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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; 18.104.22.168.1; 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
Partnership to focus on benefits of residential and commercial solar power tech DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., and BELMONT, Calif., (JULY 30, 2015) -- NASCAR and SunEdison, Inc. (NYSE: SUNE), the world's largest renewable energy development company, today announced SunEdison as the Official Solar Energy Partner of NASCAR Green. This new partnership builds on the expanded use of solar technology across the sport, particularly at race team shops and race tracks across the country. Over the next three years, SunEdison and NASCAR will embark on an effort to educate millions of NASCAR fans on the financial and environmental benefits of solar power use. SunEdison plans to work with NASCAR partners, tracks and teams on commercial-scale solar solutions. The White House cited this newly forged partnership as a prime example of making renewable energy accessible to all U.S. homeowners. "Solar power is a proven and reliable form of renewable energy and the technology is already making a significant impact throughout our industry," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer. "Our strategic partnership with SunEdison will help NASCAR further reduce the sport's environmental impact and help continue to educate our fans on renewable energy." "SunEdison is excited to be partnering with NASCAR to highlight the benefits of solar both at and away from the race track," said Vikas Desai, SunEdison senior vice president of residential and small commercial. "We look forward to being a strategic NASCAR Green partner and helping fans, partners and the sport save money while reducing their carbon footprint." NASCAR has taken a holistic approach across its wide-ranging effort to help protect the environment and has been collaborating in earnest with teams, tracks, partners and fans to do that since 2008. NASCAR's efforts to champion sustainable behavior align with NASCAR fan values. According to a 2014 study commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Research Now, four out of five NASCAR fans believe the earth is going through a period of climate change, and two out of three of these fans feel a personal responsibility to do something about it. The study shows approximately two out of three NASCAR fans who believe there is climate change support buying cost-effective solar panels for the home. For additional information on NASCAR Green, visit www. nascar .com/green
Team Penske female race engineer: 'You have to pinch yourself' RELATED: Meet @nascartireguy " Drivers sound off on Bristol testing Andrea Mueller laughed and conceded that she still hesitates when people casually ask her what she does for a living. Answering "rocket scientist" or "race car engineer" always seemed to raise eyebrows, drop jaws and invite more questions. "It's kind of funny, even when (rocket science is) what I was doing and we would go out at night or whatever I would always tell people I was either a teacher or a gardener,'' the Team Penske race engineer explained. "I don't know why I tried to hide it, but I've always been the kind of person who likes to fly under the radar. So even now, it's definitely that people are bringing it out of me to talk about it." For this unassuming and talented young woman the truth is a far better story than anything you could make up as a conversation starter. At only 35 years old, Mueller is one of the most respected people in the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage. In 2007, she left a successful job working on engine components for NASA's space shuttle program to take an engineering position with Team Penske 's XFINITY Series program and was a vital contributor to back-to-back team owner's championships in 2013 and 2014. Since Mueller joined Team Penske full time in 2012, the team has earned 25 of its 50 total victories -- an impressive statistic that not only speaks to the talented array of drivers that steer Roger Penske's cars, but the people -- like Mueller -- who prepare them. "Andrea is kind of the central point of everything we do from an information and a setup-based environment,'' explained Greg Erwin, who serves as director of competition for Penske's XFINITY Series program. "She is critical to the success of this 22 program and has been for multiple years now. I saw it last year in a managerial role and now working with her more closely on a day-to-day basis. "She's the most pinpoint, focused, thorough individual with her craft that I've ever been around. She's really, really a gift to the program. I'm thankful to have her." RELATED: There is no 'I' in team Mueller stands out in the sport because of her NASA background as much as for her gender. And that's a source of pride for her. A former successful quarter- and micro-midget racer near her hometown of Fresno, California, Mueller insists she's always just felt like "one of the guys." And if she wasn't going to be racing cars, then working around them was the next best option. "I realized early enough, as much as I wanted to be a professional race car driver, it just wasn't going to work out and quickly switched gears to race as long as I could and just have fun,'' Mueller explained. "Then mechanical engineering became my focus. The deal with my dad was all through racing, I had to have straight-As to race so he pretty much set me up to help me stay on the path (to college) as well." Gender really had nothing to do with either of her professional tracks. However, Mueller acknowledges there are still few women working on cars in the garage, but the numbers are growing. And she's hopeful her opportunity and success will attract others. "Growing up with race teams I was around whether it was my dad's or when I was racing as a teenager or even in college, I was always just one of the guys," Mueller said. "I'm very fortunate it never was an issue. "The one thing I hope comes out of all this is that (young women) see there's no reason they can't do whatever they want." And to her credit, Mueller's team has always been more focused on her ability than her gender. "Our team doesn't look at her any differently,'' Penske driver Joey Logano said after celebrating yet another XFINITY Series win at Talladega Superspeedway this spring. "Andrea's a great asset. She helps (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins, she helps Greg (Erwin) a ton and I like that she's very assertive. She's not scared to put in her opinion and that's a good thing to have in that position. RELATED: Series owner standings "The best crew chiefs and engineers are racers first and I think you have to have racing in your blood to understand the grassroots of motorsports then to have the engineering degree … that's key. You've got to have both and Andrea does. They don't teach the sport in college. "And Andrea's more exited than anyone to win these races." With the success and recognition Mueller's earned, flying under the radar won't be an option, especially when she achieves her next goal -- to be a race engineer in the Sprint Cup Series. Breaking down gender stereotypes is old hat and a non-issue for Mueller, who's held dream job after dream job. Her focus is not surprisingly more singular: winning. "At the end of the day, sometimes you have to pinch yourself," Mueller said. "Am I really working on race cars for Mr. Penske and this is really my job and I'm getting paid to do this? That's outstanding." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver, sponsor 'Go Pink' to support breast cancer awareness RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Danica Patrick , at just a shade over 5 feet tall, was fidgety. Sitting on a couch overlooking the lobby of Stewart-Haas Racing , her feet failed to touch the ground. But there's no denying the big impact this diminutive driver has had on breast cancer awareness. In her sophomore season as a full-time Sprint Cup driver, Patrick and sponsor GoDaddy continued their "Go Pink" campaign in the fight against the disease. Patrick, as she did last season, competed in a pink No. 10 Chevrolet during the month of October. On a typically busy day, Patrick took time out between photo shoots to talk with " NASCAR Illustrated " about this year's program. NASCAR Illustrated : This has become a special initiative for you and GoDaddy. What are some of the highlights for 2014? Danica Patrick : Well, the same beautiful pink suit is back. I do love the rich pink color of it and what it signifies. If you go to GoDaddy.com/donate, you can donate $10 or more and you can put someone's name on my Martinsville car. To honor someone who's been affected or maybe not made it. It's a good way to donate and help the cause and be part of a NASCAR race. NI: Do you have any friends or family who've been affected by the disease? Patrick: I do. I have a friend who I grew up with who benefitted from the technology of being able to detect the breast cancer gene. She preventively had a double mastectomy in her mid-20s. For me, I'm grateful for everything that people have done for so long with donating and just making the general public so aware of this disease. NI: The pink color really pops and it's synonymous with this cause. How prominent is pink in your personal wardrobe? Is it a color you usually gravitate towards? Patrick: The pink and green go really good together. They're a nice color package. I probably stayed away from pink for a long time at least around racing anyway. It's pretty obvious I'm a girl. I don't need to slap pink on and make it even more obvious. It's kind of funny actually about putting this suit on and it being pink and saying I love it, how I steered away from making it so obvious I'm a girl. It just shows me how much I'm thinking about the cause as opposed to anything else, what it stands for to wear pink in October. I mean, if football players can go out there and wear pink on game day then so can I. NI: Do you get a different type of satisfaction from this compared to a typical sponsor relationship? Patrick: I see it as working with your partners to do more together and deepen that relationship by giving back together. For me, obviously, using the platform of racing and what I do and doing things like this to just having that pride that your sponsor is doing something to give back as well, giving up their whole car livery and color scheme to raise awareness for something else other than them. NI: It would seem one of the big perks of your job is being able to use your celebrity in an effort to help others. How gratifying is that for you on a personal level? Patrick: I feel like it's a responsibility maybe more than anything that so many people pay attention, that there are so many NASCAR fans and fans of mine, I'm very fortunate, and I feel like it's a pretty cool privilege to use that for other things. So I feel a responsibility to it. I feel it's part of the deal. I get so much from so many other people; it's a responsibility to give back. NI: You've done ride-alongs and met a lot of survivors. Has there been one story that's really resonated or is it more just a collective impact? Patrick: With breast cancer, it's just a vibe within the group. They're always in a great mood. They have such camaraderie, such optimism and they do really cool and empowering things along the way like go out and ride 130-140 mph in a car with me around a race track without a helmet on and just a seatbelt. They're doing things that I've been told in the past, that this is stuff that I'd have never done or been brave enough before breast cancer and now I am. It's just stuff to make them happy, smile and get together and have that sense of community around it because they're all going through the same hell, to be honest. There's a certain level of comfort for them to be around other people that are going through it and can share. NI: What's going to make this a successful campaign for you, how will you know you've made the impact you've wanted to? Is it numbers or feelings? Patrick: I've been involved in lots of different awareness campaigns and you don't see the fruits of your labor now, next year or the year after. It's stuff that just over time -- it's a movement. I don't think we're going to see the efforts that we've made in the very moment or right away in the immediate future. I think that's something that you see later on. Probably the most immediate stuff would be the funds raised to do more research and to learn more about the disease and to try and find a cure. But over time, 10 and 20 years later, what did that movement do to the general public and how much of an issue is the disease now? And we can't know that yet. Thanks 4 backing NBCF @GoDaddy Oct. drive 2 ‘Put the Brakes on Breast Cancer’ we raised $29K to add to the big check! pic.twitter.com/gYAH2BnZcs — Danica Racing Online (@danicaracing) October 31, 2014 SUBSCRIBE NOW!
FOX Sports personality discusses battling cancer, positive perspective Photo credit: Jim Fluharty/ NASCAR Illustrated RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Steve Byrnes has been a stalwart presence in NASCAR for three decades. Whether it was most recently co-hosting " NASCAR Race Hub" or roaming pit road and the garage for so many years previously, Byrnes operated at the highest level of his profession and built a reputation for fairness along the way. Byrnes, who is on medical leave from FOX Sports battling the reemergence of head and neck cancer, discovered the disease had returned this fall. "It is the same cancer," he said. "Doctors were shocked and stunned. They thought I was completely in the clear." It's been said that no man walks alone, and in Byrnes' case, that has rung true with support coming from all sides of the NASCAR community. From drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Jimmie Johnson to fans who've welcomed Byrnes into their living rooms for years and seemingly everybody in between. "The outpouring has been overwhelming, completely overwhelming to me," he said. Byrnes' biggest support system can be found at home in Fort Mill, South Carolina, with wife Karen and 12-year-old son Bryson. NASCAR ILLUSTRATED : You tweeted "Why Not Me?" and that was some powerful perspective. Where does that strength come from? STEVE BYRNES: I'm not gonna say it didn't buckle my knees for a minute or strike fear in my heart. But I'll tell you when my attitude really changed. The first day I had chemo last year, there were probably 12 chairs there. I was sitting across from a 20-year-old college kid that looked healthy as a horse. He went to The Citadel and he had testicular cancer. Next to me was a woman who was 75 years old and she'd been treated for 10 years, and quite frankly, was tired of it. And everything in between -- age-wise, ethnicity-wise and gender. It just hit me that I'm not special. I'm not different than anybody else. Cancer doesn't play favorites. So why not me? NI: The support from the NASCAR community has to be humbling. But is it a tangible thing that really serves as a source of strength to help you keep fighting? BYRNES: Yeah, and I'll tell you why. I've always thought in this business, I always kind of kept a distance from the competitors. Just because I wanted there to be a healthy respect two ways … as opposed to me bragging about, "Hey, I'm friends with Carl Edwards ." It was never important to me. In fact, it was more important the other way that they respect me rather than like me. NI: What are some of your favorite stories or indelible moments through the years? BYRNES: One of the things that stands out is I went turkey hunting with Dale Earnhardt. And to this day I have no idea where we were in Alabama (laughs). I know we were somewhere near Montgomery. We landed and it was just me, him, his pilot and one of the videographers I worked with. I had started seeing Karen at that time and we'd been dating about four months. We're sitting on this concrete picnic table and we'd had a few cold beers -- or several -- and he said, "Hey, Byrnes, you love that girl?" And I said, "I'm pretty sure that I do." He says, "Marry her." And I started laughing and I said, "Wait a minute, you're gonna give me marriage advice?" (laughs) NI: How has this whole experience changed you? BYRNES: I struggle for words because it sounds so cliché but every day is a gift. I'm trying so hard right now to rather than be scared or worried, to live in the moment. Every time I start to worry about the future, it makes me realize particularly this second go-around that … if you wake up in the morning, that's a good thing and you should be grateful for that. It sounds corny or cliché, but there is no promise for tomorrow. NI: What lessons have you learned that you couldn't have realized otherwise? BYRNES: People talk about a bucket list. My bucket list is that my son and my wife know how much I love them, so that when my time does come there will be no mystery. They're not gonna have to wonder how Dad or Steve felt about them. I don't care what kind of cancer it is; that word can buckle your knees. But I'll be damned if cancer is gonna take my passions away. I love watching football, I love watching racing, I love watching my son play football. I'm not gonna let this disease rob me of the things that I love, the people that I love. NI: What would you say to all of those people who've supported you? BYRNES: The biggest thing is -- and I don't mean this as a eulogy by any means -- but what I really want people to know is I really care. The person they see on television is the person I am in real life, that I'm passionate about the sport and the people in the sport. I just want people to know that I care that much back. I wasn't doing this just as a job. I'm doing it and hope to do it again as something I truly care about. SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Richard and Kyle Petty honored for their work as Victory Junction turns 10 RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Weave your way through Randleman, North Carolina, past its verdant pastures and timeworn gas stations, and you'll happen upon a magical place. About four miles outside town, a stone's throw from Richard Petty's residence, you’ll find Victory Junction. But it might as well be at the intersection of healing and hope. The 80-acre camp, situated on land that Petty roamed as a child before donating it a dozen years ago, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Since it opened in 2004, Victory Junction has enriched the lives of children with serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences at no cost to them or their families. It has also honored the memory of Adam Petty in a most fitting way. Due to that incredible achievement, NASCAR Illustrated is naming Richard and Kyle Petty the 2014 Persons Of The Year. Although they would surely prefer the award go to the thousands of people who have helped turn Adam's idea into reality, we honor these two for their tireless efforts and singular contribution to children. Grandson of Richard and son of Kyle, Adam developed the idea of this camp. The notion came to him some two years before his death in an accident at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2000. Shortly after, the seed that Adam had planted started to take root. "This was just land that I grew up on," Richard Petty said recently. "We brought four-wheelers over here and went hunting and all this kind of stuff, so we knew the land. We had some boys from [ Richmond International Raceway developer] Hugh Hawthorne and he brought a bunch of guys down from Richmond. Dale Inman [long-time Petty crew chief] got on a bulldozer, never been on a bulldozer before, and just cleaned everything. For two years, they just cleaned everything trying to get things lined up." On a recent, resplendent autumn day, the King gazed out on the finished camp, taking stock of just how far it had come. "The place really looks good now because it looks like it belongs here," he said. "When we done it to begin with, it was pretty but it was naked. Now everything's hidden. Beautiful place, man." This is true both literally and figuratively. Victory Junction has welcomed more than 20,000 children and family members from all 50 states and several foreign countries in its first decade of operation. It has succeeded in its mission to create a place that fosters independence, confidence and continuous growth after camp to better the quality of life for children. Adam's legacy is palpable on these healing grounds. "I think you feel his presence," Kyle said of his son. "I've said it before: I see Adam in every child that comes through here in their smile. Adam had a huge smile. So when you see these kids laugh and smile, then yeah, you do feel closer." Victory Junction has always relied on and benefitted from the generosity of its extended NASCAR family. The Pettys started this journey with little more than Adam's vision and a belief that it was meant to be. There were only fields and dreams in the beginning. "We went out then to race fans, to the tracks, to NASCAR , everybody, and said, 'This is what we're gonna do,' " Richard said. "We started with no money; we just started it and said, 'We're gonna do it and they will come.' As you were able to show what you was doing here, then more people came and more people got involved." Evidence of that largesse is everywhere -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s Corral and Amphitheater, Kurt Busch 's Superdome, Michael Waltrip 's SportsCenter and Jimmie Johnson 's Victory Lanes bowling alley among others. "It's been that trickle-down effect," Kyle said. "The first two guys that really helped us here were Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett, really made a commitment and said, 'Let us do something.' Since then, just about everybody (among drivers). That's all cool and that was big and they built a big building and donated and gave their time and effort to raise their funds and awareness. "But it's the fan that sends $4.50 a month or $45 a year that really keeps the camp going. "So, that's the base. The base is the fan base. Just like the same guys, men and women and kids that go to race tracks all over and pull for Tony Stewart or Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon . They're the people that keep camp alive." Victory Junction Chief Development Officer Mark Schumacher joined the camp this year and only recently realized that his professional and personal lives had crossed without him knowing years earlier. Schumacher's son, a cancer survivor, was a camper at Camp Boggy Creek in Orlando, Florida, in 1998. That year, wildfires ravaged the Daytona Beach area and forced NASCAR to postpone the July race to October. As fate would have it, the Pettys visited Camp Boggy Creek that fall and that is when Adam hatched his idea. He left thinking: Instead of visiting kids in hospitals, as the Pettys had done with the annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride to that point, why not bring the kids to a camp in North Carolina? Schumacher's son's experience -- both good and bad -- helped make the move to Victory Junction a no-brainer. "He said it was the best time of my life during the worst time of my life," Schumacher said. "If that doesn't say it for you, nothing does. We just all believe one thing: A child needs to be a child. This is where they can do that. We're just bringing to them what every other child enjoys. That is what drives everybody on this team." Forged out of loss and sadness, Victory Junction has blossomed over time into a place of great joy. Schumacher sees a common thread running through all the campers that visit. "I think the genesis of this camp and the building of this camp and the experience the campers have is looking at life without a rear-view mirror," he said. "There is nothing we can do to change things. We can't bring Adam Petty back; we can't say to some of these children that your disease, your disability is magically disappearing. But we're not focused on looking back; we're focused on going forward. "So what can we do to make a difference going forward in their lives and how can we make that tragic death of Adam Petty mean something? That's Victory Junction." In the company of others sharing the same condition, kids feel empowered to let their true personalities come out. It's a freedom that -- once discovered -- can liberate these kids from the constraints society places upon them. "When these kids are in school, that's what they're known by is their disease," Kyle said. "That's the little boy in the wheelchair. That's the little boy with spina bifida. That's the little girl that can't play because she has hemophilia or whatever it may be. They become known by their diseases. Here, they are known by their names. Their disease takes the backseat." Victory Junction Camp Director Chris Foster noted that for many campers -- particularly those from small towns or with unique diagnoses -- it's often the first time in their lives being in the presence of others that can relate to what they're going through. The relationships that are formed over the course of a week can last a lifetime. "To come here and spend a week at camp with six or seven other kids in the cabin that have the same diagnosis as you is something they've never experienced in their whole life, and they get to feel normal and just play and be a kid," Foster said. "We don't like to focus on the diagnosis at all. We really just like to focus on the child and allow them to have that great experience. But in the real world, sometimes they are labeled by diagnosis." Michael Deal, who made his sixth visit to Victory Junction this summer, is one of many campers that return to the camp each year. "One of my good friends behind me, Zach, we both have Chrohn's [a bowel disease]," Deal said. "It's just we've been coming here so many years and almost been in the same cabin every time. We're basically best friends. We've done everything together. It's just a lot of fun. Here you can just let it all out. At home, you're afraid if people are going to tease you or make fun of you. And here, you can just talk about it and everybody will understand." In its first decade, Victory Junction has helped thousands of kids like Deal understand, heal and move forward on their way to better lives. Richard Petty, fond of using the word "deal" in everyday conversation, invoked the word to describe what makes this place truly special. "The deal is when you think about being here 10 years and seeing 20,000 kids that wouldn't get a chance to do anything like this," he said. "They can't go to church camp or YMCA camp or anything like that. But they can come here for five or six days and they see people that -- they think they're the only one in the world that's afflicted like that -- they come here and there's another 125 kids just like them. They join the world." The patriarch of the Petty family noted that he’d been blessed with four children, 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. His singular success in stock car racing afforded fame, fortune and worldwide acclaim. And yet, at 77, you get the suspicion that what's been built in the rolling hills of Randleman will mean more to him in the end. "This is the place that I come and I look around and say, 'Thank you, good Lord, for letting me be in this position to try to help all these other kids,' " he said. "To me, that's basically what it's all about." For Kyle Petty, the loss of his son served as prelude to healing on a grander scale than any of the family members could have imagined. He was asked what Adam would think, how he might feel, about the number of lives that have been so positively impacted by Victory Junction since it opened. "It's been like dropping not a pebble in still water, it's been like dropping a boulder in still water with the ripple effect and how it continues to just overwhelm you," he said. "I think from that perspective, he would be like us. He would just be humbled by the fact that the boulder that was dropped in the water was him, but when you look at it, the ripple effect still continues this much later." SUBSCRIBE NOW!