Crash ensues during 2013 Daytona 500 drafting session

 

Within an hour of the 2013 Daytona 500 first major drafting session, multiple drivers wrecked going around Turns 1 and 2.

According to FoxSports, the wreck began when Dale Earnhardt Jr. bumped Marcos Ambrose from behind and initially collected Jamie McMurray, Aric Almirola and Brad Keselowski on the back straightaway.

No serious injuries were reported, but Fox said McMurray and Ambrose were evaluated and released from infield care, and Earnhardt Jr returned to the track 90 minutes later.

Fox also said that other drivers involved in the incident included Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Regan Smith, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne.

See the video here:

NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin crashes during test session of new Sprint Cup car

According to SportingNews.com, Denny Hamlin wrecked between Turns 1 and 2 during a test session of NASCAR’s new Sprint Cup car at Charlotte Motor Speedway today.

Hamlin said in the story that his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was an old chassis from early 2012 that had been fitted with a new fiberglass body. “We’re running around here not letting off. The load is very, very high. So everything is under a little more stress. This is an old, old recycled car, too. There’s no telling how many miles these parts have on them.”

Hamlin was one of 16 drivers who participated in the open test session Tuesday and Wednesday, and though he got off to a rough start in the new car, he said that he was happy overall with the car.

“The cars drive better than they ever have as far as driver comfort is concerned,” he said in the story. “We’re below track record (times) in race trim right now … It’s fast. It’s really, really fast.”

The 2013 cars will debut in the February Daytona 500.

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Photo: SportingNews.com

NASCAR holds open test for Gen. 6 2013 cars

NASCAR help an open test at Charlotte Motor Speedway Today, showing off the 2013 Gen. 6 cars for the 2013 season.

According to sbnation.com, the two-day event brought a dozen drivers to participate in the test, including Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth.

Testing is free and open to the public. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. SBNation.com says to enter at Gate B if you plan to attend.

Check it out, and tell us what you think! Send us a tweet to @PowerBlockTV, or leave us a comment on our Facebook page.

NASCAR’s Acceleration Weekend to feature sixth-generation Sprint Cup cars, interactive displays

 

From NASCAR.com:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — For NASCAR fans who have been counting the days to the opening of the 2013 season, their wait is almost over.

For the second consecutive year, reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, five-time premier series winner Jimmie Johnson and NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will help race fans celebrate the past, present and future of NASCAR with the return of Acceleration Weekend. The fan-friendly, interactive experience is scheduled for Feb. 8-10, 2013, at the Charlotte, N.C., Convention Center. It includes the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and NASCAR Preview 2013.

NASCAR Acceleration Weekend tickets are on sale at www.nascaracceleration.com and the NASCAR Hall of Fame box office. Tickets for Friday night’s induction ceremony start at $45. In addition, a $20 ticket will gain fans all-day access to NASCAR Preview 2013 and the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 9.

“We are excited about bringing NASCAR Acceleration Weekend back to Charlotte this year,” said Kim Brink, NASCAR managing director of brand, consumer and series marketing. “It is one of our biggest fan events to kick off the season and provides unprecedented access to our best drivers, new cars and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”

The weekend’s activities begin Friday, Feb. 8, with the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The five inductees are Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood. Legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall also will be honored with the inaugural Squier-Hall Award for Media Excellence for their significant contributions to the success of NASCAR during their distinguished careers as media members covering the sport.

More than 50 drivers across NASCAR’s three national series are scheduled to participate in the NASCAR Preview 2013 event, which begins at 7 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, in the Charlotte Convention Center. Similar to last year’s event, the all-day fan festival will allow fans to interact with top drivers from all three national series and to get autographs, to participate in driver Q&A sessions, to get a first-look at the new Cup cars and paint schemes and to check out various interactive displays, among other activities.

