Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Gase rolling through important off-season

Joey Gase has had one heck of an off-season. No, there were no big contracts or endorsement deals. But there were headlines. And awards. And significant conversations with sponsors, who will bring dollars to his fledging car owner and race team at Jimmy Means Racing. Gase has had to go through personal hell to get to this point, but as he's told the world so many times, that personal hell has been used to try and make the real world a better place. NASCAR, Comcast and Xfinity saw the work he's done through the Iowa Donor Network and Donate Life,
and recognized him for it as the first Comcast Community Champion award winner in November - and with it came a $60,000 prize. He was thrust in front of NASCAR's elite, and the whole sport once again got to see what the Cedar Rapids native was made of. It wasn't just about hearing his story again. Gase donated all $60,000 of that prize money to the Iowa Donor Network - without really a second thought. He'll be back with Means in the #52 for the Xfinity Series season again in 2016, but with loads more respect. Gase has persevered to this point, both personally and professionally. His career-best finish of fifth at Talladega Superspeedway last spring got him attention for his on-track results, which have been an uphill battle with an underfunded team that's been around for decades. He finished 21st in driver points with an average finish of 27.5, including that fifth-place at Talladega as his only top five and top 10, and an average start position of 32.9. Those numbers show improvement over 2014, though, when Gase had an average start of 34.5, an average finish of 29.4 and was only running at the finish of 22 of 33 races (27 in 2015). It's baby steps, but while he works on putting more names on the recipient list for organ donation - thereby reducing the 120,000-person donation waitlist - he can work to find sponsors that will help fund a team he's trying to help improve. His existing sponsors have been over the moon about the award and its attention, Gase said. More attention can only help, and help means those dollars. It's already paid off in the way of Iowa Donor Network, who is working with Gase right now to secure a possible Camping World Truck Series ride at Iowa Speedway for the June 18 and 19 CWTS/NXS doubleheader.(The Gazette)

NASCAR Charter System could make 2017 Daytona 500 Interesting for Go or Go Homers

In past years you have always had those drivers who had to race their way in on the Thursday Duels. Making the Daytona 500 is a big deal to drivers and teams as it pays a big amount of earnings for just competing in the Daytona 500. The new franchising deal that is coming possibly in 2017 or earlier and that makes the Duels even more important when it comes down to it. When the field is dwindled from 43 to 40 that means you will have more drivers sitting on the outside looking in and will have to race their way into the Daytona 500. Over the years you have some drivers who are in that position every year when it comes to the Daytona 500. Some drivers race their way in each year but still manage to find themselve in the same position the next year. A few drivers in 2015 made their first start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in a while, while some had never even raced in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car like Justin Marks. With the new Franchising these drivers may see their dreams
be more in Jeopardy. True drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, among others would be a lock every week, drivers like Carl Edwards, Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell, Ty Dillon among many others would be racing harder than before. With Edwards and Blaney in that category of not being locked in the chance of McDowell, Ty Dillon, Hill, among others would save money by just staying home. And to have NASCAR Legends or New Talent come in they would have to take out a name like Hamlin, Elliott, among others just so that these guys would be in the field as a lock.
I am not saying that we should not do the franchising deal but I say we need to look a little more into what will happen to some of these drivers. Drivers like Timmy Hill, Michael McDowell, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick would have nothing left to do but go back and race in the Xfinity Series or Truck Series. It is a good Idea as someone looking for sponsorship out of those 36 drivers with a charter could tell the sponsors they gurantee that they will make the race. That will make Drivers easier to sell to a sponsor. (Koelle, 2016)

Bill Elliott - NASCAR Hall Of Fame Spotlight

Wild Bill, Awesome Bill from Dawsonville, Million Dollar Bill, or just Bill Elliott. Whatever you call him he is the real deal. Over 37 years in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series highlights a NASCAR Hall Of Fame Career. Bill Elliott made his debut in the Winston Cup Series at Rockingham in 1976, 39 Years later Bill would be inducted into the NASCAR Hall Of Fame in the 6th Class along with  Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White.
In 1976 NASCAR was introduced to what would become one of the greatest drivers of all time. His name was Bill Elliott. Bill was from a small town just 84 miles from the Atlanta Motor Speedway, in a town called Dawsonville, GA. Bill made his debut driving for George Elliott in 1976. That season Bill's best finish would come at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway where he would finish 14th. The following season Bill would continue to drive for George Elliott, a team owner Bill would drive for until 1981. From 1976 till 1982 Bill would finish in the Top 10 a total of 33 times but that win colum would still be a zero. In 1983 Bill drove for Harry Melling
in his first full time season. That season a win would come at the season ending race at Riverside. 12 Top 5's and 22 Top 10's would complete a successful Rookie season. That season Bill would also finish 3rd in Points to Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. The following season would hold 3 wins. Another 3rd Place points finish would come for the Dawsonville Native. 1985 was when NASCAR and It's fans really found out who Bill was. 11 victories in one season kept his name in the minds of NASCAR fans. One of the most impressive
victories in that season was at the Talladega Superspeedway where Bill came from two laps down to win the race during a green flag run. That feat will never be touched again with the new Lucky Dog Rule along with the Wave Around. Also in that season Bill became the first driver to win the Winston Million, The Winston Million was a now-defunct cash prize award program on the NASCAR Winston Cup series. From 1985-1997, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the title sponsor of NASCAR's premier circuit at the time, offered an award of $1 million for any driver who won three of the four crown jewels on the schedule. Bill would still
finish second to Darrell Waltrip but Bill had the Million Dollars that Rusty Wallace would still away from Darrell in 1989. In 1986 2 wins would land Bill in 4th place in the standings. A moderately calm season would build up for 1987. In 1987 Bill would break records.  On April 30, 1987 Bill Elliott would set what remains, almost 30 years later, the all-time NASCAR qualifying record, 212.809 mph, in a Ford Thunderbird at the Talladega Superspeedway. This of course was pre restrictor plate era. Also in 1987 Bill would win 6 races en route to yet another runner up finish, still with no championship, but come 1988 things with that would change. In 1988 Bill would win a total Of 6 races matching his 1987 campaign but with a different result. That season Bill Elliott would win his first and only NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. The Cherry on Top of what became one of the greatest Careers in NASCAR ever. Bill would win 15 more races from 1989 to 2012. The closest Bill came to winning his 2nd Title came in 1992, The year Alan Kulwicki would win his only championship.
Elliott made his second start of the 2012 season driving for Turner Motorsports in the July race at
Daytona International Speedway, in the #50 Walmart-sponsored Chevrolet. Elliott qualified 5th, and ran in the top 10 throughout the first half of the race, but finished 37th after being involved in an accident. This was his 828th and final start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In 2014 Chase Elliott, Bill's son, would make his NASCAR Xfinity Series Debut driving for Jr Motorsports. That season Bill would watch as his son would win his first championship in his Rookie Season. At Darlington in 2014 Chase ran in
the Bojangles Southern 500 running the paint scheme similar to the car that Bill Elliott drove to Darlington's Victory Lane in 1985 to win the "Winston Million."  In 2016 Chase Elliott will continue on the legacy his father started in 1976. Fans will have a new face to cheer for as the past is replaced by the future as Chase takes over the #24 that Jeff Gordon made ever so famous. In 2016 look for the Son of Awesome Bill be just as awesome as he continues his own Hall Of Fame Career.
Be sure to tune into the Next Hall Of Fame Spotlight featuring a special tribute. The 2016  Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence Steve Byrnes. (Koelle, 2016)

Did You Know? - 3 Drivers You May Have Not Known Raced in The Daytona 500

Brian Keselowski - 2011 Daytona 500

In 2011 Brian Keselowski had the slowest car in all four practice sessions leading up to Thursday's Gatorade Duel races, which determined the starting field for the Daytona 500. He was so far off the pace that in the final practice, his best lap was nearly 19 mph behind than the leaders. Many expected to see Brian miss yet another Daytona 500 but with help from his Brother Brad, a dream became a reality. When the green flag dropped on the 150-mile Duel race, Brian was – of course – slow. Cars don't just suddenly get faster because the driver has more desire than the next guy. He languished at the back of the pack and was in the 18th position with 22 laps to go – well behind where he needed to be to claim one of the two Daytona 500 transfer spots. But then, a funny thing happened: Brad spun out, causing a caution and leaving both brothers at the back of the field at the same time. Brad would continue to push his brother when the checkered flag fell. Brian would finish fifth in the Duels and would land him a spot in the Daytona 500 for the first time in his career. In a Speedweeks filled with Cinderella Stories This was a feel good story, The 92 being pushed by the famous blue deuce.

Robert Richardson Jr. - 2010 and 2011 Daytona 500

Robert Richardson Jr. has became a veteran in the NASCAR Xfinity Series but has not been seen since 2014. Richardson Jr. is another one of those surprised drivers who have made the Daytona 500. Richardson Jr. made the Daytona 500 in both 2010 and 11'. Both Races Richardson Jr.  entered the duels with an unsponsored #37 driving for Bob Jenkins and Front Row Motorsports. Despite not having much success once in the Daytona 500, Richardson Jr.still managed to make the Daytona 500 2 years in a row. In 2012, Richardson Jr. made his final attempt at the Daytona 500 driving for his father Robert Richardson Sr. He missed the race that season.

Steve Wallace - 2011 Daytona 500

2011 was a good year for underdogs to make the Daytona 500. Steve Wallace continued a Wallace legacy making his way into the Daytona 500 in 2011. That season Steve Wallace would drive the Rusty Wallace Incorporated Toyota Camry into the Daytona 500 where he would finish 20th. Wallace would make that start in the Daytona 500 and would not be seen in the Sprint Cup Series Since. Wallace was last seen in NASCAR in the Xfinity Series in 2013. Since Wallace has been racing Late Models and being pretty successful.


The Road To Daytona - Part II

As the countdown winds down we are going to Daytona for ARCA Testing next weekend. It'll be good to be back around racing again and we look forward to meeting many new people. I am also looking forward to getting 2016 started and hopefully will begin our NASCAR Road a month later for Speedweeks. The thought still creeps around of missing Daytona but all of you help me think I have an underdog chance.
We thank Kyle Lockrow and Woodruff Motorsports for letting us be apart of their Road to Daytona and look forward to hopefully work with them more over the 2016 season! These people have been very good to me over the past few weeks and I hope to return the favor for them in the coming weeks. You can follow our countdown on my Facebook page or the Blog's Facebook Page along with on my instagram at IAMCCK952 when in Daytona I will post a lot of pics,
Earlier Today Jordan Anderson posted a picture that had a quote in it that says "When you do what you love with passion success won't be far away." I really feel that is the quote that will fit for our Road to Daytona. When you have a passion for something Nothing can stop you from getting to the top of your game. We hope to be in Daytona for Speedweeks but can tell you right now that we will work our hardest to be there. Thanks again for all of your support and Part III of The Road To Daytona will be posted Wednesday, January 13th. (Koelle, 2016)