RELATED: Standings going into final race HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Sunday's NASCAR finale has four drivers vying for the championship in what NASCAR officials like to refer to as a Game 7 moment. There have already been plenty of pivotal points during this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, but what if Sunday's showdown is shortened into a Game 5 1/2 moment? The threat of a damp forecast at Homestead-Miami Speedway has raised plenty of questions about how a potentially rain-altered Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) could play out, especially with so much on the line in the season-ending race. The National Weather Service rates the chances of precipitation on Sunday at 60 percent, with thunderstorms especially likely in the morning. The possibilities come on the heels of the championship field being settled in a rain-abbreviated race the previous weekend at Phoenix International Raceway . The stakes will be even higher Sunday, but the procedures for declaring a race official will remain the same. "It's not a new rule. It's not something different," said three-time series champion Tony Stewart . "Is it ideal, no. Is it OK, yes. I mean, we don't have a choice. We can't control the weather. It's not ideal by any means. I don't think anybody wants to have that scenario and have to race in that scenario, but as well, at the same time, we've all raced under those circumstances, and if it has to end that way, that's the way it'll end." NASCAR has maintained long-standing procedures that a race becomes officials once it passes the halfway point, but the sanctioning body has also historically made every effort to run its races on the scheduled date. Advancements in technology have helped competition officials make more informed decisions about the weather, but the considerations -- for fans, teams and broadcast partners -- make those decisions even more critical, especially when the outcome of the race or the season-long championship weighs in the balance. To help combat the effects of rain this weekend, NASCAR can employ 17 Air Titan track dryers, 12 conventional jet dryers, and four vacuum trucks -- an armada that NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France touted as a record number of resources. But France also mentioned in his State of the Sport address on Friday that watching the skies and planning for inclement weather was a necessary angle for teams to work around. "We're looking at everything," France said. "Our view now is that like a lot of things that aren't necessarily perfect, so to speak, that's part of the game. That's part of racing that it's part of the strategy. You saw that last week in Phoenix. That you have to anticipate weather as being a factor in deciding things, as unfortunate as that is. Hopefully it won't be a factor on Sunday." Carl Edwards was among the unfortunate ones last weekend, missing out on his Championship 4 bid by just five points when rain escalated with 93 laps remaining. Edwards told his crew "they can't let it end like this" over the team radio as the race went to red-flag conditions, but NASCAR officials did, leaving Kyle Busch , Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr . to join Jeff Gordon among the final quartet. Busch was among those on the plus side of the rain at Phoenix, a situation he wouldn't mind being in Sunday if circumstances cut things short. "I think it would be very unfortunate, you know, but it is what it is," Busch said. "I mean, the rules have been the way the rules are for a long, long time and everybody ridicules NASCAR for changing the rules whenever they want, and this time they're sticking to it. Like Jeff said earlier, I hope I'm the guy leading when it's raining, and if it's raining we're going to be doing a heck of a rain dance."
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. (November 3, 2015) – Today at the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, NASCAR and Universal Technical Institute (NYSE: UTI) announced a 10-year partnership extension, ensuring the official partner will continue providing training for students seeking employment in the motorsports and automotive services industries. The partnership was highlighted by the opening of UTI's subsidiary school, NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) in 2002. NASCAR and UTI have partnered to offer a curriculum that has developed new generations of technicians to serve motorsports and the automotive services industries. "UTI has created a pipeline of highly skilled automotive technicians that have been embedded throughout the NASCAR ecosystem for the past 15 years," said Norris Scott, NASCAR vice president of partnership marketing. "Our 10-year extension underscores the mutual benefit of our partnership and sets us up for a decade of success." UTI Vice President John Dodson will discuss the early renewal live on Fanschoice.TV from the Las Vegas Convention Center, where each year more than 100,000 industry executives, buyers, influencers and car enthusiasts attend the SEMA Show. Afterward, a special panel of NASCAR Tech graduates, each now gainfully employed within the motorsports industry, will share stories about the program’s impact on their professional careers. "This long-term renewal accentuates the sustained success of our program, and perfectly aligns with our plans to celebrate UTI’s 50th anniversary this upcoming year," said Dodson. "By offering students hands-on experience and the opportunity to build relationships with key manufacturers, our students graduate with the ideal skill set to succeed in this competitive industry." NASCAR Tech has become the leader in the industry for technical education, graduating thousands of students. Four out of five graduates from NASCAR Tech find employment in careers within their field of study. Team Penske has hired nearly 50 NASCAR Tech graduates, more than any other team. NASCAR Tech alumni featured at the SEMA Show include Jennifer LaFever, who manages quality assurance at Roush Yates Racing Engines, and Van Nguyen, a development engineer for Toyota Racing Development. The graduates will be joined on the panel by Kyle Larson , driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Prior to competing in NASCAR’s national series, Larson won the 2012 championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where his Rev Racing car engines were built and maintained by NASCAR Tech students. The No. 2 UTI / NASCAR Tech Rev Racing Toyota Camry, driven to Victory Lane at Dover International Speedway by current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver Collin Cabre, is on display at the NASCAR booth. The race-winning car's engine was also a product of the NASCAR Spec Engine Program. Other NASCAR Activities at SEMA • In addition to the No. 2 Rev Racing Toyota, there are three other NASCAR vehicle attractions on display at the SEMA Show, which runs through Nov. 6: The No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion driven by NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney , the No. 31 Whelen Chevrolet Corvette DP that competes in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 – highlight the NASCAR area on the show floor. • The display also includes demonstrations of the new pit road technology used in NASCAR that has increased the accuracy, efficiency and safety of pit-road officiating. • NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty is joining several current drivers from NASCAR’s national and Touring & Weekly Series and IMSA for appearances at the NASCAR display, where fans following the event from their computer, tablet or mobile device can watch driver interviews live on Fanschoice.tv. • Scott Atherton, president of IMSA, will discuss the importance of technology and innovation in growing the series during the Racing and Performance Forum, part of the SEMA Show’s Technology Briefing Seminars. Tune-in to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Eliminator Round’s second race, the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway , on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and PRN, with additional coverage on NASCAR.com.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 8, 2015) — NASCAR® and Chevrolet today announced the scholarship winners in the NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Contest during a special presentation at Texas Motor Speedway . Four undergraduate college students from across the country were awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships and treated to a VIP experience at today’s AAA Texas 500 , including a tour of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, pace car rides and meet-and-greets with Team Chevy drivers and Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Program Manager, Alba Colon. Last month, NASCAR and Chevrolet challenged college students to identify a specific technology within the sport and explain how STEM professionals came to its design in 90-second videos. Student videos were submitted online and judged on technical accuracy, creativity and production value. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student Maria Kaselow Salas earned first place and a $10,000 scholarship by illustrating the physics behind track banking in her video demonstration at a local skateboard park. "I'm so thankful for Chevrolet and NASCAR for this opportunity and for inspiring students like me to continue to pursue their dreams," said Salas, a senior aviation business administration major. "I've really enjoyed my experience at the track, and learning more about the science behind NASCAR." Utah State University sophomore Allan Blad took second place and won a $5,000 scholarship for his video about NASCAR's eco-friendly, track-drying technology , the Air Titan 2.0. Vishnu Rachakonda, a biomedical engineering student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jonathan Gwinn, who studies mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, finished in third and fourth place, respectively, earning $2,500 scholarships. "Congratulations to these special winners and to all the students that participated in this unique challenge," said Colon. "It is an honor for Chevrolet to be involved in this important program; not only with NASCAR, but with our future generation in their pursuit of STEM-related careers. They are not only a vital part in the ongoing development of our sport, but also in their contribution to the future of this country." "Supporting talented students who are interested in careers in STEM is essential for the growth of our sport and industry," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "Partnering with Chevrolet to present scholarships gives both companies an opportunity to recognize and applaud these future leaders and innovators." Before taking in the AAA Texas 500 , the scholarship recipients also met with Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman , who graduated from Purdue University with an engineering degree. With this scholarship initiative, NASCAR and Chevrolet continue their longstanding commitment to STEM education and promoting opportunities for students to pursue STEM-related careers. For more information about NASCAR’s diversity initiatives, please visit http://nascardiversity.com .
Photo courtesy of Richard Childress Racing AVONDALE, Ariz. -- It was a question that’s been asked almost as long as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have been competing in companion events over the course of a weekend. "So Ryan, did you learn anything out there today that might help you on Sunday?" "Yes. You definitely don't want to hit the cone. There's a pass-through penalty for that," Newman said. It was a joke, of course. Ryan Newman had just climbed from behind the "wheel" of a Caterpillar D11 T bulldozer, a mammoth piece of equipment that tips the scales at 230,000 pounds. His No. 31 Chevrolet, fielded by Richard Childress Racing , carries primary sponsorship from Caterpillar. For this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway (renamed Jeff Gordon Raceway for Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 , 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM), the black and yellow paint scheme features Cat Command Autonomous Mining on the rear quarter panels. So there Newman was, taking the D11 T through its paces, moving around an obstacle course and pushing around a lot of dirt. Did I mention the dozer, the course and the dirt was located outside Tucson, nearly 150 miles away from Newman and Phoenix? Caterpillar's Cat Command is a program that allows heavy equipment to be operated remotely. Thanks to technological advances, the operator can be on site, if not behind the wheel, or more than 100 miles away, as was the case here Friday morning. The benefits, such as safety and increased production, appear to be numerous. It was a new experience for Newman, 37, and a 17-time winner in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, but not an entirely foreign one. "I'd say the closest thing to it, something that is somewhat parallel to some of the stuff that we're doing in the Sprint Cup Series … is the (race car) simulation," he said. "This is different in the form that you're performing a service … getting a job done. Whereas where what we're doing is about subjective feeling and feedback and trying to base it off a stopwatch. "But it's really interesting to see the use of technology and how Caterpillar has adapted all that to the job site." Can automated racing be far behind? NASCAR from afar? "I hope not," he said. "That kind of takes me out of a job. I might enjoy the air-conditioned office but I like the physical part of (my job). "For me, it's all about driving the race car. I like that, to be able to feel that … to take it to that edge and be super competitive." And that "feel" wouldn't exist outside the vehicle, whether it's in a race car going 180 mph or a piece of heavy equipment with a top speed of 7 mph. "Here, it's more about the edge of the (bulldozer's) blade and not the edge of control," he said.
RELATED: Sunday's lineup " See the Chase Grid Race day info What: AAA Texas 500 Where: Texas Motor Speedway , 1.5-mile tri-oval in Fort Worth, Texas Green flag: 2:16 p.m. ET (NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) Forecast: Sunny, with a high near 63. East northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. (NOAA.gov) National anthem: Bárbara Padilla (America's Got Talent runner-up, Season 4) Grand marshal: John Krasinski, actor Honorary Starter: John Daly, Technology Infrastructure, AAA Texas Distance: 334 laps, 501 miles. Pit road speed: 45 mph Caution car speed: 55 mph Competition caution: Lap 25 On the front row 1. Brad Keselowski , Team Penske No. 2 Ford (196.929 mph) 2. Kevin Harvick , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (195.993 mph) RELATED: See the full lineup Failed to qualify Joey Gase , Go Green Racing No. 32 Ford; Reed Sorenson , Premium Motorsports No. 62 Chevrolet Fastest in practice First practice: Brad Keselowski , Team Penske No. 2 Ford (197.059 mph) " Results Second practice: Canceled (wet track) Final practice: Canceled (wet track) Key story lines 1. Underdog? Truex Jr. OK with status " Read more 2. Logano moves past Martinsville, focused on Texas " Read more 3. Drivers digest Kenseth penalty impact " Read more 4. Jones an able option for JGR entry " Read more Former winners in the field Jimmie Johnson (5); Carl Edwards (3); Greg Biffle , Denny Hamlin , Tony Stewart (2); Joey Logano , Ryan Newman , Kurt Busch , Kyle Busch , Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Jeff Gordon , Kasey Kahne (1). He said it "I think if you are not in the top five right now you are in a must-win situation. ... In reality, we know we will probably need to win two of the next three to win the championship. We have that opportunity and there is no reason to focus on what we don't have, which is the ability to finish consistent and make it to the next round." -- Brad Keselowski , Coors Light Pole Winner
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
NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell talks about the new pit road technology and rules package for 2015.
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
Find out what the NASCAR Research & Development Center is doing to improve safety, innovation and technology in the sport.