February 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup News Archive

FEBRUARY 2012 NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE

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    News from February 29, 2012

  • Ollie's Bargain Outlet returns to sponsor Blaney: On the coattails of great exposurein the Daytona 500, Ollie's Bargain Outlet will return to Tommy Baldwin Racing this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway as primary sponsor of Dave Blaney and the #36 Ollie's Bargain Outlet Chevy in the Subway Fresh Fit 500. Ollie's Bargain Outlet, one of America's largest retailers of closeouts, salvage and surplus merchandise, joined TBR for the 54th running of the Daytona 500. An unexpected incident with a jet dryer led to a two-hour red flag with the #36 Ollie's Bargain Outlet Chevrolet in the lead. The unexpected circumstance garnered TBR and Ollie's Bargain Outlet substantial exposure during a peak time of the broadcast. Due to the success of the partnership at the Daytona 500, the Pennsylvania-based company decided to extend the relationship with TBR and Blaney.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(2-29-2012)

  • Barrett-Jackson to sponsor Ragan at Phoenix: The #34 Ford Fusion won't be up for auction, but Barrett-Jackson will be all over it at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. The famed automotive auction house will be the primary sponsor of David Ragan's entry in this weekend's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the one-mile oval in the desert. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the "World's Greatest Collector Car Events" in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Fla., Las Vegas and Orange County, Calif.(Front Row Motorsports)(2-29-2012)

  • NASCAR suspends Knaus for six weeks; Hendrick to appeal: NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the #48 team in the Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions found on Feb. 17 during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500. The #48 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-2.1E (if in the judgment of NASCAR officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance will not be permitted -- unapproved car body modifications). As a result, crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec have been suspended from the next six Sprint Cup Series championship events, suspended from NASCAR until April 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 9. Additionally, Knaus has been fined $100,000. Driver Jimmie Johnson and car owner Jeff Gordon have been penalized with the loss of 25 driver and 25 owner points, respectively.(NASCAR)
    AND Hendrick Motorsports will appeal sanctions announced by NASCAR related to the #48 Sprint Cup Series team. "Our organization respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "In this case, though, the system broke down, and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process." Adjustments to #48 team personnel are not planned while the appeal is ongoing.(Hendrick Motorsports)(2-29-2012)

  • Burger King signs NASCAR licensing agreement with BK Racing: Burger King Corp. has entered into a licensing agreement with BK Racing LLC. As part of the agreement, BKC has licensed the primary paint scheme on the #83 and 93 Toyota Camry Sprint Cup cars, which debuted during Monday's delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway. "I'm extremely happy to welcome Burger King Corp. to the team and really proud to be associated with such a great brand," said Scott Gunderson, president and co-owner of BK Racing LLC and a Burger King franchisee. "This demonstrates another important step in getting the BK Racing team ready for the season. As a longtime franchisee, I look forward to a successful racing season and know firsthand the benefits of a partnership with a winning team." BKC will leverage the sponsorship both on and off the track through select regional marketing programs and promotions. "This sponsorship with the BK Racing team provides the perfect scenario to get back into NASCAR. The team's passion, both on and off the track, resonates very well with an important segment of Burger King customers," said Alex Macedo, senior vice president, North America marketing, Burger King Corp.(Quick Service Restaurant News)(2-29-2012)

  • Green Smoke to sponsor #32 car: Green Smoke announced its sponsorship of TJ Bell and Car #32 Ford owned by FAS Lane Racing in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This marks the 2nd year that TJ Bell and Green Smoke will be partnering for the Cup Series. "I'm really excited to be racing again for Green Smoke," says Bell, who is coming off his Sprint Cup rookie season. "We had a lot of fun last year. They're growing at a tremendous rate and are going to be moving into some big national chain stores this year. They've picked the perfect market to promote their revolutionary product." Green Smoke electronic cigarettes provide smokers with an amazing smoking experience. Because of their outstanding success online, they are rapidly moving into the large national retail sector this year. "We're proud to be sponsoring TJ again," says Steven Arnold, VP of Marketing and Customer Satisfaction at Green Smoke. "We had a very successful season last year with TJ, and he's at the start of what's going to be a phenomenal career. We're proud to be a part of his success." The #32 Ford featured the Green Smoke logo in the Daytona 500 (PR Web). No word what races Bell will run or what races Green Smoke will be the primary sponsor.(2-29-2012)

  • Johnson talks about Daytona 500 wreck: UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson  Sidelined in multi-car crash on lap 2 of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Monday, February 27, 2012, his comments from a Chevy PR:
    LOOKED LIKE A HARD HIT. FIRST ARE YOU OK? WHAT HAPPENED?
    Johnson: "Yes, I'm ok. That side hit was hard. We were all just trying to make our lane work. A lot of energy in the lane. I was kind of pushing the No. 78 (Regan Smith) a little bit. I could feel some help from behind. Just turned me around. Sent me down to the inside lane and back up to the outside lane. When I was l sitting in the middle of the race track, I knew at some point someone was going to come along unfortunately. David Ragan had nowhere to go. I unfortunately got drilled by him pretty hard. I'm just really, really bummed to start the season this way. For all the hard work that has gone into getting this Lowe's Chevrolet ready for tonight; we didn't get to complete two-and-a-half miles of green flag racing. So, I'm pretty bummed."
    ARE YOU OK? "I'm ok. I'm just really bummed-out for this whole Lowe's team. To work as hard as everyone did at Hendrick Motorsports to get this Lowe's Chevrolet and to have it barely complete two-and-a-half miles of green flag racing is pretty sad. Disappointed, but nothing I can do about it now. We'll just go on and go to Phoenix and set our marks on winning that race."
    DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT HAPPENED? "We were all just getting up to speed and I had some help from behind that got me out of control. From there on I was just spinning."(Chevy PR)(2-28-2012)
    UPDATE: Tuesday (Feb. 28) evening's edition of the NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED wrapped up a wild Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler, driver of the #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy, who re-capped his incident with five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson. He spoke with host Danielle Trotta about what happened. "I just kind of got into the back of Jimmie, it was 100-percent my fault," said Sadler, describing the incident that started as the field had just entered the race's second lap. "It got other cars involved like you see in a lot of the restrictor plate races. We were coming into the outside lane, through the tri-oval, the #78 (Regan Smith) and the #48 (Jimmie Johnson) kind of get bunched up a little bit. They came down and its 100-percent my fault in getting into the back of Jimmie. We were kind of bogged down, everyone was side-by-side and I didn't check up in time, and I got into the left-rear quarter (panel) of Jimmie. It was just a little bit, but that is usually all it takes at these types of speeds. It's a bad way to get started."(SPEED)(2-29-2012)

  • CRVA exec to focus on NASCAR Hall: Charlotte's top tourism official said Monday he is working to fully integrate different parts of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, and said a top priority is to convince people attending conventions to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Tom Murray, who was hired as CRVA chief executive in December, gave a briefing to the Charlotte City Council about his reorganization of upper management. The biggest change is that former CEO Tim Newman is no longer with the organization. Newman, who was demoted by the board after the council members questioned his management, had stayed with the CRVA as an executive in charge of sales. But he stepped down Friday. The new CRVA will have six people working directly under Murray as part of an executive management team. Murray said he wants to have the different aspects of the CRVA - sales, marketing and management of city-owned venues - working together smoothly. The CRVA was created in 2004 as a merger of Visit Charlotte and the Auditorium-Coliseum-Convention Center Authority. Murray said his next goal is to improve attendance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which lost $1.4 million in its first year. His goal is to have the racing museum break even financially or turn a profit, he said. Murray said new lower ticket prices for local people have been successful, and that the hall may try to offer discounted tickets to convention attendees in the future. The CRVA has said it has struggled to convince convention attendees to visit the hall. Murray also said Monday he "never considered" replacing current NASCAR hall Executive Director Winston Kelley. Kelley is now listed as a CRVA vice president in addition to heading the NASCAR hall. The other vice presidents are Ted Lewis (convention center); Bob Buchanan (human resources); Mike Crum (chief financial officer); Mike Butts (Visit Charlotte) and Gina Sheridan (marketing).(Charlotte Observer)(2-29-2012)

  • Congrats to Ryan & Krissie Newman: Krissie Newman tweeted Tuesday evening, "[Daughter] Brooklyn is pretty excited tonight, we told her she was going to have a little sister in July!"(2-29-2012)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2012 Daytona 500: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Sunday's races. Began recording the times at the invocation of the race on Sunday at 1:10 PM, and stopped during the red flag waving for the rain delay at 1:30 PM. Restarted recording times on Monday evening at 7:01 PM, until another red flag delay for the jet fuel fire at 10:07 PM. Resumed recording times when the drivers started their engines at 11:57 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 12:56 AM (all times are EST). Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials (not split-screen: 117
    Total number of 'NASCAR on Fox Side-by-Side Commercials' (split-screen): 9
    Total number of commercials: 126
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 72
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 46
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 5 min. 10 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods on Sunday: 1:10 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods on Sunday: 1:30 PM
    Start time to record race/commercial periods on Monday: 7:01 PM
    End time to stop recording for red flag for jet fuel fire: 10:07 PM
    Restart time to record race/commercial periods: 11:57 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods at checkered flag: 12:56 AM
    Total minutes: 265
    Minutes of race broadcast: 206
    Minutes of traditional commercials: 59
    Minutes of 'Side-by-Side Commercials': 4
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 0
    Number of 'Digger the Gopher Cam' appearances: 12
    Number of exploding cargo of an emergency vehicle: 1
    Number of surprise appearances by Tide detergent: 1
    (CawsnJaws.com) see more, drivers focused and links on my 2012 TV Commercials page.(2-29-2012)

  • Brian McKnight to sign National Anthem at Phoenix: World-renowned recording artist Brian McKnight will sing the national anthem prior to the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500, Sunday, March 4. McKnight and his sons, Brian Jr. and Niko, will launch Phoenix's 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season with the same soulful sounds that have been a McKnight trademark for two decades. McKnight and his sons are avid NASCAR fans. "In our house, we are either talking about sports or music, and there is nothing like the excitement of NASCAR," said McKnight. "My sons and I are thrilled to be performing at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. We hope everyone enjoys our rendition of the National Anthem."(Phoenix Raceway)(2-29-2011)


    News from February 28, 2012

  • Update on jet dryer driver from Daytona 500 accident: Michigan International Speedway had three jet dryers and two employees at Daytona International Speedway assisting with Monday's Daytona 500. The jet dryer driven by Duane Barnes, 52, of Addison, Mich., was hit from behind by #42-Juan Pablo Montoya during a caution. Barnes was released from Halifax Medical Center after a precautionary evaluation by doctors late Monday night. He returned to the racetrack to watch the end of the race. Barnes has worked in the Maintenance Department at Michigan International Speedway for 24 years. He has frequently assisted other International Speedway Corporation-owned racetracks, driving jet dryers at those events. MIS supports other racetracks by sending staff and equipment to events. Barnes is surprised at the outpouring of well wishes, and thanks everyone for their concern. "I appreciate everyone for taking the time to write, call and ask how I am. I am OK and I am amazed at how many people have wished me well. I am also glad Juan Pablo Montoya is OK, and thank him for his concern," Barnes said.(MIS)(2-28-2012)

  • NASCAR Statement on Brad Keselowski's Use of Social Media During the Daytona 500: NASCAR will not penalize #2-Brad Keselowski for his use of Twitter during last night's Daytona 500. Nothing we've seen from Keselowski violates any current rules pertaining to the use of social media during races. As such, he won't be penalized. We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others.(NASCAR)(2-28-2012)

  • Cena forced to back out: John Cena, the former WWE champion, had originally planned to honor his commitment as the honorary starter for Monday's Daytona 500 before hoping on a plane to fly to Portland, Oregon for his appearance on Monday Night Raw. However, with the race starting at night, Cena was forced to back out of his commitment but not before stopping by the media center to promise to pay for a charter plane back to Daytona if the race is postponed until Tuesday. "I've never seen a more stand-up guy," said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood. "He has an open invitation to come back to any of our events, anytime."(Orlando Sentinel), Cena was scheduled to wave the green flag on Sunday, then when it was postponed, he was to also give the command to start engines.(2-28-2012)

  • Daytona 500 TV Ratings (lots of info here): Fox's impromptu primetime coverage of a rain-delayed Daytona 500 rained on everyone else's parade, driving almost every rival down in viewership. What's more, by averaging 14.24 million total viewers and a 4.5 demo rating, Fox's NASCAR coverage about doubled its typical House/Alcatraz numbers and thus led the network to a rare Monday win on both counts (tvline.com)
    AND Fox earned a 7.7 overnight Nielsen rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500's debut in primetime, which saw Matt Kenseth take the checkered flag. That figure is down 6% from an 8.2 overnight for Trevor Bayne's win last year, which aired on a Sunday afternoon (Sports Business Daily).
    AND II: Fox carried special coverage of the Daytona 500, which was delayed from Sunday by rain, and it averaged a 4.5 adults 18-49 rating and 11 share from 8 to 11 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, just ahead of NBC's 4.4/11. But the Daytona 500 was not the night's top show. That honor once again went to NBC's "The Voice," which averaged a 5.4 from 8 to 10 p.m., down 7 percent from the previous week but once again dominating its timeslot. Ratings for Fox's NASCAR coverage are approximate as fast nationals measure timeslot and not actual program data. Fox also finished first for the night among households with an 8.1 average overnight rating and a 12 share. NBC was second at 7.3/11, CBS third at 6.3/10, ABC fourth at 5.6/9, Univision fifth at 1.8/3, CW sixth at 0.9/1 and Telemundo seventh at 0.7/1.(Media Life Magazine)
    UPDATE The 54th DAYTONA 500, a race with fire, rain, and everything but the brimstone, earned a 7.7/13 in the metered markets last night on FOX. The race was interrupted for roughly two hours by a bizarre incident in which Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer under caution, causing an on-track explosion and fire. In keeping with Nielsen policy FOX is able to exclude most of the delay from the race rating, just as we would for a baseball rain delay. Last night's 7.7/13 is an average of the 7.8/12 FOX averaged from 7:15-10:30pm and the 7.3/17 that was earned from Midnight to 1am. The excluded portion averaged a 7.3/13 from 10:30pm-Midnight.
    - Last night's 7.7/13 is off -6% compared to last year's 8.2/18, which ran without interruption on a Sunday afternoon. It's also +10% better than 2010's 7.0/14 for the infamous "pothole 500" which was delayed twice for track repair. Prior to last night's red-flag delay the primetime race was actually pacing very slightly ahead of last year. Last night's race averaged a 7.8/12 from 7:15-10:30pm compared to a 7.7/17 for the comparable duration last year.
    A total audience of over 36.5 million Americans watched last night's race, according to fast national ratings issued today by Nielsen Media Research, making 2012 Daytona 500 the most-watched in FOX history. The 36.5 million total viewers, a measure of the audience that saw at least a portion of the race, is +22% higher than last year's total audience of 30 million and +22% better than 2010's 29.8 million. Yesterday's total audience is the second best ever for a Daytona 500 on any network behind 37.0 million viewers in 2006 on NBC.(Fox)(2-28-2012)

  • The Daytona 500 Trophy.....Harley J. Earl trophy, who was Earl? If there's one trophy a driver dreams of putting his hands on, it's the Harley J. Earl trophy. Awarded to the winner of the Daytona 500, the Harley J. Earl trophy is one of the most prized possessions in motorsports. Named after Harley J. Earl, a famous General Motors designer and friend of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., the Harley J. Earl Perpetual Trophy rests year round inside The Daytona 500 Experience , "The Official Motorsports Attraction of NASCAR," and bears the name of every Daytona 500 champion.
    Each year, the Harley J. Earl Perpetual Trophy makes a trip outside the attraction to the hallowed grounds of Gatorade Victory Lane at the "World Center of Racing" for a meeting with the Daytona 500 champion.
    While the Daytona 500 champion doesn't take home the Harley J. Earl trophy, the winner of the "Great American Race" is awarded a replica Harley J. Earl trophy, which has a black base with a scaled-down replica of the Firebird One that Earl created in 1954 at the peak of his career with General Motors.
    For the 50th running of the Daytona 500, the trophy was painted gold. The Harley J. Earl trophy is just one of three trophies awarded on the day of the Daytona 500.
    The winning crew chief of the Daytona 500 champion is awarded the Cannonball Baker trophy, which is named after the famous coast-to-coast racer who was elected the first national commissioner of NASCAR in 1948 while the owner of the winning Daytona 500 champion is awarded the Governor's Cup.(DIS PR)
    Richard Earl, a former Wall Street broker, makes his living selling Harley Earl-designed cars. " 'Motoramic masterpieces' is how I like to refer to them," he said. He maintains the official Harley Earl Web site, carofthecentury.com, and is working on a biography of his grandfather.(2-28-2012)

  • Johnson talks about Daytona 500 wreck: #48-Jimmie Johnson  Sidelined in multi-car crash on lap 2 of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Monday, February 27, 2012, his comments from a Chevy PR:
    LOOKED LIKE A HARD HIT. FIRST ARE YOU OK? WHAT HAPPENED?
    Johnson: "Yes, I'm ok. That side hit was hard. We were all just trying to make our lane work. A lot of energy in the lane. I was kind of pushing the No. 78 (Regan Smith) a little bit. I could feel some help from behind. Just turned me around. Sent me down to the inside lane and back up to the outside lane. When I was l sitting in the middle of the race track, I knew at some point someone was going to come along unfortunately. David Ragan had nowhere to go. I unfortunately got drilled by him pretty hard. I'm just really, really bummed to start the season this way. For all the hard work that has gone into getting this Lowe's Chevrolet ready for tonight; we didn't get to complete two-and-a-half miles of green flag racing. So, I'm pretty bummed."
    ARE YOU OK? "I'm ok. I'm just really bummed-out for this whole Lowe's team. To work as hard as everyone did at Hendrick Motorsports to get this Lowe's Chevrolet and to have it barely complete two-and-a-half miles of green flag racing is pretty sad. Disappointed, but nothing I can do about it now. We'll just go on and go to Phoenix and set our marks on winning that race."
    DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT HAPPENED? "We were all just getting up to speed and I had some help from behind that got me out of control. From there on I was just spinning."(Chevy PR)(2-28-2012)

  • Roush Fenway Scores Historic 300th Victory with Daytona 500 Win: Roush Fenway Racing officially kicked off it's 25th Anniversary season in grand fashion on Monday night, with #17-Matt Kenseth holding off teammate #16-Greg Biffle as the organization claimed its historic 300th NASCAR victory with its second Daytona 500 victory in the first ever night-time running of the famed event at Daytona International Speedway.
    "It feels great," said Kenseth. "We even went overtime a little bit since we didn't quite go the whole distance the first time we won it. We had a really fast car all day and overcame a lot of adversity and problems with the car that we figured out. We had a great pit stop at the end that put us into position. It feels great. I wasn't expecting to win when I woke up this morning so it feels good to be sitting here."
    Kenseth and Biffle combined to lead 83 of 200 laps in the race, with Kenseth taking the lead for the final time with 37 laps remaining and holding the point until the race's conclusion with a green-white-checkered finish. With the victory, Roush Fenway becomes the first team in NASCAR history to win 300 races.
    "This is a special night," said team co-owner Jack Roush. "It feels great. It is very fitting that Matt won the 300th victory that we have had since we started in 1988 and (crew chief) Jimmy Fennig has been with us for most of the time and Matt has been here most of the time as well. It is great to celebrate our 300th win here with the 54th Daytona 500. This is Matt's second 500 win and that makes it special as well."(Roush Fenway Racing)(2-28-2012)

  • Fox to begin contract negotiations with NASCAR: NASCAR's current television contract runs through 2014, but Fox Sports chairman David Hill said the network will begin its negotiations on an extension this season. "You never stop negotiating," Hill told The Associated Press this week. "But, it will start to get hot in the next three or four months." Fox shares the Sprint Cup Series schedule with TNT and ESPN. The network partnered with NASCAR in 2001 on a six-year deal, and extended once, by eight years, through 2014. Fox broadcasts 13 points races on NASCAR's 36-race schedule. The 2011 NASCAR season on Fox averaged a three-year high of 8.6 million viewers, up 9%. It was the largest one-year audience increase in the 11-year history of NASCAR on Fox.(Associated Press)(2-28-2012)

  • Mayfield indicted on counts of felony larceny: Former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield was indicted Monday on four counts of felony larceny. The new charges come less than a week after Mayfield was charged in Catawba County with possession of stolen property. The new indictments allege Mayfield was involved in stealing four trailers from a trucking company in Hudson. According to the indictments, there were several pieces of furniture in one of those trailers. Investigators say Mayfield and another man were spotted in the parking lot of the trucking company the night of the theft. Mayfield said last week he was not involved with any stolen property.(wsoctv.com)(2-28-2012)

  • Sad News - Rich Brenner: Rich Brenner, a FOX8 sports anchor for nearly 21 years, has died. Rich, a major part of the FOX8 Family for decades, died of a heart attack Monday night, according to his wife, Judy. He was 65 years old. Rich was attending the American Red Cross's second annual "Salute to Heroes" event at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro when he collapsed. Paramedics at the event were unable to revive Rich, and he was pronounced dead at Moses Cone Hospital. Rich, who covered everything from NASCAR and the Panthers to the ACC and high school sports, joined FOX8 in 1987. He retired in April 2008. Rich, originally from Merchantville, New Jersey, was a United States Marine. He got started with broadcasting in 1967, between his sophomore and junior years of college, as a correspondent in Vietnam. Rich started in TV full-time in 1975 as a sportscaster in Lynchburg, Va. He later worked in Portsmouth, Va., Raleigh and Chicago before coming to FOX8. His awards included the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, three Southeast Regional Emmy awards, a National Iris Award and the Charlie Harville award. Once Rich retired from television, he did many public appearances, particularly those that saluted people in the community, including the military. Besides Judy, Rich is survived by a daughter, son and two grandsons.(for links to leave condolences and more info see myfox8.com.(2-28-2012)

  • Casino in Loudon promoted: The New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Route 106 in Loudon, NH is among the largest sports and entertainment venues in New England, drawing 600,000 patrons a year, hosting the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events held in the region, as well as numerous other events. "This would seem to be the natural place for New Hampshire to put a casino," said the speedway's general manager, Jerry Gappens. "We're already bringing thousands of people in here regularly, and over the years, I think we've proven we can handle it." State lawmakers, in part responding to the advent of casino gambling in Maine and Massachusetts, held a hearing recently to consider amending the already controversial legislation, House Bill 593, that would allow casino gambling in the state. The amendment could double the originally proposed two casinos to four, allowing for one large casino with up to 150 table games and 5,000 slot machines, while the others could have up to 60 table games and 2,000 slots. The bill goes before a committee next week. It won't come before the full House for a vote until March, after the Legislature's winter break. In a letter to lawmakers, Gappens expressed a "strong and sincere interest" in expanding the speedway into a gambling facility on the speedway's 11,000 acres. Gappens, speaking from his speedway office Thursday, said the positive gains for the town, the region and the state make it the ideal site for a casino. "The opportunities and vision for this are limitless," he said. There is doubt whether the casino bill will pass, and both gambling supporters and opponents are scrambling to shore up votes. The House has never passed a gambling bill, and it would require a two-thirds majority to override the promised veto by Gov. John Lynch.(New Hampshire Union Leader)(2-28-2012)

  • Daytona 500 winner to visit San Francisco: Race fans are invited to legendary Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco on Thursday, March 1, for a midday rally with the winner of the 2012 Daytona 500, #17-Matt Kenseth. The winner of the Great American Race will come to San Francisco for a fourth straight year to meet with race fans and take a San Francisco Victory Tour, courtesy of Infineon Raceway and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The appearance in San Francisco also marks the Official Countdown to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Infineon Raceway, June 22-24.
    The Victory Tour on March 1 will take place on a motorized vintage cable car and begin at Vista Point at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The driver will enjoy:
    - A scenic view from the North Vista Point before departing for a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge .
    - A stop to crack Dungeness crab at legendary Fisherman's Grotto No. 9 at Fisherman's Wharf.
    - A final stop at Ghirardelli Square and the chance to build a one-of-a-kind 'Sundae, Sundae, Sundae' at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop. The item will even qualify for a spot on the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Fountain menu.
    Finally, the champion will take part in a press conference and fan rally that will be open to the public in the West Plaza at Ghirardelli Square. Race fans who purchase a Total Access Package to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 (June 24) prior to March 1 will receive access to a preferred section at the fan rally and may have the opportunity to ask the Daytona 500 winner a question. This is open to the first 50 fans who purchase the Total Access Package, which includes a Sunday reserved seat in the Turn 2 Earnhardt Terrace and a Pre-Race Pit & Track Pass for just $145. Call 800-870-RACE (7223) to speak with one of our race specialists to secure your NASCAR ticket, as well as preferred access to the fan rally with the Daytona 500 winner. The Victory Tour will begin at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge (Vista Point) at approximately 10:45 a.m. (PT), and plans are to arrive at Ghirardelli Square at around 11:30 a.m. for the rally.(Infineon Raceway)(2-28-2012)


    News from February 27, 2012

  • Matt Kenseth wins the Daytona 500: #17-Matt Kenseth won the 54th running of the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway for his 2nd Daytona 500 win and 22nd career win. Kenseth won in a green-white-checkered finish after a wreck on lap 197, the race ran 202 laps. The race was twice delayed by rain, first from Sunday to Monday at 12:00noon/et, then to 7:00pm/et. Then there was a 2:05:29 red flag when #42-Montoya had a transmission break during a caution as he was catching up to the field, lost control of the car and slammed into the safety truck / jet dryer, destroying his #42 Target Chevy and causing the jet dryer to leak get fuel and catch fire. There was a line of fuel on fire from the jet dryer at the top of the track to the bottom of the banking. After the fire was put out, the track was cleaned up, inspected and the race restarted with 40 laps to go.
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd [his sixth 2nd place finish since his last win] followed by #16-Biffle, #11-Hamlin, #31-Burton, #27-Menard, #29-Harvick, #99-Edwards (pole sitter), #20-Logano and #55-Martin. 2011 Champ, #14-Stewart was involved in a late accident and finished 16th. #48-Johnson got tapped by #33-Sadler and caused the first caution on lap 2, taking Johnson out of the race [finishing 42nd] and collecting #10-Danica Patrick [who got repairs and finished 38th]. Three-time Daytona 500 winner #24-Gordon has an engine expire and finished 40th.
    There was 10 cautions for 42 laps along with a 2 hour 5 minute red flag for the track cleanup after the jet dryer accident. There were 27 lead changes among 13 drivers. The estimated attendence was 140,000 (originally estimated at 180,000), down from 182,000 in 2011.
    See race results, wards, money won and more on the Daytona Race Results page (pdf) and also on the Official Daytona Race Report (pdf)(2-27-2012)

  • 2012 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Chase Points Standings:
    [after Daytona, race 1 of 36]
    1) #17-Matt Kenseth [1 win], 47
    2) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [0 wins], 42, -5
    3) #16-Greg Biffle [0 wins], 42, -5
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin [0 wins], 42, -5
    5) #31-Jeff Burton [0 wins], 40, -7
    6) #27-Paul Menard [0 wins], 39, -8
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick [0 wins], 37, -10
    8) #99-Carl Edwards [0 wins], 36, -11
    9) #20-Joey Logano [0 wins], 36, -11
    10) #55-Mark Martin [0 wins], 35, -12
    11) #15-Clint Bowyer [0 wins], 33, -14
    12) #56-Martin Truex Jr. [0 wins], 33, -14
    (ties broken by 1sts, 2nds, 3rd, etc)
    See drivers championship points standings on the Drivers Points Standings page (pdf).
    and Owners Points on the Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(2-27-2012)

  • Links to results, practices, qualifying PDF's:
    Official Daytona Race Report (pdf)
    Daytona Race Results page (pdf)
    Drivers Points Standings page (pdf)
    Owners Points Standings page (pdf)
    Daytona 500 Starting Lineup
    Gatorade Duel 150 Race 1 Results
    Gatorade Duel 150 Race 2 Results
    Daytona Practice 7 Speeds page (pdf)
    Daytona Practice 6 Speeds page (pdf)
    Daytona Practice 5 Speeds page (pdf)
    Daytona Practice 4 Speeds page (pdf)
    Daytona Practice 3 Speeds page (pdf)
    Daytona Practice 2 Speeds page (pdf)
    Daytona Practice 1 Speeds page (pdf)

  • Race Fast Facts - Daytona:
    #17-Matt Kenseth won the 54th Annual Daytona 500 , his 22nd victory in 437 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    Kenseth is the ninth driver to win multiple Daytona 500s. His first Daytona 500 victory came in the rain-shortened 2009 event.
    This is Roush Fenway Racing's 300th NASCAR national Series victory (126 wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; 124 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series; 50 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series).
    Kenseth also won his Gatorade Duel at Daytona race. The last driver to win both a Duel and the Daytona 500 was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2004.
    This is his second victory and 12th top-10 finish in 25 races at Daytona International Speedway.
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (second) posted his 14th top-10 finish in 25 races at Daytona International Speedway.
    #16-Greg Biffle (third) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 19 races at Daytona International Speedway.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-27-2012)

  • Daytona Notes-n-Nuggets:
    " This was Matt Kenseth's 22nd career victory in his 437th start.
    " Matt Kenseth became the ninth driver to win multiple Daytona 500s.
    " Matt Kenseth is the first driver to win the 500 after winning one of the Duel races since 2004 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.).
    " Matt Kenseth led twice for 50 laps, including the final 38.
    " It was the second Daytona 500 victory for crew chief Jimmy Fennig, who also won in 1988 with Bobby Allison.
    " The victory was the 300th in NASCAR for Roush Fenway Racing.
    " Ford has won three of the past four Daytona 500s.
    " Dale Earnhardt Jr. (second) picked up his fifth finish of third or better in the Daytona 500.
    " Greg Biffle (third) tied his best finish in the 500 (2010) and got his third top-10 finish in 10 500 starts.
    " Denny Hamlin (fourth) earned his best career finish in the 500, the first time he's finished better than 17th.
    " Jeff Burton (fifth) has finished in the top 10 in five of his past six races, including 2011.
    " Kevin Harvick (seventh) has top-1o finishes in three of his past four Daytona 500s.
    " Carl Edwards (eighth) earned his third consecutive top-10 finish in the Daytona 500.
    " Danica Patrick (38th) was caught in an early-race accident in her Sprint Cup debut.
    " Jimmie Johnson (42nd) has finished 14th or worse in six of his past seven races since his 34th-place finish at Charlotte last October.
    " The race ended under a green-white-checkered condition for the sixth time in the past seven Daytona 500s that went the full distance.(Racing Recall/nascar.com)(2-27-2012)

  • To the Back: #10-Patrick (backup); #27-Menard (backup); #38-Gilliland (backup); #42-Montoya (backup); #51-Busch (engine)

  • Lucky Dogs - Who got a lap back on each caution at Daytona: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver a lap down
    Caution 2: no driver a lap down on track
    Caution 3: #83-Cassill, 22nd
    Caution 4: #26-Raines, 19th
    Caution 5: #39-Newman, 21st
    Caution 6: #39-Newman,21st
    Caution 7: #47-Labonte, 14th
    Caution 8: #15-Bowyer, 11th
    Caution 9: #15-Bowyer, 11th
    Caution 10: #9-Ambrose, 13th
    (2-27-2012)

  • Montoya comments about accident with Safety Truck / Jet Dryer at Daytona: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya  Sidelined in crash with jet dryer truck on lap 160 of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
    YOU HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A LIMP, ARE YOU OK? 
    Montoya: "I'm ok. My foot hurt, but I'm ok. For as big of a hit that way; I'm pretty good to be honest."
    TELL US WHAT HAPPENED?
    Montoya: "Something fell in the rear of the car and the car just spun into the jet dryer. I felt a vibration and came in. They looked at everything and everything was ok and I still told them 'I think there is something broke' and I was coming back into the pits and the car just spun by itself."
    DID YOU TALK TO THE DRIVER OF THE JET DRYER TRUCK?
    Montoya: "He came with me (in the ambulance). He was pretty scared, but he looked ok."
    WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED?
    Montoya: "I told them when I left the pits something wasn't right and I felt a weird vibration when we were with the pack. Every time I got on the gas, it vibrated. So, I came back in and they checked all the rear-end and they said it was ok. I was going down the back straightaway, and I was going in fourth gear, but, we weren't even going that fast. Every time I got on the gas I could feel the rear really squeezing. I got on the brakes to travel up and while I was telling the spotter to have a look on how the rear was moving, the car just turned right."
    WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE ALL RIGHT
    Montoya: "To be honest with you, it is tough. We were running a really smart race. Everyone on the Target Chevy really did a good job today. Just move on to Phoenix."
    TELL US WHAT HAPPENED?
    Montoya: "I did the pit stop and when I came out of the pits I felt a vibration in second gear. I told them I think either a transmission broke or something. I went to third gear and when I accelerated the vibration came back. I came back into the pits, they looked at everything tight and ok. I went again and I was in fourth gear. I wasn't even going that fast and it was moving and traveling a lot. It just felt really strange, as I was talking on the radio the car just turned right."
    DID YOU HEAR THE EXPLOSION?
    Montoya: "Oh yeah, it burned the helmet and everything. It's not where you want to finish the Daytona 500. Everybody on the Target team, with this great Chevy car, did an amazing job today. We didn't bump anybody, nobody bumped us, and we only had 40 laps to go. I thought we had a great car. I thought we were in the right place. Everything was working well and go through that, it sucks."
    HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
    Montoya: "My foot hurts. I was full on the brakes and when I hit, I hit driver's side and my foot slipped onto the clutch and it scratched the top of my foot."
    THIS IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MOST BIZARRE INCIDENTS WE HAVE SEEN
    Montoya: "I have hit a lot of things, but a jet dryer? I mean, no."
    WHAT WAS THE TRACK LIKE? DID YOU GET TO SEE THE SURFACE OF THE TRACK?
    Montoya:"No, I was too busy. I really got out of the car fast. I looked up and I saw the guy out of the jet dryer. I saw a little bit of fire, my car was on fire. I saw the ambulance and walked to the ambulance."
    WERE YOU PLEASED AT HOW QUICKLY YOU WERE ABLE TO GET OUT OF THE CAR?
    Montoya: "I am always really quick to get out of the car. In open-wheel they always check you at the beginning of the year and you have a certain time you have to get out. You really learn to get out of the car fast."
    THE PERSON IN THE JET DRYER IS OK CORRECT?
    Montoya: "I am sure he is pretty shaken and is going to be sore, but I think he is ok."
    WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU REALIZED YOU WERE GOING TO HIT THE TRUCK?
    Montoya: "I didn't think about the truck, I thought 'I'm actually hitting the jet and it's not going to be fun.' Before I got there I was thinking 'this thing is going to be on fire pretty bad' and it was."(Chevy PR)(2-27-2012)

  • Some Daytona 500 Nuggets from Frontstretch:
    #99-Carl Edwards (starts 1st): Trying to become the first polesitter to win the Daytona 500 since Dale Jarrett in 2000. None of Edwards' 19 career victories have come on a restrictor plate track.
    #16-Greg Biffle (2nd): Seeking to become the first *outside polesitter* to win Daytona since Dale Jarrett (again, not a misprint) in 1993. How bad has it been to be on the outside of the front row? In the last six Daytona 500s, second-place starters have finished inside the top 10 just once.
    #14-Tony Stewart (3rd): Looking to end an 0-for-13 streak at the Daytona 500 despite 17 career wins there in various series. He would also be the first reigning champion to win the 500 since Dale Jarrett in 2000.
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (5th): Seeking to snap his winless streak at a whopping 129 Sprint Cup races. A second Daytona 500 trophy would also give him more than his Hall of Fame father, who won the event just once, in 1998.
    #9-Marcos Ambrose (7th): With a win, becomes the first foreign-born winner of the Daytona 500 since Mario Andretti back in _1967.
    #24-Jeff Gordon (16th) - Seeking a fourth 500 victory, an accomplishment that would leave him second all-time only to Richard Petty's seven with Cale Yarborough who has four.
    #55-Mark Martin (22nd) - Bidding to become the oldest driver in history to win a Cup race, let alone break an ominous 0-for-27 track record in the 500. Harry Gant currently holds the record: he was 52 years, seven months and six days old when winning Michigan in August of 1992.
    #10-Danica Patrick (29th) - Needs a 10th or better to become the highest-finishing woman in the history of the Daytona 500. Janet Guthrie (1980) holds the record with an 11th-place result.
    #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (35th) - See Ambrose above re: foreign-born driver. Montoya is also bidding to be the first former Formula One driver to win it since Andretti in '67.
    #21-Trevor Bayne (40th) - Everyone remembers the upset of the NASCAR season last February. If the 21-year-old can do it again, he'd be the first back-to-back Daytona 500 winner since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95. Only two other drivers have ever done it, and both are Hall of Famers: Richard Petty (1973-74) and Cale Yarborough (1983-84).
    #32-Terry Labonte (43rd) - The two-time Cup Series champion is making his 30th career start at Daytona... but he's never captured the 500. Only Dave Marcis (0-for-32) has run more Daytona 500s without scoring a victory.(se a few more at frontstretch.com)(2-27-2012)

  • TMone joins Front Row Motorsports at the Daytona 500: TMone, a U.S. Call Center Insourcing firm, will join Front Row Motorsports for the 54th Annual Daytona 500. TMone, pronounced T-M-one, will be an associate sponsor of the #26 Front Row Motorsports Rick Santorum for President Campaign Ford driven by Tony Raines. TMone, a significant creator of jobs, who will be an associate sponsor for the #30 Toyota driven by David Stremme, the #32 Ford driven by Terry Labonte and the #36 Chevy by Dave Blaney in the Daytona 500. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa TMone's service delivery centers are strategically centric to the Midwest and Great Plaines of the United States. Since its inception in 2003, TMone's diverse capabilities, operational expertise and results driven culture provide clients with best in class technology while providing cost effective solutions for complex business processes including the insourcing of residential and commercial new customer acquisition/retention. "TMone is glad to be back onboard with Front Row Motorsports and their incredible restrictor plate program this weekend for this annual epic event," said Anthony Marlowe, TMone's Co-Founder and President. "TMone is proud to support NASCAR teams for the 2nd year in a row and be a consistent advocate for creating insourced jobs in America."(Breaking Limits / Front Row Motorsports)(2-27-2012)

  • NASCAR Celebrates Diversity Accomplishments: NASCAR recently celebrated the outstanding achievements of ground-breaking individuals and organizations in the area of diversity at the fifth annual NASCAR Diversity Awards Luncheon. "NASCAR, its teams, tracks, sponsors and industry stakeholders are committed to diversity throughout the sport," said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. "Coming together to acknowledge the outstanding work of these individuals and organizations gives us the opportunity to heighten awareness of the strides that are being made in the sport." At a ceremony held at The DAYTONA 500 Club at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR recognized the following individuals and organizations across the industry for their outstanding impact:
    NASCAR Drive for Diversity Participant: Darrell Wallace Jr.
    Young Racer Award: Walter Thomas III
    NASCAR Diversity Internship Program Award: Perron Jones
    Educational Institutional Award: Hampton University
    NASCAR Partner Award: International Speedway Corporation
    NASCAR Industry Ambassador: Steve deSouza.(NASCAR), see more details on the Driver Development page.(2-27-2012)

  • Drive to End Hunger Revs Up for Second Season in NASCAR: Following a successful first year in NASCAR, AARP and AARP Foundation's Drive to End Hunger is revving up for the 2012 race season with new at-track activities for fans at select races, as well as new initiatives in communities across the country to advance the fight against older adult hunger. The centerpiece of Drive to End Hunger in 2012 will once again be four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon driving the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in 22 races, including the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. Fans at these races and 12 others throughout the year will be able to visit the Drive to End Hunger Experience, an at-track mobile unit that will allow fans to play video games and compete with friends in the "Hungry for Knowledge" trivia game. Game winners and donors can receive Drive to End Hunger collectors' items, including commemorative coins, autographed hats and beverage koozies. All contributions to Drive to End Hunger go to support the hunger solutions of AARP Foundation. Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger in 2011, the initiative has donated more than 5.8 million meals and driven corporate and individual donor commitments with an expected value of $15.1 million.(AARP)(2-27-2012)


    News from February 26, 2012

  • Daytona 500 postponed until Monday: the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway has been postponed to Monday, Februart 27th at 12noon/et. The race is scheduled to air live on FOX and MRN / SiriusXM Sateliite Radio. Rain has started and stopped a couple times, but there was a long lull and the track was within 30 minutes of being dried, but the weather radar shows large storm cells haeding towards the track.
    Tickets for Sunday's race will be honored on Monday. Tickets for the Daytona 500 will also be on sale at the gate or the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.
    For Monday, the National Weather Service says showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a high near 75. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
    In 53 previous Daytona 500's, only four have been shortened by rain:
    1965 won by Fred Lorenzen, ran 129 laps for 322.5 miles
    1966 won by Richard Petty, ran 198 laps for 495 miles
    2003 won by Michael Waltrip, ran 109 laps for 272.5 miles
    2009 won by Matt Kenseth, ran 152 laps for 380 miles
    See more weather links on my Daytona 500 Race Info page.(2-26-2012)

  • REVISED Race Coverage of the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is scheduled for Monday, February 27, 2012.
    Television (TV): FOX at 12:00 pm/et; green flag approx 12:15pm/et
    Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: SPEED, Wednesday, February 29 at 12:00pm/et

  • Open Letter to NASCAR fans from NASCAR Chairman Brian France: Dear NASCAR fans,
    With the Daytona 500 now upon us, I hope you are as excited as I am to see the greatest drivers in the world competing at Daytona International Speedway later today. NASCAR is in a very good place right now and our entire industry is working very hard for you, the fans, as we continually seek to improve and grow our sport. Indeed, we are listening to you, as several enhancements that have been put in place in recent years were a direct result of your input.
    Thank you for your on-going support and enthusiasm, the way you whole-heartedly embrace NASCAR and how you share your passion for our sport with family, friends and others you encounter each and every day. We certainly were encouraged by the excitement generated by our 2011 season and look forward to enjoying this season together as one NASCAR Nation. On behalf of the France family, I want to personally express our appreciation for your support, and join you in anticipation of the thrilling ride ahead.
    Best regards, Brian France.(2-26-2012)

  • #51 Team changes engines, after Happy Hour: During Happy Hour, Kurt Busch's Daytona 500 possibilities were impacted when his #51 Phoenix Racing Chevy hit a bird. "We hit a bird and I think we cooked the engine," owner James Finch said as he watched his men examine the engine and repair the tear in the car's nose. "We're having so much trouble keeping the engine cool I don't think I want to risk [not changing it]." A Phoenix crewmember confirmed the bird strike tore a small hole in the bottom of the radiator, which unbeknownst to Busch drained the water and necessitated the change. Thus, Busch will be one of five cars that must drop to the back of the grid on the pace laps before the start of the Daytona 500. #38-David Gilliland, #10-Danica Patrick, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #27-Paul Menard all went to backup cars after their Gatorade Duel qualifying races so must drop back.(NASCAR.com)(2-26-2012)

  • Toyota president takes laps around Daytona in 2013 Toyota: On Saturday morning, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation and grandson of the company's founder (they changed the "d" to a "t" in the title for the sake of better sales), did some hot laps with Kyle Busch in an early version of what will become the overhauled 2013 Camry stock car. First he rode while Busch drove. Then they swapped spots. Over the next year Toyota is expected to roll out as many as a dozen new designs, as Toyoda says, "something we can get excited about, with some emotional value to it." The flagship of that fleet will be a revamped Camry, conveniently coinciding with the rollout of the new NASCAR Sprint Cup cars in 2013, cars much more akin to their street inspirations. "Although we didn't show it today," he explained through an interpreter, "our styling, we really want to make it look like a Camry. I really hope that the fans of NASCAR will love it."(ESPN.com)(2-28-2012)

  • NASCAR plans no changes for Daytona 500: As expected Thursday, ambient temperatures in the low 80s created challenges for Sprint Cup teams competing in the pair of Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500. The aftermath led to widespread whining about the effects of hotter engine temperatures and its effect on performance. It also led to potential suggestions from engine companies to help the overall cooling package. But on Friday morning NASCAR said it anticipated no additional changes to the Cup cars' cooling systems prior to Sunday's Daytona 500. Temperature projections for Sunday are below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms. "We continue to monitor things and work with the teams," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said on Friday morning. "We remind ourselves that the water temperatures are managed by the drivers themselves. Currently, we don't anticipate making any changes."(NASCAR.com)(2-26-2012)

  • Roush would like teams to get mulligans: Jack Roush, co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing [#'s 6,16,17,99], has one suggestion to spice up the Sprint Cup season and Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Give each team a do-over. "Think about giving each team a mulligan," Roush said. "Have one race you can throw out for each team during the first 26 races and one for the 10 races (in the Chase). That would mean, until you use your mulligan, you could run with great dispatch and lack of restraint, much like you had last Saturday night in the Budweiser Shootout. That wasn't a points race and everybody said, 'Let's throw caution to the wind and see what we've got here.' You'd see the races a little more exciting if they could discount one as they made their strategies."(Kansas City Star)(2-26-2012)

  • Yeley and Robinson-Blakeney plans still on to tackle Cup Series: Robinson-Blakeney Racing is also cashing in on politics, as Americans for Israel, two Southern Baptist men simply concerned with keeping the American people in tune with Israel's plight, sponsored the #49 Sprint Cup Series Toyota for the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, Yeley developed motor problems in Thursday's Gatorade Duel and failed to make the race. Yeley says, however, the team plans to go ahead to Phoenix and hopefully the rest of the Cup schedule. "We are obviously going to have to evaluate the engine program," Yeley said after qualifying for the Nationwide Series race Friday. "This team started just a few weeks ago, so we had to jump in with both feet&we are definitely full steam ahead." Yeley says he, the team, and Americans for Israel have meetings and a conference in the next week or two and hopes the organization can sponsor the #49 car for more races or the whole season.(wsbradio.com)(2-26-2012)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2012 Gatorade Duels: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Thursday's races. Began recording the times at the beginning of the first race at 2:00 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag following the second race at 4:55 PM (all times are EST). SPEED was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 94
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 48
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 15
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 1 min. 45 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 4:55 PM
    Total minutes: 175
    Minutes of race broadcast: 126
    Minutes of commercials: 49
    "Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 0
    Total race brdcst time 126 Total comm. brdcst time 49
    see drivers focused and more on my 2012 TV Commercials page.(2-26-2012)

  • 2012 NASCAR on FOX Season Goes Into High Gear with Daytona 500: FOX Sports proudly presents the 54th running of the Daytona 500. Coverage starts with the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace show hosted by John Roberts, with up-to-the-minute reports, live interviews with drivers, crewmen and officials shaping the day's action and analysis from Darrell Waltrip and Michael Waltrip. In an innovative new role, veteran analyst Jeff Hammond takes his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to where the action is, in the garages and pit road.
    Special FOX NASCAR SUNDAY Daytona 500 features:
    " NASCAR's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY outdoor prerace set to talk about his chances in the Daytona 500 and what he hopes to accomplish in the 2012 season.
    " Stock car's biggest storyline and newest full-time addition, Danica Patrick, sits down with Hall of Fame Inductee and NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip to discuss her switch to stock car racing and how she expects to gain respect from her fellow competitors.
    " A live performance by one of music's most decorated artists, and four-time Grammy Award-winner Lenny Kravitz.
    " Grand Marshals for Sunday's race are Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Kate Upton and talented actress in FOX's hit show GLEE, Jane Lynch.
    " The youngest UFC Champion in the history of the sport, Jon "Bones" Jones serves as an honorary official.
    Once the green flag drops, race announcer Mike Joy is alongside analysts Waltrip and Larry McReynolds to call all the twists and turns on the track while Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum patrol the pits for reports on teams and pit stops.
    The Gopher Cam, introduced at the Daytona 500 in 2008, is a small, stationary high-definition point-of-view camera that lies buried underneath the asphalt track surface, inches below the yellow line at Daytona International Speedway. There are four Gopher Cams in-place for this year's Daytona 500. The cameras have been paired with high quality condenser microphones for an unbelievably realistic audio/video experience. New advances in the lens and materials have enabled FOX to reduce the size for the 2012 edition while providing a much wider and clearer field of view.
    In 2012, FOX Sports introduces a new way to bring fans under the hood. The new virtual car using a high-tech touchscreen provides magnified looks at the smallest details of the high powered machines on the track. It gives viewers a clear and illustrative explanation of how the car works and performs through its components. With assistance from NASCAR on FOX analyst Jeff Hammond, the FOX Sports graphics team co-opted an incredibly detailed model with a built-in custom interface and telestrator.
    The Hollywood Hotel is all new for the 2012 season. First unveiled in 2007, NASCAR on FOX's traveling prerace studio is the most technologically advanced mobile unit ever employed to cover sporting events. It captures the charged atmosphere associated with on-location remote broadcasts. The 2012 version has been completely revamped to update the state-of-the-art premier network center. The background virtual "window" to the track uses three monitors (two 60 inch and one 103 inch) so the prerace set can be "transported" anywhere on the track. An inverted "Jitacam" crane hangs from the roof of the hotel and operates along a track, allowing floating and sweeping camera moves not possible in the network's old mobile trailer. Color mixing for the background on its flat screen monitors is manipulated using 1600 linear feet of RGB tape (LED lights) to illuminate the background in any color FOX chooses. These updates and modifications in power make it the greenest production truck on the planet.(FOX)(2-26-2012)

  • Ten Years in the Tunnel: Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain celebrates its 10th anniversary on SPEED in 2012, ushering in the new season with its 535th episode Sunday live at 8 pm/et. "I really didn't have any expectations when we started Wind Tunnel," Despain reflected. "The show had a very experimental feel in the beginning and I don't think anyone knew quite what to expect. But it caught on very quickly and developed a fan following, which in turn gives the host a nice, secure feeling about the future. There are always doubts -- it's television after all -- but I've always felt we were filling a niche."
    Wind Tunnel first premiered Feb. 23, 2003, as a half-hour show featuring Chip Ganassi as the first guest. Two weeks later, it expanded to an hour program, where it remains to this day, with in-studio guest Steve Matchett and Miguel Duhamel live from Daytona Bike Week. On Sunday's Wind Tunnel premiere, Despain welcomes the Daytona 500-winning car owner, FOX/SPEED analyst and 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, Darrell Waltrip, and SPEED open-wheel reporter Robin Miller, among other guests to be announced later in the week.(SPEED)(2-26-2012)

  • TMone Teams with Stremme for the Daytona 500: TMone, a U.S.A. Business Process Insourcing (BPI) firm, will join Inception Motorsports for the Daytona 500. TMone, pronounced T-M-1, will be an associate sponsor of the #30 JEGS.com Toyota Camry driven by driver David Stremme in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Daytona 500 is regarded as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar and is also the series' first race of the year; this phenomenon is virtually unique in sports, which tend to have championships or other major events at the end of the season rather than the start. TMone, who will also sponsor the #26 Ford driven by Tony Raines, the #32 Ford driven by former NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Terry Labonte and the #36 Chevy by Dave Blaney at Daytona.(Inception Motorsports / Integrity Sports Marketing)(2-26-2012)

  • All Roush Fenway Racing teams switch to Valvoline NextGen oil: Less than one year after the Valvoline brand introduced a revolutionary recycled motor oil that stands up to racing's demanding standards and high-quality performance, Roush Fenway has decided to switch all its Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams to Valvoline NextGen motor oil technology for the duration of the 2012 NASCAR season. RFR will kick off the shift at the 54th annual Daytona 500 race on Feb. 26, 2012. The announcement represents the culmination of a rigorous validation process that began last summer with drivers like Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, and is a continued illustration of Roush Fenway Racing's commitment to going green on the track while keeping performance paramount. NextGen motor oil is made of 50 percent recycled motor oil and delivers 100 percent Valvoline quality, offering optimum engine protection in a product that's also better for the environment. "Closing the Loop"  for professional drivers and everyday consumers alike  is a step towards reducing our dependence on foreign crude oil and preserving our existing resources by collecting and returning your used oil for recycling, and then refilling crankcases with NextGen. NextGen's debut in the Sprint Cup Series is a journey that started last summer when NextGen's racing formulation was put through extensive validation testing by Roush Yates Engines, earning approval from some of motorsports' top teams. Roush Fenway Racing, home of Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth, started using NextGen recycled motor oil technology in competition to protect the engines of their stock cars. "RFR is committed to sustainable operations  from our solar energy system to our waste reduction efforts. We recycle 96% of every race car, so the ability to use a high quality recycled motor oil that can help us win on the track and help the environment is a no-brainer," said Roush. For committing to performance and the environment by returning used oil and refilling crankcases with NextGen, Advance Auto Parts will reward those who Close the Loop with a $20 mail-in gift card offer.(Valvoline)(2-26-2012)


    News from February 25, 2012

  • added the #26 Rick Santorum for President, #30 Jegs and #34 Scorpion Truck Bed Liners schemes

  • Stremme gets sponsor for Daytona 500: Squarely in the Daytona 500 field, David Stremme and Inception Motorsports now have a partner. JEGS.com, the leader in delivering high performance parts, announced it will sponsor Stremme's #30 Toyota in the Great American Race at famed Daytona International Speedway. The sponsorship is an extension of Stremme's relationship with JEGS through Cody Coughlin, grandson of JEGS founder Jeg Coughlin Sr. Cody, 16, is racing late model stock cars, and the veteran Stremme is helping the younger Coughlin work through the short-track ranks. "I like Cody," Stremme said. "I met his mom (Di) and dad (John) at the Snowball Derby and we hit it off. Cody is very well-rounded, and he's got great teachers in Gary St. Amant and Butch VanDoorn. Gary helped me a lot in my career, and we've already seen what Butch can do with Cody during this year's Speedweeks with a couple of poles and some top-five finishes at the 46th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. I'm also trying to help Cody in any way I can." Stremme made it in the Daytona 500 field via last Sunday's qualifying, turning a lap of 191.963 mph. He'll start the race from the 42nd position, flying JEGS.com colors. "We have a really good shot at running well," Stremme said. "We're kind of underdogs in a way (but) we were able to out-qualify some really big teams. We had to have a different agenda leading up to the 500 than other teams but come Sunday, I think we'll be able to show how hard my team has worked and hopefully get a really good result to start the season off."(TeamJegs PR)(2-24-2012)
    IMAGES see a couple images of the car on my #30 Team Schemes page.(2-25-2012)

  • Raines gets a sponsor for Daytona 500: The Rick Santorum for President campaign will sponsor Front Row Motorsports' #26 Ford Fusion for the Daytona 500, looking to reach potential voters among the millions of fans tuning in to the Great American Race. Veteran driver Tony Raines will be behind the wheel of the #26 entry after qualifying on speed for the starting field last Sunday in the feel-good, underdog story of the day. The Republican candidate's campaign messaging will be on the hood and quarter panels of Raines' Ford Fusion for Sunday's season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the 2.5-mile superspeedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The former U.S. Senator looks to draw more attention to his "Made-in-the-USA" platform as he heads into the February 28 Michigan primary election. "NASCAR and the Daytona 500 are about as American as you can get - and it's great to have my campaign represented by one of these incredible machines," said Santorum. "The race weekend is a wonderful tradition that we're excited to be a part of as we spread our message. I like how Tony Raines turned some heads last weekend with his qualifying run and we'd like to keep turning heads, too. I think we're both looking for a win in the end." With the Santorum campaign coming aboard the #26 Ford, Front Row Motorsports will have three sponsored entries in Sunday's Daytona 500. "We're glad to partner with the Santorum campaign," said team owner Bob Jenkins. "We know there will be millions of eyes on these cars on Sunday and we know we can help get their message out. It's a pretty tight battle for the Republican nomination right now, and the former Senator is right in the thick of it. We hope we're in the thick of it come Sunday out on the racetrack, too." For more information on the Rick Santorum for President campaign, visit www.ricksantorum.com.(Front Row Motorsports / Breaking Limits) see image of the scheme on the #26 Team Schemes page.(2-25-2012)

  • TMone joins Tommy Baldwin Racing for the Daytona 500: TMone, a U.S. Call Center Insourcing firm, will join Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) for the 54th Annual Daytona 500. TMone, pronounced T-M-one, will be an associate sponsor of the #36 Ollie's Bargain Outlet Chevy driven by Dave Blaney in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener. TMone is one of Inc. Magazine's Fastest Growing Private Companies of 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Headquartered in Iowa City, IA with offices in Des Moines, Iowa, North Sioux City, S.D., and Spearfish, S.D., TMone's resources are strategically centric to the Midwest.(TBR)(2-25-2012)

  • US Chrome Returns to FAS Lane Racing for 2012 Season: FAS Lane Racing announced that they have welcomed back another sponsor for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The team's first sponsor last year, US Chrome, will return to the No. 32 Ford this coming season as a Major Associate Sponsor for all 36 races. Just as it did last year, the sponsorship begins this weekend with the running of the historic Daytona 500. U.S. Chrome is revolutionizing the metal-finishing industry. The company's innovative coatings  NiCom and TriCom (patent pending)  outperform chrome on many applications.(Integrity Sports Marketing FASLaneRacing)(2-25-2012)

  • ESPN'S NASCAR Coverage Set to Take Green Flag at Daytona: ESPN's coverage of the 2012 NASCAR season launches with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 25, on ESPN. The telecast is presented by GoDaddy.com and begins at noon ET with NASCAR Countdown. The 300-mile race's green flag flies at 1:34 pm/et.
    All 33 races on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule this season will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. ESPN also will televise the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the season, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Fourteen of the 17 races will air on ESPN, with three Saturday night races appearing on ABC. ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage begins July 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway while the Chase begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway.
    In addition to race coverage for both series, the networks also will televise practice and qualifying from select races, season preview and review programs and a special Chase preview. Races include NASCAR Countdown, a dedicated pre-race program, and comprehensive coverage of NASCAR appears on ESPN2's NASCAR news and information program, NASCAR Now.
    All of ESPN's NASCAR television content is also viewable digitally through WatchESPN and WatchESPN.com, the groundbreaking online-accessible authenticated version of ESPN. WatchESPN is available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN.com and the free WatchESPN app, which are accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.
    ESPN's team of announcers has five former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions in analyst roles in 2012, including 1999 champion driver Dale Jarrett and 1989 champion Rusty Wallace. Two-time champion crew chiefs Tim Brewer and Andy Petree also will offer expert analysis during the season while three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham returns to ESPN this season after taking the 2011 season off.
    Lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick will join Jarrett and Petree in the booth for race telecasts, with pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. From the ESPN Pit Studio, Nicole Briscoe will host NASCAR Countdown with analysts Wallace and Brad Daugherty, joined by Evernham for selected races, mostly in the second half of the season. Brewer will report from the Emmy-winning ESPN Tech Garage during race telecasts to help viewers better understand the technical and mechanical aspects of NASCAR racing.
    Marty Reid will step into the lap-by-lap announcer position for NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts once ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage begins, with Bestwick calling the Cup races. Reid also will call selected Nationwide Series races in the first half of the season while continuing his role as lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN on ABC's telecasts of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Wallace, Evernham and NASCAR Now analyst Ricky Craven also will help call some races from the booth as fill-ins for Jarrett and Petree. NASCAR Now co-hosts Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will work as pit reporters for selected races as will Rick DeBruhl, a pit reporter on ESPN's coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series, and Jim Noble.
    ESPN's NASCAR race telecasts will be produced under the oversight of ESPN vice president, motorsports, Rich Feinberg and coordinating producer Kate Jackson. NASCAR Sprint Cup races and selected Nationwide Series races will be produced by Jamie Shiftan while Jim Gaiero will produce other Nationwide Series races. Richie Basile will be director. ESPN's multimedia approach to coverage of NASCAR touches multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ABC, ABC HD, WatchESPN, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio, ESPN International, ESPN Mobile, espnW and Jayski.com.(NASCAR on ESPN:)(2-25-2012)

  • MRN poised for Daytona 500: Motor Racing Network will hit the airwaves with 467 affiliate radio stations available to race fans throughout North America for Sunday's 54th running of the Daytona 500. "The expansion of our 2012 affiliate lineup is a reflection of the ever-growing NASCAR fan base, which can count on Motor Racing Network for comprehensive, compelling coverage of the sport," said MRN President and Executive Producer David Hyatt. "In addition to that network of affiliates, which is the foundation of our efforts, Daytona 500 coverage will feature additional distribution sources including live streaming at individual stations' websites, at MotorRacingNetwork.com, and on Sirius Satellite Radio." The 467 affiliated radio stations carrying Sunday's MRN coverage of the Daytona 500 represent 49 states and Canada, with a Spanish language broadcast on ESPN Deportes. In addition, American Forces Radio will bring the race to more than one million men and women in the United States military stationed around the world. Sunday's MRN broadcast of the Daytona 500 will be anchored by Joe Moore and Eli Gold. Air time is 12 pm/et.(MRN Radio)(2-25-2012)

  • NASCAR's Most Valuable Teams: The top nine NASCAR teams are evualated by Forbes:
    1) Hendrick Motorsports $350 million
    2) Roush Fenway Racing $185 million
    3) Joe Gibbs Racing $155 million
    4) Richard Childress Racing $147 million
    5) Stewart-Haas Racing $108 million
    6) Penske Racing $98 million
    7) Michael Waltrip Racing $90 million
    8) Earnhardt Ganassi Racing $76 million
    9) Richard Petty Motorsports $58 million
    (see full story and more at forbes.com.(2-25-2012)

  • No more Budweiser Shootout BUT the will have the Budweiser Duel UPDATE: Budweiser and Daytona International Speedway announced the beer brand will take on an enhanced role in NASCAR's season opening festivities. Beginning with the 2013 season, Budweiser will become the official title sponsor of Speedweeks the ten-day stretch of stock-car races from the Shootout to the Daytona 500. Budweiser also will secure entitlement of the Budweiser Duel at Daytona, two 150-mile qualifying races that determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500. These enhancements to Budweiser's partnership with DIS will replace the brand's existing entitlement of the season-opening, non-points Shootout.
    "Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway marks the official start of the NASCAR season, and the opportunity to expand our presence throughout the ten-day event puts Budweiser even more in the thick of it all," said Brad Brown, vice president of sports & entertainment marketing, Anheuser-Busch. "The Shootout has been an important element of our NASCAR program for 34 years, but this opportunity to enhance our partnership makes Budweiser even more relevant to our consumers as well as the fans of the Daytona 500."
    As part of the sponsorship, Budweiser will also receive the presenting sponsorship of the Daytona 500 pre-race broadcast show. The brand will also receive increased access for consumer hospitality events, including naming rights to the 5th Turn hospitality area throughout Speedweeks. "Budweiser is the longest running active partner with Daytona International Speedway and we are incredibly excited to enter this new chapter with them in 2013," said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood. "The opportunities created by this enhanced partnership are compelling and our fans will benefit the most. The intensity and fun atmosphere that Budweiser brought to the Shootout for so many years will be taken up several notches as they assume a much broader role during Speedweeks and 'The Great American Race.' "(Daytona International Speedway)(2-24-2012)
    UPDATE: The conflicting beer sponsorships led to some awkward eligibility rules over the past few years. Chitwood says he is pursuing several leads for potential title sponsors for the Shootout, but Coors Light is not one of them. Budweiser's exclusivity with the Speedway precludes a rival beer maker from naming the season-opening exhibition race. (NASCAR News Service)(2-25-2012)


    News from February 24, 2012

  • Engine Change Rule at Daytona: the engine rule is a little different at Daytona 500 [just like qualifying] then the other 35 races, teams must run the same engine from Saturday's first practice session through the Gatorade Duel 150 mile qualifying races. If a team makes a change before the Duel, then it must start at the rear of the Duel 150 field. After the Duel 150 races, teams can make an engine change before the Happy Hour [final] practice session on Saturday. After that, if an engine change is made, the driver will start at the rear of the Daytona 500.

  • Stremme gets sponsor for Daytona 500: Squarely in the Daytona 500 field, David Stremme and Inception Motorsports now have a partner. JEGS.com, the leader in delivering high performance parts, announced it will sponsor Stremme's #30 Toyota in the Great American Race at famed Daytona International Speedway. The sponsorship is an extension of Stremme's relationship with JEGS through Cody Coughlin, grandson of JEGS founder Jeg Coughlin Sr. Cody, 16, is racing late model stock cars, and the veteran Stremme is helping the younger Coughlin work through the short-track ranks. "I like Cody," Stremme said. "I met his mom (Di) and dad (John) at the Snowball Derby and we hit it off. Cody is very well-rounded, and he's got great teachers in Gary St. Amant and Butch VanDoorn. Gary helped me a lot in my career, and we've already seen what Butch can do with Cody during this year's Speedweeks with a couple of poles and some top-five finishes at the 46th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. I'm also trying to help Cody in any way I can." Stremme made it in the Daytona 500 field via last Sunday's qualifying, turning a lap of 191.963 mph. He'll start the race from the 42nd position, flying JEGS.com colors. "We have a really good shot at running well," Stremme said. "We're kind of underdogs in a way (but) we were able to out-qualify some really big teams. We had to have a different agenda leading up to the 500 than other teams but come Sunday, I think we'll be able to show how hard my team has worked and hopefully get a really good result to start the season off."(TeamJegs PR)(2-24-2012)

  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #99-Edwards chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #16-Biffle took pit stall 21, the first pitstall in front of the start finish line.
    #14-Stewart, who starts 3rd took the 20th pit stall, the 1st stall with an opening behind it.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #17-Kenseth, who starts 4th.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(2-24-2012)

  • 2011 Highest paid drivers: Forbes.com estimated 2011 NASCAR driver annual earnings, Forbes earnings figures include driving salaries, personal endorsements, share of race winnings, licensing income and bonuses. The top-10:
    1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  $28 million
    2. Jeff Gordon  $24 million
    3. Tony Stewart  $22 million
    4. Jimmie Johnson  $21 million
    5. Carl Edwards  $15.5 million
    6. Kevin Harvick  $14 million
    7. Kyle Busch  $14 million
    8. Danica Patrick  $12 million [indy car]
    9. Matt Kenseth  $11.5 million
    10. Kasey Kahne  $11 million
    (See more at Forbes.com)(2-24-2012)

  • 6th Daytona practice Friday's 2nd practice for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 60 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #20-Logano 199.885
    #18-Busch 199.885
    #51-Busch 199.349
    #11-Hamlin 199.097
    #14-Stewart 198.640
    slowest: #47-BLabonte 187.821 and #17Kenseth 190.662
    Best 10-lap average was #2-Keselowski at 195.898
    Only 23 cars ran the practice.
    See fastest speeds, 10 lap average, laps run on the Daytona Practice 6 Speeds page (pdf).(2-24-2012)

  • note: all practice speeds, race results and points pages will be in PDF formet this year. Entry list and Qualifying/Starting Lineup will be in regualr htnl format.

  • 5th Daytona practice Friday's first practice for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 60 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #99-Edwards 198.671
    #43-Almirola 198.667
    #9-Ambrose 195.368
    #42-Montoya 195.287
    #16-Biffle 195.202
    slowest: #47-BLabonte 187.555 and #32-TLabonte 189.365
    Best 10-lap average was #24-Gordon at 193.096
    Only 16 cars ran the practice.
    See fastest speeds, 10 lap average, laps run on the Daytona Practice 5 Speeds page (pdf).(2-24-2012)

  • Gilliland gets a stitch but otherwise ok: #38-David Gilliland cut his thumb on his helmet after his Lap 9 crash in the first Gatorade Duel. The cut required one stitch on his knuckle, he said. "It felt like someone got into the back of us in Turn 1 and away it went." His #38 Ford ran up the track and drove #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #27-Paul Menard into the wall. #98-Michael McDowell and #2-Brad Keselowski were also involved in the accident. McDowell wound up finishing sixth and making the 500 with the help of a push from defending Daytona 500 winner #21-Trevor Bayne. "I feel like I was probably the cause of (the accident), really," McDowell said. "Trevor was on my bumper pushing me and I got to David's bumper, and as soon as I did it turned hard left."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-24-2012)

  • Robby speaks out against past champ provisional; Labonte responds: #7-Robby Gordon, who had to drive his way into the Daytona 500, is not a fan of the past champion's exemption, and he singled out Terry Labonte. "I think that should be based if you were with that team when you win the championship, not just because you win a championship, because that takes a spot from teams that are working really hard to get in the Daytona 500," Gordon said. "Rules are rules and we made it fair and square by being fast enough. I'm proud of my team and I'm proud to be in the Daytona 500." Labonte, who ran only 12 laps in the first duel because of a vibration, does not have a backup car and did not want to jeopardize his chances of running Sunday, so he retired early. That's a luxury Gordon didn't have. "Obviously I've got a lot of respect for Terry," Gordon said. "This is not a Terry Labonte thing. There are only eight cars that make the Daytona 500. He takes one of those spots. Now seven guys make the Daytona 500. Four make it in qualifying races, three make it on speed. It's just not right. Why take a free ride when the rest of us have to bust our butts to get into the 500?"(Daytona Beach News Journal)
    AND Labonte's side of the story, though, was simple: he was simply taking advantage of the rules in place. With the #32 FAS Lane team he drove for without the money to buy a backup car, crashing in the Duels meant starting in Sunday's Daytona 500 would be impossible. "That's the only car we got," he explained. "That wreck was right in front of us, there, and we just couldn't take a chance on wrecking it. I think we practiced enough [Wednesday], in a pack, and what little we did today, the car's really good but we just couldn't risk it."(Frontstretch)(2-24-2012)

  • Kurt Busch apologizes to Jerry Punch: #51-Kurt Busch publicly apologized Thursday to the ESPN reporter he berated during last season's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch began an on-camera interview with ESPN's Jerry Punch by hugging him and saying he was "so sorry with the way last year ended."
    "I feel horrible," Busch added. A fan videotaped Busch verbally abusing Punch as he waited to be interviewed. Busch also was caught on his in-car camera making an obscene gesture as he drove into the garage at Homestead. NASCAR later fined Busch $50,000. Busch and Penske Racing parted ways a few weeks later in what both called a mutual agreement, but many believe he was fired in the fallout of yet another embarrassing incident for the race team. Busch, who has been working with a sports psychologist, is now driving the #51 Chevy for Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch.(ESPN/AP)(2-24-2012)

  • #31 and #33 running special decal:
    The #31 and #33 Chevys being driven in this week's events by Jeff Burton and Sadler will carry a special decal honoring Donald E. Becker, an executive vice president of The Kroger Co. and friend of the General Mills motorsports family who passed away last year during Speedweeks. During Becker's career, he held a number of leadership positions at Kroger, including Vice President of the Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio Division and President of the Central Division. Becker joined Kroger in 1969 as a clerk in the Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio Division. He helped Kroger strengthen relationships with customers and suppliers alike and was also an avid supporter of the Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program at the University of Cincinnati, the Greater Cincinnati Boy Scouts of America, Crayons to Computers, the Easter Seals Work Resource Center and St. Michael's Center. He earned an undergraduate degree from Central State University, graduating first in his Army ROTC Honors program and retired from his military service with the rank of Captain.(RCR)(2-24-2012)

  • 2013 Daytona 500 is Feb 24th: The 2013 Daytona 500 will remain the last Sunday in February at Daytona International Speedway. Track president Joie Chitwood confirmed Friday that "The Great American Race" would start on Feb. 24 of next year. The race was moved from its traditional second or third week of February this year for the first time since 1971 as NASCAR eliminated its weekend off in early March (ESPN)(2-24-2012)


    News from February 23, 2012

  • Kenseth wins Gatorade Duel 2: #17-Matt Kenseth won the 2nd Gatorade Duel 150 Qualifying Race for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway followed by #78-Smith, #48-Johnson, #33-Sadler, #16-Biffle, #20-Logano, #18-Busch, #24-Gordon, #39-Newman and #5-Kahne. #36-Blaney (12th) and #87-Nemechek (22nd) got the two transfer spots and will race in the Daytona 500. #26-Raines fell back early and will use qualifying speed to make the race. #32-Terry Labonte will use the past champions provisional to make the Daytona 500. #09-KWallace had fuel pressure issues and finiished 21st, failing to make the race. The average speed was 194.175mph. There were 7 lead changes among 5 drivers and 0 cautions for 0 laps.
    Go-or-Go Homers: making the Daytona 500 were #98-McDowell [transfer spot 6th Duel 1], #7-Gordon [transfer spot 9th Duel 1], #36-Blaney [transfer spot 12th Duel 2], #87-Nemechek [transfer spot 22nd Duel 2], #21-Bayne [qualifying speed], #26-Raines [qualifying speed],#30-Stremme [qualifying speed] and #32-Terry Labonte [past champions provisional].
    DNQ's not making the Daytona 500 were #09-KWallace, #40-Waltrip, #37-MWallace, #97-Elliott, #23-Richardson Jr. and #49-Yeley.
    See race results on the Gatorade Duel 150 Race 2 Results page (pdf) and see the Daytona 500 Starting Lineup page.(2-23-2012)

  • Stewart wins Gatorade Duel 1: #14-Tony Stewart won the 1st Gatorade Duel 150 Qualifying Race for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr., #9-Ambrose, #31-Burton, #99-Edwards, #98-McDowell, #29-Harvick, #22-Allmendinger, #7-Gordon and #1-McMurray. #98-McDowell and #7-Gordon got the two transfer spots and will race in the Daytona 500. #21-Bayne and #30-Stremme will have to use their qualifying speed to make the race, so Bayne will start 40th and Stremme 42nd. #32-Terry Labonte will probably use the past champions provisional to make the Daytona 500 but could still make the race via speed if #26-Raines and #09-KWallace use the transfer positions in the 2nd Duel, Labonte would be the 3rd fastest qualifier left. There were a few wrecks, the first early in the race when #38-Gilliland got tagged and shot up into #42-Montoya collecting #27-Menard and #2-Keselowski. #40-Waltrip made a late pit stop and came off pit road and got loose coming off the apron, shot up and went head first in to the wall, so Waltrip will not make the 500. On the final lap, #1-McMurray moved down, got in to #43-Almirola who tagged #10-Patrick, sending the #10 Chevy head first in to the SAFER wall. All drivers were reported to be ok. Looks like the #10, #27, #38 and #42 team will all have to go to backup cars.
    The average speed was 159.104mph. There were 8 lead changes among 5 drivers and 3 cautions for 8 laps.
    See race results on the Gatorade Duel 150 Race 1 Results page (pdf).(2-23-2012)

  • Great Explanation on how to make the Daytona 500: #21-Trevor Bayne and #30-David Stremme from Duel 1 and #26-Tony Raines from Duel 2 are already locked into the Daytona 500 since they were the three fastest non-top 35 qualifiers. However, the incentive remains to finish in a transfer spot to improve starting position for the 500. Without a transfer spot, none of these three are slated to start better than 40th.
    " #32-Terry Labonte is locked into the Daytona 500 by virtue of the past series champion's provisional. However, he can also make the field via a transfer position or possibly fall back on qualifying speed, which would then shift the champion's provisional to #97-Bill Elliott should he need it.
    " There are multiple ways for #09-Kenny Wallace (Duel 2), #32-Terry Labonte (Duel 1), #26-Dave Blaney (Duel 2) and #40-Michael Waltrip (Duel 1) to make the Daytona 500 field. The easiest way, of course, is for each driver to finish in one of the two transfer spots in his qualifying race. Barring that ...
    " K. Wallace: He will make the Daytona 500 based on his speed from qualifying if ...
    Bayne, Raines or Stremme finish in a transfer spot in either qualifying race
    " T. Labonte: He will make the Daytona 500 based on his speed from qualifying if ...
    The two transfer spots in Duel 1 are filled by Bayne and Stremme
    OR
    At least one of the two transfer spots in Duel 1 is filled by Bayne or Stremme AND at least one of the two transfer spots in Duel 2 is filled by Raines or K. Wallace OR
    The two transfer spots in Duel 2 are filled by Raines and K. Wallace
    " Blaney: He will make the Daytona 500 based on his speed from qualifying if ...
    The two transfer spots in Duel 1 are filled by a combination of Bayne, Stremme or T. Labonte AND at least one of the two transfer spots in Duel 2 is filled by Raines or K. Wallace
    OR
    At least one of the two transfer spots in Duel 1 is filled by Bayne, Stremme or T. Labonte AND the two transfer spots in Duel 2 are filled by Raines and K. Wallace
    " Waltrip: He will make the Daytona 500 based on his speed from Sunday's qualifying if ...
    The two transfer spots in Duel 1 are filled by a combination of Bayne, Stremme or T. Labonte AND the two transfer spots in Duel 2 are filled by a combination of Raines, K. Wallace or Blaney
    " All other non-top 35 drivers must finish in one of the two transfer spots in his qualifying race to earn a starting spot in the Daytona 500.(more at CBS Sports)(2-23-2012)

  • #13 adds sponsorship for Daytona 500: Just three days removed from recording a top five qualifying effort, #13-Casey Mears and Germain Racing announced a new sponsor, B'laster Corp., one of the world's leading retail automotive manufacturing companies. B'laster Corp. will join the team as an associate sponsor for the 2012 Daytona 500 on the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion. For over 50 years, B'laster has manufactured penetrants, lubricants, rust inhibitors and a full line of specialty, highly concentrated formulas for the automotive, industrial and hardware industries.(Germain Racing)(2-23-2012)

  • Elliott's team changes engines: Dawsonville's Bill Elliott NEMCO Motorsports team found a motor issues in his #97 Toyota after Wednesday's practice for today's Dual Qualifying races and had to make a motor change. Elliott, will have to start at the rear of the field in his dual race and must race his way into Sunday's Daytona 500. However, if past Cup Champion Terry Labonte races his way in [or uses qyalufiying speed to make the race], Elliott can use his Past Champion provisional to make the field.(41nbc.com)(2-23-2012)

  • Hendrick to appeal if NASCAR penalized #48 / Knaus: Team Owner Rick Hendrick [#'s 5,24,48,88] spoke with USA Today the inspection failure of Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevy last week at Daytona [among other things]:
    Q: Are you planning to appeal if NASCAR penalizes the No. 48?
    A: Yes. I think NASCAR does a good job in the garage area, and sometimes you agree and sometime you don't. I'm gathering all the facts on our end about when the car raced and who worked on it. We have really good documentation in our shop for every hour spent on a car and who does what with the mill and paint work. I've talked to the guys who do that work in the shop. I feel good about our position, but I have to sit down and go through it and present our case and go from there.
    Q: You believe the car was legal?
    A: Yes. It ran every restrictor-plate race we raced last year and went to the R&D Center. So, it's only been painted since then. It's been seen an awful lot (by NASCAR). So I need to get down to why it was wrong this time and (why) it's OK the other times.
    Q: Did crew chief Chad Knaus tell you there's nothing different about the car?
    A: The guys who do the body work have told me that. Chad doesn't do that work. I talked to Chad, but I talked to the other guys, too. They've stated they absolutely didn't touch that area since it was built before the 2011 Daytona 500.(see full Q&A at the USA Today)(2-23-2012)


    Alongside the Bill France Jr. statue -- Betty Jane France, wife of Bill France Jr., Jim France, ISC Chairman and brother of Bill France Jr., Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and son of Bill France Jr. and Lesa France Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer of International Speedway Corp.

  • Bill France Jr. statue unveiled at DIS: Members of the France family gathered Wednesday with donors, local officials and industry members to unveil the Bill France Jr. statue outside the Daytona International Speedway Ticket and Tours Office. The statue was produced by sculptor John Lajba. William (Bill) Clifton France is remembered - and revered - as the man who followed his visionary father at NASCAR's helm, in the process becoming a visionary himself, as he guided NASCAR to unprecedented levels of popularity. He combined pragmatism with optimism, an approach that resulted in a calculated - and adventurous - road to success.(DIS)(2-23-2012)

  • BK Racing plans to run full races all season: Tomato grower Wayne Press and his partners had originally planned to start their own team with the equipment from #71 TRG Motorsports, which was managed by Kevin Buckler. But they couldn't get access to that equipment, so Press, Scott Gunderson and others bought equipment and assumed the owner points from Red Bull Racing [#4, #83 Toyota's], which went out of business after last season. Their two-car BK Racing organization will make its debut Sunday in the Daytona 500.
    The team has signed Landon Cassill to drive a full season in the #83 car while David Reutimann and Travis Kvapil will drive the #93. Reutimann is in the car at Daytona and Kvapil will drive at Phoenix. Kvapil likely will run more races, and the team hopes that Reutimann drives in the 10 races when he isn't in the #10 Tommy Baldwin Racing car he will share with Danica Patrick. Because they have the owner points from Red Bull, the team will start the season with guaranteed starting spots in the first five races. They plan to stay in the top 35 to keep those guaranteed spots, something that TRG Motorsports wasn't always able to accomplish.
    Why BK Racing? There are Burger King logos on the hood of the cars and the uniforms of the drivers, but the fast-food restaurant's headquarters hasn't announced a sponsorship. Some of the investors are Burger King franchise owners. Press said he hopes some of the company's vendors will also get involved in sponsoring races. Burger King executives will be at the track for the Daytona 500, and Press said he hopes some of the company's vendors also will get involved in sponsoring the team.
    Harry McMullen, the former TRG general manager, is the team's general manager. It has 17 cars from Red Bull but it has been a scramble since the purchase was completed less than a month ago. "We survived on a shoestring [budget] with the 71," Press said. "We're so much better funded it's unbelievable going into this venture with the 83 and the 93. BK Racing is here to race every weekend, every race, every lap. We're not start-and-parkers. We intend to do this correctly. We want some longevity out of this."(in part from SceneDaily)(2-23-2012)

  • Allmendinger on FOX and Friends: #22-Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger will be a featured guest on Sunday's edition of "FOX and Friends" on the FOX News Channel. The program starts at 6:00 am/et. Sunday morning [February 16th], with Dinger scheduled to join hosts Alisyn Camerota, Dave Briggs, and Clayton Morris at 8:30 am/et.(TRPR)(2-23-2012)

  • After Daytona 500, no more smoking in DIS grandstands: Smoking will no longer be allowed in the Daytona International Speedway grandstands starting with the Coke Zero 400 in July. "It is the year 2012," said Chitwood, the Speedway's president. "I am not aware of any other sporting venue in Florida that allows smoking in their seats." When the ban takes effect, fans will be required to use designated smoking areas behind the grandstands. In the meantime, smokers will be encouraged to refrain from lighting up in seating areas during Speedweeks, Chitwood said. The ban is not mandatory yet because smokers purchased their tickets under the presumption they could smoke, he said. Las Vegas Motor Speedway banned smoking in seating areas about four years ago. Smoking policies vary for International Speedway Corp. tracks. Michigan International and Richmond International Speedway also recently announced smoking bans for grandstands.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-23-2012)

  • Martinsville Speedway Ticket Office Now Open On Weekends: Martinsville Speedway's ticket office will be open on weekends beginning this Saturday, February 18 and running until the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on April 1. The Speedway ticket office will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The Martinsville Speedway ticket office is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets and Packages are on sale and can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(2-23-2012)


    News from February 22, 2012

  • 4th practice for the Daytona 500 [and Happy Hour for the Gatorade Duels] Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 90 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #43-Almirola 199.712
    #30-Stremme 199.331
    #78-Smith 198.360
    #23-Richardson Jr., 197.972
    #16-Biffle 197.655
    Slowest: #93-Reutimann 189.036 & #83-Cassill 189.143
    Only 25 cars ran the practice.
    Notes: for the most part cars were running in packs and the draft. Early in practice #42-Montoya got slightly into #5-Kahne off turn 4 in practice, #5 slid and bounced thru the tri-oval grass, lots of damage to the nose, going to a backup for the Gatorade Duels. Will go to the rear for the Duel, not the Daytona 500.
    See fastest speeds, 10 lap average, laps run on the Daytona Practice 4 Speeds page (pdf).(2-22-2012)

  • 3rd practice for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is over, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #17-Kenseth 200.853
    #21-Bayne 200.817
    #6-Stenhouse Jr., 200.673
    #9-Ambrose 200.280
    #55-Martin 200.196
    Slowest: #48-Johnson 193.316 and #88-Earnhardt Jr. 194.999
    No speeds listed: #36-Raines, #30-Stremme, #37-MWallace, #61-Busch, #83-Cassill and #93-Reutimann.
    Notes: for the most part cars were running in packs and the draft. There was once incident when #15-Bowyer got into #2-Keselowski when the #2 slowed to avoid the #39-Newman car, the #2 slid thru the backstretch grass. There was a little damage to the car, but Keselowski doesn't plan to practice in the next practice.
    See fastest speeds, 10 lap average, laps run on the Daytona Practice 3 Speeds page (pdf).(2-22-2012)

  • NASCAR considering minor changes for Daytona UPDATE: NASCAR will consider minor adjustments to reduce the possibility of engines overheating prior to the Daytona 500. But otherwise officials were pleased with the results of Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout, the first race since implementing changes to reduce tandem racing. Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said before Sunday's qualifying for the 500 that complaints from teams about overheating were "moderate'' at best. He said changes could come in the form of opening up the front grill slightly to allow more air flow or adjusting the pressure release valve. Pemberton said NASCAR will re-evaluate later in the week with temperatures expected to be much warmer during Thursday's qualifying races and Sunday's 500 than it was during the Shootout held at night. "We said all along there was potential to make adjustments,'' Pemberton said. Pemberton said there are no plans to tell drivers they cannot bump draft in the corners or make adjustments in the spoiler height to provide more stability. There were three major wrecks of eight, six and nine cars in the Shootout. "The drivers know they can't push on the left rear end,'' Pemberton said. "They have to get acclimated.''(ESPN.com)(2-20-2012)
    UPDATE: SPEED's NASCAR Live reports that NASCAR made a change, allowing the teams to change the PSI on the radiator pressure release valve from 25 psi to 28 psi.(2-22-2012)

  • Bowyer to run special scheme at Talladega: #15-Clint Bowyer is scheduled to run a University of Alabama 2011 BCS National Champion Football / Aaron's Special Paint scheme at Talladega in May on the #15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. See an image of the scheme on my #15 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2012)

  • 2012 Rookie of the Year Class: Earlier than they have been in recent memory, the classes of Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders for NASCAR's three national series have been set, for the time being.
    In the Sprint Cup Series, two drivers have registered for the program, though neither is entered for the Daytona 500. Timmy Hill will attempt to win his second consecutive rookie of the year award for [#37 Ford] Rick Ware Racing after grabbing the Nationwide Series honor in 2011. At this point his competition is Josh Wise, who recently has dabbled in all three national series --- with 91 starts since 2007. Owner Larry Gunselman, who is fielding a car for superspeedway ace Mike Wallace at Daytona, had said over the winter he wanted to run Wise for rookie of the year, depending on sponsorship [but recently announced Ware and Gunselman's team joined forces].
    The Nationwide Series has five contenders, including Jason Bowles who's driving for MacDonald Motorsports. The other four contenders are Joey Gase, 2011 Camping World Truck Series champion Austin Dillon, Cole Whitt and Johanna Long, who plans a partial schedule of about 20 races for ML Motorsports.
    As has been the case for the past few years, the Truck Series rookie class is the largest, with 11 contenders, nine of whom are entered at Daytona. The list includes Dakoda Armstrong, Ross Chastain, Dusty Davis, 2011 ARCA Racing Series champion Ty Dillon (Austin's brother), Cale Gale, Max Gresham, Paulie Harraka, Caleb Holman, John King, Bryan Silas and John Wes Townley, who is currently under suspension by RAB Racing after a DUI arrest earlier this month in Georgia. Holman is the other driver not entered at Daytona.(NASCAR.com)(2-22-2012)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile Provides Daytona Speedweeks Content: Sprint announced that its customers can access hours of NASCAR on SPEED programming through its popular NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile application leading up to this weekend's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile is a wireless application that provides a wealth of NASCAR content and information at no additional charge to Sprint customers with Android-powered devices with any data plan. Sprint customers will be able to watch live coverage of the Gatorade Duel 150 races, all practice sessions for the Daytona 500, as well as popular NASCAR on SPEED programs like NASCAR Live, NASCAR RaceDay, NASCAR Victory Lane and Trackside via the application. NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile is available at no additional cost to Sprint customers with any data plan on capable Android devices. To download the application, existing customers can text NASCAR to 7777 (standard rates apply) or visit sprint.com/speed.(2-22-2012)

  • Romney to visit DIS before the race: Mitt Romney won't be coming to Daytona Beach for a fundraiser on Friday after all -- but the Republican presidential hopeful expects to be at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday before the Daytona 500. Romney's campaign planned to be in town Friday for a fundraising reception hosted by International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy, but Tuesday's primary in Michigan -- where Romney's father was a three-term governor in the 1960s -- is too close for him to get away. Polls show a surprisingly tough race between Romney -- who won Michigan four years ago against John McCain -- and Rick Santorum. "They're going to reschedule it because he's so hard-pressed in Michigan," said Don Kane, a volunteer in the local campaign effort. Instead of a fundraiser, Romney will come for a quick visit Sunday on the morning of the 500, Kane said. Speedway officials said formal plans weren't in place yet.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-22-2012)

  • Sad News - Harold Elliott: Harold Elliott [no relation to Bill] passed at 10:30pm Tuesday 2/21 at home in Mooresville, NC with his family by his side - he was 64 yrs old. He was a NASCAR pioneer as a engine builder with over 80 wins at the top division, he won 5 cup championships 1975,76,77 with Cale Yarborough and Junior Johnson. He also won championship in 1981 with Darrell Waltrip and 1989 with Rusty Wallace. He retired from Penske Racing in 1991 and started HM Elliott Custom Precision Coatings. He spent the next 20 years building his company into one of the top performance coating providers in the racing business. His ideas and concepts will carry on for many years to come.
    Visitation: Thursday, February 23rd, 6-8pm, Cavin Cook Funeral Home, 494 E Plaza Dr., Mooresville,NC with the funeral on Friday, February 24th at 2pm, Cavin Cook Funeral Home. Please send flowers and condolences to funeral home.(Roush Fenway Racing)(2-22-2012)

  • Mayfield says he is innocent: Former race car driver Jeremy Mayfield says the new criminal charges against him are "baseless" and suggests he's the target of a conspiracy involving NASCAR and law enforcement officials. Indictments by a North Carolina grand jury released Monday charged Mayfield with three counts of possessing property stolen from businesses, and a fourth charge of obtaining property by false pretense. The charges follow a November raid on Mayfield's Catawba home after which the former NASCAR star was charged with possessing 1.5 grams of methamphetamine. Mayfield, 42, has issued a statement through his attorneys saying he is innocent. "For some reason, the district attorney's office simply ignored our offers to explain the sources of the items seized from my property and chose, instead, to indict," Mayfield said, according to the statement. "We do not know if there is any connection between the NASCAR lawsuit and this investigation but, based upon the evidence disclosed to us already by the district attorney's office, it appears that the Catawba County authorities have been coordinating with NASCAR officials." (See full story at the Associated Press)(2-22-2012)

  • Pat Monahan to sing National Anthem for Daytona 500: Pat Monahan, lead singer of the three-time Grammy-winning group Train, will sing the National Anthem for the 54th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. "Pat has one of the most amazing voices in music today and we are ecstatic to have him perform the National Anthem for the Daytona 500," Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. "He will deliver a rousing rendition of the National Anthem before hundreds of thousands of fans in attendance and millions more watching live on FOX Sports." Train, which consists of Monahan, Scott Underwood and Jimmy Stafford, has earned three Grammys, two Billboard Music Awards for Top Rock Artist and Top Rock Song and an ASCAP Pop Music Award for Song of the Year. Tickets for the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26 as well as other Speedweeks 2012 events can be purchased online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(2-12-2012)

  • Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte to serve as Grand Marshal for the first Gatorade Duel: Ryan Lochte, three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer and Daytona Beach native, will serve as Grand Marshal for the first of two Gatorade Duel At Daytona 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday, Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway. Lochte, who won his first gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and two more at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, will deliver the starting command "Drivers, start your engines" to begin the first Gatorade Duel. "We are looking forward to welcoming one of Daytona Beach's most decorated athletes as Grand Marshal for the first Gatorade Duel," said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. "His achievements are inspiring to those around the world and are great point of pride in the Daytona Beach community. We are honored to have him play an integral part in the Gatorade Duel." The Gatorade Duel At Daytona features two 150-mile, 60-lap races that will finalize the starting lineup for NASCAR's most prestigious race  the 54th annual Daytona 500. Tickets for Speedweeks 2012 events, including the 54th annual Daytona 500, are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(2-22-2012)

  • NFLer Ndamukong Suh named Grand Marshal of Subway Fresh Fit 500: All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will serve as Grand Marshal for the 2012 Subway Fresh Fit 500 on Sunday, March 4 at Phoenix International Raceway. Suh was immediately recognized as one of the most dominant defensive linemen in pro football after being selected second overall by Detroit in the 2010 Draft. In only two seasons, he has registered 102 tackles (75 solo), 14 sacks and one interception while starting all 30 games in which he has played. Suh, whose first name means "House of Spears," is a native of Portland, OR. In his role as Grand Marshal, Suh will participate in pre-race festivities and will kick off the race by saying the most famous words in NASCAR, "Gentlemen, start your engines!"
    "I am honored to serve as the Grand Marshal of the Subway Fresh Fit 500," said Suh. "I've been fortunate to experience motor sports all over the world and am somewhat of an enthusiast. I am really excited to share this experience with my great friends from Subway, and I can't wait to give the command." Additional information about the Subway Fresh Fit 500 and all race weekend activities (March 2-4) can be found by visiting phoenixraceway.com.(PIR)(2-22-2012)


    News from February 21, 2012

  • Vickers expects to be in a Cup ride this season: Brian Vickers, who will miss the Daytona 500 for the first time since 2007, vows he will be back in a Sprint Cup car in 2012. In a video posted on Facebook before Saturday's Budweiser Shootout, the former Red Bull Racing driver explained why he doesn't have a ride for the Daytona 500 and what his plans are for the future. "I'm right now sitting at home, but that's OK," Vickers said in the video. "I've got some great ideas that I'm very excited about. We're working with and talking to several of the sponsors in exploring a lot of options. I'm not going to fill you all in yet, but some options I'm pretty excited about. The point of the story is, I plan on being in a race car in 2012, hopefully in a car that I can win with and contend for championships with. I will keep you up to date. There will be more updates to follow, hopefully soon, as to what those plans are." Vickers did not return messages from ESPN.com. He began his remarks by thanking everyone from fans to media for their support over the past few years. The 2003 Nationwide Series champion explained that he explored many options for this season, but none that "were the right fit."
    "It has to be a two-way street and it has to be a fit for them as well as for me, where I feel I can be happy," Vickers said. "But most importantly, (to) compete at a level to win races and contend for championships. Unfortunately, I was not able to find that fit that made sense for me." Vickers said he expects to be at Daytona International Speedway at some point this weekend.(ESPN)(2-21-2012)

  • 2012 NASCAR Contingency Program announced: As teams make final preparations to start the 2012 race season, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced the lineup of 2012 NASCAR Contingency Program sponsors for all three national series.
    The NASCAR Contingency Program is administered by the Charlotte, N.C. ­based NASCAR Automotive Group. The program strives to build strong relationships with high­ quality, performance­ driven brands that are leaders in their respective categories, and award money to NASCAR teams via per ­race and year-end awards. Competitors become eligible for prize money by displaying sponsor decals on the front fender of their race cars and trucks. In some instances, use of a sponsor's product is also required.
    Three new special awards highlight the 2012 contingency program award lineup.
    This season, longtime NASCAR Official Partner and Roush Fenway Racing primary sponsor 3M will present the 3M Lap Leader Award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series. The award will go to the eligible driver who leads the most laps in each race throughout the season.
    USG Corp., the Official Building Product Supplier of NASCAR, will present the USG "Improving the Finish" Award to the eligible NSCS driver who improves the most positions from starting position to finishing position in each NSCS race event.
    Freescale, the Official Automotive Semiconductor of NASCAR, is not only helping to usher in electronic fuel injection to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but also will present a new contingency special award to NSCS competitors. The Freescale "Wide Open" Award will be given to the eligible NSCS driver that is the most aggressive during the final 20% of the race, measured by having the throttle "wide open" the greatest amount of time, and finishing in the top five.(NASCAR)(2-21-2012)

  • Bud Shootout TV Ratings: Fox earned a 4.0 overnight Nielsen rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night, up 3% from last year's race. The telecast was the top-rated program of the day and gave Fox a win in primetime among all networks.(Sports Business Journal), in 2011 the race had a 3.9 rating and in 2010 it was a 4.2 overnight. See more on my 2012 TV Ratings page.(2-21-2012)

  • Race & Commercial Breakdown of the 2012 Bud Shootout: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Saturday's race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 8:10 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 10:27 PM (all times are EST). Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 68
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 39
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 17
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 1 min. 25 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:10 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:27 PM
    Total minutes: 137
    Minutes of race broadcast: 105
    Minutes of commercials: 32
    Total race brdcst time 105 Total comm. brdcst time 32
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 0
    Number of 'Digger' appearances: 4
    (CawsnJaws.com) see more, drivers focused and links on my 2012 TV Commercials page.(2-21-2012)

