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Trio of NASCAR Hall of Famers named Darlington grand marshals
Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin , all of whom will be inducted into the 2017 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame , will serve as Grand Marshals for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 4. All three will give the command to start engines accompanied by Bojangles' CEO Clifton Rutledge. Childress, Hendrick and Martin's involvement in the Bojangles' Southern 500 further enhances the track's throwback platform of celebrating the history and heritage of the sport. Childress and Hendrick are two of the most successful owners in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history. " Darlington Raceway is one of my favorite racetracks. I remember going there when I was very young and seeing some of my heroes race there," Childress said. "Now, it's really neat to say that I'm going to be the grand marshal for the race, and I couldn't think of two better people to do it alongside of than Mark Martin and Rick Hendrick. The race weekend is already special enough with the 'throwback' theme, but this will make it that much more special." Childress and his team, Richard Childress Racing , have posted 105 NSCS wins since he founded the team in 1969. His team has recorded 472 top-five NSCS finishes and won 12 national series championships, which is second all-time in the sport's history. RCR is the first organization to win championships in all three of NASCAR's national series. Much of his success came with driver Dale Earnhardt, who won 67 career Cup races for RCR, including eight victories at Darlington Raceway . Hendrick, founder of Hendrick Motorsports in 1984, owns an all-time record 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles -- six with Jimmie Johnson , four with Jeff Gordon and one with Terry Labonte . Hendrick also has 14 total NASCAR national series owner championships, which is most in NASCAR history. His drivers have won 242 NSCS races with 1,000 top-five finishes. He has 14 NASCAR Cup wins at Darlington Raceway , including seven with Gordon. Johnson's victory at Darlington in 2012 gave Hendrick his 200th career NSCS win in the sport. "Darlington is very special to me, and I'm so grateful to the track for this honor," Hendrick said. "It’s still sinking in that I'm a part of such an incredible Hall of Fame class. Richard and Mark are great friends and competitors, and it means a lot to share these experiences with them." In a 31-year career, Martin won 40 career NASCAR Cup races, including the 1993 and 2009 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . He also won eight NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Darlington, which is still the most in series history. "It is my honor to be co-grand marshal for the Bojangles' Southern 500 with two of my heroes," said Martin. "Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick are two of my favorite people in racing. I'm also looking forward to being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with them, along with Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks in January." Rutledge, who has served as Bojangles' CEO for the past three years, will say the command alongside three of the sports legends. Rutledge gave the command with 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Terry Labonte before last year's Bojangles' Southern 500 . "I am blessed to represent Bojangles' and give the command to start the Bojangles' Southern 500 alongside three legends of the sport, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin ," Rutledge said. "Bojangles' is proud to be the entitlement partner of the Southern 500, a partnership we've enjoyed since 2012." The Famous Chicken 'n' Biscuits restaurant chain has more than 680 locations throughout the Southeast. Bojangles' has the naming rights to the Southern 500 through the 2019 season. The NASCAR Hall of Fame inductions ceremonies will take place in January of 2017 in Charlotte, N.C. The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Tickets are still available for all events.
