Carmichael starts monster wreck
Ricky Carmichael and David Starr get together to touch off a big wreck that brings out the red flag.
Carmichael , Long crash hard
Ricky Carmichael spins out of Turn 4 and collects Johanna Long.
With long history in sport, Childress ready for Friday's Hall of Fame induction
RELATED: Mark Martin on what drove him to success Richard Childress will go into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday night with perhaps a bit more of an appreciation than most, having spent the better part of his life tied snugly to the sport of stock car racing. It's been his livelihood and his lifeblood. From selling snacks as a youngster in the grandstands at a local track to overseeing a racing organization today that boasts more than 500 employees, Childress is one of the few still around that has seen and done it all. Childress, 71, will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday along with fellow team owners Rick Hendrick and Raymond Parks and former drivers Mark Martin and Benny Parsons (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Incredible stories shadow each of this year's inductees. The story of Childress' rise from dropout to multi-millionaire is no less so. Today, his Richard Childress Racing organization fields three full-time teams in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and three in the NASCAR XFINITY Series . His teams have won 12 championships and 214 races across NASCAR's three national series (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck). Six of his championships came with driver Dale Earnhardt, an inaugural member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and regarded by many as one of the sport's most talented and influential drivers. "I'm sure every one of the inductees are very proud," Childress said last week during a round of media availabilities for this year's Hall of Fame Class. "My feeling is, I started out selling peanuts and popcorn at Bowman-Gray Stadium watching my heroes, Billy and Bobby Myers, Curtis Turner and Glen Wood, these guys race and that's all I ever wanted to do was become a race driver." He worked full time to live his dream part-time until the pull of the racing won out and for the longest time it looked like a fool's errand. Money didn't flow and bills piled up but like everyone else chasing a dream, Childress was undeterred. At 24, he got his first big break, competing at Talladega Superspeedway after many of NASCAR's top stars, citing tire concerns, boycotted the race. He returned home to purchase a small parcel of land with the money he earned from that weekend's races, and started his own auto repair business. "I left there with more money than I'd ever seen at one time," he said. Being his own boss also kept his NASCAR dream alive. He jumped in full time in 1976 as an owner/driver at a time when only a handful of teams had the support and the finances to contend for wins on a consistent basis. "I can remember the days when we had to syphon the fuel out of the race car to get home, put it in the tow car," Childress said. "A lot of people don't understand how it was back in the early '70s … what not just me but everyone was going through. You had the Pettys, Junior Johnson, Bud Moore, there were about four big teams … those were the guys you were racing against." His second big break came in the early '80s when he made the decision to focus on ownership and leave the driving to someone else. Earnhardt came and went, driving a handful of races at the end of the '81 season. A two-year stint with Ricky Rudd helped the team turn the corner and build the consistency necessary to compete for wins on a regular basis. By '84, Earnhardt had returned and RCR had improved its product tremendously. " Ricky was a young, up and coming driver and I think we both helped each other a lot," Childress said. "He helped me as a car owner and I think we helped him as a driver, with the past driving experience I had and as an owner being able to work with a driver was totally different. I think it was a learning experience for all of us. "When Dale came back in '84 I was much more comfortable as an owner at that point." It's been three years since a driver for RCR won in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series although all three of its current drivers -- Austin Dillon , Paul Menard and Ryan Newman -- have qualified for the Chase on one or more occasions. Childress, winless as a driver in 285 career starts, remains positive and focused. No different than when he was just starting out with little more than a dream and a desire. "You had to have a passion," he said. "Even when I was driving and wasn't winning … I never started a race that I didn't think this was going to be the day that the big boys had a problem and I was going to be able to come in there and win. "Just the sheer drive of wanting to succeed, that's what kept me going." And it's led him right into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Three wrecks in the first 50 laps at Daytona
Joey Logano gets turned early, Ricky Carmichael pounds the wall after a cut tire and Eric McClure gets turned into the fence after a push goes awry.
Elledge named crew chief for Allgaier, No. 31 in 2011
Turner Motorsports announced Wednesday that veteran crew chief Jimmy Elledge has joined the team to lead the efforts of the No. 31 Chevrolet driven by Justin Allgaier. Bringing with him years of experience, Elledge has been a part of several championship-winning organizations and has worked with an impressive mix of veteran and rookie drivers including Turner Motorsports driver, Reed Sorenson, as well as Juan Montoya, Casey Mears, A.J. Allmendinger, Bobby Hamilton and Dale Jarrett. He has one Cup Series win to his credit, leading Hamilton to his final victory at Talladega in 2001. Most recently, Elledge was the crew chief for the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota driven by six drivers including Sorenson, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers. Turner Motorsports is in the midst of its inaugural full season of NASCAR competition. Owned by Texas-native Steve Turner, the racing organization is expanding in 2011 from a two-truck operation in the Camping World Truck Series to become the largest stand-alone multi-series team in NASCAR's top-tier touring series. Turner Motorsports operates out of an 110,000 square-foot state-of-the art facility in Mooresville, N.C., and will house three entries in both the Nationwide Series and the Truck Series. The team boasts a driver line-up that includes Allgaier, Kahne, Sorenson, Jason Leffler, Ricky Carmichael , James Buescher and Brad Sweet.
Christopher Bell claims 2017 Chili Bowl victory
Photo: Toyota Racing Christopher Bell rang in the start of his 2017 season with perhaps the biggest win of his burgeoning racing career -- the 31st annual Chili Bowl. Bell, a full-time driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , won what many consider to be the world's most prestigious sprint car race after midnight ET on Sunday morning. Over the course of a week, he outlasted 364 other drivers who entered -- a Chili Bowl record -- and ended Rico Abreu's two-year reign as champion. Bell is regarded as one of the finer dirt racers in the country, and he was equally adept on pavement as well. The 22-year-old advanced to the Championship Round in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase as a full-time rookie in 2016. In 2015, he won at Eldora Speedway in his third career series start. Making the victory even sweeter is that Bell is an Oklahoma native -- he was born in Norman, about 125 miles southwest of the event site in Tulsa. "Oh my God, I just won the Chili Bowl," Bell said after climbing out of his machine. "This was a long time coming and a dream come true." C Bell up on the wheel tonight! #cbnationals @CBellRacing — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) January 15, 2017 Nice job C Bell! — William Byron (@WilliamByron) January 15, 2017 Daryn Pittman, a fellow Oklahoma native, finished second to Bell with Justin Grant, Tanner Thompson and Jake Swanson rounding out the top five. In all, four drivers with recent NASCAR experience qualified for the championship race. Abreu finished 11th after starting 25th in the 25-driver championship field, needing a champion's provisional to make the final field. Roush Fenway Racing 's Ricky Stenhouse Jr . finished 16th and Chase Briscoe, the newest full-time driver for Brad Keselowski Racing, was 22nd in the A-Main. The Chili Bowl is a week-long event with five days of practice and qualifying events to set the 25-car field for the main event. Saturday started with two O-Feature races -- the top four finishers from each O-Feature event advanced to the corresponding N-Feature races. Then the top four finishers from each N-Feature race advance into the M-Feature races. The format was used all the way up to the A-Main finale, although drivers also could qualify for the A-Main throughout the week. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson , who has stayed behind the wheel all offseason, including a racing trip to Australia -- failed to advance to the championship race after making the A-Main for five consecutive years. Abreu did not make it out of the F-Feature due to a tire issue, but he received a past champion's provisional. Stenhouse, another Chili Bowl veteran, won his B-Feature to advance into the championship race. Justin Allgaier , who will drive in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports in 2017, was ousted after the C-Feature. His most eventful moment of the week, though, came Friday when his car flipped on the last lap of his race.
Prolonged excellence has Childress Hall of Fame bound
RELATED: Learn more about the Class of 2017 MORE: Photos from voting day, of class Journeyman stock car racer Richard Childress caught lightning in a bottle, not once but twice. NASCAR's only driver strike, on the eve of the 1969 inaugural race at Talladega Superspeedway , gave Childress the opportunity to earn enough money to build his first race shop and lay the foundation for Richard Childress Racing , the powerhouse Chevrolet organization which to date has claimed 11 owner titles across NASCAR’s three national series. Nearly a decade later, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina native met Dale Earnhardt. Together, the pair won six NASCAR premier series championships along with 67 races between 1984 and 2000. Earnhardt entered the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of its 2010 inaugural class. Childress will be enshrined in the hall on Jan. 20 in Charlotte, N.C. (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN), along with Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons. Childress, 71, grew up selling peanuts and popcorn at Winston-Salem's legendary Bowman Gray Stadium. Soon after, he bought a 1947 Plymouth for $20. "That's where it started," he said in a Grainger.com interview. "It's the best investment I ever made." Top drivers – those with factory contracts – made a decent living while independents like Childress barely scraped by. He went to Talladega in the fall of 1969 to compete in a preliminary event but was asked by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. to enter the Talladega 500 when Professional Driver Association members withdrew, citing high speeds and tire failures. "I had made three or four thousand dollars on Saturday," Childress told The Birmingham News in 2009. "The money that (France) paid us to run – we called it deal money in those days – plus my winnings, I came back with seven, eight, 10 thousand dollars. In those days it was big money. "It was my big break. Life’s all about the breaks and when you take advantage of them. That was the difference between making it and not making it." Childress never won a race as a driver but was able to secure enough sponsorship to keep going. His equipment generally was immaculate and pleased supporters, who ultimately would provide much greater – and crucial – financial backing. Earnhardt, who'd won his first championship in 1980, chose not to accompany Rod Osterlund's team upon its sale to J.D. Stacy. He joined Childress for 11 races, replacing the owner in the driver's seat. "I didn't want to get out of the car but I knew the opportunity was there – and I didn't want to pass it up," Childress told Foxnews.com last year. "I knew Dale was a championship driver. That was one of the biggest breaks in the history of RCR and Richard Childress. "I was maxxed out. I did everything I could do on my home. I sold everything I thought I had that I could sell just to run Dale in those (11) races." Earnhardt left to race for Bud Moore, and Childress – thanks to a bail-out from primary sponsor Wrangler Jeans – was able to continue. With Ricky Rudd, RCR scored its first victory in June 1983 at Riverside International Raceway. Earnhardt returned to RCR the following season, capturing the team’s first premier series title in 1986. Additional championships followed in 1987, 1990-91 and 1993-94. Longtime racing executive and Charlotte Motor Speedway promoter H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler credited Childress for molding Earnhardt into one of NASCAR's greatest drivers. "In his own, quiet Southern way, Richard instilled in Dale all he knew," Wheeler wrote in "Growing Up NASCAR." "Richard knew what to say and when to say it and he knew how to get the best out of his driver. Richard was a brilliant, brilliant coach, something most drivers never get." Earnhardt and Childress finally won the long-elusive Daytona 500 in 1998, three years before the driver's death on the final lap of the "Great American Race." Childress considered leaving the sport – "Probably all the way up until Tuesday. Sunday night, definitely," he said – but recalled a hunting incident after which he and Earnhardt agreed each would go on if something happened to the other. RCR promoted its NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Kevin Harvick to drive its Chevrolets – retiring the iconic No. 3 in deference to the late Intimidator. Childress returned the number to its cars several years ago when his grandson, Austin Dillon , moved to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after winning NASCAR Camping World Truck and XFINITY titles. To date, RCR has won 105 NASCAR premier series races. The organization counts four XFINITY owner titles and the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner championship in 1995 with Mike Skinner. RCR also captured the XFINITY Series driver championship in 2013 and the Camping World Truck Series driver title in 2011, both with Austin Dillon . Childress, recipient of the 1986 Bill France Award of Excellence, is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, International Motorsports Hall of Fame and North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
All jokes aside, Gordon eager to atop Rolex 24 podium
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon humbly conceded that he was absolutely prepared to learn and absorb from his new Wayne Taylor Racing teammates in preparation for the WeatherTech SportsCar Series' season opener, the Rolex 24 -- Gordon's first drive in the great race since 2007. What he wasn't counting on, however, was the practical joke initiation. Actually it was more of an homage to the great NASCAR champion from 25-year old Jordan Taylor -- one of Gordon's three teammates for the Jan. 27-28 Rolex race. "I had the idea as soon as I learned he would be driving with us to come up to him in the garage as a super fan," Taylor explained with a smile Friday afternoon as the team met with the media following the first practice session of the Roar Before the 24 three-day test. "I figured he had seen that exact person, the jacket, the shorts, the mustache … I figured he'd seen that a million times and I would just blend in with the crowd. But, he saw it coming and kinda ruined my day." Gordon laughed hearing Taylor relive the scenario. For all the high jinks in getting to know one another, however, this team is absolutely a serious favorite when it comes to the twice-around-the-clock race on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course. This will mark only the second time the newly-retired Gordon has competed in this prestigious event. Yet he looked quite comfortable walking around the paddock and more importantly, sitting behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA Cadillac DPi prototype -- which was second fastest in Friday's opening practice session. Dressed in Wayne Taylor Racing team blue, he led his co-drivers Jordan Taylor, Taylor's older brother Ricky , 27, and veteran Max Angelelli onto the stage to meet the press as part of the annual "Roar" test session. "I am having a blast," Gordon said. "It's been a dream of mine not just to drive a car like this but to compete out on track with a team and car like this. "It's a lot of fun for me. I treat this like I'm a rookie, having only run this race one other time. I just tapped into this team and the teammates listening and talking to (team owner) Wayne and Max and last two months really getting to know Ricky and Jordan testing with them. It's been an amazing experience but I must say getting behind the wheel of a car that brakes like that and corners like that is kinda eye-opening to me, but also at the same time, so much fun." Before the fun, however, Gordon has methodically prepared himself -- mentally and physically training for this 24-hour test. He has immersed in Equinox training, snow skiing and more cardio workouts in general. "It's not as hot as inside a stock car," Gordon said, "But it definitely puts a lot more loads on your body. I'm trying to get myself in as good a shape as these young kids I'm chasing around." Out in Daytona's vast garage area, it was easy to locate the Wayne Taylor Racing hauler. Several people crowded outside hoping for a glimpse of Gordon, or even better: an autograph. Maryann Danker, 67, of nearby Seville, Fla. stood outside holding a diecast NASCAR car of Gordon's. She is a 20-year member of the Jeff Gordon Fan Club and attending her first Rolex test session "only because of Gordon," she said. Earning the prestigious Rolex watch later this month would put Gordon in historic company. Only Jamie McMurray has won the Daytona 500 , Indianapolis' Brickyard 400 and the Rolex 24 -- an impressive congregate of some of the world's greatest races. And Gordon is up for achieving that honor too. Even if it's not something he’s specifically focused on. "I'll be honest, that would be special but that's like icing on the cake," Gordon said. "I haven't thought a lot about that." Then looking at his young teammates, Gordon added, "These kids force me to have fun because -- especially this one (Jordan) I have to watch out for him and was happy to get one over on him yesterday. "I'm a very serious competitor and they are, too, but they like to mix it up and have fun and I love that. I want to have fun, but I really am only going to have fun and a smile on myself if we're up on that podium in the number one position when this race is over." &lt;/p&gt;
Snow day! Drivers share pictures of winter fun
RELATED: See tracks covered in snow The NASCAR community may not have collectively received the full brunt of snow initially predicted, but wintry weather still hit North Carolina late Friday night and into Saturday, sending several drivers and crew chiefs outside to play. Those based in Charlotte know that predictions of big snow -- and such was the case this weekend -- can often wash out in a sea of sleet or cold rain, but there was still more than enough to break out the sleds in the northern parts of the Piedmont. Here's a look at drivers playing in the snow with their families. Our favorites include Joey Logano sitting in an outdoor hot tub, Greg Biffle using the hood of a race car for a sled and Darrell Wallace Jr . posing for a ... risqué ... photo. Old @3M hood comes in handy!! pic.twitter.com/SxmId8EzMF — Greg Biffle (@gbiffle) January 7, 2017 ❄️.. not a fan of her coat or hat ♀️ pic.twitter.com/fbvod57zpd — Paige (@epaigewhite) January 7, 2017 Who do you think should do a snow angel first?! ❄️❄️❄️ pic.twitter.com/xQDrWAx79a — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) January 7, 2017 ❄️❄️ pic.twitter.com/ouCTOvlkW0 — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) January 7, 2017 We've had a helluva wreck pic.twitter.com/XOdoMXhPTD — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) January 7, 2017 Carter having some fun in the #snow pic.twitter.com/sY63HN7azs — Blake Koch (@BlakeKochRacing) January 7, 2017 Enough snow for a snowman and getting to pull out our winter clothes! pic.twitter.com/f0IWitxHlX — David Ragan (@DavidRagan) January 7, 2017 Always love waking up to snow, when we don't get it often.The kid will be out in full force today!Off 2 the garage to build a makeshift sled pic.twitter.com/nIxUhhNShH — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) January 7, 2017 If this isn't awesome I don't know what is!!! pic.twitter.com/SoL8ZCQvpe — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) January 7, 2017 Ready for the snow.... pic.twitter.com/mUyUnBXMG7 — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) January 7, 2017
Ricky Stenhouse credits Stewart for ride with RFR
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. credits Tony Stewart for helping him get into NASCAR and with Roush Fenway Racing.