Speedway Digest Staff
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NASCAR Delivers 2015 Competition Package to Teams
Following more than a year of extensive collaboration with stakeholders throughout the industry, and with a keen eye towards the future, NASCAR has finalized and delivered to teams the 2015 racing package for all three national series.
“This race package represents a lot of hard work by NASCAR, the race teams, the drivers, our manufacturer partners and Goodyear,” said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR senior vice president of innovation and racing development. “We’ve remained committed to constantly looking at our racing, and the work that has been done has been aimed at getting a rules package delivered to the race teams as early as possible.”
Highlighted in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series changes for 2015 are nearly 60 enhancements, including adjustments to the power train, aerodynamics and chassis that are designed to work in concert to deliver drivers more flexibility and teams more adjustability. Fans are expected to benefit from closer racing and more opportunities for drivers to pass on the track.
“We have had fantastic racing so far in 2014,” Stefanyshyn said. “We remain committed to constantly looking to improve it. Our fans deserve it and our industry is pushing for it. That will not stop with the 2015 package; the development will continue over many years to come.”
NASCAR will institute a shorter rear spoiler in its 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series package, which also includes a reduction of engine power, lower rear differential gear ratios and an optional driver adjustable track bar.
Based on the success of group qualifying formats, which were introduced in 2014 for all national series, NASCAR also announced that group qualifying will be utilized for the first time for the Daytona 500.
Additional changes for the 2015 rules include the elimination of team-facilitated private testing, with race teams being instead invited to participate in NASCAR / Goodyear tests throughout the season. NASCAR also will work alongside Goodyear to introduce rain tires should conditions warrant during road course events in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2015.
“We’re very pleased with the rules package and what it will do for our racing,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “We’re confident it will continue to generate great racing, along with continuous safety improvements.
“The work alongside our industry has been unprecedented. We’ve had great dialogue with our drivers and teams, our manufacturers and Goodyear, allowing us to build greater efficiencies into the 2015 rules package. We’ve met our goal of delivering rules to teams with time to prepare for next season and we’re seeing the benefits of an updated process for developing our rules paying dividends. It will only continue to improve.”
2015 Rules Package
Nearly 60 different enhancements / updates have been made to the NASCAR national series rules packages for 2015 in the following areas:
- New Rules, with one or more of the following goals in mind: enriched competition, improved safety, reduced cost, enhanced product relevance and environmental (green) improvements.
- Enhanced Enforcement of Existing Rules
- New Officiating Processes
- Newly Approved Parts
- Updated Business Processes
The following are among the significant updates to the competition package.
There will be a NASCAR-mandated ban on all team-initiated private testing in 2015
- Teams will be invited to participate in NASCAR / Goodyear tests
- NASCAR will not conduct a test at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Daytona 500
- 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Package includes
- Reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer
- Roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter
- Lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM
- Rear spoiler adjustment to 6 inches high (2014 height: 8 inches)
- Optional driver adjustable track bar
- 38-inch wide radiator pan
- Minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs. via ballast reduction (2014 weight: 3,300 w/o driver)
- Updated qualifying formats for all tracks
- Rain tires on road courses, similar to rules in place for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; mandatory wipers, defogger and rear flashing rain light installed for the event weekend
New Officiating Processes
- Data Log and Capture System for pre-race inspections
- Automated pit road officiating at race events
Newly Approved Parts
- Revised brake calipers
Updated Business Processes
- Electronic rule book
- New parts approval process
Clinch Scenarios For Dover International Speedway
Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have each clinched a spot in The Contenders Round via their wins at Chicagoland Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway, respectively.
Below are the finishes each driver needs in Sunday’s race at Dover (2 p.m. ET on ESPN) to guarantee a spot in The Contenders Round, regardless of the finish of any other driver:
Kevin Harvick: 34th or better; or 35th and at least one lap led; or 36th and most laps led
Jimmie Johnson: 24th or better; or 25th and at least one lap led; or 26th and most laps led)
Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 21st or better; 22nd and at least one lap led; or 23rd and most laps led
Jeff Gordon: 14th or better; 15th and at least one lap led; 16th and most laps led
Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards: 2nd; or 3rd and most laps led
AJ Allmendinger: 2nd
Kahne Kahne: 2nd and at least one lap led
Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola only control their own destiny by winning Sunday at Dover.
Ragan Ready to 'Fight a Good Fight' against the Monster
David Ragan, driver of the No. 34 Plimpton & Hills Ford, comments on racing at Dover International Speedway:
Gilliland: The Monster Is a Moving Target
David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford, comments on racing at Dover International Speedway:
"Dover is one of my favorite racetracks. It's just got a lot of speed. If you're going 150 miles an hour, it feels like you're going 200 mile an hour. It's a lot fun and a handful. It's a physically and mentally demanding racetrack and it puts on a great show. It's like a roller-coaster ride, for sure. I remember my first time there, driving off the straightaway down into the corner, I thought it was never going to land. It gets a light feeling.
"You're aiming for a moving target. Once the track starts taking rubber and starts getting black, the car drives 100-percent different than when the rubber's not down. So, do you set up and adjust your car to drive on the rubber at the end of a run? Or for the first three-quarters of a run when it's not down? So, it makes it really challenging to chase it. It's strange to go around the track on a black racetrack, and then caution comes out, and by the time you go green again, it's regular white concrete again. It's kind of crazy."
Dover International Speedway...The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) heads into Dover, Delaware for the Drive Sober 150, the final race of the 2014 season. Ben Rhodes enters this race looking to pick up his sixth victory of 2014, while the 17-year-old has already officially clinched the NKNPSE Driver Point Championship. The championship marks the second straight for TSM, after the team won the title a year ago with Dylan Kwasniewski behind the wheel. Kaz Grala, Scott Heckert and Cameron Hayley look to end their respective seasons on a strong note and capture the ninth win for Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) in the NKNPSE this year.
Kaz Grala...Grala brings the No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet into the Drive Sober 150, looking to rebound after bringing home an 11th-place finish at Greenville-Pickens Speedway due to contact in the race's closing laps. The youngest full-time driver in the NKNPSE looks to continue upon what has been an extremely successful second half of 2014, as Grala has moved forward in the points, now currently sixth in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.
Kaz Grala on racing at Dover:
"I'm really looking forward to getting on track at Dover this weekend. We've put together some really good runs with my No. 31 OzLINK team over the past few races, and I'd love to build upon that and end the season on a strong note. It's hard to believe the season is already over on the [NASCAR] K&N [Pro Series East] side of things, but I think we've had some really good runs this season and I can't thank my entire Turner Scott Motorsports team enough for all the hard work they've put in all season long."
Scott Heckert...Heckert brings the No. 34 Project Lifesaver Chevrolet into the Drive Sober 150 looking to capture his first victory on an oval in the NKNPSE. Heckert looks to cap off what has been a career-best year with a third trip to victory lane. The 20-year-old has compiled two wins for TSM this year and comes into Dover looking to rebound from a disappointing trip to Greenville-Pickens last time out. Heckert has one previous start at Dover that came in 2013, when Heckert finished 23rd. Heckert currently sits 10th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.
Scott Heckert on racing at Dover:
"We've raced at Dover before and, unfortunately, it wasn't the result we were looking for in 2013. That being said, I think we will have a strong car as I make my first start at Dover with TSM. We've had an amazing year, capturing wins and poles along the way, and I'd love to end the 2014 season on a high note and end up in Victory Lane when it's all said and done. My entire TSM crew works so hard to make the No. 34 quick on the track and I think we've showed this season that we can contend with the best of them, so hopefully we showcase more of the same this weekend at Dover."
Ben Rhodes...Rhodes brings the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet into the Drive Sober 150 looking to win his sixth race in 2014. The NASCAR Next driver has a wave of momentum heading into the final race of the season, as the 17-year-old locked up the NKNPSE Driver Point Championship at Greenville-Pickens a few weeks ago. Rhodes has one previous NKNPSE start at Dover in 2013, when a flat tire late in the race ended his day early. The young driver also has one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Dover earlier this season. Rhodes has looked strong all season, not only winning five races but also adding six poles to his resume. Rhodes looks to end the season on a high note by capturing win number six, a mark that would tie 2013 NKNPSE champion Kwasniewski.
Ben Rhodes on racing at Dover after clinching championship:
"Heading into Dover with the championship already won is a great feeling for this No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team. We no longer need to worry about points and racing for the championship and can head out on track and focus on one thing: winning at Dover. We had a great car a year ago in this race and unfortunately a tire went down, ending our day early. I've gained even more experience at the racetrack since then, thanks to the Truck Series race, and I think that will come into play and help me this weekend. Hopefully we can end this season strong and bring home another win for everyone at TSM."
Cameron Hayley...Hayley brings the No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet into the final race of the season looking to capture his first-career NKNPSE victory. Hayley had yet another strong showing at Greenville a few weeks ago, leading laps and bringing home a second-place result. Hayley looks to build upon the finish and improve one position at Dover. The 18-year-old enters the Drive Sober 150 sitting second in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.
Cameron Hayley on racing at Dover this weekend:
"It's hard to believe this is already the last race of 2014 with my No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley team. We haven't gotten to victory lane yet, but we've been fast throughout the season and come so close to winning. I know we will have a quick car this weekend, one that will once again contend for the victory. Hopefully everything goes our way and we end the night and season on a high note."
Homestead-Miami Speedway & Baptist Health South Florida Enter Into Multi-Year Partnership
Homestead-Miami Speedway joins an impressive list of professional sports teams, colleges and sporting events from South Florida which now share Baptist Health South Florida as a corporate partner. The Speedway and Baptist Health today announced a three-year agreement, making Baptist Health the official healthcare sponsor of the Speedway. Baptist Health will have a strong presence at many of Homestead-Miami Speedway’s events throughout the year, especially leading up to and during Ford Championship Weekend, November 14-16.
Although this is the first time that the two entities have officially joined forces, Baptist Health is not unfamiliar territory for the Speedway. The Speediatrics Unit at Homestead Hospital – part of Baptist Health – is one of The NASCAR Foundation’s primary philanthropies. Also known as the Betty Jane France Children’s Emergency Center, it is the only emergency center dedicated to children in the southernmost region of Miami-Dade County. The motorsports-themed unit receives regular visits from NASCAR drivers, and the Speedway sponsors annual toy drives and other initiatives to lift the spirits of sick children and their families.
“Baptist Health is one of South Florida’s leading healthcare providers, and we are excited to have them on our team,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. “The Speediatrics unit at Homestead Hospital has been a main focus of our community endeavors for many years, and partnering with Baptist Health South Florida as a whole expands that tremendous relationship.”
“Homestead Hospital’s longstanding partnership with the Speedway has brought great joy to our young patients, their families, and the nurses and physicians who care for them,” said Homestead Hospital CEO Bill Duquette, “and this is only a glimpse of what’s in store for our community.”
In addition to their sponsorship affiliations, Baptist Health currently serves as the official healthcare provider for the Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins and Florida Panthers, as well as Florida International University’s athletic program, Miami-Dade County Public Schools athletics, Orange Bowl, Miami Open, World Golf Championships and Miami Marathon.
Homestead Miami Speedway PR
Autumn Classic to Highlight Packed November At SNMP
The race weekend will feature a full day of practice for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stocks on Friday, with Late Model Stock practice, qualifying and heat races Saturday night. Also on Saturday night will be two support division races (classes to be determined), with Sunday featuring Bandoleros and the classic 200 lap Late Model Stock race.
The Thanksgiving All-Star Classic, a staple of fall racing in the southeast, will go on as scheduled. The Friday through Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 28-30) will feature all of the Southern National Motorsports Park divisions run in the 2013 edition, minus the Late Model Stocks.
"We wanted to make it easier on the Late Model drivers so they don't have to pick a track on that weekend," said track owner Michael Diaz. "Other tracks have their rain date on Thanksgiving weekend, so it just made sense to move it up. It's over a month after the Martinsville race (MDCU 300), so guys will have plenty of time to get their cars ready, and will still have a few weeks to get ready for Myrtle Beach."
