Newman’s RCR Chevy fails post-race inspection at Talladega

Keselowski Newman 101914 Talladega Superspeedway  10/19/2014 | Photo credit: Brian Lawdermilk via Getty Images

Keselowski – Newman / Talladega Superspeedway
10/19/2014 | Photo credit: Brian Lawdermilk via Getty Images

Late word from ‘Dega last evening was that Newman’s #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy failed post-race inspection after being found to be too low on both sides according to NASCAR. The sanctioning body will take the car back to its Research and Development Center in North Carolina, along with those of race winner Brad Keselowski, runner-up Matt Kenseth, and Kasey Kahne.

Obviously, the question is whether Newman will be penalized championship points for the infraction on his car – and if so, how many?

Newman was among those involved in the crash on Lap 102 of 188, so that could play into how NASCAR decides this matter, too.

According to the NASCAR Rule Book (USA Today) Newman’s car will be examined by NASCAR. Per the 2014 rulebook, it seems it could be a P3 penalty, which would be a 15-point deduction. Newman picked up a fifth-place finish in the Contender Round elimination race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday to make the Eliminator Round of the Chase with a 27-point cushion over the ninth-place cutoff.

Source: NASCAR Media

Changes to National Series Qualifying at Talladega

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NASCAR revised its national series qualifying format for Talladega Superspeedway which, in turn, should elevate the on-track competition for fans at the high speed 2.66-mile track.

National series qualifying at Talladega will now consist of the following:
· Three rounds with the first round divided into two groups amongst the competitors. The first qualifying round is five minutes in length for each group.

· Competitors will be assigned to a first qualifying round group based on the random draw held earlier in the event.

· The 24 eligible competitors that post the fastest single lap speed from either of the first qualifying round groups will advance to the second round. The remaining competitors will be sorted based on their speed posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order.

· There will be a 10-minute break after the completion of the first qualifying round and the 24 remaining competitors that advance to the second round will have their times reset.

· The second qualifying round is five minutes in length and the 12 eligible competitors that post the fastest single lap speed will advance to the third and final round.

· The fastest remaining competitors will earn positions 13-24 based on their fastest single lap speed posted in qualifying in descending order.

· Following a five minute break, the 12 eligible competitors that advance to the final round will have their posted speeds reset.

· The final qualifying round is five minutes in length and the fastest single lap speed will determine positions 1-12 in descending order.

“This revision in national series qualifying at Talladega should be more exciting for our fans,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president of competition and racing development. “It will feature a more accelerated pace, provide greater opportunity for team strategy to come into play and it should more closely resemble actual racing conditions.

Keystone Light Pole Qualifying for the Fred’s 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is scheduled for this evening, Friday, Oct. 17 at 5:30pm/et on FOX Sports 1. Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 18 at 4:30pm/et and will air live on ESPNEWS, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Clinching scenarios at ‘Dega for the Eliminator Round

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet, places the winner's decal after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2014. Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet, places the winner’s decal after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2014. Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images

Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick have each clinched a spot in The Eliminator Round via their wins at Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, respectively.

Below are the finishes each driver needs in Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway  to guarantee a spot in The Eliminator Round, regardless of the finish of any other driver:

Kyle Busch: 24th or better; 25th and at least one lap led; 26th and most laps led

Ryan Newman: 19th or better; 20th and at least one lap led; 21st and most laps led

Carl Edwards: 18th or better; 19th and at least one lap led; 20th and most laps led

Jeff Gordon: 16th or better; 17th and at least one lap led; 18th and most laps led

Denny Hamlin: 15th or better; 16th and at least one lap led; 17th and most laps led

Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. only control their own destiny by winning Sunday at Talladega.

The Contender Round: Final race

Next Round: The Eliminator 

  • Martinsville Speedway - Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500
  • Texas Motor Speedway - AAA Texas 500
  • Phoenix International Raceway - Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500

 Source: NASCARMedia

2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony tickets going on sale

HOF Finals 4.18.07Tickets for the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be available to the public beginning Tuesday, Oct. 7. Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White will be honored during this year’s ceremony set for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. Ticket prices range from $45 for Induction Ceremony General Seats to $350 for an Exclusive Driver Dinner Package.

Drivers, celebrities and legends of the sport will take the stage during this premier celebration that will honor the sixth class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Prior to the ceremony, a special Induction Dinner at the Charlotte Convention Center, which is connected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will honor each of the living inductees with a special jacket presentation. In addition, former The Charlotte Observer reporter Tom Higgins will be honored as the fourth recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. For the second year, fans have the opportunity to purchase a seat for the dinner that puts them at a table with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver (limited quantities are available). After dinner, the Induction Ceremony will take place in the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center and be broadcast live on NBC Sports at 8 p.m. ET. The Induction Ceremony will honor the five Class of 2015 inductees as well as Anne B. France, inaugural winner of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

Following the ceremony, a special NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will take place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday, Jan. 31. More details on driver appearances, activities and programming for this day will be provided in the coming weeks.

Individual ticket and ticket packages will be available beginning Oct. 7 at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000. For more information, visit www.nascarhall.com. For accessible seating, please call 704-654-4400. See below for ticket and package options.

NASCAR Hall of Fame Exclusive Driver Dinner Package ($350 per person; limited quantity available)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver and Their Guest at Table
  • (1) One Induction Dinner Seat, including Jacket Presentation
  • (1) One Induction Ceremony Seat
  • (1) One Commemorative Dinner and Ceremony Ticket
  • (1) One NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Yearbook
  • (1) One Admission to First Look at Class of 2015 Inductee Exhibits
  • (1) One NASCAR Hall of Fame Annual Pass

NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction VIP Package ($299 per person; limited quantity available)

  • (1) One Induction Dinner Seat, including Jacket Presentation
  • (1) One Induction Ceremony Seat
  • (1) One Commemorative Dinner and Ceremony Ticket
  • (1) One NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Yearbook
  • (1) One Admission to First Look at Class of 2015 Inductee Exhibits
  • (1) One NASCAR Hall of Fame Annual Pass

Induction Ceremony Premium Seat ($80 per person)

  • (1) One Premium Induction Ceremony Seat
  • (1) One NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Yearbook
  • (1) One Admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 30

General Seating at Induction Ceremony ($45 per person)

  • (1) One Induction Ceremony Seat
  • (1) One NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Yearbook

Jason Aldean making Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway his “kinda party”

Jason Aldean will play a special pre-race performance at Homestead-Miami Speedway prior to the Ford EcoBoost 400.

Jason Aldean will play a special pre-race performance at Homestead-Miami Speedway prior to the Ford EcoBoost 400.

The 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards’ Male Vocalist of the Year will be a highlight of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, treating all fans in attendance to a special pre-race performance at the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, November 16. Aldean will also be featured on NASCAR Countdown on ESPN, which begins at 1 p.m. ET. The Ford EcoBoost 400, which marks the final event of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, will air on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET, and be broadcast internationally to more than 200 countries in 24 languages.

 Aldean will release his sixth studio album Old Boots, New Dirt on October 7. The album’s smoking lead single “Burnin’ It Down” has held the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart since it was released, earning PLATINUM certification in only nine weeks and making it the fastest selling single of 2014. To date, Aldean has sold more than nine million albums and has taken 13 trips to No. 1 on the Country Radio charts. Each of Aldean’s albums has been certified PLATINUM with his last album, Night Train, earning PLATINUM certification only four weeks from its release. Aldean was recently recognized by the RIAA as the top selling male country artist in the digital era with sales totaling more than 21 million downloads. He is currently headlining his monumental 2014 Burn It Down Tour, which saw him play five stadium dates in additions to sold-out shows in the country’s biggest amphitheaters and arenas.

Aldean will be teaming up with Homestead-Miami Speedway to create exclusive ticket package offers.

 Jason Aldean ticket package for $194 includes:

·         One ticket to the Ford EcoBoost 400

·         One Pre-Race Pit Pass for an up-close view of the special performance

·         One Jason Aldean Old Boots, New Dirt new album download

 Fans who have already purchased tickets to the Ford EcoBoost 400 can also purchase a Jason Aldean package for $59, which includes a Pre-Race Pit Pass and one Jason Aldean Old Boots, New Dirt album download.

 The Ford EcoBoost 400 will once again serve as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship race. For the first time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, four drivers will battle it out for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway, following a three-round, nine-race elimination series in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Fans will have the opportunity to witness the historic finish to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that can only be seen at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The 2014 Ford Championship Weekend will be held November 14 – 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1) and the NASCAR Nationwide Series (Nov. 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2) finales, in addition to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. For ticket purchases and more information about 2014 Ford Championship Weekend, visit www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com, or call (866) 409-RACE (7223).

NASCAR teams receive 2015 Competition Package

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Following more than a year of extensive collaboration with stakeholders throughout the industry, and with a keen eye towards the future, NASCAR has finalized and delivered to teams the 2015 racing package for all three national series.

Highlighted in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series changes for 2015 are nearly 60 enhancements, including adjustments to the power train, aerodynamics and chassis that are designed to work in concert to deliver drivers more flexibility and teams more adjustability. Fans are expected to benefit from closer racing and more opportunities for drivers to pass on the track.

New Rules, with one or more of the following goals in mind: enriched competition, improved safety, reduced cost, enhanced product relevance and environmental (green) improvements.

Enhanced Enforcement of Existing Rules
· New Officiating Processes
· Newly Approved Parts
· Updated Business Processes

The following are among the significant updates to the competition package.
Testing

There will be a NASCAR-mandated ban on all team-initiated private testing in 2015
· Teams will be invited to participate in NASCAR / Goodyear tests
· NASCAR will not conduct a test at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Daytona 500

2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Package includes:

Rules

– Reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer
– Roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter
– Lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM
– Rear spoiler adjustment to 6 inches high (2014 height: 8 inches)
– Optional driver adjustable track bar
– 38-inch wide radiator pan
– Minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs. via ballast reduction (2014 weight: 3,300 w/o driver)
– Updated qualifying formats for all tracks
· Rain tires on road courses, similar to rules in place for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; mandatory wipers, defogger and rear flashing rain light installed for the event weekend New Officiating Processes
· Data Log and Capture System for pre-race inspections
· Automated pit road officiating at race events

Newly Approved Parts
· Revised brake calipers

Updated Business Processes
· Electronic rule book
· New parts approval process

NASCAR will institute a shorter rear spoiler in its 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series package, which also includes a reduction of engine power, lower rear differential gear ratios and an optional driver adjustable track bar.

Based on the success of group qualifying formats, which were introduced in 2014 for all national series, NASCAR also announced that group qualifying will be utilized for the first time for the Daytona 500.

NASCAR also will work alongside Goodyear to introduce rain tires should conditions warrant during road course events in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2015.

Tony Stewart cleared by grand jury in Kevin Ward, Jr. death

Statement from Michael Tantillo, Ontario County District Attorney

“This week an Ontario County grand jury has been meeting to hear testimony and review evidence gathered in the Tony Stewart matter, relating to the death of Kevin Ward at the Canandaigua Motor Speedway on August 9, 2014. The grand jury has completed its investigation. During the course of the grand jury presentation, approximately two dozen witnesses testified. These included a number of race car drivers, racetrack employees and volunteers, two accident reconstruction experts, medical personnel, and a number of police officers. In addition, the grand jury reviewed a number of photographs and video recordings, as well as other documentary evidence. After listening to and questioning all of the witnesses, and reviewing all of the evidence, the grand jury has determined that there is no basis to charge Tony Stewart with any crimes; his case was “No-Billed” by the grand jury.”

Source: Michael Tantillo, Ontario County District Attorney

 

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Sept. 24, 2014) – Following a thorough investigation and presentation of all the relevant evidence and witnesses to an Ontario County (N.Y.) grand jury, the grand jury has determined there is no basis for the filing of any criminal charges involving the tragic accident of Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park.

The following is a statement from Tony Stewart regarding the grand jury’s decision.

“This has been the toughest and most emotional experience of my life, and it will stay with me forever. I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve received and continue to receive.

 

“I respect everything the District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office did to thoroughly investigate this tragic accident. While the process was long and emotionally difficult, it allowed for all the facts of the accident to be identified and known. 

 

“While much of the attention has been on me, it’s important to remember a young man lost his life. Kevin Ward Jr.’s family and friends will always be in my thoughts and prayers.”

 Source: SHR PR/ True Speed Communications

NASCAR Statement from Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Chief Communications Officer, Regarding Ontario (N.Y.) County District Attorney Announcement

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 24, 2014) – “There are no winners in tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Kevin Ward Jr. family and Tony Stewart as they all cope with this tragic incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. This has been a difficult time for everyone involved and we have respected the local authorities responsible for reviewing this case.”

 Source: NASCAR PR

Stewart-Ward death investigation referred to N.Y. Grand Jury

Official Statement from Ontario Co. NY District Attorney:

“Over the past several weeks I have reviewed with members of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department their investigation, as it progressed, in the Tony Stewart matter. Recently that office concluded its work and forwarded the complete case file to me. Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter. Accordingly, the evidence developed in the investigation will be presented to an Ontario County grand jury in the near future. As grand jury proceedings in New York State are strictly confidential by law, I am unable to state when the matter will be scheduled, other than to state that I intend to present the matter in the near future. Similarly, because of the confidential nature of these proceedings, I cannot state who will be called as witnesses, or what any witness’s expected testimony will be. When the presentation has been completed and a determination has been made, I will advise the public and the media at that time of the results.”

-Michael Tantillo, Ontario County District Attorney

Statement from Tony Stewart

8/29/2014 | Jamie Squire/Getty Images

8/29/2014 | Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The following is a statement from Tony Stewart regarding the decision by the Office of the Ontario County (N.Y.) District Attorney to send the case of the tragic accident involving Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park to a grand jury.

“I respect the time and effort spent by both the Ontario County District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office in investigating this tragic accident. I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation.” 

Source: PR from SHR/True Speed Communication

So what exactly is a grand jury?

According to a handbook provided by New York’s court system, a grand jury is established as the authority that decides whether someone should be formally accused of a crime. Seated as a cross-section of the community, the grand jury is designed to uphold laws “by indicting those individuals believed to have committed crimes and to protect the rights of others against unfounded accusations.” According to the New York constitution, no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on indictment of a grand jury. In New York, a grand jury consists of 23 jurors and no alternatives.

What does a grand jury do?

A grand jury decides only whether a person should be charged with a crime (based on evidence presented and the law). A trial jury decides the person’s guilt.

In New York, the grand jury has three options:

–Voting in favor of an indictment

–Voting to dismiss the charges

–Directing the prosecutor to file information accusing the person of an offense less serious than a felony.

To formally charge an accused person with a crime, 12 grand jurors who heard all the essential and critical evidence must agree there is legally sufficient evidence and reasonable cause that a crime was committed. At least 16 grand jurors must be present for a quorum.

Source: New York State Unified Court System Grand Juror’s Handbook / USA TODAY

NASCAR Statement from Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Chief Communications Officer Regarding Announcement of Ontario (N.Y.) County District Attorney

“We are aware of the completed investigation and the announced next steps. First, our thoughts continue to be with all who have been impacted by this tragedy. We will monitor this process and stay in close contact with Stewart-Haas Racing. It would be inappropriate for NASCAR to comment on this case so we will continue to respect the process and authorities involved.”

Tony Stewart is reported to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race in Loudon, NH this weekend.

Stewart-Haas Racing Announces Pit Crew Swap Between Nos. 4 and 14 Teams

Stewart-Haas Racing, the championship-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, has swapped the pit crews of it Nos. 4 and 14 teams, effective immediately.

Beginning with Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, the No. 14 team’s tire changers, tire carriers and jackmen will switch to the No. 4 team, and vice versa.

The new pit crew lineup for the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s team is as follows:

·         Front Tire Changer: Ira Jo Hussey (Manchester, New Hampshire)

·         Front Tire Carrier: Todd Drakulich (Tucson, Arizona)

·         Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith (Concord, North Carolina)

·         Rear Tire Carrier: Mike Morneau (Oxford, Maine)

·         Jackman: Mike Casto (Proctor, West Virginia)

All of the above were members of the 2011 Sprint Cup Series championship-winning team with driver Tony Stewart.

The new pit crew lineup for the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 team is as follows:

·         Front Tire Changer: Bryan Jacobsen (Honesdale, Pennsylvania)

·         Front Tire Carrier: Brett Morrell (Windham, Maine)

·         Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman (Monroe, Louisiana)

·         Rear Tire Carrier: Josh Sobecki (New Kensington, Pennsylvania)

·         Jackman: Getty Cavitt, Jr. (Owensboro, Kentucky)

“We made this change in the best interests of the entire organization,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition, Stewart-Haas Racing. “Our primary goal is to win races and championships, and this pit crew swap provides championship experience to the No. 4 team and continued race-winning experience to the No. 14 team.”

The No. 4 team and driver Kevin Harvick head into the opening race of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup seeded sixth among the 16 driver/team combinations competing in this year’s Chase. This is Harvick’s fifth consecutive Chase appearance and his eighth since the inception of the Chase in 2004. He finished fourth in his Chase debut in 2006, 10th in 2007, fourth in 2008, third in 2010, third in 2011, eighth in 2012 and third in 2013.

Joining Harvick in the Chase is his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch. Busch and the No. 41 Haas Automation team are seeded 10th. This is Busch’s second straight Chase appearance and eighth overall. He won the championship in his Chase debut in 2004, then finished 10th in 2005, seventh in 2007, fourth in 2009, 11th in 2010, 11th in 2011 and 10th in 2013.

Source: SHR Press Release/True Communications

Hendrick Motorsports confirms issue with Jimmie Johnson’s helmet caused dehydration

Jimmie Johnson  after the race at Richmond. Photo via Twitter

Jimmie Johnson after the race at Richmond. Photo via Twitter

Jimmie Johnson was  suffering from what appeared to be dehydration as he exited his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS following last Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Speedway.

After he was treated and released from the infield care center, Johnson addressed what happened.

“Just got dehydrated in the car,” he said. ”I started cramping when I got out of the race car. Then when I was cramping I was trying to stand up because I was fine when I sat down then I would stand up and I would get dizzy. When I would sit back down I would start to cramp again. Just really dehydrated. Ended up with five liters of IV in me. I was definitely dry. I will have to dig in and understand what happened in the car. I was hot in the car so I will have to make sure all my fans were working and stuff like that. Scary moment and I hate that it happened, but have to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Crew Chief Chad Knaus reported there was nothing wrong with the car. However, Johnson had reported that the cooling system for his helmet was blowing warm air and that likely caused his dehydration.

His Hendrick Motorsports team confirmed this was the reason on Tuesday.