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Childress, Ganassi feted at Motorsports Hall
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- One inductee has won six NASCAR premier series titles as an owner. The other has won just about everything else. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owners Richard Childress and Chip Ganassi were among this year's seven-member class inducted into the 2016 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on Wednesday evening. For Childress, the ride to the Shores Resort & Spa, site of the induction ceremony, brought back memories. "I passed by Nova Road and got to thinking," the team owner said. "I remember I came down here in 1965 (working as a crewman) and we pitched a tent and camped there in a campground off Nova. "Four years later, in 1969, I came down here and we had six people and a four-person camper. So a couple had to sleep outside on the ground. "And now here tonight, to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, it's just unbelievable." Childress made 285 starts as a driver in NASCAR, and although he failed to win a race, he finished in the top 10 in points five times during his 12-year driving career. Teamed with driver Dale Earnhardt, however, his Richard Childress Racing organization was nearly unbeatable from 1986-95, scoring six championships and 53 wins while finishing first or second in points eight times. Childress will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January of 2017, an honor he said he never imagined. Likewise, his selection into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America was unexpected. "I was just telling Rusty (Wallace), going up to Detroit when they put Dale in, man you just saw all the greats of motorsports," he said. "To be put in this hall of fame is pretty special. In the NASCAR world, it doesn't get any bigger than to be chosen to go into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. But in the motorsports world, this is the top." Earnhardt, a member of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class, was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2002. Ganassi, a team owner in NASCAR since 2001, has yet to see one of his drivers capture the premier series title, although they have won some of the series' biggest events, including the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Ganassi's teams have excelled elsewhere as well. He is the only team owner to win the Daytona 500 , Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and Rolex 24 at Daytona. Now he can also add a Le Mans title to the list. His Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team recently captured the iconic 24-hour endurance race one year after the automaker announced its return to the annual event and 50 years to the day after Ford won its first Le Mans crown. Aside from a NASCAR title, are there other worlds for the owner to capture? "I'm sure I could think of something," Ganassi said Wednesday night. "I've won some big races, sure. I've just been lucky. I've been lucky to be around great drivers and great people in my career. I just want to win. I want to win this weekend. I want to win the next race." Ganassi was still basking in the glow of the Le Mans victory, accepting congratulations from many of those on hand Wednesday evening. "We were over there … and we were learning new rules like drinking from a firehose," Ganassi said. "We raced hard and at the end of the day we were first, third and fourth and all I can say is it was one of the most exciting weeks of my life. … "We go to victory circle and we're shooting champagne, having a good time and you look out and there's 100,000 people there on the frontstretch just standing there cheering at you. "They raise the American flag behind you and they play the national anthem. And I tell you, that really hits you in your stomach. When you're in a foreign land and they play the national anthem for you, that's a big thing, I can tell you. That's something in sports that's not to be taken lightly." His induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame is special, he said, because "your heroes, guys you grew up emulating, are all in this thing. "I'll tell you what a big deal it is," he said. "When you go to lunch and Craig Breedlove wants to get his picture taken with you and I wanted my picture taken with him. I'm thinking, 'Man, this is a big thing.' " Breedlove, who set numerous land speed world records, was inducted into the Hall in 1993. "It's just great to get to see and meet all those guys," Ganassi said. "And I'm shocked that they know me. They say, 'Hey, congratulations,' when I'm trying to introduce myself and they go 'I know who you are.' It's kind of dumbfounding." In addition to Childress and Ganassi, others inductees were Everett Brashear (Motorcycles), Gary Gabelich (At Large), Dave McClelland (Drag Racing), Sam Posey (Sports Cars) and Bob Sweikert (Historic). The event kicked off the Hall's move from its previous location in Novi, Mich., to the grounds of Daytona International Speedway .
Kurt Busch to a backup car after damage during practice
Kurt Busch will have to go to his backup car for the Quaker State 400 after damage during final practice at Kentucky Speedway.
NASCAR partners with Steven Soderbergh on heist-themed film project
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 26, 2016) -- NASCAR ® is collaborating with Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh on a feature film entitled Logan Lucky , starring Channing Tatum alongside Katherine Heigl, Daniel Craig , Riley Keough, Adam Driver and Seth MacFarlane. Depicting a theoretical heist at Charlotte Motor Speedway , the project will mark Soderbergh's first feature film since announcing his retirement from the film industry in 2013. Soderbergh, who also directed heist film Ocean's Eleven , is best known for his work on the critically acclaimed Traffic and Erin Brockovich , which garnered him two Oscar nominations and the accolade of Best Director. This will not be Tatum's first experience working with NASCAR or Soderbergh. He and 22 Jump Street co-star Jonah Hill served as grand marshals for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ Pocono 400 in 2014, while Tatum and Soderbergh previously teamed up for the Magic Mike films, Haywire and the 2013 thriller Side Effects , which was the most recent film project led by the acclaimed director. "We are excited to work with Steven, Channing and all of Logan Lucky's incredible cast and producers," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "It's a big-hearted, fun story that showcases NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway as the world-class sports entertainment property and venue that they are, much like the Bellagio in Steven's Ocean's Eleven ." Logan Lucky is tentatively scheduled for release in Fall 2017. Mark Johnson, Gregory Jacobs and Reid Carolin are producing. Zane Stoddard is executive producing for NASCAR. Pre-production filming will begin this weekend at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 , which airs live on FOX at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 29.
Brian France, league commissioners lead social responsibility in sports conversation
Bottom row, from left: Adam Silver, commissioner of NBA; Robert D. Manfred, Jr., commissioner of MLB; Kathy Milthorpe, chief financial officer, LPGA; Don Garber, commissioner of MLS; and Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR. Top row, from left: Craig Harnett, chief financial officer for NHL; Dennis Di Lorenzo, Harvey J. Stedman dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies; Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL; and Arthur R. Miller, associate dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. " Photo courtesy of Mark McQueen/NYU • • • NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and the Commissioners of the NBA, NFL, MLB and MLS, led a group from across nine major professional sports leagues Monday at New York University to collaborate on social responsibility in sports. The industry summit was hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. The intent of Monday's summit was to bring forth league leaders to exchange ideas in an open forum, and also to explain each sport's own commitment to social responsibility. "We are privileged that nine sports organizations, including NASCAR, have participated in this important discussion on the Social Responsibility of Sports at the NYUSPS Tisch Institute summit," said Tony Ponturo, director of industry relations, NYUSPS Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. "We thank Brian France, Chairman and CEO, for his participation, which underlines his leadership in and his commitment to this ongoing dialogue." France, who was joined by Commissioners Roger Goodell (NFL), Rob D. Manfred Jr. (MLB), Don Garber (MLS) and Adam Silver (NBA), discussed NASCAR's wide range of social responsibility programs such as the NASCAR Foundation and NASCAR Drive for Diversity operated by Rev Racing. Monday's event is the latest example of how the leagues are joining forces when it comes to social responsibility. In 2015, NASCAR joined the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and others to partner with RISE, a non-profit started by Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross to promote diversity and equality through sports. France was named to the Board of Directors. The nine leagues represented Monday at NYU include: LPGA, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA and WNBA. "We are grateful for the leagues' open cooperation and encouragement throughout this initial research phase," said Arthur R. Miller, associate dean of the NYUSPS Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. "With the information we have acquired, we hope to help them move forward in a constructive way in using Social Responsibility of Sports as a game changer for the industry."
Full schedule for Las Vegas
RELATED: NASCAR Fantasy Live The NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway while the Camping World Truck Series has a week off. Check out the full weekend schedule below. Note: All times are ET SUNDAY, MARCH 6: ON TRACK 1:30:00 p.m. ET: NSCS Drver/Crew Chief Meeting 3:00:00 p.m. ET: NSCS Drivers Introductions 3:30:00 p.m. ET: Presentation of Colors by Nellis Air Force Base Honor Guard 3:30:20 p.m. ET: Invocation by Kurt Schulke, Chaplain, Las Vegas Motor Speedway 3:31:00 p.m. ET: National Anthem by: Craig Morgan 3:32:30 p.m. ET: Fly-By TOT: US Air Force Thunderbirds/Backstretch to Frontstretch 3:37:30 p.m. ET: "Drivers, Start Your Engines" command given 3:46:00 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 (267 laps, 400 miles), FOX ( Follow live ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 6:30 p.m. (approx.): Post-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race THURSDAY, MARCH 3: ON TRACK -- Noon-2 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing, session No. 1 ( Testing speeds ) -- 3-6 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing, session No. 2 ( Testing speeds ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 2:05 p.m.: Carl Edwards -- 6:30 p.m.: Ricky Stenhouse Jr . FRIDAY, MARCH 4: ON TRACK -- 1:30-2:55 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 3:30-4:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 6-6:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 7:45 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- 3 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 12:30 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr . -- 1:15 p.m.: DC Solar announcement with Brennan Poole -- 3 p.m.: Tony Stewart with Mobil 1 -- 8:45 p.m. (approx.): Post-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying & Brad Keselowski DAILY ROUNDUP Truex Jr.: 'Not trying to pull something over' on NASCAR Stewart all smiles, but itching to return to racing Keselowski, Logano pace practice Elder Busch flies to Coors Light Pole Edwards wrecks in qualifying, heads to backup SATURDAY, MARCH 5: ON TRACK -- 11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 12:45 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS2 ( Results ) -- 2:30-3:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 4 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Boyd Gaming 300 (200 laps, 300 miles), FS1 ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 6:30 p.m. (approx.): Post-NASCAR XFINITY Series race DAILY ROUNDUP Edwards, Kenseth top final practices at Las Vegas 'Gnarly' wind could play role at Las Vegas Hometown fans embrace Busches more than ever 'Rowdy' cashes in NXS win at Las Vegas
Thrivent is primary sponsor for Michael McDowell
RELATED: Track all the moves in Cup Series MINNEAPOLIS (January 21, 2016) -- Thrivent Financial is proud to announce its continuing sponsorship of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing and driver Michael McDowell in the 2016 race season. Thrivent, a not-for-profit financial services organization that serves Christians, will be the primary sponsor for fifteen (15) races during the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with McDowell behind the wheel. The organization will also serve as a secondary sponsor on 15 additional races. Thrivent started its relationship with Leavine Family Racing and McDowell in August of 2014. The mutually beneficial relationship expanded in 2015 for a 20-race sponsorship that included 10 primary races. This year, Leavine Family Racing has partnered with Circle Sport to field the No. 95 in the full 36-race schedule and entered into a new technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing , making the manufacturer switch to Chevrolet. "We're thrilled to extend our sponsorship with Michael McDowell and Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing in 2016," said Craig Stacey, Director of Marketing at Thrivent. "We had a tremendous response and reception from NASCAR fans in our first full season as a sponsor. In 2016, we're planning to provide more unique opportunities and content for fans through our social media channels and website. We like to think of our fans as part of our team and it's fun to give them a behind-the-scenes view of Thrivent Racing!" For Thrivent, the off-the-track integration with McDowell and the race team was just as important as the race weekend competition. In 2015, McDowell and the race team raced go-karts with Wounded Warriors, packed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and volunteered alongside Thrivent members to repair homes of those in need through the organization's Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity program. Additionally, by creating a custom, fan-driven online game, Thrivent Financial donated $95,000 to Habitat for Humanity on behalf of NASCAR fans at the end of the 2015 season. "I love working with Thrivent! Their mission to help Christians be wise with money and live generously is really a good fit with my personal values," said McDowell, who became a member of Thrivent in 2014. "We were able to team up and do some great things last year with race fans and Thrivent volunteers -- especially at the Habitat events and speaking with Thrivent members nationwide. This is a perfect partnership and I'm excited to have Thrivent back as a sponsor in 2016." This season, Thrivent will be featured as the primary sponsor at major NASCAR events and tracks including the Daytona 500 , Talladega Superspeedway , Charlotte Motor Speedway , Bristol Motor Speedway , Indianapolis Motor Speedway , Darlington Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway . The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season kicks off on Sunday, February 21, 2016, with the Daytona 500 . Fans can keep up with all the action on Twitter by following at @ThriventRacing, via the organization's Thrivent Racing Facebook page, on Instagram at @ThriventRacing and via the web at www.ThriventRacing.com.
Truex Jr. inspired by car technology for people with disabilities
As a professional race car driver competing in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series, Martin Truex Jr . gets to do a lot of interesting and innovative things as part of his job. But this Wednesday was special by any standards. Truex gave rides around Pikes Peak International Raceway to a paraplegic and quadriplegic in a specially designed "adaptive" stock car whose smart glass technology allows drivers a operate a car using head movement. Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser donated one of the team's No. 78 Chevys to the program and the race team volunteered many hours transforming it with the new technology. Truex flew out to Colorado from Charlotte -- where he'll be competing in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 -- just to participate in Wendesday's Falci Adaptive Motorsports NeuroGroove RaceDay. It was difficult to tell who was enjoying the experience more. "What an awesome day to be a firsthand witness to some incredible technology," said Truex. "Life is about giving back and Dr. (Scott) Falci and his partners are doing just that. To see the joy of the individuals I gave a ride to was very inspirational." One of Truex's passengers, Stewart Lundy, a paraplegic from Denver, Col., considered it a ride of a lifetime, joking, "And he (Truex) gets paid to do this!" "I need to reassess my life goals. That is probably one them now. I loved every minute of it -- I'm coming down from an adrenalin high." The technology used in the car can also be used in steering a wheelchair and has the potential of increasing mobilization and independence for many disabled. "I wanted to add another adapted sport for the spinal cord and disabled population," said Dr. Scott Falci, a neurosurgeon at Denver's Craig Hospital. "Motorsports is a real exciting sport and we're utilizing the No. 78 Furniture Row car as a platform to get involved in a new adaptive sporting event and also getting involved with the NASCAR community." "The emotional thrill of having Martin and his Furniture Row race car was an uplifting experience not only for the spinal cord injured individuals and their families but for all of our partners who have been passionately working on this new adaptive technology."
Country 500 Announces Music Festival Lineup
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE COUNTRY 500 ANNOUNCES COMPLETE MUSIC FESTIVAL LINEUP! Jason Aldean Added to the List of Headliners Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Little Big Town, Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Trace Adkins, Jennifer Nettles, Dwight Yoakam, Jamey Johnson and Many More Stars Coming to Daytona International Speedway Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-29, 2016 3-Day Weekend Passes, VIP Packages, Camping and Travel Packages on Sale Now! (Daytona Beach, Fla.) – November 3, 2015 – Organizers today announced the full artist lineup for the first-ever Country 500 – The Great American Music Fest at Daytona --, to be held Memorial Day Weekend, May 27, 28 & 29, 2016. Jason Aldean has been added to the list of previously announced headlining artists that includes Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum and Willie Nelson. Other country superstars on the Country 500 lineup include, Little Big Town, Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Trace Adkins, Jennifer Nettles, Dustin Lynch, Dwight Yoakam, Frankie Ballard, Jamey Johnson and dozens more. Country 500 will take place on the infield of the world-famous Daytona International Speedway , a historic first mega-music festival inside the hallowed grounds of one of the most iconic motorsports venues in the world. Three-day weekend passes, VIP packages, camping and travel packages are on sale now through Country500.com. Fans should plan to take advantage of the special early bird pricing ($199) for 3-day weekend general admission passes. The complete artist lineup for Country 500 will feature: Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Little Big Town, Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Trace Adkins, Jennifer Nettles, Dustin Lynch, Dwight Yoakam, Frankie Ballard, Jamey Johnson, Jerrod Niemann, Chris Stapleton, Sara Evans, Eli Young Band, Colt Ford, Montgomery Gentry, Brothers Osborne, Marty Stuart, Clare Dunn, Cassadee Pope, RaeLynn, Kristian Bush, Brandy Clark, Joe Diffie, The Cadillac Three, Eric Paslay, Josh Thompson, Mo Pitney, Craig Campbell, Mac Powell, Brooke Eden, Jamestown Revival, Frank Foster, and Charlie Worsham. Country 500 festivities will be spread over three days and nights, with music programmed on three huge performance stages—all specially designed and built for the festival. Just as it is for the great races at the Speedway, Country 500 will allow fans to actually camp out in the infield, literally inside the festival. A full-range of camping opportunities is available for virtually any budget, from pitching a tent to deluxe RV locations. Country 500 also offers on-site lodging and travel packages for a hassle-free way to enjoy the festival. Travel packages include hotel accommodations, roundtrip transportation to the festival grounds and official t-shirts plus festival admission. Visit Country500.com for information on the on-site lodging opportunities and travel packages. “The Country 500 is coming to Daytona! From Jason Aldean Friday night to Luke Bryan Sunday night, and a rocked-out home coming for Florida Georgia Line, plus Kid Rock and Willie Nelson on the big Saturday night. Country 500 is a festival like no other,” said Festival Producer Quint Davis. “And the headliner who will not be appearing anywhere else in the world is, of course, Daytona International Speedway itself. The entire festival fits inside the legendary speedway’s massive infield, with plenty of infield camping areas! You can actually camp out inside the track during the festival. If camping is not your thing, we’re in Daytona Beach—with its miles of ocean front hotels close to the track, where you can still drive your car along the beach where American racing all began. The Country 500 at Daytona on Memorial Day Weekend, when Sunday is still a Saturday night!” “This star-studded lineup of talented musicians will transform the ‘World Center of Racing’ into the ‘World Center of Entertainment’ on Memorial Day Weekend,” Daytona International Speedway Track President Joie Chitwood III said. “Festival Productions – New Orleans has done an amazing job putting together top-notch entertainment that will entertain thousands of guests in the infield of Daytona International Speedway .” Special VIP packages called “Crew Chief VIP Experience” and “VIP Pit Pass” (see attached) allow for an exclusive upfront, golden-circle viewing area at the main stage with side stage access at the other performances areas plus access to comfortable hospitality areas, private cash bars and many other comforts and amenities. For VIP benefits, camping information, festival details and flexible payment plan options, call 1-844-500-FEST or visit Country500.com . Fans at the festival will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of their favorite country stars at artist meet-and-greets located throughout pit road and the garages. Numerous other features—a select festival menu sold from food booths and food trucks; carnival rides; arcade games; cooling water elements; country-and-western merchandise; fireworks; and more—will all be a part of the festival, as Country 500 transforms racing’s greatest venue into a festival-goer’s dream. Visit Country500.com or call 1-844-500-FEST for tickets, camping, parking, and other festival information. Make sure to sign up on the Country 500 mailing list and get all the festival info as it becomes available. Customizable travel packages, on-site lodging opportunities and hotel information are also available at Country500.com. Stay connected with Country 500 on Facebook , Country500.com on the web and #Country500 on Twitter . AEG Live and Festival Productions, Inc. – New Orleans are partnering with Daytona International Speedway to produce the Country 500. Festival Contact: Matthew Goldman, 504-410-4100, Matthew@fpi-no.com Daytona International Speedway Contact: Andrew Booth, 386-681-6714, Abooth@daytonainternationalspeedway.com PLEASE NOTE: Artist images and the official Country 500 logo can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/country500-pr and artist b-roll video is available at http://bit.ly/country500-video . ### Country 500 Weekend Festival Passes 3-DAY GENERAL ADMISSION WEEKEND PASS – ($199 early bird all-in pricing) -3-day general admission; passes are non-transferable -Includes access to over 40 bands on three festival stages, a select menu of food and beverage offerings sold from food booths and food trucks, carnival rides, arcade games, country and western merchandise, official festival merchandise, a myriad of shade and water elements and much more VIP PIT PASS - ($599 all-in pricing) -3-day admission; passes are non-transferable -Access to the Pit, an exclusive upfront, golden circle viewing area at the Country 500 Stage and VIP viewing at the Daytona Stage and Bluebird Theater -Access to the VIP Pit Stop, a private hospitality tent where guests can cool of in the shade with access to exclusive beverage for purchase, private merchandise stand, cell phone charging stations and more. -Private air-conditioned flushable restrooms -Exclusive festival merchandise item -Express VIP entrance with re-entry all weekend -Exclusive opportunity to purchase a VIP parking space -On-site experience concierge CREW CHIEF VIP EXPERIENCE – ($999 all-in pricing) -3-day admission; passes are non-transferable -Access to the Pit, an exclusive upfront, golden circle viewing area at the Country 500 Stage and VIP viewing at the Daytona Stage and Bluebird Theater -Exclusive access to the Crew Chief Super VIP Deck at the Country 500 Stage featuring a covered viewing platform with premium views of the main stage, private cash bar and air-conditioned restrooms -Exclusive access to the Country 500 VIP Club, a private indoor air-conditioned hospitality lounge featuring cash bar, comfortable furnishings, private merchandise stand, complimentary light snacks and refreshments, massages, Wi-Fi, charging stations and more -Crew Chief VIP-only exclusive festival merchandise item -Express VIP entrance with re-entry all weekend -Exclusive opportunity to purchase a VIP parking space -On-site experience concierge -Plus a few surprises! Buy Country 500 Tickets Now!
J.B. Hunt inks sponsorship deal with Richard Petty Motorsports
Officials with Richard Petty Motorsports and transportation services company J.B. Hunt have announced a five-race associate sponsorship agreement that will consist of one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event this season and four for 2016. The company will serve as an associate on the No. 9 RPM Ford, currently driven by Sam Hornish Jr ., at this year's AAA Texas 500 race weekend (Nov. 6-8) as well as events next season at Atlanta Motor Speedway , Auto Club Speedway , one of two stops at Pocono Raceway and at Chicagoland Speedway . "Nobody does it better than J.B. Hunt and their thousands of employees," team owner Richard Petty said in a statement announcing the agreement. "We're proud to partner with them and I'm excited to be a part of their driver recruitment program. Our country's truck drivers are the backbone of our commerce system and I can't wait to interact with them." J.B. Hunt is based in Lowell, Ark. "There is no bigger brand in NASCAR than Petty," Craig Harper, Executive Vice President of Operations for J.B. Hunt Transport said. "All of our drivers know that name and can relate to the race team, their goals and the work and dedication that is required to safely transport the team's equipment from race to race each week." RPM fields two entries in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, featuring drivers Hornish and Aric Almirola . Petty is the sport's all-time leader in wins with 200 career victories and is one of only two drivers to capture seven premier series titles. He was one of five inaugural members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted in 2010. Almirola is currently 17th in points, the highest ranked driver not among the 16 competing in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup . Hornish is 27th in the standings. The Sprint Cup Series travels to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., this weekend for Sunday's Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR).
Pit crew preview for Championship 4
Who has the best pit crew heading into the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway ? Pit stops are going to be huge this weekend at Homestead and we're here to evaluate the four remaining crews. Below is a list of all the guys on the teams as well as an overview of how their seasons have gone so far. Stewart-Haas Racing ( Kevin Harvick ) Pit Coach: Joe Piette Front Changer: Ira Joe Hussey Front Carrier: Todd Drakulich Jack Man: Mike Casto Rear Changer: Daniel Smith Rear Carrier: Mike Morneau Gas Man: Justin White Summary: This crew is the best pit crew in the finals. It has been good all year and has tons of veteran talent. As a group, they understand pressure, and this time last year they were preparing for their eventual first championship. They have all the tools to be successful again this year if given the opportunity to pit for a win. Joe Gibbs Racing ( Kyle Busch ) Pit Coach: Mike Lepp Front Changer: Josh Leslie Front Carrier: Brad Donaghy Jack Man: Jeff Fender Rear Changer: Jake Seminara Rear Carrier: Kenny Barber Gas Man: Tom Lampe Summary: This crew is good and has been getting better each week. It has the ability to gain spots every caution if it is given the right opportunities. Near the beginning of the Chase the crew lost longtime front changer Nick Odell to the No. 24 team. Replacement Josh Leslie was thrown into action and has done a good job. Don't forget, this group has been with Kyle since he came to JGR, so winning would mean a lot to this group. This is probably one of the best high-pressure pit crews of the last five years. This weekend will be the time to prove it. Hendrick Motorsports ( Jeff Gordon ) Pit Coach: Chris Burkey Front Changer: Nick Odell Front Carrier: Dion Williams Jack Man: John Giannotto Rear Changer: Chad Avritt Rear Carrier: Jared Erspamer Gas Man: Travis Gordon Summary: This team has been up-and-down all year. There has been lots of change since the beginning of the year and it's not clear it has helped. When the season started, the crew replaced longtime rear carrier Gene Cornwell with Erspamer. After that, more changes came at the jack man position as well as the front changer position. They also tooled around with a new front tire carrier before settling with veteran Williams. All in all, this team has talent but hasn't shown it can pit with the top teams. This weekend it could put all that to rest and help send a champion out in a storybook ending. Furniture Row Racing ( Martin Truex Jr .) Pit Coach: Walt Smith Front Changer: Dave Collins Front Carrier: Craig Curione Jack Man: Carey Wimbish Rear Changer: Kyle Turner Rear Carrier: Adam Mosher Gas Man: Brian Dheel Summary: This team had one of the fastest averages of the race two weeks ago in Texas. It has the ability to go fast, but just like in Texas, when a wheel was coming loose on the last run, it always seems to find a way to hurt itself. Truex is going to need help this weekend at Homestead. If this group pits like it did in Texas -- minus the wheel coming loose -- they have a chance to help win a championship. This is a great group of guys who have many years on pit road. Finding the right chemistry and rhythm is key to a good crew, and this team might have found theirs. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com