Cousin of Jeff Gordon part of NASCAR Next class RELATED: Meet the new NASCAR Next class " More on NASCAR Next At age 17, James Bickford hasn't had to do much waiting for success in NASCAR's developmental ranks to come his way. But even his first taste of triumph in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West had an unintended test of his patience. A first-time win would be memorable enough on its own merit, but oh, what the Victory Lane photos could have been. Shortly after Bickford flashed under the checkered flag first last July at State Line Speedway in Post Falls, Idaho, he felt a trickle of blood from his nose just before the post-race ceremonies were about to start. WATCH: NASCAR Next class introduced "I don't know what it was from -- it was either yelling or I hit myself on something when I was getting out, but I had to wait inside the car," said Bickford, who also contended with the complicating matter of losing his voice. "People were like, 'What's going on?' I'm holding it and am just, 'I've got a bloody nose and I can't get out of the car right now.' We had to wait and everybody's standing around the car and they all have their cameras ready. That's a story a lot of people don't know. "It was definitely very exciting. It was unbelievable, definitely one of the biggest wins I've had in my career so far. It was definitely an eye-opening experience, for sure." Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, after another holding pattern that he described as "nerve-wracking," Bickford made another major step forward in his racing career as one of the 12 members unveiled for the NASCAR Next youth initiative. Again, the wait -- which spanned months after his initial application for the program -- was a tough one to take, but a gratifying one in the end. "I knew everybody knew, but it was just waiting to see the e-mail whether I was in it or not," Bickford said of the long days that followed the committee's voting process. "When I got the e-mail, I was just so happy because this is just such a great opportunity to be a part of a program like this." Bickford has already been afforded the luxury of plenty of great opportunities, including his top-flight ride in the K&N Pro Series West with the Bob Bruncati-owned No. 6 Ford team. But he also has a connection to stock-car royalty, owing to family ties with his cousin, Jeff Gordon . Bickford's uncle is John Bickford, Gordon's stepfather and a guiding force behind the four-time NASCAR champion's racing career. While the younger Bickford says the bond with Gordon is a special one, he's also eager to make his name stand out on its own. "Definitely carve my own niche," James Bickford said. "It's an asset in terms of advice. He's been to some of the tracks that we race at, like Phoenix and Sonoma, so when we go to those tracks, he's definitely a huge help with advice and connections, with him being able to introduce me to people that are important to my success. It definitely helps a ton." Bickford is already balancing the rigors of his K&N racing schedule with online studies as a junior in high school, while delving into the realm of business ownership. His involvement as part of the NASCAR Next 2015-16 roster will only increase his obligations, but his visibility in the racing industry should take a similar spike. And while the racing schedule is still in the early stages, well into the heart of springtime, Bickford said it's not too early to start thinking about 2016. A handful of his NASCAR Next classmates -- Cole Custer , Austin Hill and John Hunter Nemechek among them -- have already embarked on part-time duty in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the first rung of the national series ladder. A similar career arc would suit Bickford just fine. "We're always searching," Bickford said. "Most likely, when we're putting efforts in, we're putting them toward next year. But if the opportunity arose, then I would be willing to step into a truck just like anybody else. Honestly, I'd be willing to race anything and everything. As long as I'm in a race car, I'm happy." "As long as I'm in a race car, I'm happy" -- James Bickford
Scott Lagasse Jr. driving No. 31 this weekend
17-year-old made nine Truck Series starts with NTS Motorsports in 2014 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Full entry list for Martinsville Red Horse Racing officials said Monday that NASCAR Next driver Gray Gaulding will drive the team's No. 7 Toyota in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway . Representatives with the Tom DeLoach-owned Red Horse team confirmed the one-race deal for Gaulding on Monday morning, shortly after NTS Motorsports announced that the 17-year-old driver had left its organization. Krispy Kreme, a sponsor of Gaulding since his days racing in the developmental NASCAR K&N Pro Series, will back his Red Horse No. 7 Toyota Tundra entry in Saturday's Kroger 250 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Gaulding and Red Horse Racing are working on adding additional races for him in the Truck Series. "This is a awesome opportunity for myself and Krispy Kreme," Gaulding said in a team release provided by Red Horse Racing. "We have had a relationship with Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) for several years and when the opportunity came to partner with (team owner Tom) DeLoach and Red Horse Racing it was a dream come true. Walking into that facility just three