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NASCAR Snapchat: Live story from Talladega
Don't miss NASCAR's latest Live Story in Snapchat this weekend as we take you inside race day at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. The Live Story features videos and photos submitted by drivers, teams and fans from in and around the track, showcasing behind-the-scenes access with your favorite stars along with the best of what fans experience around the track. Here's your chance to experience a day in the life at one of NASCAR's most exciting races, even if you can’t make it to the track. If you're making the trip to Talladega, be sure share your Snaps into the Talladega Live Story starting at 5 a.m. ET. And even if you aren't there, follow NASCAR on Snapchat for behind-the-scenes content throughout the season by clicking here.
2015 NASCAR Las Vegas Victory Lap replay
Watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase drivers do burnouts on the Las Vegas Strip in 2015 NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco .
Pursuing NASCAR's triple crown intrigues Bobby Labonte
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Bobby Labonte quietly bowed out of full-time Sprint Cup Series competition at the tail end of the 2013 season. No retirement tour, no gifts. Certainly no ponies. The 2000 premier series champion has selectively dabbled in the sport since, however, with a handful of unremarkable starts at Indianapolis and the restrictor-plate tracks, knowing the pack racing may be his last remaining shot at picking up his first -- and likely final -- Cup victory in more than a decade. Labonte will run in Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway , his second of a scheduled four-race slate in 2016. While not sure if this same type of deal will continue to be available to him in future years, the brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte hinted at an interestingly hush-hush opportunity that could be coming down the pipeline later on this season. "I do have a couple other possibilities I am excited about that might come to fruition later on in the year that I didn't see coming around the corner but they are opportunities that might lead to something that I have been more excited about than anything I have done in my career," Labonte said Friday at Talladega. "Racing is still a big passion of mine and I know I am not going to go do a lot of things I used to do but there are still some opportunities out there that are still up on my radar that I would like to do." But what does he have left to prove? What racing goals remain? "That is a great question, too. Winning any race. It might be a bicycle race. Racing at the Sprint Cup level has gotten so intense that if you can't do it every weekend … (Talladega) is different as we all know. Last weekend and next weekend is different than here," Labonte said. "It is one of those things that I guess I kind of want to race more in a way but I don't want to race more in some ways. I don't want to do it every weekend but I know there are different series you can do that aren’t quite as strenuous as this. "My brother told me one time after about two years of retirement, 'You know, you will have a lot more friends later that you didn't know you had.' And that is true. I am enjoying that. As far as racing goes I am enjoying it and my opportunity is only four times right now through a little bit of what I want to do and a little bit from other people." One remaining goal is obvious: becoming NASCAR's first Triple Crown winner by notching a championship at each of its three national series levels. Labonte has the two arguably tougher feats down, winning the XFINITY Series (then Busch Grand National) title by 74 points over Kenny Wallace in 1991, then taking his first and only Sprint Cup Series (then Winston Cup) title by a wide, 265-point margin over Dale Earnhardt in 2000. It's a long shot, and Labonte admits that "everything has to line up right," but he's at least considered the prospect of running for a Camping World Truck Series title. He has 10 career starts in the series, with one win (2005 at Martinsville). "It is absolutely something that we have talked about and met with some people about," Labonte said. "I couldn't just make it happen by snapping my fingers and we couldn’t quite get it all lined up. I definitely had it in my mind that it was something I really wanted to do. I would still entertain that but there is also a point where if you can chase the championship that is one thing, and you can do it in a lot of ways. "When I started racing when I was little, the passion was to race and win and that is what you want to do. You want the chance to do that. We did it back then and I think the Truck Series is very appealing to me. I loved it when I did a few of them for a couple of guys and won a race and finished in the top five quite a bit. It is definitely a different level and the garage area is a lot calmer there than it is in the Sprint Cup Series and it kind of, at this point in time, is very appealing."
NASCAR explains review of Talladega finish
RELATED: Full race results " Frame- by -frame of finish TALLADEGA, Ala. -- NASCAR XFINITY Series Managing Director Wayne Auton said officials felt "100 percent that we got it exactly right" in flagging Elliott Sadler the winner in Saturday's Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway . The official results were delayed after a hard crash involving Joey Logano and Blake Koch brought out the caution flag as the field raced to the checkered flag following an overtime restart at the fast, 2.66-mile superspeedway. The incident was typical for Talladega and chaotic for officials trying to sort out the running order while also making sure those involved in the incident were attended to as quickly, and a safely, as possible. RELATED: See the wreck that came at the end of the race "At the end of the race we knew that everybody was going to be jockeying for position trying to get that win to get into the XFINITY (Series) Chase," Auton said. "We use every resource we can. Our main goal is to make sure that we got it right. It took us a little time up in the tower. We feel 100 percent that we got it exactly right. We used film … eyes … we took our time in the tower." Video replays from cameras located inside the track, outside the track and from high above were studied not only to determine who was leading the race at the time the yellow flag appeared, but also to determine the running order of others throughout the field. RELATED: Ride with the Nos. 22 and 48 on the final lap Auton said there was never any question about whether the caution was necessary. "Our No. 1 job in this sport is safety of these drivers, safety of crewmembers and of fans," he said. "When you see a car turn hard right … it's pretty scary. With all the safety features we’ve applied, the safer walls that are all the way around all of our race tracks now … and the safety features that we have inside the car, our No. 1 concern was when the 22 car hit (was) to make sure that Joey was OK. "Automatically we went ahead and put out the caution. We felt like it was the right time. As you saw, another car came in and made contact with the 22 when he came off the wall. We need to start getting the guys to roll out of the throttle for the safety of the other drivers." Logano ( Team Penske ) was the leader when the field roared off the fourth turn for a final time. But contact with Sadler -- Logano later said it was likely he that moved down on the JR Motorsports driver -- sent his car into the outside wall. Although Sadler's No. 1 Chevrolet dropped below the yellow line, it was the result of the contact. More importantly, Auton said, Sadler did not advance his position, which the rule does not allow. "He was also forced down there when … he and the 22 car made contact," he said. "In our eyes, he did not gain any positions, he was already there. It was legal by the rules."
Poole wins fans as he loses in Talladega review
RELATED: Full results " Standings post-Talladega " See the finish in photos TALLADEGA, Ala. – Brennan Poole won Saturday's XFINITY Series race at Talladega Superspeedway . And then he didn't. After a chaotic finish was ruled final under caution, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender was initially named the Sparks Energy 300 victor before Elliott Sadler was told to bring his No. 1 Chevrolet to Victory Lane, several minutes after the checkered flag flew. Before NASCAR came to that conclusion, however, the pair of drivers each patiently sat on opposite sides of the start/finish line at the 2.66-mile Alabama track, about to swap emotions. "As I was waiting there, one, I was thinking hopefully the caution didn't come out as early as I think it came out and I'm hoping we race to the line but at the same time I'm thinking 'I hope NASCAR gets it right,' " Poole said in his post-race press conference. "I want the guy who deserves to win the race be the winner and go by the rules. And according to the rules, Elliott was the winner. I can't get mad about it. It just is what it is." The finish was certainly among NASCAR's wildest -- both with the wreck that saw Joey Logano get airborne to spark the caution and with the period of time it took to make the final call. The minutes must have felt like an eternity to Poole and Sadler as the running order was sorted out. RELATED: See the finish from the point of view of the No. 48 NASCAR is certain it got it right. "Took us a little time up in the tower. We feel 100 percent that we got it exactly right," said Wayne Auton, XFINITY Series managing director. "We used film, we used eyes. ... We took our time in the tower. "I think all of you saw the 1 and the 48 come and sit at the start/finish line, which was pretty cool, to just have both drivers sit there really calm. ... We used every bit of film that we had; slow down, speed up -- we arrived at the finish we did and that's by using every piece of technology that we had to our availability." RELATED: Auton explains video review process Poole was lauded on social media and by the press for how he handled the situation, being told that he'd picked up his first career NASCAR win at any national level -- on a day which his sponsor, DC Solar, brought droves of people to the track -- only to have it swept out from under him. He had to settle for a third-place finish. It was still a career-best showing for the promising 25-year-old, but moreso it was his post-race demeanor that people will come away remembering. "I was just glad that they were able to take the time to get it right. Happy that the rightful winner has taken the trophy home tonight. I wish it was us, but we were close," said Poole, who now sits eighth in the points standings. "So, Elliott's the winner and it is what it is. It's racing. "Any time you come up a little bit short, it kind of sucks. We've been fast for several weeks this year, we just haven't been able to close a whole race out and that's been tough. "It's been an exciting last couple weeks and certainly this afternoon is one of the most exciting times in my racing career." MORE: See the wild finish
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Sunoco Fueled : Victory Lap returns to Vegas
RELATED: Champion's Week sweepstakes In just four short weeks, the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Eight drivers, representing five different teams and all three manufacturers, are competing to etch their name in the NASCAR history books, with the designation as champion. Once the new champion hoists the Sprint Cup trophy over his head, closing yet another exciting Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , the industry will collectively set its sights on Las Vegas, and the week-long celebration of the season titled Champion's Week. During the first week of December, the NASCAR industry will converge on Las Vegas for the seventh consecutive year. This year, all 16 Chase drivers will be in attendance to celebrate the 2016 Champion, with an array of live fan events, appearances and banquets. Possibly the most iconic moment during Champion’s Week is Victory Lap fueled by Sunoco , when the drivers parade down Las Vegas Boulevard in their race cars. Fans have the opportunity to experience the excitement of NASCAR with two burnout sessions and viewing areas along the route. For the first time, NASCAR Victory Lap will have a title sponsor, a brand familiar to all NASCAR fans due to its crucial role in the sport, Sunoco . "We are very excited to be fueling this year's NASCAR Victory Lap. This tremendous event has been a fan favorite, as well as a favorite of ours. We are proud to be part of bringing the celebration back to the streets of Las Vegas," said Drew Kabakoff, Director Brand Marketing, Sunoco . "After this year's launch of Burnt Rubbèr, the most exclusive fragrance in motorsports, we felt it only made sense to cap the year off with NASCAR's top drivers burning some rubber of their own on Las Vegas Boulevard." Fans have turned this into one of the most anticipated moments of Champion's Week. So to thank them, Sunoco is offering one lucky fan and their guest the opportunity to win a trip to Las Vegas for a VIP experience during NASCAR Victory Lap fueled by Sunoco . The grand prize includes hotel, airfare and an exclusive opportunity to experience the Essence of Racing by joining the field of 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers as they drive the Las Vegas Strip. In addition, Sunoco is giving away hundreds of bottles of Burnt Rubbèr to daily winners. Fans can enter at www.essenceofracing.com for a chance to win. "We thought this would be a great way to bring our fans closer to the action and raise the level of excitement around this year's event," said Kabakoff. Just like the field of race cars competing on the track each weekend, NASCAR Victory Lap will be fueled by Sunoco .
NASCAR fines Tony Stewart
Related: Stewart will return at Richmond " Stewart's 48 Cup Series wins NASCAR has fined Stewart-Haas Racing driver and co-owner Tony Stewart $35,000 for violations of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book, the sanctioning body announced Thursday. Stewart's fine falls under Section 12 of the rule book, specifically member conduct guidelines. According to Section 12.8.1, actions that could result in a $10,000-$50,000 fine include disparaging the sport and/or NASCAR's leadership, or verbal abuse of a NASCAR Official, media members, fans, etc. Stewart announced earlier Thursday that he would return to the No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend at Richmond after missing the first eight races due to injury. MORE: Stewart talks about lug nuts " Stewart wants more from Danica
NASCAR to look into lug nut rules
RELATED: Hamlin explains decision for Drivers Council to help with fine RICHMOND, Va. -- NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller took questions from the media on Friday at Richmond International Raceway regarding the sport's regulation of tire lug nuts. With the opening day of activity at the track called off early because of rain, Miller came to the media center to discuss what's becoming a hot topic in the garage. Miller said NASCAR was open to exploring new pit rules as to how the teams are using -- or not using -- the correct number of lug nuts on tires, a downsizing all done with the goal of turning faster pit stops to gain a competitive advantage on the track. "The rules have been pretty clear (the past two seasons) and we've really never had, until this point. too much trouble," Miller said. "Obviously there are strong rules in place and pretty severe penalties associated with the rules in place but since the drivers are now questioning it, it's time for us to kind of re-evaluate our position and work with the community in looking at possible different ways to enforce the pit road rules. "The teams are obviously pushing harder than they ever have in this area. It's time for us to take a look at it. We'll do that as an industry. The open dialogue is very good right now between NASCAR and the teams. We'll work with them and work internally to move forward." In order to speed up pit stops, teams are increasingly using fewer lug nuts to secure tires -- creating a dangerous potential problem according to many in NASCAR . Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart was fined $35,000 on Thursday under Section 12 of the rule book, specifically member conduct guidelines. According to Section 12.8.1, actions that could result in a $10,000-$50,000 fine include disparaging the sport and/or NASCAR's leadership. RELATED: Stewart gives opinion on lug nut regulation Miller said he understood the recent concerns and that the series was looking for ways to revisit reinforcement of the rule. He reminded that there is a serious penalty in place for purposely mishandling the installation of tires. "It says a loss of wheels due to improper installation is a mandatory minimum four-race suspension of the crew chief, the tire changer and tire carrier of the lost wheel," Miller said. "So that's the penalty that would be imposed should a wheel actually come off. "We do have the rules and they have served us well. But obviously moving forward, the teams have become very aggressive with it. It's been brought up as a concern and when any of our competitors raise a concern it's time for us to take a little bit harder look at it." While speaking to an Associated Press meeting this week, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France defended the sport's regulation of the situation and reminded of its extreme emphasis on safety. "Nobody has led, done more and achieved more in safety than we have," France said. "It is a never-ending assignment and we accept that. "We do take offense that anything we do is somehow leading toward an unsafe environment. Safety ... that's the most important thing we have to achieve."
Rules update: NASCAR reinforces five lug nuts
NASCAR teams hoping to shave time off pit stops by replacing only four lug nuts on wheels will now face penalties from the sanctioning body, according to a memo sent to organizations Monday. The memo states that all tires, wheels and all five lug nuts "must be installed in a safe and secure manner at all times during the event." Failure to comply can result in penalties ranging from a written warning for pre-race violations (wheels not having five lug nuts glued in place) to a minimum $20,000 fine, one-race suspension and probation for the responsible crew chief if a post-race inspection turns up a car that does not have five lug nuts in place on each wheel. If found during pre-race, the infraction is considered an unapproved adjustment, and the violator will be required to correct the issue and drop to the rear of the field before the start of the event. Multiple offenses for infractions will result in escalating penalties. NASCAR stopped policing how many lug nuts teams were installing during pit stops after the 2014 season. In 2015, the sanctioning body debuted its Pit Road Officiating (PRO) system that utilizes cameras to regulate pit road. According to Monday's memo, updated methods for officiating the new rules will be introduced at a later date. "That process will continue to evolve over time and we will provide further updates as that model progresses." By tightening, or in some cases installing, only four lug nuts on each wheel, teams have often gained an advantage during pit stops. But the practice has led to a rise in the number of loose wheels this season, often sending a driver back to pit road to correct the problem. While at least one NASCAR crew chief has noted that there have been occasions when a car would end the race with fewer than five lug nuts in place, NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France said Monday that the inspection process would be no different than it has been for other areas of the vehicles that are examined each week. "When things are altered we have to deal with that," France said during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "There's no difference in that. ... Really what you're hearing is just how close and tight competition is across the board. And that's why the crew chiefs, and rightfully so, are worried about every millisecond; they don't want to get one of these ... penalties and understandably so. They're trying to get it right and we're trying to get it right. "And by the way, we will. We have for 60 years and we will always sort it out, especially when it comes to safety. We will get to the right place as fast as we can. That's Job 1 for us." Last week, three-time premier series champion Tony Stewart expressed concerns that the safety of competitors was being overlooked by not mandating all five lug nuts be properly installed on wheels. A day later, when Stewart announced he would return to competition after missing the season's first eight races, NASCAR announced it had fined the co-owner/driver $35,000. "It wasn't (a case of) saying they're not doing their job," Stewart told FOX Sports during Sunday's pre-race show. "I just felt like this is one thing they dropped the ball on. So, they're doing a good job. They're looking at it. They're going to address it and make it right, and down the road we won't have to worry about this again, hopefully." France said Stewart is "very aware of how we approach criticism ... of the sport and the product of the racing itself, and safety is paramount of that. Tony is very aware of how we look at that. We allow them to criticize and give their point of view way more than any other sport. ... We're thick-skinned; we get it. "It's when you go into the area of denigrating the racing product. That's all we have in NASCAR , the highest quality of competition. When you start working against that in any way, we're going to have to deal with that. And everybody understands that."