Friday, February 12, 2016

WWE's Cena To Drive Daytona 500 Pace Car


WWE Superstar and actor John Cena will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the 58th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. at Daytona International Speedway. Cena will pace the 43-car field to the green flag in a Toyota Camry. 

Cena, a 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, has been at the forefront of WWE’s programming for more than a decade, and most recently starred on the big screen in the Golden Globe-nominated “Trainwreck,” as well as “Sisters” with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. He next will host FOX’s upcoming reality competition series AMERICAN GRIT, in which contestants work together to complete a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges. The series premieres Thursday, April 14 at 9 PM ET on FOX. 

“John Cena is one of the most iconic WWE Superstars in history, a great actor and philanthropist,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We welcome him back to the ‘World Center of Racing’ and our new motorsports stadium, this time to pace the field for ‘The Great American Race.’”

In addition to his celebrity accolades, Cena is a wish ambassador for Make-A-Wish, having granted more than 500 wishes; more than any other celebrity or athlete in the history of the organization. Make-A-Wish has recognized Cena’s unwavering dedication to children with life-threatening medical conditions with their highest honor, the Chris Greicius Award.


 

HScott Executes Short-Term Charter Lease

HScott Motorsports has reached agreement with Premium Motorsports for use of its Charter in 2016, to run the No. 46 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet driven by Michael Annett.  This agreement has been accepted and approved by NASCAR.   

"The No. 46 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet driven by Michael Annett will be locked into the field for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2016 thanks to an agreement HScott Motorsports reached with Premium Motorsports for a short term transfer of its Charter," said team owner Harry Scott, Jr.  "I want to thank Jay Robinson, owner of Premium Motorsports, for his collaborative approach and belief in HScott Motorsports."   

Earlier this week NASCAR and team owners came to a historic agreement for a NASCAR Charter System.  Under the agreement HScott Motorsports was granted one Charter.  That Charter will be used to field the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Chevrolet driven by Clint Bowyer. The new system allows Charters to be transferred on a short term basis. 

"The new Charter License structure is the result of monumental and unprecedented cooperation between NASCAR and the teams that will further advance the sport into the foreseeable future," said Scott. "The Charter System provides equity and certainty necessary for owners to build a successful business plan and maintain the health of their investment that will benefit fans and sponsors.

CONFIRMED: Vickers To Drive #14 Chevy At Daytona

SHR Comp. Dir. Greg Zipadelli, Brian Vickers,
Executive VP Brett Frood 
and crew chief Mike Bugarevitch
Stewart-Haas Racing confirmed today what GodfatherMotorsports.com first reported on Wednesday, that Brian Vickers will serve as interim driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet SS for all the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events during Speedweeks 2016 at Daytona International Speedway. 

Vickers will begin practicing the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet today, as he and the team prepare for Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited. On Sunday, Vickers will pilot the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet in qualifying for the Daytona 500, before racing again on Thursday in the Can-Am Duel, culminating in nerxt Sunday’s 58th running of the Daytona 500. 

Vickers is a three-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series and was the 2003 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. His best Sprint Cup finish at Daytona is a second-place result in the 2014 Coke Zero 400. His first career Sprint Cup victory came in 2006 at Talladega Superspeedway, the sister track to Daytona. The 2016 Daytona 500 will mark Vickers’ ninth start in the Great American Race. 

An interim driver for the No. 14 team in the races following Daytona has not been determined.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What NASCAR Announced, And What It All Means

NASCAR announced a number of procedural adjustments today, with changes in the size of race fields, qualifying procedures and restarts.

Race Fields/Points: In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 40-car fields will now be the order of the day, with 36 Charter team cars and 4 Open team cars comprising the field. Race winners will now be awarded 40 points (instead of 43), with 40th place awarded one point. 

NASCAR XFINITY Series fields will also include 40 cars, with an identical points structure. 

In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, a maximum 32-truck field will be used, with the race winner awarded 32 points and 32nd place awarded one point. 

Existing 2015 bonus points for winning, leading a lap and leading the most laps will remain in place for 2016.   

Daytona 500 Qualifying: Qualifying for the 2016 Daytona 500 will feature 36 Charter teams, with the remainder of the “Open entries” racing for one of four starting spots. The highest finishing Open team in each Can-Am Duel race earns a starting position, with the final two “Open” positions going to the teams that post the fastest times in Coors Light Pole Qualifying.  

As always, Time Trial qualifying will determine the front row for the Daytona 500, and the starting lineup for the Can-Am Duel, with the number of Charter and Open cars split evenly between the Duel races. 

If time trials are cancelled due to weather, the top two Open teams from each Can-Am Duel race will earn starting positions in the Daytona 500. 

If both Can-Am Duel races are cancelled due to weather, qualifying determines all four Open teams 

If only the second Can-Am Duel race is cancelled due to weather, the highest finishing Open team from the first race earns a starting position, with the other three Open teams determined by qualifying. 

If qualifying and both Can-Am Duel races are cancelled due to weather, combined practice speeds will be used to determine which four Open teams make the Daytona 500 field. 

If all on-track activity prior to the race is cancelled due to weather, 2015 Owner points will be used to determine the four Open-team qualifiers. 

Remaining Championship Races: In all championship events other than the Daytona 500, 36 Charter teams will receive guaranteed starting spots, with four Open teams receiving starting positions. 

Time-trial qualifying results will determine the Open team starting positions, assuming the event is run as scheduled. 

If qualifying is cancelled due to weather, combined practice speeds will be used to determine which four Open teams make the starting field. 

If practice and qualifying are cancelled due to weather, owner points will be used to determine which four Open teams make the starting field. In the first three races of the season, 2015 owner points will be used. Beginning with Race Four of the season, current (2016) owner points. 

There will be no Past Champion’s Provisionals in 2016, or going forward. 

Restarts: NASCAR will mandate just one green/white/checkered flag restart again this season, with the addition of a new “overtime line” to govern late-race restarts. The line will be painted in different locations depending on the size and layout of the track, but NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio today that in most instances, it will be placed midway on the backstretch.
After the green flag flies on an overtime restart, the leader must cross overtime line in order for the restart to be considered a valid G/W/C attempt. If the caution flag is displayed before the leader passes the overtime line, the attempt will not be considered valid, and a subsequent attempt will be made. If a caution flag flies after the leader passes the overtime line, the field will be frozen, the race deemed official and the checkered/yellow or checkered/red displayed at the finish line. No additional attempt will be made.
O’Donnell said the so-called “Restart Zone” will be retained from last season, with no changes in procedure. He added that NASCAR will continue to assess penalties when needed against drivers who jump early or lag back in an attempt to manipulate restarts.
There will be no maximum number of G/W/C restart attempts this season.
And Finally: O’Donnell said that at the end of the nine-year charter term, NASCAR will review the 36 charter holders based on performance. The sanctioning body has “built-in clauses with existing charter holders” outlining attendance and performance expectations, and O’Donnell indicated that perfect attendance will likely be a high priority.  

Asked whether teams still be allowed to field a fifth car in a limited schedule of races for a planned, next-season Rookie of the Year contender, O’Donnell said the sanctioning body expects to announce a policy “very similar to previous years” in the near future.
 
O’Donnell confirmed that Brian Vickers has been medically cleared by NASCAR to participate in Speedweeks 2016, and will be allowed to compete in Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona. Vickers is expected to be announced tomorrow as the interim driver of the #14 Chevrolet at SHR-- replacing the injured Tony Stewart -- and while not technically eligible to compete in the race, he has been granted a waiver by NASCAR to do so, as long as he drives for SHR.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: Vickers To Race For Stewart In Daytona 500

GodfatherMotorsports.com has learned that Brian Vickers will be announced Friday as the replacement driver for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet at Stewart Haas Racing. 

Stewart suffered a burst fracture in his L1 vertebra in a sand buggy accident in California on January 31, and is expected to miss multiple races while healing and rehabbing the injury. Multiple sources say Vickers will be announced as SHR’s new driver Friday at 11:30 a.m. EST in the Daytona International Speedway Media Center. 

He missed the early part of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season after undergoing surgery to repair

an artificial patch inserted to repair a congenital defect in his heart in 2010. He has also been sidelined repeatedly by recurrences of blood clots in his hands, leg and lungs; which required him to take blood-thinning medication.   

Vickers has once again been cleared by his doctors and NASCAR to compete, but had no ride secured for the 2016 campaign. There is no word on whether NASCAR will allow Vickers to compete in this weekend’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. He is not currently qualified to do so, but sources say the sanctioning body is considering allowing the team to take part.
 
Stewart was an eligible driver for the Sprint Unlimited.

Gilliland Will Attempt Daytona 500 For Front Row Motorsports

David Gilliland will attempt to compete in the 2016 Daytona 500, after all.

Not long after appearing to be excluded from Front Row Motorsports’ plans for the coming Sprint Cup Series season, Gilliland was announced today as the driver of a third FRM Ford in next weekend’s season opener.

Gilliland drive the No. 35 Ford, with sponsorship to be announced. He will race at Daytona as a teammate to veteran Landon Cassill and rookie Chris Buescher, both of whom are scheduled to run the entire season.  

As a former Daytona 500 pole winner, Gilliland is eligible to compete in this weekend’s Sprint Unlimited, but FRM is not expected to field a car for him in that event. It is possible that he could be named to replace the injured Tony Stewart in Saturday night’s non-point race, before driving for Front Row in the Daytona 500.

Gilliland finished third in the 2011 Daytona 500 for FRM, and was 11th last year.

Lennie Pond Dead At Age 75

Former Talladega 500 winner Lennie Pond passed away today at the age of 75.

Pond, who had been battling cancer for a number of months, died at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Va. He was a prolific winner in NASCAR’s Modified and Late Model Sportsman divisions – on both asphalt and dirt – in the 1950s, `60s and `70s, winning five Virginia State championships in the Late Model Sportsman ranks.

He was NASCAR’s 1973 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, and is best remembered for an upset victory in the 1978 Talladega 500, where he prevailed in a rare, caution-free race at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

His victory came in dramatic fashion, when leader Benny Parsons hit debris from Bill Elliott’s blown tire on the final lap, cutting his own right-front tire. Debris also damaged the windshield of runner-up Donnie Allison, forcing him to slow. Pond overtook Allison just before the checkered flag, winning the race by two car lengths at an average speed of 174.700 mph; then a world record for a 500-mile closed course race.
"It was a long time coming," said Pond, who had previously been dogged by rumors that he would be released from his Harry Rainer-owned WIN Inc., ride. "When I started the race today, I felt like the whole world was against me. I think a whole lot of people needed to see it today, the way they’ve been talking. I’ve got to talk to a whole lot of people and get a few things straight."


Pond ran his final Winston Cup Series race in 1989, ending with 88 Top-10 finishes in 234 career starts. In recent years, he was active in the automotive industry, working as a salesman at Heritage Chevrolet in Chester, Va.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Sorenson To Race In Daytona, Hillman Unhappy With Charter System Exclusion

With today's formal announcement of the implementation of a NASCAR charter system for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season, Hillman Racing announced that it will field the No. 40 CRC BRAKLEEN Chevrolet with driver Reed Sorenson in the 58th annual Daytona 500.  

Hillman Racing was not awarded one of NASCAR’s 36 charters, and thus will attempt to qualify for one of the four starting sports available to “open” drivers. Team owner Mike Hillman minced no words in commenting on that move, saying, “While we are absolutely disappointed with our exclusion from the new charter system, we have sponsors, partners and friends that have stood behind us, and for that I am truly grateful.  

"I've poured my heart and soul -- literally my blood, sweat and tears -- into building a competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup team over the past three years, and to be told one week prior to the sport's biggest event of a complete overhaul of the framework of the Series is disheartening. For the time being, I will instead focus on the positives. We have a great partner like CRC Industries that will allow me to continue to realize my lifelong dream of fielding a car in the Daytona 500."  

The team has secured the driving services of 30-year-old Sorenson, who last season raced his way into the Daytona 500 by earning a transfer spot in his150-mile qualifying race. The team has tapped race-winning crew chief Pat Tryson to lead the No. 40 CRC Brakleen team. Sorenson, who celebrated his 30th birthday last Friday, will attempt to race his way into the Daytona 500 for the seventh time in his career. He has recorded fifth- and ninth-place finishes in NASCAR's biggest race.

NASCAR Announces Charter-Based Ownership System

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France joined with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owners today to announce a new, Charter-based ownership model that will govern the sport for the next nine years.
The new Charter system addresses three key areas – participation, governance and economics – to promote a more predictable, sustainable and valuable team business model. The agreement grants NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Charters to 36 teams, establishes a Team Owner Council that will have formal input into decisions and provides Charter teams with new revenue opportunities, including a greater interest in digital operations. 
“Today represents a landmark change to the business model of team ownership in NASCAR,” said France. “The Charter agreements provide nine years of stability for NASCAR and the teams to focus on growth initiatives together with our track partners, auto manufacturers, drivers and sponsors. The Charters also are transferable, which will aid in the development of long-term enterprise value for Charter members.” 
The system affords Charter teams that remain in good standing more predictable revenue over the nine years of the agreement. Along with improved financial certainty, the new framework is designed to increase the long-term market value of teams and provide the ability to plan farther ahead with existing, new and prospective partners. 
Similar to the five-year sanctioning agreements that NASCAR begins with tracks in 2016, team owner Charter agreements allow for longer planning cycles around competition, innovation, digital marketing, governance and research and development. 
“The new Charter program strengthens each of our businesses individually and the team model as a whole, which is good for NASCAR, our fans, drivers, sponsors and the thousands of people who we employ,” said Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing. “This will give us more stability and predictability, and it will allow us to take a more progressive, long-term approach to issues. 
“NASCAR and the teams share a desire to preserve, promote and grow the sport and ultimately produce great racing for our fans and partners. These common goals served as the foundation for discussions and helped bring us to this unprecedented agreement. This is a great step forward for the entire sport made possible by Brian France setting a new course for the NASCAR industry and the owners coming together on shared issues. Everyone involved then compromised a bit to be able to come up with something that worked for all.” 
Each Charter team owner has a guaranteed entry into the field of every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point-counting race. To maintain the historical openness of NASCAR racing, the balance of the field will be open for team owners who do not hold Charters. These Open team owners will compete for the remaining starting spots and positions in the race, as each event in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ starting lineup shifts in 2016 to a 40-car field. 
“The new team owner agreements will offer a more appealing environment for both current and prospective team owners at the NASCAR premier series level,” France said. “I’ve always stressed that if we can do things to improve the business of our stakeholders, we will pursue it. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished today with this agreement.” 

2015 Car #

2016 Car #

Organization

43

43

Richard Petty Motorsports

9

44

Richard Petty Motorsports

3

3

Richard Childress Racing

27

27

Richard Childress Racing

31

31

Richard Childress Racing

2

2

Team Penske

22

22

Team Penske

5

5

Hendrick Motorsports

24

24

Hendrick Motorsports

48

48

Hendrick Motorsports

88

88

Hendrick Motorsports

6

6

Roush Fenway Racing

16

16

Roush Fenway Racing

17

17

Roush Fenway Racing

1

1

Chip Ganassi Racing

42

42

Chip Ganassi Racing

11

11

Joe Gibbs Racing

18

18

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

20

Joe Gibbs Racing

15

TBD

Michael Waltrip Racing

55

TBD

Michael Waltrip Racing

4

4

Stewart-Haas Racing

10

10

Stewart-Haas Racing

14

14

Stewart-Haas Racing

78

78

Furniture Row Racing

35

34

Front Row Motorsports

38

38

Front Row Motorsports

47

47

JTG Daugherty Racing

7

7

Tommy Baldwin Racing

13

13

Germain Racing

32

32

Go Fas Racing

23

23

BK Racing

83

83

BK Racing

62

62

Premium Motorsports

33

95

Circle Sport Racing

51

15

HScott Motorsports