BC-CAR--Auto Racing Coverage, ADVISORY


Monday, February 11, 2019


To help with your planning, here is some of what AP is planning ahead of the 2019 auto racing season. For questions, please email Dave Zelio (dzelio@ap.org). You can also call (212) 621-1630; Sports Photos, ext. 1918; Graphics, ext. 6907. For up-to-the-minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org . For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477

All times Eastern.



Your readers can follow the latest coverage through the AP Auto Racing Digital News Experience. This locally branded, AP-managed presentation will feature running coverage on race day, including the latest photos. The DNE also showcases AP’s previews and features during the week in a member-branded format . While providing an easy way to connect readers with complete racing coverage, the DNE also generates online revenue for your newspaper. For more info, contact Barry Bedlan at bbedlan@ap.org or 972-677-2270.

Key dates:

_NASCAR Cup season opener: Daytona 500, Feb. 17.

_IndyCar season opener: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.), March 10.

_Formula One season opener: Australian Grand Prix, March 17.

_In the Pits column from Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer will move on most Mondays during the season.




DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. __ William Byron and Alex Bowman make the youngest front row in the history of the Daytona 500. Byron is 21, Bowman is 25 and both represent a youth movement in NASCAR. The season-opener is a chance for one of the new faces to launch his career in the Super Bowl of NASCAR. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 800 words, photos Feb. 15.


_ CAR--NASCAR-Daytona 500 Capsules, drivers competing in the 2019 Daytona 500. SENT: 2,000 words, combo photos of each driver.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ NASCAR has new leadership, a new rules package and ambitious plans to tackle many of the issues facing the beleaguered series. The slide in attendance and television ratings has been unstoppable the last five years and NASCAR believes this season is the first step in finding some stability. The biggest initiative is a radical new rules package that won’t debut until the second race of the season but is designed to drastically improve the on-track product. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 750 words, photos Feb. 4.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Jim France replaced his nephew as head of NASCAR in August but has remained behind the scenes as he tries to stabilize the family business. Although Jim France operates in the shadows, he’s empowered his employees to make drastic changes in an effort to stop NASCAR slide in popularity. The 2019 season opens Sunday with the Daytona 500 and the industry is banking on France-backed initiatives ending NASCAR’s downturn. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 750 words, photos Feb. 13.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR has put a ban in place on drivers gambling on races, not that it was really a problem. But the rest of the fan base? NASCAR is all in and hopes an interest in legalized betting in a growing number of states can stir interest in the sport. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 700 words, photos Feb. 12.


CONCORD, N.C. _ NASCAR will disqualify race-winning cars that break the rules this season, confronting its longtime culture of cheating with a stringent new penalty system that will also settle the issue of who won at the track on race day. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 650 words, photo Feb. 4.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ A wave of retirements left a massive void of superstar drivers capable of carrying NASCAR through a tough transitional phase. Kyle Larson could be the exception and the future for American auto racing. He’s the rare driver who shows an interest in racing more than stock cars. Larson appeals to the grassroots fan base but has yet to reach a mainstream audience. But as he enters his sixth season at NASCAR’s top level it is clear that once Larson starts winning on a consistent basis he could become the biggest star in the country. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 750 words, photos Feb. 1.



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Rick Hendrick said his teams would be better this season and the first day of Speedweeks backed up his claim. His teams went 1-2-3-4 in Daytona 500 qualifying, then Jimmie Johnson won the first event of the year. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 810 words, photos Feb. 11.



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ There has been a string of goodbyes at Daytona International Speedway in recent years, from Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick. There is another one on tap Sunday: The Daytona 500 will be the final NASCAR race for restrictor plates. By Mark Long. SENT: 650 words, photos Feb. 15.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Richard Petty has long stood as NASCAR’s record holder with 200 wins. Kyle Busch has 194 and is primed to pass him this season. Petty won all 200 races in NASCAR’s elite Cup series. Busch has spread his wins over NASCAR’s three national touring series, raising questions about the legitimacy of the record. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 780 words, photos Feb. 15.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Natalie Decker will make her Truck Series debut Friday, the only race at Daytona this weekend with any female drivers. With Danica Patrick retired, Decker, Hailie Deegan and a few others have the potential to fill that void. By Mark Long. SENT: 600 words, photos Feb. 14.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Austin Dillon and Bubba Wallace finished 1-2 last year in the Daytona 500. But they never came close to reaching those heights the rest of the season. They try and find some mojo again on Sunday. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 750 words, photos Feb. 14.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Thanks to a new television deal, a massive snowstorm and a spectacular ending that included an infield brawl, the 1979 Daytona 500 was instrumental in broadening NASCAR’s southern roots. Forty years later, it still resonates as one of the most important days in NASCAR history. By Mark Long. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by noon Feb. 16.


_ CAR--AP WAS THERE-1979 DAYTONA 500, how the AP wrote the 1979 race won by Richard Petty while Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison were brawling in the infield. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by noon Feb. 16.

_ CAR--AP WAS THERE-1979 Brawl, how the AP wrote about the Yarborough-Allison brawl. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by noon Feb. 16.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. plays sim racing for fun. So does Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace and scores of drivers in the NASCAR garage who unwind with virtual racing. But the real star in the virtual stock car world is someone like Ray Alfalla, a 29-year-old mail carrier who was a No. 1 pick in the iRacing draft. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 750 words, photos Feb. 14.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Martin Truex Jr. failed to send Furniture Row Racing out of NASCAR with a championship. But he’ll have chances to win one with his new team, Joe Gibbs Racing. A year after Truex’s team folded and he just missed on a second straight Cup title, he found the kind of landing spot at JGR that should keep him a contender for years to come. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 780 words, photos Feb. 11.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ Jimmie Johnson by all measures is one of the politest athletes in sports. But his patience was tested during the worst season of his NASCAR career by criticism sent his way via social media. Unable to always tune it out, the seven-time NASCAR champion clapped back one day with a stern message: “I’m far from done.” His retort is now his mantra, Johnson even had t-shirts made with a version of the slogan, and he’s determined to prove he can still win a record-breaking eighth championship. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT. 750 words, photos Feb. 2.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Chad Knaus got his first big break at Hendrick Motorsports when he was picked to build a team from scratch around rookie driver Jimmie Johnson. The two piled up a record-tying seven championships and cemented the No. 48 team as the best in the sport. Despite their 17-year friendship, the strain of underperforming last year took its toll on both driver and crew chief. Knaus was moved to the No. 24 team to lead a rebuild, meaning the winningest crew chief in the garage is essentially starting over with another youngster in second-year driver William Byron. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 750 words, photos Feb. 8.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Rick Hendrick worked far too hard building NASCAR’s top organization to tolerate mediocrity. He might have been able to stomach last season if his teams had been just average. But the cars were bad _ seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson failed to win a race for the first time ever _ and the Hall of Fame owner is not going to stand for a repeat in 2019. Hendrick told The Associated Press last season was the worst in his team’s 35-year history. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 850 words, photos Feb. 6.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ Roger Penske’s passion and dedication stretches across all racing, evidenced by his all-nighter during the Rolex 24 sports car race. Penske drivers last year won the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR’s Cup title, the Supercars title in Australia and the organization scored its 500th overall win. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 650 words, photos Jan. 30.



AUSTIN, Texas _ IndyCar heads into 2019 with everything going in the right direction. The series has a new long-term sponsor in Japanese communications giant NTT. Tire manufacturer Firestone has extended its supplier deal for five more years. A new broadcast deal with NBC is set to launch. On the track, an already deep driver pool keeps adding veteran and rookie talent. And the series has added a new stop in Texas while bringing back an old favorite in California. IndyCar has even been exploring a return to Australia and possibly adding another international event to the American open-wheel series. By Jim Vertuno. SENT: 750 words, photos Feb. 11.


After their early years racing each other in karts, Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist took very different paths chasing checkered flags around the globe before finally landing in the United States. Now they represent a “Swedish invasion” of IndyCar as two series rookies with vast experience and big expectations heading into the 2019 season. By Jim Vertuno. SENT: 650 words, photos Feb. 12.

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