Denny Hamlin explains what Jeff Gordon has meant to NASCAR and how he looks forward to Jeff being around outside the car.
Former Sprint Cup Series champion's appeal set for Saturday at noon ET RELATED: NASCAR's Official Release " SHR introduces replacement for 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch indefinitely Friday in the wake of a Delaware family court's findings that "by a preponderance of the evidence" the 36-year-old driver "committed an act of domestic violence" against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll on Sept. 24, 2014. NASCAR announced that Busch's punishment was for a behavioral penalty and "actions detrimental to stock car racing following the release today of a supplemental disposition setting forth the findings and conclusions that formed the basis for the Family Court of the State of Delaware's decision on Monday to issue an Order of Protection from Abuse against him." The decision leaves the former Sprint Cup Series champion on the sidelines for stock-car racing's most prestigious race, Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Regan Smith was named as Busch's replacement for the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet, which was scheduled to start 24th in Sunday's Great American Race but will drop to the rear of the field because of the driver change. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, made a statement 40 minutes after the decision was announced, taking no questions from the media. He said that Busch has the right to appeal and that the process would be expedited. Late Friday evening, a NASCAR spokesperson confirmed that Busch would contest the ruling. The appeal hearing is set for Saturday at noon ET. " NASCAR has made it very clear to our entire membership and the broader industry that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry," O'Donnell said. "I want to make it clear that any inference that there is a culture or tolerance for this type of behavior is patently false." Rusty Hardin, Busch's lead attorney, said that the driver's legal team plans to make an "immediate appeal" of NASCAR's decision. According to a NASCAR spokesperson, the appeal will take place on Saturday; a three-person panel would hear the appeal from Busch, who cannot have legal representation at such a hearing. "We assure everyone, including NASCAR , that this action against Mr. Busch will turn out to be a travesty of justice, apparent to all, as this story continues to unfold," Hardin said in a statement, adding, "We ask everyone's patience as this case continues in the court of law and are confident that when the truth is known Mr. Busch will be fully vindicated and back in the driver's seat." Stewart-Haas said in a release that Smith, who will have a Saturday news conference at 9:45 a.m. ET ( Watch live on NASCAR .com ), will remain in the No. 41 Chevy regardless of the outcome of any appeal. Smith, last year's runner-up in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, was also a Stewart-Haas sub last season for team co-owner Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International after Stewart was involved in a fatal sprint car incident at a nearby dirt track the night before the Sprint Cup event. Chevrolet also announced Friday evening that the automaker has cut its ties to Busch. Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Motorsports and Performance Vehicles, said that the manufacturer "has suspended its relationship with Kurt Busch indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Busch and are prepared to take additional action if necessary." NASCAR added in its penalty release that Busch "will not be allowed to race or participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice. "Kurt Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing team are fully aware of our position and why this decision was made. We will continue to respect the process and the timetable of the authorities involved." NASCAR's ruling comes on the heels of conclusions, released Friday, from Kent County (Delaware) Commissioner David Jones that found Driscoll's version of what happened inside Busch's motorcoach that evening at Dover International Speedway was more believable than Busch's, saying that his "version of the events is implausible, does not make sense and is unlikely to be true given the totality of the other evidence admitted at trial." According to the civil disposition report, Jones said he believed Busch committed an act of abuse against Driscoll "by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motor home, thereby recklessly placing (Driscoll) in reasonable fear of physical injury." Jones granted Driscoll a protective order Monday. Busch requested that the case be re-opened, but no ruling has been made. The terms of Jones' conclusion also require Busch "to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional" and to complete any prescribed plan of treatment. The Dover (Delaware) Police Department completed its investigation of the alleged assault on Jan. 6, putting the case in the hands of the county's attorney general's office, which has not decided whether or not Busch will face criminal charges. Driscoll lauded NASCAR's decision to take action. "For victims of domestic violence there are no victories,' " Driscoll said in a statement. "My only hope is that the pain and trauma I suffered through this process will help other victims find their voice. … Today NASCAR took an important step and deserves to be commended. The next steps are to develop a thorough process and policies that reinforce the organization’s position it took today: Domestic violence will not be tolerated in NASCAR ." Friday's announcement marked the third time that Busch -- a 25-time winner and the 2004 champion in NASCAR's top division -- has been forced to miss races in the Sprint Cup Series for disciplinary reasons. In 2005, Roush Fenway Racing severed ties to Busch with two races left in the season after he was cited for reckless driving and became belligerent with Maricopa County (Arizona) sheriff's deputies during a traffic stop near Phoenix International Raceway, according to police reports. In 2012, NASCAR suspended Busch for one race for "verbal abuse of a media member" during a post-race interview at Dover. Before Friday's decision, both Stewart-Haas Racing and NASCAR had declined to discipline Busch, with each opting to let the legal process play out. When news of the investigation broke last November while the series was racing at Phoenix, Busch declined comment and SHR spokespersons referred reporters to Busch's attorney, Rusty Hardin. Team co-owner Gene Haas said in the Phoenix garage that he would not remove Busch as driver of the No. 41 Chevy "until someone else pulls him out." Last Thursday during NASCAR Media Day, Stewart -- a three-time champion and the team's other co-owner -- said the organization had a contingency plan in place should the legal process have an unfavorable outcome. Friday evening, Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer said in a statement provided by the team that "we understand NASCAR's position regarding Kurt Busch and accept their decision. We are in the midst of finalizing our plans for the Daytona 500 and we will announce those details as soon as we're ready." In offseason interviews, Busch said he had no timetable for how long the legal process would take. Last January at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, Busch maintained that his testimony was accurate. "It's a matter of knowing that the truth has been told and we'll see how things unfold," Busch said Jan. 27. "The process, we have to wait on what their decision's going to be." NASCAR chairman Brian France said during his season-ending "State of the Sport" address last November that the sanctioning body would react once concrete details in the legal process were complete. "What's not lost on us by any stretch is the rightful heightened awareness on domestic abuse and violence, and so you can expect our policies to reflect the understandable awareness that that's not going to be tolerated," France said before the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "The past of how any league might have handled some of this is one thing. It's pretty clear when you see what's happening around the country and in some of the other leagues that our policy will reflect the significance and importance that it should." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
During the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend, NASCAR honored our veterans by replacing the names of drivers on the front windshield of the racecar with those of servicemen and women that fought and died for our country.
Unapproved left-side driver heat shield discovered
Four-time champion makes announcement on FOX Sports 1 RELATED: Full coverage of Gordon's final full-time season, announcement CONCORD, N.C. – When Jeff Gordon steps out of the race car and into the television booth next season, he'll still be competing. Only this time it could be with himself instead of 42 other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. The four-time series champion and Hendrick Motorsports driver will be an integral part of the FOX NASCAR broadcast team full time next season as a race analyst. Gordon made the announcement Thursday on FOX Sports 1's "Race Hub" prior to LiftMaster Pole Night at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Gordon will join fellow analyst Darrell Waltrip and play-by-play announcer Mike Joy when FOX opens the 2016 season with the coverage of SpeedWeeks from Daytona International Speedway . He will help call races, practices and qualifying sessions for the network. Former crew chief Larry McReynolds, who currently works alongside Joy and Waltrip, will move to the on-site studio, known as the Hollywood Hotel, where he will be paired with Chris Myers and Michael Waltrip . "I will tell you that being up in the booth, there was an adrenalin rush … it's exciting," Gordon said after qualifying 18th for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 (FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR , 6 p.m.). "I enjoyed it. The competition might be with myself trying to always improve and be better, do the best that I can and push myself." According to a FOX release , Gordon has agreed to a multi-year contract that begins this season. He will serve as the in-race reporter during select Sprint Cup Series events for the remainder of the '15 season. He is one of four drivers so far to join FOX broadcasters in the booth for XFINITY Series races this season. Gordon's schedule saw him in the booth at Texas, Bristol and Talladega, where he joined host Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip . "I was very nervous the first race in Texas and I was not feeling well; I was under the weather unfortunately," Gordon said. "That one I was more nervous. The next one (at Bristol) I was a little more comfortable and Talladega, I got to enjoy it. The racing was fun to talk about, and I thought the experience was enjoyable and I was a little more relaxed. I look forward to