Tweaks to the 2019 All-Star Race Including
Aspects of Possible Gen-7 Car
A possible look at NASCAR’s future will be on display in the 2019 Monster Energy All-Star Race on May 18 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Using lessons learned from the opening salvo of this season, the annual sprint exhibition race will feature a modified rules package that NASCAR anticipates including on its upcoming seventh-generation race car set to arrive in 2021.
The race format will be similar to years past, only increasing the overall length of the event from 80 to 85 laps across four stages.
From a technical standpoint, NASCAR is adding a single-piece carbon fiber splitter/pan that is intended to improve ride height sensitivity for cars. The splitter intends to provide a more stable aero platform and create a more consistent performance in traffic.
A new radiator duct is the second element, which exits through the hood, as opposed to the current design which exits into the engine compartment. This feature intends to improve aerodynamic parity and reduce engine temperatures.
"Throughout its history, the NASCAR All-Star Race has provided a platform to try new and innovative ideas, some of which we have incorporated on a full-time basis," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
"Last year's All-Star rules package resulted in one of the most exciting all-star races in history.
"With a similar package and the added elements that we could see in the next generation race car, we expect another must-watch event."
The race again offers $1,000,000 to the winner.
As for the four-stage format, both green flag and yellow flag laps will count in stages one-three; with only green flag laps counting in the final stage
NASCAR overtime rules will be in effect for stages one-three.
In the final stage, if the race is restarted with two or fewer laps remaining, there will be unlimited attempts at a green-white-checkered finish under green flag conditions.
(Taken in Part From: Matt Weaver - AutoWeek)
Kansas Speedway Lands a New Sponsor,
Including Race Title Rights
Digital Ally Inc. signed a partnership agreement with Kansas Speedway that makes the Lenexa company the title sponsor for the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Truck Series races on May 10 and 11.
“We are excited to partner with Kansas Speedway,” Digital Ally CEO Stanton Ross said in a release. “We have had an outstanding relationship with NASCAR this past year and a half. It made all the sense in the world to team up with our local track as well. We look forward to a fantastic weekend of racing.”
Digital Ally designs and manufactures high-quality video recording equipment and video analytic software for law enforcement, emergency management, commercial fleets and consumer use. Its products include in-car and body cameras, cloud and local management software, and automatic recording technology.
This isn’t Digital Ally’s first foray into sports sponsorship. Previously, the company was the title sponsor of the Web.Com Tour stop in Kansas City, the area’s only professional golf tournament.
Digital Ally signed a five-year deal for the 2015 to 2019 Web.com Tour tournaments in Kansas City. The tour’s parent company, PGA Tour Inc., sued Digital Ally for defaulting on the contract in 2017. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed Wednesday, hours before the announcement of the Kansas Speedway sponsorship agreement.
“Plaintiff PGA Tour Inc. gives notice that this action has been resolved and is voluntarily dismissed with prejudice,” PGA Tour wrote in a court filing.
(Taken in Part From: Kansas City Business Journal)
Trevor Bayne to Open Coffee Shop,
No Plans to Return Racing
Few, if any, have ever achieved major success at NASCAR's highest level as quickly as Trevor Bayne. Bayne won the Daytona 500 in 2011 when he was 20, in just his second Cup Series race.
Although he has not reached that height since, Bayne, now 28, enjoyed something most stock-car drivers would envy: full-time employment. Bayne had roughly three full-time seasons in the Xfinity Series and the previous four in Cup.
But, for the first time since he was 5, he is out of racing after losing his ride with Roush Fenway Racing at the end of last season. That has placed him in a “strange, uneasy time of life” at the moment, but not in a funk.
He credits his positive outlook to his faith. It is that message he will share, in part, when he speaks at the Hampton Christian Academy 28th Annual Spring Banquet Fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday at the Newport News Marriott at City Center.
“Winning the Daytona 500 was great, but not everyone can relate to winning a huge race,” Bayne said. “I’d love to share how great God was to give me that opportunity, but also how he’s given me peace and joy no matter what the circumstances.
“That comes from being reared in Christ. I had the same joy and peace winning the 500 as I have now that I’ve lost my ride.”
Bayne and wife Ashton spent much of the past month in Hawaii. The highlight, Bayne said, was camping on the beach with his 3-year-old daughter and nearly 2-year-old son. They are expecting a second son in September.
“Family comes first,” Bayne said. “When I do something else in life, I always want to maintain that quality of life with my family.”
The start of something else might be coming soon. Bayne is about to open a coffee shop in his hometown of Knoxville, Tenn.
“Coffee has always been fun,” he said. “When you’re on the road 38 weeks a year, you’ve got to find something you like. Coffee farms are some of the most impoverished areas in the world, so the chance for ministry and outreach is huge. And the communities built in a coffee shop and around a cup of coffee are incredible.
“I look forward to being in the shop every day, seeing the same people and building relationships.”
That’s if he isn’t at the racetrack. Bayne is enjoying the respite from racing, but would clearly like to return if possible.
His four full-time seasons in Cup with Roush from 2015-18 did not go well. In 129 races, Bayne had just four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.
“Obviously I didn’t want to be out of a race car (this season),” he said. “I still wanted to drive and have a chance to win races — it’s something I’m passionate about. But you can burn out on anything, especially if you’re not in the best culture and have the best opportunity to win races. Sometimes it was like, `I almost need a break.’
“But the more refreshed I get, the more I miss racing, competing, turning laps. I train every day as if the opportunity is going to come.”
Bayne says he’s in great shape. He missed five weeks in 2011 after being hospitalized by a spider bite. Two years later he announced that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but has since had no symptoms, so he believes that was a misdiagnosis .
Nevertheless, his road back to NASCAR could be steep.
“The model has changed so much,” Bayne said. “You need to bring money, and if you don’t have a family with millions of dollars to fund a race program, or you don’t have a huge sponsor, it’s tough to make it.”
Whether Bayne makes it back to NASCAR or not, he appreciates the time he had and the road that lies ahead.
“I still can’t believe the Lord allowed that to happen,” Bayne said of his Daytona 500 victory. “There’s not many things in your life people will remember eight, nine, 20 years from now. I’m thankful it did happen, because it has given me an opportunity, a platform, to do speaking engagements now that racing is potentially over. I don’t want to be one of those people who talks just about what he did 10 years ago.
“I’m going to keep living in the moment and pushing forward.”
(Taken in Part From: Daily Press)
Nashville Fairground Speedway in Need of Over $50 Million in Upgrades to Eventually Host NASCAR Top Tier Events
Speedway Motorsports, the company trying to bring NASCAR back to Nashville, pitched a plan that called for $54 million in bond payments and $2 million in cash from the city, according to city officials.
Mayor David Briley's administration rejected the proposal, but ongoing discussions could end with tax revenue collected at the track financing part of the project.
In a presentation to Briley in late February, the group offered various possibilities on how the upgrades necessary for NASCAR's return to the Fairgrounds Speedway could potentially be financed — including an option that uses Metro dollars.
But Briley would reject a deal involving funding from taxpayers, according to his administration, which previously said the mayor is insistent on private investment in any proposal.
"Mayor Briley does not support using public money to bring NASCAR to the fairgrounds," Briley spokesperson Thomas Mulgrew told The Tennessean on Monday.
It was not immediately clear why the group specifically made a pitch for $2 million in cash or how the $54 million in bonds — more than double the $25 million in general obligation bonds the Metro Council approved to support public infrastructure associated with the soccer stadium — would be used.
Details on what upgrades are necessary and how much they’ll cost have not been released.
But a top Speedway Motorsports executive said there's been a shift from talks of using general obligation bonds to a plan that emphasizes a private-public partnership with the possibility of using revenue from the track to fund any project.
A rendering presented to Mayor David Briley by Speedway Motorsports in ongoing talks to bring NASCAR to the Nashville Fairgrounds
A rendering presented to Mayor David Briley by Speedway Motorsports in ongoing talks to bring NASCAR to the Nashville Fairgrounds (Photo: Handout)
“We remain very interested in helping Metro return its historic property to a showcase venue that will host major races and special events that generate substantial new revenue for Nashville," Jerry Caldwell, executive VP and general manager, Bristol Motor Speedway, said in a statement.
"We believe this redevelopment can be accomplished in a private-public partnership that is funded by revenues within the fairgrounds and our capital investment and without use of the city's current tax revenues."
Caldwell said the company brings the capital and "professional expertise" to deliver major events and "advance a true renovation of the historic fairgrounds property."
He said the renovation would improve the surrounding neighborhood.
“Our team is optimistic that we can work with the Briley administration, Councilman (Colby) Sledge and Metro Council, the Fair Board and MLS to find solutions that are in the best interests of the community and provide a better future for the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway," Caldwell said.
Financing remains a roadblock that has emerged in the ongoing talks between Speedway Motorsports and Briley. The group has already proposed a project that clashes with plans already in place for the new Major League Soccer stadium.
