RELATED: Kauffman speaks out on MWR decision The landscape in NASCAR shifted last week when Michael Waltrip Racing announced that it would end full-time competition in the Sprint Cup Series following the 2015 season. MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman, the former investment banker who gave MWR an influx of finanical support in 2007, was at the forefront of the decision. On Monday, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell addressed the moves made by Kauffman and MWR that included Clint Bowyer being freed to pursue other deals for 2016 and Kauffman buying into Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in late July. "I think in Rob's case we're pleased that he believes in the sport and is willing to make a continued investment in NASCAR, which is a great time for us," O'Donnell said during his weekly interview with NASCAR.com. "As well as Clint Bowyer who is certainly a talented driver who will find a home with a top team. You never like to see anything happen with a race team like this in this case, but again we'll see some things we believe through the manufacturer's support where some other teams may become stronger through all this as well. "So a lot still to play out. We're working closely with all our race teams right now to do everything we can to put everyone in an even better position as we head into the 2016 season." Michael Waltrip Racing was Toyota's flagship team when the manufacturer entered the Sprint Cup Series in 2007 and has produced seven victories. "Terrific partner for Toyota," O'Donnell said of MWR's involvement with the manufacturer. "When someone comes into the sport, especially the likes of Toyota, you want to partner with race teams who have either had a solid foundation or can build together. And ultimately the goal is to win races and Michael Waltrip was able to do that, which is a great testament to building up the Toyota brand within NASCAR. "You're seeing (Toyota) grow, and look to grow their partnership in the sport as well, as we head into '16, and that's a great sign for the sport." MORE: MWR won't field full-time entries in 2016
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell talks about the level of excitement, top to bottom, in NASCAR for a throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway.
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell talks about the high-drag aero package the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will run in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell talks about the rules package that will be used for the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
After earlier trouble, Austin Dillon gets caught up again in an incident, this time with the No. 32 of Steve Arpin .
Tyler Reddick loses ground in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings iafter he makes contact with Gray Gaulding late in the race in Canada.
2002 wreck mirrors Austin's Daytona crash, Rusty Wallace involved, too Austin Dillon 's much-talked about Daytona crash paralleled to a wreck from more than a decade ago in Pocono, with both crashes involving Dale Earnhardt Jr . In 2002, Steve Park was lining up with his competition at Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 500, hoping to snag his second top-10 at the track. Park never did see a top-10 finish that day. In fact, he didn't even complete the first lap thanks to a nasty wreck involving Park, Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr . between Turn 1 and 2. The accident was initially sparked by NASCAR Hall of Famer Wallace. Wallace's No. 2 Team Penske Ford hit the wall after the first turn. Park tried to avoid making contact with the spinning Ford and attempted to move sideways. In his quest to dodge out of Wallace's path, he came into contact with teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr . Dale Jr. got under Park's No. 1 Chevrolet causing both cars to spin onto the grass. While on the grass, Park slammed into an interior guardrail, flipping the car over violently, multiple times. Similar to his reaction to Dilllon's crash, Dale Jr. was concerned about Park's well-being as it took safety workers some time to help him out of his upside-down vehicle. RELATED: 88 crew recalls frenzy to check on Dillon When Junior was able to get out of his own car, he sprinted over to check on his teammate. Not only was it difficult getting Park out of his car, but it led to a 65-minute red-flag caution with repairs to the interior barrier having to take place before the field could go back to green. Park, like Austin Dillon , walked away from the crash just fine and headed to the infield care center arm-in-arm with Junior.
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell talks about the possibility of changes to pit road at Pocono Raceway and how they can keep drivers and crewmen safe in the aftermath of Kasey Kahne's and Jeb Burton's incidents.
RELATED: Buy tickets for Homestead It's a primetime test time for NASCAR teams this week as many head to Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the Nov. 20-22 season finale Ford Championship Weekend. Four drivers will participate in a Goodyear tire test at the 1.5-mile South Florida track Monday and Tuesday with an open test scheduled for Wednesday -- NASCAR allowing each Sprint Cup Series team to be represented by one car. Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing), Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) are scheduled for the Goodyear test. With the increased importance on Homestead in the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup elimination format, as the track's host the final race that determines the series champion, teams will be taking advantage of the open test as well. Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), a winner last Saturday night at Bristol, is among those scheduled to test on Wednesday along with other Chase-qualified drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr . ( Hendrick Motorsports ), defending Homestead winner and series champ Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) and Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). Ty Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ) will also participate. "It's an opportunity for the teams to really dial in the tire and the aero package for '15," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Monday morning. "Certainly an important event for just about everybody in the series so they'll be going down there, working with Goodyear to make sure they've got the right package to be able to obviously share that data with the race teams and get ready for the final push that we see in November."
PHILADELPHIA -- As part of its long-term partnership with NASCAR, Comcast announced today the creation of the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, honoring NASCAR team members for their outstanding charitable endeavors. The annual award will celebrate the philanthropic efforts being made by race teams across all three national series. An individual from each national series will be honored, with one of the three earning the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. In recognition of their efforts, a donation of $60,000 will be made in the winner's name to his or her affiliated charitable organization. A $30,000 contribution will be made to each of the remaining finalists' charitable organizations. "The Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award honors those members of NASCAR teams who share our commitment and give back to the communities we serve," said Peter Intermaggio, Comcast Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications. "At Comcast, we work hard to make a difference in the places where our employees and customers live and work, and we want to recognize and encourage others who demonstrate that same community commitment." Nominations are to be submitted by NASCAR team members. Eligible recipients include team owners, drivers and all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team employees. "Our teams are competitive by nature, but have a unified goal to benefit the lives of people in need," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. "Comcast shares our passion for community service, and we appreciate the effort to shine a light on the inspirational work being done by our teams." Nominees will be narrowed down to three finalists, with a panel of judges comprised of executives from Comcast, The NASCAR Foundation, a former NASCAR driver and a member of the national motorsports media, to determine the recipient of the award. The award will be presented at the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series Banquet at the end of the season in South Florida. Comcast has a long track record of community service , aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs and partnerships, mobilizing resources to connect people and inspiring positive and substantive change. Comcast's annual corporate service day, known as Comcast Cares Day, is the largest corporate service effort of its kind. This year, NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski , Ty Dillon and Cale Conley participated in a local Comcast Cares Day project restoring the local Boys and Girls Club in Richmond, Virginia. Comcast's XFINITY brand is the title sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Comcast's NBCUniversal is a NASCAR broadcast partner through the 2024 season.