NASCAR might go easier on Kyle Busch’s team for having tire get loose during Dover race

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A NASCAR official said it’s possible Kyle Busch’s team could receive lenient punishment for having a tire fall off after a pit stop Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

Busch left the pits when his pit crew dropped the jack before his left-rear lug nuts were secured. A similar incident happened to Chase Briscoe in Friday’s truck race.

The NASCAR rulebook calls for four-race suspensions for crew chief, tire changer and tire carrier in the case of a loose wheel because of improper installation, but it also notes safety violations will be handled case by case.

Executive vice president of competition Scott Miller said Monday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR’s The Morning Drive that the perceived lack of intent to fasten five lug nuts on the tire could result in dispensation for those teams.

“It’s possible we will” look at intent, Miller said. “We’ll review everything we have from what we’ve seen so far. It wasn’t trying to go back on the track with two lug nuts. It obviously was human error in both cases. There are a lot of discussions internally on how we’ll rule on that. That process will start later this afternoon.”

The lug nut rule was changed after a spate of loose wheels a little over a year ago. NASCAR also began checking lug nuts postrace, penalizing teams that didn’t fasten five after the final stop.

“It’s fairly obvious when things keep occurring that are either competition or safety related, and you feel you need to ramp up consequences of doing said things,” Miller said. “With wheels and hitting two to three lug nuts on the last pit stop, that’s where rules came from.”

Other topics addressed by Miller:

–There apparently is no consideration of changing the overtime line rule, which Dale Earnhardt Jr. advocated abolishing after it played a role in Sunday’s win by Jimmie Johnson.

“There’s no question about it,” Miller said. “That’s black and white and straightforward. We don’t want the races to end that way, but we put that procedure in place starting last season, and that’s how we do it.

“There was a lot that went into that, a lot of conversation that were had. One of the big considerations was superspeedway racing, and the havoc we typically have on restarts and the green-white-checkered there. It was a way to not have to do that three times at those racetracks. That was a factor, but that wasn’t only the factor…. It’s something we’re always looking at, we don’t like races to end like they did yesterday, but that’s what we’ve got right now, and we’ll continue to look at things like we always do.”

–NASCAR elected to skip using VHT at Dover after consulting with drivers who felt it wasn’t necessary, but the traction compound could be used again after “fairly decent success” at Bristol and Charlotte.

“I think the racetracks are going to have to lend themselves to strongly consider using it,” Miller said. “From talking to lot of drivers, we don’t believe it’s necessary everywhere

“It could come into play in the future at one-lane tracks. Maybe we put it further outside the groove and hopefully that helps to widen the racing groove out and make for better action at tracks that are one lane.”

AJ Allmendinger making return to Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2018

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After a one-year absence, AJ Allmendinger will return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona next month.

Allmendinger, who drives for JTG Daugherty Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, will once again drive for Michael Shank Racing in the endurance race at Daytona International Speedway, which will be held Jan. 27 – 28.

A winner in the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona, Allmendinger will split time in the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 in the GTD class with Justin Marks, Lawson Aschenbach and Mario Farnbacher.

Allmendinger drove for Michael Shank Racing in the endurance race from 2014-16. His best result during that stretch was fifth in the Prototype class in 2015.

“I am pumped to be back racing for Shank in the (Rolex) 24. I missed the race last year and I hated to, so I’m really glad to be back,” Allmendinger said in a press release. “His whole team did an awesome job with the Acura last year and it is awesome to be back with him for the Rolex. After racing for the overall win so many years in Prototypes, it will be a completely different experience to be racing in the GTD class, but I’m looking forward to it. Mike (Shank) always puts an awesome team together and this year is no different so I am counting down to get my first shot in this car.”

Allmendinger is coming off his fourth full year of driving the No. 47 Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing. He finished the season 27th in the standings, his worst during his tenure with the team. He earned one top five and five top 10s.

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.”