Monday, July 30, 2012

Michigan tire test gets good reviews

   Twenty-eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams participated in a day-long tire confirmation at Michigan International Speedway on Monday.

   Michigan International Speedway became NASCAR’s fastest race track in June. Marcos Ambrose's speed of 203.241 mph for the Quicken Loans 400 was the 11th-fastest pole-winning speed in Cup series history and the first time the pole winning speed was faster than 200 mph at a track other than Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway.

   But NASCAR driver Greg Biffle thought the speeds, though slower, would lend themselves to exciting racing at NASCAR’s fastest racetrack.

“Since the speed is down just a tiny bit I think you will see that groove continue to widen out. I have even floored it down lower on the race track and the car has some turn in it down there. I think we are going to see some good racing,” Biffle said. “We were all fearful that this tire would be really low on grip and the car would be hard to drive and it would chatter out from under us. That is certainly not the case.”

   Michigan son Brad Keselowski agreed.

   “Michigan is a lot different track with the repave, and we saw that here with the spring race. So we’re all still just trying to get a grip on that, literally, and trying to figure it out,” he said. “So Goodyear has us here to kind of reconfirm some things that we saw and hopefully improve the racing another notch here at Michigan International Speedway. So we’re just trying to help out here as we can and also make our cars better at the same time. So it’s a good process for all.”

NASCAR issues final approval for 2013 Cup cars

   NASCAR has issued final approval all four manufacturer's 2013 entries in the Sprint Cup Series - the Chevrolet SS, Dodge Charger, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry. Manufacturers can begin making parts and pieces for the new models.

   The 2013 Cup car is the result of more than two years of collaborative efforts between the manufacturers and NASCAR. The cars more closely resemble their respective manufacturer models on the showroom floor.

   “We commend the manufacturers and our team at the R&D center on all the hard work they’ve put into this new car,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition. “With all the designs and surface areas of the car now approved, manufacturers can now move forward with building the components needed to outfit their cars.

   "The wind tunnel testing we’ve had with the manufacturers over the past several months has given us the timely and necessary data we needed to come to this confirmation. We believe the new car is going to be a milestone opportunity for our sport, one that our fans will embrace."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Humpy Wheeler's qualifying fix: Let 'em race!

   Humpy Wheeler, president of The Wheeler Company and former president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, offered his thoughts on NASCAR's recent announcement it was looking at changing its Top 35 rule in qualifying. He also offered his own idea to make qualifying relevant again.

   "It is interesting that NASCAR is looking at qualifying and they certainly should. Up until a decade ago qualifying at many tracks was a big deal. Years ago qualifying took place as early as Wednesday to bolster ticket sales. That was eliminated and most places it was shoved to Friday and sometimes Saturday. It has become a nonentity for a track as far as revenue is concerned," he said.

   "Just 15 years ago at the height we sold more than 30-40,000 tickets for the pole. We ran four laps and made a big deal out of it and then had a race afterwards. It gave a lot of less fortunate race fans a chance to go the speedway because ticket prices were low. There was also a lot of cheap betting on the pole. Indy 500 pole day drew in excess of 100,000. Last May there were probably less than a tenth of that. Track operators and the sanctioning bodies let the competitors talk them into late qualifying and one lap and guaranteed starting positions. This took all the drama out of it.

   "Can it become what it once was? Like many things in racing we have lost, it will take a lot of creativity and work…along with time to ever bring it back. What we should do is qualify  in four 15 minute sessions. Ten cars are given 15 minutes to hit the track. They can all go out together or by themselves. Fastest car wins the session. At the end of the four sessions let the four fastest either race each other four laps or qualify again to determine the pole. Let 'em race…that would bring it back!"

Keselowski's take on Sadler's NASCAR penalty

   Elliott Sadler grabbed the lead on a late-race restart in Saturday's inaugural Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis but NASCAR soon black-flagged him for jumping the restart. His chance at the win and another $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus disappeared. As did most of his lead in the series standings over teammate Austin Dillon.

   Brad Keselowski was the race leader on that restart. He spun his tires on the restart and was getting a push from behind by Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. and Sadler crossed the line before he did.

   Keselowski's take on the incident:

   “It happened really fast and I don’t have a complete picture of what happened. So, it’s hard for me to make a statement about it. I can tell you my perception of it was I got a push from Sam and it was a little more than I could take. And certainly I wasn’t going full-throttle but I was not in the zone when Elliott (Sadler) took off. It appeared that Elliott got a push from behind as well and maybe he just couldn’t slow down, I don’t know. I don’t know how it all played out," he said. 

   "I think NASCAR has made it a point to say that they’re not going to measure down to a millimeter on who beats who to the restart line. They just want it to be close and fair. It was obvious that Elliott beat us by more than that. That’s NASCAR’s call as far as how it all worked out in the box and so forth. It’s very difficult to say from my view and I’d like to see a full replay to kind of verify some of the things that I saw. Obviously, NASCAR saw something they didn’t like and made a call accordingly. That’s their job.”   

Friday, July 27, 2012

Helio Castroneves to return to "Dancing with the Stars"

   Penske Racing on Friday announced three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has been selected to participate in ABC’s upcoming season of “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars.” The new season will begin in September and has been billed as an all-star season to include former season champions and fan favorites.

   Castroneves won Season Five of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2007 with professional dance partner Julianne Hough, as the Team Penske driver defeated former Spice Girls member Melanie Brown in the finale. Using a memorable yellow suit and Brazilian flair, Castroneves captured the surprising victory as he wowed the millions of fans of the popular show with both his moves and his infectious personality.
   In his 13th year with Team Penske in 2012, Castroneves is enjoying one of his best seasons on the track as he battles for the IndyCar Series championship. Through 11 races, Castroneves is ranked second in the standings after earning a victory at Edmonton last weekend. In his IndyCar career, Castroneves has 27 victories, 37 poles and has led 4,729 laps.
   "I'm excited to return to ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” said Castroneves. “Winning the ‘Mirror Ball’ trophy was an unbelievable experience and I’m very honored that the show has asked me back to compete again this season. I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun. I can’t wait to start dancing again!”

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Johnson leads NASCAR media exposure this season

   No driver has been mentioned more often on television, interviewed more frequently, or collected more exposure value for their sponsors in the first half of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season than Jimmie Johnson.
   According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 28 seasons — Johnson's sponsors as a group appeared for 13 hours, 10 minutes, 46 seconds  during live and replayed telecasts of the season's first 18 points-paying races. When also factoring in verbal mentions (82) of his sponsors, $45.3 million of in-broadcast exposure value was amassed by the 43 brands monitored in association with Johnson.

   Joyce Julius calculates television exposure value by comparing the in-broadcast visual and verbal exposure to the estimated cost of a national commercial during the telecast and applying Joyce Julius Recognition Grading, which takes into account factors such as size and placement of the image on screen, as well as brand clutter and integration of the brand into the activity.

   Rounding out the top-five in media exposure value were Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What's next for A.J. Allmendinger

   Now that Sprint Cup Series driver A.J. Allmendinger has been indefinitely suspended for failing a random drug test, what happens next?

   Well, it's really up to the driver.

   NASCAR spokesman David Higdon explains the next steps:

   "Under section 19-11F in our rule book, NASCAR facilitates assistance for anyone testing positive under our substance abuse program. When a license is suspended, NASCAR sends a letter for reinstatement. By agreeing to the terms of the letter, the member is allowed to participate in the Road to Recovery Program," he said.

   "The Program Administrator will work with the suspended member to arrange evaluation by a substance abuse professional. This evaluation helps the PA create a road map leading to a return to competition. This plan may include everything from counseling to in‐house treatment and rehabilitation. Additional testing is also required, and the Program Administrator will decide how often the member will be tested, for what and under what conditions.

   "Once the member successfully completes the plan, the PA will send a letter to NASCAR recommending reinstatement."

   One caveat. Allmendinger can be reinstated but there is no guarantee he can return to the ride he left, driving the No. 22 Dodge for Penske Racing. That would be up to the team.

Shell statement on Allmendinger's failed drug test


   Shell and Pennzoil believe that the process and procedures that NASCAR has in place as part of their substance abuse policy are appropriate and serve to ensure that the sport and its participants are held to the highest standards.

   We share Penske Racing’s disappointment with the result of AJ’s (Allmendinger) B sample test and will work closely with them to determine plans moving forward. We hope for the best for AJ during this difficult time.

Friday, July 20, 2012

NASCAR Contenders Live: New fan event starts NASCAR Chase

NASCAR announced on Friday the launch of a new interactive fan event which will help kick off the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The event, called NASCAR Contenders Live and sponsored by Toyota and Sprint, will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at the House of Blues in Chicago.The 12 Chase contenders will interact onstage with NASCAR's biggest supporters - the fans - and share their strategies and insight on how they plan to win the ultimate prize: the Sprint Cup Series championship.

In conjunction with the event, a sweepstakes has started to give fans a chance to win an ultimate package that includes a 2012 Toyota Camry SE, two tickets to the NASCAR Contenders Live, two VIP tickets and two VIP passes to attend the Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 16, a one-year subscription to SiriusXM Satellite radio and $500 cash.

To enter, go to until Aug. 30 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Beginning July 27, fans can purchase tickets to NASCAR Contenders Live on the website.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

NASCAR Mexico champ to run for KBM in Trucks

   Three-time NASCAR Mexico Series champion German Quiroga will run four races in the NASCAR Truck Series this season with Kyle Busch Motorsports beginning with the Oct. 6 race at Talladega, Ala.

   KBM will also field the the No. 51 Toyota with sponsorship from NET10 in the final three races of the season at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, Fla.

   Quiroga, the only driver in the history of the NASCAR Mexico Series to win multiple championships, captured three consecutive titles from 2009 to 2011 after finishing in the runner-up spot in both 2007 and 2008. After the Mexico Series became officially sanctioned by NASCAR in 2007, the talented wheelman collected 16 wins, 52 top-five and 60 top-10 finishes over 70 starts.

   The 32-year-old finished 16th in his Truck Series debut with KBM at New Hampshire last September, and then finished 26th - after losing a lap due to a loose wheel - in the 2011 series finale at Homestead. In 2007, the Mexico City native led 12 laps in his lone Nationwide Series start before being relegated to a 28th-place finish at his home-country track, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NASCAR statement on test of Allmendinger's B sample

NASCAR Statement

   DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 17, 2012) NASCAR has been informed by the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy Program Administrator (Dr. David Black of Aegis Sciences Corporation) that the test of AJ Allmendinger’s "B" sample will take place on Tuesday, July 24. The test will be conducted in Nashville, Tennessee at Aegis headquarters, per the NASCAR rule book.

   Review of timeline:
   ·     On June 29, NASCAR member Allmendinger, driver of the #22 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, was randomly tested by Aegis at the NASCAR event in Kentucky, per Section 19-6C.
   · On July 4, the Program Administrator (PA) sent a positive "A" sample test result to the program’s Medical Review Officer (MRO) Dr. Douglas Aukerman, M.D., and on July 5, Aegis sent final paperwork to the MRO, per Section 19-11, which allows him to begin his review.

   · On July 6, the MRO and competitor exchanged phone messages.

   · On July 7, the MRO connected by phone with the NASCAR member and informed him of the positive "A" test. The MRO also informed him he could choose to have the "B" sample tested, per Section 19-11A, B.
   · Later that day, July 7, the MRO notified NASCAR of the positive "A" test, and NASCAR temporarily suspended the NASCAR member, as stated in Section 19-11B(6,7).
   · The NASCAR member officially notified the MRO on July 9 of his request to have his "B" sample tested, which was within the allotted 72-hour window from the time he was informed that his "A" sample was positive, per Section 19-11B.

   · Once a member requests to have the "B" sample tested, NASCAR’s substance abuse policy provides its members up to 30 business days to have the "B" sample test conducted and results finalized, per Sec. 19-11B(5). These 30 days are designed to provide the member with reasonable time to prepare to attend the "B" sample test or be represented by a qualified toxicologist, per Sec. 19-11B(2).

   · On July 17, the PA informed NASCAR that the NASCAR member made the decision to select Tuesday, July 24, for the "B" test and has designated an independent toxicologist to be present on his behalf.

B Sample Test Set for Allmendinger

   Statement from Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc.
   Charlotte, NC (July 17, 2012)

   “We now have a confirmed date for the testing of AJ’s “B” (split specimen) Sample. The test will take place on Tuesday, July 24 at 8 a.m. CDT and be conducted at the Aegis Analytical Laboratories in Nashville. Pursuant to the 2012 NASCAR Rulebook and in line with the procedures, we have elected to have a designated independent toxicologist present on AJ’s behalf.  Along with everyone else, we are looking forward to hearing the results as quickly as possible. AJ and all of us at Walldinger Racing have truly appreciated the outpouring of support from our fans, partners, and colleagues. It has meant a lot to us during this difficult time. We are also grateful to Mr. Penske and his management team for their patience and respect of the process we are going through.”

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chartwell looks to leave RCR

   Richard Childress Racing has advised its employees, drivers and key sponsors that Chartwell Investments is considering exiting its minority equity position in RCR.

   "Since 2003, I have had a minority partner at RCR in Chartwell Investments," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "Like any private equity business, Chartwell has a duty to its investors to return capital and maximize profits in a reasonable time frame. With my support, they have determined that now is an appropriate time to exit their investment in RCR. Chartwell has been a great partner and I will always be appreciative of our partnership. We will remain good friends.

   "We have informed the key people and sponsors of RCR about Chartwell's decision and assured them this will have no impact on the current affairs at RCR or our continued vision for strong performance on and off the track. We have advised them that if a new investor comes on board as RCR's new partner they will be strategically chosen to help RCR continue to grow. Our family of corporate partners has all been very appreciative of our letting them know and remain committed to moving forward. I love what I do and plan to be involved in NASCAR and in running RCR for many years to come."

    Michael Shein, Managing Partner of Chartwell Investments, said the organization has engaged The Raine Group to explore the potential sale of its interest in RCR. The Raine Group is a global merchant bank focused exclusively on the digital, media & entertainment and sports & lifestyle sectors.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Time for some facts on NASCAR's drug testing policy

   Everyone in NASCAR - and outside - is full of theories about what may or may not have triggered A.J. Allmendinger's failed random drug test. Much of the speculation has been triggered by carefully worded - but hardly specific - statements issued on his behalf by his business manager. Outside "experts" have also offered their own theories on what "could" have triggered the result.

   Almost ALL of these stories/theories/hypotheses can be rejected outright based simply on facts already in existence.

   Let's review:

   Fact No. 1: NASCAR and A.J. Allmendinger already know EXACTLY the substance that triggered the positive result. No further testing is needed to determine the substance.

   Fact No. 2: A.J. Allmendinger has already been offered the opportunity to provide any plausible explanation for a positive test result to the Medical Review Officer and those explanations were rejected.
   From the NASCAR Cup Series rulebook, Section 19-10: A form will be provided "to be completed by the NASCAR member that identifies all prescription and over-the-counter medications consumed by the NASCAR member in the preceding THREE months." NASCAR Members can submit the information in any way they choose.
   In addition, before the MRO notifies NASCAR of the results of a positive 'A' sample, the MRO contacted Allmendinger again to provide any plausible explanation for the positive test.  

   Fact. No. 3: The testing of Allmendinger's 'B' sample will involve NO additional testing that wasn't done for the 'A' sample.
   In the NASCAR Cup Series rulebook, Section 19-11, Part B, No. 3: "The 'B' Sample test will be performed in accordance with the SAME procedures used by Aegis in the original test of the 'A' specimen."

   Fact No. 4: NASCAR would not have suspended Allmendinger before giving him a chance to ask for the 'B' sample to be tested unless the substance in question could cause a danger to himself or other competitors.
   In the NASCAR Cup Series rulebook, Section 19-11, Part B, No. 7: "Upon notification of the original 'A' specimen positive test, NASCAR, in its sole discretion, may temporarily suspend a NASCAR Member's license before the 'B' sample test is completed based on the following reasons:
   (a) Concerns regarding the safety of the NASCAR Members and others at the Event or on-track.
   (b) Concerns regarding the fairness of a competition.
   (c) Exigent circumstances
   (d) Undue delay to accommodate the presence of the NASCAR Member at the 'B' sample test."
   Note: As part of routine MRO practice, every time a competitor or official is informed of an 'A' positive, the MRO asks whether he or she wishes to have the 'B' sample tested. NASCAR Members are officially given 72 hours to make the request.

   If you take these four facts of NASCAR's drug testing policy into account, you will find almost all of the theories, speculation, gossip and other explanations offered over the last week will be found to be completely irrelevant.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stenhouse OK after passing out following Nationwide race

   Reigning Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fifth in Saturday's race at New Hampshire but shortly after completing a radio interview on pit road, he collapsed. He was treated and released from the infield care center a short time later. 

   The following interview was done with Stenhouse after he was released from the care center:

    Stenhouse: "I feel OK now. They gave me some fluids and got good to go. I think just being a little sick all week, not eating much and not drinking enough fluids caught up with me after the race. I think we’ll be good to go now.”

   Did you feel it at all in the car?
   Stenhouse: "I’ve felt it all week being really tired, not eating and not drinking any fluids so that part of it I definitely felt it in the race car, but I don’t think it slowed us down any. When I’m in there, I’m driving as hard as I can every lap. I got sick after the race in Daytona on Friday night and kind of let it go throughout the weekend and was hoping it would get better,
but it never did. It’s probably my fault that we ended up like this.”

   What will you have to do to be ready for next week?
   Stenhouse: “The good thing is it’s a Sunday race, so I’ve got all week to get the fluids in me and get better. Hopefully, within the next couple days I’ll feel a little bit better and eat a little bit more. I normally drink plenty of fluids and never have the issue of getting light-headed after the race or anything like that. My throat hurt throughout the whole week.
I didn’t really want to drink or eat anything and it caught up with me. Yesterday and today I drank plenty of fluids, but you’ve got to do it before, so I think we should be OK for Chicago.”

Friday, July 13, 2012

Brad Keselowski: In my opinion

   Brad Keselowski was very clear: He thought his opinion on NASCAR's drug policy probably wasn't share by many, or perhaps anyone other than himself.

   And he didn't think much of Carl Edwards' idea of drivers' collectively organizing an independent group to do testing in tandem with NASCAR.

   His comment, as is typical for Keselowski, were straight-forward and well thought out. This is what he said:

   “I’ve read all the same things, listened to what everybody has had to say and there’s a lot of different takes on what it means. You know, I think I have different views than most everybody else does on it. I’m certainly not supportive of Carl’s idea. I don’t think that there’s a place for things like that. I don’t think we need more politics involved in the sport and that’s what groups like that bring in. I think it’s a greater question to me of when I look at the issue at hand with A.J., there have been some people who said it doesn’t matter what it was. I disagree with that. I think it does matter what it was. It does to me. It might not to everybody else but it matters to me what it was because there’s always going to be that level of uncertainty that I have over any athlete or driver that performs at these levels and what they’re taking or not taking. 

   "It’s so difficult to give a great explanation of how I feel about it but I think that I want to believe that any performer or athlete out there would not be dumb enough to take a drug that is against the law, illegal. It just stands to reason that if you’ve made it this far in the sport that you’ve had the knowledge to not do anything that dumb. But I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s what it was. I hope it wasn’t. I hope it was something simple, you know, a stimulant or whatever release he put out. If that’s the case, it does make a difference. It makes a huge difference because it’s my personal belief and I’ve gone through the injuries and so forth. I think you guys saw that last year. It’s my personal belief that nothing should be allowed, nothing. I don’t feel like you should be able to take Flintstone (vitamin) pills. It’s my personal belief. I think you’re race car drivers; you should have to overcome it. I think it’s a bunch of bullshit that people are allowed to take supplements or any of those things. I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think any athlete should be allowed to take that but that’s my own personal beliefs. But where the gray area comes in is what is allowed per the law is not necessarily allowed per whatever drug codes through all these sports. That creates another set of issues. That’s why I think nothing should be allowed.

   “So at the end of the day there are things that are still allowed and who gets to pick and choose what they are I don’t know. I don’t understand that process. I know my own personal code of avoiding it is to take nothing at all. I can still tell you when you go in that room to have a drug test taken, I’ve never taken drugs in my life. I’m scared shitless of it. It’s honestly a phobia of mine. But I go in that room and I’m still scared because you know that if something goes wrong, it’s a death sentence for your career. It’s over. And you know it’s in human hands and by the very nature of being in human hands, there is potential for error. I’d like to sit here and believe that it’s gone through all the processes to make sure that it was done right and that no one would go out on a limb and risk someone’s career if it wasn’t checked, checked and back checked. But I also know that the course of history shows that humans make mistakes even when they check, check and recheck. That’s why airplanes crash. That’s how things go. There are plenty of redundancies in the airlines and they still find a way to crash. So there’s mixed emotions for sure on my end. 

