NASCAR: Live from Charlotte

Updated: January 30, 2014, 2:41 PM ET
ESPN.com

NASCAR media tour: Let the fun begin


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Less than 24 hours after a hotly contested Rolex 24 sports car race at Daytona International Speedway, America's auto racing media has converged on Charlotte for the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Over the next four days, NASCAR Sprint Cup teams, as well as the sanctioning body itself, will stage a series of news conferences to lay out their hopes and plans for the 2014 season. ESPN will provide full coverage of the week's events over a variety of platforms, including Twitter via @ESPNMotorsports.

Senior editor for motorsports K. Lee Davis and I will be compiling information for a live blog like you are familiar with during NASCAR race weekends, so be sure to check the site often for updates throughout the day.

Let the media madness begin!

-- John Oreovicz

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

Same ol' Smoke

A broken leg may have temporarily left Tony Stewart physically hobbled, but soon after he walked into the opening team news conference of the NASCAR media tour, he left no doubt whatsoever that his feisty spirit is 100 percent intact.

Especially when it comes to jousting with the media.

"Read the Internet once in a while -- you'll see that I got released to drive a couple days ago," replied Stewart when asked if his rehabilitation from that devastating sprint car crash in July was on schedule. "It's a great thing. I'll show you how to use your computer later."

All joking aside, Stewart was in midseason form with his mind and his sharp tongue, and he expects to be settled quickly once he gets into a car at Daytona International Speedway in a few weeks.

Danica Patrick answered the inevitable questions about whether she is under pressure to achieve better results this year while Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch talked about adapting to their new environment at Stewart-Haas Racing.

But the breakout star of the session was SHR co-owner Gene Haas, who fielded questions about his more visible role as the team's front man during Stewart's recovery as well as his announced intention to try to secure a license to field a Formula One team in 2015.

"I've had interest in [F1] for a number of years," Haas said. "I think it's an incredibly difficult challenge. It's nothing to be taken lightly. It's filled with peril, and there's a million ways to fail. For all those reasons is why you do it."

"I think Gene has had the ability to build a championship-caliber team in NASCAR, and now he's ambitious to expand on that and go to a worldwide scenario," added Stewart. "We're supportive of his aspirations to be in Formula One. Gene is the kind of person who when he puts his mind to it he has the ability to stay focused. He's done that with the Cup side, he's done that with Haas Automation, and it's going to be exciting watching him try to do that in Formula One."

-- John Oreovicz

Changes in attitudes?

NASCAR officials haven't specifically said there are changes coming to the points distribution system and the Chase, but since everyone from the mayor of Charlotte to any driver asked is "excited" about it, you can bet Thursday's NASCAR session at this week's media tour will be the one to watch.

During Tuesday's Stewart-Haas Racing session, driver and team owner Tony Stewart said he was excited about the changes and that the drivers and teams have been apprised of what they are. Kevin Harvick is excited he gets more laps to try to earn a pole during the new group qualifying sessions, given his admittedly lackluster career qualifying results. Danica Patrick said she hopes she can make the Chase so she can get excited about the prospects of what the new rules would mean for her.

Kurt Busch? Well, he sounded the one cautionary note in the session, saying that it's important NASCAR put more excitement into things without overdoing it. Simply stated, he said he believes the changes need to benefit everyone, including the fans.

Will they? We'll likely find out more as the week goes on, and we should know what the changes are going to be definitively by 3 p.m. ET Thursday.

-- K. Lee Davis

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


ALSO SEE