- Did you mean:
Ben-Hur's Jack Huston to drive pace car at The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 29, 2016) -- Jack Huston, star of the upcoming epic action adventure "BEN-HUR" from Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, will drive a 2016 Toyota Camry pace car to kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It™ 355 at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 7. This will be Huston’s first time serving as an Official Pace Car drive at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. He will also be recognized during pre-race ceremonies and will greet each NASCAR driver on stage during driver introductions. "I am excited to join NASCAR and get behind the wheel of today’s modern chariot," said Huston. "BEN-HUR" is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption. Based on Lew Wallace's timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The film also stars Rodrigo Santoro, Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer, Pilou Asbaek, Sofia Black D’Elia and Morgan Freeman. Timur Bekmambetov directed the film from a screenplay by Keith Clarke and John Ridley. Sean Daniel, Joni Levin, and Duncan Henderson served as producers, with Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, Keith Clarke, John Ridley, and Jason F. Brown serving as executive producers. "BEN-HUR" will be released in theaters on August 19, 2016. Huston previously starred for four seasons in HBO's hit series, Boardwalk Empire, as the sniper with the horribly disfigured face, 'Richard Harrow.' In 2013, Huston appeared in the critically acclaimed and award-winning film American Hustle, where he played mobster 'Pete Musane.' Additionally, he starred as 'Young Ira' in George Tillman Jr.'s film adaption of the Nicholas Sparks novel, The Longest Ride. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Watkins Glen International August 4-7 for the Cheez-It™ 355 race weekend, which also features the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Bully Hill Vineyards 100, and the NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at The Glen. Tickets for all of the action are available by calling 1-866-461-RACE or by logging on to www.theglen.com . Fans can also watch the Cheez-It™ 355 live on USA at 2:30 p.m. ET or listen on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Located within five (5) hours (~300 miles) of 25 percent of the US population, Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in North America, voted "Best NASCAR Track" by readers of USA Today. Keep up with The Glen on Facebook and Twitter. For tickets, call 866-461-RACE or visit www.theglen.com.
Plenty of tests passed already for The Glen's new look
RELATED: See before and after photos of the Watkins Glen repave WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- The true test will come this weekend, but in some ways, the new pavement at Watkins Glen International has already had its share of trial runs -- both for the racing surface itself and the safety systems off it. A tire test in May, an organizational test last week, and now Friday's practice before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series holds its final road course event of the season, Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at the Glen (2:30 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM). But another true test came with getting the stamp of approval from the man in charge. "They knocked it out of the park," said Michael Printup, Watkins Glen International track president, lauding the collaborative effort to freshen the 2.45-mile circuit's layout, curbing and drainage. Besides all those laps logged, it's also had its safety measures put to the test with Brad Keselowski 's severe crash in Turn 1 during last Tuesday's opening test day. His Team Penske No. 2 Ford was totaled, and Keselowski escaped without injury. But the Sprint Cup champion was also critical in remarks last weekend at Pocono Raceway , saying that the inherent danger of the Glen's opening corner -- a sharp, 90-degree right-hander at the bottom of a hill -- was an accepted but steep risk with potentially dire consequences. Those comments struck a sour tone with Printup, who cited similar nose-first accidents in the same corner -- by Jimmie Johnson in 2000 and Denny Hamlin in 2011 -- where the safety system in place did its job. The track uses a combination of the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier system and tire-pack barriers in front of the Armco steel guardrails. "We're glad Brad walked away. We're not happy with the comments, to be blunt," Printup said this week. "I think we all believe he was out of line because if that was anything but Armco and tire barrier, it might've been -- as he put it -- the one out of 1,000. That is by far the best (barrier). … "At 90 degrees, the worst thing you can hit is SAFER, but it's only tube steel for 10 inches and then an 18-inch gap and then it's cement wall. That cement wall would've never have moved for Jimmie or Denny. Who knows what it could've been. But by far, I think Brad just doesn't understand the engineering part of it, and the engineers will tell you that at 90 degrees, tire barrier and Armco is by far the safest." Safety mechanisms were just part of the assessments made in the $12 million offseason project, which Printup said had been debated for at least five years before proceeding. The effect of New York's harsh winters and pounding from competition had yielded nearly annual patching projects. When engineers noticed an advanced degradation in the layers of the asphalt, Printup said the time had come. What ensued was a group effort between NASCAR, paving experts at Lane Construction, International Speedway Corporation and Watkins Glen's team. The result was an ultra-smooth surface that will host stock-car racing for the first time this weekend. "About a year ago, NASCAR really started to get into the foray of understanding the asphalt, said Jerry Kaproth, NASCAR's manager of race track infrastructure. "Otherwise, it's always been left to the experts to do their own thing independently. This is the first year we've really started to track some of that. The cooperation between the organizations has never been better and part of that is we have enough insight from our consultants to know a little bit and to ask the right questions." The early reviews -- muddled somewhat by the necessary use of a harder-compound Goodyear tire for durability's sake -- have been largely positive. Printup said that drivers participating in the tire test in May found no dramatic changes aside from the curbing layout in the bus-stop chicane on the backstretch. The curbs, he said, were rebuilt to the same specifications, but extended length-wise at the corner's entry. "You'll recall some of the exciting racing that's gone on in the bus stop where they're cutting the corners -- they're hitting dirt and grass, and it was getting dangerous because they were basically digging a hole, which then can upset the car or slice a tire," Printup said, adding that track crews were tasked with patching and refilling the gaps multiple times through a race weekend in the past. "It all adds up to the right thing to do." The recent repaving covered not just the 2.45-mile portion of the track used by NASCAR series, but also the 3.4-mile configuration that includes "The Boot" layout of turns used in IMSA and IndyCar events. Tony Stewart , readying for his final Watkins Glen start, raced the longer circuit during a ride-swap here with Formula One star Lewis Hamilton in 2011. After the experience, Printup said Stewart grabbed him by the shirt, saying, "Dude, we gotta race the boot." Printup said he's had informal discussions with NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell about making that happen. He said that one of the only drawbacks would potentially be a reduction in lap count to achieve the same distance, meaning drivers would make fewer appearances at the track's different vantage points, but said that as a self-professed "road course guy," he'd love to see the longer configuration get its own test. "I would love to take a hard look at that and see, can we do the K&N race, can we do XFINITY down there," Printup said. "I don't think it would be right to just jump to the (Sprint) Cup cars, in my opinion, but man, I would like to see sometime in my tenure, I would love to see NASCAR in one of those three or four series run the boot. I think it'd be great."
GarageCam is ready to rumble in 'The Last Great Colosseum'
Host Matthew Dillner strolls through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Bristol Motor Speedway to talk about the challenges of 'The Last Great Colosseum'.
Petty, Ingram took unexpected routes to Hall
'Chief', 'Iron Man' part of five-man class to join NASCAR Hall of Fame
Past Daytona 500 winner history
Find past winners and margins of victory for The Great American Race
NASCAR enhances competition executive team
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 12, 2016) – NASCAR announced today that Elton Sawyer has been promoted to the role of Vice President, Officiating and Technical Inspection and John Probst has joined the organization as Managing Director, Competition and Innovation. Additionally, NASCAR made the following promotions within its competition team: • Brad Moran will transition to Managing Director, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series • Brandon Thompson will become the Senior Director, Touring Series • George Grippo will join the competition team as Managing Director, Competition Technology and Timing & Scoring • Jusan Hamilton will become Manager, Racing Operations & Event Management "With today's announcement, NASCAR has aligned the Competition department to meet the ever changing and challenging needs of a highly competitive sports landscape," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "We're delighted to see the growth of a number of our colleagues throughout the company, as well as welcoming a new one with a long history in the industry." Sawyer, who will continue reporting to Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller, transitions to his new role after serving the last two seasons as Managing Director of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He will oversee multiple functions to ensure NASCAR events are the best in motorsports, including inspection/officiating; officials training and development; and the events and transportation groups. Sawyer joined NASCAR in 2015 after serving as Director of Team Operations for Action Express Racing in the IMSA Series. Prior to that role, he held competition positions at Red Bull Racing and Evernham Motorsports. Sawyer also spent a portion of his racing career competing in the NASCAR national series as a driver. Probst joins NASCAR after serving as Technical Director for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. He also held the same role at Red Bull Racing, and spent more than 11 years as Engineering Supervisor at Ford Motor Company. Probst holds engineering degrees from Penn State University and Bloomsburg (Pa.) University. His work at NASCAR will include oversight of several competition and innovation projects developed out of NASCAR’s expansive Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. Moran will oversee the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series after serving in a similar capacity over the NASCAR Touring Series. The Canada native brings more than 25 years of motorsports experience into the role, including serving as owner of Barrie (Ontario) Speedway. Thompson, who will transition into Moran’s role, has more than 10 years of experience at NASCAR. He also served a two-year role as operations manager at Revolution Racing. After rejoining NASCAR in 2012, Thompson has held a number of responsibilities in the company’s Racing Operations team, including the coordination and administration of weekly race activities. Grippo, who has provided oversight of NASCAR Productions’ Technology Field and Media Operations department as its managing director since September 2013, moves to the Competition team to lead the constantly evolving technology and timing and scoring realm, while retaining many of his at-track technology field responsibilities. Prior to joining NASCAR, Grippo held executive level positions at a number of tech companies, including SoleraTec LLC and Constellation Solutions Group. Hamilton first joined NASCAR in 2012 as a member of the company’s Diversity Internship Program in both the Racing Operations and Integrated Marketing Communications departments. In 2013, he joined the sanctioning body fulltime as a member of its IMC team, later transitioning to the Industry Operations department. Hamilton , whose entry into racing began as a driver, will assume many of Thompson’s prior responsibilities, as well as event management assignments under Managing Event Director David Hoots. Each executive will undergo a transition into their new assignments over the balance of the 2016 season.
Kyle Busch clinches 2016 ESPYs win
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The 24th annual ESPY Awards got a little "rowdy" as reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch was named Best Driver at last night's ceremony. He received the most votes among fellow nominees 2015 IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon, 2015 Formula One World Driver's Champion Lewis Hamilton , 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, and 2015 NHRA Pro Stock Champion Erica Enders-Stevens. NASCAR drivers have been victorious in the Best Driver category eight of the last 10 years, with Busch joining fellow competitors Kevin Harvick , Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson on the elite list of winners. The world of sports witnessed an incredible comeback last season by Busch, who suffered a compound fracture in his right leg and a broken left foot at the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race in Daytona. After missing 11 races due to his injuries, Busch returned to win four out of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events over the course of the summer, effectively clinching his spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His superior performance continued throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, including three top-five finishes in the Eliminator Round that ultimately led him to the championship. Busch went on to capture the checkered flag in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, taking home his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title and solidifying his position as one of the greatest comeback stories in sports. Busch is a formidable contender in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series again this season with the most top five finishes of any driver and three wins thus far. Tune in to NBCSN on Sunday, July 17 at 1:30 p.m. ET for the New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, or listen live on PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Voting open: Kyle Busch up for ESPY Award
Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch could see his celebration of last year's championship continue on July 13 – at the ESPY Awards. The yearly awards show, hosted by ESPN with winners decided via fan voting, will air on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. John Cena, who had a run-in with FOX reporter Jamie Little this year at the Daytona 500 , is the host. RELATED: Reporter literally can't see Cena Busch is nominated for "Best Driver" and is up against Scott Dixon (IndyCar), Lewis Hamilton (Formula One), Erica Enders-Stevens (NHRA) and Alexander Rossi (IndyCar). Fans can vote here. Busch missed the first 11 races last season after suffering a broken right leg and broken left foot in the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series opener. He returned, rallied to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, then won his first championship. All told, "Rowdy" won five races, and logged 12 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in a total of 25 races. NASCAR is the defending winner in that category as well. Kevin Harvick , the 2014 champion, took home the hardware last year.
Busch sweeps weekend, dominates in Martinsville Cup race
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated series standings SHOP: 'Rowdy' Busch gear MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Kyle Busch came to Martinsville Speedway this weekend with no grandfather clock trophies, the traditional award for winning at the shortest and tightest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series short tracks. He left with two such clocks after completing an unprecedented Martinsville sweep in Sunday's STP 500 , and, appropriately, coyly radioed a single question to his crew after his celebratory burnouts. "What time is it?" crowed the reigning series champion, who a day earlier had won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville in his own equipment. MORE: Busch wins OT Truck race at Martinsville Then, Busch answered his own question. "Time to tell the haters to shut up!" Busch shouted in a reference to the rocky relationship the Joe Gibbs Racing driver sometimes enjoys with the NASCAR fan base. Busch can be forgiven for his over-the-top exclamation. With the victory, he's all but assured of defending his 2015 championship in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . "I can't say enough about this whole JGR team," said Busch, who led the final 173 laps after passing teammate Matt Kenseth for the top spot. "The (No. 18) M&M's Camry was awesome in practice (on Saturday). We had a really good car through practice, and (crew chief) Adam (Stevens) made some really good adjustments overnight to keep us where we needed to be, running up front all day." In fact, Busch led 352 of the 500 laps on the way to his first victory of the season and the 35th of his career. The 352 laps led were the most at Martinsville since Bobby Hamilton dominated the Apr. 20, 1998 Sprint Cup race at the .526-mile track, winning from the pole and leading 378 circuits. For the final restart on Lap 489, after caution had slowed the race for the eighth time when Jamie McMurray shredded a tire and lost control in Turn 2, Busch pulled away to cross the finish line .663 seconds ahead of AJ Allmendinger . Allmendinger matched his career-best Sprint Cup finish on an oval track, with his previous second place coming at Martinsville in 2012. Moreover, it was Allmendinger's first top five since he won at the Watkins Glen International road course in August 2014 and qualified for the Chase for the only time in his career. "God, I wish we had one more spot," said Allmendinger, who restarted third with 12 laps left, forced his way past Kenseth and spent the final 10 laps in an all-out -- albeit futile -- attempt to run down Busch before the finish. "We got our car really, really good on the long runs," he continued. "That's kind of where I thought we shined. We didn't have great short-run speed, but after about 30, 40 laps we could really get rolling there. I was kind of hoping we’d stay green the last 120 laps. I figured that wasn't going to happen, but I was praying we had a shot at that, because I felt like if that happened, we had a great chance to win the race." Kyle Larson , who, like Busch, competed in Saturday's truck race, used the extra track time to full benefit in finishing third in the Cup race, one spot ahead of Austin Dillon , who stayed out on old tires for the final restart (as did Busch, Kenseth and Allmendinger). Brad Keselowski recovered from a Lap 93 pit road-speeding penalty to run fifth. Carl Edwards , who started 25th and spent much of the race a lap down, fought back to finish sixth. Brian Vickers , Paul Menard , Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman completed the top 10. Polesitter Joey Logano struggled with the handling of his car from the outset. Busch put him a lap down on Lap 76, but Logano recovered to finish 11th, despite so much damage to the nose of the No. 22 Ford that he finished the race with his hood flapping above the engine compartment. MORE: Martinsville brings out angry old men in Penske cars Denny Hamlin , who was a pre-race favorite, wheel-hopped his No. 11 Toyota into the Turn 1 wall on Lap 220 and retired from the race in 39th place. MORE: Hamlin hits wall, ends day Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Kevin Harvick were shuffled back during the final restart and finished 14th and 17th, respectively. Harvick retained the series lead by four points over Johnson and five points over Busch. Hung on the outside on the final restart, Kenseth dropped to 15th after Allmendinger passed him. Danica Patrick came home 16th, her best result so far this season.
From the Vault: Stewart grabs his first Indy pole award in 2002
Relive Tony Stewart's first Indianapolis Motor Speedway qualifying pole award in 2002 as he sets a track record with amazing speed.