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Sprint Cup Series News

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"NASCAR offers its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Denny Darnell. For decades working with Bristol Motor Speedway, RJ Reynolds, NEXTEL and Dodge, Denny was a familiar and friendly face in media centers and NASCAR garages throughout the country. He approached his job seriously and professionally, but few could bring laughter like Denny. He was a public relations institution, and will be greatly missed."

NASCAR PR

Disappointment for Hamlin

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Thursday, 20 November 2014 19:22
Disappointment for Hamlin
“I thought we had it,” said Denny Hamlin, following the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. 
Hamlin was strong in the latter portion of the race at Homestead, and had the car to beat the three other championship eligible drivers. It was until a late race caution with 19 laps to go that defeated Hamlin. Darian Grubb, Hamlin’s crew chief decided to stay out on worn tires, and restart as the leader while Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman came down pit road for fresher tires. 
Harvick pitted for 4 tires, while Newman pitted for 2. Logano had a disaster of a pit stop when the jack fell from underneath the car. He restarted 29th after entering pit road in the top five.
“I thought we could beat them on pit road,” said Hamlin after there was confusion between he, and Grubb on whether or not the No. 11 should pit. Hamlin didn’t pit, in which resulted in a seventh place finish, when fellow championship contender passed him for the last lead change of the race.
What could have been is the story for Hamlin. What if he pitted? More than likely if he happened to pit, he would have come off pit road first. The No. 11 FedEx pit crew is the best in the business. So why did Grubb decide to stay out?
Grubb, who made a similar call to the one on Sunday in which he made in 2011 that clinched the championship for Tony Stewart. "Disappointed in myself for making the call at the time, because now I can see and hindsight is 20/20," Grubb said. "But I think we had it wrapped up there before that."
Anything can happen in racing, but it sure looked like Hamlin was well on his way of winning his first career Sprint Cup trophy.  Hamlin summed it up the disappointment well- “For the latter part of the race, we had the best car. Those cautions at the end, it kills us. We don't have a short run car. Then when we were on older tires there at the end, we were just a sitting duck.” 
Hamlin said prior to Sunday that he had no pressure because the No.11 team has overachieved with the lack of horsepower and downforce that Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD have provided him this year. With only 1 win, 7 top five finishes and 18 top ten finishes, that statement is accurate. However, the new points system at least gave Hamlin a shot at the championship. If NASCAR had its old point system, Hamlin would have finished about 20th in the final standings. 
Michael Jordan was even there to cheer on his friend. Hamlin has never lacks confidence, and often calls his shot. “Wish I could have one ring to his six. We’ll have to wait another year.”
Although Hamlin ultimately finished third in the seasons standings, over the course of the season he did not have a third place car but with this new format it looks as if a team can be slightly better than average and still get in to the championship race. So yeah, he overachieved. 
"Things just didn't work out. If the race goes green, we very easily could be talking about this in victory lane.”
 

The No. 17 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during pre-qualifying inspection Nov. 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This infraction is a P3 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.3 of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:

Violations resulting in P3 penalties tend to fall between serious and intermediate in nature. While they might include general “categories” of infractions similar to those in P4 (e.g. unauthorized parts; failing to meet specs; etc.), they tend to pertain more to secondary componentry or systems; modifications of lessor significance; go/no-go measurement failures of an intermediate nature.

This infraction violates Sections:

12-1 - Actions detrimental to stock car racing;

20-12Suspension: All front end and rear suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension/drive line component beyond normal rotation or suspension/drive line travel.

As a result of these violations, crew chief Mike Kelley has been fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for six months starting Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015. Additionally, car chief Patrick Magee has also been placed on NASCAR probation for six months starting Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015.

NASCAR PR

Kevin Harvick earned his first NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series championship and the MOOG® Steering and Suspension brand’s 49th straight with a thrilling victory in Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

Harvick’s win in the MOOG-equipped No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS extends a Cup title string that began in 1966 with David Pearson and the No. 6 Dodge and includes many of the biggest names in professional stock car racing history. MOOG Steering and Suspension components are manufactured by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: FDML).

The 38-year-old Harvick, who made perhaps the biggest decision of his career in moving to Stewart-Haas Racing at the beginning of the season, passed Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 Toyota Camry with seven laps remaining and held off Ryan Newman’s hard-charging No. 31 Chevrolet to win the first championship under NASCAR’s new four-round Chase format. The MOOG-equipped No. 4 car finished the year with five wins, 14 top fives and 20 top 10s.

“Kevin has been one of the most successful and popular drivers throughout his 14-year Cup racing career, so it was only a matter of time until he added his name to the list of greats who have won it all while relying on world-class MOOG parts,” said Michael Proud, director of marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “It was a fantastic ending to the Chase, and we’re thrilled MOOG once again came out on top.”

MOOG Steering and Suspension is the preferred brand of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs, and MOOG components are recognized as the automotive service industry’s “Problem Solver,” with innovative parts that improve on original designs by providing increased durability, enhanced performance and easier installation. The MOOG product line includes an extensive range of high-quality steering and suspension components – including ball joints, tie rod ends, control arms, idler and pitman arms, sway bar links, complete strut assemblies, hub assemblies and universal joints – covering virtually any foreign-nameplate or domestic vehicle. These parts are available through thousands of automotive service locations and parts providers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“Automotive repair professionals recognize the vital role our NASCAR program plays in the development of parts that provide superior durability and performance,” Proud said.

For more information regarding the MOOG Problem Solver awards and MOOG products, visit the brand’s technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website or contact your MOOG supplier. Like MOOG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moogproblemsolver.

Federal Mogul PR

Sprint Cup racing’s youngest crew chief is now also one if its most celebrated, as Luke Lambert of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team clinched Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ $100,000 MOOG® Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Year” Award during Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Federal-Mogul Motorparts is a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: FDML).

The 31-year-old Lambert, in just his second full year as a Cup Series crew chief and first with driver Ryan Newman, finished 2014 with a series-leading four weekly MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Awards. He will receive his $100,000 Problem Solver of the Year check and a handcrafted MOOG ball joint trophy during the NASCAR Myers Brothers Award Ceremony December 4 in Las Vegas.

The MOOG Problem Solver of the Race and Problem Solver of the Year awards recognize the vital in-race contributions of Sprint Cup crew chiefs. The weekly Problem Solver of the Race award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. The prestigious year-end Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief with the best overall performance throughout the season. Four crew chiefs – Jimmy Fennig (No. 99 Ford, Carl Edwards), Chris Heroy (No. 42 Chevrolet, Kyle Larson), Chad Knaus (No. 48 Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson) and Steve Letarte (No. 88 Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr.) – tied for second in the final Problem Solver standings with three wins each. Eighteen different crew chiefs won a weekly MOOG award in 2014.

“Luke and Ryan turned a lot of heads as they started to climb the Chase standings with a string of outstanding performances at Pocono, Dover, Kansas and Talladega,” said Michael Proud, director of marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “In each of those races, Luke and the RCR crew made critical adjustments that helped maximize the performance of their MOOG-equipped steering and suspension. That level of problem solving excellence is what our customers expect from MOOG parts, and it’s a skill we celebrate each week through this innovative awards platform.”

Winner of weekly MOOG Problem Solver honors in Sunday’s race was Paul Wolfe, crew chief for Brad Keselowski and the MOOG-equipped No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion. The 2 car delivered a race-best 0.469-second improvement in finishing third at Homestead. Wolfe finished the year with two weekly MOOG awards.

MOOG Steering and Suspension is the preferred brand of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs, and MOOG components are recognized as the automotive service industry’s “Problem Solver,” with innovative parts that improve on original designs by providing increased durability, enhanced performance and easier installation. NASCAR Cup champions have driven to victory with MOOG parts for an unprecedented 49 straight years.

For more information regarding the MOOG Problem Solver awards and MOOG products, visit the brand’s technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website or contact your MOOG supplier. Like MOOG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moogproblemsolver.

Federal Mogul PR

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife Chandra, announced today the recipients of the 2014 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grants. The grants, which are awarded to K-12 public and charter schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson’s respective hometowns of Muskogee, Oklahoma, El Cajon, California, and where they currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina, totaled $556,623. 

“We are now in our sixth year of supporting public education, yet the enormous need continues to amaze us,” said Chandra Johnson.  “All of the applications were impressive.  It is exciting to read through them and learn about the new and innovative opportunities educators want to provide to their students.  We are honored to be able to fund so many deserving projects this year.”

The announcement took place at Garinger High School.  Garinger is one of five schools in the Charlotte area to receive a Champions Grant.  Students and staff from the five local schools were in attendance as the Johnsons made the announcement on behalf of the Foundation and program partner Lowe’s.  The Johnsons shared that these schools, along with seven others from Muskogee and the San Diego area, have been selected to receive the grants.

“Chani and I are very excited for this year’s projects to get off the ground,” said Jimmie Johnson.  “The Champions Grant program is great because we get to see the impact of the projects from start to finish.  We appreciate being able to play a role in the education of students in our hometowns and here in Charlotte.”

This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grant awards included $257,870 toward science and technology needs, $168,316 for health and fitness activities, $80,458 toward arts programs and $49,979 toward literacy initiatives.

The 2014 Champions Grants were awarded to the following schools:

North Carolina

  • Garinger High School (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Rocky River Elementary School (Concord, North Carolina)
  • Rocky River High School (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • W.M. Irvin Elementary School (Concord, North Carolina)

California

  • Chaparral High School (El Cajon, California)
  • El Capitan High School (Lakeside, California)
  • Grossmont High School (El Cajon, California)
  • Loma Portal Elementary School (San Diego, California)

Oklahoma

  • Muskogee Public Schools (Muskogee, Okla.)
  • Sadler Arts Academy (Muskogee, Okla.)
  • Tony Goetz Elementary School (Muskogee, Okla.)

The funded projects for 2014 range from constructing an outdoor classroom and kitchen to creating a district-wide e-library to creating a visual arts program.  Several schools also received technology grants to purchase new computers.

Nearly $3.7 million has been contributed through the Champions Grant program since 2009.

To see a detailed list of the 2014 Champions Grant projects, please visit www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.

Jimmie Johnson Foundation PR

LiftMaster partners with Hendrick Motorsports

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Thursday, 20 November 2014 10:01

LiftMaster, the number-one brand of professionally installed residential garage door openers, will join 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports beginning with the 2015 NASCAR season when it will become a primary sponsor of driver Kasey Kahne and his No. 5 Chevrolet SS team.

The new relationship will feature LiftMaster, which is headquartered in Elmhurst, Illinois, as a primary sponsor in three Sprint Cup races annually and as an associate-level partner in all other events. The agreement covers the 2015, 2016 and 2017 NASCAR seasons.

“We’re excited to establish a new partnership with Kasey Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports in 2015,” said Bob Markwart, president of LiftMaster Americas. “Kasey is a threat to win every weekend, and we’re looking forward to joining the No. 5 team’s pursuit of a championship next year.”

In 2015, the No. 5 LiftMaster Chevrolet SS will appear in Sprint Cup Series races May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 11 at Kentucky Speedway and Oct. 18 at Kansas Speedway.

“Whether you’re talking products, services or the way customers are treated, LiftMaster has a reputation as the industry leader,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. “Having used LiftMaster both at Hendrick Motorsports and in our dealerships, we know first-hand the emphasis they put on quality and innovation. We look forward to working together to build a NASCAR program that reflects their brand and drives business.”

Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Kahne, 34, has earned at least one victory each season while securing three consecutive Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career wins in NASCAR’s top division, including five in three full seasons with the No. 5 team.

“It means a lot to have support from a great company like LiftMaster,” Kahne said. “The No. 5 team has high expectations for 2015, and they’ll be with us as the primary sponsor at three tracks where we’re traditionally very fast. All of us are looking forward to representing them throughout the season and developing a successful long-term relationship.”

Hendrick Motorsports PR

Kasey Kahne signs three-year contract extension

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Thursday, 20 November 2014 09:33

Hendrick Motorsports and Kasey Kahne have agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep the driver with the No. 5 Chevrolet SS team through the end of the 2018 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

“It’s extremely gratifying to work with a driver like Kasey,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “I think the world of him both as a driver with championship-level talent and an overall terrific young man. Our whole organization has a great deal of respect for how hard he works, the professionalism he displays with our partners and the way he carries himself every day. We’re committed to winning races and competing for titles with him for many years to come.”

Kahne, 34, originally signed with Hendrick Motorsports in April 2010 and officially joined the team’s four-car stable for the 2012 season. Over the past three years (2012-14), he ranks among the top-10 drivers in Sprint Cup wins (5), pole positions (4), top-five finishes (26) and laps led (1,177). The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career wins in NASCAR’s top division.

“I’ve found a home at Hendrick Motorsports,” said Kahne, who since 2012 has earned at least one victory each season while securing three consecutive Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths. “We have incredible people and partners supporting us, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction we’re headed as a team and a company. It’s the right place for me, and I’m looking forward to being here for a long time.”

Kahne’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire following the 2015 NASCAR season.

Hendrick Motorsports PR

Univision Deportes, the sport division of Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America, announced today that Cuban American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola is nominated for the Best Car Racing Performance Award in the inaugural Premios Univision Deportes awards. The two-hour show is the ultimate sports award show for U.S. Hispanics honoring top athletes and teams from the leagues and sports that Hispanics care about most.

Nomination is based on athletic performance and accomplishments in 2014. Almirola became the first Cuban American driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when he captured his first win in the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway in July. The win secured him a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR's official playoffs, another first for a Cuban American driver in the sport.

 

"It's an honor to be recognized not only for my Hispanic heritage but for my performance in NASCAR," said Almirola. "With everything my family gave up to come to America and have a better life, I am so proud to be successful here and for my abuelosto know that their sacrifice led to me living my dream of being a successful racecar driver. This was definitely the best year of my racing career, so it's really humbling to have that acknowledged by Univision Deportes."

 

Almirola got his start in NASCAR when Joe Gibbs signed him to participate in the Joe Gibbs Racing/Reggie White Driver Diversity Program. The then 19-year-old, who was studying mechanical engineering at the University of Central Florida, moved to North Carolina and began competing and winning in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series. He signed fulltime to race the iconic No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2012.

Premios Univision Deportes will air on UniMás on Thursday, December 18th at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT with a simulcast on UDN (Univision Deportes Network). For a full list of nominations, please visit univisiondeportes.com/PremiosUD.

RPM PR

Stewart-Haas Racing, the championship-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, has hired Rex Stump as its technical director, effective immediately.

Stump comes to Stewart-Haas Racing after an 18-year career at Hendrick Motorsports. There, he founded the organization’s research and development program and has been instrumental in chassis design and technology.

“Rex brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and innovation to Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition, Stewart-Haas Racing. “You can never sit still in this business, and Rex’s record of success will help us stay ahead of the curve.”

“Hendrick Motorsports provided me a lot of opportunities to succeed and I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for Rick Hendrick, Ray Evernham and all the talented people I’ve worked with the last 18 years,” Stump said. “I’m proud of my time there, but I’m looking forward to my new role at Stewart-Haas. This is a team that’s accomplished a lot in a very short period of time. There’s a championship to defend and races to win. I’m ready to go.”

Stump graduated from Kettering University (formerly the General Motors Institute) in 1989 with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical and automotive engineering. Upon graduation, Stump worked at General Motors and participated in the Sloan Fellowship program, pursuing a master’s degree in structural analysis from Wayne State University in Detroit. While at General Motors, he began working with the Corvette team in developing the active-suspension of the C5, which was slated to debut in the early 1990s.

When the active-suspension program was canceled and the C5 was delayed, Stump delved into motorsports, becoming a race engineer for Team Penske in 1991. Working with a group of engineers dedicated to improving the performance of the No. 2 team of driver Rusty Wallace, Stump helped advance Wallace from a two-win season in 1991 to a massive, 10-win season in 1993.

By the end of 1993, Corvette had reactivated the C5. Stump returned to General Motors to assist with the project and stayed until the end of 1995, joining Hendrick Motorsports in 1996.

One of Stump’s most memorable achievements at Hendrick Motorsports was the design of Jeff Gordon’s race-winning car for the 1997 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Dubbed “T-Rex” for its Jurassic Park paint scheme that featured a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the car dominated, crossing the stripe with a 1.02-second margin of victory. While the car conformed to NASCAR’s rulebook, the design was so advanced that NASCAR requested the team never bring it to the racetrack again. The sanctioning body amended its rulebook shortly thereafter. Stump continued to build race-winning cars nonetheless, as Gordon captured Sprint Cup championships in 1997, 1998 and 2001.

Another of Stump’s notable accomplishments was the development of Hendrick Motorports’ Car of Tomorrow (CoT) program in 2006. The new car was a vast departure from the previous generation racecar, and thanks to Stump’s meticulous work, Hendrick Motorsports was the class of the field when the car debuted at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March 2007. A Hendrick Motorsports’ CoT car won at Bristol and the next four events where the CoT raced.

Through the development of the CoT in 2006 and well after its debut in 2007, Hendrick Motorsports won five straight Sprint Cup championships (2006-2010). And the 2011 Sprint Cup championship Stewart-Haas Racing won with driver/owner Tony Stewart came with CoT chassis built by Hendrick Motorsports.

SHR PR

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