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NASCAR President discusses new manufacturers, night racing at Martinsville


NASCAR President Brent Dewar said Tuesday that deadlines have passed for a new manufacturer to be a part of the sport in 2019, meaning the earliest Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota could face additional competition will be 2020.

Dewar made his comments on “The Morning Drive’’ on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. He discussed that, night racing at Martinsville and other topics, taking questions from fans.

Asked about the chances of a new manufacturer in the sport, Dewar said:

“There’s a demand for it, I will say that. We’ve been in talks with two or three natural manufacturers that would be the natural next choice. We’ve got a lot data that we share with them. Our fans would like other manufacturers in the sport. Actually, the three (manufacturers) in the sport embrace it.

“We’re not looking for somebody to come in for two years. If you look at Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota, they’ve made huge commitments and investments. … This is a place to bring your R&D and technology and engage with the fans. If you do it, the right way, there’s no better platform than NASCAR to get a return on that investment.

“Because of the entry points, we passed the ’19 (submission deadlines). The earliest would be 2020. That’s the process we’re working on. … There’s genuine, sincere interest because of the size of the platform and what we’re doing. They like the innovation and change and they’re encouraged that the (manufacturers) have a voice in the manufacturers council.’’

Dewar was asked about the possibility of a night race at Martinsville Speedway now that the track has lights.

“We really applaud them for the investment they made,’’ Dewar said. “It looks great. It gives us the opportunity to do a night race should we get to that.

“It’s really about balancing the schedule of when we have availability at our two broadcast partners, Fox and NBC. To a lot of the fans, they don’t realize the complexity that goes into sports programming.

“We’re a very important sport for both of our partners. We have to be fitted in exactly right to drive and we drive their metrics on a daily basis. It’s a balancing act. We, the sanctioning body would be delighted to race a night race at Martinsville, we’ve just got to be able to find a right fit.’’

Dewar was asked how NASCAR determines what races should be at night and what races run at day.

“What we look at, candidly, it’s not night racing for night racing or day racing, it has to be a combination of the ambient temperatures where we’re at, the type of the track we have and the ability to have a great race. Some of the tracks will lend themselves to incredible night racing.’’

Dewar also was asked why the roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway wasn’t first used in the All-Star Race instead of making its debut as the cutoff race in the first round of the playoffs.

“I think part of the challenge this year was the turnover time to get it done,’’ Dewar said. “I think in the future years, those can be other options. We like the drama that is going to be presented by it. Our drivers are great road-course drivers today. I think it’s going to be a real test to them.’’

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Team owner Brad Daugherty joins SiriusXM NASCAR Radio lineup

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Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty, will co-host “The Late Shift” on Monday nights, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio announced Friday. Daugherty will begin Feb. 19, the day after the Daytona 500.

Daugherty will join co-host Brad Gillie.

Larry McReynolds will co-host the show on Tuesday nights. Former co-host Kenny Wallace will remain as a part-time host.

During an appearance Friday morning on “The Morning Drive,” Daugherty discussed his new opportunity and more, including a spending cap and escalating costs in the sport.

On costs and a spending cap in the sport, Daugherty said:

“The biggest challenge for me would be if that happened, the first thing that would have to happen would be a collective bargaining process, which could happen, but then there would have to be a tremendous revenue sharing in all the resources that are available to NASCAR and to the sport because then you’re cutting out equal chunks of the pie like baseball, like basketball and like football,” he said. “Now these race teams, which we have our charters, they could become true commodities. I don’t think you can do it in racing simply because the are so many moving pieces and parts. The other sports are pretty much straight forward and simple.

“When you have so many vendors that participate on a weekly basis in this sport like they do now, it makes it almost impossible to control those costs unless you have just one supplier for everything throughout the sport and then that doesn’t make sense because then you don’t know if you’re getting the best equipment available throughout the sport.

“When you are talking about mechanical things, pieces and parts and vendors, it’s almost impossible to put that all under thumb and to create some kind of cap. It would be unfair. I think if you have your revenue stream and you’re able to take your revenue stream to produce opportunities for your company, based upon the rulebook and based upon the rules that are legislated through the sport, I think that’s as fair as it gets. Now, one guy can outspend another. I just think that is the way it is. It has always been that way. I really don’t have a problem with that.

“The spending, though, we need to find better ways to control costs … just the weekly stuff. Goodyear does a great job with trying to control costs for us. Our brake packages and stuff like that are creeping up on price. Probably 12 years ago, a brake package at Daytona probably costs us about $4,500. Last year, we ran the same speed 12-13 years ago, that brake package was $45,000. Those types of costs within the sport need to be monitored a little bit better, I do believe that will help us.

“Even with that, the guy who can put his dollars in the right position and run his race team, these businesses are not like any other businesses on the face of the planet. They’re not like other sports business, the compression chart when you look at how these things are put together with executives and individuals and aeronautical engineers and crew people. It’s not the same. It’s just a unique sport that I don’t think you can actually get a tremendous grasp on fiscally just because of all the moving pieces and parts available. I like having all the pieces and parts available to my race team. It’s up to me or (co-owner) Tad (Geschickter) or Jodi (Geschickter) to go out and find the money to implement them.”

Kevin Harvick SiriusXM show ‘Happy Hours’ back for second season

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Former champion Kevin Harvick’s SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Show “Happy Hours” returns for a second season at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday.

The season’s second show will air from 7-9 p.m. on Feb. 14, which is a Wednesday. After that, the show air from 7-9 p.m. ET on Tuesdays.

“Having my own show on SiriusXM has brought my relationship with the fans to a whole new level,” said Harvick in a statement from SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I love that I have two hours to completely share my thoughts on the races and our sport, to really give those fans much more than the quick interview or the emotional sound bite they otherwise see or hear at the track on weekends. ‘Happy Hours’ has created a connection that I had never really experienced before in my career, and I am really excited to get back on the air again this season.”

 “Kevin had a tremendous 2017 both on the track and with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, qualifying for the Championship 4 and hosting a fantastic radio program,” said Steve Cohen, SiriusXM’s SVP of Sports Programming. “His personality, perspective and charisma are perfect for SiriusXM and we are excited for the second season of ‘Happy Hours.’ ”

SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) airs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, delivering racing talk, news and event coverage of NASCAR’s Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

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Toyota executive calls Truck Series ‘critical step’ in developing drivers

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A Toyota Racing Development executive says that the manufacturer would accept a spec engine in the Camping World Truck Series, noting how valuable that series is for the development of drivers.

David Wilson, president of TRD, made the comments Friday on “Tradin’ Paint” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

NASCAR tested a spec engine for the Truck series multiple times last year and it is expected to be optional this season.

Wilson admits the spec engine idea has raised concerns among manufacturers.

“It is a little bit of a sensitive issue with all the manufactures,’’ Wilson said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “Arguably the biggest single piece of (intellectual property) in any car or truck is the engine, so certainly that’s important to us.

“By the same token we understand the bigger picture. We have been working with NASCAR, all the (manufacturers) have been working with NASCAR to make sure that we keep this series going because here’s the bottom line — while our motivation to run in Trucks has changed over the years, it remains an absolute critical step in how we as an industry develop drivers.

“The leap from ARCA or K&N or Super Late Models straight to Xfinity, that’s too big of a leap. You need a step and that Truck Series is a very important step. You look the drivers that have come through just in our camp — Erik Jones, Christopher Bell, Daniel Suarez — that experience in the Truck garage has been absolutely critical in preparing them to be successful in Xfinity and ultimately in Cup. We’re going to continue to take a big picture approach with the Truck Series and work with our friends at NASCAR. If there are some spec engines that have to be under a Tundra hood, so be it, we’ll be OK.’’

Last year’s Xfinity champion and rookie of the year, William Byron, ran a full season in Trucks in 2016. Erik Jones, the 2016 Xfinity rookie of the year, ran 17 Truck races before his Xfinity debut. Daniel Suarez, the 2017 Xfinity rookie of the year, had run only one Truck race before his Xfinity rookie season but he also ran 13 Truck races while competing in Xfinity that first year.

Those young drivers also illustrate Toyota’s emphasis on new talent. But with only five seats — four with Joe Gibbs Racing and one with Furniture Row Racing —  with Cup teams partnered with TRD, Toyota is having a hard time finding spots for all its drivers.

Wilson said the manufacturer remains committed to developing drivers.

“It’s a commitment that Toyota has made to NASCAR and to motorsports,’’ he said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We enjoy a tremendous amount of value. NASCAR is simply a phenomenal place for us to race. This is part of our payback.

“We feel like we have the social responsibility to give back to the series. We know we’ll lose as many of these young guys and gals as we’ll be able to keep because we simply won’t have enough seats for them. That’s just simple math. It’s already been proven out by William Byron (who raced for Kyle Busch Motorsports in Trucks before moving to Chevrolet in Xfinity and now Cup). We’ll be racing against William, who used to be in a Toyota.

“Bottom line this sport still benefits. As I’ve said before, getting to know these young kids and getting to know their parents at a young age and as they’re coming up in the sport, I believe that will pay dividends. These kids can have a career that spans decades. Who’s to say that we won’t cross paths again? By us building that relationship early on, showing them who we are … the responsibly we have to their well-being, I think it’s a sound investment.’’

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Brendan Gaughan on issue with Ross Chastain: ‘I finally just had enough’

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Brendan Gaughan admits  he could have handled his disagreement with Ross Chastain after Saturday night’s Xfinity race differently but said Sunday “at this point in my life, I’m kind of to the (point of) don’t care.’’

Gaughan and Chastain were involved in a scuffle after the race. Both were called to the NASCAR hauler and met with series officials.

Gaughan deflected questions about the scuffle after leaving the hauler. Sunday morning, he spoke about the incident on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio “Fantasy Racing Preview” show he co-hosts.

“Texas is tough,’’ Gaughan said on the show. “With the night race, the groove narrowed down. It isn’t the first issue that we’ve had and the first issue that others have had (with Chastain), and I finally just had enough. Should I have done something differently? Maybe, but at this point in my life I’m kind of to the (point of) don’t care.’’

Chastain said after the race that issues started when he and Gaughan were racing together.

“There was a slow car we were passing on the backstretch and (Gaughan) tried to split the middle,’’ Chastain said. “I wasn’t going to let him because it’s so much track position, there was clean track in front of us. We stayed side-by-side into (Turn) 3. I tried to arc from the bottom, and he tried to pinch me.

“I got really loose, saved it. All good. From then on, he was out to wreck me. My spotter could tell. (Gaughan) tried to get me in (Turns) 1 and 2.

“That’s just not acceptable. The speeds we’re going, we’ve seen guys get upside down in the catch fence on purpose before. I do not want to collect on my life insurance policy at 24 years old. That was my biggest thing in the (NASCAR) trailer, that I was upset with that needed to be taken care of.’’

Chastain said Gaughan approached him as he was exiting his car behind pit road after the race.

“I was just getting out of the car and was sitting on the door and was getting ready to swing my legs out and there he was,’’ Chastain said of Gaughan. “He just came right at me with his guys. There were just swings from that point on.’’

Said Gaughan on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “These millennials, they love to talk and text. I believe in this. This was taught to me by Butch Miller and Parnelli Jones, by some of the old greats, that if you have a problem, you make sure you get eye-to-eye contact, let them know you’ve got a problem, let them know it was intentional, accidental, whatever.’’

Gaughan said he’s heard from other competitors after the incident.

“I’ve got a lot of text messages from a lot of our peers that seem to be happy,’’ Gaughan said.

“There’s a lot of guys that don’t see eye-to-eye with Ross.’’

Chastain admits he might not be the most popular in the garage but also notes he’s not going after a popularity title.

“I race hard,’’ Chastain said. “I understand that. I know I make drivers mad. I know I make crew chiefs mad, guys thinking that I don’t get out of the way enough. It’s really hard out there to get out of the way. It’s hard for me to do that and go back to (sponsor) Flex Seal and tell them I did 100 percent and I tried to get the best finish.’’

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