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Joe Gibbs Racing
Manufacturer: Toyota Engine manufacturer : TRD Debut season: 1992 Owner standings Joe Gibbs Racing was launched in 1991 by former NFL head coach Joe Gibbs. As Gibbs looked to move from coaching to a new chapter in his career, his friend Don Meredith was looking for opportunities to race in NASCAR, and the team was born with its first season of premier series competition coming in 1992. In 1993, driver Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 for JGR's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Bobby Labonte took to the drivers seat, replacing Jarrett, in 1995. Since then, the team has claimed three championships in the series: in 2000 with Bobby Labonte and '02 and '05 with Tony Stewart , who became the team's second driver in 1999. The team expanded to a third full-time car in 2006 with J.J. Yeley behind the wheel. 2012 brought Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th Cup win, when Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . In 2015, JGR expanded to a fourth full-time car with Carl Edwards behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota. JGR is based in Huntersville, NC, with over 450 employees in a facility of 250,000 square feet. Visit the team's web site here. Follow Joe Gibbs Racing on Facebook and Twitter . Driver: Denny Hamlin Car Number: #11 Hometown: Chesterfield, VA Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2006 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Mike Wheeler " Hometown: Southold, NY Car Chief: Leo Thorsen " Hometown: Stoughton, WI Spotter: Chris Lambert " Hometown: Kannapolis, NC Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Caleb Hurd " Hometown: Pulaski, VA Front Tire Changer: Dustin Necaise " Hometown: Gulfport, MS Front Tire Carrier: Brandon Pegram " Hometown: Statesville, NC Jackman: Nate Bolling " Hometown: Swanton, OH Rear Tire Changer: Mike Hicks " Hometown: Salisbury, NC Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry " Hometown: Belmont, NC Pit Crew Coordinator: Paul Alepa " Hometown: Vienna, VA JGR Athletic Director: Mike Lepp " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Road crew members: Truck Drivers: Frank Hodel " Hometown: High Bridge, NJ, David Ott " Hometown: St. Mary's, PA Tire Specialist: Kerry Ferris " Hometown: Perry, NY Shock Specialist: Drew Bible " Hometown: Coldwater, MI Engineer: Matt Beckman " Hometown: Glenview, IL Engineer: Sam McAuley " Hometown: Huntersville, NC Mechanic: Troy Welty " Hometown: Manchester, PA Mechanic: John Furino " Hometown: East Meadow, NY Interior Mechanic: Sean Kerlin " Hometown: Marysville, PA Driver: Kyle Busch Car Number: #18 Hometown: Las Vegas, NV Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2005 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Adam Stevens " Hometown: Portsmouth, OH Car Chief: Nate Bellows " Hometown: Fairfax, VT Engine Specialist: Mike Johnson " Hometown: Bozeman, MT Spotter: Tony Hirschman " Hometown: Northhampton, PA Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Tom Lampe " Hometown: Beatrice, NE Pit Support: Marcus Bonicelli " Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO Pit Support: Jeff Koons " Hometown: Greenfield, IN Front Tire Changer: Josh Leslie " Hometown: Mount Clemens, MI Front Tire Carrier: Brad Donaghy " Hometown: Orange County, VA Jackman: T.J. Ford " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Rear Tire Changer: Jake Seminara " Hometown: Steubenville, OH Rear Tire Carrier: Kenny Barber " Hometown: Hoosick Falls, NY Road crew members: Truck Drivers: Brendan “Slim” Greene " Hometown: Midland, NC, Jamie “Montana” Price " Hometown: Choteau, MT Tire Specialist: Gregory Katzke " Hometown: Wausau, WI Shock Specialist: Chris Chase " Hometown: Nichols, NY Engineer: Ben Beshore " Hometown: York, PA Engineer: Gene Watchtel " Hometown: Clearwater, FL Front End Mechanic: Brandon Griffeth " Hometown: Pittsfield, IL Rear End Mechanic: Chris Jones " Hometown: Smith Mountain Lake, VA Mechanic: Todd Foster " Hometown: Birmingham, AL Interior Mechanic: Wesley Lape " Hometown: Sinking Spring, PA Driver: Carl Edwards Car Number: #19 Hometown: Columbia, MO Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Primary team members: Crew Chief: Dave Rogers " Hometown: Marshfield, VT Car Chief: Eric Phillips " Hometown: Canton, IL Engine Specialist: James Dudley " Hometown: Porterville, CA Spotter: Jason Hedlesky " Hometown: Clinton, MI Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Kenneth Purcell " Hometown: Savannah, GA Windshield: Zack Miller " Hometown: Vista, CA Front Tire Changer: Clay Robinson " Hometown: Simi Valley, CA Front Tire Carrier: Kevin Harris " Hometown: Sanford, FL Jackman: Trey Burklin " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Rear Tire Changer: Matt Ver Meer " Hometown: Montezuma, IA Rear Tire Carrier: Kip Wolfmeir " Hometown: Kingdom City, MO Road crew members: Truck Driver: Kyle Bazzell " Hometown: Fairbury, IL Truck Driver: Bob Hannigan " Hometown: High Bridge, NJ Tire Specialist: Jamie Turski " Hometown: Trumbull, CT Shock Specialist: Ron Denton " Hometown: Bristol, VA Engineer: Lee Hallman " Hometown: Claremont, NC Engineer: Kenny Oates " Hometown: Miami, FL Mechanic: Matt Tyrrell " Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, FL Fuel Runner: Ben Surface " Hometown: Pulaski, VA Driver: Matt Kenseth Car Number: #20 Hometown: Cambridge, WI Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2000 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Jason Ratcliff " Hometown: Sumter, SC Car Chief: Jeff Meendering " Hometown: Concord, NC Engine Specialist: Gregg Wilson " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Spotter: Chris Osborne " Hometown: High Point, NC Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: John Eicher " Hometown: London, KY Front Tire Changer: John Royer " Hometown: Otis, KS Front Tire Carrier: Joe Crossen " Hometown: Salisbury, NC Jackman: Jason Tate " Hometown: Statesville, NC Rear Tire Changer: Adam Hartman " Hometown: Oxford, NC Rear Tire Carrier: Blake Haugland " Hometown: My. Ayr, IA Road crew members: Truck Driver: Dennis Valverde " Hometown: Albuquerque, NM Truck Driver: Tom McCrimmon " Hometown: Mount Pleasant, NC Tire Specialist: Jerold Shires " Hometown: Waiteville, WV Shock Specialist: Scott Myers " Hometown: Modesto, CA Engineer: Michael Lorusso " Hometown: Asburn, VA Engineer: Levi Porter " Hometown: Wyben, MA Mechanic: Alan Buzze " Hometown: Onondoga, NY Mechanic: Jason Overstreet " Hometown: Clearwater, FL
NASCAR, Charter owners pose for historic photo
History was at hand -- and properly documented -- Sunday morning before the running of the 58th annual Daytona 500 . The 2016 season-opener marked the formal beginning of the new owner Charter system, which NASCAR and team owners signed a nine-year agreement on before the start of the season. There are 36 Charters, and each Charter team is guaranteed entry into every points-paying race. The Charter system, a form of which owners have sought in an effort to bolster value of their organizations and which was initiated by NASCAR more than a year ago, also provides stability by guaranteeing sponsors and other potential partners continued participation for an extended period of time. As such, the momentous occasion was documented by a photo with every Charter-owning member, along with NASCAR dignitaries -- much like the classic photo in 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in which Bill France Sr. launched the birth of NASCAR. Top Row (From L-R) Brad Daugherty ( JTG Daugherty Racing ); Steve Lauletta ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Shirley Falk (Circle Sport Racing); Joe Falk (Circle Sport Racing); Bob Germain Jr. ( Germain Racing ); Larry Rogers ( Germain Racing ); Archie St. Hilaire (Go FAS Racing); Mason St. Hilaire (Go FAS Racing); Jay Robinson (Premium Motorsports); Dave Alpern ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). 4th Row (L-R) Joe Custer ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Bob Jenkins ( Front Row Motorsports ); Torrey Galida ( Richard Childress Racing ); Gordon Smith (Circle Sport Racing); Tad Geschickter ( JTG Daugherty Racing ); Eric Nyquist (NASCAR); Ron Devine ( BK Racing ); Harry Scott Jr. ( HScott Motorsports ); Andrew Murstein ( Richard Petty Motorsports ); Ryan Dubois ( BK Racing ); Wayne Press ( BK Racing ). 3rd Row (L-R) Brett Frood ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Karen Leetzow (NASCAR); Walt Czarnecki ( Team Penske ); Steve Phelps (NASCAR); Marshall Carlson ( Hendrick Motorsports ); Steve O’Donnell (NASCAR); Barney Visser ( Furniture Row Racing ); Joe Garone ( Furniture Row Racing ); Susan Schandel (NASCAR) 2nd Row (L-R) Jack Roush ( Roush Fenway Racing ); Steve Newmark ( Roush Fenway Racing ); Gary Crotty (NASCAR); Rob Kauffman ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Brent Dewar (NASCAR); Mike Helton (NASCAR); Chip Ganassi ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Gene Haas ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Tommy Baldwin ( Tommy Baldwin Racing ). 1st Row (L-R) Richard Childress ( Richard Childress Racing ); Roger Penske ( Team Penske ); Rick Hendrick ( Hendrick Motorsports ); Brian France (NASCAR); Jim France (NASCAR); Lesa France Kennedy (NASCAR); Richard Petty ( Richard Petty Motorsports ); Joe Gibbs ( Joe Gibbs Racing ); J.D. Gibbs ( Joe Gibbs Racing )
NASCAR portrait with founding Charter members
NASCAR executives and board members join the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series charter owners for a historic portrait in Victory Lane in advance of the 58th annual DAYTONA 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX). The high-resolution photo can be downloaded at: http://www.nascarmedia.com/photos/ . (Photo Credit: Jared Tilton, NASCAR via Getty Images) NASCAR Charter Photo Participants Top Row (From L-R) Brad Daugherty ( JTG Daugherty Racing ); Steve Lauletta ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Shirley Falk (Circle Sport Racing); Joe Falk (Circle Sport Racing); Bob Germain Jr. ( Germain Racing ); Larry Rogers ( Germain Racing ); Archie St. Hilaire (Go FAS Racing); Mason St. Hilaire (Go FAS Racing); Jay Robinson (Premium Motorsports); Dave Alpern ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). 4th Row (L-R) Joe Custer ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Bob Jenkins ( Front Row Motorsports ); Torrey Galida ( Richard Childress Racing ); Gordon Smith (Circle Sport Racing); Tad Geschickter ( JTG Daugherty Racing ); Eric Nyquist (NASCAR); Ron Devine ( BK Racing ); Harry Scott Jr. ( HScott Motorsports ); Andrew Murstein ( Richard Petty Motorsports ); Ryan Dubois ( BK Racing ); Wayne Press ( BK Racing ). 3rd Row (L-R) Brett Frood ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Karen Leetzow (NASCAR); Walt Czarnecki ( Team Penske ); Steve Phelps (NASCAR); Marshall Carlson ( Hendrick Motorsports ); Steve O’Donnell (NASCAR); Barney Visser ( Furniture Row Racing ); Joe Garone ( Furniture Row Racing ); Susan Schandel (NASCAR) 2nd Row (L-R) Jack Roush ( Roush Fenway Racing ); Steve Newmark ( Roush Fenway Racing ); Gary Crotty (NASCAR); Rob Kauffman ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Brent Dewar (NASCAR); Mike Helton (NASCAR); Chip Ganassi ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Gene Haas ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Tommy Baldwin ( Tommy Baldwin Racing ). 1st Row (L-R) Richard Childress ( Richard Childress Racing ); Roger Penske ( Team Penske ); Rick Hendrick ( Hendrick Motorsports ); Brian France (NASCAR); Jim France (NASCAR); Lesa France Kennedy (NASCAR); Richard Petty ( Richard Petty Motorsports ); Joe Gibbs ( Joe Gibbs Racing ); J.D. Gibbs ( Joe Gibbs Racing )
Cain: Remembering Steve Byrnes one year later
Karen Goins-Byrnes certainly wasn't anticipating this autograph request as she and her teenage son Bryson walked out of the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway infield before last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track. It wasn't so much "the ask" she received but the canvas she was offered that really stood out. A race fan asked them to sign a flag right next to the signature of her late husband and Bryson's father, Steve, a NASCAR on FOX broadcaster who died on this day, April 21, one year ago after a courageous and well-fought battle with cancer. "You know that on Father's Day and Christmas and Steve's birthday (just last week) those moments are going to be intense, emotional and sad, but then there's these other moments that you completely do not expect that suddenly take your breath away, like the flag on Sunday," Karen Goins-Byrnes shared this week. "I just wasn't expecting that, and all of a sudden it made you realize, 'Oh my goodness, this person is gone from our life.' "I was walking with Bryson and had not anticipated that when we looked down at this flag, wow, there was his signature. And it was just surreal knowing that at some point he had touched that same piece of material; now we we're touching it. Steve's touched everything in this house, so I don't know why that hit me so hard but it was … I don't know, it was out-of-context, unexpected. "I don't think it was a coincidence. It was very impactful for Bryson and I both to see that." RELATED: Steve Byrnes remembered, 1959-2015 In the past year, the Byrnes family has been "adopted" by those close to Steve and also those who never met the longtime NASCAR broadcaster but were touched by his story of courage and strength battling cancer not once but twice. In the time since he passed away Byrnes, then 56, has been honored at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and received the prestigious Squier-Hall Award for media excellence. His likeness and another tribute hang on a large plaque at the Charlotte FOX studios. "Steve was not a person who sought out a lot of attention, he was not the look-at-me type of person," Goins-Byrnes said. "I know he's up in heaven going, 'I had no idea.' He is completely surprised at all the different things that have happened to remember him and honor him. I'm shocked, I know he's shocked too." Drivers, fellow broadcasters and FOX personnel have joined the broader NASCAR community supporting this family in ways both obvious and subtle. Their "new" way of life is still so greatly influenced by the one they miss so dearly. "We're persevering," Goins-Byrnes said, after pausing to select the most accurate description. She and her son don't know quite what to anticipate today -- their feelings and emotions. It will be a very busy schedule of things to do and that was purposeful. On Wednesday, she and Bryson attended a luncheon hosted by FOX Sports in Charlotte, where they posed for photos alongside close family friends Michael Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. There is a wonderful shot of Bryson standing next to a memorial for his father on the studio's wall. Goins-Byrnes, who is now doing part-time work for Charlotte-based Speedway Motorsports Inc., has a professional commitment for part of the day Thursday and will be escorting champion NHRA racer Erica Enders to a Speedway Children's Charities event at Charlotte's Levine Children's Hospital. "It just happened to be the day she's available," Goins-Byrnes said of the timing. "It was funny, when Erica said the 21st, I was like that's the day, but I decided that's the way it's supposed to be, then. Every single month on the 21st will never be just another day for me. Every 21st of the month, I know it's been nine months, 10 months, 11 months. "But honestly, I feel like not continuing to live dishonors Steve. Somebody was asking me about Bryson and I doing a lot of activities. I feel like if we had stopped doing things, that would have dishonored him (Steve). Living and doing things honors him. I certainly know he would not have wanted us to say, 'Oh, I can't do something because it was the 21st of the month.' He would have scolded us and said, 'It's just a date; go and do.' " And actually, Goins-Byrnes concedes, it's the times alone or void of activity that have been most challenging. "People will say, 'It looks like ya'll are doing well, doing good.' But I don't post on social media when we're lying on the floor crying," she said. "There are days that are gut-wrenching and those days you have to keep pushing through, pushing on." Pushing on for Bryson Byrnes has been quite literal. His days, nights and most weekends are filled with sports -- football and lacrosse are favorites. And Bryson isn't only succeeding on the field -- he was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society this week. "People talk about what an amazing young man he is, and I'll be honest," Goins-Byrnes said adding with a laugh. "He makes straight-As and Steve and I never did that in school. Steve and I used to look at his report cards and go, 'Wow. This must be the nurture part,' because the nature part, we're not responsible for this level of achievement. I can promise you. "We have been blessed with a really good kid. I think God knew what path he was going to ask us to walk and so he gave us a child that was well-equipped." "He still battles, sometimes, the unexpected moments," she said, pausing. "You just hadn't anticipated that even if it's a good thing, it's void of Steve being here." As Goins-Byrnes and I were saying our goodbyes we discussed the cancer battles so deeply affecting so many in NASCAR -- family members and extended family. We weren't sure if it was unusually prevalent among our sport or if circumstances made us more aware. Driver Martin Truex Jr .'s longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, finished up her chemotherapy in January, and remains such a positive force travelling around the country to educate others and bring awareness of ovarian cancer. The couple's Catwalk for a Cause event next month -- which raises money for childhood cancers -- is sold out again this year. While the potential for raising funds is high, it will be the most difficult of programs considering four of last year's models and inspirations have passed away -- a first for Truex and Pollex. Among them is my longtime friend Becky's son, Elijah Aschbrenner, 10, who fought a rare Epitheliod Sarcoma diagnosis and passed away on Nov. 11. His family has started the Prayers for Elijah Foundation to raise money and awareness of the disease. RELATED: Cain: Gratitude for Elijah Aschbrenner's inspiration Torie Costa, Scott Zipadelli’s 20-year old step-daughter, died on Christmas day on her second fight with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Grace, 14, passed away after fighting Osteosarcoma. Clint Bowyer 's wife, Lorra, carried an inspirational sign for her at last year's Catwalk because she was too ill to participate. Jeramiah, 8, passed away after battling leukemia, not once but twice. His passing in August was the first of Truex and Pollex's "Catwalk" kids. The great Buddy Baker died in August after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Erik Jones shared last Saturday after his XFINITY Series win at Bristol that his father was recently diagnosed with cancer. Tabitha Burton, Daytona 500 winner Ward’s wife and XFINITY Series racer Jeb's mom, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and is recovering from the surgeries and treatment. Former NASCAR racer Shawna Robinson continues to recover from