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
No. 1 team assessed P2 penalty; Nos. 48, 51 teams get P1s DAYTONA BEACH , Fla. (May 27, 2015) -- Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams have been penalized following last week's event at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The No. 1 team has been penalized for an infraction occurring during pre-qualifying inspection May 21. The right rear quarter panel wheel opening was modified after qualifying inspection. The infraction is a P2 level penalty and violates the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book: 12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing. 20.4.b: Body; All approved OEM-manufactured body components must be used as supplied except as required to stiffen, or to attach to other vehicle components. Tolerances from CAD surfaces and template tolerances are provided to allow for manufacturing, fabrication, and installation variability. Approved Parts: GM R: NSCS 0786. Part Name: Quarter Panel RS, Effective date Aug. 1, 2012. 20.4.2: Surface Conformance (a). Coordinate measuring machines, scanning equipment, and templates, among other tools, will be used to inspect body surfaces for conformance to the approved OEM and NASCAR CAD files. As a result of this violation, crew chief Matt McCall has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Additionally, two teams -- the No. 48 and No. 51 -- have been assessed P1 level penalties for receiving written warnings in two consecutive events, both at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The No. 48 team received a warning from the May 16 event and also received one from pre-qualifying inspection from last week’s event. In addition to receiving a warning from the May 16 event, the No. 51 team also received one from pre-race inspection from last week's event. Per Section 126.96.36.199 of the NASCAR rule book: Warnings and P1 penalty options : b. Multiple warnings issued to the same member or team will result in one or more P1 penalties; c. If the same team receives two warnings during the same event or two warnings during two consecutive events, whether the events are championship or non-championship, then this may result in one or more ... P1 penalties at NASCAR's discretion. As a result of these infractions the No. 48 and No. 51 teams will receive the last two choices in the pit selection process, respective to qualifying results, for this weekend's event at Dover International Speedway .
Crew chiefs, drivers discuss tire used at Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams continue to wrestle with a 2015 rules package for intermediate tracks, one that was expected to enhance passing but thus far has provided mixed results. It's early, one-third of the way through the 36-race schedule, and teams will no doubt make gains as the season wears on. But it wasn't the rules package that concerned Rodney Childers following Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "I'll say it in the nicest way possible, but they have completely ruined Charlotte Motor Speedway with changing tires," said Childers, crew chief of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet with defending series champion Kevin Harvick . "You just can't race anybody and whoever was in front was just (staying) in front. You ride around 600 miles and can't pass a soul." This year's tire of choice for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte included a right-side tire that featured the multi-zone technology first used two years ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway . The inside two inches was the same compound run at Texas this season while the outer portion was the same used at CMS last year. Goodyear officials held two Charlotte tests, last December and in March of this year, to determine the tire selection. Tires using similar multi-zone technology have also been used at Richmond. Childers said the multi-zone tire has adversely affected the competition at Richmond and Texas as well. "It's so aggravating," he said. Harvick finished ninth Sunday night, the 11th top-10 of the year for the series points leader and winner of two races thus far this season. Carl Edwards ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) won Sunday's race thanks in part to better fuel mileage in his No. 19 Toyota. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who finished third-place, spoke about the multi-zone tires after the All-Star race on his weekly "The Dale Jr. Download" on Dirty Mo Radio. "We've (run) it before at other tracks with sort of mixed results as far as how much we actually like the tire, how good the tire feels how good the tire drives," Earnhardt said. "I don't know … I didn't really like it that much this past race. "(The tire) is just really hard on that inside edge and as you might have seen in the All-Star Race when a lot of us tried to run the top we just were so loose and spinning out and getting into the fence, having a lot of trouble with that. So that tire really took away the top groove, I felt. I couldn't get up there and make much time." In spite of "mixed results at other tracks," Earnhardt said the tire does have at least one thing going for it. "It is safer, so you can't complain about that," he said. While there were nine lead changes in the first 100 laps of the 400-lap race, four came during an early competition caution and a later round of green-flag pit stops. The 22 lead changes for the race were the fewest (in a full 600-mile event) since 2004. "I'm happy for Carl and I'm happy for Darian (Grubb, crew chief)," said Childers. "They did what they needed to do to win the race and that's the end of the story. "More just disappointed in what we've got going on lately. We've got to work together and get the right tires on these things and make them where we can race each other. If you can't race, you're not going to put on a good show. That's just the way it is right now." Grubb said the use of the multi-zone tire gives teams "a little bit more of a margin of durability." "This used to be one of the tracks we'd come to and we'd be really nervous," he said, "especially if the rain came or something (and) the track got green. There's no way you can make a fuel run on the first set or two. You'd end up with cords on the outside and the inside of the tire." The multi-zone tire has made inside wear a non-issue. Grubb said his team saw no signs of distress on his team's tires. "So I think they've got the combination right for durability," he said. "It does give up a little bit of grip versus what the old tire did, but we'll pay that price to have some consistency and durability." Speaking of tires … Teams competing in this weekend's Camping World Truck , XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series races at Dover International Speedway will have a new left-side tire. The code is the same as what was run at Texas ( Sprint Cup and XFINITY ) earlier this year. It was also used at Texas, Chicago, Darlington and Homestead last season. Long race, few penalties For only the fourth time this season, fewer than 20 penalties were handed down during a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with 19 being doled out in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 . The most common infractions were pitting before pit road was open (six) and excessive speed entering/exiting (four). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Get full lineup of NASCAR programming for the week RELATED: See the full weekend schedule All times ET Monday, May 25 10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 4:30 p.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 Special (re-air), NBC Sports Network 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Tuesday, May 26 10 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Wednesday, May 27 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Thursday, May 28 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 11:30 p.m., NASCAR America: States of NASCAR #5 (re-air), NBC Sports Network Midnight, NASCAR America: States of NASCAR #6 (re-air), NBC Sports Network 12:30 a.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 - 2015, Episode 2 (re-air), NBC Sports Network 1 a.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 - 2015, Episode 1 (re-air), NBC Sports Network 1:30 a.m., NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Sr. Moments (re-air), NBC Sports Network Friday, May 29 10 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FOX Sports 1 11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 2 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FOX Sports 1 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 5 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup, FOX Sports 1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 , FOX Sports 1 Saturday, May 30 4 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 11 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 Noon, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship - Detroit Belle Isle, FOX Sports 2 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 2:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket , FOX Sunday, May 31 10:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice (re-air), FOX Sports 1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Dover, FOX Sports 1 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks, FOX Sports 1 5 p.m., TUDOR United SportsCar Championship - Detroit Belle Isle (re-air), FOX Sports 1 3 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1 &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;
See what's coming this week to NASCAR .com Here's what you'll see on NASCAR .com this week: MONDAY: Can't get enough Coca-Cola 600 coverage? George Winkler and Kenny Bruce have you covered with extensive reporting on NASCAR's longest race. ... @nascarcasm dreams up what drivers would tweet to President Obama, now that he has a personal account on Twitter. TUESDAY: Look for Power Rankings presented by John Deere to get another shakeup this week. Who would you vote for No. 1? Make sure to tell us in the comments section. Senior writer Kenny Bruce takes a deep dive into what actually goes on during a rookie meeting, and how that has changed over time. Plus, check out @nascarcasm's always-hilarious photo recap of the Coca-Cola 600 WEDNESDAY: Check out which paint schemes will be on display at Dover International Speedway this weekend for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks . Plus, learn more about the history of Dover in our track photo gallery. High 5, which drops every Wednesday at noon ET, will bring some of the best NASCAR -related content from around the web. THURSDAY: It's a tripleheader at Dover, so trucks are on track for 145 minutes -- NASCAR .com has you covered with a live leaderboard. Senior writer Holly Cain will feature how Catwalk for a Cause has become so near and dear to Martin Truex Jr . Speaking of Truex, Dover is his home track, and we'll look back on his first career win at the 1-mile concrete oval. FRIDAY: There are six on-track events, and we'll cover them all, starting at 10 a.m. with XFINITY Series practice and culminating later in the evening with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. 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 Charlotte weekend in GIF form, a fun way to look back at the top moments from CMS ... Dover is known for its unique trophy -- check out it, along with some of the others from across the sport ... Kenny Bruce hits all the high notes from a technical perspective on Wednesday in Tech Talk ... Thursday's Driver Reports will forecast who should be favored at the Monster Mile.
Sprint Cup stars take to social media to offer congratulations Juan Pablo Montoya 's second career Indianapolis 500 win elicited plenty of social media reaction from his former competitors and friends in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Tony Stewart and Joey Logano were among those to offer their congratulations. The victory came as he drove for Roger Penske, giving Penske wins in two of racing's marquee events this season: The Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Penske joins Chip Ganassi as the only other team owner to win both events in the same year. Fifteen years ago, Montoya won his first Indianapolis 500 driving for Ganassi. Since then, Montoya spent time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, winning two races and competing full-time in the series from 2007 to 2013. He made two Sprint Cup starts last season for Penske. Check out the sampling of reaction below. During his time in @ NASCAR , @jpmontoya was always really cool to me. I looked up to him as a true wheelman. So good to see him win today. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) May 24, 2015 Congratulations to @jpmontoya that was a hell of a drive. — Mark Martin (@markmartin) May 24, 2015 Ole @jpmontoya was on it there at the end definitely was wheeling that thing more than any of them #Indianapolis500 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) May 24, 2015 Big congrats to @jpmontoya on the #Indy500 win!!!! — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) May 24, 2015 Hell yeah @jpmontoya . Awesome. Indy 500 & Daytona 500 to RP. That was awesome. Congrats @12WillPower in the runner up too. — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) May 24, 2015 Congrats @jpmontoya , massive effort!!! #Indianapolis500 — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) May 24, 2015 HELL YEAH! Great job my friend. Proud of my buddy Juan Pablo Montoya today at the #Indy500 — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) May 24, 2015
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
Unapproved left-side driver heat shield discovered
Find out why this story still resonates with young drivers RELATED: Evolution of rookie meeting " Youngest, oldest rookie winners A 2005 crash involving Bobby Labonte at Pocono Raceway continues to serve as a reminder for rookie drivers today in NASCAR ’s three national series. "We were getting ready to put right-side glasses in the trucks when we were going to Talladega," NASCAR XFINITY Series Director Wayne Auton said. "We'd never run right-side windows in the trucks before. I was talking to Bobby about some stuff to help us get ready to go down there and one of the things he brought up was about running the right-side glass. "I sort of questioned about why we should be worried about the right-side glass. And he said, 'well what happened to me was … I got pinned up against the outside wall (on the) driver's side.' There was so much smoke inside the car he got disoriented … and couldn't get out of the car." As a result of the incident, Labonte set out to correct the problem, meeting with former crew chief Jimmy Makar one evening at the Joe Gibbs Racing shop. "He told me that he crawled in the car, buckled himself in and then told Jimmy to turn off the lights," Auton said. "He started to get out of the car and … hooked himself on something. So he stopped and told Jimmy to turn on the lights. They adjusted some things he crawled back in the car, buckled back in, turned off the lights. Started to come out again, got hooked on something, stopped, turned on lights, adjusted that, sat back down … and he came out of the car. "He said he tried that two or three times just to make sure he knew where everything was in the car." Makar, now senior vice president of racing operations at JGR, said the biggest issue for the driver was the bars inside the car and locating the window release on the right side. "You have to crawl over them and you have to find the window release ; that was hard to do," Makar said. “When you're in a panic and trying to do it, it's not intuitive. "Crawling over those bars is hard enough, but those two things combined, that was something that he said on his own that 'we need to figure this out. I need to be able to do this better.' "Most of the stuff that’s in the way is stuff that has to be there. The bars, the way the seats are with the headrest, it makes it very hard to get through that space. "It's just a matter of figuring you the best way to maneuver yourself, headfirst or feet first, what part is first? And that was mostly it, just doing it. And not having to do it in a panic the first time." Auton relates the importance of being able to exit the vehicle from the right side each time he oversees a rookie meeting where the right-side windows are required (all tracks 1.5 miles or larger). Locks are attached to a strap that, when pulled from the inside, release the window. "The driver can take it out from the inside or the safety teams or crews can take it off from the outside," Auton said. "… We don't want it locked to where the driver can't have access to remove it." "Most think you just crawl in your car and you drive it and you don't worry about nothing. We try to explain to them that it's as important getting out of your car as it is getting in it. Because there might be that one time that you need to go out the right side." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Watch five-time Brickyard 400 winner talk about driving Indy 500 pace car RELATED: Gordon to drive Indy 500 pace car Five-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon is doing the Indy 500- Coca-Cola 600 double on Sunday. After driving the Chevrolet Z06 Corvette pace car to start the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway , Gordon will fly to Charlotte Motor Speedway to compete in the 56th running of the Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). Gordon is on the ground in Speedway, Indiana and will meet the media at 10:30 a.m. ET. Watch the news conference live here. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule