Future stars unveiled in NASCAR Next 2016-17 class
RELATED: Get to know the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 17, 2016) – Two are following in the footsteps of their former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driving fathers. One is a long-time racer who competed on the reality television show "Survivor," and later added a degree from Stanford University. Another is one of the fastest rising stock car drivers in the Midwest. There is even a pair of international phenoms. From Charlotte to New York City, and from Quebec to Israel, the 11 drivers who were announced as the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class today are primed for a successful and impactful future in NASCAR . This is the sixth edition of NASCAR Next, an industry-wide initiative designed to spotlight to best and brightest rising young stars in racing. "The NASCAR Next program has introduced current stars such as Kyle Larson , Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney to the NASCAR fan, and we believe this year’s class has the same potential," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president of marketing and industry services. "These drivers have shown the talent and intangibles to climb the NASCAR ladder, and we look forward to watching their careers grow." This year's NASCAR Next class was selected through an evaluation process that included input from industry executives, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Council and media . Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, have tangible and expressed goals in eventual competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and demonstrate the potential to realize that goal. MORE: Full NASCAR Next coverage The following drivers have been selected to the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class: Harrison Burton ( @HBurtonRacing ) - The 15-year-old from Huntersville, North Carolina, is the son of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton . He has climbed to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series after setting the record last year as the youngest Division I race winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history. Collin Cabre ( @CollinCabre12 ) – In his second season driving for Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, the 22-year-old from Tampa, Florida, captured his first career win last October after making the successful move from racing sprint cars. Spencer Davis ( @SpencerDavis_29 ) – The 17-year-old Dawsonville, Georgia, driver has shown a proficiency in nearly everything he’s raced. After winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award last season in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Davis has transitioned to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he has established himself as a championship contender with top six finishes in his first seven series starts dating back to last season. Alon Day ( @Alon_Day ) – One of two international drivers on the list, Day is the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to earn a NASCAR Next recognition. Day , 24, from Ashdod, Israel, completed his first full season in the Whelen Euro Series as championship runner-up. Including the final two rounds of 2015, Day has won four of the last eight Elite 1 races and is again a threat win the title. Tyler Dippel ( @Tyler_Dippel ) – An accomplished dirt racer, the 16-year-old from Wallkill, New York, has already scored his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory in March. Dippel previously competed in the DIRTcar Racing Series in the northeast, earning the rookie of the year title and becoming the youngest race winner in that series. Todd Gilliland ( @ToddGilliland_ ) – The son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran David Gilliland , the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, made NASCAR history by winning his first four career NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts. He became the youngest winner in series history with his victory last fall, and has followed it up with wins in both the K&N Pro Series East and West season openers this year. Noah Gragson ( @NoahGragson ) – The 17-year-old from Las Vegas finished second in the championship standings last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, collecting the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the process. Gragson followed the path set by Kyle and Kurt Busch , learning his trade in the Legends and Bandolero Divisions at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . He earned a pair of K&N Pro Series West wins in 2015 and is again a championship contender. Gary Klutt ( @Garyklutt ) – The second Canadian to be named to the program and the first full-time driver from the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Klutt represents a crop of young drivers making an impact on Canada’s championship stock car series. The 23-year-old from Halton Hills, Ontario, earned his first career pole and win last year en route to being named the Jostens Rookie of the Year. He finished fifth in series points and will be among the title contenders when the series opens later this month. Julia Landauer ( @julialandauer ) – Landauer, 24, from New York City, got her start racing a variety of cars – from Formula BMW to Ford Focus Midgets to stock cars. The versatile Landauer was a contestant on the hit reality show 'Survivor' before graduating from Stanford in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Science, Technology, and Society. She became the first female to win a Limited Late Model division championship at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia, last year before graduating to the K&N Pro Series West this season. Ty Majeski ( @TyMajeski ) – The 21-year-old from Seymour, Wisconsin, showcased his ability with a dominating display at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February, collecting three wins and earning the 2016 Super Late Model championship in the 50th Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing. Majeski added a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model track record and victory in the FrostBuster at Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in April. Matt Tifft ( @Matt_Tifft ) – A development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing , the 19-year-old from Hinckley, Ohio, is driving part-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JGL Racing as well as JGR, and racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Red Horse Racing. He earned his first career pole in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Talladega earlier this month. Since its inception in 2011, 27 of the 35 drivers who have been selected as part of the program have gone on to compete in one of NASCAR ’s three national series. Nearly a third of the drivers have made a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, with nine drivers winning a NASCAR national series race. The last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookies of the Year have been NASCAR Next alum, as are the top two contenders for this year’s award: Blaney and Elliott. The last three Sunoco Rookie of the Year winners in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series were also part of the NASCAR Next program. For more information, visit NASCARNext.com and make sure to follow the drivers on Twitter and on the track. About NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. ( NASCAR ) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, NASCAR XFINITY Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www. NASCAR .com and http://www.IMSA.com , and follow NASCAR on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and Snapchat ('NASCAR').