gaining that confidence and being … more relaxed." SHOP: Gordon gear Gordon will end a stellar driving career at the season’s end, having won premier series championships in 1995, '97-98 and '01. His 92 career victories are tops among active drivers and third on the series' all-time list, trailing only NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). In addition to his television work, he is expected to continue to contribute to Hendrick Motorsports , where he has spent his entire Sprint Cup career. "I had already made the decision that I was going to step away (from competing full-time) because I have some good options," Gordon, 43, said, "my role at Hendrick Motorsports , my role with (sponsor) Axalta, not to mention some other partners that have interest. "… I didn't know if it was going to happen to be honest. It was going back and forth for a while whether it was going to happen. Eventually all the right things came together." The relationship with Hendrick won't be an issue, he said, but added, "it's going to be something that I'm going to have to respect. "It's something I would never want to overstep the boundaries. I'm going to be conscious of it. But I also feel like it's going to help me stay current and up to speed on the knowledge of what is going on. As long as I'm not sharing too many details, I think just speaking in general, it's going to be a huge advantage for me to have that tie … to be able to bring some of that to the booth." Erik Shanks, FOX Sports President, COO and Executive Producer, called Gordon "not only a champion but an icon of a racing generation. "We are thrilled he has chosen to become a part of the FOX family and pair his experience with Darrell. "Each is credited with helping elevate NASCAR to the popularity it attained during in his respective era, and alongside Mike Joy, this duo will treat fans to unmatched insights each and every week." Gordon’s familiar red No. 24 Chevrolet will be driven by 2014 XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott beginning next season. FOX Sports is in the first year of a new, 10-year media rights agreement that consists of coverage of each season's first 16 Sprint Cup Series points races as well as the first 14 XFINITY Series events and all Camping World Truck Series races. NBC holds the rights to the season's final 20 Sprint Cup events. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Sammi Jo Francis gets you caught up on tweets you might have missed from around the NASCAR community.
Unparalleled tool technology innovator joins family of official NASCAR partners RELATED: NASCAR Official Release From the high-pressure stakes in the garage to split-second decisions on pit road, NASCAR teams are driven by the most skilled pit crew members and technicians in the motorsports industry. Today, the unveiling of a new partnership will welcome a staple in the garage for more than 50 years to the family of Official NASCAR Partners. NASCAR and Ingersoll Rand, a global leader in reliable and innovative power tools, announced a multi-year partnership designating Ingersoll Rand as the "Official Power Tools of NASCAR ." The agreement also designates Ingersoll Rand as an Official Partner of the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) and as a contingency sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series. Ingersoll Rand's power tools revolutionized NASCAR pit stop tire changes at their introduction to the sport in 1959, and the company quickly became a familiar sight in the garage selling and servicing the tools for peak performance. "Ingersoll Rand has been rooted in racing for decades and this renewed relationship celebrates the tireless work of pit crew mechanics and passionate race fans across all levels of racing," said John Evans, president of power tools at Ingersoll Rand. "We know how important tool performance is in racing – if your tools perform, your vehicle performs. We are now putting high -performance Ingersoll Rand tools into the hands of the best auto technicians in the world while engaging fans who have a passion for cars." In 1995, Ingersoll Rand was made famous in the garage when Jeff Gordon and then crew chief Ray Evernham's "Rainbow Warriors" pit crew had a series of unmatched victories, rooted in spectacular pit road performances. Evernham helped Ingersoll Rand in 1998 introduce the latest generation of pit stop tire changing tools, the Thunder Gun, to teams seeking more power, speed and durability under pressure, which is still used today and offers the highest performance. "Ingersoll Rand, a global brand that has a rich history in NASCAR , understands how to utilize our sport to effectively connect with the racing community," said Jim O'Connell, chief sales officer, NASCAR . "The new partnership reinforces their desire to engage fans across all levels of our sport and we are proud to welcome them to our family of Official NASCAR Partners." As part of Ingersoll Rand's official partnership with NASCAR , the company will be at the track each weekend providing expert tool support, service, new tool demonstrations for pit crews and will offer fans the opportunity to try tools first hand. Additionally, Ingersoll Rand will launch its Home Tracks Text-to-Win contest for fans at tracks throughout the season. Fans will have opportunities to win Ingersoll Rand prize packs and meet-and-greets with pit crews and other high-profile racing personalities. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Learn how to get live streaming of NASCAR races on NBC Sports with the NBC Live Extra app.
Team release says that assets have been purchased Photo courtesy of Viva Motorsports Viva Motorsports, which fields the No. 55 entry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, announced on Monday that the team is ceasing operations effective this week, according to a release issued by the organization. The team was on track at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, where Jeffrey Earnhardt was behind the wheel of the No. 55 Chevrolet and finished in 34th place. The organization made its NASCAR debut in 2009 and competed in both the XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. "It takes a tremendous level of commitment to compete at this level of auto racing, especially when striving to get better on limited resources, week in and week out," team owner Jamie Dick said in a release provided by the team. "It has come to a point where my family and I cannot continue to make the personal and financial commitments that this sport requires. I have always been proud of the quality of race team we brought to the track. Instead of lessening that quality, we decided to take a step back from the sport." "I want to thank the whole NASCAR community for allowing me to be part of the family. I want to thank our sponsors and our fans for all the support through the years. But most of all, I want to thank the employees of Viva Motorsports, both past and present, for making this team the best it could be." All the team assets have been purchased and the No. 55 car will appear in a handful of races in the 2015 season, according to the release . This season, Earnhardt (six races), Dick (five races) and Brandon Gdovic (two races) split driving duties in the No. 55 car. Dick missed some time after being diagnosed with new onset diabetes after the Phoenix race in March. The team's best result in 13 races this season was a 12th-place showing by Earnhardt at Talladega in May. A few weeks ago, Dick sat down with NASCAR .com's Pat DeCola at the team's shop in China Grove, North Carolina, to discuss the challenges of running a single-car team. "I do (have a single-car team, "us against the world" mentality). I don’t try to make it a point to spread that opinion throughout our employees and everyone else, but I certainly have that opinion," Dick said. "Because of that mentality, I'm glad we do our own single-car team. Not that we want to be a single-car team, I just mean that we’re independent and we own it and we do it." Dick also reflected on where his own driving career was heading. The 26-year-old has made 60 XFINITY Series starts and 14 Camping World Truck Series starts in his career. "The trajectory and the path of the mountain of my driving career and Viva Motorsports have already started to split and have more and more over the past year or two. I think they'll continue to split more. I don't think that my driving career will blossom into something greater than it is right now. I still like driving and I want to be the best race car driver I can be, but I don’t foresee any opportunities coming along to advance my driving career beyond what it is now, which I'm perfectly OK with. I'm happy with where I am and where I've made it." The Albuquerque, New Mexico native had big hopes for the organization, telling NASCAR .com in May that he would love to work his way into the Sprint Cup Series one day. "The potential for Viva Motorsports to grow with other drivers and other partners and other sponsors, the sky is the limit," Dick said last month. "I'd still love to venture into the Cup Series if the right opportunity presented itself, but I realize how difficult it is and I don't want to go in there with a half-hearted effort. I want the right opportunity to do it right way. That probably will never mean the 'right way' compared to Joe Gibbs or Rick Hendrick, but at least the right way as something that we can be proud of." And those hopes extended to the team's XFINITY efforts. "I hope in three to five years we're no longer a single-car team. I hope we're a two or three car XFINITY car team competing for better finishes, top-10 finishes, and continue to present ourselves professionally like we do now." --- NASCAR .com's Pat DeCola contributed to this report. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See what's coming this week to NASCAR .com Here's what you'll see on NASCAR .com this week: MONDAY: Martin Truex Jr . didn't win at Michigan, but he accomplished something last done by Richard Petty in 1969. Zack Albert will have more on that story from the Irish Hills. ... @nascarcasm recaps the race in pictures, as only he can. ... The Rundown covers where every driver finished, and why. TUESDAY: Earnhardt Jr. finished second at Michigan and talks to senior writer Kenny Bruce about his plans for the Chase. ... With the off-week upon us, we're starting to look ahead to project the Chase field. ... Wonder what Kurt Busch 's Facebook page might look like after a win? @nascarcasm has you covered. WEDNESDAY: Check out which paint schemes will be on display at this weekend at Iowa and Chicagoland, which host the Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series, respectively. ... Senior writer Kenny Bruce gets you caught up on all competition aspects of the sport with his weekly Tech Talk story. THURSDAY: The U.S. Open begins today, which got us at NASCAR .com thinking ... if NASCAR had four majors, which races would make up that grouping? We'll have more on this concept. ... Senior writer Holly Cain previews the NBC race coverage team in advance of the network's return to covering the sport at Daytona. FRIDAY: There are five on-track events, and we'll cover them all, starting at 11 a.m. ET with Camping World Truck Series practice and culminating later in the evening with the Truck Series race at 8:30 p.m. ET. We'll also have eight of the best tweets that you may have missed from the previous week. Also coming this week: We'll recap the entire Michigan weekend in GIF form, a fun way to look back at the top moments from the track. ... How do Kyle Busch 's Chase chances look? We'll update our Chase Watcher for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. ... Father's Day is Sunday, which means we'll have plenty of pictures of drivers with their dads ... and drivers with their kids.