Brian Scott to retire after this season

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Brian Scott will retire from driving in NASCAR after this season to focus on his family, he announced Thursday.

Also, Albertsons Companies announced it would terminate its NASCAR program at the end of the season with Scott’s departure. Richard Petty Motorsports stated that it will field the No. 44 car next season.

“To all my fans, friends, crew members (past & present) and wonderful people I’ve met in racing over the years: First, I want to say thank you for the support, friendship and good memories made,” Scott wrote on his Facebook page. “My decision to end one chapter in my life and change my focus going forward was not a decision I made or approached lightly. Racing has always been a passion of mine, and that will never change.

“Over the past couple of years I have begun a family of my own, and it has grown. I’m blessed to have an amazing wife and two incredible kids. The Sprint Cup Series schedule has taken its toll on me and caused me to re-evaluate what I want in life for myself and for my family. Through countless time in prayer with my family, the Lord has made it clear its time for me to focus on my family and put them first. I would be lying to say I wont miss racing, in fact I will miss it very much, but I’m looking forward to making memories with my family hunting, fishing, camping, (at) ball games, recitals, and being there to support them in whatever they decide to do!

“I can’t possibly name everyone that has supported me through the years, but I take comfort in knowing that you all know who you are. It has meant the world to me to have your friendship and unwavering support over the years. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart! God Bless. Sincerely, Brian”

Scott, 28, has competed in NASCAR’s national series since 2007. He raced in the Camping World Series through 2009. He ran in the Xfinity Series from 2010-15. He joined Richard Petty Motorsports this season, scoring a career-best finish of second at Talladega Superspeedway last month.

“Brian made it to and competed at a level that very few do in NASCAR,” said Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Petty Motorsports, in a statement. “Brian became part of the Petty family this year, and he committed himself to making our organization better. We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know Brian and wish him nothing but the best for him and his family.”

Albertsons explained its decision to leave NASCAR in a statement.

“Local sports sponsorships are an important part of our marketing strategy in communities across the country,” said Albertsons Companies Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Shane Sampson. “While we have decided to focus our investments elsewhere in 2017, we appreciate the work that Brian, Richard Petty Motorsports and the entire No. 44 team put forth for Albertsons Companies this year, and we wish them the very best in the future.”

My Home Tracks: New Mexico’s the Land of Enchantment and home of Cardinal Speedway

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The state of New Mexico is known more for IndyCar racing, with the Unser family being the state’s favorite sons.

Al Unser won four Indianapolis 500s, brother Bobby three and Al’s son Al Jr. a two-time winner (this weekend’s 500 marks the 25th anniversary of Little Al’s second 500 triumph).

But there’s a strong grassroots racing scene in the Land of Enchantment, particularly in the far southeast corner of the state at Cardinal Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in the little town of Eunice.

NASCAR America continues its My Home Track series of 50 states in 50 shows.

Wednesday, we visit New York state.

2018 NASCAR schedule changes: EVP Steve O’Donnell breaks it down (video)

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On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell joined us to discuss the NASCAR Cup schedule changes in 2018, including running a road race at Charlotte and having Indianapolis be the final race before the playoffs.

“I’m real excited about these changes,” said O’Donnell, who cited unprecedented cooperation between NASCAR, its teams, drivers and sponsors to reach agreement on the schedule changes.

Among the key changes: Las Vegas will kick off the 10-race playoffs in 2018 (Chicagoland Speedway, which will have hosted the last seven playoff openers, will return to its more traditional race date in early July/late June and serve as a run-up to the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona.

Several other changes include:

  • The fall playoff race at Charlotte will move up a couple weeks in the schedule and also incorporate competition on both the infield road course and part of the speedway itself.
  • After 14 years as the deciding race to qualify for the NASCAR Cup playoffs, Richmond International Raceway will now become the second race of the playoffs.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway will see it’s Brickyard 400 go from late July to become the final qualifying race for the playoffs in early September.

Catch up on all the changes in the above video.

Tony Stewart pulled over by state trooper, but it’s not for speeding

Photo courtesy Damein Cunningham Twitter account
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Retired NASCAR Cup driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart was stopped by an Illinois State Trooper over the weekend near DeKalb, Ill., about 90 minutes west of Chicago.

But before you think Stewart was stopped for speeding by Trooper Damein Cunningham, he wasn’t.

Rather, Cunningham pulled Stewart over for improper lane usage, although exactly what the infraction was is unclear.

After getting a verbal warning, Stewart gladly posed with Cunningham for a selfie, which the trooper promptly tweeted out.

“Just pulled over NASCAR LEGEND Tony Stewart on I-88 in DeKalb, IL, what you think I got him for? #NASCAR #ISP”

But according to the Chicago Tribune, Cunningham’s bosses apparently didn’t have a sense of humor about the incident or realize the good PR it meant for the Illinois State Police.

That, or they’re not Stewart or NASCAR fans. They ordered Cunningham to delete the tweet, which he did.

It’s unclear what Stewart, who was stopped on his 46th birthday, was doing in the Land of Lincoln.

But his luck went from bad to worse a few hours later. According to USA Today, Stewart and others were stuck in an elevator in a Madison, Wisconsin hotel for about 20 minutes before being rescued by firefighters.

We can just imagine what the elevator riders talked about while trapped.

How much do you want to bet Stewart said, “Man, do I have a story about a cop that I have to tell you.”

Cunningham then posted another tweet on Sunday after attending church services.

 

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All-Star Race will remain at Charlotte in 2018

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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NASCAR confirmed that the All-Star Race will be held again at Charlotte Motor Speedway despite more of a push from competitors and others to move the event.

Criticism was raised after last weekend’s 70-lap event featured only three lead changes. Kyle Busch took the lead on the restart to begin the final 10-lap stage and went on to win. It marked the fourth time in the last five years the All-Star winner led every lap in the final stage. In 12 All-Star Races at Charlotte since the track was repaved, there have been two lead changes in the final five laps.

Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, was clear in a call with reporters Tuesday that the All-Star Race is set for Charlotte.

“We’ve finished our discussions for ’18,” he said. ” We’ll begin looking at ’19 and beyond in the near future.”

The All-Star Race debuted at Charlotte in 1985, moved to Atlanta in 1986 and returned to Charlotte the following year. It has been held at Charlotte ever since.

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