Daytona 500 starting line up by row

Daytona International Speedway
56th Annual Daytona 500
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Fri, February 21, 2014 
@ 10:50 AM Eastern

Driver	Date	Time	Speed
Track Race Record: 
Bill Elliott 	02/08/87   12:15:10	197.802

Pos	        Car	        Driver	                	
Row 1:	
1	3	Austin Dillon   DOW Chevy
2	78	Martin Truex.   Jr. Furniture Row Chevy
Row 2:	
3	20	Matt Kenseth	Dollar General Toyota
4	11	Denny Hamlin	FedEx Express Toyota
Row 3:	
5	5       Kasey Kahne     Farmers Insurance Chevy
6	24	Jeff Gordon     Drive to End Hunger Chevy
Row 4:	
7	9	Marcos Ambrose	Stanley Ford
8	41	Kurt Busch	Haas Automation Chevy
Row 5:	
9	88	Dale Earnhardt. Jr. National Guard Chevy
10	27	Paul Menard	Peak/Menards Chevrolet
Row 6:	
11	98	Josh Wise	Curb Records Ford
12	33	Brian Scott(i)	Whitetail Chevrolet
Row 7:	
13	43	Aric Almirola	Smithfield Ford
14	21	Trevor Bayne(i)	Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire                                 & Auto Center Ford
Row 8:	
15	47	AJ Allmendinger	Kroger/USO Chevrolet
16	42	Kyle Larson #	Target Chevrolet
Row 9:	
17	38	David Gilliland	Love's Travel Stops Ford
18	40	Landon Cassill Chevrolet
Row 10:	
19	31	Ryan Newman	Caterpillar Chevrolet
20	15	Clint Bowyer	5-hour Energy Toyota
Row 11:	
21	14	Tony Stewart	Bass Pro Shops/Mobil1 Chevy
22	1	Jamie McMurray	McDonald's Chevrolet
Row 12:	
23	26	Cole Whitt #	Speed Stick Gear Toyota
24	32	Terry Labonte	C&J Energy Services Ford
Row 13:	
25	16	Greg Biffle	3M Ford
26	52	Bobby Labonte	Phoenix Construction Chevy
Row 14:	
27	10	Danica Patrick	GoDaddy Chevrolet
28	13	Casey Mears	GEICO Chevrolet
Row 15:	
29	23	Alex Bowman #	Borla Exhaust Toyota
30	99	Carl Edwards	Fastenal Ford
Row 16:	
31	55	Brian Vickers  Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
32	48	Jimmie Johnson	Lowe's Chevrolet
Row 17:	
33	2	Brad Keselowski	    Miller Lite Ford
34	17	Ricky Stenhouse.Jr. Nationwide Insur. Ford
Row 18:	
35	22	Joey Logano    Shell Pennzoil Ford
36	7	Michael Annett Pilot/FlyingJ Travel Centers                               Chevrolet
Row 19:	
37	18	Kyle Busch	M&M's Toyota
38	4	Kevin Harvick	Budweiser Chevrolet
Row 20:	
39	36	Reed Sorenson	Golden Corral Chevrolet
40	51	Justin Allgaier Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet
Row 21:	
41	30	Parker Kligerman Swan Energy Toyota
42	66	Michael Waltrip	BlueDEF/AAA Toyota
Row 22:	
43	34	David Ragan	CSX - Play It Safe Ford

To the back at start:
#1-McMurray (backup); 
#15-Bowyer (backup); 
#34-Ragan (backup); 
#48-Johnson (backup); 
#66-Waltrip (backup); 
#78-Truex Jr. (backup)

Did Not Qualify: 
#83 Ryan Truex; 
#95 Michael McDowell; 
#87 Joe Nemechek(i); 
#93 Morgan Shepherd(i); 
#35 Eric McClure(i); 
#77 Dave Blaney.

New NASCAR Camping World Truck Series bodies unveiled

2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series "Tech Talk" truck uveil. Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series “Tech Talk” truck uveil. Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

Brian Ickler, driver of the #7 Bullet Liners Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250. Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

Brian Ickler, driver of the #7 Bullet Liners Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250. Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

NASCAR officially unveiled newly designed bodies for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race trucks – set to debut on Friday night in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (7:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1). The newly redesigned bodies will now match the look of their respective showroom counterparts.

The introduction of the new truck bodies follows successful launches of race vehicles in NASCAR’s other two national series – the Gen-6 car last year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the new models in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010.
Extensive research and testing went into the development of the new bodies, with the goal of continued close competition while allowing specific features from each model. The new trucks have a unique design that will make it easier for fans to recognize their favorite model.

Sprint Unlimited is right around the corner… Are you up to date with what’s happening?


Welcome back to the start of the 2014 NASCAR season!!

Are you ready?

Fans To Vote On Race Format For The 2014 Sprint Unlimited

First and foremost, if you haven’t already voted, don’t forget to vote for the overall format and determine key racing elements in the following categories for the the Sprint Unlimited (75-lap, non-points race). After all, this is the FAN’S RACE!

Voting ends at 6 p.m. ET on Sat., Feb. 15
Race Format:
Number of laps in each race segment
Option A: 30 laps/35 laps/10 laps
Option B: 30 laps/30 laps/15 laps
Option C: 30 laps/25 laps/20 laps

Voting ends at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sat., Feb. 15
Starting Order:
How drivers will line up to start the race
Option A: Most Career Poles (most to least)
Option B: 2013 Driver Points Standings
Option C: Final Practice Speeds (fastest to slowest times)

Voting ends at the conclusion of the second segment
Restart Order for Final Segment:
How drivers will line up for the final segment
Option A: Fastest lap in the race (first and second segments both count)
Option B: Most laps led (first and second segments both count)
Option C: Mandatory pit stop (drivers lineup how they come off pit road)

Voting for the starting order and final segment restart order will close at various times during the race broadcast. Voting results will be announced live during the FOX Sports 1 race broadcast.

The Sprint Unlimited is set for Saturday, February 15 at 8pm/et on FOX Sports 1.

2014 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona Entry List

Denny Hamlin (5 poles)
Kyle Busch (3)
Jimmie Johnson (3)
Matt Kenseth (3)
Joey Logano (2)
Ryan Newman (2)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2)
Jeff Gordon (2)
Carl Edwards (2)
Marcos Ambrose (1)
Kurt Busch (1)
Kevin Harvick (1)
Brad Keselowski (1)
Jamie McMurray (1)
Danica Patrick (1)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1)
Tony Stewart (Winner: 2001, ’02, ’07)
Terry Labonte (Winner: 1985)

Sprint Unlimited Tidbits

The number of participants has ranged from a low of seven in 1981 to a high of 28 in 2009 (18 are entered in this year’s event).

The drivers with the most Sprint Unlimited appearances:
* Mark Martin (24)
* Bill Elliott (23)
* Jeff Gordon (20)
* Ken Schrader (19)
* Rusty Wallace (19)

Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon have appeared in the most consecutive Sprint Unlimited races, competing in 20 consecutive events. Martin from 1989-2008 and Gordon from 1994-2013.

There have been eight multiple winners in the Sprint Unlimited:
* Dale Earnhardt won six events, most all-time (1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995).
* Dale Jarrett won in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
* Kevin Harvick won in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
* Tony Stewart won in 2001, 2002 and 2007.

Other multiple winners: Neil Bonnett (1983-1984), Ken Schrader, (1989-1990), Jeff Gordon (1994 and 1997) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003 and 2008).

Bonnett, Schrader, Stewart and Harvick are the only drivers to win back-to-back Sprint Unlimited races. No driver has won three consecutive Sprint Unlimited events.

Buddy Baker (1979), Dale Earnhardt (1980), Jeff Gordon (1994), Dale Jarrett (1996) andDenny Hamlin (2006) all won the first Sprint Unlimited in which they competed.

Only five times in the 32-year history of the race has the winner gone on to win the Daytona 500:
* Bobby Allison (1982)
* Bill Elliott (1987)
* Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000)
* Jeff Gordon (1997)

There have been three winners from the pole: Darrell Waltrip (1981), Bill Elliott (1987) and Ken Schrader (1989).

Two drivers have swept the Sprint Unlimited, Daytona 500 pole and Daytona 500 from 1979-2013: Dale Jarrett (2000) and Bill Elliott (1987).

One driver has swept the Sprint Unlimited, Daytona 500 and the Coke Zero 400 from 1979-2013: Bobby Allison (1982).

Seven drivers have won the Sprint Unlimited (1979-2013) and the same season’s championship. Dale Earnhardt is the only one to have accomplished it multiple times – four times.
* Tony Stewart (2002)
* Jeff Gordon (1997)
* Dale Earnhardt (1993)
* Dale Earnhardt (1991)
* Dale Earnhardt (1986)
* Darrell Waltrip (1981)
* Dale Earnhardt (1980)

Four drivers have won consecutive Sprint Unlimited races (1979-2013). None went on to win that year’s Daytona 500.
* Kevin Harvick (2009-10)
* Tony Stewart (2000-01)
* Ken Schrader (1990-91)
* Neil Bonnett (1983-84)

The format for the Sprint Unlimited has changed 12 times since its inception into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1979.

The second starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field resulting in five wins over the 35 races.

By the Numbers: Sprint Unlimited
.013 –Margin of victory in seconds by Kyle Busch over Tony Stewart in 2012, the closest margin in Sprint Unlimited history.

.058 –Margin of victory in seconds by Kurt Busch over Jamie McMurray in 2011, the second closest margin in Sprint Unlimited history.

.08 –Margin of victory in seconds by Dale Earnhardt over Sterling Marlin in 1995, the third closest margin in Sprint Unlimited history.

1 – Laps led by Rusty Wallace (1998), Neil Bonnett (1983-84), Dale Earnhardt (1980), Dale Jarrett (2000 and 2004) and Kevin Harvick (2009) in the Sprint Unlimited races they won.

2 – The starting position that has produced the most Sprint Unlimited wins (five).

2.75 – Average finish by Dale Earnhardt, best by any driver with multiple starts.

5 – Drivers who have won the event in their first appearance (Buddy Baker, 1979; Dale Earnhardt, 1980; Jeff Gordon, 1994; Dale Jarrett, 1996; Denny Hamlin, 2006).

6 – Number of Sprint Unlimited wins by Dale Earnhardt, the series leader.

7 – Number of fewest starters in the field for the Sprint Unlimited (1981).

9 – Number of races led, most since race began in 1979 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.)

11 – Number of starts before winning, most since race began in 1979 (Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin).

14 – Number of different leaders in the 2009 event, most since race began in 1979.

20 – Number of wins by Chevrolet in the Sprint Unlimited, leads all manufacturers.

20 – Most consecutive starts in the Sprint Unlimited by Mark Martin (1989-2008) and Jeff Gordon (1994-2013).

27 – Kevin Harvick’s starting position in 2009, the lowest by a race winner in the event’s history.

28 – Number of lead changes in the 2011 event, highest number since race began in 1979.

44 – Laps led by Greg Biffle in 2005, the most by a driver who did not win the event.

47 – Laps led by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008, the most in a single Sprint Unlimited.

124.095 mph – The slowest average speed of the race for the Sprint Unlimited was last season’s event won by Kyle Busch.

197.802 mph – The fastest average speed of the race for the Sprint Unlimited was in 1987 won by Bill Elliott.

Source: NASCAR Media, Kelley Blue Book making presence known in NASCAR with Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske

Joey Logano No. 22 Ford Fusion. Photo courtesy of Team Penske.

Joey Logano No. 22 Ford Fusion. Photo courtesy of Team Penske.

AutoTrader.Com joins Team Penske as Sponsor of No. 22 Ford Team® will join Team Penske in 2014 with sponsorship of the No. 22 Ford Fusion and driver Joey Logano in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the two companies jointly announced today. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, will become a season-long associate sponsor on the No. 22 team and will also serve as the car’s primary sponsor for the July 13 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) with a special livery. has established a successful working relationship with Penske Automotive Group (PAG) over the last few years and that partnership has now blossomed to include the Team Penske NASCAR program. Through the relationship, will help build its brand with NASCAR fans and integrate Logano and Team Penske into its marketing programs.

More than 17 million consumers visit each month to research their next vehicle purchase and browse the millions of new and used vehicles listed for sale., the “ultimate automotive marketplace®”, offers a comprehensive suite of online and mobile tools to help make the car shopping process easier, including Trade-In Marketplace, Private Seller services, vehicle reviews, text alerts, expert advice and more.’s branding will be displayed on the rear quarter panel of the No. 22 Ford driven by Logano this season. Logano, who finished eighth in Sprint Cup Series points in 2013 after making his first Chase and collecting a win and two poles along the way, will also drive the No. 22 Ford Fusion in the July 13 race at NHMS. Logano won his first-career Sprint Cup Series race at NHMS back in 2009, as he became the youngest winner in Cup Series history at just 19 years old.

Kelley Bluebook to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.

thKelley Blue Book, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2014 and 2015.

The two-year agreement includes full-season associate sponsorship, which provides Kelley Blue Book prominent brand placement on the No. 88 race cars throughout the Sprint Cup schedule, and primary sponsorship of Earnhardt in one event annually. The 2014 season will be the first as a NASCAR team sponsor for Kelley Blue Book, a subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.

Through its website,, Kelley Blue Book is changing the way people shop for a new car. It now offers the® Price Advisor, which features a new range-based pricing layout, including the Kelley Blue Book® Fair Purchase Price, which shows the average price other customers in the same area paid for the same vehicle. Other resources include 5-Year Cost to Own data, and consumer and expert reviews and ratings.

In addition to individual consumers, Kelley Blue Book’s various products and services are available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Partners include Hendrick Motorsports’ sister company, Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates more than 120 automotive retail franchises across the United States.

The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season will get under way on Saturday night, February 15, for the official start of Daytona Speedweeks and the running of the non-points special event, the Sprint Unlimited. The NASCAR Nationwide Series season is set to begin on February 22 while the 56th running of the Daytona 500 will take place on February 23.

Duck Commander, Texas Motor Speedway sign Multi-Year Entitlement Deal for April

dc-logo-lowresDuck Commander, the brand of the best-selling duck calls and name of the thriving family-owned company led by the Robertson clan of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” fame, has signed a multi-year agreement to serve as title sponsor of the annual spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The largest-attended, single-day sporting event annually in Texas with estimated average crowds in excess of 150,000 will be known as the Duck Commander 500 with this year’s edition scheduled for Sunday, April 6. The two sides agreed to a three-year deal with a renewal option for an additional three years, but no financial terms of the agreement were announced.

While the Robertson family emerged in the public eye and garnered immense popularity through A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” reality show that premiered in 2012, the Duck Commander brand has been the foundation of the family business of duck calls since patriarch Phil Robertson founded the company in 1972 in West Monroe, La.

Duck Commander has since flourished into a multi-million dollar business with Willie Robertson, one of Phil’s four sons, serving as the CEO of the enterprise that now encompasses more than 1,000 Duck Commander products and a powerful stable of licensees. This race entitlement diversifies Duck Commander’s business portfolio and will be unique in structure as the company will utilize their exclusive licensees to fund this sponsorship for the exposure and opportunities to align their product with their brand.

The Duck Commander brand also will enjoy a substantial product presence on its race weekend and throughout the year at Texas Motor Speedway. An extensive line of Duck Commander 500 merchandise will be sold at track and in the Speedway World souvenir store year-round in addition to being available through Duck Commander retail partners.

Uncle Si’s Tea™ will be introduced and sold at track in single-serve options in both the sweet and unsweetened varieties. Texas Motor Speedway also will look to integrate products such as Duck Commander Family Foods’ BBQ sauce, salsa and beef jerky with the speedway signature concession items.

The Robertson family members also will have a strong presence on their race weekend, with several attending as well as having various VIP or honorary roles such as Grand Marshal or Honorary Starter.

Tickets for the Duck Commander 500 officially go on sale Friday, Feb. 14. Fans interested in purchasing tickets prior to that date can do so by securing season tickets or by joining the Texas Motor Speedway Fan Club. Fan Club members will be eligible for a special Duck Commander 500 pre-sale event that begins 9 a.m. CT Friday.  For those interested in the Fan Club, please visit

Source: NASCAR Media/TMS PR

Changes to NASCAR Penalty Structure, Appeals Process announced


Well, it depends on how you view this, really: It could go down as either enhancements or confusion? I’m just going to say changes.

Is NASCAR trying to make it totally impossible to follow the penalties issued to teams/drivers? I think I need to get my PHD in understanding NASCAR’s way of thinking. Maybe they think if it’s too confusing no one would be able to follow along with it? I just don’t get it, They’ve made a simple process harder than what it needs to be.

As part of its wide-ranging initiatives to transform its competition model, NASCAR  announced enhancements to its penalty structure (for all three series) and appeals process beginning this season. In addition to these changes, NASCAR also announced the appointment of a Final Appeals Officer for the sport.

“NASCAR’s Deterrence System is designed to help maintain the integrity and competitive balance of our sport while sending a clear message that rules violations will not be tolerated,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president of racing operations. “This is a more transparent and effective model that specifically spells out that ‘X’ infraction equals ‘X’ penalty for technical infractions.

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 10.58.27 AM

NASCAR’s Deterrence System

NASCAR’s Deterrence System is easily understood and specifically lays out exactly what disciplinary action will be taken depending on the type of technical infraction listed from warnings to six penalty levels in ascending order.Some of the Deterrence System elements include:

§  The system starts with warnings (W) issued for very minor infractions, then are grouped into six levels – P1 (least significant) to P6 (most significant).

§  Lower P levels list penalty options from which NASCAR may select (fines or points) while higher P levels are an all-inclusive combination of multiple penalty elements (points and fine and suspension, etc.).

§  At the highest three levels of the system, if a rules infraction is discovered in post-race inspection, the one or more additional penalty elements are added on top of the standard prescribed penalty.

§  Repeat offenses by the same car are addressed via a “recurrence multiplier,” i.e. if a P4 penalty was received and a second P4 or higher infraction occurs in the same season, the subsequent penalty increases 50% above the normal standard.

§  Suspensions are explained in greater detail.

§  Behavioral infractions are still handled on case-by-case basis and are not built into the W, P1-P6 structure.

So, according to NASCAR, the 2014 Rule Book will explain how and why NASCAR issues penalties as well as the factors considered when determining a penalty. The Rule Book also will detail the types of infractions that fall within each level by citing examples that are included but not limited to: 

·    Warnings are issued instead of penalties for certain types of minor, first-time infractions.

·     P1 penalties may result from multiple warnings to the same team.

·    P2 penalties may include but are not limited to violations such as hollow components, expiration of certain safety certification or improper installation of a safety feature, or minor bracket and fasteners violations.

·    P3 penalty options may include but are not limited to violations such as unauthorized parts, measurement failures, parts that fail their intended use, or coil spring violation.

·    P4 level infractions may include but are not limited to violations such as devices that circumvent NASCAR templates and measuring equipment, or unapproved added weight .

·    P5 level may include but are not limited to violations such as combustion-enhancing additives in the oil, oil filter, air filter element or devices, systems, omissions, etc., that affect the normal airflow over the body.

·   P6 level may include but are not limited to violations such as affecting the internal workings and performance of the engine, modifying the pre-certified chassis, traction control or affecting EFI or the ECU.

This new “Deterrence System” looks more to be like an algebra equation more than anything – think about it: P = W + P1 (P2) (P3) (P4) (P5) (P6).

You will also need a notebook to keep track of which teams/drivers were assigned a penalty at what stage as they happen throughout the season.

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 10.59.31 AM

The National Motorsports Appeals Panel

Bryan Moss, former president at Gulfstream Aerospace, has been selected as the Final Appeals Officer. Moss will hear matters on appeal from the lower three-member Appeals Panel, and serve as the last decision on penalty disputes for the sport.

The new Appeals process continues to provide two tiers for resolving disputes. On the first level before a three-member Appeals Panel, NASCAR has the burden of showing that a penalty violation has occurred. On the second and final level, only a NASCAR Member is allowed to appeal and they have the burden of showing the Final Appeals Officer that the panel decision was incorrect.

 Some other Appeals changes include:

§  Clearly identifying the procedural rights of NASCAR Members

§  Detailing responsibilities of parties throughout the process

§  Allowing parties the option to submit summaries on issues before the Appeals Panel

§  Allowing NASCAR Members named in the penalty to be present during the entire hearing

§  Appeals Administrator is not allowed to be present during panel deliberations

§  Creating a clear Expedited Appeals Procedure when necessary

§  Changing the name of the Appeals Panel to The National Motorsports Appeals Panel

Source: NASCAR Media

NASCAR Night on FOX Sports 1 set to get your heart racing on Valentine’s Day

No date for Valentine’s Day this year? Or do you and your significant other share a passion for NASCAR?  Either way, FOX Sports 1 has a memorable night planned that is sure to get everyone’s heart racing.

Spend a sweetheart of an evening with your favorite racers as “NASCAR Night on FOX Sports 1″ delivers a three-and-a-half-hour block of primetime NASCAR programming right after the network’s live on-track coverage of the opening day of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 14.


FOX Sports’ signature long-form interview franchise goes 1-ON-1 with six-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. Curt Menefee asks Johnson about fear behind the wheel, his relationship with crew chief Chad Knaus and whether his three-year-old daughter will be allowed to race, among other topics.


This newest installment of the documentary series THE DAY spotlights the 2012 DAYTONA 500, the first to air in primetime and one of the modern NASCAR era’s most memorable events not only for its on-track action but for the online happenings surrounding it.  Produced by FOX Sports and NASCAR Productions, this program features personal recounts of the major happenings during the day-long event, which included extensive rain delays, Juan Pablo Montoya’s contact with a jet dryer and subsequent fiery explosion, Brad Keselowski’s infamous in-race tweeting, Danica Patrick’s first DAYTONA 500 and Matt Kenseth holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a dramatic green-white-checkered victory that ended in the wee hours of Monday morning.

RETURN OF THE 3 (9:00-10:00 PM ET)

Produced by NASCAR Productions, this new documentary explores the impact the iconic No. 3 has had on the NASCAR industry, its fans and the world.  The one-hour program uncovers the history of the No. 3 before it became Dale Earnhardt’s number, how it evolved and impacted marketing and merchandising within the sport, and looks ahead to the return of the number with Austin Dillon in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.


This 2011 NASCAR Productions documentary, which marked the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death in a last-lap crash in the DAYTONA 500, examines NASCAR’s darkest day in a one-hour special that includes interviews from those involved and close friends and family of Earnhardt.  The special, which originally aired on SPEED, reflects on the tragic Sunday from sunrise to sunset, focusing on the day’s events and emotions for everyone involved, as well as how that catastrophic moment forever changed the sport.

THE DAY:  REMEMBERING DALE EARNHARDT marked the first time Michael Waltrip granted a TV interview regarding the death of his former car owner, friend and mentor.  Waltrip won the 2001 DAYTONA 500, his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in 463 starts, for Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) with then-teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. pushing him to finish second, and Earnhardt seemingly headed for a third-place finish while blocking for his two cars.

THE DAY:  REMEMBERING DALE EARNHARDT takes viewers back to Earnhardt’s last day, from the pre-race ceremonies during which he gave wife Teresa and son Earnhardt Jr. what would be a final hug on the starting grid before climbing into his black No. 3 Chevrolet, to the race, the fatal accident in turn four and the aftermath.  The special also explores Earnhardt’s history at Daytona, his relationship with car owner Richard Childress, his family, his DEI race team, his close friendship with Neil Bonnett, who died at Daytona in 1994, and other key players and events in Earnhardt’s life and career.  Additionally, a variety of NASCAR stars and celebrities recount where they were when they first heard the news of Earnhardt’s death.

New Chase Format announced by NASCAR


Coming off the heels of NASCAR announcing a new format to all three series qualifying, now comes the announcement of a new championship format. NASCAR announced today the new format will put greater emphasis on winning races all season long, expands the current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field to 16 drivers, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion.

Changes announced by France to the championship format include:
-       A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – a change that will put an unprecedented importance on winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race all season long
-       Expanding the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers, with those drivers advancing to what now will be known as the NASCAR Chase Grid
-       The number of championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship will decrease after every three Chase races, from 16 to start in the Chase Grid; 12 after Chase race No. 3; eight after Chase race No. 6; and four after Chase race No. 9
-       The first three races of the Chase (27-29) will be known as the Challenger Round; races 30-32 will be known as the Contender Round; races 33-35 will be the Eliminator Round and race No. 36 will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship
-       A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Chase race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next Chase round
-       Four drivers will enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
The top 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the NASCAR Chase Grid – provided they have finished in the top 30 in points and attempted to qualify for every race (except in rare instances). The 16th Chase position will go to the points leader after race No. 26, if he/she does not have a victory. In the event that there are 16 or more different winners over 26 races, the only winless driver who can earn a Chase Grid spot would be the points leader after 26 races.
If there are fewer than 16 different winners in the first 26 races, the remaining Chase Grid positions will go to those winless drivers highest in points. If there are 16 or more winners in the first 26 races, the ties will first be broken by number of wins, followed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points.
As was implemented in 2011, prior to the start of the Chase, all Chase Grid drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races.
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Structure
After the third Chase race, the Chase Grid will be left with 12 drivers. After the sixth Chase race, the field will drop to eight drivers, and following the ninth Chase race, only four drivers will remain in championship contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title.
The first round (races 27-29) will be called the Challenger Round. If a driver in the Chase Grid wins a Challenger Round race, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-12 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 3,000.
The second round (races 30-32) will be called the Contender Round. Likewise, if a driver in the top 12 in points wins a race in the Contender Round, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-8 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 4,000.
The third round (races 33-35) will be called the Eliminator Round. If a driver in the top eight in points wins a race in the Eliminator Round, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-4 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 5,000.
Additionally, drivers who are eliminated in the Contender and Eliminator Rounds will have their points readjusted. Each eliminated driver will return to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (plus any regular season wins bonus points), with their accumulated points starting with race No. 27 added. This will allow all drivers not in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title to continue to race for the best possible season-long standing, with final positions fifth-through-16th still up for grabs.
Four Drivers, First-to-the-Finish Championship Finale
The 36th and final race of the season will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Simply stated, the highest finisher in that race among the remaining four eligible drivers will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.
Bonus points for laps led will not apply in the season finale, so the official finishing position alone will decide the champion.
Note: All rules outlined above also apply to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner championship structure.

Source: NASCAR Media

NASCAR announces new qualifying format for all three National Series


In a move aimed toward enhancing the fan experience watching at the track and at home, NASCAR has announced a new group qualifying format for its three national series that is more compelling, more closely emulates actual on-track competition and underlines the sport’s on-going commitment to innovation.

At tracks measuring 1.25 miles in length or larger, (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Daytona International Speedway, Gateway Motorsports Park, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Mid-Ohio, Pocono Raceway, Road America, Sonoma Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen International) qualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award will consist of three rounds:

·         The first qualifying elimination round will be 25 minutes in duration and includes all cars / trucks. The 24 cars / trucks that post the fastest single lap from the first qualifying round will advance to the second round.

·         The remaining cars / trucks will be sorted based on their times posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order.

·         The second qualifying elimination round will be 10 minutes in duration and the 12 cars / trucks that post the fastest single lap time will advance to the third and final round. The fastest remaining cars / trucks earn positions 13th through 24th based on their times posted in qualifying in descending order.

·         The third and final qualifying round will be five minutes in duration and the fastest single lap time will determine positions 1st through 12th in descending order.

·         There will be a five-minute break between each qualifying round.

At tracks measuring less than 1.25 miles, (Bristol Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Richmond International Racewayqualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award will consist of two rounds:

·         The first qualifying elimination round will be 30 minutes in duration and includes all cars / trucks. The 12 cars / trucks that post the fastest single lap time from the first qualifying round will advance to the second and final round.

·         The remaining cars / trucks will be sorted based on their times posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order.

·         There will be a 10-minute break between the two qualifying rounds.

·         The second and final qualifying round will be 10 minutes in duration and the fastest single lap time posted will determine positions 1st through 12th in descending order.

The new qualifying format does not apply to the Daytona 500, which will preserve its historic and unique qualifying format. Additionally, it does not apply to non-points NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora Speedway.

NASCAR previewed the concept of group qualifying with its national series teams late last fall and expects the new format will be a well-received improvement by its fans, competitors, tracks, sponsors and media partners.

“We believe the timing is right for a new qualifying format across our three national series,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president for competition and racing development. “This style of group qualifying has all the makings of being highly competitive and more engaging to our fans in the stands and those watching on television and online. For the drivers and teams, we believe this new qualifying will fuel even greater competition leading into the events. Additionally, it provides our tracks, broadcasters and other key partners with a greater opportunity to develop more entertaining content for our race weekends.”

Changes coming to NASCAR Championship Format

2003 Winston Cup Champion, Matt Kenseth. NASCAR Stock photo

2003 Winston Cup Champion, Matt Kenseth. NASCAR Stock photo

Remember back in 2003 when Matt Kenseth won the championship – after winning only one race – and NASCAR was criticized for the points system being flawed and Kenseth then became labeled as the driver who ruined the old point system? NASCAR then implemented the Chase.

Kenseth dominated the points standings for almost the entire 2003 season by having the best 25 top 10 finishes, and one win (Las Vegas). As a result, 2004 saw the implementation of a new points and playoffs system titled “The Chase for the Nextel Cup” after Winston was replaced as primary sponsor of NASCAR’s top series by NEXTEL. In essence, the system created a 10 race playoff, with only the top-10 drivers in points after the first 26 races competing for the championship. Moreover, the system placed an emphasis, and a points premium, on wins. As a result, the term “The Matt Kenseth Rule” was coined to describe NASCAR’s adoption of the current points system.

In 2004, NASCAR made a change to the then current point system for the first time since the system’s 1975 inception, awarding 180 points to a race winner, compared to the previous award of 175 points. Five-point bonuses for leading a lap and leading the most laps still will be awarded.

Jimmy Johnson celebrates becoming a six-time Champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Photo credit: Sandi Goodall/

Jimmy Johnson celebrates becoming a six-time Champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Photo credit: Sandi Goodall/

So here we go again. So now that we have a six-time Champion, is Jimmie Johnson already labeled as the driver that’s ruined the current Chase, hence having NASCAR once again having to adjust the format? According to the Charlotte Observer, NASCAR has started to implement plans to change the current Chase to increase the field from 12 (or from last season 13) to 16 drivers, with a win in the season’s first 26 races ensuring a driver entry into the championship Chase. If there were more than 16 winners, the 16 with the most wins and highest in points would gain entry.

Once the Chase field was set, a round of eliminations  similar to the NCAA tournament  would take place after the third, sixth and ninth race of the Chase, culminating with the championship determined by a winner-takes-all season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Under the proposed system – which could still change before an expected announcement later this month – winning would become virtually a necessity to make the Chase and win the championship.

The Chase has been in the past years as the following: The Chase consists of the season’s last 10 races. The top 12 drivers in the series standings after the season’s 26th race qualified for the Chase. All Chase drivers had their point totals reset to 5,000. They then received 10 bonus points for each race victory prior to the Chase, creating seedings.

However, now in discussions, once the Chase field is set, a round of eliminations similar to the NCAA tournament would take place after the third, sixth and ninth race of the Chase, culminating with the championship determined by a winner-takes-all season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Once the field is set for the Chase and re-seeded, the four lowest in points among Chase contenders would be eliminated from title contention after the third, sixth and ninth race in the Chase. The four remaining contenders would enter the season finale reset with the same amount of points. The driver who earned the most points in the season finale would be the series champion.

The Chase tracks includes: Chicagoland Speedway (2 miles); New Hampshire (1.058 miles); Dover (1 mile); Kansas (1.5 miles); Charlotte Motor Speedway (1.5 miles); Talladega (2.66 miles); Martinsville (.526 mile); Texas (1.5 miles); Phoenix (1 mile); Homestead (1.5 miles).

Statement from Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Chief Communications Officer:“NASCAR has begun the process of briefing key industry stakeholders on potential concepts to evolve its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship format. This dialogue is the final phase of a multi-year process that has included the review of extensive fan research, partner and industry feedback and other data-driven insights. NASCAR has no plans to comment further until the stakeholder discussions are complete. We hope to announce any potential changes for the 2014 season to our media and fans very soon.”