NASCAR Hall of Fame: Bruton Smith
Bruton Smith , Chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. and track innovator earns a nomination for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Ty Dillon subs for Regan Smith at Chicagoland
With Regan Smith still in North Carolina due to the impending birth of his second child, Ty Dillon will pilot the No. 7 Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the team announced Sunday morning. Dillon has practiced all weekend in the No. 7 as Smith flew back to North Carolina to be with wife Megan. NEWS: @tydillon will drive the No.7 @NikkoRC / @TMNTMaster Raphael Chevrolet in today's #TMNT400 . #TeamTurtle — Tommy Baldwin Racing (@TBR_Racing) September 18, 2016 Smith has made all 26 starts in the No. 7 so far this year with two top-10 finishes. Dillon has made eight starts this season in the Sprint Cup Series and served as a relief driver for Tony Stewart at Talladega in the spring. Dillon is currently a regular in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and will participate in that series' seven-race XFINITY Series Chase, which begins next weekend at Kentucky Speedway . Smith has taken to Twitter the past few days to keep fans updated on his status. Here are his latest posts: No baby yet, still a waiting game and as anybody with kids knows this process is completely unpredictable. — Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) September 17, 2016 And a big thanks to @tydillon for being able to step in and help out last second. I'll keep all updated. — Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) September 16, 2016
NASCAR Hall of Fame, Class of 2016
Ty Dillon to fill in for Regan Smith
Ty Dillon will fill in for Regan Smith in the Sprint Cup Series while Regan flies back home to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
Regan Smith , wife welcome baby girl
While most of NASCAR was either watching or participating in the opening Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing driver Regan Smith was busy welcoming his daughter, Eliza Grace Smith , to the world. Smith tweeted a photo of the couple's new bundle of joy pictured with wife, Megan, saying, "The two most beautiful girls I've ever laid my eyes on. We welcomed Eliza Grace Smith to the world this afternoon." The two most beautiful girls I've ever laid my eyes on. We welcomed Eliza Grace Smith to the world this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/l9xqpxNeJH — Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) September 18, 2016 Smith had shared an early photo from the couple's hospital room during Sunday's race, noting that the two still were cheering on the No. 7 -- being piloted by Ty Dillon -- while his wife was in labor. RELATED: T. Dillon subs for Regan Smith at Chicagoland Cheering on my @TBR_Racing @ToyState guys and @tydillon today, definitely a different view than I'm used to! pic.twitter.com/0d7yuK3vGG — Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) September 18, 2016 This is the couple's second child together. The pair welcomed their son, Rheet Lee Smith , on Feb. 25, 2015.
Cain: Bigger and more memorable at Texas
RELATED: Gallery of memorable moments at Texas " Full weekend schedule FORT WORTH -- From track "weepers" and multicar inaugural-lap pileups to a winner's circle confrontation between two Indianapolis 500 champs, Texas Motor Speedway has been the site of some of the most remarkable, memorable and bizarre story lines of any circuit on the NASCAR circuit. The 1.5-mile oval outside Fort Worth celebrates its 20th year hosting a NASCAR race this week with Saturday night's Duck Commander 500 (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.) And for those of us around at the very beginning, it seems a fitting time to reminisce a bit about the facility's famously storied early history. As they like to remind you in Texas, everything is "bigger" there. And it has been. The track's early trials and tribulations have only contributed to its great character and esteem. In my 25 years of sports journalism, the opening races at Texas Motor Speedway still remain among the most unforgettable times of my career. Never before and never since have I covered a specific beat that provided as much sensation, controversy and must-see-TV as TMS in the early years. Two decades later, the track located at the intersection of an interstate and two major Texas highways has evolved into one of the sport's most prestigious venues. It boasts the largest HD screen, named "Big Hoss," fantastic spectator seating and the most condominiums of any track on the circuit. Plus really great racing. Nearly 195,000 people showed up for the inaugural Texas race in 1997 and most of those who were ticket holders then still are, two decades later proving they are as faithful and optimistic as they were devoted. It turns out those have been good traits for this endeavor. MORE: Paint scheme preview for Texas I had just started work at The Dallas Morning News newspaper in the spring of 1997 a few weeks after Jeff Burton took the checkered flag for NASCAR's first Cup series race at Texas in April. The new facility was considered the "home track" to cover. After reporting on the Indianapolis 500 in May, I was immediately back home in Dallas, ready for the Indy Racing League's night-time debut at TMS the next week. There, a 26-year old future three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart put on an open-wheel show for the ages, racing wheel-to-wheel lap-after-lap with Buddy Lazier. Stewart -- who went on to win two Cup races at Texas (2006 and 2011) -- led a race-high 100 of the 208 laps only to suffer an engine failure that night. But toward the end of the race there were questions regarding the scoring shown on the monitor in the press box. And soon after making my way down to the infield to prepare for a super-tight Saturday night newspaper deadline, the real craziness began. While trying to get post-race quotes from the apparent first-time winner Billy Boat ( XFINITY Series driver Chad's dad) and Boat's team owner, Texan A.J. Foyt, I was standing a few feet away when driver Arie Luyendyk confronted Foyt in Victory Lane. After questioning the results, challenging Foyt and suggesting he was actually the legitimate race winner, Luyendyk tumbled into the victory flowers. Boat and Foyt hoisted the trophy. It was surreal. I was on a crazy tight deadline. But the next day in a hastily called press conference, Luyendyk was declared the winner after USAC conceded a scoring error. After USAC officials suggested problems with the track's scoring system, TMS President Eddie Gossage took the press conference podium and strongly reminded that the speedway wasn't responsible for the scoring. "I got home at 3 in the morning knowing we gave the trophy to the wrong winner and had a press conference for 8 in the morning," said Gossage. "I go in to the press conference with two hours of sleep and I'm sitting in the back row and the head scorer for USAC says that the speedway's timing and scoring equipment didn't work. "He says it again and then a third time so I just walked up on stage and stepped up to the podium and eased him to the side and said, " Texas Motor Speedway doesn't own a stop watch. ... People have a right to know when they leave the race track who the winner is and we all didn't get what we paid for." Then after a dramatic exit and door slam, Gossage recalls, "My dad called from Tennessee and said, 'You were raised better, acting like an idiot on television for all the world to see, embarrassing me and your mom.' I said, 'What?' He said, 'You didn't know it was live on ESPN?' "I didn't. And then I was like, 'You're right, sir. I'm sorry. I know better.' " Gossage has a good laugh recalling the whole ordeal now. Foyt, who still disputes the result, kept the trophy and Luyendyk was given another one. A year later, Boat recalled of the evening, "We went into Victory Circle knowing nothing about a scoring error, only that someone was talking derogatory about our race team. You don't do that in a big Texan's Victory Circle." Luyendyk, of Holland, said the incident -- replayed repeatedly all over the world at the time -- actually made him and the Texas Motor Speedway more famous overseas. MORE: Gossage and drivers try to draw state of Texas And then in 1998 came NASCAR's second Cup try. After two multi-car accidents in the inaugural race, conventional wisdom promised this one just had to go down more smoothly. NASCAR's biggest stars such as Rusty Wallace, Ernie Irvan, Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin were among those who crashed in the opening race. Darrell Waltrip finished last after being involved in a 13-car wreck on the very first turn of the very first lap of Cup competition there. And Burton ended up winning by 4 seconds. Surely, everyone figured, the second race would be smoother. It wasn't. "Weepers" became a familiar word. The water seeping through the track caused qualifying to be completed a day late. And of all things, there was a huge 10-car accident on the second lap of the race. Jeff Gordon and yes, Waltrip, were collected in that melee. Mark Martin won the race by a half-second over Chad Little and Robert Pressley. Shortly after, TMS went through a re-paving and re-fitting, track owner Bruton Smith and Gossage committed to correction. "The first year it was just terrible and everything seemed to go wrong," Gossage conceded this week. "And the second year, obviously you try to improve so all of a sudden here's these weepers that came through. "I remember driving into the infield and in the rearview mirror saw Lake Speed knock the wall down in Turn 1 in qualifying. I thought, 'Oh no.' "I'm always the worst critic," Gossage said, logging the long hours readying for the weekend's big events. "There are things other people might not have noticed but I did. For some reason things worked really well in 1999 when Terry Labonte won and it's been better since then. That's the way a race weekend was supposed to go." Not only has it been better, it's typically a discussion point in every season review. In 2005, Texas finally got the second date it had longed for since I worked at the Dallas paper nearly a decade earlier. And the facility -- big enough to fit every Texas sporting stadium in its infield -- is also a big-time player in the Chase for the Sprint Cup . It's still providing those jaw-dropping, television highlight moments seemingly born with the track. Dale Earnhardt Jr . scored his first Cup win at TMS in April 2000. And Chase Elliott got his first XFINITY Series win here in 2014 driving for Junior at JR Motorsports. Gordon, who won this race in 2009, has starred in a couple TMS highlight reels, too. He was involved in a pair of high profile skirmishes from taking on Burton on-track after a wreck in 2010 to a crazy pit road scuffle with Brad Keselowski in 2014. "You have to be honest," Gossage said. "And looking back, it's just how things occurred. I wouldn't trade any of it, if it is what got us where we are. I'll take where we stand in our success as the most successful major market speedway in the history of this sport. I'll take that. "I won't trade my job with the guy running any other race track because I'm just so proud of what's been accomplished here."
Colossus formally takes center stage at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The unveiling of Colossus, the world's largest outdoor, center-hung, four-sided video screen, is the latest addition in amenities race fans can enjoy when attending NASCAR-sanctioned events at Bristol Motor Speedway . "To be able to unveil Colossus today is a neat experience and definitely one for the history books at Bristol Motor Speedway ," BMS General Manager Jerry Caldwell said Thursday during a private unveiling of the engineering marvel. The entire piece weighs approximately 700 tons and is suspended by cables attached to towers located outside the track. The screens on each side measure 68 feet wide by 30 feet high. Construction, which began last fall, was completed earlier this month. Unveiling Colossus at Bristol Motor Speedway . #gamechanger pic.twitter.com/488jeyJCBK — Jeff Wohlschlaeger (@JeffWohlschlaeg) April 14, 2016 "What Bruton and Marcus ( Smith ) continue to do with this place and re-invest, I mean look at this, look at the sound system," Caldwell said. "They didn't have to do that. But they wanted to do that because it's the right thing to do for the fans. They want it to be great." Officials said there are no concerns outside of those that existed for the previous scoring pylon that was anchored in the center of the .533-mile track's infield. "This thing is so over-engineered that … all those questions were asked when we were going through this process," Caldwell said. "We've had engineers from all over the world study this and peer reviews upon peer reviews of that. So we feel good about everything that's up there and having Colossus is going to be a great experience for all of us." Steve Smith , CEO of race sponsor Food City, said the new video screen "is just another of those pillars that Bristol Motor Speedway does for the race fans." BMS will host the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race Saturday (first heat race at 12:30 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN) and the Food City 500 on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Full weekend schedule at Bristol "What it does even more so than during the races is (enhance) our pre-race shows," Caldwell said. "Our pre-race shows are amazing. There have been times when it's been hard for the race fans to hear the pre-race show, to hear from the drivers and what they're saying. And we've heard from the race fans; this sound system came from the race fans. They said they wanted new speakers. Of course Marcus and Bruton answered their call. We'll see what happens with the races but I know it's going to enhance the pre-race experience tremendously." The idea for Colossus came about as officials began preparations for hosting this year's inaugural Battle at Bristol college football game between the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Other similar non-racing events are being considered; Caldwell wouldn't confirm anything beyond this fall's football game, scheduled for Sept. 10. "We've had some really good conversations," he said. "No question, Bristol is already on the map for hosting world-class NASCAR events, but this is for other sporting events and entertainment events. Look at this place; it really is a colosseum. What else can we do? Colossus is the start of that."
Hall of Fame induction ceremony postponed due to weather
RELATED: Official NASCAR release on postponement Wintry weather postponed Friday night's NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, pushing the Class of 2016's enshrinement to Saturday afternoon. The Hall's seventh class -- Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte , Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner -- will be inducted at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday. The event will be broadcast live on NBCSN and NBC Live Extra, with radio coverage from MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Plans to hold the induction as scheduled were in place until Friday morning, but accumulations of snow and ice that made travel around the Charlotte, North Carolina area treacherous forced the postponement. The NASCAR Hall of Fame planned an early closing Friday at 2 p.m. ET with Hall of Famer autograph sessions canceled. Saturday's altered schedule will kick off with a 1 p.m. ET luncheon. With winter precipitation expected to continue overnight Friday and into the morning hours, the NASCAR Hall of Fame also canceled Saturday's Fan Appreciation Day. Autograph sessions and driver meet-and-greets were canceled. According to a release provided by the venue, the Hall is exploring options to accommodate fans who obtained autograph session tickets, with a decision to be announced later next week. The Hall announced reduced hours Saturday from noon-5 p.m. ET with free admission. The postponement means a mere one-day delay for five stock-car legends. Modified stalwart Cook, early star Isaac, two-time premier series champ Labonte, speedway mogul Smith and the hard-charging Turner will have their names called Saturday, bringing the NASCAR Hall of Fame's list of inductees to a total of 35. RELATED: For more updates see Official NASCAR release
Jeff Gordon makes his FOX NASCAR debut
Jeff Gordon made his 2016 season debut with the FOX NASCAR broadcasting team on FS1's "Race Hub" Monday. Danielle Trotta and Adam Alexander kicked off the episode with Alexander saying, "We've done a lot of shows in this studio, but this is one we'll remember forever." "It's been a great offseason, but I can’t wait to get to Daytona and be part of the FOX team," Gordon said. The Gordon family took a trip to Australia over the competition break, and enjoyed fireworks in Sydney and racing, as well. Gordon reflected on his final season, in which he was in the hunt for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in the Championship 4 Chase race at Homestead-Miami. "You can't script it," Gordon said. "There were struggles. It wasn't the way I wanted it to go all season, but the Chase … and of course the banquet in Las Vegas. It really was the best of times." Watch: @JeffGordonWeb picks his favorite career moments on @FS1 's #NASCAR #RaceHub . https://t.co/j8anHqeUjX — FOX SPORTS: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) January 19, 2016 Gordon and fans alike were shocked when actor Tom Cruise introduced Gordon for his speech at the Sprint Cup Awards banquet in Las Vegas. "I already knew it was going to be an emotional night," Gordon said. "I was really proud to be on that stage, and I also knew it was a chance to reflect on my career. I'm a planner, though. I like to plan and that truly was a surprise. It was very overwhelming." Another surprise from earlier in the season was one of Gordon's retirement gifts. At Texas Motor Speedway , he received two Shetland ponies for his children, Ella and Leo. "I was not real thrilled with Eddie Gossage and Bruton Smith at the time," Gordon said with a laugh, "But they really have been the brightest gift." Gordon said the logistics of pony ownership were interesting, but they have found a stable in North Carolina for the ponies, who are named "Nutella" for Leo's favorite snack and "Prince," though Ella may change her mind about her pony's name. Gordon also joked that he's eager to see what promotors/track owners Gossage and Smith might have in mind for Tony Stewart , who is retiring after the 2016 season. "With Tony's passion and love for animals …. You never know what’s going to happen," Gordon said. Gordon stepped away from driving the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet after the 2015 season (he doesn’t like the word "retire") with 93 wins and four championships in NASCAR’s premier series. Gordon will join fellow analyst Darrell Waltrip and play-by-play announcer Mike Joy when FOX opens the 2016 season with the coverage of SpeedWeeks from Daytona International Speedway . He will help call races, practices and qualifying sessions for the network.
Gordon gifted ponies at Texas Motor Speedway
Track president presented two ponies for Jeff Gordon's kids FORT WORTH, Texas -- Teams search for horsepower all season. Jeff Gordon added a bit more on Friday -- two, to be exact -- with the latest gift on his retirement tour, courtesy of Texas Motor Speedway and track president Eddie Gossage. Gossage presented the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion with two Shetland ponies, named "Scout" and "Smokey", at a press conference. "I think about you, and you have everything," Gossage said to Gordon. "But Ella and Leo (Gordon's kids), I thought about them." Gordon could hardly muster the words to express his gratitude and/or displeasure with the realization that he now has a pair of ponies to take care of. "Eddie, you are unbelievable … you are unbelievable. Oh my God," said Gordon, who locked in his Championship 4 appearance with a win at Martinsville last week. "Do you have a ranch I could keep this at? These are going to look good in my backyard in Charlotte. I'm going to see if I can park them over at Bruton ( Smith )'s." Once the ponies were given, there was no turning back -- Gossage had informed Ella and Leo of the gift ahead of the press conference. Smart move. "I am mad at you, but at the same time, I'm overwhelmed," Gordon said. "My kids are going to flip out. Yes, I'm going to have to find a place for them, because there's no way they're going to leave. "That's the coolest thing ever, honestly."