Sprint Cup Series News

 

Sprint Cup Series News

Sprint Cup Series News (8289)

FOX airs special 2015 NASCAR preview

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Friday, 19 December 2014 13:08

While NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams look forward to some downtime during the holidays before kicking back into overdrive in January, FOX takes a sneak peek at what's to come next season in a one-hour special entitled NASCAR 2015: A New Era. The program premieres Sunday, Dec. 21, adjacent to NFL on FOX coverage (check local listings for airtimes).   

Hosted by Danielle Trotta from Daytona International Speedway, the program, produced by NASCAR Productions, previews the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, outlining everything fans need to know heading into one of the most anticipated seasons in years. Specific focus is put on the 1-2 punch of the Daytona 500 and the season's second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway; the "West Coast Swing;" schedule changes; team, driver and crew chief swaps; TV partners; rule changes; championship predictions; and power rankings.

NASCAR 2015: A New Era offers in-depth interviews with the series' top drivers, including: 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick, who discusses his championship season and defense of his title in 2015; a Dale Earnhardt Jr. sit-down interview with FOX NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip in which he reflects on the 2015 season and discusses defending his Daytona 500 championship and expectations for 2015 with a new crew chief; six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson sharing with FOX NASCAR host Chris Myers his perspective on the "West Coast swing" schedule, what he learned in 2014 and how he can move beyond the season's disappointment to begin the quest for his seventh championship; and a Carl Edwards feature interview with NFL on FOX insider Jay Glazer in which he discusses approaching 2015 with a new team, competing for Joe Gibbs and the significance of winning at Atlanta.

Several other drivers, including Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano, share their thoughts on the momentum the series carries into the 2015 season; their perspective on Atlanta Motor Speedway and its most memorable moments; and the "West Coast Swing" venues and their highlights over the years.

In addition, Terry Crews of FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine explains the magnitude and spectacle of the Daytona 500, while Adam Alexander leads a special installment of "NASCAR War Room," a roundtable discussion about 2015 among FOX NASCAR analysts Jeff Hammond, Larry McReynolds, Michael Waltrip and Matt Yocum.

NASCAR 2015: A New Era airs on FOX adjacent to the network's NFL on FOX coverage, either immediately following the early NFL games or preceding the late games. Check local listings for airtimes.

Fox Sports PR

He is the champion. After 13 years of coming close to winning it all, Kevin Harvick captured the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fashion by making good use of his nickname: The Closer.

However, for Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Danica Patrick, 2014 was a step in the right direction. One of the most popular drivers in the sport, she was expected to steadily improve this year, but didn’t make the leap that was expected of her.

But for Harvick, 2014 was a dream come true for a Bakersfield, California kid that nearly became an architect.

After making the swap from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick had plenty of support from multiple sponsors, including Budweiser, Jimmy Johns and Outback Steakhouse. Moreover, the No. 4 team was starting from scratch. Led by crew chief Rodney Childers, the magic rapidly increased in the organization, and Harvick was on the fast road to success.

Right off of the bat, Harvick showed he was going to be the car to beat – posting top speeds consistently during the first test prior to the 2014 season at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Dominating at Phoenix, he scored SHR’s first of six victories on the year. Although he continued to be one of the quickest cars week-in and week-out, Harvick’s team struggled with luck.

Mechanical issues and faulty pit stops took away multiple wins for the No. 4 team. During the first 10 races of the 2014 season, he finished 36th or worse four times, and was barely sitting inside of the top-20 in points. However, Harvick persevered and won five races on the year. Having led an astonishing 2,137 laps, he led the Sprint Cup Series in that category by over 500 laps ahead of Brad Keselowski.

But with all of the laps led, Harvick’s success truly came late in events. Even when he might not have had the strongest car, he made bold moves that put him in position to not only finish inside of the top five, but to earn the win. And that’s just what he did.

With struggles occurring throughout SHR over the course of the season, Harvick became the team leader that they were looking for. He was a mentor to Patrick, and helped out Kurt Busch and team co-owner Tony Stewart when they were struggling on and off of the track.

As for Patrick, she finished 28th in points, which is one position down from her rookie season. She made steady gains throughout the year, but unfortunately for the No. 10 team, so did the rest of the middle part of the field.

Earning a top-10 finish at Kansas in May, Patrick began to raise eyebrows. After running inside of the top five for a substantial portion of the race, it looked like she would continue that pace for the rest of the year. But things at SHR started to shake up, and as she was gaining momentum with crew chief Tony Gibson, he was assigned to work with Kurt Busch. She was paired with first-year crew chief Daniel Knost, who notably struggled with Busch for the majority of the year.

Patrick ended the year with three top-10s, which isn’t too good compared to her teammates. But she has a sponsor that is backing her with plenty of funding to continue at SHR in 2015.

2015 Preview:

Harvick is expected to pick up from where he left off. The reigning champion usually does extremely well or  . . .  not so much. Childers and he have a rare chemistry that is seldom seen in NASCAR.

But now that the team likely won’t be dealing with mechanical issues, Childers should lead Harvick to even more success in 2015. With eight poles in 2014, Harvick became a great qualifier. Although that might not remain next year, he will certainly be a consistent factor during race day.

If there is any room for improvement in this team, it will have to be the pit crew. Late in the year, SHR swapped the No. 14 and No. 4 pit crews in order to give Harvick as much of an advantage as he can have. It paid off in the short-term, but he’s going to have his original crew back in 2015. Practice makes perfect, and if they can make fewer mistakes in 2015, expect Harvick to win at least three-five races before the Chase for the Sprint Cup cut-off.

2015 will be an important year for Patrick. She needs to finish inside of the top five at least once at a non-restrictor plate track in order to prove that she belongs in the Cup Series. She improved in each category in 2014, but that wasn’t enough to make up for some of her horrific races, such as Texas late in the year.

Patrick’s struggles are known throughout the sport due to being rushed up to the top-tier division following limited success in the Nationwide Series with JR Motorsports. However, she has potential to finish inside of the top-20 in points if she and Knost find chemistry right off of the bat. She will be strong at the plate tracks, but where she can truly excel is the intermediate tracks, which she showed strengths at. 

The Team Penske Racing drivers, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, both had one hot season in 2014. Both drivers entered the season as the early favorites to capture the championship, and probably shocked everyone to have the season both teams did. The two teams had chances to score the championship, but only one of them made it to the final round at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Which one of these made it? Find out in this season recap for Keselowski and Logano.

Keselowski started the brand-new 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on a great note with three finishes inside the top-three, including a win at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The next five races didn’t go the way they had hoped, scoring his best finish of 14th at the Bristol Motor Speedway. In the ninth stop on the series calendar, which was the Richmond International Raceway, Keselowski found some luck to bring home another top-five finish to spark some much needed momentum. The next three races didn’t provide decent finishes once again for the No. 2 Miller Lite team, but finally found another patch of gold in the next three races, earning three consecutive top-three finishes.

With the regular season halfway through, the next weekend at the Sonoma Raceway killed some of the momentum as they brought home a finish of 22nd. With Kentucky being the next weekend, and a track that has been kind to Keselowski at in the past, the team had plenty of momentum going into the weekend. With the positive vibe surrounding them, they went out and not only captured the pole, but also their third win of the year. He would also ride the wave to score the team’s fourth win of the year two weeks later at Loudon. The team struggled once again in the next six races, earning only two top-10 finishes. Richmond finally came on the calendar, marking the end of the regular season. The No. 2 team made a statement to score their fourth win of the season to go into the Chase for the Sprint Cup on a high note.

