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Michael Waltrip Racing penalty upheld in appeal
RELATED: Official release on appeal A three-member appeals panel upheld P4-grade penalties issued to Michael Waltrip Racing 's No. 15 Toyota team Wednesday, severely hampering driver Clint Bowyer 's hopes of advancing from the first round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. The National Motorsports Appeals Panel -- which heard the team's appeal at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina -- ruled that the Waltrip -owned organization violated the rules set forth in the penalty notice and the panel affirms and upholds the original penalty assessed by NASCAR. On Sept. 23, NASCAR handed down punishment for an illegally mounted track bar and suspension infractions as part of pre-race technical violations after the postseason-opening race Sept. 20 at Chicagoland Speedway , stripping Bowyer of 25 points in the drivers' championship standings, suspending crew chief Billy Scott for three races and fining the team $75,000. The penalties were issued at the P4 level of discipline in the NASCAR deterrence system, which went into effect in the 2014 season. Scott, who was also placed on probation for six months, was atop the No. 15 team's pit box last Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after MWR deferred the penalty until after the appeals process. RELATED: Bowyer to drive No. 14 car for SHR in 2017 Michael Waltrip Racing plans to cease operations at season's end and it was announced on Wednesday that Bowyer will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017, while he hinted that light will be shed on his 2016 plans shortly. The team announced later Wednesday that it would not appeal the ruling. "We are disappointed with the outcome of today's ruling and still feel our interpretation is within the guidelines," according to the statement. "Rather than continue the appeals process, MWR is ready to focus 100 percent of our company's resources on winning at Dover and trying to advance to the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ." With the penalty upheld, Bowyer remains last among the 16 playoff drivers in the Chase, 39 points behind 12th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who holds a tenuous grip on the final berth to avoid elimination and move to the next postseason segment. The title-eligible Chase field will be whittled to 12 after the Challenger Round finale, Sunday's AAA 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Dover. The three members on the National Motorsports Appeals Panel chosen to hear Wednesday's appeal were Paul Brooks, Bill Lester and Bill Mullis.
Michael Waltrip driving in Daytona 500
RELATED: 2016 Driver Tracker " Daytona Speedweeks schedule Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip announced Thursday that he will compete in this year's season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event as driver of the BK Racing No. 83 Toyota. Waltrip , 52, made the announcement during the FS1 program "Race Hub." "It's a great opportunity for us to expand our team and go racing ," Waltrip said, adding that Maxwell House will provide sponsorship. BK Racing will field three teams at Daytona, with Waltrip joining current BKR drivers Matt DiBenedetto and David Ragan . DiBenedetto competed for the team in the No. 83 last season while Ragan, who joined BKR during the offseason, will be in the team's No. 23 Toyota. With Waltrip in the No. 83, the organization will field a third entry for DiBenedetto at Daytona International Speedway . It is believed to be a one-race deal for Waltrip , who made three starts last season and has made no more than four starts annually since 2010. Waltrip scored his first NASCAR premier series victory in 2001 when he won the Daytona 500 , a race that was marred by the death of seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt. Waltrip came back to win the 500 again in 2003. He also won the summer race at Daytona in 2002 and the fall event at Talladega Superspeedway in 2003. Waltrip was also a team owner – his Michael Waltrip Racing organization fielded full-time teams with the backing of Toyota, which entered the series in 2007. MWR drivers won seven times before the organization closed its doors at the end of the 2015 season. Waltrip has 28 career starts in the "Great American Race." The 58th running of the Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 21 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR).
Michael Waltrip : 'I gave it all I had'
Michael Waltrip Racing will run its final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The two-car team is shuttering its doors at the end of the season. Team owner Michael Waltrip was in a sentimental mood on Twitter late Thursday night and shared some thoughts: Ever built something really special? Where everyone involved in it was really proud to be part of it and then see it end? Happened to me — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 When from the beginning it was a struggle but you persevered, never taking no for an answer. Then you overcame the seemingly impossible.. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 You provided jobs for 100s of families, you gave young racers a chance, you won, and contended for a @NASCAR Cup championship. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 Sunday it'll be hard, but I'll choose to smile. We were underdogs who nearly survived in a grown ups world. Ultimately we didn't win it all — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 But what I will remember is more important to me than the statistics that @MWRteam will be judged by. People appreciate coming to work. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 So don't feel sorry for me. I think we get more from what we give. And I gave it all I had. And that's all I have to say about that. ✌️ — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015
Roush Fenway Racing names new pit crew coach
Roush Fenway Racing has decided to reassign longtime pit crew coach Andy Ward, replacing him with Scott Bowen, a current RFR employee and an ex-pit crew member. Ward has been at RFR for many years and has produced some very good pit crews. The Jack Roush-owned organization did not have any drivers qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this year. Roush Fenway Racing released the following statement regarding the move: "We continuously evaluate our race team operations at Roush Fenway, and as part of a mid-season restructuring we have implemented a change in the department structure with our pit crew teams. We have placed Scott Bowen, who previously was our head of purchasing, in charge of our pit crew operations. Scott is a longtime employee of Roush Fenway, and worked as an over-the-wall pit crew member for several years. We believe this change will prove beneficial in our continued effort to improve on-track performance." For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Up To Speed: Waltrip talks NAPA, Truex Jr.
Alan Cavanna reports on the latest information concerning NAPA and the future of Martin Truex Jr. at Michael Waltrip Racing .
Harvick, 4 team aim to close deal at New Hampshire
RELATED: See what happened to Harvick last fall LOUDON, N.H. -- During the past two years, Kevin Harvick has led more laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway than any other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. Yet in each of those four starts, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver failed to come away with the victory. Harvick, the 2014 series champion, has led 379 of 1,209 laps at the 1.058-mile venue located in Loudon, New Hampshire. He led 216 at NHMS last year in the fall race, the second of 10 that made up Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff. But his No. 4 Chevrolet ran out of fuel with less than three laps remaining, and after pitting, Harvick finished 21st . His two previous starts at NHMS had resulted in third-place finishes after leading 59 laps in the July race of '15 and 104 the race the previous fall. "That's one I want to win really bad because I feel like we've given so many away there," Rodney Childers, Harvick's crew chief, said earlier this week. "Last fall we had a stinking good car, didn't get it full on the last stop, didn't realize it wasn't full. We ran probably the whole last run still leading the race and still ran out." Harvick has one win this year, at Phoenix, and has been the series points leader for much of the season. His return as one of 16 Chase competitors for this year is all but guaranteed. Only one of his 32 career wins have come at the "Magic Mile" however, and that took place nearly a decade ago. While Harvick has done nearly everything but win at Loudon in recent years, the victories have gone to others. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch swept the two races last season and Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski were in Victory Lane in '14. Keselowski is the only other competitor in the same vicinity as Harvick when it comes to laps led at NHMS, with 321 to his credit. He's the series' most recent winner, claiming back-to-back victories at Daytona and Kentucky. Childers has one New Hampshire victory, guiding Brian Vickers to the win in 2013. It was the final win for the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing organization. Helping put Harvick back there would be big. Coming off a ninth-place run at Kentucky was a nice rebound after finishing 39th at Daytona a week earlier. "Every time we've been (to New Hampshire) we've been really good so hopefully we can go up there and be good again," Childers said. "I think having that good run last week at Kentucky gave everybody a little bit of confidence back. It's time to start ramping things up and get ready for the Chase." On Friday, Harvick qualified eighth in the 40-car field. He was 21st in Friday's opening practice and fourth in Saturday's two sessions. The New Hampshire 301 is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Dusenberry Martin Racing to sponsor DiBenedetto with 'NASCAR Heat' car
Following the release of NASCAR Heat Evolution , BK Racing announced Monday that it has teamed with game developer Dusenberry Martin Racing to sponsor Matt DiBenedetto 's No. 83 Toyota Camry at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. "We are proud to showcase the NASCAR Heat Evolution game on Matt's car this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ," said BK Racing CMO Doug Fritz in a team release. "Dusenberry Martin Racing is a great partner for everyone in NASCAR and we’re excited to feature three BK Racing cars in the game." NASCAR Heat Evolution will adorn DiBenedetto's ride for Sunday's New England 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at the "Magic Mile." NASCAR Heat Evolution connects fans more than ever before. A new online competitive multiplayer feature supports a full field of up to 40 racers, a NASCAR video game first. Gamers can race as and against the top drivers and teams of today. Users can enter their rookie season and race for a spot in The Chase, relive classic NASCAR moments, or make new ones. "Dusenberry Martin Racing is proud to partner with Toyota Racing and BK Racing with our brand new NASCAR Heat Evolution video game," said Tom Dusenberry, DMR Chief Executive Officer. " Matt DiBenedetto is an authentic gamer, talented driver, and we are excited to have him represent the NASCAR Heat Evolution game on track at Loudon. Fans can race the with the No. 83 Toyota Camry in NASCAR Heat Evolution on Xbox One, PlayStation®4, and PC. Pick up your copy today!" . @dmrnascarheat to sponsor @mattdracing @NHMS --> https://t.co/l6F4fIMHiQ pic.twitter.com/6lDjIIMhH5 — BK Racing (@BKRacing_2383) September 19, 2016 NASCAR Heat Evolution is now available in North American stores for $59.99 as a retail and digital release on the PlayStation®4 system, Xbox One and Windows PC. This title is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.
Furniture Row Racing issues statement on failed post-race inspection
Furniture Row Racing said in a team release Monday that it accepts NASCAR's failed post-race inspection ruling, while also citing on-track contact with the No. 4 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick as the likely reason for being out of compliance. "The right rear of our car was well within the tolerance margin, which showed that we were trying to be conservative," the statement read. "However, the left rear wheel alignment was off by approximately ten-thousandths of an inch, which in high probability was due to damage in that area as a result of being hit by the No. 4 car. "We believe the laser inspection numbers were correct and accept NASCAR's decision that was made following Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway ." Truex Jr.'s race-winning No. 78 Toyota, along with the No. 48 Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson , failed post-race inspection after Sunday's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series opener at Chicagoland Speedway . NASCAR recently updated its rules for "encumbered" victory penalties during the postseason, but those are not be in effect for Truex Jr. because it was the lowest grade of failure for the LIS platform. Any penalties will be announced later in the week, according to NASCAR.
Moffitt on close-but-no-cigar finish: 'It sucks'
RELATED: Race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- With only a handful of starts on his schedule, Brett Moffitt competes as if every race is a tryout. And in many ways, that's indeed the case. Called into service by Red Horse Racing to fill the seat of the organization's No. 11 Toyota earlier this year, Moffitt responded with a strong performance at Kentucky before an engine issue left him 31st, and Pocono, where he finished third. Earlier this month, Red Horse officials announced Moffitt would return for three more starts -- at Bristol, Michigan and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park . Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway , Moffitt continued to impress with a career-best runner-up finish to first-time race winner Ben Kennedy (GMS Racing ) in the UNOH 200 . MORE: Kennedy: 'This is the coolest day of my life' "It's really fun running like this and being super competitive two weeks in a row now," Moffitt, 24, said. "But second place sucks. We're here to win. I'm happy but I'm not. It sucks being that close." Moffitt has Sprint Cup experience, making a handful of starts a year ago with the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing group before closing the season behind the wheel of the No. 34 for Front Row Motorsports . His performance was good enough to earn him Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. It wasn't, however, enough to secure him a ride for '16. Until he was called on to drive the No. 11 for Red Horse earlier this year, subbing for Matt Tifft , his NASCAR career was in a holding pattern. While his future remains uncertain -- he said there have been no conversations beyond his next two starts -- Moffitt is hoping his results lead to more opportunities. The team will carry the same truck to Michigan next week that was used at Kentucky and Pocono. "And they actually did some more work to it," he furthered, "so hopefully it's even better. "We're showing really strong, got a third place and a second place here; we just need one more. That would be a good place to win and hopefully at the road course as well." Moffitt had an opportunity at Bristol, restarting second to Kennedy for a six-lap shootout following the ninth and final caution. But Kennedy, who went from third to first with 20 laps remaining, didn't falter with the win on the line. While he closed on Kennedy's bumper, Moffitt said he couldn't get close enough to either make the pass or move the leader out of the way. Both were options he considered. "I'm going to race people the way I want to be raced," he said. "It is Bristol so if you need to move someone, you've got to move them. "I just wasn't quite good enough through the center (of the turn) to get to him. He slipped up a few times and I was able to get to his bumper once but didn't get to him hard enough. I was really waiting for him to make a mistake so I could shove my nose in there but he executed when he needed to and he hit his marks. I just wasn't able to get to him there." Daniel Hemric ( Brad Keselowski Racing ), William Byron ( Kyle Busch Motorsports) and Johnny Sauter (GMS) rounded out the top five.
Intense restart leads to wild racing among Chase drivers
The NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase drivers go three and almost four-wide on a restart just before halfway, creating some great racing at Kentucky Speedway.