Monday, February 23, 2015

Stewart-Haas Racing Names Regan Smith Interim Driver of No. 41

Regan Smith, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, looks on from the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Smith has been named as the replacement driver for Kurt Busch in the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Busch was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after a no-contact order was issued against him for alleged abuse against his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. (February 21, 2015 - Source: Robert Reiners/Getty Images North America)
Stewart-Haas Racing has named Regan Smith interim driver of its No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend Feb. 26-March 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Smith will begin driving the No. 41 car during the open test session on Thursday. The race on Sunday will be Smith’s seventh Sprint Cup start at Atlanta. His most recent Sprint Cup start at the 1.54-mile oval was on Sept. 2, 2012 when he finished 14th.

Atlanta will be Smith’s second race in the No. 41 car. He drove the Haas Automation Chevrolet to a 16th-place finish last Sunday in the Daytona 500. Smith already had some history with Stewart-Haas Racing prior to Daytona. He subbed for Tony Stewart in the team’s No. 14 car last August at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

Erik Jones Meets Joe Gibbs About Filling In For Injured Kyle Busch

Erik Jones, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare/Project Pink Toyota, gets in his truck during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (September 19, 2014 - Source: Will Schneekloth/Getty Images North America)
Erik Jones has emerged as the leading candidate to replace injured Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR Talk has learned.

Jones, who drives for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series and is under contract with JGR, met Monday morning with team owner Joe Gibbs to discuss taking over the ride. Busch is out indefinitely after suffering a compound fracture in his right leg in an Xfinity Series crash Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. JGR could make an announcement on an interim driver as early as Monday afternoon.

The team is expected to receive approval from NASCAR to put Jones in a Sprint Cup car. He wasn’t approved for the Daytona 500 as NASCAR typically doesn’t allow drivers to make their Cup debut in a restrictor-plate race at Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway without having raced at a lower-tier event at those tracks. (NASCAR Talk)

Joe Gibbs: No Timetable For Kyle Busch's Return

Joe Gibbs Racing has not put a timetable on the return of driver Kyle Busch, who suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a broken left foot in a crash Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch is already lobbying to come back as soon as possible, team owner Joe Gibbs said, but the number of months he misses will be determined after he returns to Charlotte, North Carolina, and visits OrthoCarolina Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed surgery on Busch's left foot in the offseason and serves as the team doctor for the Carolina Panthers.

Gibbs said Busch, who had surgery on his leg Saturday night, will return to North Carolina as soon as he feels well enough to fly home.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Joey Logano Edges Rival Kevin Harvick to Win Daytona 500

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, puts his hands into a concrete mold after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (February 21, 2015 - Source: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)
Joey Logano survived a green-white-checkered finish and suffocating pressure from his rivals to win one of the most intense and competitive Daytona 500s in recent memory.

Logano passed leader Jimmie Johnson with nine laps to go and thanks to a last-lap caution flag held on for the victory over Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson.

"I can't believe it. It was absolutely amazing," said Logano, who earned his ninth career victory in his 220th start. "This is awesome. The Daytona 500? Oh, my God. Are you kidding? I was so nervous the whole race."

Final Appeals Officer Denies Kurt Busch's Final Appeal

The National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, Mr. Bryan Moss, heard and considered the appeal of driver Kurt Busch. The penalty concerns Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; 12.8: Behavioral penalty.

The penalty stems from activities last year involving Kurt Busch that resulted in a decision by the Family Court of the State of Delaware to issue an Order of Protection of Abuse against him. The penalty is an indefinite suspension. Earlier today, a three-person National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld the original penalty assessed by NASCAR.

Tonight, Kurt Busch presented his position to the Final Appeals Officer. Representing NASCAR was Jim Cassidy, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. The Appellate Administrator is NASCAR Vice President George Silbermann.

Matt Crafton to Sub For Injured Kyle Busch in Daytona 500

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident.

Busch was transported to a local hospital for treatment immediately following the accident and is currently undergoing surgery on his right leg.

Busch’s injuries will sideline him for an undetermined period of time. Veteran Matt Crafton will serve as the interim driver for Busch’s No. 18 Toyota during Sunday’s 57th Daytona 500. An interim driver has not been determined for the following race March 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, or for any future races.

/// Joe Gibbs Racing

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kyle Busch Injured in Daytona Crash; Status for Daytona 500 Unknown

Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster energy Toyota, takes part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (February 20, 2015 - Source: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)
A massive wreck with nine laps to go in Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway collected 10 cars and injured Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch.

The incident occurred as the field exited the tri-oval in a big pack and the No. 20 Toyota of Erik Jones turned toward the infield before snapping back up the track and into oncoming traffic.

Running right behind Jones, Busch's No. 54 Toyota shot down the track at full speed and hit the inside wall head-on. Busch was able to climb out of the car, but was immediately attended to by medical workers. The Sprint Cup Series regular was loaded onto a stretcher, with the focus on his right leg.

APPEAL DENIED: Panel Upholds Kurt Busch's Indefinite Suspension

The National Motorsports Appeals Panel today heard and considered the appeal of driver Kurt Busch.

The penalty concerns Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; 12.8: Behavioral penalty.

The penalty stems from activities last year involving Kurt Busch that resulted in a decision by the Family Court of the State of Delaware to issue an Order of Protection of Abuse against him.

The penalty is an indefinite suspension.

Daytona Duel Television Ratings Down Slightly

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (February 12, 2012 - Source: Sean Gardner/Getty Images North America)
Viewership slipped for NASCAR’s Duel at Daytona, but remained well above what Speed Channel earned two years ago.

The NASCAR Duel at Daytona earned 3.0 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 Thursday night, down 3% from last year (3.1M) but up 53% from 2013 on Speed Channel (2.0M). Keep in mind last year’s telecast was the most-watched Duel since 2000.

The telecast ranks as the 11th-most watched program on FS1 since the network rebranded from Speed Channel in 2013, and the 5th-most watched when the MLB Postseason is excluded. (Sports Media Watch)

Chevrolet Suspends Its Relationship With Kurt Busch

Car manufacturer Chevrolet announced that it has suspended its relationship with Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch.

"Chevrolet has suspended its relationship with Kurt Busch indefinitely," Chevrolet vice president of motor sports and performance vehicles Jim Campbell said in a statement released by the manufacturer. "We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Busch and are prepared to take additional action if necessary." (USA Today)

Danica Patrick to the Booth for FOX Sports 1's Xfinity Series Coverage

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Danica Patrick is scheduled to be a full-race analyst during FOX Sports 1’s coverage of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Michigan on Saturday, June 13 at 1:30 p.m. ET, creating another first for the popular driver. It is believed to be the first time a woman has served in this capacity during a NASCAR race broadcast.

Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick is the first of four announced NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to rotate in the FOX Sports 1 booth for the network’s inaugural year of NASCAR Xfinity Series coverage, offering analysis Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET from Daytona International Speedway. Also scheduled as guest analysts this season are four-time champion Jeff Gordon and 2012 champion Brad Keselowski. The four drivers offer analysis alongside play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander and analyst Michael Waltrip.

Stewart Haas Racing Names Regan Smith Interim Driver For No. 41

Stewart-Haas Racing has named Regan Smith interim driver of its No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for the 57th Daytona 500 Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.

Smith will be available in the deadline room of Daytona’s media center at 9:45 a.m. EST on Saturday. Final practice for the Daytona 500 takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.

Smith has some history with Stewart-Haas Racing, as he subbed for Tony Stewart in the team’s No. 14 car last August at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.