Contract Status: Driver: race-to-race; Primary Sponsors: race-to-race
Hillman suing Circle Sport over charter: A Sprint Cup team owner's lawsuit seeks the charter NASCAR granted his former partner. Hillman Racing, team owner Mike Hillman and partners Doug Fuller and Matt Miller filed suit Friday in North Carolina Superior Court in Iredell County against former partner Joe Falk, Circle Sport, Leavine Family Racing and Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. Hillman Racing and its partners seek a judgment in excess of $25,000, punitive damages, rights to ownership of the #33 team, its charter and all the profits and benefits that Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing's #95 car enjoys. Falk aligned with Leavine Family Racing before this season to form Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. As part of the merger, the No. 95 was maintained but inherited the #33 team's points and performance, making it eligible for one of the 36 Sprint Cup charters NASCAR granted before the season. Hillman Racing's #40 was not granted a charter because it had not competed full-time the past three seasons. The complaint by Hillman Racing states that Falk improperly entered into an agreement with Leavine Family Racing.
Court documents state that for the 2015 season, the partnership [between Hillman and Falk] agreed to divert more resources to the #40 car, making it the flagship car. The partners agreed to allow Richard Childress Racing to operate the #33 car for multiple races in return for a payment of $25,000 for all races except the Daytona 500 (in addition to other details regarding the payment of purse and plan money, etc.). RCR would pay $75,000 for the Daytona 500. The complaint alleges that before the Daytona 500 Hillman "discovered that Falk directed a sponsor for the 40 car to write the sponsorship check (for funds due from the 2014 season) payable to Circle Sport and not Hillman Racing. Of course, the parties had all previously agreed and understood that sponsorship funds were to be utilized to fund racing operations, for which Hillman Racing incurred substantial debt." After the Daytona 500, according to the complaint, Hillman and Falk agreed to terminate their partnership after the 2015 season.
Among the agreements the complaint states is that following the 2015 season, Circle Sport and Falk would "transfer all of their right, title and interest in and to the 33 points, and to all other property acquired by the Partnership to the remaining partners or an entity to be designated by them." In March 2015, then-counsel for Hillman Racing drafted a written "Purchase Agreement" for the termination of the partnership and transfer of assets, including the No. 33 car's points. The complaint states that Falk initially did not respond with any objection but later failed and refused to sign the agreement.
The complaint states that in Oct. 2015 Hillman was informed by NASCAR personnel that material terms of the charter system had been agreed upon. Court documents state that NASCAR informed Hillman that the field would be reduced from 43 to 40 cars and that 36 would receive charters. Hillman was informed that the #33 would receive a charter but not the #40.
In late January 2016, Circle Sport announced its merger with Leavine Family Racing. The complaint states that Hillman and his partners were not included in the discussions with Leavine and that the announcement came as a "surprise." The complaint states: "As a results of the circumstances described ... the 40 points are of negligible value, the Partnership is unable to race full-time during the 2016 race season, Hillman and Hillman Racing have no ability to pay for the significant debt incurred in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 race seasons, and the remaining partners have been forced to liquidate many of the Partnership's remaining assets."
See much more at NBC Sports.(3-23-2016)
Sorenson to drive for Hillman at Daytona: With today's formal announcement of the implementation of a NASCAR charter system for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season, Hillman Racing will field the #40 CRC BRAKLEEN Chevrolet SS with driver Reed Sorenson as an open competitor in the 58th annual Daytona 500. "While we are absolutely disappointed with our exclusion from the new charter system, we have sponsors, partners and friends that have stood behind us, and for that I am truly grateful," said team owner Mike Hillman. "I've poured my heart and soul - literally my blood, sweat and tears - into building a competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup team over the past three years, and to be told one week prior to the sport's biggest event of a complete overhaul of the framework of the Series is disheartening. For the time being, I will instead focus on the positives and that we have a great partner like CRC Industries that will allow me to continue to realize my lifelong dream of fielding a car in the Daytona 500." The team has secured the driving services of 30-year-old Sorenson, who last season memorably raced his way into the Daytona 500 by earning a transfer spot in the 150-mile qualifying races, and has tapped race-winning crew chief Pat Tryson to lead the #40 CRC Brakleen team. Sorenson, who celebrated his 30th birthday last Friday, will attempt to race his way into the Daytona 500 starting field for the seventh time in his career and has recorded a fifth- and ninth-place finish in NASCAR's biggest race.(Hillman Racing), see an image of the car on the #40 team paint schemes page.(2-9-2016)
Premium Motorsports signs Cole Whitt to drive the #98: Premium Motorsports announced it has signed Cole Whitt to drive the #98 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. The 24-year-old Whitt, who will be entering his third full season in the premier Sprint Cup Series, finished 31st in driver points each of his first two seasons. "We believe Cole is an accomplished young driver who drives aggressively, yet smart," team owner Jay Robinson said. "He's a great fit for our team as we look to improve our competitiveness in the Sprint Cup Series." This off season, Premium Motorsports made several strategic moves to upgrade the team and its race cars. On the competition side, Premium acquired additional updated equipment along with hiring Mike Hillman to fill the role of competition director and Mark Hillman to serve as crew chief. Mike and Mark join team manager Scott Eggleston along with owner Jay Robinson to round out the Premium Motorsports management team.
"Jay and the crew at Premium Motorsports impressed me with their vision for the future and commitment to making the #98 car competitive week in and week out," said Whitt. "I look forward to being a big part of the family atmosphere at Premium and having a successful start at the Daytona 500 in a few weeks." Many of Whitt's previous partners (sponsors) in the Sprint Cup Series the past two years are expected to support him again in 2016 at Premium. More details regarding car sponsors will be released at a further date.(Premium Motorsports)(2-2-2016)
Cassill to Front Row Motorsports UPDATE: hearing that Landon Cassill is close to signing to drive the #38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, bringing Snap Fitness as a sponsor for a few races. Cassill raced the #40 Chevy for Hillman Racing in 2015. Hillman Racing was recently bought out by Premium Motorsports, with the intent of using the #40 owners points and running one full time team in 2016. Front Row Motorsports is looking like it will scale back from three teams (#34, #35 and #38 Fords) to two teams. Chris Buescher will run the #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford in 2016.(1-18-2016)
UPDATE: Six-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Landon Cassill will join the Front Row Motorsports line-up to drive the #38 Ford for the 2016 season. The 26-year-old Cassill has 187 Sprint Cup starts under his belt, most recently competing for Hillman Racing in 2015. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native has raced in all three of NASCAR's national series, earning XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2008. Cassill will join rookie teammate #34-Chris Buescher at Front Row Motorsports, which will field two full-time Sprint Cup entries in 2016. "I feel like Front Row Motorsports is a great fit for me," Cassill said. "I've got several years of experience in the series now, and being a part of this team will help me take the next step in my career. I'm grateful to Bob Jenkins and Ford Motor Company for the opportunity and can't wait to get in the car." Cassill's Sprint Cup career-best finish is a fourth-place run at Talladega Superspeedway (2014), a track where Front Row Motorsports has also excelled. "We've always been impressed with Landon and what he can do behind the wheel," said team owner Bob Jenkins. "He's got a lot of natural talent. You could see that at every level of racing he's competed in throughout his career. We're happy to have that talent in one of our race cars this year." Sponsorship programs for the #38 team will be announced soon.(FRM)(1-20-2016)
Premium Motorsports hires most of Hillman Racing staff, purchases cars and equipment UPDATE: Premium Motorsports [#62 team] announced that the team has hired Mike Hillman to head up its NASCAR Sprint Cup operation for 2016. The deal also includes the hiring of Crew Chief, Mark Hillman, along with most of the staff from the #40 team that competed in the 2015 season. Team owner Jay Robinson announced that with increased competition within the racing industry, "We had to upgrade our team moving forward and that included Mike Hillman, select key personnel and the purchase of additional cars and equipment. The racing bar is being raised even higher and this effort will enable us to commit more resources and become more competitive for 2016". The team expects to make driver and additional sponsor announcements in the coming days.(Premium Motorsports)(1-5-2016)
UPDATE: ESPN's Bob Pockrass tweeted that "Jay Robinson (Premium Motorspots) plans to field 1 full-time Cup car, 1 part-time Cup car next year. The #94 truck is TBD."
AND "while nothing is set in stone, the last I had heard was to expect Premium Motorsports to have one charter." [under the proposed Sprint Cup charter system].(1-6-2016)
Hillman Racing announces Partnership: Mike Hillman, founder of Hillman Racing and the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series #40 team, has added West Coast businessman Gordon Smith as co-owner of the newly rebranded Hillman Smith Motorsports, which will continue to field the #40 Chevy for driver Landon Cassill. The addition of Smith as co-owner of HS Motorsports has allowed the organization to expand in the off-season securing additional RCR (Richard Childress Racing) race cars, ECR engines for the entire 2015 Sprint Cup season, as well as adding an in-house, on-site engineering group. Smith, through his aviation and maritime companies, began his involvement with team owner Mike Hillman and the #40 team at the start of the 2014 season.
