Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Baldwin, Park Team For New Driving Experience

Two of the most successful motorsports personalities to come out of the northeast have combined their knowledge to develop a unique driving experience. 

New York natives Tommy Baldwin, Jr. and Steve Park have announced the creation of The American Muscle Driving Experience. Headquartered at the Thompson (CT) Speedway Motorsports Park and Golf Club, the program offers three customizable skill levels, utilizing everything from high-performance American muscle cars to authentic, race-ready professional stock cars.  
The program utilizes professional motorsport vehicle data acquisition systems to minimize the learning curve, allowing participants to advance their skills quicker than any other driving school. The program's custom data acquisition systems record driver input such as throttle, steering, and braking; along with vehicle parameters such as engine RPM, vehicle speed, and accelerations. GPS and video-overlay technology is also used to map out racing lines and to make comparisons to our professional instructors. 
The American Muscle Driving Experience will also host several of the top racing drivers in the country. Participants will not only get to meet and ask questions to these special guest instructors, they will also get to see comparisons of driving data to the professional driver in the same vehicle and can even go for a ride-a-long experience at full racing speeds. 
Tommy Baldwin Jr., son of the northeast modified racing legend "Tiger" Tom Baldwin, is a Daytona 500 winning Crew Chief and current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner. Steve Park, a former NASCAR Cup Series competitor, is part of an elite group of drivers to record wins in all three of NASCAR's national touring series. His first Cup Series win came in 2000 at Watkins Glen International, arguably one of the most challenging road courses in the country. 
Whether participants are looking to learn, hone their existing skills, enjoy a day of high performance driving and golf or host a catered corporate event, the program is a one-of-a-kind experience that gives the experience of a lifetime.
Look for the American Muscle Car Driving Experience on Reed Sorenson's Sprint Cup Series No. 36 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend and at Dover International Speedway on September 28th. 
For more information visit the AmericanMuscleDrivingExperience.com, "LIKE" them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

NTS Motorsports Docked For Truck Series Violation

The No. 20 team that competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been penalized for a rules infraction that occurred during post-race inspection Sept. 13 at Chicagoland Speedway. 
The infraction is a P2 level penalty and violates sections 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing and 20B-12.8: Truck failed to meet post-race body height/ground clearance requirements of the 2014 NASCAR rule book. 
Since crew chief Chris Rice was currently under probation through the end of the year from a P3 level penalty that occurred during a NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 15, the applicable Recurrence Multiplier as outlined in the rule book can be used when assessing the severity of this penalty. As a result Rice has been fined $7,500 and suspended from NASCAR through Sept. 24. His NASCAR probation remains intact through Dec. 31.  

Bob Newberry, owner of the No. 20 truck, has been penalized with the loss of 10 series championship owner points.

Earnhardt's Road Manager Resigns After Cheating Allegation

Hoag departs JRM
Mike Hoag has resigned his position as road manager for Dale Earnhardt Jr., after accusing Brad Keselowski’s Miller Lite Ford team of cheating in Sunday afternoon’s race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Late in Sunday’s race, Hoag tweeted “Anyone else see how much Keselowski's right side skirt was flared out? They cheated it up a bit on that stop. Caught ya.”

Keselowski responded in kind later that evening, tweeting, “Ever heard of glass houses?”

Hoag announced his departure from the team yesterday, tweeting, “It's with a heavy heart, but I will no longer be with Dale Jr or JRM. It's been a fun ride, enjoyed every moment, on to something new. This was my decision, no one else's.”

NASCAR found no issues with Keselowski’s winning Ford in post-race inspection. JR Motorsports has not commented on Hoag’s departure.

Stanley, Dewalt Join Joe Gibbs Racing

Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that it has entered partnership with tool and security provider STANLEY and professional power tool provider DEWALT beginning in the 2015 season.  STANLEY and DEWALT will serve as primary sponsors for drivers Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, respectively. 

STANLEY will partner with JGR as the primary sponsor for 12 races on the No. 19 Toyota driven by Carl Edwards beginning in 2015, while DEWALT will serve as the primary sponsor for six races on the No. 20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth. In addition, STANLEY will have associate branding on the No. 18 Toyota throughout the 2015 season, as well as on both the No. 19 and No. 20 Toyotas when not already serving as the primary sponsor.  Other Stanley Black &Decker brands, including Mac Tools, BLACK+DECKER, and more, will continue to be a part of the NASCAR program with JGR.  

"We are thrilled to announce a new partnership for Joe Gibbs Racing with both STANLEY and DEWALT," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "They have a great history in our sport. We've had a partnership with Mac Tools that dates back to our first days here at JGR. It's an honor that they chose to come on board and support both Carl and Matt." 

Edwards is currently battling in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship. He has two wins, six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes thus far this season. Over the course of his 11-year career, he has won a total of 23 races with 107 Top-5 and 184 Top-10 finishes. In addition to his 23 Sprint Cup Series wins, he has also compiled 38 wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and won the championship in 2007. His highest finish in the Sprint Cup Series season was in 2011 when he was runner-up to Tony Stewart based on a tie breaker.

"STANLEY is excited to partner with Joe Gibbs Racing and join Carl Edwards as he embarks on a new chapter in his career," said Scott Bannell, VP of Stanley Black & Decker Corporate Brand Marketing. "We believe he will be a fantastic representative on and off the track for us and we're looking forward to the 2015 season."  

Kenseth is currently 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings following the opening race of the Chase this past weekend in Chicago. For the season he has nine Top-5 and 16 Top-10 finishes. The 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion has a long history with DEWALT, winning his first ever Cup Series race in a DEWALT car in 2000 and capturing Rookie of the Year honors that same season. Over the course his career, Kenseth has won a total of 31 races with 147 top-five and 263 top-10 finishes.  

"It is a special feeling to have the opportunity to partner with DEWALT again," said Kenseth. "I have so many tremendous memories with them and I'm looking forward to representing their brand again and creating new memories."  

"We could not be happier to partner with Matt Kenseth again and to associate the DEWALT brand with Joe Gibbs Racing," said Frank Mannarino, President of DEWALT. "Matt embodies many of the same characteristics as DEWALT with tremendous strength, toughness and dependability, and based on previous experience, we know he will be a great representative of our brand."

Richard Petty Motorsports To Field Two Cars In 2015

Despite recent reports that sponsors Stanley/Dewalt will jump to Joe Gibbs Racing to back Carl Edwards and the new No. 19 Toyota next season, Richard Petty Motorsports said today that it is committed to remaining a two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. 

At the start of 2014, RPM announced a three-year extension and investment increase by Smithfield Foods for its No. 43 Ford, driven by Aric Almirola. Smithfield joins Strike 10 Entertainment (GoBowling.com), the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Air Force and longtime partner STP as sponsors of Almirola, who recently qualified for the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with a victory at Daytona International Speedway. 

Today, the organization announced that it will continue as a two-car organization in 2015, competing weekly with both the No. 9 and No. 43 teams. RPM will also return current manufacturer partner Ford Racing, with Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines supplying chassis and engines for both teams. 

Aric Almirola
Twisted Tea Brewing Company will continue their primary sponsorship of the No. 9 team in 2015 as the RPM marketing and new business team continues various discussions with several companies. 

"First, we want to wish Stanley Black and Decker the best," commented Brian Moffitt, President and CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports. "Their commitment and support has been a critical component to the success of RPM. As with all good partnerships, we are proud that the STANLEY and RPM partnership has benefitted both companies. We are grateful for their support and they will always be a part of our family." 

"Today, we are excited to build new partnerships on the No. 9 team," continued Moffitt. "We have a vision that our ownership group and sponsors support and believe in. We have built upon that vision in two short years to become championship eligible. It's that belief that will help us support the No. 9 team. One partner that has supported us is Ford Racing who will again be our manufacturer partner as we continue our relationship that has helped us become a 'Chase' organization." 

"We're proud of our relationship with Richard Petty Motorsports and feel they have done a great job and are competitive every weekend as evident by making the Chase this season," said Jamie Allison, Director of Ford Racing.  "Both the No. 9 and No. 43 teams have shown strength throughout this season and we expect that will only continue next season and beyond." 

It was announced earlier that Marcos Ambrose will not return to RPM in 2015.

ESPN's Cossack: No Basis To Charge Stewart

Roger Cossack
Legal analyst Roger Cossack weighed-in on yesterday’s decision by Ontario Co. (NY) District Attorney Michael Tantillo to forward the results of an investigation into the death of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward, Jr., to a grand jury, saying he sees no legal basis for any changes against the former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
The 21-year old Ward died on Aug. 9 after being struck by a Sprint Car driven by Stewart at New York’s Canandaigua Motorsports Park. The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department conducted a month long investigation into the incident, and forwarded the results of that investigation to the District Attorney’s office this week.
 
“Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter,” said Tantillo in a written statement. “When the presentation has been completed and a determination has been made, I will advise the public and the media at that time of the results.”
 
Speaking exclusively to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s SiriusXM Speedway yesterday, Cossack said he sees no grounds for an indictment to be handed down.
 
“It is difficult for me to think of what crime… he actually committed,” said Cossack, a legal analyst for ESPN, TruTV and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Pepperdine University School of Law. “The hallmark of any crime is that you must intend to commit that crime. I don’t see how the prosecution would ever be able to prove that Stewart intended to do harm to Kevin Ward, Jr., unless there is some super-special, secret evidence that we have no idea about. Procedings before a grand jury are always secret, (including) the witnesses, the evidence and even the time it’s going to be (conducted). We don’t know very much, but I can’t think of any crime Tony Stewart can be charged with.
 
“If he had acted in a way that was grossly negligent and abdicated responsibility to (a large) degree, it could be raised to criminal behavior,” said Cossack, who formerly served as a prosecutor in Los Angeles County. “But in this case, I can’t see how they can ever charge him with being grossly negligent. After all, Kevin Ward was walking down the middle of a race track where people were… going very, very fast. How are they ever going to prove that Stewart was not as alert as he should have been? Forget `beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Beyond any doubt! How are they going to prove that?
 
“We’re talking about (fractions of) seconds in a not-well lit (venue) where a guy suddenly appeared, walking the wrong way in the middle of the race track. How can they prove that Tony Stewart wasn’t paying enough attention, or that his intent was to do something bad?”
 
Cossack explained that it will be up to the prosecution to convince the grand jury (to indict), by asking a pair of critical questions.
 
“One is, `can you see that someone has committed a crime,’” he said. “The other is, ‘is there reason to believe that the person we have suggested actually committed that crime?’”
 
While this case is unique in the world of motorsports, Cossack said the grand jury’s task remains the same.
“(In a case where) a doctor has acted incorrectly, they have specialized witnesses that go before the grand jury and explain what a doctor should and should not do. In this case, at the end of the day, they’ll need witnesses to convince the grand jury that a crime has been committed.”
 
In the state of New York, grand juries are comprised of 23 jurors selected to represent a cross-section of the community. After hearing all the pertinent evidence, jurors can vote to hand down an indictment, dismiss the charges, or direct the District Attorney to charge the accused with a lesser crime. In order to indict, only 12 of those 23 jurors must agree that there is sufficient evidence to bring charges. 
 
Cossack said the decision to convene a grand jury may be, at least in part, politically motivated. Like all District Attorneys, Tantillo is an elected official. And while has served seven consecutive terms and ran unopposed in the most recent election, the decision to place the final decision in the hands of a jury offers a certain degree of insulation between Tantillo and an emotionally volatile, high profile case. 
 
What that does is give (political) cover to the prosecutor,” Cossack said. “He can say, `We gave it to the grand jury and they decided. I didn’t make the decision.’ It’s really kind of an end-run. It is the prosecutor’s decision (to forward the case to a grand jury), but this way, he gets cover for whatever decision is made.
 
"But again, I can't think of any crime that Tony Stewart committed.
 
“The old joke is that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich,” Cossack warned. “A vast majority of the time, the prosecution gets an indictment. In this case, though, I have a sense… that the decision will be not to indict.”
 
 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stewart/Ward Case Will Go To Grand Jury

Ontario Co. (NY) District Attorney Michael Tantillo has issued a written statement at this hour, saying he will forward the results of an investigation into the death of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward, Jr., to a Grand Jury.

The statement read:
“Over the past several weeks, I have reviewed with members of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department their investigation, as it progressed, in the Tony Stewart matter. Recently that office concluded its work and forwarded the complete case file to me. Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter. Accordingly, the evidence developed in the investigation will be presented to an Ontario County grand jury in the near future.
“As grand jury proceedings in New York State are strictly confidential by law, I am unable to state when the matter will be scheduled, other than to state that I intend to present the matter in the near future. Similarly, because of the confidential nature of these proceedings, I cannot state who will be called as witnesses, or what any witness’s expected testimony will be. When the presentation has been completed and a determination has been made, I will advise the public and the media at that time of the results.”
Stewart issued a written statement today, saying, “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.” 
NASCAR Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes said of the decision, “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.”
 

Ragan, Wallace To Honor Wendell Scott At Martinsville

Two light blue racing machines -- one car and one truck -- will carry the familiar red-outlined No. 34 at the end of October at NASCAR's oldest track, Martinsville Speedway. 
It's all part of a three-day celebration honoring NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Inductee Wendell Scott at his home track on Oct. 24-26. Scott, the winner of more than 100 NASCAR races – including one in the premier Grand National ranks -- will be officially enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 30, 2015. 
David Ragan’s Front Row Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford and the NASCAR Camping World Truck driven by Darrell Wallace Jr. for Kyle Busch Motorsports will each carry a special "throw back" paint scheme to honor Scott, the first African-American to win a race in NASCAR's premier series. 
Ragan's No. 34 will be wrapped in a scheme reminiscent of the one Scott drove to victory at Jacksonville Speedway on Dec. 1, 1963, in what is today known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  
“It’s going to be cool to honor Wendell Scott at his home track with his family,” said Ragan. “I got to drive a tribute scheme for Ned Jarrett a while back, and it’s a tribute to the history of our sport that I get to honor Mr. Scott as an inductee, the last driver to win in the No. 34 before I did.  I’m a fan of our sport’s history and have a real appreciation for it, so it’s special to be able to bring that paint scheme back for a weekend.” 
Last October at Martinsville, Wallace became the first African-American driver since Scott to win a NASCAR national series race. This time around, his truck will carry the No. 34 as a nod to Scott's legacy.
"It's an honor to run the No. 34 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville,” said Wallace, who has added two more wins this season at Eldora Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park. “I got my first win at Martinsville. The historical significance of that win -- and to be so close to Wendell Scott's hometown -- was a really cool bonus. The Scott family has followed my career since I ran the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program for Rev Racing and I've kept a relationship with the family over the years. Thanks to Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota and NASCAR for allowing me to run the No. 34 at Martinsville. I'm pumped to get back there and hope to get another victory." 
Adding to the celebration, Martinsville Speedway and the NHOF will host members of the Scott family during the race weekend and offer special Q&A opportunities for fans on-site. 
“Wendell Scott faced numerous adversities throughout his racing career. At the end of the day though, he persevered and overcame all odds,” said Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway. “That perseverance serves as an inspiration today and as a testament to that, he was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.” 

Scott was the 1959 NASCAR Virginia Sportsman champion and won over 100 races at local tracks prior to starting his NASCAR premier series career. The Danville, Virginia native served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II where he honed his skills in the motor pool. In 13 years of NASCAR premier series competition, Scott made 495 starts (35th on the all-time list), accumulating 20 Top-5 and 147 Top-10 finishes. He passed away in 1990 at the age of 69. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

FanVision Announces Merger

FanVision, the in-venue technology and content provider used at professional sporting events across the world, announced a merger today with PrePlay Inc., a developer of mobile games in sports entertainment. FanVision is operated by RSE Ventures, the firm co-founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross and Dolphins Vice-Chairman Matt Higgins. 
“FanVision and PrePlay are on the cutting edge of the sports technology landscape,” said RSE Ventures CEO and co-founder Matt Higgins. “Both leverage unique intellectual property to provide exciting content that enhances the fan experience. This merger is a natural expansion to create one forward-thinking company that will offer unmatched service for both fans and customers in the years ahead.”
Among other services, FanVision currently offers live video and real-time statistics on a dedicated handheld device in venues worldwide. FanVision is used at NASCAR races and professional golf events around the world. PrePlay also develops live mobile games that enable fans to predict events in real time. Clients include MLB.com, the NHL, and the US Open Tennis Tournament. 
Today’s merger will allow FanVision to augment its current product with additional mobile applications to bring its content to additional fans.
The new company will operate under the FanVision name, with current PrePlay CEO Andrew Daines serving as CEO. Current partners and fans will see no change or interruption in services from either FanVision or PrePlay.
“Marrying a best-in-class hardware and content delivery company like FanVision with a mobile-first studio like PrePlay will create a powerhouse in the marketplace,” said CEO Andrew Daines. “We will be the sole firm with the know-how, hardware, software, relationships, and intellectual property to deliver on the promise of the connected fan enjoying events in the connected stadium.”

FanVision’s 50 employees will work out of offices in New York City, Paris, Montreal and Charlotte.  New York City will serve as the company’s headquarters.

Penske, Johnson, Ambrose Team For V8 Supercar Assault

Team Penske has confirmed that it will form a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing to compete in the Australian V8 Supercars Championship, beginning in 2015. Working with DJR, the longest-established motor racing team in Australia, Team Penske will race next season in the ultra-competitive touring car series that features events contested at Australia’s top motorsport venues.
DJR Team Penske will compete with Ford Falcons in the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship with a true hero of Australian motorsports behind the wheel. Marcos Ambrose will return to the Series where he drew international acclaim to race the iconic No. 17 Ford for DJR Team Penske. Ambrose is a two-time V8 Supercars champion; winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. He transitioned to a winning career in NASCAR where he has earned seven wins and eight pole positions while competing in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series over the past nine seasons.
“Team Penske is excited to partner with Dick Johnson Racing to compete in the V8 Supercars Championship starting next season,” said Roger Penske. “We believe in building our businesses through racing and our success on the track. With our new business ventures in Australia, it makes sense to showcase our brands through the V8 Supercars Championship and the opportunity to work with DJR and Marcos Ambrose convinced us to go forward.”
Ambrose, a native of Launceston, Tasmania, is one of the most successful drivers in the history of the V8 Supercars Championship. In the 65 rounds in which he competed from 2001 to 2005, he won 28 individual races.
“This is a great opportunity to return home to a place that I love in a Series where I’ve experienced a lot of success,” said Ambrose, who has earned two career victories at the highest level of NASCAR competition – the Sprint Cup Series. “It will be an honor to race for two motorsport legends in Roger Penske and Dick Johnson.”
The partnership between Team Penske and Dick Johnson Racing brings together two organizations that have experienced tremendous success in their respective disciplines. Team Penske has produced more than 400 race wins and 26 national championships in its storied history while DJR has earned over 80 victories and seven Australian Touring Car/V8 Supercar titles in over 35 years of racing.
“We are certainly looking forward to this new challenge,” said Dick Johnson, a legendary driver himself who claimed five Australian Touring Car Championships and won the prestigious Bathurst 1000 race three times before he retired from racing in 1999. “I have always admired what Roger Penske has accomplished in business and with his racing teams and it will be a thrill to work with Team Penske and Marcos in 2015.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rheem Will Back Hornaday In Two Truck Series Races

Rheem has announced a new sponsorship for driver Ron Hornaday in two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season. Rheem will be the primary sponsor for the four-time NASCAR champion for the Sept. 27 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Oct. 31 race at Texas Motor Speedway. 

Rheem had sponsored Hornaday prior to the recent shutdown of the No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports team, and has been working to find the best available equipment, crew and technical expertise to return him to the Truck Series before the end of this season.

Hornaday’s return has been made possible through a cooperative effort between Rheem and NTS Motorsports, which will supply Chevrolet Silverado trucks and crew for the races, along with technical support provided by Richard Childress Racing.

“Rheem is pleased to play a part in bringing Ron Hornaday back to where he belongs; racing trucks to win and bringing excitement and enjoyment to Camping World Truck Series fans,” said Ed Raniszeski, managing director of Rheem Motorsports. “None of this would have been possible without the solid support of NTS Motorsports and RCR. We all welcome Ron back and can't wait to see him back in the saddle.”

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ambrose Will Not Return in 2015

Richard Petty Motorsports announced today the No. 9 team will move forward with a new driver in 2015. Marcos Ambrose, who has been with RPM since 2011, has informed the organization that he will return to his native home of Australia in 2015, reportedly to drive for a new Aussie V8 Supercar team co-owned by Roger Penske. 

RPM is currently evaluating several driver opportunities to help drive the No. 9 team forward and will make an announcement at the appropriate time.  

Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, expressed thanks to Ambrose for his dedication to the team. 

"Marcos will always be a part of our extended racing family," said Petty. "He came over to the United States with his family and dedicated his time here to giving it the best he had each week. I couldn't ask anything more from Marcos and his commitment on and off of the track to our race team and our partners. Away from the track, he's a family person first. That's something I respect and we'll miss Marcos, Sonja and their children." 

Ambrose will depart the team as one of the most successful drivers to ever race under the Petty banner. He is recognized as one of the best road course racers in NASCAR history, most notably at Watkins Glen International, where he has six NASCAR wins. 

 

 
 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sprint Cup Qualifying Wet At Chicagoland

Mother Nature has ruled the day so far at Chicagoland Speedway, raining out qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series myAFIBStory.com 400. This is the second time qualifying has been cancelled this season. The starting lineup for Sunday’s race will now be determined by the NASCAR Rule Book.

Pos         Car             Driver
1                18             Kyle Busch
2               31             Ryan Newman
3                99            Carl Edwards
4               17             Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
5               20            Matt Kenseth
6               15             Clint Bowyer
7                48            Jimmie Johnson
8               24            Jeff Gordon
9               27             Paul Menard
10             42            Kyle Larson #
11             1                Jamie McMurray
12             4               Kevin Harvick
13             88            Dale Earnhardt Jr.
14             41             Kurt Busch
15             55            Brian Vickers
16             3                Austin Dillon #
17             47             AJ Allmendinger
18             10             Danica Patrick
19             5               Kasey Kahne
20            16             Greg Biffle
21             9               Marcos Ambrose
22            14             Tony Stewart
23             43             Aric Almirola
24            11             Denny Hamlin
25            2               Brad Keselowski
26            51             Justin Allgaier #
27             78             Martin Truex Jr.
28            22            Joey Logano
29            13             Casey Mears
30             38             David Gilliland
31             83             Ryan Truex #
32             95            Michael McDowell
33             26            Cole Whitt #
34             98            Josh Wise
35             36             Reed Sorenson
36             7                Michael Annett #
37             23             Alex Bowman #
38             40            Landon Cassill
39             34             David Ragan
40            37             Mike Bliss
41             66            Joe Nemechek
42            33             Travis Kvapil
43             32             Joey Gase

Allmendinger Motivated By Lack Of Respect

Nobody has AJ Allmendinger penciled in to win the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and he knows it.

But the JTG Daugherty Racing driver also knows that nobody associated with his race tram is satisfied with making the championship Chase.

“We’re contenders because we’re here and we’ve got a shot at it,” he insisted. “But I’m also not blind to the fact that if you set myself against Jimmie, he’s favored. I understand that.”
In fact, Allmendinger said he and his team are motivated by the lack of respect afforded them by some observers.
“Vegas… made odds for 14 drivers, then me and Almirola were just ‘The Field’ for the championship,” he he laughed. “There were 14 names with odds and then ‘The Field’ at 500 to 1.
“I understand it,” said the former Champ Car and Indy Car star. “I relish it, honestly. I like being the underdog team. Tad and Jodi started this team in a barn in ’94, so they’ve always been an underdog. I don’t take offense to it, I just smile and say, ‘I like being under the radar.’ Hopefully, we can go make some noise and make some guys mad by knocking them out of the Chase.”
The opening “Challenger Round” of this year’s Chase includes races at Chicagoland, New Hampshire and Dover Speedways. At Chicagoland, Allmendinger has recorded Top-20 finishes in four of his five career starts, with a pair of 13th-place showings; one of them coming last season. New Hampshire provided a Top-10 finish in 2010, but otherwise has been one of Allmendinger’s weakest statistical tracks. At Dover, he qualified second and led 143 laps for Richard Petty Motorsports in the fall of 2010, before fading to 10th at the finish. He has also had other strong runs on the Monster Mile in the past, without being able to see them through to the checkered flag.
“We’ve just got to be at our best,” he said. “I look at a race like Dover (and) depending on how the first two (races) have run… if we have to win it to stay in it, then (we’ll) start taking some chances. 
“We’ve got to be as close to perfect as possible.”

Johnson On Seventh Title: "It's Time To Go To Work"

Jimmie Johnson knows what it takes to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. With six trophies on his mantle already and a seventh within his grasp, the Lowe’s Chevrolet driver said today that a revised format for the 2014 Chase will challenge his team in ways they have never experienced before.

If you have poor finishes in the first and second races and you’re not looking strong in points… you need the Hail Mary to make something happen,” said Johnson at Chicagoland Speedway. “If you get off to a quick start and you’re solid in the points, you’re going to take an opportunity to win, but you know you’re covering the base on points.
“There are going to be multiple strategies that take place, depending on performance. After three races, you’re going to have to re-rack and start over again. What makes it interesting is that there isn’t a clear strategy that can play out.
Over the 10 races, a lot can happen,” he added. “And this year, with the format changing as dramatically as it has… you just need to be hot toward the end. We’ll see how it all plays out.”
Johnson also said that his recent run of mediocre finishes is not an indicator of what is to come in the Chase.
“(Last year), we had a terrible run of races leading into the Chase and then we got off to a good start and won the championship. I’m reminding myself of that. I feel like there were a couple of Chases that we had momentum on our side and came in and got off to a great start and won championships. (The Chase) really is its own world. Just like any other sport when the playoffs start, everything starts over on a clean sheet of paper.”
After recording seven Top-5 and nine Top-10 finishes in last year’s Chase, Johnson said it may take a similarly strong performance to garner the 2014 championship.
“Every year, the competition gets more intense and (it is) more difficult to win. Really, that average finishing result just keeps getting to a smaller and smaller number. I’m planning for that, and hopefully we can light it up.”
If he is able to make it to NASCAR’s “Final Four” at Homestead Miami Speedway, Johnson said all strategic bets will be off, in favor of an all-out push for the checkered flag. 
"It would change the mindset (and) the energy,” he admitted. “We've been fast down there. The year that Brad won, we were leading the race and in a position to win, then had a series of mistakes that took us out of contention. Last year, we ran up front in the majority of the race… trying to put pressure on Matt (Kenseth), and chasing him around in second spot.
“I definitely feel like we can go there and win. It's not Dover, but it's still a strong track for us, and we can go down there and get the job done if need be.
“I’m excited to get back in the car and get to work,” he said. “It’s been a much different week for all the Chasers, with the media circuits we’ve been on and two full days. I’m excited to get the racing mindset back to the forefront of my mind. We’ve all said plenty and probably have worn everybody out with our remarks and questions and answers, and now it’s time to get on the track and go to work.”