Guide to NASCAR’s hurricane relief efforts (video)

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The city of Houston and its surrounding areas are still in the early stages of the recovery process from Hurricane Harvey, the Category 4 hurricane that impacted the Texas coast last week.

At the same time, the state of Florida is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Irma this weekend.

Multiple drivers and teams in NASCAR are doing their part to help those in need by establishing relief funds, food drives and other means for helping victims of the hurricane.

Here’s a look at different ways NASCAR is helping.

Richmond Raceway

The track and Team Penske’s Joey Logano have partnered to host a silent auction to support hurricane relief efforts prior to Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 . The silent auction will include original pieces of race memorabilia from Team Penske, Richmond Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Furniture Row Racing and other NASCAR teams with proceeds donated to the American Red Cross. The silent auction will be held from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Commonwealth Mall outside The Classic Amphitheater.

Talladega Superspeedway/Atlanta Motor Speedway/Charlotte Motor Speedway/Bristol Motor Speedway 

Both Atlanta and Talladega have opened their campgrounds free of charge to evacuees from the path of Hurricane Irma.

Charlotte Motor Speedway will open its Rock City Campground beginning at 7 a.m. Friday morning for evacuees heading north or inland from Hurricane Irma.

Accommodations will be available as long as possible prior to potential landfall. Evacuees should access Rock City Campground off Bruton Smith Boulevard through Entrance Z and will have access to bathhouse facilities on speedway property.

Evacuees are asked to check in at the ticket office on the second floor of Smith Tower at the speedway’s main entrance, starting as early as Friday morning. After-hour arrivals will be handled by Charlotte Motor Speedway security.

Bristol Motor Speedway’s campgrounds also opened Friday.

Brennan Poole/Chip Ganassi Racing

Brennan Poole, driver of Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 48 car in the Xfinity Series, once lived in The Woodlands, Texas, which is about 30 miles from downtown Houston.

Poole and his girlfriend, Lindsey Giannini, have started a drive called “Poole for Texas” which collects food and funds for the Houston Food Bank.

Containers for non-perishable foods were collected at CGR’s Concord, North Carolina, shop on Wednesday.

For those wishing to make a cash or check donation, there will be a collection box in the CGR gift shop available until Sept. 13. Checks should be made out to the Houston Food Bank.

Online monetary donations can be made through a youcaring.com page. Just $1 is good for three meals. The highest fund contribution will receive a piece of Brennan’s car.

First Data, which sponsors Kyle Larson and the fall race at Martinsville Speedway, is helping business owners in “FEMA defined coverage areas.”

Hendrick Motorsports

All four of Hendrick’s driver have established a relief fund with a goal of raising $500,00o in the next two weeks.

Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott have contributed a combined $200,000 to establish the fund and are now encouraging the public to join the effort by making a donation before midnight ET on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Tax-deductible contributions can be made by visiting HendrickRelief.org.

Hendrick Automotive has also pledged $100,000 to the fund.

All donations to the campaign will benefit qualified charitable organizations supporting disaster relief efforts, including the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which is housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

On Thursday, members of Johnson’s pit crew volunteered at a Lowe’s to help prepare supplies for hurricane victims.

Joey Logano/Shell

Shell, Logano’s primary sponsor, has donated $1 million to the America Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey disaster relief fund. Logano has donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross and opened a donation portal through the Joey Logano Foundation to collect funds on behalf of the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief.

All proceeds donated through JLF this month will go to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey disaster relief fund.

Logano will have a Red Cross-inspired red-and-white paint scheme Saturday at Richmond Raceway that will raise awareness for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Stewart-Haas Racing

Two sponsors for SHR are involved in relief efforts.

Code 3 Associates, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization specializing in animal rescue and recovery in disaster areas, is deployed in Southeast Texas and is also preparing to respond to Hurricane Irma.

Anheuser-Busch will deliver five extra truckloads – over 255,000 cans – of emergency drinking water to Houston, Corpus Christi and Austin.

Due to very high levels of demand for emergency drinking water supplies, the Cartersville, Georgia, brewery will pause beer production on Monday to produce more clean, safe emergency drinking water.

Tony Gibson, crew chief for Kurt Busch, and his wife Beth Gibson, donated a pallet of water, diapers and wipes to be delivered to Texas last weekend.

Leavine Family Racing

LFR and driver Michael McDowell have teamed up with Convoy of Hope and donated to Hurricane Harvey relief. Texas is home to the Leavines.

Convoy of Hope will be included on McDowell’s No. 95 Chevrolet this weekend at Richmond.

Via Leavine Family Racing

Elliott Sadler

The JR Motorsports driver donated his winnings from Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Darlington to relief efforts.

David Starr

A native of Houston, Starr has donated “a substantial amount of money” to the American Red Cross and will return to his home city next week to lend a hand.

Furniture Row

The parent company of Furniture Row Racing is donating $1 million in bedding to hurricane victims in Texas and Louisiana to be distributed through their partner World Vision, and in turn their community partners.

The company also had a disaster relief campaign with World Vision so people can donate directly through Furniture Row’s site. Here is a direct link: www.worldvision.org/furniturerow.

Matt Kenseth/Toyota

Kenseth will drive the Hurricane Harvey Relief Toyota this weekend at Richmond.

The Toyota Mothers of Invention (MOI) program recognizes women who actively contribute through innovation, entrepreneurship and invention. Select MOIs with ties to disaster response and relief have sprung into action, finding ways to solve steep challenges resulting from the disaster situation in south Texas and Louisiana.

Toyota is partnering with DayOne Response and Well Aware, an Austin-based MOI organization that will assist with training and water distribution, along with LuminAID to bring water purification bags, portable phone chargers and lanterns to those affected by Harvey:

DayOne Response: Invented a water filtration bag that takes 30 minutes to purify water. One bag will provide clean drinking water for a family of four for two months. There are approximately 10,000 people in Houston in need of access to clean water while infrastructure is restored.
LuminAID: Invented lightweight, long-lasting, solar-charged lanterns and portable phone chargers to aid those without electricity during disaster situations.

Richard Childress Racing

The team began collecting bottled water and individual snack packages for Harvey relief on Wednesday. People can bring their donations to the RCR Museum and put them in a tractor-trailer the team has commissioned. RCR is not asking for clothes or non-perishable food – it will not make it to Texas.

Power rankings after Bristol: Brad Keselowski is new No. 1

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Kevin Harvick is out and Bristol winner Brad Keselowski is the new No. 1 in this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Keselowski was the unanimous pick of NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers. Harvick had been the unanimous No. 1 the last two weeks. He falls to second in this week’s rankings.

Kurt Busch made the biggest climb, going from 10th last week to No. 4 in this week’s rankings. Three drivers dropped out of the top 10 from last week: Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Tyler Reddick.

Here’s how this week’s rankings look:

1. Brad Keselowski (30 points): Right place, right time at Bristol, taking advantage of contact between Chase Elliott and Joey Logano to sail on to victory lane for second time in last three races. Last week: second.

2. Kevin Harvick (26 points): Saw his streak of 13 consecutive top 10s end at Bristol with an 11th-place finish. Last week: first.

3. Chase Elliott (25 points): Won once in the past week and was in contention for a second win until he hit Joey Logano late at Bristol. Last week: tied for third.

4. Kurt Busch (20 points): The elder Busch brother has gone from third to 10th and back up to fourth in the last three power rankings. Last week: 10th.

5. Jimmie Johnson (14 points): The seven-time champ has been knocking on victory’s door for each of the last four weeks, including finishing a season-best third at Bristol. Is that 104-race winless streak ready to end? Last week: unranked.

(tie) 6. Kyle Busch (13 points): Rebounded from a cut tire and 29th-place finish at the second Charlotte race to take fourth at Bristol. Last week: tied for third.

(tie) 6. Austin Dillon (13 points): Eighth at second Charlotte race and followed up with a strong sixth at Bristol. Last week: unranked.

8. Denny Hamlin (11 points): Much like the rest of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, his streak of up-and-down results continues. Runner-up at second Charlotte race and 17th at Bristol after a late incident. Last week: seventh.

9. Ryan Blaney (4 points): Continues his search for consistency. Finished third at second Charlotte and was strong at Bristol until spinning while running second and then was hit, ending his race. Last week: unranked.

10. Christopher Bell (3 points): After rough first five races of rookie season, has bounced back with three finishes of 11th or better in his last four races. Last week: ninth.

Others receiving votes: Austin Cindric (2 points), William Byron (1 point).

Reports: Nashville Superspeedway to host Cup race in 2021

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NASCAR will race at Nashville Superspeedway in 2021, according to multiple reports Tuesday night.

The Tennessean reported that a “very tentative” date of June 20, 2021 has been set for the Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tennessee.

The Nashville race will come from one of Dover International Speedway’s two race dates, according to The Associated Press.

Such a move likely means that Speedway Motorsports’ efforts to bring NASCAR back to Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville will not take place in 2021.

Nashville Superspeedway, a 1.333-mile oval, is owned by Dover Motorsports, which also owns Dover International Speedway. The track hosted Xfinity and Gander RV & Outdoors Series races from 2001-11.

The Associated Press stated that the idea of Nashville Superspeedway hosting NASCAR races again came after the city hosted the Cup Awards in December for the first time.

“Especially after the awards banquet, it was, how do we get to Nashville as soon as we possibly can?” Dover CEO Mike Tatoian told The Associated Press. “It made it a fairly easy discussion that it was through Dover Motorsports.”

Tatoian told the AP that updating the track would cost $8-10 million. He also stated that capacity would be between 25,000-50,000.

Dover has hosted two Cup races a year since 1971. It has had a race weekend postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dover is expected to host a Cup doubleheader Aug. 22-23.

“It looks more and more like we’ll be hosting a doubleheader,” Tatoian told the AP. “That’s a strong scenario and that’s what we’re focused on.”

Penalty report from Bristol Motor Speedway

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NASCAR has issued its penalty report for the Bristol Motor Speedway race weekend.

The only penalty was a $10,000 fine for Chris Gayle, crew chief on Erik Jones‘ No. 20 Toyota, for having one unsecured lug nut after Sunday’s Cup Series race.

 

Stats, Quotes and Moments: The NASCAR Cup Season So Far

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The first nine races of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season have been a long, strange trip.

Beginning with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 16 – a race that concluded the following Monday due to rain – and ending with Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, it took 106 days to conduct nine races at seven race tracks. That was after NASCAR endured a 71-day COVID-19 imposed break from action.

Here’s a look back at the first quarter of the season and where the series stands ahead of race No. 10 Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on Fox).

Key stats

– Through nine races there have been six different winners and three repeat winners. Not among them are three of the last four Cup champions: Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr.  Since Truex’s rookie year in 2006, this is the first time all three have been winless through the ninth race of the year.

– Due to COVID-19, the Cup Series held a Wednesday race for the first time since 1984.

– The three races on 1.5-mile tracks have seen three different winners: Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott. They are part of a stretch of nine different winners in the last nine races on 1.5-mile tracks. The last time there was nine in a row was in 2008-09. The last time there was more than nine was 2001-02 when there was 10.

– Elliott, who has just one win, has the best average running position: 7.748.

– The driver with the best average average finish who hasn’t won yet is Kurt Busch: 11.6

– Only four out of 19 times has a stage winner finished in the top 10 (Hamlin won after winning Stage 2 at Daytona, Alex Bowman won after winning Stage 1 at Auto Club Speedway and Harvick finished second at Phoenix after winning Stage 1 and Logano finished sixth after winning Stage 1 at Charlotte 2).

Chase Elliott after winning Thursday’s Cup Series race at Charlotte. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

– The Stage 2 winner has finished 11th or worse in each of the last eight races.

– Hendrick Motorsports has led the most laps this year (780) and won the most stages (10), but has just two race wins.

– 21st: Matt Kenseth‘s average finish in his five races driving Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 car after replacing Kyle Larson. Larson was fired by CGR in the aftermath of his use of a racial slur in an iRacing event in April.

Key Moments

– Daytona 500: After a push from Ryan Blaney gave Ryan Newman the lead on the last lap, a violent wreck coming to the checkered flag resulted in Denny Hamlin earning his third Daytona 500 win and Newman being taken to the hospital with a bruised brain. He walked out of the hospital two days later with his daughters. Newman missed the next three races and returned at Darlington on May 17.

– Las Vegas: Ryan Blaney was leading late when a caution came out for a Ross Chastain spin. It set up a two-lap shootout for the win. When pit road opened, Blaney and Alex Bowman, who was running second, both went to pit road. Joey Logano, running third, stayed out. Logano went on to win and Blaney finished 11th.

– Darlington 1: Denny Hamlin stayed out under a late caution due to having run out of fresh tires. Hamlin held onto the lead for one lap until a caution came out for an incident between Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott. During the caution, it began raining and the race was made official, giving Hamlin the win.

– Coca-Cola 600: Chase Elliott was three laps away from winning when the caution came out for his teammate, William Byron, spinning after cutting a tire. Elliott’s team chose to pit for tires as a majority of the leaders stayed out. After restarting 11th, Elliott could only race back to third place (before Jimmie Johnson’s disqualification) in overtime as Brad Keselowski won.

Key quotes

“We were in a position to finish it off, and we got destroyed for no reason. You would think these guys would be smarter than that. We all cause wrecks. I get in wrecks all the time and I cause them. The same one over and over again. It’s the same thing. Somebody throws a stupid block that’s never going to work and wrecks half the field and then goes ‘eh’. Maybe we need to take the helmets out of these cars and take the seat belts out. Somebody will get hurt and then we’ll stop driving like assholes. I don’t know. We’ll figure it out I guess.” – Brad Keselowski after he was eliminated in a large wreck in the Busch Clash, which began when his teammate Joey Logano threw “a stupid block.”

“I thought it was warranted, and he was deserving.” – Chase Elliott on the middle finger he displayed at Kyle Busch following the contact between the two drivers that wrecked Elliott late in the May 20 race at Darlington.

“Imitation is the strongest form of flattery or something, I don’t know what it is. Huh, that’s cute.” – Kyle Busch upon being informed Chase Elliott performed his trademark bow after beating him in the May 26 Truck Series race at Charlotte, which earned Elliott (and a COVID-19 relief effort of his choice) a $100,000 bounty for beating Busch.

“He wrecked me. He got loose underneath me. The part that’s frustrating is that afterwards a simple apology, like be a man and come up to someone and say, ‘Hey, my bad.’  But I had to force an apology, which, to me, is childish. …  I passed him clean. It’s hard racing at the end, I get that. It’s hard racing, but, golly, man, be a man and take the hit when you’re done with it.” – Joey Logano after Sunday’s race at Bristol, when contact from Chase Elliott while racing for the lead took them out of contention