"Adding Gordon Smith as a partner to the racing organization will only strengthen the foundation we have built over the past three years," Hillman said. "From finishing 12th in last year's Daytona 500 to our best finish of fourth last fall at Talladega with Landon behind the wheel, we have seen great results with limited resources. Gordon has shown a passion for the sport and demonstrated a loyalty to our employees that convinced me elevating him to an equity stakeholder will allow us to take the next step in the Sprint Cup arena. Gordon has built two great companies from the ground up, and by adding a race team to his portfolio, he will truly be covering land, sea and air."
Hillman acquired the championship-winning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series assets following the conclusion of the 2011 season and assumed the dual role of owner and general manager of Hillman Racing at the start of 2012. Midway through the 2013 season, Hillman added the #40 Sprint Cup Series team to the organization with driver Landon Cassill. Throughout his career, Hillman has worked as a crew chief and general manager in each of NASCAR's top three series, including drivers as Tommy Ellis, Dick Trickle, Kyle Petty, Joe Nemechek, Mike Wallace, Robby Gordon, and brothers Brett and Todd Bodine. In 1988, Hillman earned a NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship with driver Tommy Ellis, and secured two Truck Series Championships with driver Todd Bodine in 2006 and 2010.
"This partnership is the culmination of a relationship that started with Landon a few years back," stated Smith. "Landon was driving for Mike Hillman in the Cup Series, so we were introduced and I was immediately welcomed into the fold. I believe the intimate feeling of the organization not only attracts sponsors to the team, but I've watched over the past year as the involvement of each sponsor has grown. Mike Hillman has established a great team that not only puts a good product on the race track, but makes every event an experience that brings people back to the track. I'm looking forward to being involved in the operation and adding to it."
The new partnership kicks off this weekend with qualifying for the 57th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 15. Hillman Smith Motorsports Racing is housed in a 22,000-square-foot facility in Mooresville, N.C., and will field the #40 Chevy in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in 2015 with driver Landon Cassill.(Hillman Smith Motorsports)(2-12-2015)
Happy Hour Practice:
Friday, April 29, 2016, 4:30pm/et
TV: FoxSports1 4:30pm/et
Born in MAY
1 Randy Dorton, Johnny Sauter, Jimmy Parrott
2 Ed "Uncle Bud" Adamczyk, Kyle Busch
3 Greg Ely
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5 Larry Pollard, Bob Welborn
6 Mike Borkowski, Tammy Jo Kirk, Jeff Hancock, Dean Mozingo, Gina Henson
7 Dave Steele, Danny O'Quinn Jr.
8 Bobby Labonte, Nathan Buttke, Don Hume, Jay Stewart, Judy Childress
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10 Sherry Pollex, Amelia Andretti, Andy Rueger
11 Tim Flock, Glenn Bobo, Will Kimmel, NASCAR Hall of Fame
12 Deb Adamczyk, Jabe Thomas
13 Rich Bickle, Scott Eggleston, Bob Kennedy, Jim Spencer, Linda McReynolds, Kirk Almquist, Maggie Feeney Rossi
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16 Josh Walker
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18 Brexton Busch, Mike Motil
19 Bob Germain, Jody Ridley, Dario Franchitti, Danny Culler
20 Tony Stewart, Dave Despain, Steve Portenga, Mike Stefanik, Eric Norris, AJ Heister, Les Huntley
21 Cotton Owens, Mark Muller, Jeff Meendering, Brandon McReynolds, Rodney Fetters, Nathan McGuire
22 Jay Guy, Joey Knuckles, Janice Almirola
23 Kerry Tharp, Harvey Walters, Wally Dallenbach Jr., Matthew Donley
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25 Bud Moore, Paul Andrews, A.J. Foyt IV, Spenny Clendenen, Ross Kenseth, Kevin Hulstein, Smokey Yunick
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27 April Horner, Jeremy Mayfield, Dick Berggren, Van Colley, John Bickford, Carol Einarsson
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31 Jerry 'Dad' Adamczyk, Jack Baldwin, Gayle Barnwell, Pat Calkins, Charlie Lewis, Krista Voda, Faith Anne Yeley