Contract Status: Driver: none; Primary Sponsors: none
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)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 12:15 pm/et
TV: FoxSports1 12:15pm/et
Born in FEBRUARY
13 Bill Schmitt, Donnie Wingo
14 Sam Ard, Emily Beam, Donnie Brown, Nina Feeney, Banjo Matthews, Cheryl Monteleone
15 Rick Gay, Bud Koehler, Tayler Malsam, Wyatt Sadler, Bill Shallock, Carl Simmons, Jimmy Spencer
16 Danny Lawrence, Don Wade, Patti Wallace
17 Natalie Kate Nadeau, Jim Long, Edith Kenseth, Lori Neisser
18 Wayne Anderson
19 Trevor Bayne, Jeff Purvis, Bobby Kennedy, Landon Smith, John Paul Jr.
20 Roger Penske, Gary Myers, Bobby Unser
21 NASCAR founded, J.D. Gibbs, Jim Reed
22 Marshall Teague, Larry Foyt, Chuck Bown, Grace Kenseth, Logan Styers, Karla Lampe, Scott Robinette
23 Bobby Moody, Dean Combs, Mike Marriner, Dawn Purvis, George Alsobrook
24 Michael Ritch, Jason Schuler, Aaron Daniel, Gilbert King, J.C. Hall
25 Davey Allison, Timmy Hill, Jaklyn Woodland, Derick Jennings, Butch Gilliland, Jonathan Toney
26 Bob Eolin, Brad Coleman, Terry Cook, Kertus Davis, Carl Haas, Colton Meyer
27 Ty Dillon, Todd Bodine, Dennis Setzer, Kevin Sharpe, Mike Warnecker
28 Mario Andretti, Teddy McClure, Jeff Almond, Billy Wade
29 Ralph Earnhardt, Noreen Hofmann, Scott Cluka, Chuck Romeo
Born in MARCH
1 Jim Horton, Dave Marcis, Travis Kvapil, Tim Steele, Nate Ryan, Bob Pockrass, Stu Hothem, Mike Morrison
2 David Reutimann, Robert "Bootie" Barker, Cully Barraclough, Harold Holly, Erin Blaney, Lisa Price, Blake Mallory, Charles Comstock, Dr. Seuss
3 Bruton Smith, Dave Rodman, Chad Trickle, Tiny Lund, Donald Epling, Bill Snyder, Bobby Lord
4 Buck Baker, Rick Mast, Gary Cogswell, Pat Tryson, Chris Passantino
5 Cale Gale, Sutherlin Marlin
6 Jenny Umscheid, Linda Petty, Bruce Martin
7 Janet Guthrie, Katelyn Benson
8 Buddy Barnes, Mark Green, Tommy Norton, Frank Parrish, Ronnie Thomas, Mark Smith, Kirk Shelmerdine, Wendy Calkins
9 Jeanne Barnes, Kevin Graves, Fred Bickford, Wilma Blevins, Danny Sullivan
10 Matt Kenseth, Mike Wallace, Roy McCauley, Ginny McClure, Kelly Denton, Randy Biggs, Louis Ossinsky Sr
11 Kathy Cindric, Albert Garwood, Derek Daly, Troy Ruttman
12 Casey Mears, John Andretti, Red Byron, Dave Rogers, Terri Brooks, Lorrie Earp, Tara Spil
13 Jeff Spraker
14 Lee Petty, Artie Kempner, Aric Almirola, Bill Rexford, Albert Einstein, Kristen Yeley, Harold E. Holly Jr., David Poole
15 Andy Graves, Matthew Holzbaur, Shayne Pipala