Sunday, July 27, 2014

Two NASCAR team planes collide on ground at Concord Regional Airport

   A team Joe Gibbs Racing team plane collided with a parked plane from Stewart Haas Racing at Concord (N.C.) Regional Airport on Sunday night as NASCAR teams were returning to the Charlotte area following Sunday's Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

   A team spokesman for SHR said an empty and parked SHR plane was hit by another plane as that plane was parking. The plane's wing hit the tail of the parked SHR plane. 

   No one was hurt, the spokesman said.

   Several members from various NASCAR teams posted comments about the incident on Twitter, including some pictures (one is posted above).

Ford statement on Carl Edwards leaving Roush Fenway Racing


   JAMIE ALLISON, director, Ford Racing –
“Carl Edwards has been a part of the Ford family for a decade, and it will certainly be tough to see him leave Ford and Roush Fenway Racing. During Carl’s time with Roush, he has represented Ford Motor Company with the utmost class, both on and off the track. We at Ford Racing did everything to facilitate keeping Carl a part of the Ford Racing & Roush Fenway family, but in the end that option did not come to fruition.

   “While we are disappointed in his decision to leave Roush Fenway Racing, we certainly want to extend our appreciation for Carl’s contributions winning races and a NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship in a Ford, and especially for his outreach to Ford fans. That said, with this decision out of the way, our plan for 2014 has not changed. We will go forward strongly with our stated goal of securing a NASCAR championship for Ford.”

Carl Edwards will not return to Roush Fenway Racing in 2015

   Roush Fenway Racing confirmed its 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver lineup on Sunday and as many expected it will not include Carl Edwards.

   Greg Biffle will continue to drive the No. 16 Ford, Trevor Bayne will drive the No. 6 Ford and Ricky Stenhouse will drive the No. 17 Ford. 

   Edwards will not return to the organization but many reports have him joining Joe Gibbs Racing next season with an official announcement coming in the next month or so.

   "I will always be thankful for Carl’s contribution and the role he played in many Roush Fenway wins and championships,” said team co-owner Jack Roush. “We wish him well for the future.  In the meantime, we are excited about continuing our quest for a championship with Carl and the No. 99 team in 2014.”

   Biffle, who has 746 NASCAR starts, first joined Roush Fenway in 1998, and earned the organization its first NASCAR championships in the NASCAR Truck Series in 2000 and in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) in 2002. He has qualified for the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup in five of the last six seasons; with a runner-up finish in 2005. Of his 55 NASCAR wins, 19 came in the NSCS, including Ford’s 1,000th NASCAR victory last year.

   “I don’t have the words for what Jack Roush has meant to my career,” said Biffle. “During our 16 years together, we have won multiple championships and numerous races on every level.  I am as excited about what the future holds for me here as I am about what we have been able to accomplish in the past."

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tony Stewart on crew chief Chad Johnston: 'I think the world of him'

   While three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has gotten off to a slow start this season - he is currently without a win and is 19th in the series standings - there has been much speculation as to the cause, including questions about his new crew chief this year, Chad Johnston. 

   Stewart, who missed the last 15 races of the Cup season last year with two broken bones in his right leg, dismisses that idea outright.

   "Chad and I keep learning each other better and better each week. I really like Chad Johnston. I think the world of him," Stewart said. "I think he's probably been the best match personality-wise of any of the crew chiefs I've had since Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, Stewart's first crew chief in NASCAR).
   "So, I've had four really good crew chiefs now, but I think Chad and I really are kind of on the same page, so I'm excited about that side of it.  We've just got to find that one piece of the puzzle that gets us the rest of the way there."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Goodyear makes some tire changes for the Brickyard

   The annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stop at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has had issues in the past with tire problems, will see some changes this weekend based on recommendations from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

   While teams in both NASCAR series in action at Indy will run the same right-side tire code (D-4476), they will be on distinct left-side codes. Cup teams have run this right-side tire at Indianapolis since 2012. Compared to last year, Cup teams will be on a different left-side tire code (D-4556), though they have run it at both Dover and Kentucky earlier this season.

   Another change from last year is an increase in the minimum recommended air pressure in all four tires -- up four psi in the left-side tires and up five psi in the right-side tires. The recommended changes in set-up came out of a Goodyear test at The Brickyard on June 16 and 17.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New winner, lots of controversy at Bowman Gray Stadium

   Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., is no stranger to racing controversy and it recently experienced another bizarre round last Saturday night that has led to a slew of severe penalties and a new winner in the track's 25-lap modified race.

   In a statement released from track officials on Monday, the track's NASCAR Whelen All-American Series officials described the actions taken:

   "After a thorough review and consultation among many officials, NASCAR Officials at the Stadium have determined that Lee Jeffreys of Winston-Salem was indeed involved in the collision with Burt Myers of Walnut Cove, N.C., and Tim Brown of Tobaccoville, N.C. Jeffreys was at first said to have only slowed to avoid the wreckage instead of being caught in it, so he was placed back in the race lead and received the win when the race never returned to green flag racing due to rain. Danny Bohn of Huntersville, N.C. is now declared the race leader at the time and is awarded the victory."

   Officials announced that drivers Myers and Brown were moved to the rear of the field in the finish order, both drivers were placed on probation and each was docked 100 points in the modified series standings.

   “Both the decision regarding Lee Jeffreys as well as Burt Myers and Tim Brown are not decisions we take lightly. We talked with many other NASCAR Officials,” said John Horton, NASCAR’s chief steward at Bowman Gray Stadium. “We believe that these penalties will send a message that this is something we can not tolerate.”

   You can watch a video of the incident above. Read a story from the night of the incident here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

NASCAR Chairman Brian France: Race Team Alliance "not necessary"

   NASCAR Chairman Brian France was a guest Monday afternoon on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with  hosts Dave Moody and Angie Skinner. Among the topics was France's take on the newly formed Race Team Alliance.

   Here is what he said:
    France: We didn't think it was necessary and we thought the benefits they would arrive at with this association would be much smaller than they do. They're smart guys and they may figure out some things that we're not aware of. But on balance I would say two things - one, the idea that they don't know how many employees they have or what their costs are and this is a way to tackle that, that's terrific. We certainly want them to get those kinds of answers for sure. The one thing that is central to NASCAR though, is when you deal with one voice, that would probably be the worst thing we could ever do - and that's to listen to one voice, even it was a consensus voice. Every decision that we've ever made that was important, the more input, the more people we heard from, the better the result. So, that will never change in the business model of NASCAR. Good ideas come from all over the place and that's the strength that we have. Our communication has never been better. We just have to keep building on that.

   Q: There's a lot of speculation about the RTA's goals. Do you have any insight?
   France: They're smart guys. They are entitled to approach the business in certain ways. We're going to respect that but, you know, we're going to go down the road dealing with all of the team owners - not most of them, not the big ones, but all of them. That's the best outcome we can get. Whenever we do something and we're working on all kinds of things now, these are never simple things. Drivers, crew chiefs, engineers - we always pick their brains on things because it's not always black or white if we go one way or that way on whether it actually lowers costs or it actually improves racing. The last thing we would want to do is not talk to everybody so where we can find where the truth lies.

   Q: With attorneys now involved, do you still fill comfortable talking to owners who are part of the RTA?
   France: Sure, it's business as usual. We're embarking on some big things.    

   Q: It's clear you are making distinction from individual car owners and the RTA. What is the point of communicating with the RTA via attorneys and vice versa?
   France: I don't want to get too technical with legal mumbo jumbo. That doesn't serve anybody. The reality is we need to deal with the owners directly; that's how we've historically done it. If they think there are some benefits, we may not agree, but we'll certainly respect it.

   Q: Is ultimately the goal of the RTA to negotiate new percentages of the TV deal? Are those percentages set?
   France: They're set. It's the right allocation. Everyone would like to have more - that's natural. We're business as usual. The tracks continue to make big investments in their facilities and they need to rely on the fact it's business as usual in NASCAR. We're focused on building better relationships with team owners all the time.