Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Little Teams that Can - The True Underdogs of NASCAR

When it comes to underdogs you may think of the Chicago Cubs, Rudy Ruettiger, Michael Oher among many others. In NASCAR we have those same underdogs. Drivers who don't drive the higher funded cars or drivers who don't have the 100's of people in their race shop. Examples of these drivers are people like Michael McDowell, Blake Koch, Michael Annett among many other drivers.
Week in and week out these drivers continue to impress. Michael McDowell who has driven for the highs and the lows. Cars as he would say you would need a tetnis shot to get in. At Daytona Michael overcame adversity to make the Daytona 500 finishing ahead of some of the higher funded rides. Blake Koch has started and parked a majority of his career and finally in 2015 he got the opportunity with Leaf Filter and TriStar Motorsports. Blake led laps at Road America in the latter parts of the race and had it not been for his fuel tank running out Blake would have won.
These are the victories that many of the higher funded teams like Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing would just look over. True these teams want to do better but if these teams can put out a Top 15 performance on Saturday or Sunday maybe someone will look and see that car needs sponsorship and they can get better!
Adversity is one thing that comes with the title of being an underdog and for some reason bad things don't overlook these teams. Fire has been a hot subject on these teams mind as in May Leavine Family Racing's Shop in Concord, NC was devastated by fire, Jimmy Means Racing on the way home from Kentucky in September along with HScott's hauler on the way to the Texas Motor Speedway in November caught fire destroying everything on the hauler. Even though fire ravaged these teams equipment they continued to persevere.
These teams commonly are the nicest and the most common to give back to the sport. In June Leavine Family Racing hosted Camp 95 in which I attended. It was an awesome one day camp teaching us the different jobs in NASCAR. It was what influenced me to become a writer and it has helped me learn many new aspects of NASCAR that I had never thought of before. Leavine Family Racing among other underfunded teams will be the first to help out someone who is in need or someone who needs help getting on their feet.
These teams continue to fly under the radar in many situations in more ways than one. These are the teams who celebrate when they make the Daytona 500. Not only the pay day you get but when you are at Daytona everyone has the chance to win. And a win is just what these teams need to grow into bigger organizations. I mean look at Furniture Row Motorsports who continue to get better and better after their wins, Top 10's, among other things. If you are looking for a new favorite driver be sure to look at these drivers who need your support and be sure to remember the Underdogs. (Koelle, 2015)

Pilot Flying J sponsoring "Battle at Bristol"

Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, announced that they have signed on to be the title sponsor of the Battle at Bristol - an iconic college football game to be held on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The historic racetrack will host a border battle between the Virginia Tech Hokies and Tennessee Volunteers and is expected to shatter the existing college football attendance record. This sponsorship represents a monumental company initiative for Pilot Flying J. From securing naming rights for the game - Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol - to
using this pinnacle event as a catalyst to further engage employees, customers and consumers nationwide via multiple events, this opportunity will look to further position the company as a destination of choice in the travel center industry. Adding to the excitement, ESPN/ABC is confirmed as the broadcast partner of the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol, with time and final network to be determined at a later date. This sponsorship will complement Pilot Flying J's current sponsorship of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael Annett's #46 car. Following Bristol Motor Speedway's legendary Night Race on August 20, 2016, the venue will be transformed into the world's largest football stadium for the inaugural Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol game. With a projected attendance of 150,000, the event is expected to crush the previous college football attendance record, which currently stands at 115,109. (Bristol Motor Speedway, 2015)

Build It and They Will Come - What Team Penske Can Become

When you think Team Penske you think of the Captain Roger Penske. You think of his Indy Car Team that has grown to become a powerhouse. True Team Penske only consists of two cars but what If I told you they could become a four car powerhouse like Hendrick Motorsports or Stewart Haas Racing? True this team runs better with two cars than some teams do with four but just imgaine carrying that Two car Powerhouse into Four. Team Penske is called Team Penske for a reason and that is because week in week out they act like a team. Brad and Joey
are competitve but when it comes to teamwork these two are the poster child for it. Team Penske is a lot bigger in NASCAR than you probably thought. You may know that Ryan Blaney and Brad and Joey are technical teammates but there is another name that comes up when you think Team Penske's Technical alliance. Leavine Family Racing and Michael McDowell have a technical alliance with Team Penske. If you didn't know this I really am not surprised as the media and announcers only cover Ryan Blaney as a Technical Teammate. Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing have been with Team Penske now for 2 years now. Imagine this Brad Keselowski who won a championship for Team Penske in 2012, Joey Logano who has won 12 races since joining in 2013, Ryan Blaney who has really impressed since joining Wood Brothers in 2015, and Michael McDowell who is very good on Road Courses and Superspeedways. That is a team right there that unlike Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart Haas Racing could have all four cars in the Chase. Also I am not saying eliminate Leavine Family and Wood
Brothers but use them more for Developmental rides for drivers like a Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, and Daniel Hemric. If this was to happen Team Penske would thrive for many years unlike the other teams who don't have development programs and just have to wait until a driver who will probably get pulled up to soon like I feel Danica Patrick and many others were and then we have a pack full of names and field fillers. (Koelle, 2015)

Quicken Loans Will Leave Ryan Newman for Kasey Kahne in 2016

Quicken Loans and Hendrick Motorsports revealed today that Quicken Loans will be joining Kasey Kahne in 2016. Previously Ryan Newman had the Quicken Loans sponsorship at not only Richard Childress Racing but also when Ryan was at Stewart Haas Racing in 2012 and 2013. This is a big hit for the RCR #31 Team as now they only have one primary sponsor in Caterpillar. Last season Ryan Newman made the chase but was eliminated at Talladega. With Quicken Loans Ryan has made the chase 3 out of the 4 years. Ryan's last win though was at Indianapolis in 2013.

Robin Pemberton Leaving NASCAR at End Of 2015

Robin Pemberton announced this morning that he would no longer be NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Competition,
Robin has been a part of the NASCAR Sanctioning Body since August of 2004.  Since that time, he has overseen all areas of NASCAR competition and been credited as a key component in bridging the gap between the sanctioning body and the racing community. Robin has been around the sport for more than 5 decades. Before going to work for NASCAR's Sanctioning Body, Pemberton spent 499 races as a crew chief in NASCAR's top division, calling the shots for drivers Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Bobby Allison and Neil Bonnett, among others, over a 17-year career that stretched from 1985 til 2001.
Many fans are rejoicing while many people are saddened. Robin has always been a super nice guy to me and I don't view him as the problem. We can't wait to see who replaces Robin while we wish Robin the best in his future endeavors. One suggestion for this position is Ricky Craven as Ricky has pointed out many things about recent problems facing NASCAR today. Again we wish Robin the Best and will look to the future of the sport! (Koelle, 2015)