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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will join broadcasts for Talladega, Martinsville
RELATED: Talladega schedule " Junior injury timeline Dale Earnhardt Jr . will join NBC's broadcast team for parts of the network's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway and Martinsville Speedway , NBC announced Wednesday on "NASCAR America." Junior, who has not raced since July as he recovers from a concussion, will reunite with his former crew chief Steve Letarte and work alongside race announcer Rick Allen and fellow analyst Jeff Burton . Sunday will mark Earnhardt's first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup broadcasting assignment. "I'm excited to see these races from a different vantage point and hopefully offer some insight to the viewers," Earnhardt Jr. said in an NBC release. "I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to broadcast the XFINITY race at Michigan earlier this year, so I expect getting to spend time in the booth with the NBC team to be just as fun." NBCSN presents the second elimination race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup from Talladega on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. Next weekend, NBCSN presents the first race in the playoff Round of 8 from Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m. ET. "With five races left in the Sprint Cup playoffs, we are thrilled to welcome Dale Earnhardt Jr . into our broadcast booth as we present two of the most unpredictable and exciting races in the Chase," said Jeff Behnke, VP of NASCAR Production for the NBC Sports Group. "Dale is incredibly respected and the viewers and fans will be treated to his perspective on two very different race tracks." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Hook, line and sinker
After earlier trouble, Austin Dillon gets caught up again in an incident, this time with the No. 32 of Steve Arpin .
PEAK becomes title sponsor of NASCAR Mexico Series
RELATED: Peak becomes new sponsor for Mexico Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 18, 2016) -- During an event with team owners, drivers, local dignitaries and media at the InterContinental Presidente Hotel in Mexico City, NASCAR today announced plans to strengthen its presence in Mexico for years to come with a full slate of races in 2017 and beyond. Also announced was a multi-year agreement with Old World Industries (OWI) to make PEAK® title sponsor of the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, only the third title sponsor in series history. Additionally, PEAK becomes an Official NASCAR Partner along with other key brands such as BlueDEF®. "The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series is a place where young drivers are honing their skills and competing for a championship against the toughest competition in Latin America," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "The series drives interest in stock car racing in Mexico, while cultivating talented drivers and pit crew members aspiring to compete at the NASCAR national series level." The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series will make its return with an exhibition race on Dec. 3-4 in Mexico City. Celebrating its 10th season, the series will officially get underway in 2017, with a full championship schedule that will be announced at a later date. The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series has helped develop some of NASCAR's best young drivers, including Daniel Suárez, who is the first Mexican-born driver to capture Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors; win a NASCAR national series race; lead a national series in points; and compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase for a championship – which he is currently pursuing. Furthermore, the continued development of young Mexican drivers, like reigning NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series Champion Ruben Garcia Jr., exemplifies the wealth of talent competing throughout the series. "I am extremely proud to be a Mexican driver competing against the best young drivers making a name for themselves in the NASCAR XFINITY Series," said Suárez, driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing . "I am lucky to have had the support of NASCAR's developmental programs along the way – including the NASCAR Mexico Series. I am excited to see that other talented Latin American drivers will continue to have similar opportunities for many years to come." "We remain steadfast in our commitment to develop young talent and engage our passionate fan base in Mexico," said Lou Garate, vice president, partnership marketing, NASCAR. "PEAK is a world-class brand, and its three decades of experience in motorsports will help elevate NASCAR-sanctioned racing in Mexico." Old World Industries' PEAK, BlueDEF and HURCULINER brands have a storied history in motorsports. PEAK held race entitlements in NASCAR throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In 2016, PEAK sponsored Clint Bowyer 's No. 15 Chevrolet, including two primary races and a season-long associate sponsorship. PEAK is also the title sponsor of NASCAR's eSports partner, iRacing.com, which has helped produce current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader William Byron. "Old World Industries products have been a recognized part of the racing industry for decades, and we're proud to help bring NASCAR to the passionate fans in Mexico and the U.S. for years to come," said Bryan Emrich, chief marketing officer at Old World Industries. "Whether in the garage or on the track, we'll continue to deliver quality products that auto enthusiasts can count on." As an Official NASCAR Partner, race fans will see the NASCAR bar mark on select products including: PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant (Official Antifreeze/Coolant of NASCAR®), PEAK Windshield Washer Fluid and Wipers (Official Washer Fluid and Wiper Blade of NASCAR®), BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment (Official Diesel Exhaust Fluid of NASCAR® and Official Diesel Exhaust Fluid Equipment of NASCAR®) and Herculiner Truck & Bed Liners (Official Roll-On and Spray-On Bed Liner of NASCAR®). For more information on OWI products and the company's involvement in motorsports, please visit www.PeakAuto.com .
O'Donnell addresses Sprint Cup Series drivers racing in XFINITY Series
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to talk about NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Cain: For breast cancer survivors, Charlotte is 'their race'
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The good vibes were easy to feel as one pink shirt after another crowded around the Charlotte Motor Speedway Victory Lane and pit road, where NASCAR stars mingled with breast cancer survivors and their families. Six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson joined United States soccer legend Mia Hamm greeting people and ultimately delivering encouraging words to the crowd of nearly 500 gathered to kick off October's Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina -- for whom Johnson and Hamm are "ambassadors" -- along with the track brought everyone together to paint the speedway's pit wall pink in a visible reminder of this disease that has affected so many people on some level. "The NASCAR industry has always been so supportive of these kind of causes and teams have adopted the pink color for October for years," the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet driver Johnson explained between posing for photos, painting the pit wall pink and delivering an inspiring message to those attending. "We have pink trim on our hats and it's been on race cars. The support has been there. It's important to be a part of this and raise awareness. "The great thing is if you detect it early there really is something you can do about it. And this event also raises awareness for kids so they grow up knowing it's a priority. As a father (of two young girls), that's definitely something on my radar." Drivers Elliott Sadler , Blake Koch and Jeb Burton were also among the sport's stars there generously offering a friendly smile or gentle hug to survivors and greeting others who came to show support for family members and friends. These drivers are all too familiar with the devastating effects of this disease because their mothers have fought through diagnosis and treatment. Being trackside with so many people who care was a transformative event for so many patients, who for at least one morning could take a deep breath and replace their pain and worry with the feeling of gratitude and hope. And that is the whole reason behind this. Drivers who spend their weekends so tense and focused were at the track last Wednesday able to show how much they genuinely care, just in taking the time to be there, posing for a photo or sharing a paintbrush dripping pink. "This is very personal to me and my family," said XFINITY Series Chase participant Sadler. "To see what our NASCAR community does for breast cancer awareness, for all the pink race cars, the uniforms, the pink trophies, the pink pace car and Charlotte Motor Speedway taking it a step further today. Look at all the breast cancer survivors we have here today. To paint the wall means so much to people affected by it. "This is by far my mom's favorite race of the year, by far all because we get to run a pink car. I have an amazing sponsor, OneMain Financial, that lets me run a pink car for this race giving up their colors. What I've learned from my mom and other breast cancer survivors, this is their race. They've been through so much, this is a celebration of life, a time to forget about the bad and cherish the good. And that is a neat concept and a neat way to look at it." Driver Jeb Burton 's mother Tabitha is another breast cancer patient. She and I were diagnosed at similar times and have been supportive of one another while going through painful treatment and navigating the reality of this disease. "She went through a lot and it's definitely hit home for us," said Burton who will drive the No. 98 Biagi-DenBeste Ford in Friday's XFINITY Series race at Charlotte. "This is a great cause and I'm thankful to be out here and paint the wall pink. Hopefully we can find a cure soon." That is certainly the hope behind the easy smiles and loving hugs we all shared that day. RELATED: Battling cancer, NASCAR.com writer finds strength in numbers In the year since I finished my own harsh chemotherapy and radiation, I have lost a half dozen "chemo" friends to this disease. Some I was still too sick to attend their funerals. The NASCAR community suffered incredibly sad losses to cancer in the last year including 10-year old Elijah Aschbrenner to Epithelioid Sarcoma cancer last November and Scott Zipadelli's 19-year old step-daughter Torie Costa to the disease (Rhabdomyosarcoma) last Christmas Day. Steve Byrnes, a popular broadcaster and my friend, passed away from cancer in April 2015; and another friend, longtime NASCAR journalist Bob Margolis, lost his three-time cancer battle just weeks ago. Sherry Pollex, the longtime girlfriend of Sprint Cup Series points leader Martin Truex Jr ., has battled ovarian cancer for the past two years. Today, one of my dear friends is having breast cancer surgery. The follow-up and treatment of the disease afterward remains unknown at this point. Her children attend middle school with my daughter. And she was one of the people who immediately and lovingly cared for me and for my children when I was too sick to function during my own chemo. She brought dinner and comfort to us even when I was too sick to answer the door. And now her diagnosis feels like a punch in the gut, such a cruel twist. It's my turn to be her source of strength and optimism. So many people cared when I was at my sickest. And now it's an opportunity for me to be there for them. I am aware like I've never been before. This disease has a way of humbling you and simultaneously motivating you to be a better person. It opens your mind to think more broadly, to act more swiftly. To realize you can care more. When I left Charlotte last week after the event at the track I was full of gratitude, it was as if I had received a present for my soul. And judging by the smiles, hugs, even tears shared among the group, it was widespread feeling and greatly appreciated. "These amazing women, their stories and their fight, honoring them and their families and obviously the women that have passed, too," Hamm said of her time at the speedway. "It's important to continue telling their story of hope and determination and really empowering these women that are here to be proactive in their health. That's one of the reasons I feel so strongly to be a Blue Cross Blue Shield ambassador. It's really about empowering them to take care of themselves." "This is one of the wonderful things that all the hard work I did in my career was able to do -- to inspire people. And in the end you pass it off to this incredible (NASCAR) race that millions of people will be watching to help spread the message of continued work and awareness for breast cancer." By the end of the morning, it was truly, truly difficult to tell who was being motivated and who was doing the motivating. And what an incredibly positive feeling to carry on.
O'Donnell comments on additional incentives for regular season wins
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to talk about possible incentives for drivers who accumulate regular season wins prior to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Cain: Remembering Steve Byrnes one year later
Karen Goins-Byrnes certainly wasn't anticipating this autograph request as she and her teenage son Bryson walked out of the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway infield before last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track. It wasn't so much "the ask" she received but the canvas she was offered that really stood out. A race fan asked them to sign a flag right next to the signature of her late husband and Bryson's father, Steve , a NASCAR on FOX broadcaster who died on this day, April 21, one year ago after a courageous and well-fought battle with cancer. "You know that on Father's Day and Christmas and Steve's birthday (just last week) those moments are going to be intense, emotional and sad, but then there's these other moments that you completely do not expect that suddenly take your breath away, like the flag on Sunday," Karen Goins-Byrnes shared this week. "I just wasn't expecting that, and all of a sudden it made you realize, 'Oh my goodness, this person is gone from our life.' "I was walking with Bryson and had not anticipated that when we looked down at this flag, wow, there was his signature. And it was just surreal knowing that at some point he had touched that same piece of material; now we we're touching it. Steve's touched everything in this house, so I don't know why that hit me so hard but it was … I don't know, it was out-of-context, unexpected. "I don't think it was a coincidence. It was very impactful for Bryson and I both to see that." RELATED: Steve Byrnes remembered, 1959-2015 In the past year, the Byrnes family has been "adopted" by those close to Steve and also those who never met the longtime NASCAR broadcaster but were touched by his story of courage and strength battling cancer not once but twice. In the time since he passed away Byrnes, then 56, has been honored at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and received the prestigious Squier-Hall Award for media excellence. His likeness and another tribute hang on a large plaque at the Charlotte FOX studios. " Steve was not a person who sought out a lot of attention, he was not the look-at-me type of person," Goins-Byrnes said. "I know he's up in heaven going, 'I had no idea.' He is completely surprised at all the different things that have happened to remember him and honor him. I'm shocked, I know he's shocked too." Drivers, fellow broadcasters and FOX personnel have joined the broader NASCAR community supporting this family in ways both obvious and subtle. Their "new" way of life is still so greatly influenced by the one they miss so dearly. "We're persevering," Goins-Byrnes said, after pausing to select the most accurate description. She and her son don't know quite what to anticipate today -- their feelings and emotions. It will be a very busy schedule of things to do and that was purposeful. On Wednesday, she and Bryson attended a luncheon hosted by FOX Sports in Charlotte, where they posed for photos alongside close family friends Michael Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. There is a wonderful shot of Bryson standing next to a memorial for his father on the studio's wall. Goins-Byrnes, who is now doing part-time work for Charlotte-based Speedway Motorsports Inc., has a professional commitment for part of the day Thursday and will be escorting champion NHRA racer Erica Enders to a Speedway Children's Charities event at Charlotte's Levine Children's Hospital. "It just happened to be the day she's available," Goins-Byrnes said of the timing. "It was funny, when Erica said the 21st, I was like that's the day, but I decided that's the way it's supposed to be, then. Every single month on the 21st will never be just another day for me. Every 21st of the month, I know it's been nine months, 10 months, 11 months. "But honestly, I feel like not continuing to live dishonors Steve . Somebody was asking me about Bryson and I doing a lot of activities. I feel like if we had stopped doing things, that would have dishonored him ( Steve ). Living and doing things honors him. I certainly know he would not have wanted us to say, 'Oh, I can't do something because it was the 21st of the month.' He would have scolded us and said, 'It's just a date; go and do.' " And actually, Goins-Byrnes concedes, it's the times alone or void of activity that have been most challenging. "People will say, 'It looks like ya'll are doing well, doing good.' But I don't post on social media when we're lying on the floor crying," she said. "There are days that are gut-wrenching and those days you have to keep pushing through, pushing on." Pushing on for Bryson Byrnes has been quite literal. His days, nights and most weekends are filled with sports -- football and lacrosse are favorites. And Bryson isn't only succeeding on the field -- he was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society this week. "People talk about what an amazing young man he is, and I'll be honest," Goins-Byrnes said adding with a laugh. "He makes straight-As and Steve and I never did that in school. Steve and I used to look at his report cards and go, 'Wow. This must be the nurture part,' because the nature part, we're not responsible for this level of achievement. I can promise you. "We have been blessed with a really good kid. I think God knew what path he was going to ask us to walk and so he gave us a child that was well-equipped." "He still battles, sometimes, the unexpected moments," she said, pausing. "You just hadn't anticipated that even if it's a good thing, it's void of Steve being here." As Goins-Byrnes and I were saying our goodbyes we discussed the cancer battles so deeply affecting so many in NASCAR -- family members and extended family. We weren't sure if it was unusually prevalent among our sport or if circumstances made us more aware. Driver Martin Truex Jr .'s longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, finished up her chemotherapy in January, and remains such a positive force travelling around the country to educate others and bring awareness of ovarian cancer. The couple's Catwalk for a Cause event next month -- which raises money for childhood cancers -- is sold out again this year. While the potential for raising funds is high, it will be the most difficult of programs considering four of last year's models and inspirations have passed away -- a first for Truex and Pollex. Among them is my longtime friend Becky's son, Elijah Aschbrenner, 10, who fought a rare Epitheliod Sarcoma diagnosis and passed away on Nov. 11. His family has started the Prayers for Elijah Foundation to raise money and awareness of the disease. RELATED: Cain: Gratitude for Elijah Aschbrenner's inspiration Torie Costa, Scott Zipadelli’s 20-year old step-daughter, died on Christmas day on her second fight with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Grace, 14, passed away after fighting Osteosarcoma. Clint Bowyer 's wife, Lorra, carried an inspirational sign for her at last year's Catwalk because she was too ill to participate. Jeramiah, 8, passed away after battling leukemia, not once but twice. His passing in August was the first of Truex and Pollex's "Catwalk" kids. The great Buddy Baker died in August after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Erik Jones shared last Saturday after his XFINITY Series win at Bristol that his father was recently diagnosed with cancer. Tabitha Burton, Daytona 500 winner Ward’s wife and XFINITY Series racer Jeb's mom, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and is recovering from the surgeries and treatment. Former NASCAR racer Shawna Robinson continues to recover from her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment as well. And I'm still fighting breast cancer myself, with multiple surgeries ahead this year. My hair is -- slowly -- growing, I've regained the weight I lost in chemo and radiation, and many of the NASCAR drivers I deal with now are completely unaware of my medical situation -- which can feel like an achievement. Those that do know have been incredibly kind and encouraging. Cancer is, at the very least, a maddening disease, and its impact on NASCAR is similar to its impact in general. We have lost influential souls such as Byrnes and Baker and the promises of so many so young, like Aschbrenner and Costa. Perhaps the brightest and most lasting legacy left by my friend Byrnes was a feeling of "never give up," and the firm knowledge that this is a community that cares greatly and perpetually. Today will be challenging for the Byrnes family and all those who cared deeply for Steve . There will be times of sadness, of laughter, of gratitude for the time shared, and unquestionably a sense of knowing that he would want us to carry on and prevail. "He was a very humble person," Goins-Byrnes said. "He never looked at himself as being exceptional, just a normal guy, a husband and a father and a guy with a job he enjoys. "I think the way people have responded in remembering him really has shown what type of a person he is. They comment, 'What a great guy he is.' You wouldn't believe how many pictures I've received from race fans with him stopping for a picture or to sign an autograph. "I don't think he realized the kind of influence he had. I certainly didn't. I don't think he had any idea how many people he touched and what kind of influence he had.' " I still have text messages from Steve on my phone -- we exchanged many while going through our treatments. One in particular makes my heart happiest and I will most likely glance at it often today. On the Monday after last year's Bristol spring race -- named in Steve's honor -- I texted him to make sure he had watched the race, seen all the tributes and enjoyed the love. He responded: "Still smilin."
Steve Byrnes wins the 2016 Squier-Hall Award
The family of Steve Byrnes was in attendance as he was posthumously awarded the fifth Squier-Hall Award at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Matt Kenseth honors late Steve Byrnes' family
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nearly a year after Matt Kenseth drove to victory in the Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up To Cancer at Bristol Motor Speedway , the former series champion met with members of the Byrnes family for a special presentation at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. On Tuesday, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver presented Karen Byrnes, widow of the former NASCAR broadcaster, and son Bryson with a replica of the sword awarded to Kenseth for last year's Bristol win as well as a framed photograph of the team in Victory Lane. Team members in the photo can be seen holding up signs supporting Byrnes, who passed away two days after the race. "It's something we'd talked about for a while ... just kind of thought with the one-year anniversary of the race coming up and losing Steve shortly thereafter it was a good time to ... come down and get a picture with them and give them a replica of the sword trophy and a picture of everybody with their Stand Up With Steve signs," Kenseth said. Karen Byrnes said she and her son had no idea the presentation was part of Tuesday's appearance. "The NASCAR Hall of Fame had asked us to come down and meet Matt for a photo," she said. "But we didn’t know Matt Kenseth was bringing the framed photo and the sword; that was just really sweet and wonderful." Steve Byrnes was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in September of 2014. His wife said the longtime NASCAR on FOX anchor was "shocked and surprised" at the outpouring of support from the NASCAR industry once others learned of his condition. The past year, Karen Byrnes said, has "been bittersweet." "Obviously ... we've lived through the firsts of everything. This month in particular will be tough because his birthday is on the 14th and his passing was on the 21st . So we've had to live through a first Christmas, a first Father's Day and a first Easter. Those are challenging times. "But we've tried to be purposeful and also living, too, and moving forward and experiencing life. Because I don't think we honor Steve in not. I think we do a disservice to him by not going out and living life." Steve Byrnes, whose broadcasting career spanned more than three decades, was named the 2016 recipient of the annual Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. "It makes me feel really happy that not only was Dad loved inside the family but was loved by many people outside the family," Bryson Byrnes said. "He was really special to a lot of people and (that) makes me feel really proud of him."
Steve Byrnes honored with Squier-Hall Award
RELATED: Steve Byrnes passes away at 56 CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NASCAR Hall of Fame honored late broadcaster Steve Byrnes on Saturday at the weather-delayed induction ceremony at the Charlotte Convention Center. His son Bryson accepted the Squier‑Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence earlier this afternoon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on behalf of his father, who passed away from cancer in April. "This day is about those who paved the way in our sport," FOX Sports broadcaster Krista Voda said during Byrnes' introduction. "Each of us has a person, the one who guided us, who gave us a blueprint. Steve Byrnes was my person, my mentor, my friend. In April, Steve lost his courageous battle with cancer but not before serving as an inspiration to the entire NASCAR community." The Squier-Hall award is named in honor of legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall and has been presented to influential members of NASCAR media for the past three years. Byrnes' wife, Karen, and son, Bryson, were among the many family members present at the induction ceremony. "Just be nice to others," Bryson Byrnes said on lessons his father taught him. "You know, just enjoy what you do, have a great attitude while doing it, and just always going full out when you do do something, and do what you love, and when you do do it, just do it with a heart and a passion of doing it." RELATED: Through the years photo gallery Drivers Darrell Wallace Jr . and Dale Earnhardt Jr . were among those to tweet tributes and remebrances of Byrnes after Saturday's ceremonies at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I often delete pics but this one has always been in the bank. It's a constant reminder of how great he was! pic.twitter.com/56sgTqRA8A — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) January 23, 2016 One of the best EVER to cover the sport. Steve Byrnes honored with the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence @NASCARHall today. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) January 23, 2016