Before dozens, Will Power captured his first Astor Cup.
It's about 10:45 a.m. local time Sunday morning here in sunny California. Last evening, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series came to an end with Tony Kanaan winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway, and Will Power capturing his first series championship. With a few hours before I have to depart AR1's Santa Monica offices for my flight back to Maryland, I figured it would be a good time to catch everyone up on a few items for the weekend that we didn’t get to.
First off, as we've been highlighting for the past two weeks the story of the weekend was Power, who of course, had come painstakingly close to winning championships on numerous occasions. And last night's race took on an almost eerie quality with everyone seeming to hold their collective breath wondering what, if anything, could go wrong. For example, when Power's team took out a turn of wing, when they were suppose to take in a turn (or was it the other way around?), the "these kind of things only happen to Will Power," type comments flooded the media center.
Corvette Museum to completely fill in sinkhole A massive sinkhole that swallowed eight prized sports cars won't be a permanent attraction at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky.
The museum's board of directors voted today to fill in the entire hole that opened up in February and became an Internet sensation. Curiosity over the hole revved up attendance and revenue for the museum in Bowling Green, an hour north of Nashville, Tennessee.
Board members reversed course by deciding against preserving a section of the gaping hole.
Video: 2014 MAVTV 500 Race Highlights Highlights from the final race of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Note the near empty grandstands. What a complete embarrassment for IndyCar in what was supposed to be their big grand finale for the championship. Talk about making yourself look like a dying series. Why isn't the last race of the year at IMS in a 400-miler where a minimum of 100,000 will show up?
Until guilty, Bass Pro Shops chief supports Tony Stewart One of Tony Stewart's closest friends is not just his fishing buddy, he's also founder and president of one of Stewart's primary sponsors on the No. 14 Chevrolet - namely, Johnny Morris, president and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. Morris' roots to Atlanta Motor Speedway run long. It's there that BPS sponsored several races over the years, including presenting one of the most unique trophies to race winners that the sports world has ever seen: typically a stuffed animal like a hulking grizzly bear. Because of those long roots to AMS and his friendship to Stewart, Morris took the unusual step of releasing a statement offering support to his long-time friend.
Here is Morris' full statement: "Today our thoughts are with our friend and fishing buddy Tony Stewart as he prepares to return to racing after what has been a difficult time in his life," Morris' statement began. "Our hearts go out to him and to the family and friends of Kevin Ward Jr., who died in the tragic sprint car event accident on August 9.
Mosley critical of Mercedes Former FIA president Max Mosley believes it was wrong of Mercedes to blame and punish Nico Rosberg publicly.
The always controversial former president under whose watch the sport's governing body played a far more high-profile role than it does under his successor was never afraid to punish those who broke the rules.
However, whilst agreeing with the way in which Mercedes opted to deal with the situation, Mosley is critical of the decision to make public the decision to punish Rosberg.
Bottas set for new Williams deal Valtteri Bottas is expected to remain at Williams for the near future as talks between the Finn and the Grove outfit over a new contract continues.
Williams have an option of extending his contract for another season, but so far this season the 25-year-old has exceeded all expectations of him and the team is hopeful of keeping him on as Felipe Massa's team-mate past 2015.
"Personally I don't see a reason to look around at this moment," Bottas told Autosport when asked whether or not he is happy driving for Williams.
Video: Tony Kanaan IndyCar MavTV 500 race winner Tony Kanaan wins his first race after replacing his friend Dario Franchitti at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and the two speak with The RACER Channel's Robin Miller afterward at Fontana.
Mikhail Aleshin Medical Update Medical update from Dr. Terry Trammell, INDYCAR Medical Consultant:
Mikhail Aleshin was upgraded to stable condition following a procedure for a chest injury at Loma Linda University Medical Center on Aug. 30. The Verizon IndyCar Series driver will remain hospitalized while he recovers from the procedure.
The #7 entry has not officially been withdrawn as of 4:25 p.m. local time.
A real quick note of interest:
We just talked with a member of INDYCAR PR. As of 4:25 p.m. local time, the #7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry that was going to be driven by Mikhail Aleshin has not yet been withdrawn from tonight's race. Aleshin, was of course, injured last evening.
Also, we went by the SPM garage area and the team had #77 road course car on the blocks, and an spare 77 oval wing out. There was no one working on the car.
Not sure what it all means. There is a deadline by which the team must make its official status known, although we are not sure exactly what that deadline is. We will continue to follow the story.
Marc Marquez won the MotoGP pole at the Hertz British Grand Prix, whilst Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo have also qualified on the front row.
Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) grabbed his tenth pole of the season right at the end of the qualifying shootout, clocking a 2’00.829 to secure the top spot on the gird as he looks for an immediate return to winning ways, after his fourth place Brno race finish.
Dovizioso (Ducati Team) made good use of the softer option qualifying tire again to trail by 0.311s in second place.
As Stewart returns to racing, will sponsors stick with him next year?
Stewart Friday at Atlanta. Whether sponsors stick with him will likely depend on whether he is found guilty or not
Tony Stewart exhaled heavily as he sank into a chair behind a table with a Dasani water and a Coca-Cola bottle emblazoned with his first name.
It was the only evidence of corporate sponsorship as the three-time Sprint Cup champion made his first public appearance since his sprint car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in an Aug. 9 race in upstate New York. In a halting and quavering voice, Stewart spoke for 2 minutes and 30 seconds before a plain mauve backdrop – an anomaly in a sport whose business model is predicated entirely on Fortune 500 support.
Whether the array of brightly colored sponsor logos remain on his No. 14 Chevrolet or disappear in a cloud of controversy might be as uncertain as the fate of Stewart, who returned Friday to NASCAR at Atlanta Motor Speedway despite facing the prospect of criminal charges. Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero, whose department is reviewing Ward's death with the county's district attorney, said the investigation would continue for at least another two weeks. Povero said in an Aug. 12 news conference there was no evidence of criminal intent at that time but stressed that wasn't indicative of conclusions being drawn.
NASCAR changes rules on the fly to fit their needs NASCAR officials never like to get too specific about their rules, lest they back themselves into a corner about decisions like the one they made Friday. Thanks to a NASCAR wavier, Tony Stewart will now be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup despite missing three races.
Should he win one of the next two events – at Atlanta Motor Speedway or Richmond International Raceway – Stewart would qualify for the 16-driver playoff.
Though the rule was vague enough for NASCAR to use it in this instance, it was presented as a medical exception when the rule was announced in January.
Pirelli World Challenge Announces Porsche GT-Cup Class for 2015 Pirelli World Challenge announced today a new Porsche GT-Cup class with competition slated to begin for the 2015 season. The class will integrate the introduction of Porsche 991 Cup Cars.
Running as part of the overall Pirelli World Challenge GT class, the new Porsche GT-Cup class will run within the GT Class races and have a separate victory circle presentation alongside that of the GT/GT-A class winners.
During a Friday press conference at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR's Mike Helton said that Tony Stewart will be eligible to run the Chase if he earns a spot in it the next 2 races even though he missed three races.
Marquez tops final practice, then crashes Marc Marquez set the fastest time during the third practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, before suffering an accident while on a quicker lap.
Marquez had just posted a time of 2:01.906 and had set two fastest sector times when he lost the front end of his Honda under braking for the left hander at The Loop. Marquez limped away and was able to return to the circuit for the final few moments of the session.
Video: Aleshin horror crash at Fontana Friday night Mikhail Aleshin Tears Down part of the catch-fencing in turn 4 at Fontana in a crash. Aleshin was injured and taken to a local hospital with fractured ribs, a broken right clavicle, a concussion and chest injuries. With no canopy to protect the driver's head, Aleshin was lucky not to be decapitated by one of the fence poles. With near zero fans in attendance Friday for IndyCar's grand finale at least no one was injured by the flying debris.
Huge Crash at Fontana, Aleshin seriously injured (Update 4)UPDATE #4
Russian Mikhail Aleshin learns the dangers of high banked ovals the hard way
Medical update from Dr. Terry Trammell, INDYCAR Medical Consultant:
Verizon IndyCar Series driver Mikhail Aleshin was evaluated at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif., on Aug. 29 and diagnosed with fractured ribs, a broken right clavicle, a concussion and chest injuries. He was admitted to the hospital and listed in serious but stable condition.
Aleshin was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center after he was involved in a multi-car accident during final practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Charlie Kimball, the other driver involved in the incident, was checked and released from the infield care center and was cleared to drive.
Briscoe leads final practice NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing's Ryan Briscoe set fast time in final practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway. The session was abbreviated due to an accident involving Mikhail Aleshin, Marco Andretti and Charlie Kimball, which saw the Russian rookie get airborne into the turn 4 catch fence. Kimball and Andretti got out of their cars quickly, while Aleshin remained in his car for several minutes, before being removed with assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team. He has been airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center complaining of a sore right foot and shoulder.
Scott Dixon was second quick, with Will Power, Kimball, and James Hinchcliffe rounding out the top-5. Full results to follow...
Dealers in Georgia petition to shut Tesla down Auto dealers in Georgia are the latest seeking to shut down Tesla Motors' factory-owned stores.
The Georgia Automobile Dealers Association filed a petition of enforcement Friday with state regulators arguing that Tesla's direct-sales model violates state law. Tesla has one store in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta and is planning two more stores in metro Atlanta.
"It's just very simple -- we want them to comply with the law the way others are," Bill Morie, president of the Georgia dealers association, told Automotive News.
Evening practice will get underway in about an hour at Auto Club Speedway.
It’s about 5:45 p.m. local time at Auto Club Speedway. Final practice for the MAVTV 500 gets underway at 7:15 p.m. Currently, the Verizon IndyCar Series teams are converting the cars from qualifying to race trim, eating dinner, and making final preparations for this evening’s half session. In the meantime, we’ll catch you up on a few happenings in the paddock.
Venezuela GP Lazarus driver Conor Daly is here making the rounds in Fontana. While Daly has been rumored to be in the running for an IndyCar seat for 2015, we hear that as things currently stand, he has very few prospects. And although you might not believe this, the issue is, wait, wait, money.
We caught with quite a few drivers after qualifying, and it seems many of the teams focused very little, if at all, on qualifying. Ryan Hunter-Reay used the word “sideshow,” when talking about qualifying. His Andretti Autosport teammates James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti echoed similar sentiments.
IndyCar confirms Houston GP dead after running race in blazing heat INDYCAR announced today that the Grand Prix of Houston will not return to the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule in 2015. The 1.7-mile temporary circuit at NRG Park hosted doubleheader races in each of the past two seasons, but INDYCAR and officials from the Grand Prix of Houston were unable to define a date for the 2015 event.
"INDYCAR is thankful to Mike Lanigan and his team for all their hard work and for the tremendous support of the Grand Prix of Houston that we received from Shell, Pennzoil and Honda," said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We look forward to a continued relationship with Mi-Jack Promotions and will always keep our options open when it comes to an important market like Houston."
The Grand Prix of Houston was previously part of the Indy car schedule from 1998-2001 and 2006-07.
IndyCar: Power leads opening IndyCar practice in Fontana
Will Power set fast time in opening Verizon IndyCar Series practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway. With a lap of 221.389 mph, the series championship leader clocked in 0.0051 seconds ahead of teammate Helio Castroneves, who enters the series finale 51 points behind the Aussie.
