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Gibbs given NASCAR's award of excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Joe Gibbs was honored with the Bill France Award of Excellence, capping a year in which he was elected to NASCAR's Hall of Fame, won his fifth Cup championship as a car owner and thoroughly dominated the competition.

Gibbs was surprised with the honor, given at the start of Thursday night's season-ending awards ceremony. Read More...

NASCAR signs 4 'premier partners'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) NASCAR has signed Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, Geico and Xfinity as its “premier partners" in a change to its traditional sponsorship model.

The premier series starting next year will be known as the NASCAR Cup Series and not feature a title sponsor. Winston, Nextel, Sprint and most recently Monster Energy have served as the entitlement sponsors for the stock car racing series. Read More...

Joe Vaughn wins Humanitarian Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Joe Vaughn, a longtime volunteer and leader with the South Carolina-based Project HOPE Foundation that serves the autism community, won the ninth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award on Thursday night.

Vaughn received the award and $100,000 donation to the Project Hope Foundation during NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony at the Music City Center. The award honors the philanthropic ideals and vision of The NASCAR Foundation's late founder and chairperson. Read More...

Darius Rucker to perform before Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Three-time Grammy Award winner Darius Rucker will perform a pre-race concert before the Daytona 500 in February.

It will be Rucker's fourth appearance at Daytona International Speedway and first at the "Great American Race," which will again serve as NASCAR's Cup Series season opener. The 500-mile race is scheduled for Feb. 16. Read More...

Johnson ready to move on with life

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) Jimmie Johnson handed out mini bottles of Patron at his retirement announcement - so perfectly on brand for the cool Californian who stormed to a record-tying seven NASCAR championships yet somehow bored fans who found him too vanilla for their liking.

Nothing about Johnson was ever boring, though.

Kyle Busch wins second Cup championship

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) Kyle Busch casually collected the championship flag from his team and did a slow, subdued celebratory lap. The most polarizing driver in NASCAR had just won his second Cup title and wanted to soak in the moment with his true fans.

He didn't do his customary bow to the crowd, asked NASCAR for permission to take his 4-year-old son along for the ride to victory lane, and when the duo finally got there it was then that Busch remembered he'd just won both Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and his second NASCAR title. Read More...

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