Matthew Dillner takes to the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage to see who is ready for short-track racing at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Four-time champion asked for meeting on safety measures after Atlanta wreck Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live LAS VEGAS -- Four-time premier series champion Jeff Gordon will meet with NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell next week to discuss the sanctioning body's safety measures, including the potential expanded use of SAFER barriers. Gordon, in his final season of full-time competition, dropped that bit of information Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway less than a week after he smacked a concrete wall at Atlanta Motor Speedway and two weeks after Kyle Busch broke his right leg in a wreck at Daytona International Speedway . "I reached out to them," Gordon said of the meeting. "It's a meeting to discuss some things, that being one of them. "I think it's important to note, the tracks and NASCAR are doing a lot to put as much effort into (taking additional safety measures) right away. There is only so much that can be done in a short period of time. … I'm looking forward to getting together with them to hear a little more detail about that progress." Gordon, who has raced in every premier series event since the season finale in 1992, can remember a time when there were no SAFER barriers. And he remembers what it felt like to hit those rough walls consistently. When he finds a SAFER barrier-less concrete wall on occasion -- like at Atlanta -- it's a rude, often painful reminder of just how effective the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction safety system is. "If you race long enough, you're going to hit stuff and you're going to hit hard," Gordon said. "I've hit a lot of walls with (SAFER barriers), and I've hit a lot of them without. When I hit one without, it's always, 'Wow, what did I just hit? What was that?' I'm always caught off-guard by the impact and how severe it is. "With a SAFER barrier -- this happened to me at Texas, I blew a right front tire going into Turn 1. I thought, 'Oh, God, this is going to hurt … oh that wasn't so bad.' It's a huge difference." Gordon joined the chorus of NASCAR drivers calling for an increased SAFER barrier presence following both Busch's wreck, and then his own. Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway , site of next week's race, both made safety modifications in advance of their respective events. "We said that there's no greater priority for NASCAR in working with the tracks to have SAFER everywhere," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Office Steve O'Donnell told NASCAR .com earlier this week. "In terms of where it makes sense, obviously there's some challenges with different gates where you've got to look at some other technologies, but for us, the process is in place for short-term plans where we've worked with Atlanta and the upcoming West Coast tracks, and longer-term, implementing the SAFER barriers as quickly as we can." When next week's meeting concludes, the 43-year-old Gordon said he would share his gleanings with other drivers in the garage. As for the answers he hopes to get, one stands out -- What was the SAFER barrier plan before Busch got injured? "The one thing I would question is, when did SAFER barriers start being put at race tracks and what was the plan for them to be complete?" Gordon said. "I was under the impression when they started going in that it was going to be a three- or four-year plan to implement the SAFER barrier on every wall that needed to have one. "I think everybody knows it's a priority, but it seems to be kind of pushed further long since Kyle's accident. Where were we prior to Kyle's accident on that plan? We need to know what that timeframe is." 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
From a tie in 1974 to the wrong driver in Victory Lane, relive some of the wackiest moments in NASCAR history.
Six drivers will compete in diverse driver development program DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), the leading developmental platform for female and multicultural drivers and pit crew members, announced its 2015 class today. The program welcomes four talented program newcomers to the roster of six drivers striving to transition into the sport’s national series spotlight. Rev Racing, the program’s competition arm, has played a key role in the development of 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr . and Daniel Suarez. "Taking steps to find and develop young female and multicultural athletes who could represent the future of NASCAR is at the core of our organization’s mission," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "We were impressed by the talent displayed at the Combine [in October of 2014], and are eager to help this group develop their strengths on and off the track." Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2015 class is led by returning K&N Pro Series East driver Jay Beasley and Devon Amos, who after an impressive 2014 performance in the Whelen All-American Series earned a spot in the K&N Pro Series East. The 2015 NASCAR D4D roster includes: Devon Amos : Returning to the team, the 23-year-old Rio Rancho, New Mexico, native will make the jump to the K&N Pro Series East after two full seasons in the Whelen All-American Series. Jay Beasley: Finishing 13th overall and sixth in a loaded Sunoco Rookie of the Year field in the K&N Pro Series East last season, the 23-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada will return for a second season, aiming to best his rookie campaign. Collin Cabre: After an impressive NASCAR D4D Combine performance, the 21-year-old Thonotosassa, Florida, native will compete in the K&N Pro Series East in his first year with Rev Racing. Cabre has spent the past five years racing asphalt and dirt sprint cars. Natalie Decker: A 17-year-old newcomer to the Rev Racing roster from Eagle River, Wisconsin, Decker collected feature wins in a limited late model and super late model, as well as earning Rookie and Sportsman of the Year honors in ARCA SCAG Midwest Truck Tour. She will compete in the Whelen All-American Series in 2015. Kenzie Ruston: Entering her third season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and first with Rev Racing, the 22-year-old El Reno, Oklahoma, native is also a member of NASCAR Next , an industry initiative to identify tomorrow’s stars. Ruston broke her own record in 2014 as the highest finishing female driver in the K&N Pro Series East with a runner-up finish at Iowa Speedway on her way to finishing ninth in points. Dylan Smith: The 22-year-old from Randolph, Vermont earned a spot with Rev Racing in the Whelen All-American Series after competing in his own Late Model last year. The Stewart-Haas Racing employee ran 15 races and finished 38th in the Whelen All-American Series Division I national standings. Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel’s leadership, the development program aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping NASCAR D4D drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of reaching one of NASCAR's three national series. " NASCAR Drive for Diversity goes much deeper than putting drivers behind the wheel of race cars," said Siegel. "The program is all encompassing, providing competition, athletic training and professional development opportunities for drivers who have the determination and talent to reach NASCAR's top levels. We've seen this with Larson, Suarez and Wallace Jr. and are excited about the potential of this talented group of drivers." Growth of the program extends to pit crew members under the NASCAR D4D Crew Member Development Program, also managed by Siegel. In 2014, over 30 multicultural athletes pitted fulltime for teams across all three national series.
K&N East champ to share seat with Earnhardt Jr., Harvick and Kahne Ben Rhodes, the reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion and a NASCAR Next driver, will drive 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2015 for JR Motorsports in the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro, the team announced Friday. In addition to winning the K&N East title, the Louisville, Kentucky, native also took Sunoco Rookie of the Year and most popular driver honors in the NASCAR touring series, running for Turner Scott Motorsports. He had five wins, 11 top-five finishes and 13 top-10s in 14 races this season for crew chief Mark McFarland, a former JR Motorsports driver. "Ben is one of the rising talents in NASCAR ," JR Motorsports general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said. "As a company, JRM takes pride in cultivating young drivers, and together with Alpha Energy Solutions, we're thrilled to give Ben a platform to further develop his skills at the next level. I'm excited to see what this coming year will bring for him and the 88 team." The 17-year-old, who turns 18 on Feb. 21, ran four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2014 at tracks a mile in length or shorter. He earned three top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway , Bristol Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway . Earlier this week, it was announced that former Hendrick Motorsports engineer, Dave Elenz, will serve as the team's new crew chief. Rhodes won his K&N East title with sponsor Alpha Energy Solutions, and the Louisville-based commercial and industrial mechanical service provider will join him at JR Motorsports. "I'm thrilled to be joining one of the top teams in NASCAR for the 2015 season," Rhodes said. "It's been my goal to compete in NASCAR's top tiers, and this is a tremendous opportunity with JR Motorsports and Alpha Energy Solutions to race in the XFINITY Series. "I couldn't think of a better group of people to surround myself with to continue my growth in the sport. I am looking forward to working with crew chief Dave Elenz, driving the No. 88 Chevrolet with Dale Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne , as well as sharing the track with my teammates Chase Elliott and Regan Smith ." The No. 88 team will compete in the full 33-race XFINITY Series schedule in 2015. Rhodes' complete schedule in the No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet includes races at Iowa Speedway (May 17), Chicagoland Speedway (June 20), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 18), a second event at Iowa Speedway (Aug. 1), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 8), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 15), Road America (Aug. 29), Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 26), Dover International Speedway (Oct. 3) and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 21). 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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