DiBenedetto making NNS debut; gets sponsor for three 2010 races: Joe Gibbs Racing's latest young talent, Matt DiBenedetto, will make his debut in in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this Saturday when he pilots the #20 Pizza Ranch Toyota at Memphis Motorsports Park. Pizza Ranch announced this week that they have signed on to sponsor four NASCAR Nationwide Series races with Joe Gibbs Racing and DiBenedetto beginning this week with the race in Memphis. In addition, Pizza Ranch and DiBenedetto will team up at three Nationwide races in 2010 including Milwaukee, Gateway, and Iowa.(JGR PR)(10-20-2009)
- Drive For Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco: drivers take to the track At Motor Mile: The new look Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco entered the on-track portion Monday, as all 30 drivers climbed into Late Models for individual practice sessions at the Motor Mile Speedway. The selection process for those 10 spots got underway with initial activities over the weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, which included racing in Legends cars Sunday. Monday at Motor Mile also include driving simulation with iRacing.com. For the 2010 season, the drivers will compete under the same Late Model racing program with Blair Addis. The Camping World Series cars will be under the direction of Andy Santerre. Both have been successful car owners with their own programs before joining Revolution Racing. The on-track portion of the program will conclude Tuesday with a select number of drivers testing in NASCAR Camping World Series cars.(NASCAR PR)(10-19-2009)
- Drive for Diversity kicks-off 'Academy-Style' Training: Thirty drivers from different forms of racing across the United States will showcase their skills in front of NASCAR executives and officials at the annual Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco, as they vie for one of 10 spots with Revolution Racing for the 2010 season. The Combine kicks off the new academy-style development for Drive for Diversity, with 10 drivers competing for the program under a single team ownership structure. The scouting event will take place October 16-20 in Charlotte, N.C., and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. "The drivers invited to the Combine will compete for an opportunity to be a part of the inaugural class in the D4D programs new academy-style driver development program," said Marcus Jadotte, Managing Director of Public Affairs for NASCAR, who oversees the sanctioning body's diversity initiatives, "As the Drive for Diversity initiative enters its seventh year, the program's focus on driver testing and training will better position drivers to succeed and advance in our sport."
The 30 drivers participating in this year's Combine, including 12 members of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class, will participate in both on- and off-track evaluation over a four-day period. The on-track session will be conducted in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late models and NASCAR Camping World Series cars at Motor Mile Speedway. Off the track, the drivers will be evaluated during media and sponsor relations activities. The drivers attending the Combine will also be featured in a television series, "Changing Lanes," developed in collaboration with the NASCAR Media Group and set to air in early 2010 on BET. The eight-part series will showcase the development of young Drive for Diversity competitors trying to make it in the big-time world of NASCAR racing.
Ten drivers will be selected to compete for Revolution Racing under the Drive for Diversity umbrella in 2010. Six drivers will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and four will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Series East.
The following drivers will participate in this year's Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco:
Jorge Arteaga (Houston, Tex.) is currently 11th in the NASCAR Mexico Series standings with three top fives and four top 10s.
Mackena Bell (Carson City, Nev.), a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class, finished eighth in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model standings at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, (Calif.), with one top five and 10 top 10s.
Jessica Brunelli (Hayward, Calif.) competed in the Modified division at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., scoring 10 top fives and 13 top 10s.
Michael Cherry (Valrico, Fla.) scored seven top fives and 19 top 10s in the Late Model division at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class.
Tiffany Daniels (Smithfield, Va.) joined the Drive for Diversity program in 2009, competing in the NASCAR Camping World Series East for Hamilton Racing.
Heather DesRochers (Granby, Mass.) competed in the SK Light Modified division at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. She earned one win, six top fives and seven top 10s in 15 races.
Phil Dugan (Meridian, Idaho) competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series West for the Drive for Diversity program in 2009, finishing the season 11th in the points standings.
Cassie Gannis (Phoenix, Ariz.) enjoyed three top-10 finishes in the Late Model division at Toyota Speedway this season.
Alissa Geving (Penngrove, Calif.) raced in the 360 All Pro Series at Petaluma Speedway, earning two wins and 15 top fives in 15 starts. She also set a track qualifying record.
Ryan Gifford (Winchester, Tenn.) competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series East in 2009, as well as running dirt and asphalt late model events across the Southeast.
Katie Hagar (Nobleboro, Maine) set a track qualifying record at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway, driving in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class.
Paul Harraka (Fair Lawn, N.J.) became the first Drive for Diversity driver to win a race in a NASCAR regional touring division. He finished the season with two wins and seven top fives, and was named the NASCAR Camping World Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
Laura Hayes (Wilton, Calif.) joined the 2009 Drive for Diversity class, competing in the Late Model division at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. She scored four top-10 finishes this season.
Sloan Henderson (Franklin, Ohio) earned NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Ohio State Rookie of the year honors at Kil-Kare Speedway in Xenia, Ohio with six top fives and 18 top 10s.
Brandie Jass (Bryan, Tex.) competed at 105 Speedway in Cleveland, Tex., racing in the Lonestar Outlaw Sprinters. She scored eight top fives and 14 top 10s in 18 events.
John Jones (Mooresville, N.C.) has been competing in the INEX Bandolero Car Series, as well as testing late models throughout North Carolina.
Rebecca Kasten (Mequon, Wis.) has spent the year racing touring series Late Models throughout the United States. She tallied six top-10 finishes this season.
Ali Kern (Fremont, Ohio) raced in the Modified division at Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway, finishing third in points with two wins and nine top fives.
Brea Lopez (Vader, Wash.) finished third in the Limited Late Model division at South Sound Speedway in Tenino, Wash., with one pole, one win, four top fives and eight top 10s.
Jessica Murphy (Groveland, Fla.) competed in the Super Late Model and Limited Late Model divisions at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway this season, earning two wins and nine top fives.
Sergio Pena (Catharpin, Va.) kicked off his rookie season in the Late Model division at Shenandoah (Va.) Speedway with five wins, before moving over to Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
Juan Pitta (Galt, Calif.) earned one pole, one win and 12 top fives in the Late Model division at All American Speedway as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class.
Megan Reitenour (Miamisburg, Ohio) earned rookie of the year honors for the Late Model division at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C., as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class. She earned one pole, seven top fives and 16 top 10s.
Jason Romero (Cameron Park, Calif.) won the track championship in the Late Model division at All American Speedway after winning 11 races this season.
Natalie Sather (Fargo, N.D.) competed with the Drive for Diversity program in 2009, running in the Super Late Model division at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. Sather earned one win and 10 top fives in her rookie season on asphalt, and was the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Washington state rookie of the year.
Dylan Smith (Randolph, Vt.) was the only rookie to compete full-time in the Late Model division at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Waterbury, Vt.
Jonathan Smith (Beacon Falls, Conn.) competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series East as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class. He earned two top-10 finishes this season.
Emily Sue Steck (Holman, Wis.) raced in the Late Model division at LaCrosse (Wisc.) Fairgrounds Speedway. She won three races and had 10 top fives and 14 top 10s this season.
Trista Stevenson (Pocahontas, Ill.) raced in the United States Super Truck Challenge Series, winning three poles and two feature events.
Darrell Wallace, Jr. (Mobile, Ala.) competed in 23 late model events, including nine UARA Late Model division events, scoring three wins and 11 top fives.
