Andy Houston

Veteran NASCAR spotters not returning to 2019 roles

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Joey Meier, veteran spotter for NASCAR Cup driver Paul Menard and others, announced Sunday night on Twitter that he will be leaving the sport after nearly a quarter-century of service.

“All good things must come to an end” Meier (pictured above) wrote. “My ‘good thing’ for the past 23 years has come to an end … my choice this time.”

Meier said he will devote all of his energies going forward to flying airplanes.

“NASCAR was in my life WAY before Aviation, but flying is my profession,” Meier wrote. “NASCAR was just a huge bonus. I’ll leave knowing I always tried my best (Thx to Big E and Pops) … being a small part of Wins and Championships, in all 3 series. … BUT it was more about being a part of a TEAM, thru thick/then, winning/defeat/flying/spotting, I cherished being part of THE TEAM. I will miss that. But that’s OK.

“I’m excited about my new team & a new cockpit. Thank you for following along. Keep it up. I’ll stay busy keeping the “BLUE SIDE UP” from here on out, I promise.”

Meier took over as spotter for Menard this season after spotting for Brad Keselowski from 2006 through the end of the 2018 season. He won NASCAR championships with Ron Hornaday, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Keselowski, as well as also winning the Daytona 500 with Michael Waltrip. Among the notable team owners he worked for over the years were NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and Roger Penske.

Also, Andy Houston, who had spotted for Austin Dillon for the last nine seasons, announced Sunday on Twitter that he also would no longer be serving in that role. Houston will be Cup rookie Cole Custer‘s spotter in 2020.

Snowball Derby change has Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott disagreeing

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Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott exchanged differences of opinion Sunday on social media to a rule change the Snowball Derby will have this season.

The 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, which is hosted by Five Flags Speedway, will go with a controlled caution format in an effort to save teams money, according to a report by Speed51.com.

That means drivers pitting will not lose positions to other cars that pit during the same caution. It also means that no car may lose a lap while pitting under caution. The result is that there isn’t as great of a need to hire a specialized pit crew for the Super Late Model showcase event.

Tim Bryant, promoter of the Snowball Derby and Five Flags Speedway, told Speed51.com that the move was made to save teams money.

“We know that the Snowball Derby is a costly event for the teams to participate in,” Bryant told Speed51.com.  We are in constant search of ways to make it less expensive for competitors. … The importance of length of time on pit road has gone to the extreme. The cost of a high-paid pit crew was never intended for this level of racing.”

The decision was discussed on social media and included Kyle Busch, who won the event in 2009 and 2017 as a driver and had Noah Gragson win in 2018 with Kyle Busch Motorsports, and Chase Elliott, who won the Snowball Derby in 2011 and ’15. Elliott also won the 2013 Snowball Derby but was disqualified after his car failed post-race inspection.

Busch didn’t like the decision by Snowball Derby officials to do away with live pit stops. His comments led Elliott, Corey LaJoie, crew chief Chris Gabehart and Andy Houston, spotter for Austin Dillon, to join the discussion.