Employer grants Bowman time off to drive No. 88
RELATED: Full timeline of Junior's injury BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Alex Bowman is just like every 23 year old, balancing the ins and outs of a new career as a young adult. He was pulled away from his day job this week when he was asked to fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- who continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms -- for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). And where is his day job? Bowman said Friday during his media availability at Michigan International Speedway that he spends his Tuesdays and Thursdays at Hendrick Motorsports working in the simulation department. Half day at work today so I can make the flight. Ready for @MISpeedway — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) August 25, 2016 "They're pretty flexible when you tell them that you've got to drive the No. 88 car and that you need to leave a couple of hours early to get to the airport, Bowman said with a laugh. "… And (the job) kind of keeps me relevant at HMS and I get to learn a lot and still be part of a race team even though I'm not driving every week. So, it's been really cool and I'm just as thankful for that opportunity as I am for this." This weekend marks the second time Bowman will wheel the No. 88 Chevrolet in place of Earnhardt. He made his debut at July's New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sprint Cup Series event, where he finished 26th after a late tire rub. He will lineup for the weekend's main event in the sixth position -- the best starting position of his career -- following Friday afternoon's three-round qualifying session. It is unclear whether Bowman will be back in the HMS entry for a third time this year with Jeff Gordon taking over driver responsibilities for next weekend's Bojangles' Southern 500 , but he's there if his employer needs him. "We'll just have to see Dale's timeline, but I'm definitely happy to get in the car whenever needed," said. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;span _rtespchksugg=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; style=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;background-color: #ffffaa;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; _rtetemp=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;spchk&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;am&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/span&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;p;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
NASCAR launches youth mobile app as 'Kids Drive NASCAR' week continues
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 23, 2016) -- Kids everywhere are going back to school, but not before celebrating the end of summer with NASCAR. All this week, Kids Drive NASCAR is engaging the sport's young fans with news, events and social content geared toward kids leading up to the NASCAR national series races at Michigan International Speedway and Road America . As part of the festivities, NASCAR today announced the launch of the Acceleration Nation app, the first digital experience created just for kids featuring racing-themed games, activities and fun ways to learn more about NASCAR. Parents can download the new app for their children at the App Store and Google Play. "This week is all about the kids and bringing NASCAR's youngest fans even closer to the sport through innovative platforms like NASCAR Acceleration Nation," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "With Kids Drive NASCAR, we've created a fun way to engage children by putting them in the driver's seat for a change." Karsyn Elledge, the host of Nickelodeon's "NASCAR Hammer Down," Monday helped introduce Kids Drive NASCAR during a kids-only press conference streamed on Facebook Live from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The launch coincided with an industry announcement that, beginning in 2017, kids ages 12 and younger will be admitted free to all NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. Jake Short, the star of Disney XD's Lab Rats: Elite Force, will serve as Honorary Kids Drive NASCAR Ambassador this weekend at Michigan International Speedway . Children attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at MIS, as well as those attending the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Road America , will be featured guests at driver and crew chief meetings and receive behind-the-scenes garage tours and photos with drivers. NASCAR's social media channels will share Kids Drive NASCAR content throughout the week, including videos and Snapchat takeovers featuring young drivers sharing their off-track experiences, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers with their kids. Fans are also invited to get in on the fun by sharing pictures of their children and families enjoying NASCAR races using #KidsDriveNASCAR. Beginning this week, new NASCAR Acceleration Nation learning materials focused on lessons in aerodynamics and energy are being distributed to more than 10,000 elementary and middle schools across the country. NASCAR teamed with Scholastic to develop the motorsports industry’s first Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) in-school education program in 2015. The 6,400-square-foot NASCAR Acceleration Nation live experience will be on display at Michigan International Speedway and will host interactive activities and driver autograph signings for kids throughout the weekend. On Thursday, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Kennedy and Michigan International Speedway executives will visit students at Ezra Eby Elementary School in Napoleon, Mich., to talk about NASCAR and STEM. Last fall, the school received a grant from MIS Cares, a donor advised fund of The NASCAR Foundation, for 35 digital tablets for student use across all subjects. For more information about NASCAR Acceleration Nation, visit Accelerationnation.com . The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and MRN. A double-header on Saturday, Aug. 27 begins with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at MIS (1 p.m. ET; FS1, MRN) followed by the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Road America (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, MRN).
College athletes join NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Program
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 17, 2016) – NASCAR and Rev Racing today announced nine former college student-athletes selected to participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) Crew Member Development Program. The new class of participants received invitations to train with Rev Racing following standout performances at the first national D4D pit crew combine in May. Multicultural athletes starring in football, basketball and softball at the college level will receive expert training as tire changers, carriers and jackmen, with the goal of gaining fulltime employment with NASCAR national series race teams. "We've assembled a very talented group of athletes who we believe has what it takes to excel on pit road in NASCAR," said Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations. "Each D4D participant will benefit from Rev Racing's best-in-class training program, and we look forward to watching them grow and develop over the next 12 months." This year NASCAR and Rev Racing revamped the crew member scouting process, hosting tryouts at six universities across the country. Eighteen men and women from 12 states and one U.S. territory were selected to compete in the national combine in Concord, N.C. Half earned invitations to join the D4D pit crew program. "We are very excited for the arrival of the new 2016 Drive for Diversity pit crew recruits," said Max Siegel, owner and CEO of Rev Racing. "With the national combine and recruitment effort this past year, we were able to select the top level of athletic talent. We look forward to training these individuals and placing them along pit road in the national series. Our academy-style approach to training continues to show success year after year; this class will not fall short." Among the new D4D participants are three former football players from the University of Kansas, one of the schools to host tryouts. Appalachian State's Jeremy Kimbrough, who spent time with the Washington Redskins, and Joshua Tate, an All-American at Clark Atlanta University, are also looking to transition from the gridiron to NASCAR. A pair of female athletes in former Norfolk State, basketball player Brehanna Daniels and former Alcorn State University softball player Breanna O'Leary, will train as tire changers under the tutelage of Phil Horton, Rev Racing's director of human performance. There are 35 graduates of the D4D Crew Member Development Program currently working in NASCAR. Three alums – Raphael Diaz, Kevin Richardson and Richie Williams – celebrated in Victory Lane as members of Chris Buescher 's pit crew after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver won his first premier series race at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 1. Last November, Diaz and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Mike Russell became the first D4D graduates to win a national series championship when Buescher clinched the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. The new members of the D4D Crew Member Development Program include: First Last Hometown University Primary Sport Brehanna Daniels Norfolk, Va. Norfolk State University Basketball Kapil Fletcher Fort Lauderdale, Fla. University of Kansas Football Tedarian Johnson Jackson, Miss. University of Kansas Football Jeremy Kimbrough Decatur, Ga. Appalachian State University Football Corey King Boca Raton, Fla. University of Kansas Football Lamar Neal Virginia Beach, Va. Norfolk State University Football Breanna O'Leary Amarillo, Texas Alcorn State University Softball Jorden Paige Buffalo, N.Y. Clark Atlanta University Football Joshua Tate Memphis, Tenn. Clark Atlanta University Football The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, under the leadership of Rev Racing , supports both crew member and driver development opportunities. Driver graduates include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson , and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr . For more information on NASCAR Drive for Diversity, visit www.NASCARDiversity.com .
Kahne seeks win while in familiar Chase bubble spot
RELATED: Standings heading into Sunday BROOKLYN, Mich. -- It's an unfortunate yet familiar position for Kasey Kahne , driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports . Unfortunate because with only three races remaining before the 16-team field is set for this year's NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup , Kahne finds himself winless on the season and 17th in points. Familiar because the 36-year-old has been here before. Kahne slid into the Chase field in 2014, the inaugural season of the format awarding positions to full-time competitors that managed at least one victory through the season's first 26 races, with a late victory at Atlanta, just one stop from the cutoff event. Three races remain before this year's field is set, beginning with Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 here at Michigan International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Then it's on to Darlington and Richmond to determine the remainder of this year's Chase field before the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway . Two years ago, the final three-race run consisted of stops at Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond. "I don't think that was anything like this year; I think this is a lot different," Kahne said Saturday at Michigan. "That was a great night for us and we were right there all night, got in the right position on restarts … we were fast all night. I think restarts were big for us. I could run really fast for 15 laps. It's been a while since we've been like that." Indeed. The Atlanta win was Kahne's 17th but it was also his last. He enters Sunday's race shadowed by a 70-race winless streak. In the meantime, Kahne's Hendrick teammates have won 14 times since his Atlanta victory. "For us, I think it's been so many areas, so many little things that add up to being four-tenths (of a second) off per lap often," he said. "I don't think it's from a lack of effort because the effort is there. But it's maybe working in the right areas or trying to understand things that will make it easier for me to drive for my driving style. That's been a huge part of the last couple of years. "It doesn't matter what other guys are doing, (it's) 'what will help Kasey? What will help him with his car because he drives a little different?' I feel like this weekend we've kind of done our thing and it seems to be working pretty well so car." Ten Sprint Cup drivers have one or more wins this season and sit inside the top 16, virtually assuring themselves of a slot in the Chase. Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher also have one win each, and while further back in points, their status likely leaves only four Chase positions up for grabs. Seventeen others are still mathematically alive, should they earn a win in one of the next three races. If no different winners emerge, points will be used to determine the remaining spots. Kahne trails the holder of the last spot in the Chase Grid, Ryan Newman by 39 points, with Trevor Bayne and Kyle Larson sandwiched between the two and chasing one of the final playoff spots as well. Austin Dillon , Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray and Newman are just on the right side of the Chase bubble as of now. Hendrick drivers qualified second (Johnson), fifth (Elliott), sixth ( Alex Bowman driving in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr .) and 11th (Kahne) at Michigan. It is the seventh time this season Kahne will start from the No. 11 spot on the 40-car grid. "We run 13th to 18th every week; we qualify there and we race there," Kahne said. "That's just the speed we have. And then we do the same thing the next week. It's nice to do something a little different this week and to have speed to show it's helping." Kahne, 10th in Saturday's morning practice and fourth in the weather-shortened final session, has qualified for the Chase five times, the last coming in '14.
Irked Tagliani after Road America spin: 'Everything goes'
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Alex Tagliani has made a handful of NASCAR starts across the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series over the past several years, remaining winless despite often, if not always, looking like the man to beat. Being the accomplished road course ace that he is -- along with the horsepower and backing from Team Penske / Brad Keselowski Racing that he's enjoyed since 2014 -- you can typically count on the 42-year-old to start up front, and stay there. A third career Coors Light Pole for Saturday's Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America -- in just his eighth XFINITY start -- once again put Tagliani in prime position to compete for his first NASCAR national series victory, but once again he came up short. For the second consecutive year, his sole XFINITY start was foiled by contact from the eventual race winner. Last year it was Regan Smith at Mid-Ohio; Michael McDowell was Saturday's culprit. With 17 laps remaining in the 48-lap event (extended three laps by overtime), Tagliani -- who'd led a dominating 17 laps already at that point -- retook the lead from Erik Jones , only to be spun after left-rear contact from the No. 2 of McDowell in Turn 5. He was relegated to 30th place after the contact, having to battle back to salvage a seventh-place finish. "I could basically say what I want to say, but I don’t know if it's going to matter at the end," Tagliani told NASCAR.com on pit road following the race. "I think the 2 realized that we were the car to beat and it's unfortunate he presents himself to take us out, and he did it to take away some competition from him. In those instances, I'm a firm believer that you have to resist the temptation of doing it, but it seems in this world, in this series, in this sport, everything goes. "I think I should try to play smarter and drive him that way. At that time, instead of trying to fight clean with the 2 and give him a hard time and try to be creative and try to go around me, I should've let him go by and do what he did to me and take away the competition. It crossed my mind, but I said 'Walk, man.' Because other than the 2, there was nobody else that could touch us. After what I saw, I should've. Should've, could've, but it's not the way you win races." Looking at the replay, it's tough to tell whether or not McDowell should've lifted, or Tagliani shouldn't have dove into the corner, but it was evident neither driver was willing to budge. Particularly after some prior in-race contact between the two. Regardless, McDowell -- while implying in his post-race press conference that he was in a bit of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation -- stands by his declaration that the spin was not intentional. "No, it wasn't intentional; I wasn't intentionally doing it, but at the same time I was clearly in there and I wasn't really sure what he was doing when he came across the nose … " the Richard Childress Racing driver said. "… I don't know. I didn't see the replay yet. The 22 and I had a little run-in earlier in the race and basically I kept putting my nose in and he kept slamming the door. He went wide in Turn 5 and I got underneath the 42 ( Justin Marks ) and 22 and I was alongside of him and he decided just to turn in. Once we made contact, I just came off the brake and pushed him out of the way. The reason I did that is because had I not, I would've been stuck there, too, and I would've gotten ran over. Once he committed to turn in and I was on the inside, we already made the contact. "But I haven't seen a replay. A lot of times, I watch the replay and I go, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was right.' And a lot of times I go, 'Oh, gosh … ' I hope it's not an 'Oh, gosh' moment. But by no means did I come out of Turn 5 and be like 'Here's my shot. I'm going to wipe him out.' That wasn't the case at all. I got a run and went underneath him and when he slammed his door, I wasn't expecting him to slam the door." McDowell now heads to Michigan International Speedway , where he will race in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race.
Logano leaps to Coors Light Pole Award at Michigan
RELATED: Qualifying results " See every car, team rosters BROOKLYN, Mich. – If Joey Logano was looking for a good omen for Sunday, he found it on Friday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway . Touring the two-mile track in 35.697 seconds (201.698 mph) during the final round of knockout qualifying for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN), Logano edged Jimmie Johnson (201.523 mph) for the top starting spot by .031 seconds. The Coors Light Pole Award was Logano's third at MIS. On the previous two occasions the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford started first on the grid—in August 2013 and June 2016—he won the subsequent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Should Logano win form the pole on Sunday, he would be the third driver to win three or more Michigan races from the top starting spot, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson and Bill Elliott . "Any time you put your name with a Hall of Famer of any sort, it would be really special for me," said Logano, who has collected three poles this season and 16 in his career. "That's crazy—that's a really, really neat stat. "We've got to do it though. But, obviously, starting up front here is an advantage, for sure. We talk about track position. We talk about safety on restart, being how crazy it is with the low-downforce package. And the first pit stall—probably the most important thing of all is keeping the track position through the race." And, of course, when Logano is fast in qualifying trim at MIS, he usually races well, too. "I'm excited about it," he said. "I thought our car was really fast in race trim earlier (in practice). ... I didn't think we were going to make it happen today (in qualifying), but (crew chief) Todd (Gordon) made some good adjustments, and he gave me a little pep talk, and I was ready to go. I was going to drive the heck out of that thing." Denny Hamlin (201.406 mph) qualified third, followed by Kevin Harvick (201.382 mph) and Chase Elliott (201.303 mph). Johnson's second-place start led a resurgence by Hendrick Motorsports , which placed all four cars in the top 12 during qualifying for only the second time this season, the first coming in May at Talladega, a restrictor-plate track. "It was just an awesome day for this Lowe's race car and this Lowe's race team," Johnson said. "We keep stacking pennies and making this car better and better. "My hat's off to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and all the hard work they're putting into things. Great practice and great qualifying. We need some more practice sessions (Saturday) and roll them into a good race." Johnson participated in a NASCAR organization test (one car per team) on Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway and found the session helpful in finding speed. Indeed, the Hendrick cars more than held their own against the four entries from Joe Gibbs Racing , which have been the dominant force in Cup qualifying this season. Hamlin and Carl Edwards (ninth), were the only two JGR drivers to make the top 12, with Matt Kenseth qualifying 13th and Kyle Busch 16th. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Jones to drive second car for Furniture Row Racing in 2017
Erik Jones will drive the No. 77 5-hour Energy Toyota in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season for Furniture Row Racing and unveiled his paint scheme at Watkins Glen International.