2013 NASCAR Chevrolet SS Unveiled at LA Auto Show

From General Motors:

LAS VEGAS – Chevrolet today opened a new chapter in its storied racing history, unveiling its eagerly anticipated 2013 NASCAR Chevrolet SS race car. Powered by the legendary small block V-8 engine, the rear-wheel drive performance sedan will be Chevrolet’s newest entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, beginning with the 2013 SpeedWeeks in Daytona, Fla.

The new NASCAR race car closely resembles the all-new rear wheel drive V-8 Chevrolet SS performance sedan that will debut early next year.

“As a passionate race fan, the debut of the SS NASCAR race car is a genuinely exciting moment for me,” said GM North America President Mark Reuss. “With the SS, Chevrolet is delivering a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR race car that is very closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale, ensuring that our most loyal enthusiasts will have the opportunity to experience the same thrill every day on the open road that our race car drivers enjoy on the track on race day.

“The Chevrolet SS also demonstrates how we are able to leverage our global product portfolio to deliver a unique performance experience,” Reuss said. “The specialized development and testing work done for the race car will certainly benefit the entire Chevrolet product lineup.”

The Chevrolet SS is the next in a long line of famed nameplates that Chevrolet has campaigned in NASCAR. It replaces Impala, which scored 151 wins from 1959-64 and 2007-12.

“We are looking forward to another exciting year of NASCAR competition and expect that the new SS race car, with some of the most skilled drivers on the circuit behind the wheel, will distinguish itself on the track,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.
The Chevrolet SS will be a derivative of the award-winning global rear-wheel-drive architecture that spawns performance vehicles like Chevrolet Camaro and Holden’s upcoming VF Commodore. The limited production version of the Chevrolet SS will be a 2014 model and will arrive in dealer showrooms in late 2013. It is the first time in 17 years that Chevrolet will offer a rear-wheel-drive sedan for sale in the United States.

Chevrolet has long used the SS (Super Sport) designation on high-performance models of some of its most enduring nameplates. The SS designation first appeared in 1957 on a Corvette prototype race car built under the guidance of Zora Arkus-Duntov with the plan to enter it in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
The first production vehicle to be offered with an SS optional package was the 1961 Impala – 453 were built with the performance upgrades, which included a modified chassis and suspension, power brakes, a steering column mounted tachometer and unique wheels and tires.  The SS designation returned to the Chevrolet lineup in 2010 with the debut of the fifth-generation Camaro.

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NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, husband divorce after 7 years

 

From the Associated Press:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Danica Patrick and her husband are divorcing after seven years of marriage.

Patrick announced the split with Paul Hospenthal on her Facebook page Tuesday.

“I am sad to inform my fans that after seven years, Paul and I have decided amicably end our marriage,” she said. “This isn’t easy for either of us, but mutually it has come to this. He has been an important person and friend in my life and that’s how we will remain moving forward.”

Hospenthal is a physical therapist who met Patrick while treating her for a non-racing injury. The two were married in 2005, and he is 17 years older than the 30-year-old driver.

Patrick just completed her first full season in NASCAR, running the full Nationwide schedule and 10 Sprint Cup Series races after leaving IndyCar.

Earlier this month, Patrick had her best finish in nine Cup starts this season, finishing 24th at Texas and running every lap for the first time. Tony Gibson was Ryan Newman’s crew chief for Stewart-Haas Racing, but is moving to Patrick’s team next season. They got a head start with her final two races this season and she finished 10th in Nationwide points, becoming the highest-finishing female driver in the history of NASCAR’s three national series. The previous record was held by Sara Christian, who finished 13th in 1949 in the Cup series.

On Monday night, Patrick won the Nationwide Series’ most popular driver award, which is voted on by fans, and she remains one of the most recognizable drivers in auto racing. Patrick challenged for the Indy 500 win as a rookie, becoming the first woman to lead laps while finishing fourth. She was a career-best third in 2009.

There was speculation that her appeal with advertisers had waned, but earlier this month Go Daddy said Patrick will again appear in the website domain provider’s commercials during the Super Bowl next year. Patrick and Go Daddy first teamed up when the company became an associate sponsor for her IndyCar in 2007. Go Daddy became the primary IndyCar sponsor in 2010, along with a partial NASCAR schedule, and followed her for the full Nationwide Series and limited Sprint Cup schedules this year.

Go Daddy has committed to sponsor the Cup schedule next season, when Patrick moves up to NASCAR’s top level on a full-time basis.

17-year-old Royal Purple driver Dylan Kwasniewski becomes youngest champion in NASCAR K&N

While most 17-year-olds are worried about graduating high school, Dylan Kwasniewski is making history and breaking records as the youngest pole winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

He finished second at last weekend’s season finale at Phoenix International Raceway and became the youngest champion in series history, finishing with a 6-point margin over his teammate, Greg Pursley, for the championship.

The previous record holder was Chuck Brown in 1976, who was 22.

“All we had to do was finish in front of Greg and that’s what we did,” Kwasniewski said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team and my mom. My dad started all this for me and this race was for him and this championship is for him,” Kwasniewski said of his late father. “To be out here in Phoenix and to get the championship, there’s no better feeling.”

According to Royal Purple, Kwasniewski now joins Kyle Larson, who won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title, as two members of the 2012 Next9 class to win NASCAR championships. The Next9 is an industry initiative designed to spotlight the sport’s next wave of national-series stars.

“I think the NASCAR Next9 is definitely the future of the sport,” Kwasniewski said. “We’ve proven it on the race track. Kyle won the (K&N East) championship and we just won the (K&N West) championship here. We’ve definitely got a lot of good drivers and I think that group of Next9 is going to be the next nine you’re going to see in the future (NASCAR Sprint) Cup Series. It’s really good to be part of this. It’s a group of elite drivers and I’m thankful to be part of it.”

Backseat Drivers Fan Council weighs in about Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer

Athlonsports.com reports what the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had to say about the Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer incident at Phoenix last Sunday.

NASCAR announced earlier this week that Jeff Gordon was fined $100,000, docked 25 points and placed him on probation until Dec. 31. Brian Pattie, Clint Bowyer’s crew chief, was fined $25,000, and placed on probation until Dec. 31, and Alan Gustafson, Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, was placed on probation until Dec. 31.

According to the Fan Council members, this is what they would have issued, according to athlonsports.com:

33.7 percent would have suspended Jeff Gordon for Homestead
23.3 percent would have issued no penalties at all
16.5 percent would have fined Gordon, Bowyer & crew members
12.6 percent would have done “other”
7.4 percent would have suspended Gordon and instigators of melee and fined Gordon, Bowyer and crew members
6.5 percent would have suspended instigators of the garage fight for Homestead

Among the comments reported, one fan said, “Boys have at it. ENOUGH SAID!” Other fans thought that Jeff Gordon had no regard for NASCAR’s rules and regulations, and compared him to Kyle Busch, saying, “Jeff Gordon needs to be suspended. And that is coming from someone who got into the sport because of him. Kyle Busch got “parked” for wrecking Hornaday at the Texas Truck race last year. Gordon didn’t just take out Bowyer, he also took out Joey Logano and Aric Almirola, who had nothing to do with the feud. Fining Jeff won’t do anything, since he’s earned more than just about anyone in the sport’s history. $100,000 is chump change for Gordon. Sit him out.”

The Backseat Drivers Fan Council members were also polled in regard to whether or not they would be OK with it if Clint Bowyer retaliated and wrecked Jeff Gordon at Homestead. Their response?

51.7 percent said No.
48.3 percent said Yes.

If you haven’t seen the fight from last Sunday, you can check it out by clicking here.

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NASCAR’s Brad Keselowski fined $25K for tweeting during race

 

From the Associated Press:

Brad Keselowski became a social media darling after hopping on Twitter during a lengthy delay in the Daytona 500.

Keselowski was the center of attention, and NASCAR seemed trendy and hip — a description its executives surely adored.

Turns out, tweeting from the car isn’t cool with NASCAR.

Keselowski was fined $25,000 on Monday for tweeting during the red flag at Phoenix International Raceway. The punishment was confusing to fans who vented on Twitter, of course, wondering why Keselowski was punished for Sunday’s tweets when he was celebrated by NASCAR for doing the exact same thing in February’s season-opening race.

Some alleged the Sprint Cup Series points leader was actually being disciplined for his profanity-laced outburst after Sunday’s crash- and fight-marred race.

NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp on Tuesday dismissed the conspiracy theories, and said drivers had been told after the Daytona 500 that electronic devices — including cellphones — could not be carried inside the race cars going forward.

“Brad’s tweeting at the Daytona 500 was really our first introduction to the magnitude of the social media phenomenon at the race track, especially how we saw it unfold that evening,” Tharp said. “We encourage our drivers to participate in social media. We feel we have the most liberal social media policy in all of sports, and the access we provide is the best in all of sports.

“But we also have rules that pertain to competition that need to be enforced and abided by. Once the 500 took place, and in the days and weeks following the 500, NASCAR communicated to the drivers and teams that while social media was encouraged and we promoted it, the language in the rule book was clear and that drivers couldn’t carry onboard their cars electronic devices, like a phone.”

Keselowski, who takes a 20-point lead over Jimmie Johnson into Sunday’s season finale in his quest to win his first Sprint Cup Series title, has not commented on his penalty.

But with the championship on the line, his crew chief indicated Tuesday he’ll be doing his best to keep the phone out of the No. 2 Dodge this weekend.

“Never even crossed my mind, to be honest with you,” Paul Wolfe said. “We get so involved in worrying about how to make the race car go around the track that, obviously, Brad’s cellphone is not on my mind a whole lot. I’ll definitely remind him this weekend.”

The Daytona 500 was stopped for nearly two hours when Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer that was cleaning the track during a caution period. The crash caused a fuel explosion, and Keselowski used his phone to tweet pictures, answer questions and give updates on the cleanup during the delay.

The race, which had been rained out for the first time in 54 runnings, was being aired on Monday night in prime time for the first time in history and Keselowski’s tweeting drew worldwide headlines.

Afterward, NASCAR specifically said Keselowski did not violate a rule barring onboard electronic devices and would not be penalized.

“Nothing we’ve seen from Brad violates any current rules pertaining to the use of social media during races,” NASCAR said the day after the race. “We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others.”

NASCAR did not issue a technical bulletin to clarify phones could no longer be inside cars, and the clarification to drivers was apparently done quietly. In fact, Keselowski tweeted from Victory Lane at Bristol in March, and from inside his car parked on pit road during a rain delay at Richmond in September. It’s possible someone could have handed him his phone both times.

A year ago, the outspoken Penske Racing driver was fined $25,000 headed into the finale for criticizing electronic fuel injection. At the time, NASCAR had been privately punishing drivers for making disparaging remarks about the series, but word of Keselowski’s fine leaked and forced NASCAR to change its policy during the offseason.

Still, many fans were convinced this week’s fine against Keselowski was actually for his post-race comments about the aggressive racing at Phoenix.

He’d been criticized by several drivers for racing Johnson hard over a pair of late restarts at Texas a week earlier, and felt his aggressive driving paled in comparison to Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer with two laps to go on Sunday. Gordon’s retaliation also collected Joey Logano and Aric Almirola, and forced Keselowski to weave his way around the accident.

“It just drives me absolutely crazy that I get lambasted for racing somebody hard without there even being a wreck and then you see stuff like this … from the same people that criticized me,” he said. “It’s OK to just take somebody out. But you race somebody hard, put a fender on somebody and try to go for the win, and you’re an absolute villain. We can just go out and retaliate against each other and come back in and smile about it, and it’s fine. That’s not what this sport needs. It needs hard racing, it needs people that go for broke, try to win races and put it all out there on the line. Not a bunch of people that have anger issues.”

Photo Credit: AP

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