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Benny Phillips named sixth Squier-Hall award winner
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2016) – NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame today announced longtime High Point (N.C.) Enterprise reporter and sports editor Benny Phillips as the sixth recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Phillips spent 48 years with the Enterprise, serving as its sports editor for 32 of them. He will be honored during NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities on Jan. 20, 2017 and featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to his time at the Enterprise, Phillips wrote for Stock Car Racing magazine for 27 years and spent 12 years with TBS. The prestigious Squier-Hall Award is the latest in a long list of accolades bestowed upon Phillips during, and after, his exemplary career. Phillips was named the NMPA Writer of the Year seven times, won the NMPA Joe Littlejohn Award in 1977, the IMHOF Henry T. McLemore Award in 1978, the Buddy Shuman Award in 1986 and the NMPA George Cunningham Award in 1988. Phillips, who battled polio throughout his life, died in 2012 at the age of 74. "Benny Phillips told the engaging stories that transformed our drivers into heroes, and with it developed a deserved reputation as a trusted confidant whose determination and affable personality made him a beloved fixture in the NASCAR garage," said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. "Benny delivered the stories of our sport to millions of NASCAR fans on a daily basis through newspapers, books, magazines and television. This award has been given only to the giants of his industry, and unquestionably, Benny was exactly that." Phillips penned four books, including Dale Earnhardt’s autobiography "Determined," which he co-authored with fellow NASCAR reporter Ben Blake. Phillips was among eight nominees voted upon by a panel comprised of NASCAR and NASCAR Hall of Fame executives, journalists, public relations representatives and former competitors. The Squier-Hall Award was created in 2012 to honor the contributions of media to the success of the sport. Legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall, for whom the award is named, were its initial recipients. Chris Economaki, Tom Higgins and Steve Byrnes have since won the award. The other seven nominees were: Norma " Dusty " Brandel: The first woman to report from inside the NASCAR garage. Russ Catlin: One of the best-known early racing writers and historians, served as editor of "Speed Age" magazine. Shav Glick: Covered motorsports for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years, bringing NASCAR coverage to the West Coast. Bob Jenkins: Served as the lead NASCAR lap-by-lap anchor at ESPN from 1982-2000. Bob Moore: Spent more than 20 years as a NASCAR beat writer including stints with the Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Charlotte Observer. T. Taylor Warren: Best known for his three-wide photo of the 1959 Daytona 500 finish, he covered every Daytona 500 until his death in 2008. Steve Waid: Covered NASCAR for more than 40 years for the Roanoke Times & World News, NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated.
Dale Jr. takes NFL's Thomas Davis on a wild ride at Charlotte
Carolina Panthers linebacker named honorary pace car driver for Coke 600 CONCORD, N.C. -- Making friends with a member of the NFL's Carolina Panthers on Tuesday wasn't all that easy for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins. The driver's outward allegiance to a rival team wasn't lost on Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis , who rode along with Earnhardt at rapid speed at Charlotte Motor Speedway , shortly after gaining his certification to be the honorary pace car driver for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). "It's OK. I mean, we take care of the Redskins, like I said earlier," Davis said, fully aware of his team's three straight victories against Washington. "I'm pretty sure he knows." Davis' crossover into the world of NASCAR was a seamless one, as the 10th-year pro was unfazed as a passenger for Earnhardt's five-lap thrill ride. Part of Davis' nonchalance perhaps stemmed from the similar intensity of his day job, delivering hard hits as part of the Panthers defense. "I ran that thing as hard as it'd go," said Earnhardt, who estimated he approached speeds of nearly 175-180 mph in a Richard Petty Driving Experience machine with his No. 88 colors. "I was watching him over there. He wasn't impressed. He was filming the whole thing with his phone, like he was riding down the interstate." The connection between Earnhardt and Davis reaches further than their common ground as participants in adrenaline-fueled sports. Davis' humanitarian efforts earned him recognition as the 2014 recipient of the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, an accolade sponsored by Nationwide -- an Earnhardt sponsor. Those bonds, as well as their mutual affiliation with the Charlotte community, have helped Earnhardt separate his fandom from his personal interactions with Panthers players. "Actually, it's gotten easier," Earnhardt said. "I've got a lot of friends -- real, real close friends -- that are Panthers fans and they make it real hard to pull for the Panthers the way they act and cheer for their team is just … I don't know. Some of my close buddies, they just don't have any class when it comes to the Panthers, especially when they beat the Redskins. I have to hear about it years and years later, and they beat 'em two years ago and I still hear about that. "But I got to get to know (Panthers tight end Greg) Olsen really good, working together with him on some stuff for our charities and he restored my faith in the football team. I really appreciate what they do for the Charlotte community and the area. Obviously, being a business owner in downtown Charlotte with Whisky River, they have a huge influence on our business and our company and the decisions we make, and they're something that we're very proud of. I'll always pull for the Redskins, number one, but I'm definitely warming up to the Panthers after meeting some of the players. They've got some genuine, quality people on their team, and Thomas is one of them." The two athletes exchanged helmets as gifts before their ride-along, but Earnhardt said he hadn't given much thought to making a sports crossover of his own. The 40-year-old driver said he's attended Redskins training camps in the past, but seemed content to limit his football participation to made-for-TV backyard games in Wrangler commercials. "I'm really nervous and shy, so I don't know if I'd want to put myself out there like that," Earnhardt said, noting that he was always too small to suit up in high school. "But just because I'm a fan of a particular sport doesn't mean I think I'm very talented in it at participating. I enjoy the occasional softball game with my buddies or basketball in the gym with my friends. And I love going to the training camp to see the 'Skins and just get an idea of how the team feels and how their morale is and their energy on the field is when they're training, but I don't need to be out there trying to play." Davis' own training exercise Tuesday was slightly less rigorous, but he still earned a thumbs-up from NASCAR official Wayne Auton to lead the 43-car field to the green flag in Sunday's 600-miler, stock-car racing's longest event. In some ways, Davis said, his pace-car duties are nothing new, drawing yet another parallel to Earnhardt's day job. "I'm always ready to perform on Sunday," Davis said. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Dillon weaves through chaos
Ty Dillon makes veteran-like moves to stay out of a big crash late.
Kenseth locks down the lobster in Loudon
Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after earning his second win of the 2016 season.
GarageCam gets wicked awesome in New Hampshire
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as drivers gear up for the AutoLotto 200.
Crown Royal Your Name Here Finalist: Taryn Davis
Taryn Davis lost her husband in battle and founded the American Widow Project.
Hemric: 'I felt like I was a little better than him'
Daniel Hemric breaks down his attempt to chase down the leader William Byron in the final laps at Kentucky Speedway. Hemric finished third.
NXS GarageCam fit for a King
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner gives you a tour of the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage, catches up with some drivers and gets Richard Petty's thoughts on the 2016 low-downforce package that will be run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Future stars unveiled in NASCAR Next 2016-17 class
RELATED: Get to know the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 17, 2016) – Two are following in the footsteps of their former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driving fathers. One is a long-time racer who competed on the reality television show "Survivor," and later added a degree from Stanford University. Another is one of the fastest rising stock car drivers in the Midwest. There is even a pair of international phenoms. From Charlotte to New York City, and from Quebec to Israel, the 11 drivers who were announced as the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class today are primed for a successful and impactful future in NASCAR. This is the sixth edition of NASCAR Next, an industry-wide initiative designed to spotlight to best and brightest rising young stars in racing. "The NASCAR Next program has introduced current stars such as Kyle Larson , Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney to the NASCAR fan, and we believe this year’s class has the same potential," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president of marketing and industry services. "These drivers have shown the talent and intangibles to climb the NASCAR ladder, and we look forward to watching their careers grow." This year's NASCAR Next class was selected through an evaluation process that included input from industry executives, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Council and media. Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, have tangible and expressed goals in eventual competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and demonstrate the potential to realize that goal. MORE: Full NASCAR Next coverage The following drivers have been selected to the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class: Harrison Burton ( @HBurtonRacing ) - The 15-year-old from Huntersville, North Carolina, is the son of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton . He has climbed to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series after setting the record last year as the youngest Division I race winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history. Collin Cabre ( @CollinCabre12 ) – In his second season driving for Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, the 22-year-old from Tampa, Florida, captured his first career win last October after making the successful move from racing sprint cars. Spencer Davis ( @SpencerDavis_29 ) – The 17-year-old Dawsonville, Georgia, driver has shown a proficiency in nearly everything he’s raced. After winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award last season in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Davis has transitioned to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he has established himself as a championship contender with top six finishes in his first seven series starts dating back to last season. Alon Day ( @Alon_Day ) – One of two international drivers on the list, Day is the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to earn a NASCAR Next recognition. Day, 24, from Ashdod, Israel, completed his first full season in the Whelen Euro Series as championship runner-up. Including the final two rounds of 2015, Day has won four of the last eight Elite 1 races and is again a threat win the title. Tyler Dippel ( @Tyler_Dippel ) – An accomplished dirt racer, the 16-year-old from Wallkill, New York, has already scored his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory in March. Dippel previously competed in the DIRTcar Racing Series in the northeast, earning the rookie of the year title and becoming the youngest race winner in that series. Todd Gilliland ( @ToddGilliland_ ) – The son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran David Gilliland , the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, made NASCAR history by winning his first four career NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts. He became the youngest winner in series history with his victory last fall, and has followed it up with wins in both the K&N Pro Series East and West season openers this year. Noah Gragson ( @NoahGragson ) – The 17-year-old from Las Vegas finished second in the championship standings last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, collecting the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the process. Gragson followed the path set by Kyle and Kurt Busch , learning his trade in the Legends and Bandolero Divisions at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . He earned a pair of K&N Pro Series West wins in 2015 and is again a championship contender. Gary Klutt ( @Garyklutt ) – The second Canadian to be named to the program and the first full-time driver from the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Klutt represents a crop of young drivers making an impact on Canada’s championship stock car series. The 23-year-old from Halton Hills, Ontario, earned his first career pole and win last year en route to being named the Jostens Rookie of the Year. He finished fifth in series points and will be among the title contenders when the series opens later this month. Julia Landauer ( @julialandauer ) – Landauer, 24, from New York City, got her start racing a variety of cars – from Formula BMW to Ford Focus Midgets to stock cars. The versatile Landauer was a contestant on the hit reality show 'Survivor' before graduating from Stanford in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Science, Technology, and Society. She became the first female to win a Limited Late Model division championship at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia, last year before graduating to the K&N Pro Series West this season. Ty Majeski ( @TyMajeski ) – The 21-year-old from Seymour, Wisconsin, showcased his ability with a dominating display at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February, collecting three wins and earning the 2016 Super Late Model championship in the 50th Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing. Majeski added a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model track record and victory in the FrostBuster at Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in April. Matt Tifft ( @Matt_Tifft ) – A development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing , the 19-year-old from Hinckley, Ohio, is driving part-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JGL Racing as well as JGR, and racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Red Horse Racing. He earned his first career pole in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Talladega earlier this month. Since its inception in 2011, 27 of the 35 drivers who have been selected as part of the program have gone on to compete in one of NASCAR’s three national series. Nearly a third of the drivers have made a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, with nine drivers winning a NASCAR national series race. The last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookies of the Year have been NASCAR Next alum, as are the top two contenders for this year’s award: Blaney and Elliott. The last three Sunoco Rookie of the Year winners in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series were also part of the NASCAR Next program. For more information, visit NASCARNext.com and make sure to follow the drivers on Twitter and on the track. About NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, NASCAR XFINITY Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www.NASCAR.com and http://www.IMSA.com , and follow NASCAR on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and Snapchat ('NASCAR').
Truex, Pollex host 'Catwalk for a Cause' for seventh year
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- It's not every day that dozens of Sprint Cup Series drivers enter a room and aren't the ones creating the spectacle, but that was the case for 2016's "Catwalk for a Cause" hosted by the Martin Truex Jr . Foundation on Wednesday night. Who were the stars, then? Davis , Chloe, Braylon, Natalia, Sam, BreeLee, Ava, Leland and Brynn were, of course. The fashion show's guests of honor -- all children -- are battling cancer, something that hits home for Truex and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex, who just completed chemotherapy in January after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in August 2014. @MTJFoundation pic.twitter.com/JMG8rjHS0b — Maggie MacKenzie (@Maggie_MKenzie) May 18, 2016 The Martin Truex Jr . Foundation, along with its partnernship with Levine Children's Hospital, hosts "Catwalk" each year to affirm its commitment to finding a cure for pediatric cancer. Before the seventh annual fashion show began, Pollex got up on stage, with Truex beside her, to mention that the night was also one to remember four of the heroes from last year's show who had lost their battles with cancer between the 2015 and 2016 events. "We lost four of our kids this year. ... We are going to honor them," Pollex said. Elijah Aschbrenner's presence was felt with several audience members sporting the bright red hair with which he lit up the 2015 event. Elijah passed away November 10. Once the 2016 event got underway, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Clint Bowyer , Joey Logano and Danica Patrick were among the drivers who swapped their firesuits for cocktail attire and waltzed down the runway, each holding the hand of one of the nine children battling cancer. Although seeing Junior dancing on stage was easily a highlight of the night, the infectious smiles of the children stole the show. One of the night's most special moments occurred when Pollex took off her long, blonde wig and walked down the stage with her natural, short pixie cut -- her hair returning after the treatments she just completed -- with the utmost confidence. The entire room applauded. The night included a pre-show raffle as well as a live auction when drivers tried to outbid one another. To top it all off, the event raised $370,000 (compared to last year's $253,000), according to Sandy Plemmons, director of the Martin Truex Jr . Foundation. This is how @MartinTruex_Jr and I feel about Catwalk & this amazing life we get to live! Inspire someone today!! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4PdKci9fX0 — Sherry Pollex (@SherryPollex) May 19, 2016