Jeff Gordon won't drive No. 88 car at Michigan
RELATED: Dale Jr. offers rehab update on social media BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition remains undetermined. But if the series' most popular driver remains sidelined when the series heads to Michigan International Speedway for the Aug. 28 Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), it will be Alex Bowman and not Jeff Gordon handling the driving duties of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet. Gordon, who made his fourth start for the team at Bristol Motor Speedway , will not be available due to a prior commitment, according to Hendrick officials. However, the four-time series champion will travel to Michigan to support the team on Sunday. Earnhardt is recovering from concussion-like symptoms that have kept him sidelined since July. The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol was the fifth race he's missed. Bowman drove for the team at Loudon, New Hampshire, following Earnhardt's initial diagnosis. Gordon took over the following week, and has competed at Indianapolis, Pocono and Watkins Glen prior to Bristol. Bowman, 23, finished 26th in his fill-in role for Earnhardt at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Gordon, meanwhile, has finishes of 13th, 27th, 14th and 11th, respectively, in his four starts with the team. . @JeffGordonWeb has prior commitment that won't allow him to be in Mich. for entire race wknd. @AlexBRacing to sub if @DaleJr isn't cleared. — Hendrick 88 Team (@Hendrick88Team) August 19, 2016 Happy to be on standby for @DaleJr and @TeamHendrick at @MISpeedway . Hopefully Dale is cleared but if not I'm ready to go! — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) August 20, 2016 UPDATE: The 88 team does not expect to make an announcement for Michigan until Wednesday afternoon. We don’t expect to make an announcement regarding @MISpeedway before Wednesday afternoon. — Hendrick 88 Team (@Hendrick88Team) August 22, 2016 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
NASCAR launches Kids Drive NASCAR initiative
NASCAR announced, during it's first all-kids press conference, that beginning in 2017, the NASCAR National Series Tracks, will begin allowing children 12 and under to be admitted free to all Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series races.
NASCAR, Nickelodeon wave green flag for third season of 'Hammer Down'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 24, 2016) -- NASCAR and Nickelodeon are joining forces again to take viewers inside the world of NASCAR racing with the return NASCAR Hammer Down . Premiering Friday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nicktoons, the third season of NASCAR Hammer Down features eight, 15-minute episodes hosted by Karsyn Elledge, granddaughter of Dale Earnhardt and daughter of Kelley Earnhardt Miller. This season, Elledge will be joined by her sister, Kennedy Elledge, for driver interviews, goofy antics and behind-the-scenes insight into the technology and people that propel more than 90 annual NASCAR national series events. Ryan Blaney , driver of the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing , and Bubba Wallace Jr., driver of the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing , also return as series regulars for the popular "Bubba & Blaney" segment. Produced by NASCAR Productions, season three premieres with back-to-back episodes, the first of which emanates from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The subsequent "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Special" gives viewers an inside look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 taking place on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway . NASCAR Hammer Down will air regularly on Fridays at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) during Nicktoons’ NickSports TV block. "Kids are a huge part of our sport, and we are excited to deliver a program like NASCAR Hammer Down to a very important audience for NASCAR," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "The personalities of Karsyn, Kennedy and our drivers combined with the NickSports audience, creates the perfect avenue for us to connect with a new generation of potential NASCAR fans." The return of NASCAR Hammer Down is announced as the sport celebrates Kids Drive NASCAR, a week-long youth initiative leading up to Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway . Karsyn Elledge helped kick off the special campaign on Monday during a kids-only press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, broadcast live by NASCAR via Facebook Live. All week the NASCAR industry is hosting events and activities designed to introduce young fans to the sport. As part of Kids Drive NASCAR, NASCAR is also launching the first-ever NASCAR Acceleration Nation mobile app, a digital experience created just for kids.