NASCAR Media Tour Content Recap: All posts, one place


We’ve had a busy week here on MotorSportsTalk with Nate Ryan and Dustin Long in Charlotte and Jerry Bonkowski, Chris Estrada and myself keeping tabs on all team press conferences from the Charlotte Motor Speedway media tour.

The four days produced a bevy of story lines across most of the teams competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 2015, and within the entire NASCAR world as well.

In case you missed any posts in our comprehensive coverage, all are linked below:

RYAN: Chase Elliott’s Cup promotion perfectly timed for NASCAR (Nate Ryan)
NASCAR considers unveiling ’16 rules package at All-Star Race (Nate Ryan)
LeBron James’ agent involved in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s search for sponsorship (Nate Ryan)
Why Hendrick won’t retire the No. 24 (Dustin Long)
Larson not disappointed he won’t drive the No. 24 (Dustin Long)
Bowyer on Gordon: It’s still ugly (Dustin Long)
Kyle Busch says Toyota teams are “idiots” for not working together (Dustin Long)
Rick Hendrick: No pressure on Gordon, just go win 14 races and the championship (Jerry Bonkowski)
Jimmie Johnson is going for seven titles, but isn’t the story at media tour (Tony DiZinno)
Logano talks about Penske camaraderie… and his lost wedding ring (Chris Estrada)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ready for new crew chief Greg Ives to take him to the next level
Kasey Kahne, Keith Rodden gear up for better year in 2015
Why Hendrick won’t retire the No. 24
Jimmie Johnson is going for seven titles, but isn’t the story at media tour
Rick Hendrick: No pressure on Gordon, just go win 14 races and the championship
RYAN: Chase Elliott’s Cup promotion perfectly timed for NASCAR
Elliott confirmed to replace Jeff Gordon in No. 24

Ryan Newman – and his brass knuckles – are ready to fight for Sprint Cup crown in 2015
RCR seeks wins, momentum carryover into 2015
RCR names two new development drivers, Kate Dallenbach and Ahnna Parkhurst

Ganassi, Sabates praise McMurray as team’s “big game hunter” into 2015
Larson not disappointed he won’t drive the No. 24
One look at his wrist, and Larson says it’s time to win

Truex’s girlfriend passes milestone in cancer recovery
Truex sees brighter days ahead, both on and off-track, in 2015

TEAM PENSKE (Wednesday)
Keselowski: Hard to believe it’s my sixth season with Team Penske already
Logano talks about Penske camaraderie… and his lost wedding ring

Wood Brothers plan expanded 18-race schedule for Ryan Blaney (VIDEO)

No “I” in team, but plenty of family for No. 95 squad

RPM seeks sponsorship for Hornish for 26 races
Hornish fitting in nicely at RPM
After 2014 Chase berth, Aric Almirola looks for more in 2015

Roush Fenway Racing still seeking sponsorship for Wallace (see additional LeBron post below)
Roush Fenway looks for big rebound in 2015
Stenhouse Jr. channels Marshawn Lynch: “I’m just here so I won’t get fined”

Tony Stewart buys All-Star Circuit of Champions sprint car series
Outcry over GoDaddy Super Bowl Danica/puppy ad causes company to pull it
Harvick: “I’m as comfortable as I ever have been”
Gene Haas provides update on F1 team progress
Kurt Busch: “What I said was under oath”
Kurt Busch hasn’t yet discussed an Indy 500 return
Danica enters final year of contract, wants to stay at SHR
Danica wants to build on ’14 successes in ’15
Poll: Which SHR driver will improve most in ’15?

MWR responds to Kyle Busch’s comments on working together
Bowyer on Gordon: It’s still ugly
Vickers can’t wait to race again
Moffitt to drive No. 55 car at Atlanta (Waltrip in Daytona 500)

Kyle Busch says Toyota teams are “idiots” for not working together
Kyle Busch has a message for those that are confusing him with his brother
JGR prepares for new era as a four-car team (VIDEO)
Poll: Which JGR driver will have best season in 2015?

NASCAR (Monday primarily)
NASCAR and RTA are communicating, but not commenting much
NASCAR 2015 Start Times: Sprint Cup, XFINITY, Camping World Trucks
NASCAR considers unveiling ’16 rules package at All-Star Race
Brian France: State of NASCAR is strong and getting better
France: NASCAR not looking to expand four-car team number
No early exit expected for Sprint
Drive for Diversity class announced; Daytona Rising update comes in
NASCAR outlaws practice of flared fender side skirts

NASCAR on NBC’s Jeff Burton has an impromptu Twitter Q&A (Wednesday night)
NASCAR on NBC: Nick Offerman tells you to get some NASCAR in your life (VIDEO)
Dale Jarrett to join NBC NASCAR team

Hall of Famer David Pearson recovering from mild stroke
LeBron James’ agent involved in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s search for sponsorship
Sponsorship woes sideline Jeb Burton again
Ross Chastain moves up to XFINITY Series with JD Motorsports
JJ Yeley to be BK Racing’s primary driver in 2015
Petty says NASCAR’s next big star could be in XFINITY (VIDEO)
HScott announces second car for Michael Annett
ISC shows strong revenue growth
NASCAR Media Tour begins today, but drivers still idle

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”