NASCAR CMO Phelps: 'Technology is incredibly important for us' RELATED: NASCAR news release Technology, in the form of Fortune 500 investment, is reinforcing the notion that NASCAR makes good business sense. For the third consecutive year, the number of Fortune 500 companies utilizing NASCAR as part of their marketing mix has increased. In fact, nearly half of America’s Fortune 100 companies invest with NASCAR to help drive their business and more than one in four Fortune 500 companies are on board. The new analysis, conducted and released by NASCAR on Wednesday, indicated a 7 percent increase in Fortune 500 corporate involvement since the 2014 study. The 130 Fortune 500 companies now involved in the sport reflect a 20 percent increase since 2008. Now, investment is back in a big way, led by high tech involvement in the sport. "Technology is incredibly important for us," says Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer. "It’s not only about helping us grow, financially, but how technology helps change people’s perception of NASCAR. Technology helps us on the race track with things like safety initiatives and brings fans closer to the sport they love in many ways." Phelps said the sport began to notice tech’s impact with Hewlett-Packard’s involvement three years ago. Now, NASCAR’s partnership with Microsoft has other tech companies taking note. Tech corporation involvement is up 66 percent since 2013. "No question, this is great news for us," Phelps says. "We want our fan base to become younger and more diverse. Technology brings those fans. It’s important for us to be there, working with these companies." Phelps sees Microsoft’s collaboration with NASCAR as a true win-win that other tech firms might seek to emulate. "Microsoft, which signed deals with NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports , has used NASCAR as a validator of their technology," Phelps said. "One existing piece is an app they developed that helps us with the inspection process prior to the race. We’re doing things in half the time we used to, using a mobile inspection app as opposed to collecting information manually. This helps with data collection and storage." Phelps is quick to point out that investment in NASCAR’s sanctioning body, its tracks and its teams extends far beyond the Fortune 500 list. "NASCAR continues to be a great place for all companies to get their marketing message across," Phelps said. "When you look at NASCAR’s recovery over the past three years, I think it speaks volumes about how NASCAR continues to do very well in attracting businesses of all sizes. "It’s a way for business to reach the most loyal fans in all of sport who vote with their wallets. This continues to be the case in every research report we’ve done: NASCAR fans support brands that support their favorite sport. We think this is a major point of differentiation for us." Brand exposure in NASCAR is especially valuable given the loyalty of its fans. Repucom’s SponsorLink tracker shows seven out of 10 NASCAR fans are loyal to a brand when it sponsors their sport, higher than all other major sports properties. NASCAR CEO Brent Dewar echoed Phelps’ assessment in analyzing the most recent study. "We are gratified that NASCAR continues to be a place where best-in-class corporations choose our sport to drive brand awareness, preference and purchase behavior," Dewar said. "Our fans are fiercely loyal to our sport and the Fortune 500 brands that are an integral part of the NASCAR eco-system. We collaborate with partners across the industry each and every day to grow the sport and help advance sponsors’ objectives." It hasn’t hurt that NASCAR has taken a proactive approach in attracting and discussing its business environment with its investors. An example is NASCAR’s Fuel for Business Council, which meets quarterly, and gets business leaders talking about opportunities in NASCAR, including branding and business-to-business opportunities. This month’s meeting in San Francisco featured presentations by Microsoft and by Fanatics, which is in the process of revolutionizing the sport’s at-track merchandising operations. "It’s an opportunity for companies to talk to each other, and that’s really important," Phelps said. "Microsoft’s presentation answered the question: 'Why are we in NASCAR?’ In the end, we do business-to-business better than any sport on the planet – an important point of differentiation for investors." Phelps points out that investment extends far beyond the scope of Fortune 500 corporations and does not include dozens of companies advertising with NASCAR’s media partners or the hundreds of small- and mid-sized businesses with direct ties to the sport. To be eligible for the Fortune 500 , a company must be based in the U.S. and be publicly traded. Though many more Fortune 500 companies advertise on NASCAR-related television programming, only those that are partners or licensees with the sanctioning body, teams and / or tracks were counted in the analysis. Although being a Fortune 500 company is the "gold standard" of success for publicly-traded companies in the U.S., several global corporations currently involved in NASCAR were not included in the analysis because they do not meet Fortune 500 criteria. Those include Ingersoll Rand, MillerCoors, Mars, McLaren and Toyota. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Complete news and notes on all 43 drivers in the Coke Zero 400 RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down how the full 43-car field fared at Daytona International Speedway 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . It was initially a muted celebration for Earnhardt's second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the year as he watched Austin Dillon 's horrifying crash from his rear-view mirror after the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway. His No. 88 ride dominated, leading six times for 96 laps in the 161-lap main event. " WATCH: Dale Jr. on big week, scary crash 2. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt's stablemate was one of few drivers within striking distance at the finish. Johnson paced 35 laps, the only other driver with more than 10 laps led in the Coke Zero 400 . " MORE: Johnson pleased with 1-2 Hendrick finish 3. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The JGR driver landed his first top-five finish since winning at Martinsville Speedway in March, but came across the finish line sideways at the checkered flag after contact with Kevin Harvick ignited the final massive crash of the night. " WATCH: Hamlin reacts to wild wreck 4. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick took the checkered flag at the leading edge of the race-ending melee, making the cool-down lap with heavy front-end damage. He remained the Sprint Cup Series points leader with his fourth top-five finish in the last five races. " MORE: See the updated Chase Grid 5. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch held on to avoid the brunt of the damage erupting around him on the final-lap crash to secure his fourth straight top-five finish, moving him to eighth in Sprint Cup Series points despite missing three races to start the season. 6. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon wound up sliding out of control after taking the checkered flag for the final time at the 2.5-mile track, but clinched his ninth top-10 finish of the year. Barring an unexpected return to competition, Gordon's career will end with six Daytona wins on his resume. 7. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon, the NASCAR XFINITY Series winner the night before, emerged largely unscathed after his No. 3 entry went tumbling into the catch fencing not far from the start-finish line. He walked away from the crash and offered a wave to the crowd with a nod to former professional bull rider Lane Frost. " MORE: Dillon shaken, but OK after massive wreck 8. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman caught part of the massive crash at the finish. His RCR entry led its first lap since Martinsville in March as Newman posted his second straight top-10 effort. 9. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne went skidding as part of the pileup at the checkered flag, but recorded his second top-10 finish of the year in the No. 6. 10. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . The MWR driver eked out his third consecutive top-10 finish in spite of early contact in the first crash of the day and being caught in the midst of the race-ending tangle, with Dillon's airborne car sailing over his No. 15. Bowyer was among seven drivers credited with leading just one lap. " WATCH: See the contact Bowyer had 11. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears' team recovered from an early pit-road penalty and repairs of a faulty sensor that caused the No. 13 to lose power. He just missed his second top-10 of the season; the first came in the Daytona 500 . 12. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan brought out the next-to-last caution period with a long slide on the backstretch and was collected in the major crash as the curtain fell on the Coke Zero 400 , but still managed to register his best finish thus far in his seven-race stint with the Michael Waltrip -owned team. 13. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill ran with the powerhouse teams in the third restrictor-plate race of the season, emerging with damage but also with his best Sprint Cup finish of 2015. 14. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart had a prime but unfortunate seat for the race-ending crash, watching Austin Dillon 's car sail into the catch fencing. Smoke matched his car number in the results column for his fourth top-15 performance of the season. 15. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray was among the drivers wrapped up in the final multicar crash of the day. Though four of his seven Sprint Cup wins have come at either Daytona or Talladega, he's yet to record a top-10 finish in three races on restrictor-plate tracks this year. 16. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard's fourth-place starting spot was his best of the season, awarded based on first practice speeds after Coors Light Pole Qualifying was rained out. He dipped from his position in eighth place on the final restart to miss out on a top-10. 17. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch's first race back at Daytona was a rocky one. He scraped the wall in the 17th lap and twice received the free pass during caution periods to rally, but his No. 18 suffered further damage in the race-ending wreck. " MORE: How is Busch positioned to make the Chase 18. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier went spinning after the checkered flag, but his best restrictor-plate finish of the year helped him gain two spots in the standings to 29th place. 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse surfaced from the carnage to notch his best Sprint Cup finish since a fourth place at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. 20. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle was involved in the first yellow flag of the race, then was sent scraping past the finish line at the checkered flag to end an eventful day in the No. 16. 21. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . The recent dry spell extended to 14 races without a top-10 finish for the JTG Daugherty crew, which had its No. 47 returned to the Daytona garage by a wrecker after the race-ending crash. 22. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . The reigning Daytona 500 champion's chances at a Daytona season sweep fizzled early with involvement in the first large crash of the day and a black flag for racing with a flapping rear fender. Logano rallied with help of the free pass on the next-to-last caution, turning the rough day into a lead-lap finish. 23. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth was at the center of an 11-car stack-up just past the midway point, spinning in tight racing with Kasey Kahne off Turn 4. " WATCH: See Kenseth and Kahne make contact to trigger wreck 24. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman, who failed to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 , converted a lead-lap finish despite his No. 7 ride sustaining damage as he took the checkered flag. 25. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt described his car's handling as "darty" in radio communications but held on to end the race as the Front Row team's top finisher. 26. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . The former NASCAR Next driver secured his first lead-lap finish since placing a season-best 18th at Talladega Superspeedway in May. 27. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Though it's a distant result from his season-best of eighth place, Moffitt's early morning finish was his best in eight races driving for team owner Bob Jenkins. 28. Brendan Gaughan , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. The NASCAR XFINITY Series regular, who has failed to qualify for eight Sprint Cup races this season, secured his first lead-lap finish of the season as the last driver to complete all 161 laps. 29. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . A day that started with radio communications trouble ended with Keselowski's out-of control No. 2 sliding through fluid and wreckage into the mangled No. 3 of Austin Dillon after the race. Keselowski was also involved in the race's fifth caution period, just past the halfway point. 30. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish's sour luck continued with his involvement in three Daytona crashes, the final of which finally broke the No. 9 with heavy damage after a wild ride through the backstretch grass. 31. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise finished seven laps off the leader's pace after a battery cable came unfastened, requiring a tow back to the garage. 32. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne ran among the top five with his Hendrick teammates in early portions of the race, but was caught up in Matt Kenseth 's spin that touched off a sizable wreck in Turn 4 on Lap 105. " WATCH: Kahne and Kenseth involved in big wreck 33. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley returned from repairs after a Lap 87 pileup collected his No. 23 and six other cars, but finish 22 laps down to the front-runners. 34. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . A crash in the wake of Matt Kenseth 's spin in heavy traffic dashed Almirola's hopes for a Coke Zero 400 repeat, sending the Petty-owned No. 43 to the garage. He was listed as running at the finish after extensive repairs. 35. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick was caught by the race's first crash, just four laps in, but any dwindling hopes of contending were thwarted by another hit with the outside retaining wall in the 129th lap, sidelining her for the balance of the event. " WATCH: Trouble at Daytona for Danica 36. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate lost plenty of ground after the first big wreck of the event, finishing 40 laps off the pace. 37. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . A part in the first multicar crash of the day doomed Annett's effort almost from the outset, relegating the second-year driver to his sixth consecutive finish of 30th or worse. 38. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . "The weekend didn't start off well for us and it ended worse," was the sentiment of Truex after a crash in practice and another multicar wreck in the 105th lap. After reeling off top-10 finishes in 14 of the first 15 races of the season, Truex now has back-to-back DNFs related to crashes. " RELATED: Truex among big names taken out in 'Big One' 39. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . The 105th-lap crash that snared 11 cars hit Larson's No. 42 hard with heavy nose-first contact against the Turn 4 inside retaining wall. The second-year driver has three DNFs this season, all at restrictor-plate tracks. 40. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland was a focal point of the first large crash of the race, spinning in front of a large pack after contact with the car of Clint Bowyer . He returned to the race, enduring a solo spin just before halfway and taking the checkered flag 65 laps down. " WATCH: Gilliland brings out first caution 41. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Two crashes curbed Edwards' efforts, the first causing rear-end damage in the 53rd lap and the latter lifting his No. 19 Camry up onto the hood and windshield of Brian Scott 's No. 33. " WATCH: Hard hit for Edwards 42. Brian Scott , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. Scott's fifth Sprint Cup race of his part-time season ended with a too-close-for-comfort view of Carl Edwards ' car on top of his. Scott has DNFs in his last three races in NASCAR's top division. 43. Bobby Labonte , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. The former series champion's third race of the season ended early as the Archie St. Hilaire-owned No. 32 completed just two laps before tangling in Sunday's first multicar shunt. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Truex Jr., Almirola among several drivers wiped out after wreck RELATED: Nine-car wreck on Lap 3 MORE: Full race results " Updated series standings Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne made contact and crashed, bringing out the race's sixth caution on Lap 104 of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Other cars involved in the melee were David Ragan , Jamie McMurray , Kyle Larson , Aric Almirola , Brad Keselowski , Sam Hornish Jr ., Martin Truex Jr ., Trevor Bayne and Danica Patrick , who cut a tire as she ran over a piece of debris from the incident. Almirola is the defending race winner. "I was following Jeff Gordon up through there and he got shuffled out and I kind of committed to him and we started moving back up there pretty good ," Almirola said. "I was happy about the momentum we had and next thing I know some cars got together on the inside, and I heard the noise and heard them start to spin. ... It is a game of inches here sometimes, and I think a couple feet more forward and we wouldn't be in this. It stinks. I am certainly disappointed." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
O'Donnell: 'Industry really cares and is really working together' NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that findings from Tuesday's Goodyear tire test at Darlington Raceway along with feedback from next weekend at Kentucky Speedway could be combined to come up with "a package that we may want to look at." Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Matt Kenseth , Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart took part in the Darlington test three weeks after Greg Biffle , Clint Bowyer , Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman tested tires for the Bojangles' Southern 500 (Sept. 6, 7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) and a week ahead of extended practice for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts (July 11, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). "When we talked about Kentucky, we said we wanted to see how that played out, and there could be other events in the future that we wanted to look at so I'd say the work being done at Darlington is a potential tire that could match a package that we may want to look at," O'Donnell said. "We're by no means anywhere near a decision yet, but we wanted to be prepared coming out of Kentucky to see what if any levers we could pull." Last weekend at Sonoma, NASCAR and Goodyear monitored its new tire and the wear teams saw leading up to the race. Tire management saw side-by-side racing and led to strategy calls that decided the race. It was an example of track-specific packages to lead to better racing. "…it's a balance, and it's going to be race-by-race," O'Donnell said. "Obviously when you look at Kentucky, we want to see a tire with some wear there, but you've got to manage the speeds also. When we go to a track like Michigan or Atlanta, obviously if you get too soft, the speeds go way, way up so it's a balance for us to really match it with the aero and the engine package that you have so it'll be more track-specific as we go forward." O'Donnell noted that it continues to work with its official partner as well as the teams and manufacturers on finding the packages that provide the best racing. "…the softer tire so it is something we're working with the industry on," O'Donnell said. "Goodyear's been a terrific partner in putting that together. We've got all three of the OEMs working with us so we'll see how that goes in Darlington and then obviously how things play out in Kentucky as well." The Darlington test, along with next weekend's race at Kentucky, will help the industry understand the possibilities available for future packages. O'Donnell noted how the entire ecosystem has come together to put on the best show possible. "…we really wanted to get ahead of it, work together and also work on what could happen coming out of Kentucky," O'Donnell said. "We've got a tentative plan that we're talking to teams about to see which way we can go at some different venues so it's been a lot of great collaboration. "The fans should know ultimately that we've got an industry that really cares and is really working together. Then ultimately we've got to make the right decisions that we think will put on the best racing possible." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
More than 1-in-4 Fortune 500 , nearly 1-2 Fortune 100 invested DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 1, 2015) -- Since the moment stock cars first raced on the shores of Daytona Beach, sponsorship has played a role in NASCAR. Today, the world's most successful and innovative corporations choose NASCAR to help drive their businesses. The results of an analysis released today shows that more than one-in-four FORTUNE 500 companies use NASCAR as part of their marketing mix -- a number that has steadily increased for three consecutive years. The number of FORTUNE 500 companies invested in the sport increased 7 percent year-over-year. Nearly one-in-two FORTUNE 100 companies now invest in NASCAR, also an increase over 2014. The 130 companies involved in the sport mark a 20 percent increase since 2008, before significant changes to the economy as well as the media and marketing landscape. On the heels of a recently announced Official Partnership with Microsoft -- and several other technology brands entering the sport this year and last -- the number of FORTUNE 500 tech companies invested in NASCAR has increased by 66 percent since 2013. "We are gratified that NASCAR continues to be a place where best-in-class corporations choose to drive brand awareness, preference and purchase behavior. Our fans are fiercely loyal to our sport and the FORTUNE 500 brands that are an integral part of NASCAR," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. "We collaborate with partners across the industry each and every day to grow the sport and advance sponsors' objectives." Brand exposure in NASCAR is especially valuable given the loyalty of its fans. Repucom's SponsorLink tracker shows seven out of 10 NASCAR fans are loyal to a brand when it sponsors their sport, higher than all other major sports properties. To be eligible for the FORTUNE 500 , a company must be based in the U.S. and be publicly traded. Though many more FORTUNE 500 companies advertise on NASCAR-related television programming, only those that are partners or licensees with the sanctioning body, teams and / or tracks were counted in the analysis. Although being a FORTUNE 500 company is the gold standard of success for publicly-traded companies in the United States, there are several global corporations currently involved in NASCAR that were not included in the analysis because they do not meet FORTUNE's criteria. A number of those not qualifying, but involved significantly in NASCAR, include Ingersoll Rand, MillerCoors, Mars, McLaren and Toyota. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
