Andy Lally accepts the 2011 Rookie of the Year Award.
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NASCAR.com writers discuss racing in the rain, Brendan Gaughan's breakthrough win at Road America and whether or not Matt Kenseth will revisit Victory Lane at Kentucky
Catch up quickly before Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Road America
Drivers provide insight into racing for NASCAR's smaller teams How small is your team compared to the elite teams? Michael McDowell , Sprint Cup driver @Mc_Driver "There are a total of 12 guys in our shop -- going against teams that have anywhere between 150-300 people. The biggest difference is just the sheer ability to maximize all the details. At the same time, the sport does allow us to be fairly competitive. We have an alliance with Team Penske that allows us to stay closer to the game and stay relevant. You've got to start somewhere. Who knows, five years from now, we might be one of those teams with 50-100 people." Joe Nemechek , Sprint Cup driver @FrontRowJoe87 "There is no comparison. At one point, I drove for Felix Sabates and we had a three-car team. I drove for Andy Petree, where we had two cars. And I drove for Rick Hendrick, who had four cars. This team [for the Atlanta race], I just met these guys on Monday. I want to say they have six or eight guys. It's virtually impossible to be competitive, but we can put on a good show for smaller sponsorship dollars. We have to work, dig and claw for everything. I'm not saying the big teams don't do that, but it's unbelievable hours and a lot of work." Derrike Cope , XFINITY Series driver @DCopeTeam70 "We are pretty small. We have five full-time people, including myself. We all try to do a multitude of things. I do shock absorbers, we rebuild our own engines and we pretty much outsource all the fabrication work. It's a tough go." Mike Harmon , XFINITY Series driver @hrmn8ter "Besides myself, I've got two full-time employees. So I guess that would make us 10-times smaller." Big teams come to the track with totally fresh cars. Do you ever come to the track with a car that is just plain worn out? McDowell: "Over the years, I definitely have -- mostly with chassis and bodies. In years past, I've gotten into cars that I'm not sure I should have gotten into without getting a tetanus shot. Of late, it's not been like that." Nemechek: "You can always do things better. I've been doing this a long time, and you learn what's important. A lot of time, you can outsmart some of these guys." Cope: "We do that about every weekend, to be quite honest. We have to run the old engine and we're just basically trying to run on a limited amount of tires. We run a lot of used tires in the race. We buy used parts and pieces that have been discarded by other teams and try to assemble something that will be better than what we had before." Harmon: "As a racer, you always want to have the best equipment. In Nationwide , I've never been able to have that." For top teams, 12 seconds is a good time for a pit stop. How long does it take your crew? McDowell: "With our Team Penske alliance, we use some of their development guys to pit the car. That's big for us because they are very good." Nemechek: "We just have a bunch of misfits. We're on a 25-second pit stop cycle, but that's fine. As long as they get all the lug nuts on tight, we're good." Cope: "We're probably doing pit stops in the 15-16 second range. We rent a few pit crew members from other teams." Harmon: "We're looking at trying not to lose a lap when we pit. At places like Daytona or Talladega, where we can run in the draft, I hire a Sprint Cup crew. Anywhere else, we're here to make the show, run and keep the team alive." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Gaughan earns first win in 98 Nationwide Series starts
Founding member of the Racing Wives Auxiliary honored posthumously
With network no longer televising races, some move on to other endeavors RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today ESPN's affiliation with NASCAR, providing coverage of the second half of the season's Sprint Cup Series races as well as the entire 33-race Nationwide Series schedule, came to an end earlier this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway . ESPN had been a television partner for the sport since 2007 and overall, had been involved in NASCAR coverage for 28 years. The cable sports giant is not part of NASCAR's most recent broadcast package that officially begins in 2015. FOX Sports will air the first 16 Sprint Cup Series events while NBC Sports will handle live coverage of the final 20 races. Coverage of the XFINITY Series (previously Nationwide) will also be split between the two networks while FOX Sports will carry coverage of NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series . Many of the faces that fans have grown accustomed to seeing on ESPN during NASCAR events will still be seen next year. Some will still be affiliated with motorsports, others will not. "It'll be different," Allen Bestwick said during a conference call prior to the season finale at HMS. "You know, my life has been centered around daily involvement with this sport since 1986. It will be very different." Bestwick, 53, served as lead announcer for ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage. Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett and former crew chief Andy Petree served as analysts alongside Bestwick. Bestwick will remain in the booth, serving as the lead announcer for the Indianapolis 500 and ESPN's association with the IndyCar Series. He will also be involved in college football and basketball, pro tennis and golf coverage "They're a big deal to me," Bestwick said of the upcoming opportunities. "They're new, and I mean, I'm going to have a chance to be involved in and around the British Open at St. Andrews next summer. How could you not be excited about that? It'll be very different." Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch served as pit reporters for ESPN. Burns will join NBC Sports next season when that network begins its Sprint Cup affiliation while Little will move over to FOX Sports as a pit reporter. Welch has worked the IndyCar series as well for ESPN and could possibly resume those duties. Jarrett, the 1999 premier series champion, Petree and Punch have not announced their plans for 2015 and beyond. Former driver Ricky Craven and reporter Marty Smith will remain entrenched with the Bristol, Connecticut-based network and tethered to NASCAR. Craven, lauded for his no-nonsense approach and knowledge of the sport, will continue to serve as the lead in-studio NASCAR analyst. Smith, based in Charlotte, will also report on the series, but also will be assigned to other sports such as college and pro football. Those out front for the pre-race NASCAR Countdown show included host Nicole Briscoe, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace. Briscoe will move into the role of an anchor for SportsCenter starting in January and is expected to do other in-studio work as well. Daugherty, the former NBA standout who currently co-owns the JTG Daugherty Racing Sprint Cup Series team, will transition to ESPN's coverage of college and pro basketball. Wallace, like Jarrett a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, has not announced his plans for next season. "ESPN has allowed me to do a lot of different things," Wallace, the '89 series champion, said. "… All different kinds of platforms. I've learned so much. … ESPN has kept my name out there and kept me relevant and kept me going." NBC Sports will begin its portion of live NASCAR race coverage at Daytona International Speedway in July of 2015. In addition to Burns, former ESPN reporter Mike Massaro will join the group as a pit reporter, along with Marty Snider and Kelli Stavast. Krista Voda will serve as host of pre- and post-race shows for NBC; Rick Allen (lead announcer), Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte (analysts) will be in the booth. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Persistence, consistency pay off for Whelen Southern Modified Champ MORE: Seuss gets engaged in Victory Lane RELATED: Home Tracks " Learn more on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour CONCORD, N.C. -- For six seasons, Andy Seuss couldn't quite get over the hump in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour (NWSMT). He had six straight top-five finishes in the final standings to go with 15 victories coming into this season but the championship always seemed just out of reach. For some of those seasons, George Brunnhoelzl III was in his way, racking up four titles in six years (2009, 2011-13). Seuss finished as the runner-up to him in 2009 and 2011, but 2014 was a different story and it was Seuss' time to shine. Entering the Southern Slam 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , the NWSMT season finale, Seuss (pronounced "SICE") needed to finish 12th or better to clinch the title. He did better than that with a fifth-place effort to finish 14 points ahead of Brunnhoelzl to take home the championship, the first for the New Hampshire native. "It's very special to be the only people to dethrone the 28 team (Brunnhoelzl) because they've been so strong," Seuss said. "I'm sure they walk around thinking they have a target on their back because everyone shoots for them. We had a great end of last year and in the offseason, we gained even more. " From his season-opening win at Caraway, where he led the entire race, Seuss was dialed in. He won three of series' first five races and nearly led wire-to-wire in the point standings, as he was out of first place just one week. In his three victories, Seuss led 449 of a possible 450 laps. "We knew we had to come out of the gate swinging," Seuss said. Seuss showed remarkable consistency all season long, finishing in the top nine in all 14 races and never starting worse than seventh. Burt Myers, who secured the tour title in 2010 and won the race at Charlotte, said that Seuss performed well all year and that becoming a first-time champion is a tremendous accomplishment. "That's something to be proud of," Myers said. "It's something that nobody can ever take away from you. Like I said, it will get him later. That team has run good all year; they've run good in the past and it just came together for them this year." Seuss' title driving for car owner Ed Harvey was the capstone for the special bond the two have formed over the past four years together. " Andy has become like a little brother that I never had," Harvey said sitting with Seuss in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Center. "And as far as I'm concerned, I've said it 100 times, I've put it out there in print, that red 11 car is Andy Seuss' ride as long as Andy Seuss wants that ride. If Andy decides to quit one day or move up one day or have the opportunity to move up, that's one thing. But until he tells me anything different, I've told him it's his ride for the rest of his life." The celebration and the evening took on an extra meaning for Seuss for several reasons. Just before joining the No. 11 team for Harvey, Seuss spent three seasons driving the No. 47 car for David Riggs, who was a longtime team owner in the Southern Modified Tour. Riggs passed away from a long battle with cancer in the days leading up to the season finale, something Seuss described as "heartbreaking." Seuss continued to use some of Riggs' cars while running for Harvey. Riggs quit his full-time racing operation after the 2010 season following the unexpected death of his son Jeff. "He gave me my big break when I went from running for our family, No. 70, to driving for a professional team," Seuss said of Riggs. "I think he really did help me the last few days. If nothing else, but he told me to ''shut up and drive' and not think. I couldn't think about it and it really, it was thrown at me a few times, but for the most part I didn't really wear the burden ... would've been awesome to have him here but really cool to dedicate it to him as well." Seuss' celebration also took on special significance of a romantic sort as he proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Jenn DeMarco, in Victory Lane at Charlotte. She said yes. "That's a pretty special deal," Seuss said. "I hadn't told anybody. Me and my mother had texted about it. We haven't even spoken about it. Maybe, because of the pressure I put on myself but I wanted it to be an extra special day with the championship. "My dad took the last two weeks off, traveling the whole country. We went up to Rhode Island to work on the chassis and back and forth and it was just the two of us in the truck. I feel terrible I didn't let him know. I know he knew through my mom but I couldn't get the words out because of just everything that this day meant." It was a night filled with lasting memories for Seuss and a night he won't soon forget . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView