Elliott Sadler, TBR team up for Daytona 500
RELATED: Buy tickets for Daytona HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (January 12, 2017) -- Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announced today that the team will compete in the 59th running of the Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the No. 7 Golden Corral Chevrolet. Sadler, a 16-year veteran of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , will be running double-duty during NASCAR's opening weekend competing in both the Cup and XFINITY Series. The Emporia, Virginia native and Baldwin have a relationship dating back to their days at Robert Yates Racing when Baldwin served as crew chief for Sadler. "This is a great opportunity for me and everyone affiliated with Tommy Baldwin Racing ," said Sadler. "I love the Daytona 500 and to have Tommy and Golden Corral offer me this opportunity is awesome. Tommy and I have known each other a long time. We actually won a qualifying race for the Daytona 500 together back in 2006. We're gonna rekindle some of that magic and work our tails off to get our car in the race. I know Tommy is putting a lot of effort into this and we're gonna go out and get the best result we possibly can for him and TBR's partners." Golden Corral returns for their seventh season together and will bring back their popular 'Top 10 Kids Eat Free' promotion. If Elliott Sadler finishes in the top-10 at Daytona , kids 10 and under will eat free at Golden Corral restaurants nationwide on Monday, February 27th. "We are excited to be working with Tommy Baldwin Racing for the seventh season," said Shelley Wolford, Vice President of National Marketing and Media at Golden Corral. "We will be cheering Elliott on to qualify at Daytona and then race for a Top 10 Kids Eat Free finish." "We look forward to having Elliott join TBR and Golden Corral for the upcoming Daytona 500 ," said team owner Tommy Baldwin. "Elliott has always been a strong restrictor plate racer which makes this a great opportunity for everyone involved. We know our fans look forward to the 'Top10 Kids Eat Free' promotion every year so we want to capitalize on that and finish the Daytona 500 strong."
Report: Gaughan to attempt to qualify for Daytona 500
RELATED: Buy tickets for Daytona Brendan Gaughan has not made a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start since 2015, but the veteran racer is attempting to qualify for the 2017 Daytona 500 (Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal . Gaughan told the newspaper that he will be driving the car Michael McDowell (the No. 59 for Leavine Family Racing ) piloted to a 15th-place finish in last year's race with Mark Beard as the car owner. Beard made two starts in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series in the 1980s and has been a car owner in both the XFINITY Series and ARCA Racing Series. "They bought the old Leavine car, they've hired ECR to do motors -- real racing motors -- and they asked if I would be interested," Gaughan said. "So it's got Richard Childress motors, and I'm going to have a Richard Childress pit crew -- my guys -- and so we're going to the Daytona 500 and see if we can qualify." Gaughan will be driving for a team that does not have a charter, meaning he will have to qualify his way into the "Great American Race" via qualifying speeds and/or the Can-Am Duel races. Fellow NASCAR XFINITY Series competitor Elliott Sadler will be driving an open entry for Tommy Baldwin Racing in attempt to make the race as well. RELATED: Sadler teams up with TBR for Daytona 500 attempt Should the 41-year-old Gaughan make the race, it will be his second start in the sport's season-opening event. He finished 19th in the 2004 edition of the race. Gaughan is set to compete full time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2017. The campaign will mark his fourth straight season in the No. 62 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing . Last year, he posted a career-best 16 top 10s in the series.
New NASCAR.com homepage improves mobile, live-event experience
Editor's note: Visual brand representation was completed before announcement of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and new brand identity. NASCAR.com's homepage has been redesigned with mobile and live events in mind. The new look and functionality improves the user experience by taking fans to the track and the news of the day on any device, wherever they are. The more visual layout presents top stories, videos and photo galleries in a consistent way across computers, tablets and phones. A single homepage highlights news, schedules and standings for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. Races are at the heart of the new NASCAR.com homepage with the new Race Center component, which you can see in the video above. When cars or trucks are on track, find quick links to all the ways to keep track of what's happening in a clean, well-organized format. It's your go-to spot for weekend schedules, live leaderboards and results for all three national series. For now, we have a countdown clock until the start of the 2017 Daytona 500 . Each week, the upcoming track will be featured with facts, photos and ticket links for fans to learn more about that week's venue and see the races live. The new NASCAR.com homepage is now live, so take a look around and soak it all in. Any feedback? Let us know at email@example.com.