The feasibility of a major upgrade to the racetrack remains questionable since the soccer stadium project will place a mixed-use development building so close to the Speedway.
“Mayor Briley is happy to entertain a common-sense proposal to revitalize the iconic track at the fairgrounds,” Mulgrew previously said. "To date, (Speedway Motorsports) has not presented an option that was either practical considering the planned MLS stadium or financially feasible ... ."
Sledge, whose council district includes the fairgrounds, said he also would not support a plan that calls for public dollars to be invested into the racetrack.
"They should be doing it within their own budget," Sledge said. "There should be no money from the city going into this plan. Or if there's some sort of improvement the city is a partner in, it should be extremely low exposure from the city."
The Nashville Fairgrounds has not been "privy" on what Speedway Motorsports is proposing, according to Holly McCall, a fairgrounds spokesperson.
(Taken in Part From: Tennessean - Yihyun Jeong)
Single Car Qualifying Coming to Cup Series
Starting at Dover?
The 'Door Bumper Gear Podcast' which is part of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. podcast is reporting that NASCAR will be moving to single car qualifying going forward. The next race of the season, Talladega was already planned as a single car qualifying procedure, and this new procedure will start at Dover in three weeks.
No official word from NASCAR about this possible change. NASCAR did meet with team owners today for part of the Owners Council. I am assuming that qualifying was a topic of discussion at that meeting.
NASCAR Cup Teams Hold Owners Council Meeting with NASCAR on Tuesday
It was reported by Adam Sterns, Sports Business Journal that today NASCAR held their quarterly meeting with car owners, know as the owner council.
Some of their topics included qualifying procedure, and first discussion on what the Gen 7 car could look like once it debuts in 2021.
Barstool Sports Paint Scheme Rejected
on the #32 for Talladega Race
Barstool Sports Owner, Dave Portony mentioned this past week that they were going to sponsor a car driven by Cory LaJoie at Talladega, but the paint scheme was rejected. The paint scheme was supposed to sport the face of NFL Commissioner, Rodger Goodell. Barstool Sports is often critical of Rodger Goodell, and the paint scheme sounded like it did not show the NFL positively.
There was no confirmation if it was Go Fas Racing, or NASCAR who didn't approve the paint scheme.
Barstool Sport will have several infield events that will take place at Talladega. This will be their second NASCAR race hosting events, first being the 2019 Daytona 500.
Jimmie Johnson Completes Boston Marathon
Seven-time NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson finished the Boston Marathon on Monday in 3:09:07 a day and a half after coming in 12th at the Richmond Cup Series race.
Fox News reports that Johnson wore number 4848 as a tip of the hat to his car number – 48 – and finished his 40- to 44-year-old age group in 641st place.
“I can’t even keep up with the messages and social notifications on my phone. You guys rock!” said Jimmie. “Fans on course, family and friends, media members, all of you on social - thank you for the support”
Johnson was hoping to break 3 hours, but said he was pleased with the result.
“I wanted to race it, so I went out with a heart rate and time in mind. I came up a little short, but still to do that well, still to be that low in the threes, I’m really happy with it,” NASCAR.com reported him saying.
Johnson had previously completed a 70.3-mile triathlon and has his sights set on entering the 140.6-mile Ironman Triathlon one day. He often responds to alleged fans on Twitter who tell him that he should concentrate on driving, given the decline in his on-track performance in recent years.
(Taken in Part From: WDRB-Fox News)
Talladega Finishes New Turn 3 Tunnel
The last pre-cast arch has been placed for Talladega Superspeedway’s new Turn 3 Oversized Vehicle Tunnel, the first development of the 2019 Transformation Infield Project. Crews have started sealing around each arch placement for protection and weatherproofing, while concrete walls are also going up for the infield entry and exit access. Oxford, AL’s Taylor Corporation, which is spearheading the tunnel construction effort, is right on schedule.
The Oversized Vehicle Tunnel, which is scheduled for completion in time for the track’s April 26-28, 2019 spring motorsports tripleheader weekend featuring the GEICO 500, MoneyLion 300 and General Tire 200, is the initial part of the approximately $50 million Transformation Infield Project that is part of International Speedway Corporation’s (Talladega’s parent company) long-term capital allocation plan and reinvestment into its major motorsports complexes. The new 2-lane tunnel will be capable of allowing vehicles as large as race team haulers and fans’ recreational vehicles to enter and exit the track simultaneously with ease. It will be open 24 hours during event weekends. Construction efforts also continue for the spring opening of the new 69-spot Finish Line Premium RV area (located just past the start-finish line & includes full hookups). The speedway will also offer new Infield Shower Trailers in April.
The culmination of Transformation will occur this October and will allow fans to be immersed into the sport of NASCAR with a one-of-a-kind Talladega Garage Experience, which will feature “up-close” access, interactive attractions and enhanced amenities for fans, sponsors, teams and stakeholders in the iconic Talladega infield.
(Taken in Part From: Talladega PR)
Martin Truex Jr. Holds Off Hard Charging Logano and Bowyer to Win at Richmond
Martin Truex Jr. took the checkered flag for the first time at a short track in his 14 full-time seasons in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The No. 19 Toyota driver won the Toyota Owners 400 on Saturday night at Richmond Raceway — his first victory after 80 winless short-track events in NASCAR's premier series. It was also his first win in 2019 as the newest driver for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Truex nabbed the lead with 79 laps remaining and never relinquished it, surviving hard-charging Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer in the final laps. He finished with a race-high 186 laps led.
“Being out front was really the key, and just trying to do all I could to not screw it up and hold those guys off,” Truex said in victory lane after his 20th career Cup win. He’s now automatically qualified for the 16-driver, 10-race playoffs in the fall.
“It’s been an up-and-down start to the year, but I feel like we’ve got a great team, and we can continue to do this.”
Like the first eight races of the season, the ninth was dominated by JGR and Team Penske drivers. Aside from pole-sitter and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick’s first 30 laps out front, the majority of the race was controlled by the JGR and Penske teams, which account for all the winners this season so far.
With Truex, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, JGR drivers have won six of the first nine races.
Truex and Team Penske's Brad Keselowski and Logano traded the lead with each other throughout the second half of the race. SHR driver Bowyer was running second and spent the final 100 laps trying to chase down leader Truex but just couldn’t get there.
Logano passed Bowyer with three laps remaining for second place and rode Truex’s bumper before running out of time. Penske’s defending Cup Series champion was the runner-up and just .178 seconds behind Truex.
“It’s a challenging race track,” Bowyer said after finishing third. “I got to him, and I couldn’t keep the nose with air on it, and it got really tight. And as I kept running in his wake, I kept getting tighter and tighter, and all of a sudden, Joey run us down. All in all, it was a good day for us. Just man, damn it. You hate to get that close.”
After Truex, Logano and Bowyer, Harvick finished fourth and JGR driver Denny Hamlin closed out the top five.
(Taken in Part From: USA Today - Michelle Martinelli)
Many Drivers Fail Post Qualifying Inspection
Several cars have failed pre-race inspection ahead of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season’s ninth race at Richmond Raceway and have been sent to the back of the starting grid.
This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race weekend at Richmond Raceway is considered an enhanced at-track weekend. As a result, all cars were impounded after the qualifying session for tonight’s Toyota Owners 400 yesterday night and put through pre-race inspection earlier today.
During an enhanced weekend, any car that fails this pre-race inspection any amount of times has its qualifying time disallowed and is sent to the back of the starting lineup. The cars who are set to the back of the starting lineup for this reason are then lined up by owner points.
Several cars, including four car that qualified inside the top 10, failed pre-race inspection ahead of the 400-lap race around the four-turn, 0.75-mile (1.207-kilometer) Richmond Raceway oval in Richmond, Virginia and have been sent to the back of the starting lineup as a result of it.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Daniel Suarez and Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson all qualified for this race in the top 10, as they qualified in second, seventh, ninth and 10th place, respectively. But Jones’s #20 Toyota, Elliott’s #9 Chevrolet, Suarez’s #41 Ford and Johnson’s #48 Chevrolet all failed pre-race inspection, so they have all been set to the back of the starting lineup.
Additionally, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, Front Row Motorsports’ Matt Tifft and MBM Motorsports’ Joey Gase qualified in 15th, 18th, 20th and 36th place, in their #10 Ford, #11 Toyota, #36 Ford and #66 Toyota, but they all failed pre-race inspection as well and have been set to the back of the starting lineup as a result of it.
With 37 cars in the field for tonight’s race, the eight cars that failed post-race inspection are set to line up from 30th through 37th place.
(Taken in Part From: Beyond the Flag)
Harvick on Pole for Richmond Night Race
Where the short tracks are concerned, Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team appeared to have turned a corner.
And on Friday afternoon at Richmond Raceway, Harvick got through the corners better than everyone else in winning the unofficial pole position for Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400 at the .75-mile track.
The unofficial Busch Pole Award was Harvick’s third at Richmond, his second of the season and the 27th of his career, setting up a showdown with the Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske cars that have monopolized Victory Lane in the first eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events of the season.
Harvick posted a lap at 124.298 mph (21.722 seconds) to edge Erik Jones (124.081 mph) for the top starting spot by .038 seconds. The front-row start will be Jones’ first of the season.
Kurt Busch qualified third at 123.870 mph, a dramatic improvement over his 2019 average starting position of 20.1. Joey Logano and Kyle Busch completed the top five.
(Taken in Part From: NASCAR.Com)
Bowyer Gets New Sponsor at Stewart-Hass Racing
Stewart-Haas Racing’s co-owner Tony Stewart was on-hand at Richmond Raceway Friday morning with Clint Bowyer in tow to announce a new partner for the No. 14 team – bringing on Toco Warranty Corporation.
It’s a pay-as-you-go warranty service and Toco Warranty will be on Bowyer’s car beginning at Tallageda Superspeedway in two weeks. The company signed-on for a four-race primary deal, as well as, being a co-sponsor on Stewart’s World of Outlaws Sprint Car driven by Donny Schatz. But for the team and Bowyer, independently, it’s much more because of the company’s mission.
“We really want to be an advocate for consumers out there,” said Brad Basmajian, Chief Operating Officer for Toco Warranty. “And when we met with these guys, and just being in their offices down in Charlotte, I hadn’t ever really got such a sense of earnestly, such a sense of, kind of, simpatico relationship type of relationship that I had ever had from any other partner we’ve discussed in any industry. I got the sense they were very in tune with what we are trying to do, actually, believed in the message that we were trying to get out there. I didn’t think there is any other group, team, sport, anyone else out there that would have made a better fit than these guys. It was just all apparent from these guys, from everyone who works there, it was just really an amazing experience from the first time we met.”
Bowyer, who grew up in the towing business and now owns an auto dealership, understands the importance of reliable transportation. He saw firsthand people being stranded and he had high-praise for the new sponsor.
“Owning a dealership, I understand the value of warranties and things like that but more importantly, having a dad who towed vehicles my whole life in and out of service center for people who needed help,” Bowyer said. “People get stranded, people have trouble and this warranty program is a phenomenal tool. The simplicity of it is what I like, it is as simple as going to a website and it’s pay-as-you-go. This isn’t a long-term contract you have to sign-up for.”
Basmajian said he was hooked on Stewart-Haas Racing from the beginning and when asked why the company only jumped on the car for four races, explained it was all that was available for 2019. He said the SHR believes in “transparency” and he wants to expand the relationship going forward.
(Taken in Part From: Kickin' the Tires)
Changes Announced for Qualifying in the Cup Series at Richmond Raceway
NASCAR is making a change to qualifying for this weekend’s Cup series race at Richmond Raceway by shortening the first 2 sessions to 5 minutes.
Cars will hit the track as a group on Friday night, with the top 24 moving on from the first round and the fastest 12 making it to the final, which is already scheduled to run 5 minutes.
NASCAR didn’t offer a reason for the change, but said that it is specifically for this event. The sanctioning body has already modified its qualifying rules once this season to deal with issues at drafting tracks caused by its new car designs, and is considering additional updates to improve the events.
Richmond isn’t a drafting track, however, so the reasoning behind the rule change remains unclear and it is not being implemented for the Xfinity race.
Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks will see single car qualifying.
Nashville Fairground Speedway In
Jeopardy to Host NASCAR Event
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville racing operator Formosa Productions has breached its contract at the city-owned racetrack by racing after hours, paying rent late and failing to pay Metro a commission from the previous race season, according to the Nashville Fairgrounds.
Nashville Fairgrounds Director Laura Womack alerted Tony and Claire Formosa in a letter Monday that the situation must be remedied in 30 days.
"I encourage you to address these issues with a sense of urgency so that we can continue to work together to ensure a successful 2019 race season," she wrote in the letter obtained by The Tennessean.
Tony Formosa and Formosa Productions has been the racing operator of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville since 2010.
Womack says that the Formosas:
Any events operating outside the established curfew must have prior approval by the Metro Fair Board.
Womack requested immediate payment of the past due amount and requested the Formosas appear at the Fair Board meeting April 16 to address these issues.
However, the Formosas said there was "more to the story" in an interview with the Tennessean on Tuesday.
"Obviously there are somethings that we are aware of that we have taken care of, like the office rent," said Claire Formosa, the vice president of the group.
"The other two things...there is a lot more to it than what is being stated in the letter," she said, declining to go into detail until she presents at the fair board meeting next Tuesday.
"We fully intend to defend ourselves and give our side of the things," she said.
Council member Colby Sledge, whose district includes the fairgrounds, declined to comment. But he previously told The Tennessean that Tony Formosa has fought to run cars during school hours and has also gone past his practice deadline on a weeknight.
Earlier this year, Speedway Motorsports and Formosa entered into a subcontractor agreement that clears the way for NASCAR's return to Nashville. But two significant roadblocks have emerged in ongoing talks that clash with plans for the new Major League Soccer stadium at the Fairgrounds site.
Nashville was awarded a MLS team in 2017 and now the city is pushing to build a stadium for the team to play in.
Part of the site plans for the soccer stadium development places a mixed-use apartment building and parking garage about 20 feet from the current front entrance to the racetrack.
Formosa said a building in such close proximity would make the flow of fans into and out of the racetrack impossible. He also doubted whether a building located so close would allow for future upgrades at the racetrack.
Sledge said he is not in favor of adjusting a site plan that has already gone through more than a year of public input and review by several Metro boards and commissions. He also said he would not go to residents with any negotiations regarding the track when "the operator continues to violate this contract and community trust."
"These regulations and deadlines have been in place for years. I want to have a productive conversation regarding the track, but it is impossible with the operator's continued violations," he said.
An overhaul of the fairgrounds is already underway to make room for the $275 million soccer stadium and surrounding mixed-use development. The new expo center and fair buildings, which are moving to the northeast end of the site, are expected to be operational by August.
It's put burden on the racetrack business, according to Claire Formosa, who said they've had to accommodate parking problems at the fairgrounds and other issues they have "self-created with the construction."
"There's a full detailed list that we have on what we've and to sacrifice or give up for the fairgrounds," she said.
(Taken in Part From: Yihyun Jeong - Nashville Tennessean)
Kyle Busch to Race Indy 500? For Chip Ganassi Racing & Sponsor Monster Energy?
It has been rumored by several sources that Monster Energy could expand its sponsorship with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2020 and sponsor a Monster Energy car in the NTT Indy Car Series.
Long time Indy Car insider, Robin Miller was asked about the potential of Monster Energy joining the Indy Car circuit as a sponsor for Chip Ganassi Racing. Robin mentioned that this is a very strong possibility, but the potential driver even sparked more curiosity.
Kurt Busch who recently brought Monster Energy to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019 could be a great candidate. Busch has one start in the Indianapolis 500 in 2014 for Andretti Autosport. Kurt Busch is in a one-year Cup deal currently with Chip Ganassi Racing and has been rumored to retire at the end of 2019. Kurt mentioned in January 2019 that he hopes to race in other forms of racing eventually, and the Indy 500 could defiantly be an option.
Kyle Larson was also mentioned as a possible Indy 500 driver, since he races for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Cup Series. But this does not look likely to happen any time soon.
The somewhat surprising driver that popped up as a possible driver for CGR in the Indianapolis 500 is Kurt Busch’s brother, Kyle Busch. According to Robin Miller, in Kyle’s new contract with Joe Gibbs Racing approves him to be able to race in the future for another team at the Indianapolis 500. Kyle is also personally sponsored by Monster Energy and could be a great possible fit for this ride.
2019 might be too soon to make any of these possibilities a reality, as preparations for the Indy 500 will start in less than a month. 2020 is a very strong possibility that we could see one of the Busch brothers in the Indy 500.
NASCAR Hall of Fame Fan Vote Now Open
Now is your chance to make your voice heard.
Polls are now open for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Fan Vote. To vote, visit NASCAR.com/halloffame.
Fans are again asked to cast votes for up to five nominees for inclusion into the Class of 2020, and can vote up to 50 times per day. The five nominees who receive the most votes will count as one of the 54 votes cast by the Voting Panel on NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day on May 22. The polls close at noon ET on May 20.
(Taken in Part From: NASCAR.Com)
Richmond Entry List for Weekend Doubleheader
NASCAR holds its second Virginia race weekend of the year when it heads to Richmond Raceway this weekend for a round of night racing. Cup and Xfinity Series teams will be in action at the .750-mile short track.
Friday night will be the Toyota Care 250 Xfinity NASCAR Race. There are 40 cars entered in the race, so 2 cars will be sent home after qualifying. Some notables will be Elliott Sadler will make his first of two scheduled starts driving Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet. Tyler Matthews will make his series debut in the No. 15 for JD Motorsports. Riley Herbst will make his season debut in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kaz Grala is set for his second start of the year for Richard Childress Racing in the No. 21. Zane Smith is set for his third start in JR Motorsports’ No. 8. This is the second Dash for Cash race so no Cup Series drivers will be in the race this weekend.
For the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, we will see out first Saturday night race of the season in the Toyota Owners 400. There are 37 cars entered for the race. Bayley Currey will be in Rich Ware Racing’s No. 52 car, and Quin Houff will make his third start for Spire Motorsports in the No. 77. The only non-charter team will be Joey Gase in the #66 Toyota that will sport a Sam Bass Tribute paint scheme this weekend.
(Taken in Part From: Daniel McFadin - Yahoo Sports)
Empty Grandstands at Bristol Spark Concern
Appalled by so many empty seats at Bristol Motor Speedway, Clint Bowyer did some digging and learned what race fans have known for more than a decade.
Hotels along the Tennessee-Virginia line near the iconic NASCAR track have pushed one of the most popular venues on the circuit beyond the budget of the average attendee. Bowyer made a handful of calls and said he was outraged to discover lower-end lodging starting at more than $300 a night.
"I was so glad Clint brought that up," said Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Bristol's parent company Speedway Motorports Inc. "It's a crazy number some of these hotels are charging and it's just unfortunate. We continue to work with the business bureaus at all of our speedways and it is a challenge we are trying to find solutions to while working with the local business leaders."
Bristol was once the toughest ticket to get in NASCAR and boasted 55 consecutive sellouts from 1982 through 2010. The track only accommodated 30,000 fans when the streak began and expansions began in earnest when SMI bought the track in 1996.
The Coliseum-style structure now holds 146,000, but the crowd size has shrunk so much over the years that Bristol last weekend did not even sell tickets in the turns. Closed sections included the Darrell Waltrip Grandstand on the same weekend the Hall of Famer and all-time winningest driver at Bristol was feted for his upcoming retirement from broadcasting.
The swaths of empty seats - NASCAR and its tracks do not release attendance figures - made for unpleasant optics Sunday during the Cup race, arguably the best race of the season so far.
It featured 21 lead changes, late pit strategy played a role in the outcome and Kyle Busch won again. Many drivers had compelling races, including Brad Keselowski, who lost his shot at the win when he was black-flagged before the final restart for not following a NASCAR directive. Kevin Harvick came from four laps down to finish 13th on a day his team was punished for failing pre-race inspection three times, and Kurt Busch continued to shine as the most consistent driver in the winless Chevrolet camp.
Smith acknowledged the challenges in selling tickets in this current NASCAR climate. Venues doubled and tripled their seating capacity during NASCAR's late 1990s boom and more tracks were built and added to a 10-month schedule.
Oversaturation became a problem and NASCAR and its most loyal fans were among those hit hardest by the 2008 economic collapse. The quality of racing deteriorated, too, and fans stopped coming.
Smith can offer alternatives to the high hotel rates with on-site camping packages; a group can rent a recreational vehicle for the weekend for the same price as booking a single room at most of the local hotels.
Bristol's spring race has also bounced around various March and April dates, and weather is often iffy enough to keep some fans at home. Sunday's race was moved up eight minutes in anticipation of late-day rain, and last year's event was pushed to Monday.
Smith is adamant the easiest promotion is a strong on-track product and the Bristol event was proof that fans can still catch a good show.
"The most important element is great racing and the racing we had at Bristol will sell more tickets will draw more eyeballs," Smith said. "That is the essential component, the essential ingredient for a successful NASCAR event and a successful Bristol event. I think the key for a resurgence in NASCAR is what we saw at Bristol and that's great competition."
(Taken in Part From: Daily Mail)
Monster Energy Asks to Return as Series Sponsor in 2020, NASCAR Says No
NASCAR turned down Monster Energy’s offer to sponsor the Cup Series through the 2020 season, signaling a commitment to their new sponsorship model.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is no more after the 2019 season. NASCAR rejected Monster Energy’s offer to remain as the title sponsor for one more year, showing that they are ready to move forward with a three-tier model set to bundle races, tracks and other aspects in the sport into packages for different companies to sponsor.
The new name of NASCAR‘s premier national series is expected to simply become the NASCAR Cup Series. There is no word yet on if the Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series will adopt this model. They are locked into their current deals for a few more years.
The upcoming model is similar to what other sports leagues around the world either have had in place for a while or have recently adopted. The major American sports leagues have never had title sponsors, and the English Premier League elected to drop the title sponsor model in 2016.
Rather than a title sponsor working out a deal with NASCAR, the tracks and television broadcasters, all three will be bundled together. That much is certain. Branding of a race on TV would be “the NASCAR Cup Series presented by [insert different sponsor each week here].”
At race tracks, it’s a little more difficult to predict since every race aside of the Daytona 500 already has a title sponsor. With sponsorships being bundled, it is still unclear if title sponsors for each track not owned by International Speedway Corporation will be included, but NASCAR probably has some plan to include them. We’ll have to wait for more details on how that level of sponsorship will mesh with the current system of race sponsorship.
(Taken in Part From: Kyle Funderbuke - Beyond the Flag)
Joe Gibbs: "Christopher Bell has a spot at Joe Gibbs Racing for Years to Come"
Joe Gibbs said Sunday it’s his team’s goal to ensure that Erik Jones and Christopher Bell both have “a place with us long‑term.”
Gibbs’ comments came three days after Jones told NBC Sports he was “working through an extension” with Joe Gibbs Racing.
With Jones in his third season in Cup and in a contract year, Jones’ statement raised questions about where and when Bell would compete in Cup.
“I think for us, you don’t comment much on the future other than to say Christopher has a place with us long‑term, and so does Erik,” Gibbs said after Sunday’s Cup race. “That’s our goal. That’s what we’ll keep working on. It’s great to have young people coming, young talent. It’s very important for us. We all know that.”
Bell, 24, won his 10th Xfinity race Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway. He is in his second full-time season in Xfinity with JGR.
But JGR only has four Cup cars and Jones is the only driver in a contract year. The only other Toyota-backed team is Leavine Family Racing, which fields Matt DiBenedetto in the No. 95.
Bell said Friday he never saw Jones’ seat in the No. 20 car as the one he would fill.
“If you look at the Gibbs camp now, I can’t picture anyone being my hole (to fill) because all four cars are running exceptional now,” Bell said. “Watch any of the races, all four are right in the top five. I don’t know where I’m going to land. I’m just enjoying the ride now.”
(Taken in Part From: Daniel McFadin - Yahoo)
Kyle Busch Wins Wild One At
Bristol Motor Speedway
In a battle of the Busch brothers in the closing laps, Kyle Busch got the measure of his older brother Kurt to score his third win of the season. Kyle Busch overcame contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the second lap of the race to win for the eighth time at Bristol, most among active drivers.
Busch, who became the first driver since Terry Labonte in 1992 to start a season with eight consecutive top-10 finishes, took a chance on a caution with less than 20 laps to go to remain on the racetrack while a number of other leaders hit pit road for fresh tires.
Busch's gamble paid off with a win in the spring race at the iconic short track for the second straight year.
"We're crazy. We just do what we need to do to try to win," Busch said. "It was pretty awesome to be able to snooker those guys to get our win today at Bristol. I love this place. It was fun to battle it out with my brother there at the end. This Camry wasn't the best today, but we made the most out of not having the best and got what we needed to at the end."
With the win, Kyle Busch tied Lee Petty for 10th on the all-time list with 54 career Cup Series victories.
Kurt Busch, who came into Bristol with six Cup wins at the track, was seeking his first of the 2019 season and his first with new team Chip Ganassi Racing. He said he really wanted to take down his brother.
"That one was tough, I really wanted to beat him," Kurt Busch said. "I was going to wreck him. I was wanting to stay close enough so that when we took the white (flag), I was just going to drive straight into (turns) 3 and 4. I mean he's already won; I figured he could give a little love to his brother. No, of course not.
"I wanted that one bad. I feel like him right now — all mad because I didn't win."
Joey Logano finished third, followed by Penske teammate Ryan Blaney and last week's winner Denny Hamlin. Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top 10
(Taken in Part From: Ellen J Horrow - USA Today)
Hendrick Motorsports Captures Third Front Row Starting Lineup in 2019
Chase Elliott will start up front at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday after the 23-year-old won his first pole of the season,
As good as Elliott was, it was Ryan Blaney who had the fastest car for much of the day Friday as he set the track record in Round 2 with a 14.528-second run.
Blaney has been very good as of late finishing with three top-fives in his last four races and will once again be in good position to come away with a great placing.
William Byron will start second. This is Hendrick Motorsports 3rd front row starting positions, and second in a row. William Byron captured his first career pole at the Daytona 500, followed by teammate, Alex Bowman. Last week Jimmie Johnson beat a 3-year pole position slump and won the pole at Texas Motor Speedway followed by teammate, William Byron. Now this week with Chase Elliott getting his first pole of the season followed once again by William Byron.
(Taken in Part From: Thomas Lott - Sporting News)
Ryan Blaney Captures Track Record at
Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday
In the second round of qualifying for the Food City 500, Ryan Blaney had a fast lap, a really fast lap. Blaney broke the track record with a lap of 14.528 second run. Beating the old track record held by Denny Hamlin set in 2016.
Unfortunately Blaney had some driver errors in the final round of qualifying and will start 3rd on Sunday.
Christopher Bell Not Sure
Where He Will Race in 2020
Christopher Bell doesn’t know what he will be doing next season yet in NASCAR, and the Joe Gibbs Racing driver surprisingly seems unworried about his timetable for reaching the Cup Series.
“If I ever make it to Cup,” Bell told reporters Friday afternoon
“I mean, yeah, unless you know something I don’t,” Bell said with a smile.
But Bell, 24, spent much of his media session Friday singing the praises of his enjoyment of racing the Xfinity Series and seemed content if he remains on the circuit for another year. Is there a new attitude this season?
“Yeah, I’m trying to figure out how to word this,” he said with a laugh. “So obviously I want to go to Cup, right? But I never meant that phrase as, ‘I don’t want to be in Xfinity,’ because I love the Xfinity Series, and like I just said, I love the cars and feel they race well.
“Ultimately I get to drive race cars for a living, so that’s really cool.”
The status and career path of Bell has been an open question that has drawn much scrutiny. Officials from Toyota Racing Development, which has invested millions in helping groom the dirt racing prodigy, have said numerous times that Bell will remain in the Toyota camp for his inevitable promotion to Cup.
That’s prompted speculation because there are only five viable Toyota seats – four of which belong to Joe Gibbs Racing, which is fielding Bell in the Xfinity for the second consecutive season.
The only JGR driver in a contract year is Erik Jones, who recently told NBC Sports that he is working on an extension with the team. The only other option would be Leavine Family Racing, whose No. 95 Toyota is filled by Matt DiBenedetto this season, or this could become a two car team in 2020.
Bell said he hasn’t asked about his 2020 schedule yet and is unconcerned.
“It’s still early in the year,” the Norman, Okla., native said. “Normally, I don’t figure out where I land until August-ish. So we’re definitely early in the year to know where I’m going to be.”
And when he does know, he isn’t expecting to take Jones’ spot or anyone else at Gibbs.
“I never really pictured Erik being my hole,” Bell said. “If you look at the Gibbs camp now, I can’t picture anyone being my hole because all four cars are running exceptional now. Watch any of the races, all four are right in the top five. I don’t know where I’m going to land. I’m just enjoying the ride now.”
(Taken in Part From: Nate Ryan - NBC Sports)
Erik Jones Working on Contract Extension
at Joe Gibbs Racing
If Christopher Bell is moving up to the Cup Series in 2020, it sure doesn’t look like it’ll be at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Erik Jones said Friday that he’s working on a contract extension with JGR. Jones, 22, is in his second season with the four-car team and said he’s hopeful an agreement would be reached in the next couple months.
“Obviously both sides are fighting against each other with the extension, but I think there’s a middle ground,” Jones said. “We’re pretty close to where we both want to be. I want to be there for a long time and JGR [Joe Gibbs Racing] I think wants to continue our relationship for a long time, so I feel like it’s pretty close.”
Bell won the 2017 Truck Series title with Kyle Busch Motorsports and seven races in his first full season of Xfinity competition with JGR in 2018. He’s on a quick path toward the Cup Series.
But there’s no space at JGR. Kyle Busch recently signed a contract extension with the team. Martin Truex Jr. is 18 months removed from a Cup title and joined after Furniture Row Racing shut down following the 2018 season. Denny Hamlin signed a contract extension before the 2017 season and, like Busch, has won two races in 2019.
So for some, Jones looked to be the odd man out at JGR if the team wanted to promote Bell to the Cup Series in 2020. But that idea doesn’t make much sense even removing Jones’ potential contract extension from the equation. Jones is two years younger than Bell and won a Truck Series title in 2015 before moving to the Xfinity Series full-time in 2016.
(Taken in Part From: Nick Bromberg - Yahoo)
Darrell Waltrip Announces Retirement as Broadcaster in the Fox Sports Booth
After living life in the fast lane for the last 60 years, Darrell Waltrip is backing off the throttle.
The 72-year-old NASCAR legend and Franklin resident says he will cross the finish line of his television broadcasting career at the end of Fox Sports' NASCAR race coverage this season, which ends on June 23 with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, California.
Waltrip, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame who has been in the booth since 2001, picked this week to make the announcement as he prepares to call the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he experienced his greatest success as a driver.
What better place for a memorable occasion than where some of his fondest memories took place? Waltrip won 12 times, including seven straight races from 1981-84, at Bristol.
"Bristol is my house. I've got 12 wins at Bristol, I've got a grandstand that has 43,000 seats in my honor at Bristol," Waltrip said. "It's in Tennessee. I love that racetrack. It's been good to me. I could've waited until Charlotte or somewhere else down the road, but it's been hanging over my head. I just wanted to clear the air, let people know what my plans are and then other people can make plans accordingly. Like who's going to take my place or is somebody going to take my place?"
Replacing Waltrip, who shares the booth with Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon, won't be easy. His familiar catchphrase "Boogity, boogity, boogity — let's go racing, boys!" will be missed as much as his witty commentary and wealth of NASCAR knowledge.
“Darrell has been the heart and soul of the Fox NASCAR booth since day one, so it’s incredibly bittersweet to know this is his final season,” said Fox Sports CEO & executive producer Eric Shanks. “DW’s unmatched charisma and passion helped Fox Sports build its fan base when we first arrived at Daytona in 2001, and he has been the cornerstone of our NASCAR coverage ever since."
(Taken in Part From: Mike Organ - Nashville Tennessean)
Austin to Throwback to Grandfathers
Paint Scheme at Darlington
Richard Childress Racing is first team to reveal its throwback paint schemes for the Sept. 1 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
While the theme of NASCAR’s fifth throwback weekend this year is focused around 1990-94, RCR will be going farther back than that.
Austin Dillon‘s No. 3 Chevrolet will be based on a No. 3 car that Childress raced himself in the late 1970s.
Instead of a tribute to an old race car, RCR will recognize the history of sponsor Caterpillar with its scheme. Hemric’s car, with battleship gray and orange colors, is inspired by the design of CAT equipment and the logo used on them from its launch in 1925 until 1931.
Hemric will make his first Cup start at Darlington after making two starts there in the Xfinity Series. His best result was 11th last year.
(Taken in Part From: Daniel McFadin - NBC Sports)
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in
Jeopardy of New Development
Two roadblocks have emerged in the ongoing talks between Speedway Motorsports and Mayor David Briley about bringing a NASCAR race to Nashville's Fairgrounds Speedway — clashing with plans for the new Major League Soccer stadium.
Briley's administration has not seen details on how the upgrades necessary to bring NASCAR to the fairgrounds would be financed.
And the feasibility of a major upgrade to the racetrack remains questionable since the soccer stadium project will place a building so close to the track that the current operator says he’ll have trouble putting on races in the future.
Despite those major questions, a top Speedway Motorsports executive expressed optimism about the company’s talks with the city. Speedway Motorsports owns eight NASCAR tracks, including Bristol Motor Speedway in East Tennessee.
Earlier this year, Speedway Motorsports and current track operator Tony Formosa entered into a subcontractor agreement that clears the way for NASCAR's return to Nashville. Both Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR have said Nashville is an ideal market for a future race.
Part of the site plans for the soccer stadium development places a mixed-use apartment building and parking garage about 20 feet from the current front entrance to the racetrack.
Formosa said a building in such close proximity would make the flow of fans into and out of the stadium impossible. He also doubted whether a building located so close would allow for future upgrades at the racetrack.
“You have to have that open for emergency vehicles, and for people to enter,” Formosa said. “That’s the main gate.”
A possible solution to the financing question appears to be on the table with state legislation that would redirect tax revenue generated at future NASCAR-sanctioned races to help pay for upgrades at the racetrack.
“Mayor Briley is happy to entertain a common-sense proposal to revitalize the iconic track at the fairgrounds,” Briley’s spokesman Thomas Mulgrew said, adding that the mayor has met with the group on several occasions to discuss various options.
"To date, (Speedway Motorsports) has not presented an option that was either practical considering the planned MLS stadium or financially feasible considering the mayor’s insistence on private investment in any proposal," Mulgrew said.
(Taken in Part From: Nate Rau / Yihyun Jeong - Nashville Tennessean)
Monster Energy Looks to Remain a Sponsor
with NASCAR Premier Series
New Sponsorship Model in 2020
Monster Energy is in their final year of a 3 year deal to have naming rights on the NASCAR Cup Series. It was announced in fall of 2018 that starting in 2020 NASCAR will move to a new sponsorship model for their Premier (Cup) Series.
NASCAR is looking for several sponsors to sponsor the series in different capacity for television and at the race track in replacement of one sponsor for the entire series.
It was reported by Adam Stern - Sports Business Journal that Monster Energy's Mitch Congton said Monster is in talks with NASCAR about continuing as a Premier Series sponsor in 2020. Mitch also mentioned that fans might see Monster become more available to sponsor race teams and races starting in 2020.
Other brands that have been rumored in the new sponsorship model has been Coca-Cola, Shell Oil, GEICO, and Xfinity
NASCAR Considering Single Car Qualifying For Monster Energy Cup Series
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, said on Sirus XM NASCAR Radio Monday morning that NASCAR is looking at all options for qualifying in the Monster Energy Cup Series starting at the Kansas race on May 12th.
The next four weeks, NASCAR will not have to worry about qualifying. Both at Bristol and Dover, the draft will not be a primary factor in qualifying, so there should be no issues at this track similar to Martinsville race the week before. NASCAR also races at Talladega, which is already set up as single car qualifying. NASCAR has an off weekend April 21st for Easter.
O'Donnell said everything is on the table for qualifying in the future, including the possibility of returning to single car qualifying.
Entry Lists Released for Bristol Race Weekend
The Entry List for both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series were released early Monday morning ahead of a double header weekend.
The Cup Series sees 38 cars on the entry list for the Food City 500. The two non-charter teams are Reed Sorenson in the #27 for Premier Motorsports, and Joey Gase in the #66 for MBM Motorsports. Some other notables in the field, Cody Ware in the #51, Bayley Currey in the #52, and Quin Houff in the #77
The Xfinity Series sees 37 cars on the entry list for the Alsco 300. Everyone will make the race this weekend. This will be the first Dash for Cash race in 2019, so no Cup drivers will be in the race this weekend. Some notables, Zane Smith will be in the #8 for Jr Motorsports, Harrison Burton will make his Xfinity Series debut in the #18 car for Joe Gibbs Racing, and 77 year old, Morgan Shepherd will be making his 450th career start in the series.
Denny Hamlin Captures the Victory at Texas
A fast car can cure a lot of mistakes. Just ask Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin.
The reigning Daytona 500 winner overcame a slew of penalties — some self-inflicted — to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Although the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry got down, he was never out of contention. Hamlin led three times for 45 laps en route to his third win at Texas, his second win of the season and the fourth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory for Joe Gibbs Racing in the first seven races of 2019.
“I missed pit road under green, that cost us three or four seconds, as well,” Hamlin said. “I don’t know. We tried every way we could to give it away, and we found a way to do it with this FedEx Camry.”
With a splash-and-go fuel stop on Lap 319, Hamlin cycled back to the lead four laps later and extended his advantage over Clint Bowyer by 2.743-seconds at the finish.
“Our car was really, really fast,” Hamlin said. “We obviously saw that. Once we got out front, we were able to pull away from the pack a little bit. Got a little bit loose when we were racing our teammates in the 18 (Kyle Busch) and the 20 (Erik Jones). So wasn’t able to be as aggressive as I was earlier in the race. We had a super-fast car. That’s why we won.”
Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and polesitter Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.
(Taken in part from Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service)
Xtream Concepts Racing Looking at Possible Big Plans in Near Future
Xtream Concepts Racing is the newest team currently in NASCAR, but with some big backing from Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing, this could become the next powerhouse team in NASCAR.
Xtream Concept Inc. is a company that trains Law Enforcement with military exercises. i-K9 is one of the main focuses of Xtream Concepts Inc. which has been primary sponsors several races with Jeffery Earnhardt and Kyle Busch as the driver.
Well now Xtream Concepts Racing was formed over the winter, making Xtream Concepts Inc. become a car owner in both the Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup Series in 2019 part time.
The team is ran by Joe Gibbs Racing. The race shop is housed in Joe Gibbs Racing, and all employees for this team are Joe Gibbs Racing employees. In an interview on Sirius XM Radio Show, The Front Stretch, Joe Gibbs Racing Director of Competition, Adam Stevens talked about the collaboration with the team. Adam Stevens said he is the Director of Competition of both teams. JGR will create the cars in house for Xtream Concepts Racing, and will use JGR employees for all aspects of this new race team.
Adam Stevens said this team will race a hand full of races in each series with Jeffery Earnhardt as the driver in the #81 Toyota. Stevens also said he will remain the Competition Director through 2019 for both teams, but currently Joe Gibbs Racing is looking at its options with Xtream Concepts Racing for 2020.
It is possible to see the #81 full time in 2020, which would become a very close satellite team with Joe Gibbs Racing. Toyota who has been vocal in the past that they hope to have another Toyota powerhouse team in the near future in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Currently the only current multi car Toyota team in the Cup Series is Joe Gibbs Racing.
After the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Auto Club Speedway, ended with zero drivers setting times in the final shootout session, it was abundantly clear that the series had to make adjustments to its controversial group qualifying format to avoid total chaos.
NASCAR announced a few changes ahead of this weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but drivers didn't make it through a single session before new problems cropped up.
Starting this weekend, NASCAR mandated that drivers are to wait in "staging" lines along pit road to leave a center open lane. In theory, drivers are meant to pull into the center lane and progress to the track unimpeded. According to the rule announcement shared by NASCAR.com, once a driver pulls out of a staging line, they are required to continue onto the track.
"Starting at Texas, vehicles not immediately making a qualifying attempt will be staged in a track-specific area designated by NASCAR. Once a vehicle leaves the area, it must continue directly onto the race track — it cannot stop at the end of pit road and wait in a gamesmanship play."
In practice, this means that pulling out of a staging line is a leap of faith. Due to the importance of the draft, no driver wants to be the first car in line, and if you pull out on track before everyone else, you could be at a major disadvantage. In Friday's qualifying session, we saw several drivers pull out of line into the center lane, only to duck back into the staging area when they realized that no other cars were headed on track.
Ryan Newman left the staging area and rolled down the center lane to put up his first time in the opening session, and when Bowyer saw Newman pass, he quickly pulled out of line to follow. Newman immediately stopped, however, and attempted to force his way back into the staging area. Bowyer was forced to stop, but was able to squeeze around Newman and continue with qualifying.
Bowyer vented in an interview with Jamie Little, calling the outcome an "epic failure."
NASCAR later Friday evening, said they were still not happy with the outcome of Texas qualifying and changes will be made soon the qualifying.
(Taken in part from Nick Shwartz - USA Today)
Kyle Busch continued his winning ways out west.
Busch held off Stewart Friesen by 1.269-seconds for his fourth-consecutive NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory of the season and his fourth-career win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Busch led a race-high 97 laps in the Vankor 350 en route to his 55th career series win and his 202nd among NASCAR’s top three national series.
“Those guys were able to keep up with us just way too much throughout the night,” Busch said. “You know, it’s a better race that way when they’re able to keep up. That means we need to go to work and work harder in order to get ourselves faster.”
Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Tyler Ankrum, Ross Chastain, Tyler Dippel, Brennan Poole and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top 10 finishers. The race was slowed by 10 cautions—tying the series track record.
(Taken in part from Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service)
When Jeff Gordon joined FOX Sports’ NASCAR broadcast team in 2016, Darrell Waltrip said his reaction was, “Oh boy.”
Not because he didn’t want to work with Gordon, but Waltrip said he just wasn’t sure if they’d work well together with him being almost 25 years older than Gordon. He also wanted to tease Gordon a bit, but he wasn’t sure how the newly retired driver would take that either.
Waltrip admitted “it was a little awkward to start,” but with the duo in their fourth season broadcasting together, along with Mike Joy, they’ve become great friends. And rather than hindering them, he thinks their generational differences actually complement each other on air.
“At first, I was afraid to pick on him because I didn’t know how he was going to react because my impression was he might not necessarily think that was funny,” said Waltrip. “But as we worked together and have become really good friends, I can now pick on him and make fun of him.”
However, Darrell Waltrip has been rumored this entire weekend that he could end up retiring at the end of 2019. We broke the story earlier this week that Kevin Harvick was rumored to replace Waltrip in the Fox booth as early as next year, but Stewart Hass Racing quickly squashed those rumors. It is likely that Waltrip could move on after this season, but no word who could become his replacement.
(Taken in part from Michael Martinellie - For the Win)
Leavine Family Racing Looking to
Become a Two-Car Team in 2020
Bob Leavine, owner of Leavine Family Racing said they are hoping to become a two car team soon. Bob on the possibility to see two cars in 2020: "Yes. Absolutely. We were going to run two cars for this year with Daniel Suarez and a driver we selected but that didn't work.
Christoper Bell has been rumored as the second driver at Leavine Family Racing in 2020.
Leavine Family Racing did race a part time team twice in 2017 with Michael McDowell in the #59 Chevrolet.
Interstate Batteries Returns to JGR to
Extend a 30 Year Relationship
Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that it has renewed its on-going partnership with Interstate Batteries in a multi-year agreement that will extend the relationship beyond 30 years. As one of the longest running sponsorships in professional sports, Interstate Batteries will continue to serve as the official battery of Joe Gibbs Racing and primary sponsor on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series No. 18 Toyota Camry driven by Kyle Busch for six races annually.
“I tell people all the time that one of the great things about professional sports is the relationships you have a chance to develop over the years and I don’t know if there is a better example than what we have with Norm Miller and everyone there at Interstate Batteries,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing.
(Taken in part from Press Release JGR)
Whats the Future Name of
'The Cup Series' in 2020?
One thing that stood out to me in NASCAR announcements yesterday is everyone from NASCAR referred to the series as 'The Premier Series' and not 'The Cup Series'. When NASCAR rebranded themselves back in 2017, I remember them saying the top series will be know as the 'Premier Series' and not always have the 'Cup' name in the title. Moments later they announced the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and most people forgot about the Premier Series name.
This is worth bringing up again as we all know Monster Energy will leave as title sponsor, and NASCAR will have a new sponsorship model that will not include a sponsor in the title of the series.
A little history, since 2017, it has been named for its sponsor, Monster Energy but has been known by other names in the past. The series began in 1949 as the Strictly Stock Division,and from 1950 to 1970 it was known as the Grand National Division. In 1971, when the series began leasing its naming rights to the R.J. Reynolds Tabaco Company, it was referred to as the Winston Cup Series. A similar deal was made with Nextel in 2003, and it became the Nextel Cup Series (2004–2007). Sprint acquired Nextel in 2005, and in 2008 the series was renamed the Sprint Cup Series, which lasted until 2016. In December 2016, it was announced that Monster Energy would become the new title sponsor starting in 2017.
So the question is, what will the new Premier Series name be, which now know as the Cup Series in 2020?
Practice Speeds Too Fast for NASCAR After Test at Daytona With New Package
After a test in February with the new Aero Package the Monster Energy Cup Series have, the three cars who tested saw speeds almost over 200mph.
For this first time coming up at Talladega, NASCAR will not race a restrictor plate for the first time since 1988 at a Superspeedway race track. They will move to something similar which is now standard at all race tracks called a tapperd spacer.
The three cars that test after the Daytona 500 with the new engine and areo package were Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, and Daniel Hemric. When the three cars were wide open in only a three car draft, they were clock speeds close to 200mph. NASCAR believes that these speeds will be much faster with a pack of 40 cars.
NASCAR wanted to avoid limiting horsepower in the cars, so instead they will make the following adjustments:
NASCAR gives the teams the tapered spacer before every race weekend to be installed at the track. NASCAR will have smaller tapered spacer devices if the horsepower still seems to be too fast during the practice and qualifying sessions for the Cup Series.
Major Changes Coming for 2020 Season Schedule
NASCAR unveiled a retooled 2020 NASCAR Premier Series schedule on Tuesday, releasing a 36-race slate that includes a reimagined Playoffs and new locations for both the Championship Race and the regular-season finale among several other changes.
For the first time since 2002, the premier series finale will have a new host track – the 1-mile ISM Raceway at Phoenix, which recently completed a $178 million renovation project designed to improve the fan experience, and one which included a reconfiguration for the track.
The Playoffs will open Sept. 6 at historic Darlington Raceway, whose throwback weekend has become a staple of late summer. The opening round ends at Bristol Motor Speedway under the lights, with one of the most anticipated races of the year moving from its traditional August date to Sept. 19.
The Charlotte road course remains an elimination race after its thrilling debut last year, but in the Round of 12 instead of the Round of 16. With ISM Raceway moving to the championship race, the vacancy for the Round of 8 finale slides to Martinsville Speedway. The shortest and oldest track on the NASCAR circuit has a history of producing plenty of drama in its previous high-stakes Playoffs races, something sure to amp up even more with drivers having just one final chance to clinch a spot in the Championship 4.
Before the postseason, the Playoffs field will be fully set and finalized in the new-look regular-season finale at historic Daytona International Speedway, a race sure to throw a dash of unpredictability into the postseason picture.
A summer stretch includes a doubleheader weekend at Pocono Raceway that will see back-to-back NASCAR Premier Series races on the same weekend. The first such instance in the NASCAR modern era, this doubleheader on Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28, also ensures the season ends one week earlier on Nov. 8.
Additional summer changes include a Cup Series race on Father’s Day, which recently has been an off weekend for the premier series. Chicagoland Speedway hosts the event, the first in the NBC portion of the schedule. With the Daytona summer race moving to the end of the regular season, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will serve as host of the July 4th weekend. It hosts the NASCAR Premier Series race on Sunday, July 5.
Hosting the Round of 8 finale isn’t the only change for Martinsville Speedway. The .526-mile track will host its first NASCAR national series race under the facility’s newly installed lights on Mother’s Day weekend, May 9, 2020.
Previously the host of the finale, Homestead-Miami Speedway’s race is slated for March 22, 2020, in the early portion of the regular season. The 1.5-mile track with variable banking produces some of the best racing all year.
NASCAR goes West earlier this year, with the three-race West Coast swing starting immediately after the season-opening Daytona 500, with Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosting the second race of the season, followed by Auto Club Speedway and ISM Raceway.
The four final races of the regular season are designed to test the mettle of NASCAR’s top drivers on a variety of courses. That four-race slate includes a wide 2-mile oval (Michigan), a road course (Watkins Glen), a fast, 1-mile concrete track (Dover) and a 2.5-mile Superspeedway (Daytona).
(Taken in part from Brad Norman - NASCAR.com)
Pocono Raceway CEO Says
There Will Be 5 Races in One Weekend
Pocono Raceway President & CEO, Brandon Igdalsky was on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio a few moments ago and talked about why Pocono wanted to become the first track to try the double header. He said this will make Pocono become a destination race for fans, and will be known as a crown jewel race weekend.
Brandon went on to say that there will be 5 NASCAR Races in that weekend. One race Friday, two on Saturday, and two on Sunday. He said he can not speak to which series will race on which days until after the Xfinity and Truck schedules are released, so it sounds like Xfinity could have a double header that weekend also.
Brandon mentioned that in 2020 all the races will be on the current layout, but has talked to NASCAR about future road-course races at the facility in 2021 and beyond. Brandon mentioned that he is willing to work with NASCAR on how they see Pocono be the best fit.
Additionally Brandon mentioned several upgrades that Pocono Raceway will receive before 2020 including new playground area and amenities for kids, and a new event center that will be able to host NASCAR events and meet & greets with drivers on race weekend.
Entry List for Texas Posted for all Three Series.
Also, Kyle Busch will be in all Three Races
The entry list for this weekends races were released a moments ago. There will be 40 cars at Texas in the Cup Series this weekend, which is the most cars we have seen on track since the Daytona 500.
A few notables, Reed Sorenson will be back behind the #27 car for Premium Motorsports, Cody Ware and BJ McLoud will be back at Rick Ware Racing, Timmy Hill will be in the #66, Garrett Smithly in the #77, Gaunt Brothers Racing returns with Parker Kliggerman in the #96, and Obaika will have a TBA driver in their #97 as they atempt their first race of the season.
In Xfinity Series, 40 cars are entered in a 38 car field. Jeffery Earnhardt will be racing with a new team, Xtream Concepts Racing carrying the #81 i-k9 Toyota.
Trucks have 32 entries, so all trucks will make the field.
Kyle Busch will be in all three series once again this weekend.
Breaking Down of Potential 2020 Schedule
As soon as NASCAR announced Monday morning that this week the 2020 schedule was going to be announced, NASCAR Nation went crazy with rumors of potential changes we could see in the NASCAR schedule next season.
Some of the rumors are likely going to happen, some were shockingly possible, and some were down right crazy. Lets break it all down for you on what is likely, possible, and unlikely.
Atlanta Gets a Date Farther In the Season: This is very likely. There have been rumors that Atlanta asked for a later date in the season. It has been reported from several sources that after Daytona in February, NASCAR will go on their west cost swing. This could make Atlanta become the 5th race of the season.
We will race a new track in 2020: This is unlikely. NASCAR has agreements with all of its race tracks through the 2020 season. No races should go away from any race tracks in 2020, and NASCAR most likely will not introduce any new Cup Series tracks in 2020. But that doesn't mean we won't see a new track like Rockingham or Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway get a Truck or Xfinity race.
Pocono will have two Cup races in one weekend: This is possible. Several NASCAR media reporters on Monday mentioned the possibility that Pocono will have a double header schedule. One Cup race on Saturday, and one on Sunday. This will mean only one race weekend of Pocono, and will be a way for NASCAR to shorten the schedule without actually loosing any races in 2020.
Phoenix will replace Homestead-Miami as the final race of the season: This is possible. This rumor was started by the Associated Press and quickly spread through social media. Ford and Championship weekend sponsorship ends the end of 2019, Homestead could move earlier in the season.
The Daytona Summer Night Race will Move to September: This is an interesting rumor that popped up from Jenna Fryer and the Associated Press on Monday, and it sounds like this could be a strong possibility. The rumor states that the Daytona Night Race would be the final race before the playoffs in September, replacing Indianapolis Motor Speedway which could move their date to early July.
Texas Motor Speedway will loose a date and join Indy in a double header at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas: This is possible in the future, but unlikely for 2020 as Texas Motor Speedway is locked in with two races. This is possible in 2021.
The Clash Goes Away: After a lack luster 2019 Clash which started off the season before the Daytona 500, there was quite a few questions swirling around that this Clash might have had its final bow. There is a possibility that this race could go away, however ever more of a possibility will be the Duel races to discontinue in 2020.
Martinsville Gets a Night Race: Martinsville invested tens of thousands of dollars in lights at the Speedway in 2017 in hopes to soon have a night race at Martinsville. I know many of the fan would like to see that, and would be an easy move for NASCAR to make. It is possible.
Qualifying Changes Announced ahead of
Texas Race Weekend
NASCAR announced Monday in a memo to teams a host of qualifying procedure updates, including additional deterrence measures, for all three NASCAR national series ahead of the upcoming race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Starting at Texas, any driver that does not take a lap in any of the qualifying rounds will have all previously posted times in the session disallowed – which means instead of falling back on the previous round’s time, that driver would start the race from the back. Additionally, any driver who blocks pit road — at the judgment of NASCAR – in a way that prohibits other drivers from exiting pit road will incur a penalty, such as disallowing that team’s posted qualifying speed and/or disqualifying that car from additional qualifying rounds.
“The inherent problem (at Auto Club) was obviously everybody waiting to the end, and it being unorderly on the end of pit road with people blocking and playing all kinds of games,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller told NASCAR.com. “So really, we want to retake control and make order out of pit road and the way that drivers leave.
“We want to allow every competitor the chance to leave pit road when they want to leave and not be at the mercy of somebody else.”
Starting at Texas, vehicles not immediately making a qualifying attempt will be staged in a track-specific area designated by NASCAR. Once a vehicle leaves the area, it must continue directly onto the race track — it cannot stop at the end of pit road and wait in a gamesmanship play.
The structure of group qualifying will not change — meaning the first of three rounds is 10 minutes, the second round is five minutes and the third and final round is five minutes.
(Taken in part from Brad Norman - NASCAR.com)
GEICO becomes NASCAR
Official Insurance Provider
NASCAR and Geico have announced a multi-year deal that will see the company become the official insurance partner of North America’s preeminent stock car racing organization.
The partnership will see NASCAR provide Geico with exclusive status and promotional rights in the insurance category, whilst Geico will exhibit through at-track activations throughout the year.
The partnership further cements Geico’s relationship with NASCAR. The company already has a team relationship with Germain Racing and visibility through the Geico Restart Zone, which is present at many NASCAR tracks.
“Our partnership with Geico deepens their presence in the sport and provides them even more opportunities to engage our brand loyal fans to maximize their marketing objectives,” said Jon Truck, vice president and chief revenue officer at NASCAR.
Through Geico’s partnership with NASCAR, the insurance firm will now join the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council, allowing the company to network and access an exclusive group of fellow NASCAR sponsors to develop business opportunities and relationships.
“Our affiliation with NASCAR has been successful over the past decade, and expanding our partnership to include rights with the sanctioning body was the next logical step,” added Bill Brower, assistant vice president of marketing for Geico. “Our expanded presence will allow us to further engage the most brand loyal fans in sports and bolster our effective marketing platform.”
(Taken in part from Joe Levy - Sports Pro)
Harvick to Replace Darrell Waltrip
in Fox booth? Not yet
Jenna Fryer with The Associated Press tweeted on Monday that Kevin Harvick is expected to replace Darrell Waltrip in the the Fox Sports booth starting in 2020. Those rumors were quickly squashed by someone close to Stewart Hass Racing saying they plan to keep Kevin Harvick with the organization for years to come.
However there may be more to look into this story.
There have been several changes in the Fox Sports booth recently, and we might see some more coming very soon. In 2017 Fox moved Larry McRenyolds out of the booth in replace for Jeff Gordon after his retirement in 2016. McRenyolds still holds an important on-air role with Fox Sports during its NASCAR coverage.
Over the off season there was quite a bit of more shuffling around of on air personnel. Fox let Jeff Hamond, and John Roberts go, and Chris Meyers was unassigned a NASCAR role with Fox, but still highlights other sports. There was the elimination of "The Hollywood Hotel" and much of the broadcast is now done live in a studio in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fox Sports has hired several new analyst for all of the races in Ricky Craven, and Jamie McMurray.
It is being rumored that Darrell Waltrip's contract is up at the end of the 2019 season, and this could be his last. If DW leaves Fox Sports, who will fill that position in the future?
Harvick, who has been announcing all Xfinity Races for Fox Sports this season would seem like a good fit now or in the future, however he is still under contract with Stewart Hass Racing through the 2020 season.
Brad Keselowski Dominates Martinsville for Second Win of the Season
Brad Keselowski dominated today in Martinsville leading 446 of the 500 laps in the STP 500. Brad took the lead from pole winner and teamate, Joey Lagano within the first 10 laps of the race and kept the lead through most of the race.
Brad had to hold off a hard charging Chase Elliott in the final laps which he beat by .594 seconds to the line. Third was Kyle Busch, followed by Ryan Blaney, and Denny Hamlin who overcame a pit road penalty for an uncontrolled tire late in the race.
The victory was Keselowski’s second of the season, second at Martinsville and the 29th of his career. It was also Team Penske’s third triumph of the season in six races
“The car was really good,” Keselowski said. “This Ford Mustang. … Ford worked really hard in the offseason to build these cars and make them real strong, and so far, so good. Just a great day for our team.
“Awesome execution on pit road, and big credit to (engine builder) Doug Yates and all the engine stuff. Those guys worked really hard. But just one of those days you dream of as a race car driver where you’ve got a great car.”
(Taken in part from Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service)
Changes Coming to Cup Qualifying Before Texas
NASCAR plans to make changes to qualifying early next week after all 12 Cup drivers failed to complete a lap before time expired in the final round at Auto Club Speedway, making what one series executive said was “a mockery out of the qualifying.” Scott Miller, senior vice president of competition, expressed his disappointment with what happened at Auto Club Speedway.
According to Clair B. Lane on her Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Show, Dialed In, there are two rules that are expected to be announced for qualifying. The first expected change will make drivers stay in their pit stall until they are ready to make a qualifying run, which will prevent drivers lining up at the end of pit road. The second change will be that you must qualify in a round that you qualify in. If you do not make an attempt, you will start at the end of the field and not be listed as attempting a qualifying lap, even if you did take a time in a previous round.
(Taken in part from Dustin Long - NBC Sports)
Martinsville Speedway Announced
New Glen Wood Tower
Martinsville Speedway announced prior to the STP 500 that the speedway will rename their turn 1 town grandstand as "The Glen Wood Tower".
Wood Brothers Racing was started by Glen and Leonard Wood in the 1950's near Martinsville Speedway. Glen passed away at age 93 at his home in Virginia this past January. The Wood Brothers has a total of 199 premier NASCAR Cup Series wins. Prior to the race, Glen's brother, Leonard paced the field with an original Glen Wood race car he raced at Martinsville in the 1950's
Rockingham Meets with NASCAR R+D
About Future Track Upgrades
Rockingham Speedway is coming back to life.
The Rock Entertainment Complex, formerly North Carolina Motor Speedway, was purchased last fall by Raleigh-based land developer Dan Lovenheim, who plans to renovate the venue into a multipurpose entertainment facility, including motorsports.
It was reported this weekend that the NASCAR R&D Center had a visit with track owners this past week at the facility to talk safety upgrades that are necessary in the future hold a NASCAR race. Some of the upgrade will include safer barriers, caution lights, and pit road amenities.
There have been rumors that the track could return racing as soon as 2021 for one or multiple NASCAR Series.
(Taken in part from Matt Weaver - Autoweek)
STP Leaves Richard Petty Motorsports as a
Primary Sponsor in 2019
STP was expected to be a primary sponsor for two races in 2019 on the Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet at Martinsville and Darlington. However it was announced early Friday that STP will not have primary sponsorship on the #43 for this weekend, or any other races this season.
STP will remain as a major associate sponsor in 2019 and both Darrell Wallace Jr. / Richard Petty will continue to take part in STP appearances at the race track. This weekend the #43 will be sponsored by Transportation Impact. This is one of several sponsors that has left RPM in 2019.
No NASCAR Driver Council in 2019
MONSTER ENERGY CUP SERIES:
Sunday, April 28th - 2:00pm EST