Verizon signs multi-year deal as title sponsor for INDYCAR Series.
posted by Mike Neff
Friday March 14, 2014
It was announced today that Verizon has inked a contract for multiple years to be the entitlement sponsor for the INDYCAR Series. The company will be utilizing their technical expertise to activate multiple programs that will benefit the series, the race teams, race tracks, business partners and especially the fans. In addition to the series sponsorship the company will also continue their involvement with the Verizon P1 award for series pole winners and their relationship with Penske Motorsports.
“Verizon is delighted to become the title sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series and to bring even more of our innovative technology to the fans, to the teams and to the entire motorsports community,” said Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. “The intersection of racing and technology has never been more relevant, and our expanded partnership with INDYCAR provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate that synergy, integrate new services like LTE Multicast and help propel the sport forward.”
“Verizon is the perfect partner for us to showcase the high level of innovation and technology that is inherent in our sport,” said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “INDYCAR will provide a large audience of tech-savvy consumers who are eager for the latest technology to further enhance their experience.”
Among the initiatives that will be undertaken as part of this agreement will be a significant network coverage upgrade at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There will also be enhancements to INDYCAR race control, the addition of pit road monitors and enhanced connectivity for fans at all of the race venues. Verizon is also going to roll out its LTE Multicast solution in the future. The technology will deliver multi-faceted multi-media content to multiple devices simultaneously instead of streaming it separately to each end user.
Verizon’s sponsorship with Penske Motorsports will be increased to at least an eight race primary sponsorship of Juan Pablo Montoya.
The INDYCAR season will include 18 races with 12 of them being contested on street and road courses and the remaining six taking place on ovals. Over the last eight seasons the championship of the series has not been decided until the final race of the season.
NASCAR, IMSA and AMA Pro announce Fanschoice.TV
posted by Mike Neff
Wednesday March 12, 2014
Free live streaming of events will allow fans to view previously unavailable live events online
AMA Pro, NASCAR and IMSA announced the launch of Fanschoice.tv today. The free service will stream motorcycle races, sports car races and regional touring and local short track events. The first event will be the AMA Pro flat track 200 from the 1/4 mile dirt track at Daytona International Speedway.
Fans will have access to multiple camera angles, live timing and scoring and a feed from the track’s PA system. In addition to the touring events from IMSA, AMA and NASCAR, three NASCAR Home Tracks have already signed on to be part of the release. Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA., Lake County Speedway in Painesville, OH., and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA. will have all of their races available for viewing on the new service.
NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour will all be shown on Fanschoice.tv. The awards banquets for both the Whelen All-American Series and the Touring Series will also be streamed.
IMSA coverage will include streaming of its developmental and single-make series, as well as selected practice and qualifying sessions for the two IMSA national sports car series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge that are part of the recently-announced five-year agreement with Fox Sports.
NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Saturday February 23, 2013
If there is one universal attribute in racing that runs through the very veins of every driver, crewman, official and fan, it is passion. Passion has always run strong in the NASCAR community, passed from one generation to the next as seamlessly as water, or sometimes unexpectedly ignited in someone new at the sound of an engine or the smell of warm oil. Passion makes good drivers better. It pushes crews to find the miniscule advantage, one that mans the difference between winning and finishing second. It makes fans support their drivers from their early days, to the height of a career, then through the fading twilight into retirement with an optimism that always serves to keep them believing. The sport fuels the passion, and in turn, the passion drives the sport. It’s a part of every race, every pass, every win.
But with that passion there sometimes comes a heavy price. Usually that’s the part nobody likes to think about, but it’s always there. You give your all for the love of the sport, and sometimes it costs you dearly.
We were all reminded of that cost on Saturday, when more than two dozen race fans were injured in a last-lap crash in the Nationwide Series race at Daytona. As the cars came off the last turn for the final time, a last-ditch block set off a chain reaction that saw Kyle Larson’s car rip into the catchfence just before the start-finish line. After a vicious impact, it erupted briefly in flames before coming to rest in the infield grass amongst the other damaged machines.
Except, Larson’s car didn’t look like a car any more; the entire front end, right back to the firewall, was simply gone. For one heart-wrenching moment, the driver’s fate hung in the balance of our collective imagination. But the roll cage around the driver did its job, and Larson climbed out under his own power, only to stand and stare in disbelief at the place where, just moments before, there had been two wheels, fenders, and the powerful Hendrick engine that had made him a frontrunner for much of the event. The questions on his face were clear: What happened? Where was the rest of the car?
The terrible truth was soon revealed. ESPN cameras revealed the engine, front clip, and a wheel lodged in the catchfence where the infield crossover gate for pedestrians had been. The catchfence was destroyed, with great, gaping holes marring the chain-link, while support cables lay in twisted piles. The residual fuel in the engine briefly ignited as track security moved fans back from the wreckage.
We all knew then, I think, that people were hurt. There couldn’t not be injuries — one wheel from the No. 32 had been caught in the fence, but the other had flown over as the frame that the wheels are tethered to disintegrated. Shrapnel was strewn along the fence, just feet from where fans were sitting. With smoke still billowing from the carnage, at first Tony Stewart was subdued in Victory Lane; he understood that some things are so much bigger than a trophy on a shelf. We didn’t know then, of course if all of the drivers involved were OK. We’d find out later, luckily as they trickled out of the Infield Care Center, that they made it through. But word on the fans came much more slowly, shrouded in confusion and speculation.
NASCAR is almost like a living cell: dynamic, insular. And if the drivers and teams are the nucleus, driving its purpose, the fans are the outer structures that nurture and protect it, feed it. It’s a community; fans feel like an extended family of sorts, bound by the passion they share with the teams and drivers. When someone is injured in a crash, we look at the inherent risk of so dangerous a sport. It’s always tragic, although not totally unexpected. But when a fan is caught in the fray, it’s a little different. That person paid to be there, maybe sacrificing and saving to be able to sit in that seat and watch the sport unfold before him. Everyone in the garage or the track office feels perhaps a little bit responsible. That fan was a part of the family.
But fans, in reality, do face risks at the racetrack, and they go anyway. On the back of every ticket is a warning; the sport is dangerous, so please don’t blame the track or NASCAR if something goes wrong is the essence of the “hold harmless” clause. And the risk is real. Race cars weigh more than a ton and a half and are made of many, many parts that can fail or fall off. The catchfences are strong, but they can’t be infinitely tall, can’t realistically stop every piece of hot, sharp debris from those cars. But fans, like drivers, crewmen and officials, accept the risk.
It is NASCAR’s responsibility to keep everyone, from drivers to fans as safe as possible. I hope that fences are one area that will be examined. This one did its job, stopping the hot, heavy engine from flying into the seats, but the chain link must also act like a cheese grater, helping to shear off parts and pieces. Perhaps there are better ways to build them. However, in a sport where men defy the laws of physics in metal cages, sometimes things just happen. Truly, the drivers are not to blame. The track is not to blame. Nobody is to blame. Sometimes in life, bad things happen. They just do.
The cost of the sport isn’t limited to fans. It infiltrates the garage. Drivers know the risks, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt when the risks catch up. They aren’t immune to the emotional cost of racing any more than to the physical… yet they do it anyway. If you know where to look, you will see the marks left from paying the price of passion. On the Richard Childress Racing cars, there is a No. 3 on the doorpost. In that way, Childress’ longtime friend and the driver that will forever carry that team’s banner, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. is always with them. The little flame on the front bumper of Jimmie Johnson’s car has been there since he was a rookie, bearing the name of his friend, Blaise Alexander, who was killed in an ARCA race at Charlotte just hours after Johnson qualified for his first Cup event. Later, the tail number of the Hendrick airplane that crashed on its way to Martinsville was added to the decal on Johnson’s car. The price these people have paid to be a part of the sport is there for all to see, their heart on their sleeve, so to speak.
In some ways, the emotional risk is even greater than the physical one. When tragedy strikes and a driver or fan is lost, there are many in the sport, including fans, who feel shaken to the core by the loss. Loss hurts. Ask everyone affected: the driver’s family and friends, crews, officials and fans. Fans feel like they lose a family member when a driver is lost, and they feel that way for another fan, too. Look at YouTube, sometime and you will see dozens of videos made by fans trying to make sense of the grief they feel at these losses. They understand the pain of a Brian Vickers, who lost his best friend not once but twice, to the sport: first Adam Petty in a practice crash on a cold New Hampshire day and then Ricky Hendrick on the side of that Virginia mountain. Vickers will probably never be able to celebrate his birthday without a sting of pain: he turned 21 that day in Martinsville, and Hendrick had been going to take him to celebrate after the race. But he straps into that race car every week. They all do; the fans still go.
And in the end, that’s how it should be. There was talk that NASCAR should have canceled the Daytona 500 in the wake of what happened. As long as the fence can be repaired to the degree that it needs to be, that should not happen. Teams raced after Earnhardt’s crash; one of Earnhardt’s teams won that race. The Hendrick teams raced — and won — the week after the plane crash. And they should race now, in the name of the fans who were injured. My guess is that those fans will want it that way. They were there because they love racing, knowing the risks involved. But they still went anyway, for love of the sport; shouldn’t everyone else do the same?
Also, for some of the fans in Daytona, for the 500 this event might be a once in a lifetime trip. They might not have another chance to fulfill their dream, born of their passion. No; they need to race. As the engines roar to life with that angry, defiant rumble, we should all take a moment to think about the true cost of the sport — those who have been lost, and those who have paid either the physical or emotional price of the passion they all share. And then, the green flag should wave.
Yes, the passion has a price, and everyone paid a piece of it in one way or another on Saturday. That cost should make everyone pause for a moment to reflect. But anyone who has been injured or lost in the sport also would want it to go forward — it’s what racers do. As long as we understand and accept the cost, and it is great, the passion, and the sport are, in the end, worth it. The only way we could not honor those who have paid the price most dearly is to stop caring.
Connect with Amy!
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Good article Amy. I had only two problems with what happened. After Carl Edwards crash there was talk of clearing fans from that area of the track because when things go bad it’s been in that general area. Maybe that talk should turn into action. The second issue I have is that I thought it was disgisting to see a person injured by the tire and people were so busy shooting it that it took a man coming from someplace higher up in the stands to come to the aid of that person, ripping off his shirt to help stem the bleeding. To those people that were more interested in getting a good video than helping another injured person…. Your scum of the earth.
I have one question. Why mention RCR running a #3 on his cars to remember Dale Earnhardt and not mention the fact that Dale’s son drove the next week after the crash and continues to race? You mention Vicker’s loss, but his loss is nothing compared to Dale Jr’s after his father died.
I appreciate all the careful coverage of the fans injured, but I would really like to hear also about how Michael Annett is doing as he was injured before this incident. All I’ve heard is that he remains in the hospital. head injury? broken bones? what should we be praying for on his behalf?
Recent articles from Amy Henderson:
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.