  • Smith tours locomotive as part of unique CSX Transportation sponsorship: It wasn't the "little engine that could" that NASCAR driver Regan Smith toured. Instead, it was a big, powerful machine with a weight of approximately 125 times more than his 3,400-pound #78 Chevy stock car. Smith, who is currently residing at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Daytona 500 Sprint Cup season opener, took a side trip last week (Friday) to Jacksonville, Fla. to pay a visit to the CSX Transportation headquarters. The visit also included a trip to a railroad yard where Smith got up-close-and-personal to a 434,000-pound CSX locomotive. CSX Transportation, which is the largest railroad in the East with more than 21,000-mile freight network serving 23 states and portions of Canada, joined Smith's Furniture Row Racing team as an associate sponsor for the 2012 season. CSX is building upon several years of its innovative safety communications campaign and will utilize the Furniture Row Racing sponsorship as part of the "Play it Safe" campaign to urge pedestrians and motorists to exercise caution around railroad tracks. "It was both a thrill and an incredible learning experience to tour a CSX locomotive," stated Smith. "We're honored to get the opportunity to spread such an important message. "Unlike our Furniture Row/CSX Play it Safe Chevrolet, trains can't stop on a dime. In fact, they can take up to a mile to stop. So, even if they see you on the tracks, it's usually impossible for them to avoid you." Smith's Daytona 500 car will carry a bumper sticker reading, "I brake for trains."
    "One incident is too many," said Cliff Stayton, Director-Community Affairs and Safety for CSX Transportation. "We hope that by getting our message out in one of the greatest sporting events in the world with a great driver, we can prevent a tragedy. We're thrilled to be working with Regan and the #78 Furniture Row Racing team."(Furniture Row Racing)(2-21-2012)

  • PRN Celebrates 20 Years of "Up to Speed" at Daytona Beach: PRN has been visiting the Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach for 20 years but there has been a lot more than just shopping taking place. This will mark the 20th year in a row the Performance Racing Network has hosted talk shows from the mall for a live audience featuring the top names in NASCAR. One of the most popular free events on the Daytona calendar for NASCAR fans, the PRN "Up to Speed" from Daytona Beach annually draws thousands of attendees for the live show and millions of listeners for the broadcast heard on some 100 stations around the world. The PRN "Up to Speed" shows are carried on approximately 100 stations and can be heard live on http://www.goprn.com/. Video broadcasts of each show will be available on goprn.com the following day. This year shows are from 6-7 p.m. ET on Feb 21, 22 and 23 and there is no admission for the shows. Seating is available on a first come first serve basis. See the scheduled lineup at www.goprn.com/shows/fast_talk/.(Performance Racing Network)(2-21-2012)

  • Military and Motorsports to Announce Historic Collaboration: The N.C. Motorsports Industry and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) announced a strategic partnership to grow North Carolina's defense and homeland security economy and increase soldier safety and capabiilty. The historic collaboration was announced by N. C. Gov. Bev Perdue; Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, Jr., Commanding General, USASOC; and NASCAR President Mike Helton during the opening weekend of Daytona Speedweeks.
    The formal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)  facilitated by the N.C. Department of Commerce, the N.C. Military Foundation, the N.C. Motorsports Advisory Council and USASOC Mobility  will allow the nation's most respected motorsports companies and the world's premier special operations force to mutually benefit through shared capabilities, knowledge, requirements, expertise, and training specific to vehicle performance. "The motorsports industry and Special Ops have forged a historic partnership that is unique to North Carolina," said Gov. Perdue. "This partnership will have worldwide implications. It improves safety and performance of military vehicles for our troops and creates jobs and investment opportunities in North Carolina."
    Lt. General Mulholland explained that Special Operations Forces are "constantly seeking innovative methods to make our operators more effective, and the amazing technologies developed by N.C. motorsports companies have direct applications to the many complex problems we face. Army special operators are expected to thrive and succeed in the most challenging environments against dynamic threats. Likewise, the people who work at this level of the motorsports industry are constantly seeking to improve their performance  to dominate the competition  under the most extreme conditions. Ultimately, this is an opportunity for each institution to better serve our nation."
    Increased interaction between N.C.'s motorsports industry and Army Special Operations Forces highlighting dual-use technologies increased significantly following the release of the N.C. Military Foundation's Defense Asset Inventory and Target Industry Cluster Analysis. This forward looking analysis, assembled with expert support from the N.C. Department of Commerce, pinpoints where the state's strengths in industry, academia and R&D coincide with the emerging needs of the military and homeland security. In addition to improved vehicle performance for both military and motorsports, there will be increased economic opportunities for North Carolina's defense and motorsports industries. Combined, the motorsports and defense sectors have close to a $30 billion economic impact in the state.(NASCAR)(2-21-2012)

  • Creative Recycling Systems Joins NASCAR as Official Green Partner: NASCAR announced that Florida-based Creative Recycling Systems, Inc. (CRS), a leader in the processing of end-of-life electronics, has joined the stable of Official NASCAR Green Partners. CRS supplies small, mid-size and Fortune 100 companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and concerned citizens with the best solutions for electronics reuse and recycling. By providing electronic asset disposition management, data security services and by utilizing state-of-the-art processing and separation technology, CRS prevents millions of pounds of electronics from entering the world's landfills each year. Since its 2008 launch, NASCAR Green has focused on three key areas: waste, emissions and power. Aside from a host of new partners joining the effort with substantive programming, many track and team operators have launched their own programs in areas such as recycling, advancing land and energy conservation, and adopting alternative energy sources.(NASCAR/Creative Recycling)(2-21-2012)

  • Sad News - Hettie Mae McClure: Hettie Mae McClure, 91, formerly of Chilhowie, Va., passed away on Friday, Feb, 17, 2012. Hettie Mae sons: Larry, Ed, Jerry, Teddy were owners of the #4 Morgan-McClure Sprint Cup team that won the Daytona 500 three times. For the full obit and services, go to: Bristol Herald Courier.(2-21-2012)


    News from February 20, 2012

  • Dodge sticks with the Charger for NASCAR in 2013: Dodge announced Monday that it would continue racing the Charger in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition in 2013, when all four manufacturers will debut new body styles that are closer to the production vehicles they are named after. The new Charger will be shown at the Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Kobalt Tools 400 on March 11. The car will be displayed immediately after the drivers' meeting. Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Dodge's Street and Racing Technology division, said no other car was considered but the Charger, because it "fit like a glove." Ford has already debuted the 2013 Fusion as its race car, while Chevrolet and Toyota have yet to announce their plans. Gilles said they have been working on the new car for more than two years, in close association with NASCAR, which demanded "complete parity" of the four brands' designs, while still allowing the race car some brand identity. "You'll be shocked when you see it," Gilles said. "It looks like the street car with fat rubber on it. There is a lot of correlation between the race car and the street car." The new body styles will debut on track in a year, at the 2013 Daytona 500.(AutoWeek), see an image of the car on my Dodge Manuafacturer News page(2-20-2012)

  • Mayfield indicted on property charges: Former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield was indicted on Monday for charges of possession of stolen goods. Mayfield was indicted for three counts of possession of stolen goods and one count of obtaining property by false pretenses. In November, Mayfield was arrested and charged with possessing methamphetamine. Mayfield was arrested at his home in the town of Catawba, according to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office. Deputies went to Mayfield's home with a search warrant after getting a tip that there were stolen goods in the house, officials said. During the search, deputies said they found 1.5 grams of methamphetamine in a gun safe. Mayfield has denied the allegations.(WSOC)(2-20-2012)

  • NASCAR considering minor changes for Daytona: NASCAR will consider minor adjustments to reduce the possibility of engines overheating prior to the Daytona 500. But otherwise officials were pleased with the results of Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout, the first race since implementing changes to reduce tandem racing. Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said before Sunday's qualifying for the 500 that complaints from teams about overheating were "moderate'' at best. He said changes could come in the form of opening up the front grill slightly to allow more air flow or adjusting the pressure release valve. Pemberton said NASCAR will re-evaluate later in the week with temperatures expected to be much warmer during Thursday's qualifying races and Sunday's 500 than it was during the Shootout held at night. "We said all along there was potential to make adjustments,'' Pemberton said. Pemberton said there are no plans to tell drivers they cannot bump draft in the corners or make adjustments in the spoiler height to provide more stability. There were three major wrecks of eight, six and nine cars in the Shootout. "The drivers know they can't push on the left rear end,'' Pemberton said. "They have to get acclimated.''(ESPN.com)(2-20-2012)

  • Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Daytona, though the Sprint Cup and Nationwide tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while the Camping World truck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that teams in all three of these series ran at both Daytona and Talladega last season . . . this left-side code (D-4138) has been run by Sprint Cup teams at Talladega since 2009 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Daytona . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. See more notes, pressures, codes on my Daytona 500 Info Page.(2-20-2012)

  • FAS Lane Racing gets asscoiate sponosorship from TMone: FAS Lane Racing announced that they have secured associate sponsorship from TMone, a leading call center business to business sales and customer service firm, for the 54th running of the Daytona 500. Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Terry Labonte will pilot the #32 Ford for FAS Lane Racing in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. TMone joined the Frank Stoddard owned team in the middle of last season and served as Primary Sponsor for Labonte at Indianapolis in a second FAS Lane Racing entry. They would continue on to sponsor the team for various races throughout the remainder of the 2011 season.(FAS Lane Racing / Integrity Sports Marketing)(2-20-2012)

  • At Daytona International Speedway:
    Groundbreaking for Daytona International Speedway was Nov. 25, 1957. The soil underneath the banked corners was dug from the infield of the track and the hole filled with water. It is now known as Lake Lloyd.
    The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona was a 100-mile qualifying race for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20, 1959.
    Richard Petty won his 200th career race on July 4, 1984 at Daytona.
    · Lights were installed in the spring of 1998. However, the July race was delayed until October that year due to thick smoke from wildfires. The second Daytona race has been held under the lights ever since.
    There have been 129 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since the track hosted its first race in 1959: 53 have been 500 miles, 49 were 400 miles and four 250 miles. There were also 23 qualifier races that were point races.
    Fireball Roberts won the inaugural pole at Daytona.
    Bob Welborn won the first race at Daytona, the 100-mile qualifying race for the Daytona 500.
    Lee Petty won the inaugural Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, 1959.
    Fireball Roberts won the first 400-mile race at Daytona, the 1963 Firecracker 400.
    53 drivers have posted poles at Daytona.
    Cale Yarborough leads all drivers with 12 poles at Daytona.
    Bill Elliott leads all active drivers with five poles at Daytona.
    54 drivers have won at Daytona.
    Richard Petty leads all drivers in victories at Daytona with 10.
    Jeff Gordon has six victories at Daytona, more than any other active driver.
    The Wood Brothers have won 15 races at Daytona, more than any other car owner.
    17 full-length races at Daytona have been won from the pole; the last to do it was Kevin Harvick in last year's Coke Zero 400.
    A driver has swept both races at Daytona only four times, most recently by Bobby Allison in 1982.(2-20-2012)

  • Daytona 500 Tidbits:
    The 2012 edition will be the 54th running of the Daytona 500.
    Although the first Daytona 500 was held in 1959, it has been the season-opener only since 1982.
    518 drivers have competed in at least one Daytona 500; 306 in more than one.
    35 drivers have won a Daytona 500.
    Youngest Daytona 500 winner: Trevor Bayne (02/20/2011 - 20 years, 0 months, 1 days)
    Oldest Daytona 500 winner: Bobby Allison (02/14/1988 - 50 years, 2 months, 11 days)
    Eight drivers have won more than one Daytona 500, led by Richard Petty with seven victories.
    · The eight drivers who have won the Daytona 500 more than once: Richard Petty (seven), Cale Yarborough (four), Bobby Allison (three), Dale Jarrett (three), Jeff Gordon (three), Bill Elliott (two), Sterling Marlin (two) and Michael Waltrip (two).
    Dale Earnhardt leads the series in runner-up finishes in the Daytona 500 with five; Kurt Busch leads all active drivers in Daytona 500 second-place finishes with three.
    Dale Earnhardt finished in the top 10 in 16 of his 23 Daytona 500s.
    Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty each had 16 top 10s in the Daytona 500, more than any other driver.
    Dale Earnhardt had 12 top fives in the Daytona 500, more than any other driver.
    Only 13 drivers have an average finish of 10th or better in the Daytona 500, six of those competed in the Daytona 500 only once.
    Clint Bowyer has a 12.2 average finish in six appearances, the best of the active drivers who have competed in more than one Daytona 500.
    · Lee Petty, who won the inaugural Daytona 500, and Trevor Bayne, 2011 Daytona 500 champion, are the only two drivers to win the Daytona 500 in their first appearance.
    · 28 of the 35 drivers who have won, participated in at least two Daytona 500s before visiting Victory Lane.
    · Dale Earnhardt competed 19 times before winning his only Daytona 500 (1998), the longest span of any of the 35 race winners.
    · Six drivers made 10 or more attempts before their first Daytona 500 victory: Dale Earnhardt (19), Buddy Baker (18), Darrell Waltrip (16), Bobby Allison (14), Michael Waltrip (14) and Sterling Marlin 12).
    The most Daytona 500s all-time without a victory was Dave Marcis (33 races).
    · Mark Martin (27) leads active drivers without a victory.
    · Six drivers posted their career-first victory with a win in the Daytona 500: Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994), Michael Waltrip (2001) and Trevor Bayne (2011).
    · Three other drivers posted their career-first victory in (point-paying) qualifying races: Johnny Rutherford (1963), Bobby Isaac (1964) and Earl Balmer (1966). · A driver has won back-to-back Daytona 500s three times. Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95)
    · Kevin Harvick's 0.020-second margin of victory over Mark Martin in the 2007 Daytona 500 is the 12th-closest overall since the advent of electronic timing in 1993, and the closest in a Daytona 500.
    26 of the 53 Daytona 500s have been won from a top-five starting position.
    Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 from the 39th starting position in 2009, the deepest a race winner has started.
    Nine have been won from the pole. The last to do so was Dale Jarrett in 2000.
    16 Daytona 500s have been won from the front row.
    Danica Patrick will become the third female driver to compete in a Daytona 500 joining Janet Guthrie and Shawna Robinson.(2-20-2012)

  • UFC's Jon "Bones" Jones named Honorary Race Official for the Daytona 500: UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones will serve as Honorary Race Official for the 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway. As Honorary Race Official, Jones will be introduced at the driver's meeting, participate in pre-race ceremonies and ride in one of the honorary race official cars ahead of the 43-car field for the 200-lap, 500-mile historic race. Tickets for Speedweeks 2012 events, including the 54th annual Daytona 500, are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(2-20-2012)

  • Crown Royal to Honor an American Hero with Naming Rights to the Brickyard 400: Crown Royal is looking to pay tribute to those who are making a difference. The whisky brand is encouraging adult fans to nominate their personal heroes (21 or older) for naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard. The race, to be held on July 29, 2012 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, represents the ultimate celebration of heroes and will mark the sixth time Crown Royal has awarded race naming rights to an adult fan. For the past two years, Crown Royal accepted nominations for military and service members exclusively. Not only has the 2012 race moved to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the annual programnow called "Your Hero's Name Here"has been expanded to accept entries for all of the unsung heroes who make a difference in their communities, from firefighters and police officers, to first responders and local volunteers. To nominate a hero for consideration for naming rights to the race, fans are encouraged to visit the Crown Royal Facebook page (Facebook.com/CrownRoyal), where they will be asked to describe a heroic act by the nominee in 100 words or less. Nominations will be accepted until April 30, 2012 and the five finalists will be announced in May. Once the finalists are announced, fans will be provided the chance to cast a vote and determine the winner. The winner will be revealed in a special ceremony leading up to the race.(Crown Royal)(2-20-2012)

  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway presents Daytona 500 viewing parties: The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season will open on Sunday, Feb. 26 with the Daytona 500. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is presenting nine 95.5 KWNR Vegas Country Daytona 500 viewing parties throughout the Las Vegas area. Doors will open at all locations at 9:00am. Guests can win LVMS NASCAR Weekend tickets and Kobalt Tools tool kits and enjoy special prices on Budweiser beer and mixed drinks at all locations. All guests must be at least 21 years of age. More info and locations at lvms.com(LVMS)(2-20-2012)


    News from February 19, 2012

  • Edwards wins Daytona 500 pole: #99-Carl Edwards won the pole for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway with a lap of 194.738mph for his first Daytona 500 pole and 11th career pole and it is Roush Fenway Racing's 80th pole. Edwards is the 37th driver to win the Daytona 500 pole. #16-Biffle gets the outside pole and will start 2nd. Only Edwards and Biffle have secured their exact starting spot. #88-Earnhardt Jr was 3rd fastest followed by #9-Ambrose, #13-Mears, #24-Gordon, #56-Truex Jr., #6-Stenhouse Jr., #21-Bayne and #14-Stewart. Edwards will start from the pole in the first Gatorade Duel and Biffle will start 1st in the 2nd Gatorade Duel. #15-Bowyer has not passed the height sticks and his qualifying time disallowed
    #21-Bayne (9th), #26-Raines (26th) #30-Stremme (27th) all earned spots in the race as the three fastest drivers among those required to qualify on speed. #32-Terry Labonte will also start the race since he has a past champions provisional to use unless he races his way into one of the two spots available in the Duel he races or gets in by speed since he is 5th fastest of the go-or-go homers.
    If Bayne, Raines, or Stremme race into the Daytona 500 via the Gatorade Duels. #09-KWallace, #36-Blaney and/or #40-Waltrip could make the field via speed. #97-Elliott could use the past champions provisional if Terry Labonte races into the field or uses speed [5th best of go-or-go homers] to make the race.
    #15-Clint Bowyer had 22nd-fastest speed, but his car failed to pass post-qualifying inspection as the car did not meet front-end height requirements. So Bowyer will have to start at the rear of his Gatorade Duel, race 2. It doesn't effect his starting spot in the Daytona 500.
    With the exception of the front row, the starting lineup will be set by the Gatorade Duel races, scheduled for Thursday, February 23rd at 2:00pm/et on SPEED.
    See Qualifying Results, speeds, pole progression, pdf link and more on my Daytona 500 Qualifying Results page.
    For the Gatorade Duel 150 1 & 2 starting lineups, see my Gatorade Duel's Starting Lineups page.(2-19-2012)

  • Qualifying Fast Facts - Daytona 500:
    #99-Carl Edwards won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Daytona 500 with a lap of 46.216 seconds, 194.738 mph.
    This is his 11th pole in 266 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole in 15 races at Daytona International Speedway.
    Edwards' pole speed of 194.738 mph is the fastest pole winning speed in Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole qualifying since 1999 (Jeff Gordon, 195.067 mph).
    With the Coors Light Pole, Carl Edwards has earned a spot in next year's Shootout at Daytona.
    #16-Greg Biffle (second) posted his fifth top-10 start in 19 races at Daytona International Speedway. He will join his Roush Fenway Racing teammate on the front row of the Daytona 500.
    This is Roush Fenway Racing's first Daytona 500 pole since 2004 (Greg Biffle).
    The last time Ford swept the front row for the Daytona 500 was 2007 (David Gilliland and Ricky Rudd).
    The last time teammates swept the front row for the Daytona 500 was 2011 (Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon).
    The last driver to win the Daytona 500 from the pole was Dale Jarrett in 2000.
    The last driver to win the Daytona 500 from the second starting position was Dale Jarrett in 1993.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-19-2012)

  • Shootout Eligibility Returns To Its Roots For 2013: NASCAR released the eligibility requirements for the 2013 Shootout at Daytona, an announcement that signals a return to the fan-favorite preseason event's roots. Next season's field will consist of 2012 Coors Light Pole winners and past Shootout winners who have attempted to qualify for at least one race during the 2012 season. Eligibility rules for next season's annual non-points race mirror those from 1979-2008, and puts greater emphasis on each weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole qualifying session.
    "Fans have expressed their desire to see this event return to its original eligibility rules," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "We listened and decided it would be best to return to the eligibility rules of years past adding further meaning to pole qualifying for each NASCAR Sprint Cup race." This announcement comes prior to 2012's first qualifying session, adding intrigue to an already important event. Today's fastest qualifier, in addition to winning the pole for next Sunday's Daytona 500, will also earn a spot in next year's Shootout. Two Daytona 500 starting positions will be locked in after today's qualifying session. The fastest two cars in qualifying will sit on the front row. Last night, Kyle Busch won his first Shootout at Daytona, locking up a spot in next year's field. Busch passed defending series champion Tony Stewart in the tri-oval, edging the three-time titlist by a margin of victory of .013 seconds  the closest in Shootout history. Last season, 18 different drivers won a pole (NASCAR).
    NOTE: it is being called 'The Shootout', no word if Budweiser will still be the title sponsor for the race but Budweiser has a contract to sponsor the race through 2015.(2-19-2012)

  • NASCAR confiscates parts from #48 car UPDATES: Crew chief Chad Knaus and other members of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson's Daytona 500 team face possible suspensions after NASCAR said it found modifications on the rear quarter panel of Johnson's #48 Chevy. The C-posts -- pillars that come down from the roof to the quarter panel -- were confiscated by NASCAR on Friday after going through an initial inspection for the 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said the changes were a major violation of NASCAR's policy banning alterations to the series' template. "Suspensions are not out of the realm of possibility," Darby said.
    But Darby also said that it's unlikely team members will be banned from the race, because the apparent violation was found so early. "The team will be allowed to fix the car,'' Darby said. Darby said penalties could come as early as next week, but NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said sanctions are unlikely until after the February 26 race. "They found some things they didn't like and they asked us to remove them,'' Knaus said Friday. "We'll get the car fixed up and ready to qualify.'' Asked if he knew there was a chance the car was out of compliance before arriving at Daytona, Knaus said, "I haven't had a chance to take a good look at it yet. I know they just asked us to remove the parts, so we did. We've got to dig into it. It's been a hectic day.''
    Ken Howes, Hendrick Motorsports' vice president for competition, said he expects the rebuilt car will be ready for practice on Saturday and qualifying on Sunday. "A helluva way to start the 2012 season,'' he said. Asked if this was an intentional attempt by the #48 team to bend the rules, Howes said, "That's a difficult way to put it. You work within the templates the best way you think. Obviously, you're trying to do a better job than the next guy. NASCAR said it wasn't right, so it's not right. We don't have an argument with that.'' Howes said manipulating the C-post creates an aerodynamic advantage, and that individual teams are allowed to work in that area. The other three Hendrick Motorsports cars did not fail inspection.(ESPN)(2-17-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will likely penalize the crew chief for five-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson for infractions found during Daytona 500 inspection. NASCAR president Mike Helton said Saturday its a "high likelihood" crew chief Chad Knaus will be penalized. But, Helton indicated punishment would not be doled out until after the Feb. 26 season-opening Daytona 500 race. Friday's incident "fits in the category of prerace inspection issues that we've had in the past," Helton said Saturday morning. "It will warrant a reaction from us more so than what you've seen already, . more than what we've done so far," he added.(Associated Press)
    Why is Knaus still here? The question repeated most often on Saturday was, "Why wasn't crew chief Chad Knaus ejected from the track and suspended immediately, as he was in 2006?" The difference was that, in 2006, Knaus was busted for unapproved changes to the rear window after qualifying, not before. NASCAR president Mike Helton said the infractions will be addressed after the Daytona 500. In the interim, Knaus and the #48 team won't receive any more scrutiny than any other team. "Our level of scrutiny is high on everybody every time," Helton said. "So there's no way to get more scrutiny."(NASCAR WIre Service)
    Hendrick comments: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said before Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout that the car is the same one that Johnson ran in all four restrictor plate races last season, including the Daytona 500, and the roof had not been altered. He added that the car went to NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for inspection and was returned without any notification of being outside the lines. "That car, we've run it four times,'' Hendrick said. "It was built for this place and they never touched the roof, and it's been to the Tech Center after they won Talladega (in the spring). All that's been done is paint it, so I don't get it.'' Hendrick acknowledged that this is the same car Knaus was caught on film prior to the October Talladega race telling Johnson to damage the rear end if he won. Johnson's car was taken back to the R&D center after that race and the remaining races in 2011.(ESPN)(2-19-2012)

  • Robby Gordon looking for investors, NOT selling: In one breath, #7-Robby Gordon is bemoaning the fact he couldn't quit NASCAR even if he wanted to. He has money tied up in a race shop and airplanes, with crew members depending on him for their livelihood. Minutes later, though, Gordon is talking with boundless optimism about the potential of Speed Energy, a brand of energy drink that he's trying to market on his own. And does he have a deal for you.
    "Race team's for sale," Gordon said. "It's been up for sale. Really, what I'd like to do, I think the smartest thing for us to do as we're talking candidly here, would be to bring in investors that have more opportunity to [attract] big sponsor relations. Obviously, I can drive it, we can run it, but between doing that and operating Speed, we need people that have more relations than I have." Does he make money in NASCAR? "Right now? No," Gordon said. "We haven't made money in NASCAR in a long time." Would he consider getting out? "I've got a 100,000-square-foot building," Gordon said. "Unfortunately, I've got airplanes that I can't even afford to use today that are sitting there, I'm still paying insurance on them, I'm still paying payments. The race shop, it's not paid for, obviously I'm paying rent on it. So I'm stuck. Plain and simple." Gordon later reconsidered his use of the word "stuck," saying he would prefer to stay in NASCAR on a limited schedule and take on investors. "The reality is, I don't want to be all the way out," Gordon said. "I would like to run about 15 stock car races a year. That would be my goal." That would allow him to continue pursuing his diverse racing interests outside of NASCAR -- and continue to build Speed Energy, which he insists is on its way to becoming a marketing success that can grow to take on the likes of industry titans such as Red Bull.(NASCAR.com /AP)
    UPDATE: been told by the team, that Gordon on NOT looking to sell the team but is looking for investors and sponsors.(2-19-2012)


    News from February 18, 2012

  • Kyle Busch wins a WILD Bud Shootout #18-Kyle Busch won the 2012 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway followed by #14-Stewart, #9-Ambrose, #2-Keselowski, #11-Hamlin, #16-Biffle, #39-Newman, #15-Bowyer, #99-Edwards and #42-Montoya. Busch beat Stewart to the line to win by 0.013 seconds, the closed finish for a Bud Shootout. While the 2-car tandem racing is gone, the big packs are back, with three big wrecks during the race, which ended under a green-white-checked finished, going 82 laps. Pole sitter #56-Truex Jr. was involved in the 2nd wreck and finished 19th.
    The first "big one" occurred in the first 25-lap segment when #34-Ragan and #27-Menard made contact, turning the #27, collecting #55-Waltrip, #5-Kahne, #11-Hamlin, #31-Burton, #17-Kenseth and #42-Montoya. The #27, #34 and #55 were too damaged to continue the race after 9 laps.
    The second "big one" occurred on lap 56 when #9-Ambrose was pushing #20-Logano, the #20 moved up and got turned sideways, collecting Ambrose, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth, #88-Earnhardt Jr. and pole sitter #56-Truex Jr. All but Ambrose were too damaged to continue.
    The final "big one" happened when #24-Gordon got into #18-Busch turning Busch, who recovered, but Gordon shot up towards the outside wall and into #51-Busch, collecting #1-McMurray and #48-Johnson, also some damage to #99-Edwards, #22-Allmendinger and #9-Ambrose. Gordon ended up on his side, then he barrel rolled a couple times, with the car ended up on the roof, but Gordon got out of the car and was OK.
    Only 10 of 25 cars finished on the lead lap, only 13 cars finished the race and 12 cars did not finish the race.
    See the full rundown and results link on my 2012 Bud Shootout page.(2-18-2012)

  • Budweiser Shootout At Daytona - Fast Facts:
    * Kyle Busch won the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, his first victory in six starts in the annual non-points preseason event.
    * Busch¡¦s previous best finish in the Shootout was fourth in 2010.
    * Busch led three laps in the victory, the fifth time he has led the Shootout.
    * This is the first Budweiser Shootout victory for Toyota.
    * The margin of victory of .013 seconds is the closest in Budweiser Shootout history.
    * Tony Stewart finished second, his eighth top-10 finish in the last nine Shootouts.
    * Marcos Ambrose finished third in his Budweiser Shootout debut.
    (Provided by NASCAR Statistics)(2-18-2012)

  • McMurray wins segment 1 of Bud Shootout #1-McMurray won segment 1 of the 2012 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway followed by #24-Gordon, #29-Harvick. #18-Busch, #9-Ambrose, #99-Edwards, #51-Busch, #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson and #20-Logano. #88-Earnhardt Jr, led the most laps with 12. Pole sitter #56-Truex Jr. finished 14th and led 5 laps. There was one 'big one' when #34-Ragan and #27-Menard made contact, turning the #27, collecting #55-Waltrip, #5-Kahne, #11-Hamlin, #31-Burton, #17-Kenseth and #42-Montoya. The #27, #34 and #55 were too damaged to continue the race. See the full rundown on my 2012 Bud Shootout page.(2-18-2012)

  • Race Coverage of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, February 18, 2012.
    TV: FOX at 8:10pm/et; pre-race show at 8:00pm/et; green flag scheduled for 8L29pm/et.
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Re-Air: Sunday, February 19 at 5:00pm/et on SPEED

  • Truex draws the pole for Bud Shootout: #56-Martin Truex Jr. will lead the 25-car field to the green flag in the 34th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. Truex secured the top starting position through the random selection process that took place Friday night at the SPEED Stage. The starting lineup was determined at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party during which the participating drivers selected a Budweiser bottle featuring a number behind the Budweiser label. The number serves as the driver's starting position. Truex was the 18th driver to participate in the annual raw party and will make his second start in the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night.
    "It's just cool," Truex said after picking the pole position. "I haven't been in this race in a few years. I absolutely hated being down here (those years) and watching this race, so it's cool just to be in it and to get the pole is icing on the cake. My car was really good today in practice," he continued. "I was happy with it. It drove really good. I heard a lot of guys were having some handling issues, but my car was great, so I'm pretty excited about it. (My car) had good speed and was able to stay up in the front of the pack in the draft. We're looking forward to tomorrow night."
    The defending winner of the Budweiser Shootout, #51-Kurt Busch, will start from the sixth position while Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevy drew the 22nd starting spot.(Budweiser PR)
    See the starting lineup on the Bud Shootout Starting Lineup (pdf).(2-17-2012)

  • Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post these] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the Budweiser Shootout Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on the 2012 Bud Shootout page - Chassis selection area.

  • 2nd Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series Practice at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 105 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #16-Biffle 193.241
    #21-Bayne 193.154
    #56-Truex Jr. 193.071
    #14-Stewart 193.042
    #55-Martin 193.034
    #88-Earnhardt Jr, 12th fastest
    #48-Johnson, 15th fastest
    #10-Patrick, 26th fastest
    Slowest: #23-Richardson 186.610 & #49-Yeley 187.021
    All of the 49 cars made runs
    all runs have been single car qualifying runs.
    See speeds on the Daytona 500 Practice 2 Speeds (pdf).(2-18-2012)

  • Go-or-go homers: 2nd practice rank for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway:
    If things stayed the same, the top three cars by speed and a past champ would be guaranteed to make the Daytona 500.
    #21-Bayne 2nd fastest overall
    #09-KWallace 27th
    #36-Blaney 29th
    #30-Stremme 30th
    these drivers could make the race on speed if above drivers race their way in
    #32-TLabonte 33rd / past champ
    #26-Raines 34th
    #97-Elliott 35th / past champ
    #40-Waltrip 39th
    these drivers would need to race in thru the Gayorade Duel 150's
    #98-McDowell 40th
    #87-Nemechek 41st
    #37-MWallace 44th
    #7-Gordon 47th
    #49-Yeley 48th
    #23-Richardson Jr. 49th / last.(2-18-2012)

  • 1st Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series Practice at Daytona International Speedway is over, after 120 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #16-Biffle 193.395
    #9-Ambrose 193.349
    #24-Gordon 193.150
    #21-Bayne 192.881
    #27-Menard 192.810
    #88-Earnhardt Jr was 6th
    #48-Johnson was 15th
    #10-Patrick was 13th
    Slowest: #23-Richardson 184.441 & #49-Yeley 186.621
    qualifying order for the Daytona 500 is set by a blind draw NOT by fastest practice speeds; order will be posted in a bit.
    See speeds on the Daytona 500 Practice 1 Speeds (pdf).(2-18-2012)

  • Go-or-go homers: 1st practice rank for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway:
    If things stayed the same, the top three cars by speed and a past champ would be guaranteed to make the Daytona 500.
    #21-Bayne 4th fastest overall
    #09-KWallace 25th
    #30-Stremme 30th
    #32-TLabonte 33rd / past champ
    these drivers could make the race on speed if above drivers race their way in
    #40-Waltrip 34th
    #36-Blaney 36th
    #87-Nemechek 37th
    #26-Raines 38th
    these drivers would need to race in thru the Gayorade Duel 150's
    #97-Elliott 42nd / past champ
    #98-McDowell 41st
    #37-MWallace 44th
    #7-Gordon 47th
    #49-Yeley 48th
    #23-Richardson Jr. 49th / last.(2-18-2012)

  • Qualifying Order for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is posted. 49 cars/drivers are listed. For the Daytona 500, qualifying order was set by a blind draw, not by practice speeds as is the normal way.
    For the Daytona 500, the go-or-go homers will qualify after the top-35 drivers.
    The first of the drivers scheduled to go out is #27-Menard.
    The last top-35 driver scheduled to go out (35th) is #38-Gilliland.
    The final driver scheduled to go out is go-or-go homer #98-McDowell.
    See the full qualifying order on the Daytona 500 Qualifying Page.(2-18-2012)

  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, Februay 19, 2012 at 1:10pm/et.
    Television (TV): FOX, 1:00pm/et
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Jayski.com: Jayski's Qualifying Page
    Qualifying Re-Air: none scheduled

    The Daytona 500 is a different with the Qualifying Races,
    but the Top 35 are still guaranteed a starting spot
    , see the rules on my Daytona Track News, Stats page.

  • Candlelight Remembrance of Dale Earnhardt: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will be holding their annual "Candlelight Remembrance of Dale Earnhardt" on Saturday, February 18th, 2012, from 6pm until 9pm. The Showroom will be open to the public and will be illuminated with candles. Commemorative decals and prayer cards will be distributed to all in attendance. A memorial guest book will be available throughout the day, for those who would like to share their memories of Dale. Fans are invited to attend at Dale Earnhardt Inc. on Highway 3, in Mooresville, NC. Those unable to attend are encouraged to light a candle at home that evening in remembrance of Dale Earnhardt's remarkable spirit and life, and all fans of Dale Earnhardt are asked to help "Continue The Legend" through your support of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation and Dale's passions: Children, Education, and Environmental/Wildlife Conservation.(2-15/18-2012)

  • BK Racing Officially Announces Team, Drivers for 2012: BK Racing officially announced plans to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time beginning this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway. The team will enter two Toyota Camrys, #83 and #93, out of its headquarters in Statesville, N.C. The team is led by an ownership group consisting of experienced and successful business people including Wayne Press, Scott Gunderson and others. General Manager Harry McMullen will lead the team at the race shop and at the track.
    The team has already come to terms with experienced, winning drivers for the season. Two-time Sprint Cup Series winner David Reutimann will pilot the #93 Toyota in the Daytona 500 and former NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie-of-The-Year winner Landon Cassill will race the #83 in the Daytona 500 and for the balance of the 2012 season. In addition, the team also announced that 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil will be behind the wheel of the #93 Toyota beginning at the second race of the season in Phoenix, Ariz. The team will debut the cars Saturday morning to prepare for Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session.
    "We're proud to announce that BK Racing will be the newest multi-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," said co-owner Gunderson. "Wayne, I and the rest of the ownership group, along with all of our employees, have worked very hard over the past months to prepare to be where we're at today. There is still a lot more work to do, but we're proud to have the groundwork of winning and championship drivers. David, Landon and Travis have proved themselves at this highest level of NASCAR. We're very proud to be running Toyota Camrys powered by Triad Racing Technologies engines. This allows us to be immediately competitive with realistic goals."
    "All of us have been involved in the Sprint Cup Series over the past few years," continued Gunderson. "However, this is still a new team with a focused outlook of where we want to go. We're going to grow this team with commercial partners that we'll announce in the near future. We feel confident that we can immediately be competitive and only improve as we continue to build the team."
    BK Racing has acquired certain assets from the former Red Bull Racing operation and has moved into a race shop that has all the essential equipment to prepare winning cars. This immediate success allowed the team drivers to feel confident about this season. "BK Racing is already miles ahead of most start-up teams that I've seen," commented Cassill. "The race shop, equipment, ownership group, leadership and crew members are in place for us to race at Daytona, but also continue to be prepared for success for the rest of the season. We have a lot more to do, but there is a strong base here."
    Florida native David Reutimann also feels confident that the team can race up front at Daytona. "I think it's great that I have the opportunity to get this team off the ground," said Reutimann. "The preparation, the cars, our crew, I feel like BK Racing can come into Daytona and run well. It's cool to be a part of something new and have been impressed with how far the team has come in just a few short months." BK Racing will make official sponsorship announcements in the near future.(Breaking Limits), see image of the two cars in the shop on my #83 Team Schemes page.(2-18-2012)

  • EGR signs Larson as development driver: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates signed 19-year-old Kyle Larson to its roster as a developmental driver. The Elk Grove, Calif. native took the racing world by storm in 2011  his first season competing on the national racing scene. Larson captured 22 major professional feature wins, including victories in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, all three United States Auto Club National Divisions and the American Sprint Car Series. Larson gained international notoriety last fall by sweeping the 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway -- winning in Midgets, Sprint Cars and Silver Crown cars in the same night. In addition to his role as an Earnhardt Ganassi Racing development driver, Larson, who is Japanese American, will also participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program in 2012 for Rev Racing in the NASCAR East Series.(Earnhardt Ganassi Racing)(2-18-2012)


    News from February 17, 2012

  • Sad News - Christopher Myers: The 19-year-old son of NASCAR on Fox studio host Chris Myers has been killed in a car accident. The network says Myers will not be part of Fox's coverage of the season-opening Daytona 500. Christopher Myers was killed Thursday in Southern California, where the family resides. SPEED studio host John Roberts will replace Myers at Daytona International Speedway. Roberts will assume Myers' responsibilities as host of Saturday night's studio show before the Budweiser Shootout, during Sunday's qualifying, and the pre-race show for the Feb. 26 season-opening Daytona 500. Fox says Myers will be given as much time off as he needs.(Associated Press)(2-17-2012)

  • Final Bud Shootout Practice at Daytona International Speedway is over. The top 5, slowest and notes:
    #1-McMurray 197.698
    #42-Montoya 197.694
    #16-Biffle 196.331
    #5-Kahne 195.529
    #9-Ambrose 195.495
    Slowest: #48-Johnson 189.821 & #88-Earnhardt, Jr. 189.729
    Notes: Just 12 drivers got on track. The session was scheduled for 60 minutes, but teams got on track less than 10 minutes before light rain showers brought out the red flag.
    See speeds on the Bud Shootout Practice 2 Speeds (pdf).(2-17-2012)

  • 1st Bud Shootout Practice at Daytona International Speedway is over after 60 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #17-Kenseth 201.762
    #31-Burton 201.739
    #34-Ragan 200.151
    #1-McMurray 199.858
    #39-Newman 199.592
    Slowest: #48-Johnson 190.706 & #88-Earnhardt Jr. 196.416
    Notes: 45 minutes into the practice, #14-Stewart pushed the #51-Busch, #51 went sideways, collecting the #14 along with #2-Keselowski, #18-Busch and #22-Allmendinger. Looks like #2, #18 and #22 will go to backup cars.The #14 team will fix theirs.
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. stayed off track for about 20 minutes at the start, then got on the track and teamed up with #48-Johnson. Running in packs and some two-car tandems.
    See speeds on the Bud Shootout Practice 1 Speeds (pdf).(2-17-2012)

  • NASCAR confiscates parts from #48 car: Crew chief Chad Knaus and other members of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson's Daytona 500 team face possible suspensions after NASCAR said it found modifications on the rear quarter panel of Johnson's #48 Chevy. The C-posts -- pillars that come down from the roof to the quarter panel -- were confiscated by NASCAR on Friday after going through an initial inspection for the 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said the changes were a major violation of NASCAR's policy banning alterations to the series' template. "Suspensions are not out of the realm of possibility," Darby said.
    But Darby also said that it's unlikely team members will be banned from the race, because the apparent violation was found so early. "The team will be allowed to fix the car,'' Darby said. Darby said penalties could come as early as next week, but NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said sanctions are unlikely until after the February 26 race. "They found some things they didn't like and they asked us to remove them,'' Knaus said Friday. "We'll get the car fixed up and ready to qualify.'' Asked if he knew there was a chance the car was out of compliance before arriving at Daytona, Knaus said, "I haven't had a chance to take a good look at it yet. I know they just asked us to remove the parts, so we did. We've got to dig into it. It's been a hectic day.''
    Ken Howes, Hendrick Motorsports' vice president for competition, said he expects the rebuilt car will be ready for practice on Saturday and qualifying on Sunday. "A helluva way to start the 2012 season,'' he said. Asked if this was an intentional attempt by the #48 team to bend the rules, Howes said, "That's a difficult way to put it. You work within the templates the best way you think. Obviously, you're trying to do a better job than the next guy. NASCAR said it wasn't right, so it's not right. We don't have an argument with that.'' Howes said manipulating the C-post creates an aerodynamic advantage, and that individual teams are allowed to work in that area. The other three Hendrick Motorsports cars did not fail inspection.(ESPN)(2-17-2012)

  • added the #17 Zest, #98 K-Love, #83 & #93 Burger King, #34 Power Pak Pudding & Scorpion Truck Bed Liners, #6 Ford Eco Boost, #36 Ollie's Bargain Outlet, #7 MAPEI, #40 Aaron's Dream Machine, #34 Maximum Human Performance (MHP), #38 Modspace;
    #32 Federated Auto Parts, #51 TAG Heuer Eyewear and Hendrickcars.com, #16 Megulars, #18 M&M, #5 Hendrickcars.com, #21 Motorcraft, #39 Haas CNC, #51 Phoenix Racing and #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation schemes.

  • New And Improved In-Venue Broadcast Service with FanVision: With a new season of racing just days away, NASCAR and FanVision announced a multi-year agreement that will enhance the at-track companion viewing experience for the sport's millions of fans. FanVision will offer a wide array of broadcast content, provided by Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Media Group, delivering the most extensive menu of features and services available. This next generation technology will be available at select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event weekends and will offer an experience unlike anything fans have ever seen before in a handheld device. The FanVision controller and service will replace the out-dated FanView device that has been available for rent or purchase at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tracks since 2006. The FanVision controller represents the cutting edge in broadcast technology and is the ultimate race companion providing exclusive at-track handheld access to live broadcast feeds, eight onboard cameras, official timing, data, statistics, as well as the ability to follow specific drivers, instant replays and digital radio scanner. The high-quality, 4.3-inch screen on the FanVision controller provides an unrivaled event experience, allowing users to catch every corner and every movement of NASCAR on razor-sharp clarity. With the transition to the new FanVision controller, fans will no longer be able to rent, purchase or activate FanView devices. FanView device owners may be eligible for a credit towards the purchase of a new FanVision controller. To learn more, FanView device owners should visit a FanVision or Racing Electronics hauler or kiosk at track during select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends, or visit www.racingelectronics.com/fanview to learn more. The new FanVision controller will be available for purchase or rent at FanVision or Racing Electronics haulers or kiosks or online at www.fanvision.com.(NASCAR)(2-17-2012)

  • Mapei / Menards join up with Robby Gordon for Daytona 500: While some competitors use the NASCAR off season to recharge their batteries, Robby Gordon is racing in anything he can get behind the wheel of. Gordon, one of the best off-road racers in the world, participated in the 2012 edition of the Dakar Rally; in which he placed fifth overall. A week after his return from South America, he won the Best in the Desert Parker 425. Truly a racer to the core, Gordon rounded out his "off season" with the ultimate desert race, the King of the Hammers.
    Now his sights are set on the pinnacle of racing, the 54th annual Daytona 500. Having fallen out of the top 35 in owner's point, Gordon and crew will head to Daytona Beach with one thing on their mind  to qualify for the biggest race of the year. Gordon will be piloting the #7 Mapei / Menards Dodge Charger in his 24th attempt at the famed 2.5 mile tri-oval.
    "Daytona is the 17th race of the 2012 season for us," says Gordon who's hoping to carry the momentum from the off-road program to his stock car efforts. "Racing is still my passion and in order to brand our product, SPEED Energy, we need to race. We are fortunate to have Mapei and Menards on board for the 500 and I look forward to the challenge of putting our car into the show," he continues. The restrictor plate races have been good to Robby Gordon Motorsports, who feels they have something to prove. "We'll see how the new NASCAR rules break up the two car draft, but if not, we certainly have a fast car that can be pushed to the front," Gordon remarked.(SPEED Energy Racing), see an image of the car on my #7 Team Schemes page.(2-17-2012)

  • NASCAR turns down 'General Lee': Concerned over the negative image of the Confederate flag, NASCAR told PGA star Bubba Watson he cannot drive his "General Lee'' show car around Phoenix International Raceway before the March 4 Sprint Cup race. Watson, an honorary race official for the event, was originally told he could appear in the #01 car from the "Dukes of Hazzard'' television series, which he purchased for $110,000 at an auction. NASCAR officials vetoed that because there is a Confederate flag on the roof of the bright orange Dodge Charger made famous in the series, which aired from 1979-85, and the sport is trying to distance itself from the negative image that brings. "NASCAR, International Speedway Corp. and Phoenix International Raceway officials discussed this and decided it was not in the best interest of our sport,'' NASCAR said in a statement on Friday. "The image of the Confederate flag is not something that should play an official role in our sport as we continue to reach out to new fans and make NASCAR more inclusive." Watson, who recently drove the car to the Phoenix Open golf tournament, wrote Thursday on Twitter: "Sorry to say @nascar won't let me drive The General Lee at the @PhoenixRaceway !!! #dreamcrushed." The Confederate flag still is flown by fans at many racetracks, particularly in the South. But NASCAR has made it clear over the years that it doesn't want to be associated with that image.(ESPN)(2-17-2012)

  • Richard Childress, Ricky Rudd elected to NMPA Hall of Fame: Team owner Richard Childress and Ricky Rudd, the driver who gave Childress his first NASCAR win, have been elected to the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame. Each received more than the required 65 percent of the votes cast by the NMPA's members. Childress made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup start in 1969. He drove for five full seasons, 1976-80, with two top-five finishes. Twenty races into the 1981 season, Childress turned the wheel over to Dale Earnhardt, and in June 1983 at Riverside, Calif., Rudd gave Childress his first victory as a team owner. In 1984, Earnhardt rejoined Childress, and they would go on to win 66 races and six championships. Overall, Childress has 100 Cup wins, as well as 56 victories and five team-owner titles in the Nationwide ranks, and 24 wins and two Camping World Truck Series crowns. Rudd competed in Cup racing for 32 years, with stints for team owners such as Childress, Rick Hendrick, Bud Moore Roberts and others. Rudd earned 23 Cup wins, including the Brickyard 400 in 1997 as an owner-driver, and he holds the NASCAR Cup record for consecutive starts with 788. Rudd was also the 1992 titlist in the International Race of Champions series. Others receiving votes for the NMPA Hall of Fame were: drivers Donnie Allison, Bill Elliott, Tiny Lund and Sara Christian; former crew chief and team owner Ray Evernham; team owner Joe Gibbs; promoter Richard Howard; and photographer Ladon George.(Fayetteville Observer)(2-17-2012)

  • Allmendinger creates karting scholarship: #22-AJ Allmendinger announced a new program that will see a deserving young karter receive a scholarship to race in the 2012 World Karting Association championship starting March 23-25 at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. The scholarship winner will also be set to compete in the Rotax Grand Nationals in August and SKUSA SuperNationals in November. The scholarship prize winner will also receive media and management training from Walldinger Racing, Allmendinger's management firm. Serious applicants ages 13-16 are asked to send their CV, racing credentials, photo, and short summary of their racing goals. Deadline for entry is March 10, 2012. For additional information and how to apply, visit ajallmendinger.com.(TRPR)(2-17-2012)

  • RCR Partners with K&N Engineering for ECR Engines Program: Richard Childress Racing and K&N Engineering, Inc., the inventor and leading innovator of reusable cotton gauze filter technology for automotive applications, have reached agreement on a multi-year partnership for ECR Engines' NASCAR program. The technical partnership provides ECR Engines with K&N Engineering air and oil filters as well as research and development support. K&N Engineering will receive marketing rights to Richard Childress Racing's drivers, cars and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series. All RCR race cars will be adorned with the K&N decal through the NASCAR Contingency Sponsor program as well as having the K&N logo under the hood of every car.(RCR)(2-17-2012)

  • Congrats Kelley Earnhardt Miller: JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller gave birth to a baby boy Thursday afternoon. Wyatt Wayne Miller was born at 1:43 p.m. and weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 19.5 inches, according to a post on the team co-owner's Facebook fan page. Mother and son are doing well. It is the third child  the first son  for the daughter of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. Kelley Earnhardt Miller manages the career of brother Dale Earnhardt Jr. and oversees day-to-day operations of the JR Motorsports two-car Nationwide organization. This is the first child for Kelley and her husband, Modified driver L.W. Miller, who were married in January 2011.(SceneDaily)(2-17-2012)

  • Robby Gordon to attempt to make Daytona 500 UPDATE: #7-Robby Gordon will attempt to make the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with sponsorship from MAPEI, see an image of the car on my #7 Team Schemes page. No word on Gordon's Sprint Cup Series plans for the 2012 season.(2-16-2012)
    UPDATE: So how much Sprint Cup racing will Robby Gordon do this year? He ran 25 of last year's 36 events, a 16th in Daytona and 18th at Sonoma his best finishes, and he DNFd 14 times. "How much racing? As much as I can do without going broke," Gordon says.(see a full post about Gordon at MikeMulhern.net)(2-17-2012)

  • Ford to sponsor Bristol's NNS race: Ford Motor Company announced the expansion of the automaker's partnership at Bristol Motor Speedway with the sponsorship of the upcoming Nationwide Series race. The Ford EcoBoost 300 takes place March 17 at the World's Fastest Half-Mile, adding to Ford's involvement at BMS, which also includes sponsorship of Ford Fan Friday qualifying and the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Ford also is the official vehicle of BMS. BMS season tickets, which include the Food City 500 and IRWIN Tools Night Race (Aug. 25) Sprint Cup races, as well as both the Ford EcoBoost 300, the Food City 250 and the K&N race, also are on sale. Pricing for all four races begins at just $175 in the Wallace Tower. A March race weekend package also is available starting at $99 that includes the Food City 500 and the Ford EcoBoost 300/K&N East Series 125 events. A package in the Wallace Tower for both Sprint Cup races also is now available for $99, while packages for fans 15 and younger are available for the March races at half price. Lower row seating for the Food City 500 is available, with tickets starting at $65.(BMS)(2-17-2012)

  • Pit Passes at Richmond: Richmond International Raceway is bringing you closer to the action than ever before with Friday Pre-Race Pit Passes for the upcoming Spring NASCAR Weekend. You can watch NASCAR pole qualifying and practice from the perspective of a NASCAR crew member and see the stock cars from just a few feet away as they rumble down pit road, giving you an unforgettable experience of the sights and sounds that only NASCAR can produce. Individual Friday Pre-Race Pit Passes, $50 per person, are the only way fans can gain access to pit road. Friday Pre-Race Pit Passes are available online by clicking here or calling 866-455-7223. To purchase tickets for the April 27 NASCAR Nationwide Series 250 race and Pre-Race Pit Passes, click here and be sure to "add race day activities" or call 866-455-7223. Friday's tickets start at $30 in advance and children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission. The headlining event of the Spring Weekend features the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400 race "under the lights" on Saturday, April 28. Tickets can be purchased by calling 866-455-7223.(RIR)(2-17-2012)


    News from February 16, 2012

  • Zest to sponsor Kenseth: Roush Fenway Racing announced a new primary sponsorship for the 2003 Cup Series Champion, Matt Kenseth and his #17 Sprint Cup team. Zest brand of bar soap and body wash will serve as the primary sponsor for four races during the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season for Kenseth starting with Las Vegas in March (March 11). The remaining three races of the sponsorship are slated for Daytona (July 7), Kansas (October 21), and Martinsville (October 28). "NASCAR has some of the best fans when it comes to brand loyalty, so we're looking forward to welcoming Zest to our sport, and thrilled to have them as part of our Roush Fenway team," said Kenseth, driver of the #17 Zest Ford.
    "Partnering with the No. 17 Ford of Matt Kenseth and the Roush Fenway team is a natural fit for Zest," said Jim Daniels, President and CEO of High Ridge Brands, the owners of Zest bar soap and body wash. "Matt and the Roush Fenway team are perennial winners with a loyal following who respect their ability to deliver high energy performances on the track and a first class, clean image off the track. We look forward to another successful year for Zest, Roush Fenway, and of course, Matt and his #17 Zest Ford." Go to Zest.com for money saving coupons and to see the latest "Zestfully Clean!" TV commercial.(Roush Fenway Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #17 Team Schemes page.(2-16-2012)

  • Scorpion Truck Bed Liners Joins Front Row Motorsports: Truck bed liner, window film and protective coatings company Scorpion Protective Coatings Inc. will enter the NASCAR arena for the first time, joining Front Row Motorsports as a multi-race partner in the team's 2012 Sprint Cup Series campaign. Scorpion's program will include primary sponsorship of David Ragan's #34 Ford in two of NASCAR's most storied events, the season-opening Daytona 500 and the famed Brickyard 400. Scorpion will be an associate sponsor on the car for all other races in the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season. Scorpion will also be the official bed liner, window film and protective coatings line of Front Row Motorsports and David Ragan. Company experts will also work with the team's operational managers to develop applications to improve and maximize the life and performance of team equipment and vehicles throughout the season. Cloverdale, Ind.-based Scorpion was launched in 1996 and is a world-wide leader in protective liners, window films and coatings. Scorpion boasts a highly durable, completely UV-stable truck bed liner that can be customized to fit any purpose and also offers premium films for automotive, commercial-residential, and paint protection films. In 2008, the company launched Al's Liner, a professional-grade line of products designed for the "do-it-yourself" automotive community. For more information about Scorpion, visit Scorpioncoatings.com or alsliner.com.(Front Row Motorsports / Breaking Limits), see an image of the scheme on my #34 Team Schemes page.(2-16-2012)

  • Ragan to run Pudding Pak scheme in Shootout: David Ragan will be behind the wheel of the #34 MHP Power Pak Pudding car this Saturday night when the 2012 NASCAR racing series kicks off with the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. "We are very excited about David's chances at the Bud Shootout on Saturday," said Gerard Dente, CEO of MHP. "He has had a good history at the track and the car is running great. We can't wait to see the Power Pak Pudding car on the track on national TV! And how cool would it be to see David Ragan in a double biceps pose in the winner's circle?"(MHP), see an image of the scheme on my #34 Team Schemes page.(2-16-2012)

  • McDowell To Drive Phil Parsons Racing's #98: Fifth-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael McDowell will pilot the #98 Ford Fusion for Phil Parsons Racing (PPR) for the entire 2012 Sprint Cup season, it was announced today by PPR's Phil Parsons and new partner Mike Curb. Parsons, the former NASCAR driver and current television commentator on SPEED, merged the assets of his PPR team with Whitney Motorsports during the offseason in an effort to bolster his 2012 Sprint Cup effort. Curb, owner of Curb Records who also has long and successful history of race team ownership in the NASCAR and open-wheel ranks, among others, becomes a partner in the PPR effort for 2012. "Combining our efforts with Whitney Motorsports with the support of Mike Curb and having Michael (McDowell) behind the wheel of the #98 Ford means we'll open the season at Daytona better prepared than ever before," Parsons said. "We feel the timing couldn't be better for us to build this program into a proper Sprint Cup Series effort."
    The #98 Ford Fusion will run with Roush Yates Racing power under its hood. The team will be headed by veteran crew chief Gene Nead, who has worked with McDowell in previous Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series efforts at PPR and Michael Waltrip Racing. "I'm particularly excited about this program for a number of reasons," Curb said. "The players who have come together to form this latest effort shows that it's built to succeed, and I'm glad to be a part of it. Michael is a tremendous driving talent and is a wonderful young man. He has a special interest in our Christian music operation at Curb Records and building partnership opportunities involving that segment of our business. It's truly exciting."
    McDowell and Curb have already tasted success on the racetrack this season as the 28-year-old driver scored a podium finish in last month's 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona co-driving a Curb Records-sponsored Michael Shank Racing Ford. A second Curb Records-sponsored Michael Shank Racing Ford won the race overall. "This is the opportunity I've been looking for  to work with various Christian music outlets, Mike Curb and Curb Records, and our other partnerships that are taking shape," said McDowell, who has 84 Sprint Cup starts to his credit. "This opportunity will allow me to expand my brand and put me in a position to work with the types of companies I've been wanting to work with for a long time. On the racetrack, I'm excited about the chance to have my best NASCAR season ever." Specific partnership announcements involving the #98 Ford for PPR will be made in the coming days.(PPR)(2-16-2012)

  • Nemechek gets sponsor for Daytona 500: NEMCO Motorsports announced that AM FM Energy LLC will be the primary sponsor of Joe Nemechek's NEMCO Motorsports #87 Toyota, running in the Daytona 500, with an associate sponsorship on the #87 Toyota in the Drive4COPD 300 Nationwide Series race, both to be run at Daytona International Speedway. With the sponsorship, NEMCO is welcoming AM FM Energy back for a third year. After Daytona, AM FM Energy will be on both the Sprint Cup Toyota and the Nationwide Toyota on select races throughout the year. "There is nothing that seems to beat the winning combination of our name on the NEMCO team cars," said Andy Mays, president of AM FM Energy. "Each time we are on the cars, we can see a notable boost in our business and that's because we know Joe has earned high respect and visibility in NASCAR and has some of the most loyal fans." AM FM Energy is a notable distributor of the high quality Timber Ridge line of wood and pellet stoves, and has recently added BBQ grills and tailgating accessories to their product line. To learn more about AM FM Energy log onto www.amfmenergy.com(NEMCO)(2-16-2012)

  • Daytona International Speedway to add short track races in 2013: There will be no gap in the 2013 Speedweeks stock-car schedule. Beginning next year, Daytona International Speedway's "dark days," or the Monday and Tuesday before the Daytona 500, will be filled with a mega national event on a short track carved from the backstretch area fronting the Lund Grandstands. "When I think about adding a short track event here, it's just an opportunity to connect with that local racer supporting NASCAR," Speedway president Joie Chitwood III said. "Thinking about them, getting the chance to run at the World Center of Racing, it felt like the right thing to do. Whether it's a hobby or profession, everybody should have the chance to race at Daytona." The lineup includes drivers from NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East and West; Whelen Modified Tour North and South; and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I, or weekly track. While all the details are not known -- the official announcement is Friday -- The News-Journal has learned Daytona will create a defined, 0.4-mile, flat oval using the newly paved racetrack and skid pad surfaces. Removable concrete barriers will be used to identify the short track course. The two-day racing program will run under the lights. Any K&N or Whelen race winner throughout the 2012 season will get an automatic ticket to Daytona's event. NASCAR's top 10 weekly track drivers (the Whelan All-American Series) will also get a Daytona invitation. In addition NASCAR champions from Canada, Mexico and Europe will receive invites to this inaugural short track competition.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-16-2012)

  • Irwindale group files for bankruptcy: Irwindale Speedway LLC, the management group that runs the track, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday, the same day track management canceled the 2012 racing season. In the paperwork filed at the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District, it shows that Irwindale Speedway LLC owes creditors $331,773.11. The largest amount is $150,000 owed on a personal-injury claim. Irwindale Speedway LLC owes Nu-Way Industries Inc., the company that owns the property where the track and offices are built, $55,000 in rent. Irwindale Speedway LLC has two more outstanding personal injury claims with unknown values. There is also a debt of $8,093.51 owed to the city of Irwindale Police Department, $16,379.58 owed to the Golden State Water Company and $1,437.50 owed to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune for advertising. Irwindale Speedway vice president and general manager Bob DeFazio did not return a phone message. There are four buildings on the Irwindale Speedway property owned by Nu-Way Industries valued at an estimated $31 million, according to documents obtained from the Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector.(full story at ESPN LA)(2-16-2012)


    News from February 15, 2012

  • Bill Elliott to run for NEMCO Motorsports in Daytona 500: NEMCO Motorsports announced that Bill Elliott, past Sprint Cup Champion and Daytona 500 winner, will pilot the #97 Toyota for the Daytona 500 to be held at the Daytona International Speedway. This synergy will bring Front Row Joe, Joe Nemechek and Million Dollar Bill, Bill Elliott together as a powerful pair to kickoff the 2012 NASCAR season. "I am really excited to be racing with NEMCO Motorsports and Joe Nemechek, who has been a friend and respected competitor through the years," said Bill Elliott. "This will be a great way to start off the 2012 NASCAR season in Daytona."
    "This is a great and fun moment in racing for us at NEMCO Motorsports," said Joe Nemechek. "We believe the talent and skill of Bill will steer the 97 car to a great showing for us and I am excited to be racing right along with him, this time on the same team."(NEMCO Motorsports)(2-15-2013)

  • Ford Eco Boost to sponsor Stenhouse in Daytona 500: EcoBoost, the line of Ford production car engines that provides increased power and fuel efficiency while reducing emissions, is coming to NASCAR, but not under the hood. Ford is reaching out to its huge racing audience through a multi-tiered marketing campaign focused on EcoBoost beginning with this month's Daytona 500. EcoBoost, which first appeared on the NASCAR landscape as the paint scheme on the 2013 Fusion race car for its reveal in Charlotte, N.C., January 24, will serve as the primary paint scheme when defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. makes his Daytona 500 debut in the #6 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion at the end of the month. EcoBoost will also be featured for select races on the #17 Fusion of former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth throughout the 2012 Sprint Cup campaign. EcoBoost will also appear on the Mustang race cars of Stenhouse Jr. and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Trevor Bayne for select races on the 2012 Nationwide Series schedule. "EcoBoost is one of the smart technologies from Ford that blends performance and fuel economy into one package. That's something all racers and racing fans can relate to," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "EcoBoost engines are available now, and they will be widely available on most vehicles from Ford. We want to raise awareness of EcoBoost among NASCAR fans, so they will look for it, and ask about it when they shop for their new Fords." In addition to making appearances on the track, EcoBoost will be featured as the title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series EcoBoost 300 event March 17, 2012 at Bristol Motor Speedway.(Ford Racing NASCAR), see image of the scheme on the #6 Team Schemes page.(2-15-2012)

  • Terry Labonte to run Daytona 500: Just as they did to begin the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season last year, FAS Lane Racing announced they are heading to Daytona for the 2012 season opening race with Terry Labonte. The two time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will pilot the #32 Ford in the running of the Daytona 500. In addition to the team and driver reunion, FAS Lane Racing welcomes back C & J Energy Services as the Primary Sponsor for the annual season opener at the Daytona International Speedway. C&J Energy Services, a Corpus Christi, Texas founded company, will continue their support of their "Hometown Hero" Terry Labonte, born and raised in Corpus Christi, as he will pilot the #32 C&J Energy Services Ford. The trio of FAS Lane Racing, Terry Labonte and C&J Energy Services joined forces for a handful of races last season and collectively they look forward to kicking off the 2012 season together. "It is a great privilege for our FAS Lane Racing team to be heading to Daytona once again with Terry Labonte and have C & J Energy join us again this season," stated team owner Frank Stoddard. "We had a solid Top 15 run last year for the Daytona 500 with Terry and that really set the tone for our whole season. The entire organization has worked hard during the off season to improve and grow our team and another great performance to start the season is expected."(FAS Lane Racing / Integrity Sports Marketing)(2-15-2012)

  • Chip Bolin to Fill-In for Bob Osborne at Bud Shootout: Chip Bolin will serve as crew chief this weekend at Daytona International Speedway on the #99 Fastenal Ford with Carl Edwards due to the passing of Bob Osborne's father. Osborne will return to Daytona next week to lead Edwards and the team in the Gatorade Duels and the Daytona 500. Bolin is currently the head engineer for Roush Fenway Racing and previously served at Matt Kenseth's Sprint Cup crew chief.(RFR)(2-15-2012)

  • Evernham Returns to ESPN as NASCAR Analyst: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Ray Evernham is returning to ESPN as a NASCAR analyst for the 2012 season. Evernham will join ESPN's team at Daytona Speedweeks and will be part of NASCAR Countdown before the NASCAR Nationwide Series race that airs on ESPN on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 12noon/et. He also will appear on NASCAR Now and SportsCenter from Daytona as ESPN's multimedia platforms surround the opening of the NASCAR season. Evernham will be an analyst on NASCAR Countdown for many of the 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races that will appear on ESPN networks in the second half of the season. In addition to his work on NASCAR Now and SportsCenter, he will help call several NASCAR Nationwide Series races from the booth. Evernham was an analyst for ESPN from 2008-2010 but left prior to the 2011 season when he took a consulting position with Hendrick Companies, a management company that oversees strategic initiatives for chairman Rick Hendrick, who also owns Hendrick Motorsports. "I chose to take a year off from ESPN out of respect for ESPN and Hendrick Motorsports," said Evernham. "I didn't want to create any perceived conflict of interest while I got my bearings at Hendrick and didn't want to cause distraction to either company. Now that I'm settled at Hendrick Performance, I don't have any involvement on the racing side of the operations and it frees me from any conflict with NASCAR teams. Mr. Hendrick and I have worked out an agreement that allows me to return to the ESPN team." Evernham has a history with ESPN dating back to 2000, when he appeared as an analyst on ESPN and ABC's coverage of the IROC Series and some NASCAR races. In 2007, he was a guest analyst on NASCAR Countdown for several NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts and was featured in Race Wizard with Ray Evernham, a program that aired on ESPN2. "I'm glad to be coming back to ESPN," Evernham said. "I really enjoy the team camaraderie at ESPN and I'm very much at home with this group from my previous three years," he said. "Stock car racing is my passion and I'm looking forward to being back involved. I'm excited about the momentum NASCAR has going into the 2012 season."
    "We welcome Ray back to the team and look forward to enhancing our coverage of NASCAR with the knowledge and expertise he brings to the table," said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports, production. "He's a solid professional and a well-respected voice in the sport." ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage begins with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29.(ESPN)(2-15-2012)

  • Ware joins forces with MaxQ: Rick Ware Racing and Poynt.com (free mobile app.) have finalized a deal to run Timmy Hill for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year. "I am very excited to have our sponsor and driver make a move up to the Sprint Cup Series" says owner Rick Ware. RWR will run the full Sprint Cup schedule with sponsor Poynt on board. Mike Wallace will drive the 54th annual Daytona 500. Timmy Hill, the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Rookie of the Year, will be at Daytona in his Poynt Nationwide Ford. Hill will start driving the #37 full time at Auto Club in March or Texas in April. RWR has joined forces with Larry Gunselman's Max Q Motorsports #37 for the full season. The Sprint Cup operation will run out of RWR's new 24,000 sq. ft. facility across the street from RWR's Nationwide and Rolex programs. Hill's crew chief will be veteran Bill Henderson. Ken Glen formerly of KHI will serve as Competition Director and Larry Gunselman will be General Manager of the #37 Poynt.com Ford.(Rick Ware Racing PR)(2-15-2012)

  • Candlelight Remembrance of Dale Earnhardt: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will be holding their annual "Candlelight Remembrance of Dale Earnhardt" on Saturday, February 18th, 2012, from 6pm until 9pm. The Showroom will be open to the public and will be illuminated with candles. Commemorative decals and prayer cards will be distributed to all in attendance. A memorial guest book will be available throughout the day, for those who would like to share their memories of Dale. Fans are invited to attend at Dale Earnhardt Inc. on Highway 3, in Mooresville, NC. Those unable to attend are encouraged to light a candle at home that evening in remembrance of Dale Earnhardt's remarkable spirit and life, and all fans of Dale Earnhardt are asked to help "Continue The Legend" through your support of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation and Dale's passions: Children, Education, and Environmental/Wildlife Conservation.(2-15-2012)

  • Teams Test at Nashville: Richard Childress Racing rented Nashville Superspeedway for a two-day test that kicked off Monday to ascertain the development of its downforce program from last season. With a total of five teams  two of its three Sprint Cup entries and three Nationwide Series squads  the organization will test new setup ideas and work on electronic fuel injection, a new quirk for NASCAR teams this season. All the simulation that has been completed at the race shop throughout the offseason will offer the teams a baseline to build their notebooks for the rest of the year. But this test session offers a chance to see what works when it matters most, on the racetrack, before the green flag drops on the 2012 season in just a matter of days. With the exception of Joe Gibbs Racing's Brian Scott, the other cars participating on track are all powered by Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines. Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan will all turn laps for RCR.
    Furniture Row Racing, which shares a technical alliance with RCR, has Regan Smith on track. Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray are representing for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Tommy Baldwin Racing is testing with Dave Blaney, David Reutimann and protégé Ryan Blaney (who will post faster laps than his father before the end of the day). For the elder Blaney, it's his first opportunity to work with new crew chief Ryan Pemberton.(see much more at FoxSports)(2-15-2012)

  • Eleven years since pole winner won Daytona 500: The first two spots in the Daytona 500 will be determined on Sunday as a 10th different driver attempts to take the season-opening Coors Light Pole Award. Hendrick Motorsports has won three of the last four poles. The pole-winner appears to be due for a victory in The Great American Race. The record for seasons between pole-sitters winning the Daytona 500 is 12 from Cale Yarborough in 1968 to Buddy Baker in 1980 and Bill Elliott in 1987 to Jeff Gordon in 1999. Dale Jarrett is the last pole-sitter to win the 500 in 2000. Danica Patrick will attempt to become the fourth rookie to win the Daytona 500 pole, following Loy Allen (1994), Mike Skinner (1997) and Jimmie Johnson (2002). If she does so, she'll also become the first woman to win a pole in NASCAR's top series. A female driver has not competed in the Daytona 500 since 1980. Janet Guthrie finished 11th to better her best previous finish of 12th in 1977.(NASCAR)(2-15-2012)
    CORRECTION: actually Shawna Robinson ran in the 2002 Daytona 500 finishing 24th.(2-15-2012)


    News from February 14, 2012

  • Reutimann gets Daytona 500 ride: David Reutimann will drive the #93 Toyota for BK Racing in the Daytona 500. Todd Anderson, the former car chief at TRG Motorsports [the #71 team in 2011], will serve as crew chief for the team. Travis Kvapil will take over the driving duties in the #93 Toyota at Phoenix for the March 4 Sprint Cup race. BK Racing also announced last week that Landon Cassill will drive the #83 Toyota, starting in Daytona.(FoxSports)(2-14-2012)

  • added the #40 Aaron's Dream Machine, #34 Maximum Human Performance (MHP), #38 Modspace;
    #32 Federated Auto Parts, #51 TAG Heuer Eyewear and Hendrickcars.com, #16 Megulars, #18 M&M, #5 Hendrickcars.com, #21 Motorcraft, #39 Haas CNC, #51 Phoenix Racing and #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation schemes.

  • Stewart Honored by RACER: From self-styled zero to hero in 10 races, #14-Tony Stewart's dramatic, championship-clinching performance in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup might go down in history as one of motorsport's greatest comebacks. It's a performance that earned him not one, but two reader-voted awards in the 17th annual RACER of the Year presented by Mobil 1  overall RACER of the Year and Oval Racer of the Year.(RACER)(2-14-2012)

  • ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch at peace with Kurt Busch: Nearly an entire offseason has passed since Kurt Busch made headlines for his profanity-laced tirade toward ESPN personnel at Homestead-Miami Speedway. You would assume hard feelings might linger on the part of ESPN pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch. You'd be wrong. "Kurt and I, we talked that next week and he sent me a lengthy email talking about how ashamed and embarrassed he was, and he knows that I've tried to be helpful, he knows he messed up. ... He sent me this email and said he wanted my cell phone," Punch said in a phone interview Monday. "I called him the night before Thanksgiving and we talked for a little while, and we went over a lot of the things, and we had some very frank conversation. I said, 'Look, you've apologized, I've accepted your apology, now let's move on. I wish you nothing but success on and off the race track next year.'" Busch parted ways with Penske Racing at the end of last season and will compete this year for Phoenix Racing and team owner James Finch. For his part, Punch is looking forward rather than behind.(in part from SceneDaily / NASCAR Illustrated)(2-14-2012)

  • Boris Said hopes to run in NASCAR road course races: a few tidbits from a one-on-one interview with road racers / sometime NASCAR race, Boris Said by Frontstretch:
    Said: Hopefully, this year, I think I have the road races put together. I'm working on a lot of deals for the road races. I'm sure I'll do that in NASCAR this year. I'll probably only do two in Nationwide, or skip the Cup race [in Sonoma]. I haven't decided yet because Road America and Sonoma are on the same weekend. If I do the Cup race, I've got to commit to that. If I don't do it this year, then I'll go to Road America and do all three races since Grand-Am's there too.(in part from an interview at Frontstretch)(2-14-2012)

  • TSN to carry all NASCAR races: Canada's TSN [The Sports Network] announced Monday that every single NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race, starting with the Daytona 500 a week from next Sunday (Feb. 26), will be televised this year on either TSN or TSN2.The first race to hit the airwaves, the Budweiser Shootout, will be televised this coming Saturday night at 8 p.m. on TSN2. The two qualifying races that set the field for the 500, called the Gatorade Duel at Daytona, will go to air a week from Thursday (Feb. 23) at 2 in the afternoon.(Toronto Star)(2-14-2012)

  • NASCAR This Week on ESPN: With the NASCAR season only days away, ESPNEWS will air a three-hour special from NASCAR Media Day at the Daytona 500 on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 12noon/et. Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Daytona 500 rookie Danica Patrick are among those scheduled to appear during the program. The telecast will be co-hosted by Mike Massaro and Nicole Briscoe with analyst Ricky Craven.
    ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now returns for its sixth season this week and sirs Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. The program also can be seen on computers, smartphones and tablets with WatchESPN. A one-hour edition of the program will air on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 12noon/et with a review of the previous night's Bud Shootout from Daytona International Speedway and a look ahead to that day's pole qualifying for the Daytona 500. Mike Massaro hosts the program this week from ESPN's studios with analyst Ricky Craven. Nicole Briscoe will report from Daytona starting Thursday.
    Fifteen years ago, Jeff Gordon, at age 25, became the youngest driver ever to win the Daytona 500. With the NASCAR season kickoff coming soon, ESPN Classic will recognize Gordon's accomplishment with an airing of the record-setting 1997 Daytona 500 at 5:30 pm/et on Thursday, Feb. 16. The race will be followed at 7:30 pm/et by an airing of SportsCentury: Jeff Gordon.(ESPN)(2-14-2012)

  • Watkins Glen / Michigan lose Sprint Cup sponsor: Watkins Glen International is without a title sponsor for its NASCAR Sprint Cup event after Heluva Good! ended contract negotiations earlier this week. WGI President Michael Printup said last week he was optimistic the food manufacturer known largely for its sour cream dips would come back for its fourth year as the race's primary sponsor, but he learned Tuesday that Heluva Good! decided not to renew its contract. "We were a percent away from signing the deal and they turned around and walked away," Printup said Friday. "We loved Heluva Good! but of course every company takes changes of direction." With its Sprint Cup event seven months away, the news has left Watkins Glen's marketing team and its corporate owner, International Speedway Corp., a small window to find another headliner. "At this point, it's all hands on deck," said Printup, who expects to have a new sponsor in place within 90 days. Heluva Good! also decided not to return as sponsor of the Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway, which is another ISC-owned track. Printup said Sprint Cup title sponsors generally provide tracks between $500,000 and $2,000,000.(Elmiria Star Gazette)(2-14-2012)

  • Kentucky Speedway to start installing tunnel: On Tuesday, February 14th, construction crews will begin installing sections of a 42-foot-wide tunnel beneath Kentucky Highway 35 that will connect new Kentucky Speedway parking fields to the facility's original property. A crane will install the tunnel in 25 sections that are 42-feet wide and approximately 11 feet high. The tunnel and parking fields are elements of ongoing projects that will ultimately expand parking while improving automotive and pedestrian traffic flows during Kentucky Speedway events. Additional elements include widening the I-71 ramp at Exit 57 and widening Ky. 35. The first of two 2012 Kentucky Speedway event weekends will feature the June 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series "Quaker State 400," the June 29 NASCAR Nationwide Series "Feed The Children 300" and June 28 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series "UNOH 225." The second weekend will spotlight the Sept. 21 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series "Kentucky 201" and Sept. 22 NASCAR Nationwide Series "Kentucky 300." Tickets, campsites and daily infield Fan Zone passes for all events are available at kentuckyspeedway.com and by phone at 888-652-7223. Campsites and daily infield Fan Zone passes can be purchased by calling 859-578-2300.(Kentucky Speedway)(2-14-2012)

  • Auto Club Speedway salutes law enforcement: Auto Club Speedway and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and have teamed up to offer all law enforcement officers, employees, friends and families a full day of NASCAR racing while honoring officers that have lost their lives in the line of duty. A special Law Enforcement Appreciation ticket package for the March 25th Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is available to all law enforcement officers, employees and their friends and families. For every Law Enforcement Appreciation ticket sold, $10 will be donated to the Memorial Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. "This is a great opportunity for the law enforcement community to get together and have some fun, while also remembering those officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty," said Craig W. Floyd, Chairman and CEO of the Memorial Fund. "We're thrilled to partner with the Auto Club Speedway to offer this special package to the law enforcement community. It should be a great day of camaraderie and entertainment for law enforcement professionals and those who support them." The Memorial Fund's mission is to generate increased public support for the law enforcement profession by permanently recording and appropriately commemorating the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers, and to provide information that will help promote law enforcement safety.
    The Law Enforcement Appreciation ticket package is just $59 (a $109 value) and includes:
    Reserved Grandstand Ticket rows 1-14 (upgrade available)
    Pre-Race Pit Pass
    $10 donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
    A special edition NLEOMF Challenge Coin
    In addition to the Law Enforcement Appreciation ticket package, Auto Club Speedway offers free parking and allows fans to bring in their own food, making race weekend an incredible value full of fun and entertainment. To purchase this special offer, visit www.autoclubspeedway.com/law, visit the Auto Club Speedway Ticket office at 9300 Cherry Ave., Fontana, CA 92335 or call (888) 849-RACE (7223). This package expires on March 16.(ACS)(2-14-2012)


    News from February 13, 2012

  • Waltrip to attempt Daytona 500: Hillman Racing and Aaron's Inc. announced that two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #40 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota in the 2012 Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. The race will mark Waltrip's 75th start at Daytona in one of NASCAR's top three touring series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World trucks)  the most of any driver. "Aaron's really does make your dreams come true," said Waltrip. "When I was a kid thinking about racing in Daytona I never dreamed I would start more NASCAR races there than anyone. That's amazing." He said it takes many factors for success. "You have to have a great sponsor to race and Aaron's has been a great sponsor for a long time." Waltrip said. "I appreciate what the folks at Hillman Racing including Joe Falk are putting together. Hopefully my experience at Daytona will help them get out of the gate strong with their new team." Daytona's 2012 Speedweeks promises to be busy for Waltrip. He'll race the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota in the Feb. 18 Budweiser Shootout, oversee his three Sprint Cup teams at Michael Waltrip Racing and host several top executives from corporate America attending the races with the team. Waltrip will also continue his television work serving as a commentator for SPEED-TV's truck series broadcasts and begin his new role as an analyst for the Fox NASCAR Sunday broadcasts joining his brother and Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip. Aaron's Chief Operating Officer Ken Butler said the chance to have Waltrip drive the #40 and Mark Martin drive MWR's #55 Aaron's Dream Machines in the Daytona 500 is too good of an opportunity to miss. Hillman Racing is making its NASCAR debut this season, but the organization is anything but new to the sport. Team owner Mike Hillman Sr. played a key role in the founding of Germain Racing [was listed as the owner of the #60 Toyota in 2011 fielded by Germain Racing] and was the architect of the group's two NASCAR championships in 2006 and 2010. Hillman acquired the championship-winning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series assets following the conclusion of the 2011 season and is set to embark as the owner and general manager of Hillman Racing for the 2012 season.
    "I can't think of a better way to start off the season than to have Michael Waltrip behind the wheel of our car at Daytona," said Hillman, who credits longtime friend and co-owner Joe Falk [was the owner of the #50 in 2011] for the inclusion of the Cup program under the Hillman Racing banner. "I've been in this sport a long time, but I've never been so excited to go to Daytona. To have two Daytona 500 champions at the start of the season  with Ward Burton in the truck and Michael in the Cup car  positions Hillman Racing for a strong debut and a chance to win both races."(MWR)(2-13-2012)

  • Some more odd owners points 'swaps? UPDATE: hearing that Frank Stoddard, owner of the #32 FAS Lane Racing team, has worked out a deal where the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing team [Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip as drivers] gets the 2011 owners points and a guaranteed starting spot in the Daytona 500 and next four races. Supposedly Terry Labonte will be the driver of the #32 Ford in the Daytona 500 and will have the past champions provisional to use if needed. Then the twist....after the Daytona 500, the #32 takes over the #6 owners points and will be guaranteed the next four races after the Daytona 500. This is all contingent on NASCAR's approval.(2-13-2012)
    UPDATE: More points swapping and acquisition between race teams has landed veteran Mark Martin with a guaranteed starting position in this year's Daytona 500. Michael Waltrip Racing has worked out an agreement to transfer points from the FasLane Racing team to the #55 Toyota that Martin will pilot in 25 races this season. FasLane wound up inside the Top 35 of owner points last year and thus was guaranteed a starting spot in the first five events of the new year including the season-opening Daytona 500. While Waltrip will drive the #55 entry in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout, Martin will now not have to worry about qualifying for the Daytona 500 through time trials or the Gatorade Duel qualifying races. #32-FasLane is still expected to field a car this Sprint Cup Series season and veterans Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader remain part of the roster. Labonte brings a past champion's provisional with him that would guarantee a Daytona 500 start for the team if he is tabbed to drive in the season opener.(CBS Sports)(2-13-2012)

  • added the #32 Federated Auto Parts, #51 TAG Heuer Eyewear and Hendrickcars.com, #16 Megulars, #18 M&M, #5 Hendrickcars.com, #21 Motorcraft, #39 Haas CNC, #51 Phoenix Racing and #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation schemes.

  • Hendrickcars.com to sponsor three NASCAR teams: HendrickCars.com will sponsor three NASCAR teams in select races in early 2012. The sponsorships will promote the new-look retail automotive website, which re-launched Feb. 1, and coincide with the HendrickCars.com "2012 Indy Dream Weekend" sweepstakes. The program will kick off during Speedweeks in Daytona Beach, Fla., with primary sponsorship of #51 Phoenix Racing and 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch in the Feb. 25 Nationwide Series race and Feb. 26 Daytona 500. It will continue with primary sponsorship of JR Motorsports and driver #88-Cole Whitt in the March 17 Nationwide event at Bristol. In addition, HendrickCars.com will be a major associate sponsor of the Richard Childress Racing #33 Chevy with driver Elliott Sadler in NASCAR's biggest race, the Daytona 500. "Last year's Daytona 500 broadcast alone averaged more than 15 million viewers, and we expect 2012 will be even stronger," said Rick Hendrick, Chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, which owns HendrickCars.com. "Combined with our sponsorship in the Nationwide Series, that's tens of millions of people seeing our brand, hearing our message and then visiting HendrickCars.com. We wanted to showcase the new site, and there's no more effective marketing tool than NASCAR."
    "We're proud to have HendrickCars.com as our primary sponsor for both races in Daytona," said James Finch, Owner of Phoenix Racing. "The Hendrick people know how well sponsorships like this work when they're done the right way. Daytona is a big opportunity for our team to build some positive momentum to start the season. Having a sponsor for Speedweeks means a lot to us, and we're going to do everything we can to put HendrickCars.com up front." In 2011, HendrickCars.com was a sponsor of Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott, who competes full-time in the NASCAR K&N Series East. HendrickCars.com will continue to support Elliott in 2012, along with having associate sponsor placement on the #5 Chevy of Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne throughout the entire Sprint Cup Series season.(RCR PR) see images of a couple of the Hendrickcars.com schemes on my #5 Team Schemes page and #51 Team Schemes page.(2-13-2012)

  • New Jeff Gordon book: If you sent a letter to Jeff Gordon in the 1990's, chances are that it was opened by Molly and Russ Harris, the founders of the Jeff Gordon National Fan Club  the largest personal touch fan club in racing. For more than a decade, they opened Jeff Gordon's mail! Molly's new book "Opening Jeff Gordon's Mail" takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Jeff Gordon National Fan Club. For more info see my NASCAR Book page.(2-13-2012)

  • Little Big Town to perform National Anthem for Budweiser Shootout: Country vocal quartet Little Big Town will perform a pre- and post-race concerts as well as the National Anthem for the 34th annual Budweiser Shootout on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway. Little Big Town will perform three songs prior to the non-points event on the pre-race stage located on pit road as well as the National Anthem, which will be carried live on FOX Sports. After the checkered flag waves on the 75-lap race, the group will perform a 60-minute post-race concert from the Sprint FANZONE Main Entertainment Stage. Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access holders will be able to view the pre-race concert from the tri-oval grass while all ticket holders will have access to the post-race concert, which will start in the Sprint FANZONE approximately 30 minutes after the end of the race. In addition to their Budweiser Shootout pre- and post-race concerts and National Anthem, a special $84 ticket package designed around the Little Big Town has been created that includes a Budweiser Shootout ticket, Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access and VIP area access to the Little Big Town pre-race performance. Tickets for all Speedweeks 2012 events, including the Budweiser Shootout, are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(2-13-2012)

  • Irwindale Speedway closing? UPDATE: On Saturday, workers appeared to be closing down the Irwindale Speedway facility, which has had the biggest NASCAR short track races on the West Coast for more than a decade. Workers were dismantling the pit grandstand, which is adjacent to the first turn. They were also taking apart storage areas. The large billboard bordering the San Gabriel Valley River Freeway was not lit up for the first time in its history, barring power outages, and the track's web site was taken off the Internet. "They went out of business," said a prominent Irwindale racer who did not want to be identified. Vice president and general manager Bob DeFazio and some staff members were in the locked administration building Saturday morning, a moving truck backed up to the office's side entrance and a moving box stacked outside. DeFazio, through track operations director Bob Klein, refused to comment. Klein would only say an announcement would be made Monday. Efforts to reach DeFazio were unsuccessful. The track's eighth-mile facility remained intact on Saturday, but according to a source, workers were given a final paycheck after last Thursday's regular street legal session. The elimination of the pit grandstand is significant because teams usually put their crews in those seats so that if there is a problem on the track, they could quickly get to their pit stall and fix the car and get it racing again. L.A. Racing, a school not owned by Irwindale Speedway LLC, the consortium of owners led by Jim Williams, has 12 schools planned within the next month. "They have not said a word," L.A. Racing's Ozzie Blackwell said. "We have no idea. We're assuming it's a go. We've been told it's a go." If only the racing operation is closed, the track could still be used for filming commercials, movies and television shows, an endeavor that has been very successful. Many racing commercials, with the likes of 1969 Indianapolis 500 champion and 1978 Formula One champion Mario Andretti and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, have been shot at the facility. Recently a Hyundai commercial viewed during the Super Bowl was shot. That shoot took three nights. Rumors have swirled for months about new ownership. Lucas Oil Products and Tony Stewart, who owns tracks including famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, were rumored to be interested in buying the facility.(in part from the Los Angeles Daily News)(2-13-2012)
    UPDATE: Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, once hailed as perhaps the best short track for minor-league NASCAR racing, said Monday it has canceled its 2012 season. Amid speculation that the half-mile speedway might be closed or sold in the face of dwindling crowds, its management issued a one-sentence statement announcing the cancellation and providing no other details. Track officials could not immediately be reached to elaborate, but the speedway's website also had been taken down.(Loa Angeles Times)(2-13-2013)


    News from February 12, 2012

  • added the #16 Megulars, #18 M&M, #21 Motorcraft, #39 Haas CNC, #51 Phoenix Racing and #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation schemes.(2-12-2012),

  • New Darrell Waltrip Book released: NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip knew that big changes were in the wind on the morning of February 18, 2001. For the first time in his long and storied career, Darrell would be watching the race from the broadcast booth high above the track, explaining its complexities to a television audience of millions. His younger brother Michael Waltrip would be among the starting drivers. Sundays Will Never Be the Same opens with a heart-stopping account of that dramatic race. See more info and how to order the book on my NASCAR Book News page.(2-12-2012)

  • Stewart wins dirt race: Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #14-Tony Stewart got down and dirty Saturday night, winning the All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car portion of the Winter Freeze at Screven Motor Speedway. Stewart held off Jason Sides to take the $5,000 victory at the three-eighths-mile dirt track, while Cody Darrah, Terry McCarl and Fred Rahmer rounded out the top five.(NSSN)(2-12-2012)

  • Stewart to appear on Tim Allen show: NASCAR's 2011 Sprint Cup Champ, #14-Tony Stewart got together with actor and car guy Tim Allen to film an episode of Allen's ABC comedy "Last Man Standing." Allen, who grew up in Detroit, is the star of the show, and surely had no problem gearing up for recording an episode with a stock-car legend. Stewart brings that famous #14 Chevy into the episode [titled 'Adrenaline'], and the three-time champion's deadpan humor was on full effect in the clip on USA Today. The full episode will air Tuesday [Feb 14th] at 8:00pm/et on ABC.(USA Today)(2-12-2012)


    News from February 11, 2012

  • The NASCAR Foundation To Establish Headquarters In Daytona Beach: The NASCAR Foundation, "The Heart of NASCAR," is moving to the birthplace of the stock car sanctioning body. NASCAR President Mike Helton announced that NASCAR's charitable arm will relocate to Daytona Beach, Fla., in the later part of the 2012 race season. The NASCAR Foundation's new location will be the International Motorsports Center, the corporate headquarters for NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation and GRAND-AM Road Racing. The move will include the relocation of some of the foundation's current employees based in Charlotte, N.C., as well as a nationwide search for a new executive director. Sandy Marshall, the foundation's current executive director, will remain with the organization until a new leader is secured. The foundation will continue to maintain a strong presence in Charlotte to serve teams, drivers and industry members in their charitable endeavors. The NASCAR Foundation, organized in 2006, embodies the compassion of the NASCAR Family and its commitment to serving communities. The NASCAR Foundation seeks to raise funds and increase volunteerism to support nonprofit charities and charitable causes throughout the nation with an emphasis placed on initiatives that affect the ability of children to live, learn and play. Since 2006, The NASCAR Foundation has donated more than $13 million to charitable organizations and helped provide medical treatment for more than 24,000 children annually at Speediatrics children's care units at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach and Homestead (Fla.) Hospital. In addition, the foundation has fulfilled more than 600 "NASCAR Dreams," sent more than 1,100 kids to Victory Junction Gang Camp, recruited 12,000 fans to become part of a Volunteer Network and created educational opportunities for school-aged students that help to engage them in science and engineering programs.(NASCAR)(2-11-2012)

  • Craven re-signs with ESPN: Ricky Craven has signed a multiyear deal with ESPN to continue as an in-studio analyst for the TV show "NASCAR Now" and also handle prerace and postrace duties for the Sprint Cup series. He will also be a color analyst for five Nationwide Series races. The 45-year-old Craven, who notched two wins, 17 top-five finishes and 41 top-10s during his 278-race Sprint Cup career, has worked for ESPN since 2008. Craven didn't divulge the terms of his contract but said he was "extremely happy" with it.(Bangor Daily News)(2-11-2012)

  • Sandvik Coromant Extends Partnership With Stewart-Haas Racing: Sandvik Coromant, the market-leading producer of tools for the metal-cutting industry, is pleased to announce the renewal of its longtime partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2012 season. This is the fourth consecutive year that Sandvik Coromant has served as the official technical sponsor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team.(Cision)(2-11-2012)

  • Iowa Speedway ownership dispute: Last summer's ownership change at Iowa Speedway in Newton has sparked a still-escalating court battle between two Iowa families, with charges in each direction involving unpaid bills and contractual breaches. Jasper County court papers allege that Manaco Corp. and Manatt's Inc., corporate arms of the family that built Newton's racetrack, stiffed the new buyers for more than $1.8 million in unpaid bills when the speedway changed hands last June. The new owners, a corporation formed by members of the Clement family, say they in turn have been accused of defaulting on the deal because they held back on scheduled payments to the Manatt family because of the unpaid bills. Documents say the Manatts have threatened to file their own lawsuit against Conrad Clement, the founder of Featherlite Corp., a since-sold Cresco company that makes trailers, and three of his relatives if the Manatts aren't paid in full within 10 days. The latest version of the lawsuit, a 64-page document filed this week by Des Moines attorney Scott Brennan, alleges that the Clements were stuck with nearly $1.85 million in unpaid bills after the speedway changed hands on June 30, 2011  despite a provision in the purchase contract that required the Manatts to pay any outstanding debts. To compensate, the new owners (who financed some of the $19 million purchase with loans from Manaco) paid only $152,588.37 as part of the scheduled payoff of a $2 million loan that was due Dec. 31. The lawsuit does not involve Rusty Wallace, who continues to own roughly 8% of the speedway.(more at the Des Moines Register)(2-11-2012)

  • Phoenix honorary pace car driver named: UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will be among the headline attractions during the Subway Fresh Fit 500 on Sunday, March 4 at Phoenix International Raceway. It was announced by track President Bryan R. Sperber, that Cruz was named Honorary Pace Car Driver for the race. "Dominick is a true Arizona success story and we are proud of the style and class with which he represents our entire region," said Sperber. "We are excited to have him headline the weekend activities that kickoff the start of the 2012 NASCAR season at PIR." Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Cruz, 26, has ascended to the top of his profession, compiling a 19-1-0 professional record that includes wins over the likes of Demetrious Johnson, Urijah Faber, Scott Jorgensen, Joseph Benavidez and Brian Bowles. Cruz and Faber will face each other as opposing coaches in the upcoming season of "The Ultimate Fighter Live" premiering on FX before squaring off in the Octagon® for the third time following the program's season finale. Cruz will participate in pre-race ceremonies and will make appearances onsite at PIR on Sunday, March 4. Additional information on race weekend activities is available on Phoenix International Raceway's official website at www.phoenixraceway.com.(PIR)(2-11-2012)

  • New Ticket Operations Manager named at Infineon Raceway: Michael Re has been named Ticket Operations Manager at Infineon Raceway, raceway officials announced. Re, who has more than 25 years of ticketing experience, will manage and oversee all aspects of ticket operations and services, including policies and procedures related to ticket sales, pricing and allocation. He will also coordinate accounting procedures on behalf of the ticketing department, oversee the maintenance of the ticketing system and will oversee customer service functions. Some of Re's most noted accomplishments include working as the Director of Ticket Operations for the Oakland A's during the 1987 All Star Game and 1989 World Series. Re currently resides in San Ramon.(Infineon Raceway)(2-11-2012)


    News from February 10, 2012

  • Kahne undergoes knee surgery: Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne will be ready for the Feb. 18 Budweiser Shootout, the Feb. 26 Daytona 500 and all of Daytona Speedweeks after undergoing successful outpatient knee surgery this morning. Kahne, driver of the #5 Chevy, had an MRI Thursday after experiencing swelling in his left knee. The MRI revealed a torn meniscus, which was treated this morning with a partial medial meniscus removal. Following the common arthroscopic procedure, he was released from an outpatient facility in Charlotte, N.C. Kahne will practice, qualify and race throughout NASCAR's season-opening Speedweeks, and Hendrick Motorsports has no plans to have a backup driver on standby in Daytona Beach, Fla. In April 2011, Kahne had a procedure on his right meniscus and earned a third-place finish the following race at Richmond, Va.(Hendrick Motorsports)(2-10-2012)

  • Ollie's Bargain Outlet Teams Up with Tommy Baldwin Racing for Daytona 500: Ollie's Bargain Outlet will join Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) as primary sponsor for the #36 Ollie's Bargain Outlet Chevy and Dave Blaney at the Daytona 500 on February 26. The sponsorship will be the company's third venture in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Ollie's Bargain Outlet is one of America's largest retailers of closeouts, salvage and surplus merchandise. The Pennsylvania-based company currently operates 114 stores in 12 states and has previously sponsored other drivers in various NASCAR series. "We're excited to support Dave Blaney and TBR and to have a part in the Daytona 500," says Mark Butler, president and CEO of Ollie's Bargain Outlet. "A lot of our customers are NASCAR fans, so it will be great for them to see our car out on the track." Blaney had to qualify into last season's Daytona 500. He made the race, led three laps and finished 26th in the 2011 Daytona 500. He will once again attempt to qualify for the Great American race this season for his 23rd start at the 2.5-mile speedway. "We are thrilled to have Ollie's come on board for this year's Daytona 500," said Tommy Baldwin. "We were pleased with our superspeedway efforts last year and feel like we can build on that for this season. With Ollie's joining for the biggest race of the season, it is a win-win for all of us. They have worked with Dave in the past, and we are excited to have them as part of our program at TBR." Blaney will qualify for the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 19 and compete in the Gatorade Duels Thursday, February 23 to attempt to race in the 2012 Daytona 500.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(2-10-2012)

  • Red Bull Owners Points changing hands? UPDATE 2: Been told that Thomas Ueberall [Red Bull's race director] is now listed as the owner of the #83 and now #93 [was #4] team owner points. Sinica Motorsports attempted to run Homestead running the #93, but their website now shows no car number and facebook and twitter pages no longer work. Ueberall may be listed as the owner when the new owners take place, due to the points. Supposedly part owners of TRG Motorsports are rumored to be buying the assets from Red Bull Racing.(2-3-2012)
    UPDATE: Sinica Motorsports will be running a partial Sprint Cup schedule this year with a new car number to be released soon. The team will continue to run Chevys.(Sinica Motorsports)(2-6-2012)
    UPDATE2: Landon Cassill is going racing at Daytona International Speedway with a new, yet-unnamed race team, at the wheel for a #83 Toyota purchased from the former Red Bull Racing team. In an exclusive interview with Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius/XM Speedway with Dave Moody, Cassill said the team is preparing two cars for a full schedule of Sprint Cup Series racing, beginning with the Daytona 500. "We're going to announce a sponsor in the near future," said Cassill. "At this point, I can tell you that Doug Richert will be the crew chief, with (former Roush Fenway Racing executive) Harry McMullin serving as General Manager.
    Multiple sources say Virginia resident and former TRG Motorsports minority partner Ron Devine is a leading player in the new ownership group. The team will reportedly be owned and sponsored by Devine and a group of his fellow Burger King franchisees. Cassill declined to speak specifically about the new owners, but confirmed they were involved with TRG Motorsports majority owner Kevin Buckler a year ago. "They broke away from TRG at the end of last year," said Cassill. "They want to go racing the right way and do it efficiently. They know what their goals are. They're going to be announcing the team name and our sponsorship information very soon. All I can say at this point is that they are investors. It'll be a company owned team from the sponsorship side of things." The team will operate out of the former Randy Moss Motorsports building in Statesville, NC, and will run with, with horsepower supplied by Triad Racing Technology.
    "The guys are really hustling to get ready for Daytona," said Cassill, "and this will be my first time going into a season knowing there's a full-time ride with my name on door. I'm going to be locked into the Daytona 500 for the first time in my life, and that's an emotional deal for me." He confirmed that the team will field two cars in every race this season, beginning at Daytona. "They're working on signing the second driver right now, and there are some pretty good guys out there that still need a ride."
    "This has been a tough deal to keep quiet," laughed Cassill. "They've had to make a lot of decisions before the story gets out and things begin to spin out of control. They've been working hard, 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week thrashing on things. Fortunately, Red Bull built really nice race cars that gave us a chance to pull things together quickly. A lot more is set in place than we can talk about yet, but the work is getting done. Cassill said he understands the team is behind the eight-ball at this point, and will need time to reach its full potential. "I think you'll see us shine 10-12 weeks into the season, once we get our feet underneath us," he said. "We need to establish a baseline on setups and find out what our cars and teams are capable of."(Sirius Speedway)
    AND the AP's Jenna Fryer @JennaFryer is hearing Travis Kvapil could be second driver of the 2nd car [which was #4 with Kahne in 2011, but have heard it'll be #93](2-9-2012)
    a couple UPDATES: Speculation is that former Red Bull driver Brian Vickers will be named Cassill's teammate in a second entry.(MRN)
    AND II While Harry McMullen will act as general manager of the two-car operation, Cassill could not confirm nor deny that the team will be called BK Racing, a name that stems from Burger King franchisees that are expected to be associated with the deal. Sources said Ron Devine, of Virginia, and Wayne Press, of Florida, two former TRG partners, will be part of the new ownership group. Travis Kvapil has been mentioned as the driver for the team's #93 Toyota. Kvapil could not be reached for comment.(FoxSports)(2-10-2012)

  • Fuel injection opens a wealth of possibilities to competitors: Simply put, NASCAR's move to electronic fuel injection hasn't gotten the press it deserves. There have been more pressing concerns. The sanctioning body and Sprint Cup teams were so focused on rule changes designed to break up sustained two-car drafts during mid-January tests at Daytona International Speedway that the impending competitive debut of EFI went virtually unnoticed. Nevertheless, the introduction of EFI represents a profound change that goes far beyond bringing Cup racecars closer to models found in the showroom. Here are the basics:
    * The fuel delivery system is fundamentally different. Injectors shoot fuel into each individual cylinder, as they are programmed to do by computer. Instead of a carburetor that mixes air and fuel, a throttle body provides airflow to the engine. As Sprint Cup series director John Darby put it during a meeting with reporters Monday at NASCAR's research-and-development center, "The engine architecture is the same. We're squirting it (fuel), instead of sucking it."
    * There are more parts and pieces. To run the EFI system, NASCAR has contracted with McLaren to provide an electronic control unit, powered by software from Freescale. An array of sensors provides performance data to the ECU, which is mounted on the engine. With a few keystrokes on a laptop computer, engine tuners can construct an ignition timing map that will regulate fuel flow to the cylinders based on input from the sensors.
    The implications for Cup racing are far-reaching. Teams can plug into the ECU post-race and use the after-the-fact telemetry to make performance decisions. Traditionally, NASCAR has taken a firm stance against real-time data acquisition, and that won't change. But teams will be allowed to download data after practice and qualifying and make adjustments to the EFI system. What they won't be able to do, however, is read data during a race, and -- realizing that fuel mileage may determine the outcome, for example -- reset their systems to a mapping more conducive to fuel conservation. Before its debut at Daytona, EFI has been tested extensively. Based on those tests, and on a critical mass of issues that have surfaced in a chat room established by McLaren, there have been approximately eight software revisions since NASCAR began testing the system. NASCAR will require EFI engines to use a restrictor plate at the sport's two longest and fastest tracks: Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway. The plate will be placed beneath the Holley EFI throttle body and limit the amount of air made available to the engine. Unlike carbureted engines, Sunoco Green E15 will not pass through the restrictor plate openings. See a graphic about NASCAR and electronic fuel injection here (pdf) and nore info about Fuel Injection on my Fuel Injection news page and some past news on the Fuel Sponsor and News page.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-10-2012)

  • Company signs on to support Furniture Row Racing's Farm American Program: #78-Furniture Row Racing announced that Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. has signed a letter of intent to develop a business plan of becoming a partner with the NASCAR team's Farm American program for the 2013 season. Furniture Row Racing created the Farm American program in 2010, an initiative to bring awareness to the importance of keeping America's food supply produced in the United States. Over the past 25 years, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., an animal health company with U.S. headquarters in St. Joseph, Mo., has supported its growth through research and development of innovative products for the livestock, equine and companion animal markets. Innovation and research are the keys to BIVI success. "There has never been a better time to show support for American Agriculture. It is a strong, vibrant business that consumers need to know more about  that's why we're so honored to work with Furniture Row Racing to develop a plan on becoming a Farm American partner in 2013," said Colin Meyers, Executive Director, U.S. Cattle Business at Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. BIVI's cattle division introduced a new way of thinking this year, Prevention Works. A partnership with Farm American enhances this industry commitment. "The unique opportunity offered with Farm American will allow us to support consumer agriculture education that is so vital today," added Meyers. "Our Prevention Works focus is an animal health philosophy that is better for the animal, better for the producer, and better for the consumer." Joe Garone, general manager of the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing, is equally excited about establishing a partnership with BIVI. "We are thrilled that a world-class company like Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. has shown an interest in becoming a 2013 partner with our Farm American program, which continues to attract attention in the agriculture community," said Garone "The staffs from both Furniture Row Racing and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica are excited about working together to develop a strategic plan to further the important work of Farm American."(Furniture Row Racing)(2-10-2012)

  • Lenny Kravitz to perform the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show: Rock superstar Lenny Kravitz will perform the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show, the pre-race extravaganza leading up to the start of "The Great American Race" at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 26. Kravitz, who has sold more than 35 million albums and is the only musician in history to win the Grammy for best male vocals in rock music four times consecutively, will perform three songs prior to the start of the 54th annual Daytona 500  the season-opening event to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the biggest stock car race in the world. All race fans that purchase a Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access pass for the Daytona 500 will be able to view Kravitz's Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show, as well as driver introductions, from the grass tri-oval area. Kravitz joins a long list of star-studded names that have performed in the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show including Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey and Brad Paisley. In addition to his Daytona 500 Pre-Race Concert, a special ticket package designed around Kravitz has been created that includes a Daytona 500 ticket, Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access and VIP area access to Kravitz's performance. Packages start at $164. For more information on tickets for the 54th annual Daytona 500 and Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access, race fans can go online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.(Daytona International Speedway)(2-10-2012)

  • Tickets to Talladega Superspeedway race on sale 2/11: The start of the NASCAR season is just around the corner and now is the time to secure tickets for the fastest and most competitive show on the schedule. Tickets for the 2012 Aaron's Dream Weekend go on sale to the public Saturday, February 11th. This action-packed weekend that runs May 4 - 6 includes the ARCA Racing Series 250 on Friday, the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, and the feature presentation, the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the largest infield party in NASCAR. Two-day tickets start at just $49 in the Allison Grandstands. And as always, free camping is available so there's no reason to miss a minute of the action. Secure your tickets at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or by calling 877-Go2-DEGA.(Talladega Superspeedway)(2-10-2012)

  • Sinise To Help Martinsville Area Soldier Build House: Award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise is going to make sure Cpl. J.B. Kerns' dream of a log cabin on the Ararat River becomes a reality. Sinise announced that the Gary Sinise Foundation and The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation (named after the NY firefighter who perished on 9/11), are partnering as part of their Building For America's Bravest program to build a "smart home" for Kerns that will allow him to live independently.
    Kerns lost both legs and his right arm last April as a result of a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) while on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. The heroic Marine, who's had to undergo dozens of surgeries, is from Ararata small, rural town in Patrick County, about 30 miles from Martinsville Speedway.
    The fundraising centerpiece for the project will be a concert performed by Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band at Martinsville High School on Saturday, March 31, at 7 p.m, and 100% of the ticket sales will go toward funding the specially-equipped smart home for Kerns. The next day, at the running of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Sinise and Kerns will play a special role in the Speedway's pre-race program. General admission to the Martinsville concert will be $25. There will also be a limited number of VIP passes available, which include a ticket to the Goody's Fast Relief 500 and a Sunday morning meet-and-greet with Sinise at Martinsville Speedway.(more info at Martinsville Speedway)(2-10-2012)


    News from February 9, 2012

  • Edwards joins First Lady in Let's Move initiative in Iowa: Michelle Obama challenged Iowa children Thursday to think of new ways to get their friends involved in fitness and health. Obama sited programs at several Iowa schools that are working to get kids fit, including a West Des Moines school that has used technology to track its 33,000 miles of walking. She then helped lead a dance that included the entire audience to get moving. Thousands of students, several well-known athletes and a number of politicians joined Obama for the event at Wells Fargo Arena Thursday. Besides the first lady, participants at the event include Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, gymnast Shawn Johnson, figure skater Michelle Kwan, NASCAR's #99-Carl Edwards, health and fitness expert Bob Harper and ISU basketball head coach Fred Hoiberg. About 10,000 children, grades 6 to 9, were bused to the event from 45 schools in the Des Moines area.(see a video at kcci.com)(2-9-2012)

  • NASCAR team races for Israel: Two Charlotte men are putting their passion for American-Israeli relations on the hood of a Daytona 500 stock car. The #49 "America Israel Racing" Toyota is owned by Robinson-Blakeney Racing and driven by J.J. Yeley. Friends Rich Shirey and Mark MacCaull said they came up with the idea for America Israel Racing at their daughters' horse show in late 2011. Shirey said they wanted to find a way to educate the public about the relationship between the United States and its Middle Eastern ally. They decided NASCAR seemed the best fit. "NASCAR is the only sport televised where they pray before every race," said MacCaull, who has a background in the sport. "They are aligned with racing, religion and patriotism. We do not want to profit from this. Our goal is simply to educate people." It's an unusual - and expensive - textbook. The friends funded the car for the Daytona 500 completely on their own. A basic full-car sponsorship can come in at around $10 million. "It isn't cheap," said Shirey. "But being brought up Southern Baptist, I was always taught we stand behind Israel. This is a way I felt I could give back to society. It's something I believe in." Both Shirey and MacCaull said they know that belief is controversial to some, but insisted this is not politically motivated. So far, America Israel Racing will serve as the #49 car's predominate sponsor in the Daytona 500 and the following race in Phoenix. The team said it hopes to run the entire schedule, but would need financial assistance to go beyond the first few races.(WCNC.com), see images of the car on my #49 Team Schemes page and more info and links for the team on the #49 Team News and Links page.(2-9-2012)

  • EGR tests at New Smyrna: on Wednesday, Feb. 8th, #1-Jamie McMurray and #42-Juasn Pablo Montoya tested their Earnhardt Gasnassi Racing Chevy's at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, FL.(2-9-2012)

  • AAA returns to sponsor #22 car: AAA / South California Automibile Club returns in 2012 to sponsor the @22 Penske Racing Dodge driven by A.J. Allmendiger. AAA is scheduled to be the primary sponsor of the car at Auto Club Speedway in March, Kansas in April and Texas in November. See images of the scheme on my #22 Team Scheme page.(2-9-2012)

  • New Book by John Roberts: NASCAR is one of the world's most popular sports and The Great Book of NASCAR Lists, by SPEED Channel broadcaster John Roberts, with M.B. Roberts, shows just exactly what all the fuss is about. Including everything from the first and the fastest to the legendary and most outrageous, this book will have fans discussing, debating and celebrating NASCAR for many races to come. Fans will find themselves fixated on lists such as:
    " The Fifty Greatest Drivers of All Time
    " Trophies -the Best, Biggest, and Most Bizarre
    " NASCAR's Grand Evolving Traditions
    " Most Controversial Races
    " Car Numbers that Count
    " All-Time Laps Led
    " And so much more! Fpr more info on this book, some others and any book signings (John Roberts), see my NASCAR Book News page.(2-9-2012)

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame losses are slowing: Attendance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in December was 15,428 people, down only slightly from the 16,136 people who visited in December 2010. The December attendance was good news for the hall, which had seen attendance decline in some months by more than 30% compared with the same periods a year earlier. Hall spokesperson Kimberly Meesters said the week after Christmas is a strong period for the hall. A year ago, the "UnDeck the Hall" promotion, in which visitors can take ornaments and other items off of Christmas trees, lasted three days. "This year all items were gone within hours," Meesters said. The hall lost money in December, but the loss was smaller than a year earlier. In December the hall lost $242,485. A reimbursement for maintenance costs from the city of Charlotte reduced the deficit to $171,882. A year earlier, in December 2010, the hall lost $327,000. For the first six months of the fiscal year, the hall has lost $767,725. Reimbursements from the city have closed that loss to $440,000.(Charlotte Observer)(2-9-2012)

  • 2012 IMHOF Ceremony Tix on sale: Tickets are now available for the 2012 International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF) Induction Ceremony, scheduled for May 3, 2012, at the SPEED Dome in Talladega, AL. This black-tie ceremony consists of a reception, banquet and awards ceremony which will honor the two new inductee's of the 2012 class: Richard Childress, John Force and Kenny Bernstein. This year's ceremony to also honor: 2011 Driver of the Year Tony Stewart and 2011 ARCA Champion Ty Dillon. More info and links to tickets on my Hall of Fame News page and see links to many other Halls of Fame and Auto Museums on my Hall of Fame and Museum Links page.(2-9-2012)

  • Check out Winston Cup history: the most talented stock car drivers in the world competed for the Winston Cup while the sport's primary sponsor was the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. From 1971 through 2003. The museum in Winston-Salem has a collection of race cars, show cars, trophies, driver uniforms and helmets, and more. Winston-Salem is 81 miles from Charlotte, about a 90-minute drive, one way. While specific cars and exhibits vary from time to time, the primary purpose of the museum - to honor NASCAR's Winston Cup era - remains a constant. See more at the Charlotte Observer or winstoncupmuseum.com.(2-9-2012)


    News from February 8, 2012

  • Subway returns to sponsor Edwards; more races in 2012: Subway restaurant chain, the world's largest restaurant chain, has expanded its successful partnership with Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing from the primary sponsor of the #99 Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for three races in 2011 to six races starting in 2012. The multi-year partnership also includes four additional races as a major associate sponsor and becoming the Official Training Restaurant of Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing. "Carl has been a fan of our brand and our sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwich for a long time," said Tony Pace, Sr. Vice President, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund. "He and Roush Fenway Racing are great partners and proven winners. We look forward to Carl chasing his goal of a championship in 2012." The first race this year for the #99 Subway Ford will be March 4 in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix; returning to the track March 25, at Auto Club Speedway; June 3, Dover; July 7, Daytona; Sept. 2, Atlanta; and Oct. 7, at Talladega. "The Subway restaurant brand and their Subway Fresh Fit menu provides me with the opportunity to promote my healthy, active lifestyle," stated Edwards. "Subway sandwiches are the best tasting, most healthy food option that I can get on-the-go when I'm traveling," continued Edwards. Edwards will again be featured in the Subway restaurant advertising campaigns. The first new on-air ad with Edwards will run during the national television broadcast of the Daytona 500. "I am extremely pleased that Subway has expanded their relationship with Roush Fenway Racing," said Jack Roush, co-owner, Roush Fenway Racing. "As a company, we promote a healthy lifestyle with our employees and in particular, our drivers and pit crew members. Having the Subway restaurant chain as our Official Training Restaurant is ideal."(Catalyst / Subway PR), see image of the 2012 Subway scheme on the #99 Team Schemes page.(2-8-2012)

  • Tryson named crew chief for #38 Ford: NASCAR veteran Pat Tryson will join Front Row Motorsports as the crew chief for David Gilliland's #38 Ford. The move is the latest of numerous off-season improvements for the Sprint Cup Series team and allows interim crew chief Derrick Finley to return full-time to his role of Director of Competition. Tryson comes to Front Row Motorsports with more than 15 years of experience atop the pit box and race-winning credentials, earning victories with drivers Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler and Mark Martin. He most recently worked for Michael Waltrip Racing, where he served in crew-chief and consultant roles. "We made some pretty big changes this off-season to really take this team to the next level, and adding Pat is just one more critical piece that we've put in place for our 2012 season," said team general manager Jerry Freeze. "With Jay Guy on the No. 34 car and Derrick returning full-time to the competition director role, the depth and experience of our leadership team is better than it's ever been before." Tryson has worked with some of the sport's best organizations and drivers over the years. This season will be his first time working with Gilliland, but he is ready to step in and help the team. "I like what this team has done in the last few years, doing the right things and making the right changes to get better every season," said Tryson. "Gilliland's a competitive driver - he's got the fire in his belly - and I'm really looking forward to working with him." Gilliland, who scored a season-best third in last year's Daytona 500, is ready to hit the track next week in Daytona Beach with Tryson running the #38 program. "He's a great 'get' for this team," said Gilliland. "There's just so much that he brings to the table with all his experience. I can't wait to get started."(FRM / Breaking Limits)(2-8-2012)

  • NASCAR Now returns Feb 13th; with the Dinger: ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now returns for its sixth season on Monday, Feb. 13, at 3 pm/et, coinciding with the week activities begin for NASCAR's season-opening Daytona 500. NASCAR Now is scheduled to air Monday-Friday with half-hour episodes originating from ESPN's studios in Bristol, CT. A one-hour weekend edition is scheduled to air on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race and NASCAR Now will air a weekend wrap-up edition starting with the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #22-Shell-Pennzoil Dodge for Penske Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, joins NASCAR Now this season as a guest reporter for the weekend edition programs. "The Daily Dinger" segment will feature Allmendinger in off-beat interviews around the racetracks with drivers, crew chiefs, fans and others or reporting on a unique aspect of that day's race.
    Mike Massaro will continue as the primary host of NASCAR Now with ongoing hosts Allen Bestwick, Nicole Briscoe, Marty Reid and Shannon Spake. ESPN SportsCenter anchors Lindsay Czarniak, Michael Yam and Michelle Bonner also will fill in as occasional NASCAR Now hosts. Marty Smith will again be the lead reporter for the program while Briscoe, Massaro and Spake will also serve as reporters.
    Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year Ricky Craven will continue as an analyst for NASCAR Now and other ESPN studio programs such as SportsCenter. ESPN NASCAR analysts Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Andy Petree, Tim Brewer and Brad Daugherty also will contribute to NASCAR Now as will ESPN pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. NASCAR Now also will continue to have contributions from ESPN.com motorsports writers Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton along with ESPN the Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee and former NASCAR pit crew member D.J. Copp.
    The program will originate from Daytona International Speedway for three shows surrounding the Daytona 500. In past years, NASCAR Now also has originated from remote locations including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the White House, Chicago's Navy Pier and other racetracks. NASCAR Now and all of ESPN's NASCAR television content is also viewable digitally through WatchESPN and WatchESPN.com, the groundbreaking online-accessible authenticated version of ESPN. WatchESPN is available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN.com and the free WatchESPN app, which are accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.(ESPN)(2-8-2012)

  • Robby Gordon wins Desert Parker 425: With the 2012 Off-Road racing season kicking off with a successful Dakar Rally for Robby Gordon and the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires Team, Gordon didn't let up as he headed to Parker, Arizona for the Best in the Desert Parker 425. It would be new challenge for him as he drove a new truggy (a hybrid between a trophy truck and a Class 1 buggy). Built by the Geiser Brothers and owned by SPEED Energy/RPM Off-Road Racing teammate Clyde Stacey, it would be the first time Gordon would enter in the 1500 class instead of the BITD's Trick Truck class. Gordon finished an impressive 14 minutes faster than last year's, Jesse Jones. Gordon would beat the next competitor by nearly 5 minutes. A trouble free day and open-road lead boosted Gordon to another victory for the 2012 Off-Road season. Robby Gordon's next challenge is set for February 10th in Johnson Valley, California where he looks to tackle the world of rock crawling in the 2012 King of the Hammers race.(RGM/Planet Robby), past attempting the Daytona 500, no word on Gordon's 2012 Sprint Cup plans.(2-8-2012)

  • MHP to sponsor Front Row: Sport supplement company Maximum Human Performance (MHP) will bring its message to NASCAR fans for the first time, joining Front Row Motorsports as a multi-race, multi-year partner in the team's Sprint Cup Series campaigns. MHP will be a primary sponsor for multiple races in both 2012 and 2013, including the upcoming Budweiser Shootout exhibition race on David Ragan's #34 Ford and the season-opening Daytona 500 on David Gilliland's #38 Ford. MHP will also be the official sport supplement line of Front Row Motorsports and an official sponsor of the #34 and #38 pit crews. Company experts will work with the team's pit crew coach and trainers to develop nutritional and fitness plans to improve and maximize the performance of the over-the-wall crew throughout the season. "This is really going to be a unique program," said Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins. "Sponsors, of course, help make your race programs better across the board via funding, but this is a case where they're also going to make our pit crews healthier, stronger and faster. Everyone knows that a couple seconds on pit road can make a huge difference on the track. This partnership is focused on getting our athletes in the best shape possible to deliver maximum performance when it matters most." Fairfield, NJ-based MHP was launched in 1997 by bodybuilder Gerard Dente to develop premier science-based, research-driven sports supplements to help athletes achieve their greatest physical potential. The product line is used by world-class athletes, pro bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen and fitness enthusiasts alike. Products are sold in vitamin/supplement retail stores and online at www.MHPStrong.com.(Front Row Motorsports / Breaking Limits)(2-8-2012)

  • Kenseth's Cup Championship chosen as Top Roush Fenway "Winning" Moment: The NASCAR media named #17-Matt Kenseth's 2003 NASCAR Cup Championship as the top moment in Roush Fenway's "25 Winning Years." The 2003 Championship won the vote, much in the same fashion as Kenseth meticulously dominated the 2003 season, receiving almost 50 percent of the vote. As part of the launch of Roush Fenway's "25 Winning Years" program, media were asked to vote for the team's top moment at its stop last week on the annual NASCAR media tour at Charlotte Motor Speedway. On display at the event were over 50 trophies from Roush Fenway's 299 wins, including a trophy set as the centerpiece of each of the 25 tables at the venue. "We have had a lot of big moments over the past 24 years," said team co-owner Jack Roush, who founded the team in 1988. "Matt Kenseth winning our first Cup championship in 2003 ranks up there for sure. Roush Fenway is the last team to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship under the old point system and a year later became the first team to win under the "Chase" system with Kurt Busch hoisting the inaugural Nextel Cup trophy in 2004. Busch's 2004 championship along with Kenseth's 2009 Daytona 500 win, Biffle's 2000 Truck Series Championship (Roush Fenway's first) and Mark Martin's 1989 win at Rockingham (the team's first) all received several votes in the poll.(Roush Fenway Racing)(2-8-2012)

  • Former KHI Development Driver lands sponsor and new team: Coulter Motorsports announced that Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation (a Jaysi fave) has joined the team as primary sponsor of the Pro All Star Series (PASS) #2 Car driven by 2011 PASS Rookie of the Year, Gray Gaulding. Gray will debut the Krispy Kreme #2 car at the Dillon Motor Speedway, South Carolina Clash on March 10, 2012. The highly recognizable Krispy Kreme logo will adorn Gaulding's Chevrolet and firesuit for 16 races. More info on my Driver Development page.(2-8-2012)

  • Sad News - Glenn Carrier: Glenn Oscar Carrier [Father of NASCAR crew chief Chris Carrier], 85, of Bristol, TN, passed away Monday February 6, 2012 at Bristol Regional Medical Center. A native of Bristol, TN, he was a veteran having served in the US Navy during WWII. After his discharge from the Navy, he completed his high school education and graduated from Holston Valley High School. He worked as an electrician in the area, retiring from TVA. More info on services and Mr Carrier at the Oakley-Cook Funeral Home site. (2-8-2012)

  • Tire testing at Texas: per Texas Motor Speedway Facebook: #11-Denny Hamlin (Toyota), #14-Tony Stewart (Chevy), #15-Clint Bowyer (Toyota), #16-Greg Biffle (Ford) and #31-Jeff Burton (Chevy) are participating in a closed Goodyear tire test Tues Feb 7th and Wed, Feb 8th.(2-8-2012)

  • SPEED adds Rudd and Palumbo: Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Rudd signed with SPEED this week to be an analyst on the popular weekend motor sports news program, SPEED Center. Rudd, a winner of 23 Cup Series races, including the 1997 Brickyard 400, was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers. "Anytime you add someone with Ricky's credentials, you give the viewers a voice and a perspective that has real impact," said SPEED President Scott Ackerson. Scheduled to begin Feb. 12, Rudd could be in for a long run on the network. After all, his 788 consecutive starts are the most in Cup history, earning the Chesapeake, Va., native the honorary title of NASCAR's "Ironman." "I'm really looking forward to the next chapter," said Rudd, the 1977 Rookie of the Year. "It's going to be a lot of fun working with the gang at SPEED." Also added to the SPEED team this week, former Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo joins the network as a Social Media Reporter. Palumbo, the longest-serving Miss Sprint Cup, held the position from 2008 through last season and appeared on NASCAR Race Hub and other SPEED programs in that role. As a Social Media Reporter, Palumbo works with producers, creating original SPEED content for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets. In addition, she provides reports from various tracks and locations and serves as a broadcast contributor with social media updates from second-screen touch points.(SPEED)(2-8-2012)

  • The Three Stooges Co-Stars Named Grand Marshals for the Daytona 500: As Grand Marshals, co-stars from the new Three Stooges movie Jane Lynch and Kate Upton will deliver the four most famous words in motorsports  "Drivers, start your engines." Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Will Sasso -- starring as Larry, Moe & Curly  in the all new The Three Stooges movie from Twentieth Century Fox, will start the action by delivering the green flag at the Daytona 500.
    "We look forward to Jane and Kate's participation in the pre-race ceremonies, adding to the star power of NASCAR's biggest and richest race of the year," Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. "Also, the thousands of race fans in attendance and the millions more watching on FOX Sports are eagerly waiting to experience 'Stoogemania,' when The Three Stooges deliver the green flag"
    In The Three Stooges, which hits theaters everywhere April 13, 2012, newborns Larry, Moe and Curly are left on the doorstep of an orphanage run by nuns. The boys grow up finger-poking, nyuk-nyuk-nyuking and woo-woo-wooing their way to uncharted levels of knuckleheaded misadventure. Out to save their childhood home, only The Three Stooges could become embroiled in an oddball murder plot&while stumbling into starring in a phenomenally successful TV reality show. Earl Benjamin, President and CEO of C3 Entertainment, Inc. (The Three Stooges brand owner) and Executive Producer of the new movie, said "The Three Stooges as a part of the Daytona 500 gives both comedy and racing fans a truly unique blend of two of America's most enduring cultural icons  The greatest comedy team of all time and the aptly named The Great American Race. Tickets for Speedweeks 2012 events, including the 54th annual Daytona 500, are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(2-8-2012)


    News from February 7, 2012

  • Parents Of NASCAR Official Killed: The parents of a NASCAR communications official have been killed in an apparent double homicide at their home in Ellerbe, N.C. Richmond County officials identified the dead as Edwin Arthur Richardson, 69, and his wife, Margaret, 69, of Ellerbe. Officials said the cause of death apparently was gunshots. The deaths were discovered Tuesday morning. The Richardsons were the parents of Kristi Richardson King, who is director of communications for NASCAR's competition department. She previously worked in public relations positions at Talladega Superspeedway and North Carolina Speedway. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office identified the suspect as the couple's son, 44-year-old Anthony Richardson.(SPEED / WCNC)(2-7-2012)

  • FOX announces 2012 Broadcast Schedule: FOX Sports gears up for its 12th season of NASCAR coverage by unveiling the 2012 NASCAR on FOX broadcast schedule featuring 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup points races and 15 events total, highlighted by the 54th running of the Daytona 500, live on Sunday, Feb. 26 (1:00-5:30 pm/et) from Daytona International Speedway. Coverage of the "Great American Race" begins that day with a special one-hour pre-race program (12:00-1:00 pm/et) from the DIS infield and a completely remodeled Hollywood Hotel. The flag officially drops on FOX Sports' 2012 Speedweeks coverage with the Budweiser Shootout, live on Saturday, Feb. 18 in prime time (8:00-10:00 pm/et), followed by live coverage of Daytona 500 Qualifying on Sunday, Feb. 19 (1:00-4:00 pm/et).
    Michael Waltrip, driver, owner and pitch-man extraordinaire, joins the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace team, taking a seat in the famed Hollywood Hotel alongside big brother Darrell Waltrip and host Chris Myers. Darrell and former champion crew chief Larry McReynolds return to provide race analysis for all NASCAR on FOX Sprint Cup events, and Mike Joy returns as race announcer. Veteran analyst Jeff Hammond takes his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to the action in the garages and on pit road. Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Krista Voda also return to cover pit road. NASCAR on FOX "storm scout" and meteorologist Rick Dickert of FOX-owned KTTV in Los Angeles rejoins the crew to provide weather updates to viewers on the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace show as well as during race coverage.(FOX), see the full schedule on my 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule.(2-7-2012)

  • Edwards and Bayne nominated for Cartoon Network's Hall of Game Awards: #99-Carl Edwards and #21-Trevor Bayne could soon add "Dance Machine" and "Gnarliest Newb" to their respective resumes. Edwards and Bayne have been nominated as part of Cartoon Network's second annual Hall of Game Awards, airing Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 pm/et. Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and 2011 "Dance Machine" nominee Jimmie Johnson will also present "The World's Fastest Award" with a special cameo appearance. The show, hosted by Shaquille O'Neal, is a high-energy, off-the-wall, multi-platform experience that lets viewers vote and honor their favorite sports stars and sports moments of the year. Edwards and Bayne have been nominated  and deservedly so  to compete in the "Dance Machine" and "Gnarliest Newb" categories. Edwards' signature victory celebration, a backflip from his car, catapulted him to be a finalist in the "Dance Machine" category. Bayne's improbable Daytona 500 victory as a 20-year-old in only his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start last season propelled him to compete in what is essentially the "Rookie of the Year" category in this year's awards. Fans can vote for Edwards and Bayne on www.hallofgame.com now through Friday, Feb. 17. The site has already received over 64 million votes.(NASCAR)(2-7-2012)

  • NASCAR Propels Giants To Super Bowl Victory: Sunday,in the Daytona 500 of Football, the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots, employing a thrilling, breathtaking and awe-inspiring defensive package named after a thrilling, breathtaking and awe-inspiring sport  NASCAR. The moniker, and its genesis, makes sense. Think about it& DE Justin Tuck went to college at Notre Dame, a quick three-hour drive from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Look at him during a game, dancing here  then there  behind the line of scrimmage. Aren't his shimmies  which often result in a spike of some poor quarterback  reminiscent of Darrell Waltrip in Daytona International Speedway's Victory Lane after winning The Great American Race in 1989? Then watch the swim move from DE Osi Umenyiora, whose college (Troy University) sits about a two-and-a-half hour drive from big Talladega Superspeedway. His go-to move: Juking right, swatting a helpless defender away, and launching left. Can't you envision a similar slingshot maneuver on Lap 200 on Feb. 26? And now everyone's down with JPP  DE Jason Pierre-Paul. He went to school at the University of South Florida, near NASCAR's bookend tracks  Daytona and Homestead-Miami Speedway. His specialty: Off the block speed, every single play. If the NFL had an American Ethanol Fastest on the Restart Award (they don't, but NASCAR does), he'd win it every game. No wonder the Giants nicknamed its all-out pass rush after the world's most competitive form of motorsports. "We came up with NASCAR; we call it our speed package," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who notched two sacks last night, told ESPN. "Why do we call it that? All of us compete about who's the fastest and who gets to the quarterback the fastest. So NASCAR's just something that felt right." Among the NASCAR drivers who attended Super Bowl XLVI were Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Austin and Ty Dillon.(NASCAR)(2-7-2012)

  • WWE's John Cena to serves as Honorary Starter of Daytona 500: WWE Superstar John Cena will wave the green flag as Honorary Starter of the 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 26 at historic Daytona International Speedway. Cena was invited to participate in this year's big race by 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series runner-up Carl Edwards last night on WWE's Monday Night Raw. Edwards got out of his official #99 Fastenal Ford and told Cena, "NASCAR asked me to come to Monday Night Raw and personally invite you to drop the green flag and officially start the Daytona 500 on February 26." An appreciative John Cena enthusiastically accepted with an emphatic "Yes!" Cena, who made his WWE debut in 2002, is a ten-time World Champion. He can be seen each week on the hit cable series Monday Night Raw on USA Network. The avid NASCAR fan will headline WrestleMania against The Rock® at Sun Life Stadium in Miami on Sunday, April 1, 2012. Cena, like many NASCAR drivers, has a long standing relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is on pace to grant his 300th wish, making him the first celebrity wish granter ever to reach that lofty goal. The Make-A-Wish Foundation recently dedicated a room to WWE at the foundation's headquarters in Phoenix, AZ, in honor of Cena's unwavering dedication to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Past Honorary Starters for the Daytona 500 include NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Richard Petty, actor Ashton Kutcher, comedian Whoopi Goldberg and singer Mariah Carey. Tickets for Speedweeks 2012 events, including the 54th annual Daytona 500, are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(2-7-2012)

  • Ride Metrolink Trains to Auto Club 400: Race fans looking for a stress-free, convenient and affordable way to get to Auto Club Speedway's Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race need not look any further! Auto Club Speedway has partnered with Metrolink to provide direct train service to the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 25 at Auto Club Speedway. "Auto Club Speedway and Metrolink are excited to team together to provide race fans an affordable and convenient transportation option to the Auto Club 400 in March," said Speedway President Gillian Zucker. "In this economy everybody likes a bargain. For our race fans, there aren't many better than this one." Metrolink will operate three charter trains originating from Oxnard, Lancaster and Oceanside with limited stops in between for faster service. Metrolink's Speedway trains stop at a specially constructed station just off the back straight-away at the race track. From there, passengers will board a free tram that takes them to the entrance gates. Trains depart Auto Club Speedway one hour after the end of the race, or checkered flag. More details about train routes, stops included, tickets and approved carry-in items, go to: at autoclubspeedway.com.(Auto Club Speedway)(2-7-2012)

  • Martinsville Speedway Will Mark 65th Anniversary: When Martinsville Speedway opened in 1947, bread was 13 cents a loaf and a gallon of gas was just 15 cents. A postage stamp was three cents, The Diary of Anne Frank had just been published, the Miracle on 34th Street was the big draw at the movies and Harry Truman lived in the White House. As it celebrates its 65th anniversary, the world is vastly different from when Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles first opened the doors on September 7, 1947. But even with all the change that 65 years brings, some of Earles' basic philosophies remain, in fact are the reason the historic oval has not only survived, but thrived. "My grandfather often said a working man or woman deserved to get what they paid for and that's always been our philosophy here," said W. Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway and Earles' grandson. "I think that has been the key to our success over the years. We have always worked hard to take care of the fans." Fans will be the focus of Martinsville Speedway's year-long 65th anniversary celebration which will include special ticket offers, interactive social media campaigns and web promotions, special commemorative merchandise and collectible items. The anniversary year will culminate with a grand pre-race celebration before the TUMS Fast Relief 500 on October 28 when the speedway will host many of the old time drivers who raced here for interaction with fans. Martinsville is a year older than NASCAR and is the only track that remains on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule from its inaugural season in 1949. The historic half-mile has grown and progressed with the sport, offering up fan amenities that rival any sporting venue in the country. It kicks of its 65th year of racing action with the Goody's Fast Relief 500 weekend March 30-April 1. Other than its fan philosophy, the only thing that hasn't changed at Martinsville Speedway is the shape of the track itself. The unique paperclip shape with long straights and tight turns consistently produces exciting, action-packed racing. Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway March 30-April 1 with the Goody's Fast Relief 500 weekend. Tickets for both events are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(2-7-2012)


    News from February 6, 2012

  • Special scheme for Menard at Daytona: Entering their ninth season with Richard Childress Racing driver Paul Menard, Peak Performance announced the #27 Chevy will sport an exciting and electric look during 2012 Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Expanding on their hood sponsorship of the Menards Chevrolet, PEAK has redesigned the #27 Impala to be completely adorned with the signature "PEAK blue" and "Menards yellow" as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series kicks off the season with the 54th running of the "Great American Race" on February 26. The special paint scheme will also be showcased in the Budweiser Shootout on February 18 and the Duel 150 qualifying race on February 23. PEAK first partnered with the 2011 Brickyard 400 champion in 2004, but their relationship with Menards dates back to the home improvement chain's IndyCar days. To celebrate the occasion and generate excitement with fans, Peak will feature exclusive online Menard content in the days leading into the Daytona 500.(RCR) see images oif the scheme on the #27 Team Schemes page.(2-6-2012)

  • Pemberton hired by Baldwin Racing: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) hired Ryan Pemberton to lead the #36 team as crew chief for Dave Blaney. Pemberton will join the team as they attempt to make the 54th Annual Daytona 500 February 26. The #36 team's 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) schedule is still being finalized as the team seeks funding for all 36 events. Pemberton comes from a family of racers. The Saratoga, N.Y., native started out sweeping floors at Roush Fenway Racing and worked his way up to a NSCS crew chief in 1997. Most recently, he served as crew chief for Brian Vickers at Red Bull Racing. During his career as a NSCS crew chief, he compiled two wins, 21 top-fives, 92 top-10s and 15 poles. "I'm thrilled to join Tommy Baldwin Racing," explained Pemberton. "TBR has shown a lot of growth in a short time, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of stepping up the program this year. Tommy, Dave and I all come from families of racing and have similar backgrounds, so I think it will be a good fit." In 2012, TBR plans to compete with two NSCS teams and a part-time NASCAR Nationwide Series team. The team would like to increase the number of races in both the NSCS and NNS schedules, provided more sponsorship can be found.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(2-6-2012)

  • Red Bull Owners Points changing hands? UPDATE: Been told that Thomas Ueberall [Red Bull's race director] is now listed as the owner of the #83 and now #93 [was #4] team owner points. Sinica Motorsports attempted to run Homestead running the #93, but their website now shows no car number and facebook and twitter pages no longer work. Ueberall may be listed as the owner when the new owners take place, due to the points. Supposedly part owners of TRG Motorsports are rumored to be buying the assets from Red Bull Racing.(2-3-2012)
    UPDATE: Sinica Motorsports will be running a partial Sprint Cup schedule this year with a new car number to be released soon. The team will continue to run Chevys.(Sinica Motorsports)(2-6-2012)

  • PBS to air "Racing Dreams" special: Award-winning fimmaker Marshall Curry returns to POV in 2012 with Racing Dreams, a chronicle of two boys and a girl who do something extraordinary: They fearlessly race extreme go-karts at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour in pursuit of trophies and, just maybe, careers as NASCAR drivers. And as the youngsters compete on the track, they also navigate the treacherous road from childhood to young adulthood. Racing Dreams, winner of the Best Documentary Feature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and executive-produced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, has its national broadcast premiere on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, at 9 p.m., as a special broadcast on PBS's POV (Point of View) series. The film will also stream in its entirety on POV's website www.pbs.org/pov/racingdreams Feb. 24 - March 24. Fondly described as "talladega Nights meets Catcher in the Rye," Racing Dreams is a dramatic, funny and sometimes heartbreaking look at the world of NASCAR culture as lived by three young aspirants to race-car glory and their families. The film follows Annabeth Barnes (11 years old), Josh Hobson (12) and Brandon warren (13) as they compte in the Pavement Series, a yearlong national championship of five races around the country organized by the World Karting Association (WKA).(PBS)(2-6-2012)

  • Michigan race tickets on sale: Michigan International Speedway tickets are finally on sale. he opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at MIS is on Father's Day June 17; and Pure Michigan 400 is on August 19. Both feature some of the most affordable ticket prices in the country. In fact, the last time ticket prices at MIS were this low was in 1998 when Jeff Gordon won his third of four NASCAR championships and 13 races. MIS offers NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for every budget. Tickets start at $25. Kids 12 and under are free in some sections, while junior pricing for 17 and under are half price in reserved seats. Prices on other events such as the NASCAR Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250 on June 16 and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series VFW 200 on Aug. 18 have also remained low for 2012 at $25 and $20, respectively. Additionally, MIS' continuous commitment to its fans in the form of improved fan amenities, like larger seats, paved tram routes and exclusive MISCamping.com APEX, the speedway's new campground, are more of the improvements the speedway has on tap for 2012.(Michigan Speedway)(2-6-2012)

  • Highland Rim Speedway sold after Hamilton declares bankruptcy: Tennessee's HighlandRim Speedway was sold at public auction Friday, after promoter Bobby Hamilton,Jr., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. Hamilton operated both Highland Rim and the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in 2011, but struggled to pay his bills. The former NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver reportedly bounced a pair of checks to the Nashville Fairgrounds Board late last season, and was forced to cancel the track's traditional season finale, the All-American 400. A foreclosure auction took place Friday at the county courthouse in Springfield, with Community Bank and Trust placing the only bid of $605,000. Equipment and other speedway assets will reportedly be sold separately at a later date. Highland Rim Speedway is situated on two adjacent tracts of land totaling approximately 30acres. The track was scheduled to open next month for its 50th anniversary season, but longtime track announcer Lanny Adams told The Tennessean newspaper that the future of the speedway is now in doubt.(Sirius Speedway)(2-6-2012)


    News from February 5, 2012

  • NASCAR releases race start times: Darlington Raceway has the only change in start time in the 2012 Sprint Cup Series schedule as its race will start at 7 p.m. Eastern instead of 7:30 p.m. as it did in 2011. The 7 p.m. start time is a departure from NASCAR's attempt at consistent start times but one Darlington asked for so its race - the second-longest on the schedule at 501.322 miles - will end earlier. The race took 3 hours, 53 minutes to complete last year and 3 hours, 57 minutes in 2010. "We were able to move it 30 minutes, which is good," Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning said. "We're pleased about that. I think it will help our fans to get out of here a little bit quicker. That's really good for us. The remainder of the Sprint Cup races remains the same. Daytime races will start at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. Eastern depending on the location, except during the Chase For The Sprint Cup when races will start at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. Eastern. Night races will start at 7:30 p.m. Eastern with the exception of the Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m.) and now Darlington (7 p.m.).(Scene Daily), see the start times for all three series on the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series schedule pages.(2-5-2012)

  • JTG Daugherty wants second team in 2013: #47-JTG Daugherty Racing purchased some old cars from MWR to get started this season and will get its engines from Toyota Racing Development, but eventually plans to build its own cars at the Harrisburg shop. [Owner Brad] Daugherty said a plan already is in place to add a second car to the fold for next season, adding that "it's a distinct possibility" JTG could field a second car in a handful of races later this season. "We're already working on it," Daugherty said. "That's something that's going to happen sooner rather than later, because we need that. That's as big as we want to be, though. The cost comes down and the information goes way up. So we're really working on that."(NASCAR.com)(2-5-2012)

  • Company disputes number of Kentucky parking attendants: The company hired to direct parking at Kentucky Speedway's inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race last summer disputes track owner Bruton Smith's recent assertion that hundreds of attendants failed to show up for work on race day. The head of Brantley Security Services' event management division claims the company had more attendants on the speedway grounds July 9 than it was obligated to provide. Smith and Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger gave a presentation during last week's NASCAR media tour in North Carolina detailing steps being taken to expand parking and improve infrastructure around the Sparta, Ky., track before this year's Quaker State 400. "The company that Mark had dealt with as far as the number of parkers, we contracted for 300. Eighty-four showed up," Smith said during his opening remarks Jan. 25. A Nashville lawyer whose firm represents Brantley Security challenged those figures in a letter sent to The Enquirer. Jeremy Curran, president of Brantley Security's event management division, supported attorney David L. Johnson's claim that Brantley contracted with the speedway to provide 96 attendants for the Quaker State 400 and, in fact, had 112 show up on race day. A copy of a signed contract between Brantley Services and Kentucky Speedway does not specify the number of attendants Brantley was requested to provide on July 9. Curran provided a spreadsheet detailing Brantley's parking plan for the day that shows 10 supervisors, 30 directors and 56 parkers. Curran claims Kentucky Speedway asked for more parking attendants for the 2009 Nationwide Series race than it did for the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race in July.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(2-5-2012)


    News from February 4, 2012

  • Red Bull Owners Points changing hands? Been told that Thomas Ueberall [Red Bull's race director] is now listed as the owner of the #83 and now #93 [was #4] team owner points. Sinica Motorsports attempted to run Homestead running the #93, but their website now shows no car number and facebook and twitter pages no longer work. Ueberall may be listed as the owner when the new owners take place, due to the points. Supposedly part owners of TRG Motorsports are rumored to be buying the assets from Red Bull Racing.(2-3-2012)

  • Danica to appear in two Super Bowl ads: On Sunday, NASCAR will benefit from Danica Patrick's popularity when she appears in two GoDaddy.com Super Bowl commercials, giving her the unofficial distinction of being in more Super Bowl ads (10) than any other celebrity. You won't see Patrick in a stock car, but the sport will benefit because she's associated with driving in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series as much as she is with those edgy, sexy commercials. "Any time our sport is presented to new audiences on a broad scale, it is great for NASCAR," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR's chief marketing officer. The Super Bowl commercials give Patrick and the sport a bigger audience than it will have all season. The Nielsen Co. said 111 million people watched last year's game at any given time. That Patrick likely will be the only NASCAR driver featured during the three-hour-plus telecast speaks volumes.(ESPN)(2-4-2012)

  • Casino opens at Kansas Speedway: The ownership of Kansas Speedway is gambling on a new casino overlooking Turn 2 to generate interest, drive ticket sales and increase revenue during a sluggish time for motorsports. The Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway officially opened Friday. Long lines of cars snaked out of the parking lots and along the roads running parallel to the backstretch of the track. The $411 million casino is a partnership between Penn National Gaming and International Speedway Corp., which owns and operates the speedway. The casino has about 1,000 full-time employees, 95,000 square feet of gaming, and is expected to attract 4 million guests annually with an estimated economic impact of $200 million a year. It also should boost interest in the two race weekends at Kansas Speedway, the first in April and the second in October.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(2-4-2012)


    News from February 3, 2012

  • Cassill will drive for Front Row at Daytona: UPDATES: Landon Cassill, the Iowa youngster who formerly was a Hendrick Motorsports development driver and made a bunch more fans in 2011 through his near-full season of work in James Finch's Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, has an opportunity for the Daytona 500 in a Ford. To kick off his own 2012, Cassill will drive a third Front Row Motorsports Ford later this month at Speedweeks. Cassill's #26 Fusion will have backing from Morristown Driver's Service, an over-the-road trucking company based in Tennessee. Owner Bob Jenkins' third car last year wore #55, but Michael Waltrip Racing took that number in conjunction with its sponsor, Aaron's 55th anniversary, for the 2012 season.(NASCAR.com)(2-2-2012)
    UPDATE: The story has been updated: Thursday morning, [Cassill] let Front Row general manager Jerry Freeze know he couldn't do it. "We gave [Cassill] an out if he got a full-time racing deal," Freeze said. "And it sounds like he has one. No idea on who we'll get for now."(2-2-2012)
    UPDATE 2: If the NASCAR tea leaves are true, Cassill may race for the new ownership group that purchased the assets from Red Bull Racing and has set up shop in the old Randy Moss/Morgan Dollar Motorsports building in Statesville, N.C. Front Row Motorsports General Manager Jerry Friese said FRM intends to run three cars in the Daytona 500 and expects to name a driver that will join David Gilliland and David Ragan next week. The short list likely includes Travis Kvapil and Tony Raines. Both drivers have raced for the organization before.(Fox Sports)(2-3-2012)

  • National Speed Sport News to return: With an all-new monthly print publication launching in March and an aggressive plan for the future, Turn 3 Media, LLC, is bringing back the National Speed Sport News brand, identified for its namesake weekly newspaper that was widely recognized as the "Bible" of American auto racing news. Turn 3 Media, LLC, a North Carolina company founded by publishing veteran Curt Moon, former SPEED executive Joe Tripp, and motorsports television personality Ralph Sheheen, has acquired the exclusive rights to National Speed Sports News from The Kay Publishing Company. Founded in 1934 and edited by "The Dean of American Motorsports Journalism" Chris Economaki beginning in 1950, National Speed Sport News ceased publication of its venerable weekly newspaper following the March 23, 2011 issue. As Publisher, Sheheen will manage the editorial direction of the new SPEED SPORT Magazine and will help drive reach and brand awareness through his extensive television exposure. He will also lead efforts to expand the brand into video and television media. SPEED SPORT Magazine will debut with a March Season Preview issue, exactly one year after the original National Speed Sport News ceased publication.(NSSN)(2-3-2012)

  • Ganassi & TSOVET Watches announce partnership: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. and TSOVET TIMING GAUGES, announced they are launching the new TSOVET "Limited Edition" Chronograph watch that commemorates the team's 14 championships and 145 wins. TSOVET has been a team partner since 2011 with logo placement on 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner Scott Dixon's # 9 Target Honda and firesuit in the IZOD IndyCar Series and 2010 Daytona 500 Winner #1-Jamie McMurray's firesuit in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(2-3-2012)

  • Harvick inducted into Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame: #29-Kevin Harvick returned Wednesday to where his racing career began -- his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. -- to be inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame. A sold-out gathering greeted their hometown hero, who went from racing go-karts around the Bakersfield area as a 5-year-old to winning the Daytona 500 in 2007. "It's been an honor to be selected," Harvick told the audience at his induction. "My friends and family and everybody in this town have been very supportive. From my go-kart days or my wrestling days at North High, no matter what it was, the town has been supportive. And you guys support our foundation events when we come back. It's truly an honor to see the support." Harvick, 36, was one of four enshrined during Wednesday's ceremony. Also inducted were Olympic swimmer Gabe Woodward; Pat Skrable, an outstanding baseball and football player at Bakersfield High School; and Arnold Kirschenmann, a golfing standout from Bakersfield. Harvick joins just three other drivers in the Hall -- four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears, off-road champion Roger Mears and Indy 500 competitor George Snider.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-3-2012)

  • Auto Club Speedway offers Valentine's Day ticket special: It's a Valentine's Day gift that both of you will love, spending time together at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 race at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 25. Whether you and your loved one are sitting side by side watching 43 of the world's best drivers battle for a trip to Gatorade Victory Lane; taking a stroll down pit road where race teams are getting ready for the big race; positioned front and center of the pre-race stage for driver introductions or listening to your favorite drivers talk with their crew chiefs on the scanner& It will be a memorable experience that you'll have together. The Valentine's Day ticket package is an incredible deal for just $99 (a $225 value) and includes: a pair of tickets to the Auto Club 400 (rows 1-14) on Sunday, March 25; a pair of Pre-Race Pit Passes; and Scanner Rental with a pair of headphones In addition to the Valentine's Day ticket package, Auto Club Speedway offers free parking and allows fans to bring in their own food, making race weekend an incredible value full of fun and entertainment. The Valentine's Day ticket package is available now through February 14, while supplies last. So don't let this package get away. For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com or visit the Auto Club Speedway Ticket Office.(ACS)(2-3-2012)


    News from February 2, 2012

  • Cassill will drive for Front Row at Daytona: UPDATE: No Landon Cassill, the Iowa youngster who formerly was a Hendrick Motorsports development driver and made a bunch more fans in 2011 through his near-full season of work in James Finch's Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, has an opportunity for the Daytona 500 in a Ford. To kick off his own 2012, Cassill will drive a third Front Row Motorsports Ford later this month at Speedweeks. Cassill's #26 Fusion will have backing from Morristown Driver's Service, an over-the-road trucking company based in Tennessee. Owner Bob Jenkins' third car last year wore #55, but Michael Waltrip Racing took that number in conjunction with its sponsor, Aaron's 55th anniversary, for the 2012 season.(NASCAR.com)(2-2-2012)
    UPDATE: The story has been updated: Thursday morning, [Cassill] let Front Row general manager Jerry Freeze know he couldn't do it. "We gave [Cassill] an out if he got a full-time racing deal," Freeze said. "And it sounds like he has one. No idea on who we'll get for now."(2-2-2012)

  • Stremme switches to Toyota: Inception Motorsports announced today their partnership with Toyota and the engine support of Triad Racing Technologies for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). "It is a great boost for our team to have the support of Toyota and Triad engines heading into Daytona and this season," said David Stremme, driver of the #30 Toyota. "Our team is excited to have their support especially with their success in the sport." Triad currently supplies horsepower for teams in ARCA, NASCAR's Truck, Nationwide and Cup Series and have over 50 race wins since 2009. This is the first full season for the newly formed Inception Motorsports. The team continues to look for sponsorship support for Stremme's Toyota for 2012. "Our team has grown over the off-season," continued Stremme. "We have a great group of talented people in our race family who have been working hard to get us to where we need to be for this season. We are looking for the final pieces to the puzzle and hopefully our track presence will help find that sponsorship piece."(Inception Motorsports)(2-2-2012)

  • Daytona 500 will have purse of more than $19 Million: The 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26 will carry a record purse of more than $19 million as well as a new contingency award that will payout $200,000 to the driver leading at the completion of Lap 100. The posted awards for "The Great American Race" are $19,142,601 with the winner collecting a minimum of $1,431,325. The second, third, fourth and fifth-place finishers in the Daytona 500 will receive a minimum of $1,050,075, $759,600, $609,900 and $486,550. The Daytona 500 Mid-Race Leader Award will reward the driver leading the midway point of the historic 200-lap, 500-mile race with a $200,000 bonus. If the race is under caution at Lap 100, the leader of the race at the completion of the fifth consecutive green flag lap following the caution will receive the award.(DIS)(2-2-2012)

  • Former Ganassi crewmen get probation: Telling a North Carolina judge that they have learned their lesson, two former Earnhardt Ganassi Racing crewmen avoided jail and were sentenced to 18 months probation Wednesday for possession of marijuana. Trevor Lysne and Jerome Frey appeared in North Carolina Superior Court on charges stemming from their arrest Aug. 9, 2011, after authorities seized 10.62 pounds of marijuana from an apartment that belonged to Lysne. Lysne, a former EGR tire changer for Juan Pablo Montoya, and Frey, a mechanic, were charged with trafficking marijuana and possession with intent to sell and distribute marijuana. Lysne also faced an additional charge of maintaining a dwelling to sell a controlled substance. Those charges were reduced as part of a plea agreement. Frey, 28, and Lysne, 41, pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of marijuana. The judge could have sentenced each of them to up to 15 months in jail. Lysne and Frey could return to NASCAR by completing NASCAR's Road to Recovery program, where they must complete a prescribed rehabilitation program following an evaluation by a substance abuse professional.(Scene Daily)(2-2-2012)

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame To Offer Local Rate: The NASCAR Hall of Fame is introducing a special Local Rate throughout the months of February and March. Available for a limited-time only, the special rate offers North and South Carolina residents visiting the interactive, entertainment attraction a discounted admission price of $15.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors and $9.95 for children. Guests with a valid photo ID and proof of residency, such as a North Carolina or South Carolina driver's license, can receive the special price when purchasing at the NASCAR Hall of Fame box office during regular operating hours. Tickets to the NASCAR Hall of Fame can be purchased by calling 877-231-2010 or at www.NASCARHall.com.(NASCAR Hall of Fame)(2-2-2012)

  • Racing Electronics Honored: The Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce (NC) has presented Racing Electronics with its Small Business of the Year award at a recent luncheon held at Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. The Chamber's Small Business of the Year Awards recognize the entrepreneurial achievements of Cabarrus County's smaller for-profit companies who display strong financial performance,achievement in management, workplace excellence, product innovation,and community and social responsibility. Racing Electronics is the worldwide leader in providing radio communications products to the motorsports industry and was grown from a home-based business. Bruce Silver, Owner and Chief Executive Officer, began the business in 1988 out of a need to enhance the race fan experience. Through innovation and diversity, Racing Electronics has developed high quality scanners and headphones for race fans; they have advanced technologies for radio wiring and two-way radio equipment. In 2005, the company relocated its world headquarters to Concord and has created over 70 jobs.(Speed51)(2-2-2012)

  • Kentucky tickets on sale Feb. 8; Fans can now carry in coolers: Kentucky Speedway will place single race tickets for its five NASCAR races including the June 30 Sprint Cup Series "Quaker State 400" on sale Feb. 8 at 9:00 a.m., and allow customers to carry coolers in to all events for the first time in speedway history. Single race ticket prices for five NASCAR events scheduled June 28-30 and Sept. 21-22 will not increase. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series "Quaker State 400" tickets range from $75 to $110 and NASCAR Nationwide Series race tickets range from $45 to $75 based on seat location. All NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race tickets are $30 or $40 for reserved seats. Customers can purchase tickets at www.kentuckyspeedway.com, 888-652-7223 and through speedway offices at 1 Speedway Drive in Sparta, Ky., 41086, just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. State Highway 35. Coolers will be limited in size to 14 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches. Customers will be able to carry in snacks, unopened soft drinks and water to enjoy during events. Kentucky law prohibits alcoholic beverages of any kind to be carried through the speedway gates.(Kentucky Speedway)(2-2-2012)


    News from February 1, 2012

  • Sad News - Nicola Sue Kenseth: Nicola Sue Kenseth, age 63, beloved daughter, wife, mother and grandmother, died at Oak Park Place in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin on Tuesday morning, January 31, 2012, following a long battle with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. She was born on March 26, 1948, in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, to the late Edmund Nasett and Audrey Loga Nasett. She attended school in Rockdale and Cambridge and graduated in 1966 from Cambridge High School. On October 21, 1966, she was united in marriage to Roy E. Kenseth, a lifelong resident of Cambridge, WI at the Albion Prairie Primitive Methodist Church. Nicki began her career at the Jefferson County Courthouse, but shortly after her daughter Kelley was born in 1968, followed by a son Matthew in 1972, she embraced life as a full time homemaker. As the kids got older, she worked as a medical receptionist for Dr. Victor Soderstrom in Fort Atkinson, at Pediatrics in Fort Atkinson, and at Wisconsin Fineblanking in Deerfield, WI as a receptionist. Nicki is survived by her husband, Roy, her children Kelley (Shawn) and Matt (Katie) and five grandchildren Ross, Amber, Evan, Kaylin & Grace. She is further survived by her mother Audrey Loga Nasett, Brothers John (Julie), Chuck (Teri), Bjorn, and Sister Cathy, in addition to numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. Funeral services for Nicki Kenseth will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 3, 2012 at Willerup Methodist Church, 414 N Water Street, Cambridge, WI 53523 with Pastor Brian Cook officiating. Relatives and friends are welcome at the Nitardy Funeral Home, Park Street, Cambridge, WI on Thursday, February 2, 2012 from 4-6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established in Nicki's name to the Alzheimer's Association, Agrace Hospice or Willerup Methodist Church. See complete obituary at Nitary Funeral Home.(2-1-2012)

  • 2013 cars to be tested at Homestead: UPDATES: All four 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car models are scheduled to be tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway February 1st&in a test that will apparently be closed. That may be the first time crewmen get to see all four models. Why is NASCAR, and its big marketing operation, taking such seemingly a low-keyed approach? Apparently because the sanctioning body has not yet 'aero-matched' the four models in the wind tunnel. Ford is billing its new model as a Fusion (not Mustang, as once planned), and when the car maker officially unveiled its 2013 street version, it was then free to take the wraps off the NASCAR version  which is decidedly different from the current Sprint Cup model, the still controversial and not greatly liked by many car-of-tomorrow. Chevrolet, for example, still hasn't officially named its model for its 2013 NASCAR Cup racer.(MikeMulhern.net)(1-25-2012)
    UPDATE: #5-Kasey Kahne tweeted that he will be participating in the test. No other drivers have been announced.(2-1-2012)
    UPDATE 2: #18-Kyle Busch (Toyota), #17-Matt Kenseth (Ford), and Sam Hornish, Jr. (Dodge) are also participating.(PRN Garage Pass)(2-1-2012)

  • Villeneuve to drive some Nationwide races: The probable association between Jacques Villeneuve and Go Canada Racing, as reported by Le Journal de Montreal in August, has resurfaced. Villeneuve could run a dozen races (and maybe more) this year in the Nationwide Series driving a car owned by Toronto businessman Steve Meehan. Meehan declined to elaborate on the issue, while acknowledging that he had discussed with Villeneuve in recent weeks. Andrew Ranger will not drive for the team at Daytona, contrary to earlier reports. His debut will take place two weeks later at Las Vegas and possibly at Phoenix, the second week of the season. David Ragan, who has six years experience in Sprint Cup, wll take over the wheel of the Go Canada Ford at Daytona. In addition, the team has acquired a new Dodge Challenger that will be used at Phoenix.(Montreal Journal - translated using Google translate and edited for clarity)(1-31-2012)

  • Gordon testing at Pikes Peak: #24-Jeff Grodon tweeted Tuesday that he was at "Day 1 of 3 Pikes Peak test. Going really good. Team has done a great job over the off season. Can't wait to start racing."(2-1-2012)

  • Jepson promoted to Communications Manager of Phoenix: Phoenix International Raceway announced the promotion of Jennifer Jepson to Communications Manager. In her new role, Jepson will manage daily operations in all areas for the company's communications department. Jepson joins recently hired Director of Communications, Dave Lockett, who joined Phoenix international Raceway earlier this year. Jepson originally joined the company in 2011 as Client Relations Coordinator in the sales & marketing department where she helped manage the activation of all corporate sponsorships. Raised in Phoenix, AZ., Jepson graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.(PIR)(2-1-2012)


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27 Billy Standridge, Kate Dallenbach, Ricky Carmichael, Kaitlyn Punch

28 Chase Elliott, Billy Sutphin, Mitch Way, Nelson Stacy, Mason Mingus

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30 Danny Earnhardt, Dave Dion, Dick Hutcherson, Shawna Robinson, Chris Hussey, Andy Kirby, Brittany Glover

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2 Erik Darnell, Kelly Kellis, Victoria Trickle

3 Bobby Allison, Cody Cook

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12 Ed Watkins, Rick Pennington, Emerson Fittipaldi

13 Army National Guard, Jim Vandiver, Jarrett Andretti, David Stover, Mark Nickels, Michael Mumford

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20 Erin Marco, Taylor Nicole Earnhardt, Kinsley Parsons

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24 Fr. Steven Janoski, David Ragan, Krista Marie Allison, Mike Gooch

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29 Waddell Wilson, Boston Reid, Mike Bagley, Owen Kearns Jr., Jessica Stroupe

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