- Did you mean:
Determination, focus drive Martin to Hall of Fame
RELATED: Learn more about the Class of 2017 " Martin's top moments Mark Martin is respected and revered for a 31-year NASCAR racing career that includes 40 Cup victories, 49 XFINITY wins and five heralded IROC championships. He is considered one of the most talented, highly focused and broadly successful competitors in NASCAR history. And later this week, Martin will formally acquire a designation that makes him most proud of all: NASCAR Hall of Famer. "When I'm introduced at a function, now people can call me something, I'll have a title," Martin, 58, said this week with a laugh. "Prior to that, you kind of had to search for a title, although I had done a lot of cool and amazing things in my career." His long list of "cool and amazing things" is what earned Martin this highest of honors. He joins Benny Parsons, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Raymond Parks in this year’s Hall of Fame class and will be formally inducted Friday in Charlotte (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN). RELATED: Parks set early standard " Prolonged excellence Childress' hallmark For Martin, it is a story of supreme determination and talent. In addition to his 40 wins and five championship runner-up finishes in NASCAR's highest level, Martin proved to be one of the series ’ most diverse competitors -- ever. He won four GT class championships competing in the Rolex 24 during the 1990s. And his five IROC titles -- and four more runner-up IROC championship finishes -- showed Martin’s great ability bettering the best drivers across all forms of racing from NASCAR to IndyCar to sports cars to sprint cars. It is certainly something that separates and elevates him to the highest of standards through four decades of the best competition in multiple genres. So understandably, Martin had to really think about what in his vast career makes him most proud. "I don't know if there's a single thing," Martin said. "One thing, I would have to say the fact that I made it to NASCAR at such a young age (22). At the time it was an amazingly young age, then I fell on my face and had to go home and start my career again. "So I would say perseverance, if you want to sum it up in one word. Having to start my career all over again and building my way back. Having a second chance is probably the biggest thing." "And the second thing is what I did in the IROC Series ." Martin has acknowledged that he was as focused and intense as they came. He was the first driver to seriously incorporate fitness training into his race preparation -- something that may have eased his ability to compete at such a high level even into his 50s. That determination to find an edge was apparent in the garage, even from an early age. He was among the rare drivers to frequently be seen looking into the hood of his car and working alongside the crew. It was the way he was raised by his father Julian, who took great care in guiding his son's passion. There are photos of Martin’s earliest racing days clearly showing how Julian Martin had gone so far to alter his son's first race cars out of love and safety -- mounting the steering wheel in the middle of the car instead of having it on the far left. Dad and son travelled from their native Arkansas throughout the Midwest following the racing dream and they were very close -- now the hard work rewarded with Martin’s long list of achievements and this highest of NASCAR's high honors. Heartbreakingly, Julian was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed in the Nevada mountains in August of 1998, also taking the life of Martin’s stepmother and 11-year old stepsister. Martin remembers immersing himself in competition as best he could to deal with the tragedy. Martin won the night race at Bristol two weeks after losing his father. Immediately after climbing out of his car in Victory Lane, he emotionally thanked the race fans for "their sympathy, love and support" saying their "love for our family has meant everything." "I felt it was my obligation and responsibility to go racing and that's what my dad would have wanted," Martin acknowledged last week. "It was tough, but it would have been tough sitting on a couch in a daze, too. "To me, racing was sort of a responsibility that I had. I felt responsibility toward the 50 or 100 people that supported the (then-Roush Racing) 6-car and a responsibility to race. I just didn't feel like missing a race because I was grieving. … To me, at the time, it just didn't seem like the right thing to do. "It did help me cope with the horrendous loss I was experiencing because I did have to pick up and go racing." And for Martin, the success he would later experience in the second half of his career is as impressive and inspiring as anything he accomplished. He came as close as he ever had to winning the Daytona 500 in 2007, losing the race to Kevin Harvick by a mere 0.02-seconds -- a hood-length -- in a photo finish that marked Martin’s best ever showing in the Great American Race. RELATED: Closest finishes in the history of the Great American Race Two years later, at the age of 50, Martin challenged Jimmie Johnson for what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, winning five races and claiming seven pole positions. Martin led the standings after each of the opening three Chase races, only to finish runner-up to Johnson, a seven-time winner on the year. It marked the fifth and final time Martin was a championship runner-up in an amazing 20-year span of his career. It is a remarkable accomplishment and something he says he is at last comfortable enjoying, free of any near-miss regret. "I never scored enough points to win one, and that's that," Martin said, when asked about it last week. "I would have won one if I had scored more points than anyone else. … and I let that take an enormous amount of joy (from me). "It's something I let go of and I refuse to allow that to rob me of joy. I have a lot to be thankful of, be grateful for. I accomplished a lot in my career and I’m not sour about the things I didn't accomplish." The attitude accompanies good reason -- because by all standards Martin accomplished so much and is admired by so many. Later this week, he will be fittingly celebrated in all the glory he deserves for a career that showed everyone what hard work and mental focus could produce. Forever more, Mark Martin shall be known and introduced as a NASCAR Hall of Famer. "It means more than anything I achieved while I was racing because I was so busy racing, anything I achieved I never paid attention to," Martin said. "I was just storming ahead worried about how I would win the next race. "Now that I've had some time to soak it in, it's the last big deal, the big win, the crown jewel of my career. "Don't forget the people in the Hall of Fame are my heroes, the founders of the sport, the real men that did it with their bare hands. I'm a little bit uncomfortable going in there with them, to be honest with you, because I don't feel like I belong in that kind of company." Perhaps once he stands on stage -- properly celebrated and duly honored -- Martin will accept that he is absolutely a part of that good company. The best. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Elliott Sadler, TBR team up for Daytona 500
RELATED: Buy tickets for Daytona HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (January 12, 2017) -- Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announced today that the team will compete in the 59th running of the Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the No. 7 Golden Corral Chevrolet. Sadler, a 16-year veteran of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , will be running double-duty during NASCAR's opening weekend competing in both the Cup and XFINITY Series . The Emporia, Virginia native and Baldwin have a relationship dating back to their days at Robert Yates Racing when Baldwin served as crew chief for Sadler. "This is a great opportunity for me and everyone affiliated with Tommy Baldwin Racing ," said Sadler. "I love the Daytona 500 and to have Tommy and Golden Corral offer me this opportunity is awesome. Tommy and I have known each other a long time. We actually won a qualifying race for the Daytona 500 together back in 2006. We're gonna rekindle some of that magic and work our tails off to get our car in the race. I know Tommy is putting a lot of effort into this and we're gonna go out and get the best result we possibly can for him and TBR's partners." Golden Corral returns for their seventh season together and will bring back their popular 'Top 10 Kids Eat Free' promotion. If Elliott Sadler finishes in the top-10 at Daytona, kids 10 and under will eat free at Golden Corral restaurants nationwide on Monday, February 27th. "We are excited to be working with Tommy Baldwin Racing for the seventh season," said Shelley Wolford, Vice President of National Marketing and Media at Golden Corral. "We will be cheering Elliott on to qualify at Daytona and then race for a Top 10 Kids Eat Free finish." "We look forward to having Elliott join TBR and Golden Corral for the upcoming Daytona 500 ," said team owner Tommy Baldwin. "Elliott has always been a strong restrictor plate racer which makes this a great opportunity for everyone involved. We know our fans look forward to the 'Top10 Kids Eat Free' promotion every year so we want to capitalize on that and finish the Daytona 500 strong."
Carl Edwards steps away from racing; Daniel Suarez to wheel No. 19
RELATED: NASCAR Nation reacts to Edwards' news " Quotes from day HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Carl Edwards gave three very detailed reasons why he is stepping away from NASCAR competition, only to circle back to the subject later and put it a bit more succinctly. "Life is short," Edwards told a room full of media, sponsor representatives and other assorted team and NASCAR officials Wednesday. "You've got to do what your gut tells you." And Edwards said his gut told him it was time to move on to something else. Edwards, 37, officially announced that he will not compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017, calling a halt to a career that included 28 victories at NASCAR's top level, 10 Chase appearances and two second-place finishes in the series' championship points battle. The 2017 season was to be his third in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, his team since joining JGR in 2015 after an 11-year career at Roush Fenway Racing . Instead, it will be 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Suarez who will be at the helm of the team's No. 19 entry. Suarez, the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national championship and a product of the sanctioning body's Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs, will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in the season-opening Daytona 500 , scheduled for Feb. 26 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). MORE: Recap Suarez's title year " Suarez returns home to Mexico a champion Edwards, wearing a dark suit and gray dress shirt as he walked on stage at the organization's headquarters here in Huntersville, didn't entirely rule out a return to racing in some form or fashion, explaining that "If I'm going to get back in a race car, which I'm not saying the R (retirement) word here … I'm calling Coach (Joe) Gibbs first. "There is no better race team. There is no faster car than a Toyota Camry. There's no better engine. There's no better crew chief than Dave Rogers. There's no better crew." Why step away when he is seemingly still at the top of his game? He finished fourth in the 2016 points standings and was in the title picture right up until a crash with 12 laps remaining took him out of contention in the series ’ final race. WATCH: Edwards takes blame for Miami wreck " Edwards' 2016 in review
Report: Gaughan to attempt to qualify for Daytona 500
RELATED: Buy tickets for Daytona Brendan Gaughan has not made a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start since 2015, but the veteran racer is attempting to qualify for the 2017 Daytona 500 (Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal . Gaughan told the newspaper that he will be driving the car Michael McDowell (the No. 59 for Leavine Family Racing ) piloted to a 15th-place finish in last year's race with Mark Beard as the car owner. Beard made two starts in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series in the 1980s and has been a car owner in both the XFINITY Series and ARCA Racing Series . "They bought the old Leavine car, they've hired ECR to do motors -- real racing motors -- and they asked if I would be interested," Gaughan said. "So it's got Richard Childress motors, and I'm going to have a Richard Childress pit crew -- my guys -- and so we're going to the Daytona 500 and see if we can qualify." Gaughan will be driving for a team that does not have a charter, meaning he will have to qualify his way into the "Great American Race" via qualifying speeds and/or the Can-Am Duel races. Fellow NASCAR XFINITY Series competitor Elliott Sadler will be driving an open entry for Tommy Baldwin Racing in attempt to make the race as well. RELATED: Sadler teams up with TBR for Daytona 500 attempt Should the 41-year-old Gaughan make the race, it will be his second start in the sport's season-opening event. He finished 19th in the 2004 edition of the race. Gaughan is set to compete full time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2017. The campaign will mark his fourth straight season in the No. 62 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing . Last year, he posted a career-best 16 top 10s in the series .
NASCAR TV schedule: Jan. 16-22
NASCAR reveals new brand identity, premier series name and logo
RELATED: New premier series mark, name revealed DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR today unveiled a new official brand identity which will replace the bar mark used by the sanctioning body since 1976. The announcement was made in conjunction with the news that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ™ will be the new name of the sport's premier series beginning January 1, 2017. The new brand mark and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series mark, which prominently features the iconic Monster Energy logo, together represent a new era in NASCAR and were first shared today across NASCAR social and digital media channels. The NASCAR brand identity has been in development since early 2016 as part of a broader effort to refresh the NASCAR brand. It was designed to pay tribute to the storied history of NASCAR, incorporating elements of all four previous marks since the company’s inaugural season of 1948. "Our new NASCAR mark is modern, timeless, and embraces the heritage of our sport," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "It was important for us to recognize our history and implement a piece of each previous mark in the new design. Our goal was to evolve the sport's visual identity to make it concise, relevant and functional, while respecting and maintaining the unique qualities of the original mark." The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points race will be the 59 th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 26 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tickets are available at NASCAR.com/tickets .
Darlington Raceway now hosts 'Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR'
RELATED: See all of last year's paint schemes DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (Jan. 10, 2017) -- It's now official! Darlington Raceway and its Labor Day race weekend are now being recognized as “The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR." The designation ensures that the official historical celebration of the sport will continue to take place at the famed 1.366-mile superspeedway in Darlington, South Carolina. "We have worked closely with NASCAR to ensure that Darlington Raceway now has the exclusive rights to the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR for promotions and advertising of our event," said Kerry Tharp, Darlington Raceway president. "Our return to Labor Day weekend, coupled with the Throwback theme has elevated our event across the entire sport and this move only solidifies that among our fans, race teams, sponsors, broadcast partners and media, among others." The track's award-winning throwback campaign has earned rave reviews throughout the industry since its inception in 2015. The campaign has aligned all key stakeholders in the sport and provided a historical celebration that has earned much praise from fans and corporate partners. It was because of this collaboration over the past two seasons that NASCAR recognized the importance of the track's throwback weekend and in turn will now celebrate The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR at the sport's original paved superspeedway, which opened and began hosting NASCAR events in 1950. The track's 2016 throwback campaign last season featured a celebration of 1975-84 including the following highlights: • Over 35 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race teams competed with throwback paint schemes for the Bojangles' Southern 500 , the most in any single NASCAR event in the sport's history. • Over 18 NASCAR XFINITY Series teams competed with throwback paint schemes. • Use of NASCAR's famed "NASCAR International" logo for the second consecutive year. • For the second straight year, Goodyear put the original white lettering on its race tires specifically for the Bojangles' Southern 500 . • NBC did another throwback broadcast of the race featuring old station logos and graphics. NASCAR legends Ken Squier, Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett did a special throwback broadcast during the race for the second straight year. • Honored 14 NASCAR Hall of Fame members at the Bojangles' Legends Breakfast. • 2017 NHOF inductees Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Mark Martin served as the Bojangles' Southern 500 grand marshals. • Unique food offerings from the 1975-84 time period, including the pimento cheese sandwich. • Pre-race concert by rock legends KANSAS and national anthem performance by Barry Williams (of Brady Bunch fame). The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com , on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame . &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Prolonged excellence has Childress Hall of Fame bound
RELATED: Learn more about the Class of 2017 MORE: Photos from voting day, of class Journeyman stock car racer Richard Childress caught lightning in a bottle, not once but twice. NASCAR's only driver strike, on the eve of the 1969 inaugural race at Talladega Superspeedway , gave Childress the opportunity to earn enough money to build his first race shop and lay the foundation for Richard Childress Racing , the powerhouse Chevrolet organization which to date has claimed 11 owner titles across NASCAR’s three national series . Nearly a decade later, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina native met Dale Earnhardt. Together, the pair won six NASCAR premier series championships along with 67 races between 1984 and 2000. Earnhardt entered the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of its 2010 inaugural class. Childress will be enshrined in the hall on Jan. 20 in Charlotte, N.C. (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN), along with Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons. Childress, 71, grew up selling peanuts and popcorn at Winston-Salem's legendary Bowman Gray Stadium. Soon after, he bought a 1947 Plymouth for $20. "That's where it started," he said in a Grainger.com interview. "It's the best investment I ever made." Top drivers – those with factory contracts – made a decent living while independents like Childress barely scraped by. He went to Talladega in the fall of 1969 to compete in a preliminary event but was asked by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. to enter the Talladega 500 when Professional Driver Association members withdrew, citing high speeds and tire failures. "I had made three or four thousand dollars on Saturday," Childress told The Birmingham News in 2009. "The money that (France) paid us to run – we called it deal money in those days – plus my winnings, I came back with seven, eight, 10 thousand dollars. In those days it was big money. "It was my big break. Life’s all about the breaks and when you take advantage of them. That was the difference between making it and not making it." Childress never won a race as a driver but was able to secure enough sponsorship to keep going. His equipment generally was immaculate and pleased supporters, who ultimately would provide much greater – and crucial – financial backing. Earnhardt, who'd won his first championship in 1980, chose not to accompany Rod Osterlund's team upon its sale to J.D. Stacy. He joined Childress for 11 races, replacing the owner in the driver's seat. "I didn't want to get out of the car but I knew the opportunity was there – and I didn't want to pass it up," Childress told Foxnews.com last year. "I knew Dale was a championship driver. That was one of the biggest breaks in the history of RCR and Richard Childress. "I was maxxed out. I did everything I could do on my home. I sold everything I thought I had that I could sell just to run Dale in those (11) races." Earnhardt left to race for Bud Moore, and Childress – thanks to a bail-out from primary sponsor Wrangler Jeans – was able to continue. With Ricky Rudd, RCR scored its first victory in June 1983 at Riverside International Raceway. Earnhardt returned to RCR the following season, capturing the team’s first premier series title in 1986. Additional championships followed in 1987, 1990-91 and 1993-94. Longtime racing executive and Charlotte Motor Speedway promoter H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler credited Childress for molding Earnhardt into one of NASCAR's greatest drivers. "In his own, quiet Southern way, Richard instilled in Dale all he knew," Wheeler wrote in "Growing Up NASCAR." "Richard knew what to say and when to say it and he knew how to get the best out of his driver. Richard was a brilliant, brilliant coach, something most drivers never get." Earnhardt and Childress finally won the long-elusive Daytona 500 in 1998, three years before the driver's death on the final lap of the "Great American Race." Childress considered leaving the sport – "Probably all the way up until Tuesday. Sunday night, definitely," he said – but recalled a hunting incident after which he and Earnhardt agreed each would go on if something happened to the other. RCR promoted its NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Kevin Harvick to drive its Chevrolets – retiring the iconic No. 3 in deference to the late Intimidator. Childress returned the number to its cars several years ago when his grandson, Austin Dillon , moved to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after winning NASCAR Camping World Truck and XFINITY titles. To date, RCR has won 105 NASCAR premier series races. The organization counts four XFINITY owner titles and the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner championship in 1995 with Mike Skinner. RCR also captured the XFINITY Series driver championship in 2013 and the Camping World Truck Series driver title in 2011, both with Austin Dillon . Childress, recipient of the 1986 Bill France Award of Excellence, is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, International Motorsports Hall of Fame and North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Four drivers to kick off testing season in Las Vegas
RELATED: Full 2017 schedule The start of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is more than one month away but four competitors will be back behind the wheel much sooner. Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 1 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet), Joey Logano ( Team Penske No. 22 Ford) and Matt Kenseth ( Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota) are scheduled to take part in the season's first Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 10-11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . The test will mark the first time that the new Toyota Camry, which was unveiled on Monday at the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit, will be on track. Kenseth will be the first Toyota driver to take to the track in the new race car. Exciting unveil of the 2018 #camry today. I'm looking forward to be the first one to drive the race version tomorrow! @ToyotaRacing — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) January 9, 2017 RELATED: New-look Toyota Camry unveiled Las Vegas, a 1.5-mile tri-oval, will host the season's third points race, the Kobalt 400 , Sunday, March 12 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Brad Keselowski , driver of the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske , is the defending race winner. The 2017 racing season officially gets underway Feb. 18 with the running of The Clash (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), a non-points event at Daytona International Speedway . The first points event, the Daytona 500 , is scheduled for Feb. 26 (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Format set for 'The Clash' " Bowman to run in non-points event The two-day Las Vegas tire test is the first of seven on the 2017 schedule. Other Goodyear tire tests for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams are on tap for Michigan International Speedway (April 4-5), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (April 25-26), Kentucky Speedway (May 9-10), Chicagoland Speedway (June 6-7) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (Aug. 8-9). All are for 2017 races with the exception of AMS, which will be focused on 2018. Track officials there recently announced that the 1.54-mile track will be repaved following this year's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (March 5, 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will participate in a Goodyear tire test at Eldora Speedway May 16-17. Eldora is the only dirt track hosting a race among NASCAR's three national series . Also, with news of a repaving and reconfiguration at Texas Motor Speedway , Goodyear could add a test there as well. RELATED: Texas set for major track project The season's first organizational test, open to all but limited to one team per organization, will take place at Phoenix International Raceway Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Additional organizational tests for the series are scheduled for May 30-31 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , Aug. 15-16 at Chicagoland Speedway , Oct. 10-11 at Martinsville Speedway and Oct. 24-25 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . An organizational test for NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series teams is set for Charlotte Motor Speedway May 2. One change of note in the 2017 testing schedule is the addition of separate tests for the manufacturers' wheel force transducer (WFT) cars. The vehicles, provided by teams and fitted with various data-gathering devices, were previously allowed for each organizational and Goodyear tire test. NASCAR will also hold a two-day test April 11-12 at Daytona, using the first day to sort through potential safety/competition initiatives while Goodyear is expected to conduct a tire test with any potential changes on the second day. The 2017 season will be the third in which team testing is limited to participation in Goodyear tire tests, organizational tests or any developmental-type tests set by the sanctioning body. Private team testing has been prohibited since the start of the 2015 season.
McDowell to return to Leavine Family Racing full time in '17
CONCORD, N.C. (January 5, 2017) -- Leavine Family Racing (LFR) is excited to announce the return of veteran NASCAR driver Michael McDowell for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. McDowell will once again pilot the No. 95 Chevrolet SS and is signed on to be the primary driver for LFR in all 36 races next season, making the team Chase eligible for the first time since its inception in 2011. Additionally, LFR is excited to welcome back championship winning NASCAR crew chief Todd Parrott for the 2017 season. Parrott, who took on the crew chief responsibilities for the team full time in October of the 2016 season with only seven races remaining, led the No. 95 to earn six Top-25 finishes. "With both Michael and Todd returning to the team this season we are looking to maintain the consistency we found towards the end of last year and continue to push forward and build off the positive momentum," said Jeremy Lange, Vice President of Leavine Family Racing . "We had great performances on the track last year and we're hoping that continuing in that direction will lead to more sponsorships for the team. We do have some partner renewals that we will be announcing soon and are excited to add more." McDowell, who is entering his 10th year competing in NASCAR, earned his first NASCAR national touring series win last year at Road America in the XFINITY Series and recorded 16 Top-25 finishes with LFR in 2016. "I'm excited to be returning full time with LFR for the 2017 season," stated McDowell. "I look forward to continuing to work with Todd as well and kicking off our season with a strong start at the Daytona 500 in February." Crew Chief Todd Parrott echoed his driver's thoughts about the upcoming season. "I can't wait for the 2017 season to get here and look forward to having a great year with Michael and the team," said Parrott. "I'm appreciative of the opportunity LFR has given me to once again assume the crew chief role for the team and am ready to get started on the upcoming season." LFR will kick off the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with the 59th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 26. For real-time updates on and off the track, fans can follow @LFR95 on Twitter and Leavine Family Racing on Facebook.