NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer, Steve O’Donnell, discusses the possibility of running the Kentucky race package at Darlington.
NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer, Steve O’Donnell, discusses Matt DiBenedetto's contact with a safety truck and jeff Gordon's pit road penalty in Sonoma.
After earlier trouble, Austin Dillon gets caught up again in an incident, this time with the No. 32 of Steve Arpin .
Longtime NASCAR broadcaster named first quarter recipient posthumously DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Steve Byrnes, a highly respected television broadcaster who covered motorsports for over 30 years, has been awarded the NMPA Spirit Award for the first quarter of 2015 by the members of the National Motorsports Press Association. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Byrnes began his broadcasting career in 1982 and joined Fox Sports in 2001. He served as a pit road reporter for Fox's coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing from 2001-2014 and most recently anchored coverage of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and co-hosted the NASCAR Race Hub program on Fox Sports 1. Byrnes' 32-year career as a member of the motorsports media included coverage of racing for CBS, TNN, WTBS and Fox networks. March's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was named the " Food City 500 In Support Of Steve Byrnes & Stand Up To Cancer," honoring Steve's battle against head and neck cancer. Byrnes passed away two days after the race and is survived by his wife Karen and son Bryson. Byrnes received votes on more than 92 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership. Others receiving votes were sponsor STP and six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson .
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon send their well wishes to FOX Sports’ Steve Byrnes and Elliott Sadler shares the story of how he became close friends with Byrnes.
Carl Edwards: 'All of us respected ... Steve because he was fair and honest'
Take a look back at the career of Steve Byrnes through clips and pictures.
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell talks about the group qualifying format for the DAYTONA 500.
Truex Jr., Gordon, Kahne and Edwards speak out on possible changes BROOKLYN, Mich. – The on-again, off-again 2016 rules package for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series appears to be on again. Only this time, teams might put the package on the track before 2016 arrives. Talk in the garage Friday at Michigan International Speedway indicated that the package could be put into play next month when the series visits Kentucky Speedway on July 11. And it would be only for that event. "We'll have to see how that goes," Martin Truex Jr . said Friday at Michigan, site of Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). "I don't know. I have as many questions about it as everybody else. What's it going to be like? Is it going to do what they think and what some of the drivers think it's going to do?" NASCAR officials initially considered implementing the changes, which are expected to further reduce downforce, for this year's Sprint All-Star Race, a non-points-paying event hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway last month. That idea was eventually tabled. "You always want to be able to go and test it and understand it," four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon said. "I'm fine with what I'm hearing about a reduction in downforce if they can bring a softer tire. To me that is the whole key in kind of where we are at today. "We knew the power was being reduced. A lot of the drivers were really asking for less downforce if the power was going to be reduced, but the key component to that was being able to get Goodyear to match the tire up for that to have a little bit more grip at the beginning of a run and maybe have some fall off. That has been one of the biggest challenges this year is that we are actually running harder tires." NASCAR officials would not confirm that a change would be forthcoming during the 2015 season but acknowledged that the sanctioning body has been actively involved in dialog with teams with the goal of making racing as exciting as possible. As such, they are looking at various scenarios to accomplish that goal. RELATED: Steve O'Donnell addresses the state of the 2016 rules package Steve O'Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for NASCAR, said earlier this year that rising corner speeds, an unintended consequence of the current rules package, was a concern and the '16 package would be fashioned to "affect the aero … and match that up with the tire." While straightaway speeds have fallen this season, drivers can drive deeper into the corners and don't have to stay off-throttle as long, resulting in the higher corner speeds. Speaking with "Downforce Radio" recently, O'Donnell broached the possibility of track-specific rules package for the series. "Not to have it be 36 individual packages, but potentially look at some lower downforce at some (tracks) … kind of cater it to certain tracks," he said. The '16 aero package was tested briefly earlier this year at Charlotte. Kasey Kahne , the pole winner for Sunday's race, was one of those participating. "I really liked it," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "I ran by myself and felt like it was the first time I could really drive the car, control the car, lift and things to make the car work rather than just run super hard like we're doing. …When I came into the sport, that's how it was, you drove more with both feet. You found speed in different spots in the corner and you weren't wide open." While drivers might see the move as beneficial, on-track testing with the setup was halted earlier this year, so the risk of the unknown has some in the garage not as eager to see the rules package modified during the middle of the season. No extensive wind tunnel testing has been done, and there is some concern that the changes could benefit one of the three automakers in the series, Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota, more than others. It's also been noted that implementing changes for a points-paying race could adversely impact one or more team's chances at qualifying for this year's 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards , already all but locked into the 16-team Chase field with a victory at Charlotte, said he has no such concerns. "I really feel that the way racing works, as long as the teams are able to implement the changes logistically and financially without a huge burden, change anything you want anytime you want," he said. "As long as it's the same for everyone, who cares? "As far as I'm concerned, you could make up rules or have changes five minutes before the race starts." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR executive reveals Air Titans will be at Chicagoland, Iowa RELATED: Potential rules package changes coming soon? The garage was buzzing last weekend with talk that the 2016 rules package could be put into play next month for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway , a notion that intrigued drivers. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell reacted to that talk in a Monday interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive." "As we've said nothing is off the table, so we're continuing to talk to the race teams, the drivers, the owners and the tracks, particularly not just about '16, but what if anything could be done about '15," O'Donnell said. "A lot of those discussions are still ongoing, and if we're going to do something, obviously we've got to do it sooner than later because we never want to implement anything in the Chase. We'll continue to have dialogue and get to a decision either way. It all goes back to, how do we put the best racing on each and every weekend?" O'Donnell also indicated that the 2016 rules package may not be a one size fits all concept. "It's kind of a misnomer when you look at it, because at each track you are going to have a different tire, essentially a different gear, a lot of different things that go into it," O'Donnell said. "As we look ahead, I think we want to look more toward what specific track packages could we have. Not necessarily having 36 different ones, but are there some configurations that do change up for particular tracks? That's been a really interesting angle as we've talked to the teams and gotten some great feedback." Tech Talk: Could more qualifying changes be coming? The NASCAR executive also addressed the challenges faced in this past weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway . Wet weather led to multiple red flags and a race that was eventually called after 138 laps, 62 short of the scheduled 200. "The fans braved a lot of different circumstances at Michigan, again proving that we've got the most passionate fans in all of sports," O'Donnell said. "Gave it our best shot to continue to dry, but in the last one we had to evacuate the stands. There were still some pop-up showers in the area and working with the track, we made what we thought was the safest decision for the fans that were in attendance. Certainly would have liked to see it be a full race completed but again, really appreciate the fans sticking with us." O'Donnell also shed some light on what goes into deciding to call a race, and who is involved in the final decision. "We'll talk to obviously the weather experts in the area, but ultimately it's up to the track," O'Donnell said. "In this case, Roger Curtis (president of Michigan International Speedway ) and NASCAR work together. We judge it on how much time do we have left, daylight. You don't have lights in Michigan and more importantly, what does the weather look like? "It takes longer to dry a track as you get later in the afternoon with the weather circumstances. Once we had to evacuate the grandstands via the track, that put us in a really challenging situation. The fans had stuck it out for a long time and then when you looked at the radar and the possibility of continued lightning and rain, we thought it was the most prudent decision to make at that time to call it a day." Other notes from O'Donnell: • After a rain delay of more than two hours for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park, Air Titans will be at the stand-alone events at Chicagoland Speedway (for the NASCAR XFINITY Series) and Iowa Speedway (for the Truck Series) this weekend. Air Titans were not at Gateway this past weekend. "Ultimately we make them available, and it's a track call whether or not they want to have them in place," he said. "We learned some lessons at Gateway. I think you will see them both at Iowa and Chicago this weekend regardless. Going forward, I think you will see that change. The good news is we were able to get the race in, saw Cole Custer win. I think you'll see that change and we'll have them available regardless for the tracks. • The Sprint Cup Series is off this weekend, but O'Donnell is looking forward to both stand-alone races. "It's really important for us," he said. "I think it gives some drivers an opportunity to come into a race and really showcase their skills. You look at Chicago, I'm excited personally to see Ross Kenseth get out there, had a great weekend at Michigan with the ARCA race. I know Matt (Kenseth) is going to be a proud father watching him race. "Talking to Richard Childress this weekend, he thought we've got the most talent we've had in a long, long time coming up through the system. When you look at the XFINITY race in Chicago and the Truck race at Iowa, it puts both series on the big stage this weekend." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule