NASCAR.com's Costner Merrifield and Taylor Starer catch you up on some of the best tweets from around the NASCAR community including Tony Stewart and his pig.
Editor's note: Every Friday, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" will present eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. 1. Not everyone can say they have a legit pig in a blanket #Porkchop pic.twitter.com/9ZmYv6im0v — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) November 12, 2015 2. Go kart stuck in high + whiskey throttle = mommy her pants!!!!!!!! — DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) November 10, 2015 3. Restoration of original Metrolina Speedway sign completed. @LostSpeedways pic.twitter.com/jguNuiPMTu — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) November 12, 2015 4. Drake is soft like tissue. https://t.co/ZKP5elXEXZ — Mark Martin (@markmartin) November 9, 2015 5. I got it bad... 2 secs from literally leaving this house w/ everything in it. The sun was playing tricks on me pic.twitter.com/2pKclDXIrM — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) November 12, 2015 6. Pure beauty happy race day! pic.twitter.com/k08UQEYlvU — Paige (@epaigewhite) November 8, 2015 7. Can anyone tell me how to get to @DISupdates My Dad keeps saying practice, practice, practice @CateEvernham pic.twitter.com/wBY9cJMcAU — ray evernham (@RayEvernham) November 10, 2015 8. I don't know what a #BAE is but they seem to be gaining momentum. They now have a system and planes. Look out. pic.twitter.com/gKkOGsHzw8 — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 8, 2015 FAN TWEET OF THE WEEK: He's so happy https://t.co/dBg5dLnNXN — Matt Harrington (@Matt2Harrington) November 11, 2015
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Navigating through negative comments from detractors on social media is often a tough road. For Samantha Busch, criticism has been a much more personal topic of late, one that brings emotional timbres to her voice. Her husband, Kyle Busch , hoisted the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship trophy for the first time Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway , capping a stirring comeback season that opened with multiple severe leg injuries in a harrowing crash during the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway . Busch missed the first 11 races of the year as he recovered, returning to competition in mid-May with an exemption from NASCAR officials that kept him eligible for the title. When that eligibility eventually resulted in his first premier-series championship, online naysayers renewed their scrutiny of a decision and a playoff format that kept Busch's dreams intact. For Samantha Busch, that criticism hit home. "The waiver is very emotional," she said Monday night, moments after accepting accolades for her husband's championship-winning team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' season-ending awards banquet. "First of all, it wasn't just there for Kyle. It's been used for other drivers. It's been used for Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch and I believe Kyle Larson , so it's not like something that was just invented for Kyle and this injury. So that's the first thing that gets me a little emotional. "But secondly, I think people just think, 'Oh, he got to take 11 weeks off and so he's more refreshed than other drivers.' Absolutely wrong. He was sitting there trying to learn how to bend his toes, how to move his foot, how to stand up out of bed. It was not a walk in the park for him, it was not a vacation, and it was probably the hardest thing he's ever done in his life, and not only did he do it with such determination and passion, but he came back so much earlier than anyone expected." Samantha Busch recounted the more difficult moments of her husband's rehabilitation -- the falls, the doubts, and the struggle of merely learning to walk again. "People don't see what we went through," Busch said. "They don't know every hour. They don't understand how hard he works and I think that's why I get a little bit more emotional about it."
RELATED: Drivers, crew chiefs on the move One day after the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season ended, the first official move of the offseason came down courtesy of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The team announced that Chad Johnston has been named crew chief for Kyle Larson and the No. 42 Target team. Johnston will assume the role effective immediately to begin preparation for the 2016 season, replacing Chris Heroy. Heroy had been Larson's crew chief for his first two years at NASCAR's highest level. "I'm excited to get to work with Chad and to start doing what needs to be done to get the team to Victory Lane next year," Larson said in a team release. "As a team, I think we are very close and the addition of Chad should help move our program forward for many years to come. Lastly, I would also like to thank Chris for all he did to help me grow in my first two seasons in the Cup series." Johnston joins the No. 42 team from Stewart-Haas Racing , where he has been the crew chief for Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Chevrolet since the 2014 season. Johnston also served as crew chief for Martin Truex, Jr. and the No. 56 at Michael Waltrip Racing from 2011-2013. Johnston has one career Sprint Cup race win as a crew chief (2013, Sonoma ) and helped guide Truex Jr. into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup during the 2012 season. The announcement from CGR means Stewart will have a new crew chief in his final Sprint Cup Series season in 2016. Johnston has also worked in NASCAR as a race engineer at Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, Evernham Motorsports, and JTG Daugherty Racing before serving as a crew chief. He graduated from Indiana State University with a major in mechanical engineering, and briefly worked in the aerospace industry before his passion for motorsports brought him to NASCAR and the Camping World Truck Series in 2004. "I am very excited for the opportunity to be joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and the opportunity to work with Kyle Larson ," Johnston said in a team release. "The organization has a great reputation in numerous forms of racing, and I'm looking forward to adding to that reputation in NASCAR. Kyle is certainly a unique talent, and I'm eager to get to work with him and the team as we look to build a foundation of success." Larson will begin his third full-time Sprint Cup season in 2016. The 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year is coming off of a season that featured two top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. In 75 career Cup starts he has accumulated one Coors Light Pole Award, 10 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes.
After Race 36 of the 2015 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Attempts 1 Joe Gibbs 18 5,043 0 0 3 2 36 2 Tony Stewart 4 5,042 -1 -1 1 -1 36 3 Rick Hendrick 24 5,038 -5 -4 2 -1 36 4 Barney Visser 78 5,032 -11 -6 4 0 36 5 J D Gibbs 19 2,368 -2,675 -2,664 5 0 36 6 Walter Czarnecki 22 2,360 -2,683 -8 6 0 36 7 Roger Penske 2 2,347 -2,696 -13 8 1 36 8 Gene Haas 41 2,333 -2,710 -14 9 1 36 9 J D Gibbs 11 2,327 -2,716 -6 10 1 36 10 Jeff Gordon 48 2,315 -2,728 -12 12 2 36 11 Richard Childress 31 2,314 -2,729 -1 11 0 36 12 Rick Hendrick 88 2,310 -2,733 -4 7 -5 36 13 Felix Sabates 1 2,295 -2,748 -15 13 0 36 14 Joe Gibbs 20 2,291 -2,752 -4 14 0 36 15 Richard Childress 27 2,262 -2,781 -29 15 0 36 16 Rob Kauffman 15 2,175 -2,868 -87 16 0 36 17 Richard Petty 43 940 -4,103 -1,235 17 0 36 18 Linda Hendrick 5 939 -4,104 -1 18 0 36 19 Chip Ganassi 42 900 -4,143 -39 19 0 36 20 Jack Roush 16 869 -4,174 -31 20 0 36 21 Richard Childress 3 832 -4,211 -37 21 0 36 22 Tad Geschickter 47 758 -4,285 -74 23 1 36 23 Bob Germain 13 754 -4,289 -4 22 -1 36 24 Tony Stewart 10 741 -4,302 -13 24 0 36 25 John Henry 17 712 -4,331 -29 25 0 36 26 Richard Petty 9 709 -4,334 -3 26 0 36 27 Margaret Haas 14 695 -4,348 -14 27 0 36 28 Michael Waltrip 55 667 -4,376 -28 28 0 36 29 John Henry 6 655 -4,388 -12 29 0 36 30 Harry Scott Jr. 51 588 -4,455 -67 30 0 36 31 Bob Jenkins 35 553 -4,490 -35 31 0 36 32 Brad Jenkins 38 533 -4,510 -20 32 0 36 33 Michael Hillman 40 481 -4,562 -52 33 0 36 34 Jerry Freeze 34 472 -4,571 -9 34 0 36 35 Joe Falk 33 458 -4,585 -14 35 0 36 36 Tommy Baldwin 7 437 -4,606 -21 36 0 36 37 Ron Devine 83 424 -4,619 -13 37 0 36 38 Harry Scott Jr. 46 383 -4,660 -41 38 0 36 39 Mike Curb 98 309 -4,734 -74 39 0 36 40 Ron Devine 23 302 -4,741 -7 40 0 36 41 Glen Wood 21 300 -4,743 -2 41 0 19 42 Archie St Hilaire 32 268 -4,775 -32 42 0 36 43 Anthony Marlowe 26 252 -4,791 -16 43 0 36 44 Bob Leavine 95 213 -4,830 -39 44 0 20 45 Jay Robinson 62 111 -4,932 -102 45 0 36 46 Rick Hendrick 25 89 -4,954 -22 46 0 5 47 John Cohen 44 12 -5,031 -77 47 0 4 48 Jay Robinson 66 8 -5,035 -4 48 0 4 49 Curtis Key Sr. 30 6 -5,037 -2 49 0 13 50 Robby Benton 129 0 -5,043 -6 51 1 4 51 Sandy Hillman 139 0 -5,043 0 50 -1 2
'Smoke' dresses as Carmen Miranda, all in the name of Halloween Tony Stewart may have topped Tony Gibson for the best Halloween costume, but let's be honest -- there are no winners here. Gibson, crew chief of Kurt Busch , and Stewart traded playful tweets in advance of Wednesday's Halloween party about who would have the better costume. Even Gibson dressing as literally a middle finger couldn't top Stewart's cross-dressing. It seems ol' 'Smoke' is bringing new meaning to the term "high-drag package." Yep!!! I lost... @TonyStewart wins pic.twitter.com/HqmkGpukRH — Tony Gibson (@TonyOldman41) October 28, 2015 Cannot. Unsee.
Tony Stewart's infamous Halloween costume lives on at "The Paperclip" Tony Stewart probably thought his *ahem* interesting Halloween costume choice had a one-night shelf life, running its course after the party he and crew chief Tony Gibson attended on Wednesday night. RELATED: Stewart shows off new 'drag' package His No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team members thought differently. #NASCAR ... Name over door of @TonyStewart 's car. @NASCARonNBC @NBCSports pic.twitter.com/yebDCrcsCi — Dustin Long (@dustinlong) October 30, 2015 It's unconfirmed just exactly whose brilliant handiwork this is -- possibly a scorned, costume contest-losing Gibson -- but one thing's for sure: those in the NASCAR garage won't be letting 'Smoke' live this one down for awhile. As possibly the garage's most notorious prankster, Tony probably had this one coming. And just in case you needed a reminder/terrible dreams tonight, here's the costume in question. Yep!!! I lost... @TonyStewart wins pic.twitter.com/HqmkGpukRH — Tony Gibson (@TonyOldman41) October 28, 2015
Tony Stewart spins but doesn't make contact with the wall early in the Hollywood Casino 400.
RELATED: Full coverage of Gordon's final week " Gordon through the years HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- NASCAR's annual gathering of championship contenders for media availabilities ahead of the season finale has often turned into another sort of red-carpet rollout -- for gamesmanship. Given the hard-edged nature of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, such tactics could almost be expected. But Thursday from sunny south Florida, the witty barbs, acid-tongued goading and mind games stayed inside the cabanas. Instead of sniping, a genuine sense of respect permeated the interactions of title contenders Kyle Busch , Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr ., with shared appreciation for their talents, their backstories and their road to Sunday's NASCAR Championship Round race. Though playing nice worked well for Thursday's preliminaries, all four indicated there might be limits to the diplomacy come crunch time in Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "I think there's a lot of respect for where everybody is at," said Harvick, the defending series champ, "and I think when you look at Martin and everything that those guys have done with what they've gotten in Colorado and here they are, and you look at Kyle breaking his leg and fighting back, and Jeff who's going to retire and run the last race, there's really no reason to create a story. There's no reason to create a moment." The varied backgrounds make for a compelling title fight, even though the gloves were nowhere near to coming off Thursday at The Diplomat Resort and Spa. Instead, all four greeted media questions as relaxed but confident contenders with season-long laurels on the line. Harvick's reign and role as a pre-race favorite, Gordon's swan song as one of the sport's most important figures, Busch's stunning return from severe leg injuries for his best title bid ever, and Truex's underdog run with a single-car team from the Rockies -- Thursday, they all blended together. The four share some common threads as stock-car racing veterans, but the experience levels with regards to competing for a crown in NASCAR's top division are like darts on a map. But former champs Gordon and Harvick didn't take the needle to championship newcomers Busch and Truex, much like Tony Stewart did to Carl Edwards in the days before the 2011 finale or in the way that champion-in-waiting Harvick did to Joey Logano ahead of last year's title march. Chalk it up to a certain reverence. "There is in here. I don't know if there will be on Sunday. Things certainly change when you put that helmet on," Truex said. "Honestly, I really think there is. All the stuff that we've done together so far for the Chase and going to do the late show with Jimmy Fallon, I think we do have a lot of mutual admiration. Certainly, how couldn't you? … I think we all have a lot of respect for each other's stories, how we got here, what we have on the line, and really, for the most part on the race track we respect each other as well. It's still going to be a hell of a battle." The respect level among the championship quartet may run high, but the risks and rewards in the high-stakes season finale also peg the gauges. A handful of incidents in the nine previous races in this year's Chase have raised scrutiny about on-track ethics and the unwritten rules of the code of honor -- or lack thereof -- among drivers. Stewart, in his 2011 media day salvo with Edwards, famously said he'd wreck his own mother to win a championship. No one ventured that far into the thicket of driver conduct Thursday, but each expressed hopes for how the scenario might play out in their favor. "I think you have to be in a competitive environment like we are. I think it also depends on your interaction with those drivers," Gordon said. "I mean, I don't think that any of us currently have any beefs among one another, and we have a lot of respect for one another, and you want to go out there -- the ultimate is that you're running second and you have to pass one of these guys on the final lap, and it's some bold and exciting move but a clean move, maybe just a little fender rub or something like that, that gets you the win. To me that's the ultimate. That's how everybody wishes and hopes that they could do it."