News and Views – Volume 5

For the week of December 11, 2011 – Volume 5

With this volume of News and Views, Fan4Racing is inviting all NASCAR fans to tell us about your favorite 2011 NASCAR Season memory. Did you have a favorite race you attended, or watched from home this past season?  Many are saying 2011 is one of the most competitive seasons for NASCAR for many years; do you agree with this assessment?  Fan4Racing is in search of guest bloggers and encourage you to tell your story in upcoming weeks and throughout the 2012 season. Visit the SUGGESTION BOX tab for contact information to submit your story. This is a safe environment for you to tell your story, improve your writing skills and share your thoughts among fellow fans, also sharing a passion for our favorite sport of NASCAR racing. 

Fan4Racing and our contributing bloggers continue to wish everyone a Happy Holiday filled with joy for the days leading up to celebrations with your family and friends. 

Volume 6 of News and Views will be posted on January 2nd, 2012.  Thanks for reading and sharing your views.  

Mike Ford out Darian Grubb is in, as Hamlin’s Crew Chief
With Mike Ford being released from Joe Gibbs Racinglast week, Darian Grubb was quickly announced as the replacement crew chief for Denny Hamlin.  Mike Ford indicated to the Associated Press he’s …”kind of relieved, It had been dragging on for so long, I’ actually relieved there’s finally a resolution.” Darian Grubb is saying, “I’m thrilled to join Joe Gibbs Racing.”  Grubb went on to say, “The chance to work with Denny is something I’m excited about.  When you sit down with Joe and J.D. Gibbs you can’t help but be excited about this opportunity and the team aspects of JGR.  There is no question about the level of support you get here and I’m looking forward to working with everyone across the entire organization.” 

Will Darian Grubb be able to do for Denny Hamlin what he did for Tony Stewart bringing a Championship to the #11 Fed Ex Team?

Speculation of Ragan to Penske & Kurt Busch to Phoenix Racing
Reports indicate David Ragan has met with Penske Racingofficials, but as of today, there has been no announcement from Penske as to who will be the driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil car for 2012.  Apparently Kurt Busch has expressed some interest in working with James Finch, owner of Phoenix Racing.  Finch however is waiting to see the results of Ragan’s meeting at Penske before making a decision regarding Busch, because they had previously expressed their interest in David Ragan.  Ragan is expected to meet with Shell Pennzoil this week.  Meanwhile Finch has said, “I haven’t decided who I am going to put in my car next year.  He (Busch) wasn’t necessarily at the top of the list.”  Finch went on to say Busch’s behavior leading to what was described as “mutual” separation from Penske Racing wouldn’t discourage him from hiring him, but also said he wouldn’t tolerate Busch’s sometimes volatile behavior.  Finch said, “Kurt, his talent is pretty good, he’s one of the best there is, but I’m not going to listen to that s— and pay him money.”  Finch has also indicated he has also talked with David Reutimann and Brian Vickers.

When the music stops in this musical chairs situation, who will have a seat in 2012 and who will be left standing and still in search of a seat?

“Fast Freddie” Lorenzen is honored by Illinois General Assembly
The 1965 Daytona 500 winner, Fred Lorenzen was honoredat Chicagoland Speedway last week for his accomplishments as a NASCAR driver from 1958 to 1972.  Illinois State Representative, Dennis Reboletti said, “He is an Illinois sports legend and we recognize him for his lifetime of accomplishments. Chicagoland Speedway President, Scott Paddock went on to say, “Fred Lorenzen is a true NASCAR and Illinois sports legend, and we’re thrilled to be part of today’s presentation honoring his accomplishments. Fred was one of the first pioneers of NASCAR and his contributions have helped to make it the great sport that is today.”  Also at the presentation were two of Lorenzen’s old friends from his days at Holman-Moody Racing, Charlie ‘Slick’ Owens and Waddell Wilson.  Lorenzen is nominated for the NASCAR Hall of Fame and fans want to see him inducted with the class of 2013.  Fan4Racing includes an article with more information about this sports legend.

Will you be voting for Fred Lorenzen to be inducted in the 2013 class for the NASCAR Hall of Fame? Why?

NASCAR Media vote for the Top-Ten moments of 2011
Members of the NASCAR Media conducted a week-long poll to cast ballots for the top-ten moments of the 2011 season.  The countdown results of the media voting are as follows:

#10 – 2010 Sunoco Rookies Stenhouse and Dillon win 2011 Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series Championships

#9 – Danica Patrick posts Best Finish in NASCAR by a female driver with fourth place at Las Vegas

#8 – Austin Dillon becomes Youngest NASCAR Camping World Truck Champion

#7 – Paul Menard holds off Jeff Gordon to win Brickyard 400

#6 – Jimmie Johnson’s .0002 second margin of victory in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

#5 – Regan Smith’s Darlington Southern 500 win

#4 – Jeff Gordon’s 85th NASCAR Sprint Cup win

#3 – Brad Keselowski’s win at Pocono after breaking his left ankle in a testing accident

#2 – Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 win

#1 – Tony Stewart’s Homestead-Miami win to clinch the Championship

Do you agree with NASCAR Media’s voting results?  If not, how would you vote?

SAFER Barrier tethers are in need of inspection
Dr. Dean Sicking, director of the Midwest RoadsideSafety Facility at the University of Nebraska, is one of the people involved in developing the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction, a.k.a. ‘SAFER’ barrier system currently in place at all NASCAR facilities. The project has proven effective in reducing driver injuries throughout the years of its existence.  Most tracks installed SAFER barrier systems between 2003 and 2004.  Dr. Sicking said “the SAFER barriers have three major components: structural steel tubing, closed-cell polystyrene foam blocks and nylon retention tethers.  The foam blocks begin to lose their effectiveness for dissipating energy after about five years, but the nylon tethers are also affected by the elements, particularly sunlight.”  Dr. Sicking went on to say, “…the tethers are now in need of inspection.  Almost all of the tracks have replaced the foam once.  I’ve informally inspected the tethers during my walks around the tracks, and the tethers are now reaching a point where they need to be looked at.”  Sicking also said, “…tracks shouldn’t be overly concerned about tether replacement, but they should be aware that it could become an issue in the future.  Because the tethers help hold the SAFER barrier in place, the failure of multiple tethers could result in a disastrous situation, particularly if it happened during a race weekend.  For example, a track the size of Daytona may have several thousand tethers in place – and if they failed, it could create chaos.  The good thing? Tethers are relatively inexpensive, and it’s something each track can budget for in advance.”

Did you learn anything new about SAFER barriers with this news story? If so, what was ‘new’ to you as a fan of the sport?

Driver appearances set for NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint:
NASCAR Acceleration Preview 2012, presented by Sprintis a new addition to the annual calendar and is taking place the weekend of January 20-22, 2012 with several driver appearances.  The event will take place in Charlotte, NC with the following drivers confirmed as attending, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and 2011 Champion Tony Stewart along with eleven other top drivers of the sport.  The star-studded lineup of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers are scheduled for two-hour appearances at the fan-centric all day event located inside the Charlotte ConventionCenter.  Appearances include driver autograph and on-stage question-and-answer sessions.  Fans will see a festival-like event with driver and show-car appearances, simulators, games, prizes and a host of other fan-friendly and interactive activities featuring legends of the sport and stars of today.  Additional driver appearances will include the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series’, plus all four living NASCAR Hall of Fame members inducted the previous night, will be announced at a later date. 

Will you be attending this inaugural NASCAR event in Charlotte, NC in 2012?

Please share your thoughts about these news stories in the comments section below….As always Thanks for reading and participating. 

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