Sprint Cup Series News (12647)
Earnhardt, 42, was cleared Wednesday evening by Dr. Micky Collins, medical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, in consultation with Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty. Petty attended the test at the 1.366-mile South Carolina racetrack.
“Dale is one of the hardest-working patients I’ve ever encountered,” Collins said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked, and we believe he is ready to compete at a professional level again and can withstand the normal forces of a race car driver. Dale has been very open with us, and we’ve had plenty of time for his treatment, so we feel very good about his long-term prospects and how this has been managed by everyone involved.”
Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, completed 185 laps during a nearly five-hour session at Darlington under the guidance of his crew chief, Greg Ives. In addition to the on-track test, which was observed by NASCAR, the driver has logged more than 15 hours in a racing simulator during his recovery.
“I feel great, and I’m excited to officially be back,” Earnhardt said. “I expected things to go really well yesterday, and that’s exactly what happened. Actually getting in a race car was an important final step, and it gives me a ton of confidence going into 2017. Thanks to the staff at Darlington for hosting our team and to NASCAR for giving us the opportunity to put a car on the track. I’ll do more testing in January to help knock the rust off. When it’s time to go to Daytona, I’ll be ready.”
Alex Bowman (10 races) and four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon (eight races) handled substitute driving duties for the No. 88 team during Earnhardt’s recovery. He missed the final 18 races of the 2016 NASCAR season beginning with the July 17 event at New Hampshire.
“Dale deserves so much credit,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “I’m proud of him for listening to his body and standing up to take responsibility for his health. He’s worked extremely hard and set a terrific example for others. It’s great news as we go into the off-season, and we can’t wait to see him back on the racetrack at Daytona.”
Bowman will race the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS in the Feb. 18 season-opening, non-points The Clash at Daytona International Speedway, which will feature pole position winners from the previous year. Bowman won the No. 88 team’s lone 2016 pole at Phoenix in November.
“Alex did such a great job in the car this year, and I felt like he deserved another opportunity,” Earnhardt said. “When I spoke with Rick and the team about him driving The Clash, everyone agreed that he more than earned it, and Nationwide was 100-percent on board. I’m really grateful to him and Jeff for what they did for our team, and I’m glad Alex is getting another run with us.”
In celebration of the 2016 championship title, Bosch Giving Track increased its contribution from $1,000 to $5,000. The charity selected by Hendrick Motorsports to receive its 2016 Giving Track contributions is Together We Feed, an organization focused on feeding and caring for children living in poverty.
In 2016, Bosch Giving Track touched many deserving organizations, providing a total of $30,000 in contributions to further their missions to benefit those in need, creating a positive impact in the motorsports community. Through Giving Track, Bosch contributed $1,000 to a team-specified charity each time one of its sponsored drivers secured a 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Seven charities, selected by drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske received contributions from Bosch Giving Track in 2016:
- Together We Feed – Hendrick Motorsports
- Denny Hamlin Foundation – Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
- Kyle Busch Foundation – Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing
- Speedway Children’s Charities – Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing
- Motor Racing Outreach – Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing
- Checkered Flag Foundation – Brad Keselowski, Team Penske
- Joey Logano Foundation – Joey Logano, Team Penske
In the month of November, Bosch Giving Track contributions were also awarded to Speedway Children's Charities following the victory by Carl Edwards at the AAA Texas 500 on November 6 and to the Joey Logano Foundation following Joey Logano’s win at the Can-Am 500 on November 13.
“2016 treated fans to another exciting year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, and we congratulate Jimmie Johnson on his record-tying seventh championship,” said Tony Pauly, director of advertising and brand management for Robert Bosch LLC, Automotive Aftermarket NA. “Bosch is proud to be a contributor to the victories of so many great teams in the motorsport arena, and to their charities.”
Bosch involvement in motorsports dates back to the early 1900’s, and it has been equipping NASCAR teams with parts and technical advice since 1991. In 2012, when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made the move from carbureted engines to more efficient fuel injected engines, Bosch became the sport’s exclusive oxygen sensor supplier. Beginning in 2016, Bosch has expanded its agreement with NASCAR to include fuel injectors and fuel pumps.
HScott Motorsports PR
When NASCAR made the announcement on Thursday in Las Vegas that Monster Energy would be the entitlement sponsor for the Premier Series, I was ecstatic about what the potential future of this great sport would be. However, after days of deliberation and thinking about it I have some questions for NASCAR and Monster Energy.
The first question would be, How are you going to keep the legacy fans? Mark Hall, Chief Marketing Officer for Monster, stated, “Young people set trends in fashion, and then older people adapt, and I don't want to say old. Fashion is set by a small group of influencers. The challenge is to make your product relevant to that group and then have them influence the others.” The younger generation does set most of the trends in our society today. In my opinion, keeping the legacy fan is going to be a strong and uphill battle for NASCAR. If this new partnership cannot keep the attention of the legacy fans, then the efforts to reach the millennial will be worthwhile. Legacy fans will also help bring in that younger demographic NASCAR is so desperately trying to gain. The legacy fan has seen numerous changes done by the sanctioning body and have lost interest in the sport that they have grown up to know and love. They are tired of all the changes NASCAR has done to the sport over the past couple of years. How will Monster Energy help NASCAR keep these fans? Only time will tell.
The second question I have, Will this turn out to be like the now defunct Red Bull Racing? The comments made by NASCAR and Monster came across as the same tone as the executives of Red Bull when they announced that they would be fielding a two-car operation in the Premier Series. The demise of Red Bull probably came because of the time they entered the sport with the economy beginning to decline and Toyota entering into NASCAR. Energy drinks have gained in popularity. My hope is that Monster Energy will thrive and continue to partner with NASCAR for many years to come.
The third question is, What does this announcement do to the health of drivers? Brian Vickers was part of Red Bull Racing before ending his career at Michael Waltrip Racing. Where is Brian Vickers now? He is not driving a car due to receiving blood clots and being on blood thinners, as well as not being able to find a ride. However, when he was sidelined, brought huge red flags to me personally about energy drinks. Energy drinks have many side effects and the occurrence of blood clots is one of them. My hope is that the health of our drivers is not effected by the sponsorship of Monster. I do not want to see drivers have to end their careers prematurely, like Vickers, because of the side effects of energy drinks.
Do not get me wrong, I am truly excited about this new relationship from NASCAR with Monster. I am excited to see how and where Monster will take this sport. As Brian France stated on Thursday, “Motorsports is their DNA.” As the tide begins to change in NASCAR, the future is bright and I cannot wait to see how Monster helps grow the sport!
Motorsports Industry Honors Tony Stewart with Charitable Donation On His Behalf to EB Research PartnershipWritten by Steven B. Wilson Saturday, 03 December 2016 20:09
To honor three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart as he retires from his 20-year NASCAR driving career, the motorsports industry came together in unprecedented fashion at the season-ending NASCAR Awards Banquet by making a $1.8 million contribution on Stewart’s behalf to the EB Research Partnership, the largest global non-profit dedicating to curing EB.
EB, or Epidermolysis Bullosa, is a devastating skin disorder. Those with EB lack critical proteins that bind the layers of skin together. Without these proteins, the skin can tear apart, blister and sheer off, leading to severe pain, disfigurement and wounds that never heal. EB can also affect the body internally, causing blisters in the eyes, mouth, esophagus and the fusing together of fingers and toes. EB affects one in every 50,000 births and is not specific to any ethnicity or gender, but because it only affects an estimated 25-30,000 people in the United States, advancing research to combat this disease relies on the generosity of individuals and corporations.
The industry initially targeted a $1.4 million donation to the EB Research Partnership as a subtle nod to Stewart’s No. 14 car number, which he drove to his third Sprint Cup title in 2011 and chose in honor of his hero and friend, the iconic A.J. Foyt who raced the No. 14 throughout his versatile career. However, widespread support for this initiative quickly gained momentum and the original $1.4 million target was easily surpassed.
“Tony wanted to have a very low-key sendoff during his final NASCAR season and he was pretty emphatic about it. He certainly earned a lot of recognition for all that he accomplished, and as an industry we felt it was important to honor him,” said Mike Helton, vice chairman, NASCAR. “People know how passionate he is about motorsports, but he’s equally passionate about helping others. On behalf of the entire motorsports industry, we felt this collective donation in Tony’s name was a fitting tribute to all that he’s accomplished during his NASCAR career.”
Well known for his accolades on the racetrack, which includes 12 driving championships and victories in nearly every American-based racing series, Stewart is also known for his philanthropy.
In 2003, he formed his own charitable foundation. Known simply as the Tony Stewart Foundation, the 501(c)(3) organization’s goal is to raise funds primarily distributed to serving three specific groups – chronically ill and physically disabled children, animals that are endangered or at-risk, and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $6.5 million to assist charitable initiatives for more than 150 well-qualified organizations throughout the United States.
Stewart’s work on behalf of the foundation crossed paths with his love for music earlier this year when he met Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. The two discussed their work in racing and in music, respectively, before the conversation dovetailed into their mutual commitment to charity. It was here where Stewart learned about EB from an impassioned Vedder, who co-founded the EB Research Partnership.
“When I first heard about it, it was quite hard to grasp the intensity of the condition,” Vedder said. “It’s about the most insane skin disorder you could imagine. And when you realize it also affects the internal organs, you see it as diabolical. It’s very hard to describe until you meet the young folks with it, and they make you realize how much you take for granted. You also realize that these are some of the strongest, coolest, most admirable people on the face of the Earth.”
The tenacious and sometimes cantankerous demeanor Stewart carries at the racetrack vanishes when he is off the track and in the presence of children, especially those who face physical and mental challenges. Children fighting EB have a perseverance and strength that is unworldly, and it has resonated with Stewart.
“The pain these kids face is constant, and yet they still find ways to stay upbeat,” Stewart said. “You quickly realize that your idea of a bad day is nothing. It puts your life and the things you take for granted in perspective. But it also makes you mad, because this is a devastating disorder that no one should have to endure. Yet it exists, and after seeing it, you want to do anything you can to make it go away.”
Stewart’s $1.8 million donation to the EB Research Partnership will accelerate life-changing research and reduce the timeframe of getting results for children with EB, while ensuring treatments go to those in need as swiftly as possible.
This donation on Stewart’s behalf is an embodiment of all the philanthropic work Stewart has performed as a NASCAR driver. He never sought accolades for his work, but his charitable efforts have been noticed nonetheless.
Stewart was named “Most Caring Athlete” by USA Weekend in 2004 and in that same year was selected by The Sporting News as “NASCAR’s ‘Good Guy’” and received the NASCAR USG Person of the Year award. In 2008, NASCAR Illustrated bestowed upon Stewart its Person of the Year award, as Stewart’s Prelude To The Dream all-star dirt Late Model race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, raised more than $4 million for charity during its eight-year run. In 2009, Stewart was nominated for the National Motorsports Press Association’s (NMPA) Humanitarian and Spirit awards, each of which recognizes philanthropy. In 2010, Stewart again was a finalist for the NMPA Humanitarian award, becoming the only person to ever be nominated in back-to-back years. Making the 2010 selection even more noteworthy was that Stewart won and earned $100,000 for his Foundation. And in 2013, Stewart earned the prestigious NMPA Myers Brothers award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.
“Tony’s legacy on the track is known and respected, but his efforts off the track should be known as well, even though he’ll never be the one talking about them,” Helton said. “Tony Stewart is a true humanitarian, and this sport is better off thanks to him and all of his contributions. It’s only appropriate that we, as an industry, can contribute to Tony’s philanthropic endeavors.”
To learn more about the EB Research Partnership, please visit www.EBResearch.org or www.Facebook.com/EBResearch. And to learn more about the Tony Stewart Foundation, please visit www.TonyStewartFoundation.org or www.facebook.com/14TSF.
Roush Fenway Racing founder Jack Roush was named the 2016 recipient of the esteemed Buddy Shuman Award at the annual NMPA Myers Bothers Awards Luncheon as part of Championship Week in Las Vegas.
The award, named for racing pioneer Buddy Shuman, was established in 1957, and is awarded annually to recognize individuals and organizations that have played vital roles in the growth of professional stock car racing. Past recipients have included Bill France Sr., Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Dr. Joe Mattioli, Dave Marcis, Dale Inman, Robert Yates and Jim Hunter.
“I have to say I generally don’t like surprises, but this means a great deal to me,” said Roush, who was nominated last year for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “Having attended these events for a number of years and being able to recall some of the other people that have had this award bestowed on them - it’s truly a great honor to be recognized in the same breath as what I would consider many of the legends of automobile racing.
“When I first decided in 1988 that I was going to launch myself into the world of NASCAR, I went into the adventure hoping that we would be successful enough to stick around for a few years,” added Roush. “Now as we get ready to move into our 30th year next season, it’s a bit humbling to be recognized for an honor such as this.
“In addition, I would be remiss to not mention this is a shared award with everyone that has put in their time, effort, blood, sweat and tears for the past 29 years with our teams and on behalf of each of them and myself, I thank you for this this acknowledgment and award.”
Roush, who started Roush Fenway Racing in 1988, is the winningest car owner in NASCAR history and the only owner to boast over 300 wins in NASCAR’s top three series. Roush cars boast over 400 victories during Roush’s 50-year racing career in NASCAR, road racing and drag racing.
NASCAR and Monster Energy announced today a multi-year agreement for the premier series entitlement as well as the prestigious annual NASCAR All-Star Race. Monster Energy, which will begin its tenure as naming rights partner on Jan. 1, 2017, will become only the third company to serve as the entitlement sponsor in NASCAR premier series history, following RJ Reynolds and Sprint/Nextel.
As part of the agreement, the brand also becomes the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR.
“Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history.”
NASCAR premier series races long have been a bucket-list destination for sports fans throughout the country, and starting next season, Monster Energy will elevate the event experience to an even higher level. As part of the agreement, Monster Energy will engage with fans in creative, innovative ways at all race tracks where the premier series will race.
“Monster Energy has an established and versatile history in motorsports, and we’re thrilled to take this historic next step,” said Rodney Sacks, Monster Beverage Chairman and CEO. “We feel strongly that our brand is a perfect fit for this sport and its star athletes. We look forward to interacting with the millions of passionate NASCAR fans week-in, week out.”
NASCAR industry leaders, sponsors, drivers, owners and crew chiefs gathered in Las Vegas for the annual Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. The Luncheon recognizes outstanding work both on and off the track all throughout the 2016 NASCAR season.
Here is a complete list of all the awards given out:
Betty Jane France Award winner: Andy Hoffman of Team Jack Foundation
Sunoco Rookie of the Year: Chase Elliott
60th Champion Buddy Shuman Award: Jack Roush
Ingersoll Rand Power Mover of the Race award: Carl Edwards No. 19 Team
Overall Coors Light Pole Award: Carl Edwards
NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Comcast XFINITY
Chevrolet Crossed Flags Award: Tony Stewart
Mechanics Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: No. 48 Pit Crew of Hendrick Motorsports
MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award: Alan Gustafson
Engine Builder Award: Hendrick Motorsports
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick
Sherwin Williams Fastest Lap Award Winner: Kyle Busch
Duralast Break in the Race Award: Kyle Busch / No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team
Mobile 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kyle Busch
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Jimmie Johnson
Goodyear Series Champion Award: Jimmie Johnson
NASCAR’s Sponsor Award: Lowe’s
NASCAR Crew Chief of the Year Award: Chad Knaus
Myers Brothers Award: Betty Jane France
Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon is just one of the numerous activities surrounding Champions Week in Las Vegas. Other activities later in the day include the announcement of the new Sprint Cup Series entitlement sponsor, NASCAR Victory Lap, the annual event where all 16 Chase drivers will light up on the streets of Las Vegas with burnouts. Thursday’s events will conclude with NASCAR After the Lap. This is a tell-all and roast sponsored by Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. All the events mentioned will be live streamed on NASCAR.com.
Champions Week will conclude on Friday with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet. Coverage of the banquet will begin at 7:00 p.m. ET with NASCAR America on NBCSN. The coverage will feature a special red-carpet at 8:00 p.m. ET. and continues with the Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet at 9:00 p.m. ET. This will not be live streamed on NASCAR.com and can be seen live on NBCSN.