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.
Great Clips extends relationship with Hendrick, No. 5 team
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 20, 2016) -- Great Clips Inc. will continue its sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 5 Chevrolet SS team of driver Kasey Kahne in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with a contract extension through 2018. The two-year agreement covers the 2017 and 2018 seasons and secures primary sponsorship of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS for 10 events annually. Great Clips , which joined Hendrick Motorsports as a partner in 2012, also will be a major associate sponsor of the No. 5 team each year. The world's largest salon brand, Great Clips became a first-time Sprint Cup primary sponsor with three races in 2013. The program grew to 10 primary races annually in 2014. "We are very pleased to extend our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and with Kasey through the 2018 NASCAR season," said Terri Miller, senior vice president of marketing and communications, Great Clips Inc. "Kasey has been a member of the Great Clips family for over 13 years and is a great ambassador of our brand. He embodies the same qualities and values that are synonymous with Great Clips -- loyalty, family, dedication and a passion to succeed. "We have built a successful partnership with Hendrick Motorsports over the last several years that has allowed us to activate and elevate our brand and partner programs to a new level, and we are excited to be able to continue that into the future." Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Kahne, 36, has earned three Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths and five race wins with the No. 5 team. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career victories, 27 pole positions and 165 top-10 finishes in NASCAR's top division. " Great Clips has a very strong culture," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports . "The company cares deeply about relationships with their customers, franchisees, stylists, corporate staff and partners. We’ve enjoyed working together to build an effective program, and it's been terrific to see the Great Clips business grow over that time. We're committed to their success and look forward to the future." Minneapolis-based Great Clips , which has more than 4,000 locations and 1, 200 salon owners who employ 40,000 stylists throughout the United States and Canada, has a long history with Kahne. Since 2003, the company has supported his efforts as both a driver and car owner across multiple racing series. " Great Clips has believed in me throughout my career," Kahne said. "They're a big part of the No. 5 team, and we feel like members of their team, too. It's been an awesome partnership, and I'm grateful for their commitment and support. It means a lot to represent them on and off the track."
Post-Race Reactions: Great Clips 200
Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. react after a thrilling conclusion in Phoenix.
Atlanta introduces 'Chase U' ticket package
RELATED: Buy tickets for the race Atlanta Motor Speedway has partnered with Dawsonville, Georgia, native and driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports , Chase Elliott , to introduce the Chase U ticket package, the hottest new deal for college students attending the March 5 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. The package, popular among millennial fans currently enrolled in college, offers a near industry-low price point for a NASCAR Cup Series race, a festive pre-race tailgate party, complimentary food and drink and a chance to interact with Chase Elliott , the 2016 Rookie of the Year in NASCAR's top series. Buyers of a Chase U ticket will enjoy a low $24 ticket for a seat in the Lower Winners Grandstand, free parking at the race and admission into the exclusive Chase U tailgate party taking place from 10 a.m. to noon on the day of the race. The tailgate will include complimentary food and beverage for each ticketholder, live music, tailgate games, a Daytona USA racing simulator and a free-entry cornhole tournament with prizes and awards. Elliott will make an appearance at the party for a special Q&A session with tailgate attendees and will take time afterwards to meet with fans. "Atlanta is providing an awesome race-day experience for the students that come to Chase U," said Elliott. "I want fans to have a great time at the race, with their own party zone, live music, food, drinks, games and a grandstand ticket, all for $24. If I were able to go watch a race, this is a place that would be fun for me. Everyone there will have a great time, and hopefully we'll make some lifetime NASCAR fans in the process." The Chase U ticket package is available only to college students with a valid student ID and can be purchased today by contacting the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or by logging on to www.atlantamotorspeedway.com . NASCAR racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway March 3-5, 2017, featuring the Rinnai 250 XFINITY Series and Active Pest Control 200 Camping World Truck Series doubleheader on Saturday, March 4 and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, March 5.
Owen Wilson named Grand Marshal for Daytona 500
MORE: Buy tickets to the race DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2017) -- Actor Owen Wilson, the voice of the animated character Lightning McQueen in Disney Pixar's upcoming movie "Cars 3," will serve as Grand Marshal for the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway . The Daytona 500 , the season-opening race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , will begin at 2 p.m. (TV -- FOX, FOX Deportes; Radio -- MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) following Wilson delivering the famous "Drivers, start your engines" command to the 40-car field. In addition to giving the command, Wilson will ride in one of the Grand Marshal cars during pace laps prior to the green flag of the 200 -lap, 500-mile race and attend the drivers meeting. "Cars 3" opens nationwide on June 16. Wilson, who voiced Lightning McQueen in "Cars" (2006) and "Cars 2" (2011), is also known for starring roles in a variety of hit comedy films including "Wedding Crashers," "Meet the Parents," "Zoolander" and "The Royal Tenenbaums." Wilson stars in the upcoming "Wonder" and the Woody Harrelson-directed live film "Lost in London." "Owen Wilson is one of America's most beloved comedic actors and his voice has brought Lightning McQueen to life for millions of movie-goers over the last 10 years," said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. "His star-power, and of course his personality, are perfect fits for 'The Great American Race.' " For more information on "Cars 3" visit http://disney.com/Cars3 . Wilson is the latest name on a long list of actors who have served as Daytona 500 Grand Marshals including Gerard Butler, Vince Vaughn, John Travolta, Ben Affleck, Nicolas Cage and Matthew McConaughey. Tickets for the 2017 DAYTONA 500 and Speedweeks can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can also follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter , Facebook , Instagram , YouTube , Pinterest and Snapchat , and by downloading the Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season. </p>
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;
Crafton wins Keystone Light Pole Award at Atlanta
RELATED: Full lineup Matt Crafton won the Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Award on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and will lead the field to green to kick off the Great Clips 200 (4:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Driving the No. 88 Toyota, the ThorSport Racing driver soared to the top of the leaderboard with a speed of 179.790 mph. The two-time Camping World Truck Series champion is also the defending race winner and the only previous winner in Saturday's field. John Wes Townley will start second to Crafton in his No. 05 Athenian Motorsports Chevrolet. Christopher Bell , Grant Enfinger and Cameron Hayley complete the top five in the starting lineup. Enfinger led two of the three Truck Series practices on Friday. Norm Benning , Timothy Viens , Ryan Ellis , Korbin Forrister and Jordan Anderson failed to qualify.
Caution Clock expires for first time in Truck Series history
RELATED: Smith talks Caution Clock HAMPTON, Ga. -- Time became a new factor in NASCAR for the first time on Saturday, with the Caution Clock coming into play twice in the Camping World Truck Series Great Clips 200 . The first competition yellow on Lap 38 caused issues for Christopher Bell in terms of tire strategy. The second competition caution as the 20-minute clock expired also was tied to issues for Bell, but under the surface, was playing into every team's pit and tire strategy at Atlanta Motor Speedway . NASCAR introduced the caution clock in 2016, starting at Daytona International Speedway . A 20-minute timer begins counting down at the beginning of each green-flag run. If no natural caution occurs before the clock runs out, a caution will come out, giving teams the opportunity to pit, change tires and make adjustments. The Caution Clock yellow on Lap 38 came at exactly the wrong time for Bell, who was running second when a flat right front forced him to pit road on Lap 27. The team got off tire strategy as the rest of the field capitalized on four fresh tires on the race's first restart. The No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota team got back on sequence with the field when William Byron's engine blew on Lap 60, bringing out the second caution of the race. He quickly moved back into the top five and was battling Matt Crafton for the lead by Lap 92. The second Caution Clock yellow proved costly for Bell as well, but much more so for Matt Crafton and Daniel Suarez . Bell overshot his pit stall with the setting sun in his eyes and had to be backed up, losing valuable time and falling to fifth place for the restart on Lap 111. That put Bell behind Crafton and Daniel Suarez for the restart, and as Bell aggressively pushed to regain the lead, he made contact with his teammate's No. 51 Tundra. That sparked a hard wreck that took out Crafton and Suarez, but Bell snuck through. "We just had a tough day," Suarez said after being released from the infield care center. "We had the fastest truck." MORE: Crafton, Suarez involved in big wreck at Atlanta Bell's luck ran out a few laps later as his right front tire went down, sending his Toyota hard into the outside wall. Cameron Hayley was one of the drivers who got through that late wreck unscathed, and despite his own right front tire issues finished second. Hayley said after the race that the Caution Clock affected all the teams Saturday, as it played heavily into tire strategy. "It was definitely difficult. The tire was giving up really bad in the right front for a lot of us," Haley explained, saying the No. 13 ThorSport Racing Toyota didn't have a tire go down, but did have two right fronts wear all the way down to the cords. "The thing with that Caution Clock was everyone was trying to make it to that Caution Clock, and today the tire just almost didn't make it to those 20 minutes," Hayley said. "So the challenge was we had to get there when we wanted to pit sooner."
Christopher Bell recounts harrowing Daytona wreck
HAMPTON, Ga. -- Time away from the driver's seat is not a friend, not after a barrel roll down Daytona International Speedway 's frontstretch. One week removed from his frightening tumble, Christopher Bell is eager to get on the track again and put his dramatic wreck in the season opener behind him. Bell, who is in his first full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, has flipped sprint cars a time or two, but his crash in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota was a first in stock-car racing. It was different in several ways, including having more time to think about the wreck afterward. "In the open-wheel program, you race 100 races a year so you flip on Saturday and you're back racing on Sunday," the 21-year-old driver said before Friday's NCWTS practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway . "Luckily, we didn't have a huge break where you sit there and ponder it. So I'm looking forward to today and tomorrow to get Daytona behind us and I hope to start fresh." The physics of wrecking in NASCAR are different as well. "The biggest thing about the stock car is it might not hurt as bad because you've got more material around you, but the G forces are say more. I think the biggest thing is you're sitting to the left compared to an open-wheel car, you're sitting in the center of the car so everything is flipping around you. In the stock cars, you're off to the side of the truck, so whenever you start barrel rolling, you know, it's trying to throw you out of the car." Bell did start fresh and fast on Friday, posting the second-fastest speed of 178.816 mph in the Truck Series' first practice for Saturday's Great Clips 200 (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). He's competing in the truck that Erik Jones drove to the series championship in 2015. And he feels fine. "When I stopped, you got a lot of adrenaline, so I felt really good. … But walking to the ambulance I was pretty dizzy and by the time I got there, I was really dizzy. As far as injuries, other than a little bit of bruising, I mean my face was a little bruised afterwards, but other than that I was fine. The next morning I felt 100 percent until I got out of bed, and once I got out of bed, I realized I couldn't move quite as fast. But after a couple days that was all gone, and I was good to go." Bell is hopeful to keep pushing strong speed into Saturday's race with some solid testing at Atlanta under the team's belt. He got his first win while running seven races for KBM in 2015, taking the checkered flag at Eldora Speedway and is eager for another trip to Victory Lane. But first, Bell is grateful to get back to racing and past the wreck. He said the accident could have been worse if the truck had taken a hard hit to the nose or been hit by another truck rather than dissipating energy as it rolled down the track. "Looking back at it, I saw Larson's crash then Austin Dillon last year," Bell said. "You think, 'That's never going to happen to me. That'll never happen to me.' Then suddenly it is happening to you. Watching it was an eye opener. Even after I went through the crash it didn't sink in, but whenever I got to watching myself flipping, it's like 'Wow, that did happen to me.' It puts it in perspective."
Grant Enfinger tops final practice at Atlanta
Practice 3 " Full results For the second time Friday, Grant Enfinger topped the Camping World Truck Series practice leaderboard at Atlanta Motor Speedway , wheeling his No. 33 Chevrolet at a 178.775 mph clip in the final session. Enfinger, who will make just his second Truck Series start since 2012 this weekend at Atlanta, also paced the field in the opening session this morning. Veteran wheelman Matt Crafton was second-fastest, propelling his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota at 178.00 mph around the 1.54-mile track. Christopher Bell rounded out the top three with a fast lap of 177.938 mph behind the wheel of his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports ride. GMS Racing's Spencer Gallagher (177.681 mph) and JR Motorsports' Cole Custer (177.635 mph) were fourth and fifth on the speed charts, respectively. A blown tire from Garrett Smithley 's No. 63 truck brought out the red flag briefly. The final leg of the third practice was marked by mock qualifying runs, as the series will qualify Saturday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. ET (FS1) for the Great Clips 200 (4:30 p.m. ET, FS1). Practice 2 " Full results Clocking in at 178.224 mph in his No. 05 Chevrolet, John Wes Townley made a late surge to the top of the leaderboard in the second of Friday's Truck Series practice trio at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Townley was fifth-fastest in opening practice. Daniel Hemric came up second, wheeling his No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford at 177.795 mph around the Georgia track. K&N Pro Series East champion William Byron was third on the charts, his No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota reaching a top speed of 177.368 mph. Reigning race winner and 2014 Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton was fourth-fastest, his No. 88 ThorSport Racing truck rounding the track at 176.882 mph. Red Horse Racing's Ben Kennedy rounded out the top five with a fast lap of 176.701 mph in his No. 11 ride. Grant Enfinger, who led the opening Truck Series practice, came up 10th on the speed charts, his No. 33 Chevrolet reaching 175.833 mph. Korbin Forrister brought out the caution less than 10 minutes into practice, as his No. 59 truck spun across the track leaving pit road. No contact was made with any other trucks. Practice 1 " Full results Grant Enfinger led the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' opening practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday with a high speed of 179.574 mph. The No. 33 driver's fastest speed came on Lap 2 of 20 laps. Last week, Enfinger won the Keystone Light Pole Award for the season-opening race at Daytona. Christopher Bell was second-fastest to Enfinger at 178.816 mph. Bell was involved in a scary last-lap wreck in last week's NextEra Energy Resources 250 that had his No. 4 Toyota lifted off the track and sent barrel-rolling down the frontstretch. Defending race winner Matt Crafton was third-fastest at 178.310 mph. Daniel Hemric (177.858 mph) and John Wes Towny (177.858 mph) tied for fourth-fastest. William Byron was just behind them at 177.493 mph.