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O'Donnell: Stages had impact on strategy at Sonoma
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell talks about the impact stage racing had at Sonoma Raceway on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
O'Donnell reacts to Kasey Kahne's last lap crash
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell talks about Kasey Kahne's last-lap wreck at Sonoma Raceway on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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 .
Steve Letarte's RacingJobs.com matches talent to race teams
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! CHARLOTTE -- RacingJobs.com, a new innovative website for matching race teams with employees, was launched this week by Steve Letarte, the NBC Sports NASCAR booth analyst who scored 15 victories as a crew chief for Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (including a 2014 Daytona 500 triumph). Using a smart, searchable database that creates anonymous but detailed online profiles for prospective racing employees, race teams can fill needed positions based on desired qualifications such as education, work experience, skill sets and pay scale. "The response from the industry is clear," Letarte said. "Race teams are excited for RacingJobs.com and the service it provides in helping them find the right candidates for the right job." RacingJobs.com won't be limited in its scope. Every job that is necessary in the competition side of auto racing -- from pit crews to road crews to race shops, from engineers to interior mechanics to fabricators -- will be available to be filled by a talent pool that will represent every series, from NASCAR to drag racing to IndyCar. Race teams can search based on potential openings, ensuring that the prospective employees' education, experience and proficiency are commensurate with the job's qualifications. A list of potential candidates is populated off the search, and the race team winnows the list to the best matches. RacingJobs.com then emails prospects on that filtered list to provide contact information and instructions for reaching the race team -- keeping candidates anonymous until they decide to pursue an opportunity. Because individuals are the foundation to any successful company, RacingJobs.com streamlines the hiring model for the racing industry. In keeping the profiles anonymous, all prospective employees are on equal ground, and the barriers to entry in a tough job market are reduced. Instead of a search based solely on "who you know" or word-of-mouth networking, having the desired qualifications and correct skill sets will earn consideration on their own merits. "I created RacingJobs.com to improve the hiring process in motorsports," Letarte said. "This project has been several months in the making, and I'm excited about the site going live and making a positive impact in the industry."
Steve O'Donnell pleased with enhanced race format following Daytona weekend
RELATED: Results " Standings " Fast facts: Enhancements DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The early reviews from NASCAR's first race weekend with a stage-based format laden with performance incentives are in. For the sport's top competition official, those reviews were boffo. Steve O'Donnell -- NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer -- held an informal media scrum after Sunday's Daytona 500 , fielding questions about the race's three-stage process, the five-minute pit repair clock, and the multiple multi-car crashes that affected all three national-series events. "I'd say overall really pleased," O'Donnell said in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage at Daytona International Speedway . "Saw a lot of great, hard racing. Everybody knows that every driver wants to win the Daytona 500 . We saw drivers up on the wheel all day long, racing hard, and that's exactly what we expected from the format." O'Donnell said he was content with the frenzied competition that produced race winners in Kurt Busch for the Daytona 500 , Ryan Reed (XFINITY Series) and Kaz Grala (Camping World Truck Series) in the other national circuits. All three races were marked with attrition in several sizable accidents, but O'Donnell chalked that up to the high stakes of racing for victories at the historic 2.5-mile speedway. "I think people wanted to win," O'Donnell said. "People want to win at Daytona and we wanted drivers racing hard up front and racing hard for wins. So that's we expected. In terms of good, hard racing, I think that's what you saw all three days." O'Donnell noted that despite the wrecks that snared Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick among others, those two drivers had a semblance of consolation prizes with an accumulation of points by virtue of their stage victories. O'Donnell also pointed out that the five-minute time limit for repairs made on pit road worked as anticipated. He said he did not expect officials to expand the time span, noting that no teams had raised an issue with it over the course of the weekend. "I doubt it because this came from the teams," O'Donnell said, "and when we looked at what was the proper amount of time, their suggestion was five minutes because they thought their day was really done if they couldn't fix something within the five-minute clock. Obviously if a lot of folks come to us from a team standpoint and say we need more, but the whole point of that was to make sure the cars were safe and in race-able condition." O'Donnell also said he was content with the number of laps that were completed under caution between stages -- seven after Stage 1 and five after Stage 2 -- but said that the number would be a "work in progress" during the season.
O'Donnell: Reaction to Blaney's win was 'really neat to see'
NASCAR's Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell called in to SiriusXM NASCAR radio to talk about the reaction to Wood Brothers Racing and Ryan Blaney's historic win at Pocono.
O'Donnell explains Texas Camping World Truck Series finish
NASCAR's Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell called in to SiriusXM NASCAR radio to address the finish of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway
Byron: 'It feels awesome' to get first XFINITY win
William Byron gets a call from Rick Hendrick in Victory Lane after a tremendous run at Iowa Speedway earning his first career win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
#TBT: Steve Park and Junior crash at Pocono
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.
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."