DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 7, 2015) -- Twenty-two drivers have three days to compete for a spot in the motorsport industry's top driver development program, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), set to commence at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., Oct. 19-21, 2015. Now in its 12th year, the annual Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers, ages 14 to 26, from across North America to test their skills over a three- day period in order to identify members of the NASCAR D4D Class of 2016. "Finding and developing diverse athletes who will represent the future of NASCAR is at the core of our organization's mission," said NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy. "Every year, the bar is raised with talented applicants who have the potential and determination to succeed. We're proud to watch our graduates in the national series and develop more diverse talent to join them in the years to come." In partnership with Rev Racing, the Max Siegel-owned race team, D4D offers racing opportunities in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKPSE) and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) for one full season, providing drivers with equipment, mentoring, and competition experience. "We could not be more excited about this year's NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine to select the 2016 Class of Rev Racing drivers," said team CEO Max Siegel. "Coming off of our sixth consecutive multiple race winning season, we are focused on continuing to make our program and approach world class, as we prepare these young drivers to advance into the national series." The NASCAR D4D Combine has proven successful in identifying and developing future stars of the sport. Current D4D member Collin Cabre secured Rev Racing's second win of 2015 with a victory at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season finale at Dover International Speedway . In addition, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr . and Daniel Suárez, leaders in the series' Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, are among the graduates of the program. This year's athletes include 13 women, notably the youngest combine participant ever at 14 years old, Macy Causey. Also participating are four stars from the NASCAR Mexico Series: Abraham Calderón, Enrique Contreras, Rubén García Jr. and Santiago Tovar. Returning to defend their spots in the program are current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers Dylan Smith and Natalie Decker. Driver combine participants will be evaluated on their driving skills and will also be tested on a series of strength and agility exercises at Hampton University. Fans can follow the Combine on Twitter at @NASCARDiversity and @RevRacing. Below are invitees to the 12th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine: First Name Last Name Age City State/Country Hannah Adair 21 Tulsa Okla. Jairo Avila 20 Alhambra Calif. Kayli Barker 18 Las Vegas Nev. Nicole Behar 17 Otis Orchards Wash. Abraham Calderon 26 Monterrey Mexico Macy Causey 14 Yorktown Va. Enrique Contreras 22 San Antonio Texas Madeline Crane 17 Meansville Ga. Claire Decker 20 Eagle River Wis. Natalie Decker 18 Eagle River Wis. Juan Garcia 17 Bogota Colombia Ruben Garcia Jr. 19 Mexico City Mexico Ali Kern 22 Fremont Ohio Enrique Limon 17 Mexico City Mexico Mariah McGriff 20 Vail Ariz. Becca Monopoli 26 Lakeland Fla. Erika Newcome 20 Pickerington Ohio Hannah Newhouse 18 Twin Falls Idaho Vanessa Robinson 25 Las Cruces N.M. Dylan Smith 23 Concord N.C. Walter Thomas 16 Indianapolis Ind. Santiago Tovar 22 Mexico City Mexico In addition to drivers, NASCAR Drive for Diversity has successfully identified and developed pit crew members to find employment opportunities within the sport. The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Challenge Tour will host its final Combine of the year at the NASCAR Research and Development Center on October 9, 2015 in Concord, North Carolina.
NASCAR officials will return to Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday, Oct. 20 to test a low downforce package similar to what was used in competition last month at Darlington Raceway . Drivers scheduled to take part in the test are defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 25 Chevrolet, current XFINITY Series points leader Chris Buescher ( Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford) and Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contender Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota). According to information provided to the teams on Wednesday, the test is to verify max and corner speeds with three different grip levels of tires. The schedule calls for individual 10- and 25-lap runs in the morning and afternoon sessions. The lower downforce package debuted at Kentucky Speedway this season before also being put into play at Darlington, where it featured a 3.5-inch spoiler, 25-inch splitter extension panel (radiator pan) and 6.63-inch by 25-inch splitter. The only change for the MIS test will be an increase in the splitter extension panel to 33 inches. Drivers and teams were pleased with the initial results of the package, particularly at Darlington where Goodyear was able to provide a specific tire based on data gained from testing there prior to the race. The MIS test will take place approximately two months after the Sprint Cup Series competed at the 2-mile facility with a high-drag aerodynamic configuration. A high-drag package was also used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . JGR driver Matt Kenseth called the high-drag package "terrible." "You just can't pass," he said after finishing seventh in the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard. "Yeah, you can run up on the straightaway a little bit, but you can't run though the corner with anything." A month later, after his driver dominated at Michigan with the same rules package, Kenseth's crew chief Jason Ratcliff said "at the end of the straightaway (cars could) gain on others two or three car-lengths. But they just couldn't do much once they got there and they got down in the corner, they were kind of helpless." The high-drag rules included a 9-inch spoiler with a 1-inch wicker bill, a rear fascia extension panel (similar to those used for superspeedway events at Daytona and Talladega), a 2-inch leading edge on the splitter and a 43-inch splitter extension panel. "We know that high drag package is awful," four-time premier series champion Jeff Gordon said following the Darlington race. "We know that this (lower downforce) is definitely in the right direction. … I think when you look at the less horsepower we had coming in this year it's the package that should have been with this car that we have now. You can't take that kind of power away and not do something significant to the downforce as well." Homestead Test Slated for December NASCAR and Goodyear officials have added a post-season test scheduled for Dec. 14-15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to continue preparations for the 2016 rules package. Organizations scheduled to participate in the test are Stewart-Haas Racing (Chevrolet), Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet), Richard Petty Motorsports (Ford) and Furniture Row Racing (Toyota). It is expected to be the first on-track testing for Furniture Row and driver Martin Truex Jr . with a Toyota entry. The Denver-based team is making the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota for '16. Because of the change, SHR was added to the test to replace Furniture Row for Chevrolet. "I think '16, we're not really even thinking about right now," Truex said earlier this week. "We know what we're doing next year, we'll worry about that after (the final race at) Homestead. "I think everybody in the Chase is probably in the same position -- you're worried about today and tomorrow and this coming weekend. No further ahead. Once you set your plans, it's real easy." Lineup Change for Atlanta Test The Toyota teams of Michael Waltrip Racing and BK Racing have declined to take part in the Goodyear tire test slated for Oct. 27-28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Joe Gibbs Racing has been added to the lineup to represent Toyota teams at the 1.54-mile track. MWR will not field a full-time Sprint Cup Series team next season. The two- day program is a confirmation test for Goodyear; an open team test is scheduled for Oct. 29 following the completion of the tire test. CMS Tire Info Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series teams will be running the same tire codes this weekend at Charlotte, according to Goodyear officials, and is unchanged from what was provided for the 1.5 mile track's May races. The left-side tire code has been used at CMS since 2012; the right side, which features a multi-zone tread, was used there for the first time in May.
Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) punctuated yet another stellar season in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing by earning his fourth victory of the 2015 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Alfalla, who started a lap down because of technical trouble, sliced through the field in the early going and drove every bit like a driver with nothing to lose. Last Row Motorsports ' Jake Stergios finished second, followed by brother PJ. The Stergios brothers had the cars to beat on the short run, but could not match Alfalla's speed as the laps added-up on their virtual Goodyears. Bryan Blackford was fourth, just edging Chris Overland and mirroring their places in the final standings. Alfalla and Jake Stergios dominated for most of the evening, leading a combined 146 of 167 laps. Stergios was one of the first sim racers to experiment with the high line in Turns One and Two and the change in line brought his car to life. Polesitter Cody Byus ( The TEAM ) had no answer and was passed by Stergios just nine laps in. As halfway approached, Jake still led but PJ had cut the margin and began to plan his move. On Lap 83 PJ drove to the bottom in Turn Three and cleared his brother off of Turn 4. A lap later, a caution stopped the battle and sent the leaders to the pits for tires and fuel. PJ won the race off pit road but his time at the front was short-lived as Jake used the outside lane in Turns Three and Four to regain the lead. However, Alfalla was now within striking distance and began picking his way through the top five. On Lap 112, Alfalla took the lead for the first time and started to pull away, but a caution for Brad Davies ( Drill Aisle ) erased Alfalla's lead and brought the leaders to pit road for the final time. Alfalla won the race off pit road and looked set to drive away to victory, but Jake was strong and stayed right in Alfalla's tire tracks. Stergios gave it a valiant effort, even getting alongside Alfalla at one point, but did not have the speed on the bottom to clear the race leader. He finally burned off his tires and had to settle for second, just over one second behind at the checkers. Kenny Humpe, the 2015 series champion, did not have the result he was hoping for. Although he qualified fourth, Humpe lacked speed in race trim to compete for the win. Still, a strong finish looked possible until his chance to record a twelfth top five of the season ended when he got loose off Turn Two on Lap 44 and pounded the inside wall. Humpe wound up forty-second, dead-last. As Alfalla and Jake Stergios battled for the lead over the last 40 laps, PJ Stergios, Blackford, and Overland were locked in an intense battle for third on track, and third through fifth in the championship. PJ came away with third on both counts, a rather comfortable 19 points ahead of fourth place Blackford. Overland and Blackford fought side- by -side multiple times during the last fuel run, each needing to finish in front of the other to claim the $1,000 fourth place prize. Blackford's long run speed was too much for Overland, who settled for fifth in the championship, a single point behind Blackford, and collected $500 for his efforts. Further back in the standings, Nathan Wise was the last driver to secure his 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series license by finishing twentieth in the standings. He beat Michael J Johnson ( Gale Force Racing ) by seven points despite limping a damaged car home to a thirty-seventh place finish at Homestead. As the sixth NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series comes to a close, the story of the year has to be Humpe's complete dominance through the first three quarters of the season. Though he faded a bit at the end, Humpe's consistency was nothing like this series has ever seen. As he looks to become just the second repeat champion, Alfalla -- already a two timer himself -- looks to be his biggest competition. Nobody was stronger the last few races than Alfalla and he will carry that momentum into the off-season and, he hopes, to the start of 2016. The NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series is off until February, giving drivers and teams some much-needed time off. What does next season have in store? With the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series bringing-in new talent, drivers undoubtedly changing teams, and iRacing build changes, it is always possible that different and unexpected drivers will challenge for wins. However, Humpe and Alfalla will be on their games, and likely ready for any new challengers.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said Thursday that meetings about a potential franchise system for participation in its upper series have already taken place, sparking ongoing talks with its team owners about the direction of stock car racing competition. France made the remarks during an afternoon appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "Tradin' Paint" program, telling hosts Jim Noble and Chocolate Myers that improving the current framework was crucial to the overall health of the sport. "Any time we can improve the structure for our team owners, that's a good thing," France told SiriusXM. "If we can improve their business model, we can improve their overall structure, then what's going to happen is new owners will be more inclined to look at wanting to participate in NASCAR ; that's a good thing. The other good thing is, the level of competition goes up because the more healthy the team owners are, the better we're going to be. "We're working alongside of all the team owners to see what's possible, and we're going to have to go down the road and keep working at it. That's very important to us." France also discussed the soon-to-be-released schedules for all three NASCAR national series, saying that teams and fans alike should not expect a dramatic overhaul to the 2016 racing calendar. "I can tell you that the schedule is not going to change materially at all," France said. "There are things in the sanction agreements with the tracks that are unrelated to the dates that have to be worked out, and that's really what we're doing now. That's taking a little longer than normal. The schedule will look very similar." With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Myers pressed France for an accelerated release of the 2016 schedules on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who has expressed his wishes for a prompt announcement so that he might better plan his wedding to Amy Reimann. "I understand," said France, biting on the joke. "That does take precedence, so we'll make sure to put those dates right in front of him so he knows when they are." France also took time to assess the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after the Challenger Round, the opening three-round series of the postseason. In doing so, France lauded last weekend's clutch victory by Kevin Harvick at Dover International Speedway that kept his repeat title hopes intact. "What you really are seeing is, this is the era of big moments and big performances," France said. "Being consistent and steady, that's important but that's getting pushed to the wayside. It's whoever can step up their performance."
RELATED: Buy tickets for the 2016 Daytona 500 Editor's note: This photo is concept only DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It continues to be full speed ahead for the DAYTONA Rising project at Daytona International Speedway . The track's parent company, International Speedway Corporation, announced Tuesday that Sunoco will become the speedway's fourth "founding partner" as part of the massive redevelopment project. The $400 million renovation or "re-imagining" of the iconic facility will now include a massive Sunoco presence, giving the longtime NASCAR partner naming rights to one of the five "injector" entry areas at the new-look facility set to debut its makeover in January 2016. "The thing I keep thinking about is, here with Sunoco is a partner who has been in the sport for a number of years, has a lot of good things going on and now wants to expand their footprint,'' Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. "It shows me this is working. There's success there. For them to want to grow the relationship and invest even more in the sport, that's a real positive for the industry." Added ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy, "A brand synonymous with motorsports for many years, Sunoco will continue to be a great asset across the ISC enterprise, adding to the overall fan experience.'' Indeed fans will see plenty of Sunoco branding at the track. In addition to the entry naming rights, the company will have branding rights for one of the newly created 11 fan "neighborhoods" -- a football field-sized area along the frontstretch with dining and souvenir areas outfitted with dozens of video screens so fans don't miss a minute of the race action on track. "This represents the next chapter of our long-term partnership with ISC,'' Sunoco Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Cynthia Archer said in announcing the Daytona Rising relationship. "ISC is taking the motorsports experience to new heights by creating a visually compelling facility. Fans will be amazed when they see the new motorsports stadium and Sunoco's engaging injector experience for the first time in 2016.'' Sunoco has served as the Official Fuel of NASCAR since 2004 and is the exclusive supplier of Sunoco Green E15 racing fuel for all three of NASCAR's national series. Sunoco joins Toyota, Florida Hospital and General Motors as founding partners on the Daytona Rising project. "Across the board, we're seeing people already in sport wanting to own a piece of Daytona or someone new that that says, 'Hey, I want to be a part of Daytona, there's a lot of exciting things happening,' " Chitwood said. "I like the mix right now and really think it sends a positive message for everything we're doing with the Daytona Rising project."
RELATED: No. 78 team penalized for infractions at Dover · The No. 78 team has been penalized for an infraction that occurred during pre-race inspection on Oct. 4. This is a P2 level penalty (Sections 12.1; 20.4b; 20.4.2a; 184.108.40.206.2). Crew chief Cole Pearn has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015.
Cutting-edge technology and a spirit for change intersected on Wednesday at Pikes Peak International Raceway as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr . gave rides in an adaptive stock car to paraplegic and quadriplegic individuals. Volunteers from Furniture Row Racing helped transform a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car (in this case the No. 78 Chevrolet SS) into an adaptive vehicle for people to drive if they have spinal cord injuries and disabilities. It was all part of the Falci Adaptive Motorsports NeuroGroove RaceDay at the 1-mile track in Fountain, Colorado. "What an awesome day to be a firsthand witness to some incredible technology," Truex said in a team release. "Life is about giving back and Dr. (Scott) Falci and his partners are doing just that. To see the joy of the individuals I gave a ride to was very inspirational." Denver resident Stewart Lundy, a paraplegic, was one of the riders who got a chance to whiz around the track with Truex in the adaptive car. "And he (Truex) gets paid to do this!" Lundy said. "I need to reassess my life goals. That is probably one of them now. I loved every minute of it -- I'm coming down from an Adrenaline high." Falci Adaptive Motorsports is working to add racing as another adapted sport for the spinal cord and disabled population. Dr. Scott Falci is a neurosurgeon at Denver's Craig Hospital and he and his partners are spearheading the effort. One of the highlights of the day was a demonstration of smart glasses technology that enables individuals to drive a car or wheelchair with head movement. "Dr. Falci and his partners are developing life-changing technology, and we are thrilled to be involved in this altruistic endeavor," said Joe Garone, president and general manager of Furniture Row Racing .
Jeff Gordon will make his 46th and likely final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday. Take a look at his career highlights at the 1.5-mile track.
RELATED: Hall of Fame class of 2016 announced CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 29, 2015) -- Tickets for the 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be available to the public beginning Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte , Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner will be honored during this year's ceremony set for Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. Ticket prices range from $45 for general seats to the Induction Ceremony to $350 for the Exclusive Driver Dinner Package (plus applicable service fees and taxes). Drivers, celebrities and legends of the sport will take the stage during this premier celebration that will honor the seventh class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Prior to the ceremony, a special Induction Dinner at the Charlotte Convention Center, which is connected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will include a special jacket presentation for the living inductees and an award presentation honoring popular FOX Sports broadcaster Steve Byrnes, the fifth recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Fans also have the exclusive opportunity to purchase a seat for the dinner that puts them at a table with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver (limited quantities are available). After dinner, the Induction Ceremony will take place in the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center and will honor the five Class of 2016 inductees as well as Harold Brasington, the second recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR . Following the ceremony, a special NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will take place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday, Jan. 23. More details on driver appearances, activities and programming for this day will be announced at a later date. Individual ticket and ticket packages will be available beginning Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000. For more information, visit nascarhall.com . For accessible seating, please call 704-654-4400. See below for ticket and package options. NASCAR Hall of Fame Exclusive Driver Dinner Package ($350 per person plus applicable service fees and taxes; limited quantity available) • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver at Table • Induction Dinner Seat, including Jacket Presentation • Induction Ceremony Seat • Commemorative Dinner and Ceremony Ticket • NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Yearbook • Admission to First Look at Class of 2016 Inductee Exhibits • ( NASCAR Hall of Fame Annual Pass NASCAR Hall of Fame VIP Induction Package ($299 per person plus applicable service fees and taxes; limited quantity available) • Induction Dinner Seat, including Jacket Presentation • Induction Ceremony Seat • Commemorative Dinner and Ceremony Ticket • NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Yearbook • Admission to First Look at Class of 2016 Inductee Exhibits • NASCAR Hall of Fame Annual Pass Premium Seating at Induction Ceremony ($80 per person plus applicable service fees and taxes) • Premium Induction Ceremony Seat • NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Yearbook • Admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 22. General Seating at Induction Ceremony ($45 per person plus applicable service fees and taxes) • Induction Ceremony Seat • NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Yearbook
RELATED: See the full weekend schedule " NBC Sports Live Extra All times ET Monday, Oct. 5 6 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 8 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 2:30 p.m., NASCAR 120, NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FS2 Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS12 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FS2 Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FS2 Thursday, Oct. 8 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 1:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBCSN 3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, NBCSN 4 p.m., NASCAR K&N Series East: Dover International Speedway (tape), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 5:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN 7 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN Friday, Oct. 9 2:30 p.m., NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour: Stafford Motor Speedway (tape), NBCSN 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBCSN 4:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN 7:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Countdown to Green, NBCSN 8 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 Presented by Blue Cross , NBCSN Saturday, Oct. 10 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), NBCSN 4 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS2 5 p.m., NASCAR America Saturday, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Countdown to Green, NBCSN 7 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 , NBC 11 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Post-Race, NBCSN 11:30 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN 12:30 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1 Sunday, Oct. 11 11:30 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (tape), NBCSN &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;