Ford Performance announces NASCAR driver development program
Ford Performance announced Thursday another major push in its NASCAR initiative, launching a driver development program ahead of the 2017 season. The first phase includes an agreement with Brad Keselowski Racing, placing new Ford signee Chase Briscoe in a full-time ride in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series . Ford Performance indicated that other stages of the driver development program would be announced at a later time. The program is designed to cultivate home-grown talent for all Ford teams in NASCAR . According to the news release , current teams will be consulted about driver selection and placement, but their contractual ties will reside with Ford, which will also use signees in product development and testing. "We're making a commitment to win long-term in NASCAR ," Dave Pericak, Ford Performance's global director, said in a release provided by the manufacturer. "We have been increasing our engineering support and our technological development at the team level, and now we're looking to work with our teams to find the best available drivers coming up in the sport." The move further strengthens the ties with the automaker and team owner Brad Keselowski , which will field Ford trucks full-time for Austin Cindric and now Briscoe this season. Briscoe, a 22-year-old Indiana native with a rich sprint-car racing pedigree, landed the ARCA championship in 2016, riding a six-win season to the series crown. "This is a big day in the history of BKR," Keselowski said in the news release . "To be recognized as a true partner to Ford and Ford Performance and what they are trying to do speaks directly to the hard work our team has put in over the last several years. It is an honor, frankly, and it is really what BKR is all about -- providing young, talented drivers with championship-caliber equipment to continue to hone their craft and showcase their talents. "We have been fortunate to have had a lot of success together with Ford across the three major NASCAR touring series and to now elevate that relationship in an official capacity is a testament to what we set out to do." The move marks the second significant boost for Ford's racing program ahead of the season. Stewart-Haas Racing 's four-car organization has joined the Blue Oval camp for 2017, helping Ford Performance increase its numbers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage. That expansion also included the birth of a NASCAR XFINITY Series program for SHR, with Cole Custer competing full-time and Kevin Harvick driving on a part-time basis. </p>
NASCAR sees Fortune 500 involvement increase
NASCAR CMO Phelps: 'Technology is incredibly important for us' RELATED: NASCAR news release Technology, in the form of Fortune 500 investment, is reinforcing the notion that NASCAR makes good business sense. For the third consecutive year, the number of Fortune 500 companies utilizing NASCAR as part of their marketing mix has increased. In fact, nearly half of America’s Fortune 100 companies invest with NASCAR to help drive their business and more than one in four Fortune 500 companies are on board. The new analysis, conducted and released by NASCAR on Wednesday, indicated a 7 percent increase in Fortune 500 corporate involvement since the 2014 study. The 130 Fortune 500 companies now involved in the sport reflect a 20 percent increase since 2008. Now, investment is back in a big way, led by high tech involvement in the sport. "Technology is incredibly important for us," says Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer. "It’s not only about helping us grow, financially, but how technology helps change people’s perception of NASCAR . Technology helps us on the race track with things like safety initiatives and brings fans closer to the sport they love in many ways." Phelps said the sport began to notice tech’s impact with Hewlett-Packard’s involvement three years ago. Now, NASCAR ’s partnership with Microsoft has other tech companies taking note. Tech corporation involvement is up 66 percent since 2013. "No question, this is great news for us," Phelps says. "We want our fan base to become younger and more diverse. Technology brings those fans. It’s important for us to be there, working with these companies." Phelps sees Microsoft’s collaboration with NASCAR as a true win-win that other tech firms might seek to emulate. "Microsoft, which signed deals with NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports , has used NASCAR as a validator of their technology," Phelps said. "One existing piece is an app they developed that helps us with the inspection process prior to the race. We’re doing things in half the time we used to, using a mobile inspection app as opposed to collecting information manually. This helps with data collection and storage." Phelps is quick to point out that investment in NASCAR ’s sanctioning body, its tracks and its teams extends far beyond the Fortune 500 list. " NASCAR continues to be a great place for all companies to get their marketing message across," Phelps said. "When you look at NASCAR ’s recovery over the past three years, I think it speaks volumes about how NASCAR continues to do very well in attracting businesses of all sizes. "It’s a way for business to reach the most loyal fans in all of sport who vote with their wallets. This continues to be the case in every research report we’ve done: NASCAR fans support brands that support their favorite sport. We think this is a major point of differentiation for us." Brand exposure in NASCAR is especially valuable given the loyalty of its fans. Repucom’s SponsorLink tracker shows seven out of 10 NASCAR fans are loyal to a brand when it sponsors their sport, higher than all other major sports properties. NASCAR CEO Brent Dewar echoed Phelps’ assessment in analyzing the most recent study. "We are gratified that NASCAR continues to be a place where best-in-class corporations choose our sport to drive brand awareness, preference and purchase behavior," Dewar said. "Our fans are fiercely loyal to our sport and the Fortune 500 brands that are an integral part of the NASCAR eco-system. We collaborate with partners across the industry each and every day to grow the sport and help advance sponsors’ objectives." It hasn’t hurt that NASCAR has taken a proactive approach in attracting and discussing its business environment with its investors. An example is NASCAR ’s Fuel for Business Council, which meets quarterly, and gets business leaders talking about opportunities in NASCAR , including branding and business-to-business opportunities. This month’s meeting in San Francisco featured presentations by Microsoft and by Fanatics, which is in the process of revolutionizing the sport’s at-track merchandising operations. "It’s an opportunity for companies to talk to each other, and that’s really important," Phelps said. "Microsoft’s presentation answered the question: 'Why are we in NASCAR ?’ In the end, we do business-to-business better than any sport on the planet – an important point of differentiation for investors." Phelps points out that investment extends far beyond the scope of Fortune 500 corporations and does not include dozens of companies advertising with NASCAR ’s media partners or the hundreds of small- and mid-sized businesses with direct ties to the sport. To be eligible for the Fortune 500, a company must be based in the U.S. and be publicly traded. Though many more Fortune 500 companies advertise on NASCAR -related television programming, only those that are partners or licensees with the sanctioning body, teams and / or tracks were counted in the analysis. Although being a Fortune 500 company is the "gold standard" of success for publicly-traded companies in the U.S., several global corporations currently involved in NASCAR were not included in the analysis because they do not meet Fortune 500 criteria. Those include Ingersoll Rand, MillerCoors, Mars, McLaren and Toyota. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Fifth annual NASCAR Race To Green celebrates industry-wide effort
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- To commemorate the holistic effort being made to help protect and preserve the environment, NASCAR ® announced its fifth annual NASCAR Race to Green ™ initiative. Beginning today and culminating with Sunday's TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway, the initiative will build awareness around the programs NASCAR , the industry and multiple partners have developed to help reduce its carbon footprint. A key pillar of NASCAR Race to Green is a call-to-action for fans and the industry to donate trees that will be planted across the country as well as in areas recently devastated by natural disasters. Fans can visit NASCAR .com/green to donate trees -- $1 per tree for a 2-3 foot sapling -- to be planted in those areas with the support of the Arbor Day Foundation. Fans are encouraged to share their own efforts around being green by using the hashtag #NASCARGreen. "The Race To Green initiative allows us to highlight the foundational partners that help reduce our impact on the environment all year long," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. "As an example of the wide range of initiatives taking place across the industry, American Ethanol has helped us eclipse 10 million miles on Sunoco Green E15, Safety-Kleen recycles all oil and lubricants at more than 200 race events a year, and collectively as an industry more than 400,000 trees have been planted to date. We are proud to continue those efforts under the Race to Green umbrella." As part of this year's initiative, NASCAR fans visiting NASCAR .com/green will be treated to a newly designed digital destination, complete with easy-to-access information, news , an interactive carbon calculator and more. NASCAR Green will debut a new TV spot today as well, featuring a newly created NASCAR Green logo. NASCAR Race To Green will highlight the sustainability efforts of its teams, tracks and NASCAR Official Partners, who work closely with NASCAR , year-round. While NASCAR Green initiatives span the entire year, the following additional activities will take place throughout this week-long effort: • In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, NASCAR Official Partners have committed to donate trees to Tennessee residents affected by the Chimney Tops 2 Fire in November 2016. NASCAR will match the donations made by its Official Partners. • As part of the 16th annual Comcast Cares Day, NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will join Comcast volunteers for a Habitat for Humanity build in Johnson City, Tenn. NASCAR will donate trees for the newly built homes. • Pocono Raceway will release a Sustainability Report that details the initiatives it has in place to be environmentally responsible, including its recycling program, solar farm and more. • In partnership with Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Elliot Sadler will visit Oak Mountain Elementary School in Birmingham, Ala. to donate 750 tree saplings provided by NASCAR and the Arbor Day Foundation. • Today, Danica Patrick will help Mobil 1 spotlight its Mobil 1TM Annual Protection, allowing drivers to go one full year -- or 20,000 miles -- between oil changes, with a ceremonial pour at Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR Green was launched because it was the right thing to do for the country, climate and fans. Since 2008, NASCAR has taken a holistic approach across its wide-ranging effort to reduce our impact on the environment, including: • NASCAR and the industry have planted enough trees to completely offset carbon emissions for all three national series racing for the past six years, plus the next 40 years. • NASCAR eclipsed more than 10 million competition miles on Sunoco Green E15, demonstrating that the ethanol blended biofuel stands up to high performance racing while significantly reducing emissions. • Safety-Kleen delivers its oil recycling and re-refining services to the track each weekend, ensuring all cleaning solvents, oil, fluids and lubricants are recaptured and incorporated into useable products. • NASCAR also features many teams and tracks using solar power as a renewable energy source, including: Daytona International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Sonoma Raceway, Roush Fenway Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports. For more information about NASCAR Race to Green , visit NASCAR .com/Green . The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will continue wit h the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m. ET on FOX, P RN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Owner Standings
MORE: XFINITY owner standings " Camping World owner standings Rank Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Points Attempts 1 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 659 0 0 2 3 13 16 2 Furniture Row Racing 78 646 -13 -13 2 11 21 16 3 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 548 -111 -98 1 3 8 16 4 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 542 -117 -6 0 4 4 16 5 Team Penske 2 519 -140 -23 2 2 12 16 6 Hendrick Motorsports 24 509 -150 -10 0 2 2 16 7 Hendrick Motorsports 48 483 -176 -26 3 1 16 16 8 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 477 -182 -6 0 0 0 16 9 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 476 -183 -1 0 2 2 16 10 Team Penske 22 434 -225 -42 1 1 1 16 11 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 427 -232 -7 0 0 0 16 12 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 423 -236 -4 0 1 1 16 13 Wood Brothers Racing 21 415 -244 -8 1 3 8 16 14 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 389 -270 -26 1 0 5 16 15 Richard Childress Racing 31 367 -292 -22 1 0 5 16 16 Furniture Row Racing 77 358 -301 -9 0 0 0 16 17 Roush Fenway Racing 17 355 -304 -3 1 0 5 16 18 Roush Fenway Racing 6 337 -322 -18 0 0 0 16 19 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 334 -325 -3 0 0 0 16 20 Richard Childress Racing 3 322 -337 -12 1 0 5 16 21 Hendrick Motorsports 5 305 -354 -17 0 0 0 16 22 Hendrick Motorsports 88 293 -366 -12 0 0 0 16 23 Germain Racing 13 273 -386 -20 0 0 0 16 24 Richard Childress Racing 27 259 -400 -14 0 0 0 16 25 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 250 -409 -9 0 0 0 16 26 JTG Daugherty Racing 37 223 -436 -27 0 0 0 16 27 Leavine Family Racing 95 223 -436 0 0 0 0 16 28 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 213 -446 -10 0 0 0 16 29 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 196 -463 -17 0 0 0 16 30 Front Row Motorsports 38 191 -468 -5 0 0 0 16 31 TriStar Motorsports 72 183 -476 -8 0 0 0 16 32 GO FAS Racing 32 160 -499 -23 0 0 0 16 33 Front Row Motorsports 34 160 -499 0 0 0 0 16 34 Premium Motorsports 15 137 -522 -23 0 0 0 16 35 BK Racing 83 109 -550 -28 0 0 0 15 36 BK Racing 23 105 -554 -4 0 0 0 16 37 Circle Sport / TMG 33 73 -586 -32 0 0 0 16 38 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 58 -601 -15 0 0 0 4 39 Rick Ware Racing 51 39 -620 -19 0 0 0 14 40 Beard Motorsports 175 37 -622 -2 0 0 0 2 41 Premium Motorsports 55 30 -629 -7 0 0 0 12 42 Motorsports Business Management 266 15 -644 -15 0 0 0 2 43 Gaunt Brothers Racing 96 1 -658 -14 0 0 0 2
2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Owner Standings
MORE: Monster Energy Series owner standings " Camping World owner standings Rank Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Points Attempts 1 Roger Penske 22 607 0 0 1 6 11 14 2 Chip Ganassi 42 525 -82 -82 3 2 17 14 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 502 -105 -23 0 3 3 14 4 Joe Gibbs 20 501 -106 -1 3 3 13 14 5 Kelley Earnhardt-Miller 7 477 -130 -24 1 2 7 14 6 Rick Hendrick 9 445 -162 -32 1 1 6 14 7 J D Gibbs 18 430 -177 -15 1 3 3 14 8 Richard Childress 2 418 -189 -12 0 1 1 14 9 Richard Childress 3 391 -216 -27 0 0 0 14 10 Richard Childress 21 356 -251 -35 0 1 1 14 11 Jack Roush 16 347 -260 -9 1 0 5 14 12 Chip Ganassi 48 336 -271 -11 0 0 0 14 13 Jack Roush 60 324 -283 -12 0 0 0 13 14 Chip Ganassi 00 322 -285 -2 0 0 0 14 15 Joe Gibbs 19 310 -297 -11 0 0 0 14 16 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5 304 -303 -6 0 0 0 14 17 James Whitener 28 276 -331 -28 0 0 0 14 18 Matt Kaulig 11 275 -332 -1 0 0 0 14 19 Rod Sieg 39 251 -356 -24 0 0 0 14 20 Richard Childress 62 249 -358 -2 0 1 1 14 21 Mark Smith 14 225 -382 -24 0 0 0 14 22 Tony Clements 51 219 -388 -6 0 0 0 14 23 Maria Gonzalez Hernandez 24 215 -392 -4 0 0 0 14 24 Richard Childress 33 210 -397 -5 0 0 0 14 25 Gary Keller 4 206 -401 -4 0 0 0 14 26 Fred Biagi 98 193 -414 -13 1 1 6 9 27 Maurice Gallagher Jr. 23 187 -420 -6 0 0 0 14 28 Gary Cogswell 0 165 -442 -22 0 0 0 14 29 Jimmy Means 52 163 -444 -2 0 0 0 14 30 Jessica Smith-Mcleod 99 147 -460 -16 0 0 0 14 31 Michelle Gosselin 90 146 -461 -1 0 0 0 14 32 Tony Stewart 41 138 -469 -8 0 2 0 3 33 Johnny Davis 01 138 -469 0 0 0 0 14 34 Jessica Smith-Mcleod 8 135 -472 -3 0 0 0 14 35 Danielle Long 40 122 -485 -13 0 0 0 14 36 Bobby Dotter 07 122 -485 0 0 0 0 14 37 Roger Penske 12 121 -486 -1 2 1 0 3 38 Bj McLeod 78 103 -504 -18 0 0 0 14 39 Rick Hendrick 88 82 -525 -21 0 0 0 2 40 Rick Gdovic 146 72 -535 -10 0 0 0 4 41 Mike Harmon 74 51 -556 -21 0 0 0 14 42 Danielle Long 13 37 -570 -14 0 0 0 14 43 Maurice Gallagher Jr. 96 32 -575 -5 0 0 0 3 44 Lynn Cockrum 25 16 -591 -16 0 0 0 3 45 Pamela Sieg 93 13 -594 -3 0 0 0 12 46 Mark Smith 44 10 -597 -3 0 0 0 1 47 Cindy Shepherd 89 8 -599 -2 0 0 0 11 48 Michelle Gosselin 192 5 -602 -3 0 0 0 1 49 Victor Obaika 97 4 -603 -1 0 0 0 6 50 Jack Roush 60 3 -604 -1 0 0 0 1 51 Craig Martins 45 0 -607 -3 0 0 0 1 52 Victor Obaika 177 0 -607 0 0 0 0 1
NASCAR's dads salute Father's Day
From Kyle Larson to Kevin Harvick, some of the biggest stars in the world of NASCAR talk about what it means to be a dad on Father's Day.
NASCAR , SiriusXM extend broadcasting agreement through 2022
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Las Vegas NEW YORK and DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR and SiriusXM today announced a six-year renewal to extend their broadcasting and marketing agreement through 2022. SiriusXM will continue to deliver 24/7 racing content to millions of listeners across North America, including live broadcasts of every race, plus daily NASCAR talk and interviews with voices across the industry through its exclusive SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel. NASCAR content is available to SiriusXM subscribers in their car, at home or on the go on satellite radios, on the SiriusXM app and online at SiriusXM.com . SiriusXM and NASCAR's agreement extension marks another important milestone in the history of collaboration between the two organizations, as 2017 is NASCAR's 16th season on satellite radio and listeners will have uninterrupted access to the sport for more than two decades. SiriusXM will also retain exclusive category rights to utilize NASCAR branding and trademarks for advertising and promotion. "We have more than a successful decade of partnership already under our belts with SiriusXM and look forward to continuing our relationship over the next six years," said Steve Herbst, senior vice president, broadcasting and production at NASCAR . "SiriusXM provides robust coverage of both our live events and breaking news , acting as a trusted resource for our sport and helping NASCAR content to reach new, diverse audiences nationwide." "For the last 15 years we’ve proudly delivered the excitement of NASCAR to fans nationwide, providing them with a level of coverage unmatched by anyone in audio entertainment, and we are very pleased to continue our relationship for years to come," said Steve Cohen, SiriusXM's SVP of Sports Programming. " NASCAR has always had one of the most loyal fan bases in sports, and it continues to innovate to constantly improve the racing on the track. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will continue to give fans, no matter where they are in the country, a terrific platform to follow and discuss the new format put in place this season, and stay connected with their favorite drivers as they vie for the championship." The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the track this weekend with the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, live March 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio airs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and delivers in-depth racing coverage and inside access to NASCAR news , including live broadcasts of every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR XFINITY Series™ and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ event. Fans can call in to the channel to share their opinions and be a part of the daily discussion, and can also access SiriusXM NASCAR Radio programming when they want it on SiriusXM On Demand. The channel’s roster of expert hosts features current and former drivers, crew chiefs, crew members and a host of NASCAR insiders. For more info on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's programming and personalities go to www.SiriusXM.com/ NASCAR .
Harvick to host 'Happy Hours' on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Phoenix NEW YORK – March 14, 2017 – SiriusXM today announced that 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing and one of the sport's most popular drivers, will host a new exclusive show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, available to listeners nationwide on satellite radios and the SiriusXM app. Happy Hours will debut on March 28 and air every Tuesday from 7 to 9 pm ET, featuring Harvick’s distinctive perspective on his sport and life outside the track. Harvick and co-host Matt Yocum will take calls from listeners and give NASCAR fans a unique view on the driver's life and interests when he is away from the race car. In June, the show will begin airing every other week. "I'm excited to partner up with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and give the fans an inside look at what it's like to be a NASCAR driver in today's age," said Kevin Harvick. "It will be fun to give the listeners my opinion on things that are happening within our sport." "Kevin is one of the most exciting drivers on the track, and an extremely fun-loving person off the track," said Steve Cohen, SiriusXM's SVP of Sports Programming. "That combination of competitiveness and personality is perfect for SiriusXM. Kevin and Matt will create a show that is enlightening, entertaining and unlike anything else on the airwaves." Harvick has 35 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories, including wins in such crown-jewel events as the DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway (Fla.), the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Ind.) and the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (S.C.). In addition to his impressive performance in the Monster Energy Series, Harvick is a two-time NASCAR XFINITY Series champion with 46 series wins and 14 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) airs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and delivers in-depth racing coverage and inside access to NASCAR news , including live broadcasts of every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. Fans can call in to the channel to share their opinions and be a part of the daily discussion, and can also access SiriusXM NASCAR Radio programming when they want it on SiriusXM On Demand. The channel's roster of expert hosts features current and former drivers, crew chiefs, crew members and a host of NASCAR insiders. For more info on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's programming and personalities go to www.SiriusXM.com/ NASCAR .
NASCAR After The Lap returns to Las Vegas for seventh straight year
RELATED: Official NASCAR release Good news race fans -- NASCAR After The Lap, presented by Ford and Sprint, is headed back to Las Vegas for its seventh straight year. The event, which features all 16 drivers competing in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , has become one of the major highlights of Champions Week, as well as an opportunity for fans to engage with the season's best drivers in a most unique and fun atmosphere. The event, which will take place at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Hotel, has been known as the time where drivers let loose on the season celebration in a tell-all panel. From Jeff Gordon showing off his break-dancing skills, to Tony Stewart 's push-up contest victory and many other signature moments, you never know what you might get at NASCAR After The Lap. Also starting today, NASCAR Nation has the opportunity to participate in the NASCAR After The Lap Sweepstakes, and with that comes the chance for fans to win some truly once-in-a-lifetime prizes. Starting today through November 22, fans can enter to win a 2016 Ford F-150 or an all-inclusive trip for two to Las Vegas to attend the NASCAR After The Lap event, among other great prizes. Tickets for NASCAR After The Lap are priced at $20 and will go on sale September 21, but fans not able to attend can also tune in to the live stream of the event on NASCAR .com. To enter the NASCAR After The Lap sweepstakes or learn more about December's event, visit www.NASCARafterthelap.com .
'Cars 3' gears up for season-long ride with NASCAR
SHOP: Cars 3 NASCAR -related merchandise RELATED: Drivers thrilled to be a part of Cars 3 DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. -- Disney•Pixar's "Cars 3" is teaming up with NASCAR this year as crowd favorite Lightning McQueen prepares to return to the big screen June 16. Plans for the joint effort were shared by "Cars 3" director Brian Fee, Cristela Alonzo -- the voice of the film's elite trainer Cruz Ramirez -- and NASCAR's vice president of entertainment marketing and content development, Zane Stoddard, today at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida as fans gear up for the DAYTONA 500 (Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on FOX). Owen Wilson, the voice of Lightning McQueen, will serve as grand marshal for the 59th annual "Great American Race." NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott , Ryan Blaney , Daniel Suárez and Bubba Wallace will join NASCAR legends Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty as voices in the upcoming film. "'Cars 3' very much pays homage to stock car racing and its rich history," Fee said. "Our story leans into the drama, emotion and excitement NASCAR fans find at every race." "We're excited to take part in delivering the 'Cars 3' experience to our current and next generation of fans, at-track, in school, online and across the country," Stoddard added. "In addition to all the engaging NASCAR 'Cars 3' elements industry-wide, we think our fans will really enjoy the roles of several young drivers in the film." According to Lylle Breier, senior vice president worldwide marketing partnerships and special events for the Walt Disney Studios, the movie inspired an expanded program with NASCAR . "This collaboration marks the biggest between the 'Cars' franchise and NASCAR ," Breier said. "We're looking forward to a fun and exciting season-long program with a host of activities." FAST FORWARD Kicking off at the DAYTONA 500 with the premiere of a new on-air promo, the NASCAR -"Cars 3" collaboration continues throughout the entire race season. * The joint effort will include a variety of marketing initiatives, including digital and social cross promotional activities and sweepstakes. * Throughout the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , races will feature a "Cars 3" at-track presence via a wide array of promotions. * A co-branded merchandise program with Fanatics -- the first of its kind for NASCAR and the "Cars" franchise -- will also kick off at the DAYTONA 500 featuring the first film-related product available for fans to purchase. Product will be available at the Fanatics Trackside Superstore continuing at race tracks throughout the season, as well as online at the NASCAR .com Superstore . * NASCAR Acceleration Nation, the sport's youth program, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be featured throughout the duration of a "Cars 3" nationwide tour. * Later this year, NASCAR and Disney will release NASCAR Acceleration Nation and "Cars 3" co-branded in-classroom learning materials for elementary school students. THE VOICES OF NASCAR The announcement included the introduction of NASCAR greats -- from rookie drivers and legends to the voices behind the sport -- tapped by Pixar Animation Studios to voice characters in the film. * CHASE ELLIOTT , 21, was named 2016's Sunoco Rookie of the Year after finishing last season 10th in the driver standings. Elliott, who pilots the No. 24 car previously driven by four-time champion Jeff Gordon , lends his voice to second-generation Piston Cup racer CHASE RACELOTT in "Cars 3." Racelott's blend of skills, track smarts and top-of-the-line technology make this rookie a real contender. * RYAN BLANEY , a 23-year-old, third-generation racer, pilots the No. 21 Ford in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series. He voices third-generation racer RYAN "INSIDE" LANEY in "Cars 3." Known for his racing passion and ability to have fun on the track, Laney races with talent, speed and precision. * DANIEL SUÁREZ , who just turned 25, pilots the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . The 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion can be heard in the film voicing DANNY SWERVEZ, a next-gen racer who's ascending the Piston-Cup ladder against all odds. A mid-season replacement, Swervez is a quick learner who pushes himself to the limit. * BUBBA WALLACE , 23, won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway in 2013, becoming the first African-American to win in one of the top three touring divisions since Wendell Scott in 1963. In "Cars 3," Wallace voices next-gen stock car racer BUBBA WHEELHOUSE, a fast and tenacious young racer who knows how to win. * DARRELL WALTRIP , the NASCAR Hall of Fame racer-turned- NASCAR on FOX color analyst lends his voice to DARRELL CARTRIP. Cartrip, a veteran Piston-Cup announcer also heard in "Cars" and "Cars 2," may think he's seen it all -- but this new season might still have a surprise or two in store. * SHANNON SPAKE , NASCAR on FOX correspondent and college football and basketball reporter for FOX Sports, voices on-the-track reporter SHANNON SPOKES in the film. Spokes weaves her way into the middle of the action for in-the-moment interviews, and she's not afraid to ask racers the tough questions. * HOWARD AUGUSTINE "HUMPY" WHEELER JR ., the legendary NASCAR promoter and former president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway , lends his voice to iconic Dinoco team owner TEX DINOCO in "Cars 3." Tex, who met Lightning McQueen in "Cars," would love nothing more than to see No. 95 decked out in Dinoco blue. * JEFF GORDON , four-time NASCAR champion, current NASCAR on FOX analyst, and story consultant for "Cars 3," lends his voice to JEFF GORVETTE. Gorvette, whose number of top-10 finishes remains unmatched, may have hung up his racing tires -- but his heart remains on the track. His ability to succeed at all levels turned hoods wherever he raced. * RICHARD "THE KING" PETTY , team owner and champion NASCAR driver with 200 wins, returns to the role of STRIP "THE KING" WEATHERS. From his humble beginnings on the Piston-Cup circuit to the glitzy sponsorship and media attention, the champion racer now serves as crew chief for his nephew, Cal Weathers. * KYLE PETTY , retired NASCAR driver and current NASCAR commentator on NBC, helps bring CAL WEATHERS to life in "Cars 3." Weathers grew up around the track watching his uncle, Strip "The King" Weathers, tear it up. The veteran racer finds himself taking a step back to make room for the next generation on the track. * MIKE JOY is FOX Sports' lead NASCAR announcer who will call his 38th DAYTONA 500 this Sunday. He lends his iconic voice to on-the-spot radio talk show host MIKE JOYRIDE in the movie. Joyride stays one step ahead in the racing news game by keeping a keen eye on where the racing season is headed. * RAY EVERNHAM , winner of three NASCAR championships as crew chief for Jeff Gordon and current consultant to Hendrick Motorsports , lends his voice to RAY REVERHAM, Jackson Storm's crew chief, and an expert at training in the cutting edge technology and tactics being used by the next-gen racers. Evernham also serves as a story consultant for filmmakers. LIFE-SIZED CHARACTERS NASCAR fans can picture themselves with Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez -- or at least life-sized cars designed to look like the big-screen characters. The Cruz Ramirez lookalike premiered in Daytona on Thursday, alongside No. 95 -- the Lightning McQueen car made its debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. Comedian and actress Cristela Alonzo got to hang with her character lookalike at the event. "I am excited to be here as race fans get to see these two life-sized characters together for the first time," Alonzo said. The Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez lookalike cars are slated to make appearances at select races throughout the season as part of a "Cars 3" nationwide tour. Joining them on the tour will be a lookalike of Lightning McQueen's on-track rival, Jackson Storm. GOING GRAND As previously announced, Owen Wilson, the voice of Lightning McQueen, will serve as grand marshal of the DAYTONA 500 this Sunday, Feb. 26. Wilson has provided the voice of the red car in all of the "Cars" films. ABOUT THE MOVIE Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that No. 95 isn't through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing's biggest stage! Directed by Brian Fee (storyboard artist "Cars," "Cars 2") and produced by Kevin Reher ("A Bug's Life," "La Luna" short), "Cars 3" cruises into theaters on June 16. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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