Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jeff Gordon to run final full-time NASCAR season in 2015

One last Drive for '5' for Jeff Gordon in 2015  
CONCORD, N.C. (Jan. 22, 2015) - Jeff Gordon, the celebrated stock car champion whose crossover appeal helped take NASCAR into the mainstream, will compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. He announced his decision this morning to the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team he has driven for since November 1992.

"As a race car driver, much of what I've done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions," Gordon said. "I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I've decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won't use the ‘R-word' because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there's always the possibility I'll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.

"I don't foresee a day when I'll ever step away from racing. I'm a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I'm passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I'm a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that's stood behind me every step of the way.

"Racing has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity that's been extraordinarily rewarding and fulfilling in my life. The work we're doing with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation will continue to be extremely important to me. Outside the race car, my passion is pediatric cancer research, and my efforts will remain focused there when I'm no longer driving.

"I'll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet. I'm going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship.

"To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you."

Gordon, 43, has earned four career Cup championships, 92 points-paying race wins and 77 pole positions, all for longtime car owner Rick Hendrick. He is third in all-time victories behind only NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105).

One of the most versatile drivers of his era in any auto racing discipline, Gordon's résumé includes three Daytona 500 victories and a record five Brickyard 400 wins. He is the sport's winningest road course driver with nine victories, stands alone as the all-time leader with 12 restrictor plate wins and has won at every track on the Sprint Cup circuit with the exception of Kentucky Speedway.

"There's simply no way to quantify Jeff's impact," said Hendrick, who first noticed Gordon during a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 1992. "He's one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There's been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I'm so grateful for everything he's done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners."

Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date.

JEFF GORDON BIO BRIEF:

FULL NAME: Jeffery Michael Gordon
BIRTHDATE: Aug. 4, 1971
BIRTHPLACE: Vallejo, California
HOMETOWN: Pittsboro, Indiana
FAMILY: Wife Ingrid Vandebosch; daughter Ella Sofia (7); son Leo Benjamin (4)

• Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001)
• 92 career Cup victories; third on the all-time list
• 77 career Cup pole positions; third on the all-time list
• Three-time Daytona 500 winner (1997, 1999, 2005)
• Five-time Brickyard 400 winner (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014)
• Three-time champion of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (1995, 1997, 2001)
• NASCAR record nine road course victories
• NASCAR record 12 restrictor plate victories
• 1997 Winston Million winner and four-time Winston No Bull 5 winner
• Seven-time winner at Darlington Raceway

CUP SERIES HIGHLIGHTS AND CAREER NOTES:

2014: Captured four victories, three pole positions, 14 top-five finishes and a series-leading 23 top-10s. Scored a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 win, tying Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for the most victories at Indianapolis. Posted series-best average finish (10.4) en route to a sixth-place finish in the point standings. Extended NASCAR record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (22). Starred in the viral video "Test Drive 2," which has surpassed 17 million views on YouTube.

2013: Finished sixth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with one win (Martinsville), two poles, eight top-fives and 17 top-10s. Set NASCAR record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (21), breaking a tie with NASCAR Hall of Fame driver David Pearson. Starred in the viral video "Test Drive," which has surpassed 43 million views on YouTube.

2012: Recorded two wins, two poles, 11 top-fives, 18 top-10s and finished 10th in the Chase. Scored first career Homestead-Miami victory and surpassed NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Darrell Waltrip for sixth in all-time career laps led (23,147). Recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, established to recognize those in sports who give significantly to serve communities and improve the lives of others. Appeared as himself in an episode of the FOX animated television show "The Simpsons." Returned to Rwanda for a second time in conjunction with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. Recipient of the NMPA Myers Brothers Award, which recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.

2011: Began working with fourth full-time crew chief Alan Gustafson. Posted three wins, one pole, 13 top-fives and 18 top-10s en route to an eighth-place finish in the Chase. Moved to third in all-time wins after scoring his 85th career victory at Atlanta and claimed sole possession of third in all-time career poles (70). Voiced the character "Jeff Gorvette" in the animated film "Cars 2." Traveled to Rwanda with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, and visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative.

2010: Finished ninth in the Chase with one pole, 11 top-fives and 17 top-10s. Tied NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Cale Yarborough for third in all-time career poles (69) and remained sixth in all-time career wins (82), one behind Yarborough.

2009: Finished third in the Chase with one win, one pole, 16 top-fives and a series-high 25 top-10s. Scored first career Texas victory. Appeared in an episode of the long-running children's television series "Sesame Street."

2008: Finished seventh in the Chase with four poles, 13 top-fives and 19 top-10s. Scored first career Texas pole. Became first NASCAR driver to surpass $100 million in career prize winnings.

2007: Finished second in the Chase with six wins, seven poles, 21 top-fives and 30 top-10s -- a single-season record for most top-10s in NASCAR's modern era (1972-present). Scored first career Phoenix victory and set all-time record for most career restrictor plate wins (12). Moved to sixth all-time in career wins (81) and fourth all-time in career poles (63).

2006: Finished sixth in the Chase with two victories, two poles, 14 top-fives and 18 top-10s. Scored first career Chicagoland victory and extended own record for most road course victories (9) with fifth career win at Sonoma.

2005: Posted four wins, two poles, eight top-fives, 14 top-10s and finished 11th in the point standings. Achieved third career Daytona 500 victory, fourth win at Talladega and sixth and seventh victories at Martinsville, marking the second time in three years he swept both events at the short track. Ran first race with third full-time crew chief Steve Letarte at New Hampshire on Sept. 18. Appeared as himself in the film "Herbie: Fully Loaded."

2004: Five wins, six poles, 16 top-fives and 25 top-10s. Finished third in the inaugural Chase, marking 11 consecutive top-10 point finishes. Led standings after 26th race before top-10 points were reset. Became the first stock car driver to capture four victories at Indianapolis and only the fourth driver in history to win there four times. Won back-to-back races for the 19th and 20th times in his career.

2003: Three wins, four poles, 15 top-fives, 20 top-10s and a series-leading 1,639 laps led. Won both events at Martinsville to complete a season sweep at the track. Finished fourth in the point standings. Became the only auto racing driver in the show's history to host NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

2002: Recorded three victories, three poles, 13 top-fives and 20 top-10s. At Darlington, won 60th career race. Recorded 300th career start and became first NASCAR driver to surpass $50 million in career prize winnings.

2001: Achieved a fourth career championship to become at the time only the third driver to win more than three titles. Led the series in several statistical categories: wins (6), poles (6), top-fives (18), top-10s (24), races led (25) and laps led (2,320). Became the first driver to eclipse $10 million in single-season prize winnings. Won both the all-star event and the Brickyard 400.

2000: Began working with second full-time crew chief Robbie Loomis. Earned three wins, three poles, 11 top-fives and 22 top-10s. Became the youngest driver in history to achieve 50 career wins. Won Talladega, Richmond and Sonoma. Win at Sonoma marked sixth straight road course victory, a series record. Finished ninth in points.

1999: Finished the season with seven victories to become the first driver in history to win the most races for five straight years. Also won the most poles (7) and led the most laps (1,319). Finished the season sixth in points with 18 top-fives and 21 top-10s. Ran final race with original crew chief Ray Evernham at Dover on Sept. 26. Appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine. Established the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs. Became an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports after signing a lifetime contract to drive for the team.

1998: Won third series championship with 13 victories, seven poles, 26 top-fives and 28 top-10s. Became first driver to win the Brickyard 400 twice. Won the Winston No Bull Five twice. Tied two modern-era records with 13 wins in one season and four wins in a row. Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

1997: Won second series championship with 10 victories, one pole, 22 top-fives and 23 top-10s. Became youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 in a Hendrick Motorsports 1-2-3 finish. Second driver ever to win the Winston Million.

1996: Led the series in wins (10), poles (5) and laps led (2,314). Also recorded 21 top-fives and 24 top-10s. Finished second in championship points, only 37 behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Terry Labonte.

1995: At 24, became youngest Cup champion in NASCAR's modern era in only third full season in the series. Recorded seven victories, eight poles (personal record), 23 top-10 finishes and 2,610 laps led.

1994: Won twice, including first career victory at Charlotte and the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Achieved seven top-fives and 14 top-10s.

1993: Earned series Rookie of the Year to become the first driver ever to win top rookie honors in NASCAR's two top divisions (XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year in 1991). Became first rookie in 30 years to win a 125-mile qualifying race at Daytona.

1992: Signed contract with Hendrick Motorsports and made first career series start on Nov. 15 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finishing 31st under the guidance of crew chief Evernham. The race also marked the final NASCAR event for seven-time series champion Richard Petty.

ABOUT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned more than 200 race victories and a record 11 car owner championships in NASCAR's premier division, the Sprint Cup Series. The organization fields four full-time Chevrolet teams on the Sprint Cup circuit with drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Headquartered in Concord, North Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports employs more than 600 people. For more information, visit HendrickMotorsports.com or interact on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Come get your 2015 Daytona 500 odds from Las Vegas; lots to choose

Who really has a shot at winning Daytona 500?
LAS VEGAS -- We don't have Daytona Preseason Thunder (testing) like we’ve been accustomed to over the years, where a few days' of media reports about who was fastest in early January was like the rooster on the dawning of a new season.

Because of limited testing, we have to find our own wake-up call that NASCAR is just around the corner, and mine came on a walk through several Las Vegas sports books on Wednesday afternoon to find the best value for Sprint Cup and Daytona 500 odds.

Over the last few days, I have been baffled by what to expect at not only Daytona, but the entire 2015 Sprint Cup season. I made a few calls and talked to some respected people in the garages, and came away feeling somewhat satisfied that we won't be blindsided by rapid change at Daytona, a track whose races are always up for grabs for a large pool of drivers -- see Aric Almirola’s win last year in the Coke Zero 400.

But with up to 60 changes in the rules package, does that mean racing at Daytona will be different this year?

I was assured by several smarts that they expect the racing to be very similar to what we saw last season and that the majority of solid set-up notes from 2014 will still apply this year. If that’s the case, we should see Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing excel throughout Daytona Speedweeks.

Last year, JGR’s Denny Hamlin won the Sprint Unlimited and a Budweiser Duels race, but Hendrick’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. would halt the Daytona-triple by winning the Daytona 500, his first win on the track since 2004. Hamlin would go on to win at Talladega, the other restrictor-plate track, followed by Almirola's win in the summer at Daytona and then Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski at Talladega during the Chase.

Between all my stops throughout town, I was most impressed with the concerted effort by Caesars Palace’s chain of sports books. The Westgate SuperBook and William Hill U.S. set the standard for lowest theoretic hold in the city, and Caesars/Harrah’s used to be second-tier in that regard. Not anymore. Not only do their NASCAR odds compare well with the top books in the city, but it also extends to their future prices in NFL, MLB and NBA.

Hail Caesar, big high-five!

The chart below allows you to shop for the best Daytona 500 odds in Las Vegas. I hit all of these places in a relatively quick amount of time, so if you’ve got five to six drivers you like, do yourself a favor – take a walk and find maximum value.

The juiciest numbers look like Earnhardt Jr. at 12-to-1 (Westgate), Hamlin at 15-to-1 (William Hill, Stations), Tony Stewart at 25-to-1 (Stations), Almirola at 60-to-1 (MGM) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at 60-to-1 (MGM).

We’ll be talking Daytona for the next month and keeping our ears open. Just like any sport, information is key and right now info is at a premium because the books are in the dark just as much as the bettors.

Every Las Vegas books' Daytona 500 odds

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Could Dale Earnhardt Jr be a major player in NASCAR 2015? Shootout odds

 Dale Earnhardt Jr. tasted success in 2014. Title on horizon?
When I look at all the odds being offered around town to win the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup, Daytona 500 and Sprint Unlimited, I really have no idea what to expect or how to project a winner. I’ve been doing this NASCAR odds stuff for a few decades and I’m always quick to give a take on who should fare well for the races, but not in 2015.

This season is a little different. We’re looking at five dozen changes to the 2015 NASCAR rules package which includes horsepower being dropped from 850 down to 725 and the rear spoiler being dropped from 8 inches to 6 inches. We’ve got 15 different crew chief changes and all kinds of other considerations that always occur with a new year.

We also don’t have test sessions like we used to see. You knew immediately from the preseason testing at Daytona what teams were going to be fast in the season. Then you had Las Vegas testing where you could get a gauge on who would be fast on 1.5-mile tracks. Now, there’s nothing except Goodyear tire testing, and Goodyear doesn‘t let anyone into the track until the testing is over. Four cars will be testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Monday, but media isn’t allowed at the track until the session is complete.

As of right now, I’m absolutely stumped. My probability model I run every preseason is completely out of whack. I have no idea who to key on for anything. Last season’s Chase taught me that anyone can win the title like we’ve never seen before. Instead of keying of 12 to 15 drivers to win it all, it’s now expanded up to 25 drivers. If Ryan Newman can be two laps away from winning a championship without winning a race in the first 35 races, then that gives Sam Hornish, Brian Vickers and Martin Truex an opportunity like never before to being champ. 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick agreed with the idea that there's a broader pool of drivers contending for a legitimate shot at the title following his Las Vegas Champion tour in early December.

"Absolutely. You know, I think as you -- if you can get to the Daytona 500 or Talladega or whatever that
particular driver's good track is or the team's good track and capitalize on those situations, you look at Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger and those guys being able to get themselves into victory lane, if you can get that one win and really prepare yourself for the Chase and have a good first few weeks and you have some guys have some problems and you kind of.

" I guess, you guys have all kind of dubbed the 31 team (Newman) as the Cinderella story, but there's a lot of cars in the garage that have that capability of being that Cinderella team, especially when you start talking about momentum.

"When you get the momentum in the sports world, momentum is a huge thing, and you can carry that a long ways. I think it definitely opens the possibility of things -- of cars and teams coming from being that dark horse I guess you could say to being in contention just for the fact of that momentum building and the teams getting better as they go through the year.

"It definitely opens things up to a lot of people being able to be in the Chase."

I saw Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon dominate in 2014, but none of them won the title. Kevin Harvick won his first championship, but he was swinging for the fences all season in a win or nothing approach and then put 10 good races together. One poor finish in the 10-race Chase and your season is done. Now, this year, we have all the changes to the car which makes it even a bigger crap shoot. So where do we start?

While there are better opportunities for the smaller teams to compete because of less testing where Michael Waltrip says his team will save up to $1.5 million this year with the ban, one thing I can say is that the power teams should be fast right out of the gate. Anytime there’s a major change to the cars, Hendrick Motorsports has been way ahead of the curve, such as the ‘Car of Tomorrow’ when they initially dominated.

Hendrick’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. told Fox Sports that he thinks the changes will benefit him.

"I think the (rules) package will favor me," Earnhardt said. "I think it will favor the majority of the guys in the field. We did run a little bit of that package at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) the other day (at a Goodyear tire test).

"To be honest with you, it feels very, very similar to what we ran last year, aside from the engine. But once you run with that engine package for about a day, you almost forget you have it.

"Right away, the difference is noticeable, but after a while, you sort of get used to it and forget you're even down on power compared to last year."

So maybe Junior, who won last years Daytona 500, is a driver to take a shot with. You have to at least like his confidence.

Here's a look at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook's odds to win the Sprint Unlimited which is a 75-lap non-points shootout:

Sprint Unlimited Odds to Win

Video: Roberts talks about perplexing 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Westgate posts odds to win 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona

Denny Hamlin won Unlimited and Duel race last season
SPRINT UNLIMITED
DAYTONA INT'L SPEEDWAY
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2015


** RACE CONSISTS OF 75 LAPS **

DALE EARNHARDT JR 10
KEVIN HARVICK 10
KYLE BUSCH 10
JIMMIE JOHNSON 12
JEFF GORDON 12
DENNY HAMLIN 10
BRAD KESELOWSKI 12
MATT KENSETH 10
JOEY LOGANO 12
CARL EDWARDS 12
TONY STEWART 15
KYLE LARSON 15
KURT BUSCH 15
JAMIE McMURRAY 18
GREG BIFFLE 20
RYAN NEWMAN 20
KASEY KAHNE 20
AUSTIN DILLON 25
ARIC ALMIROLA 40
DANICA PATRICK 40
MARTIN TRUEX JR 40
AJ ALLMENDINGER 50
BRIAN SCOTT 60
FIELD 60


SPRINT UNLIMITED RACE MATCHUPS

DALE EARNHARDT JR -110
KEVIN HARVICK -110

KYLE BUSCH -110
BRAD KESELOWSKI -110

JIMMIE JOHNSON -110
CARL EDWARDS -110

DENNY HAMLIN -110
JEFF GORDON -110

JOEY LOGANO -110
MATT KENSETH -110

KYLE LARSON -110
KURT BUSCH -110

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Updated Westagte SuperBook odds to win 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship

Is Joey Logano ready to be Champ?
2015 SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP

JIMMIIE JOHNSON 9-2
KEVIN HARVICK 6
JEFF GORDON 6
BRAD KESELOWSKI 7
JOEY LOGANO 8
MATT KENSETH 10
KYLE BUSCH 12
CARL EDWARDS 12
DENNY HAMLIN 15
DALE EARNHARDT JR 15
KYLE LARSON 20
TONY STEWART 20
KURT BUSCH 25
KASEY KAHNE 25
RYAN NEWMAN 40
CLINT BOWYER 40
JAMIE McMURRAY 40
GREG BIFFLE 40
AUSTIN DILLON 50
BRIAN VICKERS 100
PAUL MENARD 200
MARTIN TRUEX JR 200
AJ ALLMENDINGER 300
TREVOR BAYNE 300
SAM HORNISH JR 300
RICKY STENHOUSE JR 300
DANICA PATRICK 500
FIELD 100

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Earnhardt Jr, Edwards, Hornish test for Goodyear at Charlotte Thursday

Check out Carl Edwards new number and colors!
The official start of the 2015 NASCAR season is more than two months away, but four Sprint Cup Series teams will be back on the track next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Goodyear officials have schedule a tire test for Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 9-10 at the 1.5-mile speedway, with representatives from each of the three auto manufacturers scheduled to participate.

Slated to take part in the test are drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet), Sam Hornish Jr. (Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 Ford) and Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota). One of three entries from Richard Childress Racing will participate as well although RCR officials declined to confirm which team would be involved. The organization fields Chevrolet teams for drivers Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman.

It will be the first official on-track effort for Edwards since the 35-year-old departed Roush Fenway Racing to join JGR as well as the first for Hornish with RPM. Both will be working with new crew chiefs – Hornish, who replacesMarcos Ambrose, will be paired with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer; Edwards will also be working with his new crew chief, Dave Rogers.

Also paired with a new crew chief will be Earnhardt Jr. Greg Ives, who helped guide JR Motorsports driverChase Elliott to the NASCAR Nationwide Series title, moves over to the No. 88 entry to replace Steve Letarte.

Ives worked briefly with Earnhardt during a late-October Sprint Cup test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Earnhardt mentioned the upcoming test during a chat on Team Chevy's Twitter handle.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Odds to win 2015 Daytona 500 from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook

DAYTONA 500
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2015


DALE EARNHARDT JR 12
JIMMIE JOHNSON 12
MATT KENSETH 12
KEVIN HARVICK 12
BRAD KESELOWSKI 12
JEFF GORDON 12
DENNY HAMLIN 12
JOEY LOGANO 12
CARL EDWARDS 12
KYLE BUSCH 12
JAMIE McMURRAY 20
TONY STEWART 15
CLINT BOWYER 25
KURT BUSCH 20
KASEY KAHNE 25
KYLE LARSON 20
GREG BIFFLE 30
AUSTIN DILLON 40
PAUL MENARD 40
BRIAN VICKERS 40
RICKY STENHOUSE JR 40
ARIC ALMIROLA 40
RYAN BLANEY 40
RYAN NEWMAN 30
MARTIN TRUEX JR 40
MICHAEL WALTRIP 60
AJ ALLMENDINGER 60
CASEY MEARS 60
TREVOR BAYNE 60
DANICA PATRICK 50
SAM HORNISH JR 60
DAVID RAGAN 75
JUSTIN ALLGAIER 100
FIELD 30

Friday, December 5, 2014

2014 NASCAR Champions week in Las Vegas: Images from Thursday










DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2014) – In recognition of his career achievements as a champion driver, team owner and philanthropist, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the recipient of the 2014 NMPA Myers Brothers Award, a prestigious accolade recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.

"This doesn’t even seem real," said an emotional Earnhardt after receiving the honor at the 2014 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held at Wynn Las Vegas. "The truth is obviously I’m extremely humbled by this award, but I feel like I share it on so many levels - my sister Kelley (Earnhardt Miller) along with everyone at JR Motorsports is as deserving of this as anyone. I have a lot of passions with NASCAR, but I wouldn’t be able to know how to make them realities without all those folks."

An accomplished driver, evidenced by his 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories and two NASCAR Nationwide Series championships, Earnhardt was cited just as much for his achievements outside his No. 88 Chevrolet, namely as the owner of JR Motorsports and a tireless community benefactor.

This season, JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott became the youngest competitor to win a NASCAR national series championship after clinching the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series title. The 18 year old will likely join Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt as Sprint Cup regulars who have developed under Earnhardt full time at the Nationwide level.

In addition to his Nationwide Series program, Earnhardt contributes to racing at its grassroots levels, fielding Late Model or Street Stock cars since founding JR Motorsports. His Late Model drivers Josh Berry and William Byron finished first and second, respectively, this season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt’s work extends off the track into the community. He has made 235 appearances on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a number that ranks in the top five among professional athletes. Furthermore, his Dale Jr. Foundation raised $913,000 to be distributed to more than 70 different charities.

"I’m just as proud of what we’ve accomplished there as anything we’ve ever done on the race track," Earnhardt said about his foundation.

The NMPA Myers Brothers Award has been presented annually since 1958 in the names of pioneer NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers and its winner is chosen by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association. Past recipients are a virtual who’s-who of the industry – drivers, owners, track operators, sponsors and members of the media – and include nearly every current member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Seventeen other awards were given out at the luncheon, spanning from achievements in marketing, performance on the track and exemplary work in the garage. 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick garnered seven honors, including the 3M Lap Leader Award and Mobil 1 Driver of the Year.

"This is really the first time I’ve gotten to stand up here and actually realize what we’ve accomplished," Harvick said. "Thank you to everyone who has participated in making our sport what it is."

Here is the complete list of Thursday’s award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: 

NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Buddy Shuman Award: Bill Joyner, Sunoco’s Manager of Automotive Events
NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Toyota
3M Lap Leader Award: Kevin Harvick
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick
Coors Light Pole Award: Brad Keselowski
Duralast Brakes "Brake in the Race" Award: Kevin Harvick
Freescale "Wide Open" Award: Kevin Harvick
Goodyear Tires Award: Kevin Harvick
MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Billy Davis, Hendrick Engines No. 4 team
Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 team
Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kevin Harvick
MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Luke Lambert, crew chief No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team
Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Matt Kenseth
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Kevin Harvick
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Kyle Larson
Champion Sponsor Award: Budweiser
Champion Crew Chief: Rodney Childers

Champion’s Week will conclude tomorrow with the following events (all times local PT unless noted):

Friday, Dec. 5
Pit Pass Check-In: Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 3, fans can pick up a Pit Pass at NASCAR fan headquarters, Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade, and start checking in at various locations around the city where NASCAR partners will feature displays, including show cars. Running from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day, check-in locations include Tropicana (Ford), Treasure Island (Daytona International Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway), Paris Las Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Caesars Palace (Chevrolet), Lagasse Stadium at The Palazzo (Toyota), and Excalibur (Mechanix Wear). 

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: This black-tie celebration will be held at Wynn Las Vegas, where the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and the other Chase drivers will be honored. The drivers and stars will walk the Red Carpet from 4 – 5 p.m. and NASCAR.com will live stream the arrivals from 4:30 – 5 p.m. FOX Sports 1 will air the show live beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET.
Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Reveal: The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be given to one dedicated NASCAR fan who has made a profound impact on children in his or her community. The NASCAR Foundation will announce the national award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. Fans can cast their vote for the 2014 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visiting www.NASCAR.com/Award before 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 4.

For more information on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, visitwww.NASCAR.com/ChampionsWeek.

About NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) governs the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www.NASCAR.com and follow NASCAR at www.Facebook.com/NASCAR and Twitter: @NASCAR.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 NASCAR Champions Week in Las Vegas Schedule

NASCAR Celebrates Champion’s Week in Las Vegas
With First-Time Champion Kevin Harvick
Four-Day NASCAR Postseason Bash Returns with New Consumer Activations, Traditional Fan-Favorite Events

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 25, 2014) — After a season filled with exciting racing fueled by the revamped Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ format, NASCAR will return to Las Vegas in December for its annual postseason celebration – this edition with first-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick as the guest of honor.

NASCAR dignitaries, Hollywood stars and race fans will convene for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week™, Dec. 2 through Dec. 5, for an exciting lineup featuring new consumer activations, fan-favorite events and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards™. Once again, NASCAR headquarters will be anchored at Wynn Las Vegas, a premier resort destination in Las Vegas.

Among the fan-friendly and interactive events this year will be Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade, a new open-air fan hub located in the shadow of the 550-foot tall High Roller experience, offering an assortment of new activities. Returning will be the fan-favorite NASCAR Victory Lap parade, which provides fans with up-close views of Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers in their race cars beginning at Miracle Mile Shops and ending at The LINQ.

Another notable event on the schedule is the annual NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, where drivers and teams collect a number of year-end awards and accolades. In addition, NASCAR After The Lap™ sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola and Sprint, will feature an interactive Q&A where Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers share their biggest moments of the season, followed by an event-closing performance by Republic Nashville artist Cassadee Pope.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week will culminate with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, where this year’s Chase drivers will be recognized for their accomplishments on stage before a star-studded audience comprised of teams, owners, celebrities and fans. FOX Sports 1 will provide coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET.

Following is a rundown of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week activities; all times are Pacific time unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, Dec. 2
·         NASCAR Live: Eli Gold will sit down for an hour with 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick to discuss his season, the new Chase format and what winning the championship means. NASCAR Live will air from inside the Race and Sports Book at Wynn Las Vegas from         4 – 5 p.m. on Motor Racing Network. This event is free to the public and fans in attendance will have a chance to participate in the live broadcast.



Tuesday – Wednesday, Dec. 2 – 3
·         2014 NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum: The 15th annual NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal, is the motorsports industry’s most comprehensive business forum. Once again, the event will be held at Aria Resort & Casino. Registration is required at www.MotorsportsMarketingForum.com.

Wednesday – Friday, Dec. 3 – 5
·         Pit Pass Check-In: Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 3, fans can pick up a Pit Pass at NASCAR fan headquarters, Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade, and start checking in at various locations around the city where NASCAR partners will feature displays, including show cars. Running from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day, check-in locations include Tropicana (Ford), Treasure Island (Daytona International Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway), Paris Las Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) Caesars Palace (Chevrolet), Lagasse Stadium at The Palazzo (Toyota), and Excalibur (Mechanix Wear).

Wednesday – Friday, Dec. 3 – 5
·         Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade: The center of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week experience will be at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip – Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade, the ultimate NASCAR fan headquarters. Open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. each day, fans can purchase Chase merchandise at the NASCAR Superstore, get their photo taken with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy, and view Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver cars on display. For a full list of activities, fans and media can visit www.ChampionsWeek.NASCAR.com.
Wednesday, Dec. 3
·         Fanfest Presented by Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Held at the Fremont Street Experience, the sixth annual LVMS Fanfest will begin at 2 p.m. This event is free to the public and will consist of a red carpet walk by the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers, followed by a special “game show format” event. Select fans may be chosen to participate in an onstage game with the drivers with the chance to win two tickets to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards held two nights later at Wynn Las Vegas.

Thursday, Dec. 4
·         NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will take place from 11 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. in the Encore Ballroom at Wynn Las Vegas, where several team and individual awards will be presented. The event will be live-streamed onwww.NASCAR.com.

·         NASCAR Victory Lap: The green flag on the Victory Lap will fly at 3:30 p.m. when the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers parade down Las Vegas Boulevard in their race cars. NASCAR Victory Lap will start in front of the Miracle Mile Shops and finish at The LINQ Promenade. Fans will once again have the unique opportunity to experience the excitement of NASCAR with two burnout sections and viewing areas along the route.Portions of the event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and www.NASCAR.com will live-stream the event.

·         NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford, Coca-Cola and Sprint: Another highly-anticipated event is NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford, Coca-Cola and Sprint, which will be held from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at The Pearl Theater inside Palms Casino Resort. Featuring the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers and a performance by country artist Cassadee Pope, the sold-out event will be live-streamed on www.NASCAR.com and will air later that evening on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio from midnight – 2 a.m. ET.

Friday, Dec. 5
·         2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: This black-tie celebration will be held at Wynn Las Vegas, where the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and the other Chase drivers will be honored. The drivers and stars will walk the Red Carpet from 4 – 5 p.m. and NASCAR.com will live stream the arrivals from 4:30 – 5 p.mFOX Sports 1 will air the show live beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET.

·         Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Reveal: The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be given to one dedicated NASCAR fan who has made a profound impact on children in his or her community. The NASCAR Foundation will announce the national award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. Fans can cast their vote for the 2014 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visitingwww.NASCAR.com/award before 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 4.

For more information on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, visit www.NASCAR.com/ChampionsWeek.

About NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) governs the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and follow NASCAR at www.Facebook.com/NASCAR and Twitter: @NASCAR.

About The LVCVA
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is charged with marketing Southern Nevada as a tourism and convention destination worldwide, and also with operating the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center.  With more than 150,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas alone and almost 11 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space citywide, the LVCVA's mission centers on attracting ever increasing numbers of leisure and business visitors to the area.  For more information, go to www.lvcva.com or www.LasVegas.com.