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Five burning questions NASCAR faces for 2017

Sports / Auto Racing /

As NASCAR's 2017 season draws near -- only six weeks until the Daytona 500 -- here are five burning questions facing the sport:

What kind of impact will new-sponsor Monster Energy have on the Cup series?

NASCAR has moved on from 12 years of sponsorship by telecommunications companies to an edgy energy drink company. With the sport's attendance...Read more

Elliott Sadler to drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing in attempt to run Daytona 500

Sports / Auto Racing /

Elliott Sadler will enter the Daytona 500 for Tommy Baldwin Racing, the team announced Thursday.

Sadler will attempt to qualify the No. 7 Chevy for the race. He will also run in the Xfinity race on the season-opening weekend of Feb. 25-26. He is a full-time driver in the Xfinity Series.

"This is a great opportunity for me and everyone ...Read more

Who is Daniel Suarez, the guy taking over for Carl Edwards in NASCAR Cup series

Sports / Auto Racing /

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Daniel Suarez's chance to compete at NASCAR's highest level came earlier than he expected. But he says he's ready for it.

"When you are with right team, you know the opportunity will come, and it will come at the right time," Suarez said Wednesday after it was announced he will replace Carl Edwards in Joe Gibbs Racing's ...Read more

Grace, class marked Carl Edwards' NASCAR career

Sports / Auto Racing /

Carl Edwards, who is expected to announce Wednesday that he won't race in 2017, won 28 races over a 13-season NASCAR Cup career. But, as much as anything else, Edwards will be known for the class and decency he showed after coming agonizingly close to winning two championships.

Edwards, 37, will likely be replaced in the No. 19 Toyota by Daniel...Read more

Texas Motor Speedway repaving its track after weather-plagued 2016

Sports / Auto Racing /

After a season in which every race had weather-related delays, Texas Motor Speedway has been forced to do the inevitable -- repave its track.

Drivers prefer the aging asphalt, but the track couldn't continue to hold fans hostage when minimal rainfall caused hours-long delays.

"The real reason we're doing this is the fans," TMS President Eddie ...Read more

Toyota did almost everything but win a title a season ago

Sports / Auto Racing /

Toyota's two top teams accomplished just about everything in 2016 except winning the Cup championship. Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing won 16 of the season's 36 races between them -- helping Toyota win the Manufacturer Championship -- but it wasn't enough as Chevy's Jimmie Johnson won the championship.

Joe Gibbs Racing

JGR's four-...Read more

7-time champ Jimmie Johnson highlights Chevrolet's entries in 2017 season

Sports / Auto Racing /

Hendrick Motorsports will enter the season the owner of Jimmie Johnson's record-tying seventh championship. The team is also without Stewart-Haas Racing, one of the sport's top organizations, which left during the offseason for the apparently greener pastures at Ford. Below is the 2017 NASCAR manufacturer preview for Chevrolet.

Hendrick ...Read more

Ford to sport new faces, new team in '17 NASCAR season

Sports / Auto Racing /

New faces -- and a new team -- will mark Ford's 2017 lineup in NASCAR's top tier.

Stewart-Haas Racing

The biggest move of the offseason can be found in Kannapolis, where Stewart-Haas Racing has switched from Chevrolet to Ford. It doesn't necessarily have to be a bumpy transition year, either, as evidenced by how well Furniture Row Racing and ...Read more

NASCAR reveals new name and logo of premier series

Sports / Auto Racing /

The new name of NASCAR's premier series is the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, a name that takes effect Jan. 1.

The first race in the newly named series will be the 59th Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, NASCAR said. The new series name and brand mark, which features the neon green Monster logo, were shared Monday across NASCAR's social and digital ...Read more

Daniel Suarez a big deal in Mexico, and with NASCAR's Joe Gibbs Racing

Sports / Auto Racing /

You know you've done something big and important when you hear from the president of your country.

Daniel Suarez found that out recently, a few days after he won NASCAR's Xfinity Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Suarez, a native of Mexico who became the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR national-series title, glanced ...Read more

Healthy again, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ready for return to racing

Sports / Auto Racing /

Dale Earnhardt Jr. tossed and turned in his bed Tuesday night, unable to sleep just hours before he would drive in a test session Wednesday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Earnhardt is usually nervous before he climbs into his No. 88 Chevy. But the anxiety for Wednesday's test was higher: This was to see if he would be cleared to race in 2017 ...Read more

Dale Earnhardt Jr. cleared to race again after concussion

Sports / Auto Racing /

Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose NASCAR season was cut short by a concussion, has been cleared to return to racing, starting with the Daytona 500 in February, Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday.

Earnhardt was cleared by Dr. Micky Collins in consultation with Charlotte, N.C., neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty after a test session Wednesday at ...Read more

Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart biggest headliners of 2016 NASCAR season

Sports / Auto Racing /

The 2016 NASCAR season was a memorable one, with the major news coming from Jimmie Johnson winning a record-tying seventh Cup title, Tony Stewart saying farewell and a pesky little piece of metal that keeps tires on axles.

Before the 2017 season gets here -- the Daytona 500 is less than 100 days away -- let's look back at the season that was:

...Read more

NASCAR finds title sponsor in energy drink

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR announced Thursday it has agreed to a multi-year deal with Monster Energy to be the sport's top series' entitlement sponsor.

Terms of the agreement, which was announced at a news conference in Las Vegas, weren't revealed. NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France also said the name of the series -- perhaps it won't be called the Monster Cup? ...Read more

NASCAR's Roush Fenway Racing to field 2 teams in '17

Sports / Auto Racing /

Roush Fenway Racing announced Tuesday it will drop to a two-car team in NASCAR's Cup series in 2017. Trevor Bayne will drive the team's No. 6 Ford and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will drive the team's No. 17.

The team also announced it will lease the No. 16 car -- driven by Greg Biffle until he announced last week that he was leaving the team -- to JTG...Read more

NASCAR's Clint Bowyer sues HScott Motorsports

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer has sued HScott Motorsports for allegedly missing monthly payments and sponsorship commission.

"This has been an ongoing issue with HScott Motorsports for some time," said Bowyer's attorney, Robert Muckenfuss, in a statement to the Observer. "We were forced to file the lawsuit after the season because no final payment...Read more

NASCAR crew chief Chad Knaus: 'This one is definitely the sweetest'

Sports / Auto Racing /

Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying seventh NASCAR championship Sunday with a familiar figure by his side -- crew chief Chad Knaus. The two have been together for each of Johnson's titles in Hendrick Motorsports' No. 48 Chevy.

Knaus, who is one title shy of tying Dale Inman's NASCAR record of eight titles for a crew chief, talked about this ...Read more

Tony Stewart gets cool gift in Victory Lane after final Cup race at Homestead

Sports / Auto Racing /

The final race of Tony Stewart's storied NASCAR Cup career wasn't very memorable although he got a pretty cool souvenir.

Stewart may have finished 22nd after hanging at the back of the field for much of Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400, but he was in Victory Lane following the race celebrating with Jimmie Johnson -- who gave Stewart the helmet he ...Read more

Driver Carl Edwards on NASCAR's Chase-shifting wreck: '100 percent on me'

Sports / Auto Racing /

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Carl Edwards took full responsibility for the wreck that might have changed the course of NASCAR's Chase on Sunday.

"That was 100 percent on me," Edwards said on the radio of his mangled No. 19 Toyota, seconds after he wrecked with fellow championship-round driver Joey Logano on a restart with 10 laps remaining.

The wreck ...Read more

Jimmie Johnson claims record-tying 7th NASCAR Cup championship

Sports / Auto Racing /

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Jimmie Johnson won Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and with it an unlikely seventh and record-tying NASCAR Cup championship.

Johnson took the lead on a restart with two laps remaining and beat Kyle Larson to the start-finish line, igniting a wild celebration with his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team.

...Read more