Exxon Mobil's US Motorsports Manager Bob Greenberg congratulates Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick for winning the Driver of the Year award in the NASCAR Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series.
NCWTS crew member Marshal Faust suspended indefinitely DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Marshal Faust, a crew member in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s Substance Abuse Policy. On Dec. 12, 2014, Faust was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the 2014 NASCAR Rule Book. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
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NASCAR COO highlights SportsBusiness Journal Motorsports Marketing Forum LAS VEGAS -- Brent Dewar has a unique perspective when it comes to recognizing the progress NASCAR has made over the past year. After a 30-year career at General Motors, where he retired in 2010 as senior vice president of global Chevrolet, Dewar came to NASCAR a year ago as chief operating officer. In the past 12 months, Dewar has gotten a first-hand look at the inner workings of a sanctioning body he once viewed from a markedly different perspective as the representative of an OEM. "Five years ago, when I left General Motors, I met with Brian France, and he talked about his vision of where he wanted the sport to go," Dewar said Tuesday on the opening day of the NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal at the Aria. "And he talked about technology and change and driving new fans and being more open and transparent and things of that nature. "I remember thinking at the time, 'Wow! Good luck with that, Brian.' "I went off and (did) some other things for a few years, and it's really gratifying to see, five years later, some of the things Brian talked to me about at that lunchtime in New York are really coming to bear." Dewar answered a multitude of questions in a session titled "Fireside Chat: A Year in Review and the Plan Moving Forward," but much of what he addressed was the positive response to the new elimination-style Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format introduced this year. As Dewar pointed out, this year's playoff succeeded not only in attracting new fans to the sport but also in recovering what he termed "lapsed fans," as the buzz around the Chase reached critical mass. In addition, the intensity of the competition in the Chase enhanced the fundamental nature of the competition itself. "In my first weeks at NASCAR, we were rolling out the concept to the teams," Dewar said. "Brian France, he was the brainchild of the change... He approached the drivers about 'Listen, you guys aren't racing hard enough,' and a number of them, really, said, 'That's not true -- we race every weekend, we race to win.' "And he said, 'Look, guys, I'm not a race car driver…' But you take Brian, who's been around the sport since he was a child, with his father and grandfather, and he felt and saw a difference. And this format really brought that out." EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY It's easy to enumerate a long list of technological innovations in NASCAR racing -- from the NASCAR Green agenda to the Fan and Media Engagement Center to the Air Titan track-drying system to the online rulebook and parts database -- but one of the most innovative changes is yet to come, according to NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell. "Next year, starting at Daytona, we'll be implementing technology as a referee in our sport," O'Donnell said Wednesday at the NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum. Not only will race officials have a database at their disposal for inspections, but calls on pit road also will be made based on real-time video observation of every aspect of a pit stop. "We believe we'll be the first sport to incorporate technology in every second of every race," O'Donnell said. "Everything will be under review." From May on, NASCAR ran the "technological refereeing" as a redundant system to the human officiating. O'Donnell said the Chase race at Phoenix would have yielded 75 penalties on the technological side, for example, something the sanctioning body will have to address with the teams. Accordingly, NASCAR is taking crew chiefs and pit crew coaches through the system next week to familiarize them with the new "referee" before the system goes live at Daytona. TOYOTA CELEBRATES 10th ANNIVERSARY Toyota may be the most recent manufacturer to join the NASCAR ranks, but Keith Dahl, the automaker's corporate manager of motorsports and engagement marketing, doesn't consider the brand the new kid on the block any more. In fact, in terms of its presence in the sport, Toyota, which debuted in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2004, has come a long way since its first foray into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the 2007 Daytona 500 . There, Toyota's activation of the brand took place in the parking lot of the now-defunct Cancun Lagoon restaurant across from the speedway. Today, Toyota maintains an increasingly pervasive presence in the sport, with race entitlements, official pace cars and such partnerships with NASCAR as "Chase Grid Live" in Chicago and official truck status for the Air Titan track-drying system. For Dahl, of course, the bottom line in NASCAR marketing is driving showroom traffic and increasing opinion and purchase consideration among NASCAR fans. "We are delighted with NASCAR's partnership," Dahl said. "It's opened up a lot of doors for us. It's a substantial part of our investment, but it's an easy business case to make." 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