Dale Jr. watches dad's Monte Carlo take a lap; more from 'Dega trip
RELATED: See Dale Jr.'s day at Talladega Six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . visited one of his favorite tracks Thursday for an action-packed day of greeting fans, mingling with the Alabama Gang, assisting the track with its landscaping duties and watching his father's No. 2 Chevrolet take a lap around the superspeedway. The Hendrick Motorsports wheelman, sidelined for the rest of the season by concussion-like symptoms, was welcomed by Alabama Gang members Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison and short-track legend Red Farmer as an honorary member of the group. The Alabama Gang, with deep roots in stock-car racing's early days, was the nickname earned by a group of notable NASCAR drivers -- the Allisons, Neil Bonnett, and Farmer among them -- with ties to the state. Talladega's back straightaway was named "The Alabama Gang Superstretch" in their honor in the spring of 2014. Although Dale Earnhardt was not a part of the group, he remained great friends with the drivers -- especially Bonnett, a fellow outdoorsman. The group paid tribute to the first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee as Donnie Allison wheeled Earnhardt's famous No. 2 Monte Carlo around the 2.66-mile track. See glimpses from Dale Jr.'s day. We have a VERY special guest with us today surprising some awesome fans! Welcome back to 'Dega, @DaleJr ! pic.twitter.com/ibtEQnnAJ6 — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 . @DaleJr doing some track landscaping and surprising fans at @TalladegaSuperS . #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/ptrIfuXW8y — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) September 29, 2016 We have some REALLY cool stuff coming up with @DaleJr and the famed #AlabamaGang ! Keep an eye on Periscope & Facebook Live! pic.twitter.com/fT05pKOgrN — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Donnie, Bobby and Red welcome @DaleJr as an OFFICIAL Honorary Member of the #AlabamaGang ! pic.twitter.com/JjCPAt99FJ — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Dale Sr.'s No. 2 Monte Carlo rides again with Donnie Allison at the wheel! #AlabamaGang https://t.co/HeBNAtQWh8 — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Good times today @TalladegaSuperS promoting the race with the Alabama Gang. Tickets are on sale for the race on October 23rd. pic.twitter.com/vm6OZFTslx — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016 I remember this old thing. @TalladegaSuperS Hall of Fame . The carpet is teal, I kid you not. Great choice pops. pic.twitter.com/UMn4RAe34L — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016 How cool to rename the MRN booth @TalladegaSuperS in honor of Barney Hall ! pic.twitter.com/7u24pIDUnM — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016 </p>
NBC Sports, NASCAR Productions present Darlington historical
RELATED: Full Darlington coverage DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2016) -- Leading up to this weekend's live NASCAR action from Darlington Raceway , NBC Sports presents a new one-hour documentary created to take fans inside the storied history of "The Track Too Tough To Tame." Produced in partnership with NASCAR Productions, "Southern Speed: The Legend of Darlington" premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Multi-platinum recording artist Darius Rucker narrates the special in tribute to his South Carolina roots. Current NASCAR drivers Carl Edwards , Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch are joined by Ken Squier and racing legends Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Jeff Burton , who reflect on how the Southern 500 became a stock car racing tradition. Premiering during a week dedicated to honoring the rich history of NASCAR , the original program will also be available via live stream on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. A preview of tonight's special is available here . Below are excerpts from "Southern Speed: The Legend of Darlington." Kyle Petty, former driver and NASCAR on NBC analyst: "Bill France was there and Raymond Parks was there. So many Hall of Famers were there for that first race and that speaks volumes to what Darlington was, even in the beginning." Buz McKim, NASCAR Hall of Fame Historian: "Darlington never has been a normal track and it never will be. There is too much folklore, there is too much history and there are too many great spots and low spots. It is totally the track of the unexpected." Dale Jarrett, Hall of Fame driver and NASCAR on NBC analyst: "The idea to go back to Labor Day and run the Southern 500 is something that our sport really needed." Harold Brasington III, grandson of Darlington Raceway founder: "I have to admit I felt pretty special knowing that my granddad built this place. I can remember the first time he drove me up into the infield through that tunnel it was like a portal into another world. I saw these structures coming out of the beds of pickup trucks. The crowd was overwhelming." Tune in to watch the Bojangles' Southern 500 this Sunday, Sept. 4, at 6 p.m. ET on NBC, or listen live on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Fans can also purchase tickets to catch all the on-track action in person by visiting www. nascar .com/tickets .
NASCAR to offer free youth tickets for XFINITY Series, Camping World Truck Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 22, 2016) -- NASCAR today announced exclusively via Facebook Live that beginning in 2017, kids ages 12 and younger will be admitted free to all NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. The announcement was made during an all-kids press conference hosted at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The press conference also kicked off Kids Drive NASCAR , a week-long, youth initiative leading up to this weekend’s national series races at Michigan International Speedway and Road America . "There really is no other experience like attending a NASCAR race in person, and that's especially true for kids," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "So many children become lifelong NASCAR fans because their parents brought them to their first race, and this new ticket offering makes it even more affordable for families to create memories that will last a lifetime." Many race tracks already have in place a bevy of offerings geared towards youth, including youth autograph sessions, youth garage tours, kids' clubs and designated kids’ zones. Numerous tracks also have employed various ticket platforms focused on youth, but this new program marks the first time where tracks will institute a consistent offer wherever NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races take place. Beginning in 2017, the number of complimentary tickets available for children 12 and younger will vary from venue to venue for every adult ticket purchased. Specific track policies and procedures, including sections in which the tickets are offered, will still apply and may differ for each track as well in an effort to welcome and accommodate as many families as possible. This program is another example of NASCAR -sanctioned tracks improving the at-track experience with the ultimate goal of delivering additional value and an unparalleled live-event experience for NASCAR fans. " NASCAR Hammer Down" host Karsyn Elledge, and NASCAR Next drivers Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton helped announce the program during Monday’s kids-only press conference, the first in a series of industry events and activities that will celebrate Kids Drive NASCAR week. For the latest Kids Drive NASCAR news and content, fans can visit NASCAR .com and follow NASCAR on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and Snapchat. Be sure to tune-in when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits the track this weekend at Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and MRN.
Member of the Month: September
Name: Eric Hometown: Lakeland, Florida Current City: South Riding, Virginia (currently deployed in Afghanistan) Member since: 2016 Getting to know ERIC Q. Why did you join the Official NASCAR Fan Council? "I wanted to participate in the NASCAR Fan Council since it provides the fans an active voice and engagement directly with the sanctioning body, as they try to ensure the quality of competition is always top-notch." Q. How did you first become interested in NASCAR ? "My grandfather raced in the 1950s at short tracks throughout South Florida, and I was the first-born grandson. Naturally, when I was old enough, it was straight to karts and we would spend Saturday nights at our local tracks, and Sunday was watching or attending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races." Q. What makes NASCAR special for you? "To me, it's the camaraderie and competition in the garage among the teams. There is nothing greater than cars racing into Turn 1 every week. The personalities, and being able to relate to them, is what makes NASCAR great -- the never-give-up attitudes, and the underdog story we all pull for every week." Q: Do you have any favorite NASCAR memories or traditions? "I have many fond memories at the racetrack. The 1998 Pepsi 400 at Daytona, which was delayed due to the wildfires. I had the opportunity to meet Dave Marcis and spend several minutes talking with him about how far the sport had come at that time. The 2012 spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway , I had the opportunity to stand in the bed of the truck during the parade lap at driver introductions with Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose . By far, my most favorite memory was being able to talk with NASCAR Hall of Fame Driver Bobby Allison about races in the 1950s at Medley Speedway, Key West and other locations in South Florida. My wife (who wasn't a fan until her first race at Bristol in 2012) and I make a point to attend Richmond and Martinsville for both races every year, because of the hospitality Dennis Bickmeier and Clay Campbell provide to the fans!" Q: Do you have a favorite in any of the following categories? Tracks: "Martinsville and Watkins Glen" Q: If you could go to any NASCAR race/track, where would you go? " Sonoma and Talladega" Q: What do you like to do in your free time? "I love spending my time at racetracks. I race Legend cars on ovals and road courses throughout the mid-Atlantic, and when I'm not doing that I'm a spotter in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for David Polenz at Dominion Raceway in Virginia." Q: Tell us about your family. Do you have children and/or pets? "My wife, Christine, and I have been married for two years. We don't have kids yet, but we do have a beagle, Max, and a basset hound, Sadie Belle." Q: What’s your dream car? "A McLaren 650S, but I'm trying to convince my wife the new Corvettes are practical." From all of us at NASCAR , we thank Eric for his continued support and look forward to hearing from him in 2016.
Drivers respond to social unrest in Charlotte
LOUDON, N.H. -- NASCAR returns to the business of postseason Chases in all three of its top series this weekend. Two of those tours have landed in New England, greeted by crisp weather and the changing of the seasons. But thoughts continue to focus on the news of this week's social unrest nearly 900 miles away in Charlotte, North Carolina -- stock-car racing's hub and one of the sanctioning body's primary headquarters. Protests have gripped Charlotte's Uptown area in the wake of the fatal police-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Relatively few drivers claim North Carolina as their home state, but the proximity to home bases for both drivers and teams makes the connection to Charlotte a part of their fabric. It's what has made this week's turmoil difficult. "Obviously, we're trying to do things here today, but, yeah, there's an emotional reaction," Joey Logano -- a Middletown, Connecticut native -- said Friday from New Hampshire Motor Speedway . "A lot of times when you see things like this happen, it's in a different city and you don't recognize where it's at, but when you see the NASCAR building getting vandalized and you see areas of the city that you know very well with just crazy things happening it makes you sick to your gut. You don't know what to do, and you kind of feel helpless. "All we can do really is just say some prayers and hope that eventually everything calms down and everyone is able to come to some kind of peace at the end of this thing, and we can move on and move forward and make our world better." Logano also said he understands the role professional athletes play when it comes to social issues. "I think any athlete or public figure takes on a responsibility," he said. "There's a lot of people that you can influence in good ways or bad ways, and I feel like you should know that. There are a lot of athletes and public figures that don't realize that about the reaction they can make across the country or the world in a lot of cases by just a couple of words. ... I personally believe when I sit down here I know the influence that I can have on young eyes watching us that are very fragile at the time that they could go a lot of different ways. You want to be a positive member of society." North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency late Wednesday night as the protests took violent turns. Windows were broken at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and adjacent NASCAR Plaza offices, and several other businesses were vandalized in the city's central business district, escalating Charlotte to the lead in national news broadcasts. "You can't really ignore it," said Austin Dillon , who -- like his Richard Childress Racing team -- calls Welcome, North Carolina home. "It's on all the news stations, but for me it's sad that our country is at this point in time. I just hope everybody can look at everything and gather their thoughts and figure out the right way to fix the problems we have. Hopefully, with the way things are the right people will come together and fix these problems that are going on. It's just sad, really." Said Matt Kenseth , a Cambridge, Wisconsin, native: "You just hope it stops. I don't know enough about what actually happened to start it all. Obviously, I think that we're very, very, very fortunate to live in a free country and peaceful protest and demonstrations are OK. I mean certainly the violence and the vandalism and the theft and stuff isn't -- isn't really a way to I think prove a point or try to make things better. It’s definitely not making things better in that sense, so hopefully we'll get it all figured out and go from there."
XFINITY race winners carrying extra Chase confidence
RELATED: See the XFINITY Chase Grid " Every '16 winner " Get to know the field CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Of the 12 drivers that make up this year's NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase field, only three won races during the "regular" season, so the fact that the three appeared to be feeling pretty good about their chances Tuesday during media day activities at the NASCAR Hall of Fame came as no surprise. Erik Jones , 20, won more races than anyone not named Kyle Busch , four to be exact, and most folks here seemed to agree, some more grudgingly than others, that the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 team is the one to beat. Veteran Elliott Sadler won twice, and the Emporia, Virginia native has been around the track a few times. His career, in fact, was already underway when the Jones family welcomed young Erik into the world. Sadler's wins in the No. 1 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports came this year at Talladega and Darlington and Sadler is the only guy in the field who can say he was in the inaugural Chase for both the premier series and the XFINITY Series. Daniel Suarez , Jones' teammate, earned his first series victory at Michigan. He enters the seven-race playoff, which begins with this weekend’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), with three top-five finishes in his last four starts. The other result was a top-10 so Suarez and the No. 19 team appear to be on top of their game as well. No one is conceding anything just yet however. Not the Richard Childress Racing trio of Ty Dillon , Brendan Gaughan or Brandon Jones ; Sadler’s JRM teammate Justin Allgaier or Roush Fenway Racing ’s Darrell Wallace Jr . and Ryan Reed . Even single-team entrants Brennan Poole ( Chip Ganassi Racing ), Ryan Sieg (RSS Racing), and Blake Koch (Kaulig Racing) spoke of the potential for advancing from one round to the next and keeping title hopes alive. "I don't know if that's good or bad," a grinning Sadler said of his dual Chase experience. "I do remember being part of the first ever (Sprint) Cup Chase and now this one. It's pretty cool." The benefits of that 2004 experience are limited, but useful nonetheless. "It's not like I'm a seasoned quarterback that can read the defense better than a rookie quarterback," Sadler said. "I think that's when experience plays a part. Now it's just about which teams can get their cars the fastest, what driver can give the best information and not make mistakes on the track. Everybody that's part of this Chase can do just as good of a job as anybody else, no matter their age or where they are from or how many years they've raced. I don't think that's a big part of it. "The only thing I think I know is the difference in the intensity level; that's the biggest thing I remember about being a part of the ( Sprint Cup ) Chase. The next week it was like 'holy cow, it's flipped the switch.' Not only racing other guys but your team, what they are going through, the driver, the communication. It's like everything is set to fast forward … and you have to understand how to communicate at such a different level." Jones is coming off a 2015 season that saw the Byron, Michigan native win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title, and he’s headed for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in ’17 as a teammate with Martin Truex Jr . at Furniture Row Racing . Six times this season, he and Suarez have finished a race with both cars in the top five. In 13 other races, at least one of the two have finished fifth or higher. The teammate tag doesn't go out the window with the Chase now at hand. But both, along with 10 others, are racing for a shot at a single prize. "It's tough; the teammate deal is always tough in racing," Jones said. "… There are times when you have to race like teammates and times your race as competitors. It's a tough balance for sure, but it's also nice when you go to the race track and you have other drivers to lean on, you can get information from and better each other. "Hopefully we're both in Homestead chasing the championship." Suarez also understands the benefits that come with a competitive teammate and agreed that "it's hard to balance out because both of us want to race hard for wins. "I think we're going to be in good shape," he said. "Both of us have a good shot to be competitive every single weekend for the Chase." </p>
Gaughan trying to revisit title that got away
RELATED: XFINITY Chase Grid " Get to know the field CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It may not be a quintessential case of déjà vu, but Brendan Gaughan has been to Homestead-Miami Speedway before, under similar circumstances. Now, as one of 12 drivers to qualify for the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase that begins Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Gaughan hopes he'll have a chance to claim a prize that eluded him 13 years ago—a title in one of NASCAR's top three touring series. In 2003, Gaughan entered the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Homestead as the points leader in a four-driver race for the championship. In addition to Gaughan, Ted Musgrave, Travis Kvapil and Dennis Setzer had a shot at the title. Musgrave's truck owner, Jim Smith, had five entries in the final event, and one of those drivers, Marty Houston, tangled with Gaughan in a violent crash on Lap 100. After Musgrave was penalized for jumping a subsequent restart, Kvapil claimed the championship with a sixth-place finish. Though Gaughan says he spends little time regretting the missed opportunity, he does crave another opportunity to compete for a title in the final race of the season, albeit under a different format in another series. "I've been in a Homestead race where four drivers were racing for the championship, and sadly, I was not the one who won it—sadly for me, not for Travis (Kvapil)," Gaughan said on Tuesday during XFINITY Series Chase Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame . "I would love to have all that pressure again and be in that situation again, and my goal is to get back to Homestead to be one of those four. "I've always said to this day, that race that we ran at Homestead that day, we were the fastest truck on the race track that day. We were brilliant. One second of life—couldn't have done anything different. It was just one second that you couldn’t change. "And I would love a chance, not to change that one second, but to make a new one second and end up getting by that wreck and standing on that podium. ... I would love to go back to Homestead and finish what I was trying to do 13 years ago and put a great cherry on top of a career for me." Not that Gaughan's career is about to be over. The driver of the No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet said he'll be back for another season next year, and the Chase format is a strong reason he'll continue to compete. "What made me want to keep racing was this Chase format, this excitement around this," Gaughan said. "Now, instead of battling for fifth place, and we're 89 points out of this championship—and we can get to maybe second or third if a guy has a bad race and we have a good ones, and you're just watching points and going 'Oh, man, let’s see how far we can get'—we're racing for the championship." </p>
Kenseth scheme paints picture of historic Darlington moment
VOTE: Favorite Darlington scheme " MORE: Relive the 'Tide Ride' making history BUY TICKETS: Darlington The final piece of the Joe Gibbs Racing Darlington throwback paint schemes puzzle fell into place Tuesday afternoon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame . The #TideRide Returns for @TooToughToTame ! @JoeGibbsRacing @mattkenseth @AllWaltrip @RickyCravenESPN pic.twitter.com/UxBhCAzcFn — NASCAR Hall of Fame (@NASCARHall) August 16, 2016 Matt Kenseth pulled back the cover of his No. 20 Toyota Camry to reveal a Tide-influenced scheme that he'll run on Sept. 4 in the Bojangles' Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tide has a rich history in NASCAR , including being on Darrell Waltrip's car for his 1989 Daytona 500 win, as well as a famous moment at Darlington -- in 2003, Ricky Craven, in his orange Tide car, beat Kurt Busch to the stripe by .002 seconds in a classic slam-bang finish. Ricky Rudd also ran the paint scheme for several seasons. In doing so, Kenseth will join Kyle Busch (No. 18, honoring Dale Jarrett), Denny Hamlin (No. 11, honoring Darrell Waltrip) and Carl Edwards (No. 19, honoring Tony Stewart ) in the JGR fleet of drivers. More than two dozen throwback paint schemes for this year's race have been announced. The throwback program launched last year and is expected to continue for the next several seasons. This year's theme honors the era of 1975-84. MORE: Legends banter about the scheme &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
NASCAR , Nickelodeon wave green flag for third season of 'Hammer Down'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 24, 2016) -- NASCAR and Nickelodeon are joining forces again to take viewers inside the world of NASCAR racing with the return NASCAR Hammer Down . Premiering Friday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nicktoons, the third season of NASCAR Hammer Down features eight, 15-minute episodes hosted by Karsyn Elledge, granddaughter of Dale Earnhardt and daughter of Kelley Earnhardt Miller. This season, Elledge will be joined by her sister, Kennedy Elledge, for driver interviews, goofy antics and behind-the-scenes insight into the technology and people that propel more than 90 annual NASCAR national series events. Ryan Blaney , driver of the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing , and Bubba Wallace Jr., driver of the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing , also return as series regulars for the popular "Bubba & Blaney" segment. Produced by NASCAR Productions, season three premieres with back-to-back episodes, the first of which emanates from the NASCAR Hall of Fame . The subsequent "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Special" gives viewers an inside look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 taking place on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway . NASCAR Hammer Down will air regularly on Fridays at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) during Nicktoons’ NickSports TV block. "Kids are a huge part of our sport, and we are excited to deliver a program like NASCAR Hammer Down to a very important audience for NASCAR ," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "The personalities of Karsyn, Kennedy and our drivers combined with the NickSports audience, creates the perfect avenue for us to connect with a new generation of potential NASCAR fans." The return of NASCAR Hammer Down is announced as the sport celebrates Kids Drive NASCAR , a week-long youth initiative leading up to Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway . Karsyn Elledge helped kick off the special campaign on Monday during a kids-only press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame , broadcast live by NASCAR via Facebook Live. All week the NASCAR industry is hosting events and activities designed to introduce young fans to the sport. As part of Kids Drive NASCAR , NASCAR is also launching the first-ever NASCAR Acceleration Nation mobile app, a digital experience created just for kids.