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Larson honors country star with throwback scheme
RELATED: See Larson's throwback for Sprint Cup " Buy tickets CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 25, 2016) – Like peanut butter and jelly, or the Southern 500 and Labor Day weekend, country music and NASCAR seemingly go hand in hand. For this year's NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Darlington Raceway , Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson will be getting a retro makeover on his No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet Camaro based on a car driven by country music legend Marty Robbins, who also frequently ran the No. 42. While some sing about the things they'd like to do, Robbins strapped on a helmet and did the thing he loved to do, which was race. The country singer, best known for his songs "El Paso" and "Big Iron," competed in a total of 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 1966-1982, and also ran one race in the Grand National East Series. Robbins was a well-respected driver among his competitors and his familiar purple and gold car was always a fan favorite when he raced at the Nashville Fairgrounds. This weekend, ENEOS and Chip Ganassi Racing are excited to bring back Robbins' familiar paint scheme as Darlington once again celebrates NASCAR's history with a throwback-themed weekend.
Hamlin tops chart, spins in final Michigan practice
RELATED: Full practice results " Top 10 consecutive lap averages Denny Hamlin set the pace in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Saturday at Michigan International Speedway , but damaged his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota in a spin midway through the session. Hamlin, who qualified third in Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying, clocked a lap of 197.878 mph in Saturday's final practice. The session, originally scheduled for 50 minutes, was halted with approximately 27 minutes left because of lightning in the area of the 2-mile track. Hamlin told NBCSN that the car got loose "out of the blue" as he navigated Turn 4. He avoided contact with the wall, but did slight damage when the nose of his car dug into the grass bordering the frontstretch. Hamlin indicated the team did not expect to deploy the reserve car. RELATED: All the cars at Michigan as they'll line up Rookie Chase Elliott was second-fastest at 197.786 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. He was followed by two Hendrick teammates on the leaderboard -- third-fastest Jimmie Johnson (197.694 mph) and fourth-best Kasey Kahne (197.455 mph). Michigan native Brad Keselowski completed the top five in the final prep for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Team Penske teammate Joey Logano , who secured the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying, was seventh-fastest. Alex Bowman , subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr . in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, was 10th-fastest at 196.969 mph. Stewart atop Saturday's early practice Tony Stewart topped the speed chart in Saturday's morning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at Michigan International Speedway ahead of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Stewart circled the 2-mile track in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet with a fast time of 202.122 mph to pace the 55-minute practice session. "Smoke" has one win in the Irish Hills in 33 starts there. Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, 201.427 mph) and Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 201.196 mph) came in second and third, respectively. Both drivers are in search of their first win in the sport's top series. Kurt Busch (No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, 201.089 mph) and Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet, 200.932 mph) completed the top five. Alex Bowman , who will pilot the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr . this weekend, placed eighth in practice. All told, 12 drivers crossed the 200 mph mark on their laps Saturday morning. Polesitter Joey Logano placed 16th in the session. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Chip Ganassi always up for next racing challenge
SEBRING, Fla. -- Fans practically contorted themselves to get the perfect "selfies" and random close-ups of Chip Ganassi's two Ford GT cars on the grid awaiting Saturday's green flag for the 64th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Dressed in their finest Ford, Chevrolet Corvette and even Ferrari and Porsche T-shirts and hats, the crowd around Ganassi's two red-white-and-blue entries was easily the largest on the starting grid. The curious and adoring fans examined the rear wing, peered into the car's windows and asked crewman to pose for photos. And there were audible bursts of "ohhh and ahhh" in various inflections and languages. Unlike most race events, the fancy sports cars parked in the infield lots didn't belong to the drivers or team executives, but instead to the highly devoted sports car fans who attend the famous Twelve Hours of Sebring dressed in Mark Donohue shirts with prototype car silhouettes on their cap. NASCAR Hall of Famers Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte have competed at Sebring as have Ricky Rudd and Michael Waltrip . While no former NASCAR drivers were entered this weekend, Sprint Cup team owners Ganassi and Rob Kauffman, who competed here with Michael Waltrip in 2012, were on hand to see their Fords compete in what is considered one of the world's greatest races. Ganassi's team won this race in a prototype class car in 2014. "The big thing is to get some distance in them," Ford driver Joey Hand told the crowd Saturday. "But the cars look fast and they are fast." Going the distance is the big challenge. The brand new Ford GT EcoBoosts had a few hiccups in their Rolex 24 debut, but in all fairness, had only turned laps a couple weeks before the race during a massive test session. It was a tricky debut at Daytona for the new cars, but the team is quite confident it has learned from the growing pains and repaired the glitches. They led laps and kept pace at Daytona and Saturday was all about increasing the performance further. "The good thing about it all, and the thing we are pleased about, is the car is showing some pace, it is showing some opportunity, and overall we are happy that we have a fast car and we need to work on reliability,’" Ford Motor Company's executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer, Raj Nair said after Daytona. "That's a lot better than having a slow car that's reliable, but you don't know how to get speed out of it. Overall, this is racing and this is what can happen in racing . If we don't win every race, we are disappointed, but at the same time we know how to fix our issues and we'll be better the next time we come out." The whole program is a major undertaking for Ganassi , who has won Daytona 500 , Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 and 12 Hours of Sebring trophies already. But the quest is as sentimental as it is ambitious. A win at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans is the next great trophy Ganassi desires -- and a victory there would certainly add to what is absolutely already one of the greatest resumes in racing history. "I think it’s obviously something that's been on our radar screen for a couple years," Ganassi said standing alongside his car Saturday, enjoying the large and curious crowd. "It's going to be a challenge and we're hopeful we can put Ford forward the way they want to be represented. We look forward to it. "The greatest events attract the greatest teams and the greatest challenges. That's why we look forward to it. "And it's nice to go over there with an American company. That's pretty cool."
Alex Tagliani wins XFINITY pole at Road America
RELATED: Starting lineup Alex Tagliani won the Coors Light Pole Award at Road America on Friday in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Tagliani wheeled his No. 22 Team Penske Ford around the 4.05-mile road course at a top speed of 109.866 mph. That was better than Michael McDowell l, who finished second in his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at 109.561 mph. For Tagliani, it was his fourth pole win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and his second at Road America . Justin Marks (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet), Owen Kelly (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) and Daniel Suarez (No. 19 JGR Toyota) rounded out the top five qualifiers. Alon Day, who hails from Israel, is a NASCAR Next driver and is driving the MBM Motorsports No. 13 Dodge, found trouble in Round 1 of qualifying when he went into the sand trap off Turn 12 (of 14) with just over 16 minutes remaining in the opening session. The incident brought out a red flag. Another red flag came out during Round 1 when Josh Bilicki, who was driving the No. 77 Obaika Racing Chevrolet, spun coming off Turn 1, slid through the sand trap and impacted the tire barrier. The Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville gets underway at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and marks the third road-course race in four events for the series.
Pray for rain? Marks aims for wet-weather edge
RELATED: Marks tops leaderboard in final practice ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Rain, rain, go away , come again on Sat-ur-day. That's the song Justin Marks will be singing the rest of the time he's at Road America , site of Saturday's Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The National Weather Service's Saturday forecast calls for showers and thunderstorms in the track's vicinity, with an 80 percent chance in the morning giving way to a 50-50 shot in the afternoon. NASCAR drivers typically view rain the same way cats do, so why would the most recent XFINITY Series road course winner be hoping for the wet stuff? Because it gives him an advantage. "I've had a lot of people ask, you know, 'Are you praying for rain when you get (to Road America )?' " said Marks, who prevailed at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course two weeks ago on a rain-soaked Saturday. "I try to keep myself and the team ... we try to manage our expectations around not banking too much around the things that we can't control. We can't control the weather. We know that we're really good in the rain. We know that if it rains, certainly we're going to be a threat to win again. "At Mid-Ohio a couple weeks ago, we were a little bit off on speed in the dry. We needed to improve on that and that was a big part of what we were working on today. I think we satisfied that initiative." Marks and his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet crew appear to have found the dry speed Friday, improving on his fourth-place showing in opening practice (108.279 mph) to lead final practice at a blistering 108.946 mph. He backed it up in qualifying later on in the evening, making a quick lap of 109.196 mph to line up third. "Our goal -- we know we're fast in the rain -- our goal is to be fast on dry. That way, no matter what happens, we know we're a threat to win and we don't have to sit and cross our fingers and hope for something that's outside of our control," Marks said. "That being said, I would be OK if I woke up and it was wet in the morning."
Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 NXS car chief passes away
Ryan Shea, car chief for the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, died Wednesday night at his home in Troutman, North Carolina, according to the team. He was 34. "It is a sad day for our team as we mourn the untimely loss of Ryan," team owner Chip Ganassi said in a team release. "Ryan was a dedicated worker and a great friend to those on our team, as well as others in the garage. Our hearts go out to Ryan’s family and friends during this difficult time." Shea had previously worked at Michael Waltrip Racing before joining CGR in 2015. Kyle Larson and Justin Marks have been behind the wheel of the No. 42 this season. My thoughts on the passing of Ryan Shea: pic.twitter.com/XzKUBibck1 — Justin Marks (@JMarksDE) March 31, 2016 "Ryan was a tremendous asset to Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 42 team and will be sorely missed," said crew chief Mike Shiplett. "My thoughts go out to his wife, children, family and friends in this time of mourning." Chip Ganassi Racing will communicate further details regarding funeral arrangements and memorials as they become available. A GoFundMe page has been established to take donations for Ryan's family -- go here to see it. Also, CGR cars will have a special decal on their Chevrolets this weekend. The NASCAR community collectively offered its condolences to the team and the Shea family on Twitter: Just heard the news of Ryan Shea passing away in his sleep. A great person and great worker in the industry.. Prayers with his wife & kids — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) March 31, 2016 Ryan Shea will be greatly missed by this community. He is a model to follow in this sport. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. — JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) March 31, 2016 Wow shocked to hear about the passing of Ryan Shea. He was my car chief in 2006. Thoughts and prayers to Cory and the Shea family. — Kevin Conway (@TheKevinConway) March 31, 2016 Very sad day @CGRnascar as we lost one of our teammates far too soon. Keep Ryan's family in prayers #RIPRyanShea https://t.co/lwHv4UwIUl — Steve Lauletta (@slauletta) March 31, 2016 Thoughts and prayers to Ryan Shea and his family — Jeff Burton (@JeffBurton) March 31, 2016 It takes days like today to remember just how fragile life is. Shea was a great teammate and he is already deeply missed. — Ashley Parlett (@Just_AP) March 31, 2016 Thoughts and Prayers for Ryan Shea, his wife and kids! Such sad news. — Chris Osborne (@crazy_spotter) March 31, 2016
McDowell earns first XFINITY Series win at Road America
RELATED: Full race results " Standings " Chase Grid ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Michael McDowell ’s Twitter handle is @Mc_Driver. After Saturday, he may want to consider changing it -- to something like @Mc_Winner. McDowell led 24 of the final 25 laps of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville for his first victory in 94 series races. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular finished .534 seconds ahead of his Richard Childress Racing teammate Brendan Gaughan after two late restarts, including a green-white-checkered that pushed the race to 48 laps from its scheduled 45. Chip Ganassi Racing ’s Brennan Poole was the top-finishing rookie, third, in his first start at Road America , after starting 12th. The top three drivers were in Chevrolets. The victory was the perfect finish to some unfinished business McDowell had at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile racetrack. In 2011, he started from the pole position and led a race-high 30 laps, but ultimately finished 12th. In 2012, he started second and finished second. "It means a tremendous amount to me," said McDowell, who will compete in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway . "I've been so close here at Road America . To finally finish it off was huge." It almost wasn't, as Gaughan's late charge nearly spoiled McDowell's day. The 2014 race winner spent much of the day running in the second half of the top 10 after getting out of pit stop sequence with the leaders. On the penultimate lap, though, Gaughan bolted from fourth-place to second after making a three-wide pass of Daniel Suarez and Justin Marks in Turn 5. From there, McDowell -- and victory -- was within reach. "When you're racing your teammate you've got to have a little more respect maybe than normal," Gaughan said. "I almost got close enough to him to make him make a mistake." McDowell didn't waver and pushed the Childress team's winning streak at Road America to three, joining Paul Menard (2015) and Gaughan (2014). The win was not without incident. Team Penske 's Alex Tagliani , who started from the pole position for the second time in two NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Road America , maintained that a Lap-29 tangle with McDowell was deliberate. "We were the car to beat," said Tagliani, who led 17 laps and had just regained the top spot going into Turn 5 when he was bumped from behind by McDowell and spun going into Turn 6. "The opportunity presented itself and he took the fastest car on the track out." Tagliani, who finished second here in 2014, wound up seventh. McDowell, when asked about the incident during his post-race press conference, said it wasn't intentional. "He went wide in Turn 5 and I got under ( Justin Marks ) and (Tagliani)," McDowell said. "I was alongside of him and he just decided to turn in. Once we made contact, I just came off the brake and pushed him out of the way. And the reason I did that is because if had I not, I'd have been stuck there too and I would have got run over." The race was slowed by six caution flags for 13 laps, including one for light rain. Elliott Sadler leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship standings by 47 points over Daniel Suarez .
Credit One bank partners with NASCAR, Chip Ganassi Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 12, 2016) – One of the largest and fastest growing credit card issuers in the United States, Credit One Bank has entered into a multi-year partnership with NASCAR to include official agreements with both the sanctioning body and one of the most successful teams in auto- racing , Chip Ganassi Racing . The collaborations designate Credit One Bank as the "Official Credit Card of NASCAR," in addition to being a partner of Chip Ganassi Racing . As part of the agreement with NASCAR, Credit One Bank will offer fans officially licensed NASCAR-themed credit cards. Credit One Bank will also be the primary sponsor of the No. 1 Chevrolet, piloted by "2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup " contender Jamie McMurray for three races, as well as an associate partner throughout the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) campaign. The No. 1 Credit One Bank Chevy SS will debut on the track at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) on April 24. "Our partnerships with both NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing will introduce the benefits of Credit One Bank card membership to a new audience of consumers," said Laura Faulkner, vice president of marketing communications, Credit One Bank. "With the Official Credit Card of NASCAR, fans can further their love of racing with a rewards program that complements that same passion. We also look forward to supporting Jamie McMurray in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series." Credit One Bank offers full spectrum credit card products, and is among the top 10 largest Visa credit card issuers in the United States. Credit One Bank will offer cash back rewards, exclusive experiences, discounts, and special offers to their NASCAR Visa ® card members. The inaugural card design will feature NASCAR official marks and exciting race imagery, with additional designs to be released throughout the season. Fans can apply for the official NASCAR credit card by visiting www.CreditOneBank.com/NASCAR . "We could not be happier with Credit One Bank's fully integrated campaign to introduce its brand to our industry, stakeholders, and most importantly, our fans," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "As our entire industry gears up for Daytona 500 weekend, this new agreement signals that NASCAR is still one of the most effective marketing spends in all of sports." Credit One Bank will utilize 2010 Daytona 500 champion McMurray as a spokesperson to promote its brand and the Official Credit Card of NASCAR. The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season will be McMurray's 14th full-time year in NASCAR’s premier division. McMurray has seven career NSCS wins and 11 pole awards. McMurray is one of only three drivers to have won the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in a single season (2010). "This announcement is really exciting news for our team, but it is also a testament to our sport when a company like Credit One Bank recognizes the power of brands like NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing . It is always nice to see new brands come to the sport and make a commitment like Credit One Bank has with this news," said Steve Lauletta, president, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. "We are excited to have Credit One Bank onboard the No. 1 Chevrolet with Jamie McMurray and look forward to working with them to introduce their products and services to NASCAR fans everywhere." The Credit One Bank NASCAR marketing campaign will also include national television advertising, network and satellite radio advertising, sweepstakes and promotions, at-track marketing, unique retail partnerships and card member experiences for NASCAR fans.
Brennan Poole to drive full-time for Chip Ganassi Racing in XFINITY Series
Brennan Poole will compete full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Chip Ganassi Racing this season, an opportunity that the Woodlands, Texas, native called "a dream come true." "It's emotional; you really can't put it into words," the 24-year-old told NASCAR.com. "To run for a championship at the NASCAR level is something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember." CGR will field two XFINITY Series entries this year, the No. 48 Chevrolet for Poole with funding from DC Solar, and the No. 42 that will feature Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson for 17 races. A second driver has yet to be named for the No. 42 for the remaining 16 races. Former Roush Fenway Racing crew chief Chad Norris, paired with drivers Darrell Wallace Jr . (20 races) and Ryan Reed (13) last season, will serve as crew chief. "I'm confident that in our renewed partnership with Chip Ganassi , 2016 is going to be a winning season, and that DC Solar will continue to successfully engage and educate the NASCAR audience on solar energy and the DC Solar brand," Jeff Carpoff, president and CEO of DC Solar, said. "We couldn't be more excited to return to the track with Brennan and competing for a championship." Poole ran a limited schedule in '15, splitting seat time with Larson in the No. 42 entry when the organization ran under the HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing banner. In 17 starts, he finished in the top 15 on 10 occasions with a best result of ninth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . The Las Vegas start was his very first in the series. Much of the previous two seasons was spent as a spotter and working with Dartfish, a video software analysis program, "and just trying to get in a car whenever I could," Poole said. In spite of the limited seat time, Poole said he felt the team had "some great runs" last year. "Obviously we still want to improve on them and be better," he said. "I feel like we've shown at times we've been capable of really having not just a good weekend but a great weekend. As long as we continue to build on that and keep moving in the right direction, I'm really excited about what we can do." Poole, who has one career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, is a six-time winner in the ARCA Series. The full-time opportunity with Ganassi , which fields Sprint Cup entries for Larson and Jamie McMurray , is the latest step in what he hopes will be a long career behind the wheel. "I can't put into words what it means to be part of such a great team," Poole said. "There are only so many owners in the garage and I'm with one of the best. To have someone like that believe in you, it's crazy."
Tune-in: Watch Chip Ganassi Racing's 'Sound Garage'
Chip Ganassi Racing will host its second annual Sound Garage event on Monday evening at the team shop -- and you can watch the action on NASCAR.com. Following the success of last year's event, which is geared toward millenials, the 2015 outing will feature recording artist A Thousand Horses as well as Ganassi's diverse stable of young drivers. That list includes Kyle Larson , Sage Karam, Dylan Kwasniewski , Sebastian Saavedra and Brennan Poole . Tonight's stream will run from 8 to 9 p.m. ET. Come back then to watch the action.