Will Kimmel to drive for TriStar Motorsports
Ingersoll Rand will serve as primary sponsor for Kimmel's five NNS starts
Dale Jr. will be on the No. 88 pit box at Dover
RELATED: Full schedule for Dover and Las Vegas Jeff Gordon isn't the only member of Hendrick Motorsports returning to the track this weekend. Dale Earnhardt Jr . will also be at Dover International Speedway , but in a much different capacity. Earnhardt Jr. said Monday on "The Dale Jr. Download" podcast on Dirty Mo Radio that he would be at Dover on Saturday and Sunday, and would sit on the No. 88 pit box on race day. Gordon returns as the substitute driver. "It's going to be kind of different, tough, maybe not a ton of fun," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's a bit weird to be not in the car but at the track when you're a driver. You don't know what to do with yourself. But I'm going to try to support the guys and maybe learn a thing or two. "It's going to be different, but we'll see how it goes." Gordon, who retired following the 2015 season, has driven in six races this year in place of Earnhardt Jr. The four-time premier series champion will split time with Alex Bowman in the No. 88 for the remainder of the season. Earnhardt Jr. also provided an update on his recovery from a concussion. He said he had another evaluation with his doctor last week and continues to make progress. "The only thing that triggers the symptoms is going somewhere I'm unfamiliar, somewhere I've never been … somewhere where it's busy," Earnhardt said. "If I can find a busy place, if I go with (fiancée) Amy (Reimann) to the grocery store … that's basically rehab. "(But) it's getting better. My doctors talk about getting me back to where I can be a normal person, and then there's getting me back to being a race car driver. I'm almost back … to being a normal, functioning person with no issues. To become that guy I need to be inside the car, we really have to train my senses to be perfect." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Stewart not interested in playing numbers game
RELATED: Updated Chase Grid " Who's on the bubble? " Series standings CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Crunch the numbers. Do the math. But don't bother telling Tony Stewart the potential scenarios required for him to advance to the Round of 12 in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . You'd be wasting your time and his time, too. The only scenario Stewart, 45 and three times a Sprint Cup Series champion, cares about is the one that ends with him and his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team celebrating in Victory Lane this weekend at Dover International Speedway . "All we can do is go out and do the best we can this weekend," Stewart said Wednesday during a daylong media stop in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. "It still amazes me how people can take something that's so simple and make it so complicated. 'Will we be watching where everybody else is?' "Well yeah, I can waste my time and do that but … I've got to focus on winning the race. Because if I win the race I don't have to worry about where they're at. But if I go and do everything I can to try and win the race and I finish second, then wherever they are is wherever they are. I can't control those guys on the race track so why focus your attention on it? It's a waste of time." The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is the final one for Stewart. He'll remain involved in the series as co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing , which fields four Sprint Cup teams and one that will debut a NASCAR XFINITY Series entry next year. He's a track owner, team owner and competitor in other series -- some NASCAR-affiliated, some not -- as well. But his quest for a fourth title rests solely on the outcome of Sunday's Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). A 16-driver field that began the Chase two weeks ago will be trimmed to 12 after Dover, and Stewart will arrive Friday 15th on the Chase Grid. His approach to what could be his final race as a title contender will be no different than any other weekend. "There is no mindset to it," he said. "The most realistic mindset to go into it with is the same approach you go into it with every weekend of the year and that's to go try to win the race. If you don't, get the best finish you can get out of it. That's not glamorous and that's not what you want to hear … but it's literally that simple. Go try to win the race. Do everything you can to win the race. If you can't win the race, try to finish second. If you can't finish second, try to finish third. It is as simple as it can possibly get." That Stewart is in this predicament is something of a surprise, given the strong summer run that saw him collect six top-10 finishes, including a win at Sonoma , in eight races. The No. 14 team, headed up by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz, seemed primed for a possible run at yet another title. RELATED: See all of Stewart's victories But the results of the most recent six races weren't nearly as impressive, with no finish higher than 16th. "These things are such science projects," Stewart said of today's cars, "and pretty much the whole (SHR) organization fights the same thing. It's whichever one can find the solution first." Teammate Kevin Harvick has guaranteed himself a spot in the Round of 12 with a win this past weekend at New Hampshire and Kurt Busch can advance either by points, depending on his finish, or with a victory. Teammate Danica Patrick is the only SHR entry not in the Chase field. RELATED: Harvick surges late for Loudon win "We're going to have to rely on Kevin and Rodney (Childers, crew chief), Kurt and (Tony) Gibson (crew chief) for sure and do the best we can," Stewart said. "We weren't totally terrible at the spring race but definitely have to be better than we were to get done what we need to get done." Scenarios? Talk to Stewart at Homestead, if he happens to be one of the championship four. That's when he'll be more aware of such things. "When you get to the last race of the year and you're racing for a championship and you've got enough of a lead that no matter what, if you finish from here on up, then yeah, you think about that," he said. "But that’s not the scenario we're in." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Hoffman wins Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award
NEW YORK -- Andy Hoffman, founder of the Nebraska-based Team Jack Foundation dedicated to funding pediatric brain cancer research, was the recipient of The NASCAR Foundation's sixth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide on Tuesday night, during The Foundation's inaugural Honors Gala at the Marriott Marquis. This year's award presentation is the highlight of the "10 Years of Giving" celebration for The NASCAR Foundation, which has donated approximately $25 million to impact the lives of children since its inception in 2006. The Honors Gala raised more than $1.6 million to benefit hospitalized children across the country through the recently established Speediatrics Children's Fund. The award is presented to a NASCAR fan who has done outstanding work on behalf of children in need in their community. The award honors the philanthropic ideals of the late Betty Jane France, who started The NASCAR Foundation in 2006. The NASCAR Foundation will donate $100,000 to "Team Jack," which was founded by Hoffman and his wife Brianna in 2013, two years after their son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Team Jack works to raise research funds and create national awareness of pediatric brain cancer. Hoffman, from Atkinson, Nebraska, was chosen via an online fan vote on NASCAR.com. "I am humbled to have won the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award," Hoffman said. "Receiving this award is truly a reflection of all of those amazing people that helped support the Team Jack Foundation since day one. Winning this award, literally, could be the difference between life or death for a child someday. Our hope is that the $100,000 donation will provide the seed money for us to help fund yet another clinical trial." There were three other finalists for the award; each will receive $25,000 from The NASCAR Foundation for the charity they represent. Those finalists: Jim Giaccone of Bayville, New York, representing the New York-based Tuesday's Children organization; Logan Houptley of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a founding member of the Mikayla's Voice organization in Nazareth, Pennsylvania; and Parker White of Greensboro, North Carolina, founder of BackPack Beginnings. &amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;
Heads up: Dover and Las Vegas weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Dover International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway . WEATHER The weekend forecast for Dover, Delaware, looks like there's a chance for rain. Friday for Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole qualifying there is a 60 percent chance for precipitation. For the XFINITY Series race on Saturday, there is an 50 percent chance for precipitation with a high of 76 degrees. And for the Sprint Cup race on Sunday, there's a 30 percent chance for precipitation and a high of 76 degrees. For Las Vegas, site of this weekend's Camping World Truck Series events, it will be clear and 70 degrees for the start of Saturday's practices. And on Saturday it will be clear and 90 degrees for the start of the race. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice Friday at 10 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) followed by Coors Light Pole qualifying at 3:40 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Citizen Soldier 400 is at 2 p.m. ET Sunday (NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series opens practice on Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) and qualifies Saturday at 11:45 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Drive Sober 300 is on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series is scheduled for a Keystone Light Pole qualifying session Saturday at 6:10 p.m. ET on FS2, followed by the DC Solar 350 race at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Dover media center at NASCAR.com/presspass. Click here for a full schedule. Click here to tune into the live stream . LAST TIME In September of 2015, Kevin Harvick punched his ticket to advance to the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by leading 355 of 400 laps at Dover International Speedway , a career-best at any track. Harvick beat out eventual 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch by 2.639 seconds for the victory. YOU SHOULD KNOW • Chris Buescher (-30 from 12th place), Tony Stewart (-11), Austin Dillon (-5) and Jamie McMurray (-5) are all on the outside looking in as far as the Chase Grid standings are concerned. Of those drivers, Stewart is the only one who has won at the "Monster Mile" -- three times to be exact. Stewart's most recent win came in 2013. • With 10 wins, six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has been to Dover's Victory Lane more times than any NASCAR driver. Johnson is looking to punch his ticket to the next Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup round and a win at his best track could be in the cards. • Winning the opening XFINITY Series Chase race at Kentucky, Elliott Sadler continues his momentum to Dover where he has earned three top five and 10 top-10 finishes, two of which came in the last two XFINITY Series races at the 1-mile track. Sadler's experience in 17 starts at Dover could shine through on Saturday compared to the young guns he's competing against for the championship. • Of the Camping World Truck Series Chase drivers, only Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters have wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Canadian Tire Motorsport Park winner John Hunter Nemechek has the best average finish of 4.0 out of the Truck Series Chase drivers. Behind Nemechek is Ben Kennedy with 5.0. Nemechek has run just one Truck Series race at Dover, while Kennedy has experienced two. In 15 starts, two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton has an average finish of 11.9, but is still seeking a win.
Roush Fenway Racing names new pit crew coach
Roush Fenway Racing has decided to reassign longtime pit crew coach Andy Ward, replacing him with Scott Bowen, a current RFR employee and an ex-pit crew member. Ward has been at RFR for many years and has produced some very good pit crews. The Jack Roush-owned organization did not have any drivers qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this year. Roush Fenway Racing released the following statement regarding the move: "We continuously evaluate our race team operations at Roush Fenway, and as part of a mid-season restructuring we have implemented a change in the department structure with our pit crew teams. We have placed Scott Bowen, who previously was our head of purchasing, in charge of our pit crew operations. Scott is a longtime employee of Roush Fenway, and worked as an over-the-wall pit crew member for several years. We believe this change will prove beneficial in our continued effort to improve on-track performance." For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Vickers fondly remembers time with 'great guy' Palmer
RELATED: Arnold Palmer's day at the track Brian Vickers was in Beijing, China on business when the phone messages started piling up with condolences and the news that his friend, golfing legend Arnold Palmer, 87, had died Sunday. Vickers, a former XFINITY Series champion and a three-time Sprint Cup Series race winner, appeared in multiple television commercials with Palmer to promote a medicine to help with blood clots -- a condition they both suffered from. But it was the time off-camera with Palmer that Vickers said he would remember most fondly. "He was so easy to work with, such a nice guy," Vickers told NASCAR.com late Monday from China. "The thing I enjoyed most was sitting around when we weren't shooting (the commercial) -- at lunch, dinner or on the golf course just listening to some of his stories. "I wish only that I had more time to spend with him. I've gotten to know him over the past five years and he was so nice, just fantastic. He is great to work with. We had a lot of fun throughout the entire campaign and off of it as well. He even helped me fix my grip for golf." Vickers got the chance to interact with Palmer during their playful but educational television commercials for the Janssen Pharmaceuticals drug Xarelto. And he was still amazed at the four-time Masters champion's skill on the golf course even though he was well into his 80s. "When we shot that commercial -- the last one with Janssen just a couple years ago -- he was still smoking every single guy out there in putting," Vickers recalled. "He wasn't out-driving anybody anymore, but on the green he was literally draining putts one after another, 30-foot putts no one else could hit. "It was unbelievable, just amazing to see this guy just dropping putt after putt, 30-footers on oscillating greens. I can tell you, that's the way I want to go out." For Vickers, the opportunity to work with Palmer was a life-impacting turn of events. And he was extremely proud to carry the champion's "Arnie's Army" charitable foundation on his race cars at both Martinsville and Auto Club Speedway earlier this season while filling in for an injured Tony Stewart . "I'm obviously going to miss him, he was a great guy," Vickers said. "It's a sad day, but I look at the end of life as more of a celebration of what you accomplish in life. And he accomplished a lot. "I would say people should celebrate his life. He did a lot for the American people and the American dream throughout his career, he was an inspiration and in that regard he should be celebrated." And he will be.
First-time winner Clampitt takes New Hampshire
Logan Clampitt (High Performance Motorsports) visited Victory Lane for the first time in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series, holding off championship contenders Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsports) and PJ Stergios (ineX Racing) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Brad Davies came home behind Alfalla and Stergios, with Ryan Lowe rounding out the top five. Clampitt used pit strategy to take the lead after a round of green-flag pit stops late in the race and never looked back. He showed impressive poise for a rookie on a pair of late-race restarts, maintaining the lead as chaos erupted behind him. Stergios started on pole but outside polesitter Nick Ottinger had the fastest car on the first run and moved into the lead on Lap 12. Ottinger began building a gap that grew to nearly 1.5 seconds before the first caution flag flew on Lap 23, drawing the leaders to pit road. The leaders all took four fresh tires and Ottinger won the race off pit road, barely beating Stergios who restarted in second. On the next run, Alfalla moved to second and kept pace with Ottinger as Stergios fell to fourth behind Josh Berry . The four would run in this order until the third caution flew on Lap 52 for Chris Overland's spin. Ottinger once again kept the lead on pit road and looked to run away from the field when the green flag flew. This time, however, Ottinger had company at the front as Alfalla showed he could keep pace as the run wore on. On Lap 92 Alfalla made his move on the bottom and drew alongside Ottinger through Turns 3 and 4 but could not complete the pass as he lost drive off the corner on the flatter bottom groove. For the next nine laps Alfalla hounded the race leader, diving to the inside on multiple occasions without success. Finally, on Lap 101, Alfalla got a strong run off Turn 2 and completed the pass entering Turn 3. The lead awarded Alfalla with an important bonus point, but green flag pit stops loomed. Clampitt pitted a couple laps before the race leaders and the strategy paid off as he inherited the lead with 30 laps to go once the pit cycle completed. Alfalla was closing with his fresher tires, but Timmy Hill 's spin with 18 to go brought the leaders to pit road and set up the dash to the finish. Alfalla maintains the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze championship lead into the series finale thanks to his runner-up finish. He gained one point on Stergios and holds a slim five-point lead. Disaster nearly struck Stergios with 10 laps to go when Mitchell Hunt crashed off Turn 2, slamming into Stergios' door in the process. Somehow, Stergios continued on despite the damage and kept pace well enough to score a strong finish. Jake Stergios appears relatively safe in third place, 104 points back of Alfalla and 22 points ahead of fourth-place driver Overland. Overland is in the middle of a points battle of his own as Dylan Duval (The TEAM) is now only two points behind after Overland's troubles left him in 31st. The battle for the back end of the top five will likely be decided between the two as Kenny Humpe is 27 points back of Duval after experiencing Internet troubles. With only one race remaining, all eyes will be on Alfalla and Stergios as the twosome head to Homestead-Miami Speedway in search of a NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series title title. Stergios is looking for his first championship while Alfalla is hoping to win his third after finishing runner-up the past three seasons. A five-point margin gives Alfalla the advantage, but if Stergios can get out to an early lead the pressure will be squarely on Alfalla. Who will take home the crown? Be sure to tune into iRacing Live in two weeks to see the conclusion of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series from Homestead!
Ryan Reed to attempt Sprint Cup debut at Talladega
XFINITY Series regular Ryan Reed will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 23 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the team announced Wednesday afternoon. BREAKING: @driverRyanReed will attempt his Sprint Cup debut at @TalladegaSuperS in the @LillyDiabetes No. 99 Fusion https://t.co/vM2ogVNYsH pic.twitter.com/ETls7WJeFt — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) September 28, 2016 Reed, who pilots the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the XFINITY Series, will drive the No. 99 Lilly Diabetes Ford in his debut. Pretty unbelievable. 5 years ago thought I was done racing. Now getting ready to run my first Cup race. Thanks all for the support. — Ryan Reed (@driverRyanReed) September 28, 2016 The 2015 XFINITY Daytona winner has been racing in the XFINITY Series for three full seasons and has yet to attempt a Sprint Cup start in his racing career. He is currently one of the eight XFINITY drivers vying for the series championship in the inaugural Chase.
H2H: Sizing up the first Chase cutoff at Dover
RELATED: Chase Grid " Bubble Watch Story lines abound, NASCAR.com's Holly Cain and Zack Albert tackle three pressing topics before the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason makes its first elimination at Dover International Speedway . 1. Which driver currently below the Chase cutoff line is most likely to advance to the Round of 12? Cain: I realize this is a long-shot and a sentimental pick, but I'm not counting Tony Stewart out of his final Chase run quite yet. I remember watching him win five of the 10 Chase races -- including the 2011 season finale -- to grab his third title from Carl Edwards ' clutches. Stewart is 11 points from the transfer position heading into the weekend, but he also is a three-time winner at Dover. Albert : Jamie McMurray , primarily based on the performance increase that Chip Ganassi Racing has enjoyed in recent weeks. While his teammate Kyle Larson has more regularly competed for wins, McMurray has been a tick more consistent. In the opening round, staying steady and avoiding the Monster Mile's pitfalls may be enough. 2. Which driver currently above the Chase cutoff line is most likely to be eliminated at Dover? Cain: Kurt Busch has only one top-10 finish in his last nine starts at Dover. Similarly, Carl Edwards has only a single top 10 in his last eight starts at the Monster Mile. They are 16 and 15 points, respectively, above the cutoff line. While that's some cushion to the good, they will need to perform well Sunday as this is a place where crazy things have happened. Ask Jimmie Johnson . Albert : The provisional top 12 is a pretty stout list. While Chase Elliott has righted the ship to a degree from his dreadful July and August stretch, he'll need to conjure up the positive mojo from his third-place finish at Dover in May and avoid the mistakes that he tends to lament so bitterly. 3. Of the two, who is more likely to win the championship: Martin Truex Jr . or Kevin Harvick ? Cain: This is the $10 million question. In the preseason and again before the Chase I picked Jimmie Johnson to hoist the trophy. But clearly Truex and Harvick have proven themselves -- again -- as the drivers to be dealt with. Truex drives a Toyota, which has shown itself the power of the field, and his Furniture Row Racing team is exactly the kind of "all-in," underdog, feel-good story that would make anyone smile. But as Harvick showed this past weekend, he should never, ever be underestimated. He's as motivated, focused and ready as he's ever been for a title and is the only driver in the series that has been in the Championship 4 each year of the new elimination format. Albert : Truex and Harvick have certainly made a case for their championship credentials in the opening two races of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason. No weak links, regardless of the venue, for either of these two, save for Truex's early season tendencies to have odd occurrences make victories somehow slip away. Still, it's hard to anoint either one with eight races left in the 10-race playoffs with plenty of opportunity for mess-ups, especially at wild-card tracks Talladega and Martinsville. Forced to pick one of the two, I'll call the coin toss in the air for Harvick.