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Joey Logano says Drivers Council has lobbied for traveling safety team

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After lobbying multiple times for the addition of a traveling safety team, a NASCAR Drivers Council member was pleased to see its arrival Wednesday in the Cup Series.

“(The safety team) is something that the council has brought up quite a few times, and it’s a struggle to figure out how to do that with insurance and legally,” Joey Logano said Wednesday in an interview with NBC Sports. “It’s a little over my head.

“But why can’t we have someone who is on site when get there? What are we waiting on? You’re not the only person to ask that question. Believe me, I think every driver has asked this question at some point in their careers. Why don’t we have a physician that we know? … When I got the call they were announcing it, I was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ It’s super.”

NASCAR will partner with American Medical Response to have a team of doctors and paramedics who will be in a chase vehicle that responds to on-track incidents in the Cup Series (and companion Xfinity races).

AMR also will have a doctor installed as national medical director, who will coordinate with NASCAR’s medical liaisons (who have been part of medical services for more than a decade).

The teams still work with existing track-specific safety crews that have been NASCAR’s longstanding policy for crash response and driver medical care.

Logano, who has been on the council since its 2015 inception, said it would be a relief to be treated by more consistently familiar faces under the new system.

“We’re not saying hello to someone that we’ve never met before in a very vulnerable stage or a risky time,” the Team Penske driver said. “It’s a fairly safe sport, but we’ve all seen things go wrong pretty quick. NASCAR has done a good job with having the (liaisons) and being able to build a relationship with them, and you know that when you’re there it’s a familiar face.

“But when you first get out of the car, it could be the most traumatic time, and there’s nobody ever there that you know. You get out, and it’s a different face every time. Some of them haven’t spent a whole bunch of time around race cars, which is OK, but it just kind of makes it a little bit harder, and we’re all hot, heated and pissed off, so it’s not the most pleasant experience for anybody.”

There also are instances in which doctors who know drivers’ demeanors and patient histories could avoid potential misdiagnosis (Matt DiBenedetto’s situation at Texas Motor Speedway last November comes to mind).

A rotating pool of emergency trauma physicians will divide the travel to the 36-race season. Doctors will be licensed in the states where the races are held.

“There’s going to be a mix of a few different physicians, but there’s going to be ones that we know, and we’ll have an opportunity to meet them and get to know them,” Logano said. “And they’ll know our records and who we are and what we do and our (health) history.

“I think it’s a good play by NASCAR. It’s something that obviously has taken a long time to figure out how to do that, but I’m glad it’s getting done.

Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s to sponsor RCR in Cup, Xfinity in 2018

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Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s will sponsor Richard Childress Racing in multiple races in the Cup and Xfinity Series next year, the team announced Monday.

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s merged in September 2017.

The outdoors brands will be on Ryan Newman‘s No. 31 Chevrolet during the 60th Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 and in several other races during the season.

Richard Childress Racing

They will also be a primary sponsor for Austin and Ty Dillon on the No. 3 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series for several races.

“Our relationship with Bass Pro Shops dates back to the mid-1990s and we’re thrilled to be able to continue it during the 2018 season,” team owner Richard Childress said in a press release. “Austin, Ty and Ryan are terrific ambassadors for the great outdoors. They are all passionate about our hunting, fishing and conservation heritage which has made this partnership thrive.

“Next season will be exciting as we welcome Cabela’s, the iconic outdoor brand acquired by Bass Pro Shops, to the RCR family.”

Bass Pro Shops, founded in 1972 by Johnny Morris, is also a primary sponsor of Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Toyota owned by Furniture Row Racing.

The store chain will be on the hood of the No. 78 in 16 races and on the sides of it in 14 others.

Here’s the eligible drivers for the 2018 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona

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NASCAR has officially announced the 20 drivers who are eligible to take part in the Cup Series’ season-opening Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway.

The 75-lap exhibition event is set for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 11, the same day as qualifying for the Feb. 18 Daytona 500.

The race will be divided into two segments. A competition caution on Lap 25 will divide them.

Drivers become eligible for the Clash by winning a pole the previous season, being a Daytona 500 pole-winner who competed full-time the previous season or being a playoff driver the previous season.

Here are the eligible drivers.

2017 Coors Light Pole Award Winners (14)

Former Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Award Winners (3)

2017 Playoff Drivers (3)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth are not expected to compete in the race. Earnhardt retired from Cup competition following the 2017 season and Kenseth doesn’t have a ride for the 2018 season.

Danica Patrick, the 2013 Daytona 500 pole-sitter, announced last month she was done as a full-time driver but that she planned to race in the Daytona 500. No definitive team plans have been announced for her.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram injury update: still in ICU, but continues to show progress

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram continues to show improvement from the serious injuries he suffered in a December 3 car crash in his native Asheville, North Carolina.

In an update Sunday written on CaringBridge.org, Ingram’s daughter, Ingrid Jones, said her father remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Asheville’s Mission Hospital.

According to Jones:

“Daddy continues to hold his own, making healing steps forward and then a step back, which we fully expected-but he’s surprising us each and every day with his strength and courage to overcome this. Overall, he’s doing amazingly well.”

Ingram’s family had hoped he could have moved out of ICU and into the Trauma Unit as the next phase of his recovery, but he remains in intensive care.

Said Jones:

“For now, he’ll remain in ICU until he can go a full 24 hours without ventilator assisted breathing. We’re almost there … but may still be a few days.”

Ingram, who turns 81 on Dec. 28, was able to sit in a chair and watched part of Sunday’s NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings with his family. Jones wrote that Ingram also was surprised to learn that the mountain near the family’s Asheville-area home received a total of 16 inches of snow Friday and Saturday.

Jones added, “We continue to be optimistic for his health, and we also continue to appreciate the prayers and encouraging thoughts.”

K&N Pro Series West 2018 schedule includes Las Vegas dirt race

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The 2018 K&N Pro Series West schedule includes the series’ first dirt race in 39 years.

NASCAR announced the 15-race schedule Monday, revealing the series will race on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on Sept. 13.

The race will kick off NASCAR’s playoff-opening weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for all three of its national series.

It will be the series’ first dirt race since 1979 at Ascot Park in Gardena, California. The K&N West series joins the Camping World Truck Series in holding one dirt race a year. The Trucks race at Eldora Speedway in July.

The K&N West season will open March 15 at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif.

The schedule includes two joint-races with the K&N Pro Series East series. They will be held on July 27 at Iowa Speedway and on Aug. 24 at Illinois’ Gateway Motorsports Park.

NBCSN’s broadcast schedule for the season will be announced at a later date.

Below is the full schedule.

Date Track Location
15-Mar Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield, Calif.
5-May Tucson Speedway* Tucson, Ariz.
19-May Orange Show Speedway San Bernardino, Calif.
9-Jun Colorado National Speedway Dacona, Colo.
23-Jun Sonoma Raceway Sonoma, Calif.
30-Jun Douglas County Speedway Roseburg, Ore.
15-Jul Spokane County Raceway Airway Heights, Wash.
27-Jul Iowa Speedway** Newtown, Iowa
11-Aug Evergreen Speedway Monroe, Wash.
24-Aug Gateway Motorsports Park** Madison, Ill.
13-Sep Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track Las Vegas, Nev.
29-Sep Meridian Speedway Meridian, Idaho
13-Oct All American Speedway Roseville, Calif.
27-Oct Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield, Calif.

*100-lap twin features
**Combination event with NASCAR K&N Pro Series East