NASCAR Hall of Fame debuts new Racin’ & Rockin’ exhibit, driver/fan Q&A series, Eldora truck race viewing party

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The NASCAR Hall of Fame is going to be very busy over the next few months.

Last month, the Hall debuted one of its most intriguing exhibits ever called Rockin’ and Racin’. Not only are there several NASCAR race-winner trophies in the shapes of guitars created by noted artist Sam Bass, there are also a number of vehicles that have been used in NASCAR-themed music videos or movies.

Among those: The 1959 Chevrolet Corvette featured in Brad Paisley’s “Old Alabama” music video, country music star Marty Robbins’ 1964 Plymouth race car, Juan Pablo Montoya’s 2012 No. 42 Chevrolet sponsored by Taylor Swift and the 2003 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 guitar trophy. The exhibit is on display through the end of the year.

Now there’s two other activities that will grab fans’ attention at the Hall, located in downtown Charlotte, N.C.

First is a special viewing party on July 23 of the 1-800-CarCrash Mudsummer Classic NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora (Ohio) Speedway. The party will be in the Hall’s 278-seat High Octane Theater on a 64-foot-wide, curved projection screen with surround sound. Admission is just $5 per person.

The Classic will mark the second straight year that the trucks have raced on the dirt at Eldora, one of the most popular highlights of last season, which also marked the first time any NASCAR series raced on dirt in 43 years.

And then there’s a new series of appearances by drivers from the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series, which begins this Tuesday, July 15, at 4 pm ET.

Called “Summer Driver Tuesdays,” each session will feature a question-and-answer session moderated by Hall executive director and Motor Racing Network personality Winston Kelley, followed by an autograph session with fans.

In addition, drivers as well as NASCAR Hall of Fame members and fans will also have the opportunity to race against each other in the iRacing Simulators in Race Week.

Here’s the schedule for the series (dates, times and drivers subject to change – check the Hall’s web site for updates):

July 15, 4-5:30 pm: Michael McDowell, Brennan Newberry and Germán Quiroga

July 29, 4-5:30 pm: Landon Cassill, Erik Jones and Tyler Young

Aug. 5, 4-5:30 pm: Alex Bowman, Cole Whitt, Ryan Truex and Justin Allgaier

Aug. 2, 4-5:30 pm: Michael Annett, Joey Coulter, Spencer Gallagher and Jimmy Weller

Click here for more information on Summer Driver Tuesdays.

And click here for more information about the NASCAR Hall of Fame and other activities.

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Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”