News and notes from around the garage RELATED: New rules for Darlington, 3 more tracks this season NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . said that there a lot will be learned from this weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway, but the Hendrick Motorsports driver doesn’t expect the different aero package to "reveal a lot of obvious answers on the way we need to go." The Kentucky package will feature a shorter spoiler as well as changes to the splitter and splitter extension panel (radiator pan), moves that will lessen the amount of downforce on the cars by approximately 1,000 pounds, and, it is hoped, create an improved product on the track. Earnhardt, speaking Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, said not having a tire to match up with the low downforce package is the issue. Sprint Cup Series teams will compete in the Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). "The tire is a bit better, but not quite enough," he said. "I think that is understood amongst NASCAR, ourselves and Goodyear. The Kentucky weekend won't be a weekend we take a ton of stock in as far as what this package is really going to be able to lend us and if it would work somewhere else." Goodyear officials already had produced the 2,200 tires needed for Kentucky before the decision to use the low downforce package was finalized. The tire that will be used does have more grip but was not used specifically with this package when teams tested there in April. Steve O’Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for NASCAR, told SiriusXM NASCAR that officials believe the change will be effective for the 1.5-mile track. "We're going to look at the measurements we look at every day: were there more passes, who was able to compete, how did the field look throughout the race, obviously fan measurements post-race," he said. Goodyear Prepped for Darlington Goodyear officials returned to Darlington Raceway on June 30 for a one-day tire test featuring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars running a low downforce package related to that which is being used this weekend at Kentucky. Three drivers -- Tony Stewart ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Brad Keselowski ( Team Penske ) and Matt Kenseth ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) -- took part in the test at the 1.366-mile track. "The goal was to evaluate the low downforce package, similar to what is going to be run at Kentucky, and see if we couldn't match a tire to that package," Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales for Goodyear, said Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. "When I say match, I mean replace aero grip with mechanical grip. Try to basically do it one for one and we feel like we did that. It was between three quarters of a second and a second slower just with aero downforce reduction and we feel like we gave about three-fourths to a second back. That was our goal, to do it one for one." Tuesday, NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell announced that a low-downforce package would indeed be used at Darlington. However, the changes doesn’t mirror those being used this weekend at Kentucky – the spoiler will be 3-1/2 inches instead of 3-inches and the splitter will have a 1/4-inch leading edge. The tire tested at Darlington features a softer compound as well as a construction change. Stucker said it was similar to the Kentucky right-side tire and the left-side tire used at Indianapolis. "I think the drivers felt like they had plenty of grip," Stucker said. "We got them together about noon and made sure that it seemed like we were moving in the right direction … we left there feeling pretty good about our part of it. I think wear might be up a little bit with a softer package … but you would expect that." Infractions Aplenty at Daytona There were a season-high 65 penalties doled out during Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, with the majority (35) for pitting before pit road was open. That infraction isn’t unusual when multi-car crashes leave plenty of cars with damaged sheet metal, which definitely was the case at Daytona. The overall total eclipsed the previous high mark of 43 set earlier this year at Martinsville Speedway. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Nine cars caught up in Lap 3 wreck RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings The "Big One" hit the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola on Lap 3 Sunday night, minutes into a race that was delayed by four hours due to rain. David Gilliland 's move down the track triggered the nine-car incident. Other cars involved were Clint Bowyer , Danica Patrick , Jeb Burton , Joey Logano , Bobby Labonte , Sam Hornish Jr ., Greg Biffle and Michael Annett . Burton, Labonte, Gilliland and Annett's damaged cars all went to the garage. Logano didn't go behind the wall, but he was scored four laps down through 20 laps. The green flag fell at 11:42 p.m. ET.
Company will sponsor Ryan Blaney, No. 21 car at Kentucky and Darlington Ryan Blaney and his No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford will have a new sponsor on the car for this weekend at Kentucky Speedway in the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, PRN, SiriusXM). Snap-on Tools will also sponsor the car in the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend (Sept. 6, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM). Check out the paint scheme. Finishing the @Snapon_Tools @FordPerformance Fusions to go to @KySpeedway pic.twitter.com/3UDb17HEsR — Wood Brothers Racing (@woodbrothers21) July 7, 2015 "It's a real privilege to be representing a company like Snap-on that has such a rich heritage of quality and craftsmanship," team co-owner Eddie Wood said in a release provided by the team. Blaney's six starts this season so far for Wood Brothers have carried the sponsorship of Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center. The 21-year-old's best finish this season came at Talladega Superspeedway in May -- he finished fourth. Blaney and the No. 21 car did not make the 43-car field for last Sunday's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway with qualifying rained out and the field set by the NASCAR rule book, which meant by the speeds of the opening practice as well as based on the number of race attempts each team has made. It was the first time since 2008 that the Wood Brothers' No. 21 car did not qualify for a race in which it was entered.
A statistical look ahead to the 18th race of the Sprint Cup season DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (July 6, 2015) – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky going into the Quaker State 400 on July 11 on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET. KENTUCKY-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Crispy Toyota) · One win, three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 4. 500 , series-best · Average Running Position of 5.270, series-best · Driver Rating of 124.3, series-best · 139 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 172.614, series-best · 1003 Laps in the Top 15 (93.9), series-most · 99 Quality Passes, 11th-most Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two top 10s · Average finish of 11. 500 , eighth-best · Average Running Position of 13.430, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 89.4, 11th-best · 21 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.179, 13th-fastest · 603 Laps in the Top 15 (56.5), 12th-most · 112 Quality Passes, seventh-most Dale Earnhardt Jr (No. 88 NATIONWIDE Chevrolet) · Two top fives, two top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.750, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 12.607, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 90.7, ninth-best · 32 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.518, 10th-fastest · 633 Laps in the Top 15 (59.3), 11th-most · 106 Quality Passes, ninth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 COMCAST MINIONS Toyota) · One top five, one top 10 · Average finish of 15.750, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 12.755, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 87.2, 12th-best · 20 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.201, 12th-fastest · 662 Laps in the Top 15 (62.0), 10th-most · 107 Quality Passes, eighth-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet) · One top five, four top 10s · Average finish of 7.250, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 12.069, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.4, sixth-best · 41 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.777, seventh-fastest · 736 Laps in the Top 15 (68.9), seventh-most · 140 Quality Passes, fourth-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) · One top five, one top 10 · Average finish of 22.750, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 18.688, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 85.2, 13th-best · 34 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 172.252, third-fastest · 558 Laps in the Top 15 (52.2), 13th-most · 87 Quality Passes, 13th-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet) · Two top 10s · Average finish of 11.000, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 10.600, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 95.2, seventh-best · 17 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.767, eighth-fastest · 884 Laps in the Top 15 (82.8), fourth-most · 133 Quality Passes, fifth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Pro Services Chevrolet) · One top five, four top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 7.000, third-best · Average Running Position of 6.292, second-best · Driver Rating of 116.6, second-best · 127 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 172.573, second-fastest · 963 Laps in the Top 15 (90.2), third-most · 142 Quality Passes, third-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 LIFTMASTER Chevrolet) · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 8. 500 , fifth-best · Average Running Position of 12.879, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 98.9, fifth-best · 64 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 172.039, fifth-fastest · 709 Laps in the Top 15 (66.4), eighth-most · 145 Quality Passes, second-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · One win, two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 4. 500 , second-best · Average Running Position of 9.208, third-best · Driver Rating of 107.2, fourth-best · 79 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 172.189, fourth-fastest · 972 Laps in the Top 15 (91.0), second-most · 181 Quality Passes, series-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Two wins, two top fives, three top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 10. 500 , sixth-best · Average Running Position of 10.234, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 116.1, third-best · 171 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.863, sixth-fastest · 840 Laps in the Top 15 (78.7), fifth-most · 88 Quality Passes, 12th-most Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil/AutoTrader Ford) · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 12.250, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 11.292, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 94.7, eighth-best · 25 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.579, ninth-fastest · 669 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6), ninth-most · 101 Quality Passes, 10th-most Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) · Two top fives, two top 10s · Average finish of 13.750, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 12.857, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 90.2, 10th-best · 14 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.476, 11th-fastest · 776 Laps in the Top 15 (72.7), sixth-most · 113 Quality Passes, sixth-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Kentucky Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 4 0 0 0 2 0 11 95.2 2 Dale Earnhardt Jr 4 1 0 2 2 0 12.8 90.7 3 Jimmie Johnson 4 1 0 1 4 0 7 116.6 4 Joey Logano 4 0 0 1 2 0 12.2 94.7 5 Martin Truex Jr 4 0 0 0 2 0 13 84.0 6 Jamie McMurray 4 0 0 1 1 1 22.5 76.5 7 Brad Keselowski 4 1 2 2 3 0 10.5 116.1 8 Kurt Busch 4 0 0 0 2 0 11.5 89.4 9 Matt Kenseth 4 0 1 2 4 0 4.5 107.2 10 Jeff Gordon 4 0 0 1 4 0 7.2 95.4 11 Kasey Kahne 4 0 0 1 2 0 8.5 98.9 12 Denny Hamlin 4 0 0 1 1 2 22.8 85.2 13 Paul Menard 4 0 0 0 0 0 20.2 74.5 14 Ryan Newman 4 0 0 2 2 1 13.8 90.2 15 Clint Bowyer 4 0 0 1 1 1 19.2 83.3 16 Aric Almirola 3 0 0 0 0 1 26.7 67.4 * – Based on last four races at Kentucky Speedway. Kentucky Speedway Data Season Race #: 18 of 36 (07-11-15) Track Size : 1.5-miles Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 14 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 14 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 8 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 8 degrees Frontstretch Length : 1,662 feet Backstretch Length : 1,600 feet Race Length : 200 laps / 300 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Kentucky Kyle Busch ............................... 124.3 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 116.6 Brad Keselowski ....................... 116.1 Matt Kenseth ............................. 107.2 Kasey Kahne .............................. 98.9 Jeff Gordon ................................ 95.4 Kevin Harvick .............................. 95.2 Joey Logano .............................. 94.7 Dale Earnhardt Jr . ....................... 90.7 Ryan Newman ............................. 90.2 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (four total) among active drivers at Kentucky Speedway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Brad Keselowski , Ford 188.791 mph, 28.603 secs. 06-28-14 2014 race winner : Brad Keselowski , Ford 139.723 mph, (02:51:59), 06-29-14 Track qualifying record: Brad Keselowski , Ford 188.791 mph, 28.603 secs. 06-28-14 Track race record: Brad Keselowski ., Dodge 145.607 mph, (02:45:02), 06-30-12 At Kentucky Speedway: History · In 1998, the track broke ground in Sparta, Kentucky, and opened as a 1.5-mile speedway in 2000. · The original owners, Jerry Carroll and four other investors owned the track until 2008, when current owners, Speedway Motorsports Inc. purchased the facility. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held in 2011 – won by Kyle Busch . Starts · There have been four NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Kentucky Speedway since the first race in 2011 – one race per season. · 60 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway; 45 in more than one. · 28 different drivers have made all four series starts at Kentucky Speedway. · Brad Keselowski leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Average Starting Position at Kentucky with a 5.75; followed by Kyle Busch with a 6.25. Poles · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying at Kentucky was cancelled due to weather. The starting line-up was set per the Rule Book – Kyle Busch started from first. · Brad Keselowski (2014), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (2013) and Jimmie Johnson (2012) are the three drivers that have won Coors Light poles at Kentucky. · Youngest Kentucky pole winner: Brad Keselowski (06/28/2014 – 30 years, 4 months, 16 days). · Oldest Kentucky pole winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr . (06/30/2013 – 38 years, 8 months, 20 days). Wins · Three different NSCS drivers have won at Kentucky Speedway: Kyle Busch (07/09/2011), Brad Keselowski (06/30/2012 and 6/28/2014) and Matt Kenseth (6/30/2013). · Brad Keselowski leads the series in wins at Kentucky with two. · Youngest Kentucky winner: Kyle Busch (07/09/2011 – 26 years, 2 months, 7 days). · Oldest Kentucky winner: Matt Kenseth (06/30/2013 – 41 years, 3 months, 20 days). · Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske are tied for the series lead in wins at Kentucky with two each: Joe Gibbs Racing (2011, 2013); Team Penske (2012, 2014). · Three different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Kentucky: Toyota (2011, 2013), Dodge (2012) and Ford (2014). · Brad Keselowski is the only driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky from the Coors Light poles (2014). · Kyle Busch won the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky from the first starting position. Due to the qualifying session being cancelled for the 2011 race, it was not from the Coors Light pole. · Two of the four (50.0%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kentucky have been won from the front row – both from the first starting position (2011, 2014). · Three of the four (75%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Kentucky have been won from a top-10 starting position. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Kentucky is 16th, by Matt Kenseth in 2013. · The fewest laps led in a single race by an eventual NSCS winner at Kentucky is 38 laps by Matt Kenseth in 2013. · The most laps led in a single race by an eventual NSCS winner at Kentucky is 199 laps by Brad Keselowski in 2014. Additional Finishing Position Stats · Four different drivers have posted NSCS runner-up finishes at Kentucky: David Reutimann (2011), Kasey Kahne (2012), Jamie McMurray (2013) and Kyle Busch (2014). · 14 different drivers have posted top-five finishes at Kentucky led by Kyle Busch with three; followed by Brad Keselowski , Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Matt Kenseth , and Ryan Newman with two each. · 19 different drivers have posted top-10 finishes at Kentucky led by Kyle Busch , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth with four each. · Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch are tied for the series among active drivers in Average Finishing Position at Kentucky with a 4.5 each. Jimmie Johnson (7.0), Jeff Gordon (7.2), and Kasey Kahne (8.5) are the other active drivers with an average finish in the top 10. Track Event Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway was the July 9, 2011 race won by Kyle Busch over David Reutimann with a MOV of 0.179 second. · None of the four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kentucky Speedway have resulted with a green-white-checkered finish. · None of the four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kentucky Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions. · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway once; the 2011 race. · The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky produced the most lead changes (20) at the 1.5-mile track. The fewest lead changes were in the 2013 race at Kentucky (11). · The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky produced the most different leaders (12) at the 1.5-mile speedway. The fewest leaders in a NSCS event at Kentucky were last season’s race with three. · Brad Keselowski leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Kentucky with 346 laps led in four starts. Female Competitor Stats · Danica Patrick is the only female driver to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway . Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 29 23 6/30/2013 Danica Patrick 10 21 6/28/2014 Averages 19.5 22.0 NASCAR in Kentucky · There have been five NASCAR Sprint Cup races among two tracks in Kentucky. Track Name City NSCS Kentucky Speedway Sparta 4 Corbin Speedway Corbin 1 · 42 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Kentucky; three have posted wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Jeremy Mayfield 5 0 0 Michael Waltrip 4 11 1 Tommy Thompson 1 0 0 Jeff Green 0 16 0 David Green 0 9 0 Milestones – Kentucky Speedway HAS NEEDS MILESTONE DESCRIPTION DRIVER Michael McDowell 174 1 175th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Career Start McDowell is 145th on the all-time NSCS career starts list, two starts behind Walter Ballard and Regan Smith (176 each) in 143rd. Danica Patrick 99 1 100th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Career Start Patrick is 191st on the all-time NSCS career starts list, one start behind Bruce Hill (100) in 190th. Jimmie Johnson 74 2 76th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win Jimmie Johnson is eighth on the all-time NSCS wins list, two wins behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt in seventh (76 wins). Tony Stewart 48 2 50th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win Stewart is 13th on the all-time NSCS wins l
Start of Coke Zero 400 pushed back because of inclement weather RELATED: Track live weather updates " See all 43 cars in the field DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Intermittent rain showers postponed the start of Sunday's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Activities at the track remain on-hold after poor weather pushed back the scheduled 8:08 p.m. ET start. The fleet of Air Titans were deployed to dry Daytona at approximately 9:23 p.m. ET. RELATED: Snapshot from Daytona Light rain began falling about 6 p.m. local time, at times developing into heavier showers and forcing fans to take occasional cover, while drivers waited to participate in the traditional pre-race ceremonies and 20 NASCAR Air Titans and 10 jet dryers ready to dry the 2.5-mile track. Two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . will start from the pole position alongside second-year Cup driver Austin Dillon . The 43-car grid was set according to Friday's first practice sessions speeds -- per the NASCAR rule book -- after bad weather Saturday evening forced the cancellation of Sprint Cup Series qualifying. RELATED: Relive Dale Jr.'s road trip down to Daytona Drivers seemed to take the situation in stride. Afternoon showers are commonplace in Florida during the summer. Last year's race was delayed a day and called 48 laps short of completion because of poor weather; however, it marked only the second time in this race's history the event was rain-shortened. Competitors this weekend were more concerned with race strategy than radar watching. "There's something about this place -- every time you come here, the facility -- you just get taken in by it," Michael Waltrip Racing driver Clint Bowyer said, addressing media Sunday afternoon. "Watching the XFINITY race last night, learned a lot of things just watching those guys and kind of what you think is going to play out with our program when you get the Cup boys out there on the race track. Learned a little bit of what not to do. That's the thing about this weekend and coming to these restrictor plate tracks, you're constantly learning and you're being a student of what you see and you don't really have a lot of practice time anymore, at least you shouldn't. "It's the same plan everybody else has, which is to roll their happy butt into Victory Lane with a big smile on their face." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule