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.