NASCAR’s Top News for Aug. 21

 Penalties Announced for No. 18 Sprint Cup Team


NASCAR has penalized the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) team for violations that took place during practice for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.  Officials found illegally attached weights in the Toyota Camry upon inspection on Aug. 18.

The No. 18 car was penalized for violating Sections 12-1: actions detrimental to stock car racing; 12-4J: any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules; and 20-2.3A: improperly attached weight.

Fortunately for JGR, Kyle Busch (currently 11 points back of Ryan Newman in the wild card hunt) didn’t lose points in the driver standings; but, the rules infractions will cost crew chief Dave Rogers $25,000.  In addition, both Rogers and car chief Wesley Sherrill have been placed on NASCAR probation until Oct. 3.


Driver Aaron Fike Completes Road to Recovery

NASCAR officially reinstated former driver Aaron Fike on Tuesday after he completed the requirements for the Substance Abuse Policy’s Road to Recovery program.

He was arrested for the possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia in the parking lot of King’s Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio, and subsequently suspended from NASCAR on July 11, 2007 for actions detrimental to stock car racing.

It was later revealed that the former Red Horse Racing driver competed while under the influence of heroin during his time in the Craftsman Truck Series.  His admission would later force NASCAR to strengthen its drug policy to a level similar to that of other major sports leagues.

“I know that if it were not for my arrest, I would be dead,” Fike told the Associated Press in 2007 shortly after his arrest. “At one point during my addiction, I stopped breathing and nearly died. Sooner or later, my luck would have run out.”

The Illinois native made use of his time after the incident by traveling to schools, racetracks, and other locations to speak about drug prevention, as part of an anti-drug campaign designed to avoid felony charges and the possibility of a prison sentence.

Fike is now eligible to race in NASCAR for the first time in more than five years, but first he will need to secure a contract with a new organization.

During the ’07 Truck Series campaign, he accumulated one top-5 and five top-10s in 12 races before being suspended indefinitely.

 Lauren King Named NASCAR Foundation Executive Director


Lauren King was announced as the new Executive Director for the NASCAR Foundation during an emblem unveiling at the foundation’s new Daytona Beach headquarters located at the International Motorsports Center.

“This is an exciting time for the foundation with our new headquarters up and running and new leadership on board,” said The NASCAR Foundation chairwoman Betty Jane France. “Lorene is a great fit for our organization as we strive to take our efforts to the next level. Lorene will help us expand the already considerable impact we are making to the social and economic well-being of the communities in which we live and race.”

The NASCAR Foundation honors the sport’s goal of contributing back to the communities of race fans by raising funds and increasing volunteer efforts for nonprofit charities.

NASCAR’s Top News for Aug.14

‘Kevin’s Krew’ Event Set for Michigan

Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick will have the opportunity to bring smiles to the faces of 20 Boys & Girls Club members who were invited to Michigan International Speedway as part of the driver’s latest ‘Kevin’s Krew’ event on Saturday.

‘Kevin’s Krew’ is a division of the Kevin Harvick Foundation that benefits underprivileged children by offering them the opportunity to witness many NASCAR pre-race rituals firsthand, including driver introductions for the VFW 200 Camping World Truck Series race, lunch in the President’s Suite and meetings with both Michigan Speedway International President Roger Curtis and Toledo Blade reporter Rachel Lenzi.

Participants will also have a chance to listen to guest speakers as they relate their life experiences and shed light on the value of education when used as a tool to overcome life’s hardships.

“Michigan always has some of the most loyal and passionate race fans on the NASCAR circuit, so the opportunity to spend quality time with some of the youngest ones is pretty cool,” Harvick said.  “Kevin’s Krew is about giving these children hope for their futures, regardless of their backgrounds, but it’s also about showing them a good time. The folks at Michigan International Speedway are vital supporters of this effort with us, so I’m pretty sure the kids’ track visit will be one they’ll never forget.”

The final event on the ‘Kevin’s Krew’ calendar will be held at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15.  For more information regarding the on-track outreach program, visit


Finger Lakes 335 Earns 3.3 TV Rating

The Olympics did little to hamper viewership of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen on Aug. 12.  An average of 4,472,687 viewers tuned in to watch while Marcos Ambrose, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch put on a show over the final laps of the Finger Lakes 335, enough for a 3.3 household coverage rating.

The 2012 edition of the road course race did well in comparison to 2011’s 1.6 rating (rained out on Sunday, and run on a Monday) and 2010’s 3.6 rating (run on a non-Olympic Games weekend).


Coca-Cola Reveals AdvoCare 500 Menu

The presence of unique menu items is commonplace at the concession stands of any NASCAR event; but thanks to Coca-Cola, Atlanta Motor Speedway’s choice of cuisine will serve as a step up for even the most seasoned racegoer’s appetite this Labor Day weekend.

The Atlanta based soft drink company has unveiled a dedicated menu that includes five distinctive dishes that are meant to cater to the needs of both Coca-Cola fanatics and NASCAR faithful alike.  Each item consists of a mixture of company products and other ingredients that are grown and/or produced within the state of Georgia.

“We wanted fans from Georgia to have a sense of pride about the food products that originate from our great state,” said Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark.  “The fans that visit us from the other 49 states and around 15 foreign countries have something to try that represents the area they are visiting.  Their race weekend won’t be complete until they try at least one of these tasty and unique items.”

The menu includes:  Coke Zero Braised Beef Tacos, Coca-Cola Chili Dog, Fries with Coca-Cola Dipping Sauce, Georgia Peaches and Sprite Elephant Ear, and the Cherry Coke BBQ Pork Sandwich with Vidalia Onion Rings.  Each entry is the result of a fan vote tallied earlier this year.

“Chef Frank Abbinati from Levy Restaurants presented so many great products, that it was hard to narrow them down,” said Clark.  “The consensus from drivers, our employees and from the fans voting was that you really can’t lose with any of these incredibly delicious foods, so we’re excited to offer all of them to fans on Labor Day Weekend.  I have to admit the Coke Zero Braised Beef Tacos are my favorite.”

For descriptions, pictures, and a video featuring drivers Greg Biffle and Joey Logano giving the items a taste test, visit


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