Parsons beloved for many hats as a racer, broadcaster, brother
RELATED: Full coverage of NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 A full generation knows Benny Parsons best for his work behind the steering wheel, banging fenders and hoisting trophies competing alongside Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and David Pearson in NASCAR’s early heyday. Another generation appreciates "BP" for his work in front of the television camera, his easy and enlightening way of bringing NASCAR racing into our living rooms and enticing new fans to the sport. He was supreme at both callings, a natural. The 1973 premier series champion Parsons won 21 races yet only competed full time for 10 of his 21 years on the circuit. His "retirement" was also highly-decorated earning him an Emmy Award for his work on the other side of the camera. RELATED: See every premier series champion since 1972 His story is a righteous throwback to NASCAR's formative days, the kind of shake-your-head tale of what can happen when great talent and the right opportunity fuse in unexpected ways. This Friday, Parsons, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 65, will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame joining Raymond Parks, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and driver Mark Martin in the Hall's Class of 2017 (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN). "I'm not sure how he will be remembered most -- for the racing or for the announcing," Phil Parsons said of his older brother. "We're all just so proud, and I know Benny will be smiling down." Smiling was something the affable and well-liked Parsons did a lot. And with good reason. Not only was he successful in racing's highest levels, but his course to NASCAR's big time reads more like a grand tale than the methodical, step-by-step path of drivers in today's era. And for Parsons, it had the happiest of endings. So the story goes. … Parsons had moved from his North Carolina birthplace to Michigan and was driving taxi cabs for his father’s business. He met a race team at a gas station, asked how he could get involved in the sport, followed through with an invitation to join in and the rest is history, as they say. In this case, it is truly history. Parsons turned that local racing opportunity into a highly-decorated, nationally-acclaimed career. Over his 21 years in the premier series, Parsons won the 1973 championship (in only his second full-time season), the 1975 Daytona 500 , and the 1980 World 600 at Charlotte. Parsons won at 15 different venues and varied from the smallest of the small like the .357-mile South Boston Speedway to the vast of the vast in Daytona. Perhaps as notable as his win total is an extraordinary statistic that speaks to Parsons' ability to make the most out of an even limited opportunity. He finished among the top-10 a remarkable 283 times in 526 starts -- more than half the races he entered -- a phenomenal and talent-telling indicator. RELATED: More about the Class of 2017 From 1972 to 1980 Parsons never finished worse than fifth in the championship standings. And in 1982 he became the first driver to run a qualifying lap at Talladega Superspeedway over 200 mph. Parsons, who won the ARCA Series championship in 1968 and 1969, also went on to earn an IROC race win on the Daytona high banks in 1976. He collected top-five showings in three of the four IROC races that year pitting NASCAR’s best against the elites of other racing genres. His was such a robust racing career, people legitimately wondered how much more hardware Parsons could have collected if he’d competed full time more than half his career. As it turned out, Parsons would hoist other trophies -- specifically an Emmy Award. When it came to broadcasting races, Parsons was, simply, beloved. He had all the knowledge of a champion driver, and made it his passion to stay informed -- working the garage for insight and, as his brother Phil likes to joke, a good meal to boot. Fans loved that about Parsons. He was homey, comfortable, and felt like one of them. But he was also one of the best drivers to ever suit up for a NASCAR race. He brought that all to television, delivering insight and excitement that earned him the 1996 Emmy Award for his work at ESPN. "There wasn't a person that Benny didn’t know and not a person that didn't know him," Phil Parsons figures. And that is indicative of how Parsons lived his life. For as loved and respected as Parsons was by audiences, he was the ultimate big brother to Phil, who followed a similar path, racing (and winning at Talladega in 1988) in the sport's top series an, now, broadcasting races for FOX Sports. Benny was just about 16 years older than Phil, who recalls their relationship being based around the race track from the very beginning. His racing hero was also his big brother. "I remember going with my father to see Benny race once I was old enough, maybe four or five years old," Phil Parsons said. "That's really my first memories of him. And I don't have too many that didn't involve racing somehow." For Phil and the entire Parsons family, this week is the ultimate acknowledgement of Benny -- a beloved role model in the family and a genuine success story all around. "I know I will be emotional and not sure yet how it will manifest itself," Phil Parsons said, anticipating the moving Hall of Fame tributes to his brother to come. "It's just so special for my family, really a nice tribute." And really, so very deserved. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Toyota pipeline flows freely with youth, talent
RELATED: First look at new Toyota race car The expeditious elevation of Daniel Suarez into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series last week reinforced the importance of a feeder system for teams hoping to groom young, talented drivers for future endeavors at the top level. "Look around. What would we have done?" Joe Gibbs, founder and owner of Joe Gibbs Racing , said Jan. 10 following two whirlwind announcements at the organization's headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina. Suarez, the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion and the first Mexican-born driver to win a national series title in NASCAR, was scheduled to return to the XFINITY Series this year to defend his title. But the surprising departure of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Carl Edwards created an unexpected opening within the JGR camp and the organization's No. 19 entry. RELATED: Edwards steps away, Suarez to replace " Full timeline Fortunately for JGR, the 24-year-old Suarez was waiting in the wings. Instead of competing full-time in the XFINITY Series, Suarez will now take over the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entry vacated by Edwards for 2017. He will also compete in a select number of NXS races. "I think the hard work, working on developing young guys is a big part of this," Gibbs said of organization's XFINITY Series effort. "Thank goodness (Suarez) was there and we had done that." Suarez is one of several drivers in a Toyota pipeline that has become filled with young talent. The automaker, which made its NASCAR debut in 2004 in the Camping World Truck Series, continually seeks to identify gifted drivers from a variety of racing's lower levels, then assist them and their teams as they move through the ranks. Erik Jones will compete full-time in 2017 for Furniture Row Racing as a teammate to Martin Truex Jr . in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after racing for JGR's XFINITY Series program a year ago. RELATED: FRR adds Jones to its growing team Christopher Bell will once again drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series after finishing third in points last year. Although he was sidelined for part of the '16 season following surgery for a brain tumor, Matt Tifft , 20, made 10 XFINITY Series starts for JGR last year as well as 10 NCWTS starts for Red Horse Racing. Ben Rhodes (19) and Cameron Hayley (20) competed last season for ThorSport Racing in the Camping World Truck Series. "Our farm system is going to continue to be something that we invest in," David Wilson, President & General Manager, Toyota Racing Development, USA, told NASCAR.com. "It's validation and it just furthers our resolve that in spite of the inherent risk … the return on that investment is still going to be good and it's going to validate our commitment." Wilson was scheduled to attend this past weekend's Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. The prestigious event, which concluded Saturday night, was won by Bell. MORE: Bell triumphs at Chili Bowl "I want to show them how important it is for them to be representing our brand," Wilson said. With more than two dozen of the 300-plus participants at the Chili Bowl affiliated with Toyota, Wilson said there is "no doubt" that someone from the group "is going to be in an announcement like this that happened (at JGR) five years from now." Having an abundance of talent is a good problem, but it is still a problem, in part because of the limited number of seats/rides available in the various series, according to Ed Laukes, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Operations for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA. "We are always concerned about being overloaded with the young guys as they're coming through the ranks," he said, "because we don't want to have that talent get developed around TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and our guys, and then they end up with another company, with another manufacturer, with another race team." Toyota officials are eager to help identify and work with drivers and teams as they grow, according to Laukes. But ultimately, it's up to owners to continue to invest in their own programs or, as Furniture Row Racing did last year, make the switch to Toyota to further enhance their efforts. Furniture Row made the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota for 2016. The Denver, Colorado-based organization has since added the second team, opening up an opportunity for Jones to move up to the premier series. "That's always going to be the secret sauce in the whole thing," Laukes said. "Because we can't do it as a manufacturer. We're not a team owner, we never have been and we have no plan of being a team owner. … "But it always is a concern. We do a lot of stuff in Late Model, a lot of stuff in Midgets. We’ve been around a lot of those series for a long time." JGR develops and draws talent from more than just the organization's XFINITY Series program. Kyle Busch Motorsports plays a key role in the process as well. Gibbs said Busch, the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the team's No. 18 Toyota, "has been very good at analyzing and discovering young talent. "He still races in Late Models and all that kind of stuff," Gibbs said. "I talk to him a lot and say, 'Hey, who do you see?' Or ask him an opinion. I've asked him for his opinion on Daniel, on Erik. And he’s normally pretty much spot-on. He's really good, I think, at evaluating drivers." While Busch has been criticized by some for competing in, and often dominating, races in other series, running those events has allowed him to evaluate his KBM equipment as well as the younger drivers. "For us, when we put somebody in his trucks, we pretty much know they're going to be in the best stuff," Gibbs said. "Now, it's up to them. And if they can't get it done with Kyle, then odds are there's something wrong. … "Hopefully that's the way it is with our XFINITY program. We know (we have) the best crew chiefs, best motor, best car. If they can't get to the front with that, then odds are … that's what you're evaluating. We're all looking for that special driver." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Class of 2017: Induction day schedule, info
Members of the eighth NASCAR Hall of Fame class will join their rightful place among other NASCAR legends Friday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons officially answer the call in a ceremony beginning at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Here's all you need to know about the event. The details WHAT: Induction ceremony for eighth annual NASCAR Hall of Fame Class WHEN: 8 p.m. ET WHERE: NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, North Carolina HOW CAN I WATCH: Television coverage on NBCSN GO DEEPER: NASCAR.com will live-stream the post-induction press conferences, which are schedule to begin at approximately 10:15 p.m. ET. Click here to bookmark the link. The class
@nascarcasm: Vintage tweets from drivers, Vol. 2
RELATED: Vintage tweets from drivers, Vol. 1 VINTAGE TWEETS, VOLUME TWO! So many NASCAR drivers have mastered the fine art of social media. But it didn’t happen overnight, as is evidenced by some of their very early, and often awesome, initial tweets. What follows are actual posts from actual drivers, as they first immersed themselves into the Twitters. Kyle Busch It’s pretty easy, Kyle. You post something, and then we inform you if you used the proper instance of “your” or “you’re.” Hello... Hello... Hello? How does this thing work? — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 6, 2010 Trust Ryan -- all tweets are from Kyle. Unless they’re from Ryan. But this one is from Kyle. Or Ryan. -- Ryan @mbkk9 I will always end my tweets with my name, everything else is from Kyle himself! Trust me it really is Kyle. - Ryan — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 6, 2010 Assuming the PR person didn’t sign the tweet. If not, Kyle’s in trouble and you know he’s in trouble -- like, third-person trouble. Kyle is in trouble. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 14, 2010 I think she digs you, man. Happy valentines day to all but especially to mine... Samantha! — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 14, 2010 Kyle sounds like even Kyle’s getting bored with winning. Kyle wins — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) May 2, 2010 Denny Hamlin WHY did everyone want to sync Twitter with Facebook early on? It’s like mailing someone a letter, then calling them on the phone and telling them the exact same s--t that was in the letter. Trying to get Twitter to sync with Facebook... Not working — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) September 18, 2009 We didn’t. It must have been very cold out. have you seen the extenze car?? thing looks sweet! — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) October 2, 2009 If only there was some giant pylon-esque structure on the premises that provided such information. But you may have been unable to see it due to metal in your eye so we’ll give you a pass on this one. just qualified.. not sure where we will end up.. my guess is around 19th or so. — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) October 2, 2009 Had we known then what we know now, we would have been able to warn you that it was likely Tony Stewart in drag. Ok I thought getting a deep tissue massage from a girl would be just what I needed. NOT the case when she looks like she could play line ... — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) October 5, 2009 I specifically wrote "FOR DEN-DEN’S EYES ONLY" on the outside of the envelope, bro. If mom saw it, that’s your fault for leaving it out. yea so dont be sending dirty pics in the mail.. mom might see it!! haha — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) January 27, 2010 Will do. Wait -- why are they showing college football? Yall check out speed channel — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) February 10, 2010 Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth showed great willpower by waiting until his second tweet ever to throw shade at the Chicago Bears. Boy are these games getting realistic! http://t.co/3FtqeBg — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) July 29, 2011 Um, hi. Wait -- so your order of priority is 1.) Trash talk the Chicago Bears. 2.) Greet people. OK. Hi everyone. — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) July 30, 2011 It’s true. Greg has the body of a 69-year-old. his arthritis is getting bad“ @goofyfordfan : @matt_kenseth17 your tweets are great today any chance of getting @gbiffle on here more???” — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) August 6, 2011 You are a sorcerer of dry wit, Matt Kenseth . A SORCERER. Who is he? I will ask him.."@Rednecktailgate: @matt_kenseth17 can I get a hello from my fav driver?" — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) August 13, 2011 We sense a theme. @JimmieJohnson I just turned on game, saw the bears were getting killed, thought it was a rerun.... — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) August 23, 2011 Martin Truex Jr. He’s friends with the dude from U2 AND people on the No. 1 team. Is there any boundary to this guy’s popularity? And congrats to bono and my friends on the #1 team. — Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) February 15, 2010 The technological capabilities of smartphones would continue to grow and make asking a live saltwater fish for directions an obsolete practice. Ok got bad info from tuna. Damn tuna! Ok I need an in and out — Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) February 17, 2010 Heading to MWR for a David Reutimann victory celebration. This is an old tweet, by the way. Heading to mwr for davids win party — Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) July 20, 2010 You can basically use this tweet as a template for every post-race tweet Martin posted until the 2016 Coca Cola 600. That was ugly. Well get em tomorrow — Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) March 3, 2012 Proof: That was tough. We were real fast on short runs and really bad on long runs. Then got caught by the caution. Well fix it..Tomorrow #dayoff — Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) April 29, 2012
Drivers react to wild national championship game
Clemson took down perennial powerhouse Alabama on Monday night in the College Football Playoff national championship game in stunning fashion, defeating the Crimson Tide 35-31. Drivers across NASCAR were paying attention, and took to Twitter to offer their thoughts on an instant classic. What a game!!!! #nationalchampionship — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) January 10, 2017 This damn game!!!!! Wow! Love it! #NationalChampionship — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) January 10, 2017 Quite the game. If you can stay awake — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) January 10, 2017 Holy cow! — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) January 10, 2017 Great #nationalchampionship fun game to watch congrats to @ClemsonFB — Austin Dillon (@austindillon3) January 10, 2017 What a game.. Clemson!! #NationalChampionship — Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) January 10, 2017 Looks like I missed a good 2nd half of football by @ClemsonFB I'm happy to see an ACC team win it all. — David Ragan (@DavidRagan) January 10, 2017 ACC! — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) January 10, 2017 ACC! — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) January 10, 2017 To everybody that comments roll tide on my Tennessee posts....THATS FOR YALL!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahaha nice win Clemson!!!!! — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) January 10, 2017 Should've let kiffin coach.... — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) January 10, 2017 Backed it up, congrats Clemson. Killer game https://t.co/lMUIiCgX5w — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) January 10, 2017 Twitter, predictably, going nuts. Good for Dabo. #nationalchampionship — Eric McClure (@ericmcclure) January 10, 2017 Good to see the tigers get it done and beat bama! What a game! #nationalchampionship — Jeremy Clements (@JClements51) January 10, 2017 Wow what a game! — Jason Bowles (@Bowlesjason) January 10, 2017 p1 - @ClemsonFB p2 - @AlabamaFTBL — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) January 10, 2017
NASCAR Hall of Fame unveils new lineup of iconic cars
RELATED: More on the Hall of Fame " Fan Appreciation Day CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For just the third time since the NASCAR Hall of Fame first opened its doors in 2010, race fans will see a new Glory Road exhibit encircling the Great Hall in the museum's main level. Glory Road "ICONS" features 18 cars representing some of NASCAR's most recognizable vehicles as well as its legendary drivers. The exhibit will officially open to the public Jan. 7. Friday, Hall officials held an unveiling for members of the media and various local dignitaries. Seventeen of the vehicles were on display when the hour-long event got underway. The wraps on the 18th, the No. 28 Ford Thunderbird piloted by Davey Allison for Ranier-Lundy Racing, were removed during the program. Among those in attendance for the unveiling were Allison's father, Bobby Allison, the 1983 series champion and winner of 84 races, Davey's son Robbie Allison, Joey Knuckles (Allison's crew chief for 19 races in 1987), Larry McReynolds (Allison's crew chief at Robert Yates Racing from '91-93) and Lorin Ranier, son of team owner Harry Ranier. "I notice in this general area Alabama is represented really well," Robbie Allison said, noting his father's car sits between those of his grandfather and fellow Alabama Gang driver Neil Bonnett. "We're doing pretty well I think. "When I look at this car, one thing that stands out is I always see the snippet online of him driving down pit road at Talladega and the whole crew is on top of the car. ... I see it all the time. All the good times that he and his team shared and our family was able to share through racing." Davey Allison scored his first NASCAR win in the top series in '87 at Talladega Superspeedway . He would add 18 more victories, including two more at the 2.66-mile Talladega track, before his death in 1993. Bobby Allison's racing career had ended in 1988 when his Buick slammed into the wall and was then struck by another race car on the first lap of a race at Pocono Raceway . Clifford Allison, Davey's brother, was killed in a crash during practice in 1992 at Michigan International Speedway . "Something that my granddad says to me all the time is that racing has taken a lot away from us but it's also given us an awful lot at the same time,” Robbie Allison said. "There are so many good memories ... "The words that everybody that knew (my dad) on and off the track, determination, hard work, obsession even, always willing to put in that extra effort to be better every day. ... He was definitely as good of a father as he was a racer.” McReynolds, now a NASCAR on FOX analyst, said Allison "actually made my job pretty easy because … I think a lot of it was the way Bobby brought him up through the racing ranks he knew what was going on with that race car and he had a pretty good idea what we needed to do to make it better. ... "He obviously did a phenomenal job in that race car but he did a really unbelievable job outside the race car. He loved his race fans." The 18 cars featured on the new Glory Road "ICONS" exhibit span the history of NASCAR, from the 1952 Hudson Hornet driven by Marshall Teague -- a dominant combination in the sport's formative years -- to the 2015 Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota Camry that carried Kyle Busch to the series championship. Other entries in the exhibit include: • 1957 Ford Fairlane driven by Fireball Roberts • 1964 Plymouth Belvedere of Richard Petty • 1966 Ford Galaxie owned and driven by Wendell Scott • 1966 Dodge Charger fielded by Cotton Owens and driven by David Pearson • 1939 Chevrolet Coupe piloted by Richie Evans in 1970-71 • 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Darrell Waltrip • 1978 Ford Thunderbird driven by Bobby Allison • 1982 Oldsmobile Omega driven by Sam Ard • 1989 Ford Thunderbird driven by Neil Bonnett • 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by Harry Gant • 1992 Ford Thunderbird driven by Bill Elliott • 1995 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Mike Skinner • 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Dale Earnhardt • 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Jeff Gordon • 2013 Chevrolet SS driven by Jimmie Johnson Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, said his group began with a notebook of "100 to 120 cars" that had to be trimmed considerably before beginning the process of selecting and obtaining the final 18. "If I handed you that notebook you would probably agree that 80-90 are iconic cars," Kelley said. "There are others that are noteworthy of acknowledging at some point in time, but would it pass the sticker test ... would you say 'yeah that's iconic?' " As with previous Glory Road exhibits, the "ICONS" exhibit will remain on display for three years. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
No. 21 Darlington throwback a tribute to David Pearson
The Wood Brothers unveil their throwback paint scheme for Ryan Blaney at Darlington Raceway, honoring David Pearson's 1976 season where he won the Daytona 500, World 600 and Southern 500 that season.
Snow day! Drivers share pictures of winter fun
RELATED: See tracks covered in snow The NASCAR community may not have collectively received the full brunt of snow initially predicted, but wintry weather still hit North Carolina late Friday night and into Saturday, sending several drivers and crew chiefs outside to play. Those based in Charlotte know that predictions of big snow -- and such was the case this weekend -- can often wash out in a sea of sleet or cold rain, but there was still more than enough to break out the sleds in the northern parts of the Piedmont. Here's a look at drivers playing in the snow with their families. Our favorites include Joey Logano sitting in an outdoor hot tub, Greg Biffle using the hood of a race car for a sled and Darrell Wallace Jr . posing for a ... risqué ... photo. Old @3M hood comes in handy!! pic.twitter.com/SxmId8EzMF — Greg Biffle (@gbiffle) January 7, 2017 ❄️.. not a fan of her coat or hat ♀️ pic.twitter.com/fbvod57zpd — Paige (@epaigewhite) January 7, 2017 Who do you think should do a snow angel first?! ❄️❄️❄️ pic.twitter.com/xQDrWAx79a — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) January 7, 2017 ❄️❄️ pic.twitter.com/ouCTOvlkW0 — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) January 7, 2017 We've had a helluva wreck pic.twitter.com/XOdoMXhPTD — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) January 7, 2017 Carter having some fun in the #snow pic.twitter.com/sY63HN7azs — Blake Koch (@BlakeKochRacing) January 7, 2017 Enough snow for a snowman and getting to pull out our winter clothes! pic.twitter.com/f0IWitxHlX — David Ragan (@DavidRagan) January 7, 2017 Always love waking up to snow, when we don't get it often.The kid will be out in full force today!Off 2 the garage to build a makeshift sled pic.twitter.com/nIxUhhNShH — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) January 7, 2017 If this isn't awesome I don't know what is!!! pic.twitter.com/SoL8ZCQvpe — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) January 7, 2017 Ready for the snow.... pic.twitter.com/mUyUnBXMG7 — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) January 7, 2017
NASCAR mad libs: 2017 preseason edition
I’m so excited for the 2017 NASCAR season! The off-season makes me so -- grumpy frustrated bored anxious . I’ve had to spend every single day -- tweeting Denny Hamlin the number of days until Daytona whittling Derrike Cope action figures watching old NASCAR races on YouTube writing Greg Biffle fan fiction while I -- wrap my street car to match Jimmie Johnson ’s car stock my refrigerator with Monster Energy sob uncontrollably sing holiday songs in Larry McReynolds’ accent . Bring back the -- restarts Big One two-hour pre-race shows uncontrolled tires and -- race cars Kyle Busch Cautions™ Throwback weekend paint schemes spilling tacos on race cars ! -- Monster Energy Erik Jones Gray Gaulding Ty Dillon has joined the Cup Series, which makes me feel -- excited old nervous thirsty . Things sure are changing, especially since you never see -- shirtless fans with a ‘3’ shaved into their back hair the Labonte brothers Johnny Sauter singing patriotic tunes Sterling Marlin anymore. I haven’t seen -- a fuel mileage race Greg Biffle a start and park car people trying to start ‘the wave’ in the grandstands for as long as I can remember. I’m definitely planning to go to -- all 36 races the Fanatics tent the infield at Talladega the local Applebee’s every single weekend next season. Maybe I’ll pick up -- a foam finger for the David Ragan fan in my life Tony Stewart ’s race-used fire suit from Watkins Glen an authentic Austin Dillon cowboy hat seven of my favorite drivers' t-shirts for every day of the week , and -- a family pack of Martinsville hot dogs an Air Titan a charter a Ryan Blaney tattoo for my -- fun uncle dear mother Sharona neighbor’s dog . It seems like everybody at the track these days is such a -- Dale Jr. fan proud American vegan like Landon Cassill millennial ! You’re not -- a true NASCAR fan welcome in Junior Nation living having a good time unless you -- own a Kyle Larson bobblehead have a Denny Hamlin neck tattoo know Dale Jr.’s average finish in 2004 ask Mike Helton if you can touch his mustache . Most of all, I can’t wait for the -- Chase return of Joey Gase 2017 Dale of the Month calendar Clash at Daytona . I hope this year’s champion is -- Jimmie Johnson not Jimmie Johnson Dale Earnhardt Jr . the fans — especially after last year, when -- Dale Jr. missed a bunch of races Jimmie Johnson tied Earnhardt and Petty Danica Patrick signed my fig bar that I later ate Brian Scott tearfully said goodbye and my heart hurts . I suppose I have no choice but to spend the rest of the off-season the same way I spend it every year, -- complaining about everything imaginable on Facebook working on my steamy Joey Logano fan fiction brainwashing my niece and nephew into rooting for my favorite driver bump-drafting on the highway calling into radio shows complaining about that driver I hate flaring the fenders on my minivan watching pay-per-view wrestling between Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley creating my own car graveyard, just like Dale Jr. trying to acclimate myself to banana-and-mayonnaise sandwiches coming up with a new nickname for Kevin Harvick researching scientific journals on evidence of The Vortex Theory trying to re-create the secret Martinsville hot dog recipe going four-wide on the interstate .
Driver lineup set for NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- In what has become a much-anticipated season kick-off event, NASCAR will offer FREE admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day. That's just one of the many exciting offerings during the day-long celebration of NASCAR's passionate fans, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR stars past and present will participate in autograph and Q&A sessions throughout the day, in addition to free access to the Hall. Fans will be admitted into the Hall on a first-come, first-served basis in lieu of needing a ticket. Doors open at 8 a.m. However, tickets to the below autograph sessions, featuring stars from all three NASCAR national series, must be secured in advance. Tickets for these autograph sessions will be available for free on NASCARHall.com starting at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 7. Each fan can secure up to two tickets for one of the seven autograph sessions (one ticket for an individual or two tickets for an individual and their guest). Session 1 (9:30 a.m. ET): Richard Childress, Austin Dillon , Ty Dillon Session 2 (10:30 a.m. ET): Aric Almirola , Ryan Reed , Timothy Peters Session 3 (11:30 a.m. ET): Kasey Kahne , Daniel Suarez , John Hunter Nemechek Session 4 (12:30 p.m. ET): Martin Truex Jr., Brandon Jones , Noah Gragson Session 5 (2 p.m. ET): Chase Elliott , Blake Koch , Kaz Grala Session 6 (3 p.m. ET): David Ragan , Brennan Poole , Christopher Bell Session 7 (4 p.m. ET): Paul Menard , Brendan Gaughan , Johnny Sauter Q&A sessions with all of the above drivers will begin 30 minutes prior to their autograph session and are open to all guests. In addition, members of the NASCAR Next program and NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 inductees Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin will participate in Q&As for all those in attendance. NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will follow the previous evening's NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony on Jan. 20 (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN). As in previous years, current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars will help present each inductee. Scheduled to present at this year's induction ceremony are seven-time premier series champion Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Brad Keselowski , Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon . For tickets to the Induction Ceremony, visit nascarhall.com/inductees/induction-ceremony .