As a professional race car driver competing in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series, Martin Truex Jr . gets to do a lot of interesting and innovative things as part of his job. But this Wednesday was special by any standards. Truex gave rides around Pikes Peak International Raceway to a paraplegic and quadriplegic in a specially designed "adaptive" stock car whose smart glass technology allows drivers a operate a car using head movement. Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser donated one of the team's No. 78 Chevys to the program and the race team volunteered many hours transforming it with the new technology . Truex flew out to Colorado from Charlotte -- where he'll be competing in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 -- just to participate in Wendesday's Falci Adaptive Motorsports NeuroGroove RaceDay. It was difficult to tell who was enjoying the experience more. "What an awesome day to be a firsthand witness to some incredible technology ," said Truex. "Life is about giving back and Dr. (Scott) Falci and his partners are doing just that. To see the joy of the individuals I gave a ride to was very inspirational." One of Truex's passengers, Stewart Lundy, a paraplegic from Denver, Col., considered it a ride of a lifetime, joking, "And he (Truex) gets paid to do this!" "I need to reassess my life goals. That is probably one them now. I loved every minute of it -- I'm coming down from an adrenalin high." The technology used in the car can also be used in steering a wheelchair and has the potential of increasing mobilization and independence for many disabled. "I wanted to add another adapted sport for the spinal cord and disabled population," said Dr. Scott Falci, a neurosurgeon at Denver's Craig Hospital. "Motorsports is a real exciting sport and we're utilizing the No. 78 Furniture Row car as a platform to get involved in a new adaptive sporting event and also getting involved with the NASCAR community." "The emotional thrill of having Martin and his Furniture Row race car was an uplifting experience not only for the spinal cord injured individuals and their families but for all of our partners who have been passionately working on this new adaptive technology ."
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 8, 2015) – Four finalists have been chosen for The NASCAR Foundation's fifth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide, which honors volunteers from across the country who dedicate themselves to children's causes in their communities. Through December 3 at 11:59 p.m. ET, fans have the power to decide the winner by voting for their favorite champion for children at NASCAR.com/Award . This year's finalists include Bob Bowler of Special Olympics North Carolina, Stephanie Decker of Stephanie Decker Foundation, Carl Flatley of Sepsis Alliance and Jeff Hanson of Children's Tumor Foundation. The national winner will be announced on Dec. 4 during the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Award show at Wynn Las Vegas at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The NASCAR Foundation will donate a total of $175,000 to the charities of the finalists -- with the winner’s charity receiving $100,000 and remaining finalists' charities receiving $25,000 each. The winner will also receive a 2016 Ford Fusion given by the Official Car Sponsor. The Award was established in 2011 to honor The NASCAR Foundation Founder and Chairwoman Emeritus Betty Jane France’s passion for service and volunteerism. Since its inception, the Award has donated $700,000 and impacted over 52,000 children nationally. "This year's finalists are 'raising the bar' for our award," said Betty Jane France. "They have national stature but are community-oriented. Collectively, they have done an incredible amount of important work toward improving the quality of life for children in need. "As we now go through the online process, our finalists will increase awareness of both the award and The NASCAR Foundation overall. They have wonderful, inspiring stories to tell, which is not surprising because they are wonderful people. We are very proud to call them our 2015 finalists." 2015 marks the first year of The NASCAR Foundation's partnership with Nationwide, which has a deep commitment to be "More Than a Business." "Nationwiders care. We volunteer in our communities and we help our members feel safe and protected. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award embodies those same values and we're proud to be partners in recognizing the giving spirit of others," said Terrance Williams, chief marketing officer of Nationwide. "We congratulate this year's finalists and thank them for their selflessness and leadership." Fans are encouraged to join the conversation on Facebook at Facebook.com/NASCARFoundation and Twitter on Twitter using the hashtag #BJFHAward. Following is additional information about the 2015 BJFHA finalists: Bob Bowler (Charlotte, North Carolina) is no novice when it comes to volunteerism. He has been doing volunteer work for an incredible 31 years for Special Olympics North Carolina. Bowler has assisted more than 2,500 young Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities through tennis and basketball programs and Camp SOAR, a free summer camp he started 15 years go. He has raised more than $1 million in cash and in-kind contributions for Special Olympics athletes, covering all camp expenses. Stephanie Decker (Sellersburg, Indiana) was faced with serious adversity in March 2012 when a tornado struck her home and threatened to take away all that she knew and loved. Having lost both of her legs after shielding her children from debris, she started the Stephanie Decker Foundation to help children with prosthetics get involved in sports and, in the process, provide access to the best prosthetic technology available. Decker has become a motivational speaker and an advocate, having gone to the Kentucky State Senate to fight for a bill that would require insurance companies to cover new and refurbished prosthetics. Carl Flatley (Dunedin, Florida) lost his 22-year-old daughter Erin in 2002 after contracting sepsis -- an often-deadly systemic infection -- following a routine outpatient surgical procedure. Determined to prevent others from the same fate, Flatley founded Sepsis Alliance in 2007 to increase awareness and encourage medical facilities to establish sepsis protocols. Awareness is crucial as sepsis is preventable and treatable, and the cause of 18-20 million deaths globally each year. Flatley has established educational programs and an endowment to provide sepsis training for young physicians in Florida. According to Sepsis Alliance, the organization has increased awareness in the U.S. from 19 percent in 2003 to 44 percent today. Jeff Hanson (Overland Park, Kansas) was only 6 years old when he was diagnosed with optic glioma, a tumor that attacks the optic nerve that is caused by the rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF). After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Hanson was legally blind at the age of 12. During his 2005 chemotherapy treatments, he began painting bright, bold colors on note cards, perfectly suited for someone with limited vision. Hanson turned his paintings into a fundraising platform and has since generated more than $250,000 for the Children's Tumor Foundation and more than $1.3 million for charities worldwide. To learn more about the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide and each of the national finalists, please visit: www.NASCAR.com/award .
RELATED: Hear what Kes had to say " Watch the restart Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, said Monday that he disagreed with criticism lobbied by Brad Keselowski , who became the first driver penalized by the sanctioning body's renewed emphasis on restart management Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . O'Donnell's remarks came in a Monday morning debrief with NASCAR.com the day after the second event in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. NASCAR issued Keselowski a pass-through penalty on Lap 242 of Sunday's Sylvania 300 after series officials ruled he had inched ahead of leader Greg Biffle on the final restart. Keselowski dropped from second place to 25th after the penalty but rallied to finish 12th. In a post-race interview with NBCSN, Keselowski voiced his displeasure, saying, "It's a pretty basic understanding. It's an entertainment sport, not a fair sport," comments that O'Donnell later dismissed. "I think that was a heat of the moment comment from Brad," O'Donnell said. "I would look at what we've said in the past, is drivers are certainly going to disagree with the calls we make and that's OK. I disagree with Brad's comments. I think we make this as fair as possible each and every race. We've got to make calls, and no one's going to agree with every call we make. … We'll certainly have a conversation just about where we want to go and what are some of his thoughts. That's our job to listen as well, but we've got to make calls. "I'd expect drivers to have some passion. That's what they do. This is world-class racing and there's a lot on the line. Passion is something that really drives us overall." RELATED: No. 2 black-flagged after restart Keselowski's No. 2 Ford was ahead of Biffle's No. 16 Ford at the start/finish line when green-flag racing resumed on the final restart, but Keselowski was unable to complete the pass once the field shuffled out. Replays showed Keselowski gaining an advantage, but also showed Biffle maintaining a slower pace in the restart zone, causing three cars behind him in the outside lane to stack up and make slight contact. O'Donnell explained NASCAR's judgment, referring to the series' repeated reminders leading up to and during the race. "It really starts in the drivers' meeting where we talk about restart rules repeatedly, and it's the leader's prerogative to restart the race in the restart zone," O'Donnell said. "We repeat that to the drivers, we reiterate that over the radio during any caution or restart to tighten the field, and what we saw in this case was Greg Biffle had the option to start the race and really wasn't given the opportunity to do so within that restart zone and in our opinion, utilizing the additional technology we've put forth with cameras and personnel on the ground, we made the call and believed the 2 jumped the restart and went ahead of the 16 in this case." Restarts have come into greater focus in recent weeks, with Matt Kenseth 's unpenalized jump of Joey Logano in the regular-season finale at Richmond becoming a turning point in NASCAR's governance of the procedure. After that event, NASCAR dedicated a camera and a senior official to monitor the restart zone for the duration of the Chase playoffs. O'Donnell has said in the past that he would like to leave restarts in drivers' hands, but that the sanctioning body would step in if it needed to make a ruling. He said he planned to speak with Keselowski later Monday to discuss the procedure and solicit his feedback. "It's our job to utilize all the technology we have available to us and make the call," O'Donnell said. "Not everyone is going to agree with that. There's a ton on the line each and every race, and so ultimately we've got to make a call. It's difficult to do, but that's our job. We'll certainly seek feedback from the drivers. We'll talk to Brad obviously today, get his feedback, which I'm sure we'll disagree but that's part of it, and then we'll head into Dover."
SPARTA, Ky. -- Rain has been Ryan Blaney 's foe in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying. Last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway , rain washed out qualifying, which meant Blaney went home. His Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford team has made just 11 starts this season (with four more left) and Blaney and his team have been sent home due to three qualifying rainouts and cancellations. Under the NASCAR rulebook, the teams with the fewest attempts get sent home in the event of qualifying being canceled. "It's very frustrating to be honest with you," Blaney told NASCAR.com at Kentucky Speedway , where he is driving in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend. "Not only for me, but for the whole team. They work so hard to get those cars to the race track. "Having a fast car for all three of those races is just an extra slap in the face after you get sent home. That's really unfortunate." That frustration comes from Blaney having a fast piece at the track. He finished his lone Chicagoland practice ninth. Blaney also was ninth in final practice at Daytona, but didn’t make the race as that qualifying session was rained out. Blaney also didn’t make the show at Kentucky when that qualifying session was canceled because rain wrecked havoc on the schedule and NASCAR wanted to give teams more time to feel out the reduced downforce package that was debuting that weekend. "We've been lucky to have fast cars. That's the first thing to know that you have fast race cars that you bring to the track so that's something you can be confident about and be proud of. And if everyone knows that we're there, it's a lot better than being 30th and getting rained out, then you are like 'well, we weren't that good anyway.'" And while Blaney admits he would be "a little bit biased" on changing the qualifying rules, he sees both sides of the coin. "It just differs with situations," Blaney said. "You have guys that show up to the racetrack every single week. Maybe they don’t have the proper funding or the technology to run quite as well but they are at the racetrack every single week. On the other hand you have us, who are fortunate enough to have really good funding and a team behind us to where we're fast but we don't race every week. It's kind of a toss-up. There's always going to be a positive and negative to each rule. It’s NASCAR's judgment to do whatever they do." With the No. 21 Wood Brothers team not running this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , Blaney is driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford in the NASCAR XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Blaney won this race in 2013 for his first XFINITY Series win and his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski won the summer XFINITY Series race here this season in the same car. The No. 22 has been piloted by Keselowski, Blaney, Joey Logano and Alex Tagliani this season and leads the owner standings in the XFINITY Series as it looks for a third straight owners’ title. "The best thing we can do is to try and focus on winning races in this 22 car and try to bring home a championship," Blaney said.
Each week a tech question is answered on GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 RELATED: Mobil 1 Technology Center Each week the host of NASCAR.com's GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 will take an automotive technology question and get it answered by the experts in a NASCAR garage. This week, Clay Rogers explains the technology of the dashboard gauges in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Be sure to tune in to GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway and see another question answered. Sprint Cup Series GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1: noon ET, Friday, Nov. 14. ( Watch here ) Nationwide Series GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1: 11 a.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 14. ( Watch here ) MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Each week a tech question is answered on GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 RELATED: Mobil 1 Technology Center Each week the host of NASCAR.com's GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 will take an automotive technology question and get it answered by the experts in a NASCAR garage. This week, Nate McGuire, a tire specialist for the Tommy Baldwin Racing team discusses valve stems and how they can cause problems during a race. Be sure to tune in next season for GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 to see another question answered, while also getting a tour of the garage area. Thanks for tuning in to GarageCam for the 2014 season and we look forward to bringing you up close in 2015. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Groundbreaking system will change landscape of sport MORE: Data rules, but human element still key CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR officials will no longer be standing alongside crewmen to police pit stops in 2015, but that doesn’t mean the sanctioning body won’t be watching what takes place. A new, technologically driven system that incorporates the use of 45 cameras will feed video of every stop made by every team to a central location, where eight officials will log pertinent information and report any violations. "This is a great new innovation," Shawn Rogers, Managing Director of Business Operations for NASCAR, said Tuesday as he previewed the system for members of the media. "I think it will probably change our sport, put us finally at the tip of the spear with technology . "Paramount to us, we always want to increase our safety when possible, increase our accuracy … be consistent and above all these days, be transparent." How will it work? Each of the cameras will display two specific pit stalls. Once a car is on pit road, the individual cameras will record its progress as it moves through each area. The use of tracking software and pit road scoring loops identifies and verifies each car. That same system software tracking its movement will indicate any infractions, such as too many men over the wall or driving through too many pit boxes when entering or exiting the pits based on information ingested prior to the event. If there are no infractions logged by the system, one of the eight officials will still monitor the stop, noting the number of tires taken, whether fuel was added and whether any changes (chassis adjustments or repair to a damaged area, for example) to the car were made. Infractions fall into three groups -- vehicle (such as pitting outside pit box), equipment (leaving pit box with gas can still attached, etc.) and personnel/crew (too many men over the wall; over the wall too soon, etc.) When the software picks up an infraction, it will be displayed on the monitor where an official will quickly view the stop and either confirm the issue (and subsequently notify the tower) or clear it if it can be determined that no infraction took place. As an example, Rogers provided video of a driver that stopped just beyond his pit box last year when pitting, and the system flagged the infraction. However, crewmen quickly pushed the car back into its box before beginning to service it. Therefore, there was no penalty, and under the new system, an official has the ability to remove and clear the infraction notation. Although it was in place during the final portion of the ’14 season, the system was tested, but not used for official purposes. "We ran the system, full parallel testing, the final 11 races," Rogers said. "Our focus was to test out our hardware and software … train our officials and give them lots of reps with the system … and train our (operations) group." The expectation is for each pit stop to be viewed and cleared in no more than eight seconds and stops are prioritized -- those that are flagged as infractions are moved to the top of the list for immediate attention. The eight officials work through each stop until all have been cleared, reported when necessary and logged. Teams will be notified of any penalties that occur once a stop has been completed. "We’re not going to tell anyone of any violations until they leave pit road," Rodgers said. "That's how we do speeding violations now. So we don't get into this person found out a little bit sooner than that person. That could be different depending on circumstances, he said. "If 35 cars pit at once on the third lap of the Daytona 500 , some … could be told sooner than others." The use of the technology will change the number of officials along pit road. Instead of the approximately two dozen that policed pit stops last year, only 10 will be in the pits this year. And Rogers said they would be stationed behind pit wall where they can respond to any team inquiries and monitor actions from that side of the car when necessary. The officiating system will not be used at stand-alone events for the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, according to Rogers. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Each week a tech question is answered on GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 RELATED: Mobil 1 Technology Center Each week the host of NASCAR.com's GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 will take an automotive technology question and get it answered by the experts in a NASCAR garage. This week, a member of Michael Annett 's No. 7 team, Bob Decker, answers the Mobil 1 Tech Question of the Week regarding the difference between in-race fueling and garage fueling. Be sure to tune in to GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 next week at Phoenix International Raceway and see another question answered. Sprint Cup Series GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1: 1 p.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 7. ( Watch here ) Nationwide Series GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1: 11:30 a.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 7. ( Watch here ) MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Each week a tech question is answered on GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 RELATED: Mobil 1 Technology Center Each week the host of NASCAR.com's GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 will take an automotive technology question and get it answered by the experts in a NASCAR garage. This week, a member of Danica Patrick 's team answers the Mobil 1 Tech Question of the Week. Watch the video above to hear why air pressures in the tires could be a key to winning at Martinsville Speedway . Be sure to tune in to GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 next week at Texas Motor Speedway and see another question answered. Sprint Cup Series GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1: 12:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 31. ( Watch here ) Camping World Truck Series GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1: 11:30 a.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 31. ( Watch here ) MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Each week an expert will answer a tech question on GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 RELATED: Mobil 1 Technology Center Each week the host of NASCAR.com's GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 will take an automotive technology question and get it answered by the experts in a NASCAR garage. This week, Jamie McMurray answers the Mobil 1 Tech Question of the Week. Watch the video above to hear McMurray explain the importance of using mirrors at Talladega Superspeedway . McMurray won the fall race at Talladega last year. Be sure to tune in to GarageCam presented by Mobil 1 next week at Martinsville Speedway and see another question answered. Sprint Cup Series GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1: 11:30 a.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 24. ( Watch here ) Camping World Truck Series GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1: 2:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 24. ( Watch here ) MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView