Host Matthew Dillner takes you through a very hot Daytona International Speedway NSCS garage in this edition of GarageCam.
Three-time NASCAR champion will become sole owner of organization CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has entered into an agreement to purchase the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series. The announcement, made Wednesday, stated that Stewart has agreed to terms with series owner Guy Webb to become the sole owner of the organization. "My passion for sprint car racing is well known," Stewart said in a release, "and the All Star Circuit of Champions ... series has been a pillar of the sport for a long time. "Racing is my business and I look forward to building the series' already impressive legacy by taking it to a new level of success and sustainability." Stewart, co-owner of the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization, has continued to compete in sprint cars throughout his NASCAR career. Incidents in the past two seasons, however, have left many wondering if his extracurricular racing activities should be either curtailed or stopped entirely. In 2013, Stewart suffered a broken right leg in an accident while competing at a sprint car race in Iowa. The injury forced Stewart to miss the final 15 races of the '13 NASCAR season. Last August, Stewart was again competing in a sprint car race when his entry struck and killed a fellow driver, Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart sat out three NASCAR races while dealing with the emotional and legal turmoil. Although he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident, Stewart said the fatality was something that would stay with him "forever." Dirt track racing makes up a large part of Stewart's business endeavors, and includes ownership of Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio as well as Tony Stewart Racing, a successful World of Outlaws race team. Webb said he had put his "heart and soul" into the All Star Circuit, "and it gives me great peace of mind to hand over the reins ... to Tony Stewart . " Tony is dirt track racing's biggest advocate, and he's always working in the best interest of sprint car racing." The series, which is not tied to one specific sanctioning organization, has a 50-race schedule in store for the 2015 season. The first event of the new year is scheduled for Feb. 5-7 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.
Driver receives black flag after not taking mandatory driver weigh-in Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- On-track performance might weigh on Tony Stewart's mind. But off-the-track weighing clearly wasn't on his mind before Friday's Sprint Unlimited practice at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart was the subject of the season's first summons to the NASCAR hauler, just after opening practice began on the 2.5-mile track. The consultation came moments after his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet received the black flag. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion had neglected to take the mandatory driver weigh-in before the track was open. He initially ignored a radio communication to report back to the garage, resulting in the hauler call. Stewart brushed past reporters, vehemently refusing comment after series officials bent his ear. But Stewart issued a statement of sorts via Twitter: Well NASCAR felt compelled to make me the first to be called to the trailer 10 min into the first practice of the year. #greatstart #NASCAR — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) February 14, 2015 Stewart wasn't the only driver who failed to pay a visit to the scales before Friday's pair of Sprint Unlimited practices. Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer were both required to weigh in after initially getting into their cars and taking to the track. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
'Smoke' made contact with Justin Allgaier, got into wall RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Tony Stewart was running 10th during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway when he got into the No. 51 Chevrolet of Justin Allgaier on Lap 236, essentially ending his chance for a top-10 finish. Stewart lost control during contact, spun out and hit the wall, bringing out the eighth caution flag of the day. "Smoke" had been running aggressively throughout the day, knocking Austin Dillon out of the way earlier. He had also initiated contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr . Stewart's No. 14 ride was repaired and returned to the track three laps down, and outside the top 35. Shortly after his return to the track, he hit the wall again, bringing out another caution. The veteran finished in 39th place and completed 282 of 312 laps. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Once an outlet, does racing provide same comfort? RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated The news on that Sunday morning shocked the NASCAR world, and soon the rest of the country was horrified, too. In a dirt-track race in upstate New York, Tony Stewart struck and killed another driver. From beginning to end, the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy was unprecedented. Even with racing's history of being cloaked in death, nothing like this had ever happened. Ward crashed after contact with Stewart. He left his wrecked car and walked down the track to confront Stewart while Stewart turned laps under caution. Stewart's car hit Ward, and he died a short time later at a hospital. That happened late on Aug. 9, a Saturday night. By Sunday morning, video of the accident had been posted on YouTube. The tragic death was bad enough. The attacks on Stewart were dark and disturbing, too. It was as if people on social media took sides on a story that had no sides. They seemed to decide they couldn't mourn for Ward and feel empathy for Stewart at the same time. All of which made this the worst story of this (and almost any other) season. The "sports as escape" idea is a cliché that also happens to be true. Drivers, football players, baseball players, whomever, all speak of the field of play as a respite from the pressures of everyday life. But what if that field of play is also the source of those pressures? It seemed impossible Stewart would find any calm when he climbed back into his No. 14 Sprint Cup Chevy for the first time in Atlanta after missing three races. He was dealing with crushing guilt and grief. What difference could racing make with pain like that, considering racing caused the pain? But there Stewart was, taking the first laps in the restart of his life. All of his fellow competitors welcomed him back, and many of them said getting in the car would be a key step for him in his healing process. Stewart seemed to think that, too, if for no other reason than being in the car would give him something else to think about, something else to do for a few hours. Stewart remained composed while reading a prepared statement in front of the media, but it was obvious that he was a mess, that grief still gripped him. He looked broken, pale, washed out, like he hadn’t slept since the accident. He looked like a man wondering what he should do with the rest of his life. Stewart normally lives his life in NASCAR’s public eye, but he nearly disappeared after Ward’s death. He looked and sounded much better when he took questions from reporters on Sept. 29 than he did in Atlanta. He looked better still when he was interviewed after the fall race at Martinsville, his only top-five after his return. He had been invisible for so long that his sudden appearance on TV to talk about having a fast car was almost jarring. When Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Cup championship, Stewart joined the celebration and the postrace press conference. "There's a lot of things I would love to change about the last 18 months of my life, but tonight is not one of them," Stewart said. "I'm going to enjoy this moment." What's next for Stewart? Nobody knows. On and off the track, his life remains unsettled. He has said he probably won't race in sprint cars again, and that seems like a wise move, considering the August accident and a previous one that left him with a broken leg that caused him to miss 15 races last season. His average finish in Cup races in 2014 was 20.0, the worst of his career by nearly four positions. He went winless for the first time, and it's fair to ask (and impossible to answer) how much of his struggles were tied to the Ward accident. He wasn't having a good season before Ward's death, and he was even worse after. There are questions off the track, too. He could face a civil suit from Ward's family. Perhaps the only closure so far came when the criminal case ended. Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo sent the case to a grand jury, which declined to pursue charges against Stewart. In announcing that, Tantillo also said Ward had marijuana in his system at a level high enough to impair his judgment. In the court of public opinion, that closed the case. With the absence of charges, the public moved on quickly. But Stewart didn't. He said several times that the tragedy would follow him for the rest of his life. Racing had brought Stewart the greatest joys of his life. Now it has wrought his greatest sorrow. SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch also caught up Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge MORE: Complete Sprint Unlimited results A wreck involving Tony Stewart on Lap 68 brought out the second red flag of the Sprint Unlimited. RELATED: See the best photos from Saturday's race Stewart was running inside the top three at the time of the wreck, when he appeared to get loose and then made contact with Greg Biffle. The red flag was withdrawn within a few minutes. Biffle took a hard hit into the wall from the wreck. Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch were also involved in the accident. Gordon finished seventh, Kyle Busch finished eight and Stewart finished 13th, while Biffle was 14th and Kurt Busch was 15th. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Cain: Just as Earnhardt did before him, 'Smoke' wonders if this is the year Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live During the mid-1990s, it was almost a Daytona 500 rite of passage. Long before there were formal organized Media Days, sometime between pole qualifying day and the qualifying races the great Dale Earnhardt would saunter into the cramped and dated old Daytona International Speedway media center, bust a few chops and pat a couple reporters on the back as he navigated the tight quarters to take a seat -- often in a folding metal chair in the corner, summoning reporters to come over to him instead of vice versa. Sunglasses on, he'd lean back in his chair and, depending on his mood, smile or grimace. Sometimes he waited to be asked the perennial question: "When are you going to win the Daytona 500?" Other times he just cut to the chase himself. Some years he was philosophical, other times frustrated, always he was hopeful. He'd won every single other race at NASCAR's iconic track -- most of them multiple times including a mind-boggling 10 straight qualifying races (now known as the Budweiser Duels). Although Earnhardt clearly came to both expect and dread answering questions on why he, a seven-time champion and the sport's greatest active driver, hadn't won the sport's greatest race, he always acted like each year was going to be "the" year. And finally in 1998 it was. I never saw him more genuinely happy and exuberant -- The "Intimidator" sporting a grin so wide it seemed like his mustache might touch his earlobes. Twenty years later, it's a similar scene with another beloved champion, Tony Stewart. As Earnhardt did, Stewart has taught school on the Daytona high banks, hoisting trophies from sports car races to IROC races; after Daytona 500 qualifiers and summer night 400-milers. And like Earnhardt, it's obvious that the questions of whether he will ever win NASCAR's big one have understandably gotten stale and annoying to Stewart. The two greats -- one an inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame member, the other a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer -- are shining examples of one of the sport's most mystifying quagmires. It took Earnhardt, a seven-time Cup champion, 20 years of trying before he won the Daytona 500. In the meantime, Derrike Cope (1990) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95) scored their first career series wins in the Great American Race. Michael Waltrip notched his first Cup trophy in the 2001 Daytona 500 after more than 460 starts. And 20-year-old Trevor Bayne scored his first and only Cup win in the 2011 500. Yet former series champions Rusty Wallace -- a NASCAR Hall of Famer -- along with champion brothers Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte are a combined 0-for-77 in the Daytona 500. Mark Martin, one of the sport's most successful drivers, is 0-for-29 in the race. And for the most part, these greats don't even have a lot of near-misses to ponder. Wallace's best finish was third in 2001. Martin won the pole in 2010, had a dramatic runner-up showing in 2007 and a third-place finish in 1995. Terry Labonte has a pair of second-place finishes a decade apart in 1986 and 1997. Bobby Labonte had a sole runner-up in 1998, one of only three top-10 finishes in 22 starts. As he has become accustomed to in recent years, Stewart -- mostly -- patiently answered the Daytona 500 questions again this month. He joked that he was willing to sacrifice a body part to celebrate in NASCAR's most iconic Victory Lane. He's analyzed and Monday morning quarterbacked the late lap moves that shoulda-woulda landed him there. Until Stewart finally kisses that Harley J. Earl trophy, his quest to win the Daytona 500 will be one of the most interesting and compelling subplots of the sport's biggest race. But his success in the 500 is not what defines Stewart as one of NASCAR's greatest champions. Instead, it's the dogged pursuit of that dream that inspires and captivates. Every year, win or lose. And as Earnhardt did each February for two decades, Stewart has every reason to believe that this is his year. "Not until the day that I don't run here anymore,'' Stewart said of abandoning hope of a Daytona 500 win. "Everybody has got a shot here, so it's just a matter of ‑‑ we've been in that position before. … At least that gives you confidence that you've got a shot. "If anybody looks at my career and says because I haven't won a Daytona 500 that I didn't have a good career, I'd want to say they really don't know what they're talking about." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Complete news and notes for each driver in the Quicken Loans 400 fBelow is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Michigan International Speedway . 1. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch inherited the lead after a fuel-starved Kyle Larson pitted on Lap 133. Busch was pacing the field when the final, race-ending red flag was displayed five laps later. " RELATED: See what Busch said in Victory Lane 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Despite a loose-handling condition, Earnhardt climbed his way through the top 10 in the final 48 laps before NASCAR called the race. " WATCH: Find out what Junior is focused on 3. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . After Sunday’s third-place result, Truex became the first driver to score 14 top-10s in the first 15 races since Richard Petty did it in 1969. " WATCH: Truex reflects on run 4. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth snugged up to Carl Edwards on Lap 75 to get trash off his grille and continued his climb through the field once his temperatures returned to normal. 5. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . "Coming to you. Out of fuel,” Logano radioed his team after leading Laps 88-94. He rallied and earned his eighth top-five of the season. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 6. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Pitting after the fourth caution flag wasn’t a popular choice, but it didn’t hurt the Michigan native, who quickly climbed his way back into the top 10. 7. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray dealt with a loose-handling condition; he was one of several who opted not to pit during the fourth caution period with rain clouds looming overhead. 8. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard was running fourth when the caution flag was waved on Lap 125, but couldn't delay his pit stop much longer. 9. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne rallied from one lap down, thanks to skipping a pit stop during the last caution flag, and claimed his best Michigan finish. 10. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer's team opted not to pit after the fourth caution flag; he dealt with a tight-handling condition en route to his fourth top-10 this year. 11. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Spotter Chris Lambert radioed Hamlin, "These are your best laps," as Hamlin ran second on Lap 90. " For lap times and more race data, sign up for RaceView today 12. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards lined up fourth and led all but one of the first 41 laps — including Lap 30, which was the fastest of the race at 196.457 mph. 13. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was one of the few who pitted during the Lap 125 debris caution and restarted 14th after taking four tires, fueling and making adjustments. 14. Ty Dillon , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. "Boy I hope the rain goes away," Dillon, a Michigan newcomer, tweeted during what would be the final red flag for rain. "We might have a shot." " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 15. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne led one lap after starting from the pole position, his first of the year. 16. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick inherited the lead on Lap 95 and paced the field two circuits before hitting pit road for all kinds of adjustments, including wedge and packer. 17. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson stayed out during the late-race debris caution and unsuccessfully tried to stretch his fuel window as rain loomed nearby. " RELATED: No regrets over failed gamble for Larson 18. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman and his team figured out the handling on the No. 31 Chevy, but pit sequence and a rain-shortened race impacted their finish. 19. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . "All right, we gotta haul it, man," crew chief Chad Knaus radioed Jimmie Johnson shortly after the second red flag was lifted. "I'm trying to haul it man. I promise you," replied Johnson, who was mired in traffic after contact from Logano during an early restart. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 20. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Early on, Dillon ran as high as eighth and was trying to adjust his track bar and front fans to improve the handling of his car. 21. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon had to return to pit road after his Lap 90 green-flag stop because the left-front tire wasn’t tightened all the way down. 22. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola spent the final 23 laps holding down the broken track bar button to try to get the most out of his car. 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . A loose-handling condition led Allmendinger to pancake the right side of his ride. 24. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney qualified fifth and was running inside the top 12 during the opening 70 laps of his first Michigan outing when his engine temperatures started to rise. 25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was among those who took advantage of poor track position to pack in an additional fuel stop early on. He used that to improve his track position later on and ran as high as 23rd. 26. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish had a little better luck than his teammate with his track bar adjuster, but still struggled to find the right balance. 27. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . During the first real green-flag stretch, Allgaier radioed that he needed more grip to get around Michigan's two-mile oval. 28. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart made an unscheduled stop on Lap 75 while running inside the top 20 so his team could repair his damaged splitter. 29. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick paced a race-high 63 laps on Sunday, eclipsing the 1,200-laps led mark for the year. He is the first driver since Jeff Gordon in 2001 to achieve that within the first 15 races of the year. A cut right-front tire put a damper on the day. " RELATED: Harvick snakebitten at Michigan 30. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett spent the rain delays hanging out with his team under nearby cover, while teammate Justin Allgaier hitched a ride on the roller as crew members tried to dry his pit stall. 31. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill took an extra splash of fuel, despite a closed pit road, prior to the Lap 60 restart and picked up 10 spots after the field went green. 32. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt rolled off the grid 40th after spending his morning hanging out with current business partner Nate Burleson, a former Detroit Lions wide receiver. 33. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Moffitt ran as high as 12th en route to his best Michigan result. 34. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise stayed out to lead Lap 42 when the rest of the field hit pit road for the competition caution. 35. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan's team helped him find more side bite, and he picked up 10 spots to run 14th after the Lap 52 restart. 36. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Rear grip was a struggle for Biffle, who radioed "Thank God it’s raining" when a right-rear tire issue presented itself within the first 15 laps. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 37. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . The rookie earned his best Cup result at a two-mile track for the 2015 season. 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley quietly improved his position after starting 41st on Sunday. 39. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto lined up 43rd in his first Michigan appearance and picked up several spots during the first 45 laps. 40. Mike Bliss , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing . Bliss sustained some damage to his car after making contact with David Gilliland early on Sunday. 41. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman made an unscheduled stop during the first six laps after slapping the Turn 2 wall. 42. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland hit the wall hard around Lap 65 after receiving contact from Mike Bliss . 43. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Shortly after the Lap 52 restart, Busch got loose and slammed hard into the Turn 4 wall. Fortunately that area was reinforced with SAFER barrier, but unfortunately, several drivers cited heavy rainfall in that area at the time. " RELATED: How does Busch's Chase chances look? FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Stewart-Haas Racing driver picks up second victory of season RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings SHOP: Kurt gear BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Starting 24th in a backup car, Kurt Busch fought his way to the front of the field through intermittent rain showers and won Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway when a deluge halted the race after 138 of a scheduled 200 laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr . was second when NASCAR red-flagged the event for the fourth time. Martin Truex Jr . was credited with third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski . The victory was Busch’s second of the season. He won for the third time at Michigan and for the 27th time in his career. "It's an unbelievable feeling to know what we went through, paced ourselves, and found the lead toward the latter part of the race when the rain came in," Busch said in Victory Lane. "You know what’s more special about this? Winning in Chevrolet's backyard. That’s what's most important about winning in Michigan, so thanks to Chevrolet." That his team had put in extra hours to ready a backup car after Busch hit the wall in Friday’s opening practice was not lost on the winning driver. "Yeah, you have to get down and dirty," Busch said. "You have to really roll up your sleeves, get your elbows dirty, and put the work into it. And (crew chief) Tony Gibson makes these guys work a little extra hard. "I always say thanks. I'm always there early with them. And it's a great team chemistry feel." Busch grabbed the lead for the first time on Lap 133 when Kyle Larson 's gas-mileage gamble came up short and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was forced to pit road for fuel just as a storm cell was advancing toward the speedway. Busch had pushed Larson to the lead after a restart on Lap 130, but Larson hadn’t gotten fuel since Lap 88, and crew chief Chris Heroy was gambling that the rain would arrive before Larson ran out of gas. As it turned out, the rain came three laps too late for Heroy's strategy to bear fruit. The heavy thunderstorm arrived on Lap 136, forcing NASCAR to throw a caution and then to red-flag the race for the fourth time two laps later, with Busch out. Busch also got an unintended assist from teammate Kevin Harvick , who led 63 laps in the race’s dominant car. Harvick held a lead of roughly four seconds when he brought his No. 4 Chevrolet to pit road on Lap 120, but the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion had to return to his pit stall two laps later because of a flat right front tire. Harvick lost two laps in the process and was 29th when NASCAR called the race shortly after 6 p.m. Earnhardt was on the inside beside Larson for the final restart, but the push from Busch propelled Larson to his short-lived lead, and Busch followed to the outside of Earnhardt's car. "When it came to the restarts, we didn't take off as well as the 41," Earnhardt said. "We saw the same thing at Charlotte, the 78 (Truex) and the 41 take off real good. "We were just kind of tight waiting on the front to work, don't have the good speed that they have the first three or four laps, and that was the difference today, and the 4 (Harvick) having the trouble he had. He had the field covered." If fortune favored Kurt Busch on Sunday, the same can't be said for brother Kyle Busch , whose car slipped on damp asphalt in Turn 3 and shot into the outside wall to bring out the third caution on Lap 52. In what may be the decisive blow to his prospects of making the Chase after missing the first 11 races because of injuries sustained at Daytona in February, Busch finished 43rd. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Team will field two Ford GTs in full IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2016 Chip Ganassi has achieved legendary status as a team owner in NASCAR, sports cars and IndyCar racing, with victories in many of the world's most prestigious races, including the Daytona 500 , Indianapolis 500, Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Ganassi joined top Ford executives in announcing an ambitious new program for the Ford GT race car at a press conference Friday in Le Mans, France, ahead of this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans. With Ford's backing, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will field two Ford GTs in the full IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2016, beginning with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31. The team also will field two cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship. All four cars are expected to compete in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, marking the 50th Anniversary of Ford's overall victory in the prestigious endurance race. "At Ganassi Racing, we've won 17 major championships over the years; over 160 races," said Ganassi. "We've won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 , the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Twelve Hours of Sebring, but we've never run at Le Mans. I can tell you, we want to win this race, and when Ford presented us that opportunity, a chance to compete here, well, what race team wouldn't want to be a part of that?" The seeds for this opportunity with Ford were sown in 2013, when the team announced a new partnership with Ford to supply the team's Riley Daytona Prototypes with 3.5-liter, twin-turbo, V-6 EcoBoost power. Only those on the inside had any inkling that this racing program was doubling as a development program for an engine that will power not only the new Ford GT race car, but also the production version of the Ford GT race car that was launched to overwhelming fanfare at the North American International Auto Show this past January. A couple of weeks after that new car was introduced, NASCAR stars Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray combined with IndyCar stars Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona in Ganassi's No. 02 Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP. "We spent the last year and a half getting a better understanding of each other's strengths, while jointly developing the engine that will be in the race car and the road car," Ganassi said. "We're very proud of that." Ganassi isn't the only one. IMSA CEO Ed Bennett was in the audience for Friday's highly anticipated announcement and was equally proud of the attention given to the technology transfer story. "It's an exciting time with a really exciting car," Bennett said. "The fact that the engine technology was developed in the Daytona Prototype the last couple of years with the EcoBoost V6 and now it's being applied to this car, it's the ultimate validation of what a racing program can do." Everybody will get their first opportunity to see what this new racing program can do for the first time next Jan. 30-31 in the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona. "It shows a clear commitment from Ford for sports car racing, and it's obviously a fantastic, significant development for the TUDOR Championship," Bennett said. "We couldn't be more proud that the first place this car will race is at the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona, which will also be the first chance to show off the new Daytona Rising upgrades to the facility. "A brand-new facility, and a brand-new Ford GT racing program – for all that to happen together, in a 24-hour environment – will be very exciting, and very special." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule