BMW driver and brand ambassador Alessandro Zanardi’s start in the BMW M8 GTE at the 24 Hours of Daytona (January 26-27) is not only possible thanks to technical adjustments that BMW M Motorsport engineers made to the car, but also thanks to innovative and creative solutions for procedures during the race. Primarily, the driver changes between Zanardi and his team-mates in the #24 BMW M8 GTE require a sophisticated choreography so that they don’t waste any valuable time during the race. Driver changes between Zanardi and his team-mates John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and Chaz Mostert have been choreographed and practiced down to the last detail. “It is a dance in which the important thing is getting all the steps in exactly the right order and in the limited time that you have available,” explained Zanardi.
“So we can’t give away a single second.” To guarantee this, Zanardi, the other drivers and the entire BMW Team RLL are continually collaborating on the perfect procedure for the pit stops. The team has used the previous test drives intensively for this purpose, and the practice will continue at the race weekend. Success is already becoming apparent. “Naturally, we had to align some procedures with my special requirements, and the other drivers have to do a bit of extra work for me, but it is going very well and is a great deal of fun,” said Zanardi, emphasising: “We are already better than I would ever have thought possible.”
Here is a video illustrating the driver change procedure:
Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has signed Daniel Suárez to its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2019. The Mexican driver, who turned 27 today, will pilot the team’s No. 41 Ford Mustang with sponsorship from Haas Automation and ARRIS International PLC, joining teammates Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer.
The 2019 season will mark Suárez’s third year in the elite NASCAR Cup Series, but his first with SHR. Suárez made 72 NASCAR Cup Series starts with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017-2018 after winning the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
“This is the best birthday present I could ask for,” said Suárez, who was born Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico and now calls Huntersville, North Carolina home. “We’ve all seen how competitive Stewart-Haas Racing is – all of their drivers won last year and all of them advanced deep into the playoffs. This is the opportunity every driver wants, and now I have it. I want to deliver for this team, our partners in Haas Automation, ARRIS and Ford and, ultimately, for me. We have everything we need to be successful.”
Richard Childress, Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric look ahead to 2019, RCR’s 50th anniversary season
TO KICK OFF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN 2019, TEAM OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS, AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CAMARO ZL1, AND DANIEL HEMRIC, NO. 8 CATERPILLAR CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Full Transcript:
WINSTON KELLY: “We are here today to publicly kick off Richard Childress Racing’s 50th anniversary celebration that will begin in 2019. You may have seen last week that these cars were unveiled to the shop in Welcome, North Carolina and posted on numerous social media and other channels, but this is kind of the public coming out if you will of the 50th anniversary and also have another exciting announcement to make in just a moment.
WINSTON KELLY: “We are honored on behalf of the NASCAR Hall of Fame to announce today that Richard Childress Racing and Richard himself have invited the NASCAR Hall of Fame to partner with this 50th year celebration and our NASCAR Hall of Fame exhibits team along with the RCR team are going to co-create a special exhibit, ‘RCR 50th Only In America’ that is currently in development that will be unveiled here in May of 2019. We are delighted to be apart of that, delighted to help showcase this incredible history here at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and partnership with Richard Childress Racing.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS VIDEO AND YOU THINK OF 50 YEARS WHAT ARE YOUR EMOTIONS, YOUR THOUGHTS AS WE GO INTO 2019?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: “Well, you’ve got to look at the future always, but the future comes with history and when I look up there and think of all those times and the wins and the people and the employees and drivers and sponsors that have been responsible for RCR to be
around for 50 years, I’m just a very small part of it. I’ve been along for the ride with a lot of folks and 50 years, who would have ever dreamed? I never thought I would be alive 50 years much less celebrating 50.”
Tickets and campsites are now on sale for the two weekends of 2019 racing action at Michigan International Speedway.
Fans can visit www.mispeedway.com or call 888-905-7223 to get the best deals. Grandstand tickets start at $39 and week-long camping starts at $135.
“The 2019 NASCAR season is quickly approaching and we cannot wait to welcome all the fans to Michigan International Speedway,” track President Rick Brenner said. “We continue to create special experiences for our fans and campers for the week as NASCAR’s Most Entertaining Track.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be in the booth now, but he can't seem to stay away from a little on-track action.
Next up, the fan favorite will find himself driving the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pace truck to lead the field to green for the 61st running of Daytona 500 in February 2019. This is the first time the Daytona 500 will be paced by a pickup truck.
“I’ve had a lot of fun and a lot of success at Daytona over the years, and now I can’t wait to get out on that track in a Silverado,” said Earnhardt Jr. “Away from the track I’ve driven Chevy trucks all my life, and I’m excited to have this unique experience of pacing the Daytona 500 with the Silverado.”
Earnhardt won two Daytona 500s and two July races at Daytona in his career. He has 13 top-5 finishes and 19 top-10s in 36 Cup Series career starts at Daytona.
“Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the perfect choice to pace the race because of his enthusiasm for the sport, his long history with Chevrolet and his love of trucks,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It’ll be exciting to have Dale lead the field to green in the strongest, most advanced Silverado ever.”
The Silverado pace truck is powered by a production 6.2L V-8 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It delivers 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet has paced the Daytona 500 12 times, seven with Camaro and five with Corvette.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I’m thankful for a lot this year.
Some of those things are personal, others are professional and some involve the sport I’ve loved, followed and written about for more than half my life.
With the season wrapped up and Joey Logano having claimed his first title after a thrilling win at Homestead, here are some of the things I’m thankful for in the NASCAR world.
An exciting end to the season
I’ll start out by saying that anyone unhappy with the current playoff system, and still clinging to the old full-season points battle that was often decided before the final race was even run, is either fooling themselves or just plain unable to be happy with anything NASCAR does.
The playoffs were especially successful this year, full of exciting races and ending up with the four most deserving drivers battling for the title. We talked about the Big 3 all year, and there they were at Homestead. Joey Logano proved to be the best of the rest, and in a testament to the true fairness of the system, the guy who many fans said didn’t deserve to be there took home the crown.
In sports, going the extra mile to win should be applauded.
That could apply to an MLB outfielder stretching out for an unbelievable catch, an NFL runner shedding that one final block to reach the end zone, and many other scenarios.
One of those other scenarios, in the world of NASCAR, is executing the perfect bump-and-run to get a win at Martinsville and punch your ticket to Homestead, like Joey Logano did Sunday.
It was a brilliant move, executed by a driver who has never shied away from doing what it takes to win the race, and it was a move everyone should have anticipated, given what was on the line. Now, instead of heading into the next two races just above the cut line, Joey Logano is in the Final Four. He’s racing for a title at Homestead and can breathe easy the next two weeks (though I’m sure he’ll try to win those races too, being the competitor he is).
Denny Hamlin, who won the pole for today’s race at MIS with a lap of 210.590 mph, was happy to see some positive results after a bit of a rough stretch. He won all three segments of qualifying on Friday, and was seventh in final practice.
“These guys are really stepping up and we’re starting to make a little hay now. We love to see results when you work so hard,” Hamlin said. “The toughest part is when you work really hard and you don’t get the results and really we had unfortunate circumstances happen to us last weekend with that stop, but overall just been so happy with our performance.”
As far as the race, Hamlin knows he has to approach things a bit more measured than in qualifying.
“We have to get it driving just like it is right now – consistent and easy to drive at this point. You have to make sure you have that same sustainability in race trim for 200 laps around here.”