Post-Race Reactions: Fast Five 225
Kevin Harvick, Nelson Piquet Jr., Parker Kligerman and James Buescher comment on their solid runs at Chicagoland Speedway.
Stewart at ease with new role at SHR, in NASCAR
RELATED: SHR, Ford expect fast start " Stewart's 2016 year in review CONCORD, N.C. -- Tony Stewart remembers standing on the floor of the Stewart-Haas Racing shop in mid-December. All around him, across the shop floor, were race car chassis. No body, no paint, no decals -- Just skeletons of race cars-to-be. It's part of a long process for Stewart-Haas Racing , as the team transitions from Chevrolet to Ford for the 2017 NASCAR season. "This has been a really, really tough offseason for these guys," Stewart said Wednesday at the Ford Performance Center. "…To think how far these guys have come in such a short amount of time, I mean, I'm really proud (of them). Especially the fab shop -- Those guys really deserve a big pat on the back because it has been a huge undertaking to get so many cars ready in such a short amount of time. "And when I say they're getting them ready, they didn't throw them together; the same level of quality that they always do. I'm really proud of what they've produced so far." His team isn't the only one making a huge transition this season; Stewart begins the new year as a freshly retired Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, having raced his final season in 2016. This marks the first season in 18 years where Stewart won't be prepping for a season in NASCAR's premier series. RELATED: Rock star surprises Stewart in Las Vegas Does he miss it? "It will be nice to be at the track and not be sore and not be uncomfortable sitting on the pit box," said Stewart, who battled back from a severe back injury at the start of his final season. "I'll actually be able to really focus on what's going on and … move around and listen to each car and what they're fighting during the day and hopefully being able to have some input that can help." But "Smoke" fans, never fear: Stewart will still be at the race track. The three-time champion NASCAR driver plans on racing nearly 80 late model, sprint cars and three-quarter midget races this season, along with managing his race team, co-owned with Gene Haas. Stewart expects to attend nearly all the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races in 2017, where he’ll be able to offer guidance to the teams of Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer , the new driver of the No. 14 ride. RELATED: Top moments in SHR history Wearing a large smile on Wednesday, Bowyer’s high spirits conveyed his excitement about racing the No. 14 car -- and his new team owner. "To be honest with you, it's been a breath of fresh air," Bowyer said on having Stewart as his car owner. "I didn't know what he was like as an owner, I only knew what he was like as a person hanging out and things like that. "But man, I'm telling you, at the shop at the Christmas party this year -- he showed up as Santa Claus, by the way, and the outfit fit him perfect -- but Santa Claus interacted and made everyone feel at home. Those are his people and he treated them as his people and it showed me, you could just see how much they embraced that and enjoyed that interaction with him and what it meant to them." The NASCAR world has known that Bowyer was next in line for the No. 14 crown since the end of Sepember 2015. But that reality seemed to sink in when Bowyer's name glistened above the door of the new No. 14 Ford today -- No more "Smoke." Tony's OK with that. "It's not that weird, honestly," Stewart said. " … I'm proud to see his name above the door and proud to see what he can do. The part that's been shocking is going back to my sprint car shop and seeing them put my name on cars this week because they're decaling our cars for the season. I haven't been used to that for a couple years now, so I'm excited about both sides of it." It's a ground of familiarity for Stewart, whose background is rooted in dirt track racing. But as he hasn’t driven a sprint car in two and a half years, the 45-year-old isn't sure what to expect of his results on track this season. Dare he say he's like a rookie again? "I know it sounds like I'm a rookie driver, but I kind of feel like one," Stewart said. "(My schedule) depends on how I'm progressing really … I think there's going to be some races that we are going to announce coming up pretty soon that are races that I've been looking forward to going to that I've not had a chance to run before. So there's a bunch of tracks and a bunch of events that I've not raced at before that I'm going to finally get to go to." RELATED: SHR transition among key story lines to watch for in '17 Where the long-term future holds for Stewart the driver is yet to be seen, as he jokes that he's thrown a curveball in probably every offseason since joining forces with Haas. But right now, it's about his team. "I'm going straight to the shop from here," Stewart said. "I'm excited to see how much is done versus the last time I was there. Everybody says we have a long way to go, but we've come a long way. I think I'm going to be very pleasantly surprised when I get there." &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;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;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Parsons beloved for many hats as a racer, broadcaster, brother
RELATED: Full coverage of NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 A full generation knows Benny Parsons best for his work behind the steering wheel, banging fenders and hoisting trophies competing alongside Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and David Pearson in NASCAR’s early heyday. Another generation appreciates "BP" for his work in front of the television camera, his easy and enlightening way of bringing NASCAR racing into our living rooms and enticing new fans to the sport. He was supreme at both callings, a natural. The 1973 premier series champion Parsons won 21 races yet only competed full time for 10 of his 21 years on the circuit. His "retirement" was also highly-decorated earning him an Emmy Award for his work on the other side of the camera. RELATED: See every premier series champion since 1972 His story is a righteous throwback to NASCAR's formative days, the kind of shake-your-head tale of what can happen when great talent and the right opportunity fuse in unexpected ways. This Friday, Parsons, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 65, will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame joining Raymond Parks, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and driver Mark Martin in the Hall's Class of 2017 (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN). "I'm not sure how he will be remembered most -- for the racing or for the announcing," Phil Parsons said of his older brother. "We're all just so proud, and I know Benny will be smiling down." Smiling was something the affable and well-liked Parsons did a lot. And with good reason. Not only was he successful in racing's highest levels, but his course to NASCAR's big time reads more like a grand tale than the methodical, step-by-step path of drivers in today's era. And for Parsons, it had the happiest of endings. So the story goes. … Parsons had moved from his North Carolina birthplace to Michigan and was driving taxi cabs for his father’s business. He met a race team at a gas station, asked how he could get involved in the sport, followed through with an invitation to join in and the rest is history, as they say. In this case, it is truly history. Parsons turned that local racing opportunity into a highly-decorated, nationally-acclaimed career. Over his 21 years in the premier series, Parsons won the 1973 championship (in only his second full-time season), the 1975 Daytona 500 , and the 1980 World 600 at Charlotte. Parsons won at 15 different venues and varied from the smallest of the small like the .357-mile South Boston Speedway to the vast of the vast in Daytona. Perhaps as notable as his win total is an extraordinary statistic that speaks to Parsons' ability to make the most out of an even limited opportunity. He finished among the top-10 a remarkable 283 times in 526 starts -- more than half the races he entered -- a phenomenal and talent-telling indicator. RELATED: More about the Class of 2017 From 1972 to 1980 Parsons never finished worse than fifth in the championship standings. And in 1982 he became the first driver to run a qualifying lap at Talladega Superspeedway over 200 mph. Parsons, who won the ARCA Series championship in 1968 and 1969, also went on to earn an IROC race win on the Daytona high banks in 1976. He collected top- five showings in three of the four IROC races that year pitting NASCAR’s best against the elites of other racing genres. His was such a robust racing career, people legitimately wondered how much more hardware Parsons could have collected if he’d competed full time more than half his career. As it turned out, Parsons would hoist other trophies -- specifically an Emmy Award. When it came to broadcasting races, Parsons was, simply, beloved. He had all the knowledge of a champion driver, and made it his passion to stay informed -- working the garage for insight and, as his brother Phil likes to joke, a good meal to boot. Fans loved that about Parsons. He was homey, comfortable, and felt like one of them. But he was also one of the best drivers to ever suit up for a NASCAR race. He brought that all to television, delivering insight and excitement that earned him the 1996 Emmy Award for his work at ESPN. "There wasn't a person that Benny didn’t know and not a person that didn't know him," Phil Parsons figures. And that is indicative of how Parsons lived his life. For as loved and respected as Parsons was by audiences, he was the ultimate big brother to Phil, who followed a similar path, racing (and winning at Talladega in 1988) in the sport's top series an, now, broadcasting races for FOX Sports. Benny was just about 16 years older than Phil, who recalls their relationship being based around the race track from the very beginning. His racing hero was also his big brother. "I remember going with my father to see Benny race once I was old enough, maybe four or five years old," Phil Parsons said. "That's really my first memories of him. And I don't have too many that didn't involve racing somehow." For Phil and the entire Parsons family, this week is the ultimate acknowledgement of Benny -- a beloved role model in the family and a genuine success story all around. "I know I will be emotional and not sure yet how it will manifest itself," Phil Parsons said, anticipating the moving Hall of Fame tributes to his brother to come. "It's just so special for my family, really a nice tribute." And really, so very deserved. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Darlington announces 2017 throwback theme
RELATED: See the 2016 Darlington retro schemes DARLINGTON, S.C. (Jan. 18, 2017) -- Another historic celebration of the sport is in store for Darlington Raceway in 2017. The track is pleased to announce "Year 3" of its award-winning throwback campaign for the Bojangles' Southern 500 race weekend on Sept. 1-3, 2017. The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR will be celebrating the 1985-89 era of the sport in 2017, which like the 1975-84 period it celebrated in 2016, was a time of exceptional growth and exposure for NASCAR. "The track will be celebrating the 1985-89 time period of the sport during our throwback weekend in 2017," Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said. “As we enter the third year of our throwback campaign, we’ll be focusing on drivers, personalities and moments that were compelling in that timeframe, such as the emergence of Dale Earnhardt Sr., Bill Elliott winning the first Winston Million, and the growth of the NASCAR XFINITY Series (formerly the Busch Grand National Series). It will be an exciting era for the track and industry to celebrate." As the sport moved into the late 1980s, NASCAR champions such as Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott and Rusty Wallace, among others, made a tremendous impact on the sport and will be celebrated during the Labor Day weekend festivities. This year is also the 50 th anniversary of Richard Petty's one and only Southern 500 victory (1967). The honoring of champions from 1985-89 is just one part of the track's overall strategy to celebrate its history. Darlington Raceway 's throwback campaign focuses on specific eras plus the historic moments and drivers that made impacts at "The Track Too Tough to Tame." For the third straight year, Darlington Raceway is also excited to announce it will once again highlight its rich history with a commemorative ticket design for the Bojangles' Southern 500 linking the past, present and future. "We’ve enjoyed producing the commemorative tickets for our fans every year of the throwback program,” said Tharp. “It’s important that our fans who attend the Darlington Raceway NASCAR weekend walk away with a special keepsake that recognizes our rich history and honors the stars of our sport." The retro design will link 1987 Southern 500 champion Dale Earnhardt, who ranks second all-time with nine NASCAR Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway , as well as 2016 Bojangles' Southern 500 winner Martin Truex Jr . These special tickets will be used for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 . Tickets are expected to be mailed to customers starting in mid-June. There will also be a retro-style ticket for the NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 that will be unveiled at a later date. Ticket renewals have been mailed so current fans can renew their seats and race day experiences for the 2017 Labor Day weekend. Renewing tickets early guarantees seats at the track's best prices prior to the opening of all remaining seats to the general public on February 22. Renewing customers receive many great benefits for being a loyal customer, including the raceway's best pricing, for Labor Day weekend. Renewal benefits include: -The track’s best prices for the Bojangles' Southern 500 -Convenient five -part payment plan -Special renewal pricing for Darlington Stripe Zone Hospitality ($30 savings) -Special renewal pricing for pre-race pit passes ($10 savings) -Special renewal pricing for all-inclusive driver intros, pre-race concert and pre-race pit road access ($15 savings) -Special renewal pricing for FanVision rentals ($25 savings) -Special renewal pricing for Racing Electronics scanner rental ($15 savings) -Special renewal opportunity to purchase NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 tickets for just $25 each when you renew your Bojangles Southern 500 ticket package ($5-10 savings) Guests may renew their tickets and campsites by calling 866-459-RACE (7223) or visiting www.DarlingtonRaceway.com/renewals. The renewal deadline is Friday, Feb. 10. The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame.
Credit One jumps on board in expanded role for '17 with Larson
RELATED: See the paint scheme Chip Ganassi Racing announced Wednesday that Credit One Bank will return to the team in 2017 with an expanded role on the No. 42 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Larson . Credit One will serve as the primary sponsor on CGR entries in eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events, one NASCAR XFINITY Series event and the non-points Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition at Daytona International Speedway . Credit One, which began a multiyear partnership last season as the Official Credit Card of NASCAR, joined the Chip Ganassi-owned organization in 2016 with a preseason announcement of a three-race agreement for primary sponsorship of Jamie McMurray 's No. 1 Chevy. That alliance grew to a five -race deal, with Credit One picking up additional events as the season progressed. The announcement represents an even larger increase of the Las Vegas-based bank's support, which primarily shifts to Larson's team this year. Larson, speaking Jan. 5 during a break in an offseason photo shoot with the new blue-hued car, said he was encouraged by Credit One's renewal and expanded reach. "It's always good to have sponsors committed to the sport and upping their commitment to the sport," Larson said. "I hope they get their full value out of the sponsorship with our race team and are a longtime sponsor of us and the sport. Looking forward to it and excited about 2017 and hoping for some good things." The Credit One colors will kick off the new year of racing with Larson in the Feb. 18 Clash, an annual preseason invitational that primarily features the previous season's pole winners. The financial institution returns for a doubleheader weekend at its home track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway , with sponsorship of Larson in the XFINITY Series event and McMurray in the Monster Energy Cup event. The remaining races for Credit One are all with Larson's No. 42 effort in the premier series: March 19 at Phoenix, April 9 at Texas, April 23 at Bristol, April 30 at Richmond, July 1 at Daytona, Sept. 3 at Darlington, and Nov. 5 at Texas. &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;gt;
Charitable foundations of NASCAR drivers
NASCAR drivers make a big difference off the track and in communities across the country. Here's a look at drivers' charitable foundations, as well as the causes and initiatives supported by those organizations. Clint Bowyer : The 79 Fund The 79 Fund was established by NASCAR driver and Emporia, Kansas, native Clint Bowyer to benefit the children of Emporia. Clint's desire to use the Emporia Community Foundation for his charity came from knowing the funds could be used in a variety of ways to help the children of Emporia. " Learn more here. Kyle Busch : The Kyle Busch Foundation The Kyle Busch Foundation is committed to empowering children, families and communities to overcome hardship by providing essential tools (financial, material and experiential) to allow them to live their best lives possible, while fostering a stable and inspiring environment to live, learn and challenge themselves, as well as ensuring their day-to-day needs are met. " Learn more here . Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon : Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma's mission is to discover and share the best ways to prevent and treat severe injuries in children. Events such as the Dillon brothers' annual 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament help benefit the Childress Institute. " Learn more here . Dale Earnhardt Jr .: The Dale Jr. Foundation The Dale Jr. Foundation is a charity dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals with a focus on youth, the resources to improve their confidence and education, and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals. " Learn more here . Denny Hamlin : The Denny Hamlin Foundation The Denny Hamlin Foundation is committed to raising awareness and funds for the specific needs of children with cystic fibrosis. They partner with organizations that focus on cystic fibrosis research, treatment advances and overall quality of life care. The Foundation also supports children with other chronic diseases. " Learn more here . Kevin Harvick : The Kevin Harvick Foundation The mission of the Kevin Harvick Foundation is to support programs that positively enrich the lives of children throughout the United States. " Learn more here . Jimmie Johnson : The Jimmie Johnson Foundation The Jimmie Johnson Foundation currently focuses on funding K-12 public education, primarily through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Champions Grant program, which have been awarded to school projects located in California, Oklahoma and North Carolina, where the Johnsons grew up and currently reside. In addition, each year the Foundation selects five charities that support K-12 public education to be featured on Johnson's Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope. Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope charities receive a cash grant and national exposure on the helmet worn for a select Cup race. Finally, the Team Up For Technology program encourages individuals to nominate a K-12 public or charter school in the United States with the winning school selected to receive a $48,000 cash grant for a technology makeover. " Learn more here . Kasey Kahne : The Kasey Kahne Foundation The Kasey Kahne Foundation is committed to raising awareness and funds for charities supporting chronically ill children and their families. The Kasey Kahne Foundation strives to empower youth and inspire their future through education by donating to programs dedicated to fulfilling children's needs for success. " Learn more here . Brad Keselowski : Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation strives to support those who have sacrificed for our country, to include military members, veterans, first-responders among others. Since its inception, CFF has hosted or participated in events with the Wounded Warrior Project, the Armed Forces Foundation, The Paralyzed Veterans of America, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Detroit F.I.R.E. benefit team. " Learn more here . Joey Logano : The Joey Logano Foundation The mission of the Joey Logano Foundation is to inspire and assemble the NASCAR community to assist those across the nation who are in need of a second chance due to natural or human disaster. The Joey Logano Foundation partners with other organizations to provide comfort and relief to those in need after such unforeseen circumstances. " Learn more here . Ryan Newman : Rescue Ranch Formed in 2012 on 87 acres in Statesville, North Carolina, Rescue Ranch promotes humane education by focusing on rescuing on a fundamental level through hands-on learning and care for animals. Rescue Ranch promotes, through its education, respect for all animals, as well as, agricultural, environmental, and wildlife conservation, and facilitates rehabilitation, rescue and responsible pet ownership in order to enhance the human-animal bond. " Learn more here . Elliott Sadler : The Hermie & Elliott Sadler Foundation The Hermie and Elliott Sadler Charitable Foundation is dedicated to raising autism awareness and promoting research for a cure while also supporting initiatives that improve educational opportunities for children and their families. The Foundation provides support to projects that share the ideals and concerns of the Sadler family. " Learn more here . Martin Truex Jr .: The Martin Truex Jr . Foundation The Martin Truex Jr . Foundation raises awareness and funding for childhood and ovarian cancer initiatives. " Learn more here .
Gaunt Brothers Racing sets '17 schedule; Kennington to compete at Daytona
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 18, 2017) - Gaunt Brothers Racing, owned by Triad Racing Technologies president Marty Gaunt, will return to NASCAR competition in 2017. Participating in four restrictor plate races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , GBR's select schedule begins with the 59th running of the Daytona 500 , when D.J. Kennington will take the wheel of the team's Toyota Camry. "With the recent unveiling of the 2018 Toyota Camry, we feel that now is the right time to return to the racetrack," said Gaunt, whose Triad engines powered five championship-winning Toyota drivers and contributed to multiple manufacturer championships at the NASCAR national level. "We're going to provide a concentrated effort this season at tracks on which we can immediately adapt and compete." Gaunt Brothers Racing previously competed in what is now the NASCAR Pinty's Series in 2011. Prior to purchasing Triad and forming GBR, Gaunt served in leadership roles with Team Penske , Red Horse Racing and Red Bull Racing. GBR is fielding the Toyota Camry in partnership with longtime Triad client RAB Racing, led by Robby Benton. RAB Racing will partner in supplying cars, shop space and technical support to the GBR effort. "There are a lot of great things happening with the sport right now and we feel fortunate to continue our relationship with Marty, Triad and Toyota, starting with this attempt at the Daytona 500 ," said Benton. "Our aspirations will be no small task, but we know what we need to do to position ourselves to make this a successful effort. We'll transition over to the Daytona 500 after competing in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with our sports car program later this month." Kennington, hailing from St. Thomas, Ontario, is a two-time NASCAR Pinty's Series champion and 19-time Pinty's Series race winner. He has made 56 career starts in NASCAR's three national divisions, including his Cup Series debut last fall at Phoenix International Raceway . Kennington's longtime partner, Castrol (Wakefield Canada) and British Columbia-based Lordco Auto Parts will co-sponsor the Toyota Camry in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26. "As the Daytona 500 is called 'The Great American Race,' our team will be considered the 'Great Canadian Invasion,'" joked Kennington. "I'm definitely ready to take this on. I'm excited to be running the first race with Monster Energy as the series sponsor, and I love how the program came together with Castrol, Lordco and the Gaunts." The remaining events for GBR, for which the driver will be announced at a later date, include Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 7, Daytona on Saturday, July 1 and Talladega on Sunday, Oct. 15.
Final Laps: Dillon tracks down Chicagoland win
Austin Dillon takes two tires, with 22 laps to go, to get out in front of Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick to win the Fast Five 225 .
Post-Race Reactions: EnjoyIllinois.com 225
Hear what all the top finishers in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 had to say about a race that included 50 passes for the lead in Chicago.
Post-Race Reactions: American Ethanol 225
The top- five finishers comment on an exciting night filled with strategy and determination.