Meet Eddie D'Hondt, Chase Elliott's spotter
Editor's note: This is the first in a series of interviews with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spotters. Eddie D'Hondt, Spotter for Chase Elliott , No. 24, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet HOW DID YOU GET STARTED SPOTTING? "I was the GM at Evernham Motorsports when Bill Elliott was driving. I actually started spotting for Bill -- I guess about 16 years ago. I had been managing teams up until that point. I just sort of fell into it. I used to drive Modifieds. It just worked. I've been doing it ever since." WHAT OTHER DUTIES DO YOU HAVE WITH THE TEAM? "We have a team meeting on Tuesdays, the driver, the crew chief and all the engineers. I have two reports I'm responsible for putting together for that meeting. That takes up most of my Monday, it's a lot of video work and some other technical work, but that's the other part of my job." DO YOU SPOT IN OTHER SERIES? "I spot in every series every weekend. I do 105 races a year; Rolex, Modifieds, Truck, XFINITY , Cup. In depends on the series as far as who I'm spotting for each weekend. I did all of Chase's XFINITY races, Cole Custer 's XFINITY races; I do Ryan Preece when I'm not doing the 88 XFINITY car. I do Cole's Truck races. The Ferrari team in Rolex." HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH CHASE? "Just this year. For four or five years I was with Jeff (Gordon); three years with Kyle (Busch) before that." WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST RACE AS A SPOTTER? "It was with Bill. I guess the (2001) Daytona 500 , the race that Dale (Earnhardt) passed away." WHAT'S THE MOST BIZARRE THING YOU'VE SEEN WHILE SPOTTING? "Oh my gosh. I've lived up here all weekend for 16 years so I've seen a lot of stuff. There have been so many things. It's a great vantage point. Every single weekend we get to see a lot of what no one else gets to see." WHAT'S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE AS A SPOTTER? "Homestead with Jeff last year and (the win at) Martinsville. I'd have to say those two. Jeff was just special. He is a special guy. He got in the trenches with you, he became your friend. You wanted to fight with him. I was working with Kyle Busch when Alan Gustafson (Gordon's crew chief at the time) came and got me, sat down and struck a deal and five years later, here I am." WHAT'S THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR JOB? "Probably the travel. I’ve been on this circuit since 1996, prior to that I raced on my own. Being away from your family is difficult. Both my boys are working in the garage, so if I want to see them I have to go find them in the garage somewhere. The rest of my family is always home, so that's the hard part." WHAT CURRENT DRIVER WOULD MAKE A GOOD SPOTTER? "That's a good question. Maybe Carl Edwards . He likes to talk." WHICH TRACK IS YOUR FAVORITE? "Bristol and Martinsville. Probably those two. I grew up on the short tracks. The thrill of the short track, anything can happen at any moment. The flow you get into in those races, I enjoy that." WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT WHAT YOUR JOB ENTAILS THAT THE AVERAGE FAN MIGHT NOT KNOW? "Today, it's become way more intricate than what people realize. We're providing information that we never did before. You have all engineers now on top of all these pit boxes, not guys that grew up short-track racing. These guys are all engineers now. So they talk to the drivers less and it's fallen into our laps now to provide more and more information on things like rubber buildup, lanes that are working, braking, backing up corners. We're talking more about driving than safety. Most of the guys up here, just go down the line, used to drive. They have some kind of wisdom about what it feels line so you're able to talk about it. And the guys that didn't drive have educated themselves. Those guys on the pit boxes, they're looking at data."
Newman's secret to successful proposal? Do it during a fight
RELATED: Newman on his future with RCR Ryan Newman, love guru? The Richard Childress Racing driver had a Chevrolet Q&A with fans ahead of Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway and was asked how he proposed to his wife, Krissie, whom he married in 2004. Many people like to have big, memorable moments when they propose to their partner. When Newman popped the question, he was just trying to warm up his future wife's shoulder. "We had this small fight , not a big fight ; she didn't punch me or nothing," Newman said. "She was sitting on a dog pillow petting one of the dogs and I just reached around her and asked her. "I was just trying to get over the fight , was all I was trying to do," Newman added, much to the delight of those listening. Do you want to know how @RyanJNewman proposed to Krissie? @TeamChevy got the answer! pic.twitter.com/v6V7SFYDEO — RCR 31 Cup Team (@RCR31RNewman) July 31, 2016 Hey, that's one way to do it.
@nascarcasm: Townley/Gallagher fight gets the 'Napoleon Dynamite' treatment
RELATED: Townley/Gallagher come to blows " Drivers react to fight
See 'The Fight' like never before -- in reverse
RELATED: See the fight as it actually happened Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley engaged in one of the silliest NASCAR fights we've seen this past Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park , site of the Camping World Truck Series race. By now, you've seen it a dozen times. Believe it or not, it's actually more awkward when played in reverse. Or is it? You know, we can't tell. It's funny frontwards or backwards, which is really the main takeaway here. Give it a watch.
John Wes Townley apologizes for Gateway fight
RELATED: Townley, Gallagher fight at Gateway NASCAR driver John Wes Townley has issued an apology for his involvement in an on-track altercation a week ago during a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois. Townley was fined $15,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31, 2016 for his involvement in the altercation with fellow driver Spencer Gallagher during the Drivin for Lineman 200. Gallagher was fined $12,500 and placed on probation through the end of the year. "I want to apologize to NASCAR and my fans," Townley said in the statement. "That's not the way I want to represent myself, (sponsor) Zaxby's or Jive Communications. I'll try my best to make sure it never happens again." The drivers were involved in two separate incidents during the race. The first contact brought out the caution flag on Lap 145 of the 160-lap race. Approximately 10 laps later, they were involved in a second incident, which eventually brought the race under the red flag. Following the second incident, both drivers climbed from their respective trucks and approached one another, with Townley then grabbing Gallagher around the head and wrestling him to the ground. Townley tried several times to punch Gallagher as the pair stood on the lower portion of the racing surface as the fracas continued. Originally scheduled to compete in this weekend's NASCAR XFINITY Series race for Athenian Motorsports at Daytona International Speedway , Townley, 26, and the team eventually withdrew the entry. "Honestly, we went into this season with our sights set on running strong in the Truck Series and ARCA," Townley said. "We've always said that. And we, as a team, don't need to overlook those goals. ... But considering that we have a Truck race (at Kentucky Speedway ) and an ARCA race next week (at Iowa Speedway ), we felt it was better to pour our time and resources into getting ready for next week." Gallagher, who is competing at Daytona this weekend, issued a statement on Monday, June 27, apologizing to Townley. "Additionally, to his team and fans, I am sorry," Gallagher said. "The incident earlier in the race was not intentional and certainly was not meant to cause bigger problems later in the event. "My crew, who have worked so hard to get me to where I am this season, did not deserve to have their night ended in that way. My teammates and all of the guys back at the shop deserve more respect than was shown Saturday night." Gallagher said he was "ashamed" he was involved in an incident "that has allowed so many to view what we do in a negative light." Townley, currently 18th in points, has one career win in the Truck Series in 101 career starts. He is winless in 76 attempts in the XFINITY Series. Gallagher, 26, is winless in 44 career starts in the Truck Series and four in the XFINITY Series. He is 11th in points in the Truck Series.
Cain: For breast cancer survivors, Charlotte is 'their race'
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The good vibes were easy to feel as one pink shirt after another crowded around the Charlotte Motor Speedway Victory Lane and pit road, where NASCAR stars mingled with breast cancer survivors and their families. Six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson joined United States soccer legend Mia Hamm greeting people and ultimately delivering encouraging words to the crowd of nearly 500 gathered to kick off October's Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina -- for whom Johnson and Hamm are "ambassadors" -- along with the track brought everyone together to paint the speedway's pit wall pink in a visible reminder of this disease that has affected so many people on some level. "The NASCAR industry has always been so supportive of these kind of causes and teams have adopted the pink color for October for years," the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet driver Johnson explained between posing for photos, painting the pit wall pink and delivering an inspiring message to those attending. "We have pink trim on our hats and it's been on race cars. The support has been there. It's important to be a part of this and raise awareness. "The great thing is if you detect it early there really is something you can do about it. And this event also raises awareness for kids so they grow up knowing it's a priority. As a father (of two young girls), that's definitely something on my radar." Drivers Elliott Sadler , Blake Koch and Jeb Burton were also among the sport's stars there generously offering a friendly smile or gentle hug to survivors and greeting others who came to show support for family members and friends. These drivers are all too familiar with the devastating effects of this disease because their mothers have fought through diagnosis and treatment. Being trackside with so many people who care was a transformative event for so many patients, who for at least one morning could take a deep breath and replace their pain and worry with the feeling of gratitude and hope. And that is the whole reason behind this. Drivers who spend their weekends so tense and focused were at the track last Wednesday able to show how much they genuinely care, just in taking the time to be there, posing for a photo or sharing a paintbrush dripping pink. "This is very personal to me and my family," said XFINITY Series Chase participant Sadler. "To see what our NASCAR community does for breast cancer awareness, for all the pink race cars, the uniforms, the pink trophies, the pink pace car and Charlotte Motor Speedway taking it a step further today. Look at all the breast cancer survivors we have here today. To paint the wall means so much to people affected by it. "This is by far my mom's favorite race of the year, by far all because we get to run a pink car. I have an amazing sponsor, OneMain Financial, that lets me run a pink car for this race giving up their colors. What I've learned from my mom and other breast cancer survivors, this is their race. They've been through so much, this is a celebration of life, a time to forget about the bad and cherish the good. And that is a neat concept and a neat way to look at it." Driver Jeb Burton 's mother Tabitha is another breast cancer patient. She and I were diagnosed at similar times and have been supportive of one another while going through painful treatment and navigating the reality of this disease. "She went through a lot and it's definitely hit home for us," said Burton who will drive the No. 98 Biagi-DenBeste Ford in Friday's XFINITY Series race at Charlotte. "This is a great cause and I'm thankful to be out here and paint the wall pink. Hopefully we can find a cure soon." That is certainly the hope behind the easy smiles and loving hugs we all shared that day. RELATED: Battling cancer, NASCAR.com writer finds strength in numbers In the year since I finished my own harsh chemotherapy and radiation, I have lost a half dozen "chemo" friends to this disease. Some I was still too sick to attend their funerals. The NASCAR community suffered incredibly sad losses to cancer in the last year including 10-year old Elijah Aschbrenner to Epithelioid Sarcoma cancer last November and Scott Zipadelli's 19-year old step-daughter Torie Costa to the disease (Rhabdomyosarcoma) last Christmas Day. Steve Byrnes, a popular broadcaster and my friend, passed away from cancer in April 2015; and another friend, longtime NASCAR journalist Bob Margolis, lost his three-time cancer battle just weeks ago. Sherry Pollex, the longtime girlfriend of Sprint Cup Series points leader Martin Truex Jr ., has battled ovarian cancer for the past two years. Today, one of my dear friends is having breast cancer surgery. The follow-up and treatment of the disease afterward remains unknown at this point. Her children attend middle school with my daughter. And she was one of the people who immediately and lovingly cared for me and for my children when I was too sick to function during my own chemo. She brought dinner and comfort to us even when I was too sick to answer the door. And now her diagnosis feels like a punch in the gut, such a cruel twist. It's my turn to be her source of strength and optimism. So many people cared when I was at my sickest. And now it's an opportunity for me to be there for them. I am aware like I've never been before. This disease has a way of humbling you and simultaneously motivating you to be a better person. It opens your mind to think more broadly, to act more swiftly. To realize you can care more. When I left Charlotte last week after the event at the track I was full of gratitude, it was as if I had received a present for my soul. And judging by the smiles, hugs, even tears shared among the group, it was widespread feeling and greatly appreciated. "These amazing women, their stories and their fight , honoring them and their families and obviously the women that have passed, too," Hamm said of her time at the speedway. "It's important to continue telling their story of hope and determination and really empowering these women that are here to be proactive in their health. That's one of the reasons I feel so strongly to be a Blue Cross Blue Shield ambassador. It's really about empowering them to take care of themselves." "This is one of the wonderful things that all the hard work I did in my career was able to do -- to inspire people. And in the end you pass it off to this incredible (NASCAR) race that millions of people will be watching to help spread the message of continued work and awareness for breast cancer." By the end of the morning, it was truly, truly difficult to tell who was being motivated and who was doing the motivating. And what an incredibly positive feeling to carry on.
Elliott: 'Disappointed we came up short'
Chase Elliott says he's disappointed to not advance to the Round of 8 after his twelfth place finish at Talladega Superspeedway.
Logano tweets message saying he 'will fight'
What does vague tweet indicate? RELATED: Logano: 'Complete coward move' " Photos of Sunday's incident After a race-leading Joey Logano was wrecked by non-Chaser Matt Kenseth at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, possibly as retaliation for an incident at Kansas Speedway last month, the Team Penske driver has one message for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver: 'I will fight .' pic.twitter.com/4be2cRtDt9 — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) November 2, 2015 It's unclear if Logano is indicating he wants to physically engage Kenseth -- we've seen him be physical before, just ask Tony Stewart -- or if he's just really charged up and motivated to overcome the points deficit he finds himself in after a 37th-place finish. According to the YouTube video for the audio track, " 'I Will Fight' is an audio track recorded by Pastor Steven Furtick to help you get focused and to prepare you for the challenges ahead," and includes a line about how his enemy is "not flesh and blood." That said, the site of Sunday's race -- the second in the Eliminator Round -- is Texas Motor Speedway , which saw Logano's teammate, Brad Keselowski , involved in perhaps NASCAR's biggest fracas of all time just last year. Stay tuned. MORE: NASCAR disappointed' " Busch: 'I think it's BS'
Martin Truex Jr. details girlfriend's cancer fight
Martin Truex Jr . detailed his girlfriend Sherry Pollex's 17-month fight with ovarian cancer in a raw and emotional piece posted Monday on The Players' Tribune . Pollex announced Jan. 11 she had completed her final chemotherapy treatment. Among the specifics revealed in the story was the fact that Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser offered to let Truex sit out the remainder of the 2014 season after Pollex was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer on Aug. 7, 2014. "But Sherry and I never considered it," Truex wrote . "We both needed to get back to our normal. And normal for us is racing." Truex wrote about first meeting Pollex more than 10 years ago, and how "being with her was one of those things where you were all-in right from the start. You never really questioned it, you never really thought about it. You just did it because it felt right." Pollex first began experiencing abdomen pain in April 2014, Truex wrote, but because ovarian cancer often is difficult to diagnose, she did not have a CT scan until August. The following week, Pollex had surgery. Wrote Truex: "The surgery was performed on August 15, just a short week after we first heard those words. We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m., and Sherry was prepped for what we thought was going to be a four-hour procedure. Instead, after seven hours of surgery, which included a radical hysterectomy and the removal of tumors all the way up to her spleen and appendix, the doctor was finally confident that he had removed all “visible” signs of cancer. It was only four months from the time Sherry had initially told me she was having abdominal pain, and the cancer had literally spread everywhere." Worse than the surgery was the chemotherapy that followed, Truex wrote. "Watching Sherry go through the grueling eight-hour chemotherapy sessions every couple of weeks for six months was almost unbearable. She lost her hair and lost 27 pounds from her healthy weight of 120 pounds. She could barely walk from the living room to the kitchen in our home. It was one of the darkest times in our lives." Truex has expanded his Martin Truex Jr . Foundation to focus on both pediatric and ovarian cancer since Pollex's diagnosis. You can read the full story here
@nascarcasm: Fight severity threat level system
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