2012 ACS winner Ed Carpenter was third. Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan clocked in fourth and fifth respectively, completing a Chevrolet sweep of the top-5. Mikhail Aleshin was the lead Honda in sixth.
Next up will be qualifying at 2:15 p.m. local time.
Greetings from a sunny and very hot Auto Club Speedway. Verizon IndyCar Series practice session 1 for the MAVTV 500 to start began about 10 minutes ago, and series championship leader Will Power currently sits atop the time charts. We'll hit on a few quick points.
To begin, the buzz here suggests (and this is really no surprise) that tomorrow's crowd could be small even by Fontana standards. In fairness, it's not for lack of trying on the part of the Auto Club Speedway staff and promotional team. Radio ads, television spots, events, advertisements on billboards, etc., have all been evident in the 24 hours I've been in town. But for whatever reason (the heat, Labor Day weekend, general lack of interest, whatever), there is not much optimism surrounding tomorrow evening's gate. And as the president of one very prominent motorsports publication would say, it could be one of those cannonball-in-the grandstands-type situations.
We briefly caught up with one of our New Zealand correspondents roaming the paddock. The very-well connected gentleman down said that coverage of IndyCar is next to non-existent in Australia and New Zealand, nothing that even highlight shows are rare. This is of particular concern, when you realize that last year's championship was won by a Kiwi (Scott Dixon) and an Aussie is on the verge of winning this year (Will Power).
Mercedes F1 team meets over Spa incident (Update)UPDATE
Rosberg has been neutered
Shortly after the Mercedes statement, Rosberg posted his own statement on Facebook.
It said he has spent "a lot of time thinking" about the Spa incident since Sunday.
"I have already expressed my regret about the incident but, after meeting with Toto, Paddy and Lewis today, I wish to go a step further and describe it as an error of judgment on my part," said Rosberg.
"For that error of judgment, I apologize to Lewis and the team. I also want to say sorry to the fans who were deprived of our battle for the lead in Belgium.
Ecclestone vows revenge F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has "promised to get even with critics who predicted his downfall from a bribery trial, which he settled earlier this month," according to Christian Sylt for the London INDEPENDENT. He paid $100M to prosecutors in Germany to "put the brakes on charges that he paid a bribe to steer the sale of Formula One" to his preferred buyer, CVC.
Ecclestone: "Now I am in a position where I have got a little bit more time and I shall follow my old idea in life: 'Don’t get mad, get even.' I haven't got mad but I’m going to get even."
NJ Governor Chris Christie won't put a dime of New Jersey's money behind the race, therefore it will never happen. Stress 'never.'
Formula One's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that plans to host a Grand Prix in New Jersey were dealt a blow by several partners pulling out of the $100 million project.
The Grand Prix of America was announced with great fanfare in October 2011 at a press conference hosted by New Jersey's governor Chris Christie. It was due to be held in 2013 on 3.2-miles of public roads in Port Imperial, a district in the New Jersey towns of West New York and Weehawken. Part of the course snakes alongside the Hudson river and has the striking background of the Manhattan skyline.
Stewart to return this weekend at Atlanta After missing the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup races following the tragic accident that claimed the life of 20-year-old sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. at an upstate New York dirt track, NASCAR star Tony Stewart will return to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Stewart-Haas Racing officials announced that development at 4:30 pm ET in a distributed media release. There were no comments from Stewart in the media release.
Tony Stewart accident investigation ongoing nearly three weeks after The investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr. continues nearly three weeks after the sprint car driven by Tony Stewart struck and killed the 20-year-old driver.
An Ontario County (N.Y.) spokeswoman said Thursday morning there was nothing new to report as far as the investigation by the county sheriff’s office in the Aug. 9 accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. On Aug. 12, Sheriff Philip Povero said the investigation was ongoing and was expected to continue for at least another two weeks or more.
IMSA to Adopt New Worldwide Driver Ratings System in 2015 Work is underway on a new common set of driver ratings, with IMSA playing a key role in defining the criteria, alongside officials from the FIA, ACO, WEC and SRO.
According to Scot Elkins, IMSA's VP of Competition and Technical Regulations, the new worldwide ratings will help eliminate discrepancies between some of the lists, which has recently caused some controversy.
"We have a seat on the committee to try to tie everything together so that the ratings are the same worldwide," Elkins told Sportscar365.
NASCAR's TV money split won't change for 2015 NASCAR won't change the formula for how it distributes television money from its current split among tracks, teams and the sanctioning body when its new television deal kicks in next year, a deal that likely will be worth nearly 4% more in 2015 than in 2014.
In a news release to announce the impact of the schedule changes and the new 10-year television deal that goes into effect next season, track operator International Speedway Corp. said the split will remain at 65% to the tracks, 25% to the teams through the purse and 10% to NASCAR.
IndyCar Fontana open test results Results Wednesday from the Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway. With position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed.
1. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8075, 219.462 mph 2. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8528, 219.159 mph 3. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8595, 219.115 mph 4. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 32.8692, 219.050 mph 5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8773, 218.996 mph 6. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 32.9059, 218.806 mph 7. (10) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9191, 218.718 mph 8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 32.9369, 218.600 mph 9. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9725, 218.364 mph 10. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Dallara-Honda, 32.9819, 218.302 mph
Verizon IndyCar Series to race at NOLA MotorSports Park in 2015 INDYCAR announced today the addition of NOLA Motorsports Park and the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana to the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule in 2015. The event will be held April 10-12 and organized by Andretti Sports Marketing on a newly-configured 13-turn, 2.67-mile permanent road course layout.
The Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana will feature a three-day festival combining Louisiana's culture - including live musical acts, entertainment and local cuisine - with the excitement of a Verizon IndyCar Series event.
Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves confident of 2015 IndyCar deal
Newly-crowned Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves is optimistic that he can capitalize on his title success with an IndyCar program next season reports Autosport.
Chaves beat Jack Harvey to the Lights title on a countback of second places following last weekend's finale at Sonoma.
While the Lights championship has long been accompanied by a substantial scholarship toward an IndyCar deal, Chaves is the first driver to benefit from a relaxation in restrictions over how that money can be used.
Team Penske and Snap-on Announce Partnership Extension Building on one of the strongest and enduring relationships in motorsports, Team Penske announced today that it has extended its long-time partnership with Snap-on Incorporated.
The multi-year extension between the two organizations adds to Team Penske's longest active sponsorship as it celebrates a 33-year bond with Snap-on in 2014.
"Team Penske has been proud to call Snap-on a trusted partner for over 33 years and we are happy to announce that we will continue to work together for years to come,” said Roger Penske. “Our teams know that they are using the very best with Snap-on tools and equipment and we appreciate all that their reliability, quality and partnership has meant to our success together over the years."
Helio Castroneves -- Napa Quake Was ... 'Scariest Thing Of My Life! Indy superstar Helio Castroneves tells TMZ Sports ... there was a moment during the Napa earthquake where he thought he was seriously going to die -- calling the experience the "scariest thing of my life."
Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci wants engine freeze rules relaxed Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci says he wants manufacturers to be given the chance to make changes to their engine during a season.
Engines were homologated before the start of the season, with regulations only allowing approved changes to be made for reasons of reliability, safety or cost-saving. After tweaks are made this winter the same rule kicks in at the start of 2015, something Mattiacci wants to see changed.
NASCAR Penalizes Three Truck Teams Three teams that compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have been penalized for post-race infractions committed following the Aug. 21 race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The race winning No. 19 Ford driven by Brad Keselowski, the No. 00 Chevrolet driven by Cole Custer and the No. 30 Chevrolet driven by Ron Hornaday Jr. all received a P2 level penalty as outlined in Section 12-4.1 of the rule book and violates sections:
- 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; - 20B-12.8.1 Truck failed to meet post-race height requirements
As a result of this violation, crew chiefs Joel Shear (Custer); Doug Randolph (Keselowski); and Doug George (Hornaday) have each been fined $5,000. Each team has also been penalized with the loss of 10 championship driver and 10 championship owner points.
Video: Sebastian Vettel Takes First Ever Lap of Sochi F1 Track Watch an onboard view of Infiniti's Director of Performance, Sebastian Vettel, take the world's first ever full lap of the Sochi Autodrom Grand Prix circuit by a Formula One driver.
Hulman-George family has returned IndyCar to obscurity I thought the IndyCar race at Sonoma was some of the best road racing this year, with cut-and-thrust battles and frantic action all the way around the track. It truly was outstanding racing by any measure. But the fact remains that except for the hard-core enthusiasts who love the sport, and the owners, teams, crews and people directly involved in the sport itself, hardly anyone cares.
In reality, we're right back where we were before the CART series was formed, and that is that Indy car racing consists of the Indianapolis 500 - which still has a modicum of prestige attached to it and notable interest - and the rest of the racing series, which unfolds in almost total obscurity [Just the way the Hulman-George family wants it]. It truly pains me to write that, but to pretend otherwise is a fool's errand. Crying "Say it ain't so!" or that "The good times are just around the corner" might sound good or make some people feel good, but it wouldn't be accurate. The fact remains that IndyCar is conducted in a vacuum for the few who have a direct, vested interest in the sport and that is simply unacceptable. [The NBCSN TV contract that guarantees the series remains invisible with near zero ratings ensures that]
Rosberg tries the outside around the slower Hamilton. There is no evidence that Rosberg hit him on purpose because he did not. No driver would damage their own car on purpose. We think false statements were made to give the British media something to talk about all in the name of improving sagging TV ratings.
Nico Rosberg will face no further sanction from F1’s stewards "over his crash with Lewis Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix," according to Daniel Johnson of the London TELEGRAPH. Both Mercedes F1 Exec Dir Toto Wolff and Rosberg denied Hamilton’s accusation that the German had “deliberately” caused the collision to “prove a point.” Sources at the FIA had originally said that "there would only be an investigation if Rosberg admitted causing the accident intentionally, or if Mercedes lodged a complaint." A spokesperson for the FIA confirmed that without any “new evidence” the matter would be laid to rest. The spokesperson said, "The FIA will not intervene in this issue." TELEGRAPH
The BBC reported Hamilton "promised not to retaliate" against Rosberg at the Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton, 29, said, "I will always put the team first and I won't take anything into my own hands." BBC
In London, Kevin Eason wrote Hamilton "has aimed a thinly veiled dig" at Rosberg. Asked whether he could trust Rosberg should they be wheel-to-wheel at the next race at Monza, Hamilton added, “I’ll have to make sure we’re not wheel-to-wheel.
Belgian GP USA TV Rating from Spa The overnight TV rating for the Belgian GP F1 race from Spa on CNBC Sunday at 7:30 AM ET was a 0.37 rating, up 42% from a 0.26 last year on NBCSN. The race was also tape delayed on NBCSN later that day.
Comments on 2015 NASCAR schedule Co-hosts Steve Byrnes and Adam Alexander revealed the 2015 NASCAR race schedule live on Tuesday's NASCAR RACE HUB on FOX Sports 1.
Included in the schedule are NASCAR on FOX's live coverage of the first eight NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES point races on FOX, six Cup Series point races on FOX Sports 1, the first 14 NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES races (four on FOX; 10 on FOX Sports 1) and the entire 23-race NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES season on the FOX family of networks (Talladega on FOX and 22 races on FOX Sports 1).
The most significant changes to the schedule include moving Atlanta from Labor Day Weekend to the second race of the season, including a companion Truck Series event; once again running the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on its traditional Labor Day Weekend date; creating a "West Coast Swing" in the early portion of the year; and pushing the spring Bristol race back a few weeks.
Swindell retires After four decades of racing, three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell has announced that he is retiring from full-time racing, effective immediately.
In a statement, Swindell indicated that he would like to continue driving in the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals but wanted more time to be with his son, Kevin, as he competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
"Part of the reason for the timing now is I've spent the last two weekends with my son, Kevin, racing," the elder Swindell said. "I haven’t had any time to spend with his racing the last four years. He will drive a Nationwide car for the rest of the year and I want to be there to support him."
NASCAR Bristol TV rating ABC's live telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Saturday night, Aug. 23, earned a final 3.2 U.S. household rating, averaging 5,079,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media.
The rating and viewership were down from last year's race, which earned a 3.9 rating and averaged 6,322,000 viewers. This year’s race aired on alternate digital channels in 11 markets due to ABC affiliates airing NFL preseason games in those markets. Nashville, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky., markets that traditionally have strong NASCAR ratings, were among those affected.
Greenville, S.C., was the highest-rated metered market in the nation with an 11.3 rating, followed by Knoxville, Tenn., at 9.3 and Greensboro, N.C., at 9.2. Indianapolis was fourth at 8.7 and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., fifth at 6.9.
Rounding out the top 10 metered markets were Buffalo, 6.6; Birmingham, Ala., Richmond, Va., and Orlando, Fla., 6.3; and Charlotte, N.C., 5.6.
In Charlotte, the telecast did not air on the market's ABC affiliate station but did air on another full-powered, rated station. Last year, the race earned an 8.7 rating in Charlotte while airing on the ABC affiliate.
ESPN's live telecast of the rain-delayed NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol on Friday night, Aug. 22, earned a 1.0 rating, averaging 1,631,000 viewers. Last year's race, which was run and telecast as scheduled, earned a 1.1 rating and averaged 1,687,000 viewers.
MAV TV 500 Fast Facts Once again, for the third consecutive season, the Verizon IndyCar Series closes its season at Auto Club Speedway with the MAV TV 500 on Saturday, with the driving championship still in play.
Will Power, last year’s MAV TV 500 winner, is the points leader. The Team Penske driver increased his margin to 51 points over teammate Helio Castroneves with his 10th place finish in Sonoma on Sunday, while Castroneves ended in the 18th spot.
Simon Pagenaud stayed within striking distance, 81 points back, with a third-place finish at Sonoma. Two drivers, Ryan Hunter-Reay and race winner Scott Dixon remain championship eligible, but will be eliminated if Power participates in Friday practice, which would assure the Team Penske driver half points for the weekend. Juan Pablo Montoya was eliminated from the title chase at Sonoma.
Stewart-Ward investigation 'finishing up' but no timetable for completion The Ontario County (N.Y.) Police Department is in the final stages of its investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr., but there is no timetable yet for its completion, a department spokesperson told FOXSports.com Monday morning.
Officer Nathaniel Ross, the OCPD's Senior Communications Officer, said Monday morning that the police are "finishing up" the Ward investigation. Asked if there was a timetable for when it would be completed and when the findings would be made public, Ross said, "Not that I'm aware of."
Ward, 20, died Aug. 9 after being struck by Stewart's sprint car at an Empire Super Sprints Series race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Upstate New York. Ward was racing Stewart when he crashed into an outside wall.
2015 NHRA Schedule Includes 24 Events The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule has been announced by NHRA officials. The 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Series will make its traditional stops across the country and remains the most geographically dispersed U.S. touring series in all of motorsports, reaching fans with its unique brand of high-horsepower entertainment from New England to California, Washington to Florida, and all points between.
Highlighting the schedule once again in 2015 will be the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race, at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-7.
The season again will open and close at famed Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. The season kicks off at Pomona with the NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 5-8, and closes at the historic dragstrip with the final race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the Auto Club NHRA Finals, Nov. 12-15.
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