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Chad Knaus accepts Crew Chief of the Year Award
Chad Knaus, crew chief of the No. 48 team, accepts the Crew Chief of the Year Award at the 2016 Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon.
Member of the Month: December
Name: Allison Current City: Salyersville, Kentucky Member since: 2012 Getting to know Allison Q. Why did you join the Official NASCAR Fan Council? "I wanted to have a voice in the sport I love." Q. How did you first become interested in NASCAR? "I was 11 years old and flipping through the channels and I saw this car race on. I stopped flipping the channels and decided to watch because it caught my attention and looked cool. I watched the race until the end and have been hooked on NASCAR ever since. I have always loved cars and racing and things that go fast and wanted to see what this sport was all about." Q. What makes NASCAR special for you? "It is an amazing sport, first of all. NASCAR and the racing community as a whole is a family. We're just one big family and I feel like I am part of that family. When I go to a race I always meet the most amazing people who are just like me. They love this sport and are hardworking people. It is our passion and enjoyment. The fans are the most amazing people you will ever meet. NASCAR is such a fan-friendly sport, more than any other sport out there and that's so amazing. NASCAR does so much for their fans, the military and the community and you won't find that with any other sport." Q: Do you have any favorite NASCAR memories or traditions? "I always go to the Bristol Night Race, It's a tradition and it’s an awesome race. I won a VIP trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway last fall on my birthday thanks to DraftKings. I always play DraftKings on race day. I got a hot pass which let me go to the driver's meeting, I got a pace car ride, I got to watch the race from the pits and I was there by the stairs for driver intros and got to meet a lot of drivers including my driver and role model, Jeff Gordon , who autographed my hat. That meant a lot to me. I had an amazing time and I will never ever forget that." Q: Do you have a favorite in any of the following categories? Driver: " Jeff Gordon ." Tracks: " Pocono Raceway ." Memorabilia: "My autographed Jeff Gordon hat." Q: If you could go to any NASCAR race/track, where would you go? "Watkins Glen and Martinsville." Q: What do you like to do in your free time? "Watch NASCAR, hang out with good friends and ride trails around home on ATVs." Q: Tell us about your family. Do you have children and/or pets? "I'm married to a man named William. I have one daughter who will be 16 in August named Alexandria. I have two rotten dachshunds named Weenie and Libby. I have two coonhounds named Willie and Morris, an Australian shepherd named Molly and a mix named Mickey. I work as a Veterinarian Technician so I have a lot of fur babies, some that are rescues." Q: What's your dream car? "A Z06 Corvette" From all of us at NASCAR, we thank Allison for her continued support and look forward to hearing from her in 2016.
Top pit crews of 2016 as voted on by coaches
RELATED: Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew When we decided to start the All Pit Road Team five years ago we wanted to make it as legit as possible. In the past, we had crew members vote on who they thought were the best of the best. This year we changed it up a bit and sent out a ballot to each organization and had one coach's ballot turned back in from each organization. We had a great response from the coaches, and below are the crewmen who were selected. Just like last year, only members of the 16 Chase pit crews were eligible for the awards. If there was a tie in voting, the crewman whose team finished highest in the points won. Front Tire Changer First Team: No. 41 Shane Pipala (5) Second Team: No. 2 Hunter Masling (5) Third Team: No. 11 Dustin Necaise (4) Honorable Mention: No. 19 Clay Robinson (3) Front Tire Carrier First Team: No. 19 Kevin Harris (4) Second Team: No. 22 Dylan Dowell (3) Third Team: No. 11 Brandon Pegram (3) Honorable Mention: No. 2 Jeremy Ogles (3) Jackman First Team: No. 22 Ray Gallahan (4) Second Team: No. 11 Nate Bolling (4) Third Team: No. 42 Graham Molatch (4) Honorable Mention: No. 41 Sean Cotten (3) Rear Tire Changer First Team: No. 11 Mike Hicks (7) Second Team: No. 22 Zach Price (4) Third Team: No. 18 Jake Seminara (4) Honorable Mention: No. 19 Kip Wolfmeir (3) Rear Tire Carrier First Team: No. 11 Heath Cherry (4) Second Team: No. 19 Matt Ver Meer (3) Third Team: No. 20 Blake Haugland (3) Honorable Mention: No. 41 Dwayne Moore (3) Gasman First Team: No. 11 Caleb Hurd (4) Second Team: No. 22 Kellen Mills (2) Third Team: No. 18 Tom Lampe (2) Honorable Mention: No. 41 Justin Wilson (2) Pit Crew of the year (Voted on by pit crew coaches) Joey Logano , Team Penske No. 22 (5) Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 (4) Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 (4) Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year (Voted on by crew chiefs) Jimmie Johnson , Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com.
Kyle Busch named Mobil 1 Driver of the Year
Kyle Busch accepts the Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award at the 2016 Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon.
Elliott accepts Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award
Chase Elliott accepts the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award at the Myers Brothers Awards Banquet in Las Vegas.
Se7en: Johnson gets his 'six-pack' of trophies
Watch as Jimmie Johnson wins his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17th, 2013.
Sammy Johns joins RCR as operations director
Sammy Johns has joined Richard Childress Racing (RCR) as the new operations director for the Welcome, North Carolina, racing organization. Johns will report directly to Dr. Eric Warren, director of competition for RCR. "I have known and worked closely with Sammy since 2001 in a variety of teams and roles," said Warren. "He is well rounded and understands the sport from multiple perspectives. He has the hands-on experience of a crew chief along with the understanding of what it takes to build a modern, technical racing organization capable of winning races in today's competitive environment." Johns will take on an integral role at RCR managing and coordinating the manufacturing and car assembly processes, along with overseeing the crew chiefs and general execution of the race teams. RCR's Technical Director, Mike Coughlan, will continue to focus the engineering department on improving the performance of the cars and the ability to create and use data for a competitive advantage. The Lakeland, Florida, native began his racing career at local short tracks before being named crew chief at Andy Petree Racing. From there, Johns shifted gears and joined Evernham Motorsports as director of competition. He remained a permanent fixture within the organization through 2009 when the company officially became Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). Johns transitioned into a new role of vice president of operations with RPM and resumed his title until earlier this year. "I am grateful for the opportunity to join such an iconic sports organization in Richard Childress Racing ," Johns said. "The level of engineering and technical expertise at RCR is second-to-none, and I look forward to contributing my knowledge and capabilities to helping this team succeed in 2017 and beyond."
Bristol, Food City launch Tenn. wildfire relief effort
Bristol Motor Speedway announced a fund drive Wednesday to assist wildfire relief efforts in nearby Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the surrounding areas. The initiative was made in conjunction with longtime track sponsor Food City, which made a $50,000 donation to the Gatlinburg/Sevier County Relief Fund. Bristol announced that the Medallion Campground area would be opened free of charge to displaced campers and RV drivers. The .533-mile track also indicated it would collect donations during its annual Speedway in Lights holiday display through Jan. 7. The speedway also said it would match all proceeds raised during Thursday's holiday exhibition. "While we can't undo the damage from wildfires, we can all play a major role in relief efforts by donating money," Bristol executive vice president and general manager Jerry Caldwell said in a release provided by the track. "Gatlinburg and Sevier County hold a special place in the hearts of NASCAR fans, Food City and all of us at Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway. When you visit the Speedway this holiday season, we encourage you to bring along a little something extra to help our neighbors in need." Food City announced that it would accept cash contributions at participating stores from Dec. 1-7. The Abingdon, Virginia-based supermarket chain also delivered a tractor-trailer full of beverages to relief workers and others in need. Tennessee authorities have confirmed four deaths in the widespread blaze, which has burned approximately 15,000 acres this week. Emergency officials said that nearly 14,000 residents and visitors were evacuated from the Gatlinburg area by Monday.