   "I wish that the pool of athletes that compete and make money like we do, whether it’s here today in NASCAR or the NFL or even the Olympics, it would be my preference that you were allowed to take nothing and that it was you’re job to just do it, to just go out there and perform throughout the pain or whatever it is that ails you. But obviously that’s not the situation. Until we get together as a group or as a society and make that a position, there’s always going to be this gray area to where we’re asking ourselves what supplement is right and what’s not, you know, what’s okay and what’s not. I laugh out loud when I read this list of people who say ‘Well I have my supplements checked’ like there’s some special list of supplements that are okay but these aren’t. What kind of world is that? That’s terrible. Nothing should be allowed. Because then it just comes down to who you’ve got for a doctor or a lawyer that says that this is okay and this is not. And I think that we all know that you can get a doctor or a lawyer these days to say you’re okay with anything you do. It reminds me of an old Jeff Foxworthy joke about the difference between, you know, kids and senior citizens. You worry about drugs with both of them. The only difference is that one is legal and one is not. I can remember having grandmas and so forth that took drugs that would knock you out and then couldn’t even stand up. They were all legal you know. They might not be legal in this sport but you still have to wonder about those things. 

   "So I’m sure that I have different views than everyone else. I don’t think there needs to be any committee that approves drugs or supplements or whatever it is. I just think you shouldn’t be allowed to take anything. You should just man-up and drive the damn race car."    

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Statement from A.J. Allmendinger's business manager

   Statement from Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc.
   Charlotte, NC (July 11, 2012)

   “In an effort to help our colleagues in the media report on this in a timely and accurate manner, we wanted to provide some additional details regarding AJ’s sample “A” test results. AJ tested positive for a stimulant. He has no idea why the first test was positive, and he has never knowingly taken any prohibited substance. AJ is collecting his medicines and supplements for testing to determine whether an over the counter product caused his positive test. AJ and all of us at Walldinger Racing respect NASCAR's testing program, and he has requested that his "B" sample be tested as part of the process of getting to the bottom of this. We will have the opportunity to review all of the scientific data surrounding the test following the "B" sample test, but our understanding is that AJ's test was slightly above the threshold. As of this morning, we have not been given notice of when the testing of the “B” sample will take place. Thanks again for all of the support of our fans, team, and sponsors as we continue working through the process.”

   -Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NASCAR is going old school


    NASCAR recently partnered with Junk Food Clothing to create a new line of apparel that it hopes will attract a younger, more stylish demographic.

    This new brand, NASCAR Classics Collection, will embody the roots and heritage of NASCAR and was inspired by the iconic font styles and imagery of the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

    NASCAR will bring the NASCAR Classics Collection to market at mass this fall, but will offer it exclusively in the NASCAR Superstore on beginning this week.

Army ending NASCAR sponsorship in 2013

    The U.S. Army has decided not to renew its sponsorship with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in 2013 as a primary sponsor of the No. 39 Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman due to a reallocation of its marketing budget that will not include a presence in NASCAR.
   SHR is actively pursuing a strong brand to partner with the team and its roster of sponsors that also includes Office Depot, Mobil 1, Quicken Loans,, Haas Automation, Chevrolet, WIX Filters, Outback Steakhouse, Aspen Dental, Tornados, Coca-Cola, Oreo, Ritz, Bass Pro Shops and Code 3 Associates.

   “The U.S. Army has been a great partner of Stewart-Haas Racing since the team’s inception. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship, with the U.S. Army introducing training regimens that improved our pit crews while instilling the mental, physical and emotional strength of the U.S. Army Soldier in all of us. We remain very proud of our representation of the U.S. Army and its brave Soldiers who are 100 percent committed to our country. We will continue to activate on behalf of the U.S. Army for the rest of 2012, while also growing our other dynamic partnerships at Stewart-Haas Racing for the future.”
   – Brett Frood, Executive Vice President, Stewart-Haas Racing

    “The U.S. Army has worked with Stewart-Haas Racing in a mutually beneficial and highly successful relationship for the past four seasons, and they’ve performed superbly as our partner on and off the track. The same can be said of other members of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series family we have sponsored during the past 10 seasons. The sport, our drivers and the passionate NASCAR fans embraced the Army’s participation and created a tremendous opportunity for Americans to learn more about the profession of the Army Strong Soldier.”
   – John Myers, Director, Marketing Support Element, Army Marketing and Research Group

Statement from A.J. Allmendinger

   Statement from AJ Allmendinger   Charlotte, NC (July 10, 2012) 

   “I have informed NASCAR that I have requested that the "B" sample be tested, following the steps according to NASCAR’s 2012 rule book regarding this situation. I fully respect NASCAR's drug usage policy and the reasons they have it. I am hoping this can get resolved as quickly as possible so that I can get back to driving the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge. I am sorry that this has caused such a distraction for my Penske Racing team, our sponsors and fans. Obviously I would never do anything to jeopardize my opportunity here at Penske Racing or to my fellow drivers. I am very conscious about my training and health and would never knowingly take a prohibited drug.”

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Roger Penske comments on Allmendinger situation

   Following the news NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver A.J. Allmendinger had been temporarily suspended from the sport after failing a random drug test, SPEED reporter Robin Miller talked with team owner Roger Penske in Toronto at the IndyCar race. Penske’s comments on the situation aired on Sunday’s edition of Speed Center:

   Miller: RP, you flew in from Europe last night and got some unfortunate news …

   Penske: “Well, yes it’s unfortunate, obviously, when you come back … and we’re having such a good season … to have a disappointment like that with AJ. You know, there’s still some time. He’s got another test they have to look at this next week and then we’ll make a decision. Obviously, we support the NASCAR program of drug-free drivers, mechanics and crew members and we need to abide by that. To me, it’s a big speed bump for us, but at the end of the day, we’ve had situations before that we’ve had to deal with and we’re going to be professional, we are going to support the sport and we don’t want to let our sponsors down. At this point, we’ll just wait and see.”

Harvicks welcome baby boy

   Kevin and DeLana Harvick welcomed son Keelan Paul Harvick (pronounced Key-lan) Sunday, July 8th, 2012.

    Keelan weighed in at 6.8 lbs. and 19.5 inches. Throughout the pregnancy, the Harvicks had jokingly referred to their son as "Baby Otis" on Twitter and in public because they did not want to give out the name they had chosen.

    "Waiting on Keelan was the longest nine months of my entire life," Kevin Harvick said. "But time literally stood still when I held our baby for the first time. I've accomplished a lot in my life that I'm proud of, but those moments don't hold a candle to becoming a father and seeing that little face looking up at you. DeLana and I are just amazed by how special and rewarding this is."

    Mother and baby are doing well.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Allmendinger fails drug test, out of Daytona race

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Driver AJ Allmendinger was pulled from the Coke Zero 400 and suspended temporarily by NASCAR for failing a random drug test, senior vice president for racing operations Steve O'Donnell announced about 90 minutes before Saturday's race at Daytona International Speedway began.

Allmendinger's No. 22 Dodge was taken from the starting grid. Sam Hornish Jr. will replace Allmendinger in the car for the race.

O'Donnell read a brief statement and didn't say what drug Allmendinger was flagged for taking, but that his "A" sample tested positive. O'Donnell, who took no questions, said Allmendinger will have the opportunity within 72 hours to request that his "B" sample be tested. O'Donnell referred to Section 19-11B (6,7) in NASCAR's rule book.

Allmendinger took the test last weekend at Kentucky.

Allmendinger's Penske Racing released the following statement:

"NASCAR notified Penske Racing this afternoon that AJ Allmendinger was administered a drug test earlier this week, and those results tested positive. NASCAR has a strict drug testing program that Penske Racing fully supports. Penske Racing will work with NASCAR through this process and its next steps. Sam Hornish Jr., will drive the No. 22 car in tonight's Coke Zero 400." -- David Scott 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dillon explains penalty at Kentucky

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Rookie Austin Dillon came away from Kentucky Speedway last week with his first NASCAR Nationwide victory and what he thought was the series’ points lead.

Now, as Dillon prepares for Friday night’s Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway, he still has possession of that triumph – the first of his Nationwide career. But his lead in the standings is gone after he was penalized six points for his Chevy being too low.

The penalty – levied for what Dillon said was a loose jack bolt that made the car too low -- dropped him into second place by four points behind Richard Childress Racing-teammate Elliott Sadler.

“We thought we had the problems fixed and we just made a mistake and didn’t put the new-style fix on the back of the car,” Dillon said. “Mine had the old clamp and it came loose at the track.

“It was a bummer. You go from such a high, but it’s still a high.”


MANDATORY COMPETITION CAUTIONS? Drivers and one very influential NASCAR official had mixed reactions to Bruton Smith’s suggestion for more competition cautions to improve racing in the Sprint Cup series.

“I think … our product … is exciting," NASCAR President Mike Helton told reporters Thursday. “Sports is a true reality show as it unfolds. You have to be careful when you think about artificially creating the outcome of that.
“We go through cycles being accused of creating cautions. It’s kind of interesting to be accused of not having enough cautions. Time will swing back (in the other direction).”

Several races this season have been run under long green-flag periods. Smith, chairman of Charlotte Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports, Inc., made his suggestion to throw some mandatory cautions to tighten fields last week at Kentucky.

Greg Biffle doesn’t think it’s a bad idea.

“I wouldn’t be against it if we see the races continue to run green the whole way with one or two cautions,” Biffle said. “Over time, (we) could lose the fans’ interest … and that's not what we want."

Said points-leader Matt Kenseth: “I think we have a good mix of long green-flag runs and some short runs. Long greens have some endings that are pretty exciting. It just depends on what you’re looking for.”
Kevin Harvick also doesn’t think much of Smith’s idea.

“Same guy who ruined Bristol,” Harvick said of Smith, who is repaving Bristol after fans complained about the racing at that SMI track.

HAMLIN SITS OUT PRACTICE: Denny Hamlin didn’t practice Thursday for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona because of a stiff back. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch practiced the No. 11 Toyota. Hamlin also had problems with his back in May at Charlotte. -- David Scott

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Regan Smith: Things could be worse

   To see performances spoiled by an overload of bad luck has been discouraging for Regan Smith in recent weeks in the Sprint Cup Series. But at the same time the Furniture Row Racing driver just needs to look outside of his mountain home near Denver, Colo., to get a crueler perspective of tough luck.

   Before leaving for Kentucky last week, Smith said he could see and smell the smoke from the raging fires that have engulfed Colorado, where more than 300 homes have gone up in flames and more than 100,000 acres torched.

   "I love this area and it tears your insides apart seeing the destruction that has taken place," said Smith, who moved to Colorado last year to be near the team's Denver race shop. "Our recent issues are minimal compared to the fire-stricken families.

   "I want Colorado residents to know that our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected and that Furniture Row Racing is very proud to represent the great state of Colorado on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. I also want to give a team shout out to the brave firefighters and safety personnel who risk their lives daily in their continuing efforts to control and extinguish the fires."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A birthday fit for The King

   You will have to find a cake large enough to hold 75 candles if you want to celebrate the birthday of "The King" Richard Petty on Monday. 

 Petty, the seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and owner of 200 Cup Series wins, including seven Daytona 500 victories, is celebrating his 75th birthday in the same town he was born, Level Cross, N.C. Petty will spend time working at the current location of Petty's Garage and will later spend time with his family.

   Later this week, Petty will fly to a familiar summer spot for him in early July, Daytona Beach, Fla., where he and his family enjoy a birthday dinner in his honor. The dinner, coined "Red, White and Petty Blue," will take place at the Wyndham Ocean Walk Resort and feature guest speakers who have been a part of Petty's life. The night will conclude with a fireworks display and a birthday cake made by the TLC hit show "Cake Boss."

   "I'm really thankful for everyone who has supported us over the years," said Petty. "I really don't think about age too much. I just keep going to the next race. I've been doing that all my life and that's what I'm going to keep doing. But, I am grateful for each day and all the fans who make this a lot of fun for us."