Danica Patrick takes some time to sign fan tweets using the hashtag #SignMyTweet.
Sherry Pollex's cancer fight adds perspective, purpose behind charity RELATED: Catwalk for a Cause raises money for cancer research Martin Truex Jr . rolls into his "home track" Dover International Speedway this week the most dominant driver without a win this season. For the last two points races, the New Jersey native's No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy has led the most laps. He and reigning Sprint Cup Series champ Kevin Harvick have earned the most top-10 finishes (11) of any driver in the series. And, Truex sports a whopping 25-point lead on the next closest points position to qualify for the 16-driver Chase for theCup. Truex' 2014 struggles on track -- consistent bad luck and frequent car problems in his first year with the Furniture Row team -- now seem firmly in the rear-view mirror. And away from the track, Truex's girlfriend Sherry Pollex is responding well in treatment for ovarian cancer -- diagnosed last summer. By all reasonable standards, Truex is already a winner this year. He just hasn't hoisted a trophy. Yet. Perspective has come from facing great hardship and it has been evident even in disappointment for Truex. After leading a race-best 131 laps in Sunday night's grueling Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , he was interviewed on pit road and initially grimaced at yet another near-miss -- a fifth place finish. But before the camera pulled away, Truex had summoned a smile and offered perspective. MORE: #TBT: Truex earns first career Cup win After all that he and Pollex have endured in the past year, good days behind the wheel are a bonus. And Truex is collecting lots of bonus right now. "Toward the end of last year things were looking bad and the car wasn't running well and I was in front-line treatment (for cancer),'' Pollex said. "Now his team is on fire and they have the car to beat every weekend. I'm still in my maintenance chemo, but I live a normal life with it. "Even if Martin wasn't doing well on track, we're kinda winning at life. There are so many things we are thankful for." And as they have for years, Truex and Pollex have generously given back on their blessings through the Martin Truex Jr . Foundation. The foundation's marquee event, Catwalk for a Cause -- a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research and treatment at the Charlotte-based Levine Children’s Hospital -- was held May 13 and raised nearly $300,000. The awareness generated and hearts warmed were priceless. A couple dozen of the sport's biggest names showed up to bid on silent auction items and cheer the participants on as they walked the runway wearing fashions from local boutiques and Belk's. The Mooresville, N.C., facility's décor was created by former NASCAR driver Shawna Robinson, who recently completed treatment for breast cancer herself. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kasey Kahne , Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick were among those who walked the runway with young cancer patients. "Sherry (Pollex) does so much and these kids have such great spirit and they don't know any different,'' said Danica Patrick , who dazzled on stage alongside fellow NASCAR driver and boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and 6-year old, Mya, who is undergoing chemotherapy for a form of leukemia. "It shows how you can be in those situations if you don't think too far forward, and live in the moment." It's a lesson Pollex has had reinforced. Her commitment to the spring event never wavered even in the immediate days after being diagnosed with cancer herself. "God works in mysterious ways,'' Truex said. "When Sherry first got diagnosed she thought about all the kids she had in the Catwalk before and the kids to come and said, 'If they can do this, I can do this.' ' "That was honestly the first thing she thought, 'I'm going to show them I can do it, then they will do it.' And it's a constant snowball effect." Pollex is philosophical about the irony of the situation. For years she has dedicated herself to helping this cause through the foundation's resources. "I remember not long after I was diagnosed, telling my mom that God must have had a plan for me because I've spent half my life teaching kids how to beat this disease then I ended up with it,'' Pollex said. "I definitely think it's ironic. Maybe God knew I would have to teach them how to fight and then one day I'd know what they went through. I can't imagine there being any other plan for me. "If you try to just look at the positive side of it, it's an opportunity to know what they've been through and what the treatments are like. "Nobody really knows what cancer is like unless you have it. You have an empathy that no one can explain unless you're a survivor. It gives me an opportunity to teach them to beat the disease." Because it is considered a "rare" form of cancer, pediatric cancer receives only a small fraction of the funding for research and new treatment that adult forms of cancer receive, according to Dr. Javier Oesterheld, interim director of Levine's Pediatric Hematology and Oncology unit. The money raised by Truex and Pollex is extremely important. "I will tell you, NASCAR as a whole is incredible about this,'' Oesterheld said. "This event is so amazing, how much it raises and just the awareness it puts out there. "All we need (for our cause) is our one person to really push it forward. People like Martin and Jeff Gordon . They've really made a huge difference for us." Beyond the practical side of raising money, the Catwalk has a special and undeniable tangible effect. The very people benefitting get to be a part of the process. And by the end of the evening, it was genuinely hard to see who was helping whom. The kids were grinning and laughing and hamming it up despite their tough circumstances. And the adults were smiling back at them, inspired by their strength and spirit, awed by the lesson of living in the moment. It's impossible not to leave Catwalk without being moved. "Imagine the feeling these kids get when they're up here helping their peers,'' Truex said. "They have friends back in the hospital that were too sick to come here tonight. Imagine what they feel in their heart when they're up here and everyone's cheering for them and they say, 'This is for our friends back in the hospital and for kids that haven't been diagnosed yet.' "These kids raise the money. We don't. "At the end of the day, we're both blessed to be healthy enough to do it, especially Sherry with what she's been through. This year was extra special to her for that reason." Pollex agreed. "We were so humbled all those people were there, and I feel like this year was different because of my diagnosis,'' she said. "We've always wanted to help people. And now that we can't have kids of our own it takes on a new importance in our lives. Those kids become our kids. " With the way Truex has been contending, it won't be long until the couple gets to celebrate their perseverance and resolve in Victory Lane. He's a legitimate favorite this weekend. Truex scored his career first Cup win at Dover's Monster Mile in 2007 and has an impressive two pole positions and eight top-10s in 18 starts at the notoriously tough concrete oval. "I would never want our lives necessarily to turn out this way, but Martin is a completely different person (since I was diagnosed with cancer) and looks at everything differently, not just racing,'' Pollex said. "I don't know how anyone could be the same person after going through this. "I look at it like we got an opportunity to show God what we're made of." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Vehicles in all three national series to sport organization's decal Race Centers: Sprint Cup " XFINITY " Camping World Truck For the first time since the season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway , all three national series -- NASCAR Sprint Cup , XFINITY and Camping World Truck -- will race on the same weekend at Dover International Speedway this Friday through Sunday. Heading into Sunday's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM), 63 teams across all three series will proudly display the Autism Speaks puzzle piece decal on their vehicles throughout the weekend. Denny Hamlin , driver of the No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota, will also include Autism Speaks artwork on his car's primary FedEx Cares paint scheme. Hamlin and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth have launched a text-to-pledge campaign to help raise awareness for Autism Speaks. Through Sunday, fans are encouraged to make a donation by texting RACING to 30644 to get started. Visit www.AutismSpeaks.org/Racing for more information. In total, 27 drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 16 drivers from the NASCAR XFINITY Series and 20 drivers from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are participating: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Jamie McMurray – No. 1 McDonald's/Cessna Chevrolet Austin Dillon – No. 3 DOW Chevrolet Kevin Harvick – No. 4 Ditech Chevrolet Alex Bowman – No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet Sam Hornish Jr . – No. 9 Twisted Tea Ford Danica Patrick – No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet Denny Hamlin – No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota Tony Stewart – No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Clint Bowyer – No. 15 AAA Insurance Toyota Greg Biffle – No. 16 Safety-Kleen Ford Ricky Stenhouse Jr . – No. 17 Ford Ecoboost Ford Kyle Busch – No. 18 Skittles Toyota Matt Kenseth – No. 20 Dollar General Toyota JJ Yeley – No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Jeb Burton – No. 26 Maxim Fantasy Sports Toyota Paul Menard – No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet Ryan Newman – No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Brian Scott – No. 33 ACME/Kraft Singles Chevrolet Kurt Busch – No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Kyle Larson – No. 42 Target Chevrolet Aric Almirola – No. 43 WinField Ford Michael Annett – No. 46 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet AJ Allmendinger – No. 47 Scott Products Chevrolet Justin Allgaier – No. 51 Fraternal Order of Eagles/AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet David Ragan – No. 55 Aaron's Ford Martin Truex Jr . – No. 78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet Matt DiBenedetto – No. 83 Burger King Toyota Camry NASCAR XFINITY Series Brian Scott – No. 2 ACME/Kraft Singles Chevrolet Ty Dillon – No. 3 WESCO Chevrolet Darrell Wallace Jr . – No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Ford Blake Koch – No. 8 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Toyota Camry Cale Conley – No. 14 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Toyota Camry Jeff Green – No. 19 TriStar Motorsports Toyota Camry Eric McClure – No. 24 Reynolds Wrap Toyota Camry John Wes Townley – No. 25 Zaxby's Chevrolet Austin Dillon – No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Brennan Poole – No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet Dakoda Armstrong – No. 43 WinField Ford David Starr – No. 44 Zachry Toyota Camry Jeremy Clements – No. 51 RepairableVehicles.com/AllSouthElectric.com Chevrolet Chris Buescher – No. 60 Roush Performance Products Ford Brendan Gaughan – No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Peyton Sellers – No. 97 Vroom Brands Chevrolet NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ryan Ellis – No. 1 MAKE Motorsports Chevrolet Tyler Young – No. 2 Randco Industries/Young's Building Systems Chevrolet Erik Jones – No. 4 Special Olympics World Games Toyota John Wes Townley – No. 5 Zaxby's Chevrolet Norm Benning – No. 6 Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet Ray Black, Jr. – No. 7 ScubaLife.com Chevrolet Korbin Forrister – No. 8 Green Light Racing Chevrolet John Hunter Nemechek –No. 8 MeetBall Chevrolet Jennifer Jo Cobb – No. 10 POW-MIAFamilies.org Chevrolet Ben Kennedy – No. 11 Local Motors Toyota Cameron Hayley – No. 13 Cabinets by Hayley Toyota Daniel Hemric – No. 14 California Clean Power Chevrolet Timothy Peters – No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tyler Reddick – No. 19 Broken Bow Records Ford Ryan Blaney – No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford Travis Kvapil , – No. 50 BurnieGrill.com Chevrolet Daniel Suarez – No. 51 Arris Toyota Justin Boston – No. 54 ROKMobile.com Toyota Matt Crafton – No. 88 Rip It/Menards Toyota Johnny Sauter – No. 98 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Curb Records Toyota FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
SHR driver will be part of field for Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night Danica Patrick was revealed to be the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway following the Sprint Showdown. That put Patrick in the field for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race , where engine trouble sent her to a 20th-place finish. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver became the first person to win the Sprint Fan Vote twice, earning the honor in 2013. Earlier in the week, Miss Sprint Cup revealed that Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Patrick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) and Josh Wise (Phil Parsons Racing) were the top-five vote getters. Since the Sprint Fan Vote was instituted in 2004, only one driver -- Kasey Kahne in 2008 -- has won the vote and gone on to win the race. The 12 fan vote winners have averaged a finish of 14.75 in the Sprint All-Star Race. Previous Sprint Fan Vote winners and their results in the Sprint All-Star Race Year Driver Result 2004 Ken Schrader 13th 2005 Martin Truex Jr . 22nd 2006 Kyle Petty 8th 2007 Kenny Wallace 16th 2008 Kasey Kahne WON 2009 Joey Logano 8th 2010 Carl Edwards 21st 2011 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 14th 2012 Bobby Labonte 19th 2013 Danica Patrick 20th 2014 Josh Wise 15th 2015 Danica Patrick 20th
Danica Patrick wins 2015 Sprint Fan Vote earning her a spot in the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
NASCAR.com's Holly Cain hosts live chat with Danica Patrick
Complete news and notes about all 43 drivers and their Coca-Cola 600 results RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid after Charlotte 1. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Sticky feet didn't slow down Edwards, who stretched his fuel window to claim his first Charlotte 600 victory while pretty much locking up a spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . " NASCAR.com goes 1-on-1 with Edwards in Victory Lane 2. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle turned in his best showing of the year, starting fourth and earning runner-up honors in the season's longest race. " Biffle reflects on runner-up finish 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native overcame an early-race pit miscue to resume running in the top 10 by Lap 100 and earn his seventh top-five of the year. He now ranks fourth in the points. " Dale Jr. looks at top-five finish at Charlotte 4. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The pole winner closed 12 spots in the final 40 laps after making an unscheduled pit stop with less than 100 laps to go for a loose wheel. " Kenseth talks about late gamble 5. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Before a late-race fuel gamble didn't work out, Truex led a race-high 131 laps and radioed to his team, "I'm feeling like Superman for a few laps anyway." " Truex: 'It hurts to come home fifth' 6. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman earned the beneficiary of the free pass during the final caution period and closed 11 places in the final 40 laps. 7. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . New father Keselowski told his team early that his "ride quality is on par with Kentucky." He won at Kentucky last year, but had to settle for a top 10 (his eighth of the season) due to the fuel mileage game. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for RaceView Premium today 8. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin, winner of the recent Sprint All-Star race, was pacing the 600 field with a migraine when a loose wheel prompted an unscheduled pit stop with 38 laps to go. " Hamlin visits media center after trip to infield care center 9. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick recorded his 11th top-10 result in 12 appearances this season to extend his grip on the points lead 10. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch lined up 14th and posted the fastest lap of the race on Lap 143 (188.153 mph), which was one of the 118 laps he led on Sunday. 11. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . In his first points race since the Daytona crash, Busch reassured his team he could run the full 600 miles. "Tell Erik (Jones, replacement driver) I feel good," Busch radioed his team. "10-4," crew chief Adam Stevens responded. "His bedtime's in about 20 minutes anyhow." " Busch passes big test at Charlotte 12. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was tagged near the halfway point for speeding on pit road, but rallied to earn the beneficiary of the free pass and run inside the top 10 with 50 laps to go. 13. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . The birthday boy shook off debris in the first 24 laps to lead twice for 17 circuits on Sunday. 14. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard quietly toured Charlotte’s 1.5-mile oval en route to his eighth top-15 result of the season. 15. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . After pacing the field to green in the Indy 500, Gordon lined up 18th in his Coca-Cola 600 finale and had a decent run until a loose wheel impacted his day. " Gordon leads Indy field to green 16. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon drove a new chassis to his best 1.5-mile result of the season. 17. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola earned the beneficiary of the free pass on the Lap 230 caution and found himself in position again for the free pass in the closing laps. 18. Chase Elliott , No. 25 Chevrolet. Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott, in his third Cup outing and first at a 1.5-miler, qualified 28th and mostly ran inside the top 25, despite dealing with a radio communication issue during the race. 19. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The two-time Charlotte winner had a ho hum day, running middle of the pack in his 26th appearance at the 1.5-mile track. 20. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer's frustration sparked a late-race decision to gamble on fuel mileage. "Might as well (gamble)," Bowyer radioed crew chief Brian Pattie. "Nothing to lose." " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for RaceView Premium today 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart was running a lap down when he got into the back of Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., who slid up the track ahead of him on Lap 302. 22. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick had to make two pit stops during the third caution flag after receiving damage from a dust-up with Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott on pit road. 23. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears battled a lack of air conditioning and tried to stay cool during the season's longest race by taking ice bags during pit stops. 24. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish couldn't climb back from an early handling issue although he later ran lap times comparable to those inside the top 15. 25. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson qualified ninth, marking his first top-10 start at Charlotte, and ran as high as eighth before quietly fading. 26. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Encouraged early by crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr. not to overdrive it, Bowman went on to post his best intermediate track finish of the year. 27. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne's tough night was further impacted when he hit the wall on Lap 230 to bring out the fourth caution flag and halt 89 laps of green-flag racing. 28. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt liked his car during practice and ultimately turned in his best 2015 result on a 1.5-mile track. 29. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger required an unscheduled pit stop around Lap 160 when a hot dog wrapper stuck to his grille and raised temps. 30. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing . McDowell spent the night looking for speed as he worked with his team on the handling of the No. 95 Ford. 31. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Spotter Tony Raines told Moffitt his car was faster than those ahead of him, but grip was a persistent problem. 32. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett, who dealt with a tight-handling condition early on Sunday, spun on the backstretch on Lap 328 to bring out the caution flag. 33. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland, who honored The Unknown Soldier with his car, led Lap 28 after choosing not to pit during the competition caution. 34. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto, making his third 1.5-mile start and his first at Charlotte, complained early of a loose-handling condition. 35. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise lined up 38th and got behind early, but still held on to post his best Charlotte result in his last four outings at the 1.5-mile track. 36. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. Making his Charlotte debut, Kennedy improved upon his earlier intermediate result this season at Texas Motor Speedway . 37. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse cracked the top 10 with 70 laps to go, but watched his second top-10 of the season slip through his fingers after he hit the wall eight laps later 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley was mired in traffic after being penalized during the competition caution when a crew member went over the wall too early. 3 9. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill followed the race on Sunday by physically running 14 miles to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in support of the Folds of Honor Foundation. " Cassill completes unique Memorial Day weekend double 40. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson spun on Lap 90 and saved his car in a move reminiscent of Kansas Speedway , where he was victorious. But he wasn't able to save it a second time after he spun on Lap 274 and collided with the inside pit wall. " Second spin crunches Johnson's No. 48 41. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . In the final third of the race, Ragan cited his water temperatures were fluctuating and ultimately was sidelined by an engine issue. 42. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney cracked the top 11 on Sunday, but his strong run was halted on Lap 282 when his engine blew up. 43. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier, in his third Charlotte start, retreated to the garage after getting into the wall between Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 136. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Company still wants NASCAR driver as spokeswoman GoDaddy will not renew its primary sponsorship with the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet driven by Danica Patrick , according to a release on Wednesday. But the company revealed it is negotiating to keep Patrick as a GoDaddy spokeswoman under a personal services agreement. RELATED " Cain: Chance to sponsor Danica is one to line up for "We love Danica and all she does to empower and inspire people, especially women, which is why we are working to keep her in the GoDaddy family," said GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer Phil Bienert in the release. "We have the utmost respect for Stewart-Haas Racing , and they've been phenomenal partners. ... The fact Danica is having a record-setting season makes it tough to leave this motorsports sponsorship, without a doubt." In nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season, Patrick has two top-10 finishes, including a seventh-place finish at Martinsville. With her ninth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway , Patrick set a Sprint Cup Series record for top-10 finishes by a woman driver with six for her career. "GoDaddy has been an incredible partner for a very long time, almost nine years, and as I've said before, our brands have really grown up together," Patrick said in the release. "It's pretty cool, from a marketing perspective, that we helped GoDaddy build such strong brand awareness here in the U.S. I'm excited to work with GoDaddy on a personal level moving forward, but will miss having their bright green color on my race car next year." NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France had the following to say when asked on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday about GoDaddy's impending departure: "We're always disappointed when for one reason or another a company changes course. But that happens, and I know recently they just went from being private to a publicly traded company and I'm sure that changes a lot of their budgets and strategy and that's just how that goes. "Danica is very marketable as we all know ... and I've really been watching her and she's competing more and more at a higher level, and she's very competitive. She wants to really make her mark over a period of time, and it's a tough place to do it with the kind of talent and parity that's in NASCAR. But she's showing progress and I think she'll be just fine." Despite GoDaddy's impending departure, one in four FORTUNE 500 companies are now invested in NASCAR, eight percent higher than in 2008. And over the last two years, more than 65 new companies became NASCAR team sponsors. Later Wednesday morning, Patrick tweeted about the news. Heck of a lot of season left to win driving the @godaddy car! Everything evolves and changes in life, I'm excited for what's to come! — Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) April 29, 201 FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Restrictor plate tracks return to single-car qualifying starting this weekend Related: Biffle tops final practice " Stenhouse fastest in first practice TALLADEGA, Ala. – Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick said, “it just didn’t work.” Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Danica Patrick likened it to the TV show “Survivor.” The shelf life of group qualifying on restrictor plate tracks has expired. Tradition, some would say sanity, has returned. When NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series teams hit the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway for qualifying Saturday, fans won’t see packs of cars jostling for position, trailing cars laying back trying to catch the air and possibly ride the draft to a front-row starting spot. They also won’t see multi-car crashes similar to the one that unfolded at Daytona when the format was put into play for this year’s season-opening race. Instead, teams will go it solo with one driver’s qualifying attempt coming to a close as the next begins. “I feel really good about what it has evolved into,” Harvick said Friday at Talladega, site of Sunday’s GEICO 500 (FOX, 1 p.m. ET). “I think all the competitors feel that way. We were tearing up a lot of cars in qualifying.” According to NASCAR officials, each driver will complete three laps – the first to get up to speed, the second which will be the official qualifying lap, and a third as he or she returns to pit road. Approximately halfway through the qualifying lap, the next driver in line will head out for his or her attempt. The qualifying order in each series will be based on a random draw for the first of two rounds. In the final round, the order will be based on first-round times, from slowest to fastest. Each session is expected to take less than one hour to complete. Patrick ’s only pole in the Sprint Cup Series came in the Daytona 500 two years ago, under the single-car qualifying format. “It just was, I feel, like a very unnecessary stress for everybody,” Patrick said of the group qualifying format at Daytona and Talladega. “The amount of conversations and meeting with drivers … I felt like I was on ‘Survivor’ … trying to make alliances and finding out the best thing to do was not have any and just be the one that tags onto the group. Because nobody really cared if it was just one car. “But when a group of five saw you, you’re like ‘oh, I can’t have all five of those going faster.’” The speed and closing rate of a car, or cars, catching a group in front often meant the pole winner wasn’t the first to cross the line. Friday’s two practice sessions saw plenty of pack drafting but no significant contact. Roush Fenway Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (200.780 mph) led the opening practice while teammate Greg Biffle (197.929 mph) topped the leaderboard in the second. Biffle, who has one restrictor plate pole and one win, says he’s pleased with the change to the qualifying format “because it’s the speed of the car.” “It’s not who got the lucky lane or who got a draft or who laid back so far and got sucked up on a big run,” Biffle, 45, said. “… I feel (this is) the right way to do it.” Group qualifying will continue to be used to set the starting lineup at tracks other than Talladega and Daytona. Such a format works well at those shorter tracks, Harvick said. “I think there have been a lot of things that have changed, but … our qualifying change has been week-in and week-out probably one of the better changes that we have had in our sport in a while. “I think when you look a the adjustment and the time everybody has put in, I hope it evolves into that … this weekend as well.” FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France talks about GoDaddy ending sponsorship with Danica Patrick and how he is confident in Patrick's future.