Posted on: February 10, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: February 10, 2011 11:34 am

Robby Gordon now with Dodge

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Robby Gordon will return to the Dodge camp this Sprint Cup Series season and run a limited schedule behind the wheel of a Charger.

The veteran driver announced the switch during Thursday's Media Day activities at Daytona International Speedway and will return to the manufacturer he previously worked with a handful of years ago.

"This come full cycle some time and yes we're happy to be back with Dodge," said Gordon, who will campaign a Charger sponsored by his Speed Energy Drink in a yet-to-be-determined number of races.

Gordon will have engines supplied by Penske Racing, which is currently the only other Dodge team in the Sprint Cup Series.

He plans to compete in the Daytona 500 but has not yet mapped out his NASCAR plans beyond "Speedweeks."

"I'm putting together a schedule of races this year that i think are fun," Gordon said. "That will include some NASCAR, Indy, off road and whatever else comes along and makes sense."

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 10, 2011 11:25 am

Eye on Media Day

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The annual NASCAR Media Day activities kicked off early this morning in a giant tent outside the Daytona International Speedway. Approximately 300 journalists from around the world have descended on Daytona to meet with drivers across all three of NASCAR's top divisions to preview the season and the upcoming "Speedweeks" schedule.

I started the day co-hosting "The Morning Drive" on Sirius NASCAR Radio and over the course of the four hour show we spoke with Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Danica Patrick, Brad Keselowski, Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Robby Gordon and many other drivers.

The afternoon session will feature Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and many others.

So far the over/under on use of the word "excited" is set at 400 and at the rate the morning session went, we'll be well over by the time things end up this afternoon.

Stay tuned from inside the giant circus tent at "The World Center of Racing."

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 10, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: February 10, 2011 10:56 am

NASCAR media tab Johnson preseason favorite

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

Yesterday, Pete Pistone and I made our 2011 season predictions . I picked Jimmie Johnson, Pistone had Carl Edwards. Well, most in the NASCAR media seem to agree with me as Johnson was voted preseason favorite in a poll of 125 voters.

It should be noted that the consensus is usually wrong. Last year was the first time the media picked Johnson in any of his championship seasons.

Full press release below:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2011) – No long shots, no dark horses. All limbs remained unoccupied.

The NASCAR media corps played it safe in the annual NASCARMedia.com preseason poll, picking five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson to win his sixth title – and come one short of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most all-time.

But here’s the thing: Past polls suggest that the press often goes for the long shot. Last year was the first time the media picked Johnson in any of his championship seasons.

Clearly, the voters – 125 in all – learned their lesson.

Said Johnson, “Finally! Although I guess they picked me last year. I just hope they are right again.”

Rounding out the top 10: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer.

During its stop in January’s Charlotte Media Tour, NASCAR announced that the 11th and 12th positions in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup would go to the two drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins, provided they were in the top 20 in points.

The media’s picks for those two spots: Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth. McMurray would have earned a “wild card” nod last year if the new rule were in place.
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Media ‘Pick’ Sadler To Unify Title
For the first time, all drivers must pick the national series in which they will receive driver championship points. Elliott Sadler picked the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

In the preseason media poll, the press picked him.

Sadler, who returns to full-time NASCAR Nationwide competition for the first time since 1998, will also unify the title – so predicts the press.

The media were also asked to choose the top 10 in owner points, and the choice was Sadler’s No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet. If that comes true, the driver and owner titles would be unified for the first time since 2009.

Though double-duty drivers cannot earn driver points in the NASCAR Nationwide Series if they pick another series, their car still earns owner points.

“It is an honor to be voted as the preseason favorite by the NASCAR media to win the championship,” Sadler said. “To me, that says that even people who are not at the Kevin Harvick Inc. shop day in and day out recognize that we have a great team, solid leadership and dedicated team owners who make things happen and are willing to do whatever it takes to win.”

Said team owner Kevin Harvick, "[Sadler] knows how to win and we expect to go out and be competitive. I think anything less than the No. 2 team competing for the NASCAR Nationwide championship will be a disappointment."

Rounding out the top 10 in the NASCAR Nationwide driver poll: Aric Almirola, Justin Allgaier, Trevor Bayne, Reed Sorenson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leffler, Steve Wallace, Brian Scott and Michael Annett.

Positions 2-thru-10 in the owner poll: No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge, No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford and No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Bodine To Nab First Ever Repeat
Todd Bodine’s dominant championship run in 2010 encouraged the media to predict an unprecedented repeat in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Last year, Bodine became the third driver to win multiple championships. In 2011, the press thinks he’ll become the first driver in the 16-year history of the series to win consecutive titles.

“That’s a pretty big honor considering no one’s ever done it before,” Bodine said. “I think they’re right. We haven’t lost anybody; there’s no reason we can’t do it again. But the series will be stronger than it has ever been in its history, so it’s not going to be a cake walk.”

Bodine won his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in 2006.

Rounding out the top 10 in the media poll: Ron Hornaday Jr., Austin Dillon, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, Travis Kvapil, James Buescher, Brendan Gaughan, Timothy Peters and Mike Skinner.


Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 9, 2011 9:21 pm

Eye on Daytona

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The official start to the 2011 NASCAR season is finally here. I've survived the trek from the frozen tundra of my home base in Chicago and have made it to the relatively warm shores of Daytona for the kick-off to "Speedweeks."

Now as many of you can certainly emphasize with, travel is not the easiest thing in the world these days. Not that I'm complaining mind you because I love the work that I do and well, until they decide to run all 36 Sprint Cup races at Chicagoland Speedway I'm going to have to travel to do my job. So throughout the year I'll no doubt share with you some of the trials and tribulations of getting to and from a race weekend which sometimes is more entertaining than the actual race itself.

But today I have nothing really to report. Made it here unscathed without any delays or mechanical problems or security lines longer than waiting at The Magic Kingdom. Chicago to Orlando and then the drive to Daytona took most of the day but not much in the hassle department.

So I've set up shop here in Daytona for the next twelve days much to the chagrin of my wife and daughter. They'll miss me since this is the longest trip of the year but I think the sad faces I saw this morning were more for the fact I was abandoning them in below zero weather with 24 inches of snow on the ground for nearly two weeks in warmer weather.

Things begin Thursday morning with Media Day which will find pretty much every driver in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series meeting and talking with media members from around the country.  They'll also take their head shots, record video passages for the network television partners and completed other assorted media-related responsibilities.

I'll have a chance to talk with many of them on Sirius NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" program including Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart and about 20 others who are scheduled to swing by our little corner of the tent.

Throughout the day I'll post any interesting tidbits, nuggets, sidebars or perhaps - although doubtful - any real news that may break out right here on our "Eye on NASCAR" blog. And we'll be here right through the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 so make this your go to destination for all the latest info and lots more from "Speedweeks" as well as the entire NASCAR season.

Time to shut it down and get ready for day one of the annual February craziness here in Daytona.
Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Daytona, NASCAR
Posted on: February 9, 2011 11:58 am
Edited on: February 9, 2011 2:15 pm

Patrick's NASCAR schedule announced

Posted By Pete Pistone

Danica Patrick NASCAR 2.0 is set for 2011 with the Indy Car driver again embarking on a limited Nationwide Series schedule this season similar in nature to the number of starts she made in her inaugural year. The Montreal road course has been added to Patrick's slate which will again kick off with the Nationwide opener in Daytona next week.

From Team Release
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 9, 2011) –  Danica Patrick , the 28-year-old racer who transitioned into NASCAR Nationwide Series competition last year with JR Motorsports in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, has finalized her 2011 Nationwide Series plans.  JR Motorsports general manager Kelley Earnhardt , on behalf of the team and primary sponsor GoDaddy.com, announced those plans today.

Patrick’s tour will closely resemble her rookie campaign in that she will compete in a cluster of races on the front and back ends of the Nationwide Series schedule. She will appear in select races during the middle parts of the year while competing full time in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Patrick’s 2011 NASCAR plans feature 12 races across 10 NASCAR markets. Four of those markets will host Patrick for the first time in a stock car.

  As announced last October, Patrick will compete in the first four Nationwide Series races – Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 19), Phoenix International Raceway (Feb. 26), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 5) and Bristol Motor Speedway (March 19).

  Patrick will continue with races at Chicagoland Speedway (June 4), Daytona International Speedway (July 1), Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Aug. 20), Richmond International Speedway (Sept. 9), and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 8). She will conclude her second NASCAR season with the final three races on the Nationwide Series schedule -- Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 5), Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 12) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19).

  “This is going to be an exciting year in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet,” said Patrick, who scored a career-best fifth-place start and 19<sup style="line-height: 14px;">th</sup> -place finish in the 2010 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I have a much different perspective heading into this season. I know a little more of what to expect, and I’m not as out of my element. I’ve had a year to work with my team, and there is a comfort level that comes with returning to some of these tracks. It’s obvious experience goes a long way in this sport. Thanks to everyone at Go Daddy and JR Motorsports that have been incredibly supportive throughout this process.”

  Race tracks that were not on Patrick’s 2010 schedule but among her 2011 plans are Bristol, Richmond, Kansas and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Patrick has raced at Richmond and Kansas in the IZOD IndyCar Series. GoDaddy.com sponsors Patrick in both open-wheel and stock car racing.  

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 8, 2011 5:38 pm

Mayfield issues apology to stepmother

Posted By Pete Pistone

The curious case of Jeremy Mayfield took another strange turn of events on Tuesday when the suspended driver issued a public apology to his stepmother, who he had earlier accused of murdering his father.

As part of the settlement in a 2009 slander lawsuit, Mayfield released a statement apologizing to his stepmother Lisa:

"I have previously made statements to the press in which I accused Lisa Mayfield of either murdering my father, Terry Mayfield, or being involved in a conspiracy to murder him.  Those statements were made in the heat of my emotional state at the time. I now retract those statements and apologize to Lisa for having made them."

Mayfield remains suspended from NASCAR and in the middle of litigation against the sanctioning body for what he insists was a wrongful assessment of a random drug test in 2009 that came up positive for the use of methamphetamine. Although all claims by Mayfield against NASCAR were dismissed by a federal judge in 2010 he continues to battle his banishment from the sport.

Mayfield has been out of the public eye for some time with a recent appearance on the "Speed" network's "Race Hub" show a rare sighting. During the interview Mayfield said the litigation would take twelve to eighteen months before resolution and that he was seeking racing opportunities outside NASCAR including drag racing and Indy Car racing.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 8, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: February 8, 2011 11:06 am

Paisley to perform at Daytona 500

Posted By Pete Pistone

From News Release

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Brad Paisley will perform the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show, the pre-race extravaganza leading up to the start of “The Great American Race” at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 20. The Daytona 500 will be broadcast live on FOX, with pre-race coverage beginning at Noon and the race starting at 1 p.m. EST.

Paisley, who has 18 No. 1 hits, three Grammy awards, 14 CMA Awards, 13 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, will perform three songs prior to the start of the 53rd annual Daytona 500 – the season-opening event to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the biggest stock car race in the world.

All race fans that purchase a Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access pass for the Daytona 500 will be able to view Paisley’s Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show as well as the driver introductions from the grass tri-oval area.

“It’s only fitting to have one of the biggest country music superstars perform prior to NASCAR’s most prestigious event,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We’re thrilled to welcome Brad Paisley. Race fans are going to experience an exhilarating show that will only add to the excitement and pageantry that surrounds the Daytona 500.”

Paisley’s innovative and entertaining H20 World Tour played to over 879,000 fans in 2010 and placed #1 country tour for attendance by Pollstar.  Paisley’s next album, This Is Country Music will be in-stores this spring.


Paisley joins a long list of star-studded names that have performed in the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show such as Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson and Mariah Carey.


Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 7, 2011 8:32 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 8:33 pm

Displaced Super Bowl fans get offer from Vegas

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

Leave it to NASCAR to try to seize a marketing opportunity from an NFL Super Bowl blunder. After hundreds of fans lost their seats in a seating fiasco at Cowboys Stadium, Las Vegas Motor Speedway has stepped up with an offer of free tickets for the March 4-6 events at the track and a chance to win airfare and three nights at the Stratosphere.

Of those who accept the offer of free tickets from LVMS, only four will actually win the free Stratosphere stay. I'd be interested to see how many of those disappointed NFL fans take advantage of the offer.

LAS VEGAS – Where the NFL and the country’s largest football stadium failed 400 disappointed football fans, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Stratosphere Hotel, Casino and Tower have come through.

The speedway and the country’s tallest hotel-tower have partnered to offer tickets to the March 4-6 NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas to those who were displaced from their seats at Sunday’s Super Bowl. Some of the fans may also win airfare and three nights of accommodations at the Stratosphere as well.

“It’s a shame what happened to all of those fans who got to the Super Bowl and then had nowhere to sit,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “I can assure them that the seats we are giving them are real, and they will have good seats to watch the Kobalt Tools 400 and Sam’s Town 300.”

Fans who show proof of their displacement at the Super Bowl and choose to accept LVMS’s offer will receive a ticket to NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas. Among those fans, four will have their names drawn and will receive three room nights in new Stratosphere Select accommodations at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

“Our heart goes out to those fans that didn’t get to see the game,” said Todd Ford, Director of Marketing at the Stratosphere. “This unique opportunity will allow those fans to enjoy great NASCAR racing, have a chance to experience our newly remodeled rooms, plus all of the excitement Las Vegas has to offer.”

In order to take advantage of this offer, those displaced will need to contact Aubrey Hall at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 1-800-644-4444 ext. 8251 or email at ahall@lvms.com and show proof of their displacement.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com