National Motorsports Press Association

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Kurt Busch honored for KB 100 ticket program for military members

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Kurt Busch has been selected as the recipient of the National Motor Press Association Pocono Spirit Award for the third quarter of 2019 for his work with military members and their families.

Through his KB 100 program, Busch has made 100 race tickets available to military personnel for every Cup race this season.

The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.

Also receiving votes for the third quarter award were Daniel Hemric and Kyle Larson.

Hemric was nominated for creating the “Be the Change Scholarship” with the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation in Rowan County in North Carolina.

Larson was nominated for his work with Credit One Bank for a donation of $25,000 to Meeting Street Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2018 and 2019.

Ryan Blaney Foundation recognized as first quarter NMPA Spirit Award winner

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The Ryan Blaney Foundation has been named the winner of the First Quarter National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award.

Blaney, who competes for Team Penske in the Cup Series, is being recognized for commissioning Gateway Bronco in Hamel, Illinois, to build a one-of-a-kind 1974 Ford Bronco that will be sold at Barrett-Jackson’s 2020 Scottsdale Auction to support the Alzheimer’s Association.

The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.

“June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and I’ll be joining the Alzheimer’s Association in honoring my grandfather, Lou Blaney, who I lost to the disease,” Blaney said in a media release. “We want to encourage NASCAR fans to raise awareness for the disease by sharing their stories and who they are honoring during the month on social media using the hashtag #ENDALZ and tagging the Alzheimer’s Association.”

Other nominees receiving votes for the first quarter award were:

Chase Elliott‘s DESI9N TO DRIVE Auction where drivers wore special shoes in Cup series competition at Atlanta Motor Speedway designed by patients of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

— The Menard Family Foundation, which seek to enhance lives through medicine and medical research, education, music and the arts and also directs service to the poor and underserved.

Jeff Gordon would be ‘truly honored’ to take on ownership of Hendrick Motorsports

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At some point, Jeff Gordon could be introduced as the owner of Hendrick Motorsports.

If that moment comes, the four-time Cup champion said he would be “truly honored” to take the reign from the team’s founder, Rick Hendrick.

Gordon, who is a minority owner of the team he drove full-time for from 1993-2015, addressed his potential future Sunday before his induction into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame and his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Hendrick himself made waves in December when he indicated Gordon could take over for him.

“That’s the way we’re going. Whenever I finally step away, it’ll be Jeff Gordon in my place,” Hendrick was quoted as saying in an Autoweek feature. The story focused on how Cup teams are planning for the future with aging owners.

Hendrick, who has owned Hendrick Motorsports since 1984, turns 70 in July. Gordon, 47, has been an analyst for Fox Sports since 2016 and recently signed a multi-year extension with the network.

Gordon said he and Hendrick have been talking about his potential future since three years before he retired.

“I went to Rick and told him what I wanted to do and felt like it was the right time,” Gordon said. “I felt like things were starting to line up with Chase Elliott. So those things were playing out well timing-wise for me and I thought for Hendrick. Because I have so much respect for the organization, being not just an equity owner but what they’ve done for me, what that organization did for my career, I feel like I owe that back to them to be respectful and to try and give all that I can back to it to continue to see it be successful even when I stepped away.”

At the time of their conversation, Gordon didn’t think Hendrick was ready to step aside and they agreed going into TV would be good branding for Gordon and HMS.

Their conversations have continued through his first three seasons with Fox, a job Gordon said “suits me well.”

“I just told him, ‘Rick, I’m really liking TV. And I don’t think you’re quite ready and I don’t know if I’m quite ready to move into that role, so I’m probably going to sign an extension or new contract with Fox to keep doing that,'” Gordon said. “So of course I told him that and then he went and put that out in there in the media.”

Gordon doesn’t know exactly what will come of his ownership talks with Hendrick, but that “I can see in the future that interesting me a lot,” Gordon said.

Gordon also advocates for more teams having former drivers with business savvy in leadership roles.

“We need more guys like Tony (Stewart), like myself, others who are racers that get the business side of it,” Gordon said. “They see the business side of it and have somebody, a mentor like a Rick Hendrick, like a Jack Roush or a Roger Penske or whoever it may be to be able to form who that person can be to take over that role.”

Gordon said the “greatest news” coming out of the ownership speculation is that Hendrick “doesn’t want to see the destiny of Hendrick end any time soon.

“If that day ever comes, I would be truly honored even though I don’t think I can do the job that he’s done.”

Should he one day take up Hendrick’s mantle, Gordon noted that he’d finally have to work for a living.

“That would be the first time other than when my parents made me sweep floors and run the machine shop … when I was a kid during summers that I actually had a real job,” Gordon said. “‘Cause running a race team or being in that role in a race team, that is a real job.”

NBCSN to broadcast special NASCAR America, Cup Awards at 8 p.m. ET

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NBCSN will have complete coverage of tonight’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards from Las Vegas, as the sport salutes Joey Logano‘s championship.

A special edition NASCAR America will air at 8 p.m. ET. with red carpet coverage. Carolyn Manno hosts and is joined by Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman. Marty Snider will be on the red carpet for driver interviews. Reigning Daytona 500 champion Austin Dillon also will serve as a reporter on the red carpet.

The Awards show airs at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Rutledge Wood and Kelli Stavast host. Along with honoring Logano, the show will feature the announcement of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Most Popular Driver. With Dale Earnhardt Jr. an analyst for NBC Sports, his streak of 15 consecutive Most Popular Driver awards will end.

Kyle Petty Charity Ride receives National Motorsports Press Association Spirit Award

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The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has been named the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award recipient for the second quarter of 2017.

The Charity Ride celebrated its 23rd anniversary this year, raising $1.3 million for the Victory Junction Gang Camp (the highest total since 2008), as motorcyclists rode from Portland, Oregon to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Charity Ride was one of three nominees for the second-quarter award voted upon by NMPA members. The other two nominees were Speedway Children’s Charities and NASCAR Cup driver Kevin Harvick.

According to the NMPA, the Spirit Award “recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.”

Renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass was the first quarter recipient of the Spirit Award.

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