Thursday, December 19, 2013

Austin Dillon to drive No. 3 RCR car in 2014 Sprint Cup Series

CONCORD, N.C. -- The late Dale Earnhardt's famed No. 3 will be back on track in the elite Sprint Cup Series next season with Austin Dillon using the number.

The move has been long anticipated because car owner Richard Childress has allowed his grandson to use the No. 3 as he's moved through NASCAR's ranks.

"I know in my heart, today, as I sit here, Dale Earnhardt is smiling down," Childress said at Wednesday's unveiling. "He would want to see this 3. He didn't want it to ever go away. But I felt it was the thing to do right after Daytona, and I know today that he's accepting this highly. I knew him that well."

The number has not been used since Earnhardt's death in the 2001 season-opening Daytona 500. The car was rebranded to No. 29 for Kevin Harvick following Earnhardt's fatal accident.

But Dillon has been using it NASCAR national competition since 2009, when he made his Truck Series debut in the No. 3. He won the Truck championship in 2011 driving the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, and the Nationwide title this year in the same number.

Childress kept the number out of the Cup Series, though, intent on hanging on to it for the right driver.

"We held the number, I've been paying NASCAR for it throughout the years and Bill (France) Jr. told me 'You know, if we're ever challenged, we'll have to let someone have that 3,' " Childress said. "But we weren't, and I knew that the right opportunity would come. It would have to be an Earnhardt or one of the Childress family that we would put behind that."

Childress said he publicly floated the idea of allowing Dillon to use the No. 3 at the start of the year to get a fan response, and got 90 percent positive feedback the day after he mentioned the number.

"That said to me it was time, and if Austin wanted to it was his choice," Childress said.

Dillon said he was ready, and it's the only number he's ever used in NASCAR.

"My grandfather has done a great job of teaching me how to handle certain responses to things, and I think we're going to go forward with it," Dillon said. "I've heard a lot of good feedback from the fans, and every time I'm at an autograph session I've had someone ask what's going to happen. They are excited and we are, too, at RCR.

"It's what our sport was built on -- family and history -- and a great opportunity for all of our sport to see this No. 3 back on the track."

The No. 3 Chevrolet will be sponsored by Dow, Bass Pro, Realtree and General Mills. Neither of the two paint schemes unveiled Wednesday resembled the dominant black cars driven by Earnhardt, winner of seven Cup titles and a first ballot Hall of Famer.

But Childress believed just having the No. 3 back in the series will help resurrect Earnhardt's legacy.

"My hope is that Dale Earnhardt fans will be re-energized and say 'Hey, it gives me something to look at,' " he said. "We know we aren't going to please everyone. We know that. We are going to do our best to make them proud and I know Austin will. I think the new fans will learn a lot about the great Dale Earnhardt by watching this."

Gil Martin, who led Harvick to six berths in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, will be crew chief for Dillon.

Childress said he's consulted with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his sister, Kelley, every time he's moved the No. 3 to a different level on the track and the Earnhardt family has been supportive. Earnhardt Jr. declined to use the No. 3 following his father's death, but has raced the number in the Nationwide Series.

"I would be worried if I didn't think he'd respect it or not understand the legacy, but he does. I know he does. He appreciates it," Earnhardt Jr. said last week of Dillon using the No. 3.

RCR will field a three-car Cup lineup next season with Dillon, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman.

Ty Dillon will run a full Nationwide Series schedule, and Childress said Wednesday he's sold his Truck Series assets to Gallagher Motorsports.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thursday Photos from 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions Week in Las Vegas

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson performs a burnout during NASCAR Victory Lap on the Las Vegas Strip on December 5, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin speaks onstage after winning the Coors Light Pole Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon at the Encore Las Vegas on December 5, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The top 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers pose onstage at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon at the Encore Las Vegas on December 5, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wednesday Photos from NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions Week at Las Vegas

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch signs autographs at a fanfest hosted by Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the Third Street Stage at the Fremont Street Experience on December 4, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Miss Sprint Cup Brooke Werner interviews Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano at a fanfest hosted by Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the Third Street Stage at the Fremont Street Experience on December 4, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and girlfriend Amy Reimann pose for a picture at the NASCAR Evening Series Presented by Bank of America at Carnevino at The Palazzo Las Vegas on December 4, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Fanfest hosted by Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the Third Street Stage at the Fremont Street Experience 

Back L-R) Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, (Front L-R) Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson attend a fanfest hosted by Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the Third Street Stage at the Fremont Street Experience on December 4, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jimmie Johnson's Las Vegas Championship tour activities began Tuesday

Chad Knaus and Johnson with Eli Gold on radio from Wynn sports book

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2013) – Jimmie Johnson’s four-day, Las Vegas whirlwind odyssey has begun. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week™ in Las Vegas officially is underway.
The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ champion’s rounds of Las Vegas media outlets began early Tuesday with interviews with a pair of top-rated rock and country music radio stations; CBS, FOX and Univision television outlets; MRN Radio and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The FOX studio boasts a NASCAR-themed slot machine, at which celebrities are invited to try their luck – all in the name of charity. Johnson hit a $250 jackpot to which he added $300 for donation to the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Johnson also participated in a Q&A session at the 2013 NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum and then visited the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign at the south end of the famed Las Vegas Strip where he signed autographs for waiting fans.
Tuesday’s activities wound down with a round of photos and the annual Champion’s Dinner with NASCAR President Mike Helton and others. The action-packed week culminates with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards™ (Dec. 6, with FOX Sports 2 and providing coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET; Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 at 8 p.m. ET).
It’s been three years since Johnson celebrated a championship in Las Vegas although as a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ contender he attended the 2011-12 ceremonies. That obviously motivated Johnson to return to the head table – which he’s now done six times.
“Winning races does it all,” he told NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum attendees. “That is my focus and my brand. What is next, (that’s) what keeps you motivated.”
That Johnson is one championship away from matching the record seven NASCAR Sprint Cup titles won by NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt figured prominently in questions Johnson fielded during the day’s events.
He admitted to still being a bit overwhelmed by his success.
Jimmie Johnson on the Las Vegas strip with trophy No. 6
“I never could have dreamed this big; when I hear my name mentioned alongside Petty and Earnhardt,” he said. “It still feels surreal.”
Champion’s Week activities for Johnson began Monday in Los Angeles where the Californian visited the FOX Sports campus. He appeared on FOX Sports 1’s FOX Sports Live and taped segments with The OT and UFC Tonight, the latter slated to air at 7 p.m. ET, on Wednesday, Dec. 4. A sit-down interview with FOX’s Curt Menefee also will be broadcast at a later date.
Before flying to Los Angeles, Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus visited the corporate headquarters of the No. 48 team’s sponsor Lowe’s in Mooresville, N.C., where they presented the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship trophy to a large crowd of associates.
Here are upcoming Champion’s Week events at a glance (all times local PT unless noted):
Wednesday, Dec. 4
·        2013 NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum: The 14th annual NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, presented by SportsBusiness Daily / Global / Journal, is the motorsports industry’s most comprehensive business forum. Held at Aria Resort & Casino, the Forum will provide a 360-degree overview of motorsports by featuring insight and perspective from sports and marketing executives both within and outside the motorsports industry. Registration is required at
Wednesday – Friday, Dec. 4-6
·        NASCAR Pit Stop Tour: The NASCARPit Stop Tour consists of Official Partner show cars featured in iconic locations throughout the Las Vegas Strip from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day. Fans can get up close and personal with the cars at the following locations: Tropicana (Chevrolet), The Palazzo (Ford), Harrah’s (Ford), the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign (2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion show car), the Coca-Cola store and M&M’S World.
·        M&M’S® To Make the NASCAR CHAMPION’S WEEK™ ‘BETTER WITH M’: M&M’S will celebrate the 2013 NASCAR season and the strongest finish yet for Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry, by giving away one million free bags of M&M’S. The giveaway in Las Vegas will be part of the NASCAR Pit Stop Tour and NASCAR Victory Lap.
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus enjoying view from Foundation Room 
Wednesday, Dec. 4
·        Fanfest Presented by Las Vegas Motor Speedway: The fifth annual LVMS Fanfest will again be held at the Fremont Street Experience, and begin at 1:30 p.m. with the arrival of the 13 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. This event is free to the public and will consist of a red carpet walk by the 13 drivers, followed by a special “game show format” on-stage event featuring the drivers. Race fans will have the chance to win two tickets to the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards to be held two nights later at Wynn Las Vegas.
·        Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Reception: This year’s finalists for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be honored at a reception at Wynn Las Vegas from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. The NASCAR Foundation will announce the award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday, Dec. 6. Fans can cast their vote for the 2013 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by before 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 5.
Thursday, Dec. 5
·        NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will be held 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. Among those awards included are the Champion Sponsor, Champion Crew Chief, Sunoco Rookie of the Year and NMPA Most Popular Driver awards. The event will be live-streamed
·        NASCAR Victory Lap: The green flag on the fan-favorite NASCAR Victory Lap will wave at 3:30 p.m. with pre-lap festivities beginning at 2:45 p.m., when the 13 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers parade down Las Vegas Boulevard in their race cars. NASCAR Victory Lap will start and finish in front of the Miracle Mile Shops on Las Vegas Boulevard and will once again provide fans with a unique experience to feel the excitement of NASCAR, featuring driver introductions, an authentic pit stop in front of the Fountains of Bellagio (performed by members of the NASCAR Drive
for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program Presented by Sprint) and two burnout sections – with viewing areas along the route. Portions of the event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 will live-stream the event.
·        NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola: One of the premier events of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week, NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola will be held from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at The Pearl Palms Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Hotel. Fans can purchase tickets for $20 each (all ticket proceeds benefit The NASCAR Foundation) to attend the fan-favorite event featuring all 13 Chase
for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. Among the many highlights from NASCAR After The Lap’s humorous history are Jeff Gordon break dancing and Denny Hamlin doing “The Dougie.” The event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and will live-stream the event.
Friday, Dec. 6
·        2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: The postseason black-tie event will begin at 5 p.m. at Wynn Las Vegas, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner will be crowned and the top-10 drivers in the final standings will be honored. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, the culmination of Champion’s Week, will feature the NASCAR Fan Reception, Red Carpet Walk, celebrity guests, music and entertainment. FOX Sports 2,, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 will provide coverage of the event.
For more information on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas,
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 and follow NASCAR at Twitter: @NASCAR.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

LVH Super Book odds to win 2014 Daytona 500

Kevin Harvick is 12/1 to win in new Stewart/Haas car