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NASCAR checks in to Hotels for Hope
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR announced today a multi-year partnership with Hotels for Hope designating the company as the "Official Hotel Booking Partner of NASCAR®." Hotels for Hope, a hotel inventory brokerage with a philanthropic business model, services large scale consumer events across the country and will now include NASCAR race weekends. As part of the partnership, a landing page on NASCAR.com ( www.nascar.com/hotels ) launches today, allowing the industry and fans to book hotels for upcoming race weekends through its "Raceday Hotels by Hotels for Hope™" platform. For each actualized room night booked through Hotels for Hope, one dollar will be donated to The NASCAR Foundation. "There's really nothing like attending a NASCAR race and partnering with Hotels for Hope will provide our fans with a convenient and streamlined process to book travel," said Chad Seigler, NASCAR vice president of business development. "Hotels for Hope drives awareness and funds for notable charitable organizations and we are proud that The NASCAR Foundation will be represented among them." Hotels for Hope's database of over 600,000 hotel partners are utilized across a wide variety of events including music festivals, food and wine festivals, business conferences, trade shows, and more. With custom branded solutions and room block management, Hotels for Hope's technology will fulfill the hotel accommodations for any type of event. "Hotels for Hope's industry leading technology uses hotel reservations as a vehicle to raise awareness and support nonprofit partners, including The NASCAR Foundation," said Neil Goldman, Hotels for Hope CEO and founder. "Servicing NASCAR.com and the fans allows us to reach a larger audience, and to drive more bookings with meaning through this sport." Similar to The NASCAR Foundation, Hotels for Hope's mission is to improve the lives of children worldwide. All the nonprofits on its preferred list work to help children live happier and healthier lives. The NASCAR Foundation is committed to making children's health and medical needs a top priority. "The NASCAR Foundation is rooted in improving the life and health of children ," said Nichole Kreiger, The NASCAR Foundation acting executive director. "We are thrilled to be working with an Official Partner that has the same commitment, and look forward to making an impact together." Through the Speediatrics Children's Fund, the Foundation supports needs for hospitals, clinics, and other organizations providing children's medical care. Since its inception, more than one million children in need have been aided. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will continue with the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Stage lengths for Auto Club weekend
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Full schedule for Auto Club The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series are at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. Below are the stage lengths for each race. Click here to bookmark stage lengths for every race this season. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (Race is Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) Stage 1: Ends on Lap 60 Stage 2: Ends on Lap 120 Final Stage: Scheduled to end on Lap 200 XFINITY Series (Race is Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1) Stage 1: Ends on Lap 35 Stage 2: Ends on Lap 70 Final Stage: Scheduled to end on Lap 150 </p>
NASCAR announces race package for XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Indianapolis Teams competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year will do so with a race package that incorporates three major modifications aimed at one goal -- improved competition at the legendary 2.5-mile speedway. Designed specifically for the 100-lap race scheduled for July 22, the modifications consist of a taller rear spoiler and splitter package; aero ducts on the lower front bumper area; and a 7/8th-inch restrictor plate currently used for superspeedway events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The static ride height of the cars will remain at 4 inches, which is unchanged from the current 2017 rules package. The Indy package was crafted after much in-house simulation and development and then field-tested on Oct. 12 at IMS for verification. XFINITY Series teams from Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Kaulig Racing participated in the test. "We (develop) the analytical package and come to some conclusions," Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development, told NASCAR.com. "But then we also need to go on the track and verify this. So this approach has been a two-step approach, analytical creation of the package and then on-track verification. "We race at 29 tracks (across all three national series) and they're all very special," Stefanyshyn added. "Indianapolis has a long history; it's a wonderful track. Our objective is to give our fans the best possible show we can. We are very proud of being able to participate at Indy; we want to put our best foot forward. We believe we have come up with a package that gives us the best opportunity to do that." MORE: IMS announces updated race weekend schedule Stefanyshyn said officials had teams run various packages during the test. While the use of the restrictor plates enabled the cars to run closer together, the ability to pull out and pass remained difficult. "We saw the cars were closer together, but we weren't able to create some passing until we introduced the aero ducts," he said. "That's the main purpose of the ducts, to give the trailing car more of an advantage … we always hear about clean air and how the leader has clean air. Our objective here is to try to give the trail car more benefit." Without the aero ducts, cars running down long straightaways such as those at IMS hit a wall of air, which creates "a significant horsepower deficit" when they get within approximately one car-length of the lead car, Stefanyshyn said. The aero ducts direct air in through the existing brake ducts and out through the wheelhouse on each side. The high speed air flowing out creates a larger hole or "envelope" for the trailing car. Use of the aero ducts should increase the amount of horsepower differential for the trailing car by approximately 25 percent. "We're giving the driver more momentum from four-five car lengths back, gaining coming into within half a car length; when he gets right into that bubble, he's still got to cross through it, but he's carrying momentum and he can break through it," Stefanyshyn said. Stefanyshyn said incorporation of the package isn't "a slam dunk," but studies and testing have thus far validated the changes. "Our belief is that we will create a situation where they can pass on the straightaways," he said. "That's been done analytically, it's been done with three cars. The question is when we turn 40 cars loose on the track can that still manifest itself and that's still what we’re hoping will happen." Speeds likely won't vary greatly with the new package, and the use of restrictor plates isn't expected to generate the big packs of traffic on the track similar to what typically is seen at Daytona and Talladega. Stefanyshyn said it's more likely that there will be several groups of five or six cars each, "and in each of those groupings we're hoping to see passing on the straightaways." The XFINITY Series has competed at IMS since 2012, and the lack of passing on the big, flat track has been a concern for NASCAR and speedway officials. Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) led more than half the laps in winning the last two XFINITY Series races at Indy and he led 92 of 100 when he won the race in 2013. Dale Earnhardt Jr. addressed the racing package this week during his weekly Dale Jr. Download podcast. Earnhardt Jr. competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports. He is also co-owner of JR Motorsports, which fields four full-time teams in the XFINITY Series. "I'm curious to see (the changes)," he said. "I think NASCAR sees this as an idea on how fix racing in general at Indianapolis." According to NASCAR officials, there currently are no plans in place to utilize the package at any other venue or in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Daniel Suarez stars in first national television ad for Subway
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary Daniel Suarez is debuting in his first national TV ad as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver with sponsor Subway this weekend as the series wraps up its NASCAR Goes West swing at Auto Club Speedway. Suarez will drive the No. 19 Subway Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) The accompanying television ad focuses on Suarez's drive and desire to reach the pinnacle of the sport, his path to get here and his competitive fire. "I came here to race," the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender says. "I came here to be better. Now, I stand here a challenger …" Get a sneak peek of the ad here: When Subway came on as a sponsor for Suarez earlier this year, the young star said, "I'm extremely grateful to Subway for their continuing sponsorship of our Joe Gibbs Racing team this year. I enjoy eating healthy, and Subway has always been my go-to choice to refuel my body when I'm on the road or at home. I'm looking forward to a great 2017 season in the Subway Toyota Camry." Subway is primary sponsor on Suarez's No. 19 ride for four Monster Energy Series races this season, including the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte; the July 1 Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona; and the Oct. 15 Alabama 500 at Talladega.
Stefanyshyn details XFINITY race package for Indianapolis
NASCAR announced its race package for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one which includes the use of restrictor plates.
Full schedule for Auto Club
RELATED: See Auto Club races live MORE: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entry list " XFINITY Series entry list NASCAR Goes West wraps up as the series shifts to Auto Club Speedway for the final race of a three-race weekend swing out west for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Check out the full weekend schedule below. Note: All times are ET FRIDAY, MARCH 24: ON TRACK -- 1:30-2:55 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 3-3:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 5-5:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 7:05 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Follow live ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 1 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series -- 2:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 11:45 a.m.: Jimmie Johnson -- 12 p.m.: Daniel Suarez -- 12:15 p.m.: Danica Patrick -- 12:45 p.m.: Chase Elliott -- 1 p.m.: Cole Custer and Ryan Reed -- 3:35 p.m.: Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- 4 p.m.: Ryan Blaney -- 4:30 p.m.: Ryan Newman -- 6:15 p.m.: Kyle Larson -- 8 p.m.: Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying SATURDAY, MARCH 25: ON TRACK -- 11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 12:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 2:30-3:20 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 4 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series NXS 300 (150 laps, 300 miles), FS1 ( Follow live ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 6:45 p.m.: Post-NASCAR XFINITY Series race SUNDAY, MARCH 26: ON TRACK -- 3:30 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 ( 200 laps, 400 miles), FOX ( Follow live ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 2 p.m.: Auto Club Speedway announcement -- 2:30 p.m.: Justice Brothers/Shav Glick Award -- 7 p.m.: Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race
Second place isn't first loser for points leader Larson
RELATED: Phoenix race results " Series standings MORE: Buy tickets for Auto Club AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Larson figured he was in the best possible position, sitting in fourth place with two fresh tires and facing a two-lap shootout on a hot, slick Phoenix Raceway track. Turns out that wasn't the case. Contact on the restart with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. allowed Ryan Newman to slip away and leave the Chip Ganassi Racing driver second for the third time in four races this season and the fourth time since last year's season-ending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Sunday's Camping World 500 was the first of two stops at the 1-mile track this season for the series. "This one stings because I felt like I was in the best spot out of anybody there to line up fourth on two tires," Larson said afterward. "I just turned across Ricky's nose and got sideways, killed both of our runs off (Turn) 2 and allowed Newman to get out on us." Larson also finished second at Atlanta, where he led seven laps, and Las Vegas, where he led none. On a hot day in the Arizona desert, he led three laps but ran in the top five for practically the entire day. Ganassi teammate Jamie McMurray finished 15th but also ran higher for much of the day. A crash by Team Penske's Joey Logano on Lap 308 of the scheduled 312-lap race set the stage for the two-lap shootout and sent much of the field scurrying to pit road. Newman, Stenhouse and Martin Truex Jr. opted to remain on the track, gambling on old tires and two miles of asphalt. Larson, first off pit road, lined up on the outside behind Newman; Stenhouse was on the inside with Truex behind. But Newman was starting to pull away when Larson tried to squeeze his way low entering Turn 1, only to make contact with Stenhouse in the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Both drivers were able to hang on -- no harm, no foul -- although Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) shot past Stenhouse on the final lap to grab third. RELATED: This Kyle Larson-Ryan Newman photo is best of all time The finish put Larson, 24, on top of the points standings -- he leads Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) 184-178 after four races. "It's really, really cool to be the points leader right now," Larson said. "That was a goal of mine going into today. So thanks to everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing for all your hard work. "We'll hopefully continue to have this speed in our race cars and maybe close some of these races out." Larson is the first driver since Carl Edwards in 2011 to finish second in three consecutive races. Edwards closed the season with runner-up finishes at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. Larson won his first (and to date, only) Monster Energy Series race last year, at Michigan. Sunday's race at Phoenix was just his 115th career start in the series. Second place isn't winning, but he said he's yet to grow tired of the result. "We've never had that speed," Larson said. "It's a lot of fun right now. I'm sure if I ran second for the next eight weeks, yeah, it's probably going to grow old. "But, yeah, it's so cool to be one of the fastest cars every week. I feel like I've got a shot to win every week at a race track. "It's weird running all these seconds. It took me like three years to finish second in sprint cars. Now I finish second like every week, so (it's) a little weird but maybe we’ll turn them into wins soon." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
For Buck, a life of racing, a life of learning
RACE INFO: Starting lineup " Race-day rundown AVONDALE, Ariz. -- The Buck stops here. Here being the nondescript, out-of-the-way Mexican eatery Raul and Theresa's located just a few minutes up the road from Phoenix Raceway. And Buck being Richard Buck, Phoenix native and managing director of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It's a roadside stop that caters to the denizens of the area, although on any given race weekend, race fans and crew men from various teams fill the dining rooms. Buck rides the fence on this one as a former resident who now is deeply entrenched in the world of NASCAR. Sunday brings the Camping World 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) back to the 1-mile track and NASCAR's return has brought Buck back to his old stomping grounds. The 55-year-old grew up north of the city, but his first memories of racing came from another area institution -- Manzanita Speedway, located slightly southwest of Phoenix proper, just across the Salt River. "My dad worked at Motorola," Buck said. "One of the guys he worked with raced sprint cars. One night we went out to watch him at Manzanita Speedway. I don't remember how old I was. I was still in diapers; I was young." The friend, local standout and Arizona Hall of Fame member Will Schmink, won the trophy dash for the race and the victory resulted in a trip to the winner's circle for the toddler. "I remember going down through the mud and everything else, them setting me in the seat of the car in the Winner's Circle," Buck said. "And them telling me about the exhaust pipe, that it was hot, and me hanging on the steering wheel and that's when I was hooked." • • •
Strategy play pays off for Stenhouse Jr.
RELATED: Buy tickets for Auto Club MORE FROM PHOENIX: Race results " Standings " Detailed breakdown Though Ricky Stenhouse Jr. didn't win Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway by staying out on old tires -- as Ryan Newman did -- the driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford did hold onto fourth place during a two-lap overtime. That Stenhouse was able to score his eighth career top five is emblematic of improved performance at Roush Fenway Racing, but Stenhouse says there's still work to do. "I have definitely seen a difference in the quality (of the RFR cars)," Stenhouse said. "We still have a long way to go, but we've made a big improvement from last year, especially the end of last year. In Atlanta, we had a really good car and got the right front fender tore off on the last restart. I thought we would finish fifth to 10th there. I thought we had a 15th place car in Vegas and had an issue with the axle at the end. "Today, I thought we had a 10th-place car on the long run and took a gamble, and were able to get a better finish there at the end. I think our cars and the attitude at the shop is really good. (Teammate) Trevor (Bayne) has some solid finishes here in the first few races, and that's something encouraging and something to build off of. I feel like we have had speed, just haven't gotten the finishes for the speed we have. It's better to have speed and have to figure out how to get the finishes."
Auto Club is looking for your yearbook photos for 20th reunion
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove BUY TICKETS: See Auto Club race live Auto Club Speedway has produced so many moments that made a race fan say, "Wow" over its 20 years as a track on the NASCAR circuit -- and its marketing department now has given us another. To celebrate the track's 20th anniversary, the Fontana, California, track has launched a nifty retro campaign in which fans can upload a photo of themselves (preferably a high school yearbook shot) along with a class superlative. This mobile-friendly asset will encourage fans to "Join the Track Reunion" by uploading a past high school photo, prom photo or favorite race weekend photo. Fans have the ability to personalize it by adding their name and "claim to fame" by completing the title "Most Likely To…" In addition, fans will able to enter a contest to win NASCAR Auto Club 400 Terrace Suite Tickets, pre-race pit passes and more. One fan, sporting a No. 24 jacket, said he is the "Most likely to ... wonder where Jeff Gordon is." Another, "Sneaky Pat," (I swear -- not me) said he's "Most Likely to ... sneak into the garage." At least he's living up to his name. But the best part -- the track also somehow managed to get a hold of a few drivers' yearbook photos, and they don't disappoint. Gordon sports quite the mustache and mullett combo, and Carl Edwards had some pretty slick Zack Morris-style hair, while Matt Kenseth's superlative is "Most likely to ... call cops 'pace cars.' " Sounds about right. Join in on the fun at www.acs20reunion.com and be sure to tune into the final leg of #NASCARGoesWest when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series hits the track for the Auto Club 400 on March 26 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX).