Ranking the Top 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Teams for 2015

The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season is only a month away. As fans begin to get ready for what should be an exciting season, it is never too early to look at which teams are the teams to beat.

It is easy to say that the teams who dominated last season will be the same teams to dominate in 2015. In NASCAR it never works out that way.

Many rule changes and personal changes will result in some teams having more success in 2015, while other may not live up to expectations.

One rule change which should play an important part on which teams are successful is the reduction in horsepower from 850 to 725. The teams who can figure out how to make fast cars with reduced horsepower will be the teams to beat in 2015.

Here is a list of the top 10 teams going into the 2015 season.

 

  1. Furniture Row Racing

Driver for 2015: Martin Truex Jr.

Stats from 2014: 0 Wins, 1 Top 5s (3 percent), 5 Top 10s (14 percent), 0 Poles

* Percentages based upon 36 races competed in 2014

The competition for the 10th spot on this list came down to JTG Daugherty Racing and Furniture Row Racing. Although AJ Allmendinger was able to win a race and make it into the Chase, Martin Truex Jr. earns the spot because expectations for his team are higher this season.

Todd Berrier left his crew chief duties at the No. 78 team to work at Joe Gibbs Racing. He will be replaced by Cole Pearn who served as the team engineer last season. This is the only major change at Furniture Row Racing during the offseason.

Truex got off to a slow start last season but started to figure things out once the Chase began. Truex finished eight of the 10 Chase races in the top 20. A single car team should not expect to be able to compete with the large organizations in the sport. If the No. 78 team can finish inside the top 20 each week, they should consider the season a success.

 

  1. Richard Petty Motorsports

Drivers for 2015: Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish

Stats from 2014: 1 Win (1 percent), 5 Top 5s (7%), 14 Top 10s (19 percent), 0 Poles

* Percentages based upon 72 races competed in 2014

Richard Petty Motorsports was one of the surprise teams in 2014. Aric Almirola won his first race at Daytona last July to earn a spot in the Chase. Very few people expected Richard Petty Motorsports to be one of the teams in the Chase, unless Marcos Ambrose won one of the road course races.

The major change this season at Richard Petty Motorsports came with the No. 9 team. Ambrose went back to Australia to race for Team Penske in the SuperV8 Series. He will be replaced by former Indianapolis 500 winner, Sam Hornish Jr.

Hornish has competed in 131 races in the Sprint Cup Series and only has nine top-10 finishes. He will not be much of an upgrade from Ambrose last season.

Almirola is one of the most underrated drivers in the series. He does not win many races but he is able to get the most out of the cars he is provided. It would be fun to see what this young driver could do at one of the top teams.

Richard Petty Motorsports will have a tough time making it back to the Chase this season. If the team can find a way to duplicate last season’s results; Richard Petty Motorsports should be a happy organization.

 

  1. Michael Waltrip Racing

Drivers for 2015: Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer

Stats from 2014: 0 Wins, 8 Top 5s (11 percent), 24 Top 10s (33 percent), 1 Pole (1 percent)

* Percentages based upon 72 races competed in 2014

Michael Waltrip Racing failed to win a race in 2014. Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer are skilled drivers, but they will need better cars in order to compete in 2015.

Michael Waltrip Racing could benefit from having an affiliation with Joe Gibbs Racing. Instead of having two cars compete against the Hendrick Motorsports-Stewart Haas Racing conglomeration, they would have six cars. Michael Waltrip Racing needs all the help they can get this season.

Vickers will once again be sidelined for the early part of the 2015 season due to health issues. The team has not yet announced who will replace Vickers in the No. 55 Toyota. Vickers absence from the car will eliminate him from Chase contention.

Bowyer had a disappointing season in 2014. It has been 78 races since Bowyer last visited Victory Lane. He will have to improve this year or he will once again miss the Chase.

Michael Waltrip Racing looks like a team heading in the wrong direction. They need a bounce-back season in 2015 to prove they are still relevant in the Sprint Cup Series.

 

  1. Roush Fenway Racing

Drivers for 2015: Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne

Stats from 2014: 2 Wins (2 percent), 11 Top 5s (10 percent), 30 Top 10s (28 percent), 0 Poles

* Percentages based upon 108 races competed in 2014

Oh how the mighty have fallen. It was not long ago when Roush Fenway Racing was considered one of the best teams in NASCAR. The departure of their top drivers (Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth) to Joe Gibbs Racing the past two seasons has diminished the outlook on this organization for the 2015 season.

Roush Fenway Racing will look much different in 2015. Trevor Bayne will drive the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford after driving for Roush Fenway Racing in the Xfinity Series. Bayne’s only success in the Sprint Cup Series was his 2011 Daytona 500 win. Crew chief Bob Osborne will look to get his young driver back to Victory Lane this season.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won back-to-back championships in the Xfinity Series in 2011 and 2012. That success has not translated to the Sprint Cup Series. The reduced horsepower in the 2015 package should help Stenhouse since the cars will drive similarly to the Xfinity cars he won eight races in.

Greg Biffle will have a lot of responsibility this season trying to lead Roush Fenway Racing to the championship. He has only won three races in the last four seasons. Biffle will need to perform much better to make Roush Fenway Racing relevant.

The team only won two races last season with 11 top-five finishes. Both of the wins came from the driver who is no longer on the team (Carl Edwards). Edwards also scored seven of the teams 11 top-five finishes.

The chances of Roush Fenway Racing winning the championship in 2015 do not look good. This team needs to work on building for the future and hopefully luck will bring them a spot in the Chase.

 

  1. Richard Childress Racing

Drivers for 2015: Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Austin Dillon

Stats from 2014: 0 Wins, 11 Top 5s (10 percent), 33 Top 10s (31 percent), 1 Pole (1 percent)

* Percentages based upon 108 races competed in 2014

Richard Childress Racing had unexpected results in 2014. Most people expected the team to be competitive and win a race, but very few expected Ryan Newman to be racing for a championship on the last laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The only change for Richard Childress Racing in 2015 will be with the No. 27 team. Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe will move into a role in research and development, while Justin Alexander will continue as the crew chief after he took over the role at Talladega in October.

There are two questions that must be answered at Richard Childress Racing in 2015. Was Newman’s 2014 season a fluke? Will Paul Menard and Austin Dillon be able to improve enough to make their way into the Chase?

Do not be surprised to see Newman continue to race up front each week and Dillon to make improvements in his sophomore season. Menard must prove he deserves a spot on this team, because Ty Dillon will be waiting to take over if the team does not expand to four drivers in 2016.

Richard Childress Racing will have at least one team in the Chase, but it will be hard for them to repeat their second-place finish.

 

  1. Chip Ganassi Racing

Drivers for 2015: Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson

Stats from 2014: 0 Wins, 15 Top 5s (21 percent), 30 Top 10s (42 percent), 3 Poles (4 percent)

* Percentages based upon 72 races competed in 2014

Chip Ganassi Racing had a great season in 2014 and could easily be ranked higher on this list. Kyle Larson is a star in the making and Jamie McMurray has proved to be a competitive driver in the No. 1 car.  Will the team be able to have the same success in 2015?

The only major change at Chip Ganassi Racing in 2015 is the crew chief change for the No. 1 car. Kieth Rodden left the team to take over the crew chief duties for Kasey Kahne and Matt McCall has been brought over from Richard Childress Racing. McCall is a former driver and should be able to keep McMurray competitive in 2015.

One of the biggest surprises in 2014 was that Larson was unable to win a race. He did win the Rookie of the Year and finished in the top 10 in 17 races. Larson will be a threat to win multiple races in 2015.

Chip Ganassi Racing will not dominate the 2015 season, but they are a team to watch. McMurray and Larson should find their way to Victory Lane this year and earn a spot in the Chase. Do not be surprised to see Larson racing in one of the final four spots at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

  1. Stewart Haas Racing

Drivers for 2015: Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick

Stats from 2014: 6 Wins (4 percent), 23 Top 5s (16 percent), 41 Top 10s (29 percent), 9 Poles (6 percent)

* Percentages based upon 144 races competed in 2014

How can the team with the defending Sprint Cup Champion be ranked behind three other teams? Kevin Harvick was the only driver who raced well the entire season for Stewart Haas Racing.

There are many questions facing this team heading into the 2015 season. Will Harvick be able to follow up his championship season with another run for the title? How will Tony Stewart bounce back from his off-track problems? Will Kurt Busch be suspended if he is convicted of assault / domestic abuse? Will Danica Patrick ever live up to the hype that brought her to NASCAR?

Harvick will lead this team again in 2015. If Stewart and Busch are able to drive without off-track distraction, this team could easily move up this list.

Patrick had more success when Stewart Haas Racing made the move to have Daniel Knost take over as her crew chief in November. Knost will continue to lead the No. 10 car in 2015 and could help Patrick finish more races up front.

Stewart Haas Racing is one of the teams to watch during the 2015 season.

 

  1. Joe Gibbs Racing

Drivers for 2015: Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch

Stats from 2014: 2 Wins (2 percent), 29 Top 5s (27 percent), 55 Top 10s (51 percent), 8 Poles (7 percent)

* Percentages based upon 108 races competed in 2014

The driver lineup for the 2015 season at Joe Gibbs Racing could be considered the strongest in the sport. The addition of Carl Edwards will provide the team another resource to help them compete for the Sprint Cup Championship.

The 2014 season could be considered a major disappointment for the team. While Denny Hamlin was able to make it to the Championship Round of the Chase, winning only two races is unacceptable for the organization. The problem is not with the drivers or crew chiefs. The problem for Joe Gibbs Racing is the cars provided by Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

If Toyota can figure out how to make faster cars, this team could be unstoppable. The team started to become more competitive at the end of the 2014 season, but no one knows how TRD will respond to the new rules package in 2015.

Joe Gibbs Racing will win more races this season, but if all four drivers fail to make the Chase the season will be another disappointment.

 

  1. Team Penske

Drivers for 2015: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano

Stats from 2014: 11 Wins (15 percent), 33 Top 5s (45 percent), 42 Top 10s (58 percent), 6 Poles (8 percent)

* Percentages based upon 72 races competed in 2014

Which team was the best in 2014? Although Team Penski did not win the championship, they could arguably be considered the best team last season.

Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano were the first two drivers to figure out the new qualifying rules in 2014. They consistently made it to the final round of qualifying which allowed their cars to start up front each week. It will be interesting to see if Team Penske can bring the same speed to the racetrack under the new horsepower package for the 2015 season.

Almost everything will be the same at Team Penske this season. The team did not make any changes to their driver lineup or crew chiefs. The only change will be the alliance with the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford. Ryan Blaney will drive the car and Jeremy Bullins will move up from Team Penske’s Xfinity Series to be the crew chief. This alliance will provide more resources this season for the team.

Team Penske is the team in the best position to take over Hendrick Motorsports as the top team in NASCAR. Their engineering department has provided fast cars and Keselowski and Logano have the attitude to fight for the championship.

The 2014 season was no fluke. Team Penske will be one of the teams to beat in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for many years to come.

 

  1. Hendrick Motorsports

Drivers for 2015: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne

Stats from 2014: 13 wins (11 percent), 40 Top 5s (27 percent), 74 Top 10s (51 percent), 4 Poles (3 percent)

* Percentages based upon 144 races competed in 2014

Hendrick Motorsports is still the top team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but the gap between this team and some of the others is closing fast. What sets Hendrick Motorsports apart from their competition is their talent in the garage. No team has a stable of better drivers and more knowledgeable engineers.

The rules changes for the 2015 season should provide Hendrick Motorsports an advantage over the competition. The last two times NASCAR made drastic changes to the car, Jimmie Johnson added another championship to his resume. He won the championships in 2007 when the “Car of Tomorrow” made its debut and in 2013 when NASCAR introduced the new Generation- 6 car. The new horsepower package should play right into the hands of the No. 48 team this season.

Hendrick Motorsports only made one major change in the offseason. Greg Ives will replace Steve Latarte as the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ives spent five years working as a race engineer for the No. 48 and has experience working with Earnhardt in the Xfinity Series. Although losing Latarte to the broadcast booth hurts, do not expect a significant drop off from the No. 88 team.

All of the pieces are in place for Hendrick Motorsports to win multiple races this year and take home their 12th Sprint Cup Championship.

 

Note: Stats via DriverAverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.com.

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NASCAR: A Win at Kentucky in 2015 Would be Ultimate Cap to Jeff Gordon’s Storied Career

NASCAR Media Site
NASCAR Media Site

Jeff Gordon is going to go down as one of the best race car drivers in the history of the sport. Period. There’s not many people around the world that has ever driven a car as well as Gordon has.

The 43-year old has won a ton of races over his storied career. He’s won 92 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events including an Indianapolis Motor Speedway record five Brickyard 400’s. He’s also a three-time Daytona 500 winner, a three-time Coca-Cola 600 winner, a six time Southern 500 winner and best of all, a four-time series champion.

Gordon’s, won at nearly everywhere he’s ever raced at. He’s won at tracks all around this great country of ours. He’s tied for a NASCAR modern day record of most wins in a season with 13 in 1998 and has also won a race in 22 straight NASCAR seasons.

But, one track has eluded the legend – Kentucky Speedway.

Gordon, has made four starts at the 1.5-mile track in Sparta but has yet to reach victory lane there. It’s the only track on the circuit that he’s never won at.

He’s won at literally every track but Kentucky. Let that sink in for a moment.

He’s even won on tracks that aren’t around anymore. But, Kentucky is the one that’s gotten away so far.

You can bet your rear end that when the Sprint Cup Series heads to the Northern Kentucky track in July that he will be as hungry as ever to win that race. What a feat it would be to be able to say he’s conquered every NASCAR track.

“I have thought about it a little bit,” Gordon said last year at Kentucky regarding that being the only track he’s never won at. “It would mean a lot. It would be quite an accomplishment, and it’s something I would love to say I have done.”

Now that he’s announced he would be retiring from racing following this season, he has one last shot to accomplish that feat.

Kentucky, would be the 25th different NASCAR track that Gordon has won on. Outside of a championship this season, winning at Kentucky has to be up there as one of his top goals in 2015.

How fitting would it be that he goes out on top there?

Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports columnist for Race Review Online. He’s been covering both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2009 and has been credentialed all around the country for numerous events

NASCAR: Jeff Gordon to Retire After 2015 Sprint Cup Season

NASCAR Media Site
NASCAR Media Site

We all saw this news coming. The legend is finally calling it quits. Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon announced on Thursday morning that the 2015 season will be his last. That means we only have 36 more chances to see one of the best all around racers in the history of the sport compete.

Gordon, signed a lifetime contract with team owner Rick Hendrick in 1999 as he joined the team for the 1993 season. He scored four victories last year, bringing his career victory total to 92, third-most on NASCAR’s all-time list behind Richard Petty and David Pearson.

Gordon, also scored his Indianapolis Motor Speedway record fifth Brickyard 400 victory last July as no one in the history of that prestigious track has ever won more times in the 103 years of existence.

The victory in the inaugural event in 1994 though was one of his greatest NASCAR moments ever.

Now, it’s time for him to hang his hat up and call it quits.

Most thought he would be done by now actually. He struggled a bit a decade ago and many thought his time was limited. But, Gordon found a resurgence and has competed better than ever before over the course of the last three years. Now, he wants to go out on top of his game and ride off in the sunset.

It’s likely 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott will take over the helm when Gordon retires as he is an up and coming star. He’s a Hendrick developmental driver but had no where to go this season. Now, Hendrick can plan for him to replace Gordon in the No. 24 Chevrolet in 2016.

Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s been covering both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2009 and has been credentialed around the country for numerous events

NASCAR: Ron Hornaday Jr. to Run Full Sprint Cup Season in 2015

NASCAR Media Site
NASCAR Media Site

NASCAR veteran Ron Hornaday Jr. is returning to the Sprint Cup Series in 2015. The 56-year old will run in the No. 30 Chevrolet for The Motorsports Group during the upcoming season the team announced yesterday.

Hornaday, is a four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion as he made most of his success in that series.

“I am happy to be signing on with Curtis Key and the entire TMG organization for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season,” Hornaday said in a team release. “This team has been working really hard during the offseason to get cars ready for Daytona and for the rest of the season. I’m hoping to bring some guidance and racing knowledge to this start-up Cup team.”

He does have some experience in the Sprint Cup Series. Hornaday has made 45 career starts including 32 of the 36 races in 2001. He had one top 10 finish during his Cup career as that was a ninth place finish at Las Vegas. Unfortunately, he hasn’t run a Sprint Cup race since 2003.

“We are glad to have Ron Hornaday come on board with The Motorsports Group,” TMG owner Curtis Key said in a release. Ron has been involved the NASCAR industry for over 20 years now. His experience and knowledge of the industry is exactly what we need this first year in the Sprint Cup Series.”

Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s been covering both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2009 and has been credentialed around the country for numerous events

NASCAR: Brian Vickers Medically Cleared to Return to Racing in March

NASCAR Media Site
NASCAR Media Site

Brian Vickers had to have a procedure done to his heart back in December which was a set back for him. That surgery forced him to be sidelined for the start of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

On Wednesday, Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Vickers was medically cleared to resume racing in March as he will miss the first two events of the season.

Vickers, will return to the No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8th.

“The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before,” Vickers said Wednesday in a release provided by the team. “The advancements in modern medicine and surgical procedures are amazing and I have to thank my doctors at the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and Carolinas Medical Center for their extraordinary care. I have literally put my life in their hands twice and I cannot begin to express my level of gratitude.”

In the interim, Michael Waltrip will replace him in the car in the season opening Daytona 500 but no one was named as a replacement for the second race in Atlanta.

Just as that news came out, NASCAR announced that Vickers would be given a medical clearance so that he can still compete for the 2015 championship and not be penalized for missing two races.

“With the clearance from his physicians, Brian Vickers has satisfied all necessary NASCAR requirements to resume racing on March 5,” O’Donnell said in a statement released by NASCAR. “Further, NASCAR has reviewed the circumstances surrounding his situation and has determined that he will maintain Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup eligibility despite neither entering nor attempting to qualify in the first two championship events, provided he meets all other necessary eligibility requirements.”

The medical leave is the third that Vickers, 31, has endured since joining the Sprint circuit full-time in 2004. He missed the final 25 races of the 2010 season after treatment for blood clots and surgery to repair a hole in his heart. A recurrence of clots in his right calf forced him back on blood thinners and caused him to end his part-time 2013 campaign with five races left in the season.

Last December, Vickers said he was feeling ill and went to his team of doctors for an evaluation. He underwent surgery Dec. 13 after tests revealed that his body was rejecting the artificial patch placed over the hole in his heart in 2010.

Vickers, who joined the Waltrip organization in 2012, said two days after surgery that he would need “plenty of time, rest and rehab,” before returning to competition. The time frame wound up being roughly three months.

“Now all of my focus is getting ready so when I return we are prepared to win races and the championship in my Aaron’s Dream Machine,” Vickers said.

Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s been covering both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2009 and has been credentialed around the country for numerous events

Indy Lights: Jack Harvey to Return to SPM in 2015

IndyCar Media Site
IndyCar Media Site

Jack Harvey entered 2014 unknown to the Indy Lights world. The England native was coming to the United States for the first time in his racing career. By the end of the season, everyone was familiar with Harvey as he nearly won the Indy Lights championship in his debut season.

Harvey, reached victory lane four times and had 10 podium finishes last year as he tied Gabby Chaves for the overall championship. Unfortunately, due to a tiebreaker, the Lincolnshire, England native finished second in the points despite the tie and didn’t get to take home the coveted championship hardware.

But, that impressive year made everyone take notice including his team Schimdt/Peterson Motorsports. They signed him again in 2015 as the 21-year old will try to win the championship in his second season with the team.

“I’m delighted to be heading back to Indy Lights for a second season with SPM, which wouldn’t be possible without the continued backing of the Racing Steps Foundation,” Harvey said. “Andersen Promotions has done a fantastic job raising the profile of the series with the new car, new teams and a growing grid. So for me, it’s definitely the right place to be racing. It’ll be tougher this year, but rest assured I’m up for the challenge.”

Racing Steps Foundation (RSF) which has helped Harvey get to where he is today will once again sponsor him as the not-for-profit organization has financed several talented British drivers in their racing careers.

Harvey, has to be among the favorites for this years’ championship despite having a totally different car and more drivers on the grid this year. He finished in the top five in ALL 14 races last season and had all four of his wins in the last five events of the year. Mix that with six podiums in the last seven races and you have a guy entering 2015 with a ton momentum.

Team owner Sam Schmidt feels the same way.

“The 2014 championship was as close as it gets, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see a tie again like we did with Jack and Gabby,” Schmidt said. “Jack did an excelled job from the time he arrive from the UK. He was always very consistent in testing and had a great work ethic on and off the track. In 2015 he’ll be returning to circuit for the second time and can build upon the oval racing experience he gained in 2014.

Schmidt, makes a good point about Harvey returning to the tracks a second time. If he won four races and finished in the top five in every race last year in which he had zero experience on them, imagine what he can do in the return trip in 2015 now that he has experience on those circuits. That confidence level mixed with the momentum is the reason why it was crucial to get Harvey back in the seat for 2015 as if he impresses again don’t be shocked to see him in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016.

 

Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s been covering both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2009 and has been credentialed around the country for numerous events

NASCAR: Front Row Motorsports to Field 3 Cars in 2015

NASCAR Media Site
NASCAR Media Site

Front Row Motorsports is expanding their operations in the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as they will field an additional entry in 2015. FRM will field a car for Cole Whitt this season as he will pilot the No. 35 Ford for team owner Bob Jenkins.

Whitt, will have sponsorship from Speed Stick for 10 races including the season opening Daytona 500 in February.

“I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity to go racing with Front Row Motorsports and continue my relationship with Speed Stick,” Whitt said. “Bob Jenkins is a smart businessman and has grown his team the right way over the years, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that growth. The 2014 season was great for me as a driver. We had some important personal victories and some areas where we’ll want to improve.”

The 23-year old has made 50 career Sprint Cup starts including all 36 last season for Swan Racing then BK Racing after Swan shut their doors in late April.

For his career, Whitt a former USAC Sprint Car champion has four top-five finishes in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series and two top-fives and a pole position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

He joins David Ragan and David Gilliland with the team as FRM announced both of those drivers would return this season.

“This is an exciting time for Front Row Motorsports” Jenkins said. “Adding Cole Whitt to our program, along with the support of the Speed Stick team, is another big step in our growth as a young team. We’re going to have a diverse mix of experience with our drivers, which, I think, is going to be a big benefit for everyone.”

Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s been covering both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2009 and has been credentialed around the country for numerous events

NASCAR: Danica Patrick Gets New Sponsor for Sprint Unlimited and Martinsville

Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola

2015 is starting to take shape for Danica Patrick. First, a crew chief was announced last week as Daniel Knost who replaced Tony Gibson towards the end of last year had the “interim” tag removed as he will sit atop her pit box this season calling all shots for her team.

This week, a new sponsor came aboard.

TaxACT, a tax preparation solutions company, will be a co-primary sponsor with Go Daddy in two events during the upcoming season. They will be on her No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in the Sprint Unlimited All-Star race at the Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 14th then again during the race weekend at Martinsville Speedway on March 29th. On top of that, they will be on the C-Post for the 57th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22nd.

“TaxACT’s sponsorship of our race team will span the height of tax season for most people,” Patrick said via a release. “It’s a great way to promote a terrific product.”

“I always give credit to my team on the racetrack, but in this case it was off the track where my team shined. Stewart-Haas Racing approached TaxACT after cross-referencing the company and its culture with NASCAR fans. It was an ideal fit.”

Patrick, is entering her third full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as she has four top 10’s in 82 career races. Her highlight of her NASCAR career is still winning the pole for the 2012 Daytona 500.

After a couple of up and down seasons, Patrick is ready to make an even bigger name for herself and make a charge in 2015.

Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s been covering both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2009 and has been credentialed around the country for numerous events

 

NASCAR: Daytona Speedweeks Start Times Announced

NASCAR Media Site
NASCAR Media Site

The schedule is set, the entry-list is pretty much ready, all we need to know now is when cars will be on the track at Daytona next month. That’s now been resolved as NASCAR announced this week the times for practice, qualifying and races for the 2015 version of Speedweeks.

The 2015 slate, is basically unchanged from a year ago. The only major difference is the NASCAR X-Finity Series race start time was moved from 1:15 pm ET last season to 3:30 pm ET at the 2.5-mile high banked track this year.

Other than that, everything else practically remained the same.

IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule will get underway Jan. 24 at 2:10 p.m. ET with the 53rd Rolex 24 endurance race (FOX Sports, IMSA.com), the kickoff event for Budweiser Speedweeks. NASCAR racing activity is scheduled to begin Saturday, Feb. 14 with the annual Sprint Unlimited non-points event for the Sprint Cup Series, starting at 8:15 p.m. ET (FOX).

The field for the Daytona 500 will be set through Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Sunday, Feb. 15 (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX) and the Budweiser Duel at Daytona qualifying races Thursday (7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1).

This year, pole qualifying will adopt the knockout-style, group format that was used at every Sprint Cup race except the Daytona 500 last season. The two 150-mile qualifiers will be run at night for the second consecutive year.

The season-opening events for all three NASCAR national series kick off Friday night with the Camping World Truck Series’ NextEra Energy Resources 250 (7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1), continue with Saturday’s debut of the newly named XFINITY Series and its Alert Today Florida 300 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) and culminating with Sunday’s main event, the Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX).

Start times for 2015 Speedweeks events at Daytona (all times Eastern) Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 24-25 — IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 2:10 p.m. (FOX Sports and IMSA.com)

Saturday, Feb. 14 — ARCA Racing Series, Lucas Oil 200 Presented By American Real MAV TV, 4:15 p.m. (FOX Sports 1); NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, The Sprint Unlimited, 8:15 p.m. (FOX)

Sunday, Feb. 15 — NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Qualifying Presented By Kroger, 1:30 p.m. (FOX) Thursday, Feb. 19 — NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Budweiser Duel At Daytona, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)

Friday, Feb. 20 — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NextEra Energy Resources 250, 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)

Saturday, Feb. 21 — NASCAR XFINITY Series, Alert Today Florida 300, 3:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)

Sunday, Feb. 22 – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Daytona 500, 1 p.m. ET (FOX).

Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s been covering both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2009 and has been credentialed around the country for numerous events