January 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup News Archive

JANUARY 2012 NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE

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    News from January 31, 2012

  • Danica to get owner points from Baldwin? Reutimann in the #10? UPDATES: Danica Patrick will be a guaranteed starter in the 2012 Daytona 500, using owner points from Tommy Baldwin Racing. Multiple sources say a deal is nearly complete to make Patrick a guaranteed starter in Stewart Haas Racing's #10 Chevy in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season opener, using owner points accrued last season by driver Dave Blaney in TBR's #36 Chevy. Blaney will now be forced to qualify for the "Great American Race" on time. Patrick is scheduled to run approximately 10 Sprint Cup races this season, and TBR driver David Reutimann will run many of the events Patrick does not; also in the #10 machine. While Patrick will drive Stewart Haas cars purchased from Hendrick Motorsports in her 10 races, Reutimann will steer Baldwin's cars in his outings. TBR will reportedly receive technical and pit crew support from SHR as part of the deal.(Sirius Speedway)(1-30-2012)
    UPDATE: Go ahead and pencil Danica Patrick into the Daytona 500 starting lineup. Stewart Haas Racing has finalized an alliance with Tommy Baldwin Racing that guarantees Patrick a starting spot in the Sprint Cup opener and keeps her #10 car on the track for the entire Cup schedule, team owner Tommy Baldwin said on Tuesday. Patrick will be locked into the Feb. 26 race with the owner's points accumulated last season by TBR driver Dave Blaney, who was 33rd. The top 35 in owner's points from last season are guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races, meaning Blaney now will have to qualify his way into the 500 field. Since Patrick is scheduled to compete in only 10 Cup races while participating fulltime in the Nationwide Series, TBR driver David Reutimann will drive the remaining 26 races in the 10 car. The goal is to keep the 10 locked into the top 35 so Patrick will be guaranteed a starting spot for the first five races of 2013 when she runs her first full Cup schedule. TBR will receive technical and pit crew support as a part of the deal. Baldwin said there were no conflicts with NASCAR or Chevrolet in having Patrick use Hendrick Motorsports engines as all the SHR cars do and Reutimann using Earnhardt-Childress Engines as all TBR cars do. Greg Zipadelli will remain the crew chief for Patrick's Cup races. Baldwin said he and Zipadelli will work with Reutimann in the other 26. Reutimann will not drive another TBR car in the non-Patrick races. Baldwin said this is all about getting Patrick "prepared for 2013."(ESPN.com)(1-31-2012)
    UPDATE 2: Stewart-Haas Racing has entered into a collaborative partnership with Tommy Baldwin Racing where TBR will field the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevy for all 10 of Danica Patrick's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2012. The alliance guarantees a starting spot for Patrick in her Sprint Cup debut  the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 26 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. TBR's #36 car, which finished the 2011 season 33rd in points, becomes the #10 for 2012. For the 26 races where Patrick is not scheduled to drive, David Reutimann will pilot the #10 car. TBR has sponsorship inventory available for these 26 races.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(1-31-2012)

  • Several treated for smoke inhalation at Joe Gibbs Racing: Several people were treated for smoke inhalation at Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville Tuesday afternoon, officials said. According to Huntersville police, some machinery at the racing compound caught fire. Firefighters were called in to battle the blaze around 2:45 p.m. The fire is under control, fire officials said. Medic officials said units responded to the fire, but had not yet transported anyone. No one has commented on what caused the fire or how much damage was done as a result of the fire. Almost a year ago, a similar fire happened at the facility that caused two people to be treated for smoke inhalation. According to officials, the 2011 fire started in an engine dyno during a test.(WSOC)(1-31-2012)
    UPDATE: A piece of equipment in the machine shop caught fire today at our Joe Gibbs Racing headquarters in Huntersville, NC. The fire department was called and the fire was quickly contained and extinguished. A few of our employees received treatment on site for issues related to smoke inhalation. All employees were able to return to work within the hour to continue preparations for the 2012 NASCAR season.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-31-2012)

  • NASCAR and Turner restructure and extend digital partnership: UPDATE: NASCAR and Turner Sports announced a restructuring and extension of their long-standing digital partnership. The new agreement takes the relationship through 2016, with NASCAR managing business and editorial operations for its digital platforms beginning in 2013 and Turner Sports continuing to oversee advertising sales and sponsorships across NASCAR-branded digital platforms. Under the new partnership, NASCAR will assume operational control in 2013 of all of its interactive, digital and social media rights including technical operations and infrastructure of all NASCAR digital platforms. Turner will continue to represent sponsorships and advertising for all NASCAR digital platforms, with the unique users from the NASCAR digital properties continuing to roll up to the Turner digital portfolio. NASCAR's comprehensive digital and social media portfolio includes NASCAR.COM. NASCAR.COM, and the sport's other digital and social media platforms, have been managed by Turner Sports since 2001.(NASCAR)(1-30-212)
    UPDATE: In a phone interview Monday, NASCAR Vice President of Digital Media Marc Jenkins said NASCAR is at the "tail end" of the process of thinking of what it wants to do with its website. He said NASCAR is working toward having several camera angles for fans to watch a race on the website, like what was done during the Chase For The Sprint Cup on the current website. "That drives a better fan experience when watching the race," Jenkins said. "In my mind, more important than just a pure stream of the race broadcast is the alternate camera angles, it's the dynamic leaderboard, it's the [car] data, it's all those things that help people enjoy the race more." Jenkins said they also hope the NASCAR site will help drive traffic to the drivers' websites and could offer a content management system teams and drivers could use in production of their websites.(Scene Daily)
    AND: The lack of an iPhone app for the sport has been a glaring, gaping hole in the interactive experience. "I can assure you it will be an important thing for us moving forward," NASCAR chief marketing officer Steve Phelps said last week. "Whether we have it for '12 or not, it's probably not something that's going to happen. But digital and social media is going to be a major plank for us as a sport. It's going to be a way for us to engage our fans, candidly, in a way we've never been able to before. We think our sport lends itself (to an app) as well as any sport - maybe better - because of the community nature and social nature of the sport. It clearly is coming." But fans may begin to see changes in the app world even earlier than expected. Tim Considine, Sprint's director of sports marketing, told SB Nation in a statement Monday: "Sprint is working with its internal partners to develop NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile for the iPhone, with an expected launch in the first half of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season."(SB Nation)(1-31-2012)

  • ISC profits rise even with fewer seats: International Speedway Corp. saw an increase in profits in 2011 while also cutting seating capacity at nine of its 12 tracks that play host to Sprint Cup races. ISC, a publicly traded company with more than 71 percent of its stock owned by the NASCAR-controlling France family, saw its stock remain in the $26 dollar range since the release of its annual financial report Thursday that listed a 4.5% increase in profits from core operations. ISC began significantly decreasing the number of seats in 2010, when it cut capacity at several tracks. The most significant drop came at Phoenix, which saw its capacity shrink from 67,000 to 55,000. Daytona remains ISC's biggest track at 147,000 grandstand seats and has not seen a significant seat change in the last two years while the remainder of the Cup facilities have had a combined decrease of 15%. ISC sold 83-87% of its capacity for Cup events, ISC President John Saunders said in a conference call Thursday with investors. Overall ticket sales revenue, though, was down 10% from $160.5 million in 2010 to $144.4 million - and down 43% from $253.7 million four years earlier in 2007. Ticket prices will remain basically the same for 2012, after a drop of about 3% for Cup races for an average ticket price of $82.17. While ISC took in $144.4 million in ticket sales, it took in much more from television rights. Its broadcast revenues from the NASCAR television contract, where it took in $202 million in 2011, will rise 3.5% in 2012.(Scene Daily)(1-31-2012)

  • Newmans break ground on animal facility: #39-Ryan Newman and wife Krissie began discussing plans for an animal rescue facility in Iredell County a few years ago, and the first step in the process took place a couple of miles from their home in Statesville, NC. The facility is called "Rescue Ranch" and will lay on 87 acres off NC Highway 21 and has been a dream of Krissie's. The Ranch will have similarities to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. where a good friend Mike Arms is the President. The facility will have a number of phases; the first consisting of offices and classrooms. Future phases will consist of a boarding facility, veterinary clinic, horse stalls and pastures, riding trails, educational camps and a small animal and creepy/crawly building. The first phase of the project has been awarded to Mooresville based R.L. Smith, Inc. owned by Ronnie Smith. The projected completion date is early fall 2012. "My wife Lee and I [parents of Regan Smith] have been supporters of the Ryan Newman Foundation from the beginning," Smith noted. "We are huge animal lovers and honored to be part of Rescue Ranch and the building of phase one. The facility is something that I believe our county will be proud of and I commend Ryan and Krissie for their efforts."(Ryan Newman Foundation)(1-31-2012)

  • Checkered Flag Run at Phoenix March 2-3: Race fans and motorcycle enthusiasts will celebrate diversity during the 2nd Annual Checkered Flag Run to Phoenix International Raceway's NASCAR Weekend on March 2-3. The exciting two-day event will include a ride to Phoenix International Raceway and an opportunity to enjoy the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series Race. The largest multicultural motorcycle gathering at NASCAR, The Checkered Flag Run will launch with a kickoff reception featuring live entertainment on Friday, March 2 from 6-10 p.m. at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, AZ. Saturday, March 3 will begin with a ride to Phoenix International Raceway to enjoy the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series Race. Riders will start from three separate locations, including Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Radisson Hotel Phoenix Airport and Radisson Hotel Phoenix Chandler, and will arrive at the Phoenix International Raceway by 9 a.m. Tickets to the 2012 Checkered Flag Run can be purchased for $25 until March 1 by calling 1-866-498-RACE (7223) or through www.checkeredflagrun.com.(PIR)(1-31-2012)


    News from January 30, 2012

  • Danica to get owner points from Baldwin? Reutimann in the #10? Danica Patrick will be a guaranteed starter in the 2012 Daytona 500, using owner points from Tommy Baldwin Racing. Multiple sources say a deal is nearly complete to make Patrick a guaranteed starter in Stewart Haas Racing's #10 Chevy in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season opener, using owner points accrued last season by driver Dave Blaney in TBR's #36 Chevy. Blaney will now be forced to qualify for the "Great American Race" on time. Patrick is scheduled to run approximately 10 Sprint Cup races this season, and TBR driver David Reutimann will run many of the events Patrick does not; also in the #10 machine. While Patrick will drive Stewart Haas cars purchased from Hendrick Motorsports in her 10 races, Reutimann will steer Baldwin's cars in his outings. TBR will reportedly receive technical and pit crew support from SHR as part of the deal.(Sirius Speedway)(1-30-2012)

  • Kyle Busch wins SpeedFest Late Model race: Kyle Busch had to hold off some of the top short track talent in the country to do it, but Sunday afternoon he scored his career third SpeedFest Super Late Model victory at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA. He had to keep a hard charging Bubba Pollard at bay to record the win. Busch previously scored wins in the event in 2009 and 2010, when it was held at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Georgia.(Raceweek Illustrated) Also in the top 10: David Ragan finished 3rd, Chase Elliott finished 6th, Ross Kenseth finished 19th.(1-30-2012)

  • NASCAR and Turner restructure and extend digital partnership: NASCAR and Turner Sports announced a restructuring and extension of their long-standing digital partnership. The new agreement takes the relationship through 2016, with NASCAR managing business and editorial operations for its digital platforms beginning in 2013 and Turner Sports continuing to oversee advertising sales and sponsorships across NASCAR-branded digital platforms. Under the new partnership, NASCAR will assume operational control in 2013 of all of its interactive, digital and social media rights including technical operations and infrastructure of all NASCAR digital platforms. Turner will continue to represent sponsorships and advertising for all NASCAR digital platforms, with the unique users from the NASCAR digital properties continuing to roll up to the Turner digital portfolio. NASCAR's comprehensive digital and social media portfolio includes NASCAR.COM. NASCAR.COM, and the sport's other digital and social media platforms, have been managed by Turner Sports since 2001.(NASCAR)(1-30-212)

  • Mario Andretti Trophy goes to Tony Stewart: Racing legend Mario Andretti presented his namesake trophy to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart on SPEED Center earlier this evening, acknowledging the three-time champion's Chase run as the difference maker among a very impressive field of finalists for the annual SPEED Performer of the Year presented by ACE. "This is an awesome moment in my career," Stewart said on the program. "I grew up in Indiana watching this guy a lot. Winning any award is an honor, but winning one with Mario's name on it is very special." Five of this year's seven finalists received first-place votes, including Stewart, runner-up Casey Stoner; AMA Supercross/Motocross champion Ryan Villipoto; last year's SPEED Performer of the Year, Sebastian Vettel, and USAC/WoO phenom Kyle Larson. "I get to see the best of the best and, Tony, you are in that company," said Andretti, who actually noticed Stewart's calm demeanor during the Chase and texted the driver, "I smell championship." The award, now in its sixth season, is presented annually by SPEED to the racer who puts a premium on winning races, shines on motor sports' biggest stages and does it all with a measure of sportsmanship and class. The 2011 SPEED Performer of the Year was selected by a panel including racing legends Andretti and Dan Gurney, "Wind Tunnel" host Dave Despain, veteran broadcasters Varsha, Ralph Sheheen and Leigh Diffey, SPEED.com writers Robin Miller and Tom Jensen, versatile racers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder and a select group of SPEED motor sports producers. The trophy, a true work of art created by bronze sculptor Elie Hazak, stands 38 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds. It features eight cars, including six of the most important in Mario's rise to superstardom, as well as an array of artistic symbolism that captures the essence of the trophy's namesake.(SPEED)(1-30-2012)

  • Schrader scheduled to run nine races for FAS Lane: Continuing its long and successful partnership, Federated Auto Parts will once again sponsor NASCAR legend Ken Schrader and his race teams during the 2012 season. "Kenny Schrader has become synonymous with Federated Auto Parts and we are honored to continue our long and winning association with this racing legend," said J.R. Bishop, director of racing and event marketing for Federated. "Kenny is extremely popular with our members, their customers and race fans everywhere. Whenever we host a hospitality event with him, we get rave reviews." Federated will be the primary sponsor for Schrader and FAS Lane Racing in nine NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2012 beginning with the Las Vegas race on March 11. For the remaining Sprint Cup Races this season, Federated will serve as an associate sponsor for FAS Lane Racing. Schrader will continue in his role as the official spokesman for Federated and will once again host the annual "Get Dirty with Kenny" promotion at Schrader's own dirt track, the newly named Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. Federated will also serve as the official parts supplier to Ken Schrader Racing.(Schrader Racing)
    AND the nine scheduled races are: Las Vegas on March 11; Martinsville on April 1; Michigan on June 17; Kentucky on June 30; New Hampshire on July 15; Bristol on Aug. 25; Richmond on Sept. 8; Texas on Nov. 4 and Homestead on Nov. 18.(Schrader Racing Facebook)(1-30-2012)

  • Means Hamilton plans change UPDATE: With Daytona less than eight weeks away, co-owner Jimmy Means says that the newly formed team will try to attempt all 36 races in 2012. "Our intentions are to run every [race]," says Means. "But we've got do to [approach] them one at a time and take it from there." This will be Jimmy Means' second stint as an owner in NASCAR's top division. Once an owner-driver, over half of Means' starts in Sprint Cup came from 1978 to 1993. As any team at any level in NASCAR has experienced, sponsorship is harder to find in a shaky economy. However, Hamilton-Means Racing plans on their #52 Ford Fusion to show up at the track, with or without financial backing. "We're not relying on sponsorship to determine where we go or not," says Means. "We're just trying to get all the pieces together and have some different equipment to have a legitimate chance of making the races. Sponsorship is not really an issue at this time, but [we're] looking for it." The team is also willing to start and park events to keep afloat. "That's probably what we will have to do to start this." With a long list of free agents available this off-season, HMR has narrowed its list of possible drivers for 2012, but no formal announcement has been made. "[We will announce] probably in a few weeks." Means also told us his Nationwide team plans on keeping the #52 car running full-time with a driver announcement for that ride coming soon.(HMR)
    BUT: HMR's Twitter says the car will be a Toyota and at Phoenix, so no word if they will attempt to make the Daytona 500.(1-29-2012)
    UPDATE: HMR's plan of attempting the Daytona 500 have been put on hold. With a delay in obtaining some essential equipment needed for the effort, the team has decided to push the first start of the season back to Phoenix [in March] or Bristol [in March]. Engines and cars have been purchased, certification process is near completion, and the team plans further announcements later this week.(HMR)(1-30-2012)

  • Bill Elliott & Walmart team up for Daytona in July UPDATE: Walmart announced Thursday that they will expand their merchandise program in 2012, the 50th anniversary of the retail giant. While the merchandise partnership isn't new, Walmart will take to the track for the first time with a Chevy built by Turner Motorsports and driven by Bill Elliott. However the effort, as of now, is for only one race; the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July. The company wanted to get on the track this year with the #50 Chevy and Elliott to help celebrate the 50th birthday of the company in July and just wants to 'have a lot of fun with it', said Rand Waddoups, senior director Entertainment Properties and Brands for Walmart. The company has no shop has hired no personnel and has no plans beyond the single race. 'But we have six months yet', Waddoups added.(NASCAR Examiner), see images of the car on my #50 Team Schemes page.(1-26-2012)
    UPDATE: Walmart announced it is expanding its Race Time 2012 program to give fans more accessibility to discounted race tickets, driver appearances and fan events at stores, a greater selection of authentic NASCAR merchandise and a special sponsorship of Bill Elliott at the Coke Zero 400. Walmart's Race Time program, launched last year as the largest retail promotion in NASCAR history, gives fans authentic merchandise and fan events at Walmart stores in every NASCAR Sprint Cup series race market. This year, Walmart has more than tripled the number of companies offering displays of authentic merchandise, doubled the number of fan events at stores and increased the race markets where the $99 Walmart Family Track Pack will be offered. For more about Walmart's Race Time 2012 program and the races the $99 Walmart Family Track Pack will be available at Walmart.com/NASCAR.(Walmart/Mitchell Communications Group)(1-30-2012)

  • Yeley to drive for Robinson-Blakeney IMAGES: Newly established Sprint Cup team Robinson-Blakeney Racing has tabbed J.J. Yeley to drive its #49 Toyota for the 2012 season. In addition, Yeley will be reunited with crew chief Tony Furr, who has been hired to coordinate and direct the upstart endeavor. "I am energized and looking forward to working with [owner and manager] Jay Robinson and our team beginning at Daytona in the Duel 150 race and building success all the way to Homestead," said Yeley, who has 11 top-10 finishes in his Cup career. "I have enjoyed a good working relationship in the past with Tony Furr as my crew chief and am happy to be partnered with him again on this team." Furr brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and has the tools available to formulate a competitive effort at Robinson-Blakeney Racing. "I am excited to again be working with a talented driver like J.J., as well as the rest of the team and owners at Robinson-Blakeney Racing," Furr said. In addition to its first year in Cup, Robinson-Blakeney Racing returns for its 12th season of competition in the Nationwide Series in the #28 car. "We are preparing the team for a very successful 2012 season and we are very pleased to announce our partnerships with Tony and J.J.", Robinson said.(NASCAR.com)(1-25-2012)
    IMAGES: see images of the car on my #49 Team Schemes page.(1-30-2012)

  • Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Patriarch, Passes: Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Founder and Chairman of the Board, passed away today at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Center, surrounded by his loving family, following a lengthy illness. He was 86. "Doc" as he was known to friends and associates, was one of the most respected and admired men in automobile racing. He founded Pocono Raceway in the early 1960's and has been at the helm of Pocono ever since. Under his leadership, the track grew in stature and has hosted 68 very successful NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Events. His passion and drive helped Pocono Raceway succeed when other tracks fell by the wayside. Pocono Raceway is the only remaining family owned and run track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. He was always concerned that race fans and race car drivers and their families were treated with the upmost respect and constantly upgraded procedures and Raceway facilities to meet that goal.
    He kept his fingers on the pulse of stock car racing and read everything printed concerning the sport. He was in the office daily, until last fall, and oversaw all aspects of the Pocono Raceway operations. At age 83, Dr. Mattioli spearheaded an ambitious solar energy project. He built a three megawatt photovoltaic solar energy system on 25 acres at Pocono Raceway. It is the world's largest solar-powered sports facility, making Pocono Raceway a leader in the renewable energy and environmental fields.
    Dr. Mattioli was also well respected in the community. In 2009, he received the Philanthropic Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for his generous and continuous contributions to local civic organizations, hospitals, schools and charities. He served on the board of directors of numerous organizations and was dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
    He served in the Pacific during World War Two as a Navy medic. Using the G.I. bill, he enrolled in the dentistry program at Temple University (where he met his soon to be wife, Rose.) Upon graduation, he developed his dental practice into a very lucrative business by working 12 to 14 hour days, six and sometimes seven days a week. He then began investing in and developing properties in Philadelphia and Northeastern Pennsylvania where he became involved in the start up of Pocono Raceway.
    Dr. Mattioli is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dr. Rose, daughters Louie and Michele and son Joseph Mattioli III, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His passing leaves a void in the NASCAR community and especially to his family and extended "Pocono Raceway" family. Service Arrangements for Dr. Joseph Mattioli are incomplete at this time.(Pocono Raceway) for services / arrangements, see my Sad News page(1-26-2012)
    Mattioli Family statement regarding the large turnout this evening for the Dr. Mattioli viewing: "We all knew Doc touched many lives, but we are blown away by the amount of people who have come to pay their respects to the man we all loved so much. I think he would have been overwhelmed, as much as our family has been, on the number of people who have come here tonight. On behalf of our family and the employees of Pocono Raceway, thank you for your support, not only tonight but over these last few days. It means the world to us all."(Pocono Raceway)(1-30-2012)


    News from January 29, 2012

  • Allmendinger wins Rolex 24 At Daytona: On his ninth attempt, team owner Michael Shank finally captured America's most prestigious sports car race  the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team of Oswaldo Negri, John Pew, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson in the #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley survived a tight battle for the lead in the final hours to take home the grueling twice-around-the-clock challenge. Finishing a few seconds behind the #60 Ford was the pole-winning #8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley and Ryan Dalziel, Alex Popow, Lucas Luhr, Allan McNish and Enzo Potolicchio. Shank Racing took the final spot on the podium with the #6 Ford Riley with Michael McDowell, Jorge Goncalvez, Gustavo Yacaman and Sunoco Rolex 24 Driver Challenge winner Felipe Nasr. In the competitive GT class, the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche with John Potter, Andy Lally, Richard Lietz and Rene Rast were victorious.(Daytona International Speedway)(1-29-2012)

  • Hendrick says deal with #51 team doesn't circumvent four-team cap: Rick Hendrick bristled at the suggestion that his Hendrick Motorsports team might be seen as gaining an unfair advantage through its relationship with #51 Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch. Hendrick, who says Finch has been a "good friend and a good engine customer" through the years, scoffed at the idea that the single-car team is a satellite operation of his own four-team program and might be seen as a fifth entry for the 10-time championship group. "Every car he runs, he owns," Hendrick said of Finch. "Every motor he gets, he pays for." Phoenix Racing is a single-car operation in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, and has typically fielded cars for select events each season. The Spartanburg, S.C.-based team, which has purchased chassis and leased engines from Hendrick in the past, did compete in all 36 races in 2011, however, with four drivers. Now that Kurt Busch, the 2004 Cup champion, has joined the #51 team, Hendrick said the change could result in a move to a more proven product as far as engines are concerned. Since 2006, NASCAR has allowed team owners to field no more than four full-time teams, with an exception for an organization that seeks to field a fifth car on a limited basis for an up-and-coming driver. Organizations such as Hendrick, Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing (through its Roush Yates Engines group) provide such assistance, at a price. In return, in addition to any monetary profits (such as any vendor would receive) such programs can provide feedback and validation for the hardware being supplied. Owners cannot receive financial consideration based on the performance of those cars to which they provide services, and they may not have an ownership stake in the team or teams. NASCAR can ask to look at contracts and other financial documentation that show the pricing is legitimate.(SceneDaily)(1-29-2012)

  • Sad News - Harold Pearson: Harold D. Pearson, 78, of Chesterfield, VA passed away on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. He is survived by his loving wife, Diane C. Pearson; son, Christopher (Michelle) Pearson; sister, Shirley (Jimmy) Mayes; granddaughters, Pauline and Nora; grandson, Atticus; and a niece, Jackie Putnam. Harold was a retired sportswriter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Richmond Animal League, 11401 International Dr., Richmond, Va. 23236 (Richmond Times Dispatch)
    . Lanny Wadkins dealt with hundreds of journalists on a regular basis during his illustrious professional golf career. One of them, former Richmond Times-Dispatch staffer Harold Pearson, stood out to Wadkins. "I don't think, with all of the sportswriters I've ever met or come across, I've ever felt like I trusted someone as much as I did Harold," Wadkins, a Richmond native, said Wednesday. "He knew when I'd had a bad day, give me a little space. He understood. There aren't many (sportswriters) I considered friends. I definitely considered Harold a friend." Mr. Pearson, a Times-Dispatch sports staffer from 1965 to 1996, died Tuesday evening at 78 after a period of declining health. In addition to NASCAR and golf, sports on which his work focused, Mr. Pearson wrote about college and high school athletics. "During my time at the T-D, Harold was an integral part of our sports coverage," said Bill Millsaps, Times-Dispatch sports editor from 1973 to 1991. "He had good contacts in his areas of responsibility  golf and NASCAR  and he used them to educate and entertain our readers." Millsaps added that Mr. Pearson "was a kind and caring man," a compliment seconded by Wadkins. For decades, Mr. Pearson reported on elite professional golf events, and is remembered by Wadkins as "someone who cared about the game of golf. More importantly, he cared about the people he wrote about, which made him truly special. "He left a nice legacy, he really did." Following his time at the Times-Dispatch, Mr. Pearson edited Virginia Golfer, the official publication of the Virginia State Golf Association.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    Harold Pearson was part of the "in crowd'' in NASCAR when I first showed up at Daytona in 1980. He was a good friend of recent Hall of Fame inductee Tom Higgins, then the dean of stock car sports writers, and his close corhort, Steve Waid, also a Hall of Famer in my book. These guys knew just about everything there was to know about what was then a southern sport. They knew the drivers, crew chiefs, car owners and most of the secrets. To become a functioning writer in those days, you had to get to know the insiders and, somehow, become one of them. Harold Pearson, who worked for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, was one of the first of that crowd to accept me as a colleague and give me the kind of guidance that I needed. He was a fine writer and, beyond that, Harold was fun to be around.(Mike Harris/RacinToday)(1-29-2012)

  • Wurth Group joins #2 as associate sponsor: Penske Racing welcomes a new partner to its NASCAR Nationwide Series program in 2012 as The Wurth Group will sponsor the Dodge Challenger driven by Sam Hornish, Jr. The #12 Wurth Dodge will be featured as primary sponsor in seven races as it marks the beginning of a multi-year partnership between Wurth and Penske Racing. Wurth will also be an associate sponsor for the remaining 26 Nationwide Series races and also as an associate sponsor of #2 Miller Lite Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series. A leading supplier of high-quality automotive and industrial parts, cabinet supplies and fasteners, Wurth has more than 40,000 customers across the nation. With Wurth on board as a sponsor for 2012, Hornish and the #12 team will compete for the full Nationwide Series season, racing with Alliance Truck Parts as a partner as well.(Penske Racing)(1-29-2012)


    News from January 28, 2012

  • Wix Filters to sponsor Newman: WIX Filters announced plans to be the primary sponsor for Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas Racing for four races during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. WIX Filters will debut its primary sponsorship of Newman and his #39 Chevy at the season kick-off Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18. WIX will be Newman's primary sponsor for three additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events this year  at Phoenix on March 4, Darlington on May 12 and Michigan on Aug. 19. "Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing and their fans bring tremendous enthusiasm and excitement to the racing season," said Mike Harvey, brand manager for WIX Filters. "We can't wait to be onboard with them again in 2012. Our partnerships with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ryan have been some of our most successful in racing thanks to the support offered by the team and the way Ryan's fans have embraced our brand." WIX has been the Official Filter for Stewart-Haas Racing since the team's creation in 2009. In three starts with WIX Filters on the hood of the #39, Newman has three top-10 finishes  a sixth-place effort at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2010, a third-place finish in last season's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway and a fifth-place effort at Michigan International Speedway in August 2011. "I'm excited to have WIX Filters back as a partner in 2012," said Newman. "They have a great support program, find cool ways to get fans involved and most importantly provide us with superior filters to protect our engines."(WIX Fix Filters)(1-28-2012)

  • No more 'secret' fines by NASCAR UPDATE: NASCAR will no longer fine its teams and drivers without making the fines public, the governing body announced Wednesday. NASCAR was criticized harshly last season after fining Brad Keselowski $25,000 for publicly criticizing NASCAR's switch to fuel injection and never making the fine public. The existence of the fine was uncovered by a media outlet and later confirmed by the Penske Racing driver. Other drivers have said they were fined in secret. Denny Hamlin was fined in 2010 for suggesting on Twitter that NASCAR issues phantom caution flags during races. Ryan Newman was fined that same season for critical comments about the racing at Talladega Superspeedway after a major wreck. NASCAR chairman Brian France said during the 2011 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway he would look into the issue and consider a change. It came on Wednesday. "NASCAR will no longer issue fines that are undisclosed,'' the governing body said in a statement. "We looked at this issue from every angle and gathered feedback from the industry. While there are always sensitivities related to sponsor relationships and other leagues may continue issuing disclosed and undisclosed fines, NASCAR has decided that all fines moving forward will be made public after the competitor or organization that has been penalized has been informed.''(ESPN.com)(1-26-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR CEO Brian France said Thursday the sanctioning body still would fine its members for disparaging the sport in the wake of abolishing its policy of private punishments. "If you challenge the integrity of the sport, we're going to deal with that," France said. "What's really interesting is I can't tell you how many owners or drivers come up to me and say, 'Thanks for doing that because some of these comments were irresponsible and unhelpful to growing the sport.' Now, having said that, you can be critical of things you don't think we're doing well, in particular a race call. You can say, 'I don't think I was speeding; I disagree with that.' We understand that. It's when you go after the integrity of the sport is where we will step in, and they will be public." In the past two years, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman were punished for making comments (or in Hamlin's case, posting on Twitter) that NASCAR deemed detrimental to its brand. Keselowski privately was fined $25,000 for criticizing the switch to fuel injection during a fan forum at the NASCAR Hall of Fame last November. When news of the penalty leaked, it drew plenty of derision from fans and news media. "In terms of going public with it, we didn't have a real strong position on that," France said. "It seemed to bother some people in November when we talked about this. So we didn't feel strongly (about the fines being private). If (making them public) is something that people think is a good thing, we were happy to do it."(USA Today)(1-28-2012)

  • Open testing for repaved tracks: NASCAR said there will be open tests at Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Kansas Speedway, all of which are being repaved this year. The sessions will occur a few weeks before the event or on the Thursday before the race.(USA Today)(1-28-2012)

  • Speedway official: Judge overturned jury verdict: A Superior Court judge has overturned a jury verdict that would have forced New Hampshire Motor Speedway to pay nearly $1 million in damages to the Motor Racing Network Inc., according to the speedway's general manager. "We really feel like we went through the legal system and that justice was done," Jerry Gappens, who also is the speedway's executive vice president, said Thursday night. In late September, a Merrimack County Superior Court ordered the speedway to pay Motor Racing Network $993,724 in damages for an alleged termination of a broadcasting agreement without three years' notice. Judge Richard B. McNamara had ruled prior to the trial that the agreement between the parties was not an enforceable contract, but allowed the case to go to trial solely on the issue of whether New Hampshire Speedway made a promise to Motor Racing Network, that the radio broadcaster relied on that promise and incurred damages as a result of its being broken. The speedway immediately appealed the jury's verdict to McNamara; on Thursday he reversed it, Gappens said. "I was stunned in September. I walked out of the courtroom in disbelief," he said. "I wasn't surprised today, but I'm certainly very pleased." According to court records, Motor Racing Network broadcast races at the speedway from approximately 1990 through 2008. Speedway Motorsports Inc. bought the track in January 2008 and replaced Motor Racing Network with its own radio network, Performance Racing Network, according to court records.(New Hampshire Union Leader)(1-28-2012)

  • Roush Fenway to Commemorate "25 Winning Years" in 2012: Coming off one of the strongest seasons in its quarter-decade history, Roush Fenway Racing will commemorate 2012 by celebrating its 25th Anniversary of racing at NASCAR's highest levels. Roush Fenway kicked off its "25 Winning Years" program this week on Charlotte Motor Speedway's annual media tour, where they asked media to name what it considers the top moment of the organization's celebrated 24-year racing history. "We've had a number of critical milestones since we started in 1988," said team co-owner Jack Roush. "I looked around the room at the media tour at all the trophies we had on display and there is a great deal of emotion that comes to mind when I see each piece. Each trophy has a different story and represents a different milestone and sacrifice. From the first win with Mark Martin at Rockingham in 1989 to our 299th win last season with Trevor Bayne in Texas, they all mean something. Along the way we've won multiple championships in all three NASCAR Series, with Greg (Biffle) getting the first two and Matt Kenseth getting our first Cup championship in 2003." Since founding the company in 1988, Jack Roush has seen the organization amass a record 299 victories. Roush Fenway currently boasts 125 Sprint Cup wins and is the winningest team in both NASCAR's Nationwide and Truck Series'. To properly commemorate the season, Roush Fenway will celebrate four specific areas vital to the organization's success in 2012; performance, people, partners and innovation.(Roush Fenway Racing)(1-27-2012)


    News from January 27, 2012

  • Racing great A.J. Foyt in hospital: A.J. Foyt has been hospitalized in Houston for complications from knee surgery and will skip the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The 77-year-old Foyt had knee surgery two weeks ago, and an infection sent him to the hospital Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Friday that Foyt may stay in the hospital through the weekend. She said he had been up and walking since the surgery but developed an infection this week. Foyt is the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Foyt was scheduled to be the grand marshal Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(1-27-2012)

  • NASCAR to re-evaluate 'boys have at it' policy: NASCAR officials plan to re-evaluate its "boys have at it" policy going into the 2012 season and could strengthen its stance against drivers retaliating on the track. NASCAR loosened the reins on drivers in 2010, allowing them to police themselves on the track and retaliate when they believed another driver had intentionally wrecked them. The incidents intensified in 2011, and NASCAR officials acknowledged that things might have gotten out of hand near the end of the season. "We reflect on that at the end of the year and the season hasn't started yet, but there are some things that a group of us will sit down and talk about, and that is one of them," NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Thursday. "There were times that it got out of hand, and we're going to discuss what out of hand really is moving forward." Pemberton said he doesn't believe the trend of retaliation in general got out of hand, although specific incidents may have crossed the line. Pemberton, who coined the phrase "boys have at it" in 2010, believes NASCAR's original position of allowing drivers to police themselves still works. "It's working pretty well. It goes in stages," he said. "It works pretty well, then somebody gets outside the box and everybody gets the message and it goes back to working pretty well. But we can't take all of that for granted."(SceneDaily)(1-27-2012)

  • NASCAR's Brian France Says 'Sport Is In A Very Good Place': NASCAR and its stakeholders intend to build on the success of 2011 as the new season begins with the Feb. 26 Daytona 500 and other Speedweeks events at Daytona International Speedway. In his State of NASCAR remarks delivered during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said, "The sport is in a very good place and we're going to work even harder to achieve the very best things for the sport of NASCAR well into the future." France pointed to initiatives begun a year ago  a simplified points structure in all three national series and a "Wild Card" twist in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup that placed a greater emphasis on race victories  which culminated in what France called "a championship battle that will be talked about for decades to come." While the 2012 season will be one of continuity rather than major change, NASCAR will introduce electronic fuel injection into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and implement rules designed to restore traditional "pack racing" at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. "We have had a breathtaking number of close finishes at those tracks, but the fans want a mixture of styles including a return to a more traditional 'pack racing' and that close side-by-side competition that's unique to Talladega and Daytona," France said. "NASCAR and the teams are working hard on this and based on the test earlier this month, we're encouraged that we're making progress." France also said the sanctioning body continues to operate on a more collaborative method of maintaining and growing the industry by taking into consideration the thoughts and needs of teams, tracks, media partners and especially its fans. "The goal of this effort is to help us better serve our great fans, grow our audience and ensure that our sport stays relevant, vibrant and highly-valuable to sponsors and other partners critical to the health of NASCAR," said France. "The industry has never been more united in growing the sport." France said the organization is "very encouraged" by increased television ratings across its three national series  NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He also pointed to attendance gains at a number of venues. "While we are still in a tough economic climate that is still difficult, we are pleased with some positive steps we saw last year," he said. France and Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president, competition and racing development, touched on how EFI and the introduction in 2013 of re-styled NASCAR Sprint Cup cars from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota will make the sport more relevant to manufacturers and technology companies. "EFI excites the manufacturers and technology companies," said France, responding to questioning about NASCAR's embrace of technology. "To attract new companies (to the sport), we've had to take a little different view of that." Ford earlier this week unveiled its 2013 Fusion prototype with the other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to follow in the near future. A closed test of the cars is scheduled early next month with additional testing to follow before final specifications are drawn.(NASCAR)(1-27-2012)

  • Ward & Jeb Burton to race in Truck Series: After a five-year absence from competing in a NASCAR race, Ward Burton will drive at Daytona in February in the NextEra Energy 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. Burton and his 19-year-old son, Jeb, have teamed with Hillman Racing in the Truck Series to run the #27 Chevy this season. Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 winner and brother of current Richard Childress Racing team member Jeff Burton, stepped away from the sport in 2007 to help Jeb's racing career as well as work with the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation. Burton had five career wins in in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series and four in the Nationwide Series. Jeb moves up from the NASCAR Whelen All-American series to the Truck Series. Ward will race at Daytona because Jeb is not yet qualified to run at Daytona. Burton also will make select starts throughout the truck series schedule. The younger Burton will make his debut behind the wheel in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville on March 31. Atop the pit box for the #27 will be Richmond native Trip Bruce, who worked with Burton in his Sprint Cup days at Bill Davis Racing.(Richmond Times Dispatch / hillmanracing.com)(1-27-2012)

  • Andretti's team up for Daytona 24: The worlds of NASCAR, IndyCar, USAC and the Rolex Series will come together next week as part of the No. 36 Yellow Dragon Motorsports Mazda RX-8 driver line-up for the 50th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The father and son team of John and Jarett Andretti highlight the entry and will race together for the first time. Joining them will be Mazda sports car racing veteran Taylor Hacquard, and promising Mazda open-wheel driver Anders Krohn, forming Yellow Dragon's most impressive Rolex 24 driver squad to date. With 12 Indy 500 and 14 Daytona 500 starts to his credit, John Andretti is one of America's most accomplished racers, and as the overall winner of the 1989 Rolex 24 At Daytona, returning to race at the storied endurance event with his son Jarett-and with the support of Window World--was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. "This will be my fourth Rolex 24, and the opportunity to race with Jarett was the deciding factor," he said. "The 50thAnniversary of the race is also a major motivation, and I'm looking forward to working with Window World, the team and other drivers in this historic event with a winning manufacturer like Mazda." After earning a USAC championship in 2011, Jarett Andretti is poised to show the kind of versatility that has become synonymous with his last name. Trading midget racing for the wail of a triple-rotor Mazda RX-8, the teenager will draw from the experience of his father and teammates during his professional road racing debut.(Yellow Dragon Motorsports PR)(1-27-2012)


    News from January 26, 2012

  • Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Patriarch, Passes: Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Founder and Chairman of the Board, passed away today at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Center, surrounded by his loving family, following a lengthy illness. He was 86. "Doc" as he was known to friends and associates, was one of the most respected and admired men in automobile racing. He founded Pocono Raceway in the early 1960's and has been at the helm of Pocono ever since. Under his leadership, the track grew in stature and has hosted 68 very successful NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Events. His passion and drive helped Pocono Raceway succeed when other tracks fell by the wayside. Pocono Raceway is the only remaining family owned and run track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. He was always concerned that race fans and race car drivers and their families were treated with the upmost respect and constantly upgraded procedures and Raceway facilities to meet that goal.
    He kept his fingers on the pulse of stock car racing and read everything printed concerning the sport. He was in the office daily, until last fall, and oversaw all aspects of the Pocono Raceway operations. At age 83, Dr. Mattioli spearheaded an ambitious solar energy project. He built a three megawatt photovoltaic solar energy system on 25 acres at Pocono Raceway. It is the world's largest solar-powered sports facility, making Pocono Raceway a leader in the renewable energy and environmental fields.
    Dr. Mattioli was also well respected in the community. In 2009, he received the Philanthropic Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for his generous and continuous contributions to local civic organizations, hospitals, schools and charities. He served on the board of directors of numerous organizations and was dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
    He served in the Pacific during World War Two as a Navy medic. Using the G.I. bill, he enrolled in the dentistry program at Temple University (where he met his soon to be wife, Rose.) Upon graduation, he developed his dental practice into a very lucrative business by working 12 to 14 hour days, six and sometimes seven days a week. He then began investing in and developing properties in Philadelphia and Northeastern Pennsylvania where he became involved in the start up of Pocono Raceway.
    Dr. Mattioli is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dr. Rose, daughters Louie and Michele and son Joseph Mattioli III, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His passing leaves a void in the NASCAR community and especially to his family and extended "Pocono Raceway" family. Service Arrangements for Dr. Joseph Mattioli are incomplete at this time.(Pocono Raceway)(1-26-2012)

  • Miller, Keselwoski & Wolfe signed thru 2015: #2-Brad Keselowski's extension with Penske Racing is for two years, with an organization option for a third year in 2015, team sources confirmed Thursday. Keselowski was entering the last year of his initial three-year deal with Penske. The team had announced Dec. 1 that an extension was signed, but no terms were disclosed. Crew chief Paul Wolfe and sponsor Miller Lite also have re-signed through 2015.(ESPN.com)
    AND Miller Lite has renewed its partnership with Penske Racing. Miller Lite will continue as the season-long primary sponsor of Penske's #2 Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski, building upon an alliance that began in 1991. For Miller Lite, its sponsorship extension with Penske and Keselowski comes after an amazing 2011 season, Keselowski's second full year on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Keselowski and his Miller Lite team surged from deep in the driver standings as late as mid-July to win three races, qualify for the Chase and finish fifth in the championship standings. Keselowski and the Blue Deuce are featured throughout the year in Miller Lite-branded point-of-sale materials displayed in on- and off-premise retail accounts across the country, as well as in advertising and digital marketing. Keselowski and members of his crew also make special appearances at retail accounts to visit Miller Lite customers throughout the season. "The #2 Miller Lite Dodge is coming off a very successful season on the racetrack - one where we reached Victory Lane for a sixth-consecutive season while qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup," said Roger Penske. "The continued support of MillerCoors will ensure that this long-standing partnership will remain one of the strongest bonds in professional motorsports. With Miller Lite, we are proud to have one of the few full-season sponsors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. That continuity is one of the many reasons Brad and the team are primed for another great season."(Penske Racing)(1-26-2012)

  • NASCAR and MillerCoors extend partnership: NASCAR, MillerCoors and Penske Racing jointly announced multi-year partnership extensions for the brewer's two biggest brands. For MillerCoors, the deals with the sanctioning body and one of the sport's most respected teams solidify its status among the most committed sponsors in NASCAR. In addition, MillerCoors has alliances with seven tracks that host NASCAR races. Coors Light is extending its sponsorship as the Official Beer of NASCAR.
    MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Andy England said the renewals point to the value of NASCAR as a powerful way to connect with legal-drinking-age consumers. "We don't make investment decisions like this without having a great sense of exactly what the alliance will deliver for our brands," England said. "That's why I'm so excited about our continued partnerships with NASCAR and with Penske Racing. NASCAR fans are among the most passionate and loyal fans in all of sports, and they love nothing more than getting together with friends to watch the race while enjoying a cold, refreshing Coors Light or a great tasting, never watered down Miller Lite. Our distributors and retailers know that, which is why they're so supportive of our leadership in the sport."
    The Coors Light partnership with NASCAR includes the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which rewards the driver with the fastest qualifying time each week. It also includes the exclusive right to use NASCAR marks on retail point-of-sale and merchandising materials, in advertising and digital marketing, and through other marketing tools.
    Coors Light brings special insight to race fans through its Miss Coors Light program, which began at the start of the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and continued throughout the 2011 season. Miss Coors Light, who will be back in 2012, presents the Coors Light Pole Award to the winning driver, makes appearances during race week at local bars and provides her perspective on NASCAR activities via the Miss Coors Light Facebook page.
    "The return of MillerCoors to NASCAR not only ensures that the company will bring back compelling activation that continues to engage and excite our fans, but it also benefits our ecosystem as a whole, which is comprised of tracks, drivers and teams," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer. "As a sanctioning body, NASCAR is proud to have Coors Light as part of our stable of Official Partners for whom we create exclusive assets and platforms to drive their respective businesses. NASCAR is the sport that works for business, and we're pleased to see it working so well for MillerCoors."(NASCAR)(1-26-2012)

  • Speed and #95 team plans to run 16 races: Scott Speed will drive a partial Sprint Cup Series schedule for Leavine Family Racing this season, focusing mostly on the 1.5-mile tracks and road courses. Team owner Bob Leavine was impressed with Speed's ability to out-qualify his car last season with inferior equipment and decided to give the ex-Formula One racer a shot. The team plans to avoid start-and-parking if possible and run the full races it enters, beginning with the Texas Motor Speedway race in April. "You can make more money doing (start-and-parks), for sure, but that's not what Bob wants to do," Speed said Tuesday night. "We want to be professional about it. We're going to look good, we're going to have all of our stuff right and represent our brand and what we're doing the right way and not just be another start-and-park team." Leavine gets its engines from Roush Fenway Racing (on a lower tier) and buys used Roush cars to field its #95 entry (which David Starr drove last season). "We're going about it the right way  as much as you can be," Speed said. "We're not a fully-funded team that's running a full year. But instead of doing a lot, we're doing what we can and doing it right. If we're running well, the pedal is to the floor." The team won't run the superspeedway races, because that requires buying a special car and hoping it survives a crapshoot race. But it will purchase a car for the road courses, Speed said, because those events are "probably more in our control."(SB Nation)
    AND "There are a lot of great drivers who don't have a ride," said Speed. "It's a tough time in our sport and I am lucky to have the opportunity here at Levine Family Racing because it's one of the good ones out there. We are doing 16 races and we are going to do them right including the two road course races. We are going to go out and race when we have the ability to run and run it right."(CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-26-2012)

  • Bill Elliott & Walmart team up for Daytona in July: Walmart announced Thursday that they will expand their merchandise program in 2012, the 50th anniversary of the retail giant. While the merchandise partnership isn't new, Walmart will take to the track for the first time with a Chevy built by Turner Motorsports and driven by Bill Elliott. However the effort, as of now, is for only one race; the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July. The company wanted to get on the track this year with the #50 Chevy and Elliott to help celebrate the 50th birthday of the company in July and just wants to 'have a lot of fun with it', said Rand Waddoups, senior director Entertainment Properties and Brands for Walmart. The company has no shop has hired no personnel and has no plans beyond the single race. 'But we have six months yet', Waddoups added.(NASCAR Examiner), see images of the car on my #50 Team Schemes page.(1-26-2012)

  • Caterpillar to sponsor Burton for 24 races: Caterpillar will be the primary sponsor on Jeff Burton's #31 Chevy for 21 of the 36 Sprint Cup races in 2012. Caterpillar also will sponsor the 31 car in three non-points events  the Budweiser Shootout and Gatorade Duels at Daytona and the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte. In all other races, Caterpillar will still have a major presence on the car. Included in the Caterpillar races are both Talladega dates, Las Vegas, both Texas races, both Kansas races, the June race at Michigan, the night race at Bristol, Watkins Glen and Chicago. Caterpillar will be the primary sponsor for eight of the 10 Chase races. "We're very pleased," said Greg Towles, Caterpillar's NASCAR program director. "We got the races we wanted." Not on the schedule is the Brickyard 400, which Caterpillar has often relinquished to other primary sponsors in the past. Towles said that race is a tough sell to Caterpillar's dealers and customers because hospitality is costly. The 21 races will include specialty paint schemes, including a patriotic theme for the All-Star Race. In past years, the company has used the car to showcase different divisions such as Cat Rental, Cat Financial and, last year, Cat Global Mining, and Towles said that program will continue. With the departure of Clint Bowyer from Richard Childress Racing, General Mills' Wheaties brand also will be a primary sponsor for Burton this year. And on Tuesday, it was announced that BB&T, another one of Bowyer's former sponsors, will be the primary for five of Burton's races in 2012.(Peoria Journal Star)(1-26-2012)

  • TaxSlayer.com Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence Announced: TaxSlayer.com and Charlotte Motor Speedway announced the winners of the 27th Annual TaxSlayer.com Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway. This year marked the most competitive contest to date, as a record-setting 200 entries were submitted. The 2011 honorees were Don Coble (Morris News Service/Florida Times-Union), David Caraviello (NASCAR.com), Alan Cavanna (WSOC), Justin Burnett (SPEED) and Will Lester (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin) for outstanding motorsports coverage in 2011. To view the winning entries, visit charlottemotorspeedway.com/catlinaward/2012winners. The TaxSlayer.com Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence recognize the best motorsports coverage in five categories: Daily and Other Writing, Local and National Broadcast and Photojournalism. Entries are open to all forms of motorsports coverage, and no affiliation or membership is required for participation. As in years past, the Indiana University School of Journalism judged the award entries. The recipients were honored at a ceremony held in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Winners received a trophy and $1,000 scholarship from TaxSlayer.com in their names to the school of their choice. Their names were also added to a perpetual trophy housed at Charlotte Motor Speedway that lists all past winners.(CMS)(1-26-2012)

  • No more 'secret' fines by NASCAR: NASCAR will no longer fine its teams and drivers without making the fines public, the governing body announced Wednesday. NASCAR was criticized harshly last season after fining Brad Keselowski $25,000 for publicly criticizing NASCAR's switch to fuel injection and never making the fine public. The existence of the fine was uncovered by a media outlet and later confirmed by the Penske Racing driver. Other drivers have said they were fined in secret. Denny Hamlin was fined in 2010 for suggesting on Twitter that NASCAR issues phantom caution flags during races. Ryan Newman was fined that same season for critical comments about the racing at Talladega Superspeedway after a major wreck. NASCAR chairman Brian France said during the 2011 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway he would look into the issue and consider a change. It came on Wednesday. "NASCAR will no longer issue fines that are undisclosed,'' the governing body said in a statement. "We looked at this issue from every angle and gathered feedback from the industry. While there are always sensitivities related to sponsor relationships and other leagues may continue issuing disclosed and undisclosed fines, NASCAR has decided that all fines moving forward will be made public after the competitor or organization that has been penalized has been informed.''(ESPN.com)(1-26-2012)

  • Harvicks expecting a baby: #29-Kevin Harvick said Wednesday night his wife is 14 weeks pregnant. Harvick announced DeLana Harvick's pregnancy during a media event at Richard Childress Racing. The couple closed their race team at the end of last season and said they were excited to use all the free time they were about to acquire.(Associated Press)(1-26-2012)

  • Kentucky Speedway Infrastructure Improvements Outlined: Kentucky Speedway officials presented national reporters an overview of infrastructure projects in progress at the 107,000-capacity Sparta, Ky., facility during the annual NASCAR preseason media tour today. Outlined projects will be complete before Kentucky Speedway opens its five-race 2012 schedule with a NASCAR tripleheader weekend featuring the Sprint Cup Series "Quaker State 400," Nationwide Series "Feed The Children 300," and Camping World Truck Series "UNOH 225" June 28-30. The speedway will play host to a second 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Sept. 22 and a 225-mile NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Sept. 21.
    This season, Kentucky Speedway will feature:
    Expanded Parking: Kentucky Speedway purchased two large land parcels adjacent to the north side of Kentucky Highway 35 which will be converted to expansive new parking fields. Kentucky Speedway also repurposed portions of its original acreage for additional parking.
    Easier Facility Access: The state of Kentucky has committed to widening the Interstate 71 exit ramp at Ky. 35, widening Ky. 35 to seven lanes at points where it services the speedway and constructing a pedestrian tunnel which will safely connect new parking fields to the Kentucky Speedway grounds.
    A New Traffic Plan: Kentucky Speedway will execute a new pedestrian and automotive traffic plan.
    Infrastructure Improvements: Kentucky Speedway will construct and overpass to its infield tunnel road that will separate tram traffic and infield traffic. The speedway also will expand restrooms.
    Improved Campsites: Expanded campgrounds will feature enhanced campsites, many with access to electric service.
    "We want the chance to prove ourselves. You'll see when you come back, all the improvements," Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith said. Five-race season ticket plans, a three-race June Weekend Ticket Package that includes a 1:24 scale Dale Earnhardt, Jr., die-cast collectible along with season and weekend campsites are available now at 859-578-2300, by going to Kentuckyspeedway.com, the Kentucky Speedway corporate offices at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, Ky., 41806 off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and state Highway 35.(Kentucky Speedway)(1-26-2012)


    News from January 25, 2012

  • Sadler to run Daytona 500 for RCR: General Mills and The Kroger Co. announced it will partner with Richard Childress Racing and veteran driver Elliott Sadler on the #33 Chevy for the 54th annual Daytona 500 on February 26, 2012 at Daytona International Speedway. "It's great to be back in the Daytona 500. I've had a lot of success in this race in the past and want to thank General Mills, Kroger and Richard Childress for this opportunity," said Elliott Sadler. "When we started putting this program together the first thing that came to mind is how strong RCR's plate program has always been. We're going to go out and have a legitimate chance to win the race. Speedweeks can't get here soon enough!" General Mills, entering its fourth year of partnership with the Welcome, N.C.-based organization, is teaming up with The Kroger Co. for a special paint scheme celebrating the great brands from both organizations. The special red, white and blue paint scheme adorning Sadler's Chevrolet for "The Great American Race" will feature the Kroger Co. Family of Stores, Fred Meyer Jewelers and several General Mills brands. The Minneapolis, Minn.-based General Mills also sponsors RCR's #31 Wheaties Chevy with driver Jeff Burton. Leading the effort for the #33 team will be veteran crew chief Gil Martin, RCR's NASCAR Nationwide Series program team manager. Martin has been at RCR since 2000 and has served as crew chief for Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Kerry Earnhardt and Robby Gordon. He is one of a select few crew chiefs to win races in NASCAR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. Childress, a two-time Daytona 500 champion car owner, will use owner points accumulated during the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season to field the #33 Chevrolet entry as the team finished 13th in the final 2011 owner point standings.(RCR), see images of the schemes on my #33 Team Schemes page.(1-25-2012)

  • Gaughan to run limited scheduled for RCR: Brendan Gaughan will compete in four races on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, driving Richard Childress Racing's #33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Impala in addition to his previously announced 18-race NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule with the Welcome, N.C.  based race team. Leading the effort for the #33 team will be veteran crew chief Gil Martin, RCR's Nationwide Series program team manager. Martin has been at RCR since 2000 and has served as crew chief for Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Kerry Earnhardt and Robby Gordon. He is one of a select few crew chiefs to win races in NASCAR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. "The opportunity to run four races for Richard Childress in the Sprint Cup Series is truly amazing,' said Gaughan. "RCR has top-notch equipment and teamed me with a winning crew chief in Gil Martin. Everyone deserves a second chance and I am ecstatic that my second chance in the Sprint Cup Series is in the #33 Chevrolet with RCR." Gaughan's four-race Sprint Cup Series schedule will start at Phoenix in March at the 2nd race of the season, followed by the next three races of the season at Las Vegas, Bristol and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. RCR's No. 33 team finished 13th in final 2011 owner point standings and is locked into the first five races of the season.(RCR), see images of the schemes on my #33 Team Schemes page.(1-25-2012)

  • Yeley to drive for Robinson-Blakeney: Newly established Sprint Cup team Robinson-Blakeney Racing has tabbed J.J. Yeley to drive its #49 Toyota for the 2012 season. In addition, Yeley will be reunited with crew chief Tony Furr, who has been hired to coordinate and direct the upstart endeavor. "I am energized and looking forward to working with [owner and manager] Jay Robinson and our team beginning at Daytona in the Duel 150 race and building success all the way to Homestead," said Yeley, who has 11 top-10 finishes in his Cup career. "I have enjoyed a good working relationship in the past with Tony Furr as my crew chief and am happy to be partnered with him again on this team." Furr brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and has the tools available to formulate a competitive effort at Robinson-Blakeney Racing. "I am excited to again be working with a talented driver like J.J., as well as the rest of the team and owners at Robinson-Blakeney Racing," Furr said. In addition to its first year in Cup, Robinson-Blakeney Racing returns for its 12th season of competition in the Nationwide Series in the #28 car. "We are preparing the team for a very successful 2012 season and we are very pleased to announce our partnerships with Tony and J.J.", Robinson said.(NASCAR.com)(1-25-2012)

  • Furniture Row Racing Announces Assoc Sponsorships: Coming off its most competitive season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, #78 Furniture Row Racing is enjoying similar success on the sponsorship side with the addition of CSX Transportation and its railroad crossing and pedestrian safety campaign for the 2012 season. CSX Transportation, the largest railroad in the East and third largest in the United States, joins Chevrolet and Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers in the associate sponsorship role with all three companies complementing the team's primary sponsors  Furniture Row and Denver Mattress. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., CSX Transportation maintains a more than 21,000-mile freight rail network serving 23 states and portions of Canada. Building upon several years of its innovative safety communications campaign, CSX 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.(Furniture Row Racing)(1-25-2012)

  • Roush plans to expand back to a four-car team: Team owner Jack Roush said despite the "economic pressures" that forced his organization to shrink from four to three Cup teams this season, he is looking to expand back to a quartet when possible. "The plan is to go back to that four-car stable ... yes," Roush said. "In the meantime, we've been able to reposition personnel and resources within the organization because of the downsizing that I think will make us very strong." Roush also confirmed that his team will run Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the full Nationwide Series schedule this season and is still working on sponsorship to run Trevor Bayne for a complete campaign.(Motor Racing Network)(1-25-2012)

  • BUBBA burger to sponsor Labonte for two races: JTG Daugherty Racing revealed BUBBA burger has signed on with the racing organization as a primary sponsor for Bobby Labonte's #47 Toyota Camry during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. BUBBA burger is scheduled to have prominent position on Labonte's car during the Pocono 400 at Pocono on June 10 and at Chicago on September 16. "BUBBA burger is excited to return as a sponsor of JTG Daugherty Racing," according to Billy Morris President/CEO of BUBBA foods. "NASCAR Fans have grown to be great fans of BUBBA burger at the track and at home. It was an easy decision for us to partner with great brands like Kingsford Charcoal, Bush's Beans and SCOTT Products for our Racing Season is Grilling Season promotion. Together we will win on the track and off the track." Additionally, BUBBA burger is scheduled to have presence on Labonte's machine as an associate sponsor for the full season. BUBBA burger is an obvious fit for JTG Daugherty Racing's retail theme 'Racing Season is Grilling Season'. "BUBBA burger has activated a lot in our sport and it's great to hear they are sponsoring our Toyota Camry this year," said Labonte. "BUBBA burger used to be JTG Daugherty Racing's partner and I know Tad (Geschickter) is happy to have them back. They fall right into the team's marketing theme 'Racing Season is Grilling Season' and they are the #1 branded frozen burger in the United States.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(1-25-2012)

  • Bayne says he had Lymes: Daytona 500 winner #21-Trevor Bayne says there are no aftereffects from Lyme disease, which sidelined him for two months last season. Bayne is less concerned about his health than with having the sponsorship that would allow him to compete for the Nationwide Series title. Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said he should know in a few weeks if that will happen. Doctors never officially called Bayne's illness Lyme disease, referring to it instead as an inflammatory condition. But the 20-year-old driver said during the Sprint media tour Tuesday that he since has been told it was Lyme. "They wouldn't (confirm) because it's such a hard thing to define," Bayne said. "All you can look at with Lyme is a rash. I had already had medication for it, so it can hide. Lyme is ... something that hides in your bloodstream. It is hard to diagnose. To me, if they treat it and it goes away, to me that seems like a pretty good answer."(ESPN)(1-25-2012)

  • Kroger-USO to sponsor #47 Toyota in Daytona 500: Kroger will have major presence during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, returning as primary sponsor of JTG Daugherty Racing's #47 Toyota Camry of Bobby Labonte. "We are pleased to have Kroger helping us kick off our season at Daytona again," Labonte said. "They are a great partner of JTG Daugherty Racing. They enjoyed the race last year and we were in the hunt for the win. We were able to stay out of trouble to be in contention on the final lap. If we can be that fortunate this year and put ourselves in position again, anything can happen." Once again, the Kroger car will carry the USO logo in the Daytona 500. In 2011, the Kroger family of stores expanded its partnership with the USO through Honoring Our Heroes, a year-long campaign to support members of the armed forces and their families. With the help of customers, associates and key partners, the program generated $1.5 million to assist the USO's programs to support troops and families. Kroger will present these funds to the USO during the pre-race ceremonies at the Daytona 500. This company-wide campaign with the USO will continue in 2012. The USO is the nation's leading organization providing morale-boosting programs and services to enhance the quality of life for troops and their families around the world. Kroger and JTG Daugherty Racing also will thank the hundreds of Kroger associates from across the country, who are active duty and reservist members of our armed forces. They are paying special tribute by placing the names of these men and women on the hood of the car for the Daytona 500.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(1-25-2012)

  • 2013 cars to be tested at Homestead: 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)

  • Petty discusses Robbie Loomis: Richard Petty said chief operating officer Robbie Loomis was not fired, that his contract simply expired, and he still maintained a "personal" relationship with the organization that has struggled financially the past few years. Loomis had been in charge of turning around Richard Petty Motorsports's on-track program for the past six years. He previously was at Hendrick Motorsports, where he was the crew chief for Jeff Gordon when he won the 2001 Sprint Cup title. Petty said the decision not to offer a new deal had nothing to do with Loomis being outspoken about wanting to sign 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch after Busch was released from Penske Racing. "That was the business part of it," Petty said of Loomis' departure. "Personally, nothing has changed. Anything we do at the shop, we call him and let him know. He's up on the very latest thing we do at the shop." Petty said all of Loomis' responsibilities at the track and shop have been re-assigned to other people. He did not rule out Loomis returning at some point, if it is financially feasible. "He has a personal connection to Richard Petty Motorsports," Petty said. "Right now, that's all it is."(ESPN)(1-25-2012)

  • Truex Jr. Hopes To Re-Sign with MWR: #56-Martin Truex Jr. knows it will take a trip to Victory Lane in order to keep sponsor NAPA  and perhaps in order to keep his job at Michael Waltrip Racing. Truex enters the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season faced with increased pressure to perform, in perhaps a now-or-never situation with a contract that expires at the end of the year. "I'm not here to float along and hang around if I'm not competitive," Truex said Monday night. "I know what I can do in a race car. Michael knows what I can do in a race car, and everybody here knows what I can do in a race car. And that's all that matters to me. This year is obviously very, very important with NAPA  keeping them happy and hopefully keeping them here. For now, it's just about getting it done. We can do it. There's no doubt in my mind." Truex refused to call 2012 a "make-or-break season" because, he said, every season is that way. There's always pressure to perform, always expectations. But the 31-year-old driver acknowledged this season is crucial in deciding the future for both himself and MWR. "I mean, I want to be here next year," he said. "We both have to wait and see how all that goes. But I feel good about this year. I really do. Time will tell."(SB Nation)(1-25-2012)

  • 30-Year Media Tour Veterans Honored: In the 30-year history of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, only seven people have taken part in every event. Those seven - Bill Funderud, Bruce Martin, Bryant McMurray, Bob Moore, Al Pearce, Thomas Pope and Deb Williams - were honored Tuesday morning during a special breakfast that included discussion of media Tour memories.(CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-25-2012)

  • Sad News - Benny Phillips: Benny Phillips, a veteran NASCAR reporter noted for his work in print and broadcast media, died Tuesday morning after a sudden illness. Phillips worked for the High Point Enterprise for 48 years, including the last 32 as sports editor until his retirement in January 2008. His work was also in display in a column he wrote for Stock Car Racing magazine for 27 years and his commentary for the television program MotorWeek Illustrated. Phillips also authored four books on motorsports, including "Determined," a biography of Dale Earnhardt. His folksy, storytelling style of writing earned him accolades as a seven-time winner of the NMPA writer of the year award. Phillips also won NASCAR's Buddy Shuman Award for outstanding contributions to stock-car racing in 1986. Funeral arrangements are to be determined.(NASCAR), see article at the High Point Enterprise(1-25-2012)

  • Sadler Hoping For Daytona 500 Start: Elliott Sadler confirmed that talks are underway to put him in a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet for the 2012 Daytona 500. "I've said before if I got chance to be in competitive Cup car again, I would jump at the chance," said Sadler in an exclusive interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody. "Richard Childress and I have had some conversations, but what we really need is sponsorship, We're getting close to getting that done, but there's nothing done yet. I can't confirm anything right now, but I am damn sure pulling for it to happen." RCR will field full-time Sprint Cup Series entries in 2012 for drivers #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick and #27-Paul Menard, but has an additional guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of this season; earned a year ago by Clint Bowyer's #33 Chevy. Sadler is expected to wheel the #33, if a financial backer can be found.(sirius-speedway.com)(1-25-2012)

  • BB&T and RRCR Renew Longtime Partnership for 2012: Richard Childress Racing announced the extension of its longtime partnership with BB&T Corporation for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The full-service financial institution will serve as primary sponsor for five races on the #31 Chevy and driver Jeff Burton, retaining its status as official bank of the 43-year-old Welcome, N.C.-based organization. "BB&T has been a great partner of RCR over the years so we're very pleased to renew our program with them," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "It's always beneficial working with a partner like BB&T that has strong ties to the area."
    BB&T's primary race sponsorship occurs within the corporation's branch footprint, which covers 12 states and Washington D.C. The #31 BB&T Chevy will debut in March at Bristol with other appearances coming in April at Martinsville and Richmond and in May at Darlington along with a special edition co-branded paint scheme with Caterpillar at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The newly designed burgundy and gray paint scheme will also adorn the #31 entry at Dover in June.(RCR)(1-25-2012)

  • ModSpace to Sponsor Front Row Motorsports Fords: Modular construction provider ModSpace will partner with Front Row Motorsports in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for a multi-race primary sponsorship and season-long associate sponsorship of the #38 Ford, driven by David Gilliland. The #34 Ford, driven by David Ragan, will also carry an associate sponsorship from ModSpace for the full season. The new motorsports partnership expands an existing business relationship between the Berwyn, Penn.-based company and Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins. ModSpace is currently working with Jenkins' quick-service restaurant company to build new Taco Bell/Long John Silver's locations. The new motorsports partnership will help with another type of "building" - the continued growth of Jenkins' Sprint Cup team, which is coming off the best season in its young history. The first appearance of the #38 ModSpace Ford is scheduled for the April 14 race at Texas Motor Speedway. ModSpace is a leading provider of modular buildings, portable storage and services for temporary or permanent space needs. Building on more than 40 years of experience, ModSpace serves a diverse set of customers and markets - including commercial, construction, education, government, healthcare, industrial/energy and special events - through an extensive nationwide branch network throughout the United States and Canada. ModSpace has constructed buildings for renowned clients ranging from the Professional Golf Association (PGA) to General Motors, IBM and the U.S. Army. For more information on the company and its projects, visit ModSpace.com.(Front Row Motorsports/Breaking Limits)(1-25-2012)

  • Jeff Gordon receives Spirit Award: #24-Jeff Gordon is the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award for 2011 for his work with children's health issues. Gordon was among four quarterly winners for the award and chosen by NMPA members as the overall winner for the year. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Gordon has always taken an interest in children's health issues through his Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation Pediatric Cancer Treatment Research, but those efforts expanded in 2011. Gordon brought a hands-on approach to his work with children this summer. Working with the Clinton Global Initiative, Gordon traveled to a refugee camp in the Congo in July in an effort aid with health issues. He witnessed first-hand what children in the area face and offered his personal assistance to the program.(NASCAR)(1-25-2012)

  • Ray Hendrick & Al Pearce honored: Legendary NASCAR short-track star the late Ray Hendrick and long-time motorsports journalist Al Pearce are among the six Virginians selected as the Class of 2012 for the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The Class was introduced on Monday afternoon to both houses of the Virginia State Legislature in the State Capitol.
    In addition to Hendrick and Pearce, this year's class includes former NFL star and Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Antonio Freeman; former NBA all-star guard and three-time NBA champion Gerald Henderson; long-time University of Virginia women's basketball coach Debbie Ryan; retired NBA official Jess Kersey; and former MLB all-star lefthander Billy Wagner. The Class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday night, April 28 in Portsmouth.
    Pearce began covering NASCAR for the Times-Herald/Daily Press in 1969 and for AutoWeek magazine in 1972, and is still working for AutoWeek. He won eight Virginia Press Association awards during his 35 years at the Daily Press Inc. and in 2003 earned the prestigious Henry T. McLemore Award for "continued outstanding motorsports journalism." The McLemore Award brought with it induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala. The Newport News resident also has been recognized for his work by Martinsville Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Langley Speedway, which named its media center in his honor.
    Hendrick was a Modified and Late Model standout during a career that began in the late 1950s' and extended into the mid-1980's. Records are sketchy, but it's generally agreed he won upwards of 700 races (including 20 at Martinsville Speedway) on East Coast and Southeastern tracks ranging from a quarter-mile to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. He won countless track championships, was top-10 in NASCAR Modified points nine times and twice was top-10 in Late Model Sportsman national points. He also had two top-fives and six top-10's in his 17 Sprint Cup starts. Hendrick was selected to the NMPA Hall of Fame in 1993, was named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers in 1998, was a charter inductee into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2003, was named one of Modified racing's all-time top-10 drivers and was a 2007 inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega. He died in 1990 at age 61.(Virginia Sports Hall of Fame)(1-25-2012)

  • Latest on a track in Minnesota: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says even if a new Minnesota Vikings stadium is not built in Arden Hills, he is still interested in cleaning up the old Army munitions site. So how might the site be developed? Sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS News a $300 million NASCAR motor-sports complex is being discussed. Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett confirms commissioners have had meetings with NASCAR backers. Bennett also says several entities have shown interest in building casinos on the property. Despite all the interest, the county and the Vikings still prefer to build a stadium on the site.(KSTP.com), see past news about proposed race tracks in Minnesota on the Proposed Minnesota Tracks page.(1-25-2012)

  • Blake Shelton to Perform Pre-Race Concert at All-Star Race: Blake Shelton, three-time Grammy nominee, CMA's reigning Male Vocalist of the Year and a coach on NBC's "The Voice," will perform a pre-race concert for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, May 19, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Presented by Target, the concert will take place in the infield between Turns 1 and 2. Admission to the show is free with the purchase of a ticket to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Fans can purchase a special Golden Ticket upgrade for just $20 to secure a prime location with special access to a reserved area directly in front of the stage. Charlotte Motor Speedway Season Ticket holders will have first opportunity to purchase the upgrade before it opens to the public on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at noon. Approximately 2,000 Golden Tickets are available and can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). In February, Shelton will perform a duet of "America the Beautiful" with his wife, Grammy award-winning artist, Miranda Lambert, at Super Bowl XLVI.(CMS)(1-25-2012)

  • Las Vegas race fans can get a free night of lodging at the Stratosphere: Las Vegas is a city known for its "comps" and "dealmaking" and the Stratosphere Las Vegas has an incredible offer for race fans. With the Buy Two and Get One Free promotion, anyone who buys weekend tickets for the March 9-11 NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will get one night of a three-night hotel stay paid for by Stratosphere in addition to many other benefits. The Stratosphere will be sponsoring its second annual Pole Day qualifying on March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Pole Day kicks off the three-day weekend that includes the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The free night's lodging is just the beginning of the perks Stratosphere is offering race fans. Race fans taking part in this offer will receive free access throughout the race weekend to the 113-story Stratosphere Tower, one free entry into a Speedway of Cash slot tournament being held during race week, two-for-one tickets to the stage show BITE, $10 off tickets to headliner Frankie Moreno Live at Stratosphere and discounts in the salon and spa. Beginning today, any race fan who purchases a weekend package to the NASCAR Weekend in either the Petty or Earnhardt Terraces at LVMS is eligible for the free night at the hotel. In addition to the tickets, the Stratosphere package is $299 and includes the lodging as well as the other amenities. Race fans can choose to stay either Thursday-Saturday or Friday-Monday. To take advantage of this offer, please call the LVMS ticket office at 1-800-644-4444. This offer is only available over the phone and will be in place as long as rooms remain available.(LVMS)(1-25-2012)


    News from January 24, 2012

  • Some Fuel Injection Notes from Terry Blount: Day 1 of the annual NASCAR media tour started with a handout from Roush Yates Engines explaining some of the key aspects of this year's switch to electronic fuel injection. Roush Yates listed 10 aspects of the switch that fans need to know, with short explanations about each. Here are a few from the list:
    " No. 1 on the list is relevance. Today, cars do not have carburetors (they haven't for decades) and finally, NASCAR doesn't either with the switch to EFI. So the switch makes the cars more like your car -- you know, a stock car, which is what it's supposed to be.
    " Point No. 2: You won't notice a thing. The sound of the engines will be the same. If someone didn't tell you about the change, you wouldn't know it.
    " Point 3: Efficiency. McLaren, which manufacturers the EFI system NASCAR is using, hasn't had an on-track failure in any racing series that uses its system. Engine longevity is expected to increase because of added control of fuel and spark. And the engine builders can push the limits on performance because of more detailed access to computer data on engine wear.
    " Point 4: Control. NASCAR has always feared increased technology in the cars because of concerns that it might be difficult to police. However, NASCAR officials maintain they can monitor EFI with computer data from the new ECU (engine control unit), which officials can plug into and spot-check at any time.
    " Point 5: It's greener. The Roush Yates tutorial card says EFI reduces fuel waste, allowing engines to run more efficiently and cleaner, and it produces less carbon monoxide emissions.
    All good things, but for those of you wondering, and I know most of you are, it won't eliminate fuel mileage races.(ESPN)(1-24-2012)

  • Banana Boat to sponsor McMurray: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) announced that Banana Boat sun care will take on the sun and the speedway for a new partnership. Banana Boat sun care will sponsor the #1 Chevy of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and 2010 Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray during the 2012 season. As part of the partnership, Banana Boat sun care will host fan experiences trackside at key races including the Daytona 500, Talladega Superspeedway and others. The sunscreen brand will provide fans with a break from the sun, offering quick relief and sun protection in its CoolZone Pit Stop. Here, fans will have the opportunity to receive a "cool-over" with the new sunscreen, play games and receive fun giveaway items.(EGR), the sposnorship is supposedly for one race, at Pocono in June, see images of the scheme on the #1 Team Schemes page.(1-24-2012)

  • Liftmaster to sponsor McMurray at NHMS: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and LiftMaster, the number one brand of professionally installed garage doors, announced that LiftMaster will be the primary sponsor on the #1 Chevy driven by Jamie McMurray at the Sept. 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Additionally, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and LiftMaster also revealed the paint scheme that will adorn the #1 LiftMaster Chevy for that race (EGR), see images of the scheme on the #1 Team Schemes page.(1-24-2012)

  • New 2013 Ford Fusion Brings the "Stock Car" Back to NASCAR: The 2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup car, unveiled today as part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, was worked on by Ford designers in an effort to bring brand identity back to the sport. The result is undeniable with the 2013 Sprint Cup car mirroring the recently unveiled 2013 Ford Fusion production car. Featuring a completely redesigned sleek new silhouette and fresh face, the 2013 Fusion Sprint Cup car was designed to be the face of a new era of stock car racing. "We wanted Fusion to be the car that helped return 'stock car' to NASCAR." stated Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "I think fans, when they see the car, are just going to smile and cheer. It is going to reengage them with the sport and make the sport better because there is just something natural about seeing race cars that look like cars in their driveways." This marks the third time Ford simultaneously launched production and NASCAR versions of a new model. The first dual launch came in 1968, with the sleek fastback Ford Torino. Legendary NASCAR driver David Pearson drove the Torino to back-to-back NASCAR championships in 1968 and 1969. The second time came in 2006, when the then newly introduced Ford Fusion appeared in showrooms and on the track. Ford took a different approach with the development of the 2013 Fusion racer. Ford Design Center staff, led by Garen Nicoghosian, and Ford aerodynamicist Bernie Marcus, spent the past year doing the early design development, freeing up the Ford race teams to concentrate on weekly NASCAR competition. "This is a seminal moment in the sport where we had a chance to get it right once again and make sure the race cars are race versions of street cars. And I am proud because I believe we have accomplished just that," continued Allison. "The 2013 Fusion is a stunning car and the 2013 NASCAR Fusion is even more stunning and I can't wait to see it perform on the track and connect with race fans."(Ford Racing), see more images on my Ford NASCAR News Page.(1-24-2012)



    The new 2013 Ford Fusion which will run starting in 2013 - image from Ford Racing

  • EGR - Sponsorship = Sold Out: At a time when many NASCAR teams are scrambling to find sponsorship, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has no primary sponsorship available for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season. Team-owner Chip Ganassi congratulated his sales staff as the team's key members met the media to open day two of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday morning. The sold-out sign came after the announcement the team has added Belkin, LiftMaster and Banana Boat to its list of sponsors with each taking the primary sponsorship role on Jamie McMurray's #1 Chevy for one race, while serving as associate sponsors throughout the season.(National Speed Sport News)(1-24-2012)

  • NASCAR's Tharp honored: Kerry Tharp, NASCAR senior director of competition communications, won the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award on Sunday night during the 2012 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Convention at the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. The prestigious award, named after the former director of public relations for Talladega Superspeedway, recognizes a public relations representative in the motorsports industry who has "exhibited the kind, generous qualities that Patterson always demonstrated." Affectionately  and appropriately  nicknamed the "Commander," Tharp leads all competition communications efforts for the NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications department. Tharp joined NASCAR in 2005 after a 20-year tenure as sports information director at the University of South Carolina.
    "Kerry is a great communications professional, but more importantly he is a great human being and that is reflected in this award," said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR vice president and chief communications officer. "He loves our sport and the people in our industry and it shows in everything he does. We're very proud of Kerry and grateful to the NMPA for honoring him with this prestigious award." Sports has forever fueled Tharp's passion  and career. For 26 years, Tharp worked in collegiate athletics, starting in the sports information department at his alma mater, Western Kentucky University before moving to graduate school at the University of Tennessee. Following UT, Tharp worked for the University of Oklahoma for four years before moving to South Carolina.
    Tharp joined NASCAR as director for the sanctioning body's licensing office in Charlotte in April of 2005. In February of 2006, he moved to his current role as head of competition communications, based out of NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Tharp was promoted to his current title of senior director in October of 2010.(NASCAR)(1-24-2012)

  • Stewart to run Daytona Nationwide race: Tony Stewart will attempt to win his seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series race on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 25. This year Stewart will drive the #33 Oreo 100th Anniversary Chevy fielded by Richard Childress Racing. Stewart has won the last four NASCAR Nationwide season openers at Daytona and hopes to add a fifth-straight victory next month.(CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-24-2012)

  • Appeals court to listen to Mayfield in drug case: A federal appeals panel in Virginia is set to hear arguments in former stock-car driver Jeremy Mayfield's lawsuit against NASCAR over his suspension for failing a random drug test. Mayfield is asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate his lawsuit. A federal judge dismissed the suit, ruling that Mayfield signed documents that waived his right to sue. NASCAR suspended Mayfield in 2009 after he failed a drug test at Richmond International Raceway. He sued NASCAR, its owner and the drug testing company for defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract and negligence. Mayfield has argued that a combination of over-the-counter allergy medication and the prescription drug Adderall led to a positive test. In November, Mayfield was arrested in North Carolina and charged with possessing methamphetamine.(Associated Press)(1-24-2012)

  • Kyle Busch says he's learned from mistakes: Kyle Busch has learned from the mistakes he made last season and ready to make a fresh go of it in 2012. Busch said during Monday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour he knows he can't continue to display the kinds of emotional actions that led to so much controversy - and trouble - last year. "I've got fans all the time that tell me they don't want to see me change," Busch said. "I've tried to keep that, but ultimately, it's not going to work. If you keep getting in trouble, you're not going to be here very long. I'm trying to change something." Although Joe Gibbs Racing management hasn't officially commented on Busch's limited Nationwide Series schedule this season, which will see time spent in both a Kyle Busch Motorsports entry as well as a JGR ride but no truck series starts, it is speculated sponsor M&M's also had a say in the decision. Busch insists he has support from his race team, sponsors and most importantly his family and friends that have helped him work through the situation and concentrate on moving ahead in his life both professionally and personally.(CBS Sports)(1-24-2012)

  • SPEED Announces Changes to NASCAR Programs: Several NASCAR on SPEED programs take fresh approaches in 2012, with the network's longest-running NASCAR program, Trackside, frequently splitting into two 30-minute editions, one on Friday evenings and the second on Saturday. Krista Voda hosts with Kyle Petty, Rutledge Wood and Marianela Pereyra all returning to the show.
    NASCAR RaceDay, which saw huge audience increases during last season's 10-race NASCAR Chase for the Championship, returns with John Roberts as host, Petty, Kenny Wallace and [Larry] McReynolds providing analysis and Wendy Venturini, Wood and Matt Clark [replacing Hermie Sadler] reporting from the garage.
    Trotta adds to her responsibilities for 2012, taking on a host role for the popular tech show NASCAR Performance, working with McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and Chad Knaus from SPEED's Charlotte-based studio.
    Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, rolling into its 10th season on SPEED, gets a prime time television look, and the popular post-race show, NASCAR Victory Lane, also takes a new slant, immediately following NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races with a second airing in prime time.(SPEED)(1-24-2012)

  • Logano also seeing sports psychologist: Since last season, JGR driver #20-Joey Logano has been seeing sports psychologist Bob Rotella, who also began working with Hamlin last year. "I was against it at first, thinking, 'I don't need a shrink,'" Logano said. "But it's not about that, it's confidence. It's not that you're screwed up in the head. It's not like you're a weirdo. I think it's good for anybody. I have a whole new outlook. I'd recommend it to anybody."(USA Today)(1-24-2012)

  • Busch would have trouble moving team to Cup with team limits: Kyle [Busch] will team with his brother Kurt at KBM this year in the Nationwide Series. "I was feeling pretty good about our ownership chances in Nationwide, that's going to be hard to beat," J.D. Gibbs said about the Busch brothers pairing." Joe Gibbs said he wasn't in the discussions of Kyle racing for his own team. "I will say that I was not in that meeting or we would not be doing this," Gibbs said. "These two (Busch and J.D. Gibbs) got together and somehow we are now racing against him." As for the day when KBM might be elevated to a Sprint Cup operation, Busch sees it down the road because of all the current complications associated with such a move. "That's obviously something I look forward to doing," Busch said. "The Cup side is kind of difficult just due to the constrictions that NASCAR puts on all of us with me driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Essentially I could have one team, but if JGR ever went to four teams I would have to shut mine down so that makes it tough."(Motor Racing Network)(1-23-2012)

  • Richmond partners with local advertising agency: What better way to support the "Buy Local" initiative than to do it yourself? In the spirit of buying local, Richmond International Raceway president Dennis Bickmeier announced a partnership with local advertising agency Barber Martin. A 24-year-old shop located in metro Richmond, Barber Martin is a full-service agency that oversees the advertising platform for a wide variety of Richmond based companies, including Adolf Jewelers, West Broad Honda, Wealthcare Capital Management, VCU School of Business, Chesterfield Auto Parts, Capitol Region Airport Commission, and Southern States Cooperative. The Barber Martin team will assist RIR with print, television, radio and out-of-home messaging and promotions for the 2012 season.(RIR)(1-24-2012)


    News from January 23, 2012

  • Danica will run Coke 600; skip Indy 500: Danica Patrick has added the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to her 2012 Sprint Cup schedule, eliminating any possibility she will run in the Indianapolis 500. "I'm not going to do the Indy 500,'' the former IndyCar Series driver said on Monday to kick off the 2012 Sprint Media Tour. "I hope to do it in the future. Maybe it'll be a double. But at this point in time, after a lot of conversations, it's just going to be the Coke 600. It's going to be a big challenge.'' Patrick, who is running a full Nationwide Series schedule at JR Motorsports and part-time Cup schedule for Stewart Haas Racing as she makes the transition from open wheel racing to stock cars, said it was a business decision to run NASCAR's longest race that is held on the same day as the 500 in May.(ESPN)(1-23-2012)

  • Aspen Dental to sponsor Newman in two races: Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of dental care providers in the United States, has reached a multi-year agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing. The Syracuse, N.Y.-based company, with more than 330 locations in 22 states, will be the primary sponsor of SHR's #39 team with driver Ryan Newman at the July Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway and the September event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. When not serving as primary sponsor, Aspen Dental will be an associate sponsor with placement on the lower-rear quarter panel of the #39 Chevy and on the upper chest of Newman's uniform. The company also secured rights to utilize Stewart promotionally.(True Speed Communications)(1-23-2012)

  • NASCAR Sprint Media Tour this week: More than 230 motorsports journalists from around the globe will descend upon the heart of NASCAR country on Monday for the 30th annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. What started as a 1983 "experiment" with a handful of media that struggled to fill one charter bus, the four-day Tour has evolved into the nation's premier preseason media event in professional sports. "The NASCAR Sprint Media Tour is four days of non-stop news and a great way for fans to hear the latest about their favorite teams just a few weeks before the start of the season," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It's the Tour's 30th year and it's stronger than ever, with a record number of media coming to this year's event that features more than 20 stops throughout the four days. We're excited to host to such a fantastic and meaningful event." More than 20 stops will keep the participating media busy over the four-day tour including visits to Hendrick Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Stewart-Haas Racing, plus Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush-Fenway Racing are among the many teams that will also be making announcements.(CMS)(1-23-2012)

  • MaxQ Motorsports considering several drivers: Larry Gunselman's MaxQ Motorsports, which ran the #37 last season, indicated late in 2011 that the team would run full-time with Josh Wise vying for the 2012 Rookie of the Year. In an email, Gunselman tells News/Talk WSB that the team still plans to run, but is now considering three or four drivers, including Wise. Wise start-and-parked the No. 37 three times and the #66 one time last season.(WSB Radio)(1-23-2012)

  • NASCAR starting Speedweeks with restrictor plate that ended test: NASCAR will return to Daytona International Speedway in February with the same restrictor plate that it left with when testing ended earlier this month. Teams were informed Friday of the rules configuration for Daytona, which includes a restrictor plate with holes 29/32nds of an inch in diameter. In hopes of limiting the use of the two-car draft used by the Sprint Cup cars during the Daytona 500, NASCAR officials have made changes that they hope would result in overheating if the two-car draft is used for an extended period of time during the race. The biggest change is the rear bumper has been moved two inches closer to the ground. Teams will have a front grille opening of 50 square inches - it was 40 square inches by the time testing ended last week at the 2.5-mile trioval. The radiator pressure release valve will be set at 25 psi, the same as it was when teams left Daytona on the final afternoon of testing.(Scene Daily)(1-23-2012)

  • Stewart named NMPA Driver of the Year: Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart was named the National Motorsports Press Association's 2011 Richard Petty Driver of the Year Sunday. Stewart, who had a mediocre regular season, nevertheless made the Chase for the Sprint Cup field - and then performed with near-brilliance, winning five of the final 10 races of the season and edging Carl Edwards for the series championship. The title was the third for Stewart but his first racing for his own team, Stewart-Haas Racing.(SPEED)(1-23-2012)

  • Ultimate Access, Value with Track Pass for 2012 Race Season at Infineon Raceway: Race fans who have dreamed about taking a heart-pounding lap around the Infineon Raceway road course or getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the stars of NASCAR during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 can make those dreams a reality in 2012. If all-access and value is what you crave, then Infineon Raceway's 2012 Track Pass is the ticket package for you. You'll secure the best seats for all seven major events during the 2012 Big O Tires Racing Season, including NASCAR (June 22-24), NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing (July 27-29), IZOD IndyCar Series (Aug. 24-26), the U.S. debut of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (Sept. 21-23), motorcycles, historic car racing and more. The Track Pass is valued at more than $1,000, but the raceway is selling them for just $425. That's a savings of more than 50-percent.(Infineon Raceway)(1-23-2012)


    News from January 22, 2012

  • Loomis out at Petty: Richard Petty Motorsports has elected not to renew Robbie Loomis' contract for 2012. Loomis, who was most recently listed at Chief Operating Officer for RPM, first joined Petty Enterprises as a crew chief in 1991 at the end of the King's driving career. "I'm taking some time off," Loomis said. "My contract was up in December and I'm looking to explore what's next. Richard is still family -- so is everyone else at Richard Petty Motorsports. The future is exciting because it's unknown but there's still a lot of uncertainty in what the future brings." Loomis wouldn't acknowledge whether or not he would continue on as a consultant for the team but added that he'd "Do anything to help Richard Petty Motorsports be in a better place." But with Best Buy pulling out of RPM and Smithfield signing up for a limited schedule on the #43 Ford, it's become increasingly clear that the company could no longer afford Loomis' reported seven figure salary. While no successor for Loomis has been named, certainly with 20 years of racing experience, Sammy Johns, RPM's director of operation, is more than capable of overseeing the competition department.(Fox Sports)(1-22-2012)

  • RAB Racing to attempt Sprint Cup debut in Daytona 500 Kenny Wallace: RAB Racing with Brack Maggard announced that they will attempt to make their Sprint Cup Series debut in the 54th-annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, with driver Kenny Wallace behind the wheel of their #09 American Ethanol Toyota Camry. "Corn farmers are excited to continue our relationship with RAB Racing and Kenny Wallace in 2012," said Garry Niemeyer, National Corn Growers Association president. "Kenny is a fan favorite and one of the most visible drivers in the sport. He has been an outspoken supporter of ethanol and Sunoco Green E15. He comes from the Midwest, so he truly appreciates the important role corn farmers play in providing consumers with a fuel that is made in America and provides jobs here at home." Wallace will attempt to make his 11th Daytona 500 start. His last start in the Great American Race came in 2008, when he raced his way into the starting lineup via an eighth-place finish in the first Gatorade Duel. With Wallace behind the wheel of their NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota in 2011, the #09 team finished seventh in the Nationwide Series driver championship standings, a career-best for the Concord, N.C.-based team, after posting 11 top-10 finishes. The crew chief for the #09 American Ethanol Toyota Camry will be announced at a later date.(RAB Racing)(1-22-2012)

  • American Ethanol to sponsor Austin Dillon in Cup race: In a nod to its commitment to the sport, American Ethanol announced at the NASCAR Preview fan event in Charlotte, N.C., that it will continue relationships with Richard Childress Racing and RAB Racing for the 2012 season. Austin Dillon, 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, will drive the iconic #3 Chevy during the 2012 Nationwide Series season with American Ethanol serving as the primary sponsor for six races as well as one race in the Sprint Cup Series in 2012. Dillon's #3 American Ethanol Chevy paint scheme was unveiled at the event. In addition to American Ethanol's partnership with Dillon, the organization will serve as an associate sponsor with the entire RCR family of drivers. Team owner Richard Childress as well as RCR's Sprint Cup Series veterans Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard will also serve as spokesmen for the cause. Kenny Wallace, who notched 11 top-ten finishes last year, will drive the #09 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for RAB Racing. American Ethanol will partner with Wallace for the Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500, as well as five races in the Nationwide Series.(Richard Childress Racing)(1-22-2012)

  • 2012 Miss Sprint Cup Lineup Introduced: Thousands of fans met the 2012 Miss Sprint Cup lineup during the NASCAR Preview Presented by Sprint in Charlotte, N.C. Sprint announced that returning members Kim Coon (Orlando, Fla.) and Jaclyn Roney (Ann Arbor, Mich.) have been joined by newcomer Kristen Beat of El Cajon, Calif. Coon, Roney and Beat make up the most geographically balanced Miss Sprint Cup lineup since the program's inception in 2008, representing the Southeast, Midwest and West Coast. Miss Sprint Cup represents the Sprint brand around the track and in Victory Lane wherever the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competes. The three representatives also serve as the fans' "friend on the inside," delivering via Facebook and Twitter behind-the-scenes updates, pictures and video, while highlighting Sprint products and offers. Beat adds a Southern California flare to the Miss Sprint Cup lineup. The former Fuel TV on-air talent and extreme sports reporter grew up racing motocross bikes and was a big supporter of her brother's pursuit of a professional racing career. When she isn't at the racetrack, Beat enjoys surfing, working out and honing her culinary skills with healthy recipes. After receiving her communications degree from the University of San Diego, Beat pursued her dream of a career in broadcasting, eventually becoming the youngest credentialed reporter in X-Games history. Coon returns for her second season as Miss Sprint Cup, which makes the former marketing and public relations professional the veteran member of this year's lineup. Rounding out the 2012 lineup is Roney, who is entering her first full season as Miss Sprint Cup. The Eastern Michigan University grad joined the program in July 2011 and is looking forward to attending her first Daytona 500 next month.(Sprint PR)(1-22-2012)

  • Bristol going green with Danica for St. Pats Day: Bristol Motor Speedway is "Going Green" in a big way with Go Daddy Girl Danica Patrick during a special St. Patrick's Day celebration for the Nationwide Series event March 17. Breaking a long-standing tradition of eschewing green, once a much-maligned hue in the NASCAR garage, the World's Fastest Half-Mile is embracing the color, right along with Patrick who will be driving a special St. Patrick's Day paint scheme in the 300-lapper that day. Patrick pilots the shamrock covered GoDaddy.com ride for JR Motorsports and makes her second start at BMS. As part of the celebration, fans can purchase a special ticket package for the race which also gives them access to a question and answer session with Patrick at Bristol on the morning of March 17. Fans will also receive a limited edition Danica / St. Patrick's Day event t-shirt, featuring the shamrock-themed #7 GoDaddy.com car. In addition, one lucky fan who purchases the package wins two hot passes and the opportunity to view the race from Patrick's pit box. Fans may visit a special website, www.DanicaGoesGreenAtBristol.com, which will keep them up to date with all the current news surrounding Patrick, tickets and the St. Patrick's Day celebration at BMS. The St. Patrick's Day celebration at BMS will be hosted by George Wendt, known for his 11-year role of the beer-drinking Norm Peterson on the television series Cheers. A post-race pit party also is on tap in the hospitality area with live music. In addition, the creek that runs through the property at Bristol Motor Speedway will be dyed green for the race and the lights that illuminate the stadium at night all will be green. The Patrick ticket package is available for $67 and includes a limited edition t-shirt, a $10 coupon to the JR Nation retail store at JR Motorsports, admittance to the question and answer session and the opportunity to be upgraded with pit passes courtesy of Bristol Motor Speedway. Children's ticket packages also will be available for $37.50 and will include a child's sized t-shirt.(BMS)(1-22-2012)

  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Becomes Official Auto Parts Retailer at Talladega: Talladega Superspeedway announced that O'Reilly Auto Parts will be an official sponsor in 2012. The multi-year agreement gives O'Reilly the distinction of Official Auto Parts Retailer of Talladega Superspeedway. "We're excited to welcome back O'Reilly Auto Parts to the Talladega Superspeedway team of sponsors," said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch. "Having worked together in the past, it's extremely rewarding to do business with a company that has a deep understanding of our sport and the best way to leverage their exposure. We look forward to sharing their brand with the thousands of loyal Talladega Superspeedway fans."(TSS)(1-22-2012)


    News from January 21, 2012

  • NASCAR welcomes 2012 Hall of Fame members: During an emotional induction ceremony Friday night at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a pair of three-time champion drivers, racing's quintessential crew chief, a founding father of the sport and the hands-down best modified driver who ever lived all took their rightful places among NASCAR's elite. The third class of five NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees evidences no fall-off in quality from the two classes that preceded it in 2010 and 2011. In fact, some would argue that the 2012 inductees all boast credentials worthy of consideration for an earlier welcome to the Hall.
    Darrell Waltrip, for instance, won three Sprint Cup titles and is tied for fourth on the career win list with 84 victories.
    Cale Yarborough, the only driver to win three straight Cup titles before Jimmie Johnson equaled and then eclipsed the feat in the first decade of the 21st century, is sixth in all-time wins with 83.
    As far as championships are concerned, Dale Inman is the most prolific winner among NASCAR crew chiefs, having accumulated seven Cup titles during his pioneering run at Petty Enterprises and a series-record eighth with driver Terry Labonte and owner Billy Hagan in 1984.
    Glen Wood, who with brother Leonard Wood founded the most enduring team in the sport's history, was an innovator who nurtured the careers of a litany of elite drivers, most notable among them Hall of Famers Yarborough and David Pearson.
    Richie Evans, a nine-time modified champion, simply was without peer. The "Rapid Roman" clinched his first NASCAR National Modified title in 1973. On Oct. 24, 1985, a week after securing his ninth modified championship, Evans was killed in a crash during practice at Martinsville Speedway. He was 44.(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-21-2012)

  • Turn One Racing to field Cup team: UPDATE: Turn One Racing announced that they will field a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car in 2012, starting with the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 4th. The team is building on the experience earned over the last three years of competition in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where the team earned a ninth place finish in the 2011 standings with driver Cole Whitt. "This is a great opportunity for Turn One Racing," said Team Owner, Stacy Compton. "It has always been our objective to grow the team and this is just the next step in that plan. We have a great group of partners behind us and feel like we are taking all the right steps to build a very competitive Sprint Cup team." Compton's team has purchased cars from Richard Childress Racing and plans are in the works to race eight to ten events in their freshman year. The team will attempt the remaining races, excluding the 200-lap Daytona 500. "We have partnered with one of our long-time supporters to run a handful of races this year. We're also working on additional sponsorship that would enable us to run more races throughout the year."(Turn One Racing)(1-20-2012)
    UPDATE: Compton confirmed Friday that he has formed an alliance with Richard Childress Racing that could result in a minimum eight-race schedule. "I know we're going to run Kentucky," Compton said. "We're going to run Indianapolis, for sure at this point. And we've got our eye on Texas as well." Compton has been in communication with RCR general manager Mike Dillon in his efforts to create a Cup program, with the idea of starting small and growing as sponsorship money becomes available. Compton's goal at this point is to concentrate on short tracks -- namely Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond and Dover. Compton said at least one sponsor is on board with the project, but he declined to identify it at this point. "It's a partner that we've had in the past and has supported me for many years," Compton said. "They want to make sure they get their ducks in a row first before we make any announcements on it." If more sponsorship can be obtained -- and Compton indicated there were talks under way -- the team could run as many as 15 races. So who will be behind the wheel? Compton said that's still to be determined.(NASCAR.com)(1-21-2012)

  • McDowell to announce 2012 plans soon: UPDATES: Add Michael McDowell to the list of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers planning to moonlight in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The current entry list shows Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger in Daytona Prototypes and Michael Waltrip in a GT-class Ferrari. McDowell was introduced as one of the drivers for Michael Shank Racing's #6 Ford Riley DP. "I'm grateful I can do both NASCAR and run the Rolex 24," McDowell said. "It is a fun race. It's one race and a big race. It's exciting to get back behind the wheel of a DP car. I grew up road racing. To come back road racing is a lot of fun. It's a refresher, too. It reminds me where I came from and how it used to be for me. It's cool." McDowell said he's getting close to making an announcement about a full-time Sprint Cup ride in a few weeks. "I am going to switch manufacturers and I got a new partner onboard, too," he said. "We'll be talking about that soon. I will also be in the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide car for a handful of races. I'm excited about that."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-10-2012)
    UPDATE: McDowell says he'll be back in the #18 car in 2012 for five Nationwide races with plans for him to race at Road America, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Iowa twice. On the Sprint Cup side, McDowell says he'll be back full-time with Phil Parsons Racing (formerly HP Racing). He isn't sure what number he'll have this year, but he does know that they are making a change to Ford this coming season, powered by Roush-Yates engines. And they have found enough sponsorship to race the first five races of the season, rather than resorting to a start and park situation.(Yahoo Sports)(1-19-2012)
    UPDATE 2: According to the #46-Whitney Motorsports facebook page, "Whitney Motorsports has joined forces with Phil Parsons Racing to field a Sprint Cup car for Michael McDowell, we are remaining with Ford and are hoping for a great season and some sponsorship to join us here in 2012."(1-21-2012)

  • NASCAR Preview held TODAY: The NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint takes place beginning at 9 a.m. Jan. 21 with NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series drivers on hand for autographs in the ballroom and Exhibit Hall. Here's a complete rundown of drivers and appearance times:
    NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint
    Driver Appearance Times (Ballroom)
    9:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth
    10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson
    11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski
    12:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. - Greg Biffle
    12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman
    2:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Dale Earnhardt Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya
    3:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. - Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart
    Driver Appearance Times (Exhibit Hall)
    9 a.m. - 11 a.m. - AJ Allmendinger, Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, David Ragan, Justin Allgaier, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Timmy Hill, Blake Koch, Travis Pastrana, Timothy Peters
    11 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Regan Smith, Brian Vickers, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Brian Scott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Sweet, Cale Gale, Justin Lofton, Todd Peck
    12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Michael Annett, Elliott Sadler, Mike Wallace, Dakoda Armstrong, Johnny Sauter, Parker Kligerman, Brian Keselowski, Michael Waltrip, Jason Leffler, Todd Bodine
    2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Danica Patrick, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Morgan Shepherd, Kenny Wallace, Joey Coulter, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Tim George Jr., Max Gresham
    (NASCAR)(1-20/21-2012)

  • Army Veteran to Star in Sprint All-Star Race Commercial: For former drill sergeant and United States Army all-star, Derek Heavener, of Huntington, W. Va., the dream of being a NASCAR All-Star has come true thanks to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Heavener, who wrote an essay detailing why he should be considered for the "Be an All-Star" Facebook contest, was selected as the grand prize winner from more than 500 entries. "I've served my country honorably in the United States Army for 19 years. I've been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo and have stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest all-stars of our time; the American soldier," wrote Heavener. Heavener won two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 19, pre-race pit passes, VIP parking for the race and a role in Charlotte Motor Speedway's 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race commercial. He will join NASCAR stars Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Junior Johnson and the 2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star race winner Carl Edwards on the set for a behind-the-scenes look at one of NASCAR's most creative commercials, shot in a replica Wild West town. 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, SPEED TV personality Jeff Hammond and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip also will star in the commercial.(CMS)(1-21-2012)

  • Pollen promoted to Director of Marketing at Infineon Raceway: Rachal Pollen has been promoted to Director of Marketing at Infineon Raceway, raceway officials announced. In her new role, Pollen will help oversee the planning and execution of all marketing initiatives at the raceway, including the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and IZOD IndyCar Series race weekends. Pollen, 31, has been employed at Infineon Raceway since 1999, serving as Senior Manager of Marketing since 2006.(Infineon Raceway)(1-21-2012)


    News from January 20, 2012

  • Go Green Racing Signs Paul and Tim Andrews; Forms Cup Team: Go Green Racing announced the addition of Paul and Tim Andrews to an already impressive list of talented crew members to Go Green Racing for the 2012 NASCAR season. Paul Andrews, a former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Crew Chief, will lead the #19 Go Green Racing Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16th. Bristol Motor Speedway will also mark the first Sprint Cup Series attempt for Tim Andrews. Following Bristol, the team expects to compete in an additional ten NSCS races. Tim Andrews is also scheduled to compete in select NASCAR Nationwide Series races as driver of the #37 Go Green Racing Ford Mustang. Calling the shots as crew chief on the #37 will be Dave Ingram. Ingram joins Go Green Racing after serving as crew chief for MacDonald Motorsports last season. Go Green Racing has purchased their NSCS cars from Roush Fenway Racing and will run the Roush/Yates FR9 motor at all 2012 Cup races.(Go Green Racing)(1-20-2012)

  • Turn One Racing to field Cup team: Turn One Racing announced that they will field a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car in 2012, starting with the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 4th. The team is building on the experience earned over the last three years of competition in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where the team earned a ninth place finish in the 2011 standings with driver Cole Whitt. "This is a great opportunity for Turn One Racing," said Team Owner, Stacy Compton. "It has always been our objective to grow the team and this is just the next step in that plan. We have a great group of partners behind us and feel like we are taking all the right steps to build a very competitive Sprint Cup team." Compton's team has purchased cars from Richard Childress Racing and plans are in the works to race eight to ten events in their freshman year. The team will attempt the remaining races, excluding the 200-lap Daytona 500. "We have partnered with one of our long-time supporters to run a handful of races this year. We're also working on additional sponsorship that would enable us to run more races throughout the year."(Turn One Racing)(1-20-2012)

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction / Acceleration Weekend: Charlotte becomes the epicenter of NASCAR Acceleration Weekend on Jan. 20-21. The NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts its third class comprised of the late Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Glen Wood, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough on Jan. 20 at the Crown Ballroom in the Charlotte Convention Center. Activities begin at 7:30 p.m.

    Class of 2012 Inductees:

    Cale Yarborough
    William Caleb Yarborough was the first driver to win three consecutive NASCAR premier series championships, from 1976-78. During his three-year dominance, Yarborough won 28 races  nine in 1976, nine in '77 and 10 in '78. His final championship points margin in those three years was never fewer than 195 points and was as much as 474 in 1978. Yarborough totaled 83 victories in his 31-year career, which ranks sixth all-time. His 69 poles rank fourth all-time. He also won the Daytona 500 four times (1968, '77, '83-84), a mark that ranks second only to Richard Petty's seven. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

    Darrell Waltrip
    A three-time NASCAR premier series champion (1981-82, '85), Waltrip won all three with legendary driver/owner Junior Johnson. Waltrip is tied with Bobby Allison and Jeff Gordon for third all-time in series victories with 84. His 59 poles rank fifth all-time in NASCAR premier series history. He competed from 1972-2000, which included a 1989 Daytona 500 victory in a Rick Hendrick-owned Chevrolet. He currently is a commentator on FOX's NASCAR broadcasts. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

    Dale Inman
    Dale Inman, NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty's crew chief at Petty Enterprises for nearly three decades, set records for most wins (193) and championships (eight) by a crew chief. Inman won seven of those championships with Petty (1964, '67, '71, '72, '74, '75 and '79), and a final one in 1984 with Terry Labonte.

    Richie Evans
    The recognized "king" of Modified racing, Evans captured nine NASCAR Modified titles in a 13-year span, including eight in a row from 1978-85. In the first year of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour format in 1985, Evans won 12 races, including a sweep of all four events at Thompson, Conn. Evans ranked No. 1 in the 2003 voting of the NASCAR All-Time Modified Top 10 Drivers, and he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

    Glen Wood
    Glen Wood laid the foundation for the famed Wood Brothers racing team as a driver in NASCAR's premier series. Competing on a semi-regular basis, mostly at tracks close to his southern Virginia home, Wood won four times  all at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. Wood, of course, is best known for his collaboration with brothers Leonard and Delano in Wood Brothers Racing. The Stuart, Va.-based team, which dates to 1950 and remains active, has amassed 98 victories.

    NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint takes place beginning at 9 a.m. Jan. 21 with NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series drivers on hand for autographs in the ballroom and Exhibit Hall. Here's a complete rundown of drivers and appearance times:
    NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint
    Driver Appearance Times (Ballroom)
    9:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth
    10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson
    11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski
    12:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. - Greg Biffle
    12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman
    2:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Dale Earnhardt Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya
    3:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. - Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart
    Driver Appearance Times (Exhibit Hall)
    9 a.m. - 11 a.m. - AJ Allmendinger, Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, David Ragan, Justin Allgaier, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Timmy Hill, Blake Koch, Travis Pastrana, Timothy Peters
    11 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Regan Smith, Brian Vickers, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Brian Scott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Sweet, Cale Gale, Justin Lofton, Todd Peck
    12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Michael Annett, Elliott Sadler, Mike Wallace, Dakoda Armstrong, Johnny Sauter, Parker Kligerman, Brian Keselowski, Michael Waltrip, Jason Leffler, Todd Bodine
    2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Danica Patrick, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Morgan Shepherd, Kenny Wallace, Joey Coulter, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Tim George Jr., Max Gresham
    (NASCAR)(1-20-2012)

  • MRN, SiriusXM to provide live coverage of Hall of Fame induction: Motor Racing Network is poised to kick off its 43rd year of broadcasting with live coverage of Friday's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Charlotte, N.C. The Class of 2012 will be formally enshrined as the sport honors its third group of inductees: Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Darrell Waltrip, Glenn Wood and Cale Yarborough. MRN Radio's live coverage will be anchored by Barney Hall and Joe Moore, and produced by Amada Trautman. Air time is 7:30 p.m. (EST).(MRN)
    AND: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 will also have live coverage of the induction ceremony. SPEED will show the ceremony on Sunday, January 22 at 6:00pm/et.(1-20-2012)

  • Danica informed Andretti she was leaving IndyCar a year ago: Andretti Autosport was far more prepared for the exodus of driver Danica Patrick than most anyone expected. At a preseason IndyCar test at Sebring International Raceway on Tuesday, team owner Michael Andretti said Patrick, as required by the terms of her final contract with his team, informed him early last year that she would not return. "January of '11 she had to let us know what she was doing for '12," Andretti said. "We purposely put it in the contract so in case she decided to leave, we had time. I'm glad we did that." Patrick signed a two-year deal with Andretti Autosport in 2009. It contained a mutual option for 2012. She asserted throughout the summer, with cover from Andretti, that her business team was exploring "all options," including returning to Andretti and IndyCar.(Sports Illustrated)(1-20-2012)

  • Hall of Famers to meet with fans Saturday: NASCAR Hall of Famers and others who have a deep history in the sport will interact with fans following the NASCAR Preview 2012 on Saturday. The event will take place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame and is open to all fans who have a ticket to the hall of fame that day. Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond, Ned Jarrett and former car owner Bondy Long will be at various locations where their cars or exhibits are from 5-6 p.m. ET Saturday. Junior Johnson, Glen Wood, Leonard Wood, Dale Inman, Bud Moore and journalist Tom Higgins will be in the hall from 6:15-7:15 p.m. to talk with fans. Earlier in the day, the hall of fame will have guided tours that feature meet-and-greets with hall of famers. The tours are limited to 30 people with Junior Johnson meeting a group at 10 a.m., followed by Ned Jarrett at 11 a.m., Richard Petty (noon), Bud Moore (2 p.m.), Bobby Allison (3 p.m.) and Darrell Waltrip (4 p.m.). Tickets are $20 and include the NASCAR Preview, where more than 50 NASCAR drivers will appear throughout the day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for autographs and question-and-answer sessions inside the Charlotte Convention Center, which is adjacent to the hall of fame.(Scene Daily)(1-20-2012)

  • Darlington and California security teams receive award: One of the top priorities for Darlington Raceway each year is to make sure its race fans, competitors, media and others attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Southern 500 race weekend every May have a safe and enjoyable experience when they visit the track "Too Tough to Tame." That priority did not go unnoticed by NASCAR as Darlington Raceway, and its security director Mike Richardson, were honored by receiving the sanctioning bodies "Excellence in Service Award" for its top notch security efforts for the 2011 season. Darlington was one of two tracks to accept NASCAR's highest honor for its security efforts along with Auto Club Speedway in California.(Darlington Raceway)(1-20-2012)

  • Richmond Staff receive NASCAR Awards of Excellence: Two Richmond International Raceway employees recently received awards acknowledging their commitment to excellent service they provide to RIR and the NASCAR community. Linwood Burrow, director of track operations, and Seiji Kashiwabara, nursing director, earned the Track Services Award for Excellence and Nursing Director of the Year Award for Excellence, respectively, at the 2012 NASCAR Summit. NASCAR presents The Track Services Award for Excellence annually to an individual who has taken the initiative to significantly improve track services at a NASCAR National Series Track over the duration of a career of ten or more years. Burrow, who earned the service award, has been a member of the Richmond International Raceway staff for over 40 years. NASCAR annually awards The Nursing Director of the Year Award for Excellence to a Nursing Director who shows outstanding leadership and organizational skills, quickly addresses concerns and delivers an immediate and positive outcome. Kashiwabara and his medical team operate the RIR Infield Care Center on race weekends, where they provide medical care to competitors and track guests. Kashiwabara has been a part of the RIR team for the past 11 years.(RIR)(1-20-2012)


    News from January 19, 2012

  • Kyle, Kurt Busch to run full Nationwide season with Monster Energy: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Monster Energy Company as primary sponsor of the team's #54 Monster Energy Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Team owner Kyle Busch, the all-time race winning driver in the history of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will share driving duties with his brother Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion. Kyle will drive the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway and the subsequent four races through California before splitting the balance of the season with Kurt. The team's goal will be to capture an Owner's Championship in its inaugural race season, similar to the Owner's Championship accomplished by KBM in its first full season in the Camping World Truck Series in 2010. The development of this duo as teammates fits perfectly for primary team sponsor Monster Energy, who foregoes traditional forms of advertising and instead seeks brand exposure through the use of Extreme Athletes. With Monster Energy looking for increased presence across the NASCAR fan base, the company identified the Busch brothers as the drivers that best fit its family of Monster Energy Team Athletes. To complement the driver lineup, and ensure a strong competitive advantage, KBM brings industry veteran and winning crew chief Mike Beam into the fold as the #54 Monster Energy Camry team leader. Beam is a long-time fixture in NASCAR who has accomplished career victories across all three major touring series. At an early age, Mike became a successful contributor towards a variety of competitive racing organizations including Petty Enterprises and Roush Fenway Racing.(KBM), see an image of the car on the #54 team paint scheme page.(1-19-2012)

  • McDowell to announce 2012 plans soon: UPDATE: Add Michael McDowell to the list of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers planning to moonlight in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The current entry list shows Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger in Daytona Prototypes and Michael Waltrip in a GT-class Ferrari. McDowell was introduced as one of the drivers for Michael Shank Racing's #6 Ford Riley DP. "I'm grateful I can do both NASCAR and run the Rolex 24," McDowell said. "It is a fun race. It's one race and a big race. It's exciting to get back behind the wheel of a DP car. I grew up road racing. To come back road racing is a lot of fun. It's a refresher, too. It reminds me where I came from and how it used to be for me. It's cool." McDowell said he's getting close to making an announcement about a full-time Sprint Cup ride in a few weeks. "I am going to switch manufacturers and I got a new partner onboard, too," he said. "We'll be talking about that soon. I will also be in the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide car for a handful of races. I'm excited about that."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-10-2012)
    UPDATE: McDowell says he'll be back in the #18 car in 2012 for five Nationwide races with plans for him to race at Road America, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Iowa twice. On the Sprint Cup side, McDowell says he'll be back full-time with Phil Parsons Racing (formerly HP Racing). He isn't sure what number he'll have this year, but he does know that they are making a change to Ford this coming season, powered by Roush-Yates engines. And they have found enough sponsorship to race the first five races of the season, rather than resorting to a start and park situation.(Yahoo Sports)(1-19-2012)

  • Bayne, Wood Brothers plan less than 20 races: For 2012, just as it was a year ago, Bayne's Cup outlook consists of fewer than 20 scheduled starts with a team that continues to refuse to extend itself without the proper funding, choosing quality rather than quantity when it comes to opportunities at the race track. The 2011 Daytona 500 victory opened doors - Bayne and the team eventually made a total of 17 starts last year - but success didn't follow. While he qualified well on the big tracks, Bayne scored no more top-10s and finished only one other race, at Talladega, in the top 15. A member of the Roush Fenway Racing stable, where he competed for the Nationwide Series title in 2011, Bayne closed the year uncertain of his future as sponsorship concerns muddied the racing waters for the Roush Fenway program and left his status for 2012 questionable.(Scene Daily)(1-19-2012)

  • Dave Blaney's son to drive some NNS races for Tommy Baldwin Racing: Tommy Baldwin Racing signed Ryan Blaney to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The 18-year-old will get behind the wheel of the #36 SealWrap Repair Tape Chevy and compete in six events throughout the season with his debut set for April 27 at Richmond International Raceway. Blaney will also run six NASCAR K&N Pro Series races in his family-owned DB Racing #10 SealWrap Repair Tape/Heavy Duty Industrial Services machine, beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway March 17, and Trent Owen will return as crew chief for the NKNPS car. Blaney, son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and TBR driver Dave Blaney, made a combined three starts last season in the NKNPS East and West, winning in his third start and capturing his first NASCAR victory at Phoenix International Raceway. Blaney also won the 2011 PASS South Championship and found success in the ARCA Racing Series where he finished in the top-10 in his two starts. Blaney will join his dad, Dave Blaney, with TBR this season. The elder Blaney drove the #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy last season where he locked the team in to the top-35 in NSCS points and captured a third-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway. SealWrap Repair Tape, a self-fusing rubber tape, partnered with Blaney in 2010 in the NKNPS. SealWrap Repair Tape uses a stretch-and-wrap technology that makes repairing irregular forms and shapes easy. There are no bonding agents, adhesives or glues to make it work. SealWrap fuses to itself and creates an air and watertight seal.(TBR)(1-18-2012)

  • NASCAR Extends Partnership With Federal-Mogul: NASCAR announced that it has renewed its partnership agreement with Federal-Mogul Corporation, extending Federal-Mogul's market-leading MOOG brand of automotive steering and suspension components as an exclusive NASCAR Performance partner. This multi-year agreement will continue to provide Federal-Mogul's MOOG product and marketing team with a platform to enhance and differentiate its products and drive sales. The NASCAR Performance brand marks and intellectual property will appear on MOOG packaging as well as within the brand's product literature, advertising and promotional programs, and at industry events. The agreement continues the MOOG brand's high-profile involvement as a NASCAR Contingency Program sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Federal-Mogul and the MOOG brand also sponsor the prestigious weekly and annual MOOG "Problem Solver" awards for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs.(NASCAR)(1-19-2012)

  • Bristol Fan Advisory Board accepting new member applications: Bristol Motor Speedway, the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sanctioned facility to institute an advisory group made up of fans, now is taking applications for its Fan Advisory Board. Formed in 2006, Bristol's Fan Advisory Board is a group of loyal fans who provide feedback and new ideas that aid in the growth and development of the Speedway, and its ability to exceed expectations by delivering the ultimate fan experience. Fans may apply online through Tuesday, January 31, 2012. Via online communication and annual meetings, the Fan Advisory Board targets visible issues, identifies challenges and presents ideas to enhance and better the "Bristol Experience." The board is comprised of 30-40 members, consisting of a demographic cross-section of fans. Correspondence and meetings include Bristol senior level management to ensure action items are fulfilled and executed in the vision of the board. Board members serve a "rotational" term that includes three NASCAR race weekends at Bristol Motor Speedway. After serving for three NASCAR race weekends, members rotate off, and new members are appointed.(BMS)(1-19-2012)


    News from January 18, 2012

  • Kurt Busch will run for Cup championship: Despite recent speculation to the contrary, Kurt Busch confirmed Tuesday he will compete for the Sprint Cup championship under the Phoenix Racing banner. Some reports suggested that Busch, 33, was considering racing for the Nationwide Series championship rather than the Cup title. Busch will also run a limited Nationwide Series schedule for Phoenix Racing in 2011.(Fox Sports)(1-18-2012)

  • Several big name drivers still not locked into Daytona 500: The big question that continued throughout testing was whether or not Danica Patrick would be locked into the Daytona 500. Or Mark Martin. Or Trevor Bayne. It likely will be a few weeks before teams know the answer. With Red Bull Racing having closed, there could still be a deal done for the points earned by the #4 car (14th) and the #83 (25th) last year. If those points aren't used, next in line is the closed TRG Motorsports #71 car. If it does not enter and a deal is not done to use those points, next in line are the Wood Brothers #21 car (Trevor Bayne) and Robby Gordon Motorsports #7 car, which Gordon will drive in the Daytona 500. Among those looking for points are Stewart-Haas Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. There has been speculation that Stewart Haas would put together a deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing, possibly for points from the #36 car (33rd in 2011 owner points) to be transferred to Patrick. But it also could include a partnership where TBR would field a #10 car for David Reutimann in the 26 races in which Patrick doesn't compete, thus allowing that car to continue to earn owner points all season. MWR attempted to purchase Red Bull for the points and equipment, but that deal fell through. Team co-owner Michael Waltrip said last week no final determination of which two of his three drivers would have the MWR points from 2011, but it is expected those would go to the two drivers competing for the drivers championship - #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #15-Clint Bowyer - while #55-Mark Martin would have to get in the race on speed. It appears that Richard Childress Racing will enter a fourth car for the Daytona 500 and use its points from the #33 car last year. That fourth car would only run a handful of races throughout the year, possibly with Austin Dillon for select events although RCR could put in a more experienced driver such as Elliott Sadler or Brian Vickers for the Daytona 500.(Scene Daily)(1-18-2012)

  • France talks NASCAR Issues: NASCAR CEO Brian France recently sat down for an interview with Broadcasting & Cable that covered a variety of subjects:
    You say you're pretty aggressive about what your TV partners need to do for NASCAR. What do you want from them?
    We are always the sport that is under-covered given the ratings and size of the events. In particular, ESPN. They just have so many platforms. So we are pushing real hard with them to have a more integrated approach. We have hired people to service them better, so we can help them accomplish that. They have the most assets to be deployed; it doesn't mean everyone else doesn't have some big ones and good ones. We are going to work to make them a better partner.
    Your TV deals are up in 2014, but when do your negotiating windows open with your current partners?
    Not for a little while, but we are having conversations, because a lot of our partners have been clear they would prefer to renew. All things being equal, our first hope is that the incumbents do renew. . . I think [talks] could heat up at any time, that's my sense. It's not cold now, we are having conversations, my sense is things will happen sooner rather than later, and sooner than they normally would in a cycle of renewals.
    Are you going to change the post-season Chase format?
    I think I'd be shot if I changed the format, frankly. We are not going to change the format.
    How much does it hurt that Dale Earnhardt Jr., your most marketable driver, doesn't win races?
    It hurts. It hurts. He is trying to win and get his team to have the confidence to not only win one but rip off more. He did improve and made the Chase, he's a big franchise, he's the most popular driver in NASCAR, so it would help us if he would win.
    Everyone talks about creating superstars, but does your sport need villains?
    I think some version of a villain, yeah. I think you need people that no one cheers for, I think that's healthy. But there are limits to that. It's great when there is someone that acts different, has a little bit of bravado, that typically is good.(Broadcasting & Cable)(1-18-2012)

  • Sport Clips to sponsor Hamlin at Darlington: Sport Clips Haircuts will sponsor a total of eight races during the 2012 NASCAR season, including the Sprint Cup Series race in Darlington with the #11 Sport Clips Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin and seven additional Nationwide Series races. This is the fourth year Sport Clips has been a sponsor with JGR and the eight total races (seven Nationwide and one Cup) is the most the organization has ever sponsored in a single season.In addition to the Darlington Sprint Cup Series race, Sport Clips will appear on JGR's #18 and #20 Nationwide Series Toyota a total of seven times in 2012 with drivers Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-18-2012)

  • Bruton Smith Honored at 2012 North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards: Bruton Smith, founder and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., was honored Monday evening with the 2012 Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award from the North Carolina Motorsports Association. The honor was given to Smith before a large crowd of motorsports industry professionals at the 6th Annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards presented by Senn Dunn Insurance at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Concord. Smith joins previous Tribute Award recipients Bill France Jr., Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Junior Johnson.
    David Poole, longtime Charlotte Observer motorsports writer, was honored (posthumously) with the Media Recognition Award. The award was accepted by Poole's widow Katy [Poole] and Mike Persinger, Executive Sports Editor for the Charlotte Observer.
    In addition, seven industry companies were awarded for their 2011 accomplishments and positive impacts to the Motorsports Industry:
    • Bruton Smith, Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award
    • David Poole, Media Recognition Award
    • G-Force Racing Gear
    • Industrial Hard Carbon
    • JRi Shocks
    • Lake Norman Elementary School Pit Crew
    • NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
    • Racing Electronics
    • Richmond County Tourism Authority
    (NCMA))(1-18-2012)

  • Charlotte Season Ticket Package Offers Fans Unmatched Value: Charlotte Motor Speedway is launching its new NASCAR season ticket package for 2012 and fans who attend the NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Jan. 21, will have the first opportunity to purchase the new package and learn more about the speedway's 2012 fan amenities. The Charlotte Motor Speedway Season Ticket saves fans 15 percent on their favorite reserved seat to three spectacular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at the speedway: the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Bank of America 500. Each season ticket also includes a trial membership to The Speedway Club and one free pit pass per account to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 19. New for 2012, with each season ticket purchase fans will be automatically eligible for a chance to compete to win a 2012 Toyota Tundra, Highlander, Camry or Sienna minivan. The competition will take place on the infield grass during pre-race ceremonies for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600. For each dollar spent on season tickets, fans will receive one entry into the contest, which runs Jan. 21 through April 27. Also new for 2012, fans will receive a 1:24 scale collector diecast car of their favorite driver with the purchase of two Charlotte Motor Speedway Season Tickets, while supplies last. Season ticket holders receive access to exclusive events at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including press conferences and meet and greets with NASCAR personalities. The Charlotte Motor Speedway Season Ticket package offers more than $1,500 in benefits and includes:
    • One free pit pass to the May 19 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
    • One free ticket to the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on May 18, the May 24 LiftMaster Pole Night qualifying session for the Coca-Cola 600 and the Oct. 12 Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
    • A six month Speedway Club trial social membership.
    • Savings of 15% on tickets to all three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races when seats for all three races are purchased.
    • A 35% savings on additional pit passes and driver intro passes.
    • A 10% discount on souvenirs at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Gift Shop on the second floor of Smith Tower.
    • A 10% discount on NASCAR Hall of Fame entry and souvenirs and a 40 percent discount on NASCAR Hall of Fame simulator rides.
    • VIP parking in a reserved lot for race weekends.
    • A personalized seat plaque when the same seat is purchased for all three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events.
    • A limited edition lanyard and personalized identification hard card.
    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or call 1-800-455-FANS (3267).(CMS)(1-18-2012)


    News from January 17, 2012

  • Engine builders happy with fuel injection at test: There wasn't much talk about fuel injection during the three-day test last week at Daytona International Speedway. And for NASCAR officials, that's a good thing. After more than a year of work, they hope that teams are comfortable with the new system, which will debut in the Daytona 500 and be used throughout the 2012 season. It appeared that for the most part, Sprint Cup teams were comfortable with their base packages during the three-day test. The test last week also brought to light some fuel injection rules:
    • Teams have the option of whether to use an electric or cable fuel pump. The Fords are using a cable while other manufacturers are using electric fuel pumps. NASCAR also recently increased the number of electric lift pumps inside the fuel tank from one to two - making it easier to fuel the car while it is on heavy banking.
    • If teams have problems in race conditions, they will not be allowed to plug their computers into the system on pit road. They will have to go to the garage. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said it would be a safety issue to have teams plug into the systems on pit road.
    • Teams (as well as NASCAR) will be allowed to tap into the information throughout the race weekend. After each race weekend, NASCAR will distribute information on all teams' maps.(Scene Daily)(1-17-2012)

  • J.C. France sued by vet clinic: A Port Orange [Florida] veterinary clinic is suing race car driver J.C. France, grandson of NASCAR's founder, for an $18,000 vet bill they say is owed. Even though France's dog died. Phantom was a 2-year-old boxer taken to Ravenswood Veterinary Clinic on Clyde Morris Boulevard on Aug. 17, according to court records. The dog had eaten "a shish kabob stick," France's lawyer Dave Robinson said. In spite of surgery and other medical care that ran up a bill of nearly $30,000, Phantom died. A member of the France family paid $10,000 with a credit card on Aug. 25, records show. But the Ravenwood clinic and Mark C. Anderson, the veterinarian, claim they are still owed the rest. Last month, James Hattaway, a lawyer from Longwood representing the vet clinic, wrote J.C. France saying they "appreciated" the partial payment. But, Hattaway added, the clinic wants the rest of what is owed. The five-page complaint was filed in circuit court last week. France's lawyer, Robinson, insists the vet bill is high, especially considering the outcome.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-17-2012)

  • Texas Motor Speedway creating Fan Council: Texas Motor Speedway will bolster its communication with its guests by creating the speedway's first fan council and utilizing their feedback and recommendations to enhance future experiences for all patrons at the world-class motorsports facility. The Texas Motor Speedway Fan Council will consist of 20 to 30 fans that will be active in providing constructive feedback with speedway management throughout the upcoming race season. The fan council will be comprised of a diverse group that includes PSL holders, individual ticket purchasers, suite holders, campers, etc. ranging from the veteran fan to the novice. An online application will be available on texasmotorspeedway.com for fans interested in being a candidate for the Texas Motor Speedway Fan Council. Fans also can print and mail the application to Texas Motor Speedway, Attn: Fan Council, P.O. Box 500, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Applications should be mailed no later than Feb. 6 to ensure arrival by the Feb. 10 deadline. Selections will be made Feb. 15 and members will be notified no later than Feb. 17. Fan council members for 2012 will serve a term from Feb. 17 - Nov. 15. Once the term expires, new members will be chosen for the following season.(TMS)(1-17-2012)


    News from January 16, 2012

  • Nationwide owner Jay Robinson forms Cup team: Nationwide Series veteran team owner Jay Robinson will enter into his 12th year in the series and has partnered with Troy Blakeney of Houston, Texas to form Robinson-Blakeney Racing, LLC and will field a Sprint Cup Series car with Toyota as its manufacturer. The new team intends to run full time in both series this year. "I am very excited about our new venture into the Cup series", said team owner Jay Robinson" We have all of the cars and equipment in place. We will be running engines prepared by Race Engines Plus and are hoping to hire a driver very soon." The #28 Nationwide car will continue into the 2012 Season with a variety of drivers throughout the season. Jeff Spraker and his Spraker Racing Enterprises group has been hired to head up the Nationwide efforts. Troy Blakeney, with offices in Houston and Fort Worth, Texas is relatively new to the sport and brings a wealth of business knowledge and experience which will certainly prove to be an asset in the venture. Robinson-Blakeney Racing will run Toyotas from their Monroe N. C. based. The team will soon be announcing their drivers, crew chiefs and sponsorships.(Robinson-Blakeney Racing)(1-16-2012)

  • David Ragan to Front Row Motorsports: UPDATE: David Ragan, who spent the past five seasons driving for Roush Fenway Racing, will drive for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup series in 2012. An official announcement is scheduled for early next week, sources said. It remains unclear which team Ragan will drive for at Front Row, which fielded Ford teams last season for #34-David Gilliland and #38-Travis Kvapil [and a limited schedule with the #55].(Charlotte Observer)(1-14-2012)
    UPDATE: Front Row Motorsports will follow up its best season in the team's young history by bolstering its line-up for 2012, adding race winner David Ragan to drive the #34 Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Front Row veteran David Gilliland will build off an impressive 2011 season, returning to the team behind the wheel of the team's second entry, the #38 Ford. Ragan joins Front Row after completing a 2011 season that delivered his first Cup win (Daytona International Speedway in July), two poles, and four top-five and eight top-10 finishes. The 26-year-old Unadilla, Ga., native is already a NASCAR veteran, first joining the national stock-car ranks at the age of 18 and quickly ascending to premier-level Sprint Cup racing. His #34 team is locked in to the starting line-up entering the 2012 season, including a guaranteed starting spot in the prestigious Daytona 500 next month. Gilliland returns for his third season with Front Row and his seventh in the Cup series. The 35-year-old Riverside, Calif., native will return to the #38, the number he drove as a Sprint Cup rookie as well as the car he drove in his first season with Front Row. The #38 team is also locked in to the field entering 2012. Last season, Gilliland raced his way to a third-place finish in the Daytona 500 to start off an impressive 2011 run, in which he proved to be a force on superspeedways and road courses. Sponsorship for the Front Row Motorsports entries is being finalized and will be announced soon.(Breaking Limits/Front Row)
    AND Jay Guy will be the crew chief for David Ragan and the #34 team, Competition Director Derrick Finley will fill in as crew chief on an interim basis for the #38 team and David Gilliland. The team continues to look for a permanent replacement for former crew chief Peter Sospenzo, who is no longer with the team.(1-16-2012)

  • Edwards not planning on running Nationwide in 2012: After competing the past seven years for Roush Fenway Racing in the Nationwide Series, all while running a full Cup Series schedule, Carl Edwards has decided not to run any Nationwide races in 2012. "The way we're approaching this season is, I'm not committing to any races right now," Edwards said. "And as the season goes, if I decide I'm just a nervous ball of energy on Saturdays and I can't function without going and racing -- because that might be the case -- then we'll work to try to go [Nationwide] racing. We could get 10 races in [to the season] and I could say 'Hey, I'm better off racing on Saturdays.' Then, it would be on me to go look for some way to put something together so that we could go race."(NASCAR.com)(1-16-2012)

  • Robby Gordon finishes fifth at Dakar: Robby Gordon escaped injury despite flipping his Hummer on Saturday and then won the final 18-mile stage Sunday in Peru to finish fifth overall in the event. The race consisted of 5,052 miles over 13 timed stages throughout Argentina, Chile and Peru through a two-week period. Gordon, who owns his own Dakar entry just as he does in Sprint Cup, won three of the individual stages. Gordon couldn't overcome a pair of crashes and a mechanical issue as he finished 2 hours, 16 minutes behind winner Stephane Peterhansel.(Scene Daily)(1-16-2012)
    AND: Gordon plans to attempt the Daytona 500, based on a tweet Sunday night, "My plans next month look busy. Parker for sure, possibly King of Hammers then Speed Week in Daytona."(1-16-2012)

  • Harvick, Biffle, and NASCAR fan to appear on 'Dog Whisperer': In a sport where drivers are constantly striving to be leaders of the pack, a few NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars - and one lucky NASCAR fan - are taking a back seat to learn a thing or two about how to control their pets. "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan," airing on Nat Geo WILD, is going all-NASCAR when they bring the show to Daytona Beach, Fla. this February to shoot an upcoming episode. This episode, which will be filmed around Daytona 500 events on February 17-18, will feature NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick for two of the first three segments. For the final segment, Millan will work with a NASCAR fan who will be chosen. Any NASCAR fan with a dog in need of help who lives in the Daytona area, or will be in the Daytona area during the time of shoot, and wants to star in an episode of "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan" should visit http://www.cesarsway.com/dogwhisperer/submissions for information on how to submit an audition video. After collecting auditions, the "Dog Whisperer" staff will determine one lucky winner to appear in the NASCAR episode.(NASCAR)(1-16-2012)

  • Kentucky new parking field, road expansion projects advance: Kentucky Speedway's parking expansion project is beginning to take shape behind diligent construction crew efforts in unusually-mild Midwest winter temperatures. SMI acquired a 143-acre parcel of land adjacent to Kentucky Speedway and state Highway 35 in August 2011. The tract will be converted new parking fields that will be connected to speedway grounds by a new pedestrian tunnel. The tunnel is part of a Commonwealth of Kentucky project that will expand state Highway 35 to improve automotive and the Interstate 71 exit ramp at state Highway 35 to help improve automotive traffic flows during Kentucky Speedway events. Parking and road expansion projects are scheduled to be completed in spring.(Kentucky Speedway)(1-16-2012)


    News from January 15, 2012

  • NASCAR close to finalizing Daytona package: Sprint Cup preseason testing ended at Daytona International Speedway Saturday afternoon with NASCAR saying it has a good handle on a workable rules package for February Speedweeks. Officials made numerous modifications during three days of testing at the 2.5-mile track with the aim of lessening driver dependence on the tandem drafting that have ruled racing at Daytona and Talladega in recent events. NASCAR and track officials seemed pleased with the results of the three days after drivers ran in single-car, double-car and pack formations. NASCAR compiled stacks of data during the test runs and expects to issue a final rules package for Speedweeks soon. There is the expectation that Speedweeks events - particularly the featured Feb. 26 Daytona 500 - will see more traditional pack racing and less tandem drafting, although the cars' setups remain such that the two-car draft could decide the race over the closing laps.(SPEED)(1-15-2012)

  • Swindell wins Chili Bowl; Stewart 10th: NASCAR star Tony Stewart returned from two days of testing at Daytona to finish 10th in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, while Kevin Swindell led wire-to-wire in the 55-lap main event en route to his third consecutive title Saturday night. A record crowd of 17,227 watched Swindell, from Germantown, Tenn., easily edge father Sammy Swindell, a five-time champion, in the indoor Midget event on the 1/5-mile dirt oval at QuikTrip Center. After starting 10th, Stewart made no errors, but couldn't advance on a night where cars played follow the leader. Kevin Swindell was chased all the way by his father, who started behind him in the second row. Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, Calif., finished third. The main event, scheduled for 50 laps, was extended an additional five to honor Donnie Ray Crawford's # 55. Crawford, a Broken Arrow, Okla., resident, was scheduled to complete in the Chili Bowl on Saturday night, but was killed in a domestic dispute.(Associated Press), Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. finished 9th.(1-15-2012)

  • Phoenix names Director of Communications: Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced that Dave Lockett has been named Director of Communications. Lockett, who most recently directed public relations for the Pittsburgh Steelers, will oversee all communications for PIR effective immediately. Lockett spent 13 seasons with the Steelers after previously working in corporate communications at the National Football League and with several New York-area PR firms.(PIR)(1-15-2015)


    News from January 14, 2012

  • Saturday afternoon test session: Saturday's afternoon's test session over over, the five fastest drivers and some notes:
    #24-Gordon 200.562
    #2-Keselowski 200.548
    #22-Allmendinger 200.548
    #5-Kahne 200.481
    #11-Hamlin 199.973
    Some Notes:
    Most drivers tested in a large pack to begin the session.
    #10-Patrick, #14-Stewart, #51-Busch, & #6-Stenhouse, Jr. have left and are not particiapting in this session. Stewart and Stenhouse are on their way to the Chili Bowl in Tulsa. Trevor Bayne ran a few laps in the Roush Fenway #6.
    NASCAR has moved the pressure relief valve back to 25 psi (up from 20psi in the morning session).
    #31-Burton & #88-Earnhardt, Jr. spun while running in the pack. Montoya appears to get into the rear of Earnhardt, sending him into Burton. Earnhardt drove to the garage. Burton's car was towed to the garage to see if it could be repaired, but the team decided to not get back on track.
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr. ran a few laps in the #48 Chevy after sustaining damage to his car in the accident with Burton.
    See full speeds on the Daytona 500 Testing page.(1-14-2012)

  • Papis to drive Legends car: UPDATE: Bruce Silver Racing announced that NASCAR Driver Max Papis will be driving the 54 Racing Electronics Legends Car in the Masters Division this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In a business meeting earlier this week, Max mentioned to Bruce that he really wanted drive a Legends Car on the Road Course. He had driven a Legends Car once before on an oval. Wednesday evening, Max was fitted into the 54 Car at 860 Motorsports, which sets up the cars for Bruce Silver Racing. Bruce Silver, Gregory Lang and TJ Larsen will be driving other Bruce Silver Racing cars sponsored by Racing Electronics with 860 Motorsports setup.(Racing Electronics)(1-13-2012)
    UPDATE: On Saturday, January 14th, 2012, the Winter Heat Series round two action took place at Charlotte Motor Speedway (NC) on the road course. Max Papis, in his first road course Legends start, won the Legends Masters feature (his first-ever win at CMS).(Legends Nation)(1-14-2012)

  • David Ragan to Front Row Motorsports: David Ragan, who spent the past five seasons driving for Roush Fenway Racing, will drive for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup series in 2012. An official announcement is scheduled for early next week, sources said. It remains unclear which team Ragan will drive for at Front Row, which fielded Ford teams last season for #34-David Gilliland and #38-Travis Kvapil [and a limited schedule with the #55].(Charlotte Observer)(1-14-2012)

  • Saturday morning test session: Saturday's morning test session is over after 180 scheduled minutes, the five fastest drivers and some notes:
    #5-Kahne 201.545
    #24-Gordon 201.545
    #51-KuBusch 199.464
    #55-Martin 199.459
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr 199.406
    Some Notes:
    Drivers are working on single and double car runs.
    The teams of #13-Mears and #39-Newman left after yesterday's tests ended.
    Drivers are expected to test in a large pack at the beginning of the afternoon session.
    See full speeds on the Daytona 500 Testing page.(1-14-2012)

  • NASCAR moving forward with 2013 cars: The 2012 season hasn't even started, but the move toward new car models in 2013 is well under way. Manufacturers that compete in NASCAR's premier series have targeted next year to roll out new vehicles that will provide the carmakers with more brand identity on the race track. That process will gain speed during the next month or so, beginning with wind-tunnel tests and eventually an on-track session sometime later in 2012, according to the sanctioning body. "We'll be in the wind tunnel over the next 30, 45 days with the new prototypes as we do our evaluations on the submission cars, parts and pieces," Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, said Friday at Preseason Thunder. "Everybody seems to be pretty far along, and the changes that will come out of those will be based on parity due to the wind-tunnel numbers. We're optimistic that there will be some real race cars on race tracks probably in the second quarter this year doing some evaluation runs, if not before then. NASCAR president Mike Helton praised the cooperation between the carmakers, which decided with the sanctioning body's blessing to redesign the cars for next season.(NASCAR.com)(1-14-2012)

  • Helton doesn't expect short fields: There are 32 cars participating in this test at Daytona International Speedway. That number does not include some teams that folded during the offseason (such as Red Bull), some smaller outfits (such as Front Row Motorsports) and some that decided not to test (such as JTG Daugherty Racing). [NASCAR President Mike] Helton said he didn't think the number of teams participating in the test portended short fields for the regular season. "I think there is a good deal more activity out there than is represented by testing and some of the other things," he said, "and the fact that there will be in excess of 43 cars trying to make the Daytona 500 ... and we've been through cycles, particularly when we get to the June, July stretch, where we may only have 43 cars show up at the race track. But I don't see us going below 43 this year. I may be surprised, but I think just knowing the chatter and the conversations that we've had with race teams and organizations that either have participated or are going to participate, that we'll have full fields."(NASCAR.com)(1-14-2012)

  • Team cap would prevent Earnhardt, Jr. from operating Cup team: Whenever there was talk about JR Motorsports possibly moving to Sprint Cup, team officials noted that not only would Rick Hendrick have to divest his interest in the team because of NASCAR's four-team cap, but possibly so would Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR President Mike Helton confirmed that Friday at Daytona International Speedway, saying that if a driver owns a team but drives for another organization, then the total number of cars for both organizations counts toward the four-team cap. With Hendrick Motorsports already having four cars, Earnhardt Jr. cannot own a non-Hendrick Cup car. JR Motorsports is owned by Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury Jr. Earnhardt Jr. signed a contract extension with Hendrick last year. "It comes down to any attachments to more than four cars. & Dale Jr. with JR Motorsports, he drives for a four-car team, so a driver from a four-car organization can't fill a car," Helton said. "That would be considered a fifth car. Helton addressed the issue after Michael Waltrip expressed interest in competing in the Daytona 500 but possibly with another organization. Waltrip said earlier this week that if he wanted to drive for another organization, he would have to do it with a single-car team because he already owns three Cup cars.(Scene Daily)(1-14-2012)

  • Petty says sponsors didn't want Kurt Busch: UPDATE: Richard Petty said the reason Kurt Busch wasn't hired to drive his famous #43 was "personality." "Sponsorships," Petty said during a break in Thursday's test session at Daytona International Speedway. "Nobody at the time wanted to pay the bill for him. That's how simple it was." Busch, who was released from Penske Racing after a tumultuous 2011 season that led the 2004 Cup champion to seek professional help for anger issues, ultimately signed with Phoenix Racing. Petty said Smithfield Foods, which he introduced Thursday as a primary sponsor for the No. 43 car he drove to a record 200 victories and seven Sprint Cup championships, was among those that wouldn't come on board if Busch was involved. "Everybody has to protect their brand," Petty said. "Smithfield has a pretty laid back, pretty good down-home persona in the general public. If they had taken him on it would have changed their ... they just didn't like the personality." Petty said Best Buy, which left the #43 to join Roush Fenway Racing as a sponsor, had the same concern.(ESPN)(1-13-2012)
    UPDATE: In between talking about how much fun he's having "old school" racing and how he needs to learn how to better handle adversity better, Kurt Busch let it be known that he's focused on the big "prize": 2013. "Yes, 2012 is going to be a unique year for somebody such as myself," Busch said Friday at Daytona International Speedway. "But to take a step back for me personally and look at all of this, this is what I need. And all along we're going to keep our eyes on the prize in 2013." And according to Busch, he could have several quality options. Busch said he talked to a number of team owners about 2012, including Richard Childress, Michael Waltrip and Richard Petty, who on Thursday said he didn't sign Busch because sponsors were leery of the 2004 champion. "It was weird to hear his comments yesterday because he was ready to throw me in the car and we would have been down the road," Busch said. "But the contracts just didn't align on where they were and where I wanted to be, and so I talked with [James] Finch, made the deal happen. " Listening to Busch, it's clear his plan is to be with Finch - a single-car owner who gets support from Hendrick Motorsports - for only one year. Then it's on to bigger and better things. But to get that opportunity, Busch realizes he has to change. Busch said he plans to use on using 2012 as a platform to reintroduce himself to sponsors - to get in front of as many of them as possible and show them that he's more than just a hothead.(Yahoo Sports)(1-14-2012)

  • Robby Gordon / Dakar Rally - Stage 12: Over the last couple of days during the 2012 Dakar Rally, Team SPEED and Robby Gordon have had to defend themselves after being accused of having an air inflation system that gives them an advantage. To prove a point, Gordon took it upon himself to show the media his entire system and how it worked last night in the bivouac in Arequipa, Peru. He even went so far as cutting the line that was in question and plugging it. He will run the rest of the rally without a vacuum system placed on his car. Given the controversy and a terrible Stage 10 and 11, Gordon and Campbell had something to prove - they were down but certainly not out. The liaison section started at 4:35 a.m. for the cars because the start of the special stage was 412 km away, making it a long day for drivers and teams. Upon arrival, the cars would compete in the 245km special to the town of Nasca. The American duo would become a fierce force to be reckoned with in the dunes. Mixed in with the truck class, Gordon started 30th, the 22nd car to take time. This would put the team behind many vehicles, which kicked up a lot of dust. Working their way through the slower cars, they would end up leading the special after the 1st waypoint, a lead that they would never give up. Through the last 100km of dunes, top teams including Peterhansel and Roma would get stuck in the sand losing precious minutes to Gordon as he carried on his way to another stage victory. Novitskiy, one of the faster MINIs through the dunes, would be the closest to Gordon, was still over 15 minutes behind. With their domination of Stage 12, Gordon and Campbell now find themselves in a better position for a podium spot when the Rally concludes in just two days. They are still in 4th position overall but only 36 minutes from third place and 1hr and 44mins from first. The two Americans know they are not here to give up the fight and look for their third stage win tomorrow from Nasca to Pisco, featuring another long special stage full of dunes where anything can happen.(RGM)
    To follow the team's journey to compete in the upcoming Dakar, and for updated race team coverage, log onto speedenergy.com, toyotires.com, robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com and dakar.com.(1-14-2012)

  • Las Vegas holding audition for National Anthem singer: For the fourth consecutive year, one local singer will receive a one-of-a-kind opportunity to perform before the start of the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Race sponsor Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, KVVU-FOX 5 and LVMS are staging an open audition called Speedway Superstar to find a vocalist to sing the national anthem prior to the March 10 NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the speedway. The first audition will be conducted Saturday, Jan. 21 at Sam's Town on Boulder Highway. All performers must sing the national anthem a cappella. The top 25 singers chosen will advance to the next round of competition on Saturday, Jan. 28. On that day, the local winner will be announced. The local winner will then compete in a "sing off" with a winner from another Sam's Town property at LVMS on Thursday, March 8 with the winner singing the anthem for the race. The Jan. 21 auditions will begin at 10 a.m. Registration will open at 9 a.m. Anyone wishing to audition must arrive at Sam's Town before noon on Jan 21. The first 150 applicants are guaranteed an audition.(LVMS)(1-14-2012)

  • Thunderbirds to perform flyover for Daytona 500: The world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will provide race fans with the flyover during the National Anthem for the 54th annual Daytona 500 - the prestigious season-opening event for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway. It's the third time the flying team, officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, will perform the flyover for the Daytona 500. The Thunderbirds previously flew over the race in 2008 and 2011. The Thunderbirds flyover will feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force's premier multi-role fighter aircraft, soaring over the speedway at the moment the final notes of the Star-Spangled Banner are sung.(DIS)(1-14-2012)


    News from January 13, 2012

  • NASCAR makes more rule changes: UPDATE - additional changes: If NASCAR's objective was to eliminate tandem drafting at restrictor-plate racetracks, it remains a work in progress, based on Thursday's first Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway. Accordingly, in a meeting with crew chiefs at approximately 5:30 p.m. Thursday, NASCAR announced additional modifications to a restrictor-plate competition package that already had undergone major changes in the offseason. Even though Kyle Busch topped the speed chart in Thursday afternoon's Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway at 202.402 mph-in a tandem draft with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano-NASCAR will make the cars faster, less stable and more prone to overheating on Friday. The sanctioning body increased the diameter of restrictor-plate openings 1/32nd of an inch to 15/16ths inches, adding an estimated 26 horsepower to the engines. In addition, NASCAR has lowered the pressure relief valve settings from 30 pounds per square inch to 25 psi and narrowed the grille openings of the cars, thereby decreasing airflow to the engine. Both measures are designed to decrease the number of laps one car can push another without overheating.(Sporting News)(1-12-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced more changes for Sprint Cup Series teams after the second day of testing at Daytona International Speedway on Friday. Teams will receive a smaller restrictor plate with an opening of 29/32nd of an inch, down from 15/16ths, to decrease the amount of air intake to the engine. The radiator opening was shrunk from 3.5-by-18 inches to 2-by-20 inches, or from 63 square inches to 40. And the pressure relief valve is now 21 pounds per square inch from the 25psi they used Friday. The top speed in Friday's test session was set 90 minutes into the afternoon by Kurt Busch. He ran a 206.058-mph average lap working in tandem with his regular drafting partner, Regan Smith. Busch hit 210.9 mph down the backstretch, the fastest portion of the track.(Fox Sports)(1-13-2012)

  • Friday afternoon test session: Friday's afternoon test session is over after 240 scheduled minutes, the five fastest drivers and some notes:
    #51-KuBusch 206.058
    #78-Smith 206.053
    #18-KyBusch 205.813
    #24-Gordon 205.747
    #5-Kahne 205.747
    Some Notes:
    After the morning session, NASCAR met with the drivers to encourage them to draft in a large pack of cars at the start of the session to see how the cars react. All teams except the #48 participated.
    #31-Burton made contact with the wall during the pack drafting when he cut down a tire. The team will repair the car.
    28 drivers exceed 200mph.
    Driver again tested in a large pack with an hour remaining in the session before returning to two car drafts.
    See full speeds on the Daytona 500 Testing page.(1-13-2012)

  • Friday morning test session: Friday's first test session is over after 180 minutes, the five fastest drivers and some notes:
    #56-Truex, Jr. 204.722
    #15-Bowyer 204.722
    #43-Almirola 203.142
    #9-Ambrose 203.142
    #55-Martin 201.748
    Some Notes:
    As a result of rules changes made by NASCAR, cars were allowed to draft during this session, but most are expected to wait until the afternoon.
    #18-Busch's team changed valve springs in the engine this morning after computer data showed the engine was over-revved yesterday.
    See full speeds on the Daytona 500 Testing page.(1-13-2012)

  • Papis to drive Legends car: Bruce Silver Racing announced that NASCAR Driver Max Papis will be driving the 54 Racing Electronics Legends Car in the Masters Division this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In a business meeting earlier this week, Max mentioned to Bruce that he really wanted drive a Legends Car on the Road Course. He had driven a Legends Car once before on an oval. Wednesday evening, Max was fitted into the 54 Car at 860 Motorsports, which sets up the cars for Bruce Silver Racing. Bruce Silver, Gregory Lang and TJ Larsen will be driving other Bruce Silver Racing cars sponsored by Racing Electronics with 860 Motorsports setup.(Racing Electronics)(1-13-2012)

  • Geoff Bodine still looking for ride: 1986 Daytona 500 winner, Geoff Bodine, said Wednesday he still hopes to have a deal in place to compete in NASCAR's premier race on Feb. 26, as well as the invitation-only Budweiser Shootout that will be held eight days earlier. "We are cautiously optimistic we will be racing at Daytona," Bodine said during a stop in Jacksonville as he was driving back to his Melbourne, FL, home from Charlotte, NC. Bodine, 62, is looking to expand his participation in the Sprint Cup Series after competing in four events with Tommy Baldwin Racing last year. Prior to 2011, he had made just one start on the senior circuit since 2004. "We have the sponsorship. We'll be all right," he said. "The wheels are in motion and hopefully soon we will be making some announcement." Bodine has sponsorship for a minimum of 15 Sprint Cup races from Luke & Associates, a Florida-based health care provider to the U.S. military. He and Luke & Associates had hoped to hook up with a team before the end of the year, with the sponsor also seeking an ownership role. In recent weeks several mid-tier teams have inked new deals, including Baldwin with David Reutimann. Bodine wasn't concerned with some teams' recent announcement plans, saying, "All of the options that we were considering are still available." Having raced last year and being a former Bud Shootout winner and the 1986 Daytona 500 champion, Bodine is one of the 33 drivers eligible for the Shootout race.(Elmiria Star Gazette)(1-13-2012)

  • Robby Gordon / Dakar Rally - Stage 10: UPDATES: Stage 10 was the last stage in Chile for the competitors, and it would prove to be a harsh one to Robby Gordon in the last 30km. Gordon started off the line in first, but he lost time early to the MINIs of Nani Roma and Stephane Peterhansel. After checkpoint 1, he was only 3 minutes back and had fought his way back by checkpoint 3, when he was only 30 seconds behind Peterhansel on the road. He was in third place, only 2 minutes behind. Gordon was poised to attack with the overall leader in his sight. Unfortunate events would occur hindering his chances of repeating his stage win. Gordon would limp his SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER across the finish line fourth after a big crash during the stage. For him only lose by 13 minutes is quite remarkable. With only four stages remaining in this year's edition of the Dakar Rally, it looks to be a three-man race with Peterhansel, Roma and Gordon fighting for the overall victory. It is still anyone's race(RGM)
    To follow the team's journey to compete in the upcoming Dakar, and for updated race team coverage, log onto speedenergy.com, toyotires.com, robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com and dakar.com.(1-12-2012)
    UPDATE: American Robby Gordon faces disqualification from the Dakar Rally after stewards ruled that the engine in his Hummer did not confirm to race regulations. The NASCAR driver, who had been second behind overall leader Stephane Peterhansel, decided to appeal the decision and was allowed to compete in the 234-mile (377km) 10th stage from Iquique to Arica on Wednesday.(Fox Sports)(1-13-2012)
    UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon and Team SPEED are shocked and disappointed by the interim decision by the race organizers of the 2012 Dakar Rally, and that decision has now been appealed to the governing body. The appeal will be decided several weeks from now, so Robby Gordon and the Team will continue to participate in the 2012 Dakar Rally pending final determination of the appeal. The issue centers on the tire inflation system used on the Hummers. That system was specifically inspected, tested, and approved by the organizers for both the 2011 Dakar Rally and the 2012 Dakar Rally. Further, it is the same system that Robby Gordon and the Team have used on the Hummers for each of the past 5 years that they have participated in the Dakar Rally. Robby Gordon, Johnny Campbell, and Team SPEED intend to complete the 2012 Dakar Rally and do their best to achieve a podium finish. The Team will put this alleged infraction behind them and hopes to celebrate as one of the top teams of the 2012 Dakar Rally.(RGM)(1-13-2012)

  • Petty says sponsors didn't want Kurt Busch: Richard Petty said the reason Kurt Busch wasn't hired to drive his famous #43 was "personality." "Sponsorships," Petty said during a break in Thursday's test session at Daytona International Speedway. "Nobody at the time wanted to pay the bill for him. That's how simple it was." Busch, who was released from Penske Racing after a tumultuous 2011 season that led the 2004 Cup champion to seek professional help for anger issues, ultimately signed with Phoenix Racing. Petty said Smithfield Foods, which he introduced Thursday as a primary sponsor for the No. 43 car he drove to a record 200 victories and seven Sprint Cup championships, was among those that wouldn't come on board if Busch was involved. "Everybody has to protect their brand," Petty said. "Smithfield has a pretty laid back, pretty good down-home persona in the general public. If they had taken him on it would have changed their ... they just didn't like the personality." Petty said Best Buy, which left the #43 to join Roush Fenway Racing as a sponsor, had the same concern.(ESPN)(1-13-2012)

  • Stewart still looking at locking Patrick into Daytona 500 field: Defending Sprint Cup champion #14-Tony Stewart has not yet decided whether to assign his points from last season to teammate Danica Patrick to assure her entry in the Daytona 500. The top 35 drivers by points from the previous year are guaranteed entry into the first five races of the season. Patrick, who will attempt 10 Cup races in conjunction with her full Nationwide schedule, would otherwise need to earn a spot in the race by qualifying time or in qualifying races. "I think we're still trying to figure that equation out, but the good thing is looking on the sheet today, the car seems to have good speed," Stewart said. "I've got the utmost confidence that even in the worst case scenario that we've got the right driver that can get this car in the race, no problem. But we're working through that and trying to get that finalized and trying to figure out our options to make sure we give her the best opportunity to get in the Daytona 500 and get her all the experience that we can get her."(Sports Illustrated)(2-12-2012)

  • Kenseth loses bet with Dale Jr.: Matt Kenseth grew a beard during the offseason-and it cost him. At Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 1970s-themed New Year's Eve party, Kenseth was sporting a Fu Manchu and mutton-chop sideburns. Earnhardt bet Kenseth he wouldn't keep the beard through this week's Preseason Thunder test sessions at Daytona. Through a series of subsequent text messages between the drivers, the ante grew to $2,500. "I was actually going to (keep the beard), and it looked really stupid, but I hate losing any money, and he kept upping the money and upping the money until finally I said, 'OK.' I checked first to make sure I didn't have any photos, and then I get a call saying that I had a photo shoot here and an interview there--and anyway I guess I lost. "Although technically this should count," Kenseth added, stroking the stubble on his chin. "It is three days old." That's not the way Earnhardt sees it. "He shaved his beard," Earnhardt said. "You guys can remind him. I told him to go to the bank, but maybe he forgot. "I want my $2,500."(NASCAR.com)(2-13-2012)

  • Brennan named Director of Media Relations at Infineon: Diana Brennan has been promoted to Director of Media and Community Relations at Infineon Raceway, raceway officials announced. In her new role, Brennan will help oversee the planning and execution of all media and community relations events at the raceway, including the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and IZOD IndyCar Series race weekends. Brennan, 32, has been employed at Infineon Raceway since 1999, serving as Senior Manager of Media and Community Relations since 2006.(Infineon Raceway)(1-13-2012)


    News from January 12, 2012

  • NASCAR makes more rule changes: If NASCAR's objective was to eliminate tandem drafting at restrictor-plate racetracks, it remains a work in progress, based on Thursday's first Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway. Accordingly, in a meeting with crew chiefs at approximately 5:30 p.m. Thursday, NASCAR announced additional modifications to a restrictor-plate competition package that already had undergone major changes in the offseason. Even though Kyle Busch topped the speed chart in Thursday afternoon's Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway at 202.402 mph-in a tandem draft with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano-NASCAR will make the cars faster, less stable and more prone to overheating on Friday. The sanctioning body increased the diameter of restrictor-plate openings 1/32nd of an inch to 15/16ths inches, adding an estimated 26 horsepower to the engines. In addition, NASCAR has lowered the pressure relief valve settings from 30 pounds per square inch to 25 psi and narrowed the grille openings of the cars, thereby decreasing airflow to the engine. Both measures are designed to decrease the number of laps one car can push another without overheating.(Sporting News)(1-12-2012)

  • Knaus misses testing for vacation: Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, coming off the worst season of his career, was without his crew chief when testing opened Thursday for the Daytona 500. But don't read anything into the absence of Chad Knaus, Johnson said. Knaus was on a Hendrick Motorsports-approved vacation to South Africa that most who know the tightly wound crew chief believe will help him over the course of NASCAR's grueling 11-month schedule. "Chad had such a great opportunity to go on a great vacation and really do something for himself," Johnson said. "When he asked me what my opinion was, I was like, 'Buddy, if upper management clears it, I think you have to do it.' I took that vacation and it was good for me. He needs that. So I am real happy he is taking the time." Johnson guessed it had been almost a decade since Knaus took his last real vacation -- in part because the #48 team ran poorly after Knaus returned from a little rest and relaxation.(Associated Press/ESPN)(1-12-2012)

  • Thursday afternoon test session: Thursday's second test session is over. The five fastest drivers and some notes:
    #18-Busch 202.402
    #20-Logano 202.388
    #2-Keselowski 202.224
    #22-Allmendinger 202.220
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr. 200.920
    Some Notes:
    NASCAR permitted cars to draft together during the session, but only a handful of drivers did so.
    #55-Martin got into the back of #15-Bowyer while drafting and spun Bowyer out. Bowyer was able to save the car and did not hit anything, but did suffer some sheetmetal damage when the car went down on the track apron.
    See full speeds on the Daytona 500 Testing page .(1-12-2012)

  • Smithfield Foods will sponsor #43 team: UPDATE: Smithfield Foods Inc., and Richard Petty Motorsports announced Wednesday they have entered into a multiyear partnership starting this year. Smithfield will be a primary sponsor for Richard Petty Motorsports in 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup series events this season. Helping Hungry Homes, a Smithfield initiative, is the primary sponsor for the Daytona 500. Last week, Richard Petty Motorsports announced Aric Almirola would drive the No. 43 car.(Virginian Pilot)(1-12-2012)
    UPDATE: Smithfield Foods, Inc. and Richard Petty Motorsports announced that the consumer packaged foods company headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia has entered into a multiyear, integrated partnership with the legendary Richard Petty Motorsports NASCAR team starting in 2012. As part of its agreement with Richard Petty Motorsports, Smithfield will be utilizing a number of its core brands as well as unique and engaging promotional initiatives throughout this racing season to communicate with existing customers and introduce others to the company's many fine products. In addition, NASCAR fans will see a variety of Smithfield brands adorning the legendary #43 Ford Fusion as primary sponsor in fifteen Sprint Cup Series events in 2012, including the first event of the season, February's Daytona 500. Smithfield brands include Farmland, Eckrich and Curly's, among others, as well as Helping Hungry Homes, one of Smithfield's premier community-outreach brands. Smithfield and Helping Hungry Homes will be Smithfield's featured brands for the Daytona 500. Helping Hungry Homes is Smithfield's initiative focused on alleviating hunger across America. The initiative provided more than eight million servings of protein last year through food banks, school nutrition programs, disaster relief, and community outreach programs.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-12-2012)

  • Thursday morning test session: The first test session of Thursday morning is over. The five fastest drivers and some notes:
    #24-Gordon 192.773
    #27-Menard 192.369
    #51-Kurt Busch 192.361
    #6-Stenhouse, Jr. 191.959
    #42-Montoya 191.853
    Some Notes:
    #14-Stewart arrived at the track around 10:30am/et. He was returning from the Chili Bowl in Tulsa.
    #39-Newman also arrived late. He has been battling the flu.
    Chad Knaus is on vacation and not at the track. Steve Letarte is helping oversee the #48 team's test session.
    See full speeds on the Daytona 500 Testing page .(1-12-2012)

  • Drivers prohibited from communicating with each other over radio: NASCAR has mandated that drivers and spotters will not be allowed to communicate with other drivers over their in-car radios in an ongoing effort to eliminate tandem racing at restrictor plate tracks. The decision was confirmed Thursday as teams prepared for the first of a three-day test at Daytona International Speedway, a tune-up for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500. Over the past few years, as teams have refined their ability to team up with other cars to create more speed, drivers and spotters have had the ability to talk to multiple teams over their radios. They used it to coordinate which cars would pair up and to help drivers switch from pusher to pushee. By eliminating such communication, NASCAR hopes teams will have a more difficult time making deals and remaining in pairs. The driver pushing especially needs this communication because he has little to no visibility. It was so refined that one spotter would communicate for both drivers even if one of the drivers wasn't with his organization. This is racing's latest rule change to address the two-car tandem that surveys indicate fans would like to see eliminated.(ESPN)(1-12-2012)

  • Robby Gordon / Dakar Rally - Stage 10: UPDATE: Stage 10 was the last stage in Chile for the competitors, and it would prove to be a harsh one to Robby Gordon in the last 30km. Gordon started off the line in first, but he lost time early to the MINIs of Nani Roma and Stephane Peterhansel. After checkpoint 1, he was only 3 minutes back and had fought his way back by checkpoint 3, when he was only 30 seconds behind Peterhansel on the road. He was in third place, only 2 minutes behind. Gordon was poised to attack with the overall leader in his sight. Unfortunate events would occur hindering his chances of repeating his stage win. Gordon would limp his SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER across the finish line fourth after a big crash during the stage. For him only lose by 13 minutes is quite remarkable. With only four stages remaining in this year's edition of the Dakar Rally, it looks to be a three-man race with Peterhansel, Roma and Gordon fighting for the overall victory. It is still anyone's race(RGM)
    To follow the team's journey to compete in the upcoming Dakar, and for updated race team coverage, log onto speedenergy.com, toyotires.com, robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com and dakar.com.(1-12-2012)
    UPDATE: American Robby Gordon faces disqualification from the Dakar Rally after stewards ruled that the engine in his Hummer did not confirm to race regulations. The NASCAR driver, who had been second behind overall leader Stephane Peterhansel, decided to appeal the decision and was allowed to compete in the 234-mile (377km) 10th stage from Iquique to Arica on Wednesday.(Fox Sports)(1-12-2012)

  • Testing info:
    Schedule
    Thursday, January 12th
    7:30 AM Garage Opens
    9:00 AM 12:00 PM Practice
    1:00 PM 5:00 PM Practice - Drafting
    6:00 PM Garage Closes
    Friday, January 13th
    7:30 AM Garage Opens
    9:00 AM 12:00 PM NSCS PPractice - Drafting
    1:00 PM 5:00 PM NSCS Practice - Drafting
    6:00 PM Garage Closes
    Saturday, January 14th
    7:30 AM Garage Opens
    9:00 AM 12:00 PM Practice - Drafting
    1:00 PM 5:00 PM Practice - Drafting
    6:00 PM Garage Closes
    Sunday, January 15th Optional - Rain Date

    Participating Teams: #1-Jamie McMurray, #2-Brad Keselowski, #5-Kasey Kahne, #6-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., #9-Marcos Ambrose, #10-Danica Patrick, #11-Denny Hamlin, #13-Casey Mears, #14-Tony Stewart, #15-Clint Bowyer, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch, #20-Joey Logano, #21-Trevor Bayne, #22-A.J. Allmendinger, #24-Jeff Gordon, #27-Paul Menard, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #36-Dave Blaney, #39-Ryan Newman, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #43-Aric Almirola, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #51-Kurt Busch, #55-Mark Martin, #56-Martin Truex, Jr., #78-Regan Smith, #87-Joe Nemechek, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #99-Carl Edwards.(1-12-2012)

  • MWR could buy Red Bull Racing assets: UPDATE: Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing is negotiating to purchase the assets of the former Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. A spokesperson for the team declined to comment on the story, but multiple sources say Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull are close to an agreement on the sale, awaiting NASCAR approval for an owner point swap that would allow MWR to field a third Toyota Camry in the 2012 Daytona 500. MWR finished 18th and 28th in Sprint Cup owner points with drivers #56-Martin Truex, Jr. and #00[now #55]-David Reutimann last season, and holds two guaranteed starting spots for the upcoming Daytona 500. MWR is expected to field three cars in the Great American Race for Truex, #15-Clint Bowyer (no points) and #55-Mark Martin, using one of the guaranteed starting spots held by Red Bull Racing. Those points would transfer to MWR in the event of a sale. Michael Waltrip could also compete in the 2012 Daytona 500, but is believed unlikely to do so in an MWR Toyota. Sources say MWR is also interested in acquiring cars and equipment from Red Bull, including fabrication equipment and a shaker rig. If included in the sale, the former Red Bull Racing building would likely be used by MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman to house his RK Motors muscle car restoration and performance company, as well as his personal collection of classic and vintage automobiles. Red Bull Racing closed its doors last month, after failing to find a buyer to continue operations.(Sirius Speedway)(1-3-2012)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing tried to purchase Red Bull Racing to acquire more equipment and secure owner points to guarantee that all three of his Sprint Cup teams have guaranteed spots in the Daytona 500, but was not able complete the deal. That means there's more work to do for Waltrip before the season-opening race. Among his priorities is finding points so that all three MWR automatically qualify for the Daytona 500. "We tried to buy them," Waltrip said of Red Bull Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. "We felt it would be a way to make our team stronger. We always look at accomplishing just that. MWR will look to get points through another partnership. The catch is that no owner can have a stake in more than four teams, so with three teams already, it limits the organization's options. There has been no decision on which car would be left without points if MWR can't get a deal done. All three have major sponsors. Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, also would like to race in the Daytona 500 but with his organization already having three cars, he doesn't know if he can field a fourth car out of his shop or would have to drive for another team. He would have to run for his own team or a single-car team as the four-team cap includes all teams owned by a owner/driver, plus all teams if the driver competes for another organization.(Scene Daily)(1-12-2012)

  • Cassill looking for other opportunities: Landon Cassill doesn't have a car to drive in the Sprint Cup Series test this week at Daytona International Speedway and doesn't know if he'll have a ride next month for the Daytona 500. After running 32 Cup races last year, including 29 for Phoenix Racing, the 22-year-old driver was left without a ride when the team looked for a more experienced driver and signed former Cup champion Kurt Busch. Cassill, a former Hendrick Motorsports development and test driver, is hoping to land at Front Row Motorsports or with another Cup team. He has started 48 Cup races and 33 Nationwide Series races. Cassill believes that if he can work well with a team that's building, there could be opportunities in the future with a more established team. Cassill is not bitter about losing the ride with team owner James Finch and Phoenix Racing. "I don't have any type of entitlement to the 51 car," Cassill said. "I never did. I didn't feel like it was my ride to lose. I don't feel like it was taken from me.(Scene Daily)(1-12-2012)

  • Hall of Fame deficits higher than planned: Deficits at the NASCAR Hall of Fame are nearly five times higher than expected through the first five months of the fiscal year, according to figures disclosed Wednesday by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The visitors authority manages the publicly owned racing museum. Through November 2011, the deficit totaled $268,398, far exceeding the budget estimate of $55,683. During fiscal 2011, which ended June 30, the hall of fame lost $1.5 million after projections called for an $800,000 surplus. Since the hall of fame opened in May 2010, it has missed attendance forecasts on a regular basis, hurting its bottom-line performance. The financial and attendance figures for November are the most recent ones available and were included as part of the visitors authority's monthly board meeting on Wednesday. Attendance in November decreased by 25% from a year earlier, to 15,189 from 20,185. Winston Kelley, executive director at the hall of fame, told visitors authority board members Wednesday that while revenue is $900,000 less than anticipated, expenses have been reduced by $700,000. In November, the deficit was $65,904, compared with earlier projections for a surplus of $143,277.(Charlotte Business Journal)(1-12-2012)

  • Michigan International Speedway, MEDC announce Pure Michigan 400: With the success of 2011, two of Michigan's best-known brands - Michigan International Speedway and Pure Michigan - are again teaming up to host the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at MIS on Sunday, August 19. The three-year partnership between MIS and Pure Michigan is a continuation of what started in 2011, and the first time a state's branding agency sponsored NASCAR's premier stock car series. The inaugural Pure Michigan 400 in 2011 received overwhelmingly positive feedback from fans and tourists alike.(Michigan Speedway)(1-12-2012)

  • Richmond tickets go on sale Friday: Proving that good things do happen on Friday the 13th, Richmond International Raceway fans may purchase tickets to the Saturday, April 28, Richmond 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this Friday, January 13, at 9:00 a.m. ET. The race marks the return of NASCAR to Richmond International Raceway for the first time since last September's Wonderful Pistachios 400 - one of the most exciting races of the 2011 season. Fans can enhance their race day experience with the Saturday Pit Pass Upgrade, providing the only opportunity to score a pre-race pit pass to walk down pit road for an unforgettable infield visit. The upgrade also includes admission to the indoor, climate-controlled 3-Wide hospitality area. The Saturday Pit Pass Upgrade is $80 for adults, $40 for kids 12 and younger. Fans wishing to purchase must also have a grandstand ticket. Tickets for the Richmond 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race can be purchased online beginning Friday, January 13 or calling 866-455-7223. Tickets are also available for the April 27, Richmond 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the April 26, doubleheader, featuring the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown Late Model race and the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.


    News from January 11, 2012

  • TAG Heuer Eyewear will sponsor Kurt Busch: TAG Heuer Eyewear announced that it has entered into a multi-race sponsorship agreement with Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch and Phoenix Racing. Busch, who will drive the # 51 Chevy for Phoenix Racing in the entire 2012 Sprint Cup season, has a personal services agreement with the eyewear company. TAG Heuer Eyewear will be featured as the primary sponsor on the # 51 Chevy for the Feb. 18 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, where Busch is the defending winner. Additionally, TAG Heuer Eyewear will serve as an associate sponsor on the # 51 Chevy during the 54th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26 and again on March 11 for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch's hometown track.(TrueSpeed Communications)(1-11-2012)

  • Hamilton, Jr. files for bankruptcy: Former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. has filed for bankruptcy to reorganize his debts, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tennessee. Hamilton Jr. filed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy papers last week. Hamilton Jr. and his wife are listed as debtors, as is his company, Hamilton Entertainment. According to his filing, Hamilton Jr. lists assets of $551,825 and liabilities of $1,293,543. More than $929,000 of the liabilities are property mortgages or loans, while he also lists owing the Internal Revenue Service $198,000 for 2005 taxes. Hamilton Jr., the son of the late Sprint Cup star, competed in 64 Cup races from 2000-2005. He also has 253 career starts in the Nationwide Series. His total NASCAR winnings are more than $12.8 million, but drivers typically take home 40-50 percent of their winnings.(Scene Daily)(1-11-2012)

  • Several drivers getting new spotters: In addition to getting adjusted to new personnel on their teams, several drivers will be working with new spotters when testing opens Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Jeff Dickerson, who has spotted for #24-Jeff Gordon the last couple of years, left to pursue an opportunity in racing that will give him more time with his family. He has not announced where he is going.
    • Eddie D'Hondt, who had won 39 races across all NASCAR series with #18-Kyle Busch, will move to Hendrick Motorsports to work as Gordon's spotter.
    • Todd Hirschman, who was spotter for AJ Allmendinger, will replace D'Hondt as Busch's spotter.
    • Busch isn't the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to have a new spotter for 2012 as two spotters whose drivers have not announced 2012 rides have found new gigs - Chris Lambert, who was the spotter for Brian Vickers, will replace Curtis Markham as spotter for #11-Denny Hamlin and Rocky Ryan, who was spotter for David Ragan, will replace Joey Civali as spotter for #20-Joey Logano.
    • Chris Osborne, who was spotter for Kurt Busch at Penske Racing, will start the season spotting for Allmendinger while Busch will use his new boss - Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll - as his spotter.
    • #15-Clint Bowyer, who has moved from Richard Childress Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing, will go to the test with MWR general manager Ty Norris as his spotter.
    • Kevin Hamlin, who was Bowyer's spotter, will remain at RCR and work with Ty Dillon in the Camping World Truck Series.
    • #43-Aric Almirola will use Tyler Green as his spotter. Green spotted for Almirola at JR Motorsports and will now spot for him at RPM.(Scene Daily)(1-11-2012)

  • MWR drivers testing:#56-Martin Truex Jr. and the NAPA Racing team are in Florida for five days of testing at two tracks as planning continues for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Truex and new Michael Waltrip Racing teammates #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Mark Martin begin testing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday. It's the first time the drivers will work together focusing on MWR's short-track program. The team then moves to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for NASCAR's Preseason Thunder that includes testing Thursday through Saturday in preparation for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(1-11-2012)

  • Robby Gordon / Dakar Rally - Stage 9: Robby Gordon and the #303 SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER dominated Stage 9 of the 2012 Dakar Rally, winning by 1 minute and 38 seconds over Stephane Peterhansel. Gordon, with the help of his navigator Johnny Campbell, lead the entire stage with 3 MINIs breathing down their necks. Unfortunately, Nasser Al-Attiyah's day would end completely different. Al-Attiyah encountered the same issue today as he did yesterday when a serpentine belt popped off, not once but three times. Using all of his spares, Al-Attiyah was stranded near KM 200 of the 556 km stage. Being more than an hour down to the overall leader, Al-Attiyah made the tough decision to end his efforts for a repeat championship and dropped out of the stage. For Gordon and Campbell, the race to become the first Americans to win Dakar lives on. Winning Stage 9 win marks Gordon's 5th special stage victory during a Dakar Rally. Gordon is now only 5 minutes and 58 seconds behind overall leader Stephane Peterhansel with only five stages remaining.
    To follow the team's journey to compete in the upcoming Dakar, and for updated race team coverage, log onto speedenergy.com, toyotires.com, robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com and dakar.com.(1-11-2012)


    News from January 10, 2012

  • Belkin to sponsor McMurray at Martinsville: Belkin entered the world of motorsports and announced a partnership with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, the team behind Jamie McMurray's # 1 Sprint Cup Series Chevy. Belkin's new logo and brand identity will adorn the #1 car and team assets for the duration of the 2012 NASCAR season, but take center stage as the primary sponsor during the race at Martinsville, Virginia on April 1. Belkin revealed its new brand identity and logo on a specially-designed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car at the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas.(Earnhart Ganassi Racing), see an image of the car on the #1 Team Schemes page.(1-10-2012)

  • 2012 NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Daytona set for this Week: NASCAR is back in full gear as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams hit the pavement at Daytona International Speedway this week for three days of preseason testing. The main focus of the test is for teams to work on their final preparations for 2012 Speedweeks  in particular, the 54th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26. "This is an opportunity we are providing to the competitors to implement and test the new Daytona rules package for 2012," said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition. "It's a chance for them to get comfortable with the cooling package, the smaller spoiler and to practice drafting for next month's Daytona 500." The new rules package is a result of information gathered during recent tests at Talladega last October and at Daytona last November. "While we have had other tests with these set-ups, this is the first opportunity for the entire field to test together and get more comfortable with this package as it relates to their cars," Pemberton said.
    The new rules package includes:
    · Smaller radiators
    o Maximum of 2 gallon capacity
    · Smaller overflow tank
    o Maximum capacity of ½ gallon
    · Radiator inlet is moved up closer into the front center bumper area
    · Rate reduction in the springs  softer springs
    · Smaller rear spoiler
    · Base line restrictor plate of 29/32 inch (1/64 inch larger than plate size for the 2011 Daytona 500)
    "This three-day test will allow the engine tuners for these teams to be able to work with their engine packages and see how they relate and react to the new cooling regulations," Pemberton said. Next month's Daytona 500 will be only the third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points event ran on the repaved Daytona International Speedway. This year's Preseason Thunder will continue to be an opportunity for teams and drivers to test their skills on a relatively fresh surface in addition to the new rules. Complementing the testing portion of this weekend's festivities, the track is also offering fans an opportunity to be part of a special two-day Fan Fest event. Fan Fest sessions are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 12 and Friday, Jan. 13 and include autograph sessions, driver question and answer sessions, show cars and displays, music and a photo opportunity with the 2012 Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy. In addition, fans can ride the high banks under the lights by purchasing a Richard Petty Driving Experience ride along.
    Tickets for Daytona Preseason Thunder Fan Fest are $20 and available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Children 12 and under will receive free admission.
    Daytona International Speedway will also host special driver chat sessions on the speedway's social media channels following the end of testing Thursday and Friday evenings. Fans can submit questions for Twitter chats by using #daytonatesting, with answers, updates and testing information coming from Daytona International Speedway's Twitter feed @DISUpdates. Fans can also submit questions on Facebook for LiveStream chats with drivers on www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway. NASCAR's official Twitter feed @NASCAR will also provide updates throughout the three-day session.
    SPEED will broadcast live coverage of testing on all three days from 1-5 p.m. ET. Additionally, SPEEDTV.com will stream testing live from 9 a.m.-noon ET each day.(NASCAR)(1-10-2012)

  • McDowell to announce 2012 plans soon: Add Michael McDowell to the list of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers planning to moonlight in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The current entry list shows Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger in Daytona Prototypes and Michael Waltrip in a GT-class Ferrari. McDowell was introduced as one of the drivers for Michael Shank Racing's #6 Ford Riley DP. "I'm grateful I can do both NASCAR and run the Rolex 24," McDowell said. "It is a fun race. It's one race and a big race. It's exciting to get back behind the wheel of a DP car. I grew up road racing. To come back road racing is a lot of fun. It's a refresher, too. It reminds me where I came from and how it used to be for me. It's cool." McDowell said he's getting close to making an announcement about a full-time Sprint Cup ride in a few weeks. "I am going to switch manufacturers and I got a new partner onboard, too," he said. "We'll be talking about that soon. I will also be in the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide car for a handful of races. I'm excited about that."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-10-2012)

  • Mark Martin testing: This week's tests at New Smyrna (FL) Speedway and Daytona International Speedway mark the first two tests for Mark Martin and his #55 Aaron's Dream Machine race team. Martin begins his 30th NASCAR Sprint Cup season driving the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine in 25 races for Michael Waltrip Racing. Martin believes the work done this week is an important step toward running well at Daytona and the rest of the 2012 season. Martin's comments: "These tests aren't incredibly important from the car hardware side. It's more important for us as a new group working together to work through the areas like communication, flow, learning everyone's names, routines and things like that. That's really the critical part of the test. From the hardware side, we do have a number of things we want to run through at these tests, but all teams are doing those kinds of things. These tests are valuable because we want everything to be working like a smooth oiled machine by the time we get to the Daytona 500. Then, by the time we get to Phoenix, we want to be acting like we've been racing together for years. The one other thing that I am going to focus on this time at Daytona, more than I did a year ago, is working on tandem drafting. We didn't do that last year and it's going to be even more of a challenge this year. (Crew Chief) Rodney (Childers) and I want to look toward being ahead of the curve on the two-car tandem or explore areas that will give us an advantage."(Michael Waltrip Racing)(1-10-2012)

  • Stenhouse honored: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., of Cornelius, N.C., was selected to receive the 19th annual Gorsline Scholarship, presented by Gorsline Company of Rochester, N.Y. At the age of 23, Stenhouse won the hotly-contested 2011 Nationwide Series championship, his first, driving for Roush Fenway Racing. He was honored Sunday at the 42nd annual American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's (AARWBA) All-America Team dinner in Indianapolis. The Gorsline Scholarship recognizes aspiring drivers and presents a program that provides tools that will assist these drivers in developing skills on and off the track to attain their professional goals. As the scholarship winner, Stenhouse will work with Dr. Jacques Dallaire, Director of Performance Prime, to create an individually-designed performance-enhancement program, courtesy of Gorsline Company. Andy Villa, Gorsline Company partner, and previous Gorsline Scholarship winners Patrick Long and Josef Newgarden accepted the award on behalf of Stenhouse at the AARWBA dinner. The Gorsline Company, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., pioneered the business of providing insurance for high-risk professionals. The company specializes in providing racing drivers and owners creative, custom-designed insurance packages and estate planning strategies.()(1-10-2012)

  • Germain Racing switches manufacturers UPDATE: Germain Racing, owned by Bob Germain Jr., announced they will join the Ford Racing family for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The team's move to Ford means their #13 GEICO entry will become the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion. Germain explains that the move is well in line with long-term Germain family relationships. "The Germain's have a long history with Ford Motor Company. My grandfather worked with Henry Ford as an accountant and my father worked as a guide in the Henry Ford Museum. Our family currently owns and operates both Ford and Lincoln dealerships and we have many friends at Ford Motor Company. I'm excited to join the Ford Racing team," said Germain. "Germain Racing is focused on getting strong results for our GEICO Fusion program. Heading into NASCAR's first season of electronic fuel injection, we are extremely confident in the technology and engines from Roush & Yates Racing Engines that we will race this season," said Germain, whose team has services agreements with Roush & Yates Racing Engines and Roush Fenway Racing for the coming year. Germain Racing will again feature the talent of driver Casey Mears behind the wheel of the #13 GEICO Fusion entry. Mears joined Germain in 2010.
    In November, GEICO agreed to a sponsorship extension that will see the Gecko adorning the hood of the #13 Germain Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry through at least the 2014 season. GEICO coupled the extension with an increase in involvement, ramping up the number of primary races at which they will serve as the primary sponsor. Thinking along the lines of continuity, team owner Bob Germain subsequently extended Mears' contract, while also retaining crew chief Bootie Barker, who will continue to call the shots for Mears and the GEICO team. When the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion rolls off of the truck for Daytona 500 practice in February, NASCAR fans will be met with a new, exciting paint scheme that will serve as a re-launching of sorts of the GEICO NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program. For most of the previous eleven years, GEICO racecars have featured some variation of the color red, but beginning in 2012, Mears will pilot a car that features the lively color combination of blue and white with green accents.(Germain Racing)
    See images of the new look scheme on the #13 Team Schemes page.(1-6-2012)
    UPDATE: The organization has funding for 22-23 Cup races from Geico and hopes to have enough money to avoid having Casey Mears start and park in 2012. Mears put the Cup car solidly in the top 35 (32nd overall) to lock the organization into the first five races of 2012. The team goes to Daytona with Fords instead of Toyotas, with whom it had a long relationship. Germain didn't plan to switch but hoped to change from Triad engines to Toyota Racing Development engines. TRD, which already is building engines for Michael Waltrip Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing and had planned on backing Red Bull Racing, too, wouldn't commit to building engines for the organization until 2013, Germain said. So Germain went looking for a new manufacturer and now has a deal with Ford. It will buy cars from Roush Fenway Racing and lease engines from Roush Yates Engines. Germain has numerous Toyota and Lexus dealerships but the family's first dealership sold Fords and the family has deep roots with the company. Mears will test next week at Daytona with a car re-skinned from Toyota to Ford but likely will have a Roush Fenway chassis by Speedweeks next month. Germain has shown the ability to field competitive equipment. The Germain family started the team in 2004, won two truck titles with Todd Bodine and 22 races overall in the series. Much of the painful part  parting with Bodine, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. and general manager Mike Hillman Sr. and others who played an integral role in building the organization  hurt, but it's a decision Germain said was necessary. Although he loved the series, he could not fund the trucks out of his own pocket if sponsorship didn't come through. Germain said any future expansion likely would be to a second Cup car and not a truck or Nationwide team. For now, Germain said the team will run the first 10 races the full length and hopes it has done enough to attract funding to keep the team from just showing up, qualifying, and running a few laps before going home. Germain has relationships with Valvoline, Tire Kingdom and Service Central that it hopes to put on the hood.(SceneDaily)(1-1-10-2012)

  • Testing at WDW Speedway: hearing some drivers are tested at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando FL on Monday, January 9th, inlcuding Danica Patrick, Kyle Busch, Joey Lagono and others. Other drivers will test at WDW Speedway on Tuesday.(1-10-2012)


    News from January 9, 2012

  • Ford Unveils Next Cup Car: Ford Motor Co. has taken the wraps off its 2013 Fusion sedan, the car the automaker will race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year and for the near future. In 2013, NASCAR will introduce its next-generation Sprint Cup car, which according to series officials and automakers will look much more like a production car than the current ones do. Given that, Ford's 2013 production Fusion will present a much different face for the automaker than the current model, which debuted in 2006. Thus, expect the new Fusion Sprint Cup car to have lines that more closely mimic the new street model. The new Fusion, which is being introduced this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is a fairly bold departure stylistically from the model it's replacing.(SPEED) see more info on the 2013 Ford Fusion at social.ford.com.(1-9-2012)

  • #71 team not returning in 2012? UPDATE: Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that the #71 TRG Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team will not return in 2012. Sources close to the team say TRG will announce later this week that it has shuttered its NASCAR operation and will compete only on the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series in 2012. TRG finished 36th in Sprint Cup owner points last season, and would not have been a guaranteed starter for the season-opening Daytona 500. TRG Motorsports made a total of 106 starts since joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2009, with a pair of Top-10 finishes to its credit. Bobby Labonte claimed a 10th-place finish for the team at Talladega in the fall of 2009, while Mike Bliss finished ninth in the 2010 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Team owner Kevin Buckler did not immediately return a call seeking comment today.(Sirius Speedway)(1-4-2012)
    UPDATE: Buckler has suspended operations of his #71 Ford, which carried Andy Lally to series' Rookie of the Year honors. TRG Motorsports made 106 starts from 2009-11 and scored two top-10 finishes. Buckler used 11 drivers in those three seasons, including 2000 Cup champion Bobby Labonte and former Truck Series champions Mike Skinner and Mike Bliss. "I want to be in Cup, but I want to be there with a proper program," Buckler said. "I don't think the way the economy is right now and the amount of money required right now that a single-car team can make it as a good program. I don't want to go without a good program." Buckler said he's putting his NASCAR aspirations "on hold" but hopes to return when he collects the right firepower. "I know what to do now," he said. "How many guys say, 'I'm going NASCAR racing,' then make it through the ranks and run Cup for three straight years? I feel very fortunate. I had some great partners that worked with me and backed me and we learned a lot. It was an expensive lesson that won't go wasted. If somebody showed up with a check and wanted to go NASCAR racing, we've got a program for them." And so Buckler's full attention has fallen back to GT road racing and his massive Porsche-based racing operation and extraordinary preparations needed to win the Rolex 24."My enthusiasm for road racing has never waned," he said. "TRG Motorsports is still alive and well. We will continue to look for the right Cup opportunity and right partner. When that happens, we're back in NASCAR."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-9-2012)

  • Kurt Busch running limited NNS schedule with Phoenix: Phoenix Racing announced that in addition to running the complete NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule with Kurt Busch, they will field the #1 Chevy in a limited amount of NASCAR Nationwide Series races, starting at Daytona with Kurt Busch. The team plans on running all major events and are looking for sponsorship for these races."Everyone at Phoenix Racing is excited about competing on the Nationwide circuit this year," said Steve Barkdoll, General Manager of Phoenix Racing. "Our Nationwide Series team is a proven, winning organization and we're looking forward to Busch continuing the tradition. This is a great opportunity for a company to partner with a top-notch program."(Breaking Limits)(1-9-2012)

  • Sad News - Wanda Lund: Wanda Lund-Early, the 63-year-old widow of former NASCAR legend Tiny Lund, was found shot to death Thursday night at her home in Waynesville, N.C., Police Chief Bill Hollingsed confirmed Friday. The wound appeared to be self-inflicted, Hollingsed said. "We are not going to make that final determination until we get word from the medical examiner and the autopsy is completed," he said. Officers worked throughout the night on the investigation into the shooting, he said. Relatives contacted the police Thursday, concerned when Lund-Early did not respond to knocks and yells at her front door. According to the police report, her body was discovered when her brother, Dale Russell, arrived and climbed through an open window. She had no pulse and was confirmed dead by emergency medical technicians. Roland Via of Holly Hill, the webmaster for tinylund.com website who had been working on updates for the site with Lund-Early, said she was planning to be in Daytona Beach for February's Speed Weeks to accept an award on behalf of her late husband from the Victory Lane Racing Association. Lund was the winner of the NASCAR Grand National East Series in 1973. The racer, who was 6-foot-5 and weighed 270 pounds, once helped save fellow driver Marvin Panch's life in a daring feat of bravery at Daytona International Speedway in 1963. A grandstand at the Daytona International Speedway is named for Lund, who died in a 1975 crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Lund-Early is survived by Chris Lund, her son with Tiny. (Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-6/7-2012)
    SERVICES: A celebration of Wanda Lund's life is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm in Waynesville, NC at the First United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Racing Legends Medical Fund, established in 1991 to assist with the needs of life hardships for those who have committed their life to professional stock car racing and others who worked in racing. To leave a message or see the obituary go to tinylund.com.(1-9-2012)

  • Edwards to Co-Host "LIVE! with Kelly": #99-Carl Edwards will take a turn co-hosting the syndicated morning program "LIVE! with Kelly" on Tuesday, January 10, during a special themed week of sports co-hosts with Kelly Ripa. Edwards was selected along with Reggie Bush, Boomer Esiason, Jesse Palmer and Apolo Anton Oh# Actress Kate Beckinsale will be a guest on the show when Edwards co-hosts with Ripa. Edwards was a guest on the popular show last June after his win in the Sprint All-Star race, and has appeared in the past with the NASCAR Chase contenders. This will be his first stint as co-host. "LIVE! with Kelly" is distributed in national syndication by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Produced by WABC-TV in New York and executive produced by Michael Gelman, "LIVE! with Kelly" airs in more than 200 markets across the U.S.(RFR)(1-3/9-2012)

  • Sad News - Mildred Marcum: Mildred Marcum, the co-founder and matriarch of ARCA who passed away shortly after her 98th birthday over the weekend, leaves behind an enduring legacy. A career in motorsports that began in the mid-1940s and spanned eight different decades was only extinguished by her passing. In fact, she worked in the home ARCA office on her birthday before celebrating with her family at home on Saturday. In 1953, John and Mildred Marcum founded a pair of motorsports companies in their home of Toledo, Ohio: the Midwest Association for Race Cars (MARC), a sanctioning body for organizing and administrating races and licensing and insuring competitors which would evolve into the present-day Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA); and Marcum Promotions, formed to operate the grandstand side of the racing business advertising and promoting events, renting and leasing tracks for races, selling tickets and concession goods, arranging formarcumgramswithfrances.jpg sponsorships and managing tracks. While both Marcums were principals in each corporation, John specialized in racing-related matters while Mildred oversaw financial and administrative activities, a tandem effort which would exist until John's death in 1981. In recognition of Mildred's pioneering spirit over the decades. Lyn St. James, founder of 'Women in the Winner's Circle', awarded Mildred with the first-ever Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award in 2005. The honor is annually awarded in Mildred's name to deserving recipients, including NHRA co-founder Barbara Parks in 2006, NASCAR driver Louise Smith in 2008 and most recently Shirley Muldowney in 2011. More info at ARCAracing.com.(1-9-2012)


    News from January 8, 2012

  • Robby Gordon / Dakar Rally - Stage 7: Another history making day for Team SPEED and the Robby Gordon Motorsports HUMMERs as Nasser Al-Attiyah wins Stage 7, his 2nd in the 2012 Rally, and teammate Robby Gordon coming in 2nd place, 7 minutes and 30 seconds behind. It's the first time RGM built cars finish 1st and 2nd on the podium during a Dakar Rally.
    Robby Gordon struggled early in the stage with a flat tire that cost him 5 minutes off the start. "Driver error got us off course a little and we hit a rock." Gordon commented about his slow start. "We had a really strong run after the change and pushed to the end. It's a really good feeling having Nasser win again in our car; it shows that we have cars that can compete. I never had a doubt in my mind about our team, it's just a matter of good luck vs. bad luck." With Gordon coming in 2nd he feels he needs to push a little more heading into the second half of the Rally after rest day. "Being 13 minutes behind the overall leader is a bit more than where we want to be at this point in the rally. My guys will go to work on rest day and rebuild the car giving it a new transmission, cv's, hubs and rotors; basically full service from front to rear. We're ready to gain even more time and with Nasser catching up each day it's going to be a good race." Gordon now sits in 3rd place - 13 minutes and 9 seconds behind the leader Peterhansel.
    Al-Attiyah's day got better as he went further into the 477km stage in the dunes of Copiapo. As usual he came on strong and pushed really hard at the end to gain a huge time advantage on the field. "It is my job as a driver to do the best I can and Lucas and I will do our very best from here to the end to finish strong." says the Qatari driver who still sits in 6th place over all, nearly 43 minutes behind.
    It's been an eventful Rally thus far for the Team SPEED HUMMERs. Robby Gordon has been quite consistent, finishing in the top 5 - 5 out of the 6 stages that have been completed. Consistency is what wins the Dakar Rally. As the team prepares the cars for the journey into the Atacama Desert of Chile, then on to the new territory of Peru, they will rest their heads with one thing on their mind - an overall win on January 15th.(RGM)(1-8-2012)

  • Newman Foundation Charity Events Raise $333,000: The 7th Annual Ryan Newman Foundation Charity Dinner and 6th Annual Charity Fishing Tournament raised $333,000 for its animal welfare, education and conservation efforts. The dinner, presented by the Gene Haas Foundation, was held at the Statesville Civic Center in Statesville, NC on Friday, December 9th. Former Miss Sprint Monica Palumbo emceed the evening's festivities. Country music singer/song writers Kendell Marvel, Billy and Randy Montana and Heidi Newfield took to the stage providing entertainment for the sold out crowd of 500 sponsors, NASCAR drivers, professional anglers, outdoorsmen and fans. Guests had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items and participate in the "Fishing for Fun" Raffle. The big items of the evening were a John Deere Gator, Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV and a Holstein Hyde Lounge. Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart walked away with the lounge.(see more at the Ryan Newman Foundation website)(1-8-2012)


    News from January 7, 2012

  • Best Buy scheme out: found on Best Buy Racing's twitter, an image of the #17 Best Buy Ford scheme that is Matt Kenseth scheduled to run in nine 2012 Sprint Cup races, see this image and many other 2012 schemes on the Paint Scheme Gallery.(1-7-2012)

  • Rusty Wallace Racing suspends operations: Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing, LLC (RWR) announced Friday that the [Nationwide Series] team's on-track activities will be put on a temporary hiatus. While the organization's day-to-day competition activities will temporarily cease, key elements of RWR's business staff will remain in place to continue development of future opportunities. #66 driver, Steve Wallace, in exploring several exciting opportunities for 2012. See much more on Jayski's Nationwide Silly Season Site.(1-7-2012)

  • Martin to run NNS race for Gibbs: Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Friday, that Mark Martin will drive the Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Las Vegas in March. See more on Jayski's Nationwide Silly Season Site.(1-7-2012)

  • When Die-Cast Makes a Difference: Last year, many collectors and partners joined Lionel NASCAR Collectables in helping support The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and their commitment to wounded military heroes. Because of collectors and partners, Lionel NASCAR Collectables was able to raise $200,000 for the construction of a new "smart" home for United States Marine Corporal Todd Nicely. Todd lost both his arms and his legs when he stepped on a mine in Afghanistan. More info and a video at the LNC Pit Box.
    See the "Honoring Our Heroes" paint schemes on the #34 Team Schemes page, #1 Team Schemes page, #14 Team Schemes page and #16 Team Schemes page [scroll down for Richmond images.(1-7-2012)

  • Sad News - Wanda Lund: Wanda Lund-Early, the 63-year-old widow of former NASCAR legend Tiny Lund, was found shot to death Thursday night at her home in Waynesville, N.C., Police Chief Bill Hollingsed confirmed Friday. The wound appeared to be self-inflicted, Hollingsed said. "We are not going to make that final determination until we get word from the medical examiner and the autopsy is completed," he said. Officers worked throughout the night on the investigation into the shooting, he said. Relatives contacted the police Thursday, concerned when Lund-Early did not respond to knocks and yells at her front door. According to the police report, her body was discovered when her brother, Dale Russell, arrived and climbed through an open window. She had no pulse and was confirmed dead by emergency medical technicians. Roland Via of Holly Hill, the webmaster for tinylund.com website who had been working on updates for the site with Lund-Early, said she was planning to be in Daytona Beach for February's Speed Weeks to accept an award on behalf of her late husband from the Victory Lane Racing Association. Lund was the winner of the NASCAR Grand National East Series in 1973. The racer, who was 6-foot-5 and weighed 270 pounds, once helped save fellow driver Marvin Panch's life in a daring feat of bravery at Daytona International Speedway in 1963. A grandstand at the Daytona International Speedway is named for Lund, who died in a 1975 crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Lund-Early is survived by Chris Lund, her son with Tiny. (Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-6/7-2012)

  • Campbell Headed To MIS To Serve Hot Dogs: Tuesday night's down-to-the-wire Sugar Bowl victory for the University of Michigan was quite sweet for Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis, but a bit sour for Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. Michigan's 23-20 overtime victory over Virginia Tech on Tuesday means Campbell will have to make a trip west in June to serve up MIS' signature Coney Dogs to the press prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race June 17. Campbell will wear a maize and blue University of Michigan shirt while serving the media. "Hail to the victors!" Curtis said. "We are so excited Clay will be in Michigan to greet our guests and serve up the famous Coney Dog to the press. The game was a nail-biter to the very end, and while I'm obviously pleased Michigan won, it was a thrilling game for fans of both teams." Campbell's concessionaire duties are the result of a Sugar Bowl wager he made with Curtis. Each backed his state's top football team in the Sugar Bowl. Campbell was behind Virginia Tech while Curtis supported Michigan. The bet was simple: if the Hokies won, Curtis would have travelled to Martinsville to serve the Famous Martinsville Speedway Hotdog to media. If Michigan won, Campbell would visit MIS to serve the Coney Dogs to the press.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-7-2012)

  • Half-Priced Concourse Tickets for Kids 12 and Under at Pocono: Pocono Raceway has always strived to be fan friendly with an emphasis on families. Pocono Raceway announced its latest initiative, Kids 12 and under will be admitted at half price to ALL Concourse Grandstand sections for the June 10, Pocono 400 and the August 5, Pennsylvania 400, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in 2012. These sections include: Concourse Gold (adult price $55.00, kids price $27.50), Concourse Vista (adult price $50.00, kids price $25.00) and Concourse (adult price $45.00, kids price $22.50.) The Concourse Grandstand runs the along the front straight at Pocono Raceway (nearly 3,000 feet), so fans purchasing the kids tickets have the option of choosing seats at or near the start/finish line, near Turn # 1 or near Turn # 3. All Concourse Gold sections contain body contoured bucket seats. (All Kids tickets must be purchased with at least one full-priced ticket. All seating is subject to availability. Everyone must have a Sunday grandstand ticket for Raceday admission. Gate validation at time of entry required.) As in the past, Kids 12 and under are admitted free (with a paying adult) to all grandstand sections on Friday and Saturday for practice, qualifying and companion races including the Camping World Truck Series race in August. Grandstand parking is always free at Pocono Raceway. Make Pocono Raceway a memorable racing experience for your family and kids in 2012 with great racing action and huge savings. Tickets can be purchased on line at poconoraceway.com, toll free via phone 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929).(Pocono Raceway)(1-7-2012)

  • Martinsville Speedway president to race in K&N East Series: Jeff Spraker of Spraker Racing Enterprises and Clay Campbell, President of Martinsville Speedway, announced that they will join forces again for selected events in the 2012 K&N East Series. "Clay is a very good race car driver" stated team owner Jeff Spraker. "We both share a love for NASCAR and he totally appreciates the dedication and effort we put forth in our race program. He is a class guy and one of my best friends." In 2011 Campbell finished among the top 20 drivers in the K&N East Point Standings despite being able to compete in selected events due to his commitments at the speedway. "Jeff and I enjoy racing together" stated Campbell. "We are looking forward to 2012. The K&N Series is a great series and with some new race tracks coming into the fold it is sure to be a very exciting season." The 14 race K&N Series schedule kicks off 2012 at Bristol Motor Speedway in March.(Spraker Racing Enterprises)(1-7-2012)


    News from January 6, 2012

  • Sad News - Wanda Lund: Wanda Lund-Early, widow of former NASCAR legend Tiny Lund, was found shot to death Thursday night at her home in Waynesville, N.C., Police Chief Bill Hollingsed confirmed this afternoon. The wound appears to be self-inflicted but that determination will be made once an autopsy is complete, he said. Officers have worked throughout the night on the investigation into the shooting, he said. More information will be released later. Roland Via, webmaster for tinylund.com website, confirmed Early's death shortly after noon. Via, of Holly Hill, said Lund-Early was planning to be in Daytona Beach for the February Speed Weeks to receive an award for Tiny from Victory Lane Racing Association. Details are sketchy, and no further information could be obtained from North Carolina law enforcement officials although Via said he was notified today. "She was a great ambassador and made a lot of appearances at the legends' banquets and activities," said Buzz McKim, historian for the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. "She was as little as he was huge and they were a great couple." Lund died in a 1975 crash at Talladega Superspeedway.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-6-2012)

  • Germain Racing switches manufacturers: Germain Racing, owned by Bob Germain Jr., announced they will join the Ford Racing family for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The team's move to Ford means their #13 GEICO entry will become the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion. Germain explains that the move is well in line with long-term Germain family relationships. "The Germain's have a long history with Ford Motor Company. My grandfather worked with Henry Ford as an accountant and my father worked as a guide in the Henry Ford Museum. Our family currently owns and operates both Ford and Lincoln dealerships and we have many friends at Ford Motor Company. I'm excited to join the Ford Racing team," said Germain. "Germain Racing is focused on getting strong results for our GEICO Fusion program. Heading into NASCAR's first season of electronic fuel injection, we are extremely confident in the technology and engines from Roush & Yates Racing Engines that we will race this season," said Germain, whose team has services agreements with Roush & Yates Racing Engines and Roush Fenway Racing for the coming year. Germain Racing will again feature the talent of driver Casey Mears behind the wheel of the #13 GEICO Fusion entry. Mears joined Germain in 2010.
    In November, GEICO agreed to a sponsorship extension that will see the Gecko adorning the hood of the #13 Germain Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry through at least the 2014 season. GEICO coupled the extension with an increase in involvement, ramping up the number of primary races at which they will serve as the primary sponsor. Thinking along the lines of continuity, team owner Bob Germain subsequently extended Mears' contract, while also retaining crew chief Bootie Barker, who will continue to call the shots for Mears and the GEICO team. When the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion rolls off of the truck for Daytona 500 practice in February, NASCAR fans will be met with a new, exciting paint scheme that will serve as a re-launching of sorts of the GEICO NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program. For most of the previous eleven years, GEICO racecars have featured some variation of the color red, but beginning in 2012, Mears will pilot a car that features the lively color combination of blue and white with green accents.(Germain Racing)(1-6-2012)

  • Stenhouse to run the Daytona 500: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won the 2011 Nationwide Series title, will compete in the 2012 Daytona 500 in Roush Fenway Racing's #6 Ford. The team does not expect to run the unsponsored car for the full season but is locked into the first five races based on owners points from 2011 when the car was driven by David Ragan. The only race confirmed for now is the Daytona 500. The team currently does not have a sponsor for the race, team spokesman Kevin Woods said. Stenhouse will participate in the NASCAR test next week at Daytona International Speedway to prepare for the Daytona 500. Whether he runs a full Nationwide schedule in 2012 has not been solidified, Woods said.(SceneDaily)(1-6-2012)

  • Carter heads to Hendrick: Larry Carter has resigned from Rusty Wallace Inc. to join Hendrick Motorsports. Carter, 48, spent just over a year as general manager of RWI. The 12-year NASCAR veteran previously worked as a crew chief for Wallace in 2004 when the Cup champion still drove for Penske Racing. Carter also oversaw the Cup programs for Jamie McMurray at Roush Fenway Racing and Paul Menard at Yates Racing. Carter's departure is the third recent loss for RWI. Crew chief Doug Randolph, who joined the organization one year ago to work with Steve Wallace, will fill the same role at Brad Keselowski Racing with Parker Klingerman. Ryan McKinney, car chief on the #62 team and a 14-year NASCAR veteran, moved to Kyle Busch Motorsports.(FoxSports)(1-6-2012)

  • Danica gets a car chief: After 13 seasons with Roush Fenway Racing in a variety of roles, Todd Zeigler was looking for a new challenge. The 39-year-old native of Albion, Ind., joined Stewart-Haas Racing as the new car chief for #10-Danica Patrick on Tuesday. Zeigler will oversee the crew and supervise the setup of the car. He will report to Greg Zipadelli, who is serving as the interim crew chief this season along with his duties as competition director. A full-time crew chief is expected to be named later this year. Zeigler started as a tire changer with Roush Fenway Racing in 1998 and served as car chief for Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Jamie McMurray. Most recently he worked as the shop foreman with the #16 team after opting to get off the road crew. After Mike Lingerfelt was injured, Zeigler was asked to substitute and found himself going over the wall again. At the end of the 2011 season, Zeigler was asked to help rebuild the #16 team with driver Greg Biffle. He declined. The prospect for working with Stewart, NASCAR's reigning Sprint Cup champ, was too tempting.(FoxSports)(1-6-2012)

  • Robby Gordon / Dakar Rally - Stage 5: Robby Gordon and his Speed Energy/Toyo Tires Hummer did exactly what needed to be done in the 5th stage of the Dakar Rally to gain time and position in the overall standings. The same can't be said for his teammate, Qatarian driver, Nasser Al-Attiyah, as a costly mistake could diminish his hopes for another Dakar Rally overall victory. Gordon started off the line in 14th place quickly setting a pace as one of the fastest cars in the dunes today. This stage, taking the competitors from Chilecito to Fiambala, had to be shortened due to large amounts of rain in the area. With Gordon gaining 3 minutes and now sitting in 4th place overall, he knows consistency is a must for him and his Speed Energy/Toyo Tires team. Tomorrow is a long stage for everyone as the teams cross the Andes into Chile. Gordon looks to post another top 5 finish, which would be his 5th out of 6 stages. Al-Attiyah will look for redemption as he will try for his second stage victory in the 2012 Dakar Rally.
    NOTE: STAGE 6 has been CANCELED due to the bad weather continuing over the Andes Cordillera (rain and snow), the Chilean authorities were forced to close, for the night, the border at Paso de San Francisco, situated at 4700m. For the 7th time, the Dakar is about to cross over the Andes, and because of very unfavourable conditions, added to the fact that the course has been hit by rain and snow, in order to guarantee the security of the competitors and those following the rally, the organisers have decided to organise a convoy for all vehicles tomorrow. The itinerary has been changed after the border (follow the main road on the right which goes to Diego de Almagro).(RGM)
    To follow the team's journey to compete in the upcoming Dakar, and for updated race team coverage, log onto speedenergy.com, toyotires.com, robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com and dakar.com.(1-6-2012)

  • Sad News - Steve Foaster: Stephen Bruce Foster, Sr., 70, of 120 Skinner Rd., passed away Thursday, January 5, 2012 at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. He was the son of the late Edward L. and Margaret Metcalf Foster. He was retired from McLean Trucking and Robert Yates Racing, a U.S. Army Veteran and former member of the South Carolina National Guard, and a member of Holston Creek Baptist Church.
    He is survived by his wife Betty Cannon Foster; son Steve Foster, Jr.; daughters Tina Crisp and husband Paul, Kaye Foster, Sharon Waldrep and husband Brian; brothers Reggie Foster and wife Dianne, Stan Foster and wife Karen; grandchildren Steffany Ogle and husband Kyle, Chelsea Gosnell, Turner Foster, Hannah Foster, Ava Grace Waldrep and great-granddaughter Emily Ogle. He was also survived by his special pets Casey and Buttons.
    Graveside services will be conducted at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens officiated by the Rev. Donnan Lawson and the Rev. J.B. Godfrey. The family will receive friends after the service at the cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Spartanburg Humane Society, 150 Dexter Rd., Spartanburg, SC 29303.(GoUpState.com)(1-6-2012)

  • Bayne back in the #21 for 2012 UPDATE: In an off-season that has seen several surprising driver changes, there's one winning combination that isn't about to break up. Trevor Bayne will remain in the seat of the Wood Brothers #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. Bayne, who delivered the Woods their fifth Daytona 500 triumph in just his second start in the #21 Ford Fusion, said he's pleased to be putting any off-season uncertainty behind him. "I'm excited," he said. "It's a big deal for me. It's what I had hoped for. We're all excited to be back together." Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he too is pleased to have Bayne back behind the wheel of his family's race car. "It's taken a long time to get to this announcement, but it's good to be back together," Wood said. "We all wanted to do what was best for Ford Motor Company and its young drivers, and to be sure everybody had a place to race." For Bayne, one of the younger drivers in the Sprint Cup Series, driving for the sport's longest running team is something he appreciates even more as time goes by. He was made even more aware of the team's history and heritage  and its long-standing relationship with Ford Motor Company  when he watched a video on the team's history at the company Christmas party. "There's no question at all that since the beginning, the Woods and Ford were going to stick with each other," he said. "The Woods are such a great racing family, and it's amazing that they're the only one of the original teams that has survived since the beginning." But the Woods and Bayne aren't just interested in celebrating the past. Beginning next week, they'll be back at Daytona International Speedway for Preseason Thunder testing and trying to figure a way to adapt to a new rules package and defend their 500 victory. "It's going to be very different at Daytona," Bayne said, referring to a rule change that will block off air to the car's radiator and thereby limit the two-car tandem racing that Bayne so quickly adapted to. "It'll be like starting all over again, but that's OK. We'll just go try to do it again."(Wood Brothers Racing)(1-5-2012)
    UPDATE: Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) and its brands Motorcraft and Quick Lane will continue to support the #21 Ford owned by the legendary Wood Brothers in 2012, with defending Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne behind the wheel. "We are proud to continue our relationship with such an outstanding team," said Mary Lou Quesnell, Marketing Director, FCSD. "Thanks to the hard work of the Wood family, the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion continues to be one of the most popular cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - and fans are just drawn to Trevor's enthusiasm. We look forward to a successful 2012 season, starting off by defending our win at the Daytona 500." FCSD and Ford Motor Company have had a long, successful history with Wood Brothers Racing. Motorcraft, a Ford Motor Company brand of automotive parts ranging from filters and spark plugs to engines and transmissions, will be the primary sponsor on the Wood Brothers #21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford Fusion for 12 races beginning in February at the Daytona 500, a race they won last year. Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers are operated by Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers, but are equipped to provide services for all makes and models. Quick Lanes offer routine vehicle maintenance services such as oil and filter changes, and light repair services like brake repairs and tire replacements, all done by factory-trained technicians with no appointment necessary for customers. FordParts.com will also be an associate sponsor in 2012.(Ford Racing)(1-6-2011)


    News from January 5, 2012

  • Frye ends up at Hendrick UPDATE: Hearing that former Red Bull Racing General Manager and Vice President Jay Frye is now working at Hendrick Motorsports as a consultant in a variety of roles.(1-4-2012)
    UPDATE: Jay Frye and Rick Hendrick have been friends since the 1980s, when Frye was a rep for first Budweiser and then Valvoline, and Hendrick was an ambitious car dealer trying to gain a toehold in NASCAR. So when Red Bull Racing closed its doors at the end of 2011, it made sense that Frye, the former team's vice president and general manager, would turn to Hendrick. On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Frye will work with the team as a consultant for 2012, focusing on business development. "Jay is one of the most well-connected people in the sport, and he's going to be a great resource to help develop strong partnerships," said Marshall Carlson, president of Hendrick Motorsports. "We've known him for a long time, so there's an immense level of trust and respect between us. The opportunity to work with Jay again and have the benefit of his experience is something we're excited about." In NASCAR parlance, "business development" means helping the team find sponsorship and build relationship with sponsors. Frye's long friendship with Hendrick, as well as his familiarity with former Red Bull driver Kasey Kahne should benefit the team hugely in that department.(SPEED)(1-5-2012)

  • Robby Gordon / Dakar Rally - Stage 4: Today was not what Team Speed had expected; both Robby Gordon and Nasser Al-Attiyah would find trouble in different sections of the long 326km special stage. Gordon finished in 14th place, 18 minutes and 10 seconds behind with Al-Attiyah shortly behind him in 16th, over 26 minutes behind. Today's stage took the drivers from San Juan to Chilecito across dried-up rivers and the canyons of Province of Rioja. By the first waypoint, Robby Gordon in his #303 Speed Energy/Toyo Tires Hummer would find himself 5 minutes behind. A slight navigational error on top of a puncture as well as replacing an alternator would cost him another 8 minutes before getting back on the road. As he pushed his vehicle to gain ground he was confiedent that they still could have won the special.
    Nasser Al-Attiyah started strong in his #300 Qatar Hummer, so strong that he had opened up a 2 minute lead over the eventual stage winner, Stephane Peterhansel. He would lead the stage till the last 40km when he got stuck deep into the muddy terrain. By the time that Al-Attiyah got stuck in the mud, Gordon was already back on his way. When he stopped to offer assistance to the Qatar Hummer, Gordon lost another 8 minutes by pulling him out. Both drivers hustled hard for the final km and only finishing minutes apart from one another.
    "We are perfectly fine right now. We are a little behind where we want to be, but the Hummers are driving great. It's really going to be a great race down to the end. I believe without our small issues today - navigation and a flat - we could have beat these guys and picked a substantial amount of time. Nasser was doing great, but I wasn't going to leave him hanging in the mud, so we helped him get back on his way," Gordon commented headed into the Chilecito bivouac.
    Navigator Johnny Campbell talked about #303's stage 4 results, "It was an eventful day for sure. We had our small issues in the beginning; we got into some big washes where water was everywhere, and I was having trouble finding our way. After all that, Robby pushed really really hard to not lose anymore time and I thought we were in areas that could possibly compromise our tires, but they worked just fine. Once we saw Nasser stuck, we jumped out and helped him which unfortunately made us lose even more time. I'm definitely a little sore from driving in the rocks, but I'll be ready to go after again tomorrow."
    While it may have seemed like a terrible day for both Hummers, Team Speed is confident that with 10 stages left to go that there is still a lot of time to be gained, especially heading into the new areas of Chile and the sand dunes. It is still anyone's race as Al-Attiyah proved in stage 2 where he started 38th and then drove to a victory. With only one more stage left in Argentina, the teams head north to the white sand dunes of Fiambala where the course is different than years past. Gordon and Al-Attiyah look to bounce back and put themselves in a position to be closer to the leaders by rest day in Copiapo on January 8th. In the overall standings, Gordon drops to fifth, 16 minutes back, and Al-Attiyah drops to seventh.(RGM)(1-5-2012)

  • Team owner Haas being sued: A Miami-Dade lawsuit over a real estate deal gone awry could put a significant dent in NASCAR team owner Gene Haas' Sprint Cup [#14-Tony Stewart] championship spoils. Haas made the winning bid on two multimillion-dollar Golden Beach mansions at a public auction just days before NASCAR's season-ending race in Homestead. Yet the sellers of the homes, brothers Robert and Steven Fox, say Haas  through a proxy  reneged on the deal, and in turn forfeited the $1 million deposit that auction rules mandated be paid up front."He simply refused to sign the contracts," said attorney Eric Isicoff, who is representing the Foxes in the suit."In my 30 years in this business, this is the first time this has ever happened," added auctioneer (and Pompano Beach Mayor) Lamar Fisher, who handled the sale. Calls to Haas' attorneys, both in Fort Lauderdale and in California, were not returned Wednesday. A spokesman for Haas' primary business, the machine-tools company Haas Automation, declined comment.(full story at Miami Herald)(1-5-2012)

  • Kyle Petty selling SC house: Kyle Petty aims to shift gears on his Isle of Palms, South Carolina property. The former NASCAR driver, who is the son of racing legend Richard Petty and grandson of stock car icon Lee Petty, is asking $4.5 million for the fully-furnished beachfront property. He currently works as a television racing analyst and co-host on the SPEED network's NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Smarts, and also as an occasional commentator for TNT.(Realtor.com)(1-5-2012)


    News from January 4, 2012

  • #71 team not returning in 2012?: Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that the #71 TRG Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team will not return in 2012. Sources close to the team say TRG will announce later this week that it has shuttered its NASCAR operation and will compete only on the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series in 2012. TRG finished 36th in Sprint Cup owner points last season, and would not have been a guaranteed starter for the season-opening Daytona 500. TRG Motorsports made a total of 106 starts since joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2009, with a pair of Top-10 finishes to its credit. Bobby Labonte claimed a 10th-place finish for the team at Talladega in the fall of 2009, while Mike Bliss finished ninth in the 2010 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Team owner Kevin Buckler did not immediately return a call seeking comment today.(Sirius Speedway)(1-4-2012)

  • #43 driver to be announced? UPDATE 5 Almirola Officially Named: Sources say David Ragan is likely to replace A.J. Allmendinger [who went to the #22 Penske Dodge] in the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, with an announcement possible as soon as tomorrow [Friday].(Sirius Speedway)(12-23-2011)
    UPDATE: Aric Almirola, who finished fourth in points in the Nationwide Series this season, has emerged as the leading candidate to take over the #43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series in 2012. The deal, which has come together very quickly, will be officially announced after the Christmas and New Year's holidays and will include a sponsor announcement. Almirola, was set to begin his second full season with JR Motorsports' #88 team in 2012, but his move to the Cup series now leaves his future with that organization unclear. A spokesperson for RPM said Friday night the organization did plan to make a driver announcement for the #43 after the holidays but would have no other comment at this time.(Charlotte Observer)(12-24-2011)
    UPDATE 2: David Ragan and Cole Whitt are the leading candidates to replace Aric Almirola in JR Motorsports' #88 Nationwide team in 2012, sources said. A decision is expected early next week, around the time Almirola's move to the Sprint Cup Series and Richard Petty Motorsports' #43 Ford should be officially announced.(Charlotte Observer)(12-29-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Aric Almirola is the top candidate to take over the seat of the famed #43 car with Smithfield Foods as his sponsor at Richard Petty Motorsports. Fourth in the Nationwide Series points standings in 2011, Almirola had another year left in his contract with JR Motorsports but could obtain his release, according to sources, to go to RPM. A JR Motorsports spokesman would not comment on Almirola's status with the team and an RPM spokesman did not return requests for comment. Almirola would not be able to drive for RPM, which Ford has heavily invested in, and continue to drive for the Chevy-backed JRM at the same time. The Almirola-RPM deal is not complete, sources said, but JRM already has talked to drivers about his replacement for the Nationwide Series ride. David Ragan, Reed Sorenson and Cole Whitt are among the top candidates. Air Force and Smithfield Foods are expected to sponsor races on the #43 car next year.(SceneDaily)(12-30-2011)
    UPDATE 4: supposedly Cole Whitt will drive the #88 JR Motorsports Chevy in the Nationwide Series in 2012.(Florida Times-Union)(1-3-2012)
    UPDATE 5: Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that Aric Almirola will drive the legendary #43 Ford Fusion in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition beginning in 2012. Almirola has made 35 starts in the Sprint Cup Series, his most recent stint coming in 2010 when he finished the last five races of the season in the #9 Ford. During the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Almirola posted a career-high, fourth-place effort. Almirola drove a JR Motorsports entry [#88 Chevy] in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011 and capped off a successful season with a fourth-place finish in the championship point standings. "One of the things I am most excited about is to have the chance to drive a car as iconic as the #43," stated Almirola. "There is so much history surrounding that number and to have my name above the door will be really special for me. This is the first real opportunity I've had to drive in the Cup Series full time. Last year the #43 team had a lot of speed and was competitive on a weekly basis. Greg Erwin is a great crew chief and I'm excited to work with him. Everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports has a lot of enthusiasm and drive and I'm really looking forward to getting to work."
    Almirola will join a team that is poised to compete for a spot in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Paired with veteran Crew Chief Greg Erwin, Almirola will get behind the wheel for a team that earned one top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2011 en route to a 15th-place finish in the owner point standings.
    "We are thrilled to welcome Aric Almirola into the RPM family," said team Co-owner Richard Petty. "We feel extremely fortunate to have had a number of very talented drivers interested in joining our organization, but ultimately we felt Aric would be the best fit for the team and for our current and potential partners. We have had the chance to watch his progress for the past several years and we had success with him in the past. We are really confident in his potential as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. We think Aric has all the makings to be the next bright star in our sport."(Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-4-2012)

  • Frye ends up at Hendrick: Hearing that former Red Bull Racing General Manager and Vice President Jay Frye is now working at Hendrick Motorsports as a consultant in a variety of roles.(1-4-2012)

  • Robby Gordon / Dakar Rally - Stage 3: The third stage of the Dakar Rally opened with the #300 car of Nasser Al-Attiyah first off the line and the #303 car of Robby Gordon shortly behind him in the 3rd starting position, giving Team SPEED an opportunity to keep momentum on their side. This stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally went from San Rafael to the city of San Juan, located in a valley of mountains just southeast of the Andes. The stage featured a total of 499km that included a 208 km special stage section that ended at the bivouac in San Juan. Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Lucas Cruz ended up gaining ground in the last section to finish in the 3rd position, also gaining in the overall standings advancing to 6th, 6 minutes and 34 seconds back from overall leader. Robby Gordon, in his Speed Energy/Toyo Tires Hummer, was once again consistent and finished in the lead pack in 5th place, 2 minutes and 8 seconds behind. Stephane Peterhansel, overall leader going into today's stage, had issues allowing Gordon to gain in the overall standings. Gordon will start the 4th stage of the rally only 54 seconds behind new leader, Holowczyc. Team SPEED looks to keep the same game plan going into tomorrow as the 1st car leaves the line at 7:16am for Chilecito.(RGM)
    To follow the team's journey to compete in the upcoming Dakar, and for updated race team coverage, log onto speedenergy.com, toyotires.com, robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com and dakar.com.(1-4-2012)

  • Fans can attend drivers' meeting prior to Kobalt Tools 400 in Las Vegas: Race fans who've wondered exactly what transpires in the drivers' meeting prior to a NASCAR event will get their opportunity to learn for themselves during the 2012 NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For the first time ever at LVMS, race fans will be able to attend the pre-race drivers' meeting for the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Weather permitting, the meeting will take place adjacent to the main stage in the center of the Neon Garage. NASCAR Weekend is composed of the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup event on March 11, preceded by the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide Series event on March 10 and Stratosphere Pole Day on March 9. Race fans can obtain tickets and Neon Garage passes online at www.lvms.com or by calling 1-800-644-4444.(LVMS)(1-4-2012)

  • Latest Martinsville Speedway Construction Project Progressing Smoothly: With the help of mild and dry winter weather, work on the latest major construction project at Martinsville Speedway is well ahead of schedule and should be completed well before the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on April 1. The project includes demolition of all the restrooms under the Richard Petty Tower on the fourth-turn end of the front stretch and construction of larger, modern restrooms. The new restrooms are being built about 30 feet further back, allowing for a much wider concourse area to help improve pedestrian traffic. In fact, the width of the concourse in that area will be almost doubled. The new restrooms will be almost twice as large as the present ones and contain amenities comparable with any large entertainment venue. Fans will also notice a refurbished ticket office when they return for the Goody's Fast Relief weekend this spring, which includes a new façade and redesigned and refurbished interior. 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)(1-4-2012)

  • Every Tuesday in January Means a Free Kazoo for fans: Auto Club Speedway's $35 Ticket Tuesday started Jan 3s today and NASCAR race fans who take advantage of one of the most unique and most talked about ticket promotions, will receive a FREE kazoo for each $35 ticket purchased on any Tuesday in January to celebrate National Kazoo Day. In addition to National Kazoo Day in January, Auto Club Speedway will celebrate National Bubblegum Day in February and National Make Your Own Holiday Day in March. Each Tuesday during the months of January, February and March, Auto Club Speedway will give away "extra goodies" to anyone who mentions "Ticket Tuesday" when purchasing a $35 ticket to the Auto Club 400 on March 25. But hurry, these extra incentives are sure to go quickly. Call 800-944-RACE (7223) or visit the Speedway ticket office on Tuesday's between 8:30 a.m.  4:30 p.m. And for numerous ticket packages starting as low as $35 visit www.autoclubspeedway.com or call 800-944-RACE (7223).(Auto Club Speedway)(1-4-2012)


    News from January 3, 2012

  • Evernham settles lawsuit with Gillett: Ray Evernham has settled his lawsuit against George Gillett over money owed from the 2007 sale of his Sprint Cup organization. Evernham, the former owner of Evernham Motorsports and a three-time Cup champion as the crew chief for Jeff Gordon at Hendrick Motorsports, was seeking $19 million from Gillett. The case was settled outside of court and dismissed last week. No details of the settlement were released.(ESPN)(1-3-2012)

  • MWR could buy Red Bull Racing assets: Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing is negotiating to purchase the assets of the former Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. A spokesperson for the team declined to comment on the story, but multiple sources say Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull are close to an agreement on the sale, awaiting NASCAR approval for an owner point swap that would allow MWR to field a third Toyota Camry in the 2012 Daytona 500. MWR finished 18th and 28th in Sprint Cup owner points with drivers #56-Martin Truex, Jr. and #00[now #55]-David Reutimann last season, and holds two guaranteed starting spots for the upcoming Daytona 500. MWR is expected to field three cars in the Great American Race for Truex, #15-Clint Bowyer (no points) and #55-Mark Martin, using one of the guaranteed starting spots held by Red Bull Racing. Those points would transfer to MWR in the event of a sale. Michael Waltrip could also compete in the 2012 Daytona 500, but is believed unlikely to do so in an MWR Toyota. Sources say MWR is also interested in acquiring cars and equipment from Red Bull, including fabrication equipment and a shaker rig. If included in the sale, the former Red Bull Racing building would likely be used by MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman to house his RK Motors muscle car restoration and performance company, as well as his personal collection of classic and vintage automobiles. Red Bull Racing closed its doors last month, after failing to find a buyer to continue operations.(Sirius Speedway)(1-3-2012)

  • Reutimann joins Tommy Baldwin Racing: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) added NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) driver David Reutimann to the team's 2012 driver lineup alongside Dave Blaney. Still seeking sponsorship for both Reutimann and Blaney, details regarding car number, sponsors and team members will follow in the upcoming weeks. "Tommy has built a really good organization from the ground up in a really short amount of time," said Reutimann. "One of the things I like about Tommy and what's refreshing about him is that he is just a racer. There are lots of things he could be doing but instead he is at the shop every day working hard to build the organization from the ground up. There are not a lot of true racers in the garage, and he is one of them. It's the way I was raised with my Dad, so we are on the same page. I'm just really looking forward to the season and see what we can do." TBR competed in every event in the 36-race NSCS schedule in 2011 and raced into the top-35 in NSCS Owner Points, meeting the team's 2011 season goals. Blaney drove to the team's best finish of third in the October event at Talladega Superspeedway. The team also fielded a second car for five events in the second half of the season.
    "Reutimann will be a great addition to our program and to Dave Blaney," commented team owner Tommy Baldwin. "Last season, we met our goal of running the entire schedule and making the top-35 in points. This season, our goals is to continue our progress on the competition side. Having two veteran drivers in Reutimann and Blaney is a very important step in our program's growth. We are still working on finding funding for next year, but having a car guaranteed in the first five races, including the Daytona 500, is a big step for our team. We had success last year with our partners. Although Golden Corral will not return in 2012, they were very happy with the exposure they received. We hope they have shown other companies the value of our program and that our program will once again align with their business objectives."
    TBR competed in every race and locked the #36 Chevy in the top-35 in NSCS Owner Points. TBR also fielded a second [#35 Chevy] car for select races in the past two seasons with multiple drivers.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)
    MORE: Reutimann agreed to a one-year deal for 2012. Baldwin will start the season as Reutimann's crew chief, while veteran chief mechanic Philippe Lopez would again work with Blaney. Reutimann said he and Baldwin had discussed their schedule, with start-and-parking not in their plans. "As we talked [Monday] we're looking at 26 races -- not a full season but that's something we're obviously angling towards and trying to do and we're going there to race," Reutimann said. "They have a great group of guys over there who are really working their butts off and it's really cool. It's gonna be a different side of things, but I think it'll be a good fit for me. Baldwin said on Monday that sponsorships for the full seasons and which car numbers his two drivers will use were still being determined, "we've got some things etched on paper and hopefully we can get those announced and move ahead." Accell Construction, which has been with Baldwin in limited appearances the past couple seasons, has already committed to the team. Baldwin said his team would bring a new car to the season-opening test at Daytona Jan. 12-14, probably with Blaney driving "to see how it compares to the field." Reutimann said he has also been talking to some Camping World Truck Series owners about some 2012 races in that series.(NASCAR.com)(1-3-2011)
    AND Tommy Baldwin Racing has also signed an agreement to run Earnhardt Childress Racing engines for the 2012 season.(FoxSports)(1-3-2012)

  • R3 Motorsports to run Cup Series in 2012: After completing the full 2011 NASCAR Nationwide season, resulting in a top-30 in points, [#23 Chevy] R3 Motorsports has announced its racing plans for 2012. Robert Richardson, Jr. will return to the seat for a limited NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. R3 Motorsports has also purchased a fleet of Sprint Cup Chevy's from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to enter all of the NASCAR Sprint Cup races for the 2012 season. Robert Richardson, Jr. will attempt to qualify for his third Daytona 500 and a few other Cup races as well. Greg Conner will be the crew chief and the team will run the #23 in both series.(R3 Motorsports)(1-3-2012)

  • Edwards to Co-Host "LIVE! with Kelly": #99-Carl Edwards will take a turn co-hosting the syndicated morning program "LIVE! with Kelly" on Tuesday, January 10, during a special themed week of sports co-hosts with Kelly Ripa. Edwards was selected along with Reggie Bush, Boomer Esiason, Jesse Palmer and Apolo Anton Oh# Actress Kate Beckinsale will be a guest on the show when Edwards co-hosts with Ripa. Edwards was a guest on the popular show last June after his win in the Sprint All-Star race, and has appeared in the past with the NASCAR Chase contenders. This will be his first stint as co-host. "LIVE! with Kelly" is distributed in national syndication by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Produced by WABC-TV in New York and executive produced by Michael Gelman, "LIVE! with Kelly" airs in more than 200 markets across the U.S.(RFR)(1-3-2012)

  • Robby Gordon racing Dakar Rally Stage 2: Stage 2 of the Dakar Rally was successful for Team Speed; Nasser Al-Attiyah came from a 38th-starting position to win the stage on corrected time while teammate Robby Gordon finished third. Gordon now sits second overall in the rankings. It is the first time that Team Speed had two Hummer's on the podium for a Special Stage finish. The race was so close that it was thought that either Gordon or Peterhansel won the stage based on corrected time. In the end, Al-Attiyah would become the victor, which was very good given the troubles that he had during Stage 1 of the Dakar Rally. Gordon would finish third, putting him second in the overall rankings only 2 minutes and 28 seconds being overall leader, Peterhansel.(RGM)
    To follow the team's journey to compete in the upcoming Dakar, and for updated race team coverage, log onto speedenergy.com, toyotires.com, robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com and dakar.com.(1-3-2012)

  • #43 driver to be announced? UPDATE 4 Almirola and sponsor? Sources say David Ragan is likely to replace A.J. Allmendinger [who went to the #22 Penske Dodge] in the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, with an announcement possible as soon as tomorrow [Friday].(Sirius Speedway)(12-23-2011)
    UPDATE: Aric Almirola, who finished fourth in points in the Nationwide Series this season, has emerged as the leading candidate to take over the #43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series in 2012. The deal, which has come together very quickly, will be officially announced after the Christmas and New Year's holidays and will include a sponsor announcement. Almirola, was set to begin his second full season with JR Motorsports' #88 team in 2012, but his move to the Cup series now leaves his future with that organization unclear. A spokesperson for RPM said Friday night the organization did plan to make a driver announcement for the #43 after the holidays but would have no other comment at this time.(Charlotte Observer)(12-24-2011)
    UPDATE 2: David Ragan and Cole Whitt are the leading candidates to replace Aric Almirola in JR Motorsports' #88 Nationwide team in 2012, sources said. A decision is expected early next week, around the time Almirola's move to the Sprint Cup Series and Richard Petty Motorsports' #43 Ford should be officially announced.(Charlotte Observer)(12-29-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Aric Almirola is the top candidate to take over the seat of the famed #43 car with Smithfield Foods as his sponsor at Richard Petty Motorsports. Fourth in the Nationwide Series points standings in 2011, Almirola had another year left in his contract with JR Motorsports but could obtain his release, according to sources, to go to RPM. A JR Motorsports spokesman would not comment on Almirola's status with the team and an RPM spokesman did not return requests for comment. Almirola would not be able to drive for RPM, which Ford has heavily invested in, and continue to drive for the Chevy-backed JRM at the same time. The Almirola-RPM deal is not complete, sources said, but JRM already has talked to drivers about his replacement for the Nationwide Series ride. David Ragan, Reed Sorenson and Cole Whitt are among the top candidates. Air Force and Smithfield Foods are expected to sponsor races on the #43 car next year.(SceneDaily)(12-30-2011)
    UPDATE 4: supposedly Cole Whitt will drive the #88 JR Motorsports Chevy in the Nationwide Series in 2012.(Florida Times-Union)(1-3-2012)

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway to get 500-kw solar project: A Banner Elk solar developer plans to build a 500-kilowatt installation at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Eagle Electron Power Partners filed notice Wednesday [Dec 27th] with the N.C. Utilities Commission for a $2.9 million project that is expected to be operational in August. The power will be sold to Duke Energy . The renewable energy credits for the energy produced will also be sold, but the filing does not specify a buyer. The project will not be the first solar installation the speedway's parent, Speedway Motorsports Inc. In June, Panasonic Corp. of North America completed a 350-kilowatt project at Speedway's Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. In Charlotte, Speedway has worked out a 20-year agreement with Eagle Electron for the installation, operation and maintenance of the solar project. There are options for renewals after that. The project will be ground-mounted and consist of more than 2,000 solar panels, each rated at 240 watts. It is expected to produce about 813,240 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Eagle Electron has yet to get a building permit for the project, according to the filing. The Banner Elk company has created a separate limited liability company, Charlotte Motor Speedway Solar Plant, to own and operate the project.(Charlotte Business Journal)(1-3-2011)


    News from January 2, 2012

  • McMurray wins Kart race at Daytona: #1-Jamie McMurray has another Daytona victory on his resume. The 2010 Daytona 500 Champion won the TAG 2 Final Race Friday during WKA Daytona Kartweek events on the 0.7 mile sprint track located at Daytona International Speedway. McMurray, driving the #1 JMK Chassis, captured the pole and lead every lap in the Pre Final and the TAG 2 Final race, an event that features some of the best kart racers from around the world. The victory was especially gratifying for the NASCAR veteran as this is the first victory with a JMK chassis, which was designed and built by McMurray himself. McMurray commented after the win, "This victory is a little more special since I did this on a kart that I designed and had built here in America. Most of the kart chassis in this series are manufactured in Europe, so it was very special to put and American made chassis on the top step of the podium."(EGR)
    AND #22-A.J. Allmendinger also ran the event, having some tough luck in the TaG Parilla Leopard class when contact shuffled him back to a 16th place finish, but he went on to place fourth in both the TaG 1 and TaG 2 classes.(1-2-2012)

  • Robby Gordon racing Dakar Rally Day 1: On the first day of the New Year, the competitors of the 2012 Dakar Rally prepared for an early start, which took them from the beach city of Mal Del Plata to Santa Rosa de La Pampa. The special stage section was only 57km, making it the shortest racing section of the rally.
    Nasser Al-Attiyah would start out with an advantage being the first car on the road, and teammate Robby Gordon would follow off the line in fourth. When the auto class got to the special stage, they would find areas to pass the competition along the coast line and drive into small dunes that represented their first hurdle. In this short section, the fastest time would establish each competitors position in the rankings.
    By checkpoint 1 of the Special Stage, Al-Attiyah and Gordon were running first and second, only 9 seconds between them with Peterhansel 51 secs behind. The HUMMERs were off to a great start, proving to be a real contender. Unfortunately only 2km from the finish, Al-Attiyah's HUMMER lost power. Seeing his teammate on the side of the road, Gordon had no choice but to help the 2011 Dakar Champion cross the finish. With the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER towing the Qatar/Toyo Tires HUMMER, Gordon ended up losing valuable seconds, resulting in him being the third car to finish. He ended up fifth based on corrected time. Al-Attiyah's finish will be determined at a later time due to the fact he had assistance. Stage 2 will have a Special Stage of 290km and 487km of Liaison starting in Santa Rosa de la Pampa and ending in San Rafael where Gordon will start in 5th and Nasser's position in 30th, 9 minutes and 45 seconds back of the leader.(RGM)
    To follow the team's journey to compete in the upcoming Dakar, and for updated race team coverage, log onto speedenergy.com, toyotires.com, robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com and dakar.com.(1-2-2012)

  • NASCAR Targets New Audiences: After a few bumpy years marked by declining TV ratings and weakened traction in the vital 18- to 34-year-old male demographic, NASCAR regained some footing in 2011. TV viewership rose year-over-year in all three NASCAR [National] series, both overall and among the target group of young men. And the sport landed several key sponsorship renewals, including Sprint, UPS and Kraft Foods. But if NASCAR is to continue its assault on the professional team sports occupying much of the nation's bandwidth, it needs to reach new audiences in new places. With that in mind, it has embarked on a five-year plan with five key goals: Build the star power of individual drivers, increase engagement among children and college-age consumers, attract a multicultural fan base, craft more cohesive digital- and social-media strategies and improve the racetrack experience for fans. NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps is overseeing the execution. While some efforts kicked off in 2010, work over the next 18 months on the digital-media and multicultural-marketing fronts will be crucial. Mr. Phelps, star of a 2010 episode of "Undercover Boss," sat down with Ad Age to discuss the process of individual brand-building, the promise of a Hispanic fan base, and why the sport's legacy digital partnership won't work long term.(See full interview at AdAge.com)(1-2-2012)

  • Nominations for Promoters of the Year: Readers of Racing Promotion Monthly this year selected three first-time and three repeat nominees as Regional Auto Racing Promoters of the Year. They came from among 87 different short tracks in 33 states receiving votes. The nominees' experience ranges from six years to over 30 years. For the first time in the history of the award, all the regional nominees operate dirt tracks. One is affiliated with UMP for weekly racing, one with ASA, one with IMCA, one with WISSOTA, and two operate independently. All the nominated tracks are 1/3-mile or shorter.
    The nominees are: Region One, the Eastern Region, Andrew Harpell, Five-Mile Point (NY) Speedway; Region Two, the Southeastern Region, James "Redd" Griffin, Screven (GA) Motor Speedway; Region Three, the Central Region, Bob Sargent, Macon (IL) and Paducah (KY) Speedways; Region Four, the Northern Region, Wayne Anderson, Don & Linus Mack, and Darren Evavold, River Cities (ND) Speedway; Region Five, the Great Plains Region, Roger Hadan, Eagle (NE) Raceway; and the Rocky Mountain West Region, Steve Beitler, Skagit (WA) Speedway. Harpell received his third consecutive nomination, and Sargent his second, following a Prior 2002 nomination and Beitler his second nomination. The Griffin, Hadan, and the Grand Forks quartet are first time nominees. The Auto Racing Promoter of the Year ballot will soon reach promoters. The Thirty-Sixth ARPY will be revealed during the Thirty-Ninth Annual RPM Speedweek National Workshop at the Plaza Resort & Spa, Daytona Beach, FL; February 20, 2012.
    The Auto Racing Promoter of the Year is short track racing's most prestigious award. It is awarded each year after voting by promoters. The award was originated in 1976 by the editors of Racing Promotion Monthly. Voting is conducted in two phases: a preliminary ballot in the newsletter nominates candidates in six regions. The six candidates become Regional Promoters of the Year and then appear on a second ballot for final voting. The Queensland family, Deer Creek (MN) Speedway, received the award last year.(Racing Promotion Monthly)(1-2-2012)


    News from January 1, 2012

  • Stewart to race in 'Rumble in Fort Wayne' and Chili Bowl UPDATE2 wins again: #14-Tony Stewart will return to his roots to race an open-wheeled midget car in the 14th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. Stewart has entered his black #2 Munchkin car for both days of the indoor event on Friday, Dec. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 31. He has won a record seven times on the 1/6-mile track but will be appearing at Fort Wayne for the first time since 2008. More information is available at www.rumbleseries.com.(TonyStewart.com)
    AND #14-Tony Stewart will return to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the 2012 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals it was announced Monday. Joining Stewart on his Tony Stewart Racing team at the annual event will be NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., USAC champion Bryan Clauson and 2011 POWRi rookie of the year Jake Blackhurst. The Chili Bowl, held at the QuikTrip Center in Tulsa, Okla., begins Jan. 10. More info at chilibowl.com.(RacinToday)(12-28-2011)
    UPDATE: "Those of you who cheered, thank you," said #14-Tony Stewart after winning his record eighth event at the Rumble in Fort Wayne, IN on Friday night at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. "Those of you who booed can kiss my ass." Yes, it was the same old Stewart on Friday, who outdistanced the competition in the midget feature to earn the victory in a 20-year old Volkswagen-powered Munchkin that was built more than 20 years ago by Roanoke resident Mike Fedorcak. Since 2004, Stewart has stuck with the Munchkin at the Rumble and has won seven times. "This car is 20 years old, but when it was built it was way, way ahead of its time," Stewart said. "This is just a car that's fun to drive, it's easy to work on and set up." After a two-year absence in which Stewart was overseas doing, what else, racing cars, the Indiana native returned this year to the Rumble and other area events, including racing in Indianapolis last week and looking ahead to the indoor Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. "The last two years we took a break (from racing locally), but now we are back to our old schedule," Stewart said. "We are glad to do them again." The second day of the Rumble in Fort Wayne continues today, with gates opening at 11 a.m. Stewart plans to race in the midget events again, going for his second sweep of the two midget features. He also swept both events in 2006. Also featured tonight will be mini-sprints and winged midget features.(Fort Worth News-Sentinel)(12-31-2011)
    UPDATE2 - Stewart wins again: With 56 minutes to spare, Tony Stewart squeezed yet another victory into a year that already was reaching mythical proportions. Taking the checkered flag at 11:04 p.m. on New Year's Eve, the three-time NASCAR champion completed a weekend sweep of the 14th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne indoor midget races, winning Saturday's 50-lap feature in dominating fashion. While he celebrated with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, not champagne, Stewart seemed to treasure his latest accomplishment as much as his hard-fought Sprint Cup title. "This is the first time I've ever raced on New Year's Eve," the 40-year-old Indiana native said, a smile creasing his face. "It's been a dream year. I won by first World of Outlaws race and the (NASCAR) championship. Then I won at Conseco (in an all-star kart race in Indianapolis) and won here two times. What a great way to finish the year. It's going to be hard to keep this up, but it's going to be a lot of fun trying." Even Stewart seemed astonished when somebody pointed out that he's won an amazing eight times in his past 13 races, starting with his 5-for-10 charge to the NASCAR championship. His numbers at the 1/6-mile track at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center are similar. After sweeping the two-day program for the second time in his career, he's won nine times in 14 career starts. He's been the fast qualifier in each of his past 10 appearances. Jon Stanbrough finished second in a car that caught fire early in the race. Rex Norris III, Billy Wease and Dave Darland completed the top five, each taking turns coming from the rear of the field.(indianaopenwheel.com)(1-1-2012)

  • Death at Dakar: Today at 11:19 am, Argentinean rider Jorge Boero (motorcycle #175) was the victim of a fall at km 55 of the special of the first stage between Mar del Plata and Santa Rosa. The rider suffered a cardiac arrest following his fall and was attended five minutes after the accident by the medical staff, who reached the place of the incident by helicopter. Despite their best efforts, the doctors were unable to resuscitate the pilot, who died while he was being taken to hospital. 38-year-old Jorge Boero was taking part in his second Dakar. In 2011, he withdrew from the rally during the sixth stage.(Dakar.com)(1-1-2012)


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