Host shares story of his last NASCAR experience Chatting with Kansas winner Joey Logano on his NBCSN simulcasted talk show, "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday morning, host Dan Patrick shared a funny little story about the last time he was at a NASCAR race -- and why he might not be welcome back. "I was in Chicago a couple of years ago and I almost leaned on Jimmie Johnson 's spoiler, pre-race," Patrick said. Uh oh. " Chad Knaus, I think, would've killed me. I was talking to Jimmie right before the race and I almost leaned on his spoiler." Logano, quick on his feet, noted that if he bent it the right way, Knaus may have even thanked him. "If you were pulling it back, or something, ( Chad ) might've been okay with it." Not that he would know anything about those sort of hijinks. RELATED: NASCAR to police flared skirts in 2015 Still, Logano wants the host to come out to a race to cheer him on – well, maybe. "I don't know if you want me out there, Joey," Patrick said. "Because then I'm going to want to get in your pits and I'm going to want to work the pits." Logano, entrenched in a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup run, can't take any risks and responded appropriately. "Then just don't come."
RELATED: Drivers, crew chiefs on the move One day after the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season ended, the first official move of the offseason came down courtesy of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The team announced that Chad Johnston has been named crew chief for Kyle Larson and the No. 42 Target team. Johnston will assume the role effective immediately to begin preparation for the 2016 season, replacing Chris Heroy. Heroy had been Larson's crew chief for his first two years at NASCAR's highest level. "I'm excited to get to work with Chad and to start doing what needs to be done to get the team to Victory Lane next year," Larson said in a team release. "As a team, I think we are very close and the addition of Chad should help move our program forward for many years to come. Lastly, I would also like to thank Chris for all he did to help me grow in my first two seasons in the Cup series." Johnston joins the No. 42 team from Stewart-Haas Racing , where he has been the crew chief for Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Chevrolet since the 2014 season. Johnston also served as crew chief for Martin Truex, Jr. and the No. 56 at Michael Waltrip Racing from 2011-2013. Johnston has one career Sprint Cup race win as a crew chief (2013, Sonoma ) and helped guide Truex Jr. into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup during the 2012 season. The announcement from CGR means Stewart will have a new crew chief in his final Sprint Cup Series season in 2016. Johnston has also worked in NASCAR as a race engineer at Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, Evernham Motorsports, and JTG Daugherty Racing before serving as a crew chief. He graduated from Indiana State University with a major in mechanical engineering, and briefly worked in the aerospace industry before his passion for motorsports brought him to NASCAR and the Camping World Truck Series in 2004. "I am very excited for the opportunity to be joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and the opportunity to work with Kyle Larson ," Johnston said in a team release. "The organization has a great reputation in numerous forms of racing, and I'm looking forward to adding to that reputation in NASCAR. Kyle is certainly a unique talent, and I'm eager to get to work with him and the team as we look to build a foundation of success." Larson will begin his third full-time Sprint Cup season in 2016. The 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year is coming off of a season that featured two top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. In 75 career Cup starts he has accumulated one Coors Light Pole Award, 10 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes.
RELATED: Keep updated on the 2016 changes for drivers, crew chiefs Stewart-Haas Racing announced Monday its crew chief lineup for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, including high-profile changes for two of its four teams. Michael Bugarewicz will become the new crew chief for team co-owner/driver Tony Stewart as he embarks on his final full season in the No. 14 Chevrolet. Billy Scott will take over as crew chief for Danica Patrick in the No. 10 Chevy. Bugarewicz, a 33-year-old native of Lehighton, Pennsylvania, makes the transition from his previous role with SHR as race engineer on the No. 4 Chevrolet team for 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick . He previously spent time with Roush Fenway Racing in an engineering role for the No. 17 Ford and drivers Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr . from 2011-13. Bugarewicz replaces Chad Johnston, who left to become the crew chief for Kyle Larson and the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet team. The 2016 season will mark Stewart's last campaign in the sport's top series. RELATED: Stewart to retire from Cup after 2016 " Johnston heads to CGR "We have great people at Stewart-Haas Racing and these changes prove that," Stewart said in a release provided by the team. "We were able to promote from within while also adding new talent. Change isn’t easy, and that’s particularly true when it comes to my relationship with Chad Johnston. He served as my crew chief during two very difficult seasons. He was always supportive and he's become like a brother to me. I think very highly of Chad and wish him nothing but the best in his new opportunity." Scott joins Stewart-Haas after an eight-year tenure as an engineer and later a crew chief with Michael Waltrip Racing , which shut its doors at season's end. The transition reunites Scott with Rodney Childers, who joined SHR in 2014 after five years with the Waltrip-owned team. The 38-year-old from Land O' Lakes, Florida, replaces Daniel Knost, who has been promoted to the senior leadership role of manager of vehicle dynamics within the Stewart-Haas organization. The driver/crew chief lineups remain intact for the two SHR teams that qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs this season. Childers will return atop the pit box for Harvick's No. 4 entry, and Tony Gibson will again be paired with Kurt Busch in 2016. "We made these changes after thoroughly evaluating our program to ensure that all four of our teams are consistently strong and competitive," said Greg Zipadelli, Stewart-Haas Racing 's vice president of competition. "In this business, you can't rest and you can never be satisfied. You have to constantly improve. We feel these personnel changes enhance our strengths and shore up areas where we needed to be better."
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 .
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
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
NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine sits down with NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie Chad Boat to discuss his early racing career, his family's racing legacy and a deal with his mother to continue his education.
No. 14 Crew Chief Chad Johnston shares how he found his passion for racing, how he got started in racing and describes working with Tony Stewart.