Michael Waltrip Racing driver had surgery to repair a hole in his heart Brian Vickers will sit out the early portions of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season because of health issues, his Michael Waltrip Racing team announced Monday afternoon. In a statement released by the team, Vickers said he had surgery Saturday to repair a patch covering a hole in his heart. Complications from blood clots have sidelined the 31-year-old driver twice in his career -- for most of the 2010 season and for the latter stages of his part-time schedule in 2013. "First, I want to thank everyone for their sincere support," Vickers said in a statement. "I have faced obstacles before and it has made victory that much sweeter and I know that will be the case again. "My previous experiences have given me a very keen understanding of my body. Late last week, I knew something wasn't right, so I went to the hospital to be checked out. Following several tests, it was discovered that my body was rejecting an artificial patch that was inserted in 2010 to fix a hole in my heart. Saturday, I had to have corrective surgery to repair the hole and now I am beginning the recovery process. I will need plenty of time, rest and rehab but this temporary setback will not stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion." Michael Waltrip Racing did not mention a specific length of time that Vickers would be out of the cockpit. The team release also didn't specify a potential substitute driver for the No. 55 Toyota. "Brian has been a part of the MWR family since 2012 and our thoughts today are with Brian, his wife Sarah and the Vickers family," said Rob Kauffman, the team's co-owner with Michael Waltrip . "As a race team, MWR has plenty to consider and we will confer with our partners, including Aaron’s and Toyota. As this is fresh news, we will adjust our future plans as more information becomes available." Vickers made his first start in NASCAR's premier series in 2003, the year he won the championship in what will become the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015. Vickers has three victories in NASCAR's top division, his most recent coming with Waltrip's team at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July 2013. 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
Fans are invited to attend event on January 31 Come one, come all. NASCAR's annual Fan Appreciation Day will take place Saturday, January 31. The event will run all day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fans are encouraged to come out to the free event and experience the history and heritage of NASCAR throughout the Hall's unique and interactive exhibits. In addition, fans will have the opportunity to see some of their favorite NASCAR drivers, NASCAR Hall of Famers and other special guests. Check back on Jan. 12 for the driver Q&A and autograph schedule. Reservations for autograph sessions will be available on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 10 a.m. ET 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
Take a look back at some of the most candid moments as drivers and celebrities made their way through the media center in 2014.
Richard and Kyle Petty honored for their work as Victory Junction turns 10 RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Weave your way through Randleman, North Carolina, past its verdant pastures and timeworn gas stations, and you'll happen upon a magical place. About four miles outside town, a stone's throw from Richard Petty's residence, you’ll find Victory Junction. But it might as well be at the intersection of healing and hope. The 80-acre camp, situated on land that Petty roamed as a child before donating it a dozen years ago, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Since it opened in 2004, Victory Junction has enriched the lives of children with serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences at no cost to them or their families. It has also honored the memory of Adam Petty in a most fitting way. Due to that incredible achievement, NASCAR Illustrated is naming Richard and Kyle Petty the 2014 Persons Of The Year. Although they would surely prefer the award go to the thousands of people who have helped turn Adam's idea into reality, we honor these two for their tireless efforts and singular contribution to children. Grandson of Richard and son of Kyle, Adam developed the idea of this camp. The notion came to him some two years before his death in an accident at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2000. Shortly after, the seed that Adam had planted started to take root. "This was just land that I grew up on," Richard Petty said recently. "We brought four-wheelers over here and went hunting and all this kind of stuff, so we knew the land. We had some boys from [ Richmond International Raceway developer] Hugh Hawthorne and he brought a bunch of guys down from Richmond. Dale Inman [long-time Petty crew chief] got on a bulldozer, never been on a bulldozer before, and just cleaned everything. For two years, they just cleaned everything trying to get things lined up." On a recent, resplendent autumn day, the King gazed out on the finished camp, taking stock of just how far it had come. "The place really looks good now because it looks like it belongs here," he said. "When we done it to begin with, it was pretty but it was naked. Now everything's hidden. Beautiful place, man." This is true both literally and figuratively. Victory Junction has welcomed more than 20,000 children and family members from all 50 states and several foreign countries in its first decade of operation. It has succeeded in its mission to create a place that fosters independence, confidence and continuous growth after camp to better the quality of life for children. Adam's legacy is palpable on these healing grounds. "I think you feel his presence," Kyle said of his son. "I've said it before: I see Adam in every child that comes through here in their smile. Adam had a huge smile. So when you see these kids laugh and smile, then yeah, you do feel closer." Victory Junction has always relied on and benefitted from the generosity of its extended NASCAR family. The Pettys started this journey with little more than Adam's vision and a belief that it was meant to be. There were only fields and dreams in the beginning. "We went out then to race fans, to the tracks, to NASCAR, everybody, and said, 'This is what we're gonna do,' " Richard said. "We started with no money; we just started it and said, 'We're gonna do it and they will come.' As you were able to show what you was doing here, then more people came and more people got involved." Evidence of that largesse is everywhere -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s Corral and Amphitheater, Kurt Busch 's Superdome, Michael Waltrip 's SportsCenter and Jimmie Johnson 's Victory Lanes bowling alley among others. "It's been that trickle-down effect," Kyle said. "The first two guys that really helped us here were Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett, really made a commitment and said, 'Let us do something.' Since then, just about everybody (among drivers). That's all cool and that was big and they built a big building and donated and gave their time and effort to raise their funds and awareness. "But it's the fan that sends $4.50 a month or $45 a year that really keeps the camp going. "So, that's the base. The base is the fan base. Just like the same guys, men and women and kids that go to race tracks all over and pull for Tony Stewart or Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon . They're the people that keep camp alive." Victory Junction Chief Development Officer Mark Schumacher joined the camp this year and only recently realized that his professional and personal lives had crossed without him knowing years earlier. Schumacher's son, a cancer survivor, was a camper at Camp Boggy Creek in Orlando, Florida, in 1998. That year, wildfires ravaged the Daytona Beach area and forced NASCAR to postpone the July race to October. As fate would have it, the Pettys visited Camp Boggy Creek that fall and that is when Adam hatched his idea. He left thinking: Instead of visiting kids in hospitals, as the Pettys had done with the annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride to that point, why not bring the kids to a camp in North Carolina? Schumacher's son's experience -- both good and bad -- helped make the move to Victory Junction a no-brainer. "He said it was the best time of my life during the worst time of my life," Schumacher said. "If that doesn't say it for you, nothing does. We just all believe one thing: A child needs to be a child. This is where they can do that. We're just bringing to them what every other child enjoys. That is what drives everybody on this team." Forged out of loss and sadness, Victory Junction has blossomed over time into a place of great joy. Schumacher sees a common thread running through all the campers that visit. "I think the genesis of this camp and the building of this camp and the experience the campers have is looking at life without a rear-view mirror," he said. "There is nothing we can do to change things. We can't bring Adam Petty back; we can't say to some of these children that your disease, your disability is magically disappearing. But we're not focused on looking back; we're focused on going forward. "So what can we do to make a difference going forward in their lives and how can we make that tragic death of Adam Petty mean something? That's Victory Junction." In the company of others sharing the same condition, kids feel empowered to let their true personalities come out. It's a freedom that -- once discovered -- can liberate these kids from the constraints society places upon them. "When these kids are in school, that's what they're known by is their disease," Kyle said. "That's the little boy in the wheelchair. That's the little boy with spina bifida. That's the little girl that can't play because she has hemophilia or whatever it may be. They become known by their diseases. Here, they are known by their names. Their disease takes the backseat." Victory Junction Camp Director Chris Foster noted that for many campers -- particularly those from small towns or with unique diagnoses -- it's often the first time in their lives being in the presence of others that can relate to what they're going through. The relationships that are formed over the course of a week can last a lifetime. "To come here and spend a week at camp with six or seven other kids in the cabin that have the same diagnosis as you is something they've never experienced in their whole life, and they get to feel normal and just play and be a kid," Foster said. "We don't like to focus on the diagnosis at all. We really just like to focus on the child and allow them to have that great experience. But in the real world, sometimes they are labeled by diagnosis." Michael Deal, who made his sixth visit to Victory Junction this summer, is one of many campers that return to the camp each year. "One of my good friends behind me, Zach, we both have Chrohn's [a bowel disease]," Deal said. "It's just we've been coming here so many years and almost been in the same cabin every time. We're basically best friends. We've done everything together. It's just a lot of fun. Here you can just let it all out. At home, you're afraid if people are going to tease you or make fun of you. And here, you can just talk about it and everybody will understand." In its first decade, Victory Junction has helped thousands of kids like Deal understand, heal and move forward on their way to better lives. Richard Petty, fond of using the word "deal" in everyday conversation, invoked the word to describe what makes this place truly special. "The deal is when you think about being here 10 years and seeing 20,000 kids that wouldn't get a chance to do anything like this," he said. "They can't go to church camp or YMCA camp or anything like that. But they can come here for five or six days and they see people that -- they think they're the only one in the world that's afflicted like that -- they come here and there's another 125 kids just like them. They join the world." The patriarch of the Petty family noted that he’d been blessed with four children, 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. His singular success in stock car racing afforded fame, fortune and worldwide acclaim. And yet, at 77, you get the suspicion that what's been built in the rolling hills of Randleman will mean more to him in the end. "This is the place that I come and I look around and say, 'Thank you, good Lord, for letting me be in this position to try to help all these other kids,' " he said. "To me, that's basically what it's all about." For Kyle Petty, the loss of his son served as prelude to healing on a grander scale than any of the family members could have imagined. He was asked what Adam would think, how he might feel, about the number of lives that have been so positively impacted by Victory Junction since it opened. "It's been like dropping not a pebble in still water, it's been like dropping a boulder in still water with the ripple effect and how it continues to just overwhelm you," he said. "I think from that perspective, he would be like us. He would just be humbled by the fact that the boulder that was dropped in the water was him, but when you look at it, the ripple effect still continues this much later." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski, along with many other members of the NASCAR community, help The F-Post spread a little holiday cheer.
Jay Mohr roasts 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion before giving him his due RELATED: See all the driver speeches " View the Red Carpet Arrivals LAS VEGAS -- The spot at the head table at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards was all Kevin Harvick 's, with wife DeLana and 2-year-old son Keelan joining the Stewart-Haas Racing group in the celebration. The only problem was that host Jay Mohr had become accustomed to finding six-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Co. to his right, jokingly mistaking the Harvicks' identity. The jokes came fast and heavy in Friday night's awards gala at the Wynn Las Vegas with first-time champion Harvick not immune from Mohr's skewering. But there were also moments of sincerity among the levity as a family photo of father, mother and young son cherishing their victory moment was shown on the screen. "It's pictures like this that show you what NASCAR is all about," Mohr said. "And we all know in this room, it's about family. This is a family, and Kevin Harvick , my friend, what better way to celebrate your first Sprint Cup Series championship than here tonight being honored by your NASCAR family." Harvick's closing kick to the season, with wins in the final two races of 2014, captivated fans and the industry in the first year of the new playoff format, but so did the season-long show of speed that made his No. 4 Chevrolet the car to watch nearly every single weekend. Friday night, he gave his words of thanks after a well-earned first title. "From a kid in Bakersfield who just wanted to race," Harvick said, "just wanted to live out his dream, just for fun, did it as a hobby, this season has been a dream come true." With this season's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field expanded under the new format, all 16 qualifiers walked the red carpet and were honored on stage at the black-tie event. Almost all took some good-natured ribbing from the comedian/host. Mohr initially opened up with the promise of a "kindler, gentler" monologue after last season's stint as presenter got him on Danica Patrick 's bad side. This year, the targets were wide-ranging -- everything from NASCAR's winner stickers, Joey Logano 's pit-crew misstep in the championship race and Michael Waltrip 's tenure on "Dancing with the Stars" made the joke list. Brad Keselowski , who netted the most victories in the 2014 season (six) but also made the most waves in the Chase with a handful of well-publicized run-ins late in the year, saw his turn into NASCAR's pre-eminent villain among fans make him an easy target. "In Kentucky, Brad Keselowski cut his hand in Victory Lane opening a bottle of champagne," Mohr said. "Even booze hates Brad Keselowski . " Keselowski took the joke well. "I think he's just great. He puts us all back down," Keselowski said. "Sometimes we get stuck in -- it kind of reminds me of 'Talladega Nights' -- we kind of get stuck in this place where we put ourselves. Jay does a good job of knocking us back down and putting it in perspective that we're race car drivers, right?" Gordon, the four-time champion at age 43, was the oldest driver in the Chase, leading Mohr to list his season statistics as "four wins, 23 top-10s and five cases of Ensure." The age jokes were a continuation of the barbs from the previous night's NASCAR After the Lap tell-all, but Gordon didn't seem to mind. "If they were making fun of me and I wasn't here, maybe it would bother me," Gordon said. "The fact that we made it here, you have to be very appreciative of the efforts that got you here and the fact that it is a very competitive series. And I am the oldest guy in the Chase, and I'm proud of that. I don't look at it so much as age -- I've been around a long time. I started at a young age, been doing this a long time, and to still be doing it at the level that I'm doing it, yeah, I don't mind being made fun of ." Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award for the 12th straight year, tipping his cap to his nation of fans for their votes and engagement with him on Twitter. Daniel Noltemeyer of Louisville secured the fourth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, winning a $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation and a 2015 Camry from award sponsor Toyota on behalf of Best Buddies Kentucky, a group that organizes social programs and awareness for people with developmental disabilities. 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