NASCAR: Ty Dillon to run 2015 Daytona 500, marks occasion by eating Cheerios (VIDEO)

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Last year at the Daytona 500, Austin Dillon announced his arrival on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit by winning the pole in the famous No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

Now, his little brother, XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon, will seek to make his own big splash in the 2015 running of The Great American Race.

RCR has announced that Ty will make his Daytona 500 debut next February in the No. 33 Circle Sport Racing Chevrolet with backing from Cheerios (one of Austin’s main sponsors) and supermarket chain Kroger.

The Circle Sport team, owned by Joe Falk, is affiliated with RCR and ran Ty in his first two Sprint Cup races this past fall. He finished 25th at Atlanta, and later 27th in the penultimate race of the year at Phoenix.

Ty broke the news earlier today in fitting fashion – with a Vine that ended with him at the breakfast table, eating a bowl of Cheerios.

“We are fortunate to have a great partner like [Cheerios’ parent company] General Mills giving me the opportunity to race in one of the most prestigious events in all of sports,” he said in a team release.

“Not only has General Mills been a long-time supporter of RCR but also my family, partnering with Austin (Dillon) for the 2013 Daytona 500 and this past season. I can’t thank General Mills and Kroger enough for being part of this race.”

Ty finished fifth in the XFINITY Series standings last season after claiming his first series win at Indianapolis and collecting 24 Top-10 finishes.

Now, he’s looking forward to another milestone in his journey up the NASCAR ladder.

“The Daytona 500 is a major step in Ty’s career and it’s terrific to have General Mills as a big part of this monumental race,” RCR team owner Richard Childress said in his own thoughts.

“General Mills has such a great history in NASCAR and we are proud to feature the Cheerios colors on Ty’s race car for the Daytona 500 and the millions of NASCAR fans who will be watching. We hope to bring Cheerios a victory.”

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Credit: Richard Childress Racing.

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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