Contract Status: Stewart: retired from NASCAR and owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.
There are TWO current race tracks the Cup Series runs on that Tony Stewart did NOT win a Cup race:
Kentucky 0 for 6 with a best finish of 5th in 2016
Darlington 0 for 22 with a best finish of 3rd in 2009 & 2012
Stewart has won at 20 of 23 tracks he has raced on, didn't win at Rockingham which is no longer active for Cup racing.(7-9-2016)
Tony Stewart Current and Past News
(NOTE: some older links may not work)
Latest on lawsuit against Stewart: A summary judgment hearing scheduled for Friday in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Kevin Ward Jr.'s parents against Tony Stewart has been canceled as U.S. District Court judge David Hurd told attorneys that he will rule solely from the briefs submitted. Attorneys will meet Friday afternoon with a magistrate judge to discuss any settlement talks and options.[More](6-19-2017)
Tony Stewart returning to Winged sprint car race: There's something special about racing in Indiana during the month of May and, for motorsports icon and Indiana native Tony Stewart, having at least one night of racing back home on his 2017 schedule was a must. Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) announced today that Stewart will be part of the field for the May 19 Arctic Cat All-Stars (ASCoC) presented Ford Performance event at Kokomo (Indiana) Speedway.[More](3-22-2017)
Stewart returns to Sprint Car Racing UPDATE: Tony Stewart has returned to sprint car racing, though his first race back provided him more frustration than frivolity. Stewart finished a disappointing 17th in the 26-car main event late Thursday at Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL), and he ended the night arguing with a fellow driver and complaining with officials. Stewart was driving a sprint car for the first time since he accidentally struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in upstate New York in 2014. Stewart is still facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the fellow driver's family. Stewart, who retired [from NASCAR] after last season, declined comment after the dirt-track event out of respect for the Ward family and later said he didn't want his racing to even appear like he's "rubbing it in the Wards' faces." He plans to keep a low profile during the event, racing again Friday and Saturday at the three-eighths mile track.(read full article at the Associated Press), on Friday night, Stewart finished 21st in the A-Main (Bubba Raceway Park Facebook)(2-11-2017)
UPDATE: Stewart withdrew from Saturday night's finale, which resulted in the release of this statement from his public relations representative: "Tony Stewart has scratched for the evening (Saturday night) and is reconsidering his schedule with the All Star Circuit of Champions due to his ownership of the series. Requirements of owning and managing the series supersede his own driving ambitions. We apologize for the change in tonight's schedule and appreciate everyone's understanding."(FoxSports)(2-12-2017)
Stewart to race in at least 71 events in 2017 probably more: Tony Stewart may be a three-time champion at NASCAR's highest level, but track preparation nevertheless is a passion for him. You'll often find him on a track at Eldora Speedway, the dirt half-mile he owns. Just because Stewart has stepped away from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series doesn't mean he has abandoned the competitive side of racing-far from it. "I wish I'd have finished a little better at the end of the year," Stewart said of his final NASCAR campaign, in which he won at Sonoma and qualified for the Chase. "But I'm looking forward to all the stuff we're going to be doing this year-late model racing, sprint car racing. I'm building a three-quarter midget to run a couple of (county) fair races this year. Going to run a lot of different things at a lot of different places. There are some tracks that I've never been to that I'm going to get a chance to go to on our schedule. We're up to 71 races, and I'm guessing we're going to get another 10 to 15 more races on the schedule before it's all said and done.(RacinBoys)(1-15-2017)
Stewart withdraws appeal concerning insurance company: Court documents indicate Tony Stewart has tentatively withdrawn an appeal of a ruling that determined Axis Insurance Company does not have to cover legal costs and claims by the family of Kevin Ward Jr. against the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. A federal judge ruled in July that Stewart's policy did not cover the Empire Super Sprints, the series Stewart was racing Aug. 9, 2014, when Stewart's car struck and killed Ward at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. On Wednesday, Stewart's attorneys filed to withdrawal the appeal (no reason given and no indication of whether any settlement discussions are ongoing) with the option that the appeal could be reinstated no later than Jan. 30. The Ward family's wrongful death suit remains pending in federal court. Without insurance, it would be up to Stewart -- who was not charged and claims Ward was under the influence of marijuana and attempted to contact his car after approaching it on foot under caution -- to solely determine how much he spends on legal costs and whether to settle.(Bob Pockrass / ESPN Now)(1-5-2017)
Haas involved in purchase of Concord, North Carolina building: A Concord building developed by racing legends Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon has sold for $11 million. The 180,000-square-foot commercial and industrial structure, called Motor Speedway Commerce Center, remains in the NASCAR racing family. It was bought by a West Coast investment buyer, Pegh Investments, which is owned by Gene Haas, a principal in the Kannapolis-based Stewart-Haas Racing. The building, located at 6301 Performance Drive, is currently split between the corporate office and distribution center for Lionel and distribution space for Fanatics Retail Group. The structure was built in 1997 by a joint-venture group including Earnhardt, Gordon and Ken Barber. It's built on 16 acres within sight of the Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Charlotte Business Journal)(12-31-2016)
Will Tony Stewart open Columbus ranch for hunting? Retired NASCAR driver Tony Stewart could be opening his Columbus (IN)-area ranch for some commercial deer and turkey hunting, potentially becoming one of the first hunting grounds to take advantage of a law passed earlier this year legalizing high-fenced hunting in Indiana. Hidden Hollow Ranch, Stewart's 414-acre property west of Columbus, would host guided deer and turkey hunts for groups of up to 12 paying guests, who would likely stay overnight at the residence, according to a Bartholomew County zoning application. County zoning officials voted 4-0 on Dec. 19 to allow conditional use of the property for a bed-and-breakfast-like hunting and fishing facility. It's unclear who would be invited to hunt on Stewart's property, or whether the hunting parties would be open to the public. The application noted that most hunts would accommodate five or fewer guests. Each hunter would have to hold a license to hunt, according to Denise Derrer, spokeswoman for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. Stewart's representatives were not immediately reachable for comment.(full article at the Indianapolis Star)(12-26-2016)
Congrats to Clint and Lorra Bowyer on the birth of their daughter, Preseley Elizabeth on Friday. Bowyer tweeted the news Friday afternoon. Presley joins brother, Cash.(12-10-2016)
Stewart to help broadcast Jason Leffler Memorial Race: Racing icon Tony Stewart teams with SPEED SPORT and Ralph Sheheen to broadcast the Jason Leffler Memorial Race presented by Great Clips, which airs Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:00pm & 10:00pm/et on MAVTV. The $20,000-to-win special event is co-sanctioned by USAC and the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series, bringing some of the biggest names in racing to Wayne County (Ill.) Speedway. Stewart, a multi-time champion across several styles of racing from NASCAR to IndyCar to USAC sprints and midgets, joins Sheheen to call the action with Tony Bokhoven delivering all the news trackside. Leffler, a three-time USAC midget champion who went on to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR, died from injuries sustained in a sprint car crash in 2013. The race in his memory also helps to raise funds for his son, Charlie. "I was honored to know Jason and to race with him, so I am happy to be able to share a little of his story through the broadcast of this race," Stewart said. "The SPEED SPORT team does a tremendous job bringing events like this to television every week and it was definitely a fun experience to work with them."(Speed Sport)(12-8-2016)
Motorsports Industry Honors Tony Stewart with Sizeable Charitable Donation On His Behalf to EB Research Partnership: To honor three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart as he retires from his 20-year NASCAR driving career, the motorsports industry came together in unprecedented fashion at the season-ending NASCAR Awards Banquet by making a $1.8 million contribution on Stewart's behalf to the EB Research Partnership, the largest global non-profit dedicating to curing EB. EB, or Epidermolysis Bullosa, is a devastating skin disorder. Those with EB lack critical proteins that bind the layers of skin together. Without these proteins, the skin can tear apart, blister and sheer off, leading to severe pain, disfigurement and wounds that never heal. EB can also affect the body internally, causing blisters in the eyes, mouth, esophagus and the fusing together of fingers and toes. EB affects one in every 50,000 births and is not specific to any ethnicity or gender, but because it only affects an estimated 25-30,000 people in the United States, advancing research to combat this disease relies on the generosity of individuals and corporations.
The industry initially targeted a $1.4 million donation to the EB Research Partnership as a subtle nod to Stewart's #14 car number, which he drove to his third Sprint Cup title in 2011 and chose in honor of his hero and friend, the iconic A.J. Foyt who raced the #14 throughout his versatile career. However, widespread support for this initiative quickly gained momentum and the original $1.4 million target was easily surpassed.
"Tony wanted to have a very low-key sendoff during his final NASCAR season and he was pretty emphatic about it. He certainly earned a lot of recognition for all that he accomplished, and as an industry we felt it was important to honor him," said Mike Helton, vice chairman, NASCAR. "People know how passionate he is about motorsports, but he's equally passionate about helping others. On behalf of the entire motorsports industry, we felt this collective donation in Tony's name was a fitting tribute to all that he's accomplished during his NASCAR career."
Well known for his accolades on the racetrack, which includes 12 driving championships and victories in nearly every American-based racing series, Stewart is also known for his philanthropy. In 2003, he formed his own charitable foundation. Known simply as the Tony Stewart Foundation, the 501(c)(3) organization's goal is to raise funds primarily distributed to serving three specific groups - chronically ill and physically disabled children, animals that are endangered or at-risk, and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $6.5 million to assist charitable initiatives for more than 150 well-qualified organizations throughout the United States. Stewart's work on behalf of the foundation crossed paths with his love for music earlier this year when he met Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. The two discussed their work in racing and in music, respectively, before the conversation dovetailed into their mutual commitment to charity. It was here where Stewart learned about EB from an impassioned Vedder, who co-founded the EB Research Partnership.
"When I first heard about it, it was quite hard to grasp the intensity of the condition," Vedder said. "It's about the most insane skin disorder you could imagine. And when you realize it also affects the internal organs, you see it as diabolical. It's very hard to describe until you meet the young folks with it, and they make you realize how much you take for granted. You also realize that these are some of the strongest, coolest, most admirable people on the face of the Earth." The tenacious and sometimes cantankerous demeanor Stewart carries at the racetrack vanishes when he is off the track and in the presence of children, especially those who face physical and mental challenges. Children fighting EB have a perseverance and strength that is unworldly, and it has resonated with Stewart. "The pain these kids face is constant, and yet they still find ways to stay upbeat," Stewart said. "You quickly realize that your idea of a bad day is nothing. It puts your life and the things you take for granted in perspective. But it also makes you mad, because this is a devastating disorder that no one should have to endure. Yet it exists, and after seeing it, you want to do anything you can to make it go away."
Stewart's $1.8 million donation to the EB Research Partnership will accelerate life-changing research and reduce the timeframe of getting results for children with EB, while ensuring treatments go to those in need as swiftly as possible. This donation on Stewart's behalf is an embodiment of all the philanthropic work Stewart has performed as a NASCAR driver. He never sought accolades for his work, but his charitable efforts have been noticed nonetheless.
Stewart was named "Most Caring Athlete" by USA Weekend in 2004 and in that same year was selected by The Sporting News as "NASCAR's 'Good Guy'" and received the NASCAR USG Person of the Year award. In 2008, NASCAR Illustrated bestowed upon Stewart its Person of the Year award, as Stewart's Prelude To The Dream all-star dirt Late Model race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, raised more than $4 million for charity during its eight-year run. In 2009, Stewart was nominated for the National Motorsports Press Association's (NMPA) Humanitarian and Spirit awards, each of which recognizes philanthropy. In 2010, Stewart again was a finalist for the NMPA Humanitarian award, becoming the only person to ever be nominated in back-to-back years. Making the 2010 selection even more noteworthy was that Stewart won and earned $100,000 for his Foundation. And in 2013, Stewart earned the prestigious NMPA Myers Brothers award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. "Tony's legacy on the track is known and respected, but his efforts off the track should be known as well, even though he'll never be the one talking about them," Helton said. "Tony Stewart is a true humanitarian, and this sport is better off thanks to him and all of his contributions. It's only appropriate that we, as an industry, can contribute to Tony's philanthropic endeavors."(SHR)(12-3-2016)
A.J. Foyt surprises Stewart: Tony Stewart has long had an admiration for A.J. Foyt and that admiration was on display during NASCAR's After The Lap program in Las Vegas. Stewart, who was holding court on the stage with the 15 other Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and hosts Rutledge Wood and Guy Fieri while reminiscing and telling tales from his NASCAR racing days. Wood stopped the chatting to bring out Foyt, a seven-time victor in NASCAR's premier series and four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. "This is the baddest man on the planet right here," Stewart said of Foyt. Foyt sat next to Stewart and the two told a handful of stories -- in a playful back-and-forth banter -- while the rest of the drivers listened on.(NASCAR.com)(12-2-2016)
Tony Stewart racing at Le Mans in 2017? Tony Stewart said his 2017 racing schedule is coming together, announcing two dates and hinting at other possibilities. Stewart, who has retired from driving in NASCAR but will compete in plenty of races in other series, talked about his 2017 schedule during Tuesday night's "Tony Stewart Live'' on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "The sprint car schedules are starting to come out, but the cool thing is I've kind of put it off a little bit because we've had some really interesting e-mails and phone calls from car owners,'' Stewart said on the show. "There's a possibility I might have an offer to go race at Le Mans next year, which I never thought I would have an opportunity to do that. I had a conversation with a car owner about possibly running this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona. There's a lot of cool stuff and the fun part is kind of not exactly knowing yet what we're going to do. I do have some races that are confirmed and scheduled. One of them is going to be at Texas Motor Speedway in April; we're going to run two nights with the sprint car at the Texas Motor Speedway dirt track. That's one I'm really looking forward to. As we start filling in the schedule, we'll start letting everybody know for sure. It's going to be full, I guarantee you.'' Stewart will compete in the Tony Stewart Presents the Texas Sprint Car Nationals April 7-8 at the dirt track at Texas Motor Speedway.(NBC Sports)(12-1-2016)
Stewart to host SiriusXM Special: Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will host a special edition of his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show, Tony Stewart Live, tonight, November 29 from 7:00 to 9:00pm/et. Stewart and co-host Matt Yocum will broadcast live from Charlotte, where they will look back at Smoke's 18-year career behind the wheel in NASCAR's premier series and discuss what lies ahead for him in motorsports. Listeners will be invited to call in to the show to talk live with Smoke and Yocum and share their memories of Stewart's career. Tony and Matt are also scheduled to be joined live on air during the show by Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, and Clint Bowyer, who will take over for Smoke as the driver for the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2017. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio is available to listeners nationwide on channel 90 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app. Throughout the program, listeners will also hear messages from several prominent guests who share their memories from various times in Smoke's career, from his rookie year through his three championship seasons. These include the legendary Richard Petty; NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton; Joe Gibbs, Stewart's team owner from 1999 through 2008; and fellow drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick; Donnie Allison, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne.(SiriusXM)(11-29-2106)
Stewart Notes of Interest:
o Sunday's race marks Stewart's 618th and final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 17th Sprint Cup start at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
o Stewart has career totals of 49 wins, 15 poles, 187 top-five finishes, 308 top-10s and 12,815 laps led in 617 Sprint Cup races.
His most recent Sprint Cup win came June 26 at Sonoma Raceway.
His last Sprint Cup pole came April 5, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Stewart missed the final 15 races of the 2013 season, three races in 2014 and the first eight races in 2016.
o Stewart has three wins, four top-five finishes, seven top-10s and has led a total of 450 laps in his 16 career Sprint Cup starts at Homestead. His average start is 17.9, his average finish is 14.9 and he has a lap-completion rate of 97.9.
o Stewart has led 450 of the 4,277 laps available to him at Homestead.
o Stewart's third and ninth career Sprint Cup wins came at Homestead, where he swept the track's first two races in 1999 and 2000. Only one other driver has won back-to-back races at Homestead - Greg Biffle won three in a row from 2004 to 2006.
o Stewart's win at Homestead in 2011 came from the 15th starting position - the third-farthest back a driver has ever won from at Homestead. And his win in 2000 came from the 13th starting position - the fourth-farthest back a driver has ever won from at Homestead. Stewart, Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin are the only other drivers to have won at Homestead from outside the top-10. Biffle won the 2006 race after starting 22nd and Hamlin won the 2009 race after starting 38th.
o Race Rewind: In a race that went down as one of the best in NASCAR's long and storied history, Stewart won the 2011 season finale at Homestead and clinched his third Sprint Cup championship. He led four times for 65 laps in the No. 14 Chevrolet and defeated Carl Edwards by 1.306 seconds to score his fifth win of the season and his third in 13 career Sprint Cup starts at Homestead. Incredibly, Stewart passed 118 cars during the 267-lap race. He and Edwards both ended the season with 2,403 points, but Stewart's five wins in 2011 compared to Edwards' one win gave Stewart the tiebreaker advantage.
o Stewart won Sprint Cup titles in 2002 and 2005 and, with the 2011 crown, became the first driver-owner to win a Sprint Cup championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992. In addition, Stewart became the ninth driver to win three or more championships, joining Richard Petty (seven), Dale Earnhardt (seven), Jimmie Johnson (six), Jeff Gordon (four), David Pearson (three), Darrell Waltrip (three), Cale Yarborough (three) and Lee Petty (three).(TSC/SHR)(11-20-2016)
Stewart says Homestead is his final Cup race...ever; cell phone stolen: #14-Tony Stewart, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed his final race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor, his future plans, his legacy and many other topics. The transcript in part:
Q) HAS ANYTHING GOTTEN TO YOU SO FAR THIS WEEK?
Stewart: "I guess I will get to that, but the first part you said kind of struck a nerve because somebody reached out and touched me yesterday and stole my cell phone out of my pocket. I was like 'well that kind of brought it right back to my mind.' Yeah, it's been a hell of a start to the weekend to get your phone stolen. That was probably the biggest thing that was disappointing last night when I realized my phone was stolen was the fact that I was in the process of answering text messages from people. I got a flood of text messages yesterday and I think I'm going to have a phone by tomorrow. So, I'm sure when I turn it on it's going to be absolutely crazy when I turn it back on. It's been neat. People I haven't talked to for a long time, people that are friends that I haven't seen or heard of from a long time reached out this week and it's been pretty cool. Nothing in particular really struck a nerve, but it's just the overall support from everybody was really awesome."
Q) DO YOU HAVE ANY DESIRE TO GET BACK IN A CUP CAR FOR ANY REASON AFTER THIS SEASON? WOULD YOU FILL IN FOR ONE OF YOUR DRIVERS?
Stewart: "No, I'm good. This is it. This is the last one. I think I learned my lesson from Jeff (Gordon). Jeff tried to do somebody a favor this year and got roped into running half the season (laughs). Thank you Jeff for teaching me a lesson before I got roped into it. So, no, I'm not planning on that at all. We are going to be busy. In all honesty and I don't have a schedule set next year, but I just know the things that I'm planning, my schedule next year is going to be much busier than it already is this year. There is just not going to be room for it."
Q) WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU LOST YOUR CELL PHONE? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
Stewart: "My girlfriend and I, we were actually on our way Wednesday night to Miami in a hotel we were staying at there because we had the owners meeting yesterday. We saw some carnival deal, so we stopped and it was about the close, but we went back to it last night on our way back to here. We were just getting ready to leave and I realized it wasn't in my pocket. I had her phone, my phone and a couple of other things I was holding for her. When I was checking to see where it was at it was not there anymore. We had bumped into some people right before that and I'm fairly certain that is when it decided it went a different direction, but it was kind of fun because they have that Find My iPhone app. We went chasing people forever trying to find it. Until we realized they were in the parking lot and they got in the car and they were gone. I hit block on it and deleted it and now I've got to get a new phone, which is devastating because I do everything off of my cell phone. My life is on that cell phone, so I start my life over tomorrow (laughs)." (Team Chevy)(11-18-2016)
Stewart to run "Always a Racer" scheme for final Cup race: After three NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, 49 victories and 618 starts, Tony Stewart will climb in his #14 Always a Racer/Mobil 1 Chevy for the final time in his 18-year career Sunday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway and conclude what is destined to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame career. But save the tears, race fans. He isn't done driving and he isn't going away. "You're going to see me driving a lot next year, but most of it will be on dirt," Stewart said. "I kind of look at this as halftime of my career and I'll still be around the NASCAR garage. I'll just have more time. If I see Richard Petty or anyone else in the garage, I can go over and talk to him now and not have to worry about getting to the car or trying to figure out how to make my car go faster. I can focus now on what I want to do and my job at SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing.)"
For his last race, Stewart will drive a special paint scheme carrying each SHR employees' signature with the words "Always a Racer, Forever a Champion," as well as pictorial highlights of his 18-year career on the hood. Except for the special paint scheme and hosting about 75 SHR guests to watch his final race, Stewart's finale will be low-key as the rest of the racing world watches the culmination of NASCAR's 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, during which the sport will crown its champion.
"We didn't want all the ceremony and distraction this year," Stewart said. "We just wanted to focus on the racecar and run well and let the NASCAR fans see us race a final time." Stewart has avoided much of the pomp and circumstance, opting instead to race well and accept a few accolades along the way from tracks and SHR's corporate partners. The strategy has worked as Stewart has returned to the front of the field, logging five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 2016. The highlight came in June, when Stewart made a last-lap pass of Denny Hamlin at Sonoma Raceway to claim his 49th career victory that ultimately led to a berth in the 2016 Chase, where Stewart fell a few points short of advancing to the Round of 12.
He'd like nothing more than to close his 2016 season, as well as his career, with a strong run Sunday on the high-banked turns at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He won the first two Sprint Cup races at the South Florida track in 1999 and 2000, then visited victory lane again in 2011, when he won a thrilling duel with Carl Edwards. The victory left Edwards and Stewart tied in points, with Stewart winning his third Sprint Cup title based on a tiebreaker. In 16 career starts at the 1.5-mile oval, he also owns four top-five and seven top-10 finishes and has led 450 laps. He's completed 4,186 of a possible 4,277 laps at the track.
The full list of Stewart's assault on the NASCAR record book is a long one but, when he climbs from the #14 Sunday, he'll do so as the 13th-winningest driver with his 49 wins. His three Sprint Cup titles ties him for fifth all-time, and he's also won IndyCar and IROC championships. His race wins include: 11 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, six in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, three in IndyCar and four in IROC. Plus, he's won countless short-track races and titles since he first climbed in a go-kart in Indiana all those years ago (TSC/SHR). See an image of the scheme on the #14 Team Schemes page.(11-16-2016)
Stewart to be honored: #14-Tony Stewart will receive a painting depicting various cars he's driven at PIR during pre-race ceremonies. Sunday is scheduled to be the three-time Cup champion's next-to-last race before concluding the NASCAR portion of his career. Stewart's average finish in 27 Cup races at the Avondale oval is 14th, with one win and 12 top-10s.(Arizona Republic)(11-13-2016)
Harvick not happy with lack of Stewart 'credit': after qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, #4-Kevin Harvick was asked:
Q) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TONY RETIRING IN TWO RACES AND WHAT HIS LEGACY IS GOING TO BE HERE?
Harvick: "It's not going to be what it should be because I don't think anybody did a very good job of giving him the credit that he deserved throughout the year at the race tracks and from a sports standpoint. That has been very disappointing from my standpoint. I know that Tony probably would say that he didn't want that but I don't think anybody has done a very good job of giving him the credit for the time that he has put in and had in the sport. A three-time champion, multiple race winner, IndyCar champion and winner and to auto racing in general. It's been pretty disheartening to me to see the lack of credit that he has gotten."(Team Chevy Qualifying Notes and Quotes)(11-13-2016)
Stewart to be guest of honor in Festival of Lights Parade: Columbus (IN) native Tony Stewart will climb back into a car after his retirement as a NASCAR driver - in a passenger seat while traveling along a downtown street. Stewart, the three-time NASCAR champion who is on the final laps of his 18-year career as a Sprint Cup driver, will return to his hometown Dec. 3 to be guest of honor in the city's Festival of Lights Parade, Mayor Jim Lienhoop said Friday. Stewart has appeared in Columbus parades before - the most recent one five years ago to the day.(The Republic)(11-12-2016)
Stewart-Haas Racing signs deal with Nike: Stewart-Haas Racing has signed a six-figure value-in-kind deal with Nike to outfit the team starting next season, when SHR switches manufacturers from Chevy to Ford. SHR did not previously have a sole apparel manufacturer and instead had different brands worn by team members. However, because of the switch to Ford, SHR will have to get all new apparel since Chevy's logo is on its current gear, and the team decided the time was right to go out and find one official partner. Nike will outfit the organization with various forms of apparel, and in return gets the exposure from the gear being worn publicly, plus signage on SHR's pit practice facility and weight room.
Meanwhile, [SHR VP/Sales & Marketing Mike Verlander] said that as part of the switchover from Chevy to Ford, SHR will also slightly tweak its logo. The new logo is not ready to be released, but Verlander said it will be a small change. SHR currently has a light blue logo, so switching to a darker shade to align with Ford's darker-blue logo is a possibility.(Sports Business Daily)(10-27-2016)
Final restrictor plate for Stewart: Tony Stewart might not be the biggest fan of restrictor-plate racing in NASCAR, but there are few drivers like Stewart who can say they've led almost 1,000 laps or logged more than 30,000 miles in their careers on the 200-mph, high-banked tracks at Daytona and Talladega. In Sunday's Hellman's 500 at the 2.66-mile Talladega track, the three-time champion will drive the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Delvac Chevy in the 70th and final superspeedway restrictor-plate start of his 18-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. Going into his final Sprint Cup restrictor-plate race, Stewart owns five wins, 18 top-fives and 28 top-10s on NASCAR's current restrictor-plate tracks. He's led 997 laps and logged 30,257.2 miles.(SHR)(10-21-2016)
U.S. District Court Dismisses Case of Suspended Dirt Late Model Dream Drivers: U.S. District Judge Mae A. D'Agostino today issued a stipulation of dismissal in the case of plaintiffs Scott Bloomquist, Gregg Satterlee, Jimmy Owens, and Ricky Thornton vs World Racing Group and subsidiary DIRTcar Racing, Eldora Speedway, and its owner Tony Stewart regarding suspension following tire analysis after Eldora Speedway's Dirt Late Model Dream. Drivers will be allowed to return to competition with payment of the fine and fees imposed, following a request for reinstatement of their suspended DIRTcar membership. "We're happy this is over," said DIRTcar Racing COO Tom Deery. "It is a waste of resources that should have been invested in the sport rather than damaging it and polarizing fans." The attorney for the five plaintiffs and their team owners, R&W Motorsports, LLC, W.G. Satterlee & Sons, Inc., Best Performance Motorsports and J.R. Motorsports, LLC, filed a voluntary motion for dismissal on Monday.(DIRTcar Racing)(10-20-2016)
Roush Yates Engines preparing for Stewart Haas switch to Ford: One of the biggest stories of the 2016 NASCAR season played out early in the year with the announcement that Stewart-Haas Racing would switch from Chevrolet to Ford in 2017 - a move that caught most everyone off-guard. Now, with the season winding down, the countdown is on for that switch to become a reality and Roush Yates Engines is working behind the scenes to ensure it is up to the task of putting power under the SHR hoods. "Roush Yates Engines, right now, is in the process of increasing inventory and getting prepared," said Jeff Clark, Vice President of Sales for Roush Yates Engines. "We don't build the engines yet because technology is always changing but we are reviewing applications and potential employees - that will be more of a November/December item. And then acquiring the inventory, a lot of the parts in these engines require long lead-times. There are three, four, five or six months of lead time on these items, so we're trying to get the hard parts together and just prepare as much as possible for when it is go-time." Clark doesn't have an exact number of people the organization will need to bring on to fulfill the new workload but he knows they will be choosing from the best-of-the-best in the sport. He said they have received a lot of interest from engine experts looking to fill the void and that have led to numerous applications and resumes. He said management is poring over stats to determine how much the workload will increase to be ready for 2017.(Kickin the Tires)(10-17-2016)
Johnson comments on deal with Stewart-Haas; Hendrick backtracks: Jimmie Johnson described a less-than-ideal working relationship between Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing on Friday, prompting his team general manager to clarify how the teams shared information. Stewart-Haas has gotten its Chevrolet engines and chassis from Hendrick Motorsports since it began in 2009, but that relationship is poised to end. Stewart-Haas announced this year it would be switching to Roush Yates Engines that power Ford teams for next season. Johnson was asked before practice for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Kansas whether he would like his team to find another partner to replace Stewart-Haas racing next season. "Just to be selfishly speaking," Johnson said, "we didn't get their data. We didn't share their data. They had ours. So it was a fantastic situation for them. They had our best stuff and then they have a huge engineering staff and they can take Hendrick's best equipment and refine it." That counts as inflammatory stuff in the closely knit NASCAR garage. It also prompted Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt to climb out of Johnson's hauler a few hours later and clarify the relationship. The teams did share information with each other before Stewart-Haas announced its decision to leave, at which point communication was largely cut off. "That is the way it worked from the time I have been at Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "We received information from Stewart-Haas when we worked with them. When they made their announcement with Ford that changed things. But the bottom line is that as partners we exchanged data."(Associated Press)(10-15-2016)
Bowyer gearing up for 2017: #15-Clint Bowyer met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway Friday and discussed his outlook for next season as he joins Stewart-Haas Racing:
Where are you at competitively? How do you feel about where you are going next year and where you are at now?
Bowyer: "Certainly, it's always natural to start thinking about next year. You better be this time of year no matter if you are moving or staying the same and nothing changes. That is how far in advance you have to look in this sport and work. All the organizations are lining themselves us and gearing up for next year, all the while, there is a lot of racing left to do in 2016. Last weekend is a prime example. I look over and I see all the Stewart-Haas cars up front, qualified well, Danica (Patrick) was fast, all the cars raced well. Those are the things that you look at and get excited for next year. But, hey, you've got an opportunity to come back home and race and compete in front of your hometown crowd, like I said, there is plenty of racing to do and things to accomplish this year. We've got to cap it off well and start to get focused on next year. It is exciting. You get emails, like I was telling somebody last night, an email came across my phone and I look over and its #14 merchandise approvals for next year. You are like 'holy cow' it's becoming reality. It's fixing to pick up in a big way."(Team Chevy Racing)(10-15-2016)
Nature's Bakery sponsoring 25 races in 2017; Code 3 moving sponsorship to Patrick: Nature's Bakery is looking at slightly reducing the size of its deal with NASCAR Sprint Cup team Stewart-Haas Racing starting next year. However, the savings are likely to be redeployed toward activation around the program, and SHR already has a partner lined up to fill the open inventory. Nature's Bakery, the Nevada-based healthy snack maker that signed on last year to replace longtime Danica Patrick sponsor GoDaddy starting this season, was announced as having 28 primary paint schemes annually on Patrick's #10 Chevy. SHR VP/Sales & Marketing Mike Verlander confirmed that Nature's Bakery evaluated this season whether it needed to have that many races moving forward, because "some brands need to be at all of them, some don't need 28." This coincided with Code 3 Associates, an animal-focused non-profit that is one of outgoing SHR driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart's sponsors, wanting to switch over to Patrick. Her other primary sponsors, Aspen Dental and TaxAct, both have four primaries each. Verlander said Nature's Bakery is looking at going down by around three races next year because "28 to 25 doesn't really affect their proportionality of owning the lead sponsor role," which Nature's Bakery is intent on retaining.(Sports Business Daily)(10-13-2016)
Stewart trial not likely until next summer: With some depositions -- including that of Tony Stewart -- still to be taken, any trial in the wrongful death case brought by the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. against Stewart won't happen until at least next summer. The deadline for motions asking the judge to rule on the case before trial was pushed from Feb. 8 to May 31 during a status conference Thursday in federal court in Utica, N.Y.(ESPN)(10-11-2016)
ExxonMobil and Stewart-Haas Racing Extend Partnership with Multi-Year Deal: ExxonMobil announced it will be extending the Mobil 1 brand's sponsorship of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in a multi-year deal. Beginning next year, Mobil 1, the "Official Motor Oil of NASCAR," will provide full primary sponsorships across SHR's four NASCAR premier series drivers. Kevin Harvick's #4 car, Danica Patrick's #10, Clint Bowyer's #14 and Kurt Busch's #41 will see Mobil 1 full primaries at various NASCAR premier series races throughout the year. At the same time, the Mobil 1 brand will remain an associate sponsor for all SHR drivers at all other races. "ExxonMobil and Mobil 1 lubricant technology have been integral to my success with SHR and my 2014 Championship, so I'm excited they're coming back," said Harvick. "I'm also honored to step in as the lead representative for the Mobil 1 brand both on and off the track."
Tony Stewart, who has represented Mobil 1 since the brand joined SHR in 2011, is retiring as a NASCAR driver at the end of the 2016 season. He will remain a brand ambassador for Mobil 1 in his role as a team owner, as he co-owns SHR with industrialist Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. Additionally, the Mobil 1 brand will be an associate sponsor of SHR's new NASCAR XFINITY Series for the 2017 season, where Cole Custer will run for rookie of the year. The company has been providing lubricant technology support to the team since 2011, which helped Stewart and Harvick earn premier series championships for SHR in 2011 and 2014, respectively.
"With two championships already, our partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing has been pushing performance limits since day one. Finishing this year and going into 2017, we're ready to add more wins and titles to the collection," said Kai Decker, global motorsports manager at ExxonMobil. "Our engineers are continuously working to advance our lubricant technology and SHR plays a large role in how we test our engine lubricants - ensuring consumers and race fans are getting the best product available."
After announcing the partnership in 2010, SHR and Mobil 1 engineers began working closely together to tackle racing challenges. The 2017 season continues a collaborative engineering relationship used to develop lubricant packages and push technology limits to new frontiers. This relationship helps the SHR team win races and ExxonMobil continue to improve the performance of Mobil 1 branded lubricants with improved power, fuel mileage, engine efficiency and reliability.
"We're thrilled to continue our partnership with ExxonMobil for the 2017 race season and beyond," Stewart said. "They've been an incredible partner. "The success we've achieved has been greatly helped by Mobil 1 lubricant technology and our engineers working hand in hand with their engineers."
Including the 2016 season, the partnership with ExxonMobil has led to significant on-track success for SHR, compiling two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles, 34 race wins, 140 top-five finishes, 266 top-10 finishes and 28 poles.
Along with its association with SHR, Mobil 1 is entering its 15th year as the "Official Motor Oil of NASCAR." Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of the teams in NASCAR's top-three series.(ExxonMobil PR)(10-7-2016)
Stewart to Rev the Vote at Charlotte: Tony Stewart will introduce a new corporate partner on the deck lid of the #14 Chevy at Charlotte in Rev The Vote - a non-partisan organization whose mission is to increase voter registration among the millions of unregistered motorsports fans in the United States. The #14 will be decked out in Mobil 1 colors, which will be featured on the hood. Stewart has several goals for the final seven races of his career. His next victory will be the 50th in his career and tie him for 11th place all-time with NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson.(SHR), see image of the scheme on the #14 Team Schemes page (10-7-2016)
Stewart subs for Earnhardt Jr. in Charity event: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday for a Dale Jr. Foundation charity ride-along event. The problem: Earnhardt Jr. has not been cleared to drive by his doctors as he recovers from concussion-like symptoms. The event raises "quite a bit of money," Junior said in a video posted to Twitter. Never fear, 'Smoke' is here. The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion volunteered to fill the seat so Tuesday's event could go off without a hitch. Earnhardt Jr. posted a thank-you video, calling Stewart a "good dude" for filling in.(see video at NASCAR.com)(10-5-20106)
New look for Stewart's #14 at Dover: Tony Stewart's #14 car will have a different look this weekend on the Delaware concrete high banks. It will carry the all-brown, Nature's Bakery Double Chocolate Brownies paint scheme for the first time this season.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #14 team paint schemes page.(9-30-2016)
Stewart's frustration part of the reason for retirement: Tony Stewart admits he faces "a very steep, uphill battle" to avoid elimination Sunday from the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Dover International Speedway. But he also readily admits that there's only so much he can do, and the frustration that the driver plays only so much -- or so little -- of a role in a sport that has become increasingly reliant on engineering is one of the reasons he will retire from Cup racing after this season. "When we come off the truck [on Friday], we fight the same thing for three days and there's nothing I can do to fix it," Stewart told reporters Wednesday during a NASCAR-mandated media tour as part of his Chase obligations. "That's what's so frustrating for me as a driver. That is part of why I'm ready to do something different is because I can't make a difference anymore. I can't do different things with my feet and different things with my hands and run a different line and fix the problem. I used to be able to do that. I can't do that anymore. You just get so frustrated you can't see straight." The three-time Cup champion joked about trying to not get suspended for his final eight races if he said too much, acknowledging he is exhausted from trying to play a role of outspoken veteran in a sport where he believes the drivers are often afraid to share their feelings. "You can only beat the drum for so long and it can only fall on deaf ears for so long before you finally say, 'The people that need to make it better can't make it better,'" the 45-year-old Stewart said. Stewart said "I've had my fill of fighting the fight" as the driver to draw attention to issues of the way the sport operates." While Stewart plans to retire from Cup racing, he said he has told his sprint-car team management to be ready for him to run 40-50 races next season. He will have to wait until February to race because he will have the screws taken out of his back in December. He said his first race next year will be on pavement and will be in someone else's equipment but he wouldn't reveal more than that.(ESPN.com)(9-29-2016)
NASCAR will talk to Stewart, Newman before Chicago race: NASCAR plans to talk with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman before each driver gets on track Friday at Chicagoland Speedway to discuss their incident and comments at Richmond, Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. "Certainly too late for us to do anything in terms of a reaction at track," O'Donnell said Monday."After you hear the comments from both drivers, disappointing in terms of how that played out and what was said on the air. We're going to take a look at that now that we've got some time and certainly talk to both drivers before heading into Chicago and go from there. We're still looking through everything to review the data and then have conversations with the drivers." O'Donnell explained on"The Morning Drive" how they might talk to the drivers. "Any incident like that, we'll sit each driver down prior to going on the racetrack and make sure, probably individually, that they've talked," he said. "If they haven't talked, we'll make sure they're together before any of the cars go out on the track prior to that first practice."(NBC Sports)(9-12-2016)
UPDATE: Neither Tony Stewart nor Ryan Newman felt the need to apologize for their actions Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, but they reiterated they have put the incident behind them after spending more than 30 minutes with NASCAR officials Friday. Stewart and Newman, longtime friends, stood side-by-side for a few minutes afterward, answering reporters' questions and joking with each other in the Chicagoland Speedway garage. "We don't have to apologize to each other," Newman said. Stewart chimed right in: "You've got to remember, we've been teammates. We've known each other since long before either one of us ever got an opportunity to come to NASCAR." Newman interrupted: "I'll text you an apology later." Newman, who drove for Stewart-Haas Racing from 2009 through 2013, said he didn't regret what he said. "They're just words, right?" Newman said. "More often than not, we're men of our actions. It's just all about going out there and doing our job. We all know it can be frustrating at times, whether it's intentional or not. ... I don't have any regrets about what I said. I am frustrated by the situations and the actions that came about in respect to all of it."(ESPN.com), for comments from Stewart and Newman after Richmond, see the #31 team news page.(9-17-2016)
Newman rips Stewart after accident UPDATE: #31-Ryan Newman was involved in an accident on lap 363 at Richmond Saturday night after contact with #14-Tony Stewart:
Q: Are you okay, and why did that happen?
Newman: "Oh, I'm fine. I think it was pretty obvious watching the video. I don't even have to watch it. The No. 14 (Tony Stewart) cut across my nose into Turn 1 and I got into him after that, but he'd already chopped into me and messed up my line and I clipped him a little bit coming off of (Turn) 2; but he just cut across my nose. Going down the back straightaway there, I guess he thought he was in a Sprint Car again; did not know how to control his anger. We'll keep fighting like we always do. It's just unfortunate not to end the way we wanted to. The Caterpillar Chevrolet and Grainger and Sprint and everybody else who helps put us on. But, it's just disappointing that you've got somebody old like that, that should be retired the way he drives. It's just ridiculous."
Q: You were racing him pretty aggressively for 9th place in the turns before that. Do you think he had any reason to be ticked off at you?
Newman: "I only hit him in Turn 1 when he cut across my nose. So, I don't think there was any reason other than him just being bipolar and having anger issues. Google Tony Stewart; you'll see all kinds of things he's done. Look it up. YouTube and everything else. Quite the guy."
Q: What happened from your perspective?
Newman: "Tony Stewart ran across my nose twice in one lap. The second one cost him and me. It's unfortunate. He has got issues. We all know he's got issues. He proved it again tonight. I was clearly inside of him getting into Turn 1, he cut across my nose, I was on the brakes, on the apron and I hit him coming off of Turn 2, but only because I got loose, I was on the apron. The next thing I know he is driving across my nose on the back straightaway because he's Tony Stewart and he thinks he owns everything. It's unfortunate, but shouldn't expect anything less from him."(Chevy PR)
AND: Stewart said Newman had run across his nose early in the race and then twice again before Stewart admitted he cut across Newman but obviously didn't want to wreck himself. "How many times does he get to run into you before you say, 'You've had enough?" Stewart said. As far as the harsh comments, Stewart said Newman was in a pressure-filled situation. "It's a stressful night for him," Stewart said. "He was trying to make the Chase. It's a stressful moment. He's going to say whatever he's going to say." The two drivers had been friends. "I'd say by that he probably doesn't want to be friends right now," Stewart said. "It's up to him."(ESPN.com)(9-11-2016)
UPDATE: Stewart, speaking Thursday at the Chase media day, indicated he will have a different philosophy over the final 10 races of the season than when he turned Brian Scott at Darlington two weeks ago and cut into the nose of Ryan Newman at Richmond last week. "It doesn't matter if they do or don't," Stewart, a three-time Cup champion, said about NASCAR officials possibly watching him more. "It's time for the Chase now. It's a whole different mindset and a whole different approach each week. We've got to go out and worry about what we have to do to win a championship and not worry about the other stuff."
Will he retaliate against another driver who hits him three times, as Newman did at Richmond? "Probably not," Stewart said. "Even in this first phase [of the Chase], there's half of the field that is not even a factor in what the 16 of us are trying to do. You've got to sit there and race a little different."
While [Stewart and Newman] haven't talked, Stewart said he isn't taking Newman's comments personally. "That was a deciding factor in his season, whether he was going to make the Chase or not," he said. "We've been friends a long time, and teammates, and I respect him a lot. It's a high-pressure moment. I've been in those, too, and I've said things. Whether he meant to say it or not or whether he still believes in it or not, it's up to him. That moment is a hard moment for any of us."(ESPN.com)(9-16-2016)
Harvick not happy with pit crew at Darlington UPDATE: Kevin Harvick finished 2nd Sunday night at Darlington Raceway after dominated much of the race.
On his night:
Harvick: "Our team in the garage did a great job. They brought the fastest race car to the track once again and we just didn't do a good job on pit road and gave it away."
How much did the race change and how did your car react throughout the night?
Harvick: "We started 12th and eighth and sixth and we had a great race car all night just got to thank everybody in the shop and in the garage for putting the race cars under us. We can't just continuously shoot ourselves in the foot every few pit stops."
How much in the forefront of you rmind were the pit stops on pit road tonight?
Harvick: :Oh, it's just the same old thing. You get in position where you bring a dominant car. The guys in the shop and the guys in the garage are doing a great job, and the guys on pit road are doing a terrible job. You get in a position to win races, and they continually step on their toes and don't make it happen. You're not going to win races like that. I'm really proud of the car that we brought tonight and the things that we've done on the race track, but you can only make so many excuses for pit road."
How do you get it cleaned up before the Chase starts?
Harvick: "That's a good question for (crew chief) Rodney (Childers)."
How do you balance trying to be a cheerleader?
Harvick: "I'm over being a cheerleader. Those guys get paid a lot of money to perform on pit road, and cheerleading hasn't really been working. You've got to get after it on pit road and do your job."
(Team Chevy PR)(9-5-2016)
UPDATE: Kevin Harvick will get Danica Patrick's front tire changer Eric Maycroft and front tire carrier Matt Holzbaur starting this weekend at Richmond. Harvick's former front tire changer Tim Sheets and front tire carrier Todd Drakulich will move to Patrick's pit crew.(ESPN.com)(9-8-2016)
Stewart called to hauler after race: #14-Tony Stewart seemed a little perplexed on why NASCAR would want to speak to him after a wreck Sunday with #44-Brian Scott during the Southern 500. Stewart turned Scott, and it looked close enough to intentional contact that NASCAR officials wanted to talk to the three-time Cup champion after the event at Darlington Raceway. Typically in these situations, there is no penalty -- if NASCAR felt it was egregious, it would have held Stewart one or more laps for rough driving.
"We were on old tires and sliding around," Stewart said. "I got underneath him in [Turn] 2 and for some reason, he ran us through there [beside us] and I got really loose and I was still getting it gathered up and got him in the left rear and wrecked him."
The wreck occurred on Lap 204 of the 367-lap race and ended the day for Scott, who was a lapped car. Stewart was on the lead lap but had run between 10th and 20th most of the day.
"I made it this far into the year without having to try to make anybody mad, why would we do it tonight for a spot that didn't really matter?" said Stewart, who ended up falling out of the race with 50 laps remaining because of a blown engine.
Scott, who said he has not had a problem with Stewart, said it felt intentional and he would talk with Stewart. "I am not sure what he thought was going on there," Scott said. "I am not sure if he thought I was trying to hold him up there, I wasn't. I was trying to let him go. I even pointed him to the inside. Maybe he thought I was giving him the finger or something."(ESPN.com)
AND: "We did meet with Tony Stewart at the conclusion of the race. It was fine and ultimately it was an opportunity to hear from his perspective what had happened with the #44 car in that incident," said NASCAR spokesman Kurt Colbert. Colbert said he did not expect any further NASCAR action in regards to the incident.(Motorsports)(9-5-2016)
World Racing Group suing tracks and Stewart: World Racing Group owes pro racecar drivers millions for ruining their reputations by falsely finding that they violated weight and tire requirements, the drivers claim in federal court. Scott Bloomquist and four other pro racecar drivers, along with team owners R & W Motorsports LLC, Best Performance Motorsports LLC, JR Motorsports LLC, Gary Satterlee and William G. Satterlee & Sons Inc., sued racetrack owner World Racing Group Inc. and its subsidiary, UMP DIRTcar Racing; and Ohio's Eldora Speedway and its owner, Tony Stewart, in Northern New York's federal court Wednesday.(in part from Courthouse News Service)
AND: Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack reacted sharply to news that the dirt track owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart is being sued for millions of dollars. Slack said the charges leveled by Scott Bloomquist and four other Late Model drivers, who are seeking some $16.5 million in damages, are "meritless."(in part from FoxSports)(8-30-2016)
Tony Stewart appeals insurance ruling in Kevin Ward Jr. case: Tony Stewart will appeal a ruling by a U.S. District Court judge who determined Axis Insurance Company does not have to cover legal costs and claims by the family of Kevin Ward Jr. against the three-time Cup Series champion. Judge David Hurd had ruled July 29 that Stewart's policy did not cover Empire Super Sprints events, the series Stewart was competing in when Ward died in August 2014 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. Stewart's legal team filed a notice of appeal Friday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.(ESPN)(8-26-2016)
Bristol, fans honor Tony Stewart with tribute on Lap 14: #14-Tony Stewart was honored by fans at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Fans at the track were given signs of the #14 by the speedway and asked to hold them up and honor the driver of the car of that number on the 14th lap. Stewart, who is retiring from NASCAR racing after this season, is making his final Sprint Cup start at Bristol. The signs were held up but with so much going on at the track, Stewart said that he didn't really see the tribute. But that doesn't mean he didn't appreciate it.(Sporting News)(8-21-2016)
"Dinner with Tony" at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Beginning on July 15th, race fans can bid on the Ultimate Fan Experience. Two high bidders will enjoy dinner with retiring three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart. The dinner will be held in Bruton Smith's private suite and will be catered by an Executive Chef. It will be a small, intimate gathering at which you can take photos and get autographs while enjoying extraordinary company and a four-star meal. Expected at the dinner are NASCAR personality Dick Berggren, New Hampshire Motor Speedway General Manager David McGrath, Founder of New Hampshire International Speedway Bob Bahre, and Director of NH Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities Cheryl LaPrade. The group who will assemble at Dinner with Tony have never been together at the same time and place before and will never gather together again. This is a once in a lifetime event. Dinner with Tony will be on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. We suggest a starting bid of $5,000. All net proceeds from the dinner will benefit the New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities, the track's official charity. The charity is all about helping area children in need. More info and to bid, go to sccauctions.com
Stewart dismisses talk of possible return in 2017...but: Jeff Gordon retired at the end of the 2015 season, but when Gordon was needed as a substitute driver for #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., he quickly answered the call from team owner Rick Hendrick. So isn't it possible that after Stewart retires from NASCAR, he could potentially come back and - "No," Stewart said Wednesday, cutting off a reporter. "Let me help you not waste breath here. No, not doing it." Stewart then hedged a bit, saying if it was just for one week and his race team was in desperate need of a substitute, then "obviously I'm 100% dedicated to Stewart-Haas Racing and if that's what it took, I'd be there in a heartbeat." But he quickly added: "I don't want to come back and run five or six races." One reason, he said, is because of the increased demands. The sport's advancements in technology means there are troves of data to sort through after practices, and "that's time-consuming," he said. "I spend more time than I ever have looking at it now," he added.(USA Today)(8-4-2016)
Stewart to run Coca-Cola/Bobby Allison tribute scheme at Darlington: The 1971 and 1972 Southern 500s were owned by Bobby Allison. The legendary racer from Hueytown, Alabama, proved he was indeed "The Real Thing" at Darlington Raceway, driving his red-and-gold Coca-Cola machine to emphatic, back-to-back victories at the tough and gritty South Carolina track. Allison dominated from start-to-finish in both races at the 1.366-mile oval. He started from the pole each time and led 558 of the 734 laps available (76 percent). He paced the field for all but 38 laps in the 1971 Southern 500 and led a race-high 229 laps in the 1972 Southern 500. The victories were the first of five premiere series wins Allison earned at Darlington.
In 2016, Tony Stewart will try to emulate Allison's 1971 and 1972 performances when he competes at Darlington on Sept. 4 in his final Southern 500. Driving a #14 Coca-Cola Chevy that will match the paint scheme Allison drove to those epic wins, Stewart will certainly look the part. With Coca-Cola's tagline of that era, "The Real Thing", emblazoned on the car, the authentic look from Allison's race-winning cars has been recreated on Stewart's Chevrolet, right down to the gold wheels and cubic-inch displacement boast on the hood. "I've been a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family for my entire NASCAR career and been a part of some pretty cool and unique promotions, but this one is definitely my favorite," said Stewart, who will retire following the season finale Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "The throwback weekend Darlington has created makes it the perfect place to run a scheme that has a ton of history with Bobby Allison and Coca-Cola."
Stewart is a three-time NASCAR premiere series champion with 49 career victories. Allison is the 1983 NASCAR premiere series champion with 85 career victories. Allison is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Stewart is a first-ballot lock for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "Those red-and-gold Coca-Cola cars were very good to me," said Allison, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011, the same year Stewart won his third premiere series championship. "From 1970 through 1975, Coca-Cola was on my car and we won a lot of races. We won 11 races in '71, the most I ever had in a single season, and then we came back to win 10 more in '72. And that first win at Darlington - it was such a tough track and such a long race - it meant so much. Tony Stewart is a real racer who would've fit right in during the time I raced in NASCAR. He's a perfect fit for this Coca-Cola Chevy. I know what car I'll be watching in the Southern 500."
Darlington is one of only two venues where Stewart is winless in NASCAR's top division. In 23 career premier series starts at the venerable track, Stewart's best finish is third, earned in the 2009 and 2012 Southern 500s. "Races at Darlington have been pretty tough for me," Stewart said. "We've had some decent runs there, but it just seems like you really have to put everything together the whole day. If you can say you won a race at Darlington - that's a feather in your cap because you conquered something that's very hard to obtain. That's something to be proud of, knowing that you're in a group of drivers with names like Allison and Pearson and Petty - the pioneers of our sport." Coca-Cola, with a NASCAR lineage that goes back more than 50 years, has been a part of Stewart's NASCAR career since his rookie season in 1999.
"We are humbled by moments like today when two of NASCAR's most respected drivers come together over an iconic car emblazoned with our brand," said Ben Reiling, director, sports marketing, Coca-Cola North America. "Together, we commemorate Coca-Cola's role within NASCAR and honor and celebrate Bobby Allison and Tony Stewart for what they stand for in the history of motorsports."(SHR), see an image of the scheme on the #14 Team Schemes page (8-3-2016)
Insurance company separated from suit against Stewart: A federal judge ruled Friday that the insurance carrier for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart does not have to defend or indemnify him in a lawsuit brought by the family of a driver who died after being struck by Stewart's car during a race. U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd ruled that Axis Insurance Co.'s policy with Stewart "unambiguously limited" the insurer's liability to specific races. The family of Kevin Ward Jr. is suing Stewart, claiming that he acted recklessly when he struck and killed the young driver in an open-wheel race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in August 2014. According to the decision, Stewart's policy covered 105 "specified events." The judge wrote that it is "undisputed" that the sprint car event in which Ward was killed was not one of those specified in the policy. Attorneys for Stewart had countered that certain language in the policy supported their position that coverage was warranted. Stewart will now have to bear the costs of his defense as the lawsuit continues.(Associated Press)(7-30-2016)
Stewart doesn't regret lug nut comments: #14-Tony Stewart has seen two of his Stewart-Haas Racing crew chiefs suspended for failing to have lug nuts tight after a race, but he's not regretting his comments that sparked the strict rule. After Stewart said in April that teams were playing games with safety because NASCAR had refused to legislate whether lug nuts should be tight, he was fined $35,000 for the derogatory statements -- and NASCAR created what many believe is a harsh rule. Any car that has a missing or loose lug nut after a race results in the crew chief receiving an automatic one-race suspension, a fine and probation for the rest of the year. "It just means they made mistakes -- we had (tire) changers that made a mistake and didn't get all of them on there tight," Stewart said Thursday night at the track. It was definitely the right thing (to say). It's two separate deals. The fact they got a penalty because of it, I don't regret that at all. ... It's still the right thing to do. Do I regret (saying) that? Absolutely not." said Stewart, speaking after an appearance for Mobil 1. "People are having five lug nuts on the cars now," Stewart added. "We don't have to worry about the drivers being unsafe, we don't have to worry about the fans being unsafe. We solved that problem."(ESPN.com)(7-29-2016)
Mobil 1 sponsoring 3 SHR cars at Pocono: A live-broadcasted virtual race, a one-of-a-kind time lapse experience and another leg of an endless road trip are all upcoming digital video events to celebrate ExxonMobil's expanded partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing at Pocono. These three pieces of Mobil 1 online content will be released during the days leading up to race weekend, culminating with full primary sponsorships of #4-Kevin Harvick, #10-Danica Patrick and #14-Tony Stewart for the Pennsylvania 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Additionally, Mobil 1 will be the presenting sponsor of the race's NBC Sports Network TV broadcast. "The same brand having marquee placement on three cars for one of NASCAR's top teams during the same race is rare, so we are marking the event by bringing more Mobil 1-branded action to race fans before and during the Pocono Sprint Cup race," said Kai Decker, global motorsports manager at ExxonMobil. "Our Mobil 1 Pocono digital content ranges from light-hearted to thrilling and provides behind-the-scenes access we think fans will love."(Mobil 1 PR)(7-26-2015)
Stewart, Gordon take final lap together at Indianapolis: The two Indiana favorites didn't win the Brickyard 400 -- far from it. But Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon gave the fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the highlight of the race minutes after the checkered flag dropped on the Kyle Busch victory Sunday afternoon. Stewart and Gordon took a ceremonial lap driving side-by-side in what is expected to be their final race in the state that has celebrated their racing prowess. After they parked on pit road, Gordon went over to Stewart and gave him a hug.
"For us to share that moment together, I mean that's probably our last lap around here in a professional race, and I'll cherish that moment," Stewart said. "It's something that doesn't happen very often. It was pretty cool. ... We're never going to get that chance to do that again."
"Tony and I have gone through a lot over the years, but he and I have become really good friends," Gordon said. "I was with him when he got hurt this year. ... I learned a lot about Tony Stewart. He's driven. He's tough. To see him in that pain I saw him in and come back and win Sonoma [last month] and be out here driving like this with a chance at a championship when this whole thing is over, that's impressive."(ESPN.com)(7-25-2016)
Stewart willing to sub next year if needed: #14-Tony Stewart met with the media Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was asked the process Stewart-Haas Racing would use to find a replacement driver in the future, if needed:
Stewart: "We never thought of that actually. It is something that I thought about since the talk came about Jeff getting back in the car. We don't have a feeder system. We don't have an Xfinity team. We don't have anybody that's in our system to bring up if that is the case. We will talk about it at some point, but I am definitely open to that scenario if it were to happen down the road and we needed somebody, I would be open to doing what Jeff is doing this weekend."(Chevy Racing)(7-23-2016)
IMS gives Stewart a piece of catchfence: Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles made a point of clarifying he wasn't giving Tony Stewart a going-away present prior to Friday afternoon's practice. What he gave him was something that focused not on Stewart's final Brickyard 400 but rather the first Brickyard he won back in 2005, when he climbed the iconic catch fencing that was removed during the renovations made in preparations for this year's Indianapolis 500. Stewart got a piece of the old fence to keep forever. As IMS had done for Helio Castroneves, who started the fencing-climbing trend when he made the climb after winning his first 500 win in 2001, Boles said he gifted Stewart the portion of old fencing he climbed for "doing something unique" in being one of the few drivers to make the climb. "If you do it on the new one, I'll take that fence down and give you some of that, too," Boles joked as he presented Stewart with the piece of fencing, encased in a large black display case with several pictures of Stewart's climb.(Indianapolis Star)(7-23-2016)
Stewart inducted into USAC Hall of Fame: Tony Stewart nodded, smiled and complied with dozens fans asking for pictures and autographs Thursday night, but eventually he cut them off and told them he needed to pay attention to the stage in front of him. After all, Stewart was waiting to hear his name called. When his time finally came, the fans returned the love as Stewart, along with 11 other drivers, was inducted USAC Hall of Fame prior to the 100-lap Silver Crown Rick Vogler Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway. Stewart, a Columbus, Ind., native, was the first driver to win all three USAC national championships in a single season, in 1995, and is one six USAC "Triple Crown" champions." He is also a member National Midget Hall of Fame. "This is the culmination of everything you do," Stewart said after the ceremony. "This is not what you think of while your career is going on, but toward the end of your career - and it's not the end of my career yet; I plan on going and racing a little bit - this is the stuff that reminds you of all the hard work and the fun you had along the way." Stewart has "no idea" where he will be next year but does not plan on leaving racing behind, saying he could race sprint cars just about anywhere in 2017.(Indianapolis Star)(7-22-2016)
Haas Automation featured on the #14 at New Hampshire: Gene Haas has a present for fellow Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The gray-and-red paint scheme of Haas Automation, the largest CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine tool builder in North America, will adorn the three-time champion's #14 Chevrolet in Sunday's New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. "Everyone at Haas Automation is appreciative of Tony's partnership since 2009, the countless wins and two championships," Haas said. "We thought it would be fitting to publically express thanks to Tony at New Hampshire - a track where he has such an impressive record and the site of one of SHR's best days." Haas founded Haas Automation in Sun Valley, California in 1983 to manufacture machine tools and entered the industry with the first fully automatic, programmable collet indexer - a device used to position parts for machining with high accuracy. Haas moved the company in 1997 to its current purpose-built facility located on 86 acres in Oxnard. By then, the company had shipped its 10,000th CNC machine and, less than 10 years later, had installed its 75,000th machine. To date, more than 175,000 Haas CNC machines are in service worldwide.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #14 team paint schemes page.(7-13-2016)
600th career start for Tony Stewart: There's an historic importance to Saturday night's Kentucky race. It marks #14-Tony Stewart's 600th Sprint Cup start - the 24th-most in the sport's history. If Stewart can win, he will tie NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson for 11th on all-time wins list. Kentucky Speedway is about 80 miles from Stewart's home in Columbus, IN, and a good contingent of Hoosiers will head to the Bluegrass State this weekend for one of the final opportunities in the area to watch the three-time champion race in NASCAR. It's also his final chance to win at one of the only two tracks where he has yet to record a Sprint Cup victory. Kentucky and Darlington Raceway are the only tracks remaining on Stewart's very short winless list. By his standards, Stewart hasn't excelled at Kentucky Speedway in its brief history with the Sprint Cup Series. In five starts, he's only led one lap at the track and has yet to post a top-10 finish.(SHR)(7-7-2016)
Stewart runs dirt track at Indy: A couple hundred people, including #14-Tony Stewart, got to see Tuesday what dirt-track midget racing could look like at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It might not have been the best view, but it was a peek. The temporary 3/16th-mile oval track installed by IMS officials inside Turn 3 of the oval was too small for the six midget cars on hand to properly stretch their horsepower, but if the right opportunity becomes available, the world's most famous racing facility might one day offer a larger dirt track. That might help the sport reach a bigger audience. Tuesday's experiment was just a sampling in honor of Stewart, who is retiring from NASCAR at season's end and running his final Brickyard 400 on July 24. "But this is a great idea," Stewart said of the dirt track. "Maybe something can come of it in the future." Certainly, IMS president Doug Boles would consider dirt track racing, but there is nothing on the schedule. Why? There are too many logistics to work through and too many other major events to work on. This track was built over three days with 56 loads of dirt. The banking in the corners was minimal, but again, it was a temporary layout. A lot of thought went into the project, even though it's, at this point, temporary. Boles first talked with Stewart about such a track in 2013, although Stewart's push was for an asphalt surface closer to the front straightaway. In recent weeks, Boles envisioned this track going closer to the north end tunnel, but it was moved closer to the backstretch so the spectator mounds could better be used.(Indianapolis Star)(7-6-2016)
Stewart gets loose and wrecks, takes blame: In his swan song on Daytona International Speedway, #14-Tony Stewart finished 26th in his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) entry after looking like he might win his second consecutive race of the season. Stewart avoided early trouble then battled in the top-five as the race wound down, but with 10 to go the #14 slammed into the wall, ending his chances for victory. Stewart took the blame for the incident. "I just overcorrected for it and drove it into the fence," said Stewart, who is a four-time Sprint Cup winner at Daytona, having scored victories in the annual Fourth of July weekend race in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012 - the most among active drivers. "So definitely my fault. I don't know why I got loose, but I got loose going into (turn) one." Despite his misfortune, Stewart moved into the top-30 in the driver standings by a three-point margin over 31st-place Brian Scott. If Stewart can remain in the top-30 through the 26th race of the season, he will secure his spot in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff by virtue of his victory last week at Sonoma.(SHR)(7-3-2016)
Stewart racing with Dale Earnhardt tribute helmet: The coolest helmet at Daytona this weekend hands down belongs to Tony Stewart. On the back of the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion's helmet is a phrase that Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrote to describe his father in a column that originally appeared on NASCAR.com on Oct. 18, 2000: "No fire could burn his character, no stone could break it" If you knew Earnhardt, that description is spot on and quite a tribute from a son to his father.(see image and full article at FoxSports)(7-2-2016)
Indy building Dirt Track as a 'present' for Stewart: #14-Tony Stewart, who is retiring from NASCAR at season's end, will receive a going-away gift from Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week that will encourage him to return. IMS is giving Stewart a dirt track inside Turn 3. The plan, IMS president Doug Boles said Tuesday, is to install a 3/16th-mile oval for Stewart's media appearance July 5. Several teams that own dirt midgets have been invited for what amounts to an exhibition. It stands to reason Stewart will take anyone's offer to take a spin around the new oval, and he might even be the first to do so. Stewart was told of the plan last weekend, Boles said. Assuming things come together as expected, IMS will modify the track so it's large enough to host sprint cars, too. "Tony doesn't want gifts, per se, but we thought this was a great way to marry his love for dirt-track racing with his love for racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Boles. Boles said IMS won't get in the business of hosting frequent dirt-track events, but it could have an assortment of "special" events, such as a spot in Indiana Sprint Week or a sprint/midget event during Brickyard 400 weekend.(Indianapolis Star)(6-29-2016)
The 42nd Cup win for car #14: Tony Stewart's win in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway is the 42nd overall Sprint Cup Series win for a car number 42, which has run in 1108 races. Stewart has won 16 races running the car #14. Stewart's other 33 wins came in the car #20. Fonty Flock was the first driver to win a Cup race running the #14 at Hillsborough, NC (Occoneechee Speedway) in April 1951. Flock won 14 of his 19 career race wins in the #14. Three other drivers have scored wins in the #14: Hershel McGriff, Jim Paschal and Bobby Allison. For more info on car number wins and some history, see Jayski.com's Wins by Car Number page.(6-27-2016)
Tony Stewart wins at Sonoma: #14-Tony Stewart won the Toyota / Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway for his 1st win of the season, 3rd win at Sonoma, 8th road course win and 49th career win. It had been 111 races and 84 races run by Stewart since his last win, at Dover in June 2013. With the win and being 9 points out of the top-30 of drivers points, Stewart has a good shot of getting in the Chase. It was the first career win for crew chief Mike Bugarewicz.
#11-Hamlin took the lead on the final lap, went wide on the last turn, Stewart passed the #11 beat and banged with Hamlin who tagged the wall with Stewart racing to the win. Hamlin led the most laps, 33 of 110. Race favorite #47-Allmendinger finished 12th after having a late race penalty for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop and having to restart in the rear of the field.
#11-Hamlin finished 2nd followed by #22-Logano, #19-Edwards (pole winner), #78-Truex Jr., #4-Harvick, #18-Busch, #31-Newman, #5-Kahne and #41-Busch.
There were 12 lead changes among 8 drivers and 4 cautions for 10 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 80.966 mph.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
Monday, June 27 at 8:30am/et on FS1;
Tuesday, June 28 at 4:00am/et on FS1
See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more [NOTE: money/winnings are no longer reported] at:
Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
Lap Summary Report (pdf)
Penalty Report (pdf)
Pit Stop Times (pdf)
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Sonoma Race & Points Report (pdf).(6-26-2016)
Stewart comments on his win: #14-Tony Stewart won the Toyota / Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway, and few Q&A's:
Q) IS THE IMPACT OF THIS WIN EVEN MORE MEANINGFUL BECAUSE OF THE TIMING OF IT?
Stewart: "They're all good; it doesn't matter where you get them. But, we ran close to those guys all day. We just got stuck back in traffic. It's pretty ironic the last one we got was in a Code 3 car and I'm proud to do it again. I'm proud of Mobil 1 and Bass Pro and everybody. It's just an awesome job."
Q) WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR LEGENDARY CAREER AND YOUR EIGHTH ROAD COURSE WIN AND YOUR FINAL YEAR, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CHALK-UP ANOTHER ONE ON YOUR RACING RESUME?
Stewart: "Especially at a place you're going to for the last time, it means a bunch. It's special, trust me."
Q) I REMEMBER YOUR DAD, WHEN YOU WON THE BRICKYARD FOR THE FIRST TIME. HE KEPT WAVING YOU ON. THAT'S WHAT HE WAS DOING TODAY. WALK US THROUGH THAT EXCITING LAST LAP, AND THEN DENNY HAMLIN'S COMMENTS THROUGH THE CAR WINDOW TO YOU
Stewart: "I made mistakes the last two laps. I had just a little bit too much rear brake for Turn 7, and wheel-hopped it two laps in a row. But, I felt a nudge when I got down there and he knew where it was and he did the right thing doing it there; but if I could get to him, he knew what was coming. He told me he was proud of me. He knows what it means. We were teammates for a long time and we respect each other a lot."(Team Chevy)(6-26-2016)
Stewart and Irvan Inducted Into Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame: Steve Page Sonoma Raceway's president and general manager introduced 2016 Wall of Fame Honorees Ernie Irvan and Tony Stewart before a crowd of vocal and enthusiastic fans and media. Page said, the Wall of Fame was started "a decade ago as a way to honor the legacy and thank those" who have contributed to the history of the circuit. Both drivers are two-time winners here. Page called the 1992 race, in which Irvan from the back of the grid "one of the most remarkable races" he'd ever seen. When asked about his part in the fast growth of NASCAR in the 1990s, Irvan said, "I'm just one part of it. Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and others " set the stage for the explosive growth the sport experienced. Stewart thanked Page with mixed emotions, "I've always looked forward to coming here," noting he marked the date in his calendar. And now looking ahead to last race, at the Sprint Cup level, he felt a bit sentimental. That said, Stewart who will retire from his ride at the team he co-owns with Gene Haas stressed that this was his last year in driving in Sprint Cup but not as a driver in other series, "I can't wait to start the second part of my career."(Sonoma Raceway)(6-26-2016)
Stewart wants to race what makes him happy..not a Sprint Cup car: #14-Tony Stewart, met with members of the media at Sonoma Raceway following getting inducted into the Sonoma Wall of Fame. The transcript in part:
Q) ON BEING INDUCTED INTO THE SONOMA WALL OF FAME:
Stewart: "Anytime you get inducted into anything it's a huge honor. This has always been one of my favorite race tracks. To be on their wall of fame that means something to me."
Q) WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MISS THE MOST ABOUT DRIVING IN THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES?
Stewart: "I don't know, after practice this morning not much. I had Jamie McMurray screw us up on a lap. He was trying to do a qualifying lap. Some of the things some of these guys do nowadays doesn't make sense. When we had Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. and Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett and those guys they were able to get their arms around these guys and get them to listen and make sense. There is really nobody here that can do that anymore. Everybody is out of control out there."
Q) YOU ARE YOU STILL COMPETITIVE WHY ARE YOU STEPPING BACK?
Stewart: "Because I'm ready to go run stuff that makes me happy and driving a Sprint Cup car does not make me happy right now. Like I said, a lot of things have changed. The atmosphere has changed. There is so much stuff in the garage area that has changed that it was time for me to make a change with it. I've dedicated 18 years of my life to this series and it's done great by me. I've made a great living doing it, but at the same time there are other things in life I want to do other than be at a NASCAR track three days a week for 38 weekends out of 52 weeks a year. There are just other things I want to do now. I never dreamed there was going to be a time that I was going to think about something like this. It wasn't overnight. There were weeks that you would think about 'man I really want to go to Monaco and see the Monaco Grand Prix or I really want to go to Knoxville, Iowa and be out there for the A-main of the Knoxville Nationals or the Kings Royal at Eldora.' There are things I want to do that because of our schedule you don't have time to do it. There is just not enough time to do everything you want to do. It's time for me to do this."
Q) YOU TALKED EARLIER ABOUT BEING NOSTALGIC THAT THIS IS YOUR LAST NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE AT SONOMA TALK ABOUT THAT AND NEXT WEEK IS GOING TO BE YOUR LAST RACE AT DAYTONA:
Stewart: "Definitely next week there is nothing I'm going to miss about that. But this has always been a cool place. This track is one where you race the race track. It's you against the track every week. The restarts create the carnage here and guys doing stupid stuff, but when you get into a run and you get a long green flag run like that that is when it's fun here because you are racing the race track and what you've got to do to make yourself fast. It's not that same feeling of wheel to wheel competition that you get other places, but this track is more challenging than the competition is. If you can beat the track, you can win the race too."(Team Chevy)(6-25-2016)
Drivers ranked on ESPN World Fame 100: It started off with a simple question: Who's the most famous athlete in the world? Ben Alamar, ESPN's director of sports analytics, devised a formula that combines salary and endorsements with social media following and Google search popularity to create the ESPN World Fame 100 rankings. The names might be familiar, but where the planet's biggest stars land on the list could surprise you. The #1 athlete is soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. Motorsports drivers on the list include:
57. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)
58. Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)
59. Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1)
63. Danica Patrick (NASCAR)
75. Fernando Alonso (Formula 1)
77. Tony Stewart (NASCAR)
94. Kyle Busch (NASCAR)
97. Kimi Raikkonen (Formula 1)
Mobil 1 Motor Oil Gears Up for More "Three Wide" Action with Stewart-Haas Racing: Building upon the "Tony's Next Chapter" series, Mobil 1 motor oil, the Official Motor Oil of NASCAR, is back with fresh digital content for NASCAR fans. The "Endless Road Trip" and "What's Your Take?" video series bring together #4-Kevin Harvick, #10-Danica Patrick and #14-Tony Stewart to provide fans a window into the playful relationship between the drivers, as well as a sense of their personalities when away from the racetrack. "Endless Road Trip" chronicles the between-race road trips of Harvick, Patrick and Stewart as they venture to several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series destinations. Each episode depicts the uniqueness and local culture of different U.S. regions. Altogether, the road trip distance reaches approximately 15,000 miles, representing the guaranteed engine protection for up to 15,000 miles between oil changes using Mobil 1 Extended Performance motor oil. The series launched before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29 and will include seven installments:
" Charlotte - Coca-Cola 600 on May 29
" Michigan - FireKeepers Casino 400 on June 12
" Sonoma - Toyota/Save Mart 350 on June 26
" New Hampshire - New Hampshire 301 on July 17
" Indianapolis - Crown Royal Presents "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 on July 24
" Pocono - Pennsylvania 400 on July 31
" Richmond - Federated Auto Parts 400 on September 10
Fans can follow Harvick, Patrick and Stewart on the "Endless Road Trip" using #Mobil1RoadTrip on Facebook and Twitter.(Mobil 1)(5-28-2016)
Stewart finished last in All-Star race; format is dumbest thing he ever saw: #14-Tony Stewart finished 20th in his 18th and final NASCAR Sprint All-Star race after hard contact ended his night Saturday at Charlotte. Stewart's bid to win his second All-Star race ended on lap 20 in the second 50-lap segment when Chase Elliott, in traffic, slowed on the track in turn four to enter the pits. The field attempted to avoid Elliott, but the result was a multicar accident that saw Stewart make hard contact with Kasey Kahne, destroying the #14. Stewart was not injured but admitted he was angered, both by the accident and by the officiating that had him down a lap to the leaders at the beginning of the second segment, his comments:
Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
Stewart: "I got in a wreck. I mean, the #24 (Chase Elliott) wrecked everybody and put everybody behind him in jeopardy and we got caught on the outside of it. I shouldn't have been back there in the first place. We couldn't even get clarification after the pit stop as to where we were even supposed to be and then we restarted and find out we're a lap down and it's like, how did that happen? How did that happen? It's the dumbest damn thing I've ever been a part of.
Q) CHASE ELLIOTT WAS WAVING OFF CARS BEHIND HIM THAT HE WAS GOING TO PIT. BUT IT'S BEEN ONE OF THOSE INDESCRIBABLE NIGHTS.
Stewart: "I'm as baffled as everybody. I don't know how in the hell we were scored a lap down after they stopped the 20 car (Matt Kenseth) and the pit everybody together a lap down then lead lap and then lap down. It's the most screwed up All-Star race I've ever been a part of. I'm glad it's my last one. I'm all right. I'm just madder than hell because I don't understand how the hell they've officiated this from start to finish."(SHR / Team Chevy / ASAP Sports)(5-22-2016)
Romain Grosjean could run a NASCAR race this summer UPDATE: Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean's debut in NASCAR could happen as early as this summer, after Stewart-Haas Racing revealed it is now working on a plan to get the Frenchman a race entry. "We may give it a go. I think it would be really cool," he said after sitting in a Sprint Cup car on the day he was announced as a Haas F1 driver. "It's definitely on our wish list," Joe Custer, chief operating officer of Haas F1 said. "We just have to make it work - whether it be this year, next year, whenever that is. We're not sure. He's made it clear that he wouldn't want his debut to be on an oval - where he's never done it before. There's so much going on. We have to figure out the testing opportunities and all the things that would make it a success." Either road course race on the Sprint Cup schedule would be ideal for the 30-year-old racer with Sonoma (June 26) and Watkins Glen (August 7) both during off weeks for F1. But while Sonoma falls at the end of the Canada/Baku back-to-back run, the Glen race falls in the middle of the F1's summer break between the German GP (July 31) and the Belgian GP on August 28. "I'm not sure when it would happen, but it's on our list," explained Custer. "We would like to have him test. He would be a rookie. I don't think there are any barriers to any of this. We just have to figure it out and get it on the schedule. Then, five cars or four cars? Or does he work with another team in the garage. All of that. We have to work out the details and have enough time to make it happen."(Motorsport)(5-9-2016)
UPDATE: Romain Grosjean believes that his best chance of making his NASCAR debut will come at the Sonoma road course race at the end of June. Grosjean expressed an interest in trying out NASCAR after joining Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas' new Formula 1 operation for its debut season in 2016. "When it's going to happen, I don't know. It's 21 races, it's quite a tight schedule already in Formula 1. Of course you don't want to start on an oval, I wouldn't feel very comfortable." Grosjean's best opportunities for a road course appearance come with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma on June 26 and the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen on August 7. However, the race at The Glen would cut into F1's summer break. "That's a problem," Grosjean said. "Sonoma is better I think." Should Grosjean be able to make his debut though, it would not come with Stewart-Haas Racing. NASCAR rules only allow four cars per team and no exceptions for rookie drivers as used to be the case. A possible scenario for Grosjean would be racing with the SHR-supported HScott Motorsports team.(NBC Sports)(5-13-2016)
Parts failure leads accident with Patrick, Stewart, McMurray: A gear failure sent #10-Danica Patrick into a fiery spin, triggering a three-car accident that resulted in Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray spinning in the oil left by Patrick's car and hitting the wall hard in the opening minutes of practice Friday at Dover International Speedway. Stewart, who missed the first eight races this year because of a broken back, walked gingerly after getting out of the car. Patrick said she was fine and that McMurray was nursing a sore elbow. Zipadelli said the Patrick car blew a rear-end gear and that SHR driver Kurt Busch experienced a vibration at the start of practice. The team plans to change gears in its other cars.
Stewart and McMurray hit outside walls on the frontstretch that are not covered by energy-absorbing barrier. Dover added 479 feet of SAFER barrier on the inside backstretch wall and on the inside of Turn 3 prior to the race weekend as that area was identified as needing immediate attention. There are SAFER barriers on the inside wall down the frontstretch but only in the turns. NASCAR conducted a safety review of all tracks to help develop a plan to add SAFER barriers where deemed necessary. "It shouldn't even be a question whether or not tracks have SAFER barrier all the way around," Patrick said. "It should be mandatory. It shouldn't be a financial decision." Six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said he assumed that every wall had a SAFER barrier at Dover but understood the philosophy that the drivers run up against the wall on the frontstretch at the track. He said drivers would adjust to a new groove if Dover added a SAFER barrier to that portion of the track. "The outside wall doesn't bother me too much that it doesn't have the SAFER barrier on it," Johnson said. "It's not like a mile and a half where we have the D-shaped front straightaway and you actually get away from the wall and, if something went wrong, have a terrible angle at the wall. "With all that said, I'd take a soft wall over a hard wall any day in any situation. ... I'm not overly concerned here. I guess I understand why there isn't on the frontstretch here."(ESPN.com)(5-12-2016)
Stewart making up ground on 30th in points: #14-Tony Stewart, who missed the first eight races of the year after he suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebrae in an off-road accident Jan. 31, posted a solid 12th-place finish in Saturday's night's Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. That was the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion's best finish behind the wheel since a 10th-place run at Martinsville Speedway last fall. Ty Dillon took over for Stewart last week at Talladega Superspeedway and finished sixth in the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Stewart started that race and so was credited with the finish, but at Kansas, Stewart earned the 12th-place result without relief help. And it was a good points night, too. When Stewart resumed driving at Richmond three weeks ago, he was 112 points out of 30th place in the driver standings. Now, just three races later, Stewart has trimmed that margin by more than half, so it's down to a mere 59 points. To qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in this, his final season as a driver, Stewart will have to end NASCAR's 26-race regular season in the top 30 in points and will in all likelihood have to win a race. After Kansas, Stewart has 15 races left to accomplish those goals.(Fox Sports)(5-9-2016)
Stewart thinks his back may have been hurt before accident: #14-Tony Stewart said he learned something important after his season debut last weekend at Richmond International Raceway - that he may have been more injured than he initially thought. "I think what I learned after the race (is) I really think that my back was messed up before it was broke," Stewart told Fox Sports TV broadcaster Kenny Wallace before Sunday's race at Talladega, Ala. "I think what the surgeons did was fix that. I feel better than I did last year at this time as far as my back is concerned. (I'm) still having to be a little bit patient. That's why we have to alter the plan for today." Stewart suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra on Jan. 31 while driving a sand rail in the Glamis Sand Dunes of the California desert. He had corrective surgery and sat out the first eight races of the Sprint Cup season. Stewart's doctors cleared him to return to competition just before last weekend's race at Richmond.(Motorsport)(5-2-2016)
Ty Dillon still working on Sprint Cup plans: Ty Dillon talked to the media Friday at Talladega Superspeedway;
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK GETTING CHOSEN FOR THIS HIGH PROFILE JOB REPLACING TONY HAS HELPED YOUR PROSPECTS OF GETTING A FULL-TIME CUP RIDE? WHERE DOES IT STAND WITH WHAT YOU HAVE LINED UP FOR NEXT SEASON?
"I think it's helped a lot. I was hoping to maybe be full-time this year in the Sprint Cup series about this time last year. That is where I kind of had my goals set, my eyes set, but the opportunity didn't come along. I can't thank Stewart-Haas and their organization enough for giving me the opportunity to fill in this year with Tony being out. Not only has it helped me with my career and getting better as a race car driver, but it's helped me show people that I can get the job done in other equipment too."
ANY UPDATE ON NEXT SEASON?
"I can't tell you that (laughs). No, there are a lot of good things going on. That is about as far as I'll take it."
MANAGEMENT TOLD ME LAST WEEK THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOU IN A CUP CAR FULL-TIME, BUT THEY WOULD ALSO LIKE TO FIND SPONSORSHIP THAT WAS SIMILAR TO WHAT CHASE ELLIOTT HAD. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT AS FAR AS SPONSORSHIP GOES?
"Right now anything suits my brand. If we can get that kind of sponsorship I'm fine with supporting anything and exposing anything. That is definitely our goal is for RCR is to find a sponsor that we can grow with over the next couple of years similar to what Chase has done. There are other opportunities that could come along to provide me to be able to run full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. I feel like I'm ready to be in the series full-time as a driver mentally and physically. This year I'm focusing on winning the Xfinity Series championship. Hopefully, make my prospect a little bit better and hopefully that opportunity comes along."(Chevy Racing PR)(4-30-2015)
Stewart talks about his fine: Tony Stewart met with the media Friday at Talladega Superspeedway:
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE WHOLE LUGNUT CONTROVERSY, WHICH HAS BEEN RESOLVED WITH THE RULES CHANGE? WHAT WENT INTO YOUR DECISION TO MAKE THE DONATION TO THE AUTISM SOCIETY?
Stewart: "I've been trying to figure out how many more $35,000 rules changes I want to make (laughter). I'm glad that something has been done. Scott Miller is a huge asset to NASCAR right now. And from what I understand, he's the one who spearheaded getting something done. You hate to have to pay $35,000 to get somebody's attention to do something, but apparently that's what it took. I've got questions that I'd like to have answers to. I'm still wondering why I'm paying a $35,000 fine for something that got changed three days later. But, it is what it is. I was gone that evening when the announcement came out that I was getting the fine and the Driver Council, we all have a chat that we get in and when I was able to get back on my phone for 90 messages of discussions of what went on with those guys and I realized what they had done at about three in the morning. I didn't want to take their money. I appreciated their support and I think they made a huge statement about what the Driver Council is about and the fact that they didn't believe what I did deserved the fine. And with that, that's why they decided to support us and help split the fine with me. I didn't feel comfortable taking the money. And so what we decided as a group was to put the money together and give it to a great charity. Artie Kemper (founder of Autism Delaware) is a great friend to everybody in NASCAR and is somebody that we all as a group know personally and we thought that would really make a big difference. So that's why we chose that charity. But we did it collectively, as a group; and that's something I'm really proud of with this Driver Council is how the drivers are united about everything that we're doing. This was the first time something had happened where somebody on the Council got a penalty for speaking an opinion and for them to show that kind of support and show that we're all one unit; and that's something that you don't normally see and we haven't seen in this sport. Guys talk amongst each other, but somebody gets in trouble for something where the rest of the drivers, privately, will support it but can't publicly support it. So this was the first time that we've seen public support like that and I think it went a long way."(Chevy Racing PR)(4-29-2016)
Pit crew changes at Stewart-Haas: In an effort to improve pit stops, Stewart-Haas Racing has moved around several crew members between its teams. This past weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway saw different faces on different teams. So let's start with the easy stuff: The #4 (Kevin Harvick) and #41 (Kurt Busch) looked to be the same as at Daytona. Both teams have been performing at a top level for years, and we didn't see any changes as of Richmond. Now the fun stuff. The #10 car of Danica Patrick had a different front carrier, rear changer, and rear carrier. The team moved rear carrier Matt Holzbaur to the front and added rear changer Jonathan Sherman and rear carrier Jeremy Howard. Both Sherman and Howard came from the #38 team (Landon Cassill), which is pit supported by SHR. The #14 of Tony Stewart got a new front changer in Ryan Mulder. Mulder was moved from the rear of the #10 to the front of the #14. The #38 team got a new front changer, front carrier, rear changer and rear carrier. Bryan Jacobsen moved from the #14 is now on the front with Jeff Shoaf. Anchoring the rear is now Chris Jackson and Tyler Bullard. From what we can tell, no new pit crew members were hired or fired, just a restructuring of crewmen.(PitTalks)(4-29-2016)
Ty Dillon will also qualify for Stewart at Talladega: Ty Dillon said Wednesday that he plans to qualify Stewart-Haas Racing's #14 Chevrolet as part of his relief efforts for owner/driver Tony Stewart this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Dillon told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he's discussed a preliminary game plan with #14 crew chief Mike Bugarewicz to split time in the cockpit with Stewart, who made his season debut last Sunday at Richmond after missing the first eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of 2016 with a broken back. "Sounds like Tony's got to get in and make some practice laps to make it official and then I'll get in and run some practice and not sure if we're going to draft or what," Dillon told SiriusXM. "I'll qualify the car and Tony will start the race and it sounds like he'll run to maybe the first caution, but you never know with Tony. He might like his race car and want to stay out there. But I think he'll probably run to the first caution, we'll try and make the swap as quick as possible, hopefully not lose a lap, and we'll go to racing and hopefully win the race for Tony and hopefully get him that win he needs." Stewart plans to resume normal full-time driving the following weekend at Kansas Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(4-28-2016)
Sprint Cup Drivers Council To Donate Stewart's Fine To Autism Delaware: The Sprint Cup Drivers Council will donate the $35,000 it raised last week to pay Tony Stewart's fine to Autism Delaware. Artie Kempner, coordinating director, NASCAR on FOX, and his wife, Marcy, founded Autism Delaware in 1998. It has raised more than $5 million and served more than 1,000 children and adults living with autism. "I appreciated the Drivers Council support, but I didn't want them to pay the fine. We decided as a group to donate the money to charity," Stewart said. "Artie is such a good friend to all of us and his foundation does a lot of great work." The Drivers Council was formed in 2015 and meets periodically with NASCAR to discuss various issues from competition to safety. The Drivers Council is comprised of Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Stewart. Hamlin will present the check to Kempner at his Drive for Autism golf tournament May 12 in Wilmington, Delaware.(True Speed Communications)(4-27-2016)
Stewart can still make the Chase with relief driver: #14-Tony Stewart doesn't plan on finishing the race Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, but NASCAR rules could make him a big winner. Stewart, who missed the first eight races with a broken back and returned to racing last weekend at Richmond, plans to get out of his car at the first caution Sunday because of the increased potential to be involved in a crash in this race. Ty Dillon will be his relief driver and, with the unpredictable nature of restrictor-plate racing, a win isn't out of the question. NASCAR rules have always credited the initial driver with the result of the relief driver. Most notably in recent years, Aric Almirola was credited with the victory in the Xfinity Series when he started the race but handed off to a late-arriving Denny Hamlin in 2007 at Milwaukee. A NASCAR spokesman confirmed Tuesday that according to the interpretation of its Chase for the Sprint Cup eligibility rules, if a relief driver is first to cross the finish line, the initial driver can use that win to make the Chase. Stewart must win a race and be in the top 30 in points after the season's 26th race to make the Chase. [NASCAR] has no written rule on relief drivers and the Chase, with the exception that driver changes are not permitted by the four championship-eligible drivers in the season finale.(ESPN.com)(4-27-2016)
France explains why Stewart was fined: Tony Stewart said Sunday that he wasn't sure why he was fined $35,000 last week by NASCAR after comments he made about officials not requiring teams to tighten all five lug nuts on each wheel. NASCAR Chairman Brian France told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday that Stewart's fine was based on what he said and how he said it. "Tony has been very aware of how we approach from a criticism standpoint of the sport and the product of the racing itself and safety is paramount," France told host Dave Moody. "Tony is very aware of how we look at that."
France explained on "SiriusXM Speedway" how Stewart crossed the line. "I think we have to make judgment calls and how we look at the tone of what someone says, how they're saying it," France said. "They have ample opportunities, particularly with safety, to deal with us directly on that. But to insinuate that we're taking the sport down a road that doesn't care about safety or we're trying to hurt people, those kind of comments, that goes to the integrity of the sport and we'll have to deal with that. We go way beyond what any other league would allow in terms of how far people can go in voicing their view. There's just a little line out there that is a bright line and everybody is aware of. Every once in a while we'll have a driver or somebody else that gets over that line and we'll just have to deal with it. It's not a big thing. We deal with it. They understand it and we move on. That's how it goes."(NBC Sports)(4-26-2016)
Stewart says he will continue to speak his mind UPDATE: #14-Tony Stewart talked to Fox Sports during pre-race coverage at Richmond Sunday:
Q: Moving forward, will you hold back on any of those opinions?
STEWART: "No. I understand what NASCAR is trying to do, but I'm always going to speak my mind. I don't know what the key word or key phrase was that got me fined. But when it comes to safety, I'm not going to hold back. That's $35,000 well-invested if it makes it safer for these guys. I think they're (NASCAR) doing something different today with rules on trying to keep everybody ... making sure we get enough lug nuts on the cars. You just don't want to be in a position where, with 20 laps to go and you're leading the race and you haven't won a race and you need that to get in the Chase, to have to make a decision as a driver whether to come in or whether to ride down and hope it stays. That's not a good position for us to be in. I think some of the people at NASCAR took it the wrong way. They've done an awesome job with safety and this is one thing we still need to look at. It wasn't saying they're not doing their job. I just felt like this is one thing they dropped the ball on. So, they're doing a good job. They're looking at it. They're going to address it and make it right, and down the road, we won't have to worry about this again, hopefully."(Fox Sports)(4-24-2016)
UPDATE: ESPN's Marty Smith says: [I] asked Tony Stewart what it said to him that his peers backed him up so staunchly this week: "It told me I was right. I won't back down on safety." Smoke also told me he hears, in the aftermath of his safety rant, that NASCAR is working now to fix/alter/change the rule.(ESPN.com)(4-25-2016)
Vickers still possible for an Indy 500 ride UPDATE - No: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt says NASCAR driver Brian Vickers and the late Justin Wilson's brother, Stefan, are still possibilities for the team's third car in the Indy 500. The team owner, whose other candidates include - but are not confined to - trusty veteran Oriol Servia and Verizon IndyCar Series sophomore Gabby Chaves, said: "The same four or five guys have been circling the sandbox for the last 45 days. One week one of them will be all fired up and there'll be LOIs [letters of intent] exchanged...and then nothing happens and it's left hanging. We seem to be spending a lot of time on it at the moment, which I hoped not to be doing by now, but that's the nature of the business. So let me put it this way: as of this morning, the door's still open to all!" Schmidt, whose team took pole at the 2011 Indy 500 with Alex Tagliani, confirmed that rookies Vickers and Wilson remain in the running for the third SPM seat on Memorial Day Weekend. Schmidt said no clear favorite had emerged among his potential third drivers for the 100th Indy 500.(Motorsport)(4-14-2016)
UPDATE: Veteran IndyCar Series driver Oriol Servia was confirmed Saturday to the #77 Honda of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for next month's Indianapolis 500. The team co-owned by Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson fields full-season cars for James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin. Schmidt also considered Gabby Chaves, Katherine Legge and Jay Howard. At one point NASCAR driver Brian Vickers was considered for the SPM ride, but he has been focused on serving as the temporary Sprint Cup Series replacement for Tony Stewart, who is returning this weekend from a late-January back injury.(Indianpolis Star)(4-24-2016)
Hamlin comments on driver council's reaction to Stewart fine: #11-Denny Hamlin was made available to the media at Richmond International Raceway Friday afternoon.
Q: Why did the driver's council make the statement supporting Tony Stewart's comments?
Hamlin: "I think it kind of shows a unity amongst us. It really has nothing to do with lug nuts or no lug nuts or anything like that, it's more so the drivers believing that they have a right to express their opinion especially when asked in an interview. We try to do our best to give honest answers and sometimes those aren't always the best thing. I know at times I've been very guilty of being too honest at times or too opinionated at times and it costs you a nickel or two. We just think that there should be a little bit of leniency there for someone that knows a lot about our sport and has been in our sport a long time. He gave his opinion and especially when it's something on safety too. I think it's pretty important. As far as what we believe, it's all said in the statement. Everything I'm telling you here is my opinion and my opinion only."
Q: Where is the line when it comes to comments from drivers?
Hamlin: "I don't know where the line is, I don't know if there is a line - obviously there is a line, but obviously we just believe that you should be able to express your opinion as long as you're not just totally trashing the sport itself or anything like that. I think every situation is different, but we'll just move forward from it."
Q: How has the driver's council evolved and what is the direction of the council overall?
Hamlin: "I think that the driver's interests and the owner's interests is 95 percent aligned most of the time. There's some things that we feel like we would like to see changed, sometimes it doesn't align with what NASCAR thinks or what the teams think, but I think that this was a pretty black and white thing from a driver's perspective to have a guy that's coming back and is in the middle of an interview and gets asked a question and he responds to the question and gets fined for it. That to us was a moment and I think for us it just shows solidarity that we're all in this together as the drivers and we want to have one voice because that one voice is obviously a little louder and clearer to NASCAR when we go into meetings talking about where it's going to head from competition to safety and amongst other things. I think that its grown a lot over the last year and our communication as drivers, the barriers that we have, those have been broken down tremendously over the last year to two. Our meetings with NASCAR have changed the sport and will continue to change the sport for many years. Mostly it's all positive, every now and then we feel like we should show solidarity to a guy whose done a lot for the sport and we still don't want to be so politically correct all the time and have to filter our thoughts and think about it because we have sponsors on our cars or owners we have to answer to or NASCAR, sometimes you just want to say what you feel and we feel like you should be able to do that at times."
Q: How did the discussion come about to pay Tony Stewart's fine?
Hamlin: "I think it's more of a council thing. Obviously we chat on a daily basis about issues within our sport or things we'd like to work on or change or stay the same. When Tony (Stewart) informed us of the fine, we didn't agree with it and no one agreed with it and we thought there was something we should do about it. This was a way for us to send a message back to NASCAR, not that we were trying to send any specific message that we just believe that we should have the right to speak our opinion. I don't know whether everyone agrees with the opinion he had or not, but it doesn't matter. It's what he was asked so he answered the question. I think that was the biggest thing for us. We should have the right to speak our opinion."
Q: Have you heard from the series about the statement yet?
Hamlin: "Nothing from the series at all, but I'm sure we'll all hear something at some point."
Stewart says lug nut rule is a safety issue UPDATES: #14-Tony Stewart is "beyond mad" with NASCAR over the sanctioning body's lack of lug nut enforcement on pit road, the driver/team owner said Wednesday. NASCAR stopped requiring teams to put all five lug nuts on its wheels at the start of last season, part of a new pit road technology initiative that also saw a reduction of its officiating force. With officials no longer in every pit box, NASCAR said it was up to the teams whether they should put all five lug nuts on the wheel or not. But teams have been pushing the limit by only securing as few as three lug nuts, creating an epidemic of loose wheels in the sport. And Stewart said it's only a matter of time before that ends badly. "I guarantee you that envelope is going to keep getting pushed until somebody gets hurt," Stewart said. "You will not have heard a rant that's going to be as bad as what's going to come out of my mouth if a driver gets hurt because of a loose wheel that hurts one of them. With all the crap we're going through with all the safety stuff, and for them to sit there and sit on their hands on this one ... this is not a game you play with safety and that's exactly the way I feel like NASCAR is treating this. This is not the way to do this." Stewart said NASCAR overall has done a fine job on safety -- such as mandating safety changes to superspeedway cars in technical bulletins -- but said "in this one particular area, they are totally dropping the ball and I feel like really made a grossly bad decision on."(USA Today)(4-21-2016)
UPDATE: NASCAR has fined Stewart-Haas Racing driver and co-owner Tony Stewart $35,000 for violations of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book, the sanctioning body announced Thursday. Stewart's fine falls under Section 12 of the rule book, specifically member conduct guidelines. According to Section 12.8.1, actions that could result in a $10,000-$50,000 fine include disparaging the sport and/or NASCAR's leadership, or verbal abuse of a NASCAR Official, media members, fans, etc. Stewart announced earlier Thursday that he would return to the #14 Chevrolet this weekend at Richmond after missing the first eight races due to injury.(NASCAR.com)(4-21-2016)
UPDATE 2: The Sprint Cup Drivers Council released a statement Thursday night on Tony Stewart's punishment from NASCAR, supporting the three-time champion and announcing it would pay his $35,000 fine. The statement was released exclusively to NBC Sports through Drivers Council member Denny Hamlin. The statement reads:
"We as drivers believe Tony has the right to speak his opinion on topics that pertain to a sport that he has spent nearly two decades helping build as both a driver and an owner. While we do not condone drivers lashing out freely at NASCAR, we do feel Tony was in his rights to state his opinion. We as a Council support him and do not agree with the fine. Therefore, we fellow council members have agreed to contribute equally to paying his fine."
The Drivers Council was formed last year and meets periodically with NASCAR to discuss various issues from competition to safety. It added Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch this year to a group that included returning members Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Stewart, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano.(NBC Sports)(4-22-2016)
Stewart medically cleared; will return at Richmond UPDATE: #14-Tony Stewart tweeted Thursday morning, "Well, the long wait is over. I'll be back in my @Mobil1 Chevy this weekend at Richmond. I can't wait to race again" and "The Dr's said my scans "looked much better than they thought they would after 3 months". So they cleared me".
AND: Tony Stewart has been cleared by his doctors and NASCAR to return to racing, effective immediately. He will drive the #14 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Chevrolet SS fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing throughout this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway. Stewart missed the first eight races of the season after sustaining a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in a Jan. 31 all-terrain vehicle accident. The prescribed rehabilitation regimen instituted by his doctors following a March 9 evaluation proved successful, allowing the three-time series champion to return for his final Sprint Cup season. "As soon as the doctors said they were happy with my scans, I wasn't going to wait any longer to get back in my racecar," said Stewart, who announced last year that he would retire after the 2016 season. "I want to make the most of my last season in Sprint Cup, and I've been on the sidelines long enough." Following Richmond, Stewart will participate in a Goodyear tire test April 26-27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He will then practice and qualify his #14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series' next event at Talladega Superspeedway. However, Stewart will only start the race before yielding the car to Ty Dillon, who split substitute driving duties this year with Brian Vickers.
"We're taking a strategic approach to my return," Stewart said. "Richmond is a track where I feel very comfortable and because it's a short track, the speeds are substantially less. The Goodyear test in Indy is sort of a controlled environment, allowing me to get more acclimated with my car at higher speeds. We'll start the Talladega race to get the points, but understanding the style of racing and the higher potential of getting involved in an incident, we thought it was best to minimize the amount of time I'm in the car. I'll return fulltime at Kansas and enjoy every moment I can in my final year of Sprint Cup.
"I appreciate everyone's patience and all the support they've given me the last couple of months, but the best medicine will come this weekend at Richmond when I finally get to go racing."
Richmond will mark Stewart's 591st career Sprint Cup start. Thirty-three of those starts have come at Richmond, where Stewart has three wins, four second-place finishes, 11 top-fives, 19 top-10s and has led a total of 950 laps. Richmond is home to Stewart's his first career Sprint Cup win, earned on Sept. 11, 1999 when he led 333 of 400 laps.(Stewart-Haas Racing)
UPDATE: "NASCAR received the appropriate medical clearance documentation allowing Tony Stewart to resume normal racing activities. We also have granted the request from Stewart-Haas Racing for a waiver for Tony to be eligible to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. As he begins his final season, we wish Tony the best of luck."(NASCAR)(4-21-2016)
Different look for the #14 at Richmond: Taking home the winner's trophy remains Brian Vickers' priority at Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway, but he and his #14 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Chevrolet SS team hope to educate race fans about NASCAR's 2016 Race to Green initiative. Race to Green builds awareness around the governing body's commitment to increasing the sport's sustainability. As part of Mobil 1's third year as an official program partner, Vickers' Chevrolet will carry a special paint scheme at Richmond spotlighting its fuel-saving brands of motor oils - Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy and Mobil Delvac 1 LE 5W-30. Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy is engineered for gasoline-powered engines to help increase efficiency and improve fuel economy by up to two percent. Mobil Delvac 1 LE 5W-30 is engineered to enhance fuel economy potential in heavy-duty diesel engines. The ExxonMobil motor oils with fuel-saving benefits will be represented throughout the NASCAR Race to Green activations, including a presence in the NASCAR-produced Green television commercial to air during Sunday's race and in each remaining Sprint Cup race broadcast of 2016. Additionally, the Official Motor Oil of NASCAR's multiyear efforts will serve as the focal point of NASCAR Green's social media and online "Partner Spotlight" Friday.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #14 team paint schemes page.(4-20-2016)
What happened to Ty Dillon in qualifying? Ty Dillon, subbing for injured Tony Stewart in the #14 Bass Pro Shops Chevy at Bristol, was involved in an on track accident during qualifying. The team decided NOT to go to a back-up car. A couple of Q&A's with Dillon:
Q) TOUGH QUALIFYING EFFORT OUT THERE, CAN YOU TELL US WHAT HAPPENED?
Dillon: "Yeah, probably one of my most embarrassing moments in racing. I was coming off the corner there and getting up to speed and I clipped the apron and I slid and got loose and slid into the #38 car. It destroyed our right front and took away any good shot we had at a real qualifying lap. Not what I wanted to do in stepping into this No. 14 ride with Bass Pro Shops and Stewart-Haas. I thank them for the opportunity and I feel bad that I tore it up in qualifying and we are starting in the back of the field. But we will work on it and race back up through the field. We have been doing that the entire year. I am just disappointed in myself in making a mental mistake in getting up to speed there. Just real disappointed, but we will come back tomorrow, forget about it, and go forward."
Q) YOUR TEAM TALKED ABOUT GOING TO A BACK-UP CAR. DID YOU FEEL ANYTHING WHEN YOU WENT BACK OUT THERE THAT MIGHT INDICATE THE NEED FOR A BACK-UP CAR?
Dillon: "Yeah, it just didn't have the speed, it was real tight feeling. The aero is really messed up. These guys are the best in the business so they will get it fixed. Whether we have to go to a back-up or not, we will be alright."(Team Chevy)(4-16-2016)
Two Dillon's & Two Bass Pro Shop cars at Bristol: #3-Austin Dillon and his younger brother, #14-Ty, will both race Bass Pro-branded entries this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, marking the first time the brothers will sport the iconic Bass Pro Shops logo on the hood of their Sprint Cup Series Chevys in the same race during their careers. Austin's #3 Chevy features Ranger Boats for the first time of his racing career. Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation's premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, which include series of bass, multi-species, fish 'n play, waterfowl utility and saltwater boats. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water.
Ty Dillon, substitute driver of the #14 Chevy for injured Tony Stewart, will run a Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats scheme (PR), see an image of the scheme on the #14 Team Schemes page and #3 Team Schemes page (4-15-2016)
Stewart updates his health: #14-Tony Stewart, who sustained a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in an all-terrain vehicle accident Jan. 31 while vacationing on the West Coast, commented in a SHR PR about his health: "We won't know anything until the end of the month, when we go get scanned again. Unfortunately, it's a lot of waiting right now, which is about to drive me crazy. Tomorrow, in my heart (I could be back) but, the reality is, I'm 45 and I don't know how fast my bones are healing. It's not like you go in there every week and get scanned and (get) an update. The hard part is literally waiting until we get scanned and they'll have a better idea when we can get back in. In the meantime, you're just waiting. I feel confident that when they say I'm ready, I will be ready. Breaking a leg or an arm is a lot different than when you have something going on in your back because that is your core, (and it) is important to make sure it gets healed right. This is important to make sure it heals right, but it hasn't stopped me from pushing the envelope here and there just to see where I'm at. If I get sore at the end of the day, I'm very good about it. I think breaking (my) leg and going through that cycle (in 2013), I learned to just listen to my body and, when it's telling you it's had enough, then OK, stop. The doctor has to go to NASCAR to clear me, so there's no point in going through the agony (of questioning) when it's still in their hands. It's literally about doing what they tell you to do and, when they say it's time to go, it's time to go."(SHR)(4-15-2016)
Stewart still unsure of when he can return: Tony Stewart said he feels good but needs to wait for a scan on his broken back later this month to determine when he will return to the driver's seat. The three-time Sprint Cup champion, speaking Thursday after being honored for raising $1.5 million through his "Smoke Show" fantasy camp for the Texas chapter of Speedway Children's Charities, said some days it has been hard and some days it has been easy not racing this year while his back heals. "I don't [know my return] -- not until they do the next set of scans," Stewart said. "The first thing they did were X-rays [in early March] just to make sure the rods and screws were in place. When we do the scans at the end of the month, then they'll be able to have an idea exactly when it's going to happen." Stewart suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra in a Jan. 31 dune buggy accident. He was going 5 mph but landed hard in a drop he estimated was 20 to 25 feet in the California sand dunes.
"I feel great," Stewart said. "I've been doing everything now over the last week that I've wanted to do. If you step off a curb wrong or step too hard, you're definitely reminded you have these rods in your back. "Other than that, I feel really well. I'm anxious to get the scans. It's driving me crazy wanting to see what it looks like and what is the diagnosis and when they think they're going to let me go."(ESPN.com)(4-8-2016)
TaxAct on the #14 at Texas: Tax season is upon us, and it coincides with the seventh race of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. There, Brian Vickers will make his third consecutive start in the #14 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing as he continues to sub for regular driver Tony Stewart, who is temporarily out of the car with a back injury. Saturday night's Duck Commander 500 at the 1.5-mile oval will be Vickers' fifth overall start in the #14 car this season, as he has shared the ride with rookie Ty Dillon. Adorning Vickers' car will be TaxAct, the leading provider of affordable digital and download tax preparation solutions. Last month, the company announced that all active-duty military and reservists can file both their federal and state taxes for free, whether they have simple or complex returns. Service members can use any of TaxAct's online products to file easy, fast and free and get their maximum guaranteed refund this tax season. Military members and reservists will have access to all of TaxAct's solutions, including TaxAct Online Premium Bundle, which is comprised of all e-fileable federal forms for individual returns as well as free state returns. Free federal and state filing with TaxAct is available through April 18, 2016, this year's filing deadline.(Stewart Haas Racing)(4-5-2016)
Vickers unsure of plans after Texas; looking at Indy 500: Brian Vickers doesn't know how much he will race in 2016 beyond next week. He could have more races as a substitute for Tony Stewart. Or he could find himself competing in the Indianapolis 500. That could be unsettling for some drivers. For a driver who has been sidelined four times by the effects of blood clots, Vickers can handle fluid situations. "I don't know what the future holds," Vickers said Friday at Martinsville Speedway. "I've stopped trying to guess what the future holds. I've stopped trying to plan what the future holds. It's always fluid. It's always challenging. I just live in the present. I want a good run because I want a good run. Maybe I've got another 500 starts. Maybe I've got two. But I really approach it like this is going to be my last one."
Vickers has competed in three races this year as a substitute for the injured Stewart with a best finish of 13th at Auto Club Speedway two weeks ago. He gets his fourth start Sunday and will get one next week at Texas. He's unsure on the schedule after that as Ty Dillon has shared the substitute role and Stewart continues to recover from a broken back.
Vickers isn't just looking at future stock-car rides. He is working to put together a deal to run in the Indianapolis 500. "It's still a possibility," Vickers said. "We'll see. Nothing is done yet. ... I'd love to do it. It would be awesome."(ESPN.com)(4-3-2016)
NASCAR's Richest Teams and Drivers: Forbes has released its annual ranking of Sprint Cup teams and drivers based on earnings. Once again, Hendrick tops the charts. The top 10 teams and drivers and their estimated value:
Highest earning NASCAR teams:
Hendrick Motorsports $375 million
Joe Gibbs Racing $256 million
Stewart-Haas Racing $195 million
Richard Childress Racing $175 million
Roush Feneway Racing $155 million
Team Penske $140 million
Chip Ganassi Racing $75 million
Richard Petty Motorsports $55 million
Front Row Motorsports $26 million
BK Racing $24 million
Highest earning NASCAR drivers:
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. $23.5 million
#48-Jimmie Johnson $22.2 million
Jeff Gordon $21.6 million
#4-Kevin Harvick $15.5 million
#11-Denny Hamlin $15.1 million
#18-Kyle Busch $15.0 million
#10-Dania Patrick $13.4 million
#14-Tony Stewart $12.8 million
#19-Carl Edwards $12.1 million
#20-Matt Kenseth $11.9 million
Total earnings equals salary/winnings plus endorsements and licensing
In addition, Forbes estimates the actual cash value of a NASCAR charter to be $15-$17 million.(Forbes)(4-1-2016)
GM exec says Chevy's success forced Ford to get Stewart-Haas: Mark Kent, GM's director of racing, has described Ford's joining forces with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 as a "bold move" but has pledged support to the team to season's end. Kent told Motorsport.com: "Ford hasn't won a drivers' or manufacturers' championship in over a decade. So obviously they've been looking at Chevrolet and realizing it takes great teams and great depth to be able to win championships. We've been able to win the last 13 manufacturers' titles and nine of the last 11 drivers' championships. So Ford realized they had to do something. They made a bold move." While Kent acknowledged the achievements of SHR, he stated that the team's use of Hendrick Motorsports equipment had also made the team susceptible to outside offers. "Satellite teams are obviously the easiest takeover candidates," he observed, "because they don't build their own chassis, don't build their own engines and so it's easier for them to switch alliances.(Motorsport)(3-25-2015)
Vickers under consideration for Indy 500 ride: The race to land one of the most coveted open seats for the Indy 500 is winding down as a NASCAR driver, an Indy veteran, a new team, and the most recent Rookie of the Year chase the third Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry. RACER has learned current Stewart-Haas Racing Sprint cup driver Brian Vickers, who is filling in for the injured Tony Stewart, nine-time Indy 500 starter Townsend Bell, the new Grace Autosport team, and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series/Indy 500 RoY Gabby Chaves are in the running for SPM's available Dallara DW12-Honda. "Those four are on the list, and we'd really like to run any of those people," Schmidt told RACER. Among the four options, Bell has the most experience with the team, having raced for SPM at Indy from 2010-2012 with a best finish of ninth.
With the allure of the 100th Indy 500 in mind, more first-timers like Vickers could try to make the race, although according to Schmidt, running a driver with no recent open-wheel experience on the sport's biggest stage could be a stumbling block. "I'd think Brian is the least likely only because he hasn't done it before and we're unsure if he'll still be driving for Tony [Stewart], so with that unknown, it's hard to figure out the costs and the logistics," Schmidt said. "Granted, he's very experienced and very mature, so I'm sure he'd get the job done, but I'm not sure we need any distractions with a rookie. He's an option, though, and we aren't ruling him out. I know how badly he wants to be in the race. We're still trying to find money for all of them, they're all trying to find money, but it's not completely there."(Racer)(3-23-2016)
Haas F1 Team Earns Points in Debut Race: the Haas F1 Team, owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Gene Haas [Stewart-Haas Racing #4, #10, #14, #41], made history before and after the 32nd Australian Grand Prix Sunday in Melbourne. The organization's debut in Round 1 of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship marked the first time an American team had competed in Formula One since 1986. And after ending a 30-year drought for an American squad in Formula One, Haas F1 Team ended another drought for an organization's maiden F1 race. After starting 19th, Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean finished an impressive sixth, earning the team eight points in the constructor standings.(full post at haasf1team.com)(3-20-2016)
Vickers to drive at Martinsville and maybe some sports cars: Brian Vickers, subbing for injured Tony Stewart in the #14 Janssen Arnie's Army Chaqritible Foundation Chevy, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed a few things including his future schedule, the transcript in part:
Q) WHAT IS YOUR FUTURE SCHEDULE FOR RACING IN THE SPRINT CUP SERIES?
Vickers: "Well I think practice is next and then qualifying. I'm really thinking long term. I just want to get through tomorrow (laughs). To be honest with you, the only think I do know is I'm going to have a weekend off next weekend. I'm kind of really enjoying this schedule. I don't know if NASCAR is up to changes, but I am loving the weekend off, weekend on thing. That has been very relaxing, very fun. I get to race, but I also get some time off. I'm going to get it again with Easter weekend, but as of right now I'm going to be in Martinsville in the Janssen Arnie's Army Foundation car again. Really pumped about that to kind of continue that forward. Then we are figuring out everything from there. Nothing has really changed I think everyone is really just kind of waiting to see how Tony shakes out. As much as I and I can genuinely and honestly say this, as much as I want to race this car as long as I can, because it's a great team and a great car and a great opportunity. I really want to see Tony back in it. I have been in his shoes. I know exactly what it's like. It's his last season; he deserves to be in this car as much as he can be. I'm honored to race it as long as I need to and as long as I can, but I'm happy to turn the keys back over as soon as he's ready."
Q) ARE YOU ALSO LOOKING AT THE POSSIBILITY OF GOING BACK TO RACING SPORTS CARS AGAIN?
Vickers: "Yes, I am open to racing everything that has a seat, four wheels and a steering wheel if the opportunity presents itself. I would absolutely go back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I would absolutely go back to the BC Series. I would be open to racing anything. I love racing. I love being in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I think it's one of the greatest forms or racing in the world. It's fun for the drivers. Everyone always talks about, yeah, but your car's don't' have wings, and I'm like yes, they don't and they pass more and they race side-by-side and we get to bump each other. It's a fantastic form of racing, but there is also a lot of merit to the other stuff. I've had the opportunity to drive a lot of different cars in different series and they are all amazing. I think in the racing community, it's funny, everyone in the racing community agrees that racing is one of the best forms of sports and most entertaining and fun and exciting for the drivers and the fans. Now, they all may debate which series they think is the best, but they all agree that all of them are great. I would second that. I would love to be back in a sports car again and anything else that comes along."(Team Chevy)
Ty Dillon who has been a co-sub in the #14 Chevy, is scheduled to run the #95 Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing Chevy at Texas, so looks like Vickers could be in the #14 Chevy at Texas.(Team Chevy)(3-19-2016)
Stewart to be Honored at the Speedway Children's Charities Gala: The 36th annual Sonic Automotive Speedway Children's Charities Gala will recognize one of NASCAR's great philanthropists during a truly unforgettable evening on Wednesday, May 25. Tony Stewart will be honored for his successes on and off the track, including his incredible contributions to Speedway Children's Charities across all eight Speedway Motorsports chapters. Stewart announced last year that 2016 would be his final season as a NASCAR driver, with the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion transitioning full-time into the role of owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, the title-winning Sprint Cup team he co-owns with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. Stewart will never be far from the racetrack, be it in NASCAR or in the other realms of motorsports where he has a presence. Since 2009, Stewart has raised more than $1 million for Speedway Children's Charities with his annual "Smoke Show" event. This day-long stock-car fantasy camp gives attendees a chance to drive a stock car around the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, with personal instruction from Stewart, as well as enjoy a three-lap ride-a-long around the oval's high banks. Stewart is also an annual participant in SCC's "Ride of a Lifetime" promotion. This online auction allows fans to bid on a chance to ride in the back of a pick-up truck with their favorite driver during the pre-race parade at speedways around the country. Stewart has participated in this fundraiser at each of the eight Speedway Motorsports facilities. The Speedway Children's Charities Gala is among the top fundraising events in the area, with proceeds going to the grant program of Speedway Children's Charities' Charlotte Chapter. More info on Jayski.com's Racing Charities page.(3-16-2016)
Updates on Tony Stewart's health and return UPDATE2: #14-Tony Stewart already has defied his doctor's orders, but there is one order he won't ignore: The order that he won't return to racing until the broken bone in his back has healed. The three-time Sprint Cup champion said Friday he will be ready to race once doctors give him the OK. He just has no clue when that will come. His first X-rays since the Feb. 3 surgery for his fractured L1 vertebra will be Wednesday, and that will let him know his progress and possibly set the schedule for his rehab and potential return. Stewart also wouldn't rule out making the Chase for the Sprint Cup in his final season, hopeful that NASCAR will award him a waiver to miss races, just like it did with Kyle Busch, while still requiring a win and a top-30 regular-season finish in the standings to make the Chase.(ESPN.com)(3-5-2016)
UPDATE: Tony Stewart was evaluated today by doctors, who checked on the injury he sustained in a Jan. 31 all-terrain vehicle accident where the driver of the #14 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra. Satisfied with the amount of healing that has taken place, doctors implemented a rehabilitation regimen that will hasten Stewart's recovery. Future evaluations will be necessary before a timetable is known for Stewart's return to racing. A full recovery is expected for the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, as is a return to the #14 Chevy this season. Plans for an interim driver have not been finalized.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(3-9-2016)
UPDATE2: Tony Stewart has good news to savor in terms of his health. "You're not waiting on me as far as my mind, I'm ready to go," Stewart told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio after Sunday's Good Sam 500, won by SHR driver Kevin Harvick in thrilling fashion. Four races into his final season, Stewart has yet to turn a lap because of a burst fracture of his first lumbar (L1) vertebra -- the uppermost bone in the lower back -- in an all-terrain vehicle accident Jan. 31. "It's just, we had a good doctor visit this week and the X-rays were good," he added. "It wasn't really to see about the bone growth as much as just making sure the rods and screws were staying in place where they wanted them. They were really happy." A return to the cockpit is still on indefinite hold for Stewart. "The funny part was when the doctor told me, or the surgeon cleared me to drive a street car," Stewart said of his most recent doctor's visit March 9. "I didn't have the heart to tell him I've been driving for almost three weeks. I'm not really one to follow the doctor's orders anyway, so we're fine. I've been up all day today and I feel great, so we're excited about where we're at right now." Stewart told SiriusXM that part of his rehabilitation has involved strengthening his core; he is expected to make a full recovery. Stewart also indicated that his next scheduled doctor's appointment would come in late April.(in part from NASCAR.com)(3-15-2016)
Vickers in the #14 at Auto Club Speedway: Stewart-Haas Racing has named Brian Vickers interim driver of its #14 Chevrolet SS for the March 20 Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. In honor of Blood Clot Awareness Month (March), Janssen is partnering with Vickers and the track for the third consecutive year to help raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of blood clots. Vickers will drive the #14 Janssen Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation Chevy in the 400-mile race that marks the fifth event of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The car's paint scheme is in support of Vickers' friend and Janssen's partner, legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation has been entrusted to continue Arnold Palmer's legacy of philanthropy and invests in organizations that help children, youth, families, the environment and our communities. Janssen will also sponsor the TreatMyClot.com 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race March 19 at Auto Club Speedway. Vickers and Palmer have partnered with Janssen to chronicle their personal experiences with blood clots which fans can view on www.TreatMyClot.com. Plans for an interim driver beyond Fontana have not been finalized. (Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #14 team paint schemes page.(3-14-2016)
Penske expects to work closely with Stewart-Hass next year: Legendary team principal Roger Penske has welcomed Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford's NASCAR lineup for 2017, and suggested that there will "be some collaboration" between the two. Speaking to the media at the IndyCar Series opener at St Petersburg, Penske said the numerical advantage of more Fords was only one aspect of the potential benefit of SHR joining Ford's roster. "If you have four of one thing you're going to be better than if you had two, and I think what Ford looked at is the number of cars Chevy and Toyota had," said Penske. "They looked to expand their footprint. As far as we're concerned we feel good about it. If Ford is successful, it's gonna help us. With two cars, it's hard to carry the banner as we did last year."
On the potential for collaboration with Stewart-Haas, Penske added: "I think that we'll do what we've done with Roush, we've put cars in the windtunnel - our car and their car to see where we are. We'll do benchmarking, we have to race these guys every weekend. I don't think [Hendrick's star crew chief] Chad Knaus gives Stewart-Haas guys the playbook or vice versa. The things that will help overall, I think there'll be some collaboration in some way, and we're glad to see that.(Motorsport)(3-12-2016)
Still no timeline for Stewart's return UPDATE: #14-Tony Stewart already has defied his doctor's orders, but there is one order he won't ignore: The order that he won't return to racing until the broken bone in his back has healed. The three-time Sprint Cup champion said Friday he will be ready to race once doctors give him the OK. He just has no clue when that will come. His first X-rays since the Feb. 3 surgery for his fractured L1 vertebra will be Wednesday, and that will let him know his progress and possibly set the schedule for his rehab and potential return. Stewart also wouldn't rule out making the Chase for the Sprint Cup in his final season, hopeful that NASCAR will award him a waiver to miss races, just like it did with Kyle Busch, while still requiring a win and a top-30 regular-season finish in the standings to make the Chase.(ESPN.com)(3-5-2016)
UPDATE: Tony Stewart was evaluated today by doctors, who checked on the injury he sustained in a Jan. 31 all-terrain vehicle accident where the driver of the #14 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra. Satisfied with the amount of healing that has taken place, doctors implemented a rehabilitation regimen that will hasten Stewart's recovery. Future evaluations will be necessary before a timetable is known for Stewart's return to racing. A full recovery is expected for the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, as is a return to the #14 Chevy this season. Plans for an interim driver have not been finalized.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(3-9-2016)
Ty Dillon, Vickers will continue to split #14 until Stewart returns: #14-Tony Stewart met with the media Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and was asked who would be in his car until he returned. He stated that "Basically the races that Bass Pro is going to be on the car, Ty will be in the car. The rest of the races it will be Brian."(Chevy PR) SHR has not released a schedule of races that Bass Pro will sponsor.(3-4-2016)
Tulsa County Sheriff completes investigation into Chili Bowl incident: A spokesman for the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office told NBC Sports on Monday that it has completed its investigation into an incident between Cpl. Kyle Hess, who was off duty at the time, and Tony Stewart at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January. "The investigation into that incident has been concluded and handled according to policy," Dep. Justin Green, public information officer for the Tulsa County's Sheriff's Office, emailed NBC Sports. "There are no results that I can release at this time." Stewart walked into the stands Jan. 15 to confront Hess, who had been heckling Stewart, according to witnesses. In one video, Hess appears to tell Stewart "I don't like you" after Stewart walked up to him. They grabbed each others hands. As a security officer attempted to separate them, Hess appeared to push Stewart and fell down in the process.(NBC Sports)(3-1-2016)
Hendrick will not look to replace Stewart-Haas business: Hendrick Motorsports won't look to replace the engine lease program and the chassis business it will lose when Stewart-Haas Racing moves to Ford starting next season, but it also does not plan to lay off any employees. Team owner Rick Hendrick said Sunday that the decision "kind of caught me by surprise" but it was no surprise that another manufacturer would go after SHR. It will make for an interesting year as SHR remains a customer but one that will start building its own chassis and leasing engines from Roush Yates Engines next year. Hendrick, speaking prior to the Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, said his team is committed to working with SHR this year and will move on after the season. That doesn't mean looking for new people to sell chassis and lease engines. HMS leases engines to two-car organizations HScott Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing. It also supplies engines and support to JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. HScott Motorsports plans to remain a Hendrick affiliate next year, said team owner Harry Scott, whose team also has an affiliation with Stewart-Haas Racing this season. "We've been pretty much taxed to keep up with all the customers we have," Hendrick said. "I think what we're going to do now is turn our efforts inward and do more R&D and give us a chance to do more, really, research and development than we've been doing in the last couple of years because our guys have been flat-out. While the team will fulfill the terms of its contracts with SHR, Hendrick said he expects SHR to begin the process of working on its own chassis this year. Losing the SHR business likely would cost Hendrick tens of millions of dollars, but Hendrick said his company has the ability to compensate for the lost business.(ESPN.com)(2-29-2016)
Roush Yates already prepping for Stewart-Haas addition: The addition of Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford in 2017 will mean an increased workload for Roush Yates Engines, the company that supplies Ford power to teams in all three of NASCAR's national series. But it means much more than the 60 or so additional engines the supplier will have to produce, according to CEO Doug Yates. "For us, that's four more top-notch cars, opportunities to win races and championships," Yates said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "But the work starts now because we've got to get ready for next year." Yates, son of famed engine builder and former team owner Robert Yates, said his company currently has approximately 250 engines in its fleet for Sprint Cup teams. "We'll start building them up but next year, with four cars will mean about 60 more engines... Today we build about 750 Cup, XFINITY and Truck engines a year. At our road race shop we build about 250 a year. Obviously we will have to add some people. We feel like we have a good process, we just have to add volume." The benefit, he said, is it will be "a good opportunity to allow us to bring on more resources for the R&D side, more testing, more engineers. Just add depth to every department. It's exciting.(NASCAR.com)(2-28-2016)
Stewart-Haas Racing switching to Ford in 2017: Ford Performance announced Stewart-Haas Racing will switch to Ford as its auto manufacturer partner starting with the 2017 NASCAR season. The multiyear agreement means that, beginning with Daytona Speedweeks in February 2017, the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing team will race the Ford Fusion with Ford engines prepared by Roush Yates Engines.
"We are thrilled to be able to add a championship-level team like Stewart-Haas Racing to our Ford NASCAR program," said Raj Nair, executive vice president and Chief Technical Officer, Ford Motor Company. "Tony Stewart and Gene Haas have the same passion for winning that we do, and bring a strong stable of drivers and personnel that fit into what we're trying to do in the sport."
"We have said very clearly that we are not in NASCAR just to race, but to win races and championships," said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. "We believe the addition of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 will give our program a major boost in terms of being in contention for both drivers' and manufacturers' championships every year.
"We believe that our NASCAR engineering experience and tools match up very well with the expertise and personnel that Stewart-Haas Racing has in house right now, and that we will both benefit from this partnership going forward."
Stewart-Haas Racing will join a Ford NASCAR lineup for 2017 that includes Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Front Row Motorsports. Roush Yates Engines is Ford's technical partner for NASCAR race engines.
Stewart-Haas Racing will continue its current manufacturer relationship throughout the 2016 season.(Ford Racing)
AND: Stewart-Haas Racing, winners of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and 30 point-paying races, will campaign Ford Fusions beginning in 2017. The four-car team will compete with Ford engines prepared by Roush Yates Engines.
"I am proud of our association with Chevrolet as they helped build our organization into the team it is today," said Tony Stewart, co-owner, Stewart-Haas Racing. "This new partnership with Ford allows us to strengthen our position in the sport and ensure the long-term stability and success for everyone who is a part of Stewart-Haas Racing."
"Motorsports is an extremely challenging environment where in order to maintain success you have to constantly innovate. It's true in NASCAR and it's true in business," said Gene Haas, co-owner, Stewart-Haas Racing. "We've enjoyed great success with Chevrolet, but this opportunity with Ford allows us to evolve while continuing to compete at the highest levels of the sport."
"From the very beginning of Stewart-Haas Racing we have fostered an environment of competitiveness, performance, teamwork and family," said Brett Frood, team president. "This future partnership enables us to continue delivering across these silos and exceed our commitments to our fans, partners and employees."(Stewart-Haas Racing)
Transcript: Read what was said in Wednesday morning's press conference on the Stewart-Haas Racing Ford press conference transcript page.(2-24-2016)
Stewart updates his recovery UPDATES: #14-Tony Stewart continues to recover from the back injury suffered in an ATV accident a few weeks ago. He gave an update on his progress with a phone call to the FOX television crew during Sunday's Daytona 500 broadcast. "[I] don't even get X-rayed again until March 9," Stewart said. "So we're really not going to know what the progress of the bone is. Myself personally I've been up getting around a lot each day, I can tell a noticeable difference each day from the previous day so I am feeling a lot better and [am] on a mission to get back to the race track. That's probably been the hardest part of the last 10 days is not being at the track, not seeing the officials, guys from the other team, everything from Speedweeks."(MRN)(2-22-2016)
UPDATE Ty Dillon is expected to be the interim replacement driver for Tony Stewart's #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet for three of the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Dillon will fill in for the injured Stewart at Atlanta, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway, according to a headline Tuesday on the SHR website. The headline has since been deleted. Another interim driver, Brian Vickers -- who stepped in for Stewart during the Daytona 500 and finished 26th -- is expected to be behind the wheel at Las Vegas, according to the same post.(NASCAR.com)(2-23-2016)
UPDATE2: Stewart-Haas Racing, tweeted Tuesday afternoon, that Ty Dillon will be in the #14 at Atlanta and Brian Vickers will drive at Las Vegas. Future races are to be determined.(2-23-2016)
Mobil 1 Going "Three Wide" with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2016: Throughout the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Mobil 1, the Official Motor Oil of NASCAR, will spotlight Stewart-Haas Racing's #4, #10 and #14 cars with primary hood sponsorships. At the same time, ExxonMobil wishes Tony Stewart a speedy recovery from his back injury and looks forward to welcoming the three-time series champion to the track for his final season as a Sprint Cup driver. In addition to Mobil 1 hoods on select SHR cars throughout 2016, Mobil 1 will continue to serve as a co-primary sponsor of Stewart's #14 Chevy and season-long associate sponsor of Harvick's #4 Jimmy John's Chevy, Danica Patrick's #10 Nature's Bakery Chevy and Kurt Busch's #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevy. Mobil 1 lubricant technology will be used in all four SHR cars during the 2016 season. While SHR drivers will represent the Mobil 1 brand to NASCAR fans in 2016, the technology partnership between Mobil 1 and SHR has never been as basic as a logo on a car. The 2016 Sprint Cup season continues a symbiotic engineering relationship used to create lubricant packages and push technology limits. This relationship helps the team win races and Mobil 1 improve the quality of lubricant products for consumers. Mobil 1 and SHR's partnership is approached as any other new research and development project: data driven, extensively evaluated and tested. In addition to its association with SHR, Mobil 1 is entering its 14th season as the "Official Motor Oil of NASCAR."(Mobil1)
See images of the cars on the #4 Team Schemes page, #10 Team Schemes page and #14 Team Schemes page.(2-19-2016)
Ty Dillon expected to run the #14 starting at Atlanta UPDATE: Ty Dillon is expected to drive the #14 Chevy for Tony Stewart at Atlanta, Phoenix, Auto Club Speedway and Talladega, a source with knowledge of the deal but not authorized to comment told NBC Sports. Nothing has been finalized. Stewart-Haas Racing is not expected to announce who will drive the car at Atlanta until the Wednesday after the Daytona 500. Dillon is expected to drive the races with Bass Pro sponsorship of the #14 car. Bass Pro, which has backed Dillon for years, is scheduled to be a co-primary sponsor with Mobil 1 for the Feb. 28 race at Atlanta, the March 13 race at Phoenix and the March 20 race at Auto Club Speedway. Bass Pro is scheduled to be the car's primary sponsor for the May 1 race at Talladega. Dillon's next race Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing in the #95 is expected to be at Texas in April. Also, a candidate to drive Stewart's car at Las Vegas is Brendan Gaughan, a Las Vegas native, whose family owned South Point Hotel and Casino backs him. Vickers also is a candidate to drive the car in other races.(NBC Sports)(2-15-2016)
UPDATE: Ty Dillon acknowledged Tuesday that he's had discussions about potentially taking a substitute driving role with Stewart-Haas Racing, filling in for Tony Stewart as the three-time NASCAR champion recovers from a severe back injury. "Obviously that's something that's been talked about a lot," Dillon said. "Nothing has been finalized. Unfortunately, it kind of stinks that we're even talking about that this year." Dillon, who is locked into the Daytona 500 field with Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing's #95 entry, could take the wheel of Stewart's #14 Chevy in the second Sprint Cup Series race of the season -- at Atlanta. Dillon said no contract has been signed, but that he hoped to have news to report "sooner or later." Negotiations have been positive, Dillon said, adding that he's honored to have his name mentioned as Stewart's interim replacement.(NASCAR.com)(2-16-2016)
UPDATE2: #95-Ty Dillon met with members of the media at Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday, a few of the Q&A's:
ON RUMORS HE WILL DRIVE THE #14 CHEVROLET SS FOR STEWART-HAAS RACING:
Dillon: "Obviously it is something that has been talked about a lot, but nothing has been finalized. Unfortunately, it kind of stinks that we are even talking about that down here. I think everybody including myself want to Tony (Stewart) go out the right way and to able to run every single race. To get back to the question - it would be an honor for me to drive Tony's car in his last year, and hopefully do good for those guys. Nothing has been announced yet. I haven't signed anything yet. We've been in talks. Hopefully we will have some news sooner or later, but nothing is finalized yet. But, if the opportunity were to come about, I would be honored to drive the #14 car and represent Tony in his last year."
Q) IS THERE A HOLD-UP?
Dillon: "There have been a lot of stories that have come out premature. It is a slow process. There are a lot of different things that are going on. Hopefully we will have some announcement or news later on. Nothing is set in stone. I don't like to say anything until pen hits paper. Hopefully it turns out good, and like I said, it would be an honor for me to drive the #14 car if the opportunity comes about. Hopefully we will have some news sooner or later."
Q) YOU WERE ALREADY GOING TO DO A FEW CUP RACES THIS SEASON, WOULD YOU WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO MORE?
Dillon: "Yes, definitely. As many races as I can run, bring them on. I like to be in as many cars, and especially Sprint Cup Series. It is the highest level of motorsports racing and that is where I want to be. To run it full-time this year was obviously my goal, and it didn't quite work out that way. So the opportunities I get especially with Leavine and Circle Sport Racing to go out there and build my resume and build my notebook for hopefully a next year running full-time is always something I welcome and want to bring on. So anytime any kind of opportunity comes to me to get more laps, more racing in the Sprint Cup Series, I want to take it."
ABOUT OPPORTUNITY IN THE #95 CAR:
Dillon: "It is awesome. And, to be able to represent the Leavine Family and Circle Sport Racing with Joe Faulk and the dedication they put in as team owners, and they have a charter or a medallion, whatever they are calling it out, to be locked into the race is one thing, and to be able to give them an opportunity to run well. I believe we have a shot at. We are in the Daytona 500 and have a chance to win it. For them to bring me on board to run the races I am running I take it as an honor and go out there and show everybody what we are made."
Q) EXACTLY WHERE ARE YOU IN THE NEGOTIATIONS ABOUT YOU DRIVING THE #14 CAR?
Dillon: "There's been conversations. There's been lots of conversation and hopefully we'll have something finalized soon. But, like I said, I hate to be even talking about it because this is supposed to be Tony's day. The fact that he has had such bad luck and hate that he isn't here talking about him running his last 500 and his last year. He is a legend in our sport and unfortunately if I had the opportunity to drive, it would be an honor to drive his car and hopefully it comes along."
Q) DO YOU EXPECT TO BE IN THE #14 IN ATLANTA?
Dillon: "I don't know, we will see."
Q) THE NEXT RACE FOR (#95) CIRCLE SPORT/LEAVINE IS TEXAS, CORRECT?
Dillon: "Yes - Texas. I think it is Texas, Kansas and Kentucky, maybe one more. We are looking at Dover. I think second Dover. I'm not sure."
(full transcript at Team Chevy)(2-16-2016)
Vickers talks about hard wreck in Sprint Unlimited: Brian Vickers, subbing for inured Tony Stewart in the #14 Chevy, was in a hard accident but able to walk away from the damage Saturday night during the exhibition Sprint Unlimited at Daytona. His comments about the wreck:
Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
Vickers: "I cut a right-rear tire. I don't know how it happened. The No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) and I were racing hard there going across the start/finish line. The No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and I got together going four-wide early in the race. Had a little smoke for a lap and then it went away. I suspect that could have been it or I could have just run over something, there is no telling. It's unfortunate. This Mobil 1 Chevy was just charging to the front. We went to the front early. We got kind of shuffled out then went right back to the front. I was really happy with the car. The guys, everyone at Stewart-Haas did a great job. It's unfortunate I'm in this car because that means Tony (Stewart) is sitting at home. But I'm just doing the best I can. It's an honor to fill this seat. I was just out there having fun until we got into the wall. It wasn't anyone's fault we just cut a tire. We will just go get them for the Daytona 500."
Q) HOW HARD WAS THE HIT? HOW HEARTBREAKING IS THIS?
Vickers: "It was a hard hit. They are never fun. You blow a right-rear tire, you hit driver-side at 200 (mph), but that is part of racing. That is all the risk we take. I'm fine. I feel fine. I was having fun. I was having a blast actually. It was just so much fun to get out there with those guys and rub fenders again and race hard. It's such a fun race. I hate we are not going to be able to put this Mobil 1 Chevy in Victory Lane. I think we really had a shot at it. I'm back racing, I'm having fun and the Daytona 500 is next week. I don't have a lot to complain about."(Team Chevy)(2-15-2016)
France discusses possibility of Chase waiver for Stewart: With #14-Tony Stewart sidelined for an indefinite number of races with an injured back, does the three-time Sprint Cup Series champion still have a chance to make NASCAR's Chase in his final season? NASCAR rules state that a driver must compete in all 26 points-paying regular-season races and be in the top 30 in points to be in the running for one of the 16 playoff slots. The sanctioning body has a history of lifting the perfect attendance requirement, however, in cases where a driver has been out due to injury or another health-related isssue. Such an exception -- formally known as a waiver -- was most recently handed down last season when #18-Kyle Busch missed the first 11 Sprint Cup points races after suffering extensive leg and foot injuries in the XFINITY Series opener at Daytona. Busch ultimately made the Chase by virtue of winning multiple races and climbing into the top 30 in points before the end of the regular season. He also went on to win the championship. Stewart, who is set to retire at season's end, could theoretically make a championship run of his own if NASCAR doesn't require him to enter all 26 regular-season races to be Chase-eligible. While nothing is official, it sounds as though Stewart is likely to receive the same kind of waiver that Busch did, provided he returns to his #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy before missing too many races. "I think we're going to treat that just as we did Kyle Busch," NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with host Dave Moody. "There obviously is a balance ... you can't come in the race before the Chase starts and win that race and expect to cruise on in for the final 10 races. So there's some balance, but this is the beauty of the Chase. We have that ability to make some medical and other important exceptions for things like this. But you still have to compete at a high level over a number of events. We will cross that bridge when we can. I hope for his sake, just like I was hoping for Kyle's, that will be sooner rather than later. And the sooner the better in terms of making a decision on our end." France noted that Stewart's accident wasn't a result of any kind of carelessness on his part, which likely makes him a candidate for a waiver.(FoxSports)(2-13-2016)
Stewart talks about ATV accident and future: Tony Stewart, using the streaming platform Periscope, talked to his fans -- and showed the six scars on his back -- while rehabbing on a treadmill Friday morning just prior to his Stewart-Haas Racing team conducting a news conference naming Brian Vickers as his replacement in the #14 Chevy for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. "We are doing much better," Stewart said during the Periscope chat with fans. "We're starting to get the pain under control and just didn't want everybody to think that while everybody was at Daytona today that I was sitting on my ass here in Charlotte. ... Walking feels pretty good for my back right now." Stewart talked briefly about his Jan. 31 ATV accident, saying he was left for two hours in the sand before his friends realized he was hurt. Jeff Gordon, Ray Evernham and Greg Biffle were among those with him on the trip. "I didn't hit the wrong dune," Stewart said. "I just went over one and just nose-planted into the bottom of it. It was about a 20- to 25-foot drop. It wasn't exactly what I had planned when I went over the lip of it. I didn't think it was straight down on the other side. ... I've never been hurt so bad running 5 mph in my life." Neither Stewart nor his team has said how long he will be out. He likely will miss two to three months, according to doctors who said that would be the time it would take for a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra to heal. Stewart was emphatic that he would not return to race in 2017, as the three-time Sprint Cup champion already has announced this would be his final NASCAR season. "I'm not doing another season since this happened," Stewart said. "I made my decision, and that's it." SHR executive vice president Brett Frood said Vickers is expected to do more races but there is the possibility of another driver getting in the seat before Stewart's return.(ESPN)(2-13-2016)
Brian Vickers named to drive the #14 at Daytona Speedweeks: Stewart-Haas Racing has named Brian Vickers interim driver of its #14 Chevy for all the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events during Speedweeks Feb. 12-21 at Daytona International Speedway. Vickers will begin driving the #14 Mobil 1 Chevy today as he and the team prepare for Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited. On Sunday, Vickers will pilot the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy in qualifying for the Daytona 500 before racing it again on Thursday in the Can-Am Duel and, finally, in the 58th running of the Daytona 500 Feb. 21.
Vickers is a three-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series and was the 2003 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. His best Sprint Cup finish at Daytona is a second-place result in the 2014 Coke Zero 400. His first career Sprint Cup victory came in 2006 at Talladega Superspeedway, the sister track to Daytona. The 2016 Daytona 500 will mark Vickers' ninth start in the Great American Race. An interim driver for the #14 team in the races following Daytona has not been determined.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(2-12-2016)
#14 car to run Sprint Unlimited with ineligible driver UPDATE: NASCAR is considering whether to allow Stewart-Haas Racing to enter a replacement of its choosing in the #14 Chevy for Tony Stewart, who is sidelined indefinitely after fracturing his back in an ATV accident last month. An SHR spokesman said the team continues to prepare a car for the Sprint Unlimited even though its plans for an interim driver (supposedly Brian Vickers for Daytona, Ty Dillon after) haven't been finalized. Eligibility for the Sprint Unlimited, a 70-lap exhibition race, is tied to the driver and open to pole winners, Sprint Unlimited winners, Daytona 500 pole winners and Chase drivers. As a former Sprint Unlimited winner, Stewart's Unlimited eligibility has been secure for weeks, and SHR has been preparing for the race with a purpose-built car, which is why NASCAR might allow unusual dispensation to stay in the 24-driver field with a driver who technically wasn't qualified or in line for the spot. One active and eligible driver, David Gilliland, still doesn't have a ride for the exhibition event, but does have a ride for the Daytona 500 in the #35 FRM Ford (NBC Sports)(2-11-2016)
UPDATE: The Stewart-Haas Racing #14 Chevy will be eligible to run in the Sprint Unlimited even without Tony Stewart in the seat, NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday. Stewart will miss the Sprint Unlimited and the Daytona 500 due to severe back injuries sustained in an all-terrain vehicle crash. The three-time series champion had automatically qualified for the Sprint Unlimited field as a previous event winner. Brian Vickers has emerged as SHR's top target to replace Stewart in the seat of the #14 at Daytona. Vickers, 32, competed in only two races last season for Michael Waltrip Racing after missing time due to a recurrence of blood clots. "(Vickers) is medically cleared," O'Donnell said. "Stewart-Haas is still looking at communicating the driver of that vehicle, (but) we have made the decision to allow the 14 car to participate in the (Sprint Unlimited). When we looked at it, it's due to some unforeseen circumstances. A lot of prep work went into that car. There are a lot of implications for the 14 not being in that race. In this instance, we made the decision to allow the 14 to participate."(NASCAR.com)(2-11-2016)
Stewart's replacement to be named on Friday UPDATE4 Vickers & Dillon: We'll have to wait a little longer to find out who will replace Tony Stewart in the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. SHR spokesman Mike Arning said the team did not expect to make an announcement about Stewart's replacement in the #14 before Wednesday. Daytona 500 practice begins Saturday morning at Daytona International Speedway, so the team will need to have a driver ready -- and the car modified to fit the new driver -- by then.(Fox Sports)(2-9-2016)
UPDATE: ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass says, [Stewart-Haas Racing's] Brett Frood told me that he would speak Friday at Daytona as far as replacement driver for Tony Stewart.(2-10-2016)
UPDATE2: Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a press conference to announce interim driver of #14 Chevy during Daytona Speedweeks for Friday, February 12th at 11:30am/et. The press conference will be streamed LIVE on NASCAR.com at www.nascar.com/presspass.(SHR)(2-10-2016)
UPDATE3: Brian Vickers is expected to replace injured driver #14-Tony Stewart for the NASCAR season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a Friday news conference to discuss its plans for the #14 Chevrolet. A person familiar with the situation told AP on Wednesday that it will be Vickers. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is awaiting word from NASCAR on whether Vickers is medically cleared to race. Vickers ran only two races last season before suffering a recurrence of blood clots. He can't compete when being treated for the clots because the blood thinners increase his risk of serious internal bleeding if he crashes. Vickers is only expected to run at Daytona, which opens Friday ahead of the Feb. 21 season-opening Daytona 500. SHR is still looking at all of its options for beyond Daytona. Stewart is expected to race at some point this year.(Associated Press), no mention about the Sprint Unlimited.
AND Brian Vickers is expected to replace injured driver Tony Stewart for the NASCAR season opener at Daytona International Speedway, a source with knowledge of the plans told ESPN's Bob Pockrass.
AND II: Brian Vickers will drive for Tony Stewart at Daytona International Speedway provided he is cleared by NASCAR, a source close to the situation confirmed to NBC Sports. Stewart is eligible for Saturday's Sprint Unlimited and NASCAR is considering if to allow his team to compete in the non-points race even though Vickers is not eligible for the event. Eligibility for the event is tied to the driver.(NBC Sports)(2-10-2016)
UPDATE 4: Ty Dillon will sub for Tony Stewart in a few races where the #14 SHR Chevy has Bass Pro Shops as its primary sponsor. Richard Childress, Dillon's grandfather and XFINITY Series team owner, has a long-running relationship with Bass Pro Shops. Brian Vickers will race the #14 in the Daytona 500 and possibly additional races (FoxSports)(2-11-2016)
Stewart looking at return in May? #14-Tony Stewart still faces a long and difficult road to recovery, but roughly 48 hours after undergoing spinal stabilization surgery, informed sources say the Indiana native is progressing well in his rehabilitation. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion underwent surgery Wednesday to remove dangerous bone fragments from the area of the fracture and stabilize the affected vertebra. While many victims of burst fractures are forced to wear a stabilizing brace for 2-3 months post-op, the procedure performed on Stewart reportedly will not require a brace. In fact, sources say Stewart was on his feet and walking by Friday. Sources close to the situation say that on the advice of his doctors, Stewart and his team have set a tentative return date of May 21, the day of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Stewart is highly unlikely to return earlier than that, and his timeline for return could easily be pushed back, depending on the success of his rehabilitation program.(Godfather Motorsports)(2-6-2016)
More details on Stewart's accident: Legendary drag racer Don "Snake" Prudhomme gave NBC Sports a first-hand account of Tony Stewart's accident in the Southern California sand dunes Sunday. Stewart and a number of current and former racers including Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Prudhomme were having a day of fun in the sun and sand when Stewart became separated from the group and went missing for about 90 minutes. Here's how Prudhomme described the incident to NBC Sports:
"We were riding these sand rails. We do that quite a bit. We were all together. What really happened is, it isn't hard to get split off from one another. In other words, if a guy makes a left turn and you're not watching his flags or there's dust or something, you can make a right turn and kind of get lost. So, we got mixed up and (Stewart) was probably missing for an hour-and-a-half from the pack, at least. He was missing, he was not there. We figured maybe he got hooked up with one of the other guys. Then we were stopped and kinda gathered up and started to shoot the s- and asked, 'Where's Tony?' One of the guys (on the dunes) came driving up and said, 'Hey, one of your buddies is hurt over on the other side of the hill.' "There was about three of us who went back on our buggies and we came upon him. He was laying there. He got out of it (the sand buggy) and was laying there in the sand on his back."
"We pulled up, asked 'How you doing, dude?' He was on the ground and said his back's hurt. We made sure he could move all his legs and everything, so everything was good there." Prudhomme said Evernham took charge of the scene. Gordon, car collector Ron Pratte and Prudhomme provided assistance.
See more information at NBC Sports.(2-5-2015)
What is a burst fracture? #14-Tony Stewart suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra and had surgery Wednesday in North Carolina. There are varying degrees of burst fractures, said ESPN college sports and motorsports announcer and reporter Dr. Jerry Punch, who also said he expects Stewart to be out for months. Punch has not talked with Stewart and is not treating him but said the burst fracture is worse than a compression fracture. Denny Hamlin missed five weeks after a compression fracture of his L-1 vertebra (the highest bone in the lower back) in 2013. "[A burst fracture] is basically an explosion of the vertebrae, typically the body of the vertebrae," Punch said in a phone interview. "Unlike a compression fracture, where it sort of gets pushed down on itself, a burst fracture usually involves multiple fractures and multiple fragments. ... Normally when someone has a burst fracture, you're talking months of healing, you're talking people wearing these big lumbar braces for two to three months." Stewart will not be able to return until an MRI or a CT scan shows that the bone has healed. Stewart also will need to have rehab to strengthen his back if any of the bone fragments caused weakness to his spinal column, Punch said. "It's not like a broken arm where you can put a plate in it where you can deal with the pain and get in the car," Punch said. "With the back, it can impact your ability to walk and move the rest of your life. You can't take a chance on hitting something at all."(ESPN.com)(2-5-2016)
Stewart hospitalized for a back injury UPDATES: #14-Tony Stewart is being hospitalized for a back injury he suffered in a non-racing accident while driving an all-terrain vehicle, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tuesday. Stewart is awake, alert and able to move his extremities, according to a statement from Stewart-Haas Racing spokesman Mike Arning, who said the accident happened Sunday on the West Coast and wouldn't specify where Stewart is hospitalized. Fox Sports reports that Stewart flipped a sand buggy outside of San Diego and was airlifted to a hospital. Arning said the team is not expected to make any further announcements about Stewart's condition until Thursday afternoon. Stewart was in Arizona on Saturday night at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale and was interviewed on live television from the event. "We have received word from Stewart-Haas Racing of Tony Stewart's accident and injury," NASCAR chairman Brian France said. "On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, I wish Tony a full recovery and look forward to seeing him back in our sport when he's ready to return."(ESPN)(2-2-2016)
UPDATE: Greg Biffle was among a group riding with Tony Stewart in the sand dunes of Southern California when Stewart suffered a back injury on Sunday, he told SiriusXM's NASCAR channel on Wednesday night. Biffle confirmed to Sirius he was in Stewart's group, though he "wasn't near what went on" and didn't see exactly what happened. "We were kind of all riding as a group," Biffle told Sirius. "We started kind of hearing bits and pieces that he hurt his back. That's all we knew. I do know the people that helped him ... (said) he was walking and moving all of his extremities, but he was in a lot of pain."(USA Today)(2-4-2016)
UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, sustained a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in an all-terrain vehicle accident Sunday while vacationing on the West Coast. Stewart was transported to a local hospital following the non-racing accident and promptly evaluated. He was awake and alert throughout the process and able to move all of his extremities. Stewart flew to North Carolina Tuesday evening and was admitted to a Charlotte-area hospital for further evaluation. On Wednesday, he underwent surgery. The subsequent recovery period means Stewart will miss the beginning of the Sprint Cup season. A timetable for Stewart's return has not been determined, but he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the #14 Chevrolet in 2016. Plans for an interim driver have not been finalized.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(2-4-2016)
Even 15 wins and a title won't make Stewart reconsider retirement: Tony Stewart isn't anticipating a dream season in his final tour of the Sprint Cup circuit. And if it materializes, the three-time champion isn't sticking around NASCAR anyway. The Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner and driver said even the most successful campaign of his 18-season career won't cause him to reverse course on exiting the #14 Chevy after the 2016 season. "The reason I'm retiring is not performance based, but when you go into your last season, you hope you go out on top," Stewart said last week during the preseason Media Tour. "Whether the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, you want to finish on top. That's the way every athlete wants to finish. If we went out there and won 15 races and won the championship, it would not make me go, 'Man, I want to come back next year.' It'd be like, 'That's the way I want to go out. I'll take that.' When (the 2016 season is over), no matter how the year went, it's done. If it's a terrible year, I'm not going to say that defined my career. The stats will show what we did over 18 years. I think no matter how the season goes, I'm going to be able to say I had a successful run in the Sprint Cup Series." Stewart has 48 victories on NASCAR's premier circuit but none since Dover International Speedway in June 2013.(full article at NBC Sports)(1-31-2016)
Members of SHR help out family of stricken crewman: The family of a Stewart-Haas Racing team member who suffered a stroke on New Year's Day is getting a helping hand from fellow team members with the Kannapolis, NC based organization. Les Huntley, a front suspension mechanic for SHR and second gas man for #10-Danica Patrick last season, was left with paralysis on his left side in the wake of his medical emergency. As of a week ago, Huntley was still not walking, nor able to use his left arm and hand. Members of SHR spent their Saturday providing assistance to Huntley's family as they move into a new home.(FoxSports)(1-31-2016)
Tulsa County Sheriff's Office issues statement on officer in Stewart confrontation: The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office issued a brief statement Friday regarding the dustup between one of its off-duty corporals and racing legend Tony Stewart at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa a week ago. Cpl. Kyle Hess and Stewart got into a confrontation in the Expo Square grandstands during car racing the night of Jan. 15. Cellphone video depicts the two men locking arms or hands and exchanging words, eventually ending with shoving. Sheriff's Office spokesman Justin Green said Hess remains on the job but is the subject of a personnel investigation. Green said such an investigation can take no longer than 30 days, at which point a decision will be made on how to handle the matter concerning any possible discipline. The Sheriff's Office takes seriously the conduct of its employees no matter if they are on or off duty, according to its statement Friday.
"While we respect our employees' rights to free speech, we also expect all of our employees to follow the TCSO's Code of Ethics which each pledges to uphold as part of their employment and to set an example at all times," the statement reads. Stewart was overseeing track maintenance on the infield at the Chili Bowl, not racing. Tulsa Deputy Police Chief and Expo Square liaison officer Dennis Larson previously said it appeared Hess "probably had too much beer from my observations after speaking with him." Hess "kept taunting Tony Stewart" as Stewart would pass by, Larson said, and Stewart eventually went into the stands to talk to him.(Tulsa World)(1-23-2016)
Bass Pro Shops cuts back Stewart sponsorship: #14-Tony Stewart said nine races of Bass Pro Shops sponsorship for #78-Martin Truex Jr. came out of the allotment of sponsorship of the #14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevy. Stewart said Bass Pro Shops will be the sponsor of the #14 for 2-3 races in 2016 and the team is looking for additional sponsorship for 2016 (ESPN / Bob Pockrass Twitter)(1-22-2016)
Stewart slims down: #14-Tony Stewart might be in the best shape of his life, and just in time. At 44, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has declared this to be his final Sprint Cup season as a driver, and he's doing everything in his power to make it memorable. "I'm eating better, drinking better, working out, doing stuff I swore I would never do - and I'm doing it in my last year," said Stewart, facing Thursday's a media during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "I've changed my diet. I've changed everything for this year, so if anybody has any questions about how dedicated we are to having the best year we possibly could have, that's the answer. I'm more excited about this year than I have been in a long time."(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-22-2016)
Stewart would like Brian France to be more hands on as a CEO: #14-Tony Stewart wants to see Brian France around the Sprint Cup circuit a whole lot more. Stewart, who is competing in his final Sprint Cup Series season in 2016, said on SiriusXM Speedway on Thursday afternoon that he would like to have NASCAR's CEO be present more frequently, both in discussions with drivers and during race weekends. "You never see Brian France," Stewart said. "He shows up at the drivers' meeting and you never see him after that. But I picked up what Brian was putting down. And he's right's it's their series and they've got to make the decisions. Just because it's my idea doesn't mean it's the right idea. I would like to think in the 37 years I've been in racing that I've learned a thing or two." The entire interview is worth a listen. You can tell that Stewart, perhaps unburdened because it's his final year as a driver, has carefully thought through what he wants to say. And he made it clear that his words were not designed to pick a fight, but rather as an impetus for improvement. He said communication with NASCAR has gotten better, especially after the formation of the driver's council. A group of drivers has been meeting periodically with NASCAR executives to exchange ideas and feedback.(Yahoo Sports)(1-22-2016)
Stewart confronts heckler at Chili Bowl UPDATE: Not everyone is a fan of Tony Stewart. And he apparently had heard enough from one fan Friday night to confront him. At the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, a national event that attracts more than 300 racers of midget cars to the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla., Stewart approached a fan who can be heard on social media videos saying he never liked Stewart. The two exchanged words and the fan appeared to push Stewart, who continued to yell at the fan for a few more seconds after another man moved the fan back into his seat. The three-time Sprint Cup champion is the 2002 and 2007 winner of the event and is there helping prepare the dirt surface. Stewart said earlier this week he might compete in the event again next year after he retires from Sprint Cup racing following this season.(ESPN.com)
UPDATE: Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is investigating a corporal's conduct after a video shows the officer and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart involved in an apparent altercation at the Chili Bowl. Deputy Justin Green identified the man in the video as Cpl. Kyle Hess, who was off duty during the incident. Green said the Sheriff's Office is investigating Hess's conduct at the event to determine if he acted inappropriately. "We're all held to a higher standard, even off duty," Green said. Sheriff's office investigators have watched the video and are working to gather more information about what started and ended the apparent altercation, Green said. Green said it's too early in the investigation to speculate about possible repercussions for Hess.
"We had a race fan that probably had too much beer from my observations after speaking with him," said Tulsa Deputy Police Chief and Expo Square Liaison officer Dennis Larson. "He kept taunting Tony Stewart as Tony would pass by. Tony came up to the stands and decided to have a discussion with him on why he did not like him."
"I met with the fan outside of the building," Larson said. "He was under the influence of alcohol, and we suggested to him that he call it a night at the Chili Bowl and that he is welcome to come back today (Saturday).(Tulsa World)(1-16-2016)
Stewart plans to continue dirt racing: Tony Stewart won't stop racing after he exits his Sprint Cup car for the final time this season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Instead, he plans to return to his roots. "I plan on running a lot of dirt races after the end of the season when I retire from the Cup stuff, so I would say this is on the radar," Stewart said during a press conference Monday at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Stewart isn't competing this week at the Chili Bowl Nationals but will help with track preparations as he did last year. That included driving a tractor to get the track in shape at the River Spirit Expo Center at Tulsa's Expo Square. Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion who came up through the dirt track ranks to IndyCar and NASCAR, has not raced on a dirt track since an incident Aug. 9, 2014, at Canandaigua Motorsports Park that killed Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart and Ward had been racing together when Ward's car hit the wall. Ward exited his car and walked down the track toward Stewart's car when he was struck and killed. It's not hard to imagine Stewart returning to compete in the Chili Bowl next year. "It is the dirt track race of the year," Stewart said of an event that has 344 cars entered and drivers from 34 states and five countries. "I don't care what series, what track, this is the place to be. It's the only time all year you're going to get this many quality cars and drivers and teams to come to one event and race."(NBC Sports)(1-13-2016)
Stewart-Haas Racing crew member suffers stroke: Les Huntley, a front suspension mechanic at Stewart-Haas Racing who also served as the second gas man for Danica Patrick's #10 team, suffered a stroke New Year's Day, the team confirmed Monday. Huntley has paralysis on the left side and is expected to have long road to recovery. Huntley, who is from Renwick, Iowa, worked on front suspensions for all the Stewart-Haas Racing cars.(NBC Sports)(1-4-2016)
MWR's pit crew coach hired by Stewart-Haas: Pit coach Walt Smith has been hired by SHR to help out in the pit department for the upcoming 2016 season. We know that sounds vague but we haven't heard his exact role yet. We do know he's been hired just not sure on weather he will take over as the Cup coach, adviser, recruiter, or all of the above. Walt is a coach that has seen plenty of years on pit road. He is a very accomplished coach and has spent years with HMS, DEI, EGR, and MWR. As far as the current situation at SHR, they are in good shape.! From what we know, coaches Joe Piette and Kevin Sharpe are both staying there and why wouldn't they? They've won championships with Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick while also winning Mechanix Wear back to back pit crew MVP awards with their #4 and #41 teams.(Pit Talks)(12-9-2015)
Stewart files counterclaim against insurance company: Tony Stewart's attorney countered an insurance company's claim that its policy does not cover Stewart in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. Brian Gwitt, Stewart's New York-based attorney, filed the claim Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Axis Insurance Company stated in court documents in September that it should not be held responsible for damages Stewart might have to pay the Ward family. The family filed a lawsuit Aug. 7 against Stewart, seeking unspecified damages for the death of their 20-year-old son. Axis claimed in documents that clauses in its policy with Tony Stewart Racing precluded it from paying any damages. Stewart's counterclaim states that various clauses show that Axis should be responsible for such damages. Stewart's counterclaim states that the Liability Policy includes a segment titled "Commercial General Coverage Part" with a primary-layer coverage of $1 million "per occurrence" for claims covered under it. That, according to Stewart's counterclaim, provides coverage for, among other things, "Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability" and "Participant Legal Liability - Motorsports." Axis stated in its court filing that its Participant Legal Liability - Motorsports section contained the following exclusion: "This insurance does not apply to claims or actions brought by one racing vehicle driver against another racing vehicle driver." Axis also states that its policy is limited to the events specifically listed by Tony Stewart Racing. The Empire Sprint Series event was not listed, according to Axis. Stewart's counterclaim contends that the Axis' policy "provides Axis with the right and the duty to defend any lawsuit asserting covered liabilities."(NBC Sports)(12-3-2015)
Stewart announces retirement after 2016 season; Bowyer to replace in 2017: After 17 years competing at NASCAR's highest level, Tony Stewart has decided his 18th year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be his last. The three-time series champion will retire following the 2016 season, whereupon Clint Bowyer will take the wheel of the #14 machine beginning in 2017. Since 2009 Stewart has held the dual title of driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). He co-owns the team with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. Stewart will join Haas as a fulltime owner in 2017, with Bowyer being Stewart's hand-picked successor to drive the No. 14 car.
"This is a moment every driver eventually comes to terms with, and I know this is the right decision for me," said Stewart, owner of 48 Sprint Cup victories, 15 of which have come with SHR. "2016 will be my last year in a Sprint Cup car, but it's not my last year in NASCAR. I love this sport and I love being a part of it, and instead of seeing me in a firesuit on Sundays, you'll see me in a pair of jeans, and maybe even a pair of khakis. I plan to make the most of my final year as a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and part of that is to ensure that when Clint Bowyer takes over the No. 14 in 2017, he has everything he needs to win races and contend for the championship. I'm very comfortable with this decision and what the future holds for me and Stewart-Haas Racing."
Bowyer is an eight-time race winner in the Sprint Cup Series and finished second in the 2012 championship standings.
"Today is an incredible opportunity and I'm proud and excited to take over the #14 in 2017," said Bowyer, the 2008 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. "Whether it's racing him on Sunday or watching my dirt late model teams race at his famed Eldora Speedway, Tony and I share the same passion for racing. That makes this opportunity a perfect fit for me. I appreciate everything he's done for me and the sport of auto racing. These are big shoes to fill, but boy am I ever looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a champion's ride, and have Tony there with me along the way."
Haas, who formed Haas CNC Racing in 2002 before partnering with Stewart to create SHR in 2009, embraces the transition.
"Tony Stewart has been a game-changer for Stewart-Haas Racing and for motorsports," Haas said. "I always had an incredible amount of respect for what he could do with a racecar - any racecar, as he's been successful in everything he's ever driven. In getting to know Tony Stewart the businessman, I found a very smart person with excellent people skills. He's extremely valuable to our race team and a strong voice in our sport. His passion for motorsports is unmatched, and I'm proud that his future outside of the #14 Chevrolet remains with Stewart-Haas Racing."
The primary partners currently represented on the No. 14 Chevrolet include Bass Pro Shops, Mobil 1, Rush Truck Centers, Code 3 Associates, Coca-Cola, Jimmy Johns and Haas Automation. Announcements regarding the partnership lineup for the #14 team in 2016 and beyond will be made in the lead up to the 58th Daytona 500 on Feb. 21 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
"I have been blessed with fantastic partners throughout my racing career, and I take a lot of pride in the lifelong friendships formed and the great business successes we've been a part of," Stewart said. "I never would've accomplished all that I've achieved in racing if it weren't for the support of corporate America. They helped a kid from Columbus, Indiana, reach his dreams and I'll be forever grateful."(Stewart-Haas Racing)
Statement from NASCAR Chairman Brian France: "When I think of Tony Stewart, unmatched passion and a pure love of the sport come to mind. He has won championships and millions of fans. But he has given back so much more, and that's what I admire most. Today's news was bittersweet for all, but we know Tony will continue to be a big part of our sport in his roles as a team and track owner. On behalf of the entire NASCAR family, I thank Tony for his many years of excellence and competitiveness, and wish him nothing but the best in his final season as a driver in the Sprint Cup Series."
Statement from Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports for Chevy: "Tony Stewart has been a key member of our racing family for nearly 20 years. The majority of his race wins and championships-regardless of series-have been with our brands. Not only is he a championship-winning driver and team owner, he is an entrepreneur and gives back to numerous charities. Through his Tony Stewart Foundation, he pours his heart into causes that support children, animals and others in need of assistance. We value our long-standing partnership with Tony and look forward to joining his fans in celebrating his final season as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."(Chevy PR)(9-30-2015)
Lawsuit against Stewart will remain in Utica, New York: The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. against Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart will remain under the jurisdiction of the federal court that covers the home of the Ward family, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Tuesday. Stewart's attorney had asked for the case to be moved to Rochester, New York, which covers the area of Canandaigua Motorsports Park, where Ward's death occurred in a sprint-car race, instead of being heard in federal court in Utica, which covers the Ward family's home of Port Leyden. The Ward family did not oppose the move to the court in Rochester (about 135 miles from Utica), but Judge David Hurd wrote in his decision that there was not a strong enough reason to move the case. In the request, Stewart's side argued that key witnesses would have to travel more than 100 miles to Utica and that it was more convenient for out-of-town witnesses to travel to Rochester. Hurd wrote that the Syracuse airport is 56 miles from Utica and that the additional travel for some witnesses didn't warrant a transfer from the location initially chosen by the Ward family when it first filed suit in August in its home county (Lewis County) in state court. The judge noted that Stewart had given no indication that any of the witness from the Canandaigua area -- local law enforcement and others -- would refuse to come to Utica to testify or that a video deposition would be insufficient. He also wrote that the median time from filing a lawsuit to trial in the Western District of New York (which includes Rochester) is 66.3 months, while in the Northern District (which includes Utica) it is 40.8 months.(ESPN.com)(9-30-2015)
Stewart to retire after 2016 season UPDATE3: Tony Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup Series champion, plans to retire after the 2016 season, team and industry sources told ESPN's Marty Smith. Mired in one of the worst seasons of his career at 25th in the standings, Stewart will run one final season before handing over the driving duties of the Stewart-Haas Racing #14 Chevy to Clint Bowyer, sources said. #15-Bowyer is driving for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2015, but that team is closing operations after the season. He does not currently have a ride for 2016. Stewart won the Sprint Cup in 2002, 2005 and 2011. He missed out on the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year after posting zero wins and two top-10s leading up to the Chase. The 45-year-old Stewart is tied for 13th in career victories with 48. Stewart, who has 582 career Cup starts, missed the final 15 races of the 2013 season with a broken leg suffered in a sprint car accident. He missed three races last season after the sprint car he was racing struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., who had approached Stewart's car on foot at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.(ESPN.com / Motorsport.com)(9-27-2015)
UPDATE: Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a news conference for 1:00pm/et on Wednesday at the team's Kannapolis, N.C., headquarters, at which time driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart is expected to announce that 2016 will his last season behind the wheel. Gene Haas, Stewart's partner, will attend the news conference, the team confirmed.(FOXSports.com)(9-28-2015) UPDATE2: Tony Stewart will step away from Sprint Cup competition following the 2016 season, NASCAR.com has confirmed from multiple sources. A press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing's North Carolina shop is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to announce the plans, which will include naming Clint Bowyer to drive Stewart's #14 Chevy beginning in 2017. NASCAR.com will live stream the 1 p.m. ET announcement at NASCAR.com/presspass.(NASCAR.com)(9-28-2015)
UPDATE3 - wanted Larson? Tony Stewart desperately wanted Kyle Larson for the job [the #14 ride]. Larson is available in 2017, but the particulars of his current contract didn't fall into place with the timetable Stewart needed to execute his plan. Then Clint Bowyer became available and Stewart had his man. Bowyer will spend 2016 making laps with another team as he waits for Stewart to complete his retirement tour.(Associated Press)(9-29-2015)
Insurance firm says Stewart's policy doesn't cover lawsuit: The insurance company that covers Tony Stewart Racing has filed court documents saying Stewart's policy does not cover the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. Axis Insurance Company filed a complaint for declaratory judgment Friday, asking the court to rule that it is not responsible to cover Stewart, saying its policy covers neither the race Stewart was participating in nor claims brought by one driver against another. Stewart's attorney had no comment to the filing. Stewart was competing in an Empire Super Sprints event Aug. 9, 2014, at Canandaigua (New York) Motorsports Park when his car struck and killed the 20-year-old Ward, who had gotten out of his car and walked out on the track while the race was under caution. Ward's parents contend in their lawsuit that Stewart could have avoided their son just as the other drivers in the race did, and they seek unspecified damages for their son's pain and suffering as well as the potential economic support he could have provided for them. Stewart, who was not criminally charged, says Ward was responsible for his own death, had attempted to make contact with Stewart's car before being struck and had used marijuana within five hours of the race. Stewart was racing for TSR, a team that he owns and competes with in sprint car races, which is separate from the NASCAR stock car team he co-owns (Stewart-Haas Racing) with Gene Haas. Axis Insurance, in its filing in a U.S. District Court in New York, states that the $4 million of coverage (a combination of three policies) for Tony Stewart Racing is specifically for 65 World of Outlaws events, 30 USAC Sprint events and 10 USAC Silver Crown events. No Empire Super Sprints events are part of the team policy, Axis says. The policy also has an exclusion clause that states "this insurance does not apply to claims or actions brought by one racing vehicle driver against another racing vehicle driver" and that "coverage is specifically excluded for the racing vehicle driver who is the object of such claim or action." Stewart has not yet filed a response to the Axis request. He has asked for the wrongful death lawsuit be dismissed based on waivers Ward and his father, as the car owner, signed prior to the event that indemnify other participants (ESPN).(9-23-2015)
Kevin Ward, Jr.'s parents dispute toxicology report: In response to an allegation that Kevin Ward Jr. was responsible for his own death when he was struck and killed by a car driven by Tony Stewart, Ward's parents insisted in a court filing Friday that the three-time Sprint Cup champion was to blame. In the filing Friday, the Ward family cited Stewart's history of aggression on the racetrack to support their claim that Stewart drove in a reckless manner while the other drivers in the race were able to avoid their son. "[Ward] was killed as a result of the malicious, reckless, intentional, and grossly negligent conduct of Defendant Stewart, who has a well-documented and rampant history of engaging in uncontrolled, vindictive and temperamental behavior on the race track, including, but not limited to, purposely and vengefully crashing into other race cars," the Ward parents' filing states. The Wards also responded to the allegation that their son had used marijuana within five hours of the race. "[The Wards] admit that a toxicology report exists that allegedly found Kevin A. Ward Jr. to have smoked marijuana within at least five hours of participating in the August 9, 2014 race," the filing states. "However, [the Wards] deny the validity, accuracy, and admissibility of said report." There is no trial date set in the case, currently in federal court in Utica, New York, which covers the Ward family's hometown of Port Leyden. Stewart has requested, and the family will not contest, that the case be moved to federal court in Rochester, New York, but a judge still must approve the move. In addition to denying any responsibility for Ward's death, Stewart seeks to have the lawsuit dismissed based on waivers Ward and his father, as car owner, signed indemnifying other participants of responsibility for injury. Ward's parents, in the filing Friday, contend that those waivers do not cover responsibility for malicious, intentional, reckless and grossly negligent acts.(ESPN.com)(9-19-2015)
Bowyer to Stewart-Haas? in 2017? or to HScott Motorsports? UPDATES: the biggest question is Clint Bowyer, 36, who controls his future today as much as he did when he left Richard Childress Racing to join MWR. With no apparent openings at major teams for next season, Bowyer might need a placeholder ride for a year - much like Kasey Kahne when he drove for Red Bull Racing before joining Hendrick's four-car juggernaut. After that, Bowyer would have more options. The garage has been buzzing for a few months about the possibility of Bowyer joining Stewart-Haas Racing, but to replace who? Reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick is locked in. Danica Patrick just signed a multi-year contract extension. And co-owner Tony Stewart said Tuesday that Kurt Busch's extension will be done "soon." That could leave Stewart, who is struggling to be competitive and has his best years behind him at 44. Could Bowyer drive at SHR in 2017? SHR spokesman Mike Arning told USA TODAY Sports the team wasn't commenting "out of respect for the situation involving Michael Waltrip Racing and its personnel." In the meantime, it doesn't sound like hooking up with Ganassi for one year is an option for Bowyer if Kauffman buys into the team, as the owner stated he planned to. Kauffman said he and Bowyer "agreed we would go our separate ways at the end of the season and I wish him well in whatever direction he pursues."(USA Today)
AND Perhaps the dissolution of MWR was the ticket Bowyer needed to move on. Despite entering the first year of a three-year renewal to drive the No. 15 Toyota, a dissolution of MWR would certainly enable Bowyer to pursue others options. In fact, he and Kaufmann have already agreed to go separate ways. If the rumor mill is right, Bowyer is headed to HScott Motorsports. Richard Petty Motorsports made Bowyer an offer several years ago and is interested in him again. But this is why HMS makes sense: Despite Harry Scott Jr. playing coy at Watkins Glen, following a salmon fishing trip with Bowyer in British Columbia, multiple sources say HScott Motorports could offer Bowyer a ride until a premiere seat opens up. Bowyer has been mentioned as the heir apparent for the #14 Chevy once Tony Stewart retires.
Initially, the assumption was that Bowyer would join Kauffman in his move to Chip Ganassi Racing. However, the current plan for CGR in 2016 is to run just two teams. Bowyer's statement on Wednesday offered no indication of his future plans, other than it would not include Kauffman or MWR.(Motorsport)(8-20-2015)
UPDATE: Claire B. Lang reported on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Friday evening that Clint Bowyer would move to HScott Motorsports in 2016 and then on to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 to replace Tony Stewart.
UPDATE 2: Nate Ryan reported on NASCAR America Saturday afternoon that HScott Motorsports says they will remain a two car team next season and #46-Michael Annett will return. The team said they are still working on Justin Allgiaer's deal for 2016.(9-5-2015)
UPDATE 3: Amid reports that Clint Bowyer might join its organization next season, HScott Motorsports says it won't be adding a third Sprint Cup car in 2016. The team expanded to a second full-time Chevy this season with Michael Annett joining for Justin Allgaier, who has driven for Harry Scott since 2013. Citing an unnamed source, SiriusXM Satellite Radio host Claire B. Lang reported Friday night that Bowyer would race for HScott Motorsports in '16 and move to Tony Stewart's #14 Chevy in 2017. Bowyer's future is in flux with the impending closure of Michael Waltrip Racing.Asked for comment, HScott Motorsports released this statement:
"Harry continues to work with Justin Allgaier and BRANDT Professional Agriculture on their contracts for next year and beyond. As far as a car count for next year, HScott Motorsports will be a two-car operation. Michael Annett will continue to drive for the team next year."
While it remains possible that Allgaier and Brandt might not return, which would open a potential spot for Bowyer, it seems there also are signs that HScott Motorsports might not have room for a new driver next year.(NBC Sports)(9-6-2015)
Stewart responds to wrongful death suit UPDATE: Tony Stewart claims he did not see Kevin Ward Jr. until just prior to his sprint car striking the 20-year-old driver and that Ward actually tried to make contact with Stewart's car in the accident that resulted in Ward's death. Stewart's local attorney, Brian Gwitt, filed the Stewart response Friday to the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Ward's parents. The response, filed in U.S. District Court in Utica, N.Y., states that Stewart didn't even know who it was on the track at the time, and that Ward was responsible for his own death because he not only walked out on to an active race track but also because he was under the influence of marijuana at the time. The three-time Sprint Cup champion has never talked publicly about what happened that night, other than to say it was "100 percent an accident."
"Stewart did not see Ward, Jr. or anyone else walking on foot on the track until just prior to contact, and did not know the identity of the person walking on the track until afterwards," the Stewart response states. "Stewart was not aware that Ward, Jr. had crashed because the crash was behind him, and was not aware that anyone was walking on the track. "Stewart did not know Ward, Jr., and had never had a pervious track incident with him. Ward, Jr. approached Stewart's car and attempted to make contact with it. As a result of Ward. Jr.'s actions, Ward, Jr. was killed." Stewart, in his answer to the complaint, denies the allegations that his actions resulted in Ward's death. He claims that the Ward's father, who owned the car, also had a responsibility to make sure his driver did not use drugs prior to the event. Stewart also said that the Wards gave up their right to sue other participants in the race as part of the waiver signed to compete in the event. No trial date has been set. A scheduling conference is set for Oct. 8.ESPN.com)(8-29-2015)
UPDATE: A lawyer for a racecar driver who was killed when he was run over by Tony Stewart's car says legal claims by the NASCAR star in response to a lawsuit are "appalling." Attorney Mark Lanier said Saturday in an email that Kevin Ward Jr. was killed last year as he walked on a dirt track in upstate New York even though Stewart is one of the world's best drivers. The lawyer noted five other cars drove around Ward during a yellow caution flag before Stewart "revved his engine and ran him over." He called Stewart's legal papers in response to the lawsuit "appalling." Lanier said Saturday that Stewart did not take a drug or blood test following the tragedy.(Associated Press)(8-30-2015)
Stewart makes donation to Iowa family: A NASCAR superstar is helping out a grieving Iowa family after learning about a tragic accident that claimed the lives of three Iowa brothers last week. Jamie, Carson, and Christian Singletary were killed in an accident near New Sharon in Mahaska County last Thursday, when their vehicle collided with a truck. Several fundraising efforts have been set up to help the boys' family, like a GoFundMe page, a U.S. Bank account, and a community spaghetti supper. Now, they're also getting help from NASCAR legend Tony Stewart. Ralphi Munson's chance encounter with Stewart in the parking lot of the old Pamida in Knoxville Tuesday night led to a compassionate donation from the driver. Munson, a friend of the Singletary family, was planning to sell off four totes of racing memorabilia she has collected since 1982 and give the proceeds to the family. She says she was meeting a friend she plans to help during the Knoxville Nationals this week, showing some of the race programs in the totes and talking about what the money will be used for when Tony Stewart approached her and gave her $700 for the memorabilia. Munson says Stewart told her, "I overheard everything and I want to do this for the kids." Munson joked with him that the price didn't include the totes and she'd need those back. That's when Stewart called over to a friend and told him to bring more money. The total donation ended up being $1,400.(WHO-TV)(8-12-2015)
Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Stewart: The family of Kevin Ward Jr. filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday against NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart, nearly a year after Stewart's sprint car struck and killed the 20-year-old driver under caution during a race at an upstate New York dirt track. The Ward family filed the lawsuit in Lewis County (N.Y.) Supreme Court, which covers the Ward home in Port Leyden and is about 175 miles northeast of Watkins Glen International, where Stewart practiced Friday in preparation for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Stewart was not criminally charged in the death of Ward, who had gotten out of his car and ran toward Stewart's car as he drove around under caution during the Empire Super Sprints race Aug. 9 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Ward was declared dead 45 minutes after being struck by Stewart's car with the cause of death listed as massive blunt force trauma. The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages the family seeks in claims of wrongful death, reckless conduct, gross negligence and Ward's suffering between the time he was struck and his death. "Stewart could have easily acted reasonably and with prudence to avoid striking Ward, just as all other drivers had done as they passed Ward during the yellow caution flag," the lawsuit states. "Stewart acted with disregard for Ward's life and safety by driving his vehicle in a manner that would terrorize Ward and thereafter strike, severely injure and kill Ward." The case likely will hinge on whether the Ward family can prove that Stewart has some percentage of fault in Ward's death. If the case goes to a jury, a jury would have to decide whether Stewart had a duty to Ward to drive in a certain manner under caution and if he breached that duty. New York law does not allow the Ward family to collect damages for their own pain and suffering but does allow parents to recover loss of expected future support and care that their child could have provided.(ESPN.com)(8-7-2015)
Stewart completes purchase for All Star Circuit of Champions: Tony Stewart is officially the new owner of the All Star Circuit of Champions. The agreement closed Thursday afternoon. In addition, veteran race official Don Grabey was hired as Series Director. "First off, I'm ecstatic that we got the paperwork signed and we own the All Star Circuit of Champions," Stewart said. "Further, I'm excited to have Don join the team. He is a great addition and will have the respect of the competitors and be an important piece of the long term success of the Series. I can't wait to get the points season started in two weeks." Grabey, 53, has worked with the World of Outlaws since 1997, first as a technical inspector and then as the competition director since 2007. The next All Star Series of Champions race will be March 28 at Atomic Speedway in Waverly, Ohio. This event will be the first points race of 2015. The complete schedule can be found at www.allstarsprint.com.(TrueSpeed Communications)(3-13-2015)
Stewart buys All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series: #14-Tony Stewart has agreed to terms with Guy Webb, owner of the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series, to become the sole owner of the original winged sprint car tour. The All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series is one of the oldest traveling sprint car organizations and is a staple of grassroots, open-wheel racing. The transaction between Webb and Stewart will proceed immediately.(Eldora Raceway)(1-28-2015)
Stewart presented with lifetime membership to Code 3 Associates: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #14-Tony Stewart was presented with lifetime membership to Code 3 Associates by president Eric Bagdikian and executive assistant Jane Giese on Friday, March 28 prior to Sprint Cup practice at Martinsville Speedway. Code 3 Associates is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization specializing in animal rescue and recovery in disaster areas and is a partner of Stewart-Haas Racing, the Sprint Cup team Stewart co-owns with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. The continued operation of Code 3 Associates relies totally on the generosity of donors and bravery of its responders. Membership educates the populace on pet preparedness during disasters, lends a larger voice to animal-related legislation and policy, and supports first-responder and officer training across the United States. Code 3 Associates is featured on Stewart's #14 Chevy SS this weekend at Martinsville.(Stewart Haas / TrueSpeed Communications)(3-29-2014)