NASCAR reveals multi-year partnership with Monster Energy for Premier Series Entitlement
RELATED: NASCAR , Monster Energy announce deal " NASCAR Nation reacts DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR and Monster Energy announced today a multi-year agreement for the premier series entitlement as well as the prestigious annual NASCAR All-Star Race. Monster Energy, which will begin its tenure as naming rights partner on Jan. 1, 2017, will become only the third company to serve as the entitlement sponsor in NASCAR premier series history, following RJ Reynolds and Sprint/Nextel. As part of the agreement, the brand also becomes the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR . "Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR ," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today's announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history." NASCAR premier series races long have been a bucket-list destination for sports fans throughout the country, and starting next season, Monster Energy will elevate the event experience to an even higher level. As part of the agreement, Monster Energy will engage with fans in creative, innovative ways at all race tracks where the premier series will race. " Monster Energy has an established and versatile history in motorsports, and we’re thrilled to take this historic next step," said Rodney Sacks, Monster Beverage Chairman and CEO. "We feel strongly that our brand is a perfect fit for this sport and its star athletes. We look forward to interacting with the millions of passionate NASCAR fans week-in, week out."
Drivers get real at NASCAR After the Lap
All 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers let loose during NASCAR's After the Lap in Las Vegas and a surprise guest shows up to help send Tony Stewart off in style.
H2H: Debating Johnson's place in NASCAR history
RELATED: Champion's Week preview " Streaming schedule When Jimmie Johnson made history at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his record-tying seventh championship, it gave the sport of stock-car racing a moment to reflect on the accomplishment and to debate Johnson's place in its history. With just more than a week's worth of a cool-down lap of their own to let the moment sink in, our Holly Cain and Kenny Bruce offer their perspectives on the newly crowned "Seven-Time" in this week's head-to-head: 1. With a seventh championship tying Jimmie Johnson with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, how do you rank the three considering the eras in which they competed? Cain: Accessing seven-time champions is ironically a no-win situation. Each driver earned the big trophy in markedly different eras under far different circumstances. Petty's team had to be as tough as it was good. Earnhardt's team was tested against future Hall of Famers under a new and increasingly bright spotlight. And Johnson had to earn his titles under multiple championship scenarios against a field of competition representing the deepest talent level in the sport's history. Bruce: I agree with Holly to a point. You can't fairly compare the three drivers because their success came in such different times. The sport was so different when Petty won his seven titles, with teams racing as many as 62 times a season. It was a test of endurance as much as anything. Earnhardt won his titles when attrition was still a concern, but the cars were better and depth of talent within the teams greater. Johnson's success has come under various points formats, various rules packages and against some of the best talent the sport has ever seen. But … if you're ranking the three purely on a "most talented" level, then it's a no-brainer. The answer is … 2. Would an eighth championship in Johnson’s column change your view? Cain: Should Johnson win an eighth -- and I believe he will -- there should be no lingering doubts about his toughness, tenacity and talent -- the latter something this seven-time champ is never given enough credit for. Bruce: It depends on the circumstances. I already believe he's one of the best to ever compete in the sport, so one more title won't really change how I view him there. But if he continues to compete at such a high level and can still be successful, I'll be even more impressed with any future accomplishments. 3. How do you assess the chances of Johnson and the No. 48 team achieving title No. 8? Cain: For Johnson to have earned seven trophies under a revolving door of championship competition and format changes is a triumph in and of itself. At only 41 years old -- two years younger than Earnhardt when he won his seventh and the same age as Petty when he hoisted his seventh -- there is reason to believe Johnson has an incredibly favorable shot to make more NASCAR history. The pressure is off. Petty ranked in the championship top five only three more times after winning his seventh title. Earnhardt was runner-up two more times (in 1995 and 2000). Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus really only have more history to aspire to, and lots of time to attain it. It's "all good" was never more apropos. Bruce: The current championship-determining format doesn't lend itself to repeat champions -- witness three different winners in the three years of the elimination format. No driver has made the final four all three times either. And there's a very good chance that once you make it to the final, you have to win the race to win the title. It took the No. 48 team three years to make it to the final round and I don't think it’s a given that they'll be back next year. Under other formats, I'd rate their chances as great. Now, though, I’m less willing to be so positive. They've got time, but that's what we said about Jeff Gordon , too, when he began pursuing title No. 5 -- in 2002.
Watch NASCAR's Victory Lap on the Vegas Strip
Watch the full replay of NASCAR's Victory Lap on the Las Vegas Strip as all 16 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup take to the streets with their best burnouts.
Top moments from NASCAR After the Lap 2016
RELATED: Best quotes from After the Lap " Watch the whole show THE FIRE ALARM IN THE THEATER GOING OFF MULTIPLE TIMES This was caused by the pyrotechnics. Or perhaps Martin Truex Jr .’s flaming Homestead piece was in the vicinity without us knowing. I like to tell myself it’s because my tweets were hot. THE COMMUNITY BOTTLE OF TEQUILA Guy Fieri produced a bottle of the fine tequila, which made the rounds, with Tony Stewart taking a remarkably prolonged swig. We will check tomorrow to see which drivers have entered into a technical alliance with Goody's and the toilet. RUTLEDGE WOOD WITH THE HEAT After the tequila, Tony Stewart says, "Man I don't know if we'll pass inspection now." Rutledge responds with "Oh don't worry -- Chad Knaus is here. He'll get you through." SETTING THE TONE. KEELAN HARVICK’S PRECOCIOUS CONCERN ABOUT KYLE LARSON Kyle Larson 's rim-riding driving style has apparently piqued the interest of Kevin Harvick 's son, who Kevin said asked him "Daddy, why does Kyle Larson hit the wall so much?" AUSTIN DILLON WITH THE VERBAL FLAMETHROWER MORE: Dillon brings the fire to Harvick After Kevin Harvick dodges a question, Austin Dillon interjects with "Hey, don't cut him a break. He didn't cut me one in Texas." OH SNAP, I THINK THE FIRE ALARM JUST WENT OFF AGAIN 'CUZ SOMEONE GOT BURNED BEYOND RECOGNITION. TONY STEWART PROVING HE'S THE BEST SHOW IN LAS VEGAS, ASIDE FROM PERHAPS OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, WHO IS JUST EXQUISITE Tony Stewart clearly left his "give a damn" in Homestead, as he came armed with a stockpile of one-liners. For example, after being handed the community tequila once again, he said "This is peer pressure, kids. You'll learn about this when you grow up, Kyle Larson ." BRAD'S HOOP DREAMS Rutledge and Guy exhumed the incriminating footage of Brad Keselowski "playing basketball." Austin Dillon added "Come on, don't show that. We're supposed to be athletes." TONY STEWART DRAWS THE LINE IN THE SAND BETWEEN HIMSELF AND JEFF GORDON … ACTUALLY, CONSIDERING HIS INJURY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON, PERHAPS THAT'S AN INSENSITIVE ANALOGY "I am not gonna be Jeff Gordon . He helped bail out Dale Jr., but tell you what, if any of you get hurt, you are on your own." MATT KENSETH BEING SO QUIET THAT YOU WANT TO CLIMB ONSTAGE AND HOLD A MIRROR TO HIS NOSE TO MAKE SURE THERE'S CONDENSATION IMPLYING HE'S BREATHING It's become an annual After The Lap tradition. Save money next year and bring just 15 microphones. A SURPRISE APPEARANCE BY THE LEGEND AJ FOYT MORE: Foyt surprises 'Smoke' Tony's friend and mentor Super Tex made a surprise appearance, and earned a rousing standing ovation. Tony and Foyt shared barbs back and forth, which is something I could personally sit and listen to for hours on end. MAN, I wish someone would have handed AJ the tequila.
Daniel Suarez returns home to Mexico a champion
RELATED: ENTRY LIST " SCHEDULE Fresh off his 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, Daniel Suarez will make his highly anticipated return to Mexico this weekend in the very place his NASCAR career began -- the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series. The Monterrey native will serve as honorary grand marshal for the series’ exhibition race Sunday at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, site of Suarez’s first NASCAR Peak Mexico Series win in 2012. After a year’s hiatus, Mexico’s national stock car championship series will be back on track in 2017 with a full race schedule. The series will celebrate its 10th season with its first year of a multi-year agreement with PEAK as its entitlement sponsor. To get ramped up for the return, the series will compete this weekend in the country’s capital. Nearly 30 drivers have registered for the event, which will be run in two 70-lap segments. Each segment will include a 50-minute time limit. Teams will be allowed to make adjustments in the intermission, and the top 10 positions will be inverted for the second segment. Practice and qualifying will be Saturday. The race is slated to include past champions Abraham Calderón (2014), Rodrigo Peralta (2013), Jorge Goeters (2005, 2012) and Rafael Martinez (2007). Martinez was the first Mexico Series champion under the NASCAR banner. Suarez finished third in the championship in 2012, and was runner-up in 2013 -- missing out on the title by just eight points. Suarez was part of the inaugural NASCAR Next class in 2011, the industry initiative that spotlights the sport’s rising young stars. Three of Suarez’s 10 series wins took place at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, which was named after legendary Formula One driver and one of the earliest Hispanic NASCAR drivers, Pedro Rodriguez. Suarez also notched 25 top-five finishes in 58 races over his four seasons competing in the Mexico Series. He moved up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he won three times driving for Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. On November 19, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver became the sport’s first foreign-born national series champion, beating out Elliott Sadler , Justin Allgaier and Erik Jones in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase by virtue of his victory in the series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway .
NASCAR ramps up social media activation for Miami
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A record-setting season on social media continues Nov. 20 when NASCAR celebrates the final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup like never before on Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Millions of Snapchat users will receive a behind-the-scenes look at the Ford Ecoboost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) from NASCAR fans sharing their race-day experiences from Homestead-Miami Speedway as part of a Snapchat Live Story. During the race, NASCAR will stream the in-car camera from Tony Stewart 's No. 14 Chevrolet on Facebook Live as the legendary driver wraps up his full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. "Nothing in sports beats attending a NASCAR race live, but wherever fans are on Sunday we’ll have unique Chase experiences available for them across multiple social platforms," said NASCAR Managing Director, Social Media, Scott Warfield. " NASCAR is a vibrant, content-rich sport, and we've seen unprecedented social engagement this season by bringing that content straight to our fans." So far in 2016, NASCAR's elevated focus on social media including new platform partnerships has resulted in 236 million engagements -- an 89 percent increase year-over-year -- and 3.8 billion impressions. Social activation leading up to and during Ford Championship Weekend include the following: · Facebook: The live stream of Stewart's in-car camera can be viewed on the NASCAR Facebook page and will feature a special message from the driver to fans. The Facebook Live activation is one of several tributes planned as part of 14 Days of Smoke , a celebration of Stewart's 18-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. · Snapchat: On Championship 4 race day, thousands of submitted Snaps from Homestead-Miami Speedway will be curated and packaged by Snapchat into a video stream, offering fans a look at the sport through the lens of fans and drivers. The Live Story will be available to view on Snapchat for 24 hours. · Twitter: To bring tweets to life throughout The Chase, Twitter and NASCAR created a special, Chase-specific Twitter emoji. Fans are encouraged to join the Chase conversation this weekend and connect with teams, drivers and fans by tweeting with, and searching for #TheChase. · Instagram: NASCAR commissioned illustrators to create custom Instagram images during The Chase. Fans will get a peek into the illustrators' creative process through NASCAR's Instagram Story. The next installment of the Ready. Set. Chase digital film series, re-enacting the on-track storylines of the Round of 8, will debut on social media and NASCAR .com/TheChase during Ford Championship Weekend. A fifth and final film will recap the entire Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and be released next week. NASCAR will crown its 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion at the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the fourth and final round of The Chase on Nov. 20 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tickets are available at NASCAR .com/tickets .
Every week is like a Super Bowl for NASCAR on NBC's team
RELATED: An inside look at Dale Jr. joining the NBC team in the booth A black Suburban pulls into the NBC TV compound just outside of Turn 3 at Talladega Superspeedway . Pit reporters Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast and Mike Massaro jump out into the brisk, fall morning. "All right, we can get started, now that we're here," Burns jokes as he fake yawns theatrically. It is 9:42 a.m. local time, more than three hours before the green flag will drop on this Sunday in mid-October. Someone standing nearby offers helpful advice: "Don't screw it up." "We'll try not to," Burns replies. The pit reporters file into a portable trailer nearby called BP's Place. "BP" stands for Benny Parsons, the late and beloved NASCAR broadcaster who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame early next year. Around the table sit analyst Steve Letarte; lead race announcer Rick Allen; Jeff Behnke, NBC's vice president of NASCAR production; Matt Marvin, the race producer; Mike Wells, the director; Rene Hatlelid, the pit road producer; the pit road reporters; and other NBC personnel. They represent a small fraction of the 230 people required to broadcast the race. The topic at hand is what stories they will cover during today's race. There are many to choose from. It's Talladega, so there's always the chance of a big wreck. It's a cutoff race in the Round of 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , so four drivers will be eliminated from the postseason. The table discusses the many different strategies drivers could use throughout the race. Some drivers will try to run up front. Others will hang out in the back. They will form and disband packs throughout the day. Keeping track of all of it all day will be a difficult but important task. "This could make for some very exciting things for the viewer all the way through," Behnke says in words that seem prophetic after the checkered flag falls late that afternoon.
Ty Dillon to drive No. 13 Germain Racing Chevy in 2017
Germain Racing announced Monday that Ty Dillon will jump full-time into NASCAR's premier series next season, taking the reins of its No. 13 Chevrolet. Dillon replaces Casey Mears , who had driven the No. 13 GEICO-sponsored entry since the second half of the 2010 season. The 24-year-old Dillon has made 18 Sprint Cup starts over the last three years, including a relief stint for the injured Tony Stewart during the early stages of last season. In a Monday morning appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR's Radio's "The Morning Drive" program, Dillon indicated that an agreement with Germain Racing came together earlier in the year. The challenge, he said, was staying mum until this week. "The questions kept coming and coming," Dillon told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "The cool thing is that I knew what I was doing; I just didn't say anything. It's kind of like having an awesome secret that you want everyone to know, but you kind of had to hold it back. I guess all good things are worth waiting for. I'm just excited for what's to come."
What we're thankful for, NASCAR edition
The weather is getting colder, the leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter ... and there's no on-track NASCAR action for a while. All of the above means one thing: It's Thanksgiving. Given that this is a time to pause and reflect on the many things for which we are thankful, here are some of the many NASCAR -related things the editorial staff of NASCAR .com are thankful for: We are thankful for ... • Jimmie Johnson . NASCAR is fortunate that one of its greatest drivers is also one of its greatest men. -- Brad Norman • Martin Truex Jr .'s mean air guitar on the NASCAR on NBC intro song of "Bringing Back the Sunshine." Truex showed off his rock star-like ability on the track this season in one of the feel-good stories of 2016. Seeing Truex and girlfriend Sherry Pollex tackle her fight with cancer head-on has been especially impactful for me on a personal level as my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer. -- RJ Kraft • Kyle Larson 's penchant for riding the high line ever-so-close to the wall. It adds an element of edge-of-your-seat excitement to any race where he's running in the front because you never know what's going to happen next . -- George Winkler • Seeing the Tide car ride again at Darlington. -- Kathy Sheldon • Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s positivity and transparency. Not many athletes would let fans and media into a very personal concussion recovery process, but Junior has been as honest and upbeat as ever throughout his healing. His continued presence at the track and positive voice in the sport has been a blessing to us all. – Jessica Ruffin • Jimmie Johnson . Being able to work for NASCAR and have a front row seat to history being made with his seventh Sprint Cup Series championship is something I’ll never forget. I'm in awe of his talent. This must be what it was like working for the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. -- Pat DeCola • SAFER barrier and safety personnel. We haven't stopped writing about injuries, but the instances are much less frequent today. -- Kenny Bruce • Martin Truex Jr ., Sherry Pollex and Barney Visser, who had the courage to do something different and run a race team from Denver. All the time and effort the Furniture Row Racing team puts in is clearly paying off, and I look forward to watching them grow to two teams next season with Erik Jones . -- George Winkler • Night races in the summer heat. -- Kathy Sheldon • Short-track racing. The action at Bristol and Martinsville is typically among the most entertaining of the season. Richmond produced a bump-and-run between teammates in the spring, and Iowa also is a great track. Tempers tend to flare at the smaller venues, and the racing is among the tightest you'll see all season. -- RJ Kraft • Local short tracks. Dirt? Asphalt? Quarter-mile? Three-eighths? Yes. -- Brad Norman • Daytona in February and Homestead in November. There aren't two better places, or tracks, to begin and end a season. All the ones in between? Yeah, they're pretty nice, too. -- Kenny Bruce