Summer’s Five Things: What You Need To Know For July 25, 2018

“Summer’s Five Things” is a daily column for NASCAR fans to catch up on the most recent, relevant, and need-to-know news and information in the sport! While mostly focused on NASCAR, this column may also feature other interesting and exciting moments from the world of motorsports. Enjoy!

 

  1. Penalty Report

Here’s your regularly scheduled report of “who screwed up this week”.

  • No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series): Penalized for not having lugnuts properly installed following the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Crew chief Darian Grubb was fined $10,000.00. Driver William Byron finished 14th.
  • No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (NASCAR XFINITY Series): Penalized after failing post-race front body inspection heights. Crew chief Eric Phillips was fined $10,000.00. Phillips will be suspended for this weekend’s race at Iowa Speedway and the team was penalized 10 driver points and 10 owner points. Driver Ryan Preece finished third.
  • No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (NXS): Penalized after failing post-race front body inspection heights. Crew chief Mike Shiplett was fined $10,000.00 and suspended from this weekend’s race at Iowa Speedway. The team was also penalized 10 driver points and 10 owner points. Driver John Hunter Nemechek finished fourth.
  • No. 52 Jimmy Means Racing Chevrolet (NXS): Penalized for not having lug nuts properly installed after the race in New Hampshire. Crew chief Timothy Brown was fined $5,000.00. Driver David Starr finished 28th.

 

2. Bubba Wallace Will Be Driving A Paint Scheme That Is Familiar To Many NASCAR Fans

The Darlington Raceway throwback weekend has become one of the most popular weekends on the NASCAR schedule. Since its inception in 2015, NASCAR competitors and fans have enjoyed the nostalgia of old paint schemes, Hall of Fame NASCAR drivers making an appearance, and even the pit crews donning throwback crew attire.

Bubba Wallace drives the No. 43 Chevrolet for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and NASCAR fans need no introduction to the famed No. 43 and the history behind it, especially with Richard Petty.

For the Darlington race weekend in early September, Wallace will be running the STP scheme that Petty made so famous beginning in 1972.

“Andy (Granatelli, STP boss) was the first public relations and marketing person in motorsports,” said Petty of the announcement. “He knew exactly how to promote and sell STP products. He was first visible in open wheel racing before coming over to stock cars. We met with him and that relationship with STP still remains today. We’re happy to have Bubba carry on the tradition and help bring back memories at Darlington later this year.”

Wallace has never raced at Darlington Raceway in the Cup Series. He has two starts there in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, with a best finish of 14th in 2015.

During the announcement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Wallace and Petty were asked about their plans for next season and any contract announcements or extensions.

“Bubba will be with us again next year from a standpoint that he’s still learning,” Petty said. “He’s a rookie. A lot of these tracks, he’s never been to. We’ve got a new car, running a Chevrolet this year, first time with a Chevrolet, so we’re trying to learn the driver and the car, and all of us trying to learn together. It’s been a real learning process. Right now, we’re kind of too slow learning. We need to speed that up.”

“It’s a positive look for us,” said Wallace. “We’ve just started this deal, and we formed this relationship back as soon as I set foot on the grounds for Pocono last year, so we’re in a good spot, for sure. We’re still working on all the details, but I’m excited to be where I’m at right now.”

This is Wallace’s first full season in the Cup Series. He competed in four Cup Series races last season for RPM to fill in for injured driver Aric Almirola. Almirola moved to Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2018 season and Wallace became the new driver of the No. 43.

Wallace has earned one top-five and two top 10s this season, with the highlight of his season coming in the season-opening Daytona 500 where he earned an emotional runner-up finish.

Unless he wins a race before the Las Vegas race in September, Wallace is unlikely to make the Playoffs based on points.

 

  1. Tickets Now Available for Daytona 24-Hour Race

Though not on the NASCAR schedule, almost anyone who is a fan of motorsports watches the Rolex 24 at Daytona every January, and there are usually at least a couple of NASCAR drivers in the field.

Next year’s race weekend will be January 27th-29th, 2019 and Daytona International Speedway announced that tickets are now on sale for the event.

They can be purchased at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

AJ Allmendinger represented NASCAR in the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona and earned a podium finish. The overall race was won by the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R driven by Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi.

 

  1. Hendrick Motorsports, Microsoft Renew Partnership

Microsoft has been a partner of Hendrick Motorsports since 2015, and the two entities announced on Tuesday that they would be renewing their partnership for the rest of the 2018 season and the 2019 season.

Microsoft is now the Official Cloud Partner of Hendrick Motorsports, meaning HMS uses a variety of Microsoft technologies, such as artificial intelligence and Azure cloud services, to collaborate, innovate, and gather information that translates into results on the racetrack.

“We have tremendous confidence in Microsoft,” engineer and HMS director of competition Alba Colon in a team release. “The partnership gives our team access to tools and expertise that is enabling unprecedented insights. With all the information and data available to us today, we’re constantly looking for ways to learn faster and make quicker, more informed decisions. From the power of the cloud to artificial intelligence and machine learning, our continued collaboration with Microsoft will help us do that and much more.”

HMS has been in a bit of a slump this year. None of their four cars have made it to Victory Lane this season, and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is the highest driver in points at 12th.

 

  1. BK Racing Legal Woes Continue

ESPN’s Bob Pockrass and NBC Sports’ Dustin Long reported on the continued courtroom proceedings for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team BK Racing.

BK Racing’s legal woes came to light around January 2017, though tax documents and various reports show that financial problems had plagued this team much further back than that.

The team has continued to field cars in the Cup Series this season through the legal challenges, with Gray Gaulding competing in 17 races and JJ Yeley in two. Blake Jones made his MENCS debut with the team last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The team’s best finish this season was an 18th-place result by Yeley in the July Daytona race.

 

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