NASCAR Hotpass Lineup At Phoenix International Raceway
NASCAR Hotpass on DirecTV is free to all DirecTV customers. Four dedicated driver channels offering viewers multiple camera angles, real-time statistics and audio of the network broadcast augmented by live communication between the drivers and their pit crews are available for all 36 point-paying races during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The NASCAR Hotpass lineup for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway is as follows:
DIRECTV Channel 795: Clint Bowyer and the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet team of Michael Waltrip Racing...Clint Bowyer will make his 219th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 14th at Phoenix International Raceway … Has five top-10 finishes in 13 career Sprint Car starts at Phoenix … The 32-year-old Emporia, Kan., native has five wins and 95 top-10 finishes in 218 Sprint Cup starts … 2012 marks Bowyer’s seventh full year in Sprint Cup with a career-best points finish of third in 2007 … Won 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship … Started 30th and finished 11th in last week’s 54th Daytona 500 … Ranks 11th in Sprint Cup Series points.
DIRECTV Channel 796: Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Best Buy Ford team of Roush Fenway Racing...Matt Kenseth will make his 438th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 20th at Phoenix International Raceway … Has one win (November 2002), one pole (November 2011) and eight top-10 finishes in 19 career Sprint Cup starts at Phoenix … The 39-year-old Cambridge, Wis., native has 22 wins and 210 top-10 finishes in 437 Sprint Cup starts … 2012 marks Kenseth’s 13th full year in Sprint Cup and he won the points championship in 2003 … Started fourth and won last week last week’s 54th Daytona 500 … Ranks first in Sprint Cup Series points.
DIRECTV Channel 797: Dale Earnhardt Jr., and the No. 88 National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet team of Hendrick Motorsports...Dale Earnhardt Jr., will make his 437th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 20th at Phoenix International Raceway … Has two wins (November 2004 and 2005) and eight top-10 finishes in 19 Sprint Cup starts at Phoenix … The 37-year-old Kannapolis, N.C., native has won 18 races and has 163 top-10 finishes in 436 Sprint Cup starts… Won 1998 and 1999 NASCAR Nationwide Series championships … 2012 marks Earnhardt’s 13th full year in Sprint Cup with a career-best points finish of third in 2003 … Started fifth and finished second in last week’s 54th Daytona 500 … Ranks second in Sprint Cup Series points.
DIRECTV Channel 798: Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Subway Ford team of Roush Fenway Racing...Carl Edwards will make his 267th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 16th at Phoenix International Raceway … Has one win (November 2010), three poles (November 2007, November 2010 and February 2011) and 10 top-10 finishes in 15 starts at Phoenix … The 32-year-old Columbia, Mo., native has won 19 races and has 145 top-10 finishes in 266 Sprint Cup starts … Won 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series title … 2012 marks Edwards’ eighth full year in Sprint Cup with a career-best points finish of second in 2008 and 2011… Started on the pole and finished eighth in last week’s 54th Daytona 500 … Ranks eighth in Sprint Cup Series points.
Jet Dryer Operators To Wear Helmets and Firesuits
Jet dryer operators will wear firesuits and helmets this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway as part of a safety move following Juan Pablo Montoya’s fiery crash in the Daytona 500. Montoya’s car spun and he crashed into a jet dryer during a caution period in Monday night’s season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Neither Montoya nor Duane Barnes, the jet dryer operator, were injured, but the impact caused a huge fireball as approximately 200 gallons of jet fuel spilled onto the track. The jet dryer belonged to Michigan International Speedway, and Barnes was not wearing a firesuit or a helmet. PIR spokesman David Lockett confirmed that its jet dryer operators would be outfitted with the safety gear this weekend. Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said his track will take action as well. Jet dryer operators, whose job entails blowing debris from the track following wrecks as well as drying the racing surface, do not wear firesuits because they typically are not around fires. (scenedaily.com)
Penske Racing Will Move To Ford In 2013
Penske Racing has announced that it will join Ford Racing as part of a multi-year agreement that will begin with the 2013 NASCAR season. Penske Racing’s teams will compete with Ford Fusions in the Sprint Cup Series and with Ford Mustangs in the Nationwide Series, beginning next season. The move to Ford represents a return for Penske Racing. The organization raced with Ford in 1976 and 1977 and again from 1994-2002. Through 524 NASCAR starts (509 Cup Series and 15 Nationwide Series) with Ford, Penske Racing teams earned 28 victories (27 Cup Series and one Nationwide Series) and 42 pole positions (36 Cup Series and six Nationwide Series).
Since 2003, the Penske Racing NASCAR teams have been aligned with Dodge Motorsports. Over the course of the relationship with Dodge, Penske Racing teams have produced 48 wins (26 Cup Series and 22 Nationwide Series), 72 pole positions (50 Cup Series and 22 Nationwide Series) and one series championship (the 2010 Nationwide Series title) in 1,048 starts (832 Cup Series and 216 Nationwide Series) entering this weekend’s racing action. In 2012, Penske Racing will compete with two full-time entries – the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driven by AJ Allmendinger – in the Cup Series and two full-time entries in the Nationwide Series – the No. 22 Discount Tire/Snap-on Dodge driven by Keselowski and Parker Kligerman and the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts/WURTH Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr.
Hendrick Motorsports Will Appeal Penalties
Hendrick Motorsports will appeal sanctions announced today by NASCAR related to the No. 48 Sprint Cup Series team. “Our organization respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “In this case, though, the system broke down, and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process.” Adjustments to No. 48 team personnel are not planned while the appeal is ongoing.
NASCAR Issues Penalties To Knaus, Malec and Gordon
NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the No. 48 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions found on Feb. 17 during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500. The No. 48 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-2.1E (if in the judgment of NASCAR officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance will not be permitted – unapproved car body modifications). As a result, crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec have been suspended from the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events, suspended from NASCAR until April 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 9. Additionally, Knaus has been fined $100,000. Driver Jimmie Johnson and car owner Jeff Gordon have been penalized with the loss of 25 driver and 25 owner points, respectively.
Camping World Truck Series Crew Member Suspended Indefinitely By NASCAR
Keith Wolfe, a crew member in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR as a result of violations discovered Feb. 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Wolfe violated sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 2-11 (failure to notify of felony and/or substance abuse related law violations); and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book.
ESPN Breaks Cable Viewership Record with NASCAR Telecast from Daytona
With an average of 4.4 million people watching, ESPN’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 25 has broken the previous record as the most-viewed race ever on cable television for the series. The race telecast earned a household coverage rating of 3.3, averaging 4,433,249 viewers in 3,304,012 households, breaking the record of 4,271,365 viewers in 3,170,109 households set for ESPN’s telecast of the Daytona race in 2010.
Ratings and viewership for the Daytona telecast were up 37 percent from ESPN’s telecast of last year’s race, which earned a 2.4 household coverage rating and averaged 3,246,875 viewers. “We’ve seen two consecutive years of ratings increases with the Nationwide Series on our networks and NASCAR carried some strong momentum and storylines into this year,” said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming & acquisitions. “This certainly represents a great start to the season.” All 33 races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series season will air on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. The next telecast is from Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, March 3, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
No Penalty For Keselowski Using Twitter During The Red Flag
Apparently someone complained about Brad Keselowski using his cell phone during the two-hour red flag at Daytona on Monday night, to send feeds to his Twitter account, but NASCAR didn't see a problem with him doing that and released the following statement: "NASCAR will not penalize Brad Keselowski for his use of Twitter during last night’s Daytona 500. Nothing we’ve seen from Keselowski violates any current rules pertaining to the use of social media during races. As such, he won’t be penalized. We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others."
Matt Kenseth Wraps Up The Morning, Wins The Daytona 500
Finally, nothing out of the ordinary happened. In a Daytona 500 that featured the first postponement in its history, a ball of fire from a racecar vs. jet dryer collision under caution and a surfeit of wild action in the closing laps, Matt Kenseth won his second Daytona 500 when the tandem of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle couldn't catch the race winner in a green-white-checkered-flag finish. Earnhardt made a slingshot move around Greg Biffle to run second in the 54th running of the Great American Race at Daytona International Speedway. Biffle came home third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton, as a late caution necessitated two extra laps beyond the scheduled 200. Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, pole-sitter Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Mark Martin completed the top 10.
Earnhardt hooked up with Biffle and pushed the No. 16 Ford after a restart on Lap 201, but the pair could not make headway against Kenseth who moved to the front of the field and stayed there. Earnhardt expected Biffle to pull out and make a move, but the move never came. "I was waiting and waiting," Earnhardt said. "It looked like he might have been trying to make a move on the back straightaway, but nothing materialized there. Then we came off (Turn) 4, and I kind of waited till the last minute for him to have his opportunity to try to pass Matt, and nothing was happening, so I just pulled out and went around him."
Kenseth had plenty of power at the finish, despite problems with the cooling system that plagued him early in the race. "We had a lot of problems -- it was spewing water," said Kenseth, who notched the 22nd NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of his career. "I have to give a lot of credit to (engine builder) Doug Yates and the guys at the engine shop. We had great horsepower. I could get a pretty good start on the bottom and either Denny or Dale Jr. could push me for a while and then they just couldn't stay attached and I would get away from them just in time to get in front of Greg, and the two of us together could make some unbelievable speed. I have to thank Greg. We worked together really good all day long. He had a really fast car all day as well."
The race was barely one lap old when contact from the front bumper of Elliott Sadler's Chevrolet turned the No. 48 Chevy of five-time champion Jimmie Johnson hard into the outside wall near the exit from the tri-oval. Unable to avoid the wreck, David Ragan plowed into the side of Johnson's car. Neither Johnson nor Ragan was able to continue; they retired from the race in the 42nd and 43rd positions, respectively. The cars of defending race winner Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch were severely damaged in the melee and all three headed to the garage for extensive repairs and later returned to the track. "The steering's off," Patrick said, as she brought the No. 10 Chevy to pit road. Her crew repaired the rear suspension, but Patrick was 62 laps down when she reappeared on Lap 66. She wound up 38th in her Sprint Cup debut.
A multicar wreck on Lap 188 thinned the herd considerably, taking out a handful of competitive cars. Jamie McMurray spun wildly near the entrance to Turn 1, and the chain-reaction collision wiped out the cars of Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola and damaged the machines of Edwards and Tony Stewart. Another melee on Lap 196 set up the overtime. After contact from Joey Logano's Toyota, the Ford of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. caromed into Stewart's Chevrolet, turning the defending Cup champion sideways and igniting a pinball-style wreck that also involved Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman.
A strange weekend that saw the first weather postponement in the history of the Daytona 500 got downright bizarre during a round of pit stops under caution late in the race. Juan Pablo Montoya brought his No. 42 Chevrolet to pit road under caution on Lap 160, complaining of transmission issues. His car fell victim to a strong vibration when he returned to the track, and Montoya slid out of control at the entrance to Turn 3 and slammed into a jet dryer, which was against the outside wall, blowing the track. The collision ignited the jet fuel in the dryer and set both vehicles ablaze. Montoya and the driver of the service vehicle both escaped the wreckage, but the latter -- Duane Barnes, from Michigan International Speedway -- was taken to nearby Halifax Medical Center for further evaluation. "Something failed in the rear of the car, and the car just spun into the jet dryer," Montoya said after a visit to the care center. "I left the pits and felt a really weird vibration, and I came back in and checked the rear end and (they) said it was OK, and I got into the backstraight and we were going in fourth gear but wasn't going that fast. "Every time I got on the gas, I could feel the rear squeezing. When I was telling the spotter to have a look how the rear was moving, the car just turned right."
NASCAR red-flagged the race as safety vehicles arrived on the scene and track workers attempted to put out the fire. "There's going to be a big speed bump heading into Turn 3," crew chief Steve Letarte told Dale Earnhardt Jr., fearful that the blaze would melt the asphalt. "I will be shocked -- shocked -- if we can get this race restarted." Letarte was wrong. Safety workers cleared the scene by hoisting the remains of the jet dryer on a tow truck with a boom to prevent further damage to the asphalt. After a stoppage of two hours, five minutes and 29 seconds, the event resumed just before midnight ET.
Notes: Martin Truex Jr. won the $200,000 bonus for leading the race at the halfway point...The top four drivers when Juan Montoya hit the jet dryer were Dave Blaney, Landon Cassill, Tony Raines and David Gilliland, none of whom had come to pit road with the rest of the lead-lap cars. Irreparable damage to the track or an ill-timed rain cell could have made a winner of Blaney...Edwards and Kyle Busch had to restart from the rear when the race resumed for removing tear-offs from their windshields under the red flag. (NASCAR Wire Service)
54th Annual Daytona 500 Postponed to Monday
The 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway has been postponed due to rain showers and rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 27 at noon (FOX). WWE Superstar John Cena will deliver the command “Drivers, start your engines” and will wave the green flag to kick off the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Tickets for Sunday’s race will be honored on Monday. Tickets for the Daytona 500 will also be on sale at the gate or the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.
5 a.m. – Parking lots open
6 a.m. – Bus transportation begins
7 a.m. – Ticket offices open
7:30 a.m. – Trams begin running
8 a.m. – Gates and Sprint FANZONE opens
12:01 p.m. – Green flag for the 54th annual Daytona 500
The race will air on FOX at noon. -- The Daytona 500 Champion’s Breakfast has been postponed to a later date. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway). In addition, fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500.
Chris Myers Takes Time Off From FOX Broadcast
For the second week in a row, Fox will be without its prerace show host, Chris Myers. A funeral is reportedly scheduled today for Myers' son Christopher, who was killed Feb. 16 in an automobile accident. Myers and his family are longtime Oak Park residents. USA Today reported Christopher, 19, was involved in a crash in Southern California while driving home from college. Fox said last week it would give Myers as much time off as
he needs. Speed studio host John Roberts replaced Myers as host of last Saturday's Bud Shootout at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, and will do so again Sunday for the Daytona 500.
Fox Sports Co-President and Executive Producer Eric Shanks said this week the death cast a pall on the broadcast crew in Daytona. "It's been a rough week," Shanks said, "and I think it goes to show that when you have a group of people who travel around, literally, and spend more time with this family than they get to spend with their own family, when one of those family members loses someone, we all do. Speaking with Chris, he's felt the outpouring of love and prayers, and literally the epicenter of that has been Daytona and the NASCAR family. It's been rough on the personal side."
Shanks said Roberts moved flawlessly from hosting Speed's "RaceDay" show into "NASCAR on Fox." "John just did a bang-up job," said Shanks. "He's a real pro and he'll continue to do that again on Sunday, and for as long as Chris and the family need to take care of their emotions and what they need to do with their family." SportsBusiness Daily reported Roberts opened last week's telecast by saying, "We are all here with very heavy, heavy hearts." Analyst Darrell Waltrip added, "I just want you to know we're all standing with you, we love you, we miss you, we're praying for you. Godspeed to you and the family."(vcstar.com)
Another Wreck Filled Race At Daytona, James Buescher Wins First Nationwide Event
In a weekend of unlikely winners, James Buescher took the checkered flag under caution in Saturday's Drive4COPD 300 Nationwide Series race with wreckage from the cars of the likely winners strewn behind him in Turn 4 at Daytona International Speedway. Buescher, a first-time winner in the series, took advantage of a last-lap wreck involving front-runners Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch to score the victory, one day after rookie John King won his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in his first trip to Daytona. Brad Keselowski dodged the wreck to finish second, with Elliott Sadler coming home third. Rookies Cole Whitt and Austin Dillon ran fourth and fifth, respectively. Buescher survived damage from a late-race crash to secure the win. It was a case of right place, right time. "I got caught up in one of those late-race wrecks, but it's not over -- we're still in it," Buescher said of his attitude approaching a restart with two laps left in the 120-lap race. "There wasn't a lot of damage on the car."
Compounding Buescher's problem was the loss of his most effective drafting partners -- Justin Allgaier and Joe Nemechek -- in earlier crashes. "We lost all of our track position," Buescher said. "I had to get back through there using everybody else's draft, but (with) no drafting partner...."It's incredible. This is top of the list for any racecar driver to win at -- and we did it today." A race that had been peppered with minor incidents produced a huge one on Lap 104, when the front of the field accordioned in Turn 4, and cars began checking up and wrecking mid-pack. All told, 20 cars were involved in the crash, including the machines of Denny Hamlin, Kenny Wallace and Allgaier.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ducked to the bottom of the track to avoid the wreck and sustained minor damage to the right side of his Chevrolet. After a four-minute stoppage to pry the splitter from Wallace's wrecked car from the Turn 4 wall, Earnhardt restarted 14th on Lap 113. But Earnhardt fell victim to a 14-car pileup one lap later when contact from David Ragan's Ford turned Sam Hornish's Dodge to trigger the multicar wreck. Pole-sitter Danica Patrick exited the race on Lap 49, after a hard tap from Cole Whitt, her teammate at JR Motorsports, knocked Patrick's No. 7 Chevrolet out of control and into the Turn 3 wall. Patrick's team pushed the car to the garage for extensive repairs, losing 48 laps in the process. She returned to the track on Lap 98 and finished 38th, an inauspicious start to a championship campaign. (NASCAR Wire Service)