NASCAR.com's Holly Cain wins NMPA Spirit Award
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Veteran motorsports writer Holly Cain has been chosen as the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s annual Spirit Award for 2015. A resident of Lakeland, Fla., Cain has covered motorsports for more than 25 years during which time she has worked for numerous publications, including the Tampa Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer as well as AOL.com and FOXSports.com. Currently a senior writer for NASCAR.com, she has been recognized for her reporting on multiple occasions, earning awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) as well as the NMPA. Diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2014, Cain has shown tremendous courage and an incredibly positive attitude while engaged in her difficult battle. She has been a long-time supporter of the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and continues to participate in fundraising and other efforts to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, the NMPA membership selects four quarterly winners, with an overall winner chosen from the four candidates. Cain was the second quarter recipient of the award. Others recognized with quarterly awards this past year were NASCAR television broadcaster Steve Byrnes (first quarter), IndyCar driver Justin Wilson (third quarter) and four-time premier series champion Jeff Gordon . Cain was presented the award Jan. 17 during the NMPA’s annual convention and awards dinner in Concord, N.C. Overall winners of the NMPA Spirit Award: Year – Recipient 2015 – Holly Cain 2014 – Lynda Petty 2013 – Marcy Scott 2012 – Andy Hillenburg 2011 – Jeff Gordon 2010 – Jim Hunter 2009 – David Poole 2008 – T. Taylor Warren 2007 – Bill France Jr. 2006 – Benny Parsons 2005 – Morgan Shepherd 2004 – Kyle and Pattie Petty 2003 – Bob Latford 2002 – Larry Hicks 2001 – Ricky Craven 2000 – Kyle Petty 1999 – Clay Earles 1998 – Mark Martin 1997 – Dave Marcis 1996 – Dale Earnhardt 1995 – Ernie Irvan 1994 – Ernie Irvan 1993 – Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki 1992 – Davey Allison Family
Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists named
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. -- Finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide were announced on Wednesday night on NASCAR America on NBC Sports Network. The award will be showcased on Sept. 27 at the Foundation's inaugural Honors Gala at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The award honors volunteers – who are also NASCAR fans – who dedicate themselves to children's causes in their communities throughout the United States. The award winner will be determined via an on-line vote now underway and running through Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. (ET) at www.NASCAR.com/Award . This year's award presentation will be part of the "10 Years of Giving" celebration for The NASCAR Foundation, which has donated $25 million to more than one million children since its inception in 2006. Betty Jane France, founder and chairwoman emeritus of The NASCAR Foundation, will present the award. The NASCAR Foundation will donate a total of $175,000 to the charities represented by the finalists – with the winner's charity receiving a $100,000 donation. This year's finalists include Jim Giaccone of Bayville, New York, representing Tuesday's Children; Andy Hoffman of Atkinson, Nebraska, founder of the Team Jack Foundation; Logan Houptley of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a founding member of Mikayla's Voice; and Parker White of Greensboro, North Carolina, founder of BackPack Beginnings. "The body of work by this year's four finalists reflects an impressive level of commitment to improving the lives of children," France said. "Their accomplishments likewise reflect The NASCAR Foundation's fundamental ideals and what the Foundation strives to achieve on a daily basis. All four finalists are wonderful representatives of our award process and of the NASCAR community." Following is additional information about the 2016 finalists: Jim Giaccone, Tuesday's Children: Giaccone lost his older brother, Joseph, in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Giaccone determined quickly that the best way to honor his brother was by assisting others -- especially children -- who also were affected by the tragedy. That led to Giaccone's involvement with Tuesday's Children, an organization founded in 2001 and dedicated to providing long-term support to those directly impacted by the events of 9/11 and other communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. Jim is involved with many aspects of Tuesday’s Children including raising funds, serving on the Mentoring Advisory Board, serving on the Family Advisory Board and his most significant contribution: serving as a mentor. Andy Hoffman, Team Jack Foundation: In 2011, Hoffman's world was turned upside down when his son, Jack, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Hoffman soon learned that procedures to treat pediatric brain cancer -- surgery and chemotherapy -- were more than 30 years old. He also learned that less than four percent of federal funding is dedicated to childhood cancer research each year. One year after the diagnosis, Hoffman made T-shirts as a fundraiser for children's brain cancer research; through his efforts he was able to sell 20,000 shirts and raise more than $300,000. Inspired by that success, Hoffman and his wife formed Team Jack Foundation in January 2013. The foundation raises money to fund pediatric brain cancer research and works to create national awareness for the disease. Logan Houptley, Mikayla's Voice: Houptley met a young lady named Mikayla Resh in his third-grade classroom after moving to a new school district in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Mikayla had profound multiple disabilities that included brain damage, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, along with facing the challenges of being blind and deaf. At only 10 years old, Houptley was incredibly understanding and accepting, treating Mikayla with love, kindness, and inclusion. Ten years after they met, Houptley has continued his friendship with Mikayla, in the process helping create Mikayla's Voice. Founded in 2010, the organization is dedicated to inspiring children and young adults to embrace individuals of all abilities. The organization promotes cultural change by teaching communities about the importance of inclusion and acceptance. Parker White, BackPack Beginnings: White founded BackPack Beginnings in 2010, driven by a compassion for families struggling to provide for their children on a daily basis. With two young children of her own, Parker understood a mother's desire to see her child be happy and successful. But she also knew that not every family has the means to put enough food on the table or provide basic necessities for their children. That led White to establish BackPack Beginnings, which strives to provide children in the Greensboro and High Point, North Carolina areas with nutritious food, clothing, and other basic necessities. BackPack Beginnings works with local schools to open food and clothing pantries, donate backpacks filled with blankets and school supplies, and provide comfort and hygiene items to children in need. To learn more about The NASCAR Foundation's Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide and each of the national finalists, please visit: www.NASCAR.com/Award .
The Chili Bowl has a way of reeling us in
TULSA, Okla. -- Justin Allgaier drove his race car to his hauler after being eliminated at the Chili Bowl one Saturday years ago and was met by his questioning father. His dad wanted to know what had happened out on the race track. Justin had driven a conservative race, never challenging for position, and allowing, it appeared, other cars to pass him without putting up much of a fight. He had missed transferring to the next race by one spot. With even a little bit of aggression, Justin would have certainly finished higher and gone on to the next race. What, his dad wanted to know, had happened? Still in the cockpit, Justin explained to his dad that the steering was out. To prove it, he spun the wheel. The tires stayed locked, pointed straight ahead. His dad was baffled then, and he remains so today. The question changed from why had Justin driven such a timid race to how had he driven at all? The Allgaiers set up their midget car to drive in a circle if he holds the wheel straight. They hang the body closer to the left-side tires and use smaller tires on the left than on the right -- a configuration for the Chili Bowl's quarter-mile banked track. In the 10-lap race, Allgaier was involved in an accident on the first lap. As he pulled away from the wreck, he realized the steering was broken. He also discovered that if he feathered the brake and the throttle just right, he could circumnavigate the track anyway. For the final nine laps, Allgaier did exactly that. He didn't do well, not by a long shot. But he did well enough that his dad did not know he had no steering until he said so. All of which leaves still one more question -- why did Allgaier stay in a race in which the steering didn't work? "Because it's the Chili Bowl," Allgaier said.
Interviewing Andy Lally ... using voice-to-text
@nascarcasm chats with XFINITY Series driver, gets interesting results RELATED: All content from @nascarcasm " Follow @nascarcasm 2011 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Andy Lally returns to the NASCAR circuit this weekend, driving the No. 90 Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet for King Autosport/SS-Greenlight Racing in the XFINITY Series race at Road America . A veteran sports-car driver with an impressive resume that includes multiple wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Lally hope to improve on last year’s seventh-place finish at at the Wisconsin road course. In the rare moments when he’s not behind the wheel of a race car, Lally trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and is a practicing vegan. We had the opportunity to speak with Andy Lally using only the voice-to-text feature on our smartphones. (NOTE: Unlike previous fictitious text conversations from the author, what follows is the actual exchange with Mr. Lally.)
Lynda Petty named 2014 NMPA Spirit Award winner
Founding member of the Racing Wives Auxiliary honored posthumously
NASCAR Illustrated Champions Tour: Andy Seuss
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion Andy Seuss talks about his climb to the top of the Whelen Southern Modified ranks.
Myers Brothers Awards: Andy Lally
Andy Lally accepts the 2011 Rookie of the Year Award.
Inside look: Behind the scenes of Pit Road Officiating
Let's rewind the clocks back to February 2015. Speedweeks was kicking off at Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR's plan for the Pit Road Officiating (PRO) system had been unveiled shortly before that. No pressure for a new system to make its debut on the sport's biggest stage, right? What ensued was an innovative setup that passed with flying colors and earned largely favorable reviews. Nearly a year and a half later, the system is still going strong, and the use of technology has made one of the most chaotic and frantic times during a race -- occurring multiple times during an event -- a safer, more consistent place. The PRO system uses anywhere from 40-50 cameras, with the total number at each track dependent on the layout of the venue. Those cameras feed video of every pit stop to a central hub located in a track's TV compound. Should a violation or suspected violation occur, the system flags the stop for an official to review immediately. Eight officials inside the PRO Trailer review the footage, reporting violations to the race control tower and logging pertinent information from each stop, such as how many tires were changed or what adjustments were made. At present, the system is only in place for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and companion events. When the Sprint Cup Series was off on Father's Day weekend, however, the system was at the NASCAR XFINITY Series-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series doubleheader at Iowa Speedway , according to a NASCAR spokesperson. Last month, NASCAR.com spent part of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the PRO Trailer to get a firsthand look at the system and officials in action. INSIDE THE SETUP Before a race begins, the cameras and mounts have to be set up at the track. This work typically takes place Wednesday afternoon, when the materials arrive on site. The cameras are put in place, pointing at pit road. On a typical weekend that culminates in a Sunday race, calibration of the cameras and any necessary tweaks are done Thursday. A check is done Friday, and there typically are races Saturday and Sunday. Two cameras are assigned to a server in the trailer, meaning that if one server fails, the system only loses half of a pit box since each pit box has two cameras pointing to it. So how does the system read the pit box so well and accurately? "The system has a wire-line model of the pit road," Andy Hitchcock, an engineer for the PRO Trailer, told NASCAR.com. "It's impossible to go and take a real, live camera up there and point it at the exact way that the wire-line model is. So the wire-line model is adjustable so that you can grab a point on the wire-line and actually drag it to the corners of the pit box so that it really does line up. Otherwise, the system doesn't work because the wire-line has to match the exact image." Wind and crowd noise can cause the cameras to move and shake, but the system can recognize fixed objects such as pit walls and banners, which help smooth out the image that is being fed back to the trailer for a steady view. At the end of a race weekend, everything gets taken down off the roof, the IT infrastructure gets packed up and loaded underneath the PRO Trailer as the circuit heads to its next stop. MAKING THE CALL ON A RACE DAY The PRO Trailer's main activity doesn't begin until cars come down pit road for service. In the Hisense 4K TV 300 , a rash of cautions early in the race made that a frequent occurrence. When a driver comes down pit road, a bell-like sound alerts officials in the trailer. The officiating system monitors the stop and flags it if a possible violation occurs. That moves the footage to the top of the queue for immediate review, where officials must make a determination. In some cases, the trailer officials overturn violations that the system flags. Pit road infractions fall into three groups: Vehicle (i.e. pitting outside pit box, driving through too many pit boxes), equipment (i.e. uncontrolled tire, removing gas can from the pit box) and crew (i.e. too many crewmembers over the wall, crewmembers over the wall too soon).
GarageCam gears up for Kentucky's clean up
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner walks the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Kentucky Speedway as drivers get ready for 400 miles under the lights.
Sprint Fan Vote: Current top 10 revealed
RELATED: Cast your vote now The Sprint Fan Vote is underway, and now, we have updates on (perhaps) your favorite driver. There's still plenty of time left to vote but, so far, the top-10 vote-getters are as follows, in alphabetical order: AJ Allmendinger , Trevor Bayne , Ryan Blaney , Clint Bowyer , Matt DiBenedetto , Chase Elliott , Kyle Larson , Casey Mears , Danica Patrick and Brian Vickers . Patrick, who won the Sprint Fan Vote last year and in 2013, is the first two-time Sprint Fan Vote winner. Elliott and Blaney are the current leaders in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year competition. Fans are able to vote daily by downloading the NASCAR Mobile App or visiting www.nascar.com/SprintFanVote. Votes that are shared on Facebook or Twitter will count for double, so make sure to post on your social media channels. So if you're voting for one of the 10 drivers above, get to it! If your driver isn't on the list, don't worry -- there's still plenty of time to help him or her catch up. Fans have until 5 p.m. ET May 20 to cast their votes. NASCAR will announce the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote in Victory Lane after the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 20 (7 p.m. ET, FS1/MRN/Sirius XM NASCAR Radio). The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is scheduled for May 21. If any of the Sprint Fan Vote candidates wins in the races leading up to the Sprint All-Star Race, he or she will automatically earn a spot in the race and their name will be removed from the Sprint Fan Vote ballot. To purchase ticket packages for the Sprint All-Star Race weekend -- which includes the Sprint Showdown, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series N.C. Education Lottery 200, Andy Grammer pre-race concert powered by Rayovac and the Sprint All-Star Race and qualifying -- call Charlotte Motor Speedway at 1-800-455-FANS or visit CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com . Fans wishing to engage in the #SprintAllStar Race conversation through the #SprintFanVote window are encouraged to follow @MissSprintCup, @CLTMotorSpdwy and @NASCAR on Twitter.