Harry Scott Jr. and Clint Bowyer announce Bowyer will drive for HScott Motorsports in 2016.
RELATED: Bowyer falls in manure, smells like roses DOVER, Del. -- Clint Bowyer , introduced as the newest driver in the Stewart-Haas Racing stable for 2017 just two days ago, ended speculation about his 2016 plans Friday, announcing he will join HScott Motorsports for the upcoming season. The single-season move will keep Bowyer, 36, in the Chevrolet family while three-time premier series champion Tony Stewart wraps up his final season as driver of the No. 14 entry. RELATED: Bowyer, SHR a perfect fit HScott Motorsports , located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, currently fields Sprint Cup Series entries for drivers Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett . The organization works closely with both SHR and Hendrick Motorsports in NASCAR's premier series, purchasing its chassis from SHR and engines from Hendrick. "What a whirlwind year, to say the least," Bowyer said. "… It's kind of weird, as we've gone through this together, there's always been that door, the one that opens the easiest, and Harry Scott was definitely that. Looking forward to the marriage that he has with Hendrick, with Stewart-Haas, (those are) very strong. … "Harry is a young, very aggressive owner that we need in this sport; to have this together and tie my name to HScott Motorsports is something I'm looking forward to and get back to my winning ways." Scott said the addition of Bowyer "will help us long term because he's basically going to be able to help us reset our program and set the bar higher going forward. "With his experience, his leadership and his enthusiasm, I think it will be contagious amongst all the team members. Going forward he will help us form an even stronger relationship with Stewart-Haas and that will obviously be beneficial to us." RELATED: Bowyer to join SHR in 2017 5-Hour Energy will be the primary sponsor of Bowyer's entry for 24 of next season's 36 races. Scott started HScott Motorsports in 2013, running Allgaier, Ryan Truex , Michael McDowell and Kyle Larson in 11 of the season's 36 races. Allgaier was named the team's full-time driver in '14; Annett was brought on board prior to the start of the '15 season as the group added a second team. Allgaier is currently 30th in the points standings while Annett is 36th with eight races remaining. Scott said it was too soon to speculate on how the organization's roster would look for 2016, neither confirming nor denying speculation that Bowyer would replace one of the group's two current drivers. "We really haven't ruled out anything for 2016 or beyond," he said. "I'm not prepared to give you an answer for that because I simply don't know at this point." Friday's announcement closed the books on what has been a tumultuous season for the Emporia, Kansas, native. A little more than a year after announcing a multi-year contract extension with its driver, Michael Waltrip Racing announced in mid-August that Bowyer and the organization had "mutually agreed to separate" at the conclusion of the 2015 season as the team closes its doors. After slipping into this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field as the final driver in the 16-team field, Bowyer's No. 15 team was hit with penalties in the opening Chase race, at Chicagoland Speedway , for suspension irregularities. The P4-level infractions resulted in the loss of 25 driver points for Bowyer and owner points for co-owner Rob Kauffman. Crew chief Billy Scott was fined $75,000 and suspended for three races. RELATED: Drivers on the move for 2016 MWR appealed the penalties, but on Wednesday the National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard the appeal and upheld the sanctions against the team. Bowyer is an eight-time winner at the Sprint Cup level but enters this weekend's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR), riding a 105-race winless streak. He is making his sixth Chase appearance and has a best points finish of second (2012). The specifics of the move, as far as car number and team personnel, have yet to be determined. "It's going to take hard work and dedication, it's going to take funding. We have to have all these and we (do) at HScott Motorsports ," Bowyer said. "I've got the best of the best; when you talk about equipment we've got Hendrick engines, we've got ties to the Stewart-Haas organization. These are the guys that are winning races and I now have that bond, that connection to this kind of equipment. For me as a race car driver, that's huge."
Action sports star Travis Pastrana is returning to NASCAR, if only for one race. Pastrana announced from his Instagram account that he will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 3. The 31-year-old extreme sports standout is scheduled to drive the NTS Motorsports No. 31 Chevrolet, said team competition director Chris Rice. "Couldn't be more excited right now," Pastrana said on Instagram before thanking the truck's sponsors -- GunBroker.com , Never Too Hungover and Lazy F Ranch. The event will be just the second-ever truck appearance for Pastrana, who also entered the series' 2012 race at Las Vegas. The bulk of Pastrana's NASCAR experience came in 2013 in his lone full season in what is now the XFINITY Series, driving the No. 60 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing . Pastrana claimed one Coors Light Pole Award (Talladega in May), but wound up 14th in the final standings after crashing out of six of the campaign's 33 races. Pastrana announced on Facebook just days before the 2013 season finale that he would not return the following season, citing frustrating results, a lack of sponsorship and his desire to spend more time with his wife and then-infant daughter. Since exiting NASCAR full-time, Pastrana has competed in RallyCross and off-road racing, in addition to his career as a motocross stunt performer.
RELATED: See how Blaney won at Kentucky On the surface, it's a bit of an unorthodox NASCAR schedule for Ryan Blaney . The 21-year-old is running part-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Wood Brothers Racing in the No. 21 Ford and the NASCAR XFINITY Series with Team Penske in the No. 22 Ford, all while making a handful of starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Brad Keselowski Racing in the No. 29 Ford. "By the time all the races are added up, it's almost a full schedule," Blaney told NASCAR.com last weekend at Kentucky Speedway . "It has its positives and negatives to be running part-time in everything. The great thing is I get to run three great series with amazing race teams that I know will go out and have a fast car or truck every weekend or every time I get in them. Those are big positives that I can drive different things every single week." And the negatives? "It's hard to get in a rhythm of running the same car, so that's kind of tough," Blaney said. "That takes myself and the team time to get back acclimated to the driver and me to the race car. It has its ups and downs, but I'm fortunate to be with three great race teams and be able to do what we love and be competitive." Blaney did not have trouble finding a rhythm as he wheeled the No. 22 Ford to Victory Lane in the XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway . He led a race-high 81 laps and used a strong restart on a green-white-checkered finish to take home the win. The victory was the second time in three years that Team Penske has swept the season's two Kentucky XFINITY races. "Honestly, I've never seen a team be so dominant at a race track," Blaney said after the win. "It feels like every time we come here, the 22 car is one of the favorites to win and usually does it." Greg Erwin, the No. 22 team's crew chief, has noticed Blaney's growth firsthand since seeing him in 2013. In addition to the Kentucky win, Erwin and Blaney teamed up for a win in August at Iowa Speedway . "He's certainly a little more polished," Erwin noted of Blaney's development as a driver. "I think his communication is a little more precise. I think his confidence is certainly high and I think he's got the talent, certainly that it takes, and the rest of that will come with time behind a steering wheel. That's the hardest thing right now I think, is jumping in, running in all three series and getting as much time on the race track as he can." In his young career, Blaney has four wins each in the XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. And in his first part-time Sprint Cup Series season, he scored his best Sprint Cup finish in May at Talladega with a fourth-place result. His Wood Brothers No. 21 team has had speed, but qualifying rainouts have been the bugaboo. RELATED: Blaney discusses 'very frustrating' Cup qualifying rainouts Along the way to becoming a rising young talent in the sport, Blaney has had some guidance, namely from his dad, Dave, as well as 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski . "Brad's been one of the biggest mentors for me right after my dad," Blaney said of Keselowski's impact on his career. "He gave me an opportunity in 2012 to drive his trucks for him and I did that for a couple years, which opened the doors at Penske and it opened the doors at the Wood Brothers. He's kind of been the main guy that’s started me off in my career getting racing in the top three series and I can't thank him enough for that. He's taught me so much on the race track, off the race track. He's been really helpful to me. "Brad's a unique teacher. To be able to drive for him has been really cool too, because you can kind of see the owner in him. And then when he would drive the other truck sometimes and I could race against him that was really, really neat. ... You'd ask him a question and he'd give you part of an answer and then you would kind of have to figure the rest of it out, and I really liked that. It's kind of the way my dad did it. "He's obviously one of the smartest racers out there, I feel like, when it comes to strategy and always thinking inside the car. That's something I've tried to take from him. ... Not only on the racing side, just thinking of other things too, whether it's underneath the car to try to make it faster, things like that." Dave Blaney , a veteran of 473 Sprint Cup Series starts and the 1995 World of Outlaws Champion, has impacted his son's career as well. Ryan credits his dad with teaching him a lesson that has become invaluable to him with extended seat time and longer races in the Sprint Cup Series. "Patience is one of the biggest things in racing, especially now that I've gotten started doing some Cup stuff," Ryan Blaney said. "Five-hundred-mile races, one 600-miler that we do ... those are long races. A lot longer than Truck and XFINITY races and that's really been a big learning curve for me of how you have so many opportunities to work on your race car and you have to be really precise with how you change things. "That was the biggest change to me. Running Trucks for a couple of years, the races are so short. You only have a couple of chances to work on your truck, so you take huge swings. In the Cup car, you can't really do that, you have to take littler steps and kind of fine-tune things. That was one of the biggest things he taught me early and now I'm kind of figuring it out for myself." And with silly season talk running rampant throughout the garage and in the media, Blaney remains focused on finishing out 2015 strong. With a Kentucky win in his pocket, Blaney is on the entry list for Saturday's XFINITY Series Hisense 200 at Dover International Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "Honestly, we'd like to do more races but that's a lot easier said than done," he said. "I think the best thing we can do is try to focus on winning races in this 22 car, try to bring home a (owner's) championship (in XFINITY ) and finishing out the season strong with the Wood Brothers is going to be really big for our cause. We're working on it. Hopefully, we will know something soon."
RELATED: Live weather updates from Dover Saturday morning started out the same way Friday ended, with wet weather canceling NASCAR XFINITY Series opening practice at Dover International Speedway . Practice was scheduled to run from 8:35 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. ET, but Mother Nature had other ideas. Practice for the K&N Pro Series East was also canceled on Saturday morning. Track drying was underway to try to get the K&N race, the Drive Sober 125, on track for a 9:30 a.m. ET start but rain returned shortly after 9 a.m. ET to hinder those efforts and delay the start of that race. The K&N Pro Series East race will now run at 12:30 p.m. ET. Rain returned about 15 minutes into the final practice for the Sprint Cup Series causing that practice to be abbreviated. Final practice ended up running from about 2:05-2:20 p.m. ET before the red flag was displayed for moisture and practice was eventually called. The first Sprint Cup practice was initially scheduled to begin as soon as the track was available from the K&N Pro Series East race and run until 11:55 a.m. ET. That practice was initially scheduled for 11-11:55 a.m. ET with final practice set for 12:30-2:45 p.m. ET. The revised schedule will see cars on track as soon as its ready (close to 11:30 a.m. ET) until 12:15 p.m. ET, and then final practice going from 2-2:45 p.m. ET. The Hisense 200 XFINITY Series race, 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), will be run with no practice time for those drivers. There will be two competition cautions for that race at Lap 25 and Lap 65, because of the lack of practice time. RELATED: How rain could impact Challenger Round This came after all of Friday's on-track activity for the Sprint Cup Series, XFINITY Series and K&N Pro Series East was wiped out by rain as Hurricane Joaquin churns away from the East Coast. Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying in the XFINITY Series was canceled on Friday to provide the Sprint Cup Series with additional practice time.
RELATED: Chase-clinching scenarios " Weather updates If there's any consolation for Kevin Harvick to be sitting just one rung up from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup basement, it's that he's been there before and still managed to extricate himself -- all the way to his first premier-series title last year. The defending champion's task is no less difficult this year, but it's an almost all-or-nothing scenario, a circumstance where Harvick seems to thrive. "Obviously, for me personally, I like these types of situations," Harvick said in a Thursday morning teleconference as he made media rounds in New York. "I think they're different and fun and it's all in the approach and how you react to them. So I think as a team, we'll do everything in our … from a preparation standpoint the same. But I think if you can get the result and get that sensation of winning and all the things that come with the type of situation that we're in, it's even more fun." That situation comes to a head this weekend at Dover International Speedway , site of Sunday's weekend's AAA 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM). Harvick enters the elimination event -- the finale to the Chase's opening three-race Challenger Round -- staring down a 23-point deficit from the 12th-place cutoff point for advancement. Barring mathematical dives from a significant number of the remaining 15 drivers in the Chase field, a victory Sunday and the accompanying automatic berth seem to be Harvick's best route to the next round. Harvick staved off elimination in 2014, rising from last place among the eight title-eligible drivers remaining by winning the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway to keep his title march rolling. Though he has recent history to rely on, his sense of perspective in dealing with pressurized situations goes back much further, all the way to his debut in NASCAR's major leagues. "I think as you look at the things that we have been through as a team over the past couple years, we have been in a lot of pretty intense situations, but for me personally, I think that these things are kind of a, they're kind of a walk in the park compared to the Earnhardt situations of taking over his car and having to deal with that and all the things that we dealt with back in 2001," Harvick said in a nod to his inheritance of Dale Earnhardt's ride after his death in a crash at Daytona International Speedway . "It kind of makes these scenarios a little bit easier to deal with because you've dealt with things that are on a much bigger scale than the current things of just performing on the race track." As for the here and now, Harvick finds himself in his precarious plight after successive weeks of trouble. A tire rub after midrace contact led to his subsequent crash, saddling him with a 42nd-place finish in the Chicagoland opener. That tumble in the standings was exacerbated by a fuel gamble gone wrong last weekend in New Hampshire, leaving him with a 21st-place result after leading 216 of the 300 laps. Harvick said Thursday that he didn't see either of those situations as risks, nor has he played the blame game with crew chief Rodney Childers or any of his Stewart-Haas Racing team. For now, the focus remains on performance at Dover. "It's a really, really tight knit bunch of guys and we're all going to support each other, because we're all going to make mistakes in different situations and I don't think we have necessarily made a mistake, but I think we have definitely had to react to some situations throughout the last couple years and I think it's made us stronger as we move forward and better from on a weekly basis as a team," Harvick said. "So, it's just part of what we do, and I think when you look at the performance of the race cars on the racetrack is really, it's absolutely unbelievable. "I mean, I'm just lucky to drive the cars and to let certain situations affect something like that would be absolutely crazy on any of our parts."
RELATED: Complete schedule for Dover weekend As drivers and teams prepare for this weekend's elimination race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , they're also bracing for the effects of Hurricane Joaquin as it churns toward the Eastern United States. The storm, rated as a Category 4 hurricane as of 5 a.m. ET Friday, threatens to bring damaging winds, torrential rain and possible flooding to the Mid-Atlantic area and Dover International Speedway , site of this weekend's AAA 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Races for NASCAR's XFINITY Series and the K&N Pro Series East developmental circuit are also on the schedule. Haulers for both national series were scheduled to load into the 1-mile Delaware track Thursday afternoon, but a hauler parade scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET was canceled. Despite the threatening forecast, a NASCAR spokesperson said Thursday morning that series officials would be flexible with any changes in weather conditions. "NASCAR will continue to work closely with Dover International Speedway and monitor the weather for the weekend," the spokesperson said. "At this time, all schedules remain intact." The Dover track, approximately seven miles inland from the Delaware Bay, is among several areas in the state under a coastal flood watch that remains in effect through Sunday. The National Weather Service has predicted gusty winds and major rainfall amounts -- between 5-7 inches over the next five days -- for the Mid-Atlantic area, even if Joaquin's center fails to make landfall. A statement made by the Delaware Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday said that Joaquin's path was uncertain to predict, but that "it is reasonably sure that the tropical system will have an impact of some kind on Delaware over the weekend. It is too early to tell exactly what that impact will be." A tripleheader of racing makes this weekend an especially busy one for the Dover track. Besides staging the third event of the 10-race Chase on Sunday, the Monster Mile will also host the XFINITY Series' Hisense 200 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) and the season-ending Drive Sober 125 presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety for the K&N Pro Series East. The track said in a Thursday release that it was "full steam ahead" with preparations for the race weekend. "We work closely with NASCAR, the National Weather Service and our on-site meteorologist to monitor weather during our major events," a track spokesperson said in the release. "We are currently tracking this weekend's weather and will update fans via social media, and our website, as information becomes available." The last time a tropical disturbance dramatically altered a race weekend schedule was in September 2008, when Tropical Storm Hanna and a declared state of emergency in Virginia postponed two days of on-track activity at Richmond International Raceway , forcing a rare Sprint Cup - XFINITY Series doubleheader on a Sunday. NASCAR officials worked with the track, opting to postpone all events early in the interest of safety for campers and other fans. The decision also weighed that law enforcement officials normally involved in security and traffic management at the race track should be dedicated to disaster relief at the height of the storm.
RELATED: Chase Stats page Jimmie Johnson technically doesn't own Dover International Speedway , but he certainly has "owned" the competition there over the years. Johnson ranks first with 10 wins at the "Monster Mile" and in average finishing position at 7.9. He's also second among active drivers with 15 top-five finishes at the track and an average starting position of 10.1. With six championships in tow, it's easy to take for granted Johnson's greatness. But if the above stats aren't a cause for you to pause, then better check your pulse. Better yet, why not check how Johnson's numbers stack up against other drivers in the field for the race at Dover? And now with NASCAR.com's Chase stats page , it's easier than ever to do side-by-side comparisons with other drivers. Simply select the track and the drivers you want to compare from the dropdown menus, and in no time flat you'll get a snapshot view of how those two have performed. It's the perfect tool to use before setting your lineups in NASCAR Fantasy Live, or before making your pick in Streak to the Finish . Did you know Jeff Gordon was second to Jimmie with five wins at Dover? Or that Carl Edwards was runner-up to 'Six-Time' with an average finish of 10.6? All of that information is easily attained through the driver comparison tool. So have some fun and take it for a test drive . Then, come back Sunday when the Chase stats page transforms to include live Lap-by-Lap updates of the race to go along with driver stats, the most up-to-date Chase Grid and other must-know information to make you the most knowledgeable one in your group of NASCAR fans.
RELATED: Stewart through the years Watching Tony Stewart as he announced his plans to step out of full-time NASCAR competition in 2017 reminded me a whole lot of the Tony Stewart I first met in 1996 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway , a driver who always made the racing beat a little more interesting and lot more entertaining for the last two decades. On the track and off it. Stewart, 44, was cutting up, smiling and relaxed Wednesday afternoon sharing his news and holding court in front of a room of reporters -- easing at times, but sincere and authentic. His larger-than-life persona has always been in proportion with his talent. Like a lot of people, I have mixed emotions about not watching him race every week, but they are trumped by the idea that Stewart could now exhale and be at peace. He seems very much so. And he deserves it. I'd spoken with him in previous months about the possibility of his "don't call it retirement." He bounced the idea off plenty of people and admitted that most tried to talk him out of it. I noticed that Stewart was especially chipper last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , and after the race was feisty like I had long known him to be. He was smiling a lot more. There was a definite good vibe. Clearly, he was ready to make this career-impacting announcement -- to move on, not aside. RELATED: Stewart: 'Deep down you know when it's time' It's the rare exception that a racing driver possesses the talent of his heroes, and in Stewart's case, he also shares a good bit of their personality. He loved racing against Dale Earnhardt, who loved racing against Tony Stewart . And he took A.J. Foyt's famed No. 14 for his own Chevy when he moved to Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart is deservedly and fittingly compared to those two legends in his racing accomplishments, and in what has become a time of polish, politeness and political correctness, there will probably not be another so similar out of the driver's seat, either. Sometimes, Stewart's temperament -- the sarcastic interviews or the pit road confrontations -- diverted our appreciation for what a remarkable racer he is. RELATED: Statement from Brian France on Stewart Stewart is still the only driver to win an IndyCar championship (1997) and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles (2002, 2005, 2011). He was the first to win three USAC national titles (Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown) in one season (1996) and his results in racing's Memorial Day "Double" (ninth in Indy 500 and fourth in Coca-Cola 600 ) are unmatched. Everything you need to know about Stewart's drive was evident in his 2011 Sprint Cup championship run when after going winless during the regular season he won five of the last 10 races -- including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway -- to claim his third title trophy in a tiebreaker over Carl Edwards . He promises a similarly motivated final season in 2016 with a Daytona 500 and Southern 500 trophy still on his to-do list. "I've been very fortunate to do what I've loved to do for 37 years up to this point, and next year it will be 38 and there's no period on it at the end of next year," Stewart said this week. "It's just a little change. I still plan on adding stats for years to come after 2016." Asked about his legacy, which surely includes a NASCAR Hall of Fame induction, Stewart was more reflective, even philosophic. RELATED: Quotes from Stewart's retirement announcement "I really haven't thought about it, to be honest because to me at the end of the day I'm happy with who I am,'' he said. "I look at myself in the mirror and I'm comfortable with who I am and what I've done and the path that I've been down." And who could ask for more than that? "I think everything that's happened in my life has happened for a reason,'' Stewart said. "I think there's things that I would have skipped in my life and things that have not happened, but I think everything in the big picture has happened for a reason and is part of something that's a lot bigger than what we are this room."
DOVER, Del. -- The relationship between veteran drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Elliott Sadler isn't new. Before JR Motorsports was even a thought in Junior's mind, the duo raced against one another in late models years ago and formed a kinship off the track. The pair's relationship added a new facet on Friday, when officials announced at Dover International Speedway that Elliott would drive for Earnhardt-owned JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2016. Earnhardt Jr. broke the news earlier in the day via Periscope. "I'm excited to work with Elliott full-time and give him the best opportunity we can, to put him in the best car we can and to get to work with all our guys," Earnhardt said during the press conference at Dover on Friday. "... It's going to be a lot of fun. Winning races is great, but when you do it with your friends, it's even better." "We've been friends a long time and I feel like we've had each others' backs on and off the track a long time." Elliott added. "I think when you're vested personally like we are, I think to put this group together is going to be very, very exciting. "It makes you want to -- on so many different levels -- to do a good job and perform like you're supposed to. Not only on the race track, but off the race track." Elliott's number and crew chief are yet to be determined, but he will bring long-time sponsor OneMain Financial from his current Roush Fenway Racing ride. In a sport that thrives on sponsorship, a long-term supporter like OneMain Financial gives team owner Earnhardt a sense of steadiness. "Elliott has worked with One Main for a very long time so that's an easy relationship to trust and get behind and be a part of," Earnhardt said. " … I will say when we told our employees on the shop floor, they were ecstatic. It brings stability and those people really depend on that. When they see those cars go out of the shop without a sponsor on them, that makes everybody nervous." JR Motorsports currently fields three cars in the XFINITY Series with reigning series champion Chase Elliott and Regan Smith behind the wheel full-time, and a group of drivers, including Ben Rhodes as well as Sprint Cup stars Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne piloting the third car. For Sadler, who has won 10 races in the XFINTY Series and three times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the chance to drive for an established team like JRM is a prime opportunity – one that supersedes getting back into a Sprint Cup car for now. "I want to be competitive in the XFINITY Series. I want to win races," Elliott said. "... There's nothing like leaving your house on a weekend going to the race track, knowing you have the opportunity to lead laps, sit on poles, run up front. "... My goal right now, and my heart and soul, and my passion is still very great when I come to the track. But it's more what I can do on Saturdays and what I can do in the XFINITY Series. If I go out and do a great job and win every race and those ( Sprint Cup ) opportunities come, we'll look at that at that time. "But right now, man, we've got to jump on this -- this is great."