Mark Martin tabbed for NMPA Hall of Fame
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Mark Martin, winner of 40 NASCAR premier series races and a runner-up in the championship battle on five occasions, has been selected for induction into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame. Martin, 57, will be inducted Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. He was named on 95 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership. The Batesville, Arkansas, native competed in NASCAR for more than three decades. His 40 career victories currently rank 17th on the all-time list for the series while his 882 career starts rank fifth overall for the sanctioning body's top series. In addition to his premier series efforts, Martin also enjoyed success in NASCAR's lower national series, winning 49 times in what is now the XFINITY Series and seven times in the Camping World Truck Series. He is also a five-time winner of the IROC (International Race of Champions) title. Others receiving votes but falling short of the required 65 percent necessary for induction were veteran crew chiefs Kirk Shelmerdine (61 percent), Buddy Parrott (59 percent) and Larry McReynolds (51 percent); and long-time Martinsville Speedway public relations director Dick Thompson (59 percent). "Those guys are heroes of mine," Martin said of his fellow nominees. "It is just such an incredible honor to be considered along with them. I feel very fortunate and blessed but most of all I'm thankful. Very thankful." Former statistician Bob Latford and driver Dan Gurney were also named as write-in candidates on this year's Hall of Fame ballot. Martin, who retired from competition following the 2013 season, earned 35 premier series wins with team owner Jack Roush. His final five victories came in 2009 after joining Hendrick Motorsports . Alan Gustafson served as crew chief for Kyle Busch , Jeff Gordon and Martin at Hendrick. He is currently the crew chief for 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Chase Elliott . "Mark drove so much by just raw feel," Gustafson said. "His ability just to flat out drive a car, no markers, no signs no nothing, he was really good at that, which produced some amazing lap times. "We've all seen it. Mark Martin, first lap on the track, is just insane. Because he doesn't have to figure out where he's at, he just drives by feel. He was open to working on things and doing things but he just did it a different way than drivers like Jeff and Kyle and Chase." The National Motorsports Press Association was formed more than 50 years ago and its membership consists of motorsports writers, broadcasters and photographers from throughout the U.S. and abroad. The NMPA Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is located on the grounds of Darlington Raceway .
Sauter puts pieces of puzzle together to win first Truck Series title
RELATED: Full race results " Truck Series Chase Grid " Race recap HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Johnny Sauter remembers well the first time he talked to GMS Racing competition director Mike Beam about making a significant career change. While at the hospital for the birth of his third child in September 2015, Sauter scurried away to the parking deck for a 45-minute chat about driving for the upstart organization. That period in Sauter's life wound up being the rare lightning-strikes-twice instance of two life-changing events coinciding. The longtime journeyman, in the first year of his partnership with the Maurice Gallagher-owned team, realized his life's dream Friday night by clinching his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship with a gritty third-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Though the bonds forged between Sauter and GMS, like his toddler-aged daughter, are barely a year old, the team was front of mind for the veteran driver after crossing under the checkered flag. He offered a rapid succession of thank-yous over the team radio, a champion at last. "I never thought that would happen," Sauter radioed in during the cool-down lap. "This is because of you guys." Sauter made a self-described "leap of faith" in the offseason after spending seven seasons with perennial powerhouse ThorSport Racing. During his tenure with the Ohio-based organization, Sauter regularly competed for victories and finished among the top five in series points in five of those seven years. Yet his first discussions with GMS brought newfound energy, a near-instant comfort level and confidence in the group's dedication to building a title-contending team. Renewing his family's long-running General Motors allegiances by shifting to a Chevrolet team was also an important motivator. "People is a big ingredient," Sauter said. "There's just a lot of little things. I could sit here all night and talk about it. It's just the whole package. I just felt very comfortable about meeting the Gallagher family. I'm not sitting up here blowing smoke, I'm telling you the truth. I felt very comfortable that night and knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of ." For Gallagher, the move to bring Sauter to the fold was nearly two years in the making. Since the operation's full-fledged launch in 2014, GMS Racing has fielded trucks for a host of several part-time Sprint Cup stars along with relative newcomers to the series, but the 38-year-old Sauter represented an element that was missing. "Johnny was that kind of constant," Gallagher said. "He shows up with that kind of experience -- and I call him the old salt -- and you just can't put a price on that kind of been there, done that. He was terrific with the younger guys, and I couldn't ask for a better teammate. It's an investment. You do it, and you hope to have the outcome we had. You'd like to think that every investment pays off. It's hard in this business, but this one has paid off in spades." The new partnership bore fruit with immediacy after a victory in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway . The team then peaked in the series' first-ever Chase postseason, with two wins in the Round of 6 clinching Sauter's title shot in style. Friday night's performance, rallying from a 19th-place starting spot and outdueling former teammate Matt Crafton in a sterling battle down the stretch, represented a coronation for the 15-year veteran with experience in all three NASCAR national series. It also meant the first season-long laurels for Sauter since a championship in the former American Speed Association (ASA) AC-Delco Challenge Series in 2001. And it also signified a long-awaited celebration for a Wisconsin family with a rich devotion to racing. "It's all about putting the pieces of the puzzle together," Sauter said. "Sometimes it works out, and I've always said, timing is everything. You know, I feel like the timing is good where I'm at right now." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;