- Penske development driver, Kligerman to compete at Kansas, Homestead Nationwide races: Penske Racing development driver Parker Kligerman will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend, competing in the # 22 Penske Truck Rental Dodge in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Kligerman leads the ARCA Series with seven wins in 2009 and he's currently ranked second in the championship standings with two races remaining. At Kansas, Kligerman will do double duty as he will compete in the ARCA Series race on Thursday before making his first Nationwide Series start on Saturday. Kligerman will also race for the team in the Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, November 21.(Penske Racing PR)(9-28-2009)
- K&N Filters to award $40K NASCAR sponsorship & driver development scholarship to young racer UPDATE 2 More info; deadline extended: K&N Filters announces a sponsorship program to provide a young, upcoming race driver with a funded 10 race season in the 2010 NASCAR Grand American Modified Series, plus a one year driver development program. Long known for the company's ongoing support of grassroots racing across America, K&N Filter's heritage of motorsports involvement ranges from lawn mower racing to the top tiers of NASCAR. The winning driver will be placed with Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle (RSWC) race team in the series on the West Coast. The RSWC Modifieds weigh 2550 pounds and feature 410" V-8, 520 hp, roller valve train, methanol burning engines utilizing K&N air and oil filters. The talented driver selected will be awarded a one year scholarship in Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle NASCAR focused driver development program. The K&N scholarship winner will have a training program designed specifically for their age, experience and development stage. Sacramento, California based Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle is currently accepting driver resumes through the deadline of September 30th, 2009. The talent search concludes with an on-track Driver Shoot-Out with 40 of the nations' top talented drivers on a California paved oval short track in early October. The application process is open to all drivers 13 to 19 years of age, with race winning backgrounds. Young winning drivers ages 13 to 19, and their parents, are encouraged to get all the information and answers to common questions from the web-site, and then submit their resume in time to be considered. The web-site is Winners-Circle-Racing.com.(Winners-Circle Racing PR)(9-10-2009)
UPDATE: K&N Filters and Sunoco Racing Fuels have increased their sponsorship to award six free spots in the 2009 Talent Search Shoot-Out conducted by Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle. The application process is open to all drivers 11 to 19 years of age, with race winning backgrounds.(Winners Circle Racing PR)(9-16-2009)
UPDATE 2: K&N Filters recently announced the expansion of their sponsorship program to provide a young upcoming race driver with a funded 10 race season and one year driver development program. The application process has been opened up to all drivers 11 to 19 years of age, with race winning backgrounds. K&N is also expanding the race series options. The winning Driver may use the K&N Sponsorship to run 10 races in either, the USAC Junior Ford Focus Midget, USAC Ford Focus Midget or NASCAR Grand American Modified series. To properly handle K&N's expanded sponsorship program ... Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle has extended the deadline to October 12th, for young Drivers to send in their resume. The on-track Driver Shoot-Out has been expanded, with a second date added, October 17-19th, to handle the additional talented drivers selected to compete.( Winners Circle-Racing PR)(9-22-2009)
- Penske Racing's Kligerman picks up 7th ARCA win at DuQuoin: ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Parker Kligerman conquered the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile dirt Monday in his first attempt on the "Magic Mile" with a convincing victory in the 57th running of the Southern Illinois 100. Kligerman charged from the back to the front and then held off five-time DuQuoin winner Frank Kimmel during a last-lap shoot-out to earn his seventh series win of the year. The 19-year-old Westport, Connecticut driver also closed to within 35 points of point leader Justin Lofton with just four races left in 2009.(ARCARacing.com)(9-8-2009)
- D4D's Steck gets win #3 in season finale at LaCrosse: Drive for Diversity's Emily Sue Steck wrapped up her season on a high note at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisc., on Saturday night. Steck won her third feature of the season and jumped two spots in the standings to finish seventh overall in the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway Kwik Trip Late Model Division. "We've had a great season despite some adversity," said Steck, who drove for several races with broken bones in her hand, including her first win on June 13. "To go out and win the final race of the season is an amazing feeling and speaks to how hard this team has worked all season long."(d4d.tv)(9-8-2009)
- Bell finds success on and off the race track: On her way to Daytona, Fla., for the NASCAR Coke Zero 400, Mackena Bell was having a terrible trip. The 19-year-old Carson City [NV] race car driver's flight was canceled, and she had been re-routed on a four-stop route. She looked at the ticket in her hand. "Where is seat 2B?" she asked herself. Upgraded to first class for the first time in her life, she arrived at her seat as an older gentleman was just settling in. "I looked at him and said, 'S'up,'" Bell said. It turns out that greeting, and the conversation that followed, intrigued the gentleman - Army Gen. William D. Frink, Jr. - so much so that he tracked Bell down through the NASCAR offices and invited her to speak to his staff at the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Los Angeles for Women's Equality Day. Bell received two commemorative coins in appreciation of her appearance, and added a new fan base for her racing. She also got an invitation to come back and speak to Gen. Frink's troops when they return from Iraq in three months. The Carson High graduate is finishing up her first season of racing in the NASCAR Super Late Model division at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif., as part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program. Bell has had an excellent rookie season, steadily improving her finishing positions and recently making history with a third place finish, the highest ever by a female competitor in the division.(Nevada Appeal)(9-2-2009)
Chase Elliott wins PASS race: Going into turn three prior to the final lap of the Over the Mountain 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott [son of Bill Elliott] worked his way to the back bumper of the race leader Jeff Choquette and made slight contact. As the two drivers came to the white flag, they were side by side. Jeff Choquette tried to work the high side through three and four, but Elliott had the preferred line and won the event. At 14 years old, Elliott becomes the youngest winner in PASS South, and PASS Super Late Model overall, history. Dave Blaney's son, Ryan, finished sixth in the race.(Speed51.com)(8-30-2009)
- Penske DD driver, Kligerman adds dirt-track win to resume: ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Parker Kligerman, in his first-ever dirt track attempt, padded his point lead Sunday afternoon with a historic victory in the 47th running of the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile-dirt in Springfield [6th series win in 2009]. By doing so, Kligerman, 19, surpassed Justin Allgaier - who was 20 at the time - as the youngest winner of the annual stock car classic. Ironically, it was Allgaier who offered advice to Kligerman right before the start. Both drivers race under the Penske Racing banner.(ARCA Racing PR)(8-25-2009)
- MWR's Ryan Truex wins at Lime Rock Park: Ryan Truex led the last 17 laps, including surviving a green-white-checker finish that extended the race three laps more than the scheduled 83, to win the Mohegan Sun 200 NASCAR Camping World Series East race at Lime Rock Park. Truex came into Lime Rock as the Camping World East points leader over Jody Lavender, 1,227 to 1,201, and now leaves the track leading MacDonald by 50, 1,412 to 1,362. Truex's first CWSE win was this year, at another road course, Watkins Glen. He got his first oval win at Thompson a few weeks later.(Lime Rock Park PR)(8-17-2009)
- SS Green Light Racing's Brannon wins ASA race at Nashville: Drew Brannon took advantage of several others misfortune to win his second ASA Challenge race of 2009 Saturday at the inaugural Music City 100 at the Nashville Superspeedway. Series point leader Brian Campbell finished second, preventing Brannon from cutting into the points lead. The victory is Brannon's eighth feature victory in 2009.(SS Green Light Racing PR)(8-17-2009)
- Harraka gets D4D first Camping World victory at Colorado: Rookie Paulie Harraka held off a fierce charge by Jim Warn in the closing laps of the Toyota/NAPA 150 at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday to capture his first career win in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. It was the first NASCAR Camping World Series victory for a Drive for Diversity participant. With the victory, Harraka also earned a secured spot in January's postseason NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in Irwindale, Calif. Harraka - a 19-year-old from Fairlawn, N.J., and entering his sophomore year at Duke University this fall - was making just his 14th start in the series. Last year, Harraka won the first track title for the D4D program when he captured the Late Model championship at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif.(NASCAR PR)(8-16-2009)
- Dakoda Armstrong joins Penske Racing Driver Development Program: Continuing to build for the future of its NASCAR program, Penske Racing announced today that promising young stock car racer Dakoda Armstrong has joined the team's driver development initiative. Armstrong, 18, joins 2009 Nationwide Series Rookie-of-the-Year contender Justin Allgaier and current ARCA RE/MAX Series championship leader Parker Kligerman as recent additions to the driver development program, helping to ensure that Penske Racing's NASCAR teams are on solid ground for the future. For the 2010 season, Armstrong will race in select ARCA RE/MAX Series events, competing with the Cunningham Motorsports team.(Penske Racing PR)(8-12-2009)
- D4D participant Steck earns second win at LaCrosse: First-year Drive for Diversity participant Emily Sue Steck scored her second feature win of the season on Saturday at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wis. Steck, driving the No. 6 DMT Motorsports Chevrolet, held off veteran Steve Carlson and his son, Mike, for the win.(d4d.tv)(8-12-2009)
- Chase Elliott makes history as youngest ASA SAT winner: Chase Elliott has been no stranger to Victory Lane . He spent quite some time there as an infant, in the arms of his father, legendary NASCAR driver Bill Elliott. And since Chase has begun his own personal racing career, he's found Victory Lane several times on his own, in everything from Go-Karts to Bandoleros to Legends Cars to Pro Late Models. Elliott put on a thrilling show with ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour hotshoe TJ Reaid on Saturday night at Anderson Motor Speedway in Anderson, SC, capturing his first-career ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour win in the Anderson 100 presented by RC Cola / MoonPie. Elliott took the lead from polesitter Reaid on lap 86 and never relinquished it the rest of the night, despite racing side-by-side with the fellow Georgia-native for several laps. A late-race caution set up a final showdown between the two drivers, with Elliott pulling away and grabbing the victory.(ASASoutheastAsphaltTour.com)(8-10-2009)
- Drive for Diversity program accepting applications: The 909 Group, which manages NASCAR's Drive for Diversity initiative, is now accepting applications from experienced drivers for the 2010 race season. This will mark the seventh season for the driver development program, which provides opportunities for minority and female drivers to compete in one of NASCAR's developmental series. "The Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco is an integral part of the D4D initiative," said Max Siegel, chief executive officer of The 909 Group. "The number of young minority and female drivers in our sport continues to grow, and we expect the drivers invited to participate in this year's Combine will raise the bar in terms of talent and competition." Drivers invited to the Combine will showcase their skills before a panel of motorsports experts in an effort to earn an opportunity to compete with the Drive for Diversity initiative for the 2010 season. Drivers who have demonstrated their skill and have experience in grassroots racing will be considered. Since its inception in 2004, the Drive for Diversity program has supported 31 different drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and NASCAR Camping World Series. This season four drivers compete in the NASCAR Camping World Series - two in the East and two in the West - and eight drivers compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Interested drivers can find details at DriveforDiversity.com.(SceneDaily.com)(8-4-2009)
- ESR's Lofton wins at Pocono; regains points lead: Justin Lofton, in the Lofton Cattle Toyota, held off a hard-charging Matt Merrell during a green-white-checker finish to win Saturday's Pennsylvania ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway. Lofton crossed the final stripe three lengths in front of Merrell to earn his second consecutive ARCA RE/MAX Series victory and fourth win of his career. Rookie Parker Kligerman came into Pocono Raceway with a 100 point lead on Lofton, but left second, five points behind new leader Lofton.(ARCA Racing PR)(8-2-2009)
- Women in the Winner's Circle celebrates diversity and success in motor sports: The Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation, established by Lyn St. James, provided a measure of inspiration and a glimpse into the future today in announcing the recipients of its Leadership Award, the Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award and the USAC Kara Hendrick Spirit Award during its 7th annual fundraiser at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Foundation also announced the debut of a traveling racing exhibit in collaboration with The Henry Ford Museum, the Daytona 500 Experience and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
The Foundation's Leadership Award honors individuals or organizations that have shown initiative in promoting diversity within the racing industry. This year's award was presented to Indianapolis civic leader, the late Thomas W. Binford. An entrepreneur, philanthropist and civil rights activist, Binford was co-founder of Indy's Urban League. From 1956-1969 he served as president of the United States Auto Club and from 1974-1995 he was chief steward of the Indianapolis 500. Kai Binford accepted the Leadership Award on behalf of her husband who died in 1995.
The Mildred Marcum Award was created to honor the co-founder and patriarch of the ARCA RE/MAX Series. The 2009 award was posthumously presented to Gertrude Crain, chair emeritus of the Crain Communications publishing company. The Magazine Publishers of America recognized Mrs. Crain with a lifetime achievement award in 1993. She was an early critic of violence on television shows and became a founding member of the Committee of 200, an organization of the top 200 women business owners and chief executives in the country. Her son Keith Crain, publisher and editor-in-chief of "Automotive News" accepted the award on behalf of his mother who died in 1996.
The USAC Kara Hendrick Spirit Award honors a female driver whose spirit, determination and driving ability is reminiscent of the excellence demonstrated by Kara Hendrick during her brief career. Driver Development Academy and IUPUI graduate Lynsey Tilton was named this year's recipient. Tilton works as a full-time design engineer and runs in the Midwest Mini-Sprint 1000cc Series.
The Foundation also announced that Women in the Winner's Circle Founder, Lyn St. James, and The Henry Ford Museum are working in collaboration with IUPUI to develop a traveling exhibit which will recognize the history, growing achievements and future growth of women in racing. The exhibit will debut in January 2010 at the Daytona International Speedway's Daytona 500 Experience, where it will remain until the end of March. Following its debut in Daytona, the Women in the Winner's Circle will travel to approximately 10 venues including Dallas, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Los Angeles. It's estimated that more than a million guests will visit the exhibit in the first year.(Lyn St James PR)(7-24-2009)
- Penske development driver, Kligerman earns 4th straight victory at Kentucky: Eighteen-year-old Parker Kligerman earned his fourth consecutive ARCA RE/MAX Series victory by upstaging Grant Enfinger during a classic side-by-side last-lap battle in the "Click It or Ticket. Buckle-Up! Kentucky 150" at Kentucky Speedway. Kligerman claimed the sixth-closest series victory in track history by 0.599 of a second after guiding his #77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge past Enfinger's #83 BeasleyAllen.com Ford on the inside line in Turn 4 as both cars barreled toward the checkered flag. The first-year series driver earned much sought after redemption following his May 9 showing here that marks his only finish outside a race top 10 this season. He maintains control of the series championship lead by taking his fifth win, seventh top-five and 10th top-10 finish. He earned those wins in the past six series events.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(7-19-2009)
- D4D graduate, Hernandez picks up ride for ARCA Kentucky race: NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Jesus Hernandez will take another step forward in his career Saturday night when he competes in the Click It or Ticket Buckle-Up 150 ARCA RE/MAX Series event at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway located in the city of Sparta. Hernandez will compete in a car entered by his fellow worker at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex Jr. Hernandez will pilot the #56 Chevrolet. The car will have support from Lavendar Boutique and G.C. Pollex and Associates. Hernandez will be making his second career ARCA start, previously racing in this event in 2007, finishing an impressive sixth in his debut. The team, made up of many Sprint Cup employees moonlighting on this project, has made this a true grassroots effort. The team has worked for nearly eight months preparing this car for Saturday night's race.(Breaking Limits PR)(7-15-2009)
- Penske Racing development driver, Kligerman four out of five in ARCA series: Cunningham Motorsports' Parker Kligerman, a development driver for Penske Racing, has won four out of the last five ARCA RE/MAX Series races, the most recent victory occurring Saturday night at Iowa Speedway in the Prairie Meadows 200. The rookie driver led 142 out of 200 laps in the #77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge in Saturday's Prairie Meadows 200 and crossed the finish line 2.997 seconds ahead of Austin Dillon, who finished second In the #31 RCR Chevrolet. Kligerman, at 18 years old, currently leads the ARCA RE/MAX Series Point Standings by 120 points over Justin Lofton.(ARCA Racing PR)(7-13-2009)
- MWR development driver, Ryan Truex picks up second series win at Thompson: Ryan Truex captured the checkered flag in a NASCAR Camping World Series East race for the second time in the last three outings as he took the Pepsi Full Fender Frenzy 100 Saturday night at Thompson International Speedway. Truex (#00 NAPA Toyota) battled Steve Park (#35 Waste Management Recycle America Chevrolet) through the last half of the race as the pair swapped the lead three times, but it was the 17-year-old Michael Waltrip Racing development driver who got past the veteran on Lap 96 and rode to the victory. It was the second win in the last three outings for Truex, who earned his first series victory at Watkins Glen International on June 6. The Mayetta, N.J., native also joined his older brother, Martin Truex Jr., as NASCAR Camping World Series East winners at Thompson. Matt DiBenedetto (#18 Joe Gibbs Driven Toyota) finished third to record his fourth top-five in five starts this year.(RacingWest.com)(7-13-2009)
- D4D driver Gomez parts ways with RTD Motorsports: D4D driver Jonathon Gomez have decided to part ways with RTD Motorsports. This decision was the result of a difference in philosophy and principles. Gomez will continue to race with the Rocky Mountain Challenge Series, a few select West and East Series, SRL, Northwest Tour, ASA Racing, Midwest Series, The Challenge Series, and the Northwest Series. Gomez will be racing for Thompson Motorsports in the East and West Series, Iowa and Dover.(Jonathon Gomez PR)(7-9-2009)
- Dillner's daughter wins at Hickory: 15 year old Meghan Dillner, daughter of SPEEDtv's Bob Dilner, won the Pro Challenge Series race at historic Hickory Speedway for BDI Racing, her first-ever Pro Challenge event win. Earlier in the day at Hickory, Dillner also won her first-career Pro Challenge pole position in qualifying. While winning at Hickory was memorable, one important member of Dillner’s family could not be at Hickory. Bob Dillner, BDI Racing team owner, was in New Hampshire covering the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for SPEED when his daughter made it to victory lane at Hickory, but a couple of phone calls made for a great night for both father and daughter.(51sports/BDI Racing)(6-30-2009)
- Kennedy competing in grassroots level of motorsports for Mark Martin Performance: NASCAR has been criticized for abandoning its roots, forgetting the little short tracks like Orlando Speed World and the drivers and fans who work all week looking forward to a Friday or Saturday night at the race track. With Lesa France Kennedy in the pits, and her son out there on the three-eighths-mile asphalt track, it is difficult to make that argument stick. Inarguably the most powerful woman in motorsports - and possibly in sports in general - she is president and chief executive officer of the International Speedway Corporation. Her only child is Ben Kennedy, who goes to high school in the daytime and races on weekends. And he's good. Ben has won three of the 13 Pro Truck races this season, and he is leading the points. Ben is racing for Mark Martin Performance. As for Ben, "Right now racing is a hobby," he says. "Hopefully someday it might become a career." Kennedy is in no hurry: He'll race trucks this year, maybe try the faster late models next year, maybe some ARCA racing after that. Mark Martin Performance already fields a super late model for developmental driver Jeremy Colangelo, who also came up through the ranks at Orlando Speed World. Kennedy could step into that car when Colangelo moves up. For now, though, Ben Kennedy is happy right where he is. "I love being just one of the racers," he says. "I love for people to treat me like anyone else, no better or worse than anybody else here."(Orlando Sentinel)(6-29-2009)
- BDI signs Pole for late model development program: BDI Racing announced that Joey Pole (Polewarczyk) has been signed to compete in an undisclosed amount of races with the team's Chevrolet Late Model development program. The current plan is for Pole to compete in the Mason Dixon Meltdown at South Boston Speedway on Saturday, October 17th with the Pro All Stars Series in one of BDI Racing's Super Late Models. Pole will also be under the BDI Racing banner for two other prestigious Late Model races, the Oxford 250 on Sunday, July 19th at Oxford Plains Speedway and the ACT Invitational event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during Sprint Cup Series weekend on Saturday, September 19th. Plans for other races are still being discussed. BDI Racing does not want to interfere with Pole's quest for the ACT championship.(BDI Racing PR)(6-28-2009)
- JGR's DiBenedetto edges Ryan Truex to pick up second Camping World East win: Two of the top rising young talents in NASCAR waged a short-track battle at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with Matt DiBenedetto emerging from a last-lap scrap with Ryan Truex to win the Heluva Good! Summer 125 Friday evening. It was the second win in four NASCAR Camping World Series East starts for the 17-year-old DiBenedetto, a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. He denied Truex, a 17-year-old development driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, a second straight victory. DiBenedetto led twice for 39 laps. He lost the lead to Truex on the Lap 119 restart but was able to maintain second. Coming to the white flag, DiBenedetto turned up the pressure on Truex's back bumper. The leaders made contact several times down the back stretch. After more contact in Turn 3, DiBenedetto got a run underneath. The two banged side by side coming out of Turn 4, with DiBenedetto pulling ahead down the front stretch to earn the win by .169 seconds.(NASCAR PR)(6-27-2009)
- D4D driver Pitta earns first win: Juan Pitta grabbed the lead with six laps remaining and earned his first win of the season in the Late Model Division at All American Speedway Saturday night. Pitta is the second Drive for Diversity driver in as many weeks to reach Victory Lane. Emily Sue Steck won the Late Model feature at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway last Saturday. Pitta finished eighth in the second 50-lap feature. He is second in Late Model points at All American behind Romero.(NASCAR D4D PR)(6-21-2009)
- D4D participant, Steck claims first win: Emily Sue Steck picked up her first career win Saturday night and became the first female to win in LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway's Kwik Trip Late Model Division. The 23-year-old Drive for Diversity participant led every lap of the caution-free feature held off pole sitter Cole Howland to win the Coca-Cola 25. Steck started the feature second but got a run off Turn 4 of the first lap to wrestle the lead away from Howland, who wound up second. It is the 29th win for a Drive for Diversity participant. The Drive for Diversity initiative, managed by The 909 Group, develops minority and female drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.(NASCAR/D4D PR)(6-14-2009)
- Experienced drivers wanted for 2010 Drive for Diversity initiative: The 909 Group, which manages the Drive for Diversity initiative, is now accepting applications from experienced drivers for the 2010 race season. This will mark the seventh season for NASCAR's leading driver development program, which provides opportunities for minority and female drivers to compete in one of NASCAR's premier developmental series. Interested minority and female drivers are invited to submit their applications to The 909 Group through August 3, 2009. Selected applicants will be invited to participate in the 2009 Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco. The event will be hosted by The 909 Group. Drivers invited to the Combine will showcase their skills before a panel of motorsports experts in an effort to earn an opportunity to compete with the Drive for Diversity initiative for the 2010 season. Drivers who have demonstrated their skill and have experience in grassroots racing will be considered. The Drive for Diversity program is in its sixth season and is NASCAR's leading on-track diversity initiative. Since its inception in 2004, the Drive for Diversity program has supported 31 different drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and NASCAR Camping World Series. This season four drivers compete in the NASCAR Camping World Series - two in the East and two in the West - and eight drivers compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. For more information please visit the official program website: www.drivefordiversity.com.(Drive for Diversity PR)(6-11-2009)
- Bumbera parts ways with Hamilton Racing: Kristin Bumbera parted ways with Hamilton Racing, Bobby Hamilton Jr.'s NASCAR Camping World East Series team, following the South Boston 150 at South Boston Speedway May 30th. Bumbera's top finish this season was 15th in this last race. Bumbera said it was time to cut her losses. "I'm a fierce competitor and used to winning races and setting poles and track records," Bumbera said. "Qualifying at the back and being in the way of the leaders is certainly not anything I've done for the past 14 years of my career. Bumbera has 16 wins, 52 top 5's, 92 top 10's, and multiple track records to her credit. She plans to do some racing with her family-owned NASCAR Camping World Series team, Next Generation Racing based out of Houston, TX, but is entertaining some other offers as well.(KristenBumbera.com)(6-10-2009)
- Ryan Truex wins at Watkins Glen: NASCAR Camping World Series East rookie Ryan Truex passed race leader Patrick Long between Turns 10 and 11 on the last lap and took the checkered flag in the Tioga Downs Casino 125 Saturday at Watkins Glen International. Truex, in the #00 NAPA Toyota, who was making just his fifth career start in the series for Michael Waltrip Racing, ran in the top three throughout the day.(WGI)(6-8-2009)
- Nationwide races for Ryan Truex? While his older brother is in the news with a possibility of switching rides and racing under the Michael Waltrip Racing banner next season, Ryan Truex is carving his own path to success at MWR. At South Boston Speedway (VA) for the NASCAR Camping World East Series event, the younger Truex snagged the pole position and lead early, but faded to third at the end of the race. Truex might not have entered victory lane with his newer Toyota team affiliation, but it appears he will have many chances over multiple years to get there, as well as multiple series as he moves his way up the ranks of racing with Michael Waltrip Racing. "Right now my deal (with Michael Waltrip Racing) is just to run the full Camping World East season this year. It is a one year contract with a two year extension I think, so hopefully next year I will run a few Nationwide races and probably Camping World East again."(Speed51)(6-2-2009)
- NASCAR Diversity Internship program enters 10th year: Thirteen students from across the United States have been selected to participate in the 2009 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program that starts today and gives minority college students the opportunity to complete 10-week, paid summer internships within the NASCAR industry. More than 200 students have participated in the program since its inception in 2000. These interns have gained experience working in marketing, engineering, public relations, licensing and various other areas. Participation in the program has led to full-time positions in the industry for a number of past interns. The program features internships offered by NASCAR offices, sponsors, licensees, teams, tracks and broadcast partners. In addition to NASCAR corporate offices in Daytona Beach, Charlotte, and Concord, the following companies are participating in 2009: Catalyst Public Relations, Daytona International Speedway, International Speedway Corporation, Joe Gibbs Racing, Just Marketing International, Octagon, The SPEED Channel, and The 909 Group.
Each year, the internships are available to college sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students across the country. To be eligible, students must be in good standing with their school and community and have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average. In addition to the internship program, NASCAR awards diversity scholarships in tribute to NASCAR legend Wendell Scott, has an at-track diversity mentorship program and a college tour that visits historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions. Following is a list of the students and their colleges. More information on the internship program is available at diversityinternships.com.
*Gabriela Acuna (Peachtree City, Ga.), Georgia College and State University, Joe Gibbs Racing
*Kara Adams(Ashburn, Va.), Howard University, NASCAR Diversity Affairs (Daytona Beach)
*Arrionne Allen (Mauldin, S.C.), Hampton University/Indiana University, NASCAR Series Operations (Daytona Beach)
*Anim Amersingh (Trinidad and Tobago), Morgan State University, NASCAR Research & Development (Concord)
*Erica Anderson (Claremont, Calif.), Florida A&M University, The SPEED Channel
*Jaime Bowman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Howard University, NASCAR Consumer Marketing (Daytona Beach)
*Reina Carson (Albuquerque, N.M.) Bethune Cookman University Daytona International Speedway
*Brenda Kittles (Bowie, Md.), Winston-Salem State University, ISC Multicultural Marketing
*Courtney McKnight (Frederick, Md.), Johnson C. Smith University,The 909 Group
*De'Marcus Miller (Charlotte, N.C.), Winston-Salem St. Univ./ High Point University, Octagon
*Kris Rincon (Agua Dulce, Calif.) University of Arizona, NASCAR Licensing (Charlotte)
*Rodrigo Sanchez (Mexico City, Mexico), Austin (Texas) Community College, Just Marketing International
*Sydney Snow (Jacksonville, Fla.), North Carolina A&T University, Catalyst Public Relations
- Gresham to make NASCAR debut in JGR Toyota at South Boston Speedway: After a red-hot start to the season winning two of four American Speed Association (ASA) Southeast Asphalt Tour stock car events, Max Gresham will makes his NASCAR debut in the Camping World 150 at South Boston Motor Speedway this Saturday. Gresham will wheel the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry in the May 30 NASCAR Camping World East stock car event on the tight 4/10-mile South Boston paved oval. Gresham has made the most of his opportunities so far this season capturing ASA Southeast Tour events at Dillon Motor Speedway and Mobile International Speedway. He is second in the division's championship chase, just eight markers out of the top spot.(GreshamMotorsports.com)(5-28-2009)
- DEI headed to Nationwide Series with Jeffrey Earnhardt: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has a piece of both an engine business and a NASCAR Sprint Cup team. But there's nothing on the race track that DEI can truly call its own. But there are plans for DEI to get back to racing. The first step in that plan is for 19-year-old Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt and son of Kerry Earnhardt, to attempt to make his Nationwide Series debut in the May 30 race at Dover International Speedway in a DEI-prepared car. He will have to qualify on speed in the Rick Ware Racing entry, and the goal is to eventually put the Earnhardt name back on the track full time with Jeffrey Earnhardt in a DEI entry with DEI-built cars, said DEI Executive Vice President and General Manager Jeffrey Steiner.(Scene Daily)(5-26-2009)
- DiBenedetto to make Nationwide debut at Memphis: Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Matt DiBenedetto is scheduled to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Memphis Motorsports Park in October. DiBenedetto, who last month won the NASCAR Camping World Series East race at Tri-County (N.C.) Motor Speedway in just his second start in the series, turns 18 in July.(Scene Daily)(5-1-2009)
- Penske development driver, Kligerman picks up first ARCA series win: ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Parker Kligerman held off a hungry pack of series veterans to win the wild Menards 200 resented by Federated Car Care Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway. Kligerman [Penske Racing Development Driver], in the #77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, turned back a late-race charge from point leader Justin Lofton during a green-white-checker finish to earn his career-first victory in his eighth series start. Kligerman currently sits second in the ARCA driver point standings - 115 points behind the leader.(ARCA Racing PR)(5-18-2009)
- SS Green Light Racing's Brannon on a roll: Drew Brannon held of a hard charging Landon Cassill to win his first ASA Challenge race by 4/10ths of a second in the 150-mile event at the Milwaukee Mile. It is Brannon's fourth ASA Late Model win of the young season and his seventh feature victory already in 2009. Brannon and the SS Green Light team will race next in the ASA South Division at New Senoia, GA on May 30th. The second ASA Challenge Series race is in Indianapolis, the hometown of sponsor ASI Limited for a showdown at O'Reilly Raceway Park on June 13th.(SS Green Light Racing PR)(5-18-2009)
- KHI's Gale heads North to race for Rheem Canada: Canadian NASCAR fans won't have to cross any international borders to watch Kevin Harvick Inc.'s (KHI) exciting young driver, Cale Gale, this season as Farwell Racing Inc (FRI) announced today that Gale will drive the all new #13 Rheem Chevrolet Impala for much of the 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season. The 24-year-old driver, named after NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough, from Mobile, Ala. is currently under contract with KHI and spends time behind the wheel of KHI's #33 Rheem Chevrolet. "Cale is a very talented young driver who needs seat time," said Kevin Harvick, KHI co-owner and Sprint Cup driver. "When FRI approached us with the opportunity for Cale to drive for them, we saw it as a win, win." Gale is unable to commit to FRI's entire 2009 schedule and will miss FRI's season opener at Delaware Speedway on June 6 as he is already committed to drive the #33 Rheem Chevrolet for KHI in the Nationwide Series race the same day in Nashville, Tenn.(NASCAR PR)(5-16-2009)
- Dillon gets new crew chief: Dan Deeringhoff, the crew chief who led Clint Bowyer to the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, will move over to head up Austin Dillon's driver development program. Deeringhoff will turn his attention to Dillon's Nationwide Series, ARCA RE/MAX Series and NASCAR Camping World East and West Series efforts. "Moving Dan over to help Austin will be very beneficial," said Mike Dillon. "Austin will have a championship-winning crew chief teaching him the ropes. This is going to help speed up Austin's learning curve. Rich (Lavalette) has done a great job and this change will give him the opportunity learns more from Dan." Former crew chief, Rich Lavalette, will serve as Dillon's car chief under Deeringhoff.(RCR PR)(5-12-2009)
- SS Green Light Racing DD driver, Drew Brannon wins third time in 2009 ASA South: For the third time in four races, Drew Brannon and the SS Green Light Racing team took the checkers in the ASA Late Models South Division. Brannon bested the field of twenty-one at the Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA extending his lead in the series standings. It was a dominating day for the young Floridian who had set fast time and set a new track record earlier in the day.(SS Green Light Racing PR)(5-11-2009)
- Wheeler announces innovative program for developing young driver: "Humpy's Heroes," an exciting and highly innovative program for developing young race drivers, will make its debut May 3 and culminate with the introduction of the program's top driver to the racing world. Ten up-and-coming drivers, from ages 16 to 22, have been selected to be the first participants. They are: John Freeman, Concord, N.C.; Adam Gay, Dublin, Ga.; Kyle Grissom, Concord, N.C.; Taylor Hull, Winston, Ga.; Zac Kittle, Watkinsville, Ga.; Will Prance, Canton, Ga.; Andrew Smith, Pooler, Ga.; Justin Swilling, Cohutta, Ga.; Brandon Thomson, St. Cloud, Fla.; and Josh Williams, Port Charlotte, Fla. "The program is a comprehensive educational experience preparing young drivers to make the transition from local short-track racing to NASCAR's big three series," remarked H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler. "During the program, the participants will be given instruction, counseled, engage in dialog then judged on their driving ability, interviewing skills, public speaking, and marketability." Each driver will spend personal time with Wheeler, legendary Hall of Fame promoter and former president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. Wheeler will be joined by an esteemed panel of four judges from the racing industry -- Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver David Ragan, former NASCAR competition director Gary Nelson, Rockingham Speedway owner and former racer Andy Hillenburg, and NASCAR legend Buddy Baker. The drivers will also have the unique opportunity to be exposed to a series of industry experts who will share their knowledge and experiences with the group in a private classroom setting. Never before has such an educational program been available to the racing community. Through a series of events lasting throughout the summer, the drivers will vie for a grand prize that includes an open test session with a top Sprint Cup Series team, as well as an interview on a nationally televised program.(Wheeler Company PR)(5-4-2009)
- DiBenedetto breaks through for first win, Dillon second: Matt DiBenedetto took just two starts to find Victory Lane. The 17-year-old Grass Valley, Calif., driver passed Austin Dillon on a back-and-forth battle following a green-white-checkered finish to Saturday night's Tri-County 150 to earn his first career NASCAR Camping World Series East victory. DiBenedetto, a Joe Gibbs Racing development driver, and Dillon, a Richard Childress Racing development driver, swapped the lead six times over the second half of the race. The event was stretched to 165 laps due to a pair of late cautions. DiBenedetto led four times for 75 laps, while Dillon led three times for 15 laps. On the final restart, Dillon got the jump from the second spot to take the lead. DiBenedetto, however, was able to nose underneath as they came to the white flag and took the lead going into Turn 1 of the final lap. The next NASCAR Camping World Series East race is the combination event with the NASCAR Camping World Series West at Iowa Speedway May 17.(NASCAR PR)(4-27-2009)
- NASCAR teams up with BET for new show; to spotlight D for D drivers: Black Entertainment Television, a network keyed to African-Americans, will air a show next season with NASCAR, a sport that has tried for years to improve diversity within its ranks. "Changing Lanes," a docu-reality series expected to launch in 2010, will spotlight drivers in NASCAR's "Drive for Diversity" program. "I wanted to see more opportunities created in NASCAR for people of color, especially on the competition side," said Max Siegel, a former record executive turned stock car insider. Siegel, who had been president of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., took the idea to Jay Abraham, who runs NASCAR Media, the sport's production arm, and together they shopped it to networks. BET will announce the show as part of its new programming presentation. BET has bought 10 episodes of the hour-long show. Siegel said NASCAR officials have gone a long way in diversifying the sport, noting that there's been an impact off the track, but he acknowledged that until there's a top female driver or one of color, NASCAR will continue to be criticized. "I do think fans will catch on when we do have a star that people can connect with," Siegel said, hoping to have a hand in that with "Changing Lanes." "It will have an impact.(New York Daily News)(4-23-2009)
- Sprint to present 2009 Drive for Diversity Crew Member Program: Sprint will continue to support the Drive for Diversity program as presenting sponsor of the Crew Member Development program, it was announced today by The 909 Group. Sprint is a longtime supporter of the Drive for Diversity initiative. The 2009 Crew Member Development program presented by Sprint will give up to 14 minority and female crew candidates the opportunity to train as over-the-wall pit crew athletes. Selected crew members will enter a comprehensive year-round training program at a private facility in Mooresville, N.C. with pit crew trainer Phil Horton. The program will teach individuals the fundamentals, discipline and confidence needed to compete as a pit crew athlete with a top NASCAR team and will consist of weight, agility and position training for tire changers, tire carriers, fuelers and jackmen. "The 2009 Crew Member Development program presented by Sprint will provide candidates with a rigorous over-the-wall training program," said John Story, managing partner of The 909 Group. "The program will provide aspiring pit crew members the knowledge and training necessary to advance within the sport and our plan is to develop talent and provide job-placement services for the participants as their skills and abilities increase." Interested minorities, including Hispanics and African Americans as well as females, can apply by sending resumes outlining their previous work experience and athletic training to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age with a minimum of a high school diploma and the ability to devote three to four afternoons per week to training. Tryouts will be held prior to May 4 with training scheduled to begin on that day.(Sprint/909 Grp PR)(4-23-2009)
- Ryan Truex Pairs with MWR in NASCAR Camping World East Series: At 17 years of age, Ryan Truex has a career action plan and one of his long-term career goals includes following his NASCAR champion brother Martin Truex Jr. to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level. Michael Waltrip Racing has announced a partnership that will field a full-time NASCAR Camping World East program for the young Truex as he takes the next step towards fulfilling that lifelong dream. The season-opener is this weekend at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway. Truex finished 11th at Stafford Speedway in his CW East debut and only career start while driving a car prepared by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Now, he is ready for his first race with Michael Waltrip Racing. Truex started four years ago racing a Bandolero at Wall Township Speedway in Wall, New Jersey that has been hosting racing event for 54 years. He graduated to Legends and quickly won a speedway championship at the track in 2007. Last season, Truex raced a family-owned Late Model at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(4-9-2009)
- Penske Racing's Development Driver, Kligerman, second in ARCA points: Performance matters in motorsports, which is why Penske Racing development driver Parker Kligerman, via the ARCA RE/MAX Series, is turning heads in a big way. Coming off a career-best third place finish at Salem Speedway last Sunday in a Cunningham Motorsports-prepared Dodge, the 18-year-old Westport, Connecticut driver finds himself second in championship points headed to the next event on tour - the ARCA RE/MAX Carolina 200 at Rockingham Speedway Sunday, April 19th. But as announced earlier this year, Kligerman is only scheduled to run a partial ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule in 2009. "We came in intending to do eight races," said Kligerman. "After Salem, the focus is switching; we'll see how far we can go. Being second in points is obviously a huge incentive, but it's also very early in the season. At this point, it's race by race. After five races, if we're still up there, we'll start thinking further ahead. It'd be hard to say no if we're up there, but if the money's not there, we can't go anyway. Nothing's set in stone. I would obviously love to run the full season." In four career series starts since his debut at the New Jersey Motorsport Park in September of 2008, Kligerman has not finished out of the top-10. Kligerman got the attention of the troops right off the bat at New Jersey where he qualified second and finished sixth in the rain-shortened race. It was the first time Kligerman had set foot in a stock car.(ARCA Racing PR)(4-7-2009)
- Stenhouse to make Nationwide Series debut at Nashville: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway behind the wheel of the #16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion. The sprint car standout will be led by crew chief Eddie Pardue in his first of seven scheduled races this season. The Olive Branch, Miss., native ran the full ARCA Re/MAX Series schedule last season, including one start at Nashville Superspeedway in which he started 13th and finished seventh. Stenhouse, Jr. finished fourth in ARCA Re/MAX points, amassing three poles, two wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. Stenhouse, Jr. will also make starts later this season at Nashville, Kentucky, Milwaukee, Gateway, Iowa and Memphis.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(4-6-2009)
- Bayne wins USARacing Pro Cup Series opener: Just a few short months ago, the USARacing Pro Cup Series, formerly Hooters Pro Cup, wasn't quite sure if they were going to race during the 2009 season. Just a week ago, Trevor Bayne wasn't planning on racing in the season opener, which was scheduled to take place at Concord Speedway (NC) on Saturday, April 4th. However, Bayne and his Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevy team dusted off the #29 Pro Cup car. The team made their way to Concord and, in the process, took the first victory of the newly-revamped series. After celebrating his win with the team, Bayne realized he is the current points' leader in the newly-reformed USARacing Pro Cup Series, but despite being at the top of the charts he is looking towards other opportunities, as the youngster looks to move up in the sport. "It would be sad to think that we are leading the points and can't go to the next one, but as of right now I don't know where we stand. We are looking at some other opportunities, maybe with ARCA or Nationwide stuff. I would really like to take that next step and race on the bigger tracks. Being 18 (years old), I feel it is time to start moving up. However, this is a great place to race, and if I have any off weekends, I would love to race this series again this year."(Trevor Bayne PR)(4-6-2009)
- The 909 Group launches new, interactive social gathering website for D4D program: The Drive for Diversity program is gearing up for the 2009 season with the launch of a new online social gathering space Drive for Diversity: The Community. The social community, which launches today at drivefordiversity.com, offers website visitors a more interactive and intimate way to learn about the Drive for Diversity initiative. Using a collection of social media tools, The 909 Group, which manages the Drive for Diversity program, has created a community for fans and prospective program participants to interact with Drive for Diversity drivers, crew members and program staff. Users can create personalized pages, upload photos and video, and network with other members of the Drive for Diversity community. The online community will also give diverse drivers, including the 12 members of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class, a platform to showcase themselves in front of industry media, sponsors and team owners. Drivers interested in earning the opportunity to compete with the Drive for Diversity program can also use their personal profile page as part of their application for the program. The Drive for Diversity program currently supports four drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Series - two in the East and two in the West - and eight drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The Drive for Diversity program, NASCAR's leading on-track diversity initiative, has been supporting minority and female drivers in NASCAR's developmental series since 2004.(D4D PR)(3-24-2009)
- Chase Elliott to Make First Late Model Start: Chase Elliott. Bill Elliott's son, will mark a major career milestone this weekend when he climbs behind the wheel of the #9 Aaron’s Lucky Dog Dream Machine for his first Late Model start at South Georgia Motorsports Park (Cecil, Ga.) in the ASA Late Model South Series on Saturday, March 28. Thirteen-year-old Elliott tested the Aaron’s Lucky Dog Dream Machine last weekend at Lanier National Speedway (Braselton, Ga.) for his first laps in an asphalt Late Model.(Bill Elliott Racing PR)(3-25-2009)
- Drive for Diversity graduate Hernandez ready to race in NASCAR's top series: One of NASCAR's most successful Drive for Diversity participants and graduates Jesus Hernandez continues to look for opportunities to race in 2009. The 27-year-old developmental driver for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing is currently speaking to potential sponsors to help make him the only Mexican-American driver to race in one of NASCAR's top touring series in 2009. Hernandez has already has proven success in multiple series in which he has competed. Starting at the grassroots level of NASCAR racing, he won back-to-back track championship titles, two rookie-of-the-year honors, and broke a track record while running at the Madera Speedway and Irwindale Speedway in California. "For me, now is the time to make it at the next level," said Hernandez. "We have potential to reach the Hispanic market unlike most other drivers. A sponsor can really target that demographic through our team. We've got great people and support from a top-level Sprint Cup team. We've proven ourselves on the track and can get the job done. We're talking to a lot of potential sponsors, but nothing is solidified today." Hernandez is exploring a partial schedule in the Camping World Truck, Nationwide or a possible return to the Camping World East Series in 2009.(Breaking Limits PR)(3-16-2009)
- Hometown honors Reitenour: Megan Reitenour, a first-year participant in the Drive for Diversity initiative, was recently honored by her hometown of Miamisburg, Ohio, for her racing accomplishments. Reitenour will begin the 2009 season next month at Tri-County Speedway in Hudson, N.C., racing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Leicht Motorsports. Reitenour was honored for her recent selection to Drive for Diversity, NASCAR's leading on-track initiative which provides female and minority drivers an opportunity to compete in NASCAR's developmental series, in front of the Miamisburg City Council last month. She was presented the award by Mayor Dick Church.(NASCAR PR)(3-10-2009)
- Nationwide to sponsor Cherry in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity initiative: Nationwide Mutual Insurance, in partnership with local Nationwide Insurance agent Carlo White announced this week that it will sponsor NASCAR Whelen All-American Series driver, Michael Cherry. The promising 19-year old driver has been chosen to represent Nationwide Insurance in conjunction with NASCAR's "Drive for Diversity" initiative, which is further diversifying the sport by providing opportunities to minority and female competitors. Cherry, from Valrico, Florida, will race for Addis Motorsports at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. The 2009 season will mark Cherry's second year as a member of the Drive for Diversity initiative. He was rookie of the year in 2008 at Motor Mile Speedway in the Late Model division and finished fourth in the point standings.(NASCAR PR)(3-5-2009)
- Joe Gibbs Racing signs Darrell Wallace, Jr. to Driver Development Program: Joe Gibbs Racing has announce that it has signed 15-year-old Darrell Wallace, Jr. to its driver development program. Darrell will join 17-year-old Matt DiBenedetto in JGR's driver development program. Darrell was named the 2008 Rookie of the Year in the United Auto Racing Association. He finished sixth overall in the point standings last season and became the youngest driver to ever win a race at Franklin County Speedway, his first victory in Late Models. Darrell is scheduled to return to the UARA circuit when the season begins next month.(JoeGibbsRacing.com)(2-27-2009)
- DiBenedetto, 17, joins JGR's development program: Joe Gibbs Racing has signed 17-year-old Matt DiBenedetto to its driver development program. DiBenedetto will test in NASCAR's Camping World East Series program and run in an undetermined number of races starting this spring. "We think Matt has a real bright future and JGR is proud to have him join our driver development program," said JGR president J.D. Gibbs. "Matt is someone we've been keeping an eye on for some time now and he has proven to us that he has the raw talent to be successful." DiBenedetto was named the United Auto Racing Association Stars Tour Rookie of the Year in 2007 after winning two features and finishing fourth in championship points. He became the youngest driver to win at Bristol Motor Speedway when he won the UARA Stars Late Model Tour race.(AP/ESPN.com)(2-9-2009)
- Drive for Diversity 2009 Lineup: The Drive for Diversity (D4D) initiative continues to move forward in 2009 with an expanded driver lineup and a new management group. Twelve drivers will participate in the sixth season of Drive for Diversity - four in the NASCAR Camping World Series and eight in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In addition, former Dale Earnhardt Inc. President Max Siegel and his new marketing and entertainment company, 909 Group, will take over day-to-day management of the initiative. Entering its sixth season, Drive for Diversity is NASCAR's leading on-track diversity initiative. The program is designed to give young minority and female drivers opportunities to compete with established NASCAR teams at the grassroots level. Since 2004, 22 drivers have competed in Drive for Diversity, winning 28 races. The 2009 expansion from eight to 12 drivers comes two years after the program expanded to include teams in the NASCAR Camping World Series.
This year's class represents drivers from across the country. Five drivers will return from 2008 and will be joined by seven new drivers. Last year, the eight drivers combined for 14 wins, 43 top fives, 90 top 10s and a first-ever championship. Paul Harraka, who will return for his fourth year, earned the title at All-American Speedway in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Harraka will be staying with Bill McAnally Racing this season and will advance to the NASCAR Camping World Series. Over 200 minority and female drivers applied to be part of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class. Twenty-five of those applicants were invited to tryout at the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco last October at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. Drivers were selected by their team owners based on their on-track performance and off-track interviews. The following 12 drivers were selected by their respective team owners to compete in the program in 2009:
Mackena Bell of Carson City, Nev., will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Position One Motorsports at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. In 2005, Bell became the youngest driver to win a championship in the 42-year history at Champion Speedway in Carson City.
Kristin Bumbera of Sealy, Texas, returns to the Drive for Diversity Program for the second season and will race in the NASCAR Camping World Series East for Bobby Hamilton Jr. Racing. Bumbera won two races last year at All American Speedway, is the first female to win a Late Model race at Houston Motorsports Park and the first female to lead the point standings in a Texas Late Model series.
Michael Cherry of Valrico, Fla., will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Addis Motorsports at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway. Cherry was rookie of the year in 2008 at Motor Mile Speedway in the Late Model division and finished fourth in the point standings.
Jonathon Gomez of Twin Falls, Idaho, will race in the NASCAR Camping World Series West for RTD Motorsports. In 2008, Gomez won a championship, rookie of the year title and 13 races at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls.
Katie Hagar of Nobleboro, Maine returns to the Drive for Diversity program and will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Golden State Racing at Madera (Calif.) Speedway. Hagar was the first female to win a race at Canaan (N.H.) Fair Speedway.
Paul Harraka of Fairlawn, N.J., returns to the Drive for Diversity program and will race in the NASCAR Camping World Series West for Bill McAnally Racing. Harraka has 174 career wins, 13 national and six world karting championships and won the 2008 track championship at All American Speedway.
Laura Hayes of Wilton, Calif., will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for James Racing at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. Hayes has amassed 12 national, state and regional karting titles and over 100 wins.
Juan Pitta of Galt, Calif., will race for Bill McAnally Racing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif. Pitta is a seven-time karting champion.
Megan Reitenour of Miamisburg, Ohio, will race for Leicht Motorsports in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Tri-County Speedway in Hudson, N.C. Reitenour is a three-time Ohio state champion in the Bandolero and Legends series.
Natalie Sather of Fargo, N.D., will race for Total Velocity Motorsports in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. Sather became the first woman to win a major ASCS trophy in 2007 when she won the Midwest Points Championship.
Jonathan Smith of Beacon Falls, Conn., returns to the Drive for Diversity program for a third season and will race in the NASCAR Camping World Series East for Fadden Racing, Inc. Last year, Smith finished 19th in the NASCAR Camping World Series East point standings.
Emily Sue Steck of Holmen, Wis., will race for DMT Motorsports in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wis. Steck received 2007 rookie of the year honors at LaCrosse Fairgrounds along with the most popular driver award. Steck was also awarded the NASCAR Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award.
- Jarit Johnson to Camping World East with Trail Motorsports: Former owner of the #22 Fitz Motorsports Dodge team, Armando Fitz, co-announced the birth of Trail Motorsport, LLC., with owner Arthur Shelton. The team laid out an all new look, competitive approach, and driver line-up for the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series. Chase Austin will drive the new team's Camping World Truck while Jarit Johnson takes the reigns of the team's Camping World East Series ride.(RacingOne.com)(1-21-2009)
- Pope to drive for BDI Racing in select events: BDI Racing announced today that 19-year-old Michael Pope of Dublin, Georgia, will pilot the #51 Chevy in select events in 2009. Pope's first foray in the BDI Racing #51 Chevy will come in the SpeedFest 2009 CRA Super Series-sanctioned Super Late Model event at Lanier National Speedway (GA), January 24th and 25th. While Pope's exact schedule will be announced at a later date, further driving opportunities with BDI Racing remain open for other racers throughout the 2009 season. BDI Racing's stable includes a fleet of Late Models, state-of-the-art equipment and an all-purpose team transporter, all housed in a 10,000-plus-square-foot shop in Concord, North Carolina.(BDI Racing)(1-21-2009)
- Cup teams cut back on driver-development programs due to economy: The struggling U.S. economy is taking its toll on the driver-development programs of many NASCAR Sprint Cup teams. Nationwide Series driver Bryan Clauson was to run the full schedule, but Earnhardt Ganassi Racing shut down its team because of sponsorship issues. Plans for Landon Cassill to run a handful of Nationwide races for JR Motorsports this year now are up in the air. Michael Waltrip Racing wants to run Josh Wise in the Nationwide Series, but because its #00 Cup team isn't fully sponsored, he could be on the sidelines. Cale Gale ran 13 Nationwide races for Kevin Harvick Inc. last year, but the team has had to replace all its sponsors for 2009, and the search has reduced Gale's schedule. Roush Fenway Racing development driver Erik Darnell, who ran the full Truck series schedule last year, is running only 15 Nationwide Series events this year, but he's thankful for what he does have. As teams scramble to simply find enough money to race right now, money for the future doesn't exist. "That's probably one of the areas in the sport that has been affected the most by what we're going through to today, and that is driver development and the ability to get rookies, new guys, track time," team owner Michael Waltrip said. "We bit the bullet, and we ran Josh in some Nationwide races last year hoping to be able to acquire sponsorship. We were never able to do that. We certainly have plans for Josh to run races this year, as well, but we can't run cars without sponsors. We're faced with running David [Reutimann's Cup] car with part of the season unsponsored.(SceneDaily.com)(1-19-2009)
- Brannon joins SS Green Light Racing for 2009 ASALMS season: SS Green Light Racing is pleased to announce that sixteen year old Drew Brannon will pilot the ASI Limited #32 for the 2009 ASALMS Season. The team lead by three-time ASA National Champion Butch Miller is planning to compete for the ASA Late Model Southern Championship as well as the premier ASA Late Model Challenge Series Championship.(SS-Greenlight Racing PR)(1-16-2009)
- Siegel in charge of Drive for Diversity: Max Siegel on Wednesday announced he will step down as president of global operations at newly formed Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing to run NASCAR's diversity program. Siegel will continue to consult Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing on strategic initiatives on the business and marketing side through the new company he has started in conjunction with his former law firm, Baker and Daniel, which has offices worldwide. Siegel said he was offered the opportunity to remain at DEI, but wanted to pursue other opportunities to help the sport grow. Taking over management of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity, which is a NASCAR initiative but not a NASCAR program, was one of those opportunities he could not have tackled while part of the race team. His goal is to continue to learn the sport from all aspects and maybe one day get into ownership. He felt stepping away from his role at Earnhardt-Ganassi was the best way to make that happen. "No regrets," Siegel said. "DEI, it's a great company. They offered me a tremendous opportunity. I plan to have a long future in the sport and continue to work with not only them but other companies on strategic initiatives. "The bottom line is all the teams have to find a new way to go on the marketing side and really revamp the whole approach to securing financial support from commercial partners." (ESPN.com)(1-14-2009)