Joey Logano, Ryan Newman among Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalists

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On Wednesday, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the three finalists for the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, which includes Team Penske’s Joey Logano, Richard Childress Racing’s Ryan Newman and Sonoma Raceway President Steve Page.

Comcast, which owns NBCSN and NBC and sponsors NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, presents the award annually to recognize the philanthropic efforts of individuals within the NASCAR industry.

The award is in its fourth year and gives $60,000 to the winner’s affiliated charity and $30,000 on behalf of the two remaining finalists’ selected charities. The 2018 winner will be announced on Nov. 15 at W South Beach Hotel in Miami as part of the NASCAR Championship Weekend.

Below are profiles on each finalist. Watch the above video for more on Newman’s charity.

Ryan Newman – Newman and wife Krissie founded Rescue Ranch, an 87-acre facility that works to promote respect for all animals, the earth and the environment through a wide variety of educational programs in the community, in 2012. The Ranch is home to more than 85 animals that receive around-the-clock care, and serves as host to various school curriculum-based field trips, Scout badge programs, summer camps and more. In an effort to increase programs available to children and adults with special needs, Ryan and Krissie raised $500,000 for an inclusive playground where kids of all abilities can play together. The Ranch also incorporated additional Special Needs Summer Camp weeks to create more opportunities for children to have a successful camp experience.

Most recently, Rescue Ranch provided Search and Rescue aid to animals affected by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, and is continuing to gather and donate items needed for their care to the community. When he’s not on the track, Newman dedicates his time to maintaining the Rescue Ranch grounds to provide a safe environment for the animals, as well as a fun and educational atmosphere for the children who visit. Outside of Rescue Ranch, Newman plays an active role in supporting the NASCAR Green initiative, helping to plant trees with the Arbor Day Foundation in various regions across the country to honor fallen soldiers.

Joey Logano – Founded the Joey Logano Foundation in 2013 to support organizations across the United States that provide aid to children and young adults during times of crisis offering them a second chance. Since its inception, the Joey Logano Foundation has invested more than $2.7 million to hundreds of organizations through a multitude charitable programs. The Joey Logano Foundation created the JL Kids Crew to help provide opportunities for children with serious illnesses to spend time at the race track and be part of the No. 22 race team. Part of this special race package includes Logano gifting each JL Kids Crew recipient with their own matching fire suit and placing their names on his No. 22 Ford Fusion.

Through JLF’s Grant Funding Program, the Foundation delivers grants to organizations dedicated to helping families that care for sick children, foster children and children of veterans. Over the course of the NASCAR season, the Joey Logano Foundation also has a program that brings Comfort Care Backpacks to multiple race markets. The Joey Logano Foundation has donated over 600 backpacks filled with essentials to underprivileged, foster and terminally ill children. The Joey Logano Foundation also uses its powerful platform during NASCAR’s playoffs to aid 10 non-profit organizations in 10 different NASCAR markets, via their Chasing Second Chances program, an effort to help racing communities prosper.

Steve Page – Page has shown long-standing commitment to the people of Northern California through his work with the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, along with his efforts to assist in supporting and rebuilding areas affected by last October’s devastating wildfires. To help provide relief to those impacted by widespread fires, Page opened the gates of Sonoma Raceway to provide a refuge for those who were evacuated from their homes, hosting more than 100 campers and serving as a temporary evacuation center.

Page, whose family was also evacuated, served meals and sorted donations to provide clothing and necessities to evacuees. He also helped mobilize the local community in thanking public safety personnel, spearheading a “Laps of Appreciation” fundraiser that generated more than $72,000 for the Sonoma County Resilience Fund and the Redwood Valley and Santa Rosa Community Recovery Fund. Throughout the raceway’s NASCAR race weekend in June, Page oversaw “Sonoma Rising,” an initiative designed to honor fire survivors, salute first responders and lend support to the North Bay’s ongoing rebuilding efforts.

As part of that effort, the raceway distributed more than 1,100 tickets to allow fire survivors to attend the 2018 race at no cost. Since 2001, Page and Speedway Children’s Charities have distributed more than $6 million to Sonoma County organizations that serve local youth. This year the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities established a ‘Fire Resilience Fund’ to distribute grants to youth-serving groups that have increased or created programs to support the amplified needs after the fires.

eNASCAR Pro Invitational Qualifier to be streamed online

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The qualifying race for Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway will be streamed on enascar.com/live, NASCAR announced.

The qualifier features Xfinity, Truck and regional series drivers looking to advance to the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race that will be at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox, FS1 and the Fox Sports App. At this time, four drivers from the qualifier will advance. That number could change depending on any late additions or drops to the race featuring Cup drivers.

MORE: Roush, Greg Biffle reunite for eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race

MORE: North Wilkesboro to make its comeback on iRacing 

MORE: eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series reminds Clint Bowyer of being a rookie

The qualifier is scheduled to take place at 11:02 a.m. ET and have 34 drivers battling for those four transfer spots.

The qualifier will be 30 laps at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway. The race will have no cautions.

Practice begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Qualifying begins at 10:55 a.m., lasting five minutes, followed by the race.

Last week, six drivers advanced from the qualifier to the main event. They were: Anthony Alfredo, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ty Majeski and Ryan Truex.

Drivers scheduled to compete in Sunday’s qualifier at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway are (with car number):

02 – Spencer Boyd

7 – Justin Allgaier

08 – Jeb Burton

15 – Brennan Poole

16 – Justin Haley

22 – Austin Cindric

23 – Sam Mayer

26 – Tyler Ankrum

27 – Ruben Garcia

29  – Kaz Grala

29a – Trevor Bayne

33 – Anthony Alfredo

35 – Todd Gilliland

36 – Jesse Iwuji

40 – Ryan Truex

45 – Ty Majeski

46 – Chandler Smith

50 – Jeffrey Earnhardt

52 – Stewart Friesen

53 – Joey Gase

54 – Kyle Weatherman

63 – Scott Stenzel

68 – Brandon Brown

74 – Sheldon Creed

78 – Ryan Ellis

80 – Joe Graf Jr.

81 – Christian Eckes

90 – Alex Labbe

93 – Myatt Snider

98 – Chase Briscoe

99 – Harrison Burton

TBD – Derek Kraus

TBD – Drew Dollar

TBD – JJ Yeley

March 28 in NASCAR history: Texas Terry Labonte gets a home win

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Terry Labonte’s last two Cup Series wins were anything but forgettable.

The last one, in 2003, came in the Southern 500. That was the same race he earned his first Cup win in way back in 1980.

But four years earlier, the two-time champion got a home win.

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, the driver nicknamed “Texas Terry” claimed a victory in the 1999 race at Texas Motor Speedway. It was just the third Cup race held at the facility after it opened in 1997.

Labonte started fourth and would lead 124 of 334 laps around the 1.5-mile track, including the final 12 after he passed Dale Jarrett on the outside going into Turn 1 for the lead.

Jarrett wouldn’t get a chance to fight for the lead again. With four laps to go, Jimmy Spencer crashed on the frontstretch to bring out the caution. Labonte took the checkered and yellow flags together for his 21st Cup win.

“We picked places to go test this year and I said ‘I want to go here cause this is a race I want to win,” Labonte told CBS. “Besides Daytona, coming here to Texas is awesome.”

Making the day even better for the Labonte family was Terry’s younger brother, Bobby, placing third.

Also on this day:

1954: The premier series held two races on different sides of the country. Dick Rathmann won a 125-mile race at Oakland Speedway in California after starting last. In Georgia, Al Keller won his first career race at Savannah’s Oglethorpe Speedway.

1982: Sam Ard claimed his first career Xfinity Series win in a race at Martinsville Speedway. Ard would go on to win 22 Xfinity races and the championships in 1983 and 1984.

1992: Robert Pressley passed Harry Gant on the last lap to win the Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.

1993: Dale Earnhardt came back from a lap down to win at Darlington Raceway. It was his first win since the Coca-Cola 600 10 months earlier. Alan Kulwicki finished sixth in what would be his last race before his death in a plane crash on April 1.

2004: Kurt Busch won at Bristol for his third consecutive victory on the half-mile track.

Roush, Biffle reunite for eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race

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After four years, Roush Fenway Racing and Greg Biffle are getting the band back together … digitally.

Roush Fenway Racing announced its former driver will compete in Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event on a digital Texas Motor Speedway.

Like he did in the Cup Series from 2003-2016, Biffle will pilot a No. 16 Ford in the race (1 p.m. ET on Fox and FS1).

“How exciting is it to get back behind the wheel of the No. 16,” Biffle said in a press release. “I watched the iRace last week on TV and I was really impressed with the overall quality of the broadcast and the racing. It was just a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the show this weekend.

“We are running a really cool Castrol scheme on the car. I think it’s going to show up really well. My plan is to log a ton of practice time leading up to the race, so hopefully we can have a strong showing and you’ll see a lot of the Castrol green and red on the broadcast.”

This will be Biffle’s iRacing event debut.

After parting ways with Roush Fenway Racing after the 2016 season, Biffle returned to NASCAR last year for a one-off Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway with Kyle Busch Motorsports, which he won.

NASCAR teams impacted by North Carolina stay at home order

Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP
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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a stay at home order for the entire state of North Carolina, beginning at 5 p.m. ET Monday because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order is for 30 days.

The move impacts all NASCAR teams based in North Carolina.

“These are tough directives, but I need you to take them seriously,” Gov. Cooper said in afternoon news briefing.

MORE: N.C. Governor enlists Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson for COVID-19 PSA

MORE: North Carolina stay at home order

The order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least six feet away from each other. The order requires all residents to stay at home except for essential activities. The order states: “non-essential business and operations must cease.”

The order also states that among the definitions for an essential business and operation is “Businesses that meet Social Distancing Requirements. Businesses, not-for-profit organizations or educational institutions that conduct operations while maintaining Social Distancing Requirements:

a. Between and among its employees; and

b. Between and among employees and customers except at the point of sale or purchase.”

Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County, which are home to such race teams as Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing, were already under a stay at home order through April 16.

By the end of the week, more than 20 states will have issued stay at home orders, including California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Ohio.