Fans have the opportunity to drive the high banks on the two-mile oval at Michigan International Speedway in 2016 and they can take a behind the scenes tour of the entire facility. In 2016, guests can experience both on the same day as the speedway will host track laps and track tours together on the following days:
-- May 26
-- June 16
-- July 12
-- August 11
-- September 15
Track laps at MIS return in 2016 where fans will have the chance to drive on the two-mile racetrack. Laps will take place from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Guests who wish to do both the track laps and track tours will be slotted to drive the track from 12:30 – 1 p.m. This will allow you to be ready for the Track Tour at 1:30 p.m.
When I saw the name of NASCAR's CEO Brian France trending on Twitter, I knew something wasn't right -- he's not famous enough to trend unless he did something completely off the reservation.
And when I clicked on it, I was right -- he (along with racers Bill Elliott, Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott and David Ragan) had publicly endorsed Donald Trump, giving the world the impression that the sport and its fans are supporters of a guy who has support from white supremacist groups and has openly denounced most minority groups in one way or another. ... Not exactly a good PR move for the sport you're supposed to be attempting to grow the audience. Despite NASCAR's assertion that this is a "private personal decision by Brian," it appears quite the opposite to everyone in the world who read about it.
Here are the facts:
-- Jimmie Johnson has tied Dale Earnhardt on the all-time wins list with his 76th race win. He will most certainly win many more and possibly approach triple digits in race wins before he retires.
-- Jimmie Johnson has six Cup titles, and one more will tie him with Earnhardt (and he's now in the Chase and could do it as soon as this year.)
-- It's possible Jimmie Johnson will not only tie Earnhardt and Petty's 7 titles, but blow past it and win 8 or more. He's just as strong a driver now as he was when he started fifteen years ago.
After the win Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Johnson honored Earnhardt on track and was humble about his accomplishment:
"I entered the sport just hoping I could win a race and keep a job for a few years, and to have 76 and tie Dale Earnhardt Sr is something I'm very, very proud of. I didn't have a chance to race against him, unfortunately, but today ‑‑ there's been a big void in my mind about not having that chance to race against him, and it was literally a handful of months away from having that opportunity. So to tie him today, for myself personally, it gives me a little something ‑‑ it's a little bit of attachment to the great Dale Earnhardt and something I'm very proud of," Johnson said.
TONY STEWART, Co-Owner, Stewart-Haas Racing – CAN YOU EXPAND ON THE DECISION TO SWITCH TO FORD IN 2017? “First and foremost, I want to recognize our relationship and successes with Chevrolet. They’ve been an awesome partner and we’ve done a lot of special things together, including two championships and a ton of races. We hope to do that again this year. As far as moving forward, this is a constantly evolving sport. From our side with the ownership and senior management we try to make decisions that best position us for the future, so we consider our partners, our drivers, and our employees when we think of these strategies. We feel this future relationship with Ford provides us with a bright future, great stability for SHR, and an opportunity to compete at a very top level in the sport. We’re obviously very excited about it.
Put this one on the list of "things I never thought I'd see happen"
Breaking news out of Dearborn is that Stewart-Haas Racing, tied to Chevy since its inception, is now switching to Ford starting in 2017. Drivers Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch will sport the Blue Oval starting at Daytona next year, upsetting the apple cart big time in the world of NASCAR's top series.
For the fourth consecutive year, a Chevrolet SS will lead the field to the green flag for the season-opening Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway. This year, Rookie of the Year contender, Chase Elliott, put the Bowtie Brand in the top spot for the Great American Race with a lap of 45.845 seconds/ 196.314 mph in his No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS.
“This is a very, very cool day,” said Elliott. “I don’t know that this opportunity has sunk in yet, much less sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500. So this is very cool. I think the big thing is just the team and the Daytona 500 qualifying is about the team guys and the effort they put into these cars and it’s nothing special I did, it’s really what kind of work they did this off-season to make it happen. Jeff (Gordon) knows all about that and I just wanted to give a big thanks to NAPA Auto Parts and all of our partners at HMS on this No. 24 Chevrolet. This is very special and a great way to start the season.”
Elliott becomes the sixth rookie to win the pole for the Daytona 500 and the youngest at 20 years, two months and 20 days of age. This is the third time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history that the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet SS will start from the first starting position for the Daytona 500.
Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske, is celebrating his 50th Anniversary in motorsports. He held a Q&A session as part of the annual Charlotte Media Tour to talk about his career and other topics.
ROGER PENSKE, Owner, Team Penske – WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN LOOKING AT 50 YEARS IN MOTORSPORTS? “I think about all the great people that have worked for the company and have driven these race cars. We’ve had 85 drivers in our 430 wins and, to me, it’s all about those guys that have put their necks on the line and the crew chiefs. I think tonight at our 50th Anniversary we’ll have 3,200 years of service at Penske Racing represented, so that, to me, is low turnover and great results.”
IS THERE A MOMENT THAT IS QUINTESSENTIAL OF TEAM PENSKE OVER THOSE 50 YEARS? “You have to think about the first time we won the Indy 500. That’s pretty special when you think about 1972, but each one of those victories – the 16 that we’ve had – are something special, the Sprint Cup championship, the Sebring 12-Hour race, and just on and on and on. The Daytona 500s. I don’t really have a favorite because each time we win that’s my favorite day because, as I said to someone else, that’s my fishing trip on the weekends when I go to the races.”
HOW SPECIAL IS THE DAYTONA 500 IN YOUR GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS? “When you think about Daytona my first entry as a car owner was back in the early sixties with a Corvette at Daytona for the 24 Hours and we won in class, if you can believe it. I remember, I think the sponsorship was $2500, so to think you were there in that class win with a Corvette and coming back and winning both with Ryan and Joey was something special because it means so much to see what Daytona means to NASCAR.”
History is repeating itself when it comes to preparing the new NASCAR Fusion for its competition debut in February at Daytona Speedweeks.
Much like three years ago, when NASCAR allowed manufacturers to include more brand-specific characteristics, Ford once again used the talents of its designers to ensure the same eye-catching components on the 2017 Ford Fusion production car are included on the new racing version. This latest iteration marks the third major body change for Fusion, and represents another step toward keeping “stock” a relative part of stock car racing.
The result of the efforts of designers and engineers is an aggressive-looking new race car capable of producing 750 horsepower at 9,000 rpm under the current rules package.