Diaz said that he hoped it would help the Thanksgiving All-Star Classic as well.
"It'll ease some of the schedule at Thanksgiving, and allow us to move up some start times. Everyone's forecasting a really cold winter, and this will allow us to run a little more in the daytime."
The additional race date adds to an already busy October for Southern National. November 1 will see the inaugural Halloween Spooktacular 150 (featuring a 150 lap Enduro race, 75 lap Limited Late Model Stock race, UCARs, Legends and Bandoleros), as well as the PASS Series Mason-Dixon Meltdown to be held November 15.
Do you ever wish you could re-watch the bold passes and precise pit stops that secured your favorite driver a win during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™?
For the first time ever, YouTube®and NASCAR Digital Media have collaborated to give race fans the chance to relive every moment of NASCAR®’s completely revamped playoffs. For the remainder of NASCAR’s postseason, fans will be able to view full-length replays of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ races on NASCAR’s official YouTube channel, free of charge.
Complete race replays of each Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race broadcast will be available at www.youtube.com/NASCAR each week following the event. Fans may visit the playlist entitled, “Full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Replays – 2014” on the channel’s landing page to access the videos.
“Enhancing the fan experience through NASCAR’s digital properties is at the core of everything we do, and providing free, full-length race replays on YouTube gives our fans another easy way to interact with the sport,” said Colin Smith, managing director of NASCAR Digital Media.
NASCAR Digital Media launched a completely redesigned digital platform in January 2013, which included a brand new YouTube channel. Since then, NASCAR Digital Media, in collaboration with the league’s Entertainment Marketing team, has provided NASCAR fans with fresh content through integrations with YouTube stars, such as the creators of the Canadian cooking show Epic Meal Time, the family-friendly EvanTube and Ultimate Frisbee player Brodie Smith. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race replays are a part of the league’s overall strategy to make NASCAR’s digital properties the premier destination for NASCAR content – before, during and post-race day.
“Having full NASCAR races on YouTube for the first time will be a big win for fans around the world, letting them watch anywhere on any device,” said Claude Ruibal, YouTube’s Global Head of Sports Partnerships. “On YouTube, NASCAR Digital Media is now able to connect even more of their fans with the sport they love.”
Alex Bowman led his BK Racing teammates to the checkered flag with a 28th-place finish in the No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota Camry at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Bowman was followed by Travis Kvapil in the No. 83 Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota Camry who finished 32nd, and Cole Whitt who finished 38th in the Rinnai Toyota Camry.
Bowman drove the No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota Camry for his second race this season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. With his car tight from the center off, the Sunoco rookie contender worked closely with his BK Racing team to improve the balance of his car. With a series of air pressure and chassis adjustments, Bowman's car improved over the short run. With nine cautions in the final 100 laps, Bowman noticed some improvement in his car, which got even better with a track bar adjustment from the BK Racing crew on the final pit stop of the afternoon. By the time the checkered flag waved, Bowman was scored in the 28th position to mark his ninth top-30 finish of the 2014 season.
"We finally had a race where some luck fell our way," commented Bowman. "Our Dr Pepper Toyota Camry fought a tight condition throughout most of the race, but we were able to get a little better with each pit stop. We were good on the short run, so all of the cautions at the end of the race played in our favor. We've had some highs and lows this season, but I'm hoping this means we turned a corner and we'll finish out the season strong."
Kvapil, who competed for BK Racing from 2012-2013, made his return to the team to drive the No. 83 Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota Camry at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kvapil rolled off 40th on Sunday afternoon and despite having difficulty getting his car to turn throughout the race, Kvapil was able to steadily climb through the field throughout the 300-mile race. Working through a series of chassis and air pressure adjustments, the No. 83 Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota Camry improved in turns one and two, allowing Kvapil to return to the throttle sooner. When the checkered flag waved, Kvapil was running a race-high 32nd position.
"It was really cool to be back with BK Racing for the race this weekend," commented Kvapil. "I have a lot of history with this group, so it meant a lot to drive another one of their cars. With the new rules package, it seemed like everyone was fighting a tight racecar today. However, the Burger King / Dr Pepper team made adjustments throughout the afternoon and improved with each stop. For us just teaming up this week, I'm really happy with our performance."
Making his second start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Whitt rolled off 31st for Sunday's race. For much of the day, he was the highest-running BK Racing entry despite fighting a tight racecar like his teammates. Whitt's Rinnai team had made a series of adjustments to improve the handling of his car throughout the early stages of the race; however, their efforts were offset when Whitt was involved in a four-car accident in turn two on lap 180. With extensive front-end damage, Whitt's team was required to replace the radiator and make several other cosmetic repairs. With valuable track position lost, Whitt was removed from contention but was able to continue to finish in the 38th position.
"Our Rinnai Toyota Camry was a strong car today," commented Whitt. "However, once we got involved in the accident around lap 180, we just had too much ground to try to make up. My BK Racing team did a great job making repairs, and I'm really proud of their effort. It's inevitable to get caught up in accidents sometimes; it happens. I'm still very happy with what our Rinnai team is able to accomplish week after week."
BK Racing PR
A Career Best Finish for Chastain at Kentucky
Ross Chastain and his No. 80 Advics Toyota Camry came off the hauler fast. The team had two, one hour long practices on Friday at Kentucky Speedway. In first practice, Chastain finished 18th fastest. The team made some changes to the Camry and Chastain ended up 17th fastest in final practice on Friday.
In Knock out qualifying on Saturday Chastain laid down a lap of 171.980 mph that put him in the 15th starting position. The race got underway at 7:30 PM and within six laps, the race saw the first of eight cautions for a one car spin in turn three.
The team decided to pit for two tires and fuel under the second caution on lap 25. Unfortunately, there was a mishap on pit road during the pit stop and Chastain had to come back down pit road and would restart the race in the 20th position. Shortly after the green flag flew, Chastain was quick to rebound and made gains moving through the field. At the time of the third caution on lap 69, Chastain was 21st and the caution was for debris in turn one. The team decided to pit, this time they elected to take four tires and filled the No. 80 Advics Toyota with Sunoco fuel. Chastain would restart from the 18th position on lap 72 and by lap 73; Chastain was up able to advance to the 14th position.
During the fourth caution on lap 115 Chastain was the recipient of the lucky dog and was able to make up a lap. The team opted to pit on lap 117 for four tires, fuel and made slight adjustments to the car. The green flag came back out on lap 121 and Chastain was the last car on the lead lap. By lap 155 Chastain was back up to 16th. The fifth caution of the night occurred on lap 171 for fluid on turn three and the team decided to once again pit on lap 172. During the seventh caution, Chastain once again was eligible for the lucky dog and got his lap back, which he had lost back on lap 167. The green flag came back out on lap 187 and Chastain was back on the lead lap and sitting in the 18th position. The eighth and final caution came out on lap 190 this time for debris in turn three. The last ten laps of the race stayed green and Chastain made his way from 18th to his finishing position of 10th. At the end of the race Brendan Gaughan was the winner and Chastain brought his No. 80 Advics Toyota Camry home with his first top – ten finish of the season, and was the second highest finishing Toyota after Justin Boston, in ninth.
After the race Chastain had this to say “I can’t thank team owner Shige enough for once again giving the opportunity to drive for him. The guys at the shop do a great job putting the cars together every week. I think we learned a lot from racing at Chicagoland and having the chance to race two weeks in a row on the NASCAR Nationwide Series. My Crew Chief, Bruce Cook came on the radio at the end of the race and told the crew and I that this finish tonight just proved to people that we belong here, and that we can compete with them. We had a slight mishap on pit road but we came back down and made the necessary changes and were able to rebound and get the lucky dog. It was fun to be run in the top ten with all the other drivers that run this series on a weekly basis. I think that this race was definitely a highlight of my Nationwide Series career and just one of many to come with Crew Chief Bruce Cook and owner Shige Hattori.”
The team had their best finish of the season at Kentucky with Ross finishing 10th and look to keep the momentum going as they head to Dover with both the NASCAR Nationwide and K&N East Series.