Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shocker: Dale Earnhardt Jr Wins Most Popular Driver

The National Motorsports Press Association announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the recipient of this year's NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. It is the 11th consecutive year Earnhardt Jr. has been selected through a vote of the fans, breaking a tie with Bill Elliott for most consecutive awards received. Elliott continues to hold the overall mark, having been named the series' most popular driver 16 times. "I don't really keep track of the stats or the score, but Bill was a great driver and ambassador for the sport," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He represents the sport really well to this day, as does his son Chase, who's coming up and carrying on the family name. But, I've always looked up to Bill as a driver so it's pretty neat." More than 1 million votes were tallied for 39 eligible drivers from this year's first race to the last at the site www.MostPopularDriver.com. Fans voted once per day with Earnhardt Jr. collecting more than 700,000 votes. The award was presented to the Hendrick Motorsports driver today during the annual NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon, a part of the season-ending Champions Week activities in Las Vegas. The final top-10 drivers, in order of votes received were: Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. Earnhardt Jr. is still honored to receive the trophy.

Source: Jayski

Changes to Hall of Fame Eligibility

NASCAR on Thursday announced a number of changes to the selection process for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, including one that could lead to quicker enshrinement for veteran drivers like Mark Martin and Bill Elliott who competed into their 50s.

any competitor who has competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR competition by Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year is automatically eligible, regardless of age. The changes will benefit drivers like Martin, 54, a 40-time race winner who likely competed for the final time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this past season after 31 years on the circuit. Elliott, 58, is a former champion who competed as recently as 2012 and raced over 37 seasons. Two-time champion Terry Labonte, 57, competed in five events this past season, his 36th in the series.

Now Eligible:
* Norm Benning: 61 years old
• Geoff Bodine: 64 years old
• Derrike Cope:55 years old, 31 seasons
• Rick Crawford: 55 years old
• Bill Elliott: 58 years old, 37 seasons
• Bobby Gerhart: 55 years old
• David Green: 56 years old
• Mike Harmon: 55 years old
• Ron Hornaday Jr.: 55 years old
• James Hylton: 79 years old, 30 seasons
• Terry Labonte: 57 years old, 36 seasons
• Mark Martin: 31 seasons
• Butch Miller: 61 years old
• Ken Schrader: 58 years old, 30 seasons
• Mike Skinner: 56 years old
• Morgan Shepherd: 72 years old, 36 seasons

Source: NASCAR Official Website

Additional changes include:

Nominating Committee Will Select Five Fewer Nominees for Enshrinement: Throughout its history, the NHOF Nominating Committee has selected 25 nominees each year to be discussed and voted on for NHOF enshrinement. That number will be reduced to 20 starting with the selection process for the 2015 class.

Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR:
Beginning with the 2015 class, a new award - Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR - will be initiated to honor significant contributions to the growth and esteem of NASCAR. Potential Landmark Award recipients could include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners will remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement. Five nominees will be selected by the NHOF Nominating Committee and then be voted on by the Voting Panel. To win the award, an individual must appear on at least 60 percent of the ballots and no more than one award will be presented annually. Voting for this award will occur immediately following the voting for the NHOF class and be monitored by the same independent accounting firm that oversees NHOF voting.

Nominating Committee to Meet, Vote on 20 NHOF Nominees / Five Landmark Award Nominees: For the first time, the Nominating Committee will meet in person to discuss, debate and vote to create two ballots - the NHOF ballot and the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR ballot. Previously, the committee submitted nominees via mail to an independent accounting firm that tallies the nominations in order to create the final NHOF ballot. The Nominating Committee will meet during Speedweeks at Daytona on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, and the nominees for both ballots will be announced later that day.

Nominees To Be Recused From the Nominating / Voting Process: Any member of the Nominating Committee or Voting Panel who appeared on the previous year's ballot or current year's ballot will now be recused from participating in the nominating and / or voting process for as long as he / she appears on the ballot. If an individual who is currently on the Nominating Committee or Voting Panel is inducted, or is no longer included on a final ballot, he or she is immediately reinstated to active participation on the panel(s).

Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Added To Voting Panel: As was already announced on Nov. 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the annual NASCAR Championship Contenders Press Conference, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be added to the following year's voting panel. That means Jimmie Johnson, who captured his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, will be included in the selection meeting and can cast a vote for the NHOF Class of 2015 on Voting Day, Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Source: Jayski

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rick Allen Joins Jeff Burton at NBC

NBC Sports announced another key component to its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage team Wednesday, signing longtime play-by-play man Rick Allen to a multiyear agreement as the lead announcer for its talent lineup in 2015.
 
The news was the latest in a series of moves announced in Las Vegas as part of Champion's Week festivities. Tuesday, the network revealed that Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Burton would work as an analyst in the NBC Sports booth. NBC announced the first part of its team Monday, naming Jeff Behnke as the organization's vice president of NASCAR production, overseeing day-to-day operations.

Allen is best known for his longtime role in the booth as the voice of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the host of multiple studio shows as part of his 11-year tenure with the FOX Sports Media Group. With NBC Sports, he will bring his polished yet enthusiastic delivery to an anchoring role for Sprint Cup and Nationwide race action.

NASCAR Official Website

Josh Wise to Phil Parsons Racing

This piece of silly season news will not rock the NASCAR world, but Phil Parsons Racing, start-n-park extraordinaire, has hired Josh Wise.  Wise previously drove a third car for Front Row Motorsports that primarily started and parked.  Parsons' team has used the #98 over the past couple of years with Michael McDowell behind the wheel.

Mobil 1 to Remain With Stewart-Haas

Tony Stewart said Tuesday that ExxonMobil has renewed its multiyear sponsorship of both the three-time NASCAR champion and Stewart-Haas Racing.
Stewart made the announcement that Mobil 1 will continue its relationship with him and his team while hosting the year-end edition of "Tony Stewart Live" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Mobil 1 will be the primary sponsor on Stewart's Chevrolet for 11 races. Stewart missed the final four months of the season with a broken leg, but is expected to return to his car at the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.
Stewart said, "A very true test and example of what Mobil 1 is all about was qualifying at Daytona, the biggest race of the year, for the Daytona 500," he said. "Danica getting the pole, all three of us were in the top 10. You know, if one car qualifies good you say that team and that crew chief did a great job, but to have all three cars there, that was Hendrick engine department, but there's a difference between their four cars and our three cars, Mobil 1.
"So it definitely was a showcase for Mobil 1's products and they've just been unbelievable partners."
ESPN 

Swan Racing Expands to Two Teams

Swan Racing?  There are the team that fired David Stremme, who was a part-time owner from what I understand.  They will expand to two cars in 2014 according to MSN Foxsports.  In 2013, they fielded the #30 Toyota with Stremme, Cole Whitt, Parker Kligerman, and Kevin Swindell as drivers.  Whitt and Kligerman will be the two drivers.

"The expansion is another step under new owner Brandon Davis, who pledged to stop starting and parking when he took over control of the team in late 2012.
Davis used multiple drivers in his first full season of ownership, beginning with Michael Waltrip in the Daytona 500. David Stremme drove 25 races and Swan Racing closed out the season auditioning several drivers.
Kligerman and Whitt both auditioned. Kligerman drove two races with a best finish of 18th in his Sprint Cup Series debut at Texas. Whitt drove seven races with a best finish of 27th at Dover.
Swan will move into a new 25,000-square foot shop in Statesville to accommodate the expansion."

Jeff Burton to Announce For NBC in 2015

Jeff Burton was announced as a member of the NBC broadcasting booth on Tuesday according to NASCAR.COM.  Burton will transition from part-time and test driver for MWR in 2014 to analyst in 2015. Burton is known for his intelligence and insight when it comes to NASCAR.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Petition to Remove Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus from NASCAR

As ridiculous as it sounds, there is a petition to remove Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Change.org.  Johnson and his Knaus-led Hendrick Motorsports team wrapped up their sixth championship in dominating, yet sleep-inducing fashion.  Many fans have grown weary of this trend.  Especially, this guy.  Here's what he said:

"At what point will there be sufficient enough evidence for NASCAR to actually do something about this?
While there seems to be little to no direct proof that Jimmie Johnson's legacy can be tied to Kanaus's cheating, there doesn't seem to be any objection from the driver which leads to his integrity in question.
How many races will be see good honest drivers be cheated out of the chance for success with honest racing?
With all that said is why I am starting this petition. Not only do I want to remove them from NASCAR, but by signing this petition, I want people to also tell NASCAR they want to see good honest racing!"


Monday, December 2, 2013

Jeff Burton To Michael Waltrip Racing

Jeff Burton, the South Boston, Va., native who has been a NASCAR Sprint Cup regular since driving for the Stavola Brothers in 1994, will move to Michael Waltrip Racing, starting with next week's test at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The team announced Monday afternoon that Burton, who has 21 Sprint Cup race wins in his career, will "test and drive in a select number of races during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season in the No. 66 Toyota Camry." His first race with the team will be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next March, the third race on the 2014 Sprint Cup calendar.
It's likely that Burton will run a few more races for MWR throughout the 2014 season.
Source: MSN Foxsports

NBC Beginning to Form NASCAR Coverage Team

NBC is in the initial stages of assembling the team that will begin broadcasting NASCAR events in 2015, and the first major addition is someone well familiar with the world of stock car racing.


Jeff Behnke, who worked in NASCAR production for over two decades during a long tenure at Turner Sports, on Monday was named to head the day-to-day operations of the group that will air races on NBC and NBC Sports Network. Behnke, who will carry the title of vice president of NASCAR production, will operate out of Charlotte, N.C., marking the first time the head of a network's NASCAR production team will be based in the sport's hub.

With this partnership, NBC's 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes a designation as the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The season finale will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group's 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network. Four of NBC Sports Group's 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBC Sports Network.

Source: NASCAR.com

RPM to Tab Trent Owens as #43 Crew Chief

Trent Owens is the latest Nationwide Series crew chief to get a full-time shot at the NASCAR Sprint Cup level.

Sources tell FOXSports.com that Owens will lead the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team with driver Aric Almirola.
Owens, a former race car driver turned crew chief, most recently guided the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports team with rookie Kyle Larson. The team finished eighth in the NNS standings.
Although the 37-year-old Davidson, N.C.-native is Richard Petty’s nephew, Owens proved himself as a crew chief over the last decade by guiding five different drivers to Victory Lane, including Dave Blaney to his only NASCAR win (2006). He also earned victories with Mark Martin, James Buescher, Reed Sorenson and Nelson Piquet Jr. over the last two seasons.
Almirola finished a career-high 18th in his second full season on the Cup tour with RPM. Although he started the season with Todd Parrott on the pit box, the veteran crew chief was suspended on Oct. 17 for violation of NASCAR’s substance-abuse policy. He was released by RPM on Oct. 21, but has since completed the Road to Recovery program.

Dollar General Adding Races to #20 team

 Dollar General and Joe Gibbs Racing announced they have expanded their partnership agreement for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based retailer will increase its sponsorship to 27 races with Matt Kenseth and the #20 team, up from 17 in 2013. As one of the top contenders for the Sprint Cup Series Championship, Kenseth celebrated seven wins in 2013 more wins than any other driver in the series. Dollar General will again get the opportunity to showcase its brand for the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway where Kenseth is a two-time Daytona 500 winner. Dollar General's increased 27-race partnership for 2014 will also include the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as well as highlight Sprint Cup Series events at Talladega Superspeedway in May, Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, the final race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Richmond International Speedway, the Chase kick-off race at Chicagoland Speedway and the October event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With the additional 10 races in which Matt Kenseth will drive the Dollar General #20 Toyota Camry in 2014, the major discount retailer looks to continue its consumer activation by driving sales and customer loyalty.

Joe Gibbs Racing

2013 Championship Week Details

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week kicks off Tuesday for its fifth installment in [Las Vegas], marking a major milestone of celebration in Las Vegas. Four days of glitz and fan-friendly activity with the 13 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason drivers is scheduled, culminating Friday with the feting of six-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson at the Wynn Las Vegas. Coverage of the awards takes place Friday from 9:00pm-12:00am/et on FOX Sports 2 and NASCAR.com. Radio coverage on MRN affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio is scheduled to begin at 8:00pm/et. Plenty of build-up and insider-style access -- with many events free to the public -- is scheduled before the black-tie and evening gown gala:

Tuesday -- "NASCAR Live" with Eli Gold will host Johnson in an hourlong, audience-participation radio show from 7:00-8:00pm/et at the Wynn Sports Book. The Motorsports Marketing Forum presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal also kicks off for the first of two days, providing a comprehensive look at the business of the NASCAR industry.

Wednesday -- The red carpet will be out for all 13 Chase drivers in the Fanfest presented by Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a free event also in its fifth year. Beginning at 4:30pm/et at the Fremont Street Experience, the drivers will engage in a game-show style face-off with a prize of two tickets to the Friday night awards banquet available for fans. 

Thursday -- One of the busiest days of the week in Vegas begins with the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. The awards ceremonies are followed by NASCAR Victory Lap at 6:30pm/et, when the top 10 Chase drivers will offer a taste of the race-day experience with burnouts and a rumbling drive down Las Vegas Boulevard. NASCAR After the Lap presented by Ford and Coca-Cola concludes the day at the Palms Hotel & Casino Hotel with an offbeat, unfiltered roundtable involving every Chase driver. Fans can watch NASCAR Victory Lap and NASCAR After the Lap live on NASCAR.com.

Friday -- Johnson and the rest of the top 10 drivers in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings will be honored, marking the official close of the 2013 season. Drivers, celebrities and other special guests will all walk the redcarpet before the celebration begins