First look at the magazine's Q&A with Dale Jr.'s fiancee
Get to know NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Ben Rhodes.
Kenny Wallace on driver accountability, plans for Bowyer's 2016 season RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Kenny Wallace is decidedly old school. When it comes to the debate about NASCAR being tougher in policing restarts, Wallace insists that it's the drivers who need to serve as judge and jury for those guilty of too much gamesmanship. That hot-button issue kicks off this week's installment of Herman Unplugged: NASCAR ILLUSTRATED : Drivers including Dale Earnhardt Jr . have been vocal about NASCAR too loosely policing restarts. Is there room for improvement there? HERMAN: "No, I disagree with all that. Ten to 15 years ago we had something called gentlemen's agreements. We have these restarts between two red lines and it's gamesmanship to where you’re gonna start. I tell you how you fix that: If the driver in front brake checks you, you beat his ass in between the haulers. In my day, Terry Labonte and Kyle Petty chewed my ass out when I did something wrong. I feel that the drivers need to do what we did, which is go between the trailers and say, 'If you brake check me on a restart again, I'll whip your ass.' These guys just need to go, that's all there is to it. If they start playing these games, you just fix it with a fistfight and that will stop it right there." NI: Tragic situation with IndyCar driver Justin Wilson losing his life at Pocono. Tony Stewart loaned his plane to Wilson's brother Stefan so he could be with him at hospital Sunday night. It was another example of the motorsports community rallying to help in a time of need. Do you have a personal story on that front to share? HERMAN: "We get so wrapped up in competition and when it comes down to the end and we have perspective, you realize competition for what it is and then we have life over here. When my father passed away October 30, 2011, Rick Hendrick gave us one of his big team planes that seats some 30-50 people and we flew my dad's casket in the belly of that airplane all the way back to St. Louis. We went to write a check to Rick and he would not take it. We tried hard to pay him and he would not take anything." NI: The last on-track fatality in NASCAR came on that dark day at Daytona in 2001. Not to compare the two series, but what do you think it says about NASCAR that there hasn't been a death in that long? HERMAN: "I feel that NASCAR has reacted much stronger than any other sanctioning body in the world. NASCAR reacts quickly now whenever something happens from a safety perspective. If a driver finds a concrete wall they thought they would never hit, by the very next race there's something done about it. Within a year, IndyCar had a driver get hit by a spring in the head and then a driver get hit by a wheel, and it amazes me that with technology and the new world we live in that they haven't reacted faster. To their credit, after Dan Wheldon's passing, they redesigned the whole car. But they have to do something with those cockpits. It's a must." NI: What's your best guess on where Clint Bowyer lands in 2016? HERMAN: "The reason this is the best kept secret is I truly believe Clint Bowyer doesn't know where he's going. I don't think there's any story here; all we know is Clint Bowyer will go somewhere because he's got some money from 5-hour Energy. He's a good driver and he has money. That's a recipe for a bidding war. Although we know that 5-hour is only enough money to get you halfway, so whoever wins the bidding war for Clint has to know he's only gonna have enough money to get you to the 50-yard line. So you'll have to have more money to fund the rest of the season. 5-hour is a great sponsor but not one for the whole year." NI: Notwithstanding all the wins by Joe Gibbs Racing and Joey Logano lately, it's hard not to like Kevin Harvick to repeat as Sprint Cup champion. Is that how you see it too? HERMAN: "I see that he's a favorite and I'll tell you why. He hasn't started his mind games yet. He's been real mellow. Once he starts being a hard ass, he'll get into people's heads. He hasn't even used his bumper yet. Once he starts that and using that cage fighting mentality, it's gonna be a different game. He hasn't used his psychology and his mouth yet and once he does it'll be pretty fun to watch." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
NASCAR Illustrated : XFINITY Series driver's home for all seasons
Kansas driver puts down roots in North Carolina country on family farm
NASCAR Illustrated : XFINITY Series driver, girlfriend a stand-up couple
PHILADELPHIA -- As part of its long-term partnership with NASCAR , Comcast announced today the creation of the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, honoring NASCAR team members for their outstanding charitable endeavors. The annual award will celebrate the philanthropic efforts being made by race teams across all three national series. An individual from each national series will be honored, with one of the three earning the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. In recognition of their efforts, a donation of $60,000 will be made in the winner's name to his or her affiliated charitable organization. A $30,000 contribution will be made to each of the remaining finalists' charitable organizations. "The Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award honors those members of NASCAR teams who share our commitment and give back to the communities we serve," said Peter Intermaggio, Comcast Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications. "At Comcast, we work hard to make a difference in the places where our employees and customers live and work, and we want to recognize and encourage others who demonstrate that same community commitment." Nominations are to be submitted by NASCAR team members. Eligible recipients include team owners, drivers and all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team employees. "Our teams are competitive by nature, but have a unified goal to benefit the lives of people in need," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. "Comcast shares our passion for community service, and we appreciate the effort to shine a light on the inspirational work being done by our teams." Nominees will be narrowed down to three finalists, with a panel of judges comprised of executives from Comcast, The NASCAR Foundation, a former NASCAR driver and a member of the national motorsports media, to determine the recipient of the award. The award will be presented at the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series Banquet at the end of the season in South Florida. Comcast has a long track record of community service , aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs and partnerships, mobilizing resources to connect people and inspiring positive and substantive change. Comcast's annual corporate service day, known as Comcast Cares Day, is the largest corporate service effort of its kind. This year, NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski , Ty Dillon and Cale Conley participated in a local Comcast Cares Day project restoring the local Boys and Girls Club in Richmond, Virginia. Comcast's XFINITY brand is the title sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Comcast's NBCUniversal is a NASCAR broadcast partner through the 2024 season.
RELATED: Updated Chase Grid Ain't no party like a NASCAR party! As the regular season nears its end and The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup rapidly approaches, so too does the annual fan celebration to mark its beginning -- NASCAR Chase Fest. Taking place, once again, in Chicago on Sept. 17 ahead of the first Challenger Round race at Chicagoland Speedway , Chase Fest sponsored by Toyota and Sprint provides a free outdoor fan fest featuring appearances and autograph sessions with all 16 Chase drivers and other NASCAR personalities. Grammy-nominated 3 Doors Down will help keep the party flowing with a concert, as well as a performance by Chicago's popular country cover band, the Suburban Cowboys. Fans in attendance also will have a plethora of meal and drink options, with food being provided by Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and beverages by Coors Light. Additional entertainment will include the Toyota Ferris Wheel and the NASCAR on NBC Sports Bumper Cars. The events of the day will be covered by NBCSN, including Krista Voda, Kyle Petty, Marty Snider and Rutledge Wood, for the network's live broadcast of " NASCAR America." Chase Fest will take place on Weed Street between Fremont and Kingsbury streets from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time. For full details on this year's Chase Fest, click here .