Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Is it time for NASCAR to make format changes?

23 Comments

With speculation of format changes for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, one track president said he doesn’t want to see anything “radical,” but would be for a halftime break or quarter breaks in a race.

Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, said Friday he would be for breaks in races but is against anything that shortens races.

“I think a format change is a good thing, but it needs to be a tweak, not a radical change,” he said on a conference call Friday announcing the track’s repaving project. “If I could wave the magic wand, we’d have at least a halftime and maybe periods. Something like that. Football games have four quarters. Hockey games have three (periods). That kind of thing.

“Pit stops? I don’t know if you would have five minutes or 10 minutes or just throw a caution flag like a competition yellow. Those aren’t radical departures.’’

Gossage also said he would be for paying a bonus to the leader at halfway again. He even suggested awarding points based on segments of races.

“Those kind of things as opposed to, I’ve heard people talking about heats and things like that, I think that is a radical departure,’’ he said. 

Discussion of any format changes has increased with Monster Energy becoming the title sponsor for NASCAR’s top series. Some believe this could be a natural time to make such changes.

Monster Energy sponsors the Supercross Series — it was announced Thursday that Monster has extended its deal to sponsor that series through 2021 — and that series is making changes. The Supercross Series will go to timed races this year instead of races based on laps.

Would timed races be something that could work with some NASCAR races?

“My personal opinion is that timed races suck,’’ Gossage said. “It’s funny, I hear all these kind of things from the people that travel the circuit, the teams, the sponsor reps, the media, but you don’t hear these things from the fans. Our fans, they don’t want less. They’ve been waiting all year long for this. They don’t want less. They want more.

“No fan wants us to go away from 500-mile races (at Texas). I don’t know if timed races make any sense, to me personally. I watched I think the longest college football game in history the other night. The Rose Bowl game. Didn’t it go 17 hours or something like that (actual time of USC’s 52-49 win over Penn State on Monday was 4 hours, 12 minutes)?

“But it was thrilling. You didn’t want to turn it off. What we’ve got to work on is make sure the product is thrilling and it doesn’t matter how long it goes.’’

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler having fun mentoring William Byron

Leave a comment

If there’s anyone in the Xfinity Series William Byron should turn to for advice during his rookie season in the series, it’s Elliott Sadler.

A veteran of more than 800 NASCAR races across all three of its national series, Sadler has taken the lead in advising the 19-year-old driver this season. During his appearance on NASCAR America, Sadler praised the driver and the time he’s spent with him.

“That kid is special,” Sadler said. “I want to be that guy (that helps), because I had that guy. I had Jeff Green when I started, I had Dale Jarrett, people I could lean on all the time that could help the learning curve.”

Sadler leads the points standings with four races left in the regular season, but he is winless so far. Byron has earned three wins and is second in points behind Sadler.

“He’s a student of the game,” Sadler said. “I’ve been in meetings with young kids that come along, we’ve been in the meeting and kids are still playing on their phones. I’m in a meeting with William … and he’s still learning and taking notes. He’s got great questions. We’re usually sitting beside each other on the airplanes and we’re talking about things for that particular weekend. I can’t help him drive the car faster. But I can help him maybe with restarts and getting on pit road. Maybe things to think about on Friday to maybe make your car better for Saturday.”

Watch the video for more from Sadler on Byron and his friendship with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler paying tribute to Cale Yarborough with Darlington paint scheme

Leave a comment

Xfinity Series points leader Elliott Sadler will honor childhood racing hero Cale Yarborough with his paint scheme for the Sept. 2 race at Darlington Raceway.

Cale Yarborough poses with his Hardee’s car during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Exhibit Unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 22, 2012. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The JR Motorsports driver revealed the paint scheme Tuesday on NASCAR America. His No. 1 Chevrolet will have the same color blocking, but not colors, of Yarborough’s famous No. 28 Hardee’s car.

Sadler is not the only driver that will have some form of the Hardee’s paint scheme at Darlington. Dakoda Armstrong, driver of JGL Racing’s No. 28, will have the exact colors of the Hardee’s car and a logo on the hood commemorating Yarborough.

A five-time winner at Darlington and a three-time Cup champion, Yarborough is a native of Timmonsville, South Carolina, which is roughly 20 miles from Darlington.

Watch the video for the full reveal of the car.

Former Truck Series driver Shane Sieg dies at 34

Getty Images
4 Comments

Shane Sieg, a former Camping World Truck Series driver and older brother of Xfinity driver Ryan Sieg, died over the weekend at the age of 34.

Ryan Sieg Racing announced his passing Tuesday on social media. He would have turned 35 on Wednesday. A team spokesperson could not provide additional details.

“Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers,” the team said on Twitter. “We lost a great driver and an incredible person. Forever in our hearts.”

A native of Tucker, Georgia, Shane Sieg was a veteran of 68 Truck Series races and two Xfinity starts.

He earned three tops 10 in the Truck Series. His best result was eighth at the Milwaukee Mile in 2004. Sieg also won one race in the NASCAR Southeast Series in 2003 at Huntsville Speedway in Alabama.

Sieg made his last Truck start in June 2011 at Pocono Raceway.

Sieg was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR in August 2011 for violating its substance abuse policy and for actions detrimental to the sport.

Ryan Reed honors Alan Kulwicki, Sam Bass with Darlington paint scheme

Roush Fenway Racing
1 Comment

Roush Fenway Racing and artist Sam Bass have worked together to create Ryan Reed‘s throwback paint scheme for the Sept. 2 Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway on NBCSN.

Reed’s No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford will resemble the No. 7 Zerex Ford driven by Alan Kulwicki in 1989.

Kulwicki was sponsored by Zerex from 1987-90, earning two of his five Cup wins in that time.

“My dad was huge fan of Alan and had a lot of respect for him, so it’s awesome to get to run this throwback scheme in Darlington,” Reed said in a press release. “My Dad ran his own race team and drove for himself throughout the 90s, just like Alan. Alan overcame a lot of challenges to become a champion and I can’t help but have a lot of respect for him.”

Bass, who lives with type 1 diabetes like Reed, worked with Kulwicki during his career and helped design Reed’s car. In a Facebook Live video, Bass said he took extra care to make the one in Reed’s No. 16 resemble Kulwicki’s No. 7.

Bass’ name will also be on the passenger-side nameplate on the roof of Reed’s car.

Reed’s car won’t be the only one at Darlington that will pay tribute to the 1992 Cup champion.

Michael McDowell‘s No. 95 Chevrolet in the Cup Series will resemble the car Kulwicki drove in his 1986 rookie year.