March 2012 Nationwide Series News

  • Koch loses sponsor: UPDATE: Many Nationwide Series drivers will do almost anything to get their sponsors more publicity. #41-Blake Koch and his sponsor were even willing to pay ESPN for exposure. But ESPN rejected the advertisement from Koch's sponsor, the Rise Up and Register Campaign, which is designed to educate people about the importance of registering to vote in upcoming elections. Koch said the network rejected the advertisement, in part, because of his religious activism. A devout Christian, the 26-year-old driver often speaks at churches on race weekends, at numerous religious outreach events and on television shows. "Their whole campaign was to run that commercial on ESPN, and they wanted to get in front of the NASCAR fans," Koch said about his sponsor in a phone interview Thursday. "They didn't care about any other network. We found out Friday at Daytona (in February) that they weren't going to air the commercials due to political and religious overtones, and they said particularly on (my) BlakeKoch.com website." While the campaign's website does not promote specific religions, it does include links to Koch's site, which promotes his ministry and other religious programs. ESPN issued a statement Thursday, saying, "The spot did not meet our guidelines in regard to advocacy messaging. Blake Koch's personal religious beliefs played no role in our evaluation." The campaign, which Koch said is nonpartisan and not religion-based, has now decided to stop sponsoring the Rick Ware Racing car. Koch, who is 20th in the Nationwide Series standings, said he plans to continue to race.(Sporting News)(3-29-2012)
    UPDATE: Barry Bennett the Executive Director of "Rise Up and Register" has confirmed to RaceTalkRadio.com that they will honor the remainder of the 20 races they agreed to sponsor Blake Koch this season. "Rise Up and Register" will be back on the car at Texas Motor Speedway.(3-30-2012)

  • California TV Ratings: ESPN's live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Saturday, March 24, earned a 1.7 household coverage rating, averaging 2,278,265 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was up six percent from the 1.6 for last year's race. The pre-race NASCAR Countdown program earned a 1.0 rating, up 25 percent from a 0.8 rating for the program prior to last year's event. Across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, NASCAR Nationwide Series ratings are up five percent so far this season.(ESPN)(3-27-2012)

  • Sponsorship woes may cost Kenny Wallace his ride: UPDATES: After 867 career starts in NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, Kenny Wallace may be facing the end of the line. The nine-time Nationwide Series winner has sponsorship from American Ethanol and Family Farmers for just five races this season, including the just-completed Drive For COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Now, Wallace has been informed that unless he is able to secure additional backing, his run with RAB Racing will likely come to an end. "(Team owner) Robby Benton came to me and said, `We're going to run you for first five races of year," revealed Wallace today. "`If we don't have any sponsorship after that, I'm going to have to sell the ride.' He's already got some little rich kids calling about buying races, so I may be out of the car pretty soon. I'm heartbroken," said Wallace. "I worked my ass off last year to get my dignity back and prove to everyone that we could still run up front. And look at me now, running around like a bozo in a plain black car. It's demoralizing. I can't find any more money, so it looks like I'm not going to be a full time driver this year. If I don't have any money after California, the ride will go to whoever has money. Robby has to pay his crew, and I understand that."(GodfatherMotorsports.com)(3-2-2012)
    UPDATE: Team owner Robby Benton told SB Nation he takes exception to Wallace's approach. Benton said he's been trying to find sponsorship for Wallace over the past 14 months and is running a black, unsponsored car at Phoenix in an effort to show the ride is available. But Benton feels Wallace's desperation is undermining his efforts to strike a deal with a potential sponsor. "He thinks what he's doing is generating interest," Benton said. "But at the end of the day, it's making me and our race team look (unprofessional) and trying to get people to feel sorry for him. That's not productive. You don't want people to feel sorry for you. We're trying to sell a strong, marketable program." Benton said RAB Racing is not broke and has the structure in place to field a strong program. But it will be broke if sponsorship isn't found, which is why Benton said he's in a position to make some difficult choices. "For what it costs to be associated with us, to get the performance we exhibit and to get the popularity Kenny has got, we're one of the best bargains in the garage," Benton said. "And we still can't sell it.So in order to not break myself and put us in a position where we're destitute, I've got to make some tough decisions." That includes listening to offers from drivers who could potentially bring funding to the team. Wallace was particularly vocal on Twitter about the rent-a-ride philosophy.(SB Nation)(33-2012)
    UPDATE 2: In response to the recent news concerning the welfare of RAB Racing with Brack Maggard, team owner Robby Benton is looking ahead, and reaffirming the team's commitment to fielding entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series. "As a NASCAR race team, we are faced with the obstacle of procuring the proper sponsorship to be able to field a strong, competitive, marketable team," said Benton. "We are committed to our current driver, Kenny Wallace, for as many events that we can find sponsorship for. Although we are facing an immediate lack of sponsorship over the next few races, we are fortunate to have events sponsored later in the season with Kenny as the driver. We, as a team, have committed to keep Kenny in our #09 Toyota for the next few races, regardless of sponsorship. We will get to a point, should substantial progress in our sponsorship hunt not be made, that we may take the opportunity to pair up with someone who has aligned themselves with a sponsor that could benefit from becoming a part of the RAB Racing team, and becoming a teammate to Kenny Wallace."(RAB Racing)(3-7-2012)
    UPDATE 3: Kenny Wallace posted the following note to Facebook on Tuesday, "My race team RAB Racing is not shutting down and I will never quit racing, however here is the situation. We need money to keep paying our employees at RAB Racing, I will race for sure race at Talladega and both Chicago races and Kansas and Michigan because i have sponsorship from "Family Farmers and American Ethanol" If another driver comes along and has money to drive my car I will support that because we need to keep our employees."(3-27-2012)

  • Hank Baskett named Honorary Starter for Royal Purple 300: NFL and reality star Hank Baskett will serve as Honorary Starter for the Royal Purple 300 NNS race at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, March 24. As Honorary Starter, Baskett will wave the green flag to get the Royal Purple 300 underway. Baskett, who has played for three NFL teams including the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts, is currently a free agent but he's not lacking for work. Married to Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson since 2009, Basket has co-starred with his with his wife in the reality series "Kendra" on E! The event will be televised at 2:00pm PT on ESPN.(Auto Club Speedway PR)(3-24-2012)

  • Rusty Wallace returns to the track: Retired NASCAR driver and ESPN broadcaster Rusty Wallace, is scheduled to compete in the June 12th Howie Lettow Memorial 150 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race honors the late Lettow, a former standout ASA crew chief who mentored many young drivers. The event will benefit the MACC Fund, dedicated to childhood cancer and blood disorder research (RWR). More info on the Drivers Appearances page.(3-23-2012)

  • Bruce Jenner to serve as Grand Marshal at Auto Club Speedway: Bruce Jenner, reality television star and U.S. Olympic Medalist will serve as Grand Marshal for NASCAR's NNS Series race -- the Royal Purple 300 -- at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, March 24. As Grand Marshal, Jenner will give the most famous command in racing, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines." The NASCAR NNS Royal Purple 300 will be televised at 2:30pm PT on ESPN. Jenner captivated audiences during the 1976 Olympic Games winning a Gold Medal in the Decathlon Event. He graced magazine covers, Wheaties boxes and was hailed as the World's Greatest Athlete, yet it's the story behind his continuing success that keeps him on the road as one of America's best motivational speakers. As Reality-TV's favorite Dad, Bruce's audience now extends to fans of America's favorite reality E! Network hit show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." With completion of the 6th season, Bruce tries to keep up with his family as they have become some of the most popular people in the industry. When he isn't busy with fathering his 10 kids, the Kardashian- Jenner family are quite the entrepreneurs. Bruce is involved in a variety of business ventures with the family, including their own production company, Jenner Communications.(Auto Club Speedway)(3-22-2012)

  • Logano to debut new Trans-Lux #18 at Fontana: Trans-Lux Corporation a world leader in LED video display and LED lighting solutions, has entered into a sponsorship with Joe Gibbs Racing. The new #18 Trans-Lux Camry will make its debut at the NASCAR Nationwide Series Royal Purple 300 race with Joey Logano behind the wheel. The race is scheduled to be held March 24th, 2012 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. In the fall of 2012, the Trans-Lux car will move to the Sprint Cup Series with the #11 driven by Denny Hamlin. Logano has an incredible track record at Auto Club Speedway. In six career starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the 2-mile Fontana, CA track, Logano has one win, four top-five finishes, and has been inside the top ten in all six of his races. In fact, his worst career finish in Fontana is seventh and he has run every lap of all six races. He won from the pole in 2009.(MarketWatch.com)(3-22-2012)

  • MAKE Motorsports welcomes new sponsor for Fontana: MAKE Motorsports and driver T.J. Bell welcome Apex Contracting and Restoration of San Diego, CA as a new sponsor on the #50 MAKE Motorsports Chevrolet Impala for the Royal Purple 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Auto Club Speedway this weekend. Apex offers a range of services includes restoration, general contracting, 24-hour emergency response services for flood and fire, mold remediation, tenant improvements and remodels, new construction, destructive testing and litigation support.(Make Motorsports PR)(3-21-2012)

  • Sweet makes 2012 debut at "home" track Grass Valley, Calif.-native, Brad Sweet, will make his debut in the #38 Great Clips Chevrolet this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Sweet has just one NASCAR Nationwide Series start under his belt. In 2010 at Gateway International Raceway, he started ninth and ran in the top-10 before being collected in a mid-race accident. Sweet will share driving duties of the #38 with Kasey Kahne this season with Kahne scheduled to compete in 15 races and Sweet competing in the balance of the 33-race schedule.(Turner Motorsports PR)(3-20-2012)

  • Double-duty weekend for Gaughan: Brendan Gaughan, driving the #33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Impala, will make his second Nationwide Series start under the RCR banner this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. The Las Vegas native will make his 73rd career start in the Nationwide Series when the green flag waves for Saturday's Royal Purple 300. He's earned seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in a span of four seasons in the Nationwide Series, as well as a pole award in March 2009 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Aside from his Nationwide Series responsibilities, Gaughan will also pilot the #33 South Point Casino & Hotel Chevrolet Sprint Cup Series entry for the Welcome, N.C. based organization for the fourth time this season.(Richard Childress Racing PR)(3-20-2012)

  • Bristol TV Ratings: ESPN's live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 17, earned a 1.7 household coverage rating, averaging 2,390,017 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. Last year's race, which also aired on ESPN, earned the same rating but had 3 percent fewer viewers. So far this season across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, ratings for the Nationwide Series are up 5 percent from this point last year.(ESPN)(3-20-2012)

  • Sadler has new sponsor for California: Elliott Sadler returns to the site of his last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, where he earned a win in 2004 at the Fontana, Calif., based track.Sadler has competed at the two-mile track seven times in the Nationwide Series, notching two top-five and three top-10 finishes. He has led 40 laps and has a 99 percent lap-completion record. Last season at Auto Club Speedway, Sadler climbed from a 34th-place starting position in the Nationwide Series event into the top 10 early in the race and drove to a top-five finish. The #2 Chevrolet will sport the red, yellow and white colors of Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. This weekend, Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches will donate $10,000 to support the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation's effort to educate people about the spectrum disease which affects one in every 110 children in the United States. The #2 Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches will also carry a special puzzle piece decal, the symbol of Austism Awareness, at Auto Club Speedway to show support of the cause.(Richard Childress Racing PR)(3-20-2012)

  • Buescher picks up sponsor for California: James Buescher is set to make his fifth Nationwide start driving the #30-Deft Finishings Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports. Deft Finishings will adorn the sides of the #30 Chevrolet Impala for Saturday afternoon's 300-mile race at Auto Club Speedway. Deft Finishings is leading the coating industry in the development of high performance, low volatile organic content coating systems. Deft Finishings has more than 35 years of experience in lowering toxicity and air pollution for high performance primers and topcoats. Turner Motorsports uses Deft paint products on their race cars in both the NCWTS and NASCAR Nationwide Series.(Turner Motorsports PR)(3-19-2012)

  • Danica to run Prelude to the Dream: #7-Danica Patrick has committed to drive in team owner Tony Stewart's Prelude to the Dream Late Model charity race at Eldora Speedway. Patrick said the June 6 event will be only her second time driving on dirt. The other was in a go-kart on a track outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway when she was about 14 years old. Stewart hosts the annual event with superstars from NASCAR, NHRA and other forms of motorsports to raise money to help needy children. Other drivers who have committed so far include: Ryan Newman, Kenny Wallace, Bobby Labonte, Ty Dillon and Aric Almirola.(ESPN)(3-16-2012)

  • Blackwell Angus sponsoring Stenhouse, Jr. for 12 races: UPDATE: NASCAR Nationwide Series champion #6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be reunited with sponsor Blackwell Angus for this weekend's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway and 11 additional races this season.(Fox Sports)(3-15-2012)
    UPDATE: Cargill Beef announced it has renewed its agreement with Roush Fenway Racing as the primary sponsor of the team's #6 Ford Mustang driven by defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The 24-year-old Olive Branch, Miss., native will drive the Cargill Beef Mustang for 12 races in the series during the 2012 season that began in late February, with multiple brands represented on the car during the season. The first 2012 Nationwide Series race in which Cargill Beef is the primary sponsor will be at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., on March 17, with the remaining racing dates to be set by the end of March.(Roush Fenway Racing)(3-15-2012)

  • Bliss making 250th Nationwide start: This Saturday, veteran Mike Bliss will make his 250th career start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the famed short track of Bristol Motor Speedway. In 15 NNS starts Mike has 4 Top Ten finishes and 2 Top five finishes. The black and yellow #44 TriStar Motorsports Toyota Camry will again have Bandit Chippers.com as its primary sponsor. Bliss and the #44 Bandit car avoided two early close calls at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the Sam's Town 300 last weekend, battling back from a two-lap deficit to capture a top 15 finish with for Bandit Industries and the #44 Team.(TriStar Motorsports)(3-15-2012)

  • Cope gets Bristol sponsor: Bebida Beverage Company a developer, manufacturer and marketer of relaxation and energy drinks announced that Koma Unwind, the world's fastest growing relaxation drink brand will be an associate sponsor of Derrike Cope at the at Ford Ecoboost 300 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN.(Cope PR)(3-25-2012)

  • Blackwell Angus sponsoring Stenhouse, Jr. for 12 races: UPDATE: NASCAR Nationwide Series champion #6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be reunited with sponsor Blackwell Angus for this weekend's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway and 11 additional races this season.(Fox Sports)(3-15-2012)
    UPDATE: Cargill Beef announced it has renewed its agreement with Roush Fenway Racing as the primary sponsor of the team's #6 Ford Mustang driven by defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The 24-year-old Olive Branch, Miss., native will drive the Cargill Beef Mustang for 12 races in the series during the 2012 season that began in late February, with multiple brands represented on the car during the season. The first 2012 Nationwide Series race in which Cargill Beef is the primary sponsor will be at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., on March 17, with the remaining racing dates to be set by the end of March.(Roush Fenway Racing)(3-15-2012)

  • Bliss making 250th Nationwide start: This Saturday, veteran Mike Bliss will make his 250th career start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the famed short track of Bristol Motor Speedway. In 15 NNS starts Mike has 4 Top Ten finishes and 2 Top five finishes. The black and yellow #44 TriStar Motorsports Toyota Camry will again have Bandit Chippers.com as its primary sponsor. Bliss and the #44 Bandit car avoided two early close calls at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the Sam's Town 300 last weekend, battling back from a two-lap deficit to capture a top 15 finish with for Bandit Industries and the #44 Team.(TriStar Motorsports)(3-15-2012)

  • Cope gets Bristol sponsor: Bebida Beverage Company a developer, manufacturer and marketer of relaxation and energy drinks announced that Koma Unwind, the world's fastest growing relaxation drink brand will be an associate sponsor of Derrike Cope at the at Ford Ecoboost 300 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN.(Cope PR)(3-25-2012)

  • Honor and Remember to be featured on #81 car for season: American Majority, sponsor of driver Jason Bowles and MacDonald Motorsports #81 Nationwide Series car, announced a special partnership with the national non-profit organization, Honor and Remember, Inc. to promote a new national symbol honoring our fallen service members. The American Majority/MacDonald Motorsports Nationwide car #81 will feature this new emblem of remembrance throughout the 2012 season. Honor and Remember was founded on Memorial Day 2008 to promote the adoption of a new, nationally-recognized flag to serve as a constant reminder of the brave men and women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.(MacDonald Motorsports)(3-15-2012)

  • JPO Absorbents sponsoring Robinson-Blakeney Racing: JPO Absorbents is sponsoring the Robinson Blakeney Racing Team for their 1st of 9 races in the Sprint Cup Series in Bristol with JJ Yeley as the driver for the #49. JPO Absorbents will also be on the #28 in The NASCAR Nationwide Series in Bristol with Kevin Lepage behind the wheel.(Robinson-Blakeney Racing)(3-15-2012)

  • RCR carrying special decal: Richard Childress Racing's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams will carry a special decal this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in honor of Frankie Allen, a valued employee and three-year veteran of the RCR team, who passed away earlier this week. Allen worked as the shock specialist on the #2 Camping World Truck Series entry with drivers Kevin Harvick, Brendan Gaughan and Tim George Jr. The Rock Hill, S.C., native served as the car chief for George Jr's #31 ARCA Racing Series team for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In addition to running memorial decals on RCR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series cars this weekend, the three RCR Truck Series teams will carry the decal honoring Allen for the Kroger 250 race at Martinsville Speedway on March 31. Allen is survived by his wife Renee. Funeral arrangements are pending.(RCR)(3-15-2012)

  • Hyland's sponsoring Shepherd at Bristol: Hyland's, Inc. will team up with Nationwide Series driver Morgan Shepherd as an associate sponsor at Bristol for this Saturday's NWS event. Hyland's, Inc., a homeopathic all-natural medicine company headquartered in Los Angeles, California, has also extended it's personal endorsement contract with Morgan Shepherd through June 30th. Hyland's offers over 3,500 products including Leg Cramp Pills in which Shepherd has been using for years.(Shepherd PR)(3-14-2012)

  • Goodinfo.com and Mahle sponsor Jeremy Clements in Bristol: Primary sponsors for the Clements Racing Engines #51 Chevy at Bristol will be Goodinfo.com and Mahle. Also on board is Carolina Collision of Gaffney SC, Coca-Cola Spartanburg and Curry's Roofing of Crystal River, Fl.(Clements PR)(3-14-2012)

  • Lally interested in ride for road course races:
    Q: You've mentioned on Twitter that you've been trying to flesh out some deals to try to race a limited NASCAR schedule this season. How has that been going?
    Lally: I have a few nibbles here and there. I would love to find a good Cup team to do Watkins Glen with and a good Nationwide team to do the three road courses with. I think I can bring a lot to teams on the road courses and have a very good shot to run up front. I would love to get more oval races in as well for sure and will work towards that, but my focus right now is trying to get in touch with teams for Montreal, Road America and Watkins Glen.(Frontstretch)(3-14-2012)

  • Mac Tools sponsoring RAB at Bristol: According to a tweet by Kenny Wallace, MAC Tools will be the sponsor of the #09 RAB Racing Toyota this weekend at Bristol. It is a one race deal.(3-13-2012)

  • Bayne's Nationwide plans still not set: UPDATES: Trevor Bayne will compete again for the team he took the checkered flag with, the Wood Brothers' #21, in a limited Cup schedule. But unlike last season, he has no firm plans to run the full Nationwide Series for Roush Fenway Racing. "Right now [we are planning to run] just the first three races. We want to be leading the points and going from there and try to get some funding, because that is what we need the most."(WSB Radio)(2-25-2012)
    UPDATE: During ESPN2's coverage of the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas, Allen Bestwick said the #60 team had not been able to secure sponsorship for Bristol and the team was unlikely to attempt the race.(3-10-2012)
    UPDATE 2: Nationwide champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has partial-season deals with two sponsors, but he's still missing the big-money backer for which he's been searching. And Trevor Bayne has what is expected to be approximately 19 races between Cup and Nationwide, enough to keep him in the car but not enough to keep him there every week. However, the shifting sponsor-team power struggle and the focus of RFR to keep its young stars within the family and on the track has led to struggles that team president Steve Newmark say are showing signs of lessening. Newmark said he expected to have some announcements in the next two to three weeks regarding sponsorship for Stenhouse, and said the team was having several meetings about Kenseth. Bayne's situation, however, was described by Newmark as "the one that has been tough and that I think is going to be difficult." The 21-year-old is third in the Nationwide points; all of those races were run without sponsorship. However, Saturday's Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas was the last guaranteed Nationwide race for Bayne this season. Newmark is hoping Bayne can get a minimum of six more races the rest of the season. But nothing is written in stone, and that's hard for Bayne to swallow as he hunts hard for even local sponsorship for the next two races -- Bristol and Auto Club Speedway. "I'd love to to run the full deal; that's my goal," Bayne said. "We've got to make sure we can get to Bristol and California first, and then we have two weeks off to try to work on it."(NASCAR.com)(3-11-2012)
    UPDATE 3: Trevor Bayne and the #60 team have been added to the entry list with Lally Horse Stables as the sponsor.(3-13-2012)

  • Las Vegas TV Ratings: ESPN2's live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 10, earned a 1.7 household coverage rating (1.5 U.S. rating), averaging 2,502,606 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. Last year's Las Vegas race, which was run a week earlier on the calendar, aired on ABC and earned a 2.2 rating.(ESPN)(3-13-2012)

  • Natalie Sather Joins MAKE Motorsports: Natalie Sather, 27, experienced sprint car driver and up-and-coming stock car racer, will be joining MAKE Motorsports as a development driver for the 2012 season. Sather, a Fargo, ND, native will be piloting the #50 MAKE Motorsports entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for two scheduled events  the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 31 and the Good Sam Roadside Assistance Carolina 200 presented by Cheerwine at Rockingham Speedway on April 15. Sather is currently scheduled to make her debut in a MAKE Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) entry at Richmond. Additional races will be added as Sather and the team add partners and continue the development of their program.(MAKE Motorsports)(3-13-2012)

  • Cope picks up associate sponsor for Bristol: When #73-Derrike Cope Racing pulls into Bristol this week, the will have a new associate sponsor, www.Banz-Zees.com. Banz-Zees are a brand new wristband aimed at fundraising and promotional needs. Banz-Zees offer an organization a highly sellable wristband with a low cost and a high profit return.(Cope PR)(3-13-2012)

  • Ryan Truex running 7 races for JGR: After a successful entry into NASCAR at Daytona, Grime Boss, a new brand from Nice Pak will sponsor the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) #20 Toyota driven by Ryan Truex for seven NASCAR Nationwide Series races during the 2012 season beginning with this weekend's race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Truex, younger brother of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex, Jr., spent the first half of the 2011 NNS season in the #99 car for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing, earning a top-20 finish in eight of the ten races. He jumped at the chance to race the #20 Toyota for the Joe Gibbs Racing stable starting in September of last season. He finished in the top-15 in all six of his races with JGR, including four top-10 finishes., Ryan captured the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award in all six of those races. In addition to Bristol this weekend, Truex is slated to run the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on May 5 in Talladega, September 15 in Chicago and November 10 in Phoenix. He will also run the #18 JGR Nationwide Series entry in Dover on June 2, New Hampshire on July 14, and Watkins Glen on August 11.(JGR)(3-13-2012)

  • Congrats to Eric and Miranda McClure: #14-EricMcClure and his wife Miranda welcomed Merritt Hetteigh Mae on Monday, March 12 at 12:50am. Merritt weighed 6lbs 7ozs and was 18 inches long. Merritt, who is McClure's fourth daughter, joins sisters Mabreigh (5), Maryleigh (3), and Mirabella (20 mos).(TMI)(3-12-2012)

  • "Pawn Stars" to Serve as Grand Marshals for Nationwide race at Charlotte: Stars from HISTORY's hit television series "Pawn Stars" are making plans to travel east to visit the heart of motorsports country for the May 26 HISTORY 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas-based reality show cast of Richard Harrison (aka Old Man), Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison and Chumlee will add to the Coca-Cola 600 weekend excitement by serving as grand marshals of the HISTORY 300. As part of a promotion with Coca-Cola, two lucky fans will be selected to watch the HISTORY 300 with the TV stars. "Pawn Stars" follows three generations of the Harrison family, who own and operate Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. The series debuted in 2009 and became the network's highest rated show and the No. 2 reality show on TV, trailing only "Jersey Shore." Following the show's success, HISTORY picked up two spinoff series, "American Restoration" and "Cajun Pawn Stars."(CMS)(3-11-2012)

  • GoodInfo.com sponsoring Clements: As Jeremy Clements and the #51 team head out on the racetrack for Saturdays Sam's Town 300, 11th in drivers points, Goodinfo.com will be on board as primary sponsor. This is the second entry for Goodinfo.com as the have already agreed to sponsor the #89 of Morgan Shepherd. Also on board is Carolina Collision of Gaffney SC, Coca Cola Spartanburg, and Curry's Roofing.(Clements PR)(3-8-2012)

  • Bandit Industries sponsoring Bliss at Las Vegas: Mike Bliss and the #44 Bandit Chippers.com Toyota Camry are teaming up in the NASCAR Nationwide Series to chip and grind the field this Saturday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bandit Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of wood processing equipment for the logging, tree care, land clearing, wood waste recycling and biomass industries, has been a sponsor in NASCAR for the last three years and Saturday they will be the primary sponsor of the #44 driven by Bliss in the Sam's Town 300. (TriStar PR)(3-8-2012)

  • JPO Absorbents sponsoring #28; Cope driving: JPO Absorbents is sponsoring the Robinson Blakeney Racing Team for 9 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and has added the Nationwide Series Race in Las Vegas on March 10, 2012. JPO Absorbents has chosen Derrike Cope to drive at the Las Vegas race to continue introducing its' unique line of absorbent products. JPO Absorbents is the national distributors of Green Stuff Absorbent and HTP Absorbent.(Jay Robinson Racing), am told that Cope will return to the Creation-Cope #73 at Bristol.(3-28-2012)

  • The Gun Store on the #01 at Las Vegas: The Gun Store of Las Vegas has agreed to become a sponsor on the #01 JD Motorsports team and driver Mike Wallace for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. Wallace, who is unsponsored for the 200-lap race, and The Gun Store came to an agreement on Tuesday to partner up for the race. Their logo will adorn the hood of the team's #01 Chevy.(JD Motorsports)(3-7-2012)

  • Poynt.com sponsoring Koch at Vegas: Poynt.com Racing and Rick Ware Racing announced the addition of Blake Koch to their driver roster this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Koch will pilot the #41 sponsored by Poynt in the NASCAR Nationwide race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Koch joined Rick Ware Racing at the beginning of the 2012 season for a full Nationwide series campaign. Koch will continue to be teamed with Timmy Hill who is piloting the #37 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup with Poynt.com sponsorship as well. (Rick Ware Racing)(3-7-2012)

  • Roderick's season on hold: Casey Roderick will not race in Randy Hill Racing's #08 Ford Mustang in the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday. Driver Tim Andrews is listed as the team's driver on the entry list for the Sam's Town 300. Roderick hinted after his qualifying run for the NNS race at Daytona that, despite his commitment to running for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title, the team's attempt at the full 2012 NNS schedule could be up in the air. "We're working on some sponsorship deals, so we can go the rest of the season," Roderick told News/Talk WSB after timing into the Drive4COPD 300. "We're going to Phoenix and Vegas for sure." Roderick is not listed as RHR's driver at LVMS, because the #08 will be starting-and-parking. Roderick tells News/Talk WSB via text message that he hopes to be in the car again at either next week's race at Bristol Motor Speedway or in the April 13th race at Texas Motor Speedway. When asked about the outlook for the team, Roderick said it was not good, but he was hopeful the situation would improve.(WSB Radio)(3-7-2012)

  • Sponsorship woes may cost Kenny Wallace his ride: UPDATES: After 867 career starts in NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, Kenny Wallace may be facing the end of the line. The nine-time Nationwide Series winner has sponsorship from American Ethanol and Family Farmers for just five races this season, including the just-completed Drive For COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Now, Wallace has been informed that unless he is able to secure additional backing, his run with RAB Racing will likely come to an end. "(Team owner) Robby Benton came to me and said, `We're going to run you for first five races of year," revealed Wallace today. "`If we don't have any sponsorship after that, I'm going to have to sell the ride.' He's already got some little rich kids calling about buying races, so I may be out of the car pretty soon. I'm heartbroken," said Wallace. "I worked my ass off last year to get my dignity back and prove to everyone that we could still run up front. And look at me now, running around like a bozo in a plain black car. It's demoralizing. I can't find any more money, so it looks like I'm not going to be a full time driver this year. If I don't have any money after California, the ride will go to whoever has money. Robby has to pay his crew, and I understand that."(GodfatherMotorsports.com)(3-2-2012)
    UPDATE: Team owner Robby Benton told SB Nation he takes exception to Wallace's approach. Benton said he's been trying to find sponsorship for Wallace over the past 14 months and is running a black, unsponsored car at Phoenix in an effort to show the ride is available. But Benton feels Wallace's desperation is undermining his efforts to strike a deal with a potential sponsor. "He thinks what he's doing is generating interest," Benton said. "But at the end of the day, it's making me and our race team look (unprofessional) and trying to get people to feel sorry for him. That's not productive. You don't want people to feel sorry for you. We're trying to sell a strong, marketable program." Benton said RAB Racing is not broke and has the structure in place to field a strong program. But it will be broke if sponsorship isn't found, which is why Benton said he's in a position to make some difficult choices. "For what it costs to be associated with us, to get the performance we exhibit and to get the popularity Kenny has got, we're one of the best bargains in the garage," Benton said. "And we still can't sell it.So in order to not break myself and put us in a position where we're destitute, I've got to make some tough decisions." That includes listening to offers from drivers who could potentially bring funding to the team. Wallace was particularly vocal on Twitter about the rent-a-ride philosophy.(SB Nation)(33-2012)
    UPDATE 2: In response to the recent news concerning the welfare of RAB Racing with Brack Maggard, team owner Robby Benton is looking ahead, and reaffirming the team's commitment to fielding entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series. "As a NASCAR race team, we are faced with the obstacle of procuring the proper sponsorship to be able to field a strong, competitive, marketable team," said Benton. "We are committed to our current driver, Kenny Wallace, for as many events that we can find sponsorship for. Although we are facing an immediate lack of sponsorship over the next few races, we are fortunate to have events sponsored later in the season with Kenny as the driver. We, as a team, have committed to keep Kenny in our #09 Toyota for the next few races, regardless of sponsorship. We will get to a point, should substantial progress in our sponsorship hunt not be made, that we may take the opportunity to pair up with someone who has aligned themselves with a sponsor that could benefit from becoming a part of the RAB Racing team, and becoming a teammate to Kenny Wallace."(RAB Racing)(3-7-2012)

  • Schendel returns to the #52: Jimmy Means, has once again tapped the talent of Sparta, WI super late model driver, Tim Schendel. Schendel will be piloting the #52 Means Chevy in this weekend's NASCAR Nationwide Series' Sam's Town 300 in Las Vegas. The car will be sponsored by All Sports Tailgating, a hospitality company out of Fishers, Indiana. All Sports Tailgating prides itself in providing the best fan experience for the top sporting events around the country.(Schendel PR)(3-7-2012)

  • Robby Benton running for NC State Senate: NASCAR team owner Robby Benton has decided to throw his hat into the political arena. The 32-year-old Benton, who fields the #09 Toyotas in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, is one of five Republican candidates vying for the District 41 state Senate seat in North Carolina. The election will be held on May 8. Because no Democrat has registered to compete, the winner of the Republican primary this spring will win the seat. "I feel like I have a firm grasp on what other small business owners are facing with regard to hindrances and obstacles," Benton told DavidsonNews.net. "I built my company from the ground up and have many of the same daily struggles as most other small businesses."(Racin Today)(3-7-2012)

  • Jeffrey Earnhardt to attempt Bristol race: Bristol Motor Speedway has been the site of many firsts but for 4th generation NASCAR driver Jeffrey Earnhardt, March 17th 2012 will be significant. Earnhardt will be making his Bristol debut in the Sam's Club #15 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing at the location of his grandfathers first Cup victory back in 1979. It will also be the first time an Earnhardt drives a Ford since 1983 when Dale Earnhardt drove the #15 Ford for Bud Moore. Earnhardt is competing full time in the Rolex Grand Am series and he's been securing sponsorship for multiple NASCAR Nationwide races in 2012. In addition to Sam's Club, Jeffrey's Mustang will be sponsored by a brand he's been using for years. "It's awesome to have MET-Rx on board. They're the #1 name in sports nutrition and we look forward to promoting their products to NASCAR fans" commented Jeffrey.(Earnhardt PR)(3-7-2012)

  • Goodinfo.com returns to the #89 team: GoodInfo.com will be back with Morgan Shepherd and the #89 Morgan Shepherd Racing team as the primary sponsor at the Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race this Saturday March 10th.(Shepherd PR)(3-6-2012)

  • Cobbs picks up Las Vegas sponsor: Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing announced that Las Vegas Injury Attorneys Glen Lerner & Associates will sponsor Cobb's #13 Dodge Challenger in the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10, 2012. Cobb has one previous NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. She started 30th and ran inside the top-20 until being collected in an accident and ultimately finished 31st.(Breaking Limits)(3-6-2012)

  • MacDonald Motorsports switching to Toyota? UPDATE: Jason Bowles and the #81 MacDonald Motorsports team are switching from Dodge to Toyota engine. So far in 2012, the American Majority Racing MMS Dodge is 22nd in the points after losing an engine at Daytona and finishing 19th at Phoenix on Saturday. Next week at Las Vegas, the team will be leasing Toyota engines from Triad Racing Technologies, the same company that provides engines for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Nationwide Series. It is undecided whether MMS will continue with Triad engines for the remainder of the season, but a decision is expected to be made in the coming days. The source also hinted at additional developments, saying "there may be some other big announcements within a week."(Sports-at-Work)(3-5-2012)
    UPDATE: Jason Bowles and his American Majority Racing #81 team head into race #3 of the season with their heads held high. A strong run with a fast race car in Phoenix has the team's confidence level much higher than it was just one week ago. The team will also be running a Toyota chassis with a Toyota motor for the first time. Jason and the team are really excited about the new car and motor for Vegas weekend and are looking for a top-15 finish.(MacDonald Motorsports)(3-6-2012)

  • ESPN Earns Best Phoenix Rating, Viewership for Nationwide Series: ESPN2's live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, March 3, earned a 1.7 household coverage rating, averaging 2,438,101 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating and viewership are the largest for any Nationwide Series race at Phoenix since ESPN returned to live NASCAR race coverage in 2007. The 2012 rating is up 13 percent from last year's race, which earned a 1.5 and tied the previous mark for the highest. Of the 10 previous Nationwide Series races to air on ESPN networks since 2007, the 1.5 rating had been reached twice, the other coming for the fall race in 2008.(ESPN)(3-6-2012)

  • Great Clips to sponsor fall Phoenix Race: Winning by a hair will be the name of the game the fall at Phoenix International Raceway after it was announced that Great Clips will be the title sponsor of the track's November NASCAR Nationwide race. The Great Clips 200 will take place Saturday, November 10 at PIR, during the next to last weekend of the 2012 NASCAR season. Great Clips is currently the longest-running sponsor in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, dating back to 2000. The team's #38 Great Clips Chevy will be primarily driven this year by Kasey Kahne, one of NASCAR's top young drivers. Brad Sweet, who will vie for Nationwide Series rookie of the year honors, will round out the balance of the NNS schedule when Kahne is not behind the wheel. The Great Clips Racing team finished in sixth-place in the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series standings.(PIR)(3-3-2012)

  • Sponsorship woes may cost Kenny Wallace his ride: UPDATE: After 867 career starts in NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, Kenny Wallace may be facing the end of the line. The nine-time Nationwide Series winner has sponsorship from American Ethanol and Family Farmers for just five races this season, including the just-completed Drive For COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Now, Wallace has been informed that unless he is able to secure additional backing, his run with RAB Racing will likely come to an end. "(Team owner) Robby Benton came to me and said, `We're going to run you for first five races of year," revealed Wallace today. "`If we don't have any sponsorship after that, I'm going to have to sell the ride.' He's already got some little rich kids calling about buying races, so I may be out of the car pretty soon. I'm heartbroken," said Wallace. "I worked my ass off last year to get my dignity back and prove to everyone that we could still run up front. And look at me now, running around like a bozo in a plain black car. It's demoralizing. I can't find any more money, so it looks like I'm not going to be a full time driver this year. If I don't have any money after California, the ride will go to whoever has money. Robby has to pay his crew, and I understand that."(GodfatherMotorsports.com)(3-2-2012)
    UPDATE: Team owner Robby Benton told SB Nation he takes exception to Wallace's approach. Benton said he's been trying to find sponsorship for Wallace over the past 14 months and is running a black, unsponsored car at Phoenix in an effort to show the ride is available. But Benton feels Wallace's desperation is undermining his efforts to strike a deal with a potential sponsor. "He thinks what he's doing is generating interest," Benton said. "But at the end of the day, it's making me and our race team look like a couple of asshats and trying to get people to feel sorry for him. That's not productive. You don't want people to feel sorry for you. We're trying to sell a strong, marketable program." Benton said RAB Racing is not broke and has the structure in place to field a strong program. But it will be broke if sponsorship isn't found, which is why Benton said he's in a position to make some difficult choices. "For what it costs to be associated with us, to get the performance we exhibit and to get the popularity Kenny has got, we're one of the best bargains in the garage," Benton said. "And we still can't sell it.So in order to not break myself and put us in a position where we're destitute, I've got to make some tough decisions." That includes listening to offers from drivers who could potentially bring funding to the team. Wallace was particularly vocal on Twitter about the rent-a-ride philosophy. (< AHREF="http://www.sbnation.com/nascar/2012/3/3/2841997/nascar-nationwide-series-phoenix-kenny-wallace-rab-racing-2012/in/2603180">SB Nation)(33-2012)

  • Congrats: to #27 GC Motorsports team car chief Brandon Ussery and his wife Brittany on the birth of their son, Colton Lee.(3-2-2012)

  • Dollar General on the #20: For the first time this season, the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry will carry the colors of new sponsor Dollar General this weekend in Phoenix. In fact, this weekend will mark the first of several events where Dollar General will have two Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas in the field, as Dollar General is also a full-season sponsor on the #11 of driver Brian Scott in the Nationwide Series. Dollar General will also sponsor JGR's #18 in several NASCAR Nationwide Series events this season, as well as Joey Logano's #20 Sprint Cup Series ride in 12 races.(JGR), see an image of the car on the #20 team paint schemes page.(3-2-2012)

  • National FFA joins #31 team: BRANDT announced the National FFA Organization is joining the #31 BRANDT Chevy Ag car, driven by championship contender Justin Allgaier. The National FFA Organization is the third to join the #31 Ag car, building awareness of the critical contributions of agriculture to the world's economy through the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In 2012, BRANDT is leading an initiative to put an "all agriculture" car on the track, helping to spotlight the hard work and dedication that powers agriculture into a crucial global industry. FFA, an organization which develops premier leaders and prepares students for career success in agriculture, joins Trademark Nitrogen and Precision Tank & Equipment on the #31 Ag car. (Turner Motorsports)(3-1-2012)

  • Frahm gets Nationwide associate sponsor: Matt Frahm, driver for Go Green Racing signed a 3 race associate sponsor deal in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with NewLifestyleDiet.com headquartered in Pleasant Hill, CA. Matt stated "I'm really excited about this deal. For people and NASCAR fans that don't know me I struggled with my weight as a kid, I lost over 100 pounds as a teenager which gave me the confidence to race. So, New Lifestyle Diet is a great program for me to endorse and I have already begun using their meal replacement bars."(Frahm PR)(3-1-2012)


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