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 .
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
Moment of silence, decals to pay tribute at XFINITY, NCWTS events NASCAR will honor fallen IndyCar driver Justin Wilson at this weekend's events in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Camping World Truck Series with a moment of silence and decals that drivers can place on their helmets and/or the B-post of their vehicles. Wilson, 37, died late Monday after injuries sustained in Sunday's ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway after he was apparently struck in the head by debris from a late-race crash at the 2.5-mile track. NASCAR drivers took to social media upon hearing the news of Wilson's death and shared an outpouring of support for Wilson's family. AJ Allmendinger , one of the drivers who raced with Wilson in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway , had a special friendship with Wilson and mentioned him being one of the greats and a "badass" race car driver. That sentiment was incorporated into the design of the Wilson tribute decal that will appear in Saturday's Road America 180 Fired up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) and Sunday's Chevrolet Silverado 250 (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). The moment of silence will occur before the invocation and national anthem at both races.
NASCAR .com reporter Holly Cain has been voted as the National Motorsports Press Association's Spirit Award winner for the second quarter of 2015. Cain, whose career covering motorsports spans more than 25 years, was named on 66 percent of the ballots cast by NMPA membership. The award is "designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports," according to the NMPA's news release . RELATED: Steve Byrnes honored with first quarter NMPS Spirit Award Cain was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2014. Her courage and determination while battling multiple surgeries, her ability to write with passion and purpose, and -- most importantly -- her role as a loving mother of two have inspired others throughout the NASCAR industry. Cain has been a longstanding supporter of the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and its "Race for a Cure" running events. Her column documenting her personal fight won first place in the NMPA's column writing category in 2014. Cain worked for numerous media outlets -- The Tampa Tribune, The Dallas Morning News , the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, AOL and FOXSports.com -- before joining NASCAR .com in August 2012.
PHILADELPHIA -- As part of its long-term partnership with NASCAR , Comcast announced today the creation of the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, honoring NASCAR team members for their outstanding charitable endeavors. The annual award will celebrate the philanthropic efforts being made by race teams across all three national series. An individual from each national series will be honored, with one of the three earning the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. In recognition of their efforts, a donation of $60,000 will be made in the winner's name to his or her affiliated charitable organization. A $30,000 contribution will be made to each of the remaining finalists' charitable organizations. "The Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award honors those members of NASCAR teams who share our commitment and give back to the communities we serve," said Peter Intermaggio, Comcast Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications. "At Comcast, we work hard to make a difference in the places where our employees and customers live and work, and we want to recognize and encourage others who demonstrate that same community commitment." Nominations are to be submitted by NASCAR team members. Eligible recipients include team owners, drivers and all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team employees. "Our teams are competitive by nature, but have a unified goal to benefit the lives of people in need," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. "Comcast shares our passion for community service, and we appreciate the effort to shine a light on the inspirational work being done by our teams." Nominees will be narrowed down to three finalists, with a panel of judges comprised of executives from Comcast, The NASCAR Foundation, a former NASCAR driver and a member of the national motorsports media, to determine the recipient of the award. The award will be presented at the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series Banquet at the end of the season in South Florida. Comcast has a long track record of community service , aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs and partnerships, mobilizing resources to connect people and inspiring positive and substantive change. Comcast's annual corporate service day, known as Comcast Cares Day, is the largest corporate service effort of its kind. This year, NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski , Ty Dillon and Cale Conley participated in a local Comcast Cares Day project restoring the local Boys and Girls Club in Richmond, Virginia. Comcast's XFINITY brand is the title sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Comcast's NBCUniversal is a NASCAR broadcast partner through the 2024 season.
RELATED: Updated Chase Grid Ain't no party like a NASCAR party! As the regular season nears its end and The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup rapidly approaches, so too does the annual fan celebration to mark its beginning -- NASCAR Chase Fest. Taking place, once again, in Chicago on Sept. 17 ahead of the first Challenger Round race at Chicagoland Speedway , Chase Fest sponsored by Toyota and Sprint provides a free outdoor fan fest featuring appearances and autograph sessions with all 16 Chase drivers and other NASCAR personalities. Grammy-nominated 3 Doors Down will help keep the party flowing with a concert, as well as a performance by Chicago's popular country cover band, the Suburban Cowboys. Fans in attendance also will have a plethora of meal and drink options, with food being provided by Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and beverages by Coors Light. Additional entertainment will include the Toyota Ferris Wheel and the NASCAR on NBC Sports Bumper Cars. The events of the day will be covered by NBCSN, including Krista Voda, Kyle Petty, Marty Snider and Rutledge Wood, for the network's live broadcast of " NASCAR America." Chase Fest will take place on Weed Street between Fremont and Kingsbury streets from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time. For full details on this year's Chase Fest, click here .
Presenting NASCAR content from around the web Editor's note: On Wednesday at noon ET, "High 5" will present some of the best NASCAR -related content from around the web. 1. Exceeding expectations The NASCAR world was shocked when Kyle Busch returned to racing after only an 11-race hiatus following his injuries at Daytona. But no one would have dreamed Busch would come back with this big a fire in his belly, winning four out of five races from Sonoma to Indianapolis. According to NBC Sports' Joe Posnanski, his success is evidence of Busch's potential as a race car driver -- which had been clear since his earliest days behind the wheel -- becoming reality following his injury and new fatherhood to son Brexton. "Kyle had so much raw talent in a race car – his ability to control any kind of car, to see openings, to take it to the edge and keep it there – that his future seemed limitless," Posnanski writes. One career-altering possiblity looms on the horizon for Busch, who will be able to contend for a championhip if he remains in the top 30 in the point standings. It's something in his decorated career that he's yet to achieve in the Sprint Cup Series -- and wants badly. Click here to read the entire piece from NBC SportsWorld . 2. Girl power Jessica Mendoza made history on Tuesday during the MLB game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks. Jessica Mendoza becomes the first woman to call an ESPN MLB game as an in-booth analyst. (via @jessmendoza ) pic.twitter.com/3R0vjUictZ — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 25, 2015 Mendoza, who has won two Olympic medals for the United States softball team, was also the first woman to call a College World Series game, serving as a part of the crew last season in Omaha. She joins the likes of NASCAR's Danica Patrick , who traded her firesuit for a broadcasting microphone last season at Michigan, becoming the first woman to call a race in NASCAR . Hat tips and a "You go, girl" to both of these awesome women. 3. Denny's dream "Mr. Gibbs, I hope to drive for you some day." That's what an 11-year-old Denny Hamlin said to Coach Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing , back in 1992 at an autograph session. Little did Gibbs know, not only would this young Washington Redskins fan wheel a JGR car one day, but he would also contend for a championship, racing for the title in 2014 as part of the Championship 4. In a recent interview with 120 Sports , Hamlin discusses his relationship with Joe Gibbs, the jack rabbit incident at Michigan and his friendship with Michael Jordan. According to the No. 11 driver, the basketball legend is a huge NASCAR fan and was at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season from morning until late night, supporting Hamlin's run for the title. RELATED: Truck practice red-flagged for rabbit on track 4. Early bird doesn't get the worm -- or bronze medal Celebrating after a hard-fought victory is great -- but just make sure you actually win before you fist-pump. Runner Molly Huddle learned that lesson the hard way in Monday's IAAF 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China. Just before crossing the finish line, Huddle threw her arms in the air to celebrate her bronze medal -- only to be passed by fellow American Emily Infeld at the line. Read the entire story from Mashable here . Can you imagine if NASCAR drivers started doing burnouts before they actually took the checkered? It may look a little something like this. Plenty of smoke and spinning, but alas, no checkered flag. 5. Business in the front, party in the back Marriage is all about compromise, right? A couple from the United Kingdom found that out early when it came time to choosing a wedding cake. He was all about superheroes, she not so much. This disguised (Marvel-appropriate, right?) cake was the result. This superhero wedding cake is all business in the front, party in the back http://t.co/cZGprnNBGx pic.twitter.com/zx34k0Ph0Y — People magazine (@people) August 25, 2015 "Business in the front, party in the back." Kind of reminds us of something else we know and loved. RIP Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s mullet. RELATED: Stenhouse Jr. rids self of mullet
See what's coming this week to NASCAR .com Here's what you'll see on NASCAR .com this week: MONDAY: Dale Earnhardt Jr . reveals his throwback paint scheme for Darlington, and it's a nod to Cale Yarborough ... The Weekend in GIFs recaps Bristol through GIF form ... Clint Bowyer joins Junior in revealing his new look for the "Lady in Black." TUESDAY: Power Rankings presented by Outback may be in line for a new No. 1 after Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick dueled at Bristol ... you'll get a double dose of @nascarcasm today, with him presenting Joey Logano 's race-winning Facebook page as well as Madden ratings for certain drivers to coincide with the popular video game's release . WEDNESDAY: New paint schemes will be on display this weekend at Road America and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and we'll have them all in Paint Scheme Preview ... The Sprint Cup Series is off this week, but we'll give you the Darlington schemes that have already been revealed ... High 5 presents the best NASCAR content from around the web. THURSDAY: A special edition of Driver Reports highlights those drivers on the Chase bubble ... We'll revisit @nascarcasm taking drivers of today and photoshopping them into photos of yesterday ... Senior writer Holly Cain talks to driver Chase Elliott , who recently got his license. His pilot's license. FRIDAY: Landon Cassill and Josh Wise will compete in the triathlon world championship Saturday, and Holly Cain will tell their story ... The NASCAR XFINITY Series gets on track at Road America with a couple of practices ... 8 Tweets highlights the best from social media in the past week. Also coming this week: Holly Cain will cover Wednesday's open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Tuesday will have the best sounds from the scanner.
IndyCar racer dies at age 37 following wreck RELATED: Stewart lends support to Wilson's family IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died Monday evening from head injuries sustained Sunday during a race at Pocono Raceway . He was 37. During Sunday's race, Wilson appeared to be struck in the head by debris from a late-race crash involving Sage Karam in the first turn at the 2.5-mile track. The Andretti Autosport driver's car then veered left off the racing surface, where it bounced off the inside wall. Wilson was part of the winning team for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2012 with fellow drivers AJ Allmendinger , Oswaldo Negri Jr. and John Pew while competing for Michael Shank Racing. He had 17 career starts in GRAND-AM/ALMS/IMSA events. NASCAR drivers and others in the industry took to Twitter to share condolences with Wilson's family and to post remembrances of a fellow racer. Ur my boy forever. Love you @justin_wilson . One of the best ever. On and off the track. pic.twitter.com/kDZxxfj0jN — AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) August 25, 2015 Life isn't fair sometimes. We lost one of the great ones today. One of the best ever. I know ur up there being a Wheelman JW. Ur amazing!!! — AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) August 25, 2015 Thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and to the @IndyCar family. #RIPJustinWilson — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 25, 2015 So sad to hear that we lost Justin Wilson today. Thoughts & prayers to his family and friends. — Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) August 25, 2015 Very sad to hear the news of Justin Wilson's passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) August 25, 2015 Didn't know Justin but I did know he was a unbeliever person and a great car driver. So sad.. #RIPJustinWilson pic.twitter.com/YI6HdSaCYz — Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) August 25, 2015 Terrible and tragic news . Prayers to his family and friends. We are all family. #RIPJustin — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) August 25, 2015 Wow. Heart is torn for the Wilson Family. Prayers to all. — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) August 25, 2015 Thankful to have known @justin_wilson & honored to have shared a seat with him. He was a Great Man and will be missed pic .twitter.com/vgRS4iEzsm — Michael McDowell (@Mc_Driver) August 25, 2015 Wow, what a sad day. @justin_wilson was a good man. A great man. I had the pleasure of knowing him and pray for his family. — Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) August 25, 2015 My heart breaks for Justin's family and friends. https://t.co/QpJldzyc2n — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 25, 2015 A trust fund has been created for Wilson's children. Donations may be sent to the address below. Wilson Children's Fund C/O INDYCAR 4551 West 16th Street Indianapolis, IN 46222 pic.twitter.com/lIiFGnL78y — Max Papis (@maxpapis) August 25, 2015
Crew chief suspended for a race; team owner docked 15 points RELATED: NASCAR's official release NASCAR handed down a P3-level penalty Wednesday to the Premium Motorsports No. 98 Ford team for failure to properly attach weight during last weekend's Sprint Cup Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The No. 98 car, driven by Timmy Hill for the second straight week in last Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400, lost a piece of tungsten during Friday practice near the pit-road exit on the 2.5-mile track. The dropped weight was a violation of three sections of the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book (Sections 12:1; 188.8.131.52.1; 20.3.5). NASCAR officials suspended crew chief Scott Eggleston for one Sprint Cup Series race and fined him $25,000. NASCAR also suspended car chief Kevin Eagle for one race. Both were placed on probation through Dec. 31. Mike Curb, the listed team owner for the Premium No. 98, was also docked 15 championship points in the car owner standings. The No. 98 began the year under the Phil Parsons Racing umbrella before Premium Motorsports took ownership in the spring. Josh Wise failed to qualify the car for the season-opening Daytona 500 , but competed in the next 17 races before announcing that he had parted ways with the team. Hill has driven for the team the last two weekends. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule