Rusty Wallace set to hit the road at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace has hoisted the sport's biggest trophies and competed on its largest stages. And this week at Daytona International Speedway the former stock car champion will be bringing his A-game again competing against some of sports car racing’s best in the Ferrari Finali Mondiali. It is the first time this renowned Ferrari event has been held in the United States and both Wallace and the Speedway are eager to be a part of this internationally famed race weekend. "We're really excited," Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. "It's all coming together now, the trucks are moving in today. We had the car show last weekend. It's been really exciting to see all this come together in the last couple weeks, but we've been working on it since April. "It's the first time this event has ever been hosted in North America and what better place than the International Center of Racing and the new Daytona International Speedway , the world's only motorsports stadium. It feels like a fitting backdrop for one of the premier Ferrari events in the world." Wallace won't just be representing NASCAR by his presence, he's going to compete – driving for the Risi Competizione/Ferrari of Houston team in the North America series of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. To prepare, the 1989 NASCAR premier series champion spent two days testing the Risi Ferrari at America's current Formula One venue, Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. And he’ll have opportunity to test on the Daytona road course before the weekend’s race. "I'm really serious about it and will do best job I can in the time I've got," Wallace said. "This will be real exciting and the team I'm driving for just won the Petit LeMans. "I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun. I could have just showed up at Daytona. … but I didn't want to look stupid that's why I went to Austin, to get to know the car and know the team." This will be the second time Wallace has competed on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course. He co-drove as part of a team with Danica Patrick in the 2006 Rolex 24 at Daytona, but their sports car had a mechanical failure and did not finish the event. Wallace is optimistic and he has plenty of reason. He is long considered one of NASCAR's premier road racers. He earned two poles and two wins (1990 and 1996) at Sonoma and a pole and a pair of wins (1987 and 1989) at Watkins Glen, N.Y. He also scored back-to-back wins (1987-88) at the Riverside road course that’s no longer on the circuit. "I had really good success at Riverside, Watkins Glen and Sonoma , those were all good tracks for me," Wallace said. "So I told them, 'sure,' I'd love to come down and have some fun "I'm a Ferrari lover. When I found out I was going to compete, I said, I've got to get all right with this. So I spoke with (driver) Max Papis and he shared a couple things. The big deal was actually getting some time in a car before Daytona." The Ferrari Finali Mondiali, which Wallace will compete in, is a four-day World Championship event featuring Ferrari Challenge teams from the Europe, North American and Asia Pacific series. Additionally, fans will be treated to the displays of historic Formula One cars and for the first time ever at Daytona, F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will drive in a Formula One. The Scuderia Ferrari drivers will also treat fans to fast laps and pit stop demonstrations. "Rusty's really excited and I think this is a unique opportunity for him and for us being able to promote the event through the eyes of a NASCAR champion," Wile said. "It's going to be quite the experience. Rusty is such a great ambassador for our sport and this is going to be fun to watch."
Johnson assessed pit-road penalty while leading
Similar to Martin Truex Jr. earlier in the race, Jimmie Johnson was assessed a pit- road penalty for 'pulling up to pit' during a round of pit stops, costing the No. 48 team a lap on the track.
Bristol, Food City launch Tenn. wildfire relief effort
Bristol Motor Speedway announced a fund drive Wednesday to assist wildfire relief efforts in nearby Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the surrounding areas. The initiative was made in conjunction with longtime track sponsor Food City, which made a $50,000 donation to the Gatlinburg/Sevier County Relief Fund. Bristol announced that the Medallion Campground area would be opened free of charge to displaced campers and RV drivers. The .533-mile track also indicated it would collect donations during its annual Speedway in Lights holiday display through Jan. 7. The speedway also said it would match all proceeds raised during Thursday's holiday exhibition. "While we can't undo the damage from wildfires, we can all play a major role in relief efforts by donating money," Bristol executive vice president and general manager Jerry Caldwell said in a release provided by the track. "Gatlinburg and Sevier County hold a special place in the hearts of NASCAR fans, Food City and all of us at Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway. When you visit the Speedway this holiday season, we encourage you to bring along a little something extra to help our neighbors in need." Food City announced that it would accept cash contributions at participating stores from Dec. 1-7. The Abingdon, Virginia-based supermarket chain also delivered a tractor-trailer full of beverages to relief workers and others in need. Tennessee authorities have confirmed four deaths in the widespread blaze, which has burned approximately 15,000 acres this week. Emergency officials said that nearly 14,000 residents and visitors were evacuated from the Gatlinburg area by Monday.
Comcast XFINITY earns NASCAR's Marketing Achievement Award
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Comcast will be honored with the 2016 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award for its support of the NASCAR XFINITY Series™, known as the series "Where Names Are Made." The company, which also serves as the Official Entertainment Provider of NASCAR®, will be recognized at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards today. Entering the sport with a historic 10-year entitlement agreement last year, XFINITY is changing the way fans experience NASCAR by introducing live race stats and data directly to the TV through their XFINITY X1 platform. XFINITY X1 provides an insider's look at the action taking place across NASCAR’s three national series each race weekend, along with custom video content, weekly exclusive VOD content, live leaderboards, up-to-the-second race stats, interactive championship point standings, and much more. At the track, Comcast engaged fans, the industry and media at its state-of-the-art activation space, the XFINITY Zone. The award-winning fan zone allowed thousands of fans to interact with drivers and utilize the technology that is changing the live sports TV experience. Off the track, Comcast is working to recognize charitable efforts of NASCAR team members through the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, which was created in 2015. "The innovation that Comcast delivers through its XFINITY brand drives deeper engagement and is transforming the way fans consume our sport," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. "Our partnership with Comcast is one of the most unique and powerful in all of sports, and our work together this year has helped elevate the NASCAR XFNITY Series to new heights." In year two of the partnership, NASCAR and XFINITY collaborated on changes that differentiated the series and further integrated the XFINITY brand into the sport. The introduction of an elimination-style Chase and a new Dash 4 Cash format enhanced competition, spiked fan interest, and generated even more drama around the series. The competition changes were accompanied by a new visual identity, providing the NASCAR XFINITY Series with its own distinct look across digital, social, at-track and on broadcast. "We are honored and excited to accept this year's NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award, as it is a direct reflection of the successful and progressive partnership we've had with NASCAR since entering the sport in 2015," said Matt Lederer, Executive Director of Sports Marketing at Comcast. "All of us at Comcast are committed to continuing to find new and innovative ways to bring fans closer to the sport they love through XFINITY products and services." Comcast's integrated marketing strategy was expansive: · NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers captured more than 70 unique, first-person social videos that were shared as part of Comcast’s "My Chase" program · Produced original television creative promoting the series throughout the season · Created the XFINITY Zone, an 85-foot-by-85-foot display area that showed off X1 technology, and hosted fans across 14 NASCAR events · Hosted the first-ever "off-campus" NASCAR Fuel For Business Council meeting in Philadelphia, welcoming nearly 50 Official Partners to facilitate business to business opportunities · Comcast and Pocono Raceway hosted NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers around the Road 2 Pocono, which included a City Hall proclamation and a parade lap down the streets of Philadelphia. Other previous winners of the NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award include Sunoco; Coca-Cola; Mars, Incorporated; Nationwide Insurance; Sprint; and Toyota. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week will culminate with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. NBCSN presents complete coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday, Dec. 2 beginning at 7 p.m. ET with "NASCAR America," followed by the red carpet at 8 p.m. ET and the awards broadcast at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will also begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET.
NASCAR, Monster Energy announce premier series entitlement partnership
RELATED: Official NASCAR release " NASCAR Nation reacts to news LAS VEGAS – NASCAR announced on Thursday at Wynn Las Vegas a multi-year deal that will make Monster Energy only the third entitlement sponsor in premier series history. The length and terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both parties hailed the partnership as the perfect fit for both brands. "Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today's announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history." Monster Energy has existing sponsorships with a number of motorsports sanctioning bodies, athletes and teams, but the NASCAR deal signals the biggest sponsorship step in the company's history. "Monster has built its brand on racing and motorsports, and NASCAR is the pinnacle of motorsports in America," said Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing at Monster Beverage Company. "It's American racing; we're an American brand that's a global company, and NASCAR is, too. When the opportunity came along to further associate yourself with a sport like NASCAR, it was the perfect fit for us. … NASCAR is just a hard-hitting, close-racing, fun property to be associated with." Along with naming rights to NASCAR's top series, Monster Energy will also hold race sponsorship to the NASCAR All-Star Race and become the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR. Monster Energy also said it will continue to sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 41 car. Thursday's announcement is the culmination of a lengthy and thorough search by NASCAR to find the successor to Sprint, whose entitlement sponsorship will end on December 31, 2016. Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer, said that the sanctioning body spoke with numerous companies throughout the process, ultimately choosing Monster Energy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its lifestyle culture. "We have the good fortune of finding a brand that we believe works for our sport," Phelps said. "They're going to bring their lifestyle to their activation. … They're going to bring their brand, their excitement, their energy to this partnership, and the fans are going to be the winners. It's all about engaging the fans and having the fans have unique, fun experiences whether at the race track or through different mediums, through social, digital, content." Phelps said a number of ancillary details will be announced in the coming weeks. Among those still under discussion is the name of the series, the series mark and the championship trophy. Under the agreement, energy drink sponsors already involved in NASCAR may remain in place. Potential sponsors from the energy drink category will not be eligible for future sponsorship if not already involved in the sport.
Dale Jr. confirms wedding date, gives health update
LAS VEGAS -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s offseason plans include a test to confirm the Hendrick Motorsports driver is fit and ready to return to competition. Wedding bells will be a part of the brief break as well. The sport's most popular driver confirmed Friday night that he and fiancée Amy Reimann will be married on New Year's Eve. MORE: Junior wins 2016's Sprint Most Popular Driver Award "It's only a few weeks away," Earnhardt said after accepting his 14th-consecutive National Motorsports Press Association Sprint Most Popular Driver award during ceremonies at the Wynn Las Vegas. "Amy spilled the beans tonight that we're getting married on New Year's Eve. I'm really excited and have enjoyed going through the process. I've never been married before and I'm excited to be marrying Amy." Earnhardt, 42, and Reimann became engaged last year during a trip to Germany. He said he is looking forward to being involved in all the planning for the upcoming event. "I told her that when we were starting to plan that I wanted to be at every function and (a part of) every decision; I want to be involved in all the planning because I don't want to get married and then go 'yeah man, picking the flowers or whatever, what was that like? What did I miss?' I don't want to miss anything," he said. "I'm so excited, so thrilled to be a part of it and I look forward to our future." The winner of 26 NASCAR premier series races, including a pair of Daytona 500 titles, Earnhardt was sidelined for the final 18 races of the 2016 season after suffering concussion-like symptoms following crashes in two races this past summer. He has worked diligently with doctors to return to competition, and is expected to be cleared to compete when the 2017 season gets underway in February at Daytona. MORE: Relive all of Junior's wins " Dale Jr. on offseason: We're going testing "I'll be happy to tell you guys what we've got planned when the time is right," he said of an effort to test before returning to competition. "We do have a good plan and NASCAR has been very easy to work with. They made a new rule for situations for drivers like this to allow a driver to get back on the track in a bit of an open test without any data acquisition or anything like that on the car. We'll get out there and spend half a day somewhere running some long runs and getting a good idea of whether I'm ready to go. "I feel 100 percent; I don't think we're going to have any issues. If all that goes as planned, we'll go to the Phoenix test which is a NASCAR test in January and will be plugged back in to work just right where we were when we started last year." Earnhardt is the son of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. In addition to competing for Hendrick Motorsports in NASCAR's premier series, he co-owns JR Motorsports, an XFINITY Series organization which will field four full-time teams in that series in 2017. JRM also fielded an entry in the Camping World Truck Series in 2016 for driver Cole Custer . &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;gt;
Dale Jr. wins NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award
MORE: Junior through the years " Relive all of Dale Jr.'s win s DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Although he missed one half of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season due to injury, race fans still overwhelmingly selected Dale Earnhardt Jr . as the National Motorsports Press Association Sprint Most Popular Driver. Earnhardt's selection was announced Friday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards program at the Wynn Las Vegas. A $10,000 donation to the charity of his choice will be made on behalf of the NMPA. It is the 14th consecutive season Earnhardt has been voted the series' MPD. The award is the only major NASCAR honor to be determined solely by fan vote. Only one other driver, Bill Elliott , has won the award more often. Elliott was named the series' most popular driver 16 times between 1984 and 2002. Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports , was sidelined at midseason after suffering concussion-like symptoms following on-track incidents at Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway . He is expected to return to competition for 2017. RELATED: Junior injury timeline "The Most Popular Driver Award is always very humbling to receive, even more so this year with my injury and time out of the car," Earnhardt Jr. said. "The fans continue to amaze me with their loyalty and the support they've shown throughout my career no matter the circumstance. "I try not to think about winning or losing the Most Popular Driver award; it's a bit of a gift, you know. Whether we win the award or not, we get a lot of great support from our fans all season long. I certainly got some extra support this year through the injury and all that stuff; it's unfortunate to be in that position but the fans were great. That was an incredible motivator for me during my recovery to get healthy. Not a lot of people that go through those types of support groups, but the fans really made a world of difference. "I was pretty open and transparent in sharing the process and they were certainly open and honest replying and wishing us well. It made the bad days better and once I started feeling good about coming back it gave me a lot of motivation, maybe a reminder I guess of why I want to be back in the car. You race to have fun and win races, but it wouldn't even be worth making the trip if the fans didn't show up. They're a huge reason why we want to get back in the car and be back at the track next year." Junior also tweeted a message to his fans after receiving the award. Thank you fans! You guys are such a huge part of our team and help motivate us in so many ways. pic.twitter.com/hvEek8hkux — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) December 3, 2016 Sprint has been the presenting sponsor of the Most Popular Driver Award program since 2014. Forty drivers received one or more votes from fans during this year's 12-week voting period. Aside from Earnhardt Jr., others finishing in the top 10 in vote totals were (in alphabetical order): Kyle Busch , Carl Edwards , Chase Elliott , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Matt Kenseth , Danica Patrick , Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr . The Most Popular Driver Award has been presented annually since 1953 and the recipient was originally determined by a poll of competitors. It became a fan-driven program in 1984 under the guidance of the NMPA. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Member of the Month: December
Name: Allison Current City: Salyersville, Kentucky Member since: 2012 Getting to know Allison Q. Why did you join the Official NASCAR Fan Council? "I wanted to have a voice in the sport I love." Q. How did you first become interested in NASCAR? "I was 11 years old and flipping through the channels and I saw this car race on. I stopped flipping the channels and decided to watch because it caught my attention and looked cool. I watched the race until the end and have been hooked on NASCAR ever since. I have always loved cars and racing and things that go fast and wanted to see what this sport was all about." Q. What makes NASCAR special for you? "It is an amazing sport, first of all. NASCAR and the racing community as a whole is a family. We're just one big family and I feel like I am part of that family. When I go to a race I always meet the most amazing people who are just like me. They love this sport and are hardworking people. It is our passion and enjoyment. The fans are the most amazing people you will ever meet. NASCAR is such a fan-friendly sport, more than any other sport out there and that's so amazing. NASCAR does so much for their fans, the military and the community and you won't find that with any other sport." Q: Do you have any favorite NASCAR memories or traditions? "I always go to the Bristol Night Race, It's a tradition and it’s an awesome race. I won a VIP trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway last fall on my birthday thanks to DraftKings. I always play DraftKings on race day. I got a hot pass which let me go to the driver's meeting, I got a pace car ride, I got to watch the race from the pits and I was there by the stairs for driver intros and got to meet a lot of drivers including my driver and role model, Jeff Gordon , who autographed my hat. That meant a lot to me. I had an amazing time and I will never ever forget that." Q: Do you have a favorite in any of the following categories? Driver: " Jeff Gordon ." Tracks: " Pocono Raceway ." Memorabilia: "My autographed Jeff Gordon hat." Q: If you could go to any NASCAR race/track, where would you go? "Watkins Glen and Martinsville." Q: What do you like to do in your free time? "Watch NASCAR, hang out with good friends and ride trails around home on ATVs." Q: Tell us about your family. Do you have children and/or pets? "I'm married to a man named William. I have one daughter who will be 16 in August named Alexandria. I have two rotten dachshunds named Weenie and Libby. I have two coonhounds named Willie and Morris, an Australian shepherd named Molly and a mix named Mickey. I work as a Veterinarian Technician so I have a lot of fur babies, some that are rescues." Q: What's your dream car? "A Z06 Corvette" From all of us at NASCAR, we thank Allison for her continued support and look forward to hearing from her in 2016.
Kyle Busch surprises fan with autograph on RV
Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha are seriously doing the most good . After all, it wasn't too long ago that the couple was pulling alongside Kyle Busch fans in traffic just to make their day. Now, take a look at what the pair got themselves into on Saturday evening when a wreck ended Busch's run in the XFINITY Series race early. Samantha shared a video on Twitter of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion climbing the tires of an RV just to sign the No. 18 logo that was sprawled across the side. "They're not home right now, but they'll have quite a surprise when they come back," Samantha says of the RV owners in the video post. These Kyle fans are going to be pretty happy when they come back pic.twitter.com/MVl0NG8fQu — Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) August 6, 2016
'Good luck, Jimmie:' Sports stars wish Johnson well
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter are two of the six iconic sports stars who have come together to wish Jimmie Johnson good luck in his quest for seven championships. The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and New York Yankees great were center stage in a Gatorade-produced commercial in honor of Johnson's chance at history in Miami. U.S. women's soccer legend Abby Wambach, Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, tennis star Serena Williams and Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns all encourage Jimmie to "chase down seven." Watch the tribute below. We’re all behind you. Good luck, @JimmieJohnson . #se7en #GatoradeFamily pic.twitter.com/WwljE2hyDJ — Gatorade (@Gatorade) November 18, 2016