New at-track shopping experience begins at Pocono RELATED: See photos of the new merchandise experience LONG POND, Pa. -- A new era in NASCAR shopping has officially launched with the new "Trackside Superstore." A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday at Pocono Raceway officially ushered in the new retail model as the sport moves away from merchandise haulers and into an at-track shopping experience that is faster and features more selections for fans. Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick , Pocono June race winner Martin Truex Jr ., Ross Tannenbaum, president of Fanatics Authentic, Brandon Igdalsky, president of Pocono Raceway, and Blake Davidson, vice president of Licensing and Consumer Products for NASCAR, spoke before fans rushed in to experience the store. Vice Chairman of NASCAR Mike Helton also checked out the "Trackside Superstore." The "Trackside Superstore," which is run by Fanatics, totals 60,000 square feet, has specific sections for most drivers and carries $2.5 million in retail inventory, while also carrying a 50 percent increase in product assortment for most of the drivers. There also are dedicated specialty shops for ladies, kids, collectibles and tailgate. There are still some select haulers, most notably for Team Penske and Brad Keselowski merchandise. "This NASCAR superstore is like nothing I've ever seen," Igdalsky told the crowd. "I'm so excited that we were able to launch this year at Pocono. NASCAR has done a great job of enhancing the fan experience, and this is just the next level." The ease of the shopper experience at the "Trackside Superstore" was something that immediately struck Truex. "I'm super excited about this," Truex said. "I can't tell you how many questions I've had this year on Twitter just about, 'Hey, where do I get that hat? Where do I get that shirt?' This makes it easy. Everybody goes in there, finds their favorite driver, finds what they're looking for very easily." He later jokingly added that, "I feel like it's welcome to 2015 everybody." Harvick echoed Truex's thoughts, while also adding his own perspective from when Kevin Harvick Incorporated handled his merchandise. "You come in and walk through your section and you realize how simple the process is to go about finding your driver and checkout," Harvick said. "The thing I noticed the most was just how easily you can see everything and how there might have been a whole bunch of products before that you didn't know where on the trailers. It's definitely like Martin said, it's welcome to 2015. ... It's a huge step for everybody. "Having the experience that we had running our own merchandise stuff for several years at KHI and now seeing this, it's really something that's really neat. You understand the undertaking it takes to get to this point." Davidson indicated this has been a year-long project, from seeking proposals to revealing Fanatics as the selection to running the business in January to today's opening. "We've been working on this a long time," Davidson said. "And we walked in and saw what they put together. Fanatics has done a tremendous job. It's really blown us away, the breadth of product. The ability of the fans to touch and feel the product, which we knew they would be able to do. There's so much here, there's so much new product here that we've never had a track before. I think people are really going to be excited when they get here." Cayce and Mark Votek have been coming to Pocono for the past 10 years. Cayce, a fan of Denny Hamlin , liked that even with the new setup there was still a feel of familiarity. "I was a little skeptical at first," Cayce said. "I do like that I can touch the stuff first. That's actually really cool, probably dangerous for me because now I just grab it all. I know all of the people from Denny's hauler because I go there all the time and I actually ran into one, so I like that they're still here. There's still some familiarity. So far, so good." In addition to being able to touch and feel the products, Tannenbaum touted the reduced wait times fans will have to buy merchandise. The Fanatics executive estimated that in peak times the wait at a hauler was between 45 minutes and an hour. However, he acknowledged that this new model wasn't without his challenges when compared to running merchandise at other events like the NHL Winter Classic or the SEC Championship Game. "From a process, this is absolutely the most challenging one we've had and I think will ever have," Tannenbaum said. "When you think about it, go set up the Super Bowl and then break it down 38 times and set up again the next week. That's what makes it the most challenging. At Fanatics, it was an exciting challenge. It was 'go for a solution to this and make this work.' And what we presented to NASCAR and where we ended up today is very different because we learned so much." Tannenbaum added that Fanatics has three different tent structures, two different sets of fixtures to hold merchandise and one set of inventory for the trackside superstore. Next weekend's race at Watkins Glen will have a slightly different setup and a team is already up there to set it up. A team from Pocono will drive to Watkins Glen when the Tricky Triangle race weekend ends to build the setup out with the inventory. "What you are seeing here is going to be the standard superstore for all tracks," Tannenbaum said. "What is going to happen is there will be more locations and satellite locations at tracks that do either more revenue or less revenue, wider tracks. I use Richmond as the example. This store at Richmond, everybody walks into that front, it's pretty straightforward. At Daytona or the really big tracks, you are going to have to have multiple locations to meet the consumers' demand. We are going to look at what revenues are at the track, what the flow of traffic is and make sure that we can manage all of that. But this will be the central point for all of the stores." And while the new setup may take some time for fans to get used to, Truex said this was a good change for the long run. "I know a lot of NASCAR fans are worried about things changing, but I assure them this is a change for the better and I think it looks great." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Daughter Brittany reveals a special helmet for Iowa race RELATED: Grand marshal added to Wallace's Iowa duties " Racing with nephew Matt NEWTON, Iowa -- Until Friday, Kenny Wallace 's plans to hang up his NASCAR driving helmet this weekend at Iowa Speedway were only missing one small detail -- the helmet itself. His former team kept deflecting his phone calls, telling him not to worry and that his helmet would be there for the 905th start of his long, storied NASCAR career. The smokescreen was effective -- it bought his daughter Brittany enough time to have it professionally painted with a commemorative collage of snapshots and memories from his 26 years in the sport. While Wallace's time behind the wheel in NASCAR will end with Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), the sport won't be saying goodbye to one of its most charismatic characters, who will remain a presence both in TV broadcasting and at local dirt tracks. Though there will be some finality after he steps away Saturday night, Wallace said he'll do his best to keep his emotions in check along the way. "I think there's going to be moments and I hope that it happens after the race, but I've done a pretty good job at my career to really focus in on what I have to do," said Wallace, who will carry backing from the race's title sponsor on his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. "I remember when Ernie Irvan got hurt (in 1994) and I was in that Texaco/Havoline car in the Cup Series, I was shifting the gears getting on the high banks there at Bristol and I could hear the roar of the crowd, and I was like, 'No. Focus.' "I've learned a lot along the way. I've watched Jeff Gordon this year; I don't even know how he can go. I've learned a lot. I'm ready to race, and then we'll deal with everything after the race and when I get out of the car." That theory held true for about 30 minutes after his arrival at the .875-mile track, when Brittany Wallace handed over the special surprise to her father in front of a group of friends and family. Short of choking up, the 51-year-old Wallace said he had sworn he would not be emotional, but was genuinely moved by the gift. Wallace joked that he hopes to amend the helmet's graphics Saturday night, changing his nine career XFINITY wins to an even 10. But the joke belied his ever-sharper focus with top-shelf JGR equipment underneath him for this weekend's swan song. "If he's saying he's blocking it out, he's way better at doing something like that than I am," said older brother Mike Wallace , like his sibling a nine-time winner in NASCAR national competition. "He said he's happy with it, content. All I can say is more power to him. It's outstanding. I just ran into him over there and he's got his family and friends, he's the grand marshal for a (K&N Series) race tonight, he's got a suite here. He seems to be having fun right now. He said, 'I've got to go sign some hats,' and I was like, 'Go be famous. That's what you're good at.'" The nature of the family-affair weekend has even more ties. Kenny Wallace will share the track with his nephew, Matt, who is scheduled to make his second career XFINITY Series start Saturday night. His farewell race will also take place on a short track designed by oldest brother Rusty Wallace, a NASCAR Hall of Famer. The eldest Wallace ended his driving career in 2005, but like his brother, he remained active in the sport with broadcasting stints in television and radio. It's why both Wallaces have shied away from calling the occasion "retirement" with a capital R. "I wish him all the luck in the world," said Rusty Wallace, speaking Thursday at a charity event in Pennsylvania for The NASCAR Foundation and the Jeff Gordon 's Children's Foundation. "I told him the other day, do not use that word retirement. You don't need to do that. They'll label you with that. I said notice Jeff Gordon said he's quitting, but he's not retiring, but he's never going to race again. So he's kind of retiring but he's not going to use that word. He learned that from me and Mark Martin . I told Kenny, you didn't need to do that. He'll be fine." So if anyone was hoping to get rid of Kenny Wallace after this weekend, tough luck. The driver known for his boundless energy, his grace with racing fans, his social media presence, his extracurricular dirt-racing travels and his broadcasting moxie isn't going anywhere. After 900-plus starts dating back to a 1988 debut at Martinsville Speedway, driving the No. 8 ride owned by Dale Earnhardt in what is now the XFINITY Series, Wallace said simply that "there needs to be a line in the sand" for his driving career. Staying power in NASCAR can often be fleeting and rare, a fact that has made Wallace even prouder of his long run in the sport's highest levels. Wallace's helmet is anchored by the words "Life is a journey," a well-worn adage he said he always tells his three daughters. Wallace's own journey will enter its next phase after Saturday night. "My mom, Judy, she said to me, 'Kenny, hon. You keep reinventing yourself,' " Wallace said. "I'm like 'really, Mom?' It's not a plan, it's just that I want to stay in the sport. I think longevity and persistence is what I'm so proud of, because let's face it, I was never an 'A' driver. To me, I feel proud saying I was a 'B-plus' driver. I won nine XFINITY races, 177 top-10s -- I mean, that counts for something. When I should've been down and out, I stayed digging." Contributing: RJ Kraft from Pocono Raceway FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Ty Dillon expresses his frustration with Chase Elliott on their last-lap wreck and Max Papis recalls his rough racing with Mike Skeen at the end of the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
Max Papis holds his composure after being slapped by Mike Skeen's girlfriend after the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
Crew chief suspended for a race; team owner docked 15 points RELATED: NASCAR's official release NASCAR handed down a P3-level penalty Wednesday to the Premium Motorsports No. 98 Ford team for failure to properly attach weight during last weekend's Sprint Cup Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The No. 98 car, driven by Timmy Hill for the second straight week in last Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400, lost a piece of tungsten during Friday practice near the pit-road exit on the 2.5-mile track. The dropped weight was a violation of three sections of the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book (Sections 12:1; 22.214.171.124.1; 20.3.5). NASCAR officials suspended crew chief Scott Eggleston for one Sprint Cup Series race and fined him $25,000. NASCAR also suspended car chief Kevin Eagle for one race. Both were placed on probation through Dec. 31. Mike Curb, the listed team owner for the Premium No. 98, was also docked 15 championship points in the car owner standings. The No. 98 began the year under the Phil Parsons Racing umbrella before Premium Motorsports took ownership in the spring. Josh Wise failed to qualify the car for the season-opening Daytona 500 , but competed in the next 17 races before announcing that he had parted ways with the team. Hill has driven for the team the last two weekends. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Edwards: "This is like the first practice session" BRISTOL, Tenn. -- More than one dozen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams spent Wednesday testing at Bristol Motor Speedway, preparing for next month's return when the high-banked, half-mile track hosts the Irwin Tools Night Race . "The surface here doesn't change a lot, but the groove changes a lot," Joe Gibbs Racing 's Carl Edwards said of the concrete racing surface during a break in the eight-hour session. "People end up racing right up against the fence. "We're not really able to do that today. Basically, this is like the first practice session (of a race weekend) -- when we show up (in August), the race track will be like this." Still, with only six races remaining before the field is officially set for this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup , any opportunity to improve one's chances for one of the six events isn't taken lightly. "Seventy-five percent (of what we do today) is relevant," Edwards said. "We're just not really able to run up there to that high groove." Edwards, a winner in this year's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, hasn't officially locked in a spot in the 16-team Chase field, but for he and a handful of others that have already won this year, it's a formality. Three of Edwards' 24 career wins in Sprint Cup have come at BMS and he was fast here on Wednesday. He also cut a tire down during the afternoon session, and contact with the wall did a bit of cosmetic damage to the No. 19 Toyota. "We know exactly what we were lacking when we came here the last race," he said, "so it gives us the opportunity to work on some things." In addition to Edwards, other teams taking part in the test were Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), Ricky Stenhouse Jr . ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Paul Menard ( Richard Childress Racing ), David Ragan ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Danica Patrick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Travis Kvapil (TMG), Kasey Kahne ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Landon Cassill ( Mike Hillman Racing). Logano and Kahne are also previous winners at Bristol. Stenhouse is still searching for his first Sprint Cup win; the fast BMS track seems to suit his driving style. The 27-year-old has finished sixth or higher in his last three starts here. "It's just fun," Stenhouse Jr. said. "I like running the top, it kind of reminds me of a dirt track the way you can really kind of turn to the right getting into the corner once we get some rubber down on the top lane. We haven't gotten it quite high enough today, but we've worked pretty far up there." The RFR driver is 27th in points, and his fourth-place finish here earlier this year has been his only top 10. "Honestly, being 18th or 19th in points or where we are, if you don't have a win, you're still outside (the Chase)," he said. "I could be eight spots better and it really wouldn't do me any good other than obviously we're getting better finishes, better results." A two-time XFINITY Series champion, Stenhouse said the No. 17 team has improved -- "I think we're getting better," he said -- but the gap between his group and the leaders is still a wide one. "That's why we really kind of embraced coming to this test," he said. "It's been a good race for us in the past. Out of the races that are left, it's probably our best shot to catch a break. "We've been close (here); we know we're not exactly there yet. But we know if we make the right adjustments and get the car a little better, then we'll have the opportunity. And really, that's all you can ask for." The Irwin Tools Night Race is scheduled for Aug. 22 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Crew chief Scott Eggleston fined, suspended RELATED: NASCAR issues P3 penalty to No. 98 team The No. 98 team has been assessed a P3 level penalty for having an unattached weight leave the car during practice on July 24 (Sections 12:1; 126.96.36.199.1; 20.3.5). Crew chief Scott Eggleston has been fined $25,000; suspended from the next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship points race; and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Car chief Kevin Eagle has been suspended from the next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship points race and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Car owner Mike Curb will lose 15 championship car owner points.
Chase Elliott and Brandon Jones crash off Turn 4 at Iowa Speedway after Jones thought he was clear of the No. 9.
Host Matthew Dillner takes a stroll through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Pocono Raceway as teams prepare for the WIndows 10 400 on Sunday.
The GarageCam crew takes a stroll through the Camping World Truck Series garage at Pocono Raceway and asks several drivers which music they prefer pre-race.