RELATED: NASCAR official release " Kenseth suspended for two races NASCAR officials penalized Danica Patrick on Tuesday for her aggressive on-track actions with David Gilliland last weekend at Martinsville Speedway . NASCAR fined Patrick $50,000 and assessed her the loss of 25 points in the Sprint Cup Series driver standings. The behavioral penalty also places Patrick on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. The points penalty dropped Patrick to 27th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Gilliland's Front Row Motorsports No. 38 Ford made contact with Patrick's Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet, sending her car into the Turn 3 wall during the later stages of Sunday's Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 . Patrick retaliated with a similar move, twice shoving Gilliland's car up to the Turn 3 and 4 walls, bringing out a caution period on Lap 419 of 500. Patrick rammed into the back of Gilliland's car during the yellow flag before taking her car to the garage. She retired from the race in 40th place. Gilliland finished 24th in the 43-car field. The two have been at odds in the past, with tensions rising in the spring of 2013 at Kansas Speedway . Patrick issued warnings over her team radio in response to Gilliland's hard-nosed racing. Gilliland replied through a team spokesperson, telling Patrick to "shut up and race."
Patrick , DeGeneres go up against Justin Bieber with Mackenzie Marsh "Am I dreaming right now or something?" 11-year-old race car driver Mackenzie Marsh received the surprise of a lifetime when she got a chance to meet her role model Danica Patrick during an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Marsh, who wants to be a NASCAR driver, is an avid racer who, similarly to Patrick , competes mainly against the boys. She currently drives a Slingshot which can reach up to 80 mph on dirt, the primary surface she drives on. After screaming with excitment upon the surprise entrance of Patrick , Marsh confidently looked at the NASCAR superstar and told her, "it's on," when it comes time for racing. Little did the preteen know she would get a chance to back it up just minutes after in a go-kart race against Patrick , DeGeneres and Justin Bieber, who was a fellow guest star on "Ellen." Check out the entire interview below and see who won the race:
RELATED: Full schedule for Martinsville weekend Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Friday at Martinsville Speedway that TaxAct has signed a multi-year extension with Danica Patrick and will continue to serve as a primary sponsor for her No. 10 team. Coming just a few days after the release of next year's schedule, TaxAct has signed on for four races as primary sponsor in 2016. It will also be an associate sponsor in all other races. "Working with TaxAct has been great and I'm proud to continue this relationship for years to come," Patrick said in a team release. "TaxAct offers a terrific product that empowers people to take the wheel by giving them ownership of their taxes." TaxAct sponsored three races for Patrick during the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season, including March's Martinsville race in which Patrick finished seventh, her best result of the year. The other two were for the Sprint Unlimited exhibition at Daytona and April's race at Texas Motor Speedway . Meanwhile, Patrick is looking for another top-10 finish at Martinsville with this Sunday's Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at 1:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN, MRN, Sirius XM).
RELATED: Kenseth suspended two races " Danica fined, docked points Daytona Beach, Florida (November 3, 2015) -- Matt Kenseth , the driver of the No. 20 car, has been penalized for an infraction that occurred during the Nov. 1 race at Martinsville Speedway . This is a Behavioral Penalty ( Sections 12.1, 12.8 ). Kenseth has been suspended from NASCAR through the completion of the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events and placed on NASCAR probation for a six-month period following issuance of the penalty notice. "Based upon our extensive review, we have concluded that the No. 20 car driver, who is no longer in the Chase, intentionally wrecked the No. 22 car driver, a Chase-eligible competitor who was leading the race at the time,"said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "The No. 20 car was nine laps down, and eliminated the No. 22 car's opportunity to continue to compete in the race. "Additionally, we factored aspects of safety into our decision, and also the fact that the new Chase elimination format puts a premium on each and every race. These actions have no place in NASCAR." · Danica Patrick , the driver of the No. 10 car, has been penalized for an infraction that also took place during the Nov. 1 race at Martinsville Speedway . This is a Behavioral Penalty ( Sections 12.1, 12.8 ). Patrick has been fined $50,000, assessed with the loss of 25 series championship driver points and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.
RELATED: Starting lineup " Live weather updates " See the 43-car field And then there were four. Kevin Harvick , Kyle Busch , Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr . will be vying for the Sprint Cup Series title in a few hours at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBC). But there's plenty happening in the garage before then -- after all, it is championship weekend. NASCAR.com will be keeping a live blog covering all the Homestead action. So, check back right here for periodic updates throughout the day. 4:45 p.m. ET: Thanks for tuning into NASCAR.com's live blog from Homestead. Turn on NBC for the start of the season finale Ford EcoBoost 400 . 4:27 p.m. ET: The command has been given. Getting ready! Here we go. #TheChase https://t.co/CRZiAsagNx — #TheChase (@NASCAR) November 22, 2015 4:19 p.m. ET: Counting down the minutes until race time. Getting closer to the championship race. #Nascar pic.twitter.com/kPO2pCDbnU — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) November 22, 2015 4:04 p.m. ET: Everyone wants to get a glismpe of Jeff Gordon . . @JeffGordonWeb has a posse. #SquadGoals pic.twitter.com/u02jsVPVo0 — #TheChase (@NASCAR) November 22, 2015 3:55 p.m. ET: One of these four drivers will be hoisting the 2015 Sprint Cup Series trophy above their heads. The #Championship4 pic.twitter.com/7TWik5wJOl — Kelly Crandall (@KellyCrandall) November 22, 2015 3:51 p.m. ET: One last time at driver intros for Jeff Gordon . Reporting for the final time! #24ever https://t.co/00i4FxHxsB — #TheChase (@NASCAR) November 22, 2015 3:30 p.m. ET: Driver introductions are now underway on NBC. 3:15 p.m. ET: Getting closer! Driver Intros scheduled for 3:30 now :) #NASCAR — Holly Cain (@_HollyCain) November 22, 2015 3:02 p.m. ET: Just awesome. A special moment between racing legends, @JeffGordonWeb & @MarioAndretti . #24Ever pic.twitter.com/WvXfrq0AWo — NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 22, 2015 2:43 p.m. ET: Stay with us, folks -- the radar for the rest of the day looks promising! Per @NASCAR , start of race on hold due to rain. — tom jensen (@tomjensen100) November 22, 2015 2:25 p.m. ET: The real MVPs of NASCAR are gearing up. Air Titans are being staged at the entrance of Turn 3. #NASCAR — Chris Knight (@Knighter01) November 22, 2015 2:15 p.m. ET: Driver introductions -- which were set to begin at 2:20 p.m. ET -- are on hold due to rain. 2:10 p.m. ET : Rain, rain stay away. Shower was over after 5 minutes. Steady wind keeping clouds moving quickly over the track. #nascar — Nate Ryan (@nateryan) November 22, 2015 2:03 p.m. ET: Coincidence or premonition? Look close and you'll see it. A rainbow near @HomesteadMiami :) #24ever // @NASCARONFOX pic.twitter.com/v4gM93OQAj — Alan Cavanna (@CopaCavanna) November 22, 2015 2 p.m. ET: That's a sharp-looking group. And they've all assembled -- the #Championship4 pic.twitter.com/8MKrOh0WjJ — Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverSBN) November 22, 2015 1:28 p.m. ET: Man, Jeff Gordon has some cool friends. So proud to call you a friend @JeffGordonWeb . You are a legend and an inspiration. Go real fast today buddy. #24ever — Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) November 22, 2015 1:05 p.m. ET: Rollin' on out. Takin' her to the grid. #Championship4 pic.twitter.com/9FIMeLdSl7 — #TheChase (@NASCAR) November 22, 2015 12:46 p.m. ET: Danica Patrick pays a classy tribute to Jeff Gordon . #24ever pic.twitter.com/L2Bi8bsA0n — Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) November 22, 2015 12:33 p.m. ET: One last driver's meeting for the 2015 season, set to begin at 1 p.m. ET. Early scene at @HomesteadMiami drivers' meeting with "Round and Round" by Ratt as the soundtrack. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/Loa1Px3Vq9 — Zack Albert (@zack_albert) November 22, 2015 12:27 p.m. ET: Rodney Childers makes sure the No. 4 car is in tip-top shape for today. #NASCAR ... @RodneyChilders4 oversees final work on Kevin Harvick 's car. @NASCARonNBC pic.twitter.com/hQEPjRl9tz — Dustin Long (@dustinlong) November 22, 2015 11:51 a.m. ET: Guess who's back at the track? from the @Minions ! #Minions pic.twitter.com/rYN7dkhvt4 — Homestead-Miami (@HomesteadMiami) November 22, 2015 11:48 a.m. ET: #24ever. "How could I not be enjoying this? I'm having the time of my life. It's unbelievable." - @JeffGordonWeb on @FS1 's #NASCAR #RaceDay . — Jay W. Pennell (@jaywpennell) November 22, 2015 11:45 a.m. ET: Full house behind Jeff Gordon for his FS1 Race Day cameo this morning. . @JeffGordonWeb has arrived @FS1 and these fans are very happy about that! #24ever pic.twitter.com/l1dJd7pPxc — Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) November 22, 2015 10:56 a.m. ET: Um, Ricky, Texas was two weeks ago. The footwear of choice in Miami is flip-flops. Breaking out some new @tonylama today. pic.twitter.com/j3UXRjNpTj — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) November 22, 2015 10:12 a.m. ET: We're liking the looks of these sunny skies! Blue sky, red carpet. @HomesteadMiami pic.twitter.com/SAZTaM0Lig — Alan Cavanna (@CopaCavanna) November 22, 2015 10:09 a.m. ET: The No. 48 team got a special visit from country superstar Tim McGraw this morning. . @thetimmcgraw stopping by the 48 hauler. pic.twitter.com/BmlCJDMKtX — Team Lowe's Racing (@LowesRacing) November 22, 2015 9:49 a.m. ET: Drivers like Dale Jr., media and even former President Clinton took to Twitter to wish Jeff Gordon well-wishes and share their favorite No. 24 memories. Check out all the messages here . It's been great racing with you, and learning from you. Great competitor and exceptional ambassador for @NASCAR . pic.twitter.com/KMmdAiVIWn — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) November 22, 2015 9:22 a.m. ET: A little elbow grease to accompany morning coffee for the four championship contenders' teams. Rise and grind. #TheChase https://t.co/lFAWeQ8DYl — #TheChase (@NASCAR) November 22, 2015
RELATED: Full coverage of Gordon's final start HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs, officials and dignitaries toasted retiring four-time champion Jeff Gordon with a standing ovation in the drivers' and crew chiefs' meeting before Sunday's season finale. But they also received a stern warning from NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton to let 2015's last race play out naturally. Gordon, just hours before making his 797th start in NASCAR's premier series, was singled out by Helton and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France during his final drivers' meeting as a full-time competitor at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Attendees were also treated to a commemorative video that captured moments from his nearly lifelong career in motorsports. "Jeff, congratulations on an outstanding career," Helton said after the video presentation. "Thank you for all you've done for NASCAR, and will do, but certainly what all you've done throughout that career. You're a true champion and cross over in a lot of venues as a top-shelf guy, so thank you." Several drivers paid tribute by wearing Jeff Gordon hats to the meeting, including Kyle Larson , Danica Patrick and all of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . , Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne . RELATED: Danica pays tribute to Gordon " Larson sports retro Gordon hat Gordon will compete for a Sprint Cup championship in Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM), battling Kyle Busch , defending champ Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr . as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs draw to a close. Helton urged all participants to let the title contest unfold without any underhanded tactics over the course of the 400 miles. "So this is our last race and this'll be the last time you hear this from anybody at the podium up here, but drivers and crew chiefs, crewmembers, spotters, everybody let the race play out in its natural course," Helton said. "No one needs to interfere with the natural unfolding of this event. This is our last opportunity, it's a great opportunity for four drivers. There's 39 others that are participating in this race, but crew chiefs -- and pass this on to your spotters -- and drivers, be sure that this day concludes on a high note with no interference of a naturally progressed race." Helton also gave priority recognition to country music entertainer Tim McGraw, excusing him early so that he could perform a pre-race concert on the 1.5-mile track's frontstretch.
Danica Patrick retaliates against David Gilliland after he sends her into the wall earlier in the race at Martinsville Speedway.
Danica Patrick gets spun by Ryan Newman into the wall and comes down in front of David Ragan, leading to a red flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
MORE: Learn more about Nature's Bakery Danica Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing welcomed a brand new sponsor to NASCAR Tuesday, announcing that Nature's Bakery will be a multiyear primary sponsor on Patrick's No. 10 Chevrolet beginning with a 28-race deal in 2016. Not only is it truly a natural fit between the company and Patrick , the partnership announcement ends a very brief sponsorship search -- by NASCAR standards -- for one of the sport's most famous drivers. Patrick , 33, unveiled the No. 10 Chevy's unique bright blue livery Tuesday at the team's North Carolina headquarters, saying that the car color would stand out on track and joking it "is going to look great against my skin tone." Equally as significant, team co-owner Tony Stewart confirmed a multiyear contract extension for Patrick , who has driven for SHR in all three of her full-time Sprint Cup Series seasons. Sitting alongside Patrick and Nature's Bakery executives, Stewart referred to Tuesday's dual announcements as "a great time in our sport." "I feel like our brands align so perfectly, it's kind of amazing," Patrick said. "I think that journey is going to be really fun. I think there's going to be lots of exciting things that we can do together in the future. "Of course, on top of that, being able to re‑sign with Tony and here at Stewart‑Haas is very important to me. I really, really do feel like family here. I feel like there's nowhere else I want to be. I'm just fortunate enough that I didn't have to look anywhere else, that I get to stay, and that I have a great new sponsor." The Nature's Bakery slogan, "Energy for life's great journeys" couldn't be more apropos with its sponsorship of one of NASCAR's biggest stars. The entrance into NASCAR comes as a great new journey for the family-owned company, which makes a healthy assortment of "on the go snacks" including gluten-free, dairy free and kosher baked goods. RELATED: See Danica's paint scheme for Darlington Patrick said she had already been a fan of the product, which has sales in 22 countries with plans to nearly double that in the next two years. "This is a dream come true,'" said Nature's Bakery founder Dave Marson. "We've been NASCAR fans for 20 years. To be able to take what we do, make better‑for‑you foods, combine that with a love of NASCAR, I mean, this is special. I'm really enjoying this." Marson also acknowledged the company's health-conscious philosophy seems like a genuinely "authentic" partnership with Patrick , who has long been a proponent of a healthy lifestyle from her cooking to her love of yoga, which is well documented through her social media channels. "I've always used that as a way to get to know me off the track," Patrick said. RELATED: GoDaddy to end primary sponsorship after this season "I think all you have to do is look at that and that is what lines up perfectly with Nature's Bakery. It's energy for your journey. It's going out on a hike with (her dog) Dallas, doing Yoga at home, doing CrossFit and needing energy for that. "It's traveling. I mean, I'm always on the road. I always need things that are quick and handy. You guys all know that, too. Spending time on the road, you need snacks. Between that and their open‑mindedness to exploring all different kinds of ways we can work together, they have big dreams and they want to align them with me and make them work with me." It will be the start of a new era for Patrick who has six top-10s and has led 27 laps in 105 Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to a 10-race 2012 season. She most famously won the pole position for the 2013 Daytona 500 , becoming the first woman to do so. Her eighth-place finish in that event is also the best ever for a female competitor in the "Great American Race." This season, Patrick has two top-10s, with a best finish of seventh at Martinsville Speedway in March and is ranked 21st in the standings with three races remaining to set the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff field. Her goals going forward with Nature's Bakery aren't any different than they were with GoDaddy. "It's to continue to improve," Patrick said. "There's not a marker for that necessarily. I mean, the results just have to keep getting better and better. "For instance, there was emphasis after Indianapolis to get better at race starts. That's just what I've done. It's always evolving. You make something else better, something else shows up. But it's a work in progress. I think that for most of your career as a driver, you continue to get better and learn. "But it's always working in that direction. Sometimes it's moving faster than other times, sometimes moving a little bit slow for what I want. But I think that it is going in the right direction, and that's all I can ask for. WATCH: Danica , Nature's Bakery align 'perfectly ' Off the track, Patrick's nine-year relationship with GoDaddy has been mutually beneficial -- helping make the company a household name while helping propel Patrick to crossover fame, thanks to starring roles in the company's national commercials. Patrick has appeared in 13 Super Bowl commercials -- the most of any celebrity. And it's reasonable for Nature's Bakery -- which has 420 employees and manufacturing facilities in two states -- to expect similar big things in its new relationship with one of the most marketable professional athletes in the world in the country's most popular form of motorsport. "You can look at the size of our company and say we're either the up‑and‑coming guy who is going to be the next Fortune 500 company, and that's what we plan on being," Marson said. "We're taking and leveraging this opportunity with NASCAR, the NASCAR fan base, to look at our products and to grow and become one of those Fortune 500 companies. "We thank Stewart‑Haas Racing and Danica for believing us. We came to them with an idea and a dream. We said, 'We are the new up‑and‑coming company. Look at us and we'll show you what we can do.' They believed in us. "We really look forward to the opportunity."
Danica Patrick talks about the process of finding sponsors that fit her brand and sums up her feelings after announcements with Nature's Bakery and TaxAct.