Sunday was first race on an intermediate track under new package Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga. -- The rules have changed, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the cars remain the same. "This car is the same ol' car, man," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said after finishing third in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway . "The rules changed a little bit, but (the cars) drive the same and actually qualified faster than we did last year. … It's a good race car. The rules aren't going to be that big of a deal." Sunday's race at the 1.54-mile track was the first for teams with the new package designed to lessen horsepower, downforce and drag. Tapered spacers, similar to those already in use in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, cut horsepower from approximately 850 to 725 and a lower differential gear (targeting 9,000 rpm) is in use. The spoiler, which affects the amount of downforce generated on the rear of the car, has been trimmed from 8 to 6 inches, and the width of the radiator pan underneath the car is 5 inches smaller this year. The goal is to make the cars less aero dependent and put more of the onus on the drivers. Less overall downforce should also allow Goodyear to producer a softer tire which would wear more during the course of a green-flag run and make tire management more crucial. "I believe that after about 15 or 20 laps we were really racing," Carl Edwards said afterward, "because the tires were worn out." Edwards finished 12th in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He said he still believes NASCAR needs to continue taking downforce away from the cars. "We've got way too much speed in the center of the corner," he said. "There's not a lot of change, not a lot of opportunity to go down in the corner and over-drive it or under-drive it because you’ve got such high corner speeds. "It's no problem to drive, the problem is it's too easy. We need to cut those spoilers down and get rid of those splitters." AMS has always been a track that produced high speeds and plenty of tire wear and this year's Sprint Cup race proved to be no different in spite of the rules changes. Joey Logano's winning speed en route to winning the Coors Light Pole Award was 194.683 mph, faster than Aric Almirola's leading 191.278 mph set in the first round of qualifying here last fall. On Monday NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said it is "still really early in the process" with the package, but noted the charge of eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson, who started 37th, through the field as well as several others in Sunday’s race. "I think (we saw) some really solid finishes, so we liked what we saw. Certainly some learnings that we'll take out of Atlanta. We'll apply those to the upcoming test in Charlotte and continue to look at ways we can continuously improve the racing." Sprint Cup Series teams travel to Las Vegas, another 1.5-mile venue, for this week's race. A two-day test session is currently scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, March 10-11, at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Teams participating in the Goodyear portion of the test on Tuesday, March 10, include one each from Hendrick Motorsports, Furniture Row Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and BK Racing. At other 1.5-mile tracks such as Las Vegas, Charlotte and Texas, tire fall-off won't be as pronounced, race-winning crew chief Chad Knaus said. "But I do think this type of package will help Jimmie," he said. "I think it will be better for him with the lack of grip. When we go to some of these other race tracks, it's going to be a different format." One race isn't enough to determine the fault or value of the package, Edwards said, "but I really believe if NASCAR keeps going in that direction, taking downforce away, the racing is going to get better and better." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
First major Chinese firm in NASCAR to sponsor Hamlin's ride, Charlotte race
• 2014 Season In Review Also Features Year In Photos, Video Highlights Package FORT WORTH, Texas (December 16, 2014) - The year at Texas Motor Speedway opened with pyrotechnics celebrating the unveiling of the world's largest, high-definition LED video board in March and culminated in November with additional fireworks courtesy of the post-race melee involving combatants Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 Eliminator 8 Chase race. There also was plenty of action and excitement in between as Texas Motor Speedway played host to its annual Duck Commander 500 NASCAR doubleheader in April, Firestone 600 INDYCAR/NASCAR twin bill in June and played host to its inaugural Red Bull Air Race World Championship event in September. The Texas Motor Speedway 2014 Season In Review recaps those major event weekends, in addition to the momentous "Big Hoss TV" unveiling, while the accompanying Texas Motor Speedway Year in Photos captures all those key moments in addition to other noteworthy speedway -related events throughout the year. The Texas Motor Speedway Year in Photos features 90 images - primarily from the speedway's official photo agency Getty Images - that were chosen for their significance and/or artistic value and are presented in chronological order. A three-minute video recap of the top on-track moments, including the AAA Texas 500 post-race skirmish, also is available in HD by clicking here. All photos and video are free for media outlets to utilize, especially for their year-end, wrap-ups and can be previewed by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com or downloaded by visiting www.image.net/tmsinreview2014 . Let's take a look back: "Big Hoss TV" Unveiling / Wednesday, March 19 The Skinny: The world's largest, high-definition LED video board is unveiled amid fanfare and will be one of the most impactful fan enhancements in the history of Texas Motor Speedway and the world of motorsports. The Recap: Texas Motor Speedway unveiled the world's largest, high-definition LED video board in grand fashion as the evening featured fireworks, motorsports stars, reality television celebrities, dignitaries and the showing of an episode from A&E's hit reality show "Duck Dynasty" for more than 8,000 fans situated in the infield of the world-class sports facility. The official debut of the Panasonic-built "Big Hoss TV" was part of a star-studded evening that included appearances by Duck Commander CEO and "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie, along with the heralded racing duo of NASCAR's Kyle Busch and INDYCAR's Helio Castroneves. Also in attendance were dignitaries such as NASCAR President Mike Helton, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, Panasonic Eco Solutions North America Vice President Richard Ballard, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith, SMI President and COO Marcus Smith and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. Positioned in the middle of the backstretch and stretching 218 feet wide by 94.6 feet tall, "Big Hoss TV" features 20,633.64 square feet of HD LED imagery that contains 281 trillion colors. The video board, constructed in just four months, surpassed fellow Speedway Motorsports, Inc. facility Charlotte Motor Speedway (16,000 square feet) as the Guinness World Record holder for the world's largest HD LED video board. The size of "Big Hoss TV" is staggering as it is 79 percent larger than the video board at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, which is 11,520 square feet. "It is the ultimate fan amenity," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "To have the biggest one in the world, that's just one of those 'Everything is Bigger in Texas' stories that we are really proud to be a part of." NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 / Monday, April 7 The Skinny: Rain forces a Monday matinee for only the third time in speedway history and Joey Logano wins the Duck Commander 500 for an automatic berth in the reformatted Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . The Recap: With Duck Commander on board as the title sponsor and the "Duck Dynasty" stars on hand en masse, the weather was more conducive for duck hunting that NASCAR racing. The Duck Commander 500 , moved from its Saturday night slot to Sunday afternoon to avoid a conflict with the NCAA Final Four men's college basketball tourney being in Arlington, was washed out due to continual rain showers and rescheduled for a Monday matinee. It was just the third time in Texas Motor Speedway 's 18-year history that a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was run on Monday due to inclement weather, the most recent coming in 2010 when both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races were run on the same day. Penske Racing's Joey Logano punched his ticket for a berth in the restructured Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format after surviving a green/white-checkered finish to win the Duck Commander 500 . Logano was cruising to victory with a two-second lead over teammate Brad Keselowski with just over one lap remaining in the scheduled 334-lap event, but a caution for debris forced a two-lap overtime shootout. Logano restarted third after pitting for four tires while Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers opted for two tires and restarted first and second, respectively. Gordon held off Logano on the first lap, but Logano got a strong run inside on the frontstretch and was able to overtake him in Turn 1 and pull away to a 0.476 of a second margin of victory in the race that was extended to 340 laps. The victory was Logano's first since August of 2013 at Michigan and the fourth of his career. It also was his first Sprint Cup win at Texas Motor Speedway , which was highlighted by him becoming the youngest Cup winner in TMS history at 23 years, 10 months and 14 days. NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 / Friday, April 4 The Skinny: Rookie Chase Elliott , the 18-year-old son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott , lands his first career Nationwide Series victory in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 to become the second-youngest winner in series history. The Recap: Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 provided a historic milestone for a second-generation NASCAR driver and a glimpse into the talent that would flourish and lead to a series championship. Rookie Chase Elliott , the 18-year-old high school senior and son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott , needed just six starts in the Nationwide Series for his first career win that came in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 . Elliott made a bold move on the high side of Kevin Harvick in the elbow of the frontstretch to take the lead on Lap 185 and then held on for a 2.251-second victory over Kyle Busch in the 200-lap event. Elliott became the second-youngest winner in series history at 18 years, 4 months and 8 days. Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 / Saturday, June 7 The Skinny: Will Power's late pit lane penalty opens the door for Ed Carpenter to capture the Firestone 600 and become the first American winner at TMS since Sam Hornish Jr . in 2007. The Recap: The annual INDYCAR/NASCAR summer doubleheader yielded two first-time Texas Motor Speedway winners as Matt Crafton won the Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350 and Ed Carpenter was victorious in the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600. Carpenter took advantage of a strong second-half race performance and a critical late pit lane penalty by Will Power to record his first series victory since 2012 in the Firestone 600. The victory was the third of Carpenter's career and his first since winning the 2012 season finale at Fontana. In his previous 12 starts at Texas Motor Speedway , he had just one top-five finish and led one lap (2009) before breaking through to become the first American to win at Texas since Sam Hornish Jr . in 2007. Carpenter led 66 of the final 67 laps of the 248-lap event and avoided a potential shootout for the win with Power, who was running second when he was caught speeding in pit lane on his final green-flag pit stop. With 36 to go, Carpenter and Power pitted together and came out 1-2, but Power received a drive-thru penalty for speeding and fell a lap down. Carpenter suddenly had a nine-plus second cushion over second-place Tony Kanaan and was coasting to victory with an 18.5-second lead before a final caution came out with seven laps remaining. The race became a two-lap shootout and Carpenter was able to stave off Juan Pablo Montoya and the hard-charging Power, who moved from sixth to second and finished 0.52 of a second behind Carpenter. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 / Friday, June 6 The Skinny: Defending Camping World Truck Series champ Matt Crafton snaps a 26-race winless streak at TMS with a dominant victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400. The Recap: Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton had it easy compared to Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter in earning his first career win at Texas Motor Speedway . He led a career-best 118 laps en route to the victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 that snapped a 26-race winless streak at the speedway . Crafton led 118 of the 167 laps - the most he led in a single race in his 14-year career - and cruised to a 13.302-second victory over runner-up Justin Lofton . It was the fifth win of Crafton's career and second of the season, marking the first time in his career that he had recorded multiple wins in a season. His dominant performance established a track record for largest margin of victory in that series, eclipsing the previous mark of 11.817 seconds set by Dennis Setzer in this event in 2004. Red Bull Air Race World Championship / Saturday, Sept. 6, & Sunday, Sept. 7 The Skinny: Texas Motor Speedway plays host to the first race in the United States since 2010 for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, which returned to competition after a three-year hiatus. The Recap: The Red Bull Air Race World Championship made its return to the United States for the first time since 2010 as Texas Motor Speedway played host to the sixth stage of the eight-event international plane racing series. Before a crowd of more than 20,000 for the first of two U.S. stops, Frenchman Nicolas Ivanoff captured his first victory of the season in the elite Master Class on the challenging, seven air gate, 3.7-mile course that was built in the infield of the motorsports venue. Ivanoff posted an individual two-lap run of 54.118 seconds to defeat Great Britain's Nigel Lamb, Canada's Pete McLeod and Germany's Matthias Dolderer in the Final 4 showdown on Sunday. Ivanoff gave his country a sweep of the weekend competition as fellow Frenchman Mikael Brageot won the Challenger Cup race the day prior. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 / Sunday, Nov. 2 The Skinny: A post-race confrontation between Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski and ensuing melee steals national headlines from six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson winning the AAA Texas 500 for a third year in a row. The Recap : With the remaining eight Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers looking to win the AAA Texas 500 and automatically advance to the championship round, six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson played the role of spoiler as he won the Eliminator 8 race in a dramatic second green/white-checkered overtime finish. Johnson, eliminated from championship contention in the previous round, won the AAA Texas 500 for a record third consecutive year, but it was the post-race scuffle that made national headlines the following day. While Johnson was celebrating his track-record fourth Cup win with burnouts on the frontstretch, chaos ensued on pit lane after an angry Jeff Gordon confronted Brad Keselowski and a fray quickly developed between the Chase contenders. Fellow Chase competitor Kevin Harvick pushed Keselowski while Gordon was jawing with him and the situation quickly escalated as the crews got involved and transformed into a melee. The disagreement stemmed from the first GWC finish, where Gordon took the restart with the lead and Johnson beside him on the front row. Johnson grabbed the lead when a bold move by Keselowski resulted in contact with Gordon, which ultimately led to a flat tire, contact with the wall and a 29th-place finish that would derail his title aspirations. The caution flew for Gordon that set up the second GWC finish, where Keselowski found himself lining up front against the leader Johnson on the restart. Johnson, on the inside, maintained the lead on the restart while Keselowski found himself also trying to fend off a charging Harvick. Harvick got past Keselowski on that lap but didn't have enough time to chase down Johnson, who won by 0.513 of a second for his fourth victory of the season and 70th of his career. Johnson led nine times for 191 laps, but a record 13 cautions continually bunched the field as well as changed race strategies to give a number of drivers a shot at the victory.Johnson, Harvick and Keselowski took the top three positions, respectively, while Kyle Busch , who was looking to sweep all three NASCAR races after truck and Nationwide wins earlier, finished fourth. NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge / Saturday, Nov. 1 The Skinny: Kyle Busch gives Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th career Nationwide Series win and sets his sights on rare NASCAR tripleheader weekend sweep after winning the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge . The Recap: Kyle Busch added to the weekend drama and intrigue when he secured the second leg of a rare NASCAR tripleheader weekend sweep with a win in the Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge . Busch completed the Nationwide Series/ Camping World Truck Series sweep for the second time in his career at Texas Motor Speedway , with the first coming in the fall of 2009. That only left Sunday's AAA Texas 500 as the missing prize for the triple, which had only been accomplished by Busch (Bristol 2010) in the history of NASCAR. Busch extended his record for career Nationwide Series victories at Texas Motor Speedway by adding his seventh with a 1.562-second win over Joey Logano . Busch, who led six times for a race-high 116 laps, and Logano, who led five times for 59 laps, exchanged the lead six times over the final 85 laps in the 200-lap event before Busch took control late. It also was his seventh NNS victory of the season, 70th in his career and a milestone 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing . NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 / Friday, Oct. 31 The Skinny: Kyle Busch wins the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 as Kyle Busch Motorsports ties the Camping World Truck Series record for most victories in a season. The Recap: Kyle Busch , competing in all three NASCAR races during the weekend and chasing a rare sweep, endured a green/white-checkered overtime finish to secure the first leg with a victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350. Busch, who led a race-high 80 of 152 laps, was cruising to victory when two late cautions put a scare into his bid to secure his seventh win in just nine NCWTS starts this season. Following the final caution that led to the two-lap shootout, Busch got a strong restart on the outside of leader German Quiroga and took command of the lead coming out of Turn 2. He was pulling away with one lap to go when Quiroga hit the wall in Turn 2 to force the conclusion of the final lap to finish under caution. Busch's series-leading seventh win was his third truck victory at Texas Motor Speedway that pushed his career total in the series to 42. It also was the 12th victory overall for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 20 starts this season, tying the series record for season victories set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Get all the latest news from NASCAR.com Nearly 250 journalists have gathered to take part in the 33rd annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom from Jan. 26-29. You're invited to watch team presentations live on NASCAR.com. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France's state of the sport sets the tone. In addition, key executives will provide updates on the 2015 racing season, Daytona International Speedway 's Daytona Rising initiative and the 2015 NASCAR Drive for Diversity class will be introduced. Get the full schedule below and stay tuned to NASCAR.com for stories, video and more. Monday, Jan. 26 1:30 p.m. ET: State of the Sport with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France NEWS: -- France talks Chase, Gordon in State of Sport address -- France: No changes to Chase format for 2015 -- NASCAR to police flared skirts in 2015 -- Rolex 24 provides trial for new pit technology -- Drive for Diversity Class of 2015 revealed " Official NASCAR release -- Best quotes from Day 1 of Charlotte Media Tour 4 p.m. ET: Joe Gibbs Racing NEWS: -- Hamlin revisits feud with Keselowski -- JGR enters four-car fray with optimism -- Edwards eager to keep latest trend going -- Ky. Busch comments on brother Kurt's situation Tuesday, Jan. 27 9 a.m. ET: Michael Waltrip Racing NEWS: -- Moffitt to sub for Vickers at Atlanta -- Vickers back from health scare 'to win a championship' -- Bowyer on Gordon: 'It's kind of like a divorce' -- MWR reacts to Ky. Busch's 'idiots' statement 11 a.m. ET: JTG Daugherty Racing and HScott Motorsports NEWS: -- Annett joins HScott Motorsports -- Best quotes from Day 2 1 p.m. ET: Stewart-Haas Racing NEWS: -- For reigning champion Harvick, pressure is off -- After two tough years, Stewart ready to win again -- Gordon news catches Stewart off-guard -- Danica doubts she'll ever do the double -- Busch faces press at Charlotte Media Tour 3:15 p.m. ET: NBC Sports NEWS: -- NBC Sports 'thrilled' to be part of NASCAR coverage -- Burton, Letarte weigh in on Gordon's final season -- Toyota's NASCAR stars team up with NFL legends Wednesday, Jan. 28 9 a.m. ET: Roush Fenway Racing NEWS: -- Staying put, Biffle aims to lead Roush reversal -- Stenhouse has own version of 'beast mode' -- New team ready to roll for Roush Fenway -- Bubba Wallace takes hobby to new heights 11 a.m. ET: Richard Petty Motorsports NEWS: -- Hornish looks to build at growing RPM -- RPM lands sponsor for No. 9 at Daytona -- Almirola predicts 2015 to be a breakout season for RPM -- Air Force returns to sponsor No. 43 1:30 p.m. ET: Wood Brothers Racing and Leavine Family Racing NEWS: -- Wood Brothers expands to 18 races -- Leavine team extends with Thrivent -- McDowell, Leavine on the rise 3:15 p.m. ET: Team Penske NEWS: -- Best quotes from media tour -- Keselowski unapologetic for aggressive style -- Logano already on second wedding ring -- Logano stands by pit crew after Homestead miscue Thursday, Jan. 29 9 a.m. ET: Furniture Row Racing NEWS: -- Furniture Row adds associate sponsor -- Pearn prepared to be Truex Jr's crew chief -- Truex: 'Wild ride' with Pollex nears normalcy 10:30 a.m. ET: Richard Childress Racing NEWS: -- WIX re-ups with RCR, Grainger joins up with Newman -- Newman eager to build off late season gains -- Dillon looks to apply rookie season lessons -- With brother Ty married, will Austin be next? 1 p.m. ET: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates NEWS: -- Sabates guarantees Chase for CGR fleet -- McMurray, Larson talk Rolex 24 -- Best quotes from media tour 3 p.m. ET: Hendrick Motorsports NEWS: -- Elliott to drive No. 24 car in 2016 -- Gordon: 'Elliott is the 'total package' -- Bruce: Hendrick shows no hesitation -- Junior, Kahne discuss crew chief changes -- Gordon, Hendrick reflect on decision -- Gordon open to Stewart's Eldora offer -- Gordon says No. 24 team in good hands FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
SHR driver discusses upcoming season CHARLOTTE , N.C. – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch says he's had no problem focusing on preparations for the upcoming racing season in spite of an on-going case involving domestic assault that continues to hang over the 2004 premier series champion. "I feel great," Busch, 36, said Tuesday during the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway media tour. "It's easy to be here and stand on truth and have all the people and support from behind the scenes this offseason." Ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll submitted a request for a no-contact order late last year, accusing Busch of physical harm during a race weekend in Dover, Del., last September. No decision has been made concerning the protective order request and the Delaware state attorney general's office has yet to rule on the alleged altercation. Until action is taken on those two issues, Busch will continue to prepare for the upcoming season, his second with Stewart-Haas Racing . "I'm a racer. I love to go race … that's the easy part and that's where the focus stays," Busch said. "When you have things going on in the offseason, that's the best time for different things to happen in your life and to make those changes. It's good to start moving forward and get a resolution to that." A recent Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway , he said, was a good way to not only get the new season started, but to turn the attention away from the on-going controversy. "To put the helmet on, belt in and go out there and go 200 mph, that's the best feeling in the world,' he said. "It seems quieter out there (on the track); it's an amazing feeling. When you put the helmet on it all seems quiet and you're the only one out there." Team co-owner Gene Haas has continued to stand behind his driver, but admitted he has considered the possibility of an unfavorable ruling against Busch. "I've run that around in my mind a million times," Haas said, "and I don't know. I think we have to wait and see. "The authorities are going to have an opinion about what they're going to do, and I have a feeling it's going to be something that no one expects, you know what I'm saying? … We have to kind of see what they come back with before we can respond." To do otherwise, he said, would be a waste of time. "We just don't want to speculate and add more fuel to the ol' fire," he said. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Four drivers to take part in two-day test on Dec. 9-10 The official start of the 2015 NASCAR season is more than two months away, but four Sprint Cup Series teams will be back on the track next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Goodyear officials have schedule a tire test for Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 9-10 at the 1.5-mile speedway , with representatives from each of the three auto manufacturers scheduled to participate. Slated to take part in the test are drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr . ( Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet), Sam Hornish Jr . ( Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 Ford) and Carl Edwards ( Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota). One of three entries from Richard Childress Racing will participate as well although RCR officials declined to confirm which team would be involved. The organization fields Chevrolet teams for drivers Austin Dillon , Paul Menard and Ryan Newman . It will be the first official on-track effort for Edwards since the 35-year-old departed Roush Fenway Racing to join JGR as well as the first for Hornish with RPM. Both will be working with new crew chiefs – Hornish, who replaces Marcos Ambrose , will be paired with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer; Edwards will also be working with his new crew chief, Dave Rogers. Also paired with a new crew chief will be Earnhardt Jr. Greg Ives, who helped guide JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott to the NASCAR Nationwide Series title, moves over to the No. 88 entry to replace Steve Letarte. Ives worked briefly with Earnhardt during a late-October Sprint Cup test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Earnhardt mentioned the upcoming test during a chat on Team Chevy's Twitter handle. . @24885 haven't done much testing yet. We test in Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday. ^JR #AskDale88 — Team Chevy (@TeamChevy) December 2, 2014 Goodyear officials are looking to get a baseline for how the 2015 NASCAR rules package for intermediate tracks – which includes a reduction in horsepower as well as less downforce – impacts tire wear. With NASCAR banning private testing for 2015, such tire tests are expected to make up the bulk of the on-track time for teams outside of race weekend activities. Fans will be allowed to attend the test, according to CMS vice president of communications Scott Cooper. The track will open its fifth floor clubhouse seating. Fans can enter the second floor ticket office and take the elevator to the fifth floor between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. It is expected that many of those tests could be intertwined with open tests for all NASCAR teams, although the process for how that will work has yet to be announced. Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear, said last month that officials had been trying to map out a plan to allow each of the parties involved to "get their work done" during such opportunities while still reducing the number of overall tests. "NASCAR’s got their 2015 package already drawn in the sand," Richard "Slugger" Labbe, director of research and development at RCR, said Tuesday on Sirius XM NASCAR’ Radio's "Morning Drive" show. "That's what we're doing and at Charlotte next week … we're working on 2015 and 2016 packages. NASCAR's looking into the future, way ahead of anything they've ever done in the past. So you've got to applaud them for looking into the future and working with teams to make our sport better." To reduce horsepower, tapered spacers such as those currently found in the Nationwide (soon to be XFINITY) and Camping World Truck Series will be used. The change is expected to reduce horsepower from 850 to approximately 725. Roller valve lifters will replace flat valve lifters; lower differential gear ratios (targeting 9,000 RPM) will be in use and the rear spoiler height will be lowered from 8 inches to 6 inches. Also, an adjustable driver track bar will be optional and the size of the radiator pan has been decreased from 43 to 38 inches. Despite having less horsepower, Labbe said speeds weren't noticeably affected during a previous test held at Auto Club Speedway due to the aerodynamic changes included in the package. Goodyear officials have said the next tire test is expected to come in January at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . 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
Former Sprint Cup Series champion's appeal set for Saturday at noon ET RELATED: NASCAR's Official Release " SHR introduces replacement for 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch indefinitely Friday in the wake of a Delaware family court's findings that "by a preponderance of the evidence" the 36-year-old driver "committed an act of domestic violence" against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll on Sept. 24, 2014. NASCAR announced that Busch's punishment was for a behavioral penalty and "actions detrimental to stock car racing following the release today of a supplemental disposition setting forth the findings and conclusions that formed the basis for the Family Court of the State of Delaware's decision on Monday to issue an Order of Protection from Abuse against him." The decision leaves the former Sprint Cup Series champion on the sidelines for stock-car racing's most prestigious race, Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway . Regan Smith was named as Busch's replacement for the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet, which was scheduled to start 24th in Sunday's Great American Race but will drop to the rear of the field because of the driver change. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, made a statement 40 minutes after the decision was announced, taking no questions from the media. He said that Busch has the right to appeal and that the process would be expedited. Late Friday evening, a NASCAR spokesperson confirmed that Busch would contest the ruling. The appeal hearing is set for Saturday at noon ET. "NASCAR has made it very clear to our entire membership and the broader industry that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry," O'Donnell said. "I want to make it clear that any inference that there is a culture or tolerance for this type of behavior is patently false." Rusty Hardin, Busch's lead attorney, said that the driver's legal team plans to make an "immediate appeal" of NASCAR's decision. According to a NASCAR spokesperson, the appeal will take place on Saturday; a three-person panel would hear the appeal from Busch, who cannot have legal representation at such a hearing. "We assure everyone, including NASCAR, that this action against Mr. Busch will turn out to be a travesty of justice, apparent to all, as this story continues to unfold," Hardin said in a statement, adding, "We ask everyone's patience as this case continues in the court of law and are confident that when the truth is known Mr. Busch will be fully vindicated and back in the driver's seat." Stewart-Haas said in a release that Smith, who will have a Saturday news conference at 9:45 a.m. ET ( Watch live on NASCAR.com ), will remain in the No. 41 Chevy regardless of the outcome of any appeal. Smith, last year's runner-up in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, was also a Stewart-Haas sub last season for team co-owner Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International after Stewart was involved in a fatal sprint car incident at a nearby dirt track the night before the Sprint Cup event. Chevrolet also announced Friday evening that the automaker has cut its ties to Busch. Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Motorsports and Performance Vehicles, said that the manufacturer "has suspended its relationship with Kurt Busch indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Busch and are prepared to take additional action if necessary." NASCAR added in its penalty release that Busch "will not be allowed to race or participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice. "Kurt Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing team are fully aware of our position and why this decision was made. We will continue to respect the process and the timetable of the authorities involved." NASCAR's ruling comes on the heels of conclusions, released Friday, from Kent County (Delaware) Commissioner David Jones that found Driscoll's version of what happened inside Busch's motorcoach that evening at Dover International Speedway was more believable than Busch's, saying that his "version of the events is implausible, does not make sense and is unlikely to be true given the totality of the other evidence admitted at trial." According to the civil disposition report, Jones said he believed Busch committed an act of abuse against Driscoll "by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motor home, thereby recklessly placing (Driscoll) in reasonable fear of physical injury." Jones granted Driscoll a protective order Monday. Busch requested that the case be re-opened, but no ruling has been made. The terms of Jones' conclusion also require Busch "to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional" and to complete any prescribed plan of treatment. The Dover (Delaware) Police Department completed its investigation of the alleged assault on Jan. 6, putting the case in the hands of the county's attorney general's office, which has not decided whether or not Busch will face criminal charges. Driscoll lauded NASCAR's decision to take action. "For victims of domestic violence there are no victories,' " Driscoll said in a statement. "My only hope is that the pain and trauma I suffered through this process will help other victims find their voice. … Today NASCAR took an important step and deserves to be commended. The next steps are to develop a thorough process and policies that reinforce the organization’s position it took today: Domestic violence will not be tolerated in NASCAR." Friday's announcement marked the third time that Busch -- a 25-time winner and the 2004 champion in NASCAR's top division -- has been forced to miss races in the Sprint Cup Series for disciplinary reasons. In 2005, Roush Fenway Racing severed ties to Busch with two races left in the season after he was cited for reckless driving and became belligerent with Maricopa County (Arizona) sheriff's deputies during a traffic stop near Phoenix International Raceway, according to police reports. In 2012, NASCAR suspended Busch for one race for "verbal abuse of a media member" during a post-race interview at Dover. Before Friday's decision, both Stewart-Haas Racing and NASCAR had declined to discipline Busch, with each opting to let the legal process play out. When news of the investigation broke last November while the series was racing at Phoenix, Busch declined comment and SHR spokespersons referred reporters to Busch's attorney, Rusty Hardin. Team co-owner Gene Haas said in the Phoenix garage that he would not remove Busch as driver of the No. 41 Chevy "until someone else pulls him out." Last Thursday during NASCAR Media Day, Stewart -- a three-time champion and the team's other co-owner -- said the organization had a contingency plan in place should the legal process have an unfavorable outcome. Friday evening, Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer said in a statement provided by the team that "we understand NASCAR's position regarding Kurt Busch and accept their decision. We are in the midst of finalizing our plans for the Daytona 500 and we will announce those details as soon as we're ready." In offseason interviews, Busch said he had no timetable for how long the legal process would take. Last January at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, Busch maintained that his testimony was accurate. "It's a matter of knowing that the truth has been told and we'll see how things unfold," Busch said Jan. 27. "The process, we have to wait on what their decision's going to be." NASCAR chairman Brian France said during his season-ending "State of the Sport" address last November that the sanctioning body would react once concrete details in the legal process were complete. "What's not lost on us by any stretch is the rightful heightened awareness on domestic abuse and violence, and so you can expect our policies to reflect the understandable awareness that that's not going to be tolerated," France said before the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "The past of how any league might have handled some of this is one thing. It's pretty clear when you see what's happening around the country and in some of the other leagues that our policy will reflect the significance and importance that it should." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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Evernham, Kulwicki, Martin added to ballot; Landmark Award nominees named Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Legendary engine builders, crew chiefs, owners and drivers. Their roles and responsibilities may have differed, but they all have one trait in common – each made an everlasting mark on NASCAR history. NASCAR today announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Included among the list are five first-time nominees – legends all – who exceled in various disciplines, at various levels. RELATED: Photo gallery of the Class of 2016 nominees Among them are three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Evernham; 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Harry Hyde; 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki; winner of a combined 96 NASCAR national series races, Mark Martin; and 1986 NASCAR west series champion Hershel McGriff. For a full list of nominees, please see below. The nominees were selected by a nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks and the media. The committee's votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young. From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting Day for the 2016 class will be Wednesday, May 20. The five nominees for the Landmark Award are Harold Brasington, H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier (more on each below). Potential Landmark Award recipients include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement. Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically: Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR's premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500 Red Byron , first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949 Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series Jerry Cook , six-time NASCAR Modified champion Ray Evernham , three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Fox , legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series Harry Hyde , 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Bobby Isaac , 1970 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki , 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Terry Labonte , two-time NASCAR premier series champion Mark Martin , 96-time race winner in NASCAR national series competition Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner Benny Parsons , 1973 NASCAR premier series champion Larry Phillips , only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion O. Bruton Smith , builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Mike Stefanik , winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing" Robert Yates , won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner The five nominees for the Landmark Award are as follows… Harold Brasington , founder of Darlington Speedway H. Clay Earles , founder of Martinsville Speedway Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner Ralph Seagraves , formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Ken Squier , legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence The 22-person Nominating Committee are as follows... NOMINATION COMMITTEE NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim. NASCAR Officials: Chairman / CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice Chairman of NASCAR Mike Helton; Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar; Executive Vice President / Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell; Executive Vice President / Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps; Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook (Note: Due to Jerry Cook's inclusion on the ballot for the NHOF Class of 2015, he was recused from voting for the Class of 2016 nominees.) Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of directors member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Holland Motorsports Complex operator Ron Bennett; Rockford Speedway operator Jody Deery; West Coast representative Ken Clapp. Media: Mike Joy, FOX. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Take a virtual lap around Charlotte Motor Speedway .