No. 48 appeal avoids repeat of 2006 pit pick
Nine years ago, team selected 42nd at Dover, had to share stall RELATED: Nos. 48, 51 and 1 penalized for Charlotte infractions MORE: Hendrick appeals P1 penalty " Johnson stands by appeal The importance of a team's pit stall location isn't lost on Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team. Especially when it comes to Dover International Speedway , a fast 1-mile concrete track that has been the site of nine of Johnson's 73 wins in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. The six-time series champion has earned 19 top-10s at Dover, 15 of which came from a starting spot inside the top 10. Overall, drivers starting on the front row there have won 28 of 90 Sprint Cup races and 71 winners have come from inside the top-10 on the starting grid. A better qualifying result, and pit stall location, doesn't guarantee success, but it is one less problem for a team to deal with on race day. The order for the selection of pit stalls is based on qualifying results, with the Coors Light Pole Award winner getting first choice, and the remainder (pos. 2-43) choosing in order of their position in the starting lineup. Unless you're hit with a NASCAR penalty, which was the case this week for Johnson and the HScott Motorsports team with driver Justin Allgaier . The two teams were penalized Wednesday for receiving consecutive warnings from NASCAR for minor infractions at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 weekends. The P1-level penalty was the loss of choice in pit selection, meaning the two teams would be left with whatever pit stall locations remained after the other 41 teams had made their selections. HMS notified NASCAR officials of its intent to file an appeal on Thursday, and as a result the penalty has been deferred. No date for the appeal hearing has been announced. Now, instead of having to choose one of the last available pit stalls for Sunday's FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM), the No. 48 team's pit selection will be determined by Johnson's qualifying position in the 43-car field. Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is scheduled for Friday at the 1-mile track. Had they not appealed, it would not have been the first time Johnson and his team found themselves with a less-than-prime pit position at Dover. Before 2009, the track featured only 42 pit boxes along pit road, leaving two teams to share one pit stall. And when Johnson spun during qualifying for the spring race of 2006, his team was forced to share a pit stall with fellow driver Scott Wimmer and the Morgan-McClure Motorsports No. 4 team. Actually, they shared more than just the pit stall. Under an agreement between the two teams, Johnson's pit crew initially pitted both cars. And crew chiefs Chad Knaus (Johnson) and Chris Carrier ( Wimmer ) sat atop the same pit box. When pitting, whoever was higher in the running order at the time, Johnson or Wimmer , would pit first. Then the second driver would hit pit road to be serviced by the same crew. The moved ended up costing Wimmer track position when his car ran out of gas under the second caution of the race while waiting to pit. It wasn't until Hermie Sadler retired from the race after 136 laps that a pit stall opened up, allowing Wimmer and the Morgan-McClure team to move to the vacant pit box. In spite of starting at the back of the field, and going two laps down at one point in the race, Johnson was able to rebound and score a sixth-place finish. Wimmer finished 34th, four laps down. Dover added a 43rd pit stall in 2009, part of an upgrade to the facility that included widening pit road and increasing the length of each pit box by four feet. The concrete pit wall from Turn 4 to Turn 1, previously boilerplate, was also torn down and a new wall, 432 feet longer and protected by SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier, was installed in its place. No date has been set for the No. 48 team's appeal of the penalty for consecutive written warnings. Warnings, which are not appealable, are typically issued for minor, first-time infractions and the reason for the warnings isn't made public. Multiple warnings elevate the severity of the penalty to a P1 level and may result in one or more consequences besides the loss of choice in pit selection. Track time deduction in practice or qualifying, a delay in the order of inspection and selection for post-race inspection are among the other options NASCAR may impose. Johnson is a nine-time winner at the track and is the defending race winner. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Illustrated: Road to the Top with Bootie Barker
Learn more about the crew chief of the No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated March 2, 1971 Robert "Bootie" Barker, Born in Scottsburg, Virginia. "I'm from the woods, I guess you'd say. My family farmed." 1989 Graduated from Halifax County High School. 1994 Graduated from Old Dominion University. "I figured that being an engineer would give me a great opportunity to get a job. I listened to a radio show Benny Parsons had every Thursday and he was speaking about — I don't remember exactly — Felix Sabates was upset at Ricky Rudd or vice versa about one had stolen the other's shock engineer, so I was like, 'Oh, OK.' I enjoy competing. That was a way to combine both." 1995-96 Bill Elliott Racing. "Harold Holly [crew chief] picked up the phone and called Mike Beam, who was Bill Elliott 's crew chief at the time. I went to see Mike. He listened to me at least — I did have some credentials — and he said, 'All right, but you're going to clean toilets for a while.' " 1997 Mechanic, Roehrig Motorsports. "I noticed that the crew chief, other than a driver, to me, made the most difference. He got to do the c oolest things. He had the most input." 1998 Shock Builder, Bill Davis Racing. 1999-2000 Shock Builder, Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team. "You know that if you're working for Jeff Gordon , you have a shot at winning. "I wanted to be Jeff Gordon 's crew chief. I didn't want to be Jeff's shock guy. I did ask Jeff, I said, 'You're not going to make me your crew chief are you?' And he said, 'No, not right now.' " 2001-02 Crew Chief, Bill Davis Racing Nationwide team. Won four races with Scott Wimmer at the end of the 2002 season. "We had a good group. We were killing it." 2003 Crew Chief, Jasper Motorsports, No. 77 with Dave Blaney . "I took the opportunity to jump to Cup for various reasons. It went well in the beginning but I thought it should go a certain way, ownership thought it should go another. … I was a little foolish in my decisions at that time. But I learned." 2004 Crew Chief, Haas CNC Racing, No. 00 Nationwide Chevrolet. 2005-08 Crew Chief, Haas CNC Racing. 2009 Crew Chief, No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. "I was Michael’s crew chief for about three-quarters of a year, which is really good considering how long most crew chiefs hang with Michael. Make sure you print that. [Laughing]" 2010-Present Crew Chief, Germain Racing . SUBSCRIBE NOW!
NASCAR to honor fallen troops with 600 Miles of Remembrance
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (May 23, 2016) -- Continuing the sport's long-standing tradition of honoring the United States Armed Forces, all 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will bear the name of a fallen service member on their race car windshields during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), NASCAR announced today. For the second consecutive year, "600 Miles of Remembrance" will pay tribute this Memorial Day Weekend to those who bravely served and died defending our country. Windshield headers normally reserved for drivers' last names will read "SGT HARVEY," "LCPL RAMIREZ," and "SPC BEAUDOIN," among other names of the fallen. The special tribute will commemorate the launch of NASCAR: An American Salute ™, the industry's collective expression of respect and gratitude for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present. Fans can follow the conversation on social media using #NASCARsalutes. "Each of the names proudly displayed on these race cars tells a story of honor and sacrifice," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. "As the NASCAR industry reflects on Memorial Day Weekend, we’re proud to honor these and all fallen service members in a way that helps ensure their stories and lives are never forgotten." Many of the service members whose names will be displayed on the race cars were chosen by the teams, and some have unique connections to the fallen. Navy SEAL Denis Miranda, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2010, trained in BUD/S alongside Graham Molatch, jackman for the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team. Miranda’s name will appear on Kyle Larson 's car during the Coca-Cola 600 . Lance Corporal Scott Lynch served in the United States Marine Corps with Mark Singleton, tire changer for Chip Ganassi Racing , and will be honored on Jamie McMurray 's No. 1 car. Furniture Row Racing employee John Parks served in the Marines with Jeffrey Bohr, Jr., a gunnery sergeant who was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and whose name will be carried on Martin Truex Jr . 's No. 78 car. Toyota will also honor the names of fallen service members on its pace cars and grand marshal cars for the Coca-Cola 600 as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance. Many of the families of the service members being recognized will be in attendance at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The track will host more than 6,000 active military members at the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of Memorial Day. Throughout the week, NASCAR: An American Salute will feature various activities demonstrating the industry's support for the military, including: · During Saturday’s Hisense 4K TV 300 , NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will display red, white and blue XFINITY windshield decals on their race cars. · Goodyear will replace the "Eagle" sidewall design with "Support Our Troops" messaging on all tires used during the Memorial Day Weekend races. · NASCAR, Coca-Cola and Mars, through the annual military support program, DeCA, will offer a sweepstakes to shoppers at more than 180 commissaries who will have a chance to win a trip for two to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. The kickoff event will take place at Fort Bragg on May 25 and feature No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin . The 2016 DAYTONA 500 winner will tour the Warrior Transition Battalion Unit and visit with families at the South Commissary. · In partnership with Operation Gratitude, Mars will invite race fans to help assemble care packages for the troops in the midway at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The care packages will include Mars candy and be shipped following the Coca-Cola 600 to deployed military members. · NASCAR and Honor and Remember, Inc. will display specially prepared Honor and Remember flags representing those who lost their life in service to our country from each of the 50 United States throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway . During the Coca Cola 600 pre-race broadcast (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX), FOX Sports will recognize all service members who have lost their lives in the past year by displaying their names and branch of service on a graphic scroll. This Sunday, NASCAR drivers will discuss 600 Miles of Remembrance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) during a special military tribute show airing at 1 p.m. ET. The Dialed In Salute to the Troops special, hosted by Claire B. Lang, will feature interviews with several drivers as well as service men and service women from different branches of the military. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 will be broadcast live from Charlotte Motor Speedway at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Additional live coverage can be found on NASCAR.com . To view an online gallery of the service members honored as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance, visit www.NASCAR.com/salute .
NASCAR responds to Sprint All-Star Race Format
Senior Vice President of Competition, Scott Miller, commented on the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race format, and the scenario that left Matt Kenseth and a number of other drivers one lap down after segment 1.
Science of a crew chief: Randolph takes unusual path to racing
Doug Randolph graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. So it was only natural that the Morristown, Tennessee, native eventually found employment in racing. "I use it every day," Randolph said, grinning. If you think he's kidding, think again. "The definition of wildlife biology is it's a science and it's an art, manipulating habitat for animals. To me, racing is the same way," said Randolph, crew chief for driver Tyler Reddick and the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series. "If you go into it 100 percent engineering driven, and you forget the art of it, the pumping your driver up, assessing where his head is, you might not be able to pull off the success you want. For sure, that definition plays a huge role in racing I think." Reddick is eighth in points following two straight top 10s -- a seventh-place finish at Dover and a fourth-place showing at Charlotte. Teammate Daniel Hemric is third in the standings. Randolph didn't set out to become a crew chief, but he did hope to be involved in racing in some capacity. And not just videotaping local races from the top of a press box in an effort to lure fans to the local pizza join for viewing and a meal later. Yeah, he really did that. "One of my best friends worked for Mr. Gatti's Pizza and we went around to softball games, local races and videotaped them," Randolph said. "Then we'd try to convince people at the games or races to eat at Mr. Gatti's and watch the replays. "He and I would get on top of the press box. He would video and I would sit there and drink beer, to be honest. But those were good times." Randolph has served as crew chief in all three of NASCAR's national series, winning in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with drivers Scott Riggs and Clint Bowyer , as well as the Camping World Truck Series with Ryan Blaney , Keselowski and Reddick. There were near-wins in Sprint Cup , second-place finishes at Bristol (with Jimmy Spencer) and Talladega (with Paul Menard ). But his start came with a local standout, L.D. Ottinger, a Newport, Tennessee-based driver. Randolph was on the crew in 1990 when Ottinger won an event in what is now known as the XFINITY Series at Bristol Motor Speedway . It was in that race that Michael Waltrip survived one of the most devastating crashes in NASCAR, his car exploding after striking the exposed corner of the outside wall. "Nobody will ever remember who won the race; they'll always remember the wreck," Randolph said. "L.D. wasn't the first one by the wreck, but he took everyone down pit road. And when he did, he said 'He's dead.' He said it three times. "They red-flagged the race … it was hard." Incredibly, Waltrip was not injured. The time spent working for Ottinger helped lay the foundation for what was to come. "Probably one of the best people for somebody that didn't know anything about racing to learn from," Randolph said, "because his attention to detail. I'd be putting the fender decals on and one might be just a little crooked. He'd say, 'You've got to fix that' and I'd say, 'They can't see it from the stands.' He'd say, 'Yeah but I'll be driving around the race track worried that that thing's crooked.' " Understanding professors helped Randolph complete his college education while still heading to the race tracks each weekend. Eventually, he made the decision to "do this racing gig for a year or two. "L.D.'s led into going to Junior Johnson's and, man, once you're there, how do you leave racing?," Randolph said. Johnson, an inaugural member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and one of the sport's legendary figures, won 50 times as a driver, and nearly three times that often as an owner (132 all told). Randolph's first job as crew chief came in 2001, at Bill Davis Racing with driver Dave Blaney . Eleven years later, he helped guide Blaney's son, Ryan, to the win in a Truck Series race at Iowa. He's found a home in the series, and a home at Brad Keselowski Racing. "When you're Cup racing, that is your life," Randolph said. "You have no (other) life. I've got a wonderful wife, wonderful kids. Truck racing came for me at a point in my life when my daughter was in high school playing every sport imaginable. I missed a lot of that with my son. It was great to experience it with my daughter. … "We're very lucky here that Brad has given us an organization with a definite vision that's different. He wants to give back to the sport and he's given us the freedom to go and do it. We have a great group of guys that support each other. It's a lot of fun. If you're Cup racing and you're not one of those first five guys, you're not having any fun." But there's stress at every level of racing, and that's "what you hope for," he admitted. "You hope there is a stressful situation and you and your driver and your team can get through it better than the next guy."
The Rundown: Dover driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Breaking down the full field for the AAA 400 Drive For Autism at Dover International Speedway : 1. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth outdueled Kyle Larson to end his hard-luck start to the season and grab his first win of 2016. All four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers now have a victory. Grade: A 2. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson did everything short of bumping Kenseth to get his first Sprint Cup victory. Instead he settled for his fourth second-place finish in 87 starts and his fourth top 10 in five starts at Dover. Grade: A 3. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott overcame radio communication issues to make a late run at Kenseth before posting his eighth top-10 finish and move up four spots in the Sprint Cup Series driver standings to seventh. Grade: A 4. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne's second top five in 2016 moved him back into the top 16 in the driver standings. He had three top fives all last season. Grade: A 5. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . A solid day for the No. 41. Busch ran among the leaders all afternoon to ring up his series-high 10th top 10. He also moved up two spots in the driver standings to third. Grade : A 6. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Disaster struck when he clipped Austin Dillon while running second on Lap 283. Then un-disaster struck when the No. 2 wasn't one of the 18 cars caught up in the big wreck. That's what you call a good day. Grade: B 7. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin was all over the place Sunday, leading 15 laps, racking up another pit-road penalty and at one point finding himself two laps back. And this was before getting collected in the big wreck. It's where you finish that counts, though. Grade: B 8. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney avoided mayhem to post a career-best third straight top 10. He also moved up to 15th in the driver standings. Grade: A 9. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . You've heard this before: Truex deserved better. Truex led 47 laps and was a fixture in the top 10. Fate came calling again, though. During the 10th caution, he purposely slowed at the exit of pit road to allow the No. 19 to pass him so his No. 78 could start fourth on the outside of the second row with less than 50 laps to go. Unfortunately that put him right behind Jimmie Johnson , who touched off the big wreck on the restart. Grade: A 10. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne spent only 46 laps in the top 15 and had an average position of 21.9. But he still netted a top-10 finish, his third of 2016, which is one more than he had all last season. Grade: B 11. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard was involved in the big wreck, but and in his highest running position. He was one of only two drivers who did not complete at least one lap in the top 10 Sunday ( Tony Stewart was the other). Grade: C 12. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer manufactured his third consecutive top-20 finish, his first since he strung together four in races 24-27 last year. Grade: C 13. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Driving a backup car, Patrick posted her best finish since her last top 10 – a ninth at Bristol more than a year ago. Maybe that's the formula. Grade: C 14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse is showing consistency: His finishes the past three races are 16th, 13th and 14th (Sunday). Grade: C 15. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick led a race-high 117 laps, and who knows how well he would have done if his pit crew had done its job? Harvick's grade is an average of his A and his crew's F. Grade: C 16. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman overcame a pit-road penalty and survived the big wreck, but he still dropped a spot in the standings to 18th, eight points out of 16th. Grade : C 17. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan posted his best finish since last September at Chicagoland (15th). And with his average running position of 30th, that kicks off a theme for the next four drivers. Grade: B 18. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Buescher probably thought his day was toast when he went spinning with a little over 50 laps to go. Instead, he gets the best finish of his Sprint Cup career despite spending most of the day in the back of the field (29.0 average running position). Grade : B 19. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill's average running position was 31.1 and he was 33rd at the halfway point. He also wasn't caught up in the big wreck. Grade: B 20. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell (30.0 average running position) raced in the neighborhood of David Ragan , Chris Buescher and Landon Cassill and finished in their neighborhood, too, for his best day since finishing 15th at Daytona. Grade: B 21. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray started his day in a backup car and finished a season-high five laps off the pace. Grade: C 22. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano suffered heavy damage in the big wreck and finished the race nine laps back without a hood or any other sheet metal up front. Grade: C 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . The 18-car pileup cost Allmendinger more than a poor finish; it dropped him outside the top 16 in the driver standings to 17th. Grade: C 24. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . His duel with Danica provided in-race entertainment in the first 100 laps. Grade: C 25. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . When Johnson's transmission wouldn't go from second to third gear on the Lap 356 restart with the No. 48 on the outside of the front row, all the highlights of his day – moving up from starting 21st, passing 3,000 laps led at Dover – went out the window faster than it took 17 cars to pile up behind him. Grade: C 26. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . The big wreck triggered by Johnson ruined Mears' day. Grade: C 27. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Despite his third DNF of the season, Whitt posted his third-best finish of the season. Grade: C 28. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Just a handful of laps after avoiding the big wreck, Edwards was running third with 39 laps to go when a tap from behind from Kyle Larson sent the No. 19 hard into the inside wall nose first. Grade: B 29. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle stayed out during the fourth caution and led six laps – the first laps he has led this season. The big wreck left him with his third DNF of the season, the same number he had in the previous five seasons combined. Grade: B- 30. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The handling was not good on the No. 18, and the big wreck took care of the rest of Busch's car. Grade: D 31. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . After making up the two laps he lost following purposeful contact from Tony Stewart on Lap 129, Almirola took a hard hit in the big wreck that left him with a potentially broken finger. In other words, not a good day. Grade: D 32. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Junior suffered his third DNF of the season and second in three races when the No. 88 was knocked out in the big wreck. Grade: C 33. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . A day to forget. Dillon brought out the fifth caution when a rotor broke on Lap 184 and he hit the wall. His team fixed the rotor, and he turned to the race only to be hit by Brad Keselowski on Lap 283. Grade: C 34. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The No. 14 was not competitive (15th was its high point), and with 57 laps to go, the track bar on the No. 14 broke and punctured the oil tank. End of race. Grade: F 35. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Earnhardt was running at the finish – but a career-high 66 laps back. Grade: D 36. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Lost a cylinder early but was running at the finish. Grade: F 37. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Contact from Jamie McMurray sent Annett smashing into the inside wall on Lap 227, ending his day. Grade: D 38. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson's day ended with a spin on Lap 214. Grade: F 39. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith posted his worst finish of the season after going for a spin and hitting the wall on Lap 144. Grade: F 40. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . The Monster's outside wall devoured its first victim when the No. 83's right front tire went on Lap 120. Grade: F
Scott improves in tandem with RPM chassis program
RELATED: Complete lineup for Martinsville " Sunoco Rookie of the Year race MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- It's a process, said Brian Scott , both for himself and the Richard Petty Motorsports organization. One of five Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates, Scott pilots the No. 44 Ford for RPM. He is 25th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings after five races, and third in the rookie standings, trailing Chase Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ). "Right now, our motto is we're stacking pennies," Scott , 28, said Saturday morning at Martinsville Speedway , site of Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "It's a motto that (crew chief) Chris Heroy shared with me. He's like, 'You've just got to keep stacking pennies until you make a dollar.' And that's what we're doing. We're taking small steps in the right direction." Scott and the team arrived at Martinsville this weekend on the heels of a season-best 12th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway . The result was especially pleasing given that it was the first "new" car rolled off the line for the No. 44 team. RPM previously purchased vehicles from Roush Fenway Racing ; last year the organization began building its own bodies; in '16 a new in-house chassis-building program was put into place. "We just didn't start the season that way and we knew that we weren't going to," Scott said. "We got a late start with the deal coming together in December, we have a new crew chief ... and it's just taking some time to get all the parts and pieces and the cars and everything where we want them. "But California was a huge step in the right direction with the people at Richard Petty Motorsports building some of their own chassis and doing a lot more of the stuff, and that was the first new car that we had run." The increased speed on the track is a reflection of that work. But again, it's a process. "Unfortunately, these new cars are extremely valuable possessions right now and we have limited numbers," he said. "It's important for us not to tear them up and to continue to not tear up the old cars when we have to run them because the rotation won't allow ... just give the shop opportunities to create more new cars and to start phasing out our old cars instead of having to fix and work on them." Team co-owner Richard Petty said the results after just five races might be somewhat similar to the 2015 season, but the improvement is there. The seven-time series champion and winner of 200 races said the RPM group is "just a wee bit better than we were last year. "But we're doing a lot of our own stuff and feel like we've got a lot better opportunity of improving over the year than what we did before because most of the time what we started the season with is what we wound up with," Petty said. "Now, we can make our own changes with the body or the chassis or whatever the rules are, so it might not be there, but we're going to have a better chance of our destiny being in our hands from the car standpoint." Scott's teammate Aric Almirola is 13th in points with three finishes of 15th or better. He has three top-10 finishes in 14 career starts on the unique 0.526-mile layout and will start 20th Sunday. Scott will start 26th. He posted two top-10 runs in the Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville, but Sunday's race will be his first in a Sprint Cup entry. "The short track program has been a sticky spot for Richard Petty Motorsports in the past with the exception of Bristol – they've run really well at Bristol and Dover," Scott said. "But the short, flat track program is an area that they needed probably the most improvement out of all their programs. ... I feel like that's an area that bringing Chris (Heroy) in from another company has been helpful; it's just that it takes time to implement new ideas and to get those things in place."
Brian Scott scores Sprint Cup ride with Petty
RELATED: Learn which drivers, crew chiefs are on the move for 2016 MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Brian Scott entered last month's NASCAR season finale without a clear sense of where he'd be driving in 2016. Richard Petty Motorsports faced likewise uncertainty surrounding the seat of its No. 9 Ford, with Sam Hornish Jr . designated for departure after one year with the team. The two sides found each other this week, announcing a deal Friday for Scott to pilot the RPM No. 9 next year in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The deal, which rapidly fell into place, provides much-needed security for both driver and organization, which also fields Petty's famed No. 43 for team mainstay Aric Almirola . "I won't lie. I went into the offseason really having no clue what the future held and giving some serious thought or thinking that there's a real possibility that something might not come together and I might not be doing anything next year," Scott said. "And honestly, this whole deal came together Monday of this week. It literally just all materialized. Everything lined up right and we had a really good meeting and everyone got pumped up and I think that we saw the potential in that room on Monday that led us to pull the trigger and come out of the gates and hit the ground running." Though team owner Richard Petty posed for pictures Friday with his new driver beside a No. 9 Fusion in Twisted Tea livery, Scott said that "sponsorship pieces are all still getting put in place" with hopes of announcing partners in the coming weeks. Scott , 27, has competed full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for six seasons, the last three for Richard Childress Racing . After closing out the 2015 campaign last month at Homestead-Miami Speedway , both Scott and Childress indicated they were working on moving forward, all while acknowledging that the future was a murky one. "I really enjoyed my time at Richard Childress Racing ," Scott said, calling their parting bittersweet. "They've got amazing employees and I love the relationships and stuff that I've built up there. Of course, that was something that we really wanted to pursue. We wanted to look to continue that relationship, but we just seemed to hit some road blocks and some struggles that we couldn't really overcome to put the right deal together or the deal that we wanted to have for 2016 and beyond with them." For Scott , the chance to compete full-time in NASCAR's premier division was worth making the jump for. He's already dipped his toe into Sprint Cup waters, with 17 starts in his career and a Coors Light Pole Award at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2014. Besides the financial plusses of Scott's existing business partnerships as potential sponsors, Petty said the benefit of big-league experience was an enticing factor in reaching an agreement with their newest driver. "We're real comfortable with the situation of him being able to already be in a bunch of the Cup races, and we've noticed that he does pretty dang good in the equipment he's got," Petty said. "So the big deal is putting him in a team where all he drives is just Cup stuff. He doesn't jump back and forth, even though he might run a few of the races, it won't be the deal. He'll be able to run for a championship or rookie of the year. "Before, he's been a few races here, a few races there, so he's just been bounced from place to place. Now he's got a home, so I think that'll settle him down a little." The move makes teammates out of former rivals. Scott and Almirola have had pointed words for each other in the past, trading barbs after on-track run-ins in both the XFINITY and Sprint Cup series in recent years. The most recent altercation came in the spring of 2014 at Auto Club Speedway , with Almirola questioning Scott's racing pedigree in televised interviews after an early race crash. Both drivers trained at the same gym, leading to chance encounters in the weeks after their most recent flare-up. Finally, Scott said the two had a "defining conversation" to put their differences behind them. "It was the week before the July Daytona race last year that we just pulled each other aside in the corner of the workout room and we just kind of hashed it out," Scott said. "We said, 'how are we going to deal with this and what are we going to do going forward?' The next week, he went on to win Daytona, so I felt like that really affirmed that we were being mature, and I firmly believe in karma and good things happening. … "We've already had conversations. We're excited to be teammates, we're excited to work together and learn from each other. You know, sometimes you have the biggest issues with the people you're most similar to, and I think Aric and I are going to have a lot more similarities that we maybe have seen in the past." There won't be much of a breaking-in period for RPM's newest driver. Friday's photo ops will quickly become Monday's track time, with Scott chosen to participate in next week's Goodyear tire test at Homestead. "I'm going to put him right to work right away," Sammy Johns, RPM Vice President of Competition and Operations, said with a chuckle. "With the testing policy that NASCAR's put in place, which I'm fully supportive of, there's not any other testing that we're going to get to do before the Daytona 500 . So a chance to get Brian in a race car before that is excellent. "When we were able to get this done and get it done before the Homestead tire test, Brian was automatically the first choice to go do that so we could get some time in the race car with him, start to get a feel for what he's looking for in a race car, that's going to be invaluable."
Scott , Heroy ready for first Cup season together
RELATED: Keep track of the 2016 lineups with the driver tracker CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sitting amongst racing royalty -- and his new boss -- and talking about his transition from Richard Childress Racing to Richard Petty Motorsports , Brian Scott displayed confidence and appeared ready for his first full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "I'm optimistic, I really am ... there's a lot of really exciting things happening," Scott said during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour on Wednesday morning. The 28-year-old not only locked in a deal with RPM, but he will also wheel the iconic No. 44 Ford after the organization recently announced plans to bring back the number. "The King" spoke during the media tour about the importance of the No. 44 returning to the RPM family. "We're really bringing the number home, I guess is what we're looking at," he said. RELATED: Petty brings back iconic number to Cup Series Scott echoed the family-oriented theme by saying, "This sport, and Richard Petty Motorsports especially, was built on family … something I am very proud (to be a part) of." The addition of Scott , a native of Boise, Idaho, comes with news that Idaho-based companies Albertsons Companies and Shore Lodge are partnering up with the No. 44 as primary sponsors for 16 races and associate sponsors for 20 races. RELATED: See the new look of Scott's ride Scott will pair with crew chief Chris Heroy, formerly with the No. 42 team of Kyle Larson and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. "Chris (Heroy) has worked with some of our boys before and everybody knew him. He's well respected from our end of the deal," Petty said. "We felt like that being a new driver and a new crew, then they could learn together." Heroy and Scott have already had conversations on how to have a consistent and competitive season, all while racing for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honor -- something Heroy helped Larson achieve in 2014. Some realistic goals the pair have lined up for 2016 are, "Top-15 (results), finishing races on the lead lap and stealing finishes when we can and being aggressive," Heroy said in a laid-back demeanor. Scott said racing amongst the Cup veterans will not be a "cakewalk" but revealed, with a smirk on his face, "I like a good challenge and I think that we're up to it." And with Heroy's calm voice in his ear, Scott is ready to embark on his rookie year.
RPM names Heroy as crew chief for Scott
RELATED: See all the drivers and crew chiefs on the move in 2016 Richard Petty Motorsports announced Wednesday that Chris Heroy will take the reins as crew chief for the No. 9 Ford and rookie driver Brian Scott in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season. Heroy has served as crew chief for Chip Ganassi Racing 's No. 42 Chevrolet for the past four years, two each with drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Larson . The 38-year-old -- nicknamed "Shine" (short for "sunshine") for his easygoing demeanor -- was previously the lead engineer for Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 team. Heroy has netted 14 top-five finishes and three Coors Light Pole Awards in 144 Sprint Cup appearances as a crew chief. He'll work alongside former colleague Trent Owens, currently the crew chief for the No. 43 Ford and driver Aric Almirola . "I'm really excited to join the team," Heroy said in a release provided by RPM. "I really enjoyed working with Kyle (Larson) for his rookie season, and I'm looking forward to working with Brian as he works toward the Rookie of the Year title. This team has done a great job building consistency over the past year and continuing their winning tradition is a top priority, and I believe we can accomplish that this season. "I'm excited to work with Trent as well. We worked together when Kyle was racing for both Ganassi and Turner Scott . I think we will work well together, and we can get Richard Petty Motorsports to Victory Lane." Scott , a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate for next season, was announced last week as the Petty team's replacement for Sam Hornish Jr ., who parted ways with RPM after one season in the No. 9 ride. Drew Blickensderfer began last year as crew chief for the No. 9 Fusion, ceding that role in May to Kevin "Bono" Manion for the rest of the season. The 27-year-old Scott , a NASCAR XFINITY Series regular the past six seasons, has 17 starts in NASCAR's top division over the last three years. He won his only Coors Light Pole Award in May 2014 at Talladega Superspeedway .