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NASCAR updates driver participation guidelines
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- In an announcement that will put an even brighter spotlight on the next generation of stars and bolster the identity of all three of its national series, NASCAR announced on Wednesday driver participation guidelines for the 2017 season. The new guidelines limit the number of events a premier series driver can race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Starting next season, premier series drivers with more than five years of full-time experience will be eligible to compete in a maximum of 10 races in the XFINITY Series and seven races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Additionally, drivers with more than five years of full-time premier series experience will be ineligible to compete in the final eight races in each series, as well as the Dash 4 Cash races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The final eight races are comprised of the regular-season finale and the entirety of the Chase in each series. Drivers earning premier series points in 2017 also are not eligible to compete in the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Races at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "The updated guidelines will elevate the stature of our future stars, while also providing them the opportunity to compete against the best in professional motorsports," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "These updated guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort involving the entire industry, and will ultimately better showcase the emerging stars of NASCAR." Drivers with more than five years of full-time experience in the premier series still can run for an XFINITY Series or Camping World Truck Series championship, provided they have declared for championship points in the respective series. Wednesday's announcement signals the next step in NASCAR's driver participation guideline evolution. Prior to the 2016 season, NASCAR announced that members of the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field would be ineligible to compete in the 2016 Championship Race in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In 2011, NASCAR implemented a rule requiring drivers to select one of the three national series in which to collect championship points.
New participation guidelines put limits in place for 2017
RELATED: Who is most affected? CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR announced new participation guidelines for its three national series Wednesday, limiting the amount of NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races that full-time drivers in its premier series will be allowed to compete in, starting in 2017. Beginning next year, the rules parameters will limit Cup Series drivers with more than five years' full-time experience to a maximum of 10 races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and seven events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The new guidelines will also prohibit premier series drivers at that experience level from participating in those two series' final eight events of the year -- a span that includes the regular-season finale and the seven-race Chase playoffs for both circuits. In the case of the XFINITY Series, full-time Cup Series competitors will also be restricted from the four races in the Dash 4 Cash program. The guidelines don't apply to drivers with fewer than five years of full-time premier series experience, which includes, among others, Kyle Larson , Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott . There are 33 XFINITY Series races next year. Not participating in the regular-season finale, the seven-race playoff or any of the four yet-to-be-announced Dash 4 Cash races means those impacted can race in 10 of the remaining 21 events, four of which are stand-alone races. In the Camping World Truck Series, 23 races are scheduled for next year. Not competing in the seven Chase races gives impacted drivers 16 races in which they can compete, five of them being stand-alones. Rumblings about the concept were stoked last week by NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, who acknowledged that the sanctioning body was considering the rules updates in an Oct. 17 appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. RELATED: Hear O'Donnell's initial comments Jim Cassidy -- NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Racing Operations -- told NASCAR.com that the potential for a rules update affecting driver participation was "certainly not a new discussion." Cassidy points out that the three national series already have a certain level of differentiation in the type of vehicles used; now, he says, the opportunity exists to make the identity of each series and its competitors more distinct. "You see the number of drivers coming up through and the desire and the calling of the fan base to say, 'we're interested in who's coming up through the system, we want to hear the stories, we want to understand who these drivers are,' so that they can begin to formulate and build their future roster of drivers that they root for," Cassidy said. "All three of the national series provide really an unprecedented level of competition; it's on us to make sure that we find the right balance, as the league, to say that there is some level of participation by Cup drivers in Truck and XFINITY and what that balance is." Both series will end with a four-driver shootout for the title next month at Homestead-Miami Speedway , where full-time Cup-level drivers who qualified for the 2015 Chase -- regardless of experience level -- will be barred from the championship finales this year. CHASE GRIDS: Sprint Cup " XFINITY " Camping World It's not the first such limitation on premier series drivers moonlighting in the other national tours' competition. Before the 2011 season, NASCAR mandated that drivers select one of the three series in which to collect championship points. That rules change concluded a five-year reign of Cup Series drivers clinching the title as full-time double-dippers in what is now the XFINITY Series. But the 2017 guidelines also make allowances for drivers with more than five years' experience at the Cup level who elect to compete for championship points in the XFINITY or Camping World Truck Series. Based on this year's competition roster, drivers who meet those exceptions are Elliott Sadler , J.J. Yeley, Jeff Green , Morgan Shepherd and Derrike Cope in XFINITY , and Travis Kvapil in trucks. Wednesday's move -- the culmination of what Cassidy termed "a whole mountain of conversation with the industry" -- still allows for extracurricular participation from top-division drivers, but is designed to provide a wider spotlight for the other two national series' budding stars. The restrictions for five-year veterans will apply to every XFINITY and Truck Series Chase event -- and the cut-off regular-season finale -- next year, potentially widening the door for those series' regulars to visit Victory Lane under the rigors of postseason pressure. "Those events are events that we felt would be obvious to say we want to make sure that we have a better chance of focusing on those drivers running for the championship," Cassidy said. "The ability to win and advance is a significant story line and an opportunity."
Seriously? Golfer, noted actor Jim Furyk sets record
Jim , are you serious? Professional golfer Jim Furyk set a Professional Golf Association Tour record Sunday by shooting 58 (12-under par) in the final round of the Travelers Championship. NASCAR fans may best remember Furyk from the 5-hour Energy campaign with Clint Bowyer years ago. Great job to Jim on his performance. Seriously.
How Matt Kenseth helped John Krasinski land role of 'Jim' on 'The Office'
It's nearly impossible to think an actor besides John Krasinski playing the role of 'Jim Halpert' on the American version of "The Office," but it may not have happened without the help of Matt Kenseth . Did that just blow your mind? It should have. Back in 2002 -- a full three years before the NBC premiere of inarguably the greatest comedy series of all time, in my opinion, at least -- a fresh-faced Krasinski appeared in a commercial with Kenseth that caught the eye of future "Office" executive producer, Greg Daniels. The back-and-forth dialogue between last fall's grand marshal at Texas Motor Speedway and Kenseth (more back than forth, knowing the stoic Joe Gibbs Racing driver) and wild antics by the now-36-year-old led to an audition and before long, " Jim " was born. Krasinski recently spoke about it on NPR's Fresh Air podcast with Dave Davies . "I haven't seen or heard that since the time I did it. That is a real send back to memory lane," Krasinski said. " … That was a huge performance and I remember we had a little bit of script and Matt Kenseth had said he doesn't want to have a line in the script. He was very shy and he didn't want ... he just wanted to walk through the commercial. "At the end of the day, they just asked 'Would you just improv and have fun? Let's see what we get' and we just kept going and I think they just watched the dog go off the leash, just improving all this stuff. By the end, Matt said 'Well, now I do want to say some stuff.' So he came in and we were joking around all day. It was probably one of the more fun times I've had, certainly before I got 'The Office . ' " The commercial worked wonders for both men, as Krasinski is now a household name and Kenseth won five races that year, following it up with his only premier series title the following season. Watch the full commercial below.
Jim Giaccone honors brother, other 9/11 victims by aiding others
RELATED: All the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 took so much from Jim Giaccone. But it led him to this: honoring the memory of the brother he lost by helping others affected by that dark day. Giaccone's older brother, Joseph, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Joseph was among the 658 employees of the Cantor Fitzgerald financial services firm who were killed. Devastated by grief, Giaccone somehow found the drive to carry on and honor his brother by giving back to others -- especially children -- who likewise were carrying on in the aftermath of 9/11. During his personal aftermath, Giaccone found his future in the form of Tuesday's Children, an organization dedicated to providing long-term support to those directly impacted by the events of 9/11 and other communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. Giaccone's involvement in Tuesday's Children is multi-faceted, as a fundraiser, through service on the organization's Mentoring Advisory Board and Family Advisory Board and through what is arguably his most significant contribution: serving as a mentor. His works have not gone unnoticed. Giaccone, from Bayville, New York, is one of four finalists for The NASCAR Foundation's 2016 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide. The award will be presented by France -- The NASCAR Foundation's Chairwoman Emeritus and founder -- on Sept. 27 during the inaugural Honors Gala at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The foundation will donate $100,000 to the charity represented by the award winner and $25,000 to each of the other three finalists' charities. The award winner will be determined via an online vote now underway and running through Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. (ET) at NASCAR.com/Award . Giaccone, 55, mentors teenage brothers Nicholas and Matthew Reda, who lost their father on 9/11. Suffice to say this is a reciprocal relationship. Giaccone and the boys find healing and comfort in one another. But their time spent together involves more than words. The healing is helped by sharing real-life tasks involving practical skills, such as building rockets and fishing, both activities the boys enjoyed with their father. Said Giaccone: "I am not a man of great wealth where I can personally make a difference financially. My most valuable asset is my time. "It's a delicate balance when I try to explain what I get out of this. But obviously, anything that I've gained over the last 15 years I would trade in a second for my brother's life. But … that's not reality. Through the programs that Tuesday's Children is running and seeing the works that they do … it's almost become a therapy for me, to be honest. When I leave Nicholas and Matthew, it's almost as if I have a 'runner's high.' I feel calmer. If those boys get half of what I get out of this, it's a win-win." More than 10 years and hundreds of hours of service to Tuesday's Children have given Giaccone many rewarding experiences. He wants more, because there is so much more work to do. He has expanded his volunteer efforts to include helping others both domestically and abroad, truly living his life to reflect the organization's motto to "Let Our Past Change the Future." Giaccone is a longtime NASCAR fan, dating to his childhood when enjoying racing was a family tradition. One of his most cherished memories of NASCAR -- and of his life, overall -- is from August 2001 when he and his brother went to Nazareth (Pennsylvania) Speedway to take part in a fan driving experience. "I had gone to Las Vegas and done the Richard Petty Driving Experience twice, so I organized the trip (to Nazareth)." Giaccone said. "It was pretty special ..." As is being a Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalist, and representing Tuesday's Children -- in New York City on Sept. 27. "It's very humbling to be considered," Giaccone said. To learn more about this year’s finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide, and to cast your vote today, go to www.NASCAR.com/Award . Voting is open now until September 26 at 5 p.m. ET.
21 Questions with Ryan Blaney and A'Shawn Robinson
'21 Questions' host Ryan Blaney catches up with Detroit Lions defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson at Michigan International Speedway to discuss football, spirit animals and what the University of Alabama star would be doing if he didn't play football.
Byron spins Townley, collects Hemric
William Byron gets loose and makes contact with John Wes Townley, collecting Daniel Hemric and others.
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 )
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