Once the opening Chase for the Sprint Cup race got started, Keselowski overcame a very bad qualifying effort to capture his fifth win of the year and a spot into the second-round of the Chase. The next weekend at Loudon, Keselowski started the weekend strong on a high note after scoring the pole, but couldn’t back it up with a win after finishing in seventh. The next two weekends at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Kansas Speedway, places that Keselowski had success at in the past, were the opposite for the 30-year-old. With Talladega being the next weekend, Keselowski knew that he would need to pull off the victory if he wanted to advance into the eliminator round. He did just that, earning his sixth win of the year. The 31st-place finish the next weekend at the Martinsville Speedway would kill the team’s championship hopes. Even though Keselowski earned two consecutive top-three finishes the next two weeks, it wouldn’t be enough to advance him into the final four drivers at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Logano, who entered his sixth full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, had high expectations entering the 2014 season. Despite an 11th-place finish in the season opener at the Daytona International Speedway, the next two weeks the Connecticut native earned two back-to-back fourth-place finishes. Over the next two races, which were at the Bristol Motor Speedway and the Auto Club Speedway, Logano took home two disappointing finishes of 20th or worse.

Over the course of the next six races, Logano earned two victories, marking the first time of his career to earn multiple victories in a single season. Despite an eighth-place finish the next weekend at Dover, this would start a very inconsistent run in the next seven races for the 24-year-old. He would go on to earning only three top-10 finishes in these seven races. After the rough patch, the next seven races were very bright, earning six top-10s and another victory.   

With a great stretch of the last seven races, Logano entered the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup with high expectations. The first five races shocked many people after he brought home five top-five finishes, including two wins during that time at Loudon and Kansas. Even though he only scored two top-five finishes in the next four races, Logano was able to perform just well enough to earn a spot in the final four at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. After a ninth-place qualifying effort, Logano would later finish a disappointing 16th after problems struck them all day. This would cause him to finish fourth in the points standings.

The 2015 Sprint Cup Series season will be very interesting for both Team Penske drivers. With 2014 being the best season for the duo, it will not be surprising if we see the two drivers earn even more victories in 2015. In fact, both Keselowski and Logano make-up two of my picks to make the final four in 2015.

The Dale Jr. Foundation Year-End Recap

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 14:42

Through its 2014 fundraising campaign, The Dale Jr. Foundation (TDJF) earned $933,364 – the most it has ever raised in a single year since its inception in 2007.  That money will be distributed to more than 70 charities, including Barium Springs Home for Children, Camp LUCK, Carolina’s Healthcare Foundation (Levine Children’s Hospital), Classroom Central, DonorsChoose.org, Health Reach Community Clinic, Kinder-Mourn Inc., Make-A-Wish, Mooresville Area Christian Mission, SCAN of Iredell County and Speedway Children’s Charities. 

The Dale Jr. Foundation’s mission is to give underprivileged individuals, with a focus on youth, the resources to improve their confidence and education, and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals.  Since 2007, TDJF has contributed to charities on local, regional and national levels through donations and nonmonetary aids.  Behind initiatives such as the “Driven To Give” event, “Win Dale Jr.’s Ride” raffle, and the “Dale Jr. Ride-Along Experience,” the foundation exceeded its all-time high in fundraising monies by $175,800.

“I’m so proud of what we were able to accomplish this year,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who recently was named recipient of NASCAR’s prestigious Myers Bros. Award for his contributions to the sport of stock car racing.

“We had successful fundraisers, and our fans really stepped up this year and contributed in a big way.  Our corporate partners did, too.  Ultimately we set the bar extremely high this year, and I’m grateful to Kelley, and all the staff at JR Motorsports who worked hard to make this year a success.”

The fourth annual “Driven To Give” event took place on Oct. 21 and was hosted by ESPN’s Marty Smith, with Comedy Central comedian John Heffron entertaining the audience at the Fillmore in Charlotte. Total proceeds through the silent auction, live auction, and donations tallied $253,100, an increase of more than $57,000 over the money raised in 2013.

The very next day, W. Smith took ownership of Earnhardt Jr.’s 2014 Corvette Stingray Coupe, as she was the winner of the 2014 “Win Dale Jr.’s Ride” promotion.  Mrs. Smith’s $25 raffle ticket was randomly drawn from the 8,888 tickets sold.  She learned that she was the winner of Earnhardt Jr.’s Corvette just two weeks after being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.  Smith came to JR Motorsports on Oct. 22 to receive the keys to her new car from Earnhardt Jr.  The raffle raised $222,200. 

The “Dale Jr. Ride-Along Experience” raised an additional $124,400, which again surpassed totals from previous years.  Fourteen recipients and their guests visited Charlotte Motor Speedway for a three-lap ride in a car from the Richard Petty Driving Experience with Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel.  They were also treated to an exclusive Q&A session, autographs and photo session with Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Kerry Earnhardt.

“We reached new heights this year with The Dale Jr. Foundation, and we’re proud of it,” said Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports and vice president of The Dale Jr. Foundation. “The hard work and dedication from many individuals contributing to The Foundation is the reason we have exceeded our goals this year.  Looking back over the past eight years, we have come a long way and we still have a lot more we’d like to achieve.  I’m so thankful for this organization and what it stands for.  Without the tireless support from our fans and partners, this wouldn’t be possible.  It’s a great feeling knowing The Dale Jr. Foundation is helping so many worthy causes.”

JR Motorsports PR

Statement from TMS President Gossage on Sprint

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 14:39

Statement from Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage on the announcement that Sprint will not be returning as the title sponsor of NASCAR's elite Cup Series following the expiration of their current contract at the conclusion of the 2016 season: 

"Sprint has been a tremendous series sponsor for NASCAR's top-tier Cup Series and official sponsor of Texas Motor Speedway since they came aboard in 2004. While the news is disappointing that Sprint will not renew with NASCAR when their contract expires at the close of the 2016 season, Texas Motor Speedway as well as the entire industry is extremely appreciative of how impactful Sprint's sponsorship has been in helping the growth of the sport and we all look forward to the company doing the same over the final two years. Much like 2004, this is an enormous opportunity for a prospective sponsor to join one of the country's most popular sports on its highest level. NASCAR has reached out in advance to industry people like myself to assist them in identifying a replacement title sponsor. We encourage NASCAR to find an active, supportive and long-term sponsor with broad consumer reach and minimal category conflict that proves beneficial to the entire industry in the future."

 

TMS PR

“NASCAR and Sprint have enjoyed a long and productive partnership that has returned significant value to both parties. We understand significant changes within Sprint and the highly competitive business environment it is in has led to a decision not to extend its Cup Series entitlement position following the 2016 season. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a very unique, premium sports marketing platform with strong momentum, so we are very confident of moving forward in 2017 with an outstanding new partner. In the meantime, we look forward to Sprint’s partnership on the best racing series in the world for the next two seasons.”

NASCAR PR

Citing a need to focus more directly on its core business priorities, Sprint announced it has informed NASCAR it will not extend the title sponsorship of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after the current agreement expires at the end of the 2016 season.

“We are proud of our association with NASCAR’s top series but have made the decision not to extend our sponsorship beyond the next two years,” said Steve Gaffney, vice president-Marketing, Sprint. “As we look to the future, Sprint is focused on investing in maintaining a competitive edge and providing consumers with the best value in wireless.

“Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports. Without question, the NASCAR sponsorship property has been a valuable investment for us and will be for our successor.”

Since the partnership began in 2004, Sprint has worked closely with NASCAR to bring many fan-friendly innovations to life, including the introduction of the FanView next generation scanner (2005), the creation of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile wireless application (2008) and the debut of Miss Sprint Cup (2007), an ambassador program that now has more than 1.5 million social media followers. The constant evolution of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race pre-race show and the improvements to the Sprint Vision trackside programming also highlight Sprint’s portfolio of fan enhancements.

“We genuinely appreciate the fans, teams, drivers, tracks and media who have been so supportive and welcoming to us during these many race seasons,” said Gaffney. “We look forward to our remaining time as sponsor of the Sprint Cup Series and eventually assisting with the transition to NASCAR’s next title partner.”

The sponsorship extends back to 2004 when Nextel signed a 10-year partnership with NASCAR for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The name changed to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008 as a result of the Nextel/Sprint corporate merger. At the conclusion of the first 10 years, Sprint extended the partnership an additional three years, taking the contract through the end of the 2016 season.

Sprint PR

 

NBC Sports Group today added reporter Rutledge Wood to its multiplatform coverage of NASCAR, Formula 1, IndyCar, Global Rallycross and Mecum Auctions.  Among his contributions, Wood will present features on the storied raceways, unique towns and enthusiastic fans that make NASCAR an American treasure. The announcement was made today by Jeff Behnke, Vice President of NASCAR Production for NBC Sports and NBCSN.

“Rutledge brings a unique combination of knowledge and enthusiasm to his work that will help us shine a spotlight on the tracks and communities we visit throughout the year, and bring them to life,” said Behnke.

“It’s hard to put into words how unbelievably excited I am to be a part of NBC and their return to NASCAR,” said Wood.  “Working in motorsports is a dream come true for me, as I have so much fun telling the stories of drivers, teams and their fans. Just like NASCAR, NBC Sports is a family, and it’s one that I am proud to be a part of.”

The appointment of Wood follows previous NBC Sports NASCAR on-air announcements for analysts Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty, race announcer Rick Allen, pre- and post-race host Krista Voda, and reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro and Dave Burns.

Wood’s first experience in NASCAR came during his first job in entertainment: traveling with the NASCAR circuit for Country Music Television’s mobile marketing activation.  Soon after, he was hired by SPEED, where he has worked continuously for the past 10 seasons covering NASCAR.  Wood most recently was a correspondent for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay, on Fox Sports 1, and has also hosted or co-hosted several NASCAR events, including the annual NASCAR Awards Banquet.  In addition, Wood has been the co-host of Top Gear on the History Channel, the American iteration of the BBC program of the same name, for the past four seasons.

On July 23, 2013, NASCAR and NBC Sports Group reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content, beginning in 2015.

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, when the elite national series races through its final 10 events of the season.  The Chase culminates with the season-ending championship event, which returns 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 NBCSN. Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.

NASCAR AMERICA premiered in February, following Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Daytona 500 victory and NBC Sports Group’s multi-platform coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. The weekday 30-minute news and highlights program is dedicated to America’s fascination with speed and stock car racing, and features regular appearances by NBC Sports NASCAR experts, as well as a rotation of guest analysts.

NBC Sports PR

 

2014 can be summed up in one phrase for Chip Ganassi’s organization: the best of the rest. After missing the Chase for the Sprint Cup with Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, they finished 17th and 18th in points, respectively. However, the sub-par finish in the standings certainly does not show the progress this Chevrolet team made in 2014.

After Juan Pablo Montoya announced he was leaving Ganassi for Team Penske’s IndyCar Series team, there were multiple candidates to replace the vacant seat. While plenty of veteran drivers were available, Ganassi selected Larson to pilot the No. 42 car with backing from Target. Although plenty of media members, including myself, had plenty of doubts of Larson’s capabilities in a Sprint Cup Series ride considering he wasn’t able to win a Nationwide Series race in his rookie year in that division, he proved us all wrong in 2014.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year was on pace to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and would have finished the year inside of the top-13 in points if it weren’t for the new format. However, that cannot take away from his impressive results, which included a runner-up finish at Auto Club Speedway during the fifth race of the season. He had another second-place finish at Loudon in the fall, but failed to win a race in his first year. With eight top-fives and 17 top-10s, Larson was the strongest Rookie of the Year since Denny Hamlin in 2006.

Getting adjusted to the Cup Series was tough for Larson. But compared to the large rookie class in 2014, he did rather well. Austin Dillon, who brought back the No. 3 car for Richard Childress Racing, entered the season as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year after taking over Kevin Harvick’s ride. Moreover, Larson and crew chief Chris Heroy clicked better than expected, which led to him leading 53 laps, including a season-high of 20 at Chicagoland Speedway in the summer.

McMurray showed just as much, if not more speed than Larson, throughout the 36-race season. The 13-year Sprint Cup Series veteran had seven top-fives and 13 top-10s in 2014, but he led 368 laps. With a best finish of third at Charlotte in October, the No. 1 team was not able to get the job done. They had plenty of speed, and had a solid shot at winning multiple races in 2014, yet his car just lost the handle to it late in events.

A common pattern from McMurray’s cars over the course of the year saw this team start our poorly in a race, then start running top-five laps times, but they fell off in the last 50 or so laps. This was shown at Martinsville, Bristol, Kansas, Chicago and Charlotte. But McMurray just couldn’t seal the deal, and that gave him an average finish of 16.2 on the year.

Crew chief Keith Rodden clearly made a difference for this team. Moving over from Hendrick Motorsports, he took the job at Ganassi after McMurray struggled in 2013 with just nine top-10s. After the team swapped to Hendrick Motorsports engines in 2013, they didn’t have the right aerodynamic package to go along with the upgrade in horse power. However, Rodden brought experience from Hendrick, which ended up being a key difference maker in McMurray’s season.

2015 Preview:

There is a lot of change going on at Ganassi. Target has opted to put an end to their funding of Tony Kanaan’s IndyCar ride and instead – they are enumerating their money to Larson’s program. This will evidently give a boost to the Cup Series team as a whole, especially since they’ll be receiving a few extra bucks to develop more competitive cars.

The team lost LiftMaster to Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 team, but that’s not all they lost to Hendrick.

After rumors had Kenny Francis moving away from the pit box in 2015, Hendrick recently announced that Rodden will take over as Kahne’s crew chief. The change could have been drastic for the No. 1 team, but Ganassi has signed formed Robert Yates Racing developmental driver Matt McCall to become McMurray’s crew chief. McCall has been racing at the short track level for the past few years, but he became an engineer within Richard Childress Racing.

Although this will be McMurray’s third crew chief in as many years, he is looking to build on the momentum he had from the 2014 season. He’s expected to have one of his strongest years since he joined the team, yet he’s going to have to get a victory early in the year in order to build more confidence, which he was fortunate to have with Heroy.

As for Larson, there is nothing stopping him from getting at least one or two wins in 2015. The soon-to-be father is moving into a new house, and his prestige is on the rise. There won’t be any major changes to his team, and if he makes the Chase, he should be a top contender for the championship.

Coming off an exciting 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, NASCAR announced today all 16 Chase drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). The 75-lap, non-points race will once again kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing season Saturday, Feb. 14 (FOX, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and will feature an expanded field of drivers based on new eligibility requirements.

A minimum of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are eligible to participate in the Sprint Unlimited at DIS.  In addition to the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup participants, the field also will include 2014 Coors Light Pole Award winners, as well as former Sprint Unlimited race winners and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full time in 2014. Any remaining spots will be filled by drivers highest in 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship points who are not already eligible.

“The 2015 Sprint Unlimited has potential to be one of the most competitive ever,” said NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell. “With more drivers eligible, the intensity level increases for our fans and competitors, making for a compelling start to the 2015 season.”

The 2015 eligible participants include:

·         Kyle Busch (2014 pole winner)

·         Austin Dillon (2014 pole winner)

·         Jeff Gordon (2014 pole winner)

·         David Gilliland (2014 pole winner)

·         Denny Hamlin (2014 pole winner)

·         Kevin Harvick (2014 pole winner)

·         Jimmie Johnson (2014 pole winner)

·         Matt Kenseth (2014 pole winner)

·         Brad Keselowski (2014 pole winner)

·         Kyle Larson (2014 pole winner)

·         Joey Logano (2014 pole winner)

·         Jamie McMurray (2014 pole winner)

·         Brian Scott (2014 pole winner)

·         Tony Stewart (2014 pole winner)

·         Brian Vickers* (2014 pole winner)

·         Kurt Busch (former Unlimited winner)

·         Dale Earnhardt Jr. (former Unlimited winner)

·         Carl Edwards (former D500 pole winner)

·         Danica Patrick (former D500 pole winner)

·         Greg Biffle (former D500 pole winner)

·         Martin Truex Jr. (former D500 pole winner)

·         Ryan Newman (2014 Chase driver)

·         AJ Allmendinger (2014 Chase driver)

·         Kasey Kahne (2014 Chase driver)

·         Aric Almirola (2014 Chase driver)

(* – Michael Waltrip Racing today announced that Brian Vickers will not be available to race during the early part of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues.)

Tickets for the Sprint Unlimited are available online at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can follow @NASCAR and @MissSprintCup on Twitter to engage in the #SprintUnlimited conversation.

NASCAR PR

Page 1 of 593