Determination, focus drive Martin to Hall of Fame
RELATED: Learn more about the Class of 2017 " Martin's top moments Mark Martin is respected and revered for a 31-year NASCAR racing career that includes 40 Cup victories, 49 XFINITY wins and five heralded IROC championships. He is considered one of the most talented, highly focused and broadly successful competitors in NASCAR history. And later this week, Martin will formally acquire a designation that makes him most proud of all: NASCAR Hall of Famer. "When I'm introduced at a function, now people can call me something, I'll have a title," Martin, 58, said this week with a laugh. "Prior to that, you kind of had to search for a title, although I had done a lot of cool and amazing things in my career." His long list of "cool and amazing things" is what earned Martin this highest of honors. He joins Benny Parsons, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Raymond Parks in this year’s Hall of Fame class and will be formally inducted Friday in Charlotte (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN). RELATED: Parks set early standard " Prolonged excellence Childress' hallmark For Martin, it is a story of supreme determination and talent. In addition to his 40 wins and five championship runner-up finishes in NASCAR's highest level, Martin proved to be one of the series’ most diverse competitors -- ever. He won four GT class championships competing in the Rolex 24 during the 1990s. And his five IROC titles -- and four more runner-up IROC championship finishes -- showed Martin’s great ability bettering the best drivers across all forms of racing from NASCAR to IndyCar to sports cars to sprint cars. It is certainly something that separates and elevates him to the highest of standards through four decades of the best competition in multiple genres. So understandably, Martin had to really think about what in his vast career makes him most proud. "I don't know if there's a single thing," Martin said. "One thing, I would have to say the fact that I made it to NASCAR at such a young age (22). At the time it was an amazingly young age, then I fell on my face and had to go home and start my career again. "So I would say perseverance, if you want to sum it up in one word. Having to start my career all over again and building my way back. Having a second chance is probably the biggest thing." "And the second thing is what I did in the IROC Series." Martin has acknowledged that he was as focused and intense as they came. He was the first driver to seriously incorporate fitness training into his race preparation -- something that may have eased his ability to compete at such a high level even into his 50s. That determination to find an edge was apparent in the garage, even from an early age. He was among the rare drivers to frequently be seen looking into the hood of his car and working alongside the crew. It was the way he was raised by his father Julian, who took great care in guiding his son's passion. There are photos of Martin’s earliest racing days clearly showing how Julian Martin had gone so far to alter his son's first race cars out of love and safety -- mounting the steering wheel in the middle of the car instead of having it on the far left. Dad and son travelled from their native Arkansas throughout the Midwest following the racing dream and they were very close -- now the hard work rewarded with Martin’s long list of achievements and this highest of NASCAR's high honors. Heartbreakingly, Julian was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed in the Nevada mountains in August of 1998, also taking the life of Martin’s stepmother and 11-year old stepsister. Martin remembers immersing himself in competition as best he could to deal with the tragedy. Martin won the night race at Bristol two weeks after losing his father. Immediately after climbing out of his car in Victory Lane, he emotionally thanked the race fans for "their sympathy, love and support" saying their "love for our family has meant everything." "I felt it was my obligation and responsibility to go racing and that's what my dad would have wanted," Martin acknowledged last week. "It was tough, but it would have been tough sitting on a couch in a daze, too. "To me, racing was sort of a responsibility that I had. I felt responsibility toward the 50 or 100 people that supported the (then-Roush Racing) 6-car and a responsibility to race. I just didn't feel like missing a race because I was grieving. … To me, at the time, it just didn't seem like the right thing to do. "It did help me cope with the horrendous loss I was experiencing because I did have to pick up and go racing." And for Martin, the success he would later experience in the second half of his career is as impressive and inspiring as anything he accomplished. He came as close as he ever had to winning the Daytona 500 in 2007, losing the race to Kevin Harvick by a mere 0.02-seconds -- a hood-length -- in a photo finish that marked Martin’s best ever showing in the Great American Race. RELATED: Closest finishes in the history of the Great American Race Two years later, at the age of 50, Martin challenged Jimmie Johnson for what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, winning five races and claiming seven pole positions. Martin led the standings after each of the opening three Chase races, only to finish runner-up to Johnson, a seven-time winner on the year. It marked the fifth and final time Martin was a championship runner-up in an amazing 20-year span of his career. It is a remarkable accomplishment and something he says he is at last comfortable enjoying, free of any near-miss regret. "I never scored enough points to win one, and that's that," Martin said, when asked about it last week. "I would have won one if I had scored more points than anyone else. … and I let that take an enormous amount of joy (from me). "It's something I let go of and I refuse to allow that to rob me of joy. I have a lot to be thankful of, be grateful for. I accomplished a lot in my career and I’m not sour about the things I didn't accomplish." The attitude accompanies good reason -- because by all standards Martin accomplished so much and is admired by so many. Later this week, he will be fittingly celebrated in all the glory he deserves for a career that showed everyone what hard work and mental focus could produce. Forever more, Mark Martin shall be known and introduced as a NASCAR Hall of Famer. "It means more than anything I achieved while I was racing because I was so busy racing, anything I achieved I never paid attention to," Martin said. "I was just storming ahead worried about how I would win the next race. "Now that I've had some time to soak it in, it's the last big deal, the big win, the crown jewel of my career. "Don't forget the people in the Hall of Fame are my heroes, the founders of the sport, the real men that did it with their bare hands. I'm a little bit uncomfortable going in there with them, to be honest with you, because I don't feel like I belong in that kind of company." Perhaps once he stands on stage -- properly celebrated and duly honored -- Martin will accept that he is absolutely a part of that good company. The best. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Joey Gase to drive in Daytona 500 for BK Racing
BK Racing has announced a multiple race partnership with Best Home Furnishings to sponsor the No. 23 BK Racing Toyota Camry with driver, Joey Gase . The Best Home Furnishings Toyota will be on track at the Daytona 500 in February, the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway and additional races throughout the 2017 season. The Daytona 500 will be Gase's first race with BK Racing . "We're thrilled to have Joey and Best Home Furnishings, one of the largest furniture manufacturers, join us for the Daytona 500 in February," said BK Racing team owner Ron Devine. "It is the largest race of our series and a wonderful event for Joey to debut his BK Racing relationship. We've been watching Joey's growth for quite some time and looking forward to seeing what he can do behind the wheel of a BK Race car." "I cannot put into words how thankful I am for the opportunity everyone at Best Home Furnishings and BK Racing has given me," said driver Joey Gase . "Racing in the Daytona 500 and the Bristol night race has been a dream of mine since I can remember. It's very exciting to share this experience with everyone at Best Home Furnishings and those who have helped me get to this point in my career." Best Home Furnishings is becoming one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the world. With five locations throughout the US and over 1,000 employees they have a very simple theme, make the best quality product at the most affordable price. "We are thrilled to be partnering with BK Racing and Joey Gase ," said Glenn Lange, CEO of Best Home Furnishings. "Joey is a young, energetic and up-and-coming driver who has shown to be competitive from an early age. His heavy involvement with the non-profit, Donate Life exemplifies our shared values and passion to exude excellence in all facets of our business and personal lives." "Our family has been involved with the collection of classic and sports cars for decades. To have our company's name as a primary sponsor on a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car is a dream come true," said Lange. The decision for Best Home Furnishing to enter the sport of NASCAR was quite simple. "NASCAR has some of the most loyal, passionate fan bases amongst the major U.S. sports scenes," Lange said. "The cross section of this fan base also happens to align with our desirable furniture demographic." Gase sums up this relationship perfectly, stating, "It is awesome to say I will be 1 of the 40 drivers in the world racing in the 2017 Daytona 500 driving for BK Racing and Best Home Furnishings." &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Dale Jr. medically cleared, will run 2017 Daytona 500
Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Dale Earnhardt Jr., two-time Daytona 500 winner, has been medically cleared to return to NASCAR competition in the 2017 Daytona 500 .
UNOH, Daytona announce multi-year partnership
Daytona International Speedway announced today a multi-year partnership with University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) for the school to secure the naming rights of the Fanzone, the 211,636-square foot entertainment hub located in the infield of the "World Center of Racing." UNOH, located in Lima, Ohio, invented the first high-performance motorsports degree program in the country, and in 2006, opened the largest U.S. facility dedicated to learning the science of high-performance vehicles – a seven-acre, 70,000-square foot high performance motorsports complex. The UNOH Fanzone, which first opened in 2005 at the "World Center of Racing," is located between the NASCAR premier series garages and NASCAR XFINITY Series garages and puts fans in the middle of the event action with fan forums, historic displays, autograph sessions, entertainment and merchandise as well as access to pre-race activities. Other amenities include the Fan Deck on top of the NASCAR premier series garages and garage viewing windows with autograph slots. "We're excited to continue to grow our relationship with the University of Northwestern Ohio," Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. "UNOH is widely recognized throughout the country for their motorsports degree program. We look forward to them engaging with our fans in the UNOH Fanzone, which delivers the most fan-friendly, hands-on experience in all of motorsports." "We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Daytona International Speedway and have another venue to share with motorsports fans the unique educational opportunity students can get at the University of Northwestern Ohio," UNOH president, Dr. Jeffrey A. Jarvis said. "Students from all 50 states and 49 countries have attended the University and we have UNOH graduates working in all facets of motorsports from dirt-track teams all the way up through NASCAR to NHRA and beyond. The UNOH Fanzone experience will bring to life what our students experience in the classroom and shop every day." UNOH will also continue to serve as the Official Education Partner of Daytona International Speedway and have an on-site marketing presence at the facility including event signage, display space, tickets and hospitality. Financial terms were not disclosed. In 1992, UNOH invented the first high-performance motorsports degree program in the country and has since been training students with the latest technology available in the industry. Students receive first-hand motorsports mechanical training from instructors who’ve spent years in the field. Tickets for the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 and other Speedweeks events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter , Facebook , Instagram , Pinterest , YouTube and Snapchat (username: DISupdates), and by downloading Daytona International Speedway 's mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
Rick Hendrick: Dale Jr. 'on track' for Daytona 500
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Team owner Rick Hendrick shed light Friday on Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s timetable to return to NASCAR competition, saying he anticipated his driver to be on pace to compete in time for the 2017 Daytona 500 . Earnhardt Jr., 42, has been sidelined from the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet since July after two severe crashes left him with concussion-like symptoms. He was ruled out for the remainder of the Sprint Cup season in September. "I think sometime in December the doctor's going to give him the final clearance and then we'll get him in a car," Hendrick said Friday after a news conference with the Sprint Cup Championship 4 car owners at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "He feels great. Everything's on track. I mean, every step that we supposedly need to go through, we've gone through, and I don't see anything holding us back." Earnhardt, who has been working on rehabilitation of his neurological conditions since this summer, reiterated that intention last month at Martinsville Speedway , saying in a pre-race interview that "we're booking things as normal" ahead of the 2017 season. That included sponsorship plans, photo shoots and other logistical agreements in preparation for next year. But Earnhardt Jr. also indicated he was eager to return to NASCAR's premier series, something Hendrick reaffirmed Friday. "He sent me a text the other day that he was excited and waiting for Daytona ," Hendrick said. "I think we've just got a couple more hurdles to clear." Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman have split time in Earnhardt's No. 88 this season, with Gordon filling in for eight races and Bowman set to make his 10th start of the year in Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Gordon has indicated that he's likely to resume his retirement from racing next season unless called upon by Hendrick. As for Bowman, the 23-year-old racer who competes part-time in the XFINITY Series has said he's still uncertain what his driving responsibilities -- beyond simulator work for Hendrick's team -- will be in 2017. Friday, Hendrick was uncertain as well. "Alex is a good guy. He's helped us in a lot of ways," Hendrick said. "We're just kind of taking that one a day at a time. He's done testing for us, he's done simulation for us and he's really done a good job. We're just kind of taking it a day at a time. We don't really have any certain plan." &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Tire limits, plate-race tweaks among 2017 rules updates
RELATED: Driver Tracker " Photo gallery: Who's on the move for 2017 NASCAR competition officials issued memos detailing rule book changes for the 2017 season in its three national series, including limits on tire allocation, restrictor-plate and spoiler size, and an allowance for drivers to use biometric devices. The 80 total pages of revisions released Friday afternoon pertain to Sections 20 (Vehicle and Driver Safety specifications) and 21 (Pit Equipment and Crew Safety specifications) across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series . Among the highlights in the rules updates: • NASCAR set its regulations on tire allocation for all three series in 2017. In the Monster Energy Cup Series, the number of tire sets available to teams per event dropped for 28 of the 36 points-paying races. Tracks with two or three fewer set of tires allowed next season: Homestead (three fewer sets), Daytona ( 500 only, two fewer sets), Phoenix (two fewer sets for both races), Martinsville (two fewer sets for both races), Bristol (two fewer sets for both races), Kansas (two fewer sets for both races), Auto Club (two fewer sets), Kentucky (two fewer sets) and Chicagoland (two fewer sets). Tracks with one fewer set of tires allowed next season: Michigan (both races), Atlanta, Las Vegas, Texas (both races), Dover (both races), Charlotte (both races), Indianapolis, Pocono (both races) and Richmond (both races). • In 2017, Monster Energy Cup teams will be required to start the race on the tires they used in Coors Light Pole Qualifying. This change does not apply to the XFINITY or Camping World Truck Series. • Drivers in all three series may use biometrics devices in their vehicles in 2017. The wrist-worn health tracking devices may not transmit data, may not connect to the vehicle in any way and must operate on an internal battery. Devices eligible for use are certain models made by Garmin, Misfit, Polar, Samsung, Tom Tom and Jawbone. • The 2017 aerodynamic package for non-restrictor plate tracks in the Monster Energy Cup Series will feature a shortened rear spoiler, measuring 2.35 inches tall. The standard rear-spoiler height for premier series teams last season was 3.5 inches, with a 2.5-inch tall spoiler used at Kentucky and both Michigan races as auditions for this season. • For superspeedway events at Daytona and Talladega, the restrictor plate opening will be smaller by 1/64 of an inch -- reduced from 57/64 to 7/8. The change affects only the Monster Energy Cup and XFINITY series for those two tracks. • Additional safety guidelines were issued for restrictor-plate events for Monster Energy Cup and XFINITY teams. Among them, the previously optional roof hatch is now mandatory as an alternate escape route. Competition officials have also required the use of energy-absorbing materials to strengthen the area occupied by the drivers' feet in the cockpit. • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will be required to carry a roof-mounted camera assembly at all times, whether in use by broadcast partner networks or not.
Gordon: SHR reached out before Daytona 500
RELATED: Full schedule for Indianapolis " Gordon through the years SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Jeff Gordon 's "un-retirement" from competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series began in earnest Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The four-time Sprint Cup Series champion is filling in for Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Indianapolis and next weekend at Pocono Raceway while Earnhardt recovers from concussion-like symptoms. Almost as surprising as Gordon's return to the driver's seat -- he retired from full-time competition after the 2015 season -- was his disclosure that he had been approached about filling in for the injured Tony Stewart in this year's Daytona 500 . Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet and co-owner of the four-car organization, missed the first eight races after suffering a broken back in an off-road driving incident prior to the start of the 2016 season. Gordon's role as a FOX NASCAR analyst (the network provides coverage of the season's first 16 points races) prohibited him from returning to competition. "The crazy thing about all of this (is) I was asked to drive Tony Stewart 's car in Daytona to start the season," Gordon said Friday. "I wasn't able to do it because of my commitments to FOX. Now Rick (Hendrick, team owner) has some amazing ways to convince people into things that the average person might not be able to. I don't know, maybe he could have called Eric Shanks or something, but no, I don't think so." Shanks is President, COO and Executive Producer of FOX Sports. Stewart is competing in his final season as a driver. Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard will be his final appearance at the famed 2.5-mile track, where he has earned two of his 49 career victories. That Gordon was asked about filling in earlier this season was news to Stewart. "I wasn't (aware)," Stewart said, "but that would have been awesome. That probably would have been one of the coolest things to happen this season. If that happened, I would have been all for it. … "I wasn't aware of that, but that would have been a really cool deal for us." MORE: Dale Jr. out, Gordon in No. 88 at Indianapolis, Pocono