Blogs > Nascar: Beyond the Track

Find out what's really going on in NASCAR. Look here to find out why your driver really lost his ride, or the real reason those two drivers can't stand each other. Learn about the hidden motives and reasons for the things that happen in NASCAR, from the drivers to the team owners.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grand jury will decide if Tony Stewart is charged in death of Kevin Ward Jr.

The following is a statement from Tony Stewart regarding the decision by the Office of the Ontario County (N.Y.) District Attorney to send the case of the accident involving Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park.
“I respect the time and effort spent by both the Ontario County District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office in investigating this tragic accident. I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation.” 

Below is NASCAR's take on the move:
“We are aware of the completed investigation and the announced next steps. First, our thoughts continue to be with all who have been impacted by this tragedy. We will monitor this process and stay in close contact with Stewart-Haas Racing. It would be inappropriate for NASCAR to comment on this case so we will continue to respect the process and authorities involved.”

My take
I see this mostly a procedural move to show due diligence; I doubt any criminal liability will be assigned to Stewart in the tragic death of Kevin Ward Jr., which was obviously not intentional; He'll likely have a big civil payout somewhere down the road, but I don't see Tony getting a criminal indictment out of this tragedy.

Key thing to remember, folks, is that a grand jury just decides whether to charge; Tony Stewart has not been indicted for any crime. That is something the grand jury has to decide whether to do.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at, or on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Saturday, September 13, 2014

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Marcos Ambrose talks about decision to leave NASCAR after 2014 sason, return to Australia

Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that Marcos Ambrose will not return to pilot the No. 9 Ford Fusion following the 2014 season. Ambrose spoke with media members after the morning practice session Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway to address the announcement and discuss his future plans.
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion -- “First of all I need to thank everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports, it has been a great four years together. It has been incredible to drive for the King and Stanley DeWalt and Ford Racing and everybody. The time is just right for me to stop. I feel like the timing is right for myself and my family to return to Australia and that is what we are going to do.”
WHAT WENT INTO THIS DECISION? “There has been a lot of conjecture through the years but I just want to get my kids home to enjoy the Australian lifestyle as well so they can make a good choice when they grow up. This is really a racing choice for me and I feel like the time is right for me to stop in the US and personally I think it is a great time to move back home to Australia with my family.”
HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE YOUR NASCAR CAREER? “It has been fantastic. I never thought I would achieve what I have at the Sprint Cup level. I have survived here for years and I have had some wins but not enough and I feel like I was up against it early on from my background. I came from a country that doesn’t have any asphalt oval racing at all and so I feel like I have achieved a lot and am really satisfied.”
ANY COMMENT ON YOUR FUTURE PLANS? IT IS RUMORED YOU MIGHT BE JOINING A PENSKE OWNED TEAM. “Today is not the day to talk about anything about my racing future. I feel like personally this is the right choice for myself and my family to call it a day here in the US and move on to our next chapter.”
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF COMING BACK TO DRIVE ROAD RACES? “I haven’t really thought about that. This decision was made some time ago and RPM felt like today was a good day to announce it but I had spoken to RPM about this before the summer.”
WHAT DID RICHARD SAY WHEN YOU TOLD HIM? “They understand and have been very open and frank with each other all the way through  and RPM has been a great team to drive for and fully understand my situation and have worked together on this. I feel like I’ve left them better than when I entered with them. I feel I’ve contributed to the turnaround. They are a great team that is moving forward with a car in the Chase this year and we have won races. When I first joined them in the turmoil of the Gillette changeover there were a lot of gray clouds circling around them. They are on a great path and I wish them the best. I value Richards friendship greatly and the family and everybody here at RPM. They are a great company and I wish them the most success.” 
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT THE NASCAR GARAGE WHEN YOU FIRST CAME OVER HERE TO NOW? “It is not easy. It really is a tough environment. It really is an incredible thing to make it to the Sprint Cup level because the talent level is very high from drivers to engineers to sponsors and teams. It is an amazing journey I have been on.”
MARCOS AMBROSE CONTINUED … WITH THE TIMING AND YOUR KIDS, DID YOU FEEL YOU HAD TO DO THIS NOW? “There were a lot of factor in it but I feel like my level has plateaued at the Sprint Cup level. I haven’t kicked off the next level. I’ve always said that if I felt like I had flattened off my learning curve or my success – that I was only in the US to win and if I wasn’t able to content like I want to then I need to look at my situation and that has been the case. It has been a tough couple years on the race track for me and the personal situation is clear and I just think the timing is right to go home.”
DO YOU APPROACH THESE NEXT 10 RACES ANY DIFFERENTLY? “I am just going to enjoy it and enjoy my time at Petty and the last few races on these high speed ovals. It is an incredible feeling to drive a Sprint Cup car at these speeds on these kind of race tracks and I will miss it there is no doubt about it. I am just going to enjoy the last few races.”
THERE HAVE BEEN A COUPLE NAMES THROWN AROUND AS POSSIBLE REPLACEMENTS. WILL YOU HAVE ANY INPUT OR SUGGESTIONS? “I have no idea who they are going to chose but I am sure they will choose wisely. If they ask my opinion I will give it to them but that is not my world.” 
WHAT IS THE FINANCIAL ASPECT OF THIS? “It is not a financial decision at all, it is a personal choice.”
WHAT WAS YOUR FAMILIES REACTION? “They are very supportive my wife has been with me an awful long time and been with me through it all. My kids know nothing else but American racing and are supportive of the choices I make. If I had decided to keep going here they would have supported me and to go home they support me too. I have a lot to be thankful for and a great family and looking forward to spending more time with them and getting back to Australia and the culture and lifestyle there.”
DID THEY TRY TO TALK YOU OUT OF IT AT ALL? “It was a really natural choice and RPM did not try to sway me one way or another. It took me time to get to the decision but when I did it was a really natural choice.”
HOW WAS YOUR PRACTICE TODAY? “We are working on it. We are not where we need to be so I am looking forward to this next practice, getting out of this media scrum and getting back to racing.”
WHAT PART OF NASCAR WILL YOU MISS THE MOST? “The competition and intensity. It is a very intense world and I love racing, that is what I came here for. I came because the level was really high and I will miss that.
WHAT WON’T YOU MISS? “I will enjoy some off weekends. That will be nice.”  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Test drive a Ford at Michigan International Speedway and support MIS Cares

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Sept. 8, 2014) – Brooklyn Ford is providing a great opportunity to test drive a new vehicle at Michigan International Speedway as part of the Drive 4 UR Community program.
And you just might find your next car, all while supporting MIS Cares.
From 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16, MIS welcomes back Drive 4 UR Community sponsored by Ford Motor Company. MIS and Brooklyn Ford have teamed up to present would-be new car owners an opportunity to drive a brand new Ford vehicle around the interior road course.
It’s a great opportunity to test drive a new car, learn more about the latest technology in auto manufacturing and see what vehicle matches your needs.
Brooklyn Ford, located on M-50, will provide all of the latest vehicles on-site and will offer guests the opportunity to test-drive them.
For every family who test drives a vehicle, MIS Cares will receive $20 from Ford Motor Company.
“While everyone wins with the Drive 4 UR Community program, MIS Cares is the biggest winner, thanks to the support of Ford Motor Company,” Jayme Bicknell, fan services manager for MIS, said.
Guests should use the entrance off Brooklyn Highway and proceed to the Michigan Room located in the Infield Suites Building. The infield can be accessed via the vehicle/pedestrian tunnel under Turn 1. Each participant will be required to sign a liability waiver and must be 18 years old with a valid driver’s license.
Ford Motor Company and its dealers launched a program called Drive 4 UR Community, designed to help raise funding for local community groups and nonprofit organizations. For each Drive 4 UR Community event, Ford dealers will team up with a local nonprofit organization to schedule a test drive fundraising event. The dealers will provide the cars to be test-driven and work together with the nonprofit groups to organize and publicize the event. For every valid test drive completed per family, Ford Motor Company will donate $20 to the participating nonprofit or community group, up to a maximum of $6,000.
MIS focuses on charity through the program MIS Cares. In 2013, MIS and its sister company Americrown combined to donate a total of $606,469 to local service groups and organizations through cash donations, work programs, grants and sponsorships, as well as tickets and merchandise that clubs raffle to raise money. MIS Cares awarded $76,469 in cash donations to local charities through its grant program. Another $60,000 was awarded through sponsorships and tickets those groups raffle off, also to raise money.
MIS Cares is a donor advised fund of the NASCAR Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. MIS Cares’ mission is to create a lasting, positive impact on our community through charitable giving and volunteer efforts that cultivate community growth and advances quality of life.
Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is NASCAR’s fastest track and the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike.
Keep up with Michigan International Speedway via Twitter @MISpeedway or on Facebook at Android and iPhone can now download Discover MIS, the official app of MIS, on Google Play and iTunes.
Join our Mobile Fan Club by texting MISCLUB on a Sprint Handheld or other mobile device to 69050. Standard text message rates may apply. 

Think you can pick the Chase perfectly? It might be worth $100,000

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field was officially set following Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup SeriesTM regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway®. Now, until 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 14, sports fans can log on to to predict how they think the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will transpire by filling out the PERFECT CHASE GRID CHALLENGE.
Entrants can achieve the “perfect grid” – and a chance to win $100,000 – by accurately selecting each driver who will advance through the different stages of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. They will also need to accurately predict the four drivers who will compete in the Championship RoundTM at Homestead-Miami Speedway, including who will be crowned the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion™ and the finishing positions of the three runner ups.’s other prediction game, CHASE GRIDTM BATTLE, is also now live at In the CHASE GRID BATTLE, fans will still predict which drivers they think will advance through the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but one round at a time. Points will be accumulated based on the number of correct picks and the correct ranking amongst advancing drivers. Prizes will be awarded to four individual round winners, as well as the top three overall.
In addition to the Chase Grid games, NASCAR Digital Media will also offer enhanced race coverage and additional updates across the digital platform during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
New Live Leaderboards has launched brand new interactive live leaderboards just in time for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. New live leaderboard capabilities include:
·         New Design – Easy-to-follow layout for a more enjoyable race day, second screen experience
·         Customized Leaderboard – Fans may select and pin their drivers to the top or create their very own leaderboard with the just the drivers they want to follow
·         New Data Feed from Race Control – Raw data feeds from practice, qualifying and the race let fans experience the live events from the Officials’ points of view
·         Full National Series Coverage – Coverage includes events across all three NASCAR national series
LIVE STREAMING will provide fans with live streaming options for several events throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, including:
·         A live chat with Miss Sprint Cup and all 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers from Chase Media Day in Chicago from 2 – 5 p.m. ET thisThursday
·         Live stream of Chase Grid Live, a live show featuring all 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, on Thursday following Chase Media Day from 6 – 7:30 p.m. ET
·         Live stream of Contender Media Day taking place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame the week heading into the Contender Round
·         Live stream of Eliminator Media Day taking place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame the week heading in to the Eliminator Round
·         Live stream of Championship Media Day on Wednesday, Nov. 12 from Trump National Doral Miami
·         Live post-race show from Homestead-Miami Speedway after the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion is crowned
Premium content for both official NASCAR apps is now available to fans at a deep discount during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup:
·         $5.99 Chase Pass for the remainder of the 2014 season
·         New “Chase Standings” section, which includes the new Chase Grid that highlights each driver as they attempt to advance through each round of the 2014 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup
·         Updated live leaderboard will feature additional Chase indicators and highlights for each eligible Chase driver
·         All new 2014 Manufacturer Standings
·         $9.99 Chase Pass  for the remainder of the season
·         All new Chase Grid will feature each round for the 2014 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup
·         Updated 3D versions of the Chase cars on-track each week
·         Chase indicators will be incorporated throughout the app and live leaderboard
Download or update to the newest version of both NASCAR apps in order to receive these new features. Sprint customers on an unlimited data plan will receive access to all Live Premium features at no additional cost.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Comcast's XFINITY brand to sponsor NASCAR's primary development series

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and PHILADELPHIA (SEPTEMBER 3, 2014) — NASCAR and Comcast announced today a historic agreement that will make Comcast’s XFINITY brand the title sponsor of what is now known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series through 2024. The 10-year term matches the longest single agreement around title sponsorship of any NASCAR national series in history, and is the longest entitlement sponsorship agreement in this series’ history.
Beginning January 1, 2015, the property will be known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series. XFINITY will become only the third title sponsor in series history following Anheuser-Busch (26 years) and Nationwide Insurance (seven years). The agreement also makes XFINITY an Official NASCAR Partner in the multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) and broadband ISP categories.
The announcement was made during an event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame – where the sport’s history is celebrated every day – and was the first series entitlement sponsorship ever announced at the venue.
XFINITY is Comcast’s residential service brand and is the nation’s largest video and high-speed Internet provider. The company has increased Internet speeds for existing customers 13 times in 12 years and recently introduced XFINITY on the X1 Entertainment Operating System. The company also offersXFINITY On Demand, the most robust video on demand platform in the world. Comcast serves business and residential customers in 39 states and Washington, D.C.
“We’re proud to welcome XFINITY to the NASCAR community as title sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series for the next decade,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman & CEO. “NASCAR and XFINITY are each leader brands with much in common. Both are focused on innovation and have products built for speed. Together, we will work to take this series to new heights and elevate one of the most unique and powerful partnerships in all of sports.”
What will soon be known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series is the property where names are made and is like nothing else in major pro sports. It features the most talented young drivers regularly competing side-by-side against NASCAR’s biggest and brightest stars.
“Technology lives at the heart of NASCAR, just as it does for XFINITY,” said Dave Watson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Comcast Cable. “NASCAR provides an exciting environment in which to showcase our video and Internet products and we look forward to further enhancing the fan experience at home, at the track and on the go for years to come.”
The series also has a large, highly engaged and technology-connected television audience. It races in some of the nation’s largest markets – from Chicago to Los Angeles to Miami – and at the sport’s biggest and most iconic tracks – from Daytona International Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, to Talladega Superspeedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
According to NASCAR Fan Engagement Tracker 2013 (commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Toluna), NASCAR fans spend an average of four-and-a-half hours each week watching NASCAR on television and an additional two-and-a-half-hours each week following the sport on digital platforms.