days ago and seeing the teamwork, professionalism, and how everyone was working together I knew instantly this is where I needed to be to compete in the Camping World Truck Series. Red Horse Racing, Toyota, and Triad Engines really stepped up to make this happen so quickly for me." Butch Hylton will be the crew chief for the No. 7 entry. The veteran wrench has eight wins atop the pit box in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with two of those victories coming at Martinsville. He also has eight wins atop the pit box in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "This all came about very quickly, but a lot of hard work by everyone here at Red Horse Racing and the support from Toyota and Triad Engines made it happen," DeLoach said in a release. "I've known Gray (Gaulding) for a long time and expect him to be strong at Martinsville (Speedway)." In addition, Gaulding will partner will Precision Performance Motorsports for the remaining NASCAR K&N Pro Series East slate. He is currently third in the point standings in that series. NTS, which will field entries at Martinsville for former series champ James Buescher and Daniel Hemric , first joined forces with Gaulding in 2014. Gaulding, the youngest winner in K&N Pro Series history, drove NTS trucks in nine Camping World Truck Series races last season scoring a fourth-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for his first top-five in a NASCAR national series. "I am very appreciative of Gray and everything that Gray Gaulding Racing did to help NTS Motorsports during their time with us," team owner Bob Newberry said in a release provided by the team. "I wish them nothing but good luck in the future." Red Horse will also field Toyotas for former Martinsville winner Timothy Peters and 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Ben Kennedy this weekend. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
10-week summer program begins at NASCAR Sprint All-Star Weekend DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 15, 2015) -- Twenty of the best and brightest college students from across the country will descend on Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend as the sport introduces the 2015 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) class at NASCAR Sprint All-Star Weekend. The interns come to NASCAR from as far north as the University of Minnesota and as far south as the University of Puerto Rico, and will take part in the 10-week, paid program, created to expose multicultural college students to employment opportunities within America's No. 1 motorsport. As the NDIP grows in popularity, so has the number of internship roles at NASCAR and other companies within the industry, in the areas of engineering, finance, marketing, licensing and public relations. Hendrick Motorsports , Rev Racing, Pocono Raceway and Switch, a marketing agency, are among the companies participating in 2015. "Since 2000, the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program has grown to become one of the premier internships in sports," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "For NASCAR, the program is an important part of our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace." Nearly 300 interns have participated in the NDIP since its inception, and many secured full-time jobs in motorsports following their internships. Recent graduates have found roles at NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation, Octagon and Toyota, among other companies tied to the industry. "The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program has proven to be an effective pipeline for hiring top talent across the industry," said Paula Miller, NASCAR senior vice president and chief human resources officer. "We have several former interns who now have key roles in helping to grow our sport." Pedro Mojica, a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio, completed his NDIP internship in 2014 and now works full-time as an engineer for Toyota Racing Development. "As an intern, I had the opportunity to become immersed in the world of NASCAR -- a sport I was passionate about," said Mojica, who also participated in the NASCAR Mentorship Program. "The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program provided me with a platform to launch my career in motorsports." Several former interns are now employed at NASCAR within multiple business units, including: Brandon Thompson, director, racing operations; Marvin Aylor Jr., manager, marketing; Lauren Houston, senior account executive, multicultural development; Kathryn Lee, senior coordinator, events; Jusan Hamilton, account executive, industry services; Ade Herbert, coordinator, communications; Jason Simmons, licensing assistant; and Cameron McCarty, pit road technician. This weekend, the 2015 class will experience NASCAR 101 and receive guided tours of the NASCAR Research & Development Center, NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Motor Speedway before taking in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, which will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET. The class includes the following students from colleges and universities across the country: Intern Internship Assignment College or University Hometown Kent Booze NASCAR Brand and Consumer Marketing Dartmouth College Spiro, Okla. Karl Bostick Octagon Marketing Elon University Englewood, N.J. Adrienne Bright NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Central Michigan University Flint, Mich. Nichole Dominguez NASCAR Weekly and Touring University of Central Florida Daytona Beach, Fla. Sydnei Fryson Rev Racing PR/Marketing Hampton University Charleston, W.V. James Harris Hendrick Marketing/Business Development University of North Carolina at Charlotte Apex, N.C. Zubin Jhambani NASCAR Marketing Research Syracuse University Udaipur (Rajasthan), India Giridhar Kathiresan NASCAR Digital Media University of North Carolina at Charlotte Chennai (Tami Nadu), India Victoria Kim Pocono Raceway Marketing Penn State University Horsham, Pa. Jordan Leatherman Switch Marketing Oklahoma State University Muskogee, Okla. Yuyi Li NASCAR Industry Services Duke University Chapel Hill, N.C. Bice Lizza NASCAR Human Resources Penn State University Montville, N.J. Jade McCrary NASCAR Member Services Florida A&M University Daytona Beach, Fla. Cole McGinnis NASCAR Licensing University of Iowa Davenport, Ia. Jasmine Neely NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Charlotte, N.C. Hakeem Onafowokan NASCAR Legal University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn. Alexandre Pendegrass NASCAR Multicultural Development Howard University Dallas, Texas Keyzza Plaza NASCAR Production Engineering University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Toa Alta, Puerto Rico Tonya Vanderpool NASCAR Finance University of Central Florida Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands Ashleigh Young NASCAR Productions Oklahoma State University Santa Ana, Calif.
Elliott, Lorenzen, Scott, Weatherly, White officially enshrined
Drivers reminisce on chaotic 1994 Brickyard 400 qualifying
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New NASCAR Next class already making mark on track RELATED: NASCAR's future is bright and young " Future of youth, diversity initiatives GALLERY: Meet the NASCAR Next Class of 2015 " More about NASCAR Next DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 5, 2015) -- Five of the six NASCAR K&N Pro Series race winners in 2015 are 21 years old or younger. The championship points leaders in both the East and West are 17 and 16, respectively. And a 17-year-old just became the highest-finishing female in the 61-year history of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. It is fitting that as fans celebrate Jeff Gordon ’s final year of competition, the ranks of NASCAR are filled with young drivers battling to one day fill that void. And on Tuesday, in a building that honors the sport’s history, NASCAR introduced some of those potential future stars of the sport. During a ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, 12 drivers were formally announced as the newest NASCAR Next class, a group of up-and-coming talent that joins the industry program aimed at spotlighting NASCAR’s emerging stars. "The NASCAR Next initiative spotlights the future of NASCAR, a collection of promising young talent who have shown the potential to one day reach the highest level of our sport," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president for Industry Services. "Alumni – and current members – of the NASCAR Next program are achieving success at the national series level, and we are confident that this class will build upon that foundation of excellence for many seasons to come." Now in its fifth season, the career résumé of NASCAR Next alumni is impressive, highlighted by Chase Elliott ’s 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, Kyle Larson ’s 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, and Cole Custer ’s September 2014 win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, making him the youngest winner in NASCAR national series history. Of the 28 drivers previously selected for the program, 21 have raced in one of NASCAR’s three national series (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), and 11 are competing full-time there in 2015. The team was selected through an evaluation process that included input from industry executives and veteran racers. Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, have tangible and expressed goals in eventual competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and demonstrate the potential to realize that goal. Each driver in NASCAR Next must be actively competing in a NASCAR touring or weekly series – NASCAR K&N Pro Series East or West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series or NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors also are eligible provided they are not slated to run a full season in their respective series. The NASCAR Next members for 2015-16 are: • Rico Abreu (23, Rutherford, Calif., Twitter: @Rico_Abreu ) – A 2014 USAC national champion and winner of the 2015 Chili Bowl, he has two top-10 finishes in three K&N Pro Series East starts, his first season racing in stock cars. • Nicole Behar (17, Otis Orchards, Wash., @NicoleBehar33 ) – Tied the series record for highest finish by a female driver in just her fifth K&N West start with her second place mark at Irwindale Event Center, and has top-10 finishes in four of six West starts. • Kyle Benjamin (17, Easley, S.C., @kylebenjamin71 ) – This Roush Fenway Racing developmental driver earned his first K&N Pro Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway , and is the youngest race winner in ARCA history. • James Bickford (17, Napa, Calif., @Bickford_James ) – The 2014 K&N West Sunoco Rookie of the Year earned his first win at State Line Speedway last season and finished fifth in the season championship. • William Byron (17, Charlotte, N.C., @WilliamByron ) – With a win at Greenville Pickens Speedway and three top 10 finishes, he sits atop the K&N Pro East season championship standings. • Cole Custer (17, Ladera Ranch, Calif., @colecuster00 ) – He holds the records for youngest pole award and race winner in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR’s touring series, and led late in the Truck race at Martinsville Speedway earlier this season. • Ruben Garcia Jr. (19, Mexico City, Mex., @rubengarcia4 ) – The runner up in last season’s NASCAR Mexico Series season championship, he had one win and 10 top-10 finishes there while also competing in three NASCAR XFINITY Series races. • Austin Hill (21, Winston, Ga., @_AustinHill ) – Had three consecutive K&N East wins, in the final two races in 2014 and the 2015 season opener at New Smyrna Speedway where he captured his first pole award and led every lap. • Jesse Little (18, Sherrill’s Ford, N.C., @jesselittle97 ) – Had a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2014 to finish fourth in the season standings. Won the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway in his 2015 K&N East debut. • Dylan Lupton (21, Wilton, Calif., @LuptonDylan ) – Was the 2014 K&N West championship runner up with a win at Kern County Speedway and registered 14 top-10 finishes; made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway in March. • John Hunter Nemechek (17, Mooresville, N.C., @JHNemechek ) – Earned six top-10 finishes in 10 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts in 2014, and won the prestigious Snowball Derby Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in December. • Dalton Sargeant (17, Boca Raton, Fla., @DaltonSargeant ) – Has a win at Kern County Raceway Park in the West this season, and four top-five finishes in five combined East and West races.
The committee upholds the previously revised penalty against RCR Today the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, Mr. Bryan Moss, heard and considered the appeal of a P5 penalty issued on March 31, 2015 to Richard Childress (owner), Ryan Newman (driver), Lucas Lambert (crew chief), James Bender (tire technician) and Philip Surgen (race engineer) relative to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series vehicle #31 at Auto Club Speedway . The penalty concerns the following sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book: 12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing 20.16: Wheels and tires A. Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted. 20.16.2: Tires F. Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted. 126.96.36.199.2: Minimum P5 Penalty Options (includes all four points below): A. Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a Championship race or not B. $75,000-$125,000 fine C. Suspension for the next six series Championship Races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR D. Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons 188.8.131.52.3: P5 Level infractions detected during post-race inspection: If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added to those listed previously in this section: A. Loss of an additional 25 Championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a Championship Race or not B. Loss of an additional $50,000 The original penalty assessed included a $125,000 ($75,000 plus $50,000) fine, six-race suspension and probation through Dec. 31 to Lambert; six-race suspension and probation through Dec. 31 to both Bender and Surgen; and the loss of 75 (50 plus 25) championship car owner and 75 (50 plus 25) championship driver points to both Childress and Newman. On April 16, a three-person National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard the appeal and made the following decisions: 1. The Appellants violated the Rule or Rules set forth in the Penalty Notice and it is a P5 level violation. 2. The Panel amends the original Penalty levied by NASCAR because there is no written explanation of what constitutes a post-race inspection. Therefore the Penalty elements added under Section 184.108.40.206.3. are removed and the Penalty adjusted to: -Loss of 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points for Richard Childress. -Loss of 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points for Ryan Newman . -$75,000 fine. Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period. Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for crew chief Lucas Lambert. - Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period. Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for Tire Technician James Bender. -Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period. Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for Race Engineer Philip Surgen. Upon hearing today’s testimony, Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, made the following decisions: • Based on a preponderance of evidence, the Appellants violated the Rules. • Based on a preponderance of evidence, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer upholds the penalty as amended by the National Motorsports Appeals Panel. The decision of the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer is final and binding on all parties. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule