out at ESPN

   An ESPN spokesman confirmed Sunday afternoon that Marty Reid no longer works for ESPN and the network has decided to go "in another direction."

    Allen Bestwick will call rest of the NASCAR Nationwide Series races this year. The network will announce a replacement for its IndyCar Series broadcasts in the future.

    Reid has worked as a television sportscaster at ESPN since 1982, covering motorsports for the network. Most recently he was the network's IndyCar Series lead commentator and also called select NASCAR Nationwide Series races for the network and the Indianapolis 500 for ABC.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Truex should be able to avoid surgery on wrist

   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. has been getting a new cast on his broken wrist each week but it appears he will be able to avoid having surgery. 

   “We started to see this week – it looked a little bit better, so that was good news. The doctor was pretty certain we won’t need surgery now, which is a great news after all the bad news I’ve gotten here lately,” Truex said. 

   "So, hopefully, we’ll keep a cast on it obviously until it heals completely and then I’ll probably wear some sort of brace at least in the race car for the remainder of the year.” 

   Truex broke his right wrist in a wreck last month at Bristol, Tenn.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

NASCAR: Air Titan should be at most or all tracks in 2014

   If NASCAR has its way, all tracks should dry faster next season on rainy days.

   Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday he believes the new Air Titan track drying system should be at "100 percent" of race tracks in 2014.
   The new system was highly touted to start this year but has only been used at a handful of tracks, mostly because of the cost associated with renting it.
   Here is Pemberton's response to Sirius Satellite Radio host Jim Noble when Noble asked if Air Titan would be at most, if not all, Sprint Cup events in 2014:
    “Yeah, I believe we’re very close to seeing that. This technology, in a racer’s world, it’s never fast enough. We know that.  If you get an idea that something works you want to understand why you can’t use it 365 days a year.  The guys at R&D, Gene Stefanyshyn and his group back there, they’re working really hard and trying to come up with a package that’s a little more, the economics are there, it’s a little easier to travel, it’s a little more user friendly. We proved out what Air Titan does and immediately, even before the first race was over with us using it, we were on to the next program and the guys back there are knocking out some really, really nice equipment right now and prototypes," Pemberton said. 
   "I believe that you’ll see that at 100 percent of the race tracks next year and, if not, we may miss one or two. But our guys are after it, racetracks are wanting it, the fans need it, the drivers are appreciating it. I think when the fans know that Air Titan will be there and there’s an opportunity to start the race on time or start it a little bit earlier than you normally would, I believe that they will appreciate the fact that the effort’s been made to dry the track and get something for them. It’s a big undertaking but I will tell you this, everybody from the top on down in our company, this has been all but priority one for over a year now."

NASCAR’s Kyle Busch Wins 3rd Q Driver of Year Award

   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch has been voted the third-quarter winner of the Driver of the Year award.

   Busch, 28, was a winner in all three of NASCAR’s top national series over the summer. He had two wins in Sprint Cup, three in Nationwide and one in Camping World Trucks.
He beat out sprint car driver Donny Schatz for the award, which is voted upon by a panel of American journalists and broadcasters.

   Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver of the Year Foundation, said, “Kyle Busch is a truly a favorite in any series he chooses to race. I’ve watched him for his entire career and it’s hard to believe that he’s only 28 years old.”

   Busch, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, had eight first-place ballots and totaled 124 points according to the DOTY points system.

   The panel of 18 voters determines the winner of quarterly awards and then an overall winner following the season. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 basis. Busch will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Preseason Thunder returns to Daytona in January 2014

   Preseason Thunder, the annual NASCAR testing session at Daytona International Speedway featuring the Sprint Cup Series, will expand in 2014 with the addition of test dates for both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series.

   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will test on Jan. 9 and 10. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will test on Jan. 11 and 12. The Camping World Truck Series will wrap up Preseason Thunder on Jan. 13 and 14. It' s the first time since 2008 that the Nationwide and Truck series teams have participated in January testing sessions at Daytona.

   All test sessions are scheduled between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET each day, weather permitting. Each session includes a one-hour lunch break starting at noon.

   The Preseason Thunder Fan Fests, the companion events to the January testing sessions in the Sprint FANZONE, are scheduled on Thursday night, Jan. 9 for the Sprint Cup Series and Saturday night, Jan. 11 for the Nationwide Series.

   Fans can watch testing at no cost from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands. Tickets for Preseason Thunder Fan Fest for the Sprint Cup Series, which include the autograph session wristbands, will be available for purchase by calling (800) PIT-SHOP on Monday, Nov. 18 beginning at 9 a.m. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jimmy John's sponsorship to move with Kevin Harvick to SHR


   Gourmet sandwich maker Jimmy John’s will join Stewart-Haas Racing beginning in 2014 as a primary sponsor of driver Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

   Jimmy John’s will be the primary sponsor of Harvick and the No. 4 team for 12 races, highlighted by the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For the remaining 26 races on the Cup schedule, Jimmy John’s will serve as a major associate sponsor of the No. 4 Chevrolet. Jimmy John’s will also be an associate sponsor of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet of SHR driver/owner Tony Stewart, who will join Harvick in representing Jimmy John’s.
   “We are fortunate to partner with Kevin for many more years in a very meaningful way,” said Jimmy John Liautaud, CEO and founder, Jimmy John’s. “On and off the track, Kevin and (wife) DeLana Harvick are winners in all they do. And Tony’s reputation as a fierce competitor speaks for itself. Game on.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kurt Busch's car number in 2014 will be ...

   A coincidence? A subliminal message? Or perhaps just a number that was available?

   Whatever the case, sources confirmed to The Charlotte Observer on Monday night that Kurt Busch will drive the No. 41 Chevrolet next season, which will be his first with Stewart-Haas Racing.

   Team co-owner Gene Haas announced last month he had hired Busch to drive a fourth fulltime Sprint Cup Series team for the organization in 2014. Haas will fund the team himself through his company, Haas Automation Inc.

   Busch's number turns out to be the opposite of that of team co-owner Tony Stewart, who drives the No. 14.

   Also driving for SHR next season: Kevin Harvick in the No. 4 and Danica Patrick in the No. 10.

   There was no immediate response from SHR on a request for comment.

NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson featured in new SportsCenter promo

   NASCAR Sprint Cup star Jimmie Johnson is one of many athletes from different sports appearing in a new ESPN promotional spot launched this past weekend.
   The spot is part of a new ESPN campaign in support of its flagship program, SportsCenter. Entitled "DaDaDa DaDaDa," the campaign focuses on the iconic sound all fans associate with the show, and with great sports moments. The 60-second launch spot features a range of athletes – from professionals to little leaguers – who subtly and not-so-subtly call out their “DaDaDa” moments.  Wieden+Kennedy New York is the creative agency. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Corey LaJoie wins ARCA race at Kentucky


   ARCA press release

   SPARTA, Ky. - Corey LaJoie grabbed the lead with 33 laps to go in Saturday's ZLOOP 150 at Kentucky Speedway and took his No. 17 Medallion Financial Ford into victory lane for the third time this season.

   "We've had really good set ups for these cars lately, but, for Iowa, for some reason, our car was off," LaJoie said. "We went back to the drawing board after Iowa and put together what we thought would be good at Kentucky, and it ended up being really good. It was a great day."

   LaJoie, a Richard Petty Motorsports Development Driver, won at Chicagoland Speedway in July and Pocono Raceway in August. In the Roulo Brothers Racing No. 17, LaJoie led the most laps in the ZLOOP 150, which was held Saturday after being rained out on Friday. LaJoie led 40 of 100 laps.

   Mason Mitchell finished second in the Happy Cheeks Ford, Spencer Gallagher third in the Allegiant Travel Chevrolet, Grant Enfinger fourth in the Motor Honey-Casite-Advance-Ford and Chad Boat fifth in the Toyota.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Statement from Michael Waltrip on NAPA's decision to leave MWR


   “NAPA has been with me from winning two Daytona 500s, to missing races with a new start- up team, and back to victory lane again. The relationship grew far past that of just a sponsor, but more of a partner and a friend. We will not be racing a NAPA car in 2014, but I have friendships that will last a lifetime.

   “To the fans and those who made their voice heard through social media, as the owner, I am responsible for all actions of MWR. I sincerely apologize for the role our team played and for the lines NASCAR has ruled were crossed by our actions at Richmond. NASCAR met with the competitors in Chicago and we all know how we are expected to race forward.”


Scandal fallout: NAPA to leave MWR at end of year


   NAPA posted the following statement on its Facebook page on Thursday morning:

   "Dear Facebook Fans and the NAPA Community:

   After thorough consideration, NAPA has made the difficult decision to end its sponsorship arrangement with Michael Waltrip Racing effective December 31, 2013. NAPA believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR. We remain supportive of the millions of NASCAR fans and will evaluate our future position in motorsports."

   Following the penalties assessed by NASCAR to Michael Waltrip Racing for a team orders scandal in the Sept. 7 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond, Va., NAPA had indicated it was going to conduct an internal review of its relationship with MWR.

   MWR issued the following statement on Thursday:

   “Michael Waltrip Racing respects the decision NAPA announced today following the events at Richmond. There is no doubt, the story of Michael Waltrip Racing begins with NAPA Auto Parts, but there are many more chapters yet to be written. MWR has the infrastructure and support of Toyota for three teams plus three Chase-caliber, race-winning drivers. With the support of our corporate partners we are preparing to field three teams in 2014. MWR is a resilient organization capable of winning races and competing for the championship and that remains our sole focus.”


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Who from NASCAR made cut in The Forbes 400?

  When it comes to NASCAR participation in Forbes newest list of the 400 richest people in America, let's just say it's little lacking.

  Only two NASCAR team owners made the list and one doesn't involved himself in the day-to-day operations of his team.

   John Henry, 64, owner of the Boston Red Sox and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing, is listed at No. 327, worth approximately $1.7 billion.

   Longtime NASCAR and IndyCar series owner Roger Penske also made the list, in a tie for 386th. Penske, 76, is worth an estimated $1.3 billion.

   The only other NASCAR entry? Jim France, 68, chairman of International Speedway Corp. and vice chairman of NASCAR, is ranked No. 273, worth estimated $2 billion.

   See the whole list at Forbes here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

NASCAR race halted by rain

   JOLIET, Ill. - Sunday's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway - the first of 10 races to decide this season's Sprint Cup Series championship - was halted after 109 laps due to heavy rain.

   The race had already started about an hour-and-a-half late because of early morning rain showers.

   The race 267-lap race is not official until at least 134 laps are completed. When the red flag was displayed Matt Kenseth was the leader, followed by Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch.



NASCAR makes changes to restart procedures

   NASCAR officials on Sunday unveiled some changes to race restart procedures which will go into effect immediately.

   The leader of the race will still begin the race in the "restart zone" - lines marked on each track - but once the leader begins to accelerate, the flagman will wave the green flag and the second-place driver can accelerate as well, even if he ends up beating the first place driver to the line.

   There is one other cavaet - all drivers must remain in their respective lane until crossing the start/finish line.   

   Currently, NASCAR's rules state the second place driver cannot beat the first place driver to the start/finish line - although the incidences of exemptions being allowed had been growing in recent seasons. 

   “To be honest with you, it needs to be in the hands of the drivers of who decides these races and not the tower," said NASCAR's vice president of competition, Robin Pemberton. "Things are getting too close and this year we’ve seen more wheel-spin than ever.”

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Brian France: We expect '100 percent' effort

    NASCAR Chairman Brian France made the following opening statement on Saturday following the mandatory meeting of Sprint Cup Series drivers, crew chiefs and owners.

   France: "We just a few moments ago wrapped up a meeting with the drivers and the owners and crew chiefs, and at the center of that meeting was what our expectations were going forward and how we intended ‑ and those expectations are that a driver and a team give 100 percent effort, their best effort, to complete a race and race as hard as they possibly can.

   "And we issued a variety of things, some clarifications and some adjustments to our ability to officiate that.  We addressed team rules, and as I said, a variety of other things, all designed to do what our fans expect, and that means that they're driver and their team give 100 percent to finish as high up in a given race as possible. 

   "We were very clear about that. That's our expectations. It's an evolving issue in some ways because of historical things that have happened in the past and the subjectivity that may or may not be part of individual calls going forward. But that's the center of it, and that's what our fans expect, and that's what the drivers want to do, as well, so that was the centerpiece. I'll let Mike walk through some of the specifics."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Brian Vickers: 'We don't race public opinion.'


   Brian Vickers, who made it clear in an article on that he believes he did nothing
wrong on Saturday, reiterated his view again Friday after qualifying.

    Q: "How do you and your team move forward after this week?
"I think it's really up to -- my perspective of the whole situation is I think that the team is going to move forward just fine. I  think how things have been handled are wrong. We acted in accordance to the rules. We played by the same standards that everyone else has played by since the day I entered the sport. We did nothing different than what I've done with other teams or what I've been asked to do with other teams in my past, or when I started my career with Hendrick. I feel fine. I think it's a shame how MWR has been made out to be the 'bad guy' in the situation. And then the other teams involved got away 'scott free.' I hate it for the employees. I hate it for everyone at MWR. There's a lot of great people at this company and I said that in my article -- the column that I wrote (for USA Today). I stand by these guys. They're a great group of guys. If someone  doesn't like the results -- that's fine. They're entitled to their opinion. But, we don't race opinion -- we race the rule book. And to my knowledge, there's no rule in the rule book that said we couldn't pit for the reason we're choosing. We don't race public opinion. If public opinion wants the rules changed -- then they should change the rules and we'll race by those rules. Until then, I'll say it again and I said it in the column, I'm proud to be a part of this team. I'm proud of how hard they work. I'm proud of their efforts and the way they work and I stand by that. I'm proud of our partners for sticking with us and I just really hate it for this team. Unfortunately, they got the raw end of the stick and it seems like no one else did."

   You can read Vickers' USA Today article here.

NASCAR adds Jeff Gordon to the 2013 Chase

   JOLIET, Ill. - After a review of the "total circumstances" of Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Chairman Brian France has elected to add Jeff Gordon to this season's Chase for the Sprint Cup, which begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.

   Gordon will be added as a 13th driver to the field, which already includes the Top 10 in series standings plus two wild cards based on number of wins.

   NASCAR has also placed the Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing organizations on probation for the remainder of the year.

   NASCAR will hold a mandatory meeting with teams on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway in which in will spell out its policies and rules regarding team orders and other team communication issues going forward.

   "More than anything, it's just the right thing to do," France said. "There were just too many things that went on that gave a clear disadvantage to (Gordon)."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. loses pit crew member to injury

   Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of 12 drivers who begin this weekend to compete in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, will be without one of his regular pit crew members, at least for several weeks.

   Hendrick Motorsports officials confirmed Friday morning that rear tire changer Joe Slingerland suffered a serious injury in a non-work related injury accident earlier this week and will miss much if not all of the Chase.

   David Mayo will fill-in for Slingerland during his absence.

   Slingerland told the Web site he suffered a broken wrist and concussion in a accident at the U.S. National White Water Center on Tuesday night.

   Read the story at here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fox Sports says Michael Waltrip will remain as analyst


   Fox Sports provided The Charlotte Observer the following statement on Thursday regarding Michael Waltrip's role with the network in light of NASCAR's penalties issued to Michael Waltrip Racing for manipulating the outcome of Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Richmond, Va.:

   “We were disappointed in the events that occurred in Richmond Saturday night, and we applaud NASCAR for acting to rectify the situation swiftly. Michael has expressed his regret over what occurred, and we believe him to be a man of integrity. As a NASCAR on FOX broadcaster, he’s demonstrated an ability to separate his roles as a driver/owner and an opinionated analyst of the sport, and we expect him to continue as an analyst for us going forward.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Penske Racing's Tim Cindric: 'There was no conspiracy'

  Penske Racing president Tim Cindric was on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday night with host Claire B. Lang and discussed the "controversy" involving his team and Front Row Motorsports.

    Tim Cindric: "I know that NASCAR is gathering the facts about the whole situation and that's their job, that's what they have to do. But the facts from where I sit are, number one, there was no conspiracy, there was no bribe. Roger Penske is not involved in trying to manipulate the outcome of a race or what have you. In fact, the first time Roger heard any of this stuff was this afternoon. So the 'big guy' as he's called wasn't part of any discussion with any spotter. But there's a lot of discussion that goes on up on that spotter's stand. I watch the races [from] up there quite often and there's a lot of discussion, there's a lot of requests from one team to another team about, 'Hey, this is our situation, can you help us?' and that type of thing. What I've seen has been totally blown out of proportion by a radio conversation that Penske didn't have anything to do with."

    Lang: "What are you guys doing about this? Regardless of what NASCAR says do you look closer at it? Has NASCAR been in communication with you guys?"

    Cindric: "Yeah, I mean, internally, obviously, our integrity is very important to us. Roger has spent his lifetime creating the integrity that he has and the organization has. It's difficult to listen when people challenge that. There's a lot of things that you can't do to change people's opinions. The facts are there was no radio communication on our side. There was a lot of discussion over there that I really can't explain because I really don't know the basis for it. I know NASCAR is investigating that on their own so I'll let that process take its course. But what I can tell you, like I say, is that there were no offers, there were no bribes, there were no conspiracies from our end. And also the facts are that the outcome of the race and the way it affected the Chase and all that is pretty much a moot point anyway."

NAPA will "review" partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing

   Complete text of NAPA statement via Facebook on Michael Waltrip Racing:

    Dear Facebook Fans and the NAPA community,

    The actions taken by Michael Waltrip’s Racing team this past weekend leading to the penalties assessed by NASCAR, are very concerning. We are disappointed that a partner associated with our organization would make such a significant error in judgment. In addition, we have launched our own review to determine the future of our partnership with Michael Waltrip’s Racing team. The NAPA AUTO PARTS organization is proud of its long-standing NASCAR relationship. We share a passion with our customers for high quality racing and seek to determine the best course of action for our customers, NASCAR fans, and the NAPA organization.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rick Hendrick: 'Jeff Gordon got robbed'

   In a brief statement provided via text message to the Charlotte Observer on Tuesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick said he was just as mad as his driver, Jeff Gordon, over the penalties NASCAR handed down Monday night regarding Michael Waltrip Racing's attempt to manipulate the outcome of Saturday night's race at Richmond, Va.

   Hendrick went on to say, "Jeff Gordon got robbed. On to the Chase and try to win it."

   NASCAR Monday night penalized the MWR organization and effectively removed its driver Martin Truex Jr. from the 12-driver Chase and added Ryan Newman, who was leading Saturday night's race until MWR driver Clint Bowyer's solo spin with seven laps remaining brought out a caution.

   Gordon, and his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, posted several messages on Twitter following NASCAR's announcement expressing their displeasure with the decision. Gordon was in position to make the Chase in the closing laps by finishing in the Top 10 in points but with MWR's cars pitting and pulling off the track and losing positions Joey Logano ended up with claiming a position in the Top 10, leaving Gordon out.

   "Feel bad for Truex. He got in under controversy now out due to it. But the guy who started all of this not effected at all??? Don't agree!" Gordon tweeted.

   Responding to a fan's outcry of the decision, Vandebosch tweeted, "Yep, Joke it is!!!!" 

   Gordon went on to say, even he was taken out of the equation, he didn't agree with NASCAR effectively allowing Bowyer to contend for the series championship with no further penalty.

Monday, September 9, 2013

NASCAR President Mike Helton addresses MWR penalties

NASCAR President Mike Helton's opening statement to Monday night's press conference:

"We're here to talk about NASCAR's reaction today to Michael Waltrip Racing following the Richmond event this past weekend, and as we typically do following the race in reviewing what might have happened there, we've spent the last day and a half or so collecting all the factual information we could, video, audio, timing and scoring information, and what other pieces were available to us.

"Today we reviewed all that collectively, a group from NASCAR did that. We invited Michael Waltrip Racing, who accepted that invitation to come to the R & D Center and sit with us to talk about from their perspective what unfolded at Richmond Saturday night, and from all of that, the conclusion is in front of you," he said.

"Today we're announcing that NASCAR is reacting to Michael Waltrip Racing by fining Michael Waltrip, owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, $300,000, suspending Ty Norris indefinitely, and each team of Michael Waltrip Racing will be fined 50 owner points and 50 driver points. This naturally is a very significant reaction from NASCAR. As multiple car owners have become a very positive integral part of our support, also comeswith it, though, responsibility from NASCAR and as well the car owners, to maintain a fair and level playing field.

"We've discussed, we've talked about what‑ifs over the years, particularly since the Chase was established, particularly with the evolution of multiple‑car teams, and we've been very fortunate that we've not had any occurrences that required NASCAR to step up or step out, as we have had to today. It's difficult. It's not an easy decision to make. Conversations about it were deep. We feel like we researched it extremely well, talked at great length with the folks from Michael Waltrip Racing to try to get to the right spot and make the correct decision, and that's what we feel like we have done."

Rockingham Speedway loses NASCAR race; failed to meet 'obligations'

   NASCAR statement:

   DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 9, 2013) – NASCAR announced today the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event scheduled for Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 2 has been cancelled.

   The race at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on Friday, Oct. 18 now will be the season ending points race. The event is part of the 16th annual Petite Le Mans weekend for American LeMans Series.

   It is unfortunate any time a race must be cancelled,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring. “However, the race track failed to meet its obligations and we were forced to terminate the sanction agreement. We look forward to a great race weekend at Road Atlanta to culminate the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season and crown the 2013 champion.”

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Check out the in-car video of Clint Bowyer's controversial spin

   Take a look at the in-car video and listen to the audio of what took place when Clint Bowyer spun out with seven of 400 laps remaining in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. 

   Ryan Newman was leading the race at the time and would have clinched a spot in the Chase. With Edwards winning the race, Bowyer's teammate, Martin Truex Jr., earned the last wild card spot.

   You make the call.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hollywood Reporter asks: Will 'Rush' turn F1 into America's new NASCAR?


    Despite the celebrity embrace, the apparent wide interest in the movie 'Rush,' and a state-of-the-art facility in Austin, Texas, the question remains: Can Formula One racing gain traction in NASCAR-obsessed America?

   "There’s a pent-up demand for F1,” insists Steve Sexton, Circuit of the Americas' president and CEO. Sexton says NASCAR and F1 attract completely different demographics and that the average annual household income of F1 fans is $100,000. “There’s not a huge overlap with NASCAR," he says.

   Read the whole article here.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Jimmie and Chandra Johnson's daughter arrives; he will miss Friday qualifying

   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson's wife, Chandra, gave birth early Friday morning to the couple's second daughter, Lydia Norriss, in Charlotte. A team press release said Lydia weighed five pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long.
   Chandra and the baby were doing well and expected to remain overnight in the hospital. The couple already has a 3-year-old daughter, Genevieve.
   Johnson will miss Friday's Cup series practice and qualifying at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Regan Smith, a Nationwide Series driver for JR Motorsports, will serve as interim driver with Johnson's No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on Friday.
   Johnson will compete in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at the track. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ryan Newman: "I don't think anybody lied to me"

   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman was asked Thursday night about the complaints many fans have had about how he was treated by Stewart-Haas Racing. 

   Newman's contract was not renewed while the organization is adding Kevin Harvick next season and then recently team co-owner Gene Haas announced he and his Haas CNC Racing company would foot the bill to run a fourth Cup car in 2014 with Kurt Busch.

   Newman was asked, "Do you feel like you were lied to?"

   Here was Newman's reponse:

    "I don't think Tony lied to me. I don't think anybody lied to me. I don't have any of that feeling or emotion. I don't think any of that matters because the plans they made are for 2014 and I'm not part of that. I knew that going in," he said.

    "I don't think there were any hidden agendas on Tony's behalf. I had a good relationship with him and been up front with him. My communication has been mostly with him in my whole relationship at Stewart‑Haas Racing. No surprise."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NASCAR issues penalty for the Max Papis slap

   NASCAR finally weighed in on the wild postrace incident following last Sunday's Camping World Truck Series race in Canada that featured the girlfriend of a driver slapping competitor Max Papis.

   On Wednesday, NASCAR fined Kelly Heaphy, girlfriend of driver Mike Skeen, $2,500 and denied her access to all NASCAR events indefinitely for striking Papis after the race.

   In addition, Bryan Berry, crew chief of Skeen's No. 6 Sharp-Gallaher Racing team, was fined $2,500 because the crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his team.

   SGR issued the following statement:

   "I'd like to apologize to our sponsors, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and especially the fans on behalf of everyone at Sharp-Gallaher Racing for the incident that occurred following Sunday's race," said team co-owner Eddie Sharp Jr. "Although Kelly Heaphy is not an employee of SGR, we absolutely do not condone actions such as these from anyone associated with our organization. It is a shame that this overshadowed the first class event that NASCAR delivered in Canada. We have nothing but respect for NASCAR, and will not appeal the penalty assessed to crew chief Bryan Berry."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bobby Labonte will miss Richmond race; Allmendinger to fill in

  Team press release

   2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte will not race the No. 47 BUSH'S Beans Toyota Camry this weekend at Richmond International Raceway after suffering three broken ribs in a cycling accident near his Trinity, N.C. home on the morning of Wednesday, August 28.

   “I am feeling a lot better, but I don’t want to put the race team in any compromising position this weekend,” said Labonte.  “It just makes more sense to focus on my rehab one more week to ensure that I’m ready to go at Chicago (Chicagoland Speedway) with no issues.  I plan to be back with the team then and back behind the wheel.”

   AJ Allmendinger is filling in for Labonte during the Federated Auto Parts 400 in Richmond, Va.

   "Bobby means a lot to the JTG Daugherty Racing team and to our sport," Allmendinger said. "For me, it's a tough situation. I do not want to get more races with the team because someone is injured. Bobby is a guy that I believe is a Hall of Famer and he is a champion. It's tough to have that type of injury. Hopefully, he gets better as soon as possible to get back into the No. 47 BUSH'S Beans Toyota."

   "We are all wishing Bobby a speedy recovery and look forward to having him back," crew chief Brian Burns said.

Who's ready for a road trip to the Bank of America 500?

  This year, Charlotte Motor Speedway has taken a road trip to another level with a unique sweepstakes that puts fans’ NASCAR knowledge to the test in a race to find prize packages hidden throughout the Charlotte region.

   The Road Trip to the Races Sweepstakes features 10 suitcases packed with everything fans need for a great road trip – four frontstretch tickets to the Bank of America 500, pit passes, four NASCAR driver hats, four NASCAR driver shirts and four free Coca-Colas at Charlotte Motor Speedway – plus a key that could start a brand new 2013 Toyota Camry during pre-race ceremonies at the Bank of America 500.

   The sweepstakes is already underway. Clues will be posted on, on Twitter @CLTMotorSpdwy and in the morning. Then, the Charlotte Clear Channel radio stations – WRFX, WKKT, WEND, WLKO and WHQC – will announce the clues in morning and afternoon drive.

   The first person to determine the location and claim each suitcase will win all the prize elements and a chance to claim the Toyota Camry. Daily clues will be given every weekday through Oct. 4.

Monday, September 2, 2013

What NASCAR drivers control their own destiny at Richmond?


   Six drivers have clinched Top-10 spots in the Chase: Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Kasey Kahne, on the strength of two wins, has clinched at least a wild card spot.

   Four drivers control their top-10 clinching destiny in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway regardless of the finishes of any other driver:

   Dale Earnhardt Jr., currently seventh in points, will clinch a Top-10 spot with a finish of 32nd or better, 33rd with at least one lap led or 34th with the most laps led. 
   Joey Logano, currently eighth in points, will clinch a Top-10 spot with a finish of 11th or better, 12th and at least one lap led or 13th and the most laps led.

   Greg Biffle, currently ninth in points, will clinch a Top-10 spot with a finish of ninth or better, 10th and at least one lap led or 11th and the most laps led.

   Kurt Busch, currently 10th in points, will clinch a Top-10 spot by winning, finishing second with at least one lap led or finishing third with the most laps led.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

What Chase Elliott says about his controversial NASCAR win in Canada


   Here are some of Chase Elliott's comments following his win Sunday in the NASCAR Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Canada:

    "Obviously happy to get to Victory Lane. Like I told everybody else, I hate to do it like that, but not very often do you have trucks as fast as what we had today and have the day go as good as it did for us today, have our strategy play out. We had a couple curve balls thrown with the cautions and trying to judge guys stopping on the race track and we were able to overcome and have that caution right there and we were able to put ourselves in position. Had a terrible restart there at the end and got myself in a hole and I messed up again on the last lap trying to pass a guy getting into a corner. That never works," he said.

    "Had two ideas that didn't work out for me, and had an opportunity there getting into (Turn) 10. I felt like the 3 was sputtering. I felt like he was really, really close or he was out of gas or something and got to his right rear quarterpanel and tried to move him out of the way and unfortunately ended up putting him in the fence. That's not how I race. I think anybody who's ever raced with me before can testify that's not how I like to do things, but just glad we got to Victory Lane."