NASCAR executive holds court in impromptu Twitter chat As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season wound down, the flaring out of side skirts gained more attention both on television and in the garage, despite it being within the rules. The sanctioning body plans to address the issue, NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell shared via Twitter on Tuesday evening as he responded to a fan question. “ @dougienoshare : @odsteve Does NASCAR have plans to address the pulled out side skirts for next year?”yES — Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) November 26, 2014 Yanking the side skirts in front of the rear wheels during pit stops was perceived to provide an aerodynamic benefit as a makeshift fender flare. The practice became more commonplace in the second half of the season as teams attempted to improve airflow over the rear of the car. NASCAR officials did not regulate the practice. In the impromptu Twitter chat, O'Donnell also shared about how many Goodyear tire tests he expected in 2015, as well which track on the circuit is his favorite. “ @EmilyFHummel : @odsteve how many goodyear tire test will there be next year? (Is that known yet?)” still tbd 10-12 — Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) November 25, 2014 “ @Cody2488 : @odsteve Do you have a favorite track that you like to go to?” Like them all but love opening @DISupdates — Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) November 26, 2014 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Writer offers thanks to those that help make NASCAR part of her world RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated I can't remember if I was grumbling about a commercial break, a caution period or a drive-through penalty. The point is, I was grumbling. If cautions breed cautions, then complaints breed pure, unadulterated whining. I don't ever want to be thought of as a cynical or jaded NASCAR fan, but sometimes it's just way too easy to pick apart anything or anyone. After all, complaining is the art of making something out of nothing just to have a reason to speak. And, in addition to being wholly unattractive, it is generally fruitless. When I find myself whining about minutiae (especially something so good as NASCAR ), I take a breath and look at the big picture with a fresh appreciation. So, in the spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to appreciate those who make this sport a part of my world for 10 months of the year. I am thankful to the families that share their dads, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters every weekend. As pit crew, officials, PR representatives, or people driving around in golf carts looking important, these folks spend time away from their families for jobs that help facilitate my addiction to NASCAR . I am thankful for commercials -- even the one with older couples holding hands while soaking in bathtubs out in the middle of a dock. You help pay for the broadcast. I am thankful for the drivers whose personalities and driving styles irritate the rest of the field. You give us someone to root against. I appreciate members of the media, who work tirelessly to bring me news and information. I am grateful for scanner headsets with microphones. You keep me from pulling the ear pad off and yelling, "What?" I am thankful to get a reminder postcard in the mail six months ahead of a race asking if I'd like to purchase tickets. I'm not too proud to admit, I can use a good reminder for any aspect of my life. And, yes, I do want those tickets. I am grateful to NASCAR for introducing and tweaking the Chase. I gained a ton of "street cred" after explaining it to several guys who weren't sure how to structure the office betting pool. Not to mention, I actually like the new system -- and that's coming from someone who is slow to embrace change (I'm still using Windows 7). I appreciate my husband and kids, who now know instinctively not to ask to change the channel until after the post-race interviews. And, lastly, I am appreciative that " NASCAR Nation" is full of folks who can tolerate a little of my whining. I wish you all the joys of being thankful. SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc and 'Nashville's' Stella Sisters to perform DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 24, 2014) -- The slogan is as recognizable as any: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But NASCAR will make an exception on Dec. 5 when it gives audiences a front row seat as Jay Mohr, Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc and Lennon and Maisy take the stage at the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards™ show from the Wynn Las Vegas® live on FOX Sports 1. This year, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will honor 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick, as well as celebrate the other Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ Challengers. FOX Sports 1 will provide coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET. Mohr will serve as the host for the second consecutive year. The actor, comedian, radio host and best-selling author has one of the most expansive backgrounds in show business. After landing his dream job at "Saturday Night Live" and launching his career in film alongside Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire," Mohr appeared in approximately 200 network television episodes and more than 25 feature films. Additionally, his national radio show, "Jay Mohr Sports," is syndicated in more than 155 markets across the U.S. With a career in entertainment that spans over three decades, Mohr has become an artist who knows no limits, making him the perfect person to help celebrate NASCAR ’s most prominent drivers. "This is my fifth time hosting the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards and I'm honored to share the stage once again with some of the most talented athletes in the world," said Mohr. "This has been an incredibly exciting year for NASCAR and it's not every day that you get to be a part of a defining moment in the history of a sport." Keeping his NASCAR performance streak rolling following his act at NASCAR's season-opening, crown jewel event the 2014 DAYTONA 500® at Daytona International Speedway®, Blacc will kick off the musical entertainment for the night with the soulful selection that has "woken up" audiences around the world. The singer / songwriter collaborated as vocalist and co-writer on well-known DJ/producer Avicci’s 2013 track "Wake Me Up," which topped the charts in more than 100 countries across the globe, before releasing his third album "Lift Your Spirit" in March 2014. The rapper-turned-singer uses his surging popularity to affect social change and to deliver messages of positivity and passion. Later in the evening, the seven-time GRAMMY™ Award winning trio Lady Antebellum will keep the audience rocking with a new song from their fifth album entitled "747." The 11-song disc has already spawned the PLATINUM certified multi-week chart-topping smash hit "Bartender," and its new single "Freestyle" is quickly climbing the charts. The new album follows over 11 million albums sold worldwide, nine trips to No. 1 on the country radio charts, six Platinum singles and "Vocal Group of the Year" honors from both the CMA and ACMs three years in a row. Lady Antebellum just wrapped their headlining "TAKE ME DOWNTOWN TOUR," which hit 80 cities in Canada and the U.S. over the course of the year, and delighted both fans and critics with the "Dallas Morning News " declaring, "Lady Antebellum shows off its warranted leap to superstardom." For more information visit: www.ladyantebellum.com . Additionally, 15-year-old Lennon Stella and her 10-year-old sister Maisy Stella from ABC’s hit drama "Nashville" will perform. The daughters of the recording duo Brad and MaryLynne Stella, Lennon and Maisy's musical roots run deep. In 2013, the sisters had a show-stopping performance of "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers on "Nashville," which quickly entered the top 40 of Billboard's "Hot Country Songs" list. Later that same year, Lennon and Maisy performed at the CMA Awards™ and presented Taylor Swift with her Pinnacle award. They also performed at The White House this year and sang alongside cast members from "Degrassi," Magic Johnson, Martin Sheen, The Band Perry, and J.R. Martinez at "We Day Minnesota" last month. This year's talent will join the esteemed list of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards show artists from previous years, which include chart-topping singers, such as John Mellencamp, Phillip Phillips, Sara Bareilles, Dierks Bentley and Kid Rock. "The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards present the opportunity to spotlight the biggest names in NASCAR , and we are thrilled to augment that star power with some of the most popular personalities in the entertainment industry," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "This year's line-up is sure to add to what has been one of NASCAR's most climactic racing seasons ever."
Cain: Three-time premier series champ battered, but not defeated Tony Stewart had just returned to his motor coach after debriefing with crew chief Chad Johnston following opening practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The upside of practice was that three of the four Stewart-Haas Racin g team cars were among the top 10 fastest on the speed chart. The downside: Stewart was not one of them. So the face of the team, a beloved three-time champion of the sport, ran his hands through his noticeably longer, noticeably grayer hair and sighed -- managing just a slight corner-of-the-mouth smile. "I didn't have this gray hair two years ago,'' he said, shaking his head and allowing just a trace of his trademark dry wit to appear. During this rare late season interview Stewart's voice was soft and subdued. His body language spoke more loudly, his emotions still tangible and heavy. Stewart has spent much of the last two seasons broken in body and in heart, his strong spirit battered. In August 2013 Stewart suffered a broken right leg in a sprint car accident, the fractures to his tibia and fibula forcing him out of his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet for the remaining 15 races of NASCAR's Sprint Cup season. Still recovering from that injury and walking with a noticeable limp, Stewart started out 2014 assuring everyone that he was ready to race, insisting that his leg hurt more out of the race car than in it. The Stewart-like results weren't immediate, but he reminded people that there was a new rules package for which he had to adjust and a new crew chief with whom to get in sync. He preached patience, not panic. This summer, by the one-year anniversary of his leg injury, Stewart had already begun entering sprint car races again sporadically, in a low-key manner. It was an important personal milestone -- both physically and emotionally. Racing sprint cars is where Stewart is happiest. No pressure, just fun. It's his golf game, his family, his joy. When he shows up -- mostly unannounced -- for one of the Friday or Saturday night shows at some random, small-town dirt track, he is the first to offer financial assistance to the struggling young racer in the pits next to him. Stewart well remembers what it was like to need that one break. Just as often, it's a piece of advice or a supporting pat on the back from Stewart that will make that racer's night and provide a rocking chair moment in 50 years. That passion is what makes the Aug. 9, 2014, incident so hard to endure -- then and now. While competing on a Saturday night in upstate New York during the Sprint Cup race weekend at Watkins Glen, New York, Stewart was involved in a bizarre and tragic accident. Another driver upset after crashing out of the race, 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., got out of his sprint car and walked down the track toward the racing line to confront Stewart as he drove by. Stewart's car struck Ward, who died of his injuries. Stewart took most of the next month off from NASCAR out of respect to the Ward family, and to collect himself and grieve after an unimaginable turn in life while doing the one thing that had always been his steady source of happiness. Almost immediately after the accident television pundits joined sudden racing experts -- many of whom had never covered a race before, and many more who had never even met Stewart -- to offer loud and often misinformed opinions in the aftermath. A grand jury heard all the evidence and thoroughly contemplated the hard facts (witness accounts and video footage) and decided there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and on Sept. 24 formally cleared Stewart. The experience has obviously altered Stewart's perspective and changed his life. In unanticipated ways, too. The outpouring of support he received from fans, his corporate partners and fellow drivers in all forms of motorsports was humbling and strengthening. Stewart found out that so often, it's in the darkest and harshest times that you realize true friendship and the importance of the big picture. It was evident that weekend in Homestead, where despite the difficulties and turmoil of the season, Stewart intently focused on what he had to be thankful for, even as he still grappled with the tragic circumstances of the previous months and disappointments on-track. Here was Stewart about to have his first winless Cup season in his Hall of Fame 16-year career. "If that streak doesn't continue, it's not going to make my year any worse, by any means. It might have been something to help salvage it,'' Stewart said after a long, thoughtful pause. As it turned out, there was another thing that at least made the season more bearable. And on the last NASCAR race weekend of the year -- at a track where in 2011 Stewart put double exclamation points on one of the single most impressive NASCAR championship runs in the sport's history -- his good friend and teammate Kevin Harvick was less than 48 hours away from delivering the team its second title in four years, in similar style. "I think winning this championship with Kevin, it would be more gratifying to me from the standpoint, we've won it as an owner/driver, but to win it with a guy that's a good friend of yours, to win this year with all the adversity that I went through, I think it solidifies what Stewart-Haas Racing is all about and shows the depth in our organization,'' Stewart said. "That's what it will prove if we can win this championship, how solid our program is to have done it with two different drivers and have so many people make the Chase each year. This is what will really put us on the map." In what could be a microcosm of Stewart's year, he finished 43rd at Homestead after being collected in an early-race accident -- but he was still able to enjoy watching Harvick win the race and hoist the Sprint Cup trophy. The hugs, handshakes, high-fives and pure emotions of it all during the victory celebration had to be a great release for Stewart, who considers the friendship part of the relationship equally as important as the business success. "You know, there's a lot of things I would love to change about the last 18 months of my life, but tonight is not one of them,'' Stewart said after the race. "I'm going to enjoy this moment, and I'm going to enjoy it with this group and this young man. "We're going to go celebrate and enjoy this because this group of people here have deserved it, and this is a great family and this is a great group of people to lean on." It echoed what Stewart said two days earlier in his motor coach, the great solace friendships have given him in times of despair -- a comforting asset he takes as he tries to move forward. Stewart will spend what little downtime he has after the season with friends like SHR crew chief Tony Gibson and World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser. He'll attend the Chili Bowl as a spectator, cheering on those he would normally compete against. Just being in that atmosphere, surrounded by friends and supporters, will have to be enough for now. "That's one thing that hasn't changed no matter what's gone on,'' Stewart said, his voice perking up to make the point. "It's the one consistency in my life. And I'm so grateful." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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