CONCORD, N.C. -- Traces of confetti were still stuck to Carl Edwards ' No. 19 Toyota and Dash 4 Cash bogus bills littered the hood of the entry of fellow Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suarez . Crewmen that had arrived at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, earlier that September morning began their assigned tasks promptly at 8 a.m. ET. Edwards' group, along with those from the Team Penske Ford of Brad Keselowski and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team for driver Kasey Kahne , were the first to begin. They worked quietly and efficiently, removing specific parts from each entry and delivering them to a predetermined area nearby. NASCAR officials then began the process of inspecting the individual pieces, measuring and examining each one before moving on to the next. It's the final stop in the inspection process for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, and occasionally the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series. While entries that qualify for a NASCAR event typically go through four separate inspections the previous race weekend (pre-qualifying, qualifying, pre-race and post-race), the winning and second-place entry, as well as a randomly selected car, arrive here at the R&D Center, where a final teardown takes place. "It's primarily the suspension officials, which are chosen by their supervisor … and the same with the engine group," NASCAR's Chad Little , Managing Director, Technical Inspection/Officiating, said. "Sometimes we do a detailed template inspection as well. But primarily it's suspension and engine." According to Little , teams whose cars are taken to the R&D Center (the cars are transported by NASCAR employees) after an event are officially notified by email following the race. The final post-race inspections are held on the following Tuesdays, and once teams arrive, they are given a detailed list of what specific parts are to be removed from each entry. "The team will go to work in pulling the engine and pulling those parts off the car," Little said. "The officials will inspect them and make sure they comply with the rules. It's usually all done by about 10:30 a.m. "We tear the car completely apart -- all the primary suspension parts come out." Engines are completely disassembled, fuel cells are removed, measured and checked and the transmissions are inspected as well. Before NASCAR began taking cars back to the R&D center, final post-race inspections were completed at the track following the event. Officials say bringing the cars back here provides a better environment and allows for a more detailed inspection. Weather is not longer a concern while officials and crewmen for the cars inspected no longer must spend hours after the race completing the various tasks. There is no limit to the number of employees a team may bring to complete the teardown as the center, "as many as they need," Little said. "And it's an open-door policy. "So any other team can come and observe. … They're parked right next to each other just like they are in the garage; nobody covers anything up. When the parts come off they're laid there for anybody else to see." If there is an issue, the series director is notified and the information moves up the management chain. "Before we issue (a penalty)," Little said, "it's thoroughly thought out." Almost one hour after work began, Edwards' Southern 500 winning car and Keselowski's No. 2 Ford have been checked and are rolled out of the main area. Kahne's entry isn't far behind and joins the JGR entry in the chassis room, where officials go over each with a Romer Absolute Arm, a computerized device that takes precise chassis measurements at various points on each car. It's a slow process for those who have other items on their agenda. Darian Grubb, crew chief for Edwards, had already been in three meetings with various JGR personnel before the teardown process got underway. Watching as crewmen went through their assigned tasks, he waited patiently until the inspection had been completed. That the winning car would be in pieces when it finally returned to the team's headquarters in nearby Huntersville wouldn't be an issue. "We'd normally go through all those things after getting the car back to shop anyway, so they'd have to come off," Grubb said. "That car will be turned around and we'll start to get it ready for Dover as quick as we get it back." By 10:40 a.m., the inspection process for Edwards' car has been completed, Keselowski's has already been loaded up and Kahne's Chevrolet is nearly finished. Meanwhile, on the other side of the building, the work had already begun on the XFINITY Series entries of Suarez and race winner Denny Hamlin .