NASCAR TV schedule: May 30-June 5
RELATED: Find FS1 in your area All times ET Monday, May 30 6 a.m., Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship (re-air), FS1 6:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 4K TV 300 (re-air), FS1 8:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 (re-air), FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Tuesday, May 31 6 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 (re-air), FS1 9 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 4K TV 300 (re-air), FS1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 4K TV 300 (re-air), FS1 2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 (re-air), FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 5:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 6 p.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN Wednesday, June 1 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 8 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 2:30 a.m., NASCAR The List: Rookie Seasons (re-air), NBCSN Thursday, June 2 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 6 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race: Dominion Raceway (taped), NBCSN Friday, June 3 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 8 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 4 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 Saturday, June 4 9 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 11 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1 12:30 p.m., WeatherTech Sportscar Championship: Belle Isle Park, FS1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series FOX Pre-Race Show, FOX 1 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Pocono Green 250, FOX Sunday, June 5 8:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Pocono Green 250 (re-air), FS1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400, FS1 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;
2015 NASCAR Las Vegas Victory Lap replay
Watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase drivers do burnouts on the Las Vegas Strip in 2015 NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco .
NBCSN's 'NASCAR America' to move to 6 p.m. time slot
NBCSN's " NASCAR America" will move to a new time beginning June 13, the network announced Tuesday. The one-hour evening program will move from a 5 p.m. ET start time to a 6 p.m. ET start time. "It's a shift that we think is going to be a great move, not only for us at NBC, but also for all of the viewers," Vice President of NASCAR Productions Jeff Behnke told NASCAR .com. "We feel like there's going to be more people at home to be able to be able to watch it (at 6 p.m.), whether they're watching it on NBCSN, whether they're watching it on the Live Extra app. "We just feel like 6 o'clock is a window that we can get more eyeballs on it and whenever we can do something that we can help grow the sport and push things forward, that's what we want to do." In addition to the start-time shift, the show will also feature "90-Minute Mondays" on select Mondays throughout the year, which involves the show extending from 60 to 90 minutes in length. This -- in combination with two NBC studios located in NASCAR's home base of Charlotte, North Carolina, where many of the race shops are located -- will allow more for more in-depth coverage of the sport, Behnke said. "The backbone of NBC Sports is storytelling," Behnke said. " By going to '90-Minute Mondays,' it's going to allow us to continue to tell the stories of these drivers. The different things we do on the show, we feel like certainly help the viewers. … We'll be able to spend more time at race shops, we'll certainly be able to have more time with highlights, more time with opinion and just breakdown sessions with our announcers." The announcer lineup for the network is star-studded, featuring former drivers and crew chiefs such as Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett, renowned drivers Kyle Petty and Jeff Burton , and former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Steve Letarte. "We feel like the talent that we have is going to be a big part of what we do and what they have to offer is going to be a big part of what we do in those 90-minute shows," Behnke said. NBC Sports will resume race coverage of NASCAR beginning with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2.
NASCAR reacts to Truex's Coca-Cola 600 dominance
RELATED: Full race results " Post-Charlotte standings " Updated Chase Grid Being cancer free, at our home track, and having my nephew here to celebrate with us. Priceless. ❤️❤️❤️#winning pic.twitter.com/F4brUxKwsa — Sherry Pollex (@SherryPollex) May 30, 2016 Happy for my great friend @MartinTruex_Jr . Domination. It was only a matter of time for that group. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) May 30, 2016 Very happy for @MartinTruex_Jr and @SherryPollex .. Such great people that deserve great things!! — Elliott Sadler (@Elliott_Sadler) May 30, 2016 So so so happy for two of the most genuine and wonderful people I know @SherryPollex & @MartinTruex_Jr — Erin CrockerEvernham (@ErinEvernham) May 30, 2016 WHAT A STORY! SO Awesome for @SherryPollex and @MartinTruex_Jr I LOVE your hair Sherry. You look great!!! — Kenny Wallace (@Kenny_Wallace) May 30, 2016 Extremely happy for @SherryPollex good to see you. Look amazing — Todd Bodine (@Team_Onion) May 30, 2016 Awesome to see @MartinTruex_Jr @SherryPollex in victory lane. Congrats! — Ben Kennedy (@BenKennedy33) May 30, 2016 Welp, never want to lose, but couldn't think of anyone I'd rather lose too... Congrats @MartinTruex_Jr and @SherryPollex !!!! — DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) May 30, 2016 I'd say this is the ultimate pic for #SelfieSunday ! Looking great @SherryPollex & @MartinTruex_Jr ! #CocaCola600 -JW pic.twitter.com/A1DTegXrnH — Miss Sprint Cup (@MissSprintCup) May 30, 2016 Happy for you bud! Great job @MartinTruex_Jr @ NASCAR pic.twitter.com/TpqODx0pPx — Michael Waltrip (@MW55) May 30, 2016 Congrats @MartinTruex_Jr , y'all showed everybody how it's done tonight. — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) May 30, 2016 Now that was a victory lane celebration by @MartinTruex_Jr THAT'S how you do it! Raw emotion & jubilation! That's what we all want to see — Brendan Gaughan (@Brendan62) May 30, 2016 Congrats @MartinTruex_Jr @SherryPollex ! — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) May 30, 2016
NASCAR nominated for league, executive of the year, more awards
The NASCAR industry is nominated in multiple categories at this year's Sports Business Awards, taking place Wednesday, May 18, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City's Time Square. Among the nominations, NASCAR is up for League of the Year and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France is up for Executive of the Year. Launched in 2008 by SportsBusiness Journal, the awards recognize leaders who personify excellence in the business of sports. The nominees are judged by their respective accomplishments from March 1, 2015-Feb. 29, 2016. Among the other NASCAR nominees up for hardware on Wednesday are Daytona International Speedway (Facility of the Year), Darlington's Bojangles' Southern 500 (Event of the Year) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (Social Media in Sports). France spoke to Bloomberg TV about the nominations. &amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp; NASCAR's 2015 campaign included the activation of 10-year partnerships with FOX, NBC, IMG and Comcast; a record number of fans on digital and social media ; and continued efforts to widen its appeal through youth and diversity, highlighted by Mexico's Daniel Suárez, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate who captured the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. But, the cornerstone reasoning behind the nomination for both NASCAR and France may lie in the landmark Charter agreement the sanctioning body reached with 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams at the start of the 2016 season. After 18 months of negotiation, NASCAR and its race teams announced the nine-year agreement in early February, ensuring a future of increased stability and the ability to build long-term enterprise value for the first time in the sport's history. Also nominated for Sports League of the Year are the American Athletic Conference, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the PGA Tour. Stan Kroenke (Kroenke Sports and Entertainment owner), Joe Lacob (Golden State Warriors owner), Rob Manfred (MLB commissioner) and Mark Parker (Nike CEO) join France as nominees in the Sports Executive of the Year category. Daytona International Speedway earned the Sports Facility of the Year nomination after unveiling Daytona Rising, the $400 million renovation project that transformed DIS into the world's first motorsports stadium. The project attracted a sellout crowd for the 2016 Daytona 500 , won by Denny Hamlin in the closest finish in the race's history. Joining Daytona in the facility category is Avaya Stadium (home of the MLS' San Jose Earthquakes), Bill Snyder Family Stadium (home of Kansas State football), Kyle Field (home of Texas A&M University football) and Petco Park (home of MLB's San Diego Padres). Earnhardt was late to the social media game, but proved to be a natural at the medium. Sprinkling in humor and a behind-the-curtain look at his sport, Earnhardt regularly engages with his nearly 1.5 million followers. In the 'Best in Sports Social Media' category, Earnhardt is pitted against the Chicago Blackhawks, Clemson University, the National Basketball Association and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Darlington Raceway hosted the most unique event on the 2015 NASCAR schedule with its Bojangles' Southern 500 . Billed as a 'throwback weekend,' Darlington celebrated its storied history with a 1970s-themed event that included 32 retro paint schemes, 14 NASCAR Hall of Famers and a variety of food and entertainment from the bygone era. Joining the Southern 500 in the 'Sports Event of the Year' category is the 2015 Belmont Stakes, the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match and Super Bowl 50. Also nominated are NASCAR Official Partners Toyota and XFINITY (Sports Sponsor of the Year). FedEx and Anheuser-Busch In Bev, which both sponsor NASCAR race teams, are also nominated in the Sports Sponsor of the Year category. FOX Sports and NBC Sports Group, both of which broadcast NASCAR races, are each nominated in the 'Best in Sports Media' category. FOX Sports continues its broadcast of the first portion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season during this Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (7 p.m. ET on FS1).
NASCAR tweaks rules for Kentucky, Michigan races
RELATED: 2016 Cup schedule " Memorial Day weekend schedule Changes to the rear spoiler, front splitter and rear deck fin will be put into play for two upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as the sanctioning body continues to reduce aerodynamic downforce and sideforce in an effort to promote closer competition on the race track. The changes, announced Thursday morning, will be in effect only for upcoming races at Michigan International Speedway (June 12) and Kentucky Speedway (July 9) and are in addition to previous adjustments made by the officials in recent weeks. Initial moves implemented before the start of the season combined with a Goodyear tire matched more closely to the lower downforce package have resulted in closer competition through the season's first 12 races. Why, then, continue to make adjustments in the overall package? "I think we look at it as a never-ending journey; if we can improve we're going to do that," Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president of competition and chief racing development officer, told NASCAR .com. "We wanted to go the direction of low downforce, see how that worked, not kind of go all the way in and hope that we are directionally right. And we are seeing that play out. We've seen some great racing at the beginning of the year. "But we also knew that we had some more levers that we could pull if the direction kind of proved out, so we've tried some of those things. We've tested it and what we've also wanted to do is lower some of the corner speeds to allow for even more passing. That was one of the areas where we've seen minimal change, but there are some levers we can pull to really drive that down." The changes for those races consist of a reduction in spoiler height from 3.5 inches to 2.5 inches, a splitter reduction of two inches and a re-sizing of the rear deck fin to complement the spoiler change. Beginning with this year's race at Kansas Speedway , NASCAR required teams to weld truck arm mounts; for the recently completed Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway , downforce-generating electric fans were removed and the rear toe alignment was reset to zero to reduce sideforce. The changes to truck arm mounts and fans are to remain in place for the remainder of the 2016 season. The rear toe adjustment was initially only in play for the All-Star event but now will be incorporated into the June Michigan and July Kentucky races. Downforce is the pressure created across the surface of a vehicle at speed. Likewise, sideforce is generated by the flow of air along the sides of the vehicle. O'Donnell said limiting the latest changes to two upcoming races is beneficial in two ways: Teams have spent plenty of time in development of setups with the initial base package and that information will still be relevant; and focusing on two tracks will give teams and officials much-needed information as they look ahead to 2017. "We have worked collectively on some directions we want to go in, but to do that right we think the final step is to let that play out on one or two tracks," he said. "And these are the two -- Kentucky and Michigan -- that we've played out and let the teams concentrate really on what they've done to prepare for the year. We think that's manageable and that'll give us enough data to look at for 2017." Four teams recently tested the aero changes while taking part in a one- day Goodyear tire test at Michigan. Kentucky, which just completed a re-pave and redesign of its 1.5-mile layout, remains an unknown. It is expected to be fast with the additional grip provided by the new pavement. Ray Evernham, winner of three premier series titles as crew chief for Jeff Gordon and currently in a competition role with Hendrick Motorsports , said rule changes don't necessarily create more work for teams, but rather redefines the focus of what's being worked on. "Everybody works on something, no matter what," Evernham told NASCAR .com. "… It just changes that focus because any of the good teams are working to the maximum on something all the time." Evernham said he had been impressed with how the previous changes had affected the racing this season. The All-Star Race, he said, provided "the best racing we've seen at Charlotte in awhile. "That's what's coming around the corner. That's exactly what everybody has been asking for -- the drivers, fans, everybody," he said. "That was some darn good racing in the daytime and in the nighttime. That's what I'm focused on. I think that NASCAR and Goodyear and the teams are getting to a place now where the cars are competitive like they want them, but it gives the drivers, crew chiefs and teams a lot more options to have passing." All races with the rules package, with the exception of this year's stop at Auto Club Speedway , have been contested on 1.5-mile or smaller venues. The package is not in play for restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega. Will the base package provide similar results at the larger venues? Pocono (2.5 miles), Michigan (2 miles) and Indianapolis (2.5 miles) loom ahead. O'Donnell believes that will be the case. "I think one of the biggest things we've seen from Goodyear is the ability to match the tire up now with where we're going, the tire wear we're seeing producing much better racing," O'Donnell said. "If you take a Michigan for instance, one of the things with low downforce, if you don't do anything to the tire, you're going to go in and the speeds are going to continue to increase. We know that's a challenge for us. How do we balance that with the corner speeds? " By tweaking the package a little bit, it's really going to keep what we've seen from the positive play out and then really lower that corner speed which should produce the best of both worlds." Buy Tickets: Michigan " Kentucky
Sunoco Fueled : Victory Lap returns to Vegas
RELATED: Champion's Week sweepstakes In just four short weeks, the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Eight drivers, representing five different teams and all three manufacturers, are competing to etch their name in the NASCAR history books, with the designation as champion. Once the new champion hoists the Sprint Cup trophy over his head, closing yet another exciting Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , the industry will collectively set its sights on Las Vegas, and the week-long celebration of the season titled Champion's Week. During the first week of December, the NASCAR industry will converge on Las Vegas for the seventh consecutive year. This year, all 16 Chase drivers will be in attendance to celebrate the 2016 Champion, with an array of live fan events, appearances and banquets. Possibly the most iconic moment during Champion’s Week is Victory Lap fueled by Sunoco , when the drivers parade down Las Vegas Boulevard in their race cars. Fans have the opportunity to experience the excitement of NASCAR with two burnout sessions and viewing areas along the route. For the first time, NASCAR Victory Lap will have a title sponsor, a brand familiar to all NASCAR fans due to its crucial role in the sport, Sunoco . "We are very excited to be fueling this year's NASCAR Victory Lap. This tremendous event has been a fan favorite, as well as a favorite of ours. We are proud to be part of bringing the celebration back to the streets of Las Vegas," said Drew Kabakoff, Director Brand Marketing, Sunoco . "After this year's launch of Burnt Rubbèr, the most exclusive fragrance in motorsports, we felt it only made sense to cap the year off with NASCAR's top drivers burning some rubber of their own on Las Vegas Boulevard." Fans have turned this into one of the most anticipated moments of Champion's Week. So to thank them, Sunoco is offering one lucky fan and their guest the opportunity to win a trip to Las Vegas for a VIP experience during NASCAR Victory Lap fueled by Sunoco . The grand prize includes hotel, airfare and an exclusive opportunity to experience the Essence of Racing by joining the field of 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers as they drive the Las Vegas Strip. In addition, Sunoco is giving away hundreds of bottles of Burnt Rubbèr to daily winners. Fans can enter at www.essenceofracing.com for a chance to win. "We thought this would be a great way to bring our fans closer to the action and raise the level of excitement around this year's event," said Kabakoff. Just like the field of race cars competing on the track each weekend, NASCAR Victory Lap will be fueled by Sunoco .
'Hero' moment for Ty Dillon as Richard Childress makes NASCAR Hall
CONCORD, N.C. -- Richard Childress has many titles to Ty Dillon : Team owner, hunting buddy, grandfather. And now NASCAR Hall of Famer, thanks to a moment that Dillon and his family -- including brother and fellow driver Austin -- weren't expecting Wednesday. "I was actually standing with my mom when I got a text message, 'Congratulations to your grandfather,'" Dillon said on Thursday during a media availability at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "We were like, 'No way!' We weren't even expecting this year. I'm so happy for him." Childress is part of the five-person 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame class that was unveiled Wednesday. Joining Childress in the Hall will be Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin , Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons. H. Clay Earles was named the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR . "I think at first, I called him probably five minutes after I found out -- I'm sure he was getting all kinds of calls -- it seemed like it hadn't set in for him yet," Dillon said of his first communication with his grandfather after learning Childress had made the Hall of Fame. "He's a hard worker so he's always thinking about what's going on next. "I saw him this morning (at an appearance at Bass Pro Shops). First thing I did was just give him a big hug because I was proud of him. He's very happy today and excited, and it's well-deserved." Childress, 70, began his career as a driver, making his first NASCAR start in 1969, and he went on to score six top-five finishes and 76 top-10 finishes over 12 years and 285 starts. He formed Richard Childress Racing in 1969 and eventually teamed with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt for six championships. In his storied history as an owner, Childress is the first to have owner championships in all three NASCAR national series, and his 11 driver championships are second all-time. RCR has 212 NASCAR national series victories: 105 wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 76 wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and 31 wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The bond Dillon and Childress share is much more than that of your typical grandfather and grandson. "He's my hero and glad that I get to spend time with him not only in our sport but every day at the shop and away from it, when we're hunting and hanging out with family," Dillon said. RCR currently fields Chevrolets for three full-time teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ( Austin Dillon in the No. 3, Paul Menard in the No. 27 and Ryan Newman in the No. 31) and four full-time teams in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (Menard/Dillon primarily in the No. 2, Ty Dillon in the No. 3, Brandon Jones in the No. 33 and Brendan Gaughan in the No. 62). "He's such a focused individual about making this race team great again." Ty Dillon said. "I think this is a moment that is going to be big for him for feeling like he's finally made it. He's the first one at the shop every single day and the last one to leave. Working hard like he did way back when he had a $20 race car. I think it's finally a moment for him to sit back and realize what he's accomplished and hopefully it continues to set in for the rest of the week."
Bruce, Cain reveal NASCAR Hall of Fame ballots
RELATED: Photos of Voting Day , inductees NASCAR .com was privileged to have two ballots cast as part of NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day on Wednesday. Senior writers Kenny Bruce and Holly Cain each submitted their five nominations for induction in the Class of 2017 and a vote for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR . A spirited discussion and voting process created one of the most intriguing classes in the stock-car shrine's history with Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons selected as Hall of Fame members. Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles received the Landmark Award. Here are Holly's and Kenny's ballots cast Wednesday with their choices for induction: Kenny Bruce Ron Hornaday Jr. No one dominated NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series like Hornaday, the only four-time series champ. He remains the leader in career wins, top-five and top-10 finishes in Truck Series history. Mark Martin. The working man's racer; Martin finished second in the premier series points battle five times and earned 40 wins in 882 career starts. His XFINITY Series record wasn't too shabby, either. Benny Parsons. Folks who knew Benny the Broadcaster might not know just how talented Parsons was behind the wheel of a race car. The 1973 premier series champion, Parsons won 21 times, including victories in the Daytona 500 (1975) and World 600 ('80). Raymond Parks. The Atlanta-based businessman not only provided much-needed financial assistance as the newly formed NASCAR governing body got up and running, but Parks was a successful car owner as well. His career as an owner peaked in 1949 when driver Red Byron won NASCAR's first Strictly Stock crown. A year earlier, Byron had won the group's first Modified title in a Parks-backed entry. Robert Yates. As an engine builder, Yates helped power Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough to 77 victories. As a car owner, his drivers won three Daytona 500 titles, 57 races and 48 poles. Landmark Award H. Clay Earles. His Martinsville Speedway was there from the beginning (actually before NASCAR was formed) and it remains a popular stop today as one of three short tracks on the premier series schedule. Keeping up with the changing landscape of the sport wasn't easy, and no one did it better than Mr. Earles. Holly Cain These are the Hall of Fame votes I considered the most worthy and timely, considering a ballot of 20 of the sport's most deserving people. I tried to decide on a well-balanced group of drivers, owners and technical people and considered time on the ballot, too. Some I did not vote for this year I feel like will be definite choices in the upcoming Hall of Fame votes. Red Byron. NASCAR's first champion should be in its Hall of Fame for historic reasons. He won NASCAR's very first race on Daytona Beach in 1948, won NASCAR's first "season" championship and then its first Strictly Stock title, which is the modern era Sprint Cup crown. Raymond Parks . He owned the first championship car driven by Red Byron and for many of the same reasons Bryon needs to be in the Hall, so does Parks. Even after the two early titles he fielded cars for greats such as Bob and Fonty Flock. He is the sport's heritage, its beginning. Benny Parsons . Many current NASCAR fans know Benny from his ease and skill behind the television microphone and camera once he retired from driving a race car, but he was an amazing competitor, too, winning NASCAR's two biggest trophies -- the 1973 Cup championship and the 1975 Daytona 500 . Perhaps most amazingly, he finished among the top 10 in 54 percent of the races he ran. Waddell Wilson. It is impressive Wilson was so successful both as an engine builder and a crew chief. He built the motors that David Pearson and Benny Parsons drove to titles and as a crew chief led Buddy Baker and Cale Yarborough (twice) to Daytona 500 wins. He built the first engine that broke 200 mph -- driven by Parsons in qualifying for the 1982 Winston 500. Robert Yates. This is another example of the ultimate in successful multi-tasking. Similar to Wilson, he built championship-quality engines (1983 with Bobby Allison) and then Yates owned a championship team, fielding the car with which Dale Jarrett won a title in 1999. He owns three Daytona 500 wins as part of a 57-win legacy as a team owner and won 77 races as an engine builder. Landmark Award Ralph Seagraves. This was a tough category. My selection was based on his contribution really being a turning point for the entire sport. Under Seagraves' leadership, RJ Reynolds provided top-dollar, high-promotion sponsorship of the sport that lasted for more than 30 years. It thrust NASCAR into another stratosphere as far as the American sports landscape was concerned and absolutely created a foundation that is still enjoyed today.