As we enter into the final weekend of the off-season (AT LAST!!), NASCAR pays tribute to 5 hall of fame members inducted on Friday at the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony. These drivers include Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas, Leonard Wood and Rusty Wallace. The induction ceremony is part of NASCAR’s Acceleration weekend in Charlotte.

Fox asked Rusty what he felt like being voted in on the first try.

“For me to be nominated and brought in on the first try, I am really humbled, excited and surprised”.

For Leonard, it was great voting in people like his brother Glenn but  he says, “It sure is exciting to be on this side”.

Since 1992, Jeff Gordon and his team have been known as the “Rainbow Warriors” branded after Gordon’s career-long sponsor, Dupont Performance coatings. In August, Dupont was acquired by The Carlyle Group which owns Hertz Rental Car, Allison Transmission and Dunkin’ Donuts.  Unlike in the past, Gordon’s car will carry different paint schemes for Carlyle‘s14 races on the #24 Chevrolet. The first of these races will be at Texas in April. The sponsorship commitment ends after the 2013 season.

Hendrick Motorsports will not be the only 4-car team in Daytona for Speedweeks. Stewart-Haas Racing announced earlier this week that they will have a fourth test team that will be competing in a limited schedule in 2013. The team, led by veteran crew chief, David Hyder is expected to be entered for the Daytona 500. E-mails sent to Stewart-Haas Racing’s media contact inquiring about the driver were not returned. Stewart is expected to add a fourth team in 2014 for Tony Stewart, although Ryan Newman’s contract ends after the 2013 season.

During Autoweek’s annual racing conference held Tuesday in Detroit, NASCAR announced a further brand enhancement to the new Generation 6 Sprint Cup Series car. In addition to the driver’s name on the top of the windshield, the car’s manufacturer logo will also be present on both sides of the driver’s name.

The new Generation 6 car was put to the test once again this week as 5 drivers and teams took to the track at Darlington on Tuesday. The test which was put on by Goodyear showed speeds hitting 193 MPH at the end of the straightaway. That speed is unheard of at one of NASCAR’s oldest and demanding race tracks. Kasey Kahne set the Darlington qualifying record in 2011 at 181.254 MPH. That record is expected to be shattered on Mother’s day weekend in 2013.

With NASCAR’s prize money reallocation announcement on Tuesday, starting and parking will be less beneficial for the financially struggling teams in 2013. NASCAR President Mike Helton told media on Tuesday, "We moved prize money higher in the purse, so if someone's intent is solely to run a lap or two and park, the revenue stream shrinks.” According to NASCAR officials, positions 39 through 43 will receive $4,000 less for each position. For example, 39th will receive $4,000 less than 38th and 40th will receive $4,000 less than 39th. NASCAR insists that the purses will not be downsizing but the prize money will be reallocated through the rest of the field.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will hit the track next Friday in preparation for the Sprint Unlimited race Saturday. First broadcast of the year is 6pm on WBKR.

See you next week with all of your NASCAR news!

- Blake Smith