her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment as well. And I'm still fighting breast cancer myself, with multiple surgeries ahead this year. My hair is -- slowly -- growing, I've regained the weight I lost in chemo and radiation, and many of the NASCAR drivers I deal with now are completely unaware of my medical situation -- which can feel like an achievement. Those that do know have been incredibly kind and encouraging. Cancer is, at the very least, a maddening disease, and its impact on NASCAR is similar to its impact in general. We have lost influential souls such as Byrnes and Baker and the promises of so many so young, like Aschbrenner and Costa. Perhaps the brightest and most lasting legacy left by my friend Byrnes was a feeling of "never give up," and the firm knowledge that this is a community that cares greatly and perpetually. Today will be challenging for the Byrnes family and all those who cared deeply for Steve. There will be times of sadness, of laughter, of gratitude for the time shared, and unquestionably a sense of knowing that he would want us to carry on and prevail. "He was a very humble person," Goins-Byrnes said. "He never looked at himself as being exceptional, just a normal guy, a husband and a father and a guy with a job he enjoys. "I think the way people have responded in remembering him really has shown what type of a person he is. They comment, 'What a great guy he is.' You wouldn't believe how many pictures I've received from race fans with him stopping for a picture or to sign an autograph. "I don't think he realized the kind of influence he had. I certainly didn't. I don't think he had any idea how many people he touched and what kind of influence he had.' " I still have text messages from Steve on my phone -- we exchanged many while going through our treatments. One in particular makes my heart happiest and I will most likely glance at it often today. On the Monday after last year's Bristol spring race -- named in Steve's honor -- I texted him to make sure he had watched the race, seen all the tributes and enjoyed the love. He responded: "Still smilin."
'Gray Ghost' left lasting impression with Dale Jr.
MORE: See the scheme, fire suit that Dale Jr. will sport at Darlington RELATED: Buy Darlington tickets " '16 throwback schemes " SHOP: Dale Jr. gear DARLINGTON, S.C. -- The "Gray Ghost" lives to race again. Or at least a very reasonable facsimile of the famous entry that was driven to victory in the 1980 Daytona 500 by NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Buddy Baker. On Wednesday at Darlington Raceway , Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . unveiled his team's throwback paint scheme for this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 (Sunday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), paying homage to the 19-time race winner and his Harry Ranier-owned, Waddell Wilson-tuned machine. Photo credit: @Nationwide88 Twitter account The black and silver Chevrolet carries orange numbers -- 88 instead of Baker's No. 28 -- and orange stripes while featuring Nationwide branding. But even with those minor differences, the resemblance is striking. RELATED: Dale Jr. drops throwback hints It is, Earnhardt Jr. said, his favorite paint scheme. "The black and silver, the chrome numbers that NASCAR doesn't allow any more," Earnhardt said. "Those chrome numbers to me were very, very cool. But the black and silver was a mean looking race car, a real tough looking race car. "I thought the colors and the chrome numbers really complimented each other really well. Buddy was this giant guy; it probably wouldn't have been quite as cool a paint scheme if it had been a four-foot 10 guy driving it." The car was named the "Gray Ghost," a reflection of its color scheme which blended in with the racing surface of the track and its apparent ability to appear out of nowhere, speeding past unsuspecting rivals at a moment's notice. Baker and Wilson teamed up to win twice that season -- at Daytona and again later that year at Talladega. His average winning speed of 177.602 mph at Daytona, where he led 143 of 200 laps, remains a race record. It was especially gratifying given the team's stumble the previous year when a clearly dominant car (Baker had won the pole and his qualifying race handily) suffered mechanical issues early in the race. "He just seemed to be a great match with the car," Earnhardt Jr. said. "They were just so good, so fast. When they won the Daytona 500 after such a devastating loss after 1979 -- they were the greatest thing down there, nobody could touch them throughout the entire weekend and then they didn't even really get to race. "And then they went back in '80 and won, it was pretty neat; I know that was pretty special for Buddy to get that win. You can tell in some of the interviews from back then how important the Daytona 500 win was to him." The car and the team were no less stout at Talladega Superspeedway , Earnhardt Jr., said, adding, "Nobody could keep up with them." Seven-time premier series champion Dale Earnhardt ran second to Baker, but according to Earnhardt Jr., the elder Earnhardt "was just hanging on to his coattails all day long. "(He was) just lucky to be in the draft," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I think Dad had the lead somehow or another, (through) pit cycles, to where (he) had like a 10-second lead and Buddy ran him down in like 20 laps. It was ridiculous. "You could see all day long in that particular race Buddy wasn't even really stretching the legs in that race car. And when he had to, when he got nervous and it got down to the end and he had to make up that distance, he was beating the second-place car by half a second a lap almost. It was incredible." This will be the second year Darlington Raceway has featured a throwback theme, with a focus on paint schemes that ran between 1975 and 1984. Last year, Earnhardt Jr.'s entry featured a red, white and blue paint Valvoline paint scheme that honored NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and three-time series champion Cale Yarborough. RELATED: See Dale Jr.'s paint scheme from 2015 Jim McCoy, Director of Sports Marketing for Nationwide, said the company knew as soon as last year's throwback program hit the track at Darlington that Nationwide should be involved. "We talked about it starting last September when we saw the pieces come together," McCoy said. "We weren't (the) primary (sponsor), Valvoline had the paint scheme with Dale. It just felt like we should be there. "We love his passion and he loves what he drives and what it looks like. He's such a great partner. "He clearly had a vision in direction in which he wanted to head. We were supportive of that and found the right ways to infuse our logo, the historic logo (with) the 'N' and Eagle that's on the hood. It was a great back-and-forth process that I think we're all very pleased on how it turned out." Baker passed away Aug. 10, 2015. Come September, he and the "Gray Ghost" will be front and center once again.
NSCS GarageCam walks the 'garage' Blvd in 'Dega
Strolling the infield Boulevard at Talladega is the thing to do, but Matthew Dillner and GarageCam stroll the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage to find your favorite cars and stars.
Engines revved for NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 7, 2015) -- Twenty-two drivers have three days to compete for a spot in the motorsport industry's top driver development program, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), set to commence at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., Oct. 19-21, 2015. Now in its 12th year, the annual Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers, ages 14 to 26, from across North America to test their skills over a three-day period in order to identify members of the NASCAR D4D Class of 2016. "Finding and developing diverse athletes who will represent the future of NASCAR is at the core of our organization's mission," said NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy. "Every year, the bar is raised with talented applicants who have the potential and determination to succeed. We're proud to watch our graduates in the national series and develop more diverse talent to join them in the years to come." In partnership with Rev Racing, the Max Siegel-owned race team, D4D offers racing opportunities in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKPSE) and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) for one full season, providing drivers with equipment, mentoring, and competition experience. "We could not be more excited about this year's NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine to select the 2016 Class of Rev Racing drivers," said team CEO Max Siegel. "Coming off of our sixth consecutive multiple race winning season, we are focused on continuing to make our program and approach world class, as we prepare these young drivers to advance into the national series." The NASCAR D4D Combine has proven successful in identifying and developing future stars of the sport. Current D4D member Collin Cabre secured Rev Racing's second win of 2015 with a victory at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season finale at Dover International Speedway . In addition, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr . and Daniel Suárez, leaders in the series' Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, are among the graduates of the program. This year's athletes include 13 women, notably the youngest combine participant ever at 14 years old, Macy Causey. Also participating are four stars from the NASCAR Mexico Series: Abraham Calderón, Enrique Contreras, Rubén García Jr. and Santiago Tovar. Returning to defend their spots in the program are current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers Dylan Smith and Natalie Decker. Driver combine participants will be evaluated on their driving skills and will also be tested on a series of strength and agility exercises at Hampton University. Fans can follow the Combine on Twitter at @NASCARDiversity and @RevRacing. Below are invitees to the 12th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine: First Name Last Name Age City State/Country Hannah Adair 21 Tulsa Okla. Jairo Avila 20 Alhambra Calif. Kayli Barker 18 Las Vegas Nev. Nicole Behar 17 Otis Orchards Wash. Abraham Calderon 26 Monterrey Mexico Macy Causey 14 Yorktown Va. Enrique Contreras 22 San Antonio Texas Madeline Crane 17 Meansville Ga. Claire Decker 20 Eagle River Wis. Natalie Decker 18 Eagle River Wis. Juan Garcia 17 Bogota Colombia Ruben Garcia Jr. 19 Mexico City Mexico Ali Kern 22 Fremont Ohio Enrique Limon 17 Mexico City Mexico Mariah McGriff 20 Vail Ariz. Becca Monopoli 26 Lakeland Fla. Erika Newcome 20 Pickerington Ohio Hannah Newhouse 18 Twin Falls Idaho Vanessa Robinson 25 Las Cruces N.M. Dylan Smith 23 Concord N.C. Walter Thomas 16 Indianapolis Ind. Santiago Tovar 22 Mexico City Mexico In addition to drivers, NASCAR Drive for Diversity has successfully identified and developed pit crew members to find employment opportunities within the sport. The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Challenge Tour will host its final Combine of the year at the NASCAR Research and Development Center on October 9, 2015 in Concord, North Carolina.
Former NASCAR driver Jim Sauter dies at 71
Father of Johnny Sauter made 76 career starts in premier series Jim Sauter, a racer and father of four drivers including NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter , died on Friday night shortly before the conclusion of the Truck event at Texas Motor Speedway , according to ThorSport Racing. He was 71. Sauter competed in 82 NASCAR national series races from 1980 to 2004, including 76 premier series starts. The native of Necedah, Wisconsin, made his final NASCAR Nationwide Series start at the Milwaukee Mile in 2002, racing against his sons Jay, Johnny and Tim. Jim Jr. followed in his father's footsteps as well. In addition to these four sons, Sauter is survived by his wife, Debbie, eight additional children, 51 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two sisters. A two-time champion in the ARTGO Racing Series in the Midwest, Sauter tested International Race of Champions cars with fellow Wisconsin racers Dave Marcis and Dick Trickle. His son, Johnny, learned of his father's passing following Friday's Winstar World Casino & Resort 350. His lone win of 2014 came at Michigan International Speedway , and he acknowledged it was a special victory in his post-race comments that recalled his dad's recollections of the track. "I'm just going to relish in this win because this has been a tough, tough race track for me throughout my career," Johnny said. "My Dad always said, 'That place is easy.' But, I never felt that way. Until today, I mean when you have a truck like this -- it was just awesome." NASCAR issued the following statement on Jim Sauter's passing: "NASCAR offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jim Sauter. A true racer, Jim passed on his passion and competitive spirit to his children and grandchildren. A driver himself with roots in the Midwest, his reach and impact extend across the entire sport." The racing community expressed condolences on social media with a sample included below from Sauter's former competitor Mark Martin ; fellow Wisconsin racer Roy Kenseth, father of Matt; crew chief and former IROC chassis specialist Ray Evernham and NASCAR Senior Vice President, Racing Operations Jim Cassidy. Sorry to hear Jim Sauter died. He was a really good man and a great racer. — Mark Martin (@markmartin) November 1, 2014 Thoughts and prayers go out to the Jim Sauter family today. pic.twitter.com/ydHNAQcXQT — Roy Kenseth (@roykenseth) November 1, 2014 Really sorry to hear about passing of Jim Sauter. Worked with him for many years at IROC. Crew chiefed for him at Pocono 1990 #RIP — ray evernham (@RayEvernham) November 1, 2014 Thinking about the Sauter family. Jim Sauter's contribution to stock car racing and NASCAR will be felt for many generations. Good man. — Jim Cassidy (@jfcassidy) November 1, 2014 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Top 10 NASCAR drivers from Southern California
Johnson still king of California, but he has heady company
RECAP: Junior tastes victory, Dillon cashes in at Richmond
NASCAR.com's Costner Merrifield recaps the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway as Erik Jones and Ty Dillon won the two heat races, a big wreck collected several Dash 4 Cash contenders, and Dale Jr. walked away with a win.