RELATED: Johnson's post-race reaction to being eliminated DOVER, Del. -- Once the crowd cleared, Jimmie Johnson walked around to each member of his crew on pit road, giving them a pat on the back and "good job," following his 41st-place finish in Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway . His dreams of a seventh title in the 2015 season had been washed away, his finish eliminated the No. 48 team from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup -- coincidentally in what was his 500th premier series start. The result marked Johnson's worst finish in his career at Dover, a track that he's dominated in years past, reaching Victory Lane a series-best 10 times. "It just wasn't meant to be," Johnson said on pit road after the race. "It's unfortunate. I feel for my team, I feel for Hendrick Motorsports , Lowe's, Chevrolet." Trouble began stirring around Lap 104 when Johnson felt something breaking in his car while running 16th. "It was instantaneous for me," Johnson recalled. "I was coming down the frontstretch and it just started vibrating, the right rear hub I guess started seizing up because the fluid was out of it. It was just metal on metal shaking." A broken rear axle seal was revealed as the culprit of Johnson's Monster Mile misfortune -- a part that retails for around $5. "It's really horrible, it's a simple piece," Johnson said. "We're always very cautious, these axles come in and out of the car. I think I had one go in practice earlier this year. Maybe five in my whole career have ever gone." The faulty part sent Johnson behind the wall for nearly 30 minutes, as every member of the No. 48 team -- and even a few No. 88 crew members -- feverishly worked to get the car back on track. They returned to the track in last place, 37 laps down. But as the race continued, Johnson's taunting task became an uphill battle -- a monster that even "Six-Time" couldn't tame. "I really didn't have anything to fight for," Johnson said. "It was completely out of my control with how many laps we were down. Just a matter of what went on. "But then 20-30 minutes of being back on the track, I could see the flow of the race. Guys were minding their manners pretty well on the track, a lot of green flag runs, so I kind of felt like we were in big trouble." Mechanical issues have been few and far between for the No. 48 team in the past. Johnson's six championship titles prove that, his cars under guidance of crew chief Chad Knaus and his notoriously meticulous nature. But as Johnson showed today, even something as simple as an axle failure can happen to anyone. "As I worry about things, I worry about a flat, I worry about a pit call, I worry about hard racing, something going on -- I don't worry about an axle seal failing," Johnson said. "It's just not on your radar. "You just take things for granted. There's so many parts and pieces on these cars and you take for granted what they all do." No. 4 crew chief Rodney Childers, who won Sunday's race at Dover with driver Kevin Harvick , attested to that after the race. "Honestly, it's one of the things that is the scariest of everything that race teams deal with," Childers said in the post-race press conference. "... You think that race teams worry about engine trouble or things like that. But these axle seal problems, they happen all the time, and a lot of times you don't hear about them." With a win at Dover, Childers and Harvick will continue on to the Contender Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , vying for a second straight title for the No. 4 team. But while the hunt for a seventh championship title is over for Johnson this season, the chance remains for his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who advanced to the next round. And Johnson's own desire to win races remains furiously intact. "We had a very, very fast race car today, the past three or four weeks we've had very competitive cars," Johnson said. "We want to win races, that's what the rest of the season is for us. "Help our teammates advance, help our teammates win the championship."
RELATED: Team transporter catches fire coming home from Kentucky DOVER, Del. -- It might be the oldest transporter in the garage. Hard to say, but if there's one older … Up front in the lounge area there are mirrors on the ceiling. The cabinet includes a stereo system that features a side-by-side cassette tape deck. The lone photo on the wall is an artist's rendering of the No. 52 entry. The car in the picture is sporting sponsorship from Alka-Seltzer. Maybe it's the oldest hauler, maybe not. But the white trailer used to move the Jimmy Means Racing entry from its shop in North Carolina to Dover International Speedway this weekend served its purpose. Called back into active duty after a fire destroyed the team's primary hauler, it's a throwback of sorts to an earlier era. "Watch your head when you go up there," team owner Jimmy Means advised. "This one's old school." Driver Joey Gase finished 21st in last Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race and Means was headed back to North Carolina when a wheel bearing overheated and caught a tire on fire. The fire quickly spread into the hauler. RELATED: Dover race results "We had just stopped 30 miles up the road," Means said Saturday, "fueled up and I personally went around and laid my hand on all the hubs and they were normal." In the days after the incident, other teams reached out and offered assistance. Some offered to loan trailers. One Sprint Cup team owner told his group to give Means whatever he needed to make sure he made it to the next race. Friends and fans raised more than $10,000. Fortunately, help from the No. 22 Team Penske team, which stopped to help, lessened the damage done by the fire. "If it hadn’t been for them … we used up all the fire extinguishers, 42 bottles of water, coke soda, orange soda, ice by the handful," Means said. "We actually thought we had it out and it (flared) up again and we were all out of supplies. Watched it burn for about 15 or 20 minutes until the fire department got there. "At least they helped us keep it from burning the cars up. If they hadn't have stopped it would have burned the cars up for sure." Other than damage to the hauler itself, and the pit box used on pit road, most of the damage to the contents was smoke and water related. The cars, while looking the worse for wear, were salvageable. The trailer and pit box were not. Gase competed in Saturday's Hisense 200 at Dover in the same car he raced at Kentucky. "The cars, I'm amazed they weren't hurt," Means said. "They needed to be completely taken apart, everything painted and all that. They did get warm and from the water on them naturally they all rusted. Plastic strips to keep the heat and the air in (at the rear of the transporter) melted, all that went up in the air and just settled on everything. It was just a big mess. "It really didn't hurt the equipment that much other than just being filthy and water damage to some of it. We were fortunate that our radios were in the front … did get a little water damage but didn't get any intense heat." Prepping the back-up hauler, built in 1990, was a task in itself. It had been sitting idle for several years -- Means said he hadn't kept the license plates up to date and had to rush to the courthouse to pay three years' worth of taxes to get it back on the road. Volunteers joined in to help the team prepare for this week’s race. "Definitely a thrash to get it done," he said. "Actually, by the last day it came out better than we thought it was going to be. We were prepared to be here Friday morning; we loaded Wednesday night at 9:30. Thought that was a pretty good job. "Probably the average age of the crew helping us was 65. Anywhere from 78, 74, 65, 68 working on this stuff, getting it clean. Crew chief (Tim Brown) did a whale of a job of getting everything cleaned up and hopefully putting on the truck what we needed to get through this weekend. That will give us a little more time to get this thing stocked so we can operate out of it the rest of the year." Gase called it "kind of the worst time possible for us for this to happen," but said after going through the car "as best we could," nothing seemed beyond repair. "We had a lot of guys come in, worked a lot of hours, even my girlfriend came in and helped get everything cleaned up," he said. "That was the hardest thing. But it was a group effort and I think we did pretty good to get it back and get it here." Gase's Donate Life Chevrolet started 28th Saturday as the field was set per the rulebook when qualifying was canceled. After a flat left rear early in the race, he finished 24th. It wasn't a win, but given all that the team had to overcome just to get to Dover, it was impressive just the same.
RELATED: Full Dover results " Updated Chase grid " Updated standings DOVER, Del. -- Kyle Busch , still looking for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, remains in the title picture thanks to a runner-up finish in Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway . The result proved to be more than enough to push the Joe Gibbs Racing driver into the top 12 in points, a necessity for those hoping to advance into the Contender Round of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Busch led five times for 19 laps in an event that was dominated by defending series champion Kevin Harvick . During a weekend that saw rain limit practice time and force the cancelation of qualifying, Busch said there was enough of an unknown going into Sunday's race to hold his attention. "I had a little bit of concern just based off the short amount of practice time that we got and the way the car was feeling in those practice sessions," Busch said. "You know, I just wasn't quite as confident in it as I wanted to be. "I never really got a good feel for what I thought I needed to race. But right then and there, for today, the way we ran, I can't say enough about my team. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys, they made some really good calls and … some smart changes overnight, and we had a really fast car today. "You know, I shouldn't have been too worried, I guess. I should have put my faith in my team, which they prevailed today for me." Busch missed the season's first 11 races after suffering a broken leg and fractured foot in an XFINITY Series crash in February at Daytona International Speedway . He returned to Victory Lane five races later, and captured four of five during a hot summer stretch that saw him begin to work his way back inside the top 30 in points. Now, he's one of 12 still contending for this year's title. He's advanced through the opening Challenger Round by rallying from a 37th-place finish a week ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Although outside the top 12 heading into Dover, Busch said he wasn't counting points as the race played out. "I think when you're in the position that we were in when we were running second there the whole race, you don't have to watch it," he said. "You just do the best you can and that was the best that we were going to do today. "Fortunately we came out with that finish and second-place was what we needed to do. ... The points reset so we're back even with those guys and hopefully we can have a good, solid next three races." Bonus points for race wins, awarded for during the first 26 races and used to help determine seeding for the opening round, are not awarded after the first round. Therefore, the 12 drivers advancing into the Contender Round each have 3,000 points heading into next weekend's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway .
Editor's note: The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author. RELATED: Harvick and the most clutch moments in sports history DOVER, Del. -- How strong was Kevin Harvick and the Stewart-Haas Racing team in Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway ? "If we would have had qualifying on Friday," crew chief Rodney Childers said Sunday evening, "we'd have led 400 (laps)." Folks laughed and Childers smiled. But beneath the euphoria of another victory, Childers wasn't kidding. Harvick, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, didn't lead every lap in the series' 29th race. He led 355. The dominating performance came one week after the No. 4 Chevrolet was out front for 216 of 300 laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . A miscalculation cost Harvick that particular victory -- his fuel cell ran dry just three laps from the finish to drop him from first to 21st. Combined with a crash at Chicagoland Speedway the previous week, Harvick arrived in Dover with seemingly little chance of advancing out of the Challenger Round of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Fifteenth in a field of 16 that would see four drivers eliminated from Chase contention, Harvick didn't accomplish the impossible at Dover. The improbable? Yes. The impossible? No. We've seen this movie before. Faced with elimination last year, Harvick thrashed the field at Phoenix and then went on a week later to win the race and the championship at Homestead. Pressure rolls off the 39-year-old like rain off a freshly waxed car. Being put in a must-win situation isn’t pressure in Harvick's world. It's opportunity. Pressure is being thrust into the spotlight following the loss of one of the sport's legendary figures. "That was pretty high," Harvick said of the call-up to fill the ride formerly held by seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt in 2001. "There will never be anything close to that one. "When you look at the sport's biggest hero gone, you look at millions of race fans that are depending upon somebody to drive that car and you have 350 people that have jobs and families and you're their guy, never done it before, but good luck. You know what I mean? That's a lot of pressure." Before Sunday, Harvick had never won at Dover. Cross the 1-mile concrete track off the list. Only Sonoma , Texas, Pocono and Kentucky remain to be conquered. In a span of barely three-and-a-half hours Sunday, Harvick and his team went from the best team not expected to advance to the team to beat from here on out. Runner-up Kyle Busch , extending his own amazing season by racing his way into the next round from outside the top 12, said as much. "That was a guy," Busch admitted, "that we wanted to knock out ... that's a guy that can win all these races and you don't want to have to compete against a guy like that." Harvick has finished second 10 times this year, and to come so close without closing the deal can be disheartening. It can also build character. "If you're going to get frustrated over running like we've run this year, you're probably going to be a detriment to your team," Harvick said. Win or lose, he said, you show up at the start of a new workweek and begin anew. "It's just the nature of this team and what they do, and the character of it is deep, and they all believe in each other," he said. "When you have a group of people like this that doesn't do things out of the ordinary for situations like this, you know, they just look at it as another task at hand." He has led more than 2,000 laps for the second consecutive season, a mark as impressive as this year's 19 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. It was a demoralizing defeat for those who thought they had the defending champion on the ropes. But there are more opportunities ahead for Busch and others in the Chase field. "We'll see what happens," the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. "There are still two more rounds to figure out who's going to make it to Homestead." In the meantime, Harvick and his group aren't making any apologies for Sunday's runaway. "“We're not going to ride around fifth all day and wait to take the lead at the end," Childers said. "That's not what we're made out of. "We came here to lead laps and to do our job and to end up with that car in Victory Lane." And at the end of the day, that's exactly what they accomplished.
NASCAR Next driver set to take on Monster Mile DOVER, Del. -- Sporting a grin from ear to ear, Jesse Little walked into the media center on Thursday at Dover International Speedway ready to take on the weekend. Piloting the No. 97 Carolina Nut Company Toyota for ThorSport Racing, the 18-year-old K&N Pro Series East regular and NASCAR Next driver will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the Monster Mile on Friday. "I've been looking forward to this weekend for a long time," Little said. "I know this is a family-owned team and we've put a lot of hard work and preparation into this weekend and I think my Camping World Truck Series start at Dover is something that still hasn't hit me yet. But I'm certainly excited and I love coming to this place. I enjoy it very much and I'm looking forward to a great weekend." Sitting side-by-side to Little during the press conference were two of the Truck Series' youngest drivers, 17-year-olds Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek . With just a total of 23 starts shared between the two drivers, they offered Little any bit of advice they could give for his first Truck start. "I'd say take it easy, especially the first lap of the race," Custer advised Little . "It's amazing how much the air affects these things. I was honestly scared for my life the first time I did it." In Custer's first start at Dover last season he finished 14th. "Just finish the race," Nemechek told Little with a chuckle. "Run as many laps as you can to get the experience." In Nemechek's first start at Dover last season he finished sixth. Little , Custer and Nemechek are all on this season's NASCAR Next roster and agree that the program has brought the young drivers together. "It makes it enjoyable for us as drivers when we know we have someone we can go to and talk to and they'll understand," Little said. "It makes it easier and at the same time it makes it fun." Manning Little's pit box is another familiar face to the young driver. Harold Holly, a 19-time winning crew chief in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and former pit boss for Little's father, Chad , who is currently NASCAR's managing director, technical inspection/officiating. Holly will be calling the shots during Friday's Lucas Oil 200 (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). "Harold and I go way back ... He's always been a great family friend," Little said" "Him and I have great chemistry and that goes the same for the ThorSport guys. It's been great to have their help. I have the ability to lean on (ThorSport teammates) Matt (Crafton) and Johnny (Sauter) and those guys and their knowledge is amazing and I'm definitely going to use that for my advantage and lean on those guys quite a bit this weekend." Lucky for Little , ThorSport Racing teammate Crafton just so happens to be a two-time Camping World Truck Series champion. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Next driver to make first national series start at Dover Team Little Racing announced Friday afternoon that it has reached an agreement with ThorSport Racing for a part-time schedule for NASCAR Next driver Jesse Little in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season. Little , 18, had previously announced that he would make his truck tour debut May 29 at Dover International Speedway . Friday's announcement provided extra detail on his 2015 plans, including the partnership with ThorSport -- winner of the last two Camping World Truck Series championships with veteran Matt Crafton . "To have this alliance and support from ThorSport Racing for my Truck Series Events is a huge step forward for me, Team Little Racing and our partners," Little said in a release provided by his team. "Our goals are to put together solid finishes and represent ThorSport Racing, Duke Thorson and our sponsors including NASCAR Technical Institute and Performance Friction Brakes in a first-class manner." Thorson has fielded trucks in the series since 1996. His three-truck effort this season includes rides for Crafton, Johnny Sauter and rookie Cameron Hayley . "We look forward to supporting Jesse as he makes his transition into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series," Thorson said. "We feel that this alliance with ( Little ) will assist him in reaching his ultimate goal in NASCAR." Little will have a familiar face atop the pit box in Harold Holly, a 19-time winner as a crew chief in what is now called the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The veteran wrench spent two seasons as crew chief for Little's father, Chad , in both XFINITY and Sprint Cup competition. "Jesse is an impressive young man in so many aspects of life," Holly said. "He's a strong student, treats everyone with respect and is eager to learn new things. From a racing perspective Jesse has won at every level he's competed on, takes care of his equipment, provides his team with good feedback and knows how to pace himself during a race. This partnership with ThorSport Racing will give us a chance to compete at one of the sport's top levels where Jesse can show his skills. "We have solid goals, will work to be a good teammate and always be respectful on the track. As a team we're excited to get to Dover and see what our team can do in our Camping World Truck Series debut." Jesse Little is in his fourth season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he was the rookie of the year in 2013. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
RELATED: Part 1 " Part 2 " Part 3 MORE: Meet the 16 Chase crew chiefs This is the fourth in a series of four pit crew analysis pieces NASCAR.com will roll out this week as we preview the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . For more pit crew news provided by PitTalks.com come back throughout the Chase. Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet for Jeff Gordon Pit Coach: Chris Burkey Front Changer: Scott Brzozowski Front Carrier: Dion Williams Jackman: John Gianatto Rear Changer: Chad Avritt Rear Carrier: Jared Erspamer Gas Man: Travis Gordon Strength : They pit for one of the greatest drivers of all time, and this crew would love to send Jeff Gordon off on a solid note at the end of his final full-time Sprint Cup season. They have two changers who are as fast as any two out there and a support team that is solid. Weakness : Early in the year this team was moving some crewmen around. They took a few weeks to look at some young talent at the front carrier, rear carrier and jack man positions. During this time, jackman Bailey Walker and HMS parted ways and John Gianatto took over full time. So the in-experience of this team might play a factor. Also, they took a lot of heat a few weeks back at Bristol over two loose wheels on the rear and getting over that will be key. Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet for Ryan Newman Pit Crew: 31 Pit Coach: Eric Wilson Front Changer: Tim Sheets Front Carrier: J.D. Holcum Jackman: Adam Lewis Rear Changer: Jake Lind Rear Carrier: Brad Robinson Gas Man: Cruz Gonzalez Strength : This team has some very high-end speed. They have been a top 15 crew for most of the year and come Chase time, they must find that top-end speed in order to compete. This is the same group that helped Newman finish second in last year's Chase Weakness : Last year they were a team that was running fast times all year at every track. This year they've fallen off a little bit on the consistency side. Make no mistake ... this team is fast, but being fast sometimes and being fast all the time are two different things. Richard Childress Racing No. 27 for Paul Menard Pit Coach: Eric Wilson Front Changer: Jeff Cordero Front Carrier: Matt Donley Jackman: Sam Abney Rear Changer: Aaron Smith Rear Carrier: Ray Wright Gas Man: Matt Krueter Strength : This is the same group that has pitted the No. 27 all year. They understand their driver and have veteran leadership within the back of their car with Smith, Wright and Krueter. Weakness : It's been a while since they were in contention for a win, and it's hard to get up for each race when your not used to pitting up front. Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota for Clint Bowyer Pit Coach: Walt Smith Front Changer: Terry Spalding Front Carrier: Allen Steel Jackman: Brian Chase Rear Changer: Lee Cunningham Rear Carrier: PJ Brody Gas Man: Evan Marchall Strength : They have a ton of leadership with Spalding and Chase and have plenty of talent in the rear with Brody and Cunningham. They have the ability to go low on any stop. Weakness : They haven't been running up front all year, and pitting under the pressure that the Chase provides will test this group. They have had races where they've been a top team all day and they've had races where you didn't know they were there. This would be a scary crew to handicap one way or the other.
First K&N Pro Series East victory for NASCAR Next driver comes in front of influential eyes
Sawyer to take over for Little , who moves to new managing director position Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Chad Little , the former managing director for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has been named Managing Director, Technical Inspection/Officiating, and Elton Sawyer has been named to Little's previous position overseeing the Camping World Truck Series. The moves come as NASCAR prepares to kick off its 2015 season later this month at Daytona International Speedway . Little , a former driver with more than 200 career starts in NASCAR's premier series, oversaw the Camping World Truck Series from 2013-14. The reliance on technological resources and innovations has never been more evident in the sport, and it will be up to Little to help digest and direct the information gleaned from such advances. The last two years have seen the use of a laser-guided measuring system for the inspection process as well as a paperless mobile inspection application that is faster and more detailed. For 2015, a new officiating process that will rely on cameras and video to help police pit road is set to come into play. "I will work with the series directors and our managing supervisors of officials, and I'll also be working with the vehicle section experts, our engineers, at the NASCAR Research & Development Center," Little told NASCAR.com Monday. "We'll try as hard as we can to button up our processes … look at all of our processes for inspection and officiating and see if we can continue to improve on all those. We spent a lot of time and effort the last several months on mobile officiating devices at the track, pit road technology, on our electronic rule book. We just wanted to make sure that we're taking advantage of all that." Little said he will be involved in overseeing all three national series -- Sprint Cup , XFINITY and Camping World Truck series -- but that his role will be focused on what occurs behind-the-scenes. Series directors will continue to manage their respective events. Sawyer is also a former driver, and has held a variety of positions in the sport. That diversity, he said, should help him as he steps into his new role with the Truck Series. "Patty and I actually owned an XFINITY team back in the early '90s," Sawyer said of he and his wife, Patty Moise, who is a former racer as well, "so I had some experience on the ownership side. "I've been a crew member … working for (team owner) Bill Davis on a Ford driven by a young competitor named Jeff Gordon . Now we go full circle, (Gordon's) getting ready to retire." Sawyer also worked with former owner Ray Evernham in bringing Dodge back into NASCAR and served as competition director for Red Bull Racing during its brief stock car experience. The past four years have seen him working in IMSA as director of race team operations for Action Express. "Wayne Auton and Chad have done a tremendous job over the last 20 or so years with this series," Sawyer said of the two previous directors. "I went ahead and just put my rookie yellow stripe on." Getting familiar with those he doesn't know in the series will come in time, he said, but his past experiences with those in charge has given him a good jumping off point for his new position. "It's a high priority. I always appreciated that you could always approach John (Darby, Sprint Cup director), good or bad, you could ask him a question and you may not get the answer you were looking for, but he gave you an honest, upfront and I felt like, a fair answer. "I think just being transparent, being open, being in the garage is a big part of that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule