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



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.

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.

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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

First Las Vegas 2015 Sprint Cup odds show books differing on favorite

Who will be in the final four next season?
LAS VEGAS -- On the heels of Kevin Harvick's 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup title, two sports books in Las Vegas wasted little time in posting odds for the upcoming 2015 season. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook posted its odds on Monday followed by William Hill on Tuesday. It's the earliest Las Vegas has ever posted NASCAR Championship odds for the following year.

For SuperBook manager Ed Salmons, it wasn't a difficult process at all as he's well-versed on all the driver changes and the nearly five dozen changes NASCAR implemented to the 2015 rules package which includes a horsepower reduction from 850 to 725 and a reduction in the rear spoiler height from eight inches to six.

"I just had some time on Monday afternoon during my regular routine, which for the past eight months has been reserved for setting weekly NASCAR race numbers, so I thought I might as well post them up," said Salmons, who is expecting the rules package to make cars run similar to the way they do in the Nationwide series.

The two books differ on who the favorite should be. William Hill posted Harvick as the 5-to-1 favorite to go back-to-back while the SuperBook posted six-time champion Jimmie Johnson as their 5-to-1 favorite. Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are next in line; although Salmons is down on Gordon a little.

"I think as long as there are double-file restarts, Jeff Gordon is going to have a tough time winning another championship," Salmons said, even though he shows Gordon a lot of respect by posting him at 6-to-1. "He's absolutely terrible on restarts and it cost him a chance to get to the Championship round. He even picks the wrong restart position, when he should be starting inside, he chooses outside."

One of the major differences in odds was what to do with Carl Edwards, who will drive the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in 2015. The SuperBook posted him at 12-to-1 odds right near new teammates Matt Kenseth (10-to-1), Kyle Busch (12-to-1) and Denny Hamlin (15-to-1), but William Hill posted him at very attractive 30-to-1 odds. We just saw Harvick show that it is possible to win a title in the first year with a new team, and Salmons thinks JGR will be one of those teams that shows improvements in 2015.

"I would assume Gibbs can only get better. They were way down in horsepower last season but were still able to run competitively and almost win a championship."

Another driver that the two books differ on is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who burst into the win column four times in 2014 after only two wins in the previous seven seasons. William Hill sees his winning ways continuing as they've posted him at 8-to-1 odds to win his first Sprint cup title, but Salmons isn't sold on Junior's nature of racing and listed him at 15-to-1.

"Dale Jr. just doesn't have a championship in him," said Salmons. "He's not a winner and doesn't have that mentality needed. It's like he just wants to hang out with the guys and be liked rather than racing hard and possibly irritating some of his friends. But that's what it takes sometimes and I don't think he has it in him."

After seeing how the new format of the Chase played out where we had one driver -- Ryan Newman -- with no wins on the season finish second at Homestead and another -- Denny Hamlin -- with only one win on the year leading at Homestead with eight laps to go, the way we used to look at Championship odds can be completely thrown out the window. It's almost like two different seasons with different agendas for each, and one slip-up anywhere in the final 10 races can cost you more than ever before.

Harvick came right out of the gate fast with a win-or-nothing approach early on in the season and then needed to win at Phoenix and Homestead to win the title. Keselowski, Logano, and Gordon mixed in the wins with consistency all season, but only Logano made it through the Chase gauntlet among the three to be one of the Championship Four.

Newman's 2014 game plan is a model that will give championship hopes to dozens of drivers who wouldn't have had much of a chance under the old format. Salmons has a couple of long shot drivers he thinks can be contenders in 2015 similar to Newman, beginning with Newman's Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon.

"I think you could see Austin Dillon do something similar to what Newman did in the Chase. He's a big picture racer, conservative and it's that mentality that saw him win a Nationwide title without winning a race. Also, Tony Stewart can't be as bad as last season. He was a train wreck, but I expect both he and Kurt Busch to bounce back in 2015."

Below is a side-by-side look at both the Super Book and William Hill odds, each with an index that has less than a 30 percent theoretic hold which is extremely fair for bettors. The SuperBook is right at 28.9 percent. As more books post their numbers, we'll add to the list. Next up is Wynn Las Vegas, who will be hosting the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards on Dec. 5.

Read More Here.........Westgate & William Hill Sprint Cup odds

Kevin Harvick talks with media Wednesday after winning first Sprint Cup

Busy week for Kevin Harvick with the talk show circuit
JENNIE LONG: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference with 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing. Kevin clinched his first Sprint Cup Series title on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway after scoring back-to-back wins to remain in championship contention. Congratulations.

KEVIN HARVICK: Thank you. Yeah, it's been a great couple weeks, so just really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, and hopefully we can enjoy this over the next few weeks.

JENNIE LONG: As you mentioned, it's been a fast and furious few days. You made the rounds in New York City yesterday, visiting Live with Kelly and Michael and the Late Show with David Letterman, just to name a few, and today you're up at ESPN for a full day. Has it all sunk in yet and do you remember much about the race or is it all still a blur?

KEVIN HARVICK: The race is definitely still a blur. I think as you look back at everything that happened, it was so competitive all day with positions changing and definitely going to have to go back and look at the race and see how things shook out. Excited about watching that, and I think as I've told several people over the past couple days, it's like you go from this huge, competitive mode, and all of a sudden you get right out of the car, you do an interview, they hand you the trophy and then you're off to do interviews and photos and interviews and photos, and it's been hard to sit down and really kind of take a deep breath and take it all in. Looking forward to going home tonight and seeing my wife and son and being able to just kind of talk about it a little bit, and as we go to the banquet I think it'll really start to sink in when I can be around my team guys who I've been around all year and see their excitement and be able to talk about everything we've done this year.

Q. You said it hasn't sunk in yet, but you must have a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. I know on television they showed your wife sobbing, and I took that to mean she knows what you've gone through with the race team and working so hard to get to this point. Talk a little bit about the feeling of accomplishment.

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, you know, for sure it's an incredible feeling of accomplishment. I think as you look back, and I'm a guy sitting in a position that I dreamed about being a race car driver and at the time winning a Winston Cup Championship that is now called the Sprint Cup Championship, and being able to fulfill your lifelong dream and reality is something that a lot of people can't really say that they've ever done.

I'm incredibly fortunate to be in that position. And as far as Delana, she grew up in a racing family and knows how hard this sport is and knows the sacrifices that we make personally and that her family had made growing up to get race cars to the racetrack. So she's been an incredible part of this for me personally, just for the fact that she knows, and we've been around each other so much that she knows exactly what to say, when to say it, what to not bother me with, and the guys and gals back at the office know that in the situation that we were in that we've been a part of before, never actually won, obviously, but whether it be on the Cup level or the Nationwide or truck level, they know that a lot of that stuff goes to her first, and she kind of filters it to me as she knows what I do and don't want to deal with in those competitive situations.

It's been an incredible amount of pressure on her. She's also been moving our houses as we've gone through this whole process over the year and actually moved in Monday and Tuesday, so she's been a huge, huge part of this, and I think over the last couple weeks, everybody can see how much pressure was on her, and the pressure is almost worse when you're sitting up there and have no control over it.

I've been in that position as a team owner before, and there's nothing worse than sitting on that pit box not really knowing what's going on.

Q. Most what guys who won titles in recent years or at least have won their first title kind of tend to do it in the first five, ten years of their careers. Can you just talk about accomplishing this kind of so deep into your career?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think there's a lot that led to this, and I always tell people, my Cup career really started backwards. It's like you started with everything that happened to Dale, and you go through all those scenarios, and you have crazy amounts of fans and attention and all the things that came with that situation. So it's taken a long time to navigate through exactly what was a good mix and balance for us, and a lot of experience and a lot of situations to build off of through the years.

I think for me personally, I think this year has been a huge -- it's been very huge for me just in the fact that I've been so excited to go to work and be a part of building something and not having the race teams and really getting our life where it had a great balance, whether it be personally, financially or professionally. Everything that you do affects everything else that you do.

For me there's a lot of things that Delana and I have worked through over the past three to four years and simplifying our life and just really trying to take a lot of pressure off of ourselves so we could focus on being good parents first and being as good as possible on the professional side, as well, with my job.

I think finding that right mix for me has kind of rejuvenated just showing up to work and really having a good balance on where things are in general in life.

Q. When you first started Cup racing, did you have -- was there any sort of plan as far as -- I don't want to say plan, but any idea what you thought, how many years it would take to where you would win a title?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, you know, I think as you start, you know, you don't really -- it's hard to explain to people everything that actually goes on because there's so many different things that are thrown at you. The driving the car part is the easy part, but you never really -- especially in the situation that I was in with Dale and everything that had happened, I think you don't really know what the chemistry or the balance of the team and the organization need to be, and I think in this process we got to start from scratch when we started this year, so I think as you've been through those years and you know you've obviously matured as a person, but you know a little bit more about what you're looking for in a crew chief and how to go about that process and what you need to be, and for me I'm a source of information for my engineers and to my crew chief and to the organization to help drive things forward.

So I think as you look and put people in place, and as we've gone through the last several years, we had all the things that we needed to go buy all the trucks and trailers and parts and pieces, and you have resources through SHR and Hendrick Motorsports and great engine department at Hendrick Engines. So you have all those resources, but in the end still the biggest thing that I've learned is it still boils down to the people no matter what you do. You don't have the right people in the right spots, you can have all the bright, shiny stuff, but you're not going to get the results that you need.

Q. Just a quick question about what do you say to all your fans here in Bakersfield who have been following your career since Mesa Marin?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, it's been interesting to say the least. I still communicate with a lot of my friends and things that I went to high school with. I still get back and spend a lot of time, and we do a lot of things at North High through the people there.

It's been a lot of fun over the years to still be involved and do things in the community. I was fortunate to have my mom and sister out for the race in Homestead this weekend, so that was extra special to be able to celebrate with them.

I'll have a lot of my friends over to Las Vegas for the party after the banquet and be able to tell a lot of old stories, and a lot of my buddies still come to different races throughout the year. Just really proud of growing up in Bakersfield, and my whole family pretty much still lives there, and hopefully we can -- hopefully at some point we can get the Sprint Cup trophy there to show off to the town.

Q. How did your experience as a young racer in Bakersfield kind of shape who you are in your racing career now?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, for me, I was lucky. When I grew up racing, California is obviously not what a lot of people in the stock car world would think about in California in general. People in California in general did not think about stock cars for the most part and NASCAR racing in general. It was me and everybody else in town growing up pretty much a Rick Mears fan and a fan of the Mears family and wanting to race Indy cars in the Indy 500.

I think as you look at the town, you can race anything in Bakersfield, and Bakersfield is one of the most supportive racing towns anywhere in the country now that I've been all over the country to race. You can honestly say that that is a racing community. So I was fortunate to have a go-kart track, to have Mesa Marin at the time and have people and fans to support it.

It was definitely a fortunate place to grow up on the West Coast that was able to springboard my career into the racing world.

Q. Can you compare the mental preparation for the intensity of the final race with the mental intensity of the media blitz after a huge win in Homestead?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I've always been very much a part of the media and appearances and things that we plan on a weekly basis and have a fairly good handle on where my mental frame of mind is leading into the weekends of the races. My promise to everybody around me was you guys work with me up until we get to Homestead, and if we win the championship, I'll do whatever you guys want me to do. I'm at the mercy of everybody around me right now and enjoying being a part of what we've accomplished here and letting them kind of run with what they think is best for me personally and our sponsors and Stewart-Haas Racing and getting everything that we need.

That part of it has -- the post part of it has been very good. The weeks leading up to the race were obviously stressful. We were in a situation where our backs were against the wall and really needed to focus on what we were doing as a race team and spend the extra time thinking about race cars and race setups and had to shy away from some of the media things with everything that happened in Texas to really keep the focus on our race team and keep my guys around me from not having to answer questions that were outside of race cars.

Definitely a balance, and trying to keep control of the message of things and how they are perceived and what my guys at the shop are reading was very important to me as to what the perception we were sending.

I thought the weeks leading up to the race for us went well in the media blitz, just for the fact that I felt like the perception that we sent and the things that we did were very positive for our team and towards the people that we were racing against.

Q. And as far as the elimination format, you've probably been asked this question a bunch of times, but now after you've got the championship, the elimination format, could you make a comment on that, and would you change anything in it?

KEVIN HARVICK: It's probably going to end up shortening my career to be honest with you just for the fact that it's been so stressful over the last 10 weeks. It's definitely been probably some of the -- probably some of the most stressful 10 weeks I've had to deal with in my racing career just because of the intensity that it's created for the Chase and knowing that you have three weeks to make something happen, and in our situation we got our backs put against the wall in the first week of the next to last round, and we knew we had to go out and win one of those two races.

You know, it was definitely high intensity, high stress as we went through the new format, and I think for the fans, it created some really, really good racing, and everybody just kind of throwing caution to the wind to try to win races and make things happen for your team to keep advancing through the rounds.

It was very easy to follow, and in the end you knew how those cars finished, that was going to be your champion, and that was going to be your top four in the points. I think the racing world has enjoyed it, and that's what it's all about in the end.

Q. First of all, what's been the coolest thing and the neatest thing that's happened to you so far this week on the tour?

KEVIN HARVICK: The coolest thing that's happened on the tour? It's all been such a whirlwind, it's hard to really focus on one particular thing. I think as we got done with the race, some of the -- really some of the neatest moments were -- probably the neatest moment for me, first off, was being able to see my wife and son immediately after I got out of the car and celebrate with them in victory lane.

But some of the coolest moments probably came on that particular night when my son, after we got done with the car, he didn't really care about anything that was going on, but it was just watching him run up and down the racetrack and sitting up against the wall with him and really throwing rocks down to the bottom because that was really what he cared about at that particular point was throwing the rocks and rubber to the bottom of the racetrack. Just those little moments like that, and through the week he got his first fishing pole, so that was pretty cool to be able to share some of those moments.

Q. When did it sink in, or has it?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, it really hasn't sunk in. Right now you're just trying to represent the sport and your team and your sponsors and doing everything that you need to do and do everything as right as possible for everybody involved.

I think sitting down and drinking some beers with the guys and really talking about everything that we've accomplished will probably come at the banquet, but right now it's just making sure that you do everything that you need to be doing and do it as right as you can for the sport in representing everything that we are at SHR.

Q. And finally, this Thanksgiving is going to be a little bit different than last Thanksgiving. You've got a new house versus a burned house from last year.

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, we won't be at Delana's mother's house and living in a motor home for sure.

Q. Anything different about -- not about the new house or anything, but when was the fire? Was it before or after Thanksgiving? I can't remember.

KEVIN HARVICK: I believe it was the day before Thanksgiving when we had the fire last year.

Q. So this year is going to be a lot different I would assume?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, and that was really our main focus throughout the year was to make sure that we had everything situated. That was the main focus in front of everything else that we were doing on the weekends was to make sure that we had everything as in order as possible so that leading into the holidays, Keelan could have a firm foundation and home to celebrate the holidays in and make it as memorable as possible for him.

That's really been the main life focus that Delana and I have been working on throughout the year.

Q. We always ask or talk about at the end of the season whoever is crowned champion, what kind of champion they might be going for, do we think it'll be good for the sport, will they lead and guide it. Have you thought about what your role is and whether or not you have a certain responsibility as a champion next season in representing NASCAR?

KEVIN HARVICK: Absolutely. I think there's a definite responsibility that comes with the champion and doing the things that you need to do to help grow the sport. Obviously there will be a lot of people looking for your opinion, and you all know that I have opinions on how things should go and what is best. So I think for me, it's very simple; you be honest, you do -- just like we would do on a personal level. We'll try to do everything that we need to do to help grow the sport, grow our sponsors, and as always, always push everybody around us to try to do things that are unique and different from what they've done in the past to try to make things better.

I think as you look at the last couple of years in our sport and you look at the owners and the drivers and the communication between NASCAR and those groups, I think you have to see the results of everything that has come out of the meetings and things that have happened over the past few years. I think the sport is in a better spot than it was. We will all have that constant communication, and I definitely as champion want to do my part and do it as well as possible.

Q. Are you looking forward to that role?

KEVIN HARVICK: I am. You know, it's always better to lead than follow, so if there's a possibility of being that leader and being the one that everybody looks to you, you want to try to seize those moments and do the best you can to take control and do it better than it has been done in the past.

We'll do the best that we can in trying to achieve that.

Q. The last week or so as Rodney has gotten a little bit more attention, a lot has been talked about the courtship and how you guys dated for a year before he wanted to take that job. Why did you want Rodney so bad? What did you see in him or know about him that made you think he was the fit for you?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think the biggest thing as a competitor, you see the speed in the cars that he's always worked on, so as a competitor, I think that's the first thing that you've always seen. I think the second thing is kind of that new wave of crew chief that's coming through the garage, and what I mean by that is Rodney has driven, he's built his own cars, he can run the engineering simulation program, and when you have all those experiences, you can relate to all those groups and not let them get too far out of bounds in what they're telling you and what they're communicating to you.

I believe he can keep his thumb on all those things and be able to understand whether they're working right or wrong. When you look at Rodney and you look at Paul Wolfe and a lot of these engineers that are coming through and have driven and raced and done the things that they've done, you have to -- there's not very many of those guys that are that well-rounded in that crew chief role. When you have something, and this probably comes from the business side of things of owning KHI, when you see something like that and you believe that's the right person, you have to figure out how to make it happen.

It was a lot of conversations for sure. He's one of those guys that just has to have that feeling of being comfortable and knowing that he's dotted all his Os and crossed all his Ts because it's no different than anything else. It's still business for him, and he has to support his family, and the decisions that he made will affect his life for the next few years and the contract that he was signing.

It definitely has been a lot of big decisions for really everybody on our team, and the team itself and making the commitment to myself to get everything started, to put those cars on the racetrack and not have one-dollar sponsorship if that's the way it all worked out. They were putting those race cars on the racetrack regardless. It was a lot of commitments and a lot of time from a lot of different people, and in the end of the time and the money that everybody spent wound up with a lot of good people, and that in the end is what makes it all go around.

Q. What did you think when he called for four tires on that last pit stop? What did you think?

KEVIN HARVICK: I never really even thought about it to tell you the truth. We've talked about these scenarios before, and he has to be comfortable sitting on the pit box and making those bold decisions and knowing that I believe in it and the team believes in it, and in the end he and the engineers have so much more ability to see what's going on in the race than I do in the race car. Sure, I'm a guy that always wants four tires, but sometimes you have to take two and you have to stay out on the racetrack to keep your track position, and they've seen how people move through the field and the difference in times from new tires to old tires.

When we came out of the pits, I thought we were in trouble because we were sitting 12th and behind a lot of cars, and you just never know how those restarts are going to work out.

But he made the call, and in the end that's what won us the race.

Q. You touched on a couple of things, but with the intensity for 2015, now people have gone through the cycle of the regular season going into the Chase, what do you expect to see at Daytona and at the first few races for next year?

KEVIN HARVICK: You know, I think everybody knows that winning is the ultimate thing in the end, and I think as you look at those first few races and everybody kind of understands the point system a little bit better and the intensity that you need to show towards trying to win races so that you can get that golden ticket, I guess you could say, into the Chase and really the earlier that you get it, the more time you have to build and fix problems that you have with your race team.

I think we were a classic example of that this year. We were able to win the second race of the season in Phoenix and kind of punch our ticket for the most part to being in the Chase.

It allowed us to fix a lot of problems. It allowed us to plan out where we thought we needed to be with cars, and if you wanted to make changes, you could have all those cars and you could have a backup plan for the backup plan leading into the Chase.

The earlier you can get that win, the better off you're going to be to prepare for the Chase.

Q. Did you really expect to see someone like Ryan Newman who was so consistent for 2014, someone to be able to make it into the Final Four, or did you think really winning would probably be the only way anyone would make it to that point?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, racing for wins almost became a little bit detrimental, as you saw some of the things play out and accidents happen and things of that nature throughout the Chase. You saw some of those problems creep up because we were all racing for wins and having things happen.

I think in the end, I think it wound up with some guys that had won races and some guys that had been consistent and wound up with a good mix of both throughout the end of the Chase in the next to final round and the final round.

In the end it was a good balance of both scenarios.

Q. You've been posted already, not to put any pressure, but 5-to-1 favorite to win next year's championship by one of the sports books in Las Vegas. On that note, on a broad level for NASCAR, it seems like after we watched the 2014 Chase play out and the season with different strategies approached, whether it's points racing, trying to get wins, it just seemed completely different from what we've seen in the past. But after it all came out, seeing Ryan Newman, no wins and running in second at Homestead with a chance, Denny Hamlin, only one win, leading with eight laps to go, it seems like there's more hope for a lot more drivers coming into a season to win a championship. Can you talk about that and how far it expands? Does it go 20, 25 drivers deep that really think they can be in Ryan Newman's position? 

 KEVIN HARVICK: 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 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.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Westgate LV SuperBook odds to win 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup

Denny Hamlin is 15/1 to win 2015 Sprint Cup


Kevin Harvick wins Ford EcoBoost 400 to win his first Sprint Cup Title

Ford EcoBoost 400 Results

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Updated Westgate Odds to win: 2014 EcoBooster 400 at Homestead

Jimmie Johnson is now 3/1 favorite to win at Homestead


Post Practice Notes & Top-Rated Drivers

Homestead Practice Notes and Final Driver Ratings: 2014 Ford EcoBoost 500

Strong Texas performance a good sign for Johnson at Homestead
LAS VEGAS – Jimmie Johnson saw a 1.5-mile track earlier this month at Texas and he led 191 laps en route to a win, and a huge part of the reason was because of a Homestead test session a few weeks prior, where they found a recipe for success. During Saturday’s final Ford EcoBoost 400 practice session at Homestead on Saturday, Johnson showed that the recipe is still good to go as he not only had the fastest lap (175.200 mph), but also had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average.

Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of only four tracks Johnson has yet to win at since he began running full-time in the Cup series. That’s 70 wins since 2002, none at Homestead. Along the way he’s grabbed six Cup titles, which is part of the reason he’s been in situations where he really wasn’t trying to win in the final race of the season at Homestead. In many of those instances, Johnson just had to play it safe and points-race.

Now Johnson can go all out as he’s the furthest back in points since he began Cup racing. He crossed Michigan off his ’things to do list’ in June, and between winning at Texas three weeks ago and what we saw Saturday during the final practice, he’s clearly the driver to beat on Sunday.

But the big story everyone wants to talk about is who is going to win the Sprint Cup among the Championship 4. The race itself, and who will win, almost becomes secondary to most in NASCAR Nation unless it’s a combination effort like Tony Stewart in 2011 when he held off runner-up Carl Edwards to win the race and the Sprint Cup.

Kevin Harvick was posted as the 9-to-2 favorite to win the race at the beginning of the week, as well as the 3-to-2 favorite to win the Sprint Cup, but he didn’t look nearly as intimidating during practice as he did on the other 1.5-mile tracks this season. Maybe because the paper-clip configuration and progressive banking make it unique to the others, but they were trying all types of set-ups during both of Saturday’s practices and couldn’t find that consistency they were searching for.

Harvick was fastest in the early session and then was eighth in the final session, but what had made him so intimidating to everyone else was the speeds they gained over 10-consecutive laps. He was blowing the doors off everyone in that category all season on the 1.5-mile tracks. His only win on the 10 1.5s this season was at Charlotte in October, but his confidence was high going into each of those races because of those stellar average speeds.

It’s not to say Harvick was slow, because he wasn’t. In the 10-consecutive lap category he was fourth best in the morning and seventh best in the afternoon. Any other team might be thrilled with that, but it might be kind of a downer for the No. 4 team because they have been the big dog in practice. What makes it even worse is that this 1.5-mile race is for the title. This is not the time for a sub-par practice. They raised the bar all season, now they're just a little bit under it.

Denny Hamlin, meanwhile, has to be thrilled with their practices where they had the third best 10-consecutive laps average during both sessions. The No. 11 team consistently ran fast laps and got their car looking better than it has all season. Remember, Hamlin’s team has underperformed on 1.5s all year -- only one top-5 finish -- but he’s also the only Championship 4 driver to win at Homestead, and he’s done it twice, including last season for his only win of 2013.

The entire No. 11 team has to be excited about their chances to not only win the Sprint Cup, but also win the race. Why not? Crew Chief Darian Grubb got the combo special done for as Stewart’s crew chief in 2011. They’ve also got the best pit crew in the series. And now they've got a very fast car on the long runs.

Both Harvick and Hamlin will have a rough Saturday night trying to sleep as they go for their first title, but Harvick’s might be a little tougher not just because of his practices, but also because the No. 11 looks stronger than ever, and maybe even better than his car.

If allowed to make a daily-double here in Las Vegas, like horse racing, for the race winner to the Cup winner, my play would be 11, 48 with 11. Johnson is the driver to beat, but Hamlin may be forced into winning and racing harder because Harvick is surely to be on his tail, just like Edwards was with Stewart in 2011.

Of course there's also Joey Logano and Ryan Newman racing for the title. Logano has a better resume on 1.5s this season as far as consistency goes, and Newman is right there with a 10th-place average on the 1.5s this season, but they didn't wow in practices. However, Logano's car did show noticeable improvements after his teammate, Brad Keselowski, shared some notes before Saturday's early session.

The best long shots to consider based on practices are Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer.

Read More Here.....Driver Ratings

Logano fastest in final practice among title contenders

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) -- Joey Logano, trying to help team owner Roger Penske to a sweep of the major American racing titles, was the fastest of the four championship contenders in Saturday's final practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

''To be able to accomplish this would be really quite something, and that was really our goal from the beginning of the season,'' said Walt Czarnecki, executive vice president of Penske Corp. and the listed car owner of Logano's Ford.Team Penske won the IndyCar championship with Will Power in September, and a victory by Logano in Sunday's season finale would make Penske the only team owner to complete the sweep. A first-time champion will be crowned when Logano competes against Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman, with the Sprint Cup going to the highest-finishing driver.

''Maybe we didn't verbalize it quite that way, but we really felt we were going to be competitive in all of these series, and the results have demonstrated that.''

Read More Here.....Yahoo! Sports