ARCHIVE NEWS PAGES
NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE
|2010 Season Winnings|
|17||Juan Pablo Montoya||$5,088,406||$551,040||$5,639,446|
|20||Kasey Kahne (A&B)||$5,289,135||$362,804||$5,651,939|
|21||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||$4,572,928||$367,360||$4,940,288|
|22||Martin Truex Jr.||$3,742,689||$236,160||$3,978,849|
|Casey Mears (A)||$1,871,549||$10,933||$1,882,482|
|Reed Sorenson (A)||$1,891,733||$35,533||$1,927,266|
|Brian Vickers (A)||$1,579,832||$30,067||$1,609,899|
|Aric Almirola (B)||$980,996||$18,222||$999,218|
|Boris Said (A)||$739,493||$2,733||$742,226|
|Mattias Ekstrom (A)||$226,671||$5,467||$232,138|
Post Season Awards
TOTAL AWARDED $1,239,100
Goodyear Gatorback Belts Fastest Lap Award $100,000
MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award $100,000
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award $100,000
Goodyear Tires Award $50,000
O'Reilly Auto Parts People, Service & Performance Award $105,000
DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Year Award $100,000
MOOG Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award $75,000
Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award $100,000
WIX Filters Lap Leader Award $75,000
Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award $116,000
Tissot Pit Road Precision Award $105,000
Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Year Award $100,000
Coors Light Pole Award $113,100
Congrats: Congratulations to SPEED's Wendy Venturini and her husband Jarrad Egert, who works for Joe Gibbs Racing, on the birth of their son Caleb James on Dec. 22 at 10:58pm. Mom & baby doing fine.(12-24-2010)
HANS device tested for astronauts: What do HANS device inventor Dr. Robert Hubbard, NASA and NASCAR have in common? All three are collaborating in an effort to improve crash restraints for astronauts. The first series of crash sled tests was recently undertaken at Wright Patterson Air Force Base using a dummy fitted with a prototype restraint for use during NASA launches and landings. Dustin Gohmert of the Crew and Thermal Systems Division of NASA directed the tests. The new head restraint resulted from a collaboration first undertaken in 2008 at Texas Motor Speedway, where officials from NASA's Johnson Space Center and Hubbard met with NASCAR officials to discuss the use of the sanctioning body's data base for assessing crash injury dynamics. NASCAR subsequently provided data taken from recorders in race vehicles, which facilitates the development of injury criteria for astronauts by using computer modeling in conjunction with the real world experience from NASCAR competition. The prototype HANS-type head restraint for astronauts is comprised of a round collar and yoke made from carbon fiber. The helmet and neck ring of the space suit fit to the round collar and yoke, a single unit to be held in place by an astronaut's shoulder belts.(NASCAR)(12-24-2010)
Race Track Holiday Lights: more info for events at Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. All three are decoration their tracks with Holiday lights and events, more infor for each at:
bristolmotorspeedway.com [thru Jan 8th]
VisitCarolinaChristmas.com [thru Jan 2nd]
(NOTE: went to the CMS show on 12/20 and it was awesome, really enjoyed it, saw Sam Bass and had some gotten eatin')
lvms.com [thru Jan 2nd]
SportsCenter Special: My Wish, Friday: ESPN in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish Foundation will air a 30-minute SportsCenter Special: My Wish on Friday, Dec. 24 at 11:30 pm on ESPNEWS that will run continuously through Saturday, Dec. 25 at 2:00 pm. Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly will host, as ESPN chronicles the sports-themed wishes and feature updates on three of kids from 2010: 10 year-old Jailen Cooper, who wished to be an Oakland Raider for the day, 15-year-old Jeffrey Buzell who raced go-karts against Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 13-year-old Anna Schmidt who wished to spend the day with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Connelly: "It's a great time of year to revisit these stories that touch so many people, and we're pleased to have some updates on Anna, Jalen and Jeffrey."(video at ESPN)(12-23-2010)
Bayne in the #21 at Daytona testing, Bill Elliott? UPDATE: Trevor Bayne will be working with Wood Brothers Racing. He made one start for the legendary team last year, starting 28th and finishing 17th at the Texas Motor Speedway.
"Anything that's brand new is exciting," said car owner Eddie Wood. "It's special for us because our dad drove on the new pavement in 1959 when the track was built and here we are all these years later running at Daytona with a 2011 Ford Fusion and the same number 21." Bill Elliott will move from the Wood Brothers to the #09 Chevy at Phoenix Racing.(Augusta Chronicle), this was before testing at Daytona last week, Elliott did not test the #09 at Daytona but will run the #09 in the first five races for Phoenix Racing in an effort to get the team in the top 35 of owners points.(12-20-2010)
UPDATE denied? James Finch [Phoenix Racing] says he has no plans to put Bill Elliott in his #09 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevy for the opening five races of the 2011 season. Published reports claimed Elliott would drive for Finch's Phoenix Racing Team at the start of the season, in an effort to earn the operation a spot in the Top 35 in owners' points. But Finch told Sirius-Speedway.com that he knew nothing of the deal until reading about it online earlier this week (Sirius Speedway)(12-22-2010)
AND Wood Brothers Racing will continue its long NASCAR odyssey in 2011 when it begins its 58th year of competition. As it has for the past few seasons, in an effort to get the most out of performance and sponsorship, it will race on a limited schedule out of its shops in Harrisburg, N.C., with veteran driver and 1988 champion Bill Elliott wheeling its Fords.(Motorsports Unplugged)(12-22-2010)
Front Row looking for a crew chief UPDATE: hearing Front Row Motorsports #34 crew chief Brian Burns has left the team, no word on who will replace Burns as Travis Kvapil's crew chief in 2011 but the team is supposedly looking for a crew chief. Hearing plans are to run Kvapil full time in the #34 Ford and David Gilliland full time in the #38 [using #37 owners points] with the #37 Ford being run part time [using #38 owners ppoints, which are not in the top 35 for the first 5 races].(12-20-2010)UPDATE: statement by Brian Burns, former Front Row Motorsports crew chief: "I have decided to pursue other opportunities in racing. I would like to thank Bob Jenkins (team owner) and the rest of the organization for the last two years, and wish them the best of luck in the future."(12-22-2010)
Robby Gordon readies for Dakar Rally: 2011 marks the 33rd running of the international test of endurance and determination known as the Dakar Rally, which for the third consecutive year will take place in the South American countries of Argentina and Chile after security threats in Mauritania in 2008 caused the ASO, the race organizers, to move the race from Africa. With more than 9,500 km (5,903 miles) to be completed from January 1st to 16th, 2011, the Dakar Rally is easily the "world's most grueling race." Based on fourteen stages, known as "specials", the winner of the rally is the team with the shortest elapsed time over the fifteen day event. The terrain that competitors traverse is extremely difficult. Most of the competitive specials are off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks among other elements. To be successful at the Dakar Rally, a team must possess three things: state of the art equipment, first rate driving and navigational skills, and true determination and perseverance. The slightest mistake by man or equipment can cost a team valuable seconds in their effort to achieve the ultimate objective: winning the Dakar Rally.
Known as one of the best off-road racers in the world, Robby Gordon will be participating in his seventh Dakar Rally and piloting the #303 Speed Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer. Gordon will depend on his navigator, Kellon Walsh, to maneuver through the ever changing terrain of the cross country race. Team Hummer will be fielding two entries in the rally-raid. A formal announcement regarding the second HUMMER entry will follow early next week.(see more info and ways to follow Gordon at Planetrobby.com)(12-22-2010)
Talladega Superspeedway Announces Fan Advisory Network: Talladega Superspeedway has selected 30 race fans to serve as the first members of the Talladega Superspeedway Fan Advisory Network (TSS FAN). The TSS FAN will focus on creating constructive dialogue with the Talladega Superspeedway administration team. “Our goals is to have a team of race fans that can help us identify areas the track can improve upon that will benefit all fans attending races at Talladega Superspeedway,” said Chairman Grant Lynch. “It gives us the ability to look at ourselves through the eyes of a race fan and make the best decisions concerning their experiences.” The TSS FAN members will serve a one-year term which will include two race weekends at Talladega. After serving for two race weekends, the member’s term will expire and new members will be chosen. In addition to periodic teleconferences, onsite meetings will take place at Talladega Superspeedway during race weekends. The TSS FAN is a part of a series of fan-appreciation initiatives coined the “Fan Salute”. For more information on Talladega Superspeedway’s Fan Salute and the names of the 30 fans, please visit talladegasuperspeedway.com.(12-22-2010)
Waltrip's 2011 Racing Plans: Michael Waltrip will join MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman behind the wheel of a Ferrari sports car in Portugal, Dubai and probably several other tracks across the globe in 2011. Waltrip will also run a Sprint Cup car for another shot at the Daytona 500, the new race at Kentucky Speedway and possibly a few more races along the way.(see more of Waltrip's 2011 plans at MWR)(12-21-2010)
Sad News - Gib Repass: Gilbert “Gib” Repass Jr., a long-time series director for NASCAR, died Saturday at the age of 76. Repass of Bremerton, Wash., worked for NASCAR in several capacities from 1986 through 2006. Soon after starting work for NASCAR, Repass was appointed as the director of the former NASCAR Northwest Tour, a post which he held through 2001. He also worked with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, which was then known as the NASCAR Winston West Series. Repass was initially the technical director for that series and later served as the series director through 1997. He remained with NASCAR as the Northwest Regional Director for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series through February of 2006. Repass was a native of Bland, Va., but made Bremerton his home after retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1975. In addition to NASCAR, Repass also worked for the Kitsap County School District following his military retirement.
A viewing will be from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 23, at the Tuell-McKee Funeral Home at 2215 Sixth Ave., in Tacoma, Wash. Funeral services and burial will follow in Bland, Va. A viewing will be from 5:00-7:00 pm on Monday, Dec. 27, at the Highland Chapel and Funeral Home in Bland, with funeral services at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 28. Repass is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jean Repass; son, Ed Repass; and sister, Betty Kelly.(NASCAR Hometracks)(12-21-2010)
Race Track Holiday Lights: more info for events at Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. All three are decoration their tracks with Holiday lights and events, more infor for each at:
bristolmotorspeedway.com [thru Jan 8th]
VisitCarolinaChristmas.com [thru Jan 2nd]
(NOTE: went to the CMS show on 12/20 and it was awesome, really enjoyed it, saw Sam Bass and had some gotten eatin')
lvms.com [thru Jan 2nd]
ISC, NASCAR, Foundation make donation: In a ceremony at the Daytona International Speedway, the 'World Center of Racing', International Speedway Corporation's Chief Executive Officer, Lesa France Kennedy, President, John Saunders, and NASCAR's President, Mike Helton presented a check on Dec. 17th to the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties for $219,268.(ISC)(12-21-2010)
Kentucky Speedway gets state incentives for NASCAR race: The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority has approved incentives for Kentucky Speedway, which is scheduled to hold a NASCAR Sprint Cup race July 9. The approval means the speedway will be eligible for as much as $20.5 million in performance-based rebates during a 10-year period, based on an investment of $82 million, according to a news release Monday. The incentive allows the applicant to recover as much as 25% of development costs through the recovery of sales tax generated at the racetrack. "This NASCAR event at the Kentucky Speedway is estimated to have an annual $150 million economic impact on Kentucky," Gov. Steve Beshear said in the release. Kentucky Speedway, located in Sparta, Ky., was among the first projects approved under the amended Kentucky Tourism Development Act that provides tax incentives to new or expanding businesses.(Louisville Business First)(12-21-2010)
New Family Camping area at Watkins Glen: In response to fan feedback and requests, Watkins Glen International is proud to announce a new family camping area for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen weekend, August 11-14, 2011. Through the use of surveys and fan emails, families have increasingly requested an area that provides a quieter and more laid back experience. This is just the latest in a string of actions taken by WGI to respond to the needs of its fans which also includes $20 grandstand seats for kids 18 years of age and under and a sweeping capital improvements project highlighted by new grandstands and permanent showers on the infield.
The new family camping area will feature reserved non-trackside sites and be located just outside the East Tunnel along the backstretch. Fans can expect their experience to be one of stricter enforcement of the standard quiet hours (11:00 PM – 6:00 AM) and more regular patrols by WGI staff and security. There are a limited number of sites now available and the advanced sale price is $225, which is the same as any non-trackside reserved campsite elsewhere around the historic road course. Fans that are interested in either moving their current site or purchasing a new one in the family camping area will need to call 866-461-RACE(7223) to place their order.
Tickets for the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International are on sale NOW! Fans can order their tickets or get more information about the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International by calling the ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(12-21-2010)
Bayne in the #21 at Daytona testing, Bill Elliott?: Trevor Bayne will be working with Wood Brothers Racing. He made one start for the legendary team last year, starting 28th and finishing 17th at the Texas Motor Speedway. "Anything that's brand new is exciting," said car owner Eddie Wood. "It's special for us because our dad drove on the new pavement in 1959 when the track was built and here we are all these years later running at Daytona with a 2011 Ford Fusion and the same number 21." Bill Elliott will move from the Wood Brothers to the #09 Chevy at Phoenix Racing.(Augusta Chronicle), this was before testing at Daytona last week, Elliott did not test the #09 at Daytona but will run the #09 in the first five races for Phoenix Racing in an effort to get the team in the top 35 of owners points.(12-20-2010)
Front Row looking for a crew chief: hearing Front Row Motorsports #34 crew chief Brian Burns has left the team, no word on who will replace Burns as Travis Kvapil’s crew chief in 2011 but the team is supposedly looking for a crew chief. Hearing plans are to run Kvapil full time in the #34 Ford and David Gilliland full time in the #38 [using #37 owners points] with the #37 Ford being run part time [using #38 owners ppoints, which are not in the top 35 for the first 5 races].(12-20-2010)
Roush Fenway Racing names new President: Roush Fenway Racing has announced that Steve Newmark has been named president of its multi-car racing organization. Newmark will succeed Geoff Smith in the position; Smith is retiring at the end of December after serving in the role for the previous 13 years. Newmark, who previously was a shareholder at the law firm of Robinson, Bradshaw and Hinson, joined the organization as senior vice president of business operations in April. He brings an innovative skill set and fresh approach, highlighted by extensive NASCAR and outside sports and entertainment experience, to the position. “We are excited about Steve coming on board as our president,” said Roush Fenway owner Jack Roush. “Steve has a solid background working in all areas of sports and brings new ideas and insight into our organization. Importantly, he has been part of the Roush Fenway family for many years, beginning as outside counsel and then as head of our business operations this year. Geoff Smith did an outstanding job of running the business affairs of our company for the past 20 years and we could not have done this without him. Geoff’s leadership has set the bar high and we believe that Steve is the right person to ensure that we remain a leader in the marketplace and in the garage. Since his arrival, I’ve been extremely pleased with his business acumen, work ethic and his desire to engage in all aspects of our business. We are certainly excited to move forward with Steve at the helm.”(Roush Fenway Racing)(12-20-2010)
Edwards to appear in HBO mini-series: #99-Carl Edwards has been cast in HBO’s forthcoming Civil War mini-series, “To Appomattox”, as General John B. Gordon, a Confederate General selected by Robert E. Lee to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia. The real Gordon became one of the two authors of "Honor Answering Honor" and, by this gesture, returned the private Southern soldier to the Union with respect and dignity. The series centers around the final battle of the Civil War and stars Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as General Ulysses S. Grant, William Petersen (CSI) as General William Tecumseh Sherman, Paul Giamatti (John Adams) as James “Pete” Longstreet and Bill Paxton (Big Love) as Stonewall Jackson (NASCAR Examiner), the series is in discussions with additional NASCAR affiliated drivers to play other featured roles.(12-20-2010)
Kansas Speedway donating to backback program: Each year, thousands of children across the country receive free and reduced-price school meals during the week, but are at risk of going hungry on the weekends. That includes Wyandotte County where approximately 1,540 children are enrolled in Harvesters BackSnack program. Kansas Speedway is making a $15,000 donation to Harvesters through the Community Foundation of Wyandotte County to help fund the BackSnack program. The Community Foundation of Wyandotte County has also agreed to match the donation. The program, which began as a pilot project in 2004, provides backpacks of food to low-income children for the weekend. Harvesters provides the food and backpacks, and a partnering organization cleans them out and packs them with food each week. Schools distribute the backpacks on Friday to students who then bring them back on Monday to start the process again. This year alone, the BackSnack program will feed approximately 13,000 students each weekend in Harvesters 26-county service area. It takes $200 to provide one backpack to one child for the entire school year and anyone interested in participating in the program is encouraged to contact Harvesters online or by phone at 816.929.3010.(Kansas Speedway)(12-20-2010)
40 Fewer ServiceMaster Clean Cautions This Season: The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season had a significant decrease in the number of cautions compared to 2009. There were 265 ServiceMaster Clean cautions during the regular-season, 36-race schedule just completed compared to 305 in 2009. The number was 56 less than the 321 cautions in 2008. ServiceMaster Clean, well known internationally for its cleaning and restoration services, is completing its second season as the official sponsor of caution periods at the 19 International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks, as well as Dover International Speedway. ServiceMaster Clean participated in 33 of the 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the season (Pocono and Indianapolis are not part of the program). When there was a problem on the track and the yellow flag was displayed, the company’s familiar yellow vehicles were dispatched to clean the track.
All 36 races went the scheduled distance, but two (spring races at Martinsville and Texas) were postponed until Monday due to rain. Only two other events (Michigan2 and Richmond2) were interrupted by a caution for rain. Five of the first nine races were extended beyond the scheduled distance for a green-white-checkered finish, but only two in the last 27 races. See the following charts:
|Cautions (36 races)||265||305|
|Cautions (33 races*)||246||283|
|Caution Laps (36 races)||1325||1447|
|Cautions Laps (33 races*)||1242||1374|
|Laps Run (36 races)||10778||10492|
|Laps Run (33 races*)||10214||9960|
|Miles Run (36 races)||14537.51||14107.39|
|Miles Under Caution (36 races)||1839.51||1972.568|
|Most Caution in a Race||15 (Martinsville2)||17 (Darlington)|
|Fewest Cautions in a Race||3 (Richmond2)||3 (Michigan1|
|Most Caution Laps in a Race||103 (Bristol2)||73 (Martinsville1)|
|Most Miles Under Caution (Race)||100.000(Daytona1)||99.718 (Darlington)|
|Race Extended Due to Caution (36 races)||7||5|
|Race Shortened Due to Weather (36 races)||0||3|
2010 races interrupted by rain (Martinsville1, Texas1, Michigan2, Richmond2). Martinsville and Texas were run on Monday while Michigan and Richmond were interrupted only briefly, but completed as scheduled. 2009 races interrupted by rain (Daytona1, Fontana1, Charlotte1, Loudon1, Michigan2, Bristol2, Charlotte2) 2009 races shortened due to rain (Daytona1, Charlotte1, Loudon1).(ServiceMaster Clean)(12-19-2010)
Race Track Holiday Light: more info for events at Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. All three are decoration their tracks with Holiday lights and events, more infor for each at:
bristolmotorspeedway.com [thru Jan 8th]
VisitCarolinaChristmas.com [thru Jan 2nd]
lvms.com [thru Jan 2nd].(12-19-2010)
Kvapil back to the Truck Series? NASCAR Insiders are hearing that Mike Skinner has been let go from Randy Moss Motorsports. This ends a two year relationship. Supposedly Travis Kvapil is the likely replacement for Skinner at RMM. Kvapil’s last full season in the Truck Series was 2007 with Roush Fenway Racing. He spent 2010 driving for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series (NASCAR Insiders)(12-18-2010)
Johnson 2nd in 2010 Male Athlete of the Year voting: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is the reigning Super Bowl MVP after the Saints won the Super Bowl in February was voted the 2010 Male Athlete of the Year, chosen by members of The Associated Press. There were 176 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations that make up the AP's membership. Brees received 48 votes, while the 2009 AP Male Athlete of the Year, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, finished second with 31. Boxer Manny Pacquiao was third with 21 votes, followed by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay with 17. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, a comeback story himself, rounded out the top five vote-getters with 10. The award was announced Friday.(Associated Press)(12-18-2010)
Tax-cut legislation includes benefits for NASCAR Tracks: A host of industries, from Caribbean distilleries to Hollywood producers, would gain billions in tax breaks and other subsidies under compromise tax-cut legislation now moving its way through Congress. The $858 billion package approved by the Senate is focused primarily on continuing the Bush administration tax cuts for two years, extending unemployment benefits and other large-scale expenditures. But buried inside the legislation are more than $55 billion in other giveaways and tax reductions for some of Washington's most influential industry groups. Owners of NASCAR tracks and other motor-sports facilities would benefit from two more years of a tax policy making it cheaper for them to fund capital projects. Estimated cost to taxpayers: $40 million. The motor-sports provision stems from an ongoing dispute between racetrack owners and the Internal Revenue Service, which concluded that racing facilities should be subject to longer depreciation schedules - thus decreasing tax benefits for owners. The motor-sports industry, including the popular NASCAR series, argues that a shorter, seven-year depreciation schedule used by amusement parks and similar facilities should apply instead. Congress has periodically approved the accelerated depreciation schedule since 2004; the tax-cuts bill would extend the provision again through 2011. The main beneficiaries of the provision would be large track owners such as International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports. But other racing organizations also support the change. "For us to be able to run our events at the track, you have to have quality facilities," said Ramsey Poston, managing director of corporate communications at NASCAR. "Being able to provide the track owners the opportunity to invest more in their tracks and make them better and safer is important for us and our fans."(in part from the Washingtom Post)(12-18-2010)
Winner of Custom Cobra Replica announced: Kenny Crites, of Charleston, S.C., is the lucky new owner of Tommy Pike's powerful custom Cobra replica after winning Speedway Children's Charities custom car raffle. The raffle began nearly four months ago during the August Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway and more than 1,000 tickets were sold, raising nearly $24,000 for children in need. The custom Cobra replica was built in just five days during the August Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The team from Tommy Pike Customs, from Greenville, S.C., turned a pile of parts into a high-performance roadster while AutoFair spectators watched. The crew worked 14 hours a day and put more than 500 total man hours into the car to build the custom Cobra replica from scratch. All proceeds from the raffle benefitted Speedway Children's Charities Charlotte Chapter and will help local children in need.(CMS)(12-18-2010)
Holiday tix sale at Pocono: Pocono Raceway has put 1,500 Grandstand & Club Tickets up for grabs at a discounted price. Whether you're buying for yourself or as a gift, this is the chance to experience all the thrills and excitement of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race LIVE! Go to poconoraceway.com and use promo code SANTA to redeem your 15% discount. Only 1,500 tickets will be held for this Promotion. And Use promo code SANTA and receive 20% off your entire merchandise order (placed by 12/21 at midnight) at shop-poconoraceway.com.(Pocono Raceway)(12-18-2010)
Infineon Raceway, NASCAR Combine to Plant 74 Trees: City Park in Vallejo is a little more “green” these days, thanks to both Infineon Raceway and NASCAR. The city of Vallejo received a donation of 74 trees through “NASCAR Green Clean Air" — an initiative that neutralizes all the carbon produced by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. A ceremonial planting of three Japanese maple trees was held on Thursday at Vallejo’s City Park and attended by Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis, officials from the City of Vallejo, the Greater Vallejo Recreation Department, the Beautification Commission, Vallejo City Council and Infineon Raceway. The NASCAR Green Clean Air tree planting initiative plants trees for every green flag waved during a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. There were eight green flags at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in June, so 74 trees are being planted at Vallejo City Park and throughout the city. NASCAR purchased the trees from Buckeye Nursery, a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council-certified business in Petaluma. This program dovetails with Infineon Raceway’s ongoing sustainability campaign, which includes a major solar installation, comprehensive recycling program, water conservation efforts and the use of sheep to maintain the grasses and fire lanes at the raceway. Infineon Raceway is one of the most environmentally friendly motor-sports venues in the country.(Infineon Raceway)(12-18-2010)
NASCAR to elimate catch can UPDATEs: At the start of the 2010 season, NASCAR introduced a new style fuel can for the Truck Series that eliminated the need for a catch can guy. Because of this new can, NASCAR limited the number of over-the-wall crew members in the Truck Series to six: two tire changers, two tire carriers, a jackman, and a fueler. Teams could still technically use a catch can guy, they would just have to eliminate one of the other positions. NASCAR Insiders are hearing now that NASCAR is seriously considering bringing this new style fuel can to both the Nationwide and Cup Series for the 2011 season. If this happens, it would mean the elimination of the catch can man for both of these two series as well.(NASCAR Insiders)(4-2-2010)
UPDATE: hearing that the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series will be going to the same six man pit crew format that the Camping World Truck Series has been running this season, starting in Daytona 2011. They will be using a similar single-point, self-venting probe and dry brake system (9-23-2010)
UPDATEs: NASCAR is trying to make pit road safer in all three of its national tours in 2011 as the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series will now adopt the refueling system currently used in the Camping World Truck Series. NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton revealed during a media briefing in conjunction with a Goodyear tire test Thursday at Daytona that the change will debut in the two premier tours at Speedweeks 2011 at Daytona International Speedway, whereby "self-venting dump cans" will be used to refuel cars on pit stops. The system, which was made an option at the beginning of the 2010 season in the Truck Series, eliminates the seventh over-the-wall crewman who held a catch can to retrieve fuel that might spill from a vent on the back of the car. "Over our three national series, we'll run a fueling system that will eliminate the catch-can guy [because] it fuels and vents all in one process," Pemberton said. "It's what the trucks have used, successfully." In addition to eliminating the most exposed member of the over-the-wall crew, since the catch-can member would have their back to oncoming traffic, Pemberton said the advent of E-15 ethanol fuel also figured into the decision. "It better enables us to keep a control on the open container of fuel," Pemberton said. "Because with the E-15 you want to make sure you never get any moisture introduced into that and this better helps that."(NASCAR.com)(12-17-2010)
Former fiance of Ricky Hendrick on the Bachelor: Emily Maynard is one of the contestants on "The Bachelor.'' She was engaged to the late Ricky Hendrick (son of car owner Rick Hendrick). Ricky Hendrick was killed in the Hendrick plane crash in 2004 when it overshot a landing on the way to the Martinsville race and crashed into a mountain. A few days after Hendrick's death, Emily Maynard found out she was pregnant. She has a 5-year-old daughter Josephine is nicknamed "Ricki'' after her father.(Virginian Pilot)(12-17-2010)
Hendrick Buys First Volt Offered for Public Sale: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, has purchased the first Chevy Volt offered for sale. Proceeds will benefit science, math, engineering, and technology education initiatives through the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. The vehicle, bearing the vehicle identification number BU10002, was sold for $225,000 through an online auction that closed Tuesday, Dec. 14. "This was an opportunity to own a piece of history while giving back to the community," said Hendrick, an avid car collector. "I have been a Chevy dealer for more than 30 years, and the Volt is one of the most exciting and important new cars since we opened our first dealership in 1976." The Chevy Volt is an electric vehicle that can operate under a range of weather climates and driving conditions with little concern of being stranded by a depleted battery. The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank. Chevy began shipping Volts from Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly this week. Hendrick will take delivery of his Volt later this month.(Chevy Racing/HMS)(12-17-2010)
Johnson's Award More Than $650,000 in Education Grants: In what is surely a fitting end to an amazing season, reigning five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and wife, Chandra, announced the recipients of more than $650,000 in education grants. For the second consecutive year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants were awarded to deserving K-12 public schools in the Johnsons' hometowns and where they currently reside.
The Johnsons announced the recipients of the donations totaling $688,087 at a special ceremony at Collinswood Language Academy in Charlotte, N.C. Collinswood was one of three Charlotte area schools awarded a grant. The school, a full magnet offering the Dual Language Spanish Immersion program, was awarded $45,947 for the construction of a playground for first through eighth grade students.
The new playground will replace the run-down existing equipment and will meet the needs of the growing population as Collinswood adds seventh and eighth grades over the next two years. Collinswood also was the recipient of a 2009 Champions Grant for the installation of a SMART Board.
This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program received more than 100 applications from eligible school districts in California, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. Grant awards included $198,554 toward science and technology needs, $133,845 for playgrounds and athletic facilities, $88,097 toward trade-based programs, $82,455 for experiential learning, $72,000 for performing arts programs, $68,098 toward literacy initiatives, and $25,038 in school improvements.
In two years 40 Champions Grants have been awarded to 35 schools totaling more than $1.5 million.(for more info and the grant list, go to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation site)(12-17-2010)
NASCAR Legends honored with Palmetto Patriot: Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning was awarded theprestigious Palmetto Patriot award by Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer during a ceremony at the famed track on Friday. In addition to Browning, NASCAR legends David Pearson, Bud Moore, Cale Yarborough and Cotton Owens – all South Carolina natives – were also honored along with former Darlington track president and NASCAR Executive, the late Jim Hunter and his wife Ann. “I am humbled and honored to accept the Palmetto Patriot award on behalf of Darlington Raceway,” said Browning. “Darlington Raceway has played an integral role in the growth and popularity of NASCAR racing and is one of our state’s most treasured assets.” The Palmetto Patriot Program recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their fellow citizens and the State of South Carolina. The Palmetto Patriot Award is given for one's commitment to public service within their state and community. The award is the highest the Lieutenant Governor can bestow. Tickets for all Darlington races / events can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com.(Darlington Raceway)(12-17-2010)
TMS employees help school with garden: On Tuesday, Texas Motor Speedway partnered with REAL School Gardens and NASCAR to help Rosemont 6th Grade School students in Fort Worth go green in an environmentally friendly way. Texas Motor Speedway sent more than two dozen employees to refurbish the Fort Worth school’s education garden as well as donate 10 mature trees from NASCAR’s Green Clean Air program as part of the speedway’s Speeding To Help community outreach program. Texas Motor Speedway employees joined more than 100 Rosemont students as they helped in the major renovation of the school’s education garden designed by REAL School Gardens. Volunteers assisted in the overhaul of the garden by designing and building vegetable beds; constructing a special butterfly garden for perennial flowers; building three arbors to serve as entrance areas to the garden; helped improve the garden’s erosion bed and created a new compost area. To help celebrate the renovation of Rosemont School’s garden, Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief paid a special visit to the school and assisted in the ceremonial planting of the final tree with representatives from Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR, Real School Gardens and the Rosemont students. The trees were donated as part of NASCAR’s initiative to capture the carbon emissions produced by racing in local communities such as Fort Worth, home of Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR established the Green Clean Air program and as part of the program, the sanctioning body donated 10 trees to Texas Motor Speedway for every time the green flag waved during April’s Samsung Mobile 500. With seven caution periods and the green flag to start the race, Texas Motor Speedway received 80 trees, with 10 earmarked for this REAL School Gardens project.(TMS)(12-17-2010)
Next up - Daytona testing Jan. 20-22: The next on-track activity for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be January's three-day test at Daytona. The session, known as NASCAR Preseason Thunder, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20 through Saturday, Jan. 22. Sunday, Jan. 23 is the rain date. The 2011 edition of NASCAR Preseason Thunder will help teams further acclimate to the new pavement, plus speed their preparation for the 53rd Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. All NASCAR Preseason Thunder sessions begin at 9:00 am/et and end at 5:00 pm/et, weather permitting. Each includes a lunch break from noon until 1:00 pm/et. Fans seeking to rev up their new year can do so at the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona – the companion event to the January test. Along with watching NASCAR Preseason Thunder track activity, fans can enjoy three Fan Fest sessions in Daytona's Sprint FANZONE – from 5-7 pm, and 7-9 pm, on Friday, Jan. 21 and from 5-7 pm, on Saturday, Jan. 22. Driver question-and-answer and autograph sessions are planned. Fans also can watch each day's testing at no cost, beginning at 9 am.(NASCAR)(12-16-2010)
Teams Complete Daytona Goodyear Tire Test; 197mph; ethanol tested: As sunshine warmed Daytona International Speedway's new racing surface on Thursday, so did the expectations and excitement levels for the 53rd Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. Thursday marked the second day of a two-day Goodyear tire test in preparation both for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' traditional season-opening event and the track's new asphalt. The repaving project – only the second in track history and first since 1978 – began immediately after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on July 3 and ended last week. With this week's test open to all series teams, a number took advantage, filling the frontstretch side of the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage with their haulers.
"I think it has gone really well," said Jeff Burton (#31 Caterpillar Chevy). "Everybody is happy with the surface. The tire combination seems to be really good."
"It's just a new attitude," said Kurt Busch (#22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge). "This is what 2011 will bring to start off our Sprint Cup season. Big, exciting time. I'm proud to be able to say I got a chance to race on the surface when it was redone."
Busch and Burton, along with reigning Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray (#1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy) and Bobby Labonte (#47 JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota) all visited the infield media center during Thursday's lunch break. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III and Goodyear Director of Racing Greg Stucker also participated in the midday press conference.
"Good communication all along between the folks here at Daytona, Joie, Goodyear, the race teams, the series directors, everybody that had input," Pemberton said. "It's nice to know you can show up at one of these things, have so many different things that we faced and challenges over the last year to get ready for this. Looks like the plan came together nicely." Burton was heartened that Daytona's repave – while cutting-edge – respected the venue. He cited the 2007 repave at another historic NASCAR venue, Darlington Raceway, as a positive example.
"It's much smoother, has a tremendous amount more grip, but it's still Daytona," Burton said. "They didn't try to change the banking from the bottom to the top, do all that stuff. They just kept Daytona and put pavement on it. I'm glad that's what they did."
Although the focus remains on the racing surface, McMurray noted details like a wider pit road. "They did a really good job, not only on the racetrack, but widening pit road," he said. "It's really nice to get that little bit of extra room on pit road. Pit road speeds are really fast when you come to [restrictor] plate tracks. Typically we have the smallest brakes on the car that we run all year long, so pit road is also trouble. So the fact they widened that 10 or 12 feet is really nice."
Media and fan interest also is accelerated. A portion of Daytona's grandstands was open for public viewing both Wednesday and Thursday and television cameras weren't the only ones being wielded. "It's real important," Labonte said of public and media fanfare. "They have a section open for the fans. They can come down here and see us drafting. I'm sure they've got their cameras out showing video to their buddies now on who-knows-where it's all at. It's the first time we've been to the new facility. That's exciting."
It's worth noting that this week's test was confirmation, not a search process. Stucker said a tight calendar meant Goodyear officials did the bulk of their compound research testing at Daytona's sister track, Talladega Superspeedway, also the only other restrictor-plate track on NASCAR's three national series' calendars. Drivers, teams and track and NASCAR officials all draw natural comparisons off Talladega, which was repaved prior to its fall 2006 event. The completion of a test asphalt strip at Daytona allowed Goodyear officials to gather additional data, which Stucker said was compared to August's test results at Talladega. "We're well into production for the 500," Stucker said. "In fact, we're just about done. We've come down here and really confirmed that all those decisions we made were the right ones. Very glad to hear that all the guys are comfortable with our setup and really everything we've seen so far has been very good from our perspective, very consistent, a lot of good comments from the drivers."(NASCAR)(12-16-2010)
AND 197.5 mph Eighteen drivers from six teams, including Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya, took part in the test. Some teams brought cars and engines from last season. Others tested their latest and greatest technology, including ethanol-blended fuel. All the teams used a slightly smaller restrictor plate than the one bolted on engines at Daytona last season. The top speed was 197.5 mph, and NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said officials will evaluate testing results before deciding whether to reduce the plate even further. "We may need to come down a little bit off of that, which would be like a 64th of an inch or something," Pemberton said. "We'll have to go back and talk to the teams and we'll look at the speeds from the last two days of testing."(Associated Press)(12-16-2010)
Kyle Busch the dirtiest competitor in NASCAR history?: the website Complex Media listed the 50 dirtiest athletes in sports history. And two NASCAR drivers are on the list. #18-Kyle Busch ranked 38th (ahead of Mike Tyson who was 40th) and highest among NASCAR competitors. The website noted Busch's recent episode where he flipped off an official during a race, the guitar-smashing episode after winning the Nashville Nationwide race and other things. One other competitor from NASCAR made the list. #99-Carl Edwards was #48. He earned the ranking for wrecking Brad Keselowski at Atlanta in the spring. With no other NASCAR drivers listed, that would make Edwards the second dirtiest competitor in NASCAR history, according to this list.(Virginian Pilot)(12-16-2010)
Scott Speed upset over lawsuit: Scott Speed is shocked and ill he was put in the position of having to file a $6.5 million lawsuit against Red Bull Racing, the organization that gave him his shot in motorsports. The suit was filed in Statesville, N.C., last Friday, about two weeks after Speed received a termination letter from the Sprint Cup organization and about seven months after Speed says the team agreed to a three-year extension through 2013. "They can't say 'We'll give you three more years' and then at the end of the season say 'Just kidding,'" Speed said Wednesday. "They think they have a way of getting out of my contract. I think they're crazy." Red Bull Racing officials said prior to Speed's release there was a provision in the contract that allowed for dismissal if the driver wasn't in the top 16 in points. Speed, who finished 30th in points, said that isn't "100% the truth" and that proof will come out later in the process. Speed was released to make room for Kasey Kahne, who will drive the #4 for Red Bull Racing for one season before moving into the #5 at Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Brian Vickers, who missed most of this past season after being diagnosed with blood clots, will drive the #83 Red Bull Toyota.(in part from ESPN)(12-16-2010)
New RPM owner wants to build race track in New York: Now that the president of Medallion Financial Corp., Taxi tycoon Andrew Murstein, has purchased NASCAR racing team Richard Petty Motorsports for less than $50 million, sources close to the situation tell us, Murstein intends to finally establish a track here [New York City area] and make New Yorkers fans of the supercharged sport. It's not a new idea. A company called International Speedway attempted to build a track on Staten Island earlier this decade, until opposition from nearby residents killed the project by 2007. The Medallion mogul's idea is to build the track to co-exist with horse racing at Aqueduct in Queens or at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. [New York Daily News] sources say he'll soon begin lobbying state and city officials. Even if local officials are receptive, Murstein could face a tough sell with the public. Though NASCAR is second only to NFL football in sports TV ratings, audiences have reportedly declined.(New York Daily News)(12-16-2010)
Effort to Save Nashville track: The latest group to fight for preservation of some corner of the highly controversial State Fairground property feels a personal attachment to the [Nashville] Fairgrounds Speedway: the stock car racetrack said to date back to the early 1900s. "I just remember that (original raceway symbol)," said Tony Formosa, lamenting about the prospect of losing the historical sports symbol, and Nashville landmark, to a wrecking ball. "And I just remember that: the cushions that you rented and sat on, had this logo. I been born and raised at this facility!" Formosa, serving as the track's promoter this year, managed to schedule five race events this calendar year, and is now helping lead the charge to save the life of the track. Metro council member Sandra Moore, whose district this is, on December 21, is set to introduce a bill that would call for immediate demolition of the racetrack, specifically. "Her heart's probably in the right spot, but this is really the first we've ever heard from her, in terms of noise complaints and things like that," said Darden Copeland, spokesperson for the group Save My Fairgrounds. "Now that the mayor wants to re-develop the property, she is very much in favor of the mayor's plan." Copeland told NewsChannel 5 it was the group's goal to collect signatures from 1,860 of the roughly 9,229 voters who live in District 17. And volunteers going door-to-door were not only talking, Copeland said, but also listening to neighbors' complaints and concerns who are on the fence over the racetrack issue, or full-on eager to see it go.(NewChannel5.com)(12-16-2010)
Some Day 1 testing news from Daytona: Statement From NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton About Goodyear Tire Test At Daytona International Speedway: "It was a very good day. The teams came well-prepared. Goodyear came well-prepared. The racetrack has a lot of grip. The surface is very smooth. It appears in drafting practice that they immediately went three-wide."(NASCAR)
AND Mark Martin awarded high marks to all parties after Day One of a Goodyear tire test at Daytona International Speedway today. Speaking to Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody, Martin said, "I think we ran six laps without even wearing the sticker off the left front tire. In fact, we could probably run the full 500 miles on the same set of tires. There will be zero tire issues during Speedweeks. The track is smooth, its fast and it's not wearing the tires at all. The grip is obscene, and I'm sure the guys from Goodyear are probably having a party tonight." Martin also offered his prediction for the upcoming Daytona 500, saying, "The race is going to be crazy. Everybody better start getting ready right now." Sources say speeds were in the neighborhood of 195 mph, with three-wide (and some four-wide) racing common. "we ran three-wide quite a bit," said Martin, "and toward the end, we got a little braver and tried four-wide. That's not going to work for very long before someone gets into the side of the guy next to him and causes a wreck." Only one major incident slowed the day's test, when David Ragan crashed his Roush-Fenway Racing UPS Ford. (Sirius Speedway)
IMAGES: see some images from Day 1 of testing by Motorsports Images and Archives on my December 2010 Daytona Testing page.(12-15-2010)
Johnson voted winner of Driver of the Year Award: Fresh off winning his fifth straight Sprint Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson was voted the winner of this year's Driver of the Year Award, it was announced Wednesday. The 2010 DOTY is the fourth the Hendrick Motorsports driver has been awarded in his career. He was also the winner of the prestigious award – which is voted upon by a panel of 20 leading North American broadcasters and motorsports journalists – in 2006, 2007 and 2009. The only other driver to win four DOTYs is Johnson's HMS teammate, Jeff Gordon. Johnson got 10 votes from the 18 members of the panel who voted this year. John Force, who won the NHRA Full Thottle Drag Racing Series' Funny Car championship in 2010, received seven votes. Force, who won his 15th Funny Car championship this year, won the 1996 DOTY. Kyle Busch, the NASCAR driver who notched victories in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the Camping World Trucks series, received one vote. The Driver of the Year Award is in its 44th season. It is the longest-running award program of its kind. It's first winner was Mario Andretti. All drivers in major American racing series are eligible to win the DOTY. Andretti and Darrell Waltrip were three-time winners of the award. Johnson, a native of El Cajon, Calif., won six Cup races in 2010 and now has 53 in his 10-year career in the series. He had 17 top-five victories in 2010. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch which will be presented at a place and time to be announced later. The DOTY program is overseen by Schmoyer, a businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Fla.(RacinToday)(12-15-2010)
Teams, drivers lined up for Daytona test TODAY: The Goodyear tire test scheduled for next week at the repaved Daytona International Speedway is an important one for data gathering but not so important that all teams will attend to help the tire manufacturer confirm which tire would perform best for the Daytona 500. Plans for teams and drivers can still change before the Dec. 15-16 test on the new surface, but tentatively only four drivers from this year's Chase For The Sprint Cup- #24-Jeff Gordon #22-Kurt Busch, #31-Jeff Burton and #17-Matt Kenseth - say they plan on participating. Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Front Row Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports are not planning on attending the test, which had been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 7-8. NASCAR will have an open test for all teams Jan. 20-22, and all teams are expected to attend that session. For some teams the test will be vital. Penske Racing drivers #22-Kurt Busch and #2-Brad Keselowski will get their first chance to be on a restrictor-plate track with the new Dodge nose. All three 2010 winless Hendrick Motorsports drivers - #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon and #5-Mark Martin will be there - to gather data and be with their new crew chiefs as well. Five-time defending Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson will not attend. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will be there with #1-Jamie McMurray and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, while Kenseth and #6-David Ragan will represent Roush Fenway Racing. Burton and #27-Paul Menard will be there for Richard Childress Racing. Other drivers expected to attend are #47-Bobby Labonte (JTG Daugherty Racing), #83-Reed Sorenson (Red Bull Racing), #78-Regan Smith (Furniture Row Racing), #21-Trevor Bayne (Wood Brothers Racing), #13-Casey Mears (Germain Racing), #64-Todd Bodine (Gunselman Motorsports) and #92-Brian Keselowski (K-Automotive Motorsports).(Scene Daily)(12-8-2010)
AND no word if any speeds will be reported but the Goodyear tire test will be open to the public with free access to the Oldfield Grandstands through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway ticket office. And on Thursday at 12noon/et a press conference will be streamed live on daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(12-15-2010)
Ganassi honored by National Speed Sport News: For the first time in the eight-year history of the Economaki Champion of Champions presented by National Speed Sport News, a non-driver has won the award. The Economaki Champion of Champions is annually given to the North American racing champion judged to have had the best season on and off the race track. Team owner Chip Ganassi, whose teams won the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and the Grand Am Rolex Series and IZOD IndyCar Series championships, was selected by the staff of National Speed Sport News as the winner of the award, which is named for longtime National Speed Sport News Editor Chris Economaki. "While we have traditionally presented this award to a driver, we felt the time was right to honor Chip Ganassi for what was truly an amazing season," said National Speed Sport News Publisher Corinne Economaki. "No team owner had ever won the Daytona 500, Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same season and to win two championships on top of that made Chip an obvious choice for this honor. With NASCAR, IndyCar and Grand Am all part of NSSN's core coverage, Chip Ganassi and his racing teams represent a wide spectrum of competitors and racing fans."
Ganassi joins an exceptional list of CoC winners, including two-time recipient NHRA Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher; Kyle Busch, 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion; Donny Schatz, three-time World of Outlaws champion; NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson; World of Outlaws' Steve Kinser and J.J. Yeley, who represented USAC when he won the inaugural CoC in 2003. Other finalists for the award were Scott Bloomquist (Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series), Bryan Clauson (USAC), Larry Dixon (NHRA), John Force (NHRA), Dario Franchitti (IndyCar) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Levi Jones (USAC), Jason Meyers (WoO), Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas (Grand Am) and Tim Shaffer (All Stars). Ganassi is recognized on the cover of the Dec. 15, 2010, year-end issue of National Speed Sport News.(National Speed Sport News)(12-15-2010)
Pastrana to Make NASCAR Debut in Toyota All-Star Showdown: Motocross and rally racer-turned-budding NASCAR competitor Travis Pastrana announced Tuesday that he would be making his NASCAR debut on January 28th and 29th in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA. Pastrana will compete for the first time with his newly-formed Pastrana-Waltrip Racing team in a K&N Pro Series East car. Pastrana completed a test in a NKNPSE car at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) on Monday and Tuesday (Speed51)(12-15-2010)
Kahne to run the #4 Images added: from Red Bull Racing Twitter page, two images of the #4 Red Bull Racing Toyota with Kahne's name above the window.(12-14-2010)
IMAGES added: See images of the Red Bull Racing cars on my #4 Team Schemes page and #83 Team Schemes page.(12-15-2010)
Memphis track sold: After being vacant for more than a year, Memphis Motorsports Park sold at a live auction Tuesday morning for slightly less than $1.9 million. Independent investor Joe Lubeck placed the highest bid for the tract – $1.875 million – after the bidding opened at $3 million. Lubeck is managing partner of Jupiter, Fla.-based Palm Beach International Raceway, formerly Moroso Motorsports Park. Jason Rittenburry, Lubeck's partner, ran the track for 11 years. The bidding took place onsite at one of the facility's parcels, 5500 Victory Lane, near Millington. The property's two tracts were sold as a whole after Morris Auction Group LLC had publicized it could be sold as separate tracts or together. The multi-track complex includes a 0.75-mile asphalt oval, a 0.25-mile championship drag strip and a 1.77-mile road course. The auction drew a big crowd but only a few serious bidders. After no bids at the opening price, Morris Auction Group quickly dropped the price to $2 million and then $1.5 million. In April, Andy Cates and Preston Thomas of Colliers International listed Memphis Motorsports Park for $6 million, a price "substantially below value," according to the website created by the commercial real estate firm to sell the property. A 10 percent buyer's premium was added to Lubeck's bid, bringing the total to $2,062,500. The closing will be within the next 30 days at the law offices of Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC. The real estate sold within less than 10 minutes of the auction's open. The personal property was then sold individually, including everything from tractors to kitchen equipment. In all likelihood, the property will remain a motorsports park. Tuesday's auction comes after the NASCAR and NHRA 2011 schedules have been released. While the NHRA has 140 tracks, Memphis was one of only 23 to host a national event and was sanctioned in 1988 as the host site of the Mid-South Nationals. "I can only imagine that it would be challenging to try to be added to their schedule at this point," [Gary Camp, director of communications at Dover] said. "But the facility is in great shape, and with some minor work, both the NHRA and the Motorsports oval could be race ready."(Memphis Daily News)(12-15-2010)
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds to perform fly-over for Daytona 500: The world-renowned U.S. Air Force "Thunderbirds" will provide race fans with the flyover during the National Anthem for the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 – the prestigious season-opening event for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday, Feb. 20 at Daytona International Speedway.
It's the second time the flying squadron will perform the flyover at the historic "World Center of Racing." The Thunderbirds previously provided the flyover for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 in 2008. The Thunderbird flyover will feature six Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons buzzing the famed Speedway before landing at nearby Daytona Beach International Airport.
The Thunderbirds, comprising twelve officers and more than 130 enlisted members, perform precision aerial maneuvers in approximately 70 shows a year at 35 different locations from the middle of March to the middle of November. Since the unit's inception in 1953, more than 350 million people in 61 countries and all 50 states have witnessed the red, white and blue jets in more than 4,123 official aerial demonstrations.
Tickets for the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 and other Speedweeks 2011 events are available online to daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP (DIS)(12-15-2010)
Geisler Named Penske Racing Competition Director: Penske Racing announced that Travis Geisler has been appointed to the position of Competition Director for the organization. Geisler, the former crew chief of the #77 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. in the NASCAR Cup Series, will be responsible for coordinating all facets of Penske Racing's NASCAR racing programs between the organization's crew chiefs and its engineering department. In his new position, Geisler will report directly to Penske Racing Vice President of Operations, Michael Nelson. A former go kart racer who earned his degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University, Geisler drove in both the ARCA Series and the Nationwide Series. He joined Robert Yates Racing as a race engineer in 2006 before coming on board at Penske Racing. Geisler quickly advanced from team engineer on the #12 Cup Series team to crew chief for Hornish and the #77 Dodge, beginning in 2008.(Penske Racing)(12-14-2010)
Kahne to run the #4: from Red Bull Racing Twitter page, two images of the #4 Red Bull Racing Toyota with Kahne's name above the window.(12-14-2010)
Judge refuses to reopen Mayfield case against NASCAR: Jeremy Mayfield's allegations that NASCAR Chairman Brian France had him black-flagged in the 2006 Brickyard 400 were not enough to sway U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to reopen Mayfield's lawsuit against the sanctioning body. Mullen issued an order Monday that denied Mayfield's request to reconsider a May ruling in favor of NASCAR that dismissed all of Mayfield's claims. In that May decision, Mullen ruled that Mayfield had given up his right to sue through various waivers he had signed to compete in NASCAR and questioned whether Mayfield had the evidence to support his claims that NASCAR erred in ruling he tested positive for methamphetamines.
Mayfield asked for the court to reopen the case in June because he intended to introduce new evidence, and Mullen denied that request in August. Mayfield then asked again in September for Mullen to reconsider his ruling in light of France's former in-laws stating that they had heard France order Mayfield to be black-flagged in the 2006 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. France denied those claims and produced travel records that France said showed he wasn't even with his former in-laws on the day of the race.
Mullen ruled on Mayfield's request Monday and cited as key factors in his decision the France travel evidence and the fact that Mayfield had sued his team owner Ray Evernham in 2006 for firing him after that race and at that time did not mention the possibility that NASCAR had black-flagged him rather than the team deciding to park the car. "[Mayfield gives] no compelling reason that this evidence, supposedly from 2006, was not discovered prior to this proceeding, particularly in light of the fact that [he] already litigated the matter and thus presumably would have had a chance for discovery and investigation of the events at the Brickyard 400," Mullen wrote. Now that Mullen has denied the motion for reconsideration, Mayfield can now appeal the dismissal of his claims to the U.S. Court of Appeals. He could also file a new lawsuit asking for damages just based on the issue of whether France had him black-flagged during a race for no legitimate reason. In his ruling, Mullen also denied NASCAR's request for sanctions against Mayfield's attorney for filing the motion based on testimony from former in-laws whom France sued last year when trying to evict them from a home he owned and whose daughter is involved in a post-divorce lawsuit with France over alimony and alleged violations of their divorce agreement. "This litigation has been extraordinarily and unnecessarily contentious," the judge wrote in his decision Monday. "The Court did find these pleadings to be unwarranted." The ruling Monday was another step in what has turned into a lengthy battle between Mayfield against NASCAR and France over the results of a May 1, 2009, drug test.(in part from SceneDaily), past info on the case on the #41 Mayfield page.(12-14-2010)
Commercial Breakdown/Driver Focus Summary Report for the Sprint Cup 2010 Season:
Statistics need no introduction; they speak for themselves. These were culminated from my Commercial Breakdowns/Driver Focus Reports for the 2010 season.
Total number of commercials per network:
Fox (12 races): 1,396
TNT (6 races): 809
ESPN/ABC (17 races): 2,004
SPEED (2 races): 217
Total for all networks: 4,426
Total number of minutes of race broadcast to minutes of commercial times per network:
Fox (12 races): 2,878 total (2,208 race/670 commercial)
TNT (6 races): 1,525, total (1,132 race/393 commercial)
ESPN/ABC (17 races): 3,747 total (2,599 race/1,148 commercial)
SPEED (2 races): 414 total: (318 race/96 commercial)
Total for all networks: 8,564 (6,257 race/2,307 commercial)
See full report and past races and links on my TV Commercials page.(12-14-2010)
Finalists announced for Mario Andretti trophy: The 100-pound bronze Mario Andretti Trophy, designed by artist Elie Hazak and presented annually to the SPEED Performer of the Year, celebrates the wide variety of cars Andretti piloted to victory in his decorated career, and this year that same range of talent is on display as SPEED reveals its list of finalists for the honor – 18 racers from 10 different disciplines. Representing both four-wheel and two-wheel efforts across the globe, the Mario Andretti Trophy goes to the racer who puts a premium on winning races, shines on his/her sport's biggest stages and does it all with a measure of sportsmanship and class.
This year, Jimmie Johnson -- five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and a three-time Mario Andretti Trophy winner -- joins 17 other racers in their quest for the honor, including: Sebastian Vettel (F1), John Force (NHRA), Jorge Lorenzo (MotoGP), Dario Franchitti (IndyCar), Larry Dixon (NHRA), Denny Hamlin (NASCAR), Ryan Dungey (Supercross), Joey Saldana (WoO), Bryan Clauson (USAC), L.E. Tonglet (NHRA), Scott Pruett (Grand-Am), Will Power (IndyCar), Jamie McMurray (NASCAR), Fernando Alonso (F1), Sebastien Loeb (World Rally), Valentino Rossi (MotoGP) and Kyle Busch (NASCAR).
Former Mario Andretti Trophy winners and runner-ups:
* 2006 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR. Nicky Hayden, MotoGP
* 2007 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR; Donny Schatz, WoO
* 2008 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR; Tony Schumacher, NHRA
* 2009 – Tony Schumacher, NHRA; Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
Nine additional "fan chosen" SPEED Performance Awards are open for voting at speedperformanceawards.com through Dec. 19, with winners being announced as part of a one-hour television special in February.(SPEED)(12-14-2010)
Biffle honors his hometown track winners: Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Banquet in Las Vegas, where Greg Biffle was honored for finishing sixth in the point standings, he traveled home to Vancouver, Wash. to honor a few of the local dirt track racers. Biffle co-hosted the awards banquet for the DAA Northwest Spec Motor Series presented by Sherwin Williams along with MRN personality Paul Bartholomew on Sunday, Dec. 5 at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver. The night culminated with the presentation of the champion's trophy to 32 year-old Greg Walters of Banks, Oregon.(Roush Fenway Racing)(12-14-2010)
Sad News - Ray Baker: Raymond Baker passed away, unexpectedly, December 10, 2010 at his winter home in Moorseville, NC. He was born on August 30, 1942 in Muskegon, Michigan. Ray was a graduate of Reeths-Puffer High School and also a graduate of Ferris State University in 1962 and went on to acquire a Journeyman Tool and Die card from General Motors. He was the founder of Baker Engineered Racing Engines, Pro / Cam, Integrity Trailers, and Ray Baker Classics. Ray was awarded the Manufacture of the Year by American Speed Association, inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame, and the Berlin Raceway Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of FSU Alumni of the Year 2009, and currently has an exhibit at the Gilmore Car Museum. Ray was a longtime resident of Spring Lake Michigan, where he spent his final years restoring classic cars and spending time with his children and grand children. Ray is survived by his loving wife, Linda; children, Jeff (Susan), Jennifer, Joel (Kate), Steve (Kelly), Michelle (Troy) Gundy and brother, Al (Grace); sister, Margie (Bill) Sangster; his grandchildren, nieces and nephews and extended family. Ray's visitation will be held 2-4 & 6-8 PM on December 18th & 19th, and funeral service will be held at 3:00pm, Monday, December 20, 2010 at The Lee Chapel Sytsema Funeral Home, Inc. 6291 S. Harvey St. Norton Shores, MI 49444 231-798-1100 Memorial contributions can be made to the Ferris State University (sytsemafh.com), also see an article at Michigan Live.(12-14-2010)
Bank of America renews with CMS: The green flag will drop for a sixth Bank of America 500 in 2011 courtesy of a one-year renewal the bank negotiated with Charlotte Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. The deal extends the bank's five-year title sponsorship of NASCAR's fall Sprint Cup race and also prolongs its partnerships with five tracks owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. The short-term extension allows the bank to align the terms of its SMI partnerships with its International Speedway Corp. and NASCAR partnerships. As a result, it can negotiate its entire portfolio of NASCAR assets collectively in 2011. The extension is the first sports marketing deal negotiated by Bank of America's new global sponsorship marketing executive, Charles Greenstein, since he was named to the position in September. Financial terms of the agreement weren't available. Race title sponsorships at Charlotte Motor Speedway typically cost between $1.5 million and $3 million per year. The deal makes Bank of America the official bank at speedways in Charlotte; Fort Worth, Texas; Atlanta; Sonoma, Calif.; and Las Vegas, as well.(Charlotte Business Journal)(12-14-2010)
Specialized Bicycle (L) VS. Old Speed Energy (C), and New Speed Energy (R)
Robby near settlement on energy drink logo UPDATE: #7-Robby Gordon, involved in a legal battle with Specialized Bicycle Components, has altered the logo for his Speed Energy drink. A settlement in the case is likely, according to court filings, and apparently will come with the alteration of the logo, which keeps the two diagonal orange bars of the original Speed Energy logo but does not include the connecting bar that made it look more like the letter S. Specialized obtained an injunction in federal court last month to keep Gordon and Robby Gordon Motorsports from using his original logo on the new drink - which he is selling in order to fund his race team - after claiming that his logo looked too much like the one used by the bicycle company. The injunction was to go into effect once Specialized posted a $3 million bond to cover damages in the event it lost the lawsuit. According to recent court filings, no bond has been posted. The two sides participated in mediation Nov. 23 and "are now working towards a potential settlement of this action."(Scene Daily)(12-10-2010)
UPDATE - Case settled: Robby Gordon Statement about Speed Energy Logo:
"To our fans and SPEED Energy supporters…I am happy to announce that we were able to reach a mutually beneficial settlement of our dispute with Specialized Bicycles regarding logos, and we will soon be selling all of our same merchandise with our new SPEED Energy Logo. In fact, we anticipate having merchandise with the new SPEED Energy logo available for on-line purchase between December 18th-20th with shipping available for holiday delivery. In the meantime, merchandise with the old logo has been discontinued. SPEED Energy plans to have energy drink products with the new SPEED logo available in stores in early January 2011. Please continue to check back for updates on when and where products will be available in your area. We want to thank you for your continued support of SPEED Energy and Robby Gordon Motorsports. We believe the new look of the product and merchandise is cooler than anything you’ve seen."(Planet Robby)(12-13-2010)
Stewart's property to be used as a 'laboratory': Tony Stewart is turning his Hidden Hollow Ranch into “a 414-acre laboratory” for Mississippi State University wildlife biologists for their study of habitat, overpopulation and other deer-related issues. And marrying his interests in wildlife preservation and providing outdoor opportunities for young people, he is locking in his commitment to host children with life-threatening illnesses to outdoor experiences on his Columbus [Indiania] property. Stewart made the announcement Monday [Dec 7th] morning at his Columbus home, and although he did not name a dollar figure pledged, said he expects his Tony Stewart Foundation to be a long-time partner with the scientists and the Catch-A-Dream Foundation, which grants hunting and fishing experiences to children who have a life-threatening illness. Catch-A-Dream director Martin Brunson said the foundation has granted wishes to 339 children ages 6 to 18 in 45 states since 2001.(The Republic / Indy Channel)(12-13-2010)
Most points scored over the final ten 2010 races:
1. #48-Jimmie Johnson 1572
2. #29-Kevin Harvick 1551
3. #11-Denny Hamlin 1523
4. #99-Carl Edwards 1393
5. #5-Mark Martin* 1342
6. #20-Joey Logano* 1307
7. #17-Matt Kenseth 1294
8. #1-Jamie McMurray* 1275
9. #16-Greg Biffle 1237
10. #39-Ryan Newman* 1223
11. #14-Tony Stewart 1211
12. #43-A.J. Allmendinger* 1178
* Non Chase driver.
Stewart wins Humanitarian award: The Home Depot and the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) announced recently that Tony Stewart is the winner of the 2010 NMPA Home Depot Humanitarian Award. Stewart was presented with the specially-designed Humanitarian of the Year crystal award and a $100,000 cash donation to the Tony Stewart Foundation during the annual Myers Brothers Award luncheon in Las Vegas. “It was a great honor to be nominated, but to win is incredibly humbling,” Stewart said. “When we set out and created the Prelude to the Dream, and worked with Eddie Gossage and his staff at Texas Motor Speedway to establish the Smoke Show, our goal was really simple – to help people. We’re proud to say we’ve done a lot of that, but there is still a lot more to do. We’re grateful for this award, because the recognition will allow us to make the Prelude and the Smoke Show better than they ever were before.”(Stewart Haas Racing)(12-13-2010)
Sara Evans concert at NASCAR Hall of Fame: The NASCAR Hall of Fame is set to welcome country royalty. Presented by WKKT 96.9 The Kat, guests can enter to win tickets to a special holiday concert Thursday, Dec. 16, featuring award-winning singer Sara Evans, courtesy of RCA Records. Bring an unwrapped toy to the NASCAR Hall of Fame anytime before Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. to become eligible for tickets. The WKKT 96.9 The Kat’s Schadt-a-Claus Wrap-up Concert will take place in the Belk High Octane Theater at the Hall Thursday, Dec. 16 at 4:30 p.m. Winners will be notified Dec. 15. More info at NASCARHall. com. The concert is a thank you event from WKKT-FM, Morning Personality Paul Schadt and his co-host Meg for helping the annual Schadt-a-Claus Toy Drive benefit the US Marine Corp and Toys for Tots. Evans will perform a 30-40 minute acoustic set for the winners in the Belk High Octane Theater, while Charlotte’s Honorary Mayor of Country Music, Schadt, and his co-host Meg will be on hand to greet fans and listeners. The NASCAR Hall of Fame will be accepting toys for the drive in the main lobby through Tuesday, Dec.14.(NASCAR Hall of Fame)(12-13-2010)
Young Race Fans Are Winners In New IMS Kids Club: Young race fans will receive a wide variety of great benefits in 2011 and develop a lifelong love of motorsports and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by joining the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway Kids Club. Membership in the first-ever Kids Club at IMS is packed with value for fans 12 and under, as annual dues are just $25 per child. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Kids Club benefits include:
•Welcome letter from a driver
•"Kid-ential" membership card and lanyard
•Kids Club T-shirt
•Lunch bag with school supplies, temporary tattoos and a Mattel Hot Wheels car
Visit www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/KidsClub for more information or to join the fastest kids' club in motorsports. The first 200 children registered online for the Kids Club will be able to participate in a special driver autograph session (drivers and date TBA).(IMS)(12-13-2010)
More losses expected at Hall of Fame: After losing $409,000 between July and October, the NASCAR Hall of Fame expects to lose a total of $1 million to $1.3 million by the end of the current fiscal year next summer. Those projections from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority were included in a detailed analysis of the hall of fame's operations included in the regular Friday memo sent to City Council members this week. Losses in that range assume attendance in the range of 250,000 to 275,000 people for the year, a sharp reduction from several previous projections made before and after the hall of fame opened last spring. Even with 300,000 people visiting this fiscal year - attendance totaled 101,000 through the first four months - the hall of fame would still lose $544,000 for the year, according to the projections provided to the city. A slight profit occurs when attendance reaches 330,000. Deficits are expected in the latest budget scenarios. Tim Newman, chief executive at the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, told the board he sees little chance of recouping the $409,000 lost during the first four months of the current fiscal year, but did not disclose the specific estimates released to the city later in the day. As those projections make clear, even with as much as $3 million in cuts expected next month, the hall of fame still anticipates more losses during the final eight months of fiscal 2011. This week, the visitors authority, which operates the publicly owned hall of fame, reported audited results for October. Despite a $40,000 profit for the month - a dramatic improvement compared with September - the hall of fame missed earlier forecasts by a wide margin. The visitors authority anticipated a profit of $1.1 million through the first four months; instead, it's running a deficit of $409,000 at the $195 million hall of fame.(Charlotte Business Journal)(12-12-2010)
Feenig to stay with #17 team: #17-Matt Kenseth, speaking at the Matt Kenseth fan club party on Saturday, confirmed that Jimmy Fennig will be back as crew chief on the #17 next year.(Matt Kenseth Fan Club Facebook page)(12-12-2010)
Atlantic City Indoor Race 2011: The thrill of live auto racing will return to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ when Len Sammons Motorsports Productions presents the 9th Annual "Gambler's Classic" for the Three Quarter Midgets/600cc Micro-Sprints. Tickets are currently on sale for the January 28th & 29th, 2011 event. More info at aarn.com and the Boardwalk Hall site and info on Motorsports 2011 on my Racing School/Jobs/Shows page.(12-12-2010)
Speed suing Red Bull: UPDATES: According to a tweet by Scott Speed, "today should be the day my lawyer files this lawsuit against Red Bull...Had to tell my loyal twitter followers before they saw it online". In a later post he made clear that he is looking for a ride for next season, "Sure not easy to find something when u start looking in December but we workin on it! Ill keep ya posted. sure we will find something".(12-8-2010)
UPDATE: The former Formula One driver finished 30th in the standings in his second year in Sprint Cup and said he was notified by fax Nov. 24 that he would not be retained for 2011 by the team operated by the Austrian-based energy drink company. "I'm obviously stupid disappointed that I didn't even get a phone call, not a conversation, not anything from anyone from Austria," Speed said Wednesday in a phone interview. "They all showed up at Miami. None of them spoke a word to me. I got a fax." Speed has said he had a contract for 2011 declined to discuss details, saying he has spoken to a lawyer about his options. "I can't describe how upset I am just over the morality of it," Speed said. "I don't understand how you can treat people like this. Whatever. I know that's not how I treat people." Speed would not comment on the terms of his Red Bull contract because of advice from his attorney. "They thought it was OK to kick me to the curb and not try to do absolutely anything for me," Speed said. "They didn't want to pay me anything. They didn't want to help me get into any other kind of ride. Nothing. They were, 'OK, we're done with you. Thank you for seven-and-a-half years.' Speed wants to continue racing stock cars and would consider a competitive Nationwide or truck team.(Scene Daily)(12-8-2010)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR driver Scott Speed filed a $6.5 million breach-of-contract lawsuit Friday afternoon against Red Bull Racing, the team that released Speed following the 2010 season. In the lawsuit, filed in North Carolina Superior Court in Statesville, N.C., Speed claims that Red Bull did not fund the team as necessary to compete at the Cup level. According to the lawsuit, Speed signed a three-year deal in September 2007 for a salary of $300,000 in 2008, $500,000 in 2009 and $1 million in 2010. He would receive 50 percent of prize money for each top-10 finish, 45 percent for finishes 11th-20th and 40 percent of prize money for finishes of 21st or worse. In June 2008, the deal was amended to include 2011 at a salary of $1.5 million and options for 2012-2013 at raises of $500,000 annually. In January 2010, the deal was revised to cut Speed's pay from $1 million to $500,000 for 2010, according to the complaint. In May 2010, Red Bull picked up Speed's option through 2013, according to the complaint, but then fired him Nov. 23. The $6.5 million figure represents the salary Speed would have received from 2011-2013, in addition to the $500,000 reduction for 2010. Speed said Wednesday that the filing of the lawsuit was in hopes of being able to pay bills due next year, given that the chances of now getting a ride for 2011 are slim. Red Bull Racing officials indicated Wednesday that they would not comment on Speed's release or any pending litigation.(Scene Daily)(12-11-2010)
Shell-Pennzoil excited about Penske deal: Shell-Pennzoil executives think the company's sponsorship of Penske Racing has the potential to pay for itself based simply on the amount of fuel and oil it sells across the Penske system of more than 310 auto dealerships and 200,000 rental trucks. The company last week unveiled a new paint scheme at Penske Ferrari in Las Vegas and disclosed details of the multidimensional, business-to-business relationship that led to its multiyear agreement to sponsor Penske's #22 car. The partnership makes Shell-Pennzoil the preferred oil and fuel provider for Penske's truck leasing business and the preferred motor oil of Penske Automotive Group, which includes dealerships throughout the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. The ancillary agreements are some of the most far-reaching that Penske Racing has ever cut with a partner. Penske's previous agreement with Exxon Mobil around the #77 car driven by Sam Hornish Jr. made Mobil 1 the preferred lubricant supplier of Penske Automotive Group. The new deal with Shell-Pennzoil expands on that business-to-business opportunity by adding the truck leasing relationship. The deal also has the potential to help further Pennzoil's relationships with auto manufacturers. Pennzoil is the factory-used product for five auto manufacturers, and it hopes that it can become the oil of choice for others by leveraging Roger Penske's extensive dealership relationships with everyone from Audi to Porsche.(Sporting News/NASCAR.com)(12-11-2010)
Daytona repaving finished: On Friday, the checkered flag waved for the paving crew of Lane Construction as they finished the final paving of Daytona International Speedway.The paving crew wrapped up the final pass on the apron in Turns 1 and 2 in the late afternoon, following some inclement weather in the morning. While all the paving is complete on the racing surface, skid pad, pit road and the apron, there’s still a punch-list of items being worked on during the 23rd week of repaving of Daytona International Speedway:
• Installation of the lights is complete but finishing touches such as connectivity and adjustments of the lights still need to be made
• The striping of the track has begun and is ongoing.
• The process of hanging the eight caution lights around the track is ongoing
• Installation of the scoring loops is ongoing
• Finishes touches are being put on the catch fence in Turns 1, 2, 3 and 4
• At least 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are expected to participate in a Goodyear tire test on Wednesday, Dec. 15 and Thursday, Dec. 16.(DIS PR)(12-11-2010)
MIS Cares makes grant donations to area organizations: MIS Cares, Michigan International Speedway's charitable arm, was in another giving mood this holiday season, granting more than $30,000 to area organizations at its annual community luncheon. MIS Cares, a partner with the NASCAR Foundation, has donated more than $48,000 to area charities during its annual holiday luncheon the past two years. MIS' non-profit effort started in the spring of 2009 to raise money and distribute the charitable dollars through grants to non-profit groups in the region. This year, local organizations that will benefit from MIS Cares are: Smiles on Wheels ($7,000); The Nature Conservancy ($5,000); Therapeutic Riding Inc. ($5,000); St. Mary of Good Counsel ($4,800); City of Jackson Human Relations Commission/MS Challenge Project ($2,500); Family Counseling & Children's Services/Catherine Cobb Domestic Violence Shelter ($2,000); Hillside Middle School in Northville ($1,900); Columbia Middle School Transitions Class ($1,800).(MIS PR)(12-11-2010)
Infineon Raceway Offers '$11 Down for 2011' Program for Tickets: Infineon Raceway has announced a new program that will make it easier than ever before for race fans to attend a motor-racing event at the Sonoma Valley facility in 2011. The "$11 Down for 2011" program will secure any seat or ticket package to Infineon Raceway for the upcoming Big O Tires Racing Season, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, IZOD IndyCar Series, AMA Pro Road Racing and more. These are difficult times for race fans, which prompted the creation of the "$11 Down for 2011" program. All race fans have to do is put an $11 down payment to secure seats to their favorite event; the raceway will then set-up a payment plan that works best for them. This limited-time offer expires on Jan. 31, so be sure and act today by calling 800-870-RACE during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. PDT) or visiting www.infineonraceway.com/$11down.(Infineon)(12-11-2010)
Robby near settlement on energy drink logo: #7-Robby Gordon, involved in a legal battle with Specialized Bicycle Components, has altered the logo for his Speed Energy drink. A settlement in the case is likely, according to court filings, and apparently will come with the alteration of the logo, which keeps the two diagonal orange bars of the original Speed Energy logo but does not include the connecting bar that made it look more like the letter S. Specialized obtained an injunction in federal court last month to keep Gordon and Robby Gordon Motorsports from using his original logo on the new drink - which he is selling in order to fund his race team - after claiming that his logo looked too much like the one used by the bicycle company. The injunction was to go into effect once Specialized posted a $3 million bond to cover damages in the event it lost the lawsuit. According to recent court filings, no bond has been posted. The two sides participated in mediation Nov. 23 and "are now working towards a potential settlement of this action."(Scene Daily)(12-10-2010)
NASCAR changing dress code in garage: According to a tweet by Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's Managing Director of Corporate Communications, the organization is changing the required dress code for visitors in the pits at races next season: "Another fan friendly move - NASCAR dress code in garage & cold pits now includes: shorts, short sleeve/sleeve-less shirts & open-toed shoes". The rule will not apply to hot pits. In previous years, the policy required everyone to wear long pants, close-toed shoes and shirts that fully covered the shoulders.(12-10-2010)
Dover tickets on sale Monday: After seven seasons of serving as race #2 in the "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup," Dover International Speedway will move to race #3 in the 10-race championship playoff format in 2011. Historically one of the biggest hurdles for any championship contender, the Monster Mile will host the "AAA 400" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Oct. 2, 2011, together with the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Oct. 1, 2011, and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season finale on Sept. 30, 2011. Tickets will go on sale this Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 at 8 a.m. and can be ordered by calling 1-800-441-RACE or online at DoverSpeedway.com. New for 2011, Dover has created a variety of family value packages in seven alcohol- and tobacco-free sections. Family value packages start at just $99 and include one adult ticket and one junior ticket (14 and under) for the Oct. 2, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, a Racing Electronics scanner with an adapter and two headsets, two hot dogs and two Pepsi products.(Dover PR)(12-10-2010)
One Million Kilowatt Hours of Electricity Produced at Pocono: Less than four months since energy production began at Pocono Raceway's solar farm, the total amount of electricity produced by the 25 acre facility reached the 1,000,000 kilowatt hour (kWh) mark. The solar installation consists of 39,960 American made photovoltaic modules that will produce more than 72 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over the next 20 years. The environmental attributes associated with the system will offset more than 3,100 Metric Tons of carbon dioxide annually and will generate enough power to provide the electricity needs for over 1,000 homes beyond the power needs of Pocono Raceway.(Pocono PR)(10-10-2010)
Keyed Up Motorsports to return: Keyed Up Motorsports plans to attempt and run the first five races of the 2011 season with driver Scott Riggs in the #90 Chevy with Earnhardt Childress engines. Doug Richert will return as the crew chief.(Keyed Up Motorsports)(12-9-2010)
Jimmie Johnson lends name to video game: Dumpsters, start your engines! Autumn Games, a premier publisher of interactive entertainment, has partnered with Isopod Labs to develop Jimmie Johnson's Anything with an Engine, a new racing game that will allow players to compete against over-the-top characters in outlandish vehicles. Autumn Games has teamed with NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson to create one of the most exciting racing experiences possible, currently in development for a 2011 release for all three major home consoles. Jimmie Johnson's Anything with an Engine will allow players to race in vehicles created from the most unlikely of everyday objects - from dumpsters to lawnmowers - fulfilling Jimmie's "Anything with an engine!" motto. Lead-footed drivers will engage in elimination-style circuits across progressively challenging tracks, complete with pyrotechnics-laden theatrical sets strewn with wicked hazards, traps and jumps.(Autumn Games)(12-9-2010)
New York proposeed track location for sale again: The former NASCAR site is up for sale - again. International Speedway Corp. terminated an agreement with KB Marine Holdings yesterday after the Texas-based firm failed three times to complete the $88 million transaction for the 676-acre site in Bloomfield. The former NASCAR site in Bloomfield is the largest privately-owned piece of undeveloped industrial land in the city. The scuttled deal - the second since 2008 - places the largest privately owned piece of undeveloped industrial land in the city back on the market. ISC, whose plans to build an 82,500-seat racetrack here was derailed by public skepticism and political opposition, is pursuing "immediate discussions with alternative buyers." Last November, ISC announced it was in contract to sell the property to KB Marine for $80 million, nearly $30 million less than it paid to purchase the former oil tank farm in 2004. When KB Marine failed to close by Feb. 25, ISC renegotiated the deal for $88 million and set a new closing date of June 30. The deadline missed again, ISC extended it to Nov. 30. The deal was terminated when KB Marine, which paid ISC $1 million when the purchase was first announced, failed to close last week.(Staten Island Live)(12-9-2010)
Highway improvements near Texas Motor Speedway: Denton County officials, led by Commissioner Andy Eads, joined Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage on the property of the state's largest sports venue Wednesday to unveil plans and take part in the ceremonial groundbreaking for the $15 million State Highway 114 Expansion Project. The project will focus on lane expansion on a key 2.95-mile stretch of State Highway 114 that fronts Texas Motor Speedway in an effort to make this portion of highway safer by widening its current configuration and improving traffic flow with increased capacity. This segment, which runs from Interstate 35W to FM 156, is primarily a two-lane road that will be expanded to four to six lanes of frontage roads through this 27-month project that is projected to be completed by September of 2013.(TMS)(12-9-2010)
Speed suing Red Bull: UPDATE: According to a tweet by Scott Speed, "today should be the day my lawyer files this lawsuit against Red Bull...Had to tell my loyal twitter followers before they saw it online". In a later post he made clear that he is looking for a ride for next season, "Sure not easy to find something when u start looking in December but we workin on it! Ill keep ya posted. sure we will find something".(12-8-2010)
UPDATE: The former Formula One driver finished 30th in the standings in his second year in Sprint Cup and said he was notified by fax Nov. 24 that he would not be retained for 2011 by the team operated by the Austrian-based energy drink company. “I’m obviously stupid disappointed that I didn’t even get a phone call, not a conversation, not anything from anyone from Austria,” Speed said Wednesday in a phone interview. “They all showed up at Miami. None of them spoke a word to me. I got a fax.” Speed has said he had a contract for 2011 declined to discuss details, saying he has spoken to a lawyer about his options. “I can’t describe how upset I am just over the morality of it,” Speed said. “I don’t understand how you can treat people like this. Whatever. I know that’s not how I treat people.” Speed would not comment on the terms of his Red Bull contract because of advice from his attorney. “They thought it was OK to kick me to the curb and not try to do absolutely anything for me,” Speed said. “They didn’t want to pay me anything. They didn’t want to help me get into any other kind of ride. Nothing. They were, ‘OK, we’re done with you. Thank you for seven-and-a-half years.’ Speed wants to continue racing stock cars and would consider a competitive Nationwide or truck team.(Scene Daily)(12-8-2010)
NASCAR sponsorship revenue increasing in 2011: NASCAR has finalized eight of 12 renewals and added two new partners, a combination that increases its total annual sponsorship revenue by 10 percent in 2011. The sanctioning body has renewed two-thirds of the sponsorship deals due to elapse this year, signing renewals with Toyota, GM, Dodge, Unilever and DirecTV. Three other extensions are agreed to and currently being finalized, said Jim O'Connell, NASCAR vice president of corporate marketing. Tylenol, Tissot and Nicorette all declined to extend their agreements, and the sanctioning body is still negotiating with insurer Aflac, which has one year left on its sponsorship of Roush Fenway's #99 Sprint Cup car driven by Carl Edwards. The sanctioning body added partnerships with Drive 4COPD, a national public health campaign, and Growth Energy, an American ethanol interest group. NASCAR's marketing partnerships generally range from $2 million to $10 million a year. NASCAR has three key renewals due in 2011 with Mars, Bank of America and UPS. It already has begun negotiations with those partners and is looking to add new partnerships in the timekeeper, consumer electronics and salted snacks categories. It plans to be more aggressive in seeking additional green partnerships, too.(Sporting News)(12-8-2010)
Teams, drivers lined up for Daytona test: The Goodyear tire test scheduled for next week at the repaved Daytona International Speedway is an important one for data gathering but not so important that all teams will attend to help the tire manufacturer confirm which tire would perform best for the Daytona 500. Plans for teams and drivers can still change before the Dec. 15-16 test on the new surface, but tentatively only four drivers from this year's Chase For The Sprint Cup- #24-Jeff Gordon #22-Kurt Busch, #31-Jeff Burton and #17-Matt Kenseth - say they plan on participating. Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Front Row Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports are not planning on attending the test, which had been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 7-8. NASCAR will have an open test for all teams Jan. 20-22, and all teams are expected to attend that session. For some teams the test will be vital. Penske Racing drivers Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski will get their first chance to be on a restrictor-plate track with the new Dodge nose. All three 2010 winless Hendrick Motorsports drivers - #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and #5-Mark Martin will be there - to gather data and be with their new crew chiefs as well. Five-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will not attend. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will be there with #1-Jamie McMurray and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, while Kenseth, and #6-David Ragan will represent Roush Fenway Racing. Burton and #27-Paul Menard will be there for Richard Childress Racing. Other drivers expected to attend are #47-Bobby Labonte (JTG Daugherty Racing), #83-Reed Sorenson (Red Bull Racing), #78-Regan Smith (Furniture Row Racing), #21-Trevor Bayne (Wood Brothers Racing), #13-Casey Mears (Germain Racing), #64-Todd Bodine (Gunselman Motorsports) and #92Brian Keselowski (K-Automotive Motorsports).(Scene Daily)(12-8-2010)
Kentucky Speedway still looking for race sponsor: The inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway remains nameless but track officials are in serious negotiations with prospective title sponsors of the 400-mile event. "It is a large property. It takes some detail and some work to get it done," Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger said. "But, yeah, surely there's a lot of interest. Anybody that's involved in sports sponsorship in this region has expressed some level of interest for the most part; all the major sports sponsors anyway." Working in the speedway's favor is the significance attached to the inaugural race and the markets within its reach. Track officials and court records have stated there are 6.9 million people within a 100-mile radius of the track and 51 million within 300 miles. Average pricing for Cup race entitlements is difficult to determine because financial terms typically are not disclosed. In May 2009, the Associated Press reported the value can exceed $100 million.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(12-8-2010)
Watkins Glen to build 4 new grandstands: Fans will notice a wide range of changes at historic Watkins Glen International when they return in 2011 and all of them will further enhance their experience while at the legendary road course. The International Speedway Corporation Board of Directors has approved the funding for a sweeping capital improvements project that is highlighted by four new grandstands, a new Crown Royal Club, and permanent showers in the infield. The estimated cost of the project will be approximately $3 million and will be the largest fan investment into The Soul of American Road Racing. The most noticeable enhancement will be the addition of four new permanent grandstands in Turn 10, Turn 11, outside the track next to the pedestrian bridge, and the outside of Turn 1 next to the Ninety Grandstand. These new stands will replace the four temporary structures called the Turn 10, Turn 11, Green, and Silver Grandstands that are annually built for the NASCAR weekend; the new permanent grandstands will retain the same names.(WGI)(12-8-2010)
AAA sponsoring Kurt Busch in 4 races: Penske Racing and the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) will take their partnership to a new level beginning in 2011.The two organizations today announced a multi-year extension of their sponsorship agreement as the Automobile Club of Southern California and its affiliated clubs will sponsor Penske Racing teams competing in both the Sprint Cup Series and the IZOD IndyCar Series. AAA will sponsor the #22 Dodge driven by Kurt Busch in the Sprint Cup Series. In addition, AAA will also extend its support to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2011 as a sponsor of the #3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda piloted by three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves. Under the new agreement, the Auto Club will be displayed as primary sponsor for the #22 Dodge driven by Busch in the March 27 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch will also drive the AAA Dodge at the June 5 race at Kansas Speedway and the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 6 as part of the Chase. AAA will also be a co-primary sponsor at two other events during the 2011 season - April 17 at Talladega Superspeedway and July 17 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway - and will serve as a major associate sponsor for the balance of the season on the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.(Penske Racing)(12-7-2010)
Media votes Johnson's championship as year's top story: Jimmie Johnson winning an unprecedented fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in come-from-behind fashion was voted the sport's top competition story for 2010 by members of the media. Members of the media ranked the top competition stories of the 2010 NASCAR season on NASCARMedia.com. The media poll was active from Tuesday, Nov. 30 until Monday, Dec. 6 at noon. There were 21 top competition storylines listed in the poll. First-place votes received 21 points, with second-place votes receiving 20 points, third-place votes 19 points and so forth down to one point for a 21st-place vote. Johnson's historic accomplishment of winning five straight Sprint Cup Series titles while overcoming a 15-point deficit in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway garnered 49 first-place votes and finished with 1,449 points. NASCAR's"Boys, have at it" philosophy - communicated last January, setting the tone for exciting and hard-fought racing - finished with 17 first-place votes and 1,294 points. Denny Hamlin battling back from early-season knee surgery, challenging for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, winning a series-high eight races and finishing a career-best second in the point standings ranked third in the poll. Kyle Busch claiming 24 national series victories, including an unprecedented sweep of all three national series races at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, was selected the fourth top story. Jamie McMurray's breakout season, that saw him win the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Bank of America 500, was voted the fifth top story. The rest of the top 10 highlights of 2010, according to the media, are: Richard Childress Racing returning to prominence with all three drivers qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup; the return of the spoiler to the Sprint Cup Series cars; the introduction of a maximum of three restart attempts prior to the white flag under NASCAR's green-white-checkered flag finish; Brad Keselowski winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series title, providing owner Roger Penske with his first NASCAR championship; and the most competitive season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, with records for lead changes and leaders.(NASCAR)(12-7-2010)
Robert Yates Racing Engines to be exclusive provider of Spec engines: NASCAR has announced that Robert Yates Racing Engines has been named the exclusive supplier of the NASCAR-Approved Spec Engine. The engine, which was introduced in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2006 as an optional means for managing costs and providing teams with additional opportunities to compete, is also available for use in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours, and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. It is also an option for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams at select tracks. The program provides teams with the opportunity to buy the NASCAR-Approved SPEC engine from Robert Yates Racing Engines, a racing engine and parts company owned by Robert Yates and Chris Davy, pre-assembled or as a kit and have their own designated engine builder perform the assembly.(NASCAR)(12-7-2010)
Dover announces reduced junior ticket prices: Continuing its initiative of making NASCAR events at the Monster Mile more family friendly and affordable, Dover International Speedway has reduced the price of junior tickets for those 14 years old and under to just $8 for Friday and Saturday NASCAR events in 2011. Friday events include the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on May 13, 2011 and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Sept. 30, 2011. Saturday events include both NASCAR Nationwide Series races on May 14 and Oct. 1, 2011. The $8 ticket applies to both general admission and reserved seating sections. A Friday race ticket includes admission to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series or NASCAR K&N Pro Series East qualifying and race, NASCAR Nationwide Series practice and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying. A Saturday race ticket includes NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying and race, and two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice sessions.
As previously announced, Dover has also created a total of seven alcohol- and tobacco-free family sections and will feature special Family Value packages including one adult ticket and one junior ticket, a Racing Electronics scanner and two headsets, two hot dogs and two Pepsi products. Family value package prices range from $99 to $139 and represent savings of $75 to $115 depending on the seat location. $10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series junior tickets are available for Sunday races in sections 143 and 144 for both the May 15 and Oct. 2, 2011 events, with the purchase of a regularly priced adult ticket in those sections. NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile on May 13-15 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2011. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 1-800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover International Speedway)(12-7-2010)
New carry-in policy at Watkins Glen: In an effort to respond to fan’s requests and further improve their race day experience, Watkins Glen International is proud to announce enhanced carry-in policies for all grandstands at the historic road course beginning in 2011. Fans that attend any event at WGI, including the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends, will now be able to bring larger coolers and lightweight backpacks or daypacks to their grandstand seats.
Fans may now carry-in soft-sided coolers that measure no greater than 14 x 14 x 14 inches or 2,700 cubic inches – six times the size previously permitted. Coolers of this size typically have a removable plastic liner and are branded to hold 24 to 36 beverage cans. To ensure these items fit underneath grandstand seats and do not block walkways, coolers with telescoping handles and wheels will not be permitted. Safety improvements allow enhanced convenience for fans while continuing to provide a secure environment. Fan comfort and safety remains a top priority so all items carried into the Soul of American Road Racing will be subject to a thorough and complete search by security personnel prior to entering the ticket gates. Additionally, to make it more convenient for fans to carry additional items such as cameras, radio scanners and souvenirs, fans can now utilize lightweight backpacks or daypacks similar to those used by school students. As part of its standard policy, hard-sided coolers will not be allowed into the grandstand area. Tickets for the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International go on sale November 26, 2010. Fans can learn more about the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International by calling the ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(12-7-2010)
MIS offering great 2011 packages for groups of 10 or more: For companies and businesses looking for an experience like no other for their employees or clients, Michigan International Speedway is offering great pricing for groups of 10 or more for the 2011 race season. Recognizing that group sales is important to businesses at all levels regionally and nationally, MIS has announced various staff promotions and hirings within the ticket department to accommodate and focus on group sales packages. Rob Hemmig, a ticket agent for MIS since 2008, has been promoted to group sales manager effective immediately. Hemmig will oversee all group sales efforts for the speedway, including working with companies human resources departments to offer group tickets to their respective employees or cliental. Additionally, the speedway has announced the hiring of Sean Nowaczyk and Ian Kirkpatrick. Nowaczyk will work with Hemmig in group sales as well as overseeing the track’s mobile ticket office. Originally from Brighton, Mich., Nowaczyk completed his bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights last summer while interning in the speedway’s ticket office. Information about group sales packages can be found at MISpeedway.com or by calling 517-592-1134. The best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2011 will go to renewal customers and new customers who make a $30 goodwill deposit. Renewals are under way for 2010 ticket holders. New customers can log onto www.MISpeedway.com or call 800-354-1010 to leave a deposit. That deposit ensures race fans get the best pricing for 2011.(MIS)(12-7-2010)
Hall of Fame Ceremony set for May 23: NASCAR announced that the 2011 Induction Ceremony for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s second class will be held on Monday, May 23. Joining the inaugural class of Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Junior Johnson and Richard Petty will be Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore, David Pearson and Lee Petty. The Induction Ceremony is open to the public and will be held the evening of May 23, 2011 at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom, which is connected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and interested fans should visit NASCARHall.com for more details on next year’s class, upcoming appearances, ceremony details and the Induction Dinner on May 18. The 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame class was determined in October by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel.(NASCAR)(12-6-2010)
New Jeff Gordon sponsor scheme unveiled UPDATE images posted: the design of Jeff Gordon's #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy is scheduled to be unveiled on the Drive to End Hunger Facebook page, Monday, Dec. 6 at 9:00 am/et.(Hendrick Motorsports Facebook), no need to send me images posted there as I will get them there.(12-5-2010)
UPDATE: added some images of the scheme captured from a CNN video, see them on my #24 Team Schemes page.(12-6-2010)
UPDATE 2: Drive to End Hunger (DTEH), an initiative of AARP and AARP Foundation to end hunger among older Americans, today unveiled the design of four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon’s #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy for the 2011 season. “Of the nearly 51 million Americans who face the threat of hunger every day, nearly six million are seniors who must make the heart-breaking decision between a nutritious meal and other necessities,” said Gordon, 39, winner of 82 career Sprint Cup races. “By combining the power and generosity of the NASCAR community with such a deserving cause, we can make a difference in this country and solve this problem.” Gordon will drive the car for 22 races annually over the next three years to raise awareness of and help solve the growing problem of hunger among older Americans. The DTEH car is candy apple red fading down to black, with dominant white DTEH logos. DTEH is helping millions of older Americans who are facing hunger across the United States. As part of the No. 24 sponsorship, DTEH, Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports will engage the NASCAR fan base, corporations and charitable organizations via a text-to-donate program; activation at racetracks across the country; further research on the causes and consequences of hunger in older Americans; and an innovative national grant program that will provide resources to address the problem at a local level.(AARP)(12-6-2010)
Johanna Long wins Snowball Derby: Debris littered the half-mile oval one final time Sunday at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. This time, though, no crew was about to clean it up. Pensacola teenager Johanna Long shed tears of joy after hoisting the Tom Dawson trophy to celebrate an historic victory in the 43rd annual Snowball Derby. Long became the youngest, and just the second [the first was Tammy Jo Kirk], woman to win the Derby in one of the wildest finishes short-track racing’s most prestigious event has seen. She joins Eddie Mercer (2005), Dickie Davis (1971,’73) and Wayne Niedecken Sr. (’68) as hometown heroes to find Victory Lane at the Derby. Long, led 23 laps Sunday, including the final 13. Donnie Wilson finished 2nd followed by Scott Hantz, Landon Cassill and Dennis Schoenfeld. David Stremme finished 13th, Chase Elliott 17th, Ross Kenseth 19th, David Ragan 27th out of 37 cars. More info at snowballderby.com.(12-6-2010)
Sad News - Tommie Irvin: On Sunday, 2009 Georgia Racing Hall of Fame inductee Tommie Irvin passed away at a hospice in Athens, Georgia. Irvin was the 16th driver to obtain a NASCAR license during the sanctioning body's first year in operation, and would run in many modified and short track events under the sanctioning body in 1948 and 1949, racing all over the southeast, including at Daytona Beach. Irvin would record what he said was the biggest win of his career in 1955 with the annual non-NASCAR Labor Day event at the Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia. That event would open up the door for him to race in Chicago, Illinois at Soldier's Field for Andy Granatelli. Later that year, he would open the Banks County Speedway in Northeast Georgia, a track he operated until the early 1970s. In 2009, he was inducted into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Services will be held Tuesday, December 7th at 2:00pm/et at Whitfield Funeral Home - South Chapel in Baldwin, Georgia. See full obituary at Whitfield Funeral Home.(12-6-2010)
Week 21, 22 Daytona Repave update: The paving crew from Lane Construction enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with their families and is now back at work wrapping up the final month of work repaving historic Daytona International Speedway. During the 22nd week of the Daytona Repave project, paving of the wearing course – the final layer of asphalt – is taking place on pit road, pit exit and the tie ins to the road course. Other highlights from the past two weeks include:
· Reinstallation of the Musco lights in Turns 1, 2, 3 and 4 is ongoing
· Reinstallation of the catch fence in Turns 1 and 2 is ongoing
· The SAFER barrier reinstallation in Turns 1 and 2 is complete
· Paving of the asphalt in the aprons in both Turns 1, 2, 3 and 4 is ongoing
· Daytona International Speedway will host a Goodyear tire test on Wednesday, Dec. 15 and Thursday, Dec. 16
About the Daytona Repave: Lane Construction, which repaved other ISC race tracks including Talladega Superspeedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway, will use an estimated 50,000 tons of asphalt to repave more than 1.4 million square feet of Daytona International Speedway and has a target completion date of Jan. 1, 2011. Race fans can view the progression of the historic repaving project from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands, which will open free to the public. Track tours are also available. Daytona International Speedway also is posting updates on the project at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/repave. For fans interested in purchasing pieces of asphalt, they can visit www.jostens.com/Daytona. For tickets and more information on Daytona International Speedway events, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(12-6-2010)
Special Kids Rate at Watkins Glen: Tickets to the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen at Watkins Glen International are considered one of the best values in motorsports and families will find it even more affordable than ever to attend NASCAR’s only visit to New York State, August 11-14, 2011. The price for kids ages 18 and under to sit in grandstands now starts at ONLY $20 which means kids can attend the four-day weekend for only $5 a day! Any renewal customers that have already purchased their tickets are encouraged to call 866-461-RACE with their questions; tickets go on-sale to the general public on Friday, November 26. Tickets for the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International go on sale November 26, 2010. Fans can learn more about the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International by calling the ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(12-6-2010)
RIR announces New Fan-Friendlier Gate Policies for 2011: In the continuing effort to provide the best guest experience in motorsports, Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz announced enhancements to the carry-in policy for the 2011 season at America’s Premier Short Track. One of the great traditions in NASCAR is the fans’ ability to bring their own food and beverages to enjoy while watching the races. Also, race fans tend to stay in the facility for longer periods of time than in other sports. To help make the race day experience more enjoyable, fans may now carry in soft-sided coolers measuring up to 14 x 14 x 14 inches or 2,700 cubic inches – six times the size previously permitted. Coolers of this size typically have a removable plastic liner and are branded to hold 24 to 36 beverage cans. To ensure these items fit underneath grandstand seats and do not block walkways, coolers with telescoping handles and wheels will not be permitted. Hard-sided coolers will still be prohibited. In addition to the new soft-sided cooler policy, fans may now utilize lightweight backpacks or daypacks similar to those used by school students to carry in other items such as cameras, souvenirs purchased throughout the day and scanners. NASCAR returns to Richmond International Raceway April 29-30, 2011. More info about tickets, go to www.rir.com.(12-6-2010)
MIS again offers affordable, tiered pricing for 2011 season: Michigan International Speedway is making it easier for race fans and families to return to their favorite summertime NASCAR destination with an innovative, competitive pricing plan that allows guests who purchase early to save big. Now in its second year, this philosophy of “tiered pricing” allows loyal fans and new fans alike who renew or commit to purchase early to save the most money on their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race tickets during three strategic pricing phases:
· Renewal Pricing, now through January 31
· Value Pricing, February 1-28
· On-Sale Pricing, which begins in March and runs through each race weekend
Sprint Cup ticket prices during the Renewal Pricing tier are the best prices for 2011 and will start at $20 for general admission. Kids 12 and under will be free in that section, so a family of four could theoretically pay $40 to watch their favorite NASCAR drivers in 2011 at MIS when they buy tickets now until the end of January. Under the speedway’s tiered pricing strategy, those $20 seats will increase to $25 in February during the speedway’s Value Pricing; and then $30 in March for Event Pricing. And with renewal packets already mailed, returning customers who renew before the deadline will automatically save. Those fans simply return their renewal form with payment or log onto MISpeedway.com/renewals with their account number to renew. New customers will automatically receive the savings when they place a goodwill, $30 deposit through January 31. After that time, an MIS ticket representative will call each customer who placed a deposit and place them in a seat at the racetrack’s lowest prices. The best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2011 will go to renewal customers and new customers who make a $30 goodwill deposit. Renewals are under way for 2010 ticket holders. New customers can log onto MISpeedway.com or call 800-354-1010 to leave a deposit. That deposit ensures race fans get the best pricing for 2011.(MIS)(12-6-2010)
Points change to be announced in Jan at Daytona? NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has said repeatedly that the sanctioning body likely will change its points structure again in 2011. Whether winning becomes more of a factor remains to be seen, but expect big changes next season. France is expected to announce the new system Jan. 21, 2011, during winter testing at Daytona International Speedway.(in part from SPEED)(12-5-2010)
Larger Coolers Permitted at Talladega in 2011: Following in the tradition of its sister track, Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway announced enhancements to the speedway’s carry-in policy beginning in 2011. To help make the race day experience more enjoyable, fans may now carry in soft-sided coolers that measure no greater than 14 x 14 x 14 inches or 2,700 cubic inches – six times the size previously permitted. Coolers of this size typically have a removable plastic liner and are branded to hold 24 to 36 cans of carbonated beverages. To ensure these items fit underneath grandstand seats and do not block walkways, coolers with telescoping handles and wheels will not be permitted. Safety improvements allow enhanced convenience for fans while continuing to provide a secure environment. Fan comfort and safety remains a top priority so all items carried into the speedway will be subject to a thorough and complete search by security personnel prior to entering the ticket gates. Additionally, to make it more convenient for fans to carry additional items such as cameras, radio scanners and souvenirs, fans can now utilize lightweight backpacks or daypacks similar to those used by school students. As part of its standard policy, hard-sided coolers will not be allowed into the grandstand area. Tickets are on sale now for the April 15-17, 2011 Aaron’s Dream Weekend at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or by calling 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(TSS)(12-5-2010)
Special Daytona 500 Ticket Offer to honor National Fallen Firefighters Foundation: Daytona International Speedway has joined forces with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) in putting together a special ticket package that will deliver the excitement of NASCAR’s most prestigious race – the Daytona 500 – as well as benefit an important cause. The NFFF ticket package, which starts at $119 for adults and $79 for children 12 and under, includes a race ticket to the 53rd annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 20, admission to the Star and Shield FIRE STATION 500 hospitality tent, and commemorative T-shirt. A portion of the proceeds from each NFFF ticket package purchase will be donated to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation, a tax-exempt, non-profit organization created by the United States Congress to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, NFFF has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and co-workers. To purchase this special package, race fans should call 1-877-306-RACE or visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com/nfff.(DIS)(12-5-2010)
Need a campsite? MIS’ new Campground Advisor will help: With nearly 9,000 sites across 10 campgrounds, it can be a little intimidating for a race fan to choose a campsite that fits. So Michigan International Speedway has launched a Campground Advisor widget on its Web site to assist race fans camping at the track during the track’s two NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2011. The track’s Campground Advisor is on the ‘Go Camping’ page on www.MISpeedway.com. The one-stop option for fans who may be overwhelmed by the enormity of MIS’ camping options. Camping is an experience like none other at MIS and many race fans who visit the speedway each and every year have made it a long-standing tradition to camp in the Irish Hills at the “NASCAR track in a national park.” Fans who have never camped at MIS event or are years removed from the experience may not know how camping at MIS has evolved. With amenities always being added to the MISCamping.com-sponsored campgrounds, the experience has never been better for family and friends. Simply answer the Campground Advisor questions and see what MIS recommends. These are only suggestions and any fan with more questions can always visit the respective campground pages on MISpeedway.com or by calling 800-354-1010. New fans who place a $30 deposit now to reserve a campsite for 2011 should use the Campground Advisor for a recommendation for the campsite that best fits their needs (MIS)(12-5-2010)
#48 team to test Monday: Crew chief Chad Knaus and the #48 team are scheduled to test cars at an undisclosed track Monday and Tuesday, only three days after drive Jimmie Johnson and his teammates were showered with praise during the Sprint Cup awards banquet Friday night in Las Vegas. Johnson said Friday night he basically decided not to hear Knaus when he mentioned testing next week. Test driver Josh Wise will drive the car in Johnson's absence.(SPEED)(12-4-2010)
Roush cuts jobs: ith its Nationwide program contracting and the need for fabricators shrinking, Roush Fenway Racing has decided to lay off as many as 60 employees, a source close to the situation told Sporting News. Roush will run three Nationwide teams next year, full-time entries for #60-Carl Edwards and #16-Trevor Bayne and what the company hopes will be a full-time ride for 2010 series rookie of the year #6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., pending sponsorship. Roush ran four full-time Nationwide cars in 2010. In addition, with Roush affiliate Richard Petty Motorsports contracting from four teams to two next year, Roush is overstaffed when it comes to building the cars it supplies to RPM.(Sporting News), other teams that have laid off employee's recently include Richard Petty Motorsports and Penske Racing.(12-4-2010)
Robby files lawsuit against Extenze: #7-Robby Gordon claims he was used and abused by the people who make Extenze -- claiming he put their logo on a car he owned ... but didn't paying him. Gordon claims Extenze agreed pay if Gordon -- who owns a race car team -- would splash the logo on a car operated by his driver Kevin Conway at NASCAR events in October and November. But when Conway was in danger of falling out of the top 35 in onwers points -- Robby asked the Extenze people if he could personally drive the Extenze car instead. In his lawsuit, filed today in L.A. County Superior Court, Gordon claims the Extenze people initially agreed to the deal ... so he made the switch. It was only after the races, Gordon claims, that Extenze refused to pay him citing breach of contract because he got in the driver's seat instead of Kevin. Gordon wants Extenze to pay him at least $690,000 to settle (paraphrased from TMZ.com)(12-4-2010)
Another sponsor for JTG Daugherty Racing: RainEater decided to get involved in motorsports to build and expose their brand to millions of loyal race fans. They want to capitalize on the fun and excitement of the racing environment to generate awareness of their wiper blades and to ultimately drive traffic to their retail partners. RainEater feels that JTG Daugherty Racing and Bobby Labonte is the perfect fit for their first venture into the world of motorsports marketing (RainEater). No word how many or which races RainEater will be on the #47 Toyota in 2011.(12-4-2010)
Watkins Glen offer New Zippo Ticket package: In an effort to provide fans with more value for their ticket purchase, Watkins Glen International has teamed up with long-time partner Zippo Manufacturing Company to give fans more bang for their buck during the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen weekend, August 11-14. For only $95, fans can purchase the new Zippo Ticket Package that includes 4-day general admission access, a reserved seat in the Silver Grandstand on Sunday, view of a Sprint Vision Screen, and a special edition Zippo Lighter that is exclusive to this offer. Fans interested in purchasing this great new offer or upgrading their current Silver Grandstand tickets need to call 866-461-RACE and ask for the Zippo Ticket Package.
The Zippo Ticket Package is available only through July 21, 2011. During The Glen’s advance sales period, the Zippo Ticket Package is only $10 more than a standard Silver Grandstand ticket, and includes an exclusive limited edition Zippo lighter valued at approximately $30. This collectible Zippo lighter will not be available for purchase separate from this new package, and will be strictly limited to the number of Zippo Ticket Packages sold by July 21. Fans who take advantage of this offer will receive their event tickets in the mail, plus a certificate to be redeemed for the collectible lighter at the Zippo Hot Spot located on Manufacturers’ Row during the NASCAR event weekend. Fans can learn more about the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International by calling the ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com.(Watkins Glen)(12-4-2010)
More Fan Friendly Initiatives Announced at Daytona: As part of its ongoing effort to enhance the race day experience for fans, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III announced further enhancements to the speedway’s carry-in policy beginning in 2011. One of the great traditions in NASCAR is the fans’ ability to bring their own food and beverages to enjoy while watching the races. Also, race fans tend to stay in the facility for longer periods of time than in other sports.
To help make the race day experience more enjoyable, fans may now carry in soft-sided coolers that measure no greater than 14 x 14 x 14 inches or 2,700 cubic inches – six times the size previously permitted. Coolers of this size typically have a removable plastic liner and are branded to hold 24 to 36 cans of Coca-Cola or other beverages. To ensure these items fit underneath grandstand seats and do not block walkways, coolers with telescoping handles and wheels will not be permitted.
Safety improvements allow enhanced convenience for fans while continuing to provide a secure environment. Fan comfort and safety remains a top priority so all items carried into the speedway will be subject to a thorough and complete search by security personnel prior to entering the ticket gates.
In addition, to make it more convenient for fans to carry additional items such as cameras, radio scanners and souvenirs, fans can now utilize lightweight backpacks or daypacks similar to those used by school students. To facilitate the entry process, UPS Express lanes will be available for fans that are not carrying items which require search. In addition, there will be sufficient personnel on hand to ensure our guests can proceed through the gate quickly and get to their seats in a reasonable amount of time. As part of its standard policy, hard-sided coolers will not be allowed into the grandstand area. For tickets and more information on Daytona International Speedway events, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(12-4-2010)
Ticket Price Changes at Darlington: Preparations are already underway for the 2011 NASCAR season at Darlington Raceway. With a schedule featuring all three NASCAR National Touring Series, 2011 is sure to be an unforgettable year at the track Too Tough To Tame. It was announced in August that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series would return for the Too Tough To Tame 200 on Saturday, March 12 while the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series will return on Mother’s Day weekend, May 6-7, for the Royal Purple 200 and SHOWTIME Southern 500. Also new in 2011, military members will pay just half price for all seating including grandstand seating for the Sprint Cup Series SHOWTIME Southern 500. Military members taking advantage of the half price seating offer for the SHOWTIME Southern 500 will also receive a special camouflage Darlington Raceway t-shirt that they are encouraged to wear on race day. Military members will be asked to stand in their seating area during pre-race ceremonies and be recognized by the crowd. Tickets for the 2011 season at Darlington Raceway are on-sale to the general public. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.(Darlington Raceway)(12-4-2010)
Charlotte Motor Speedway Accepting Applications for 2011 Fan Council: Charlotte Motor Speedway is currently recruiting race fans to join the 2011 Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Council. Those interested in serving on the Fan Council and offering their opinions to improve the fan experience at Charlotte Motor Speedway, zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte are invited to download the application from the speedway's website, www.charlottemotorspeedway.com, and submit the form by Jan. 3. The Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Council, formed in August 2008, is used to gather feedback from a cross-section of fans to determine changes that need to be implemented to improve the fan experience at the speedway, drag strip and dirt track.(CMS)(12-4-2010)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Day 4: Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are proof enough that practice truly does make perfect. Their demeanor the entire week was one of cool calm, mirroring their machine-like professionalism at the race track. A packed agenda did little to hinder the pair's enjoyment of yet another NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week.
"Vegas breeds fun," Johnson said prior to the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony held at the Wynn Las Vegas. "It used to be a lot more stressful. I don't even have a speech written. I've just been having fun with my guys and family. It feels good to relax a bit. I've enjoyed the week." Knaus, who now stands alone in second among championship crew chiefs with five, echoed his driver's sentiments. "We've definitely smiled more this week than during any other Champion's Week," Knaus said. "There is a lot less pressure. I used to feel so much anxiety for the speech and everything that went along with the week. Now I'm used to it."
Rick Hendrick, who won his record-breaking 10th series owner championship, said the latest history-making title is still hard to fathom. "The championships are all special, but this year is just hard to believe," said Hendrick, who also extended his NASCAR national series owner championships record to 13. "It's just starting to set in. You never know if you'll be back, so you enjoy it while you can."
At the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, Johnson will receive his championship ring, and the top-10 drivers in the final points standings will be honored. The evening will feature a star-studded entertainment lineup, including country music superstars Rascal Flatts, comedic host Frank Caliendo, country singer Martina McBride, singer Colbie Caillat and a performance from the Las Vegas show "Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil." A Sam Bass custom designed Gibson Les Paul guitar was signed by members of Rascal Flatts and a number of drivers, and will be auctioned to support the NASCAR Foundation beginning today at www.NASCARFoundation.com.(NASCAR)(12-3-2010)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Day 3: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week culminates with Friday's awards ceremony that regales five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and the entire #48 Hendrick Motorsports team.
But today [Thursday] was about the industry as a whole – the sport's drivers, owners, teams, fans, media and sponsors. At the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, the overwhelming theme was the highly competitive nature of the 2010 season.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France opened the event with his thoughts on why this past season – and this past Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – was so tight. He illustrated his point with a back story of a behind-the-scenes nature. "I remember in January, having our press conference and talking about some of the things we were going to do," France said. "[Vice president of competition] Robin Pemberton stood up and said the now very infamous words, 'Boys, have at it.' I said to myself for a moment, 'Hold on, that's not in our script, that's not in our plan.' But you know what, in a good way he was right. That's exactly what this sport needed to transition and take another good step forward. The result was from the start of Speedweeks throughout the season, you saw the level of competition go up."
A number of postseason awards were given out during the luncheon, the last of which was the event's namesake: the NMPA Myers Brothers Award. This year the honor was given to former NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter, who passed away in October at the age of 71. The emotional end to the ceremony included a tribute video and an acceptance by Hunter's son, Scott. Said host Mike Joy, "Before Jim found such great success with NASCAR and ISC, he was a very talented writer. He was one of us. And he always will be."
For the second consecutive year, thousands of fans lined The Strip to watch the top 12 take the popular "Victory Lap." Starting at Planet Hollywood and ending at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the highlight once again were celebratory burnouts on the streets of Las Vegas by all 12 drivers. Prior to the Victory Lap, Johnson received the Key to the City of Las Vegas from Mayor Oscar Goodmanand Commissioner Tom Collins. Collins also presented a Proclamation recognizing Thursday Dec. 2, 2010 as Jimmie Johnson Day. A large crowd also enjoyed a Q&A session with the top 12 at the NASCAR After The Lap, Made Possible By Coca-Cola and Ford, held at the Hard Rock. Day 3 events ended with the presentation of the SIRIUS XM "Stewie Awards," hosted by Tony Stewart, honoring the best moments of the 2010 season.
The complete list of Thursday's award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon:
· Buddy Shuman Award: Dr. Joseph Mattioli
· NASCAR Foundation's Track of the Year Award: Daytona International Speedway
· NASCAR Marketing Achievement Awards: Nationwide Insurance
· NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award: Tony Stewart
· NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Jim Hunter
· Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
· Coors Light Pole Award: Jamie McMurray
· DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year Award: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick)
· Goodyear Gatorback Belts Fastest Lap Award: Jimmie Johnson
· Goodyear Tires Award: Jimmie Johnson
· Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Earl Wheeler, Hendrick Motorsports (engine builder for Jimmie Johnson)
· Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew of the Year: #11, Joe Gibbs Racing
· Mobil 1 "Command Performance Driver of the Year" Award: Kurt Busch
· Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick)
· O'Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award: Kevin Harvick
· Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award: Kevin Conway
· Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Jimmie Johnson
· Tissot "Pit Road Precision" Award: #17, Roush Fenway Racing
· WIX Filters Lap Leader Award: Denny Hamlin
· Championship Sponsor Award: Lowe's
· Champion Crew Chief Award: Chad Knaus
2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony: For the second-consecutive year, Las Vegas hosts the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week, culminating with Friday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas. SPEED, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio will broadcast the event, live at 9:00pm/et. The big show crowns the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and honoring the other drivers who finished in the top 10 in the final series standings. The star-studded entertainment lineup for the ceremony includes country rockers Rascal Flatts, comedic host Frank Caliendo, country singer Martina McBride, singer Colbie Caillat and a performance from the Las Vegas show "Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil." A Sam Bass custom designed Gibson Les Paul guitar being played by Rascal Flatts and signed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and the band will be auctioned to support the NASCAR Foundation beginning Friday, Dec. 3 at www.NASCARFoundation.com.(12-3-2010)
Tony Stewart's 'Stewie Awards' announced: Winners of the fourth annual 'Stewie Awards' were announced Thursday by Tony Stewart on SIRIUS XM Radio and in front of a live audience at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The 2010 'Stewie Award' winners were decided by fans who voted for the best, boldest and funniest moments of the NASCAR season. Listeners around the country tuned in to experience the event live on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128 for SIRIUS subscribers and XM subscribers with the "Best of SIRIUS" programming package. "The Stewies" will be rebroadcast on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio on Friday, Dec. 3 (7:00 pm/et), Saturday, Dec. 4 (5:00 pm/et) and Sunday, Dec. 5 (3:00 pm/et). Guests included: 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, who captured the title for an unprecedented fifth straight year, Chase drivers Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, owners Chip Ganassi and DeLana Harvick, Ford Martin and celebrity Robin Leach. Winners in 10 categories, including "Best Original Drama," "Best Driver2Crew Chatter," "Best Vocal Performance" and others were honored. See the list of winners and links on my Awards page - Stewie's section.(Sirius)(12-3-2010)
Growth Energy Becomes Official Partner of NASCAR: In preparation for the 2011 season and as part of its long-term commitment to "going green," the NASCAR announced a major long-term partnership with American Ethanol led by ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy. Growth Energy, a coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters including farmers and members of the ethanol supply chain, becomes an official partner of NASCAR, using the sport to bring its message of American ethanol to millions of race fans. American Ethanol will support drivers, teams and tracks with marketing, promotional activities, advertising and a season-long weekly contingency award in 2011. NASCAR made the American Ethanol partnership announcement just weeks after announcing a switch in its major national series to Sunoco Green E15, a new 15-percent ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown in the United States. Financial terms of the six-year agreement were not disclosed. Led by Growth Energy, nearly 100 different entities – from individual ethanol plants to the National Corn Growers Association to biotech companies – are rallying around NASCAR to communicate their ethanol message. See full PR on my NASCAR News page.(12-3-20100)
Dale Jr. working on extension: Despite #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s struggles on the track, Hendrick Motorsports has begun negotiating a contract extension for NASCAR's most popular driver. Team owner Rick Hendrick told ESPN.com of his plans Thursday after Earnhardt was named the sport's most popular driver for the eighth straight year during the National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers luncheon at the Bellagio. "We're looking at extending it," Hendrick said of Earnhardt, who just completed the third year of a five-year deal that ends in 2012. "I really like him. I think the world of him. I know he can do it. We just have to get the right combination in, and I think we're going to have it. I hope we get to race together until he retires ... until I retire. I'll retire first," he said. Extending the contract would end any speculation that Earnhardt might move his Nationwide Series program to Sprint Cup after 2012 and drive for himself or go to another team. But Earnhardt's first priority is making sure the next time he returns to Las Vegas for the season-ending banquet it is as a member of the Chase field and not just to get a popularity award. "The only person that can truly help me get where I need to go starts with me, then it goes to Rick, Steve [Letarte] and those guys in your inner circle every week and in your corner every week," said Earnhardt, who finished 21st in points. "My biggest problem, I think, is my confidence," he said.(ESPN)(12-3-2010)
Penske seeks sponsor for Hornish: Penske Racing is planning to run three NASCAR Sprint Cup and one Nationwide series team full time in 2011, though the entry for Sam Hornish Jr. is dependent on sponsorship. In 2010, Penske fielded three Sprint Cup teams (with drivers Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Hornish) and two Nationwide teams (with drivers Justin Allgaier and Keselowski). Keselowski won the Nationwide Series title, the first NASCAR championship for team owner Roger Penske. Approximately 50 people were laid off from the organization this week, with more cuts expected to come Friday. Hornish will definitely run the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup season opener, and the organization is working to land sponsorship to continue running his #77 team. "We need to take advantage of the resources we have going forward," said Walt Czarnecki, executive vice president of Penske Corp. "We haven't ceased our efforts. This just hasn't been a strong sponsorship climate. We had tough decisions to make. We have a couple of things going, but we had to base those decisions on today, not tomorrow." Penske says that if he can't find sponsorship for Hornish in NASCAR, he will run him in the Indianapolis 500.(FoxSports)(12-3-2010)
#11 Pit Crew Wins the 2010 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Excellent pit stops can make or break a race and a season for a team. For Denny Hamlin and his #11 FexEx Toyota, his pit crew helped him gain a spot in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, challenge the front of the field throughout the season and finish second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. That's why Mechanix Wear is proud to announce that the #11 FedEx pit cre w from Joe Gibbs Racing is the winner of the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the 2010 season. This award is the only authentic competition voted on by crew chiefs. The #11 FedEx pit crew was selected for its fast pit stops, flawless performance and incredible effort over the 38-race season. The team also won the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the second quarter. The #11 FedEx pit crew travelled to Las Vegas to be honored at the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup celebration, where they took home the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew trophy and the $100,000 grand prize. The members of the #11 FedEx pit crew include: Gas Man: Scott Wood; Jack Man: Nate Bolling; Catch Can: John Eicher; Front Tire Changer: Mike Hicks; Front Tire Carrier: Brandon Pegram; Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman; Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry.(VMG/MXW)(12-3-2010)
2010 Championship "Tire Specialist" award announced: Champion Tire & Wheel announced the 2010 Sprint Cup "Consistently Smooth" award goes again, to Hendrick Motorsports's Lisa Smokstad and Zack Miller. The award recognizes the skill and effort of the team's tire specialist in overseeing the Lowes #48 Chevy tire and wheel program. Both Lisa and Zach teamed up to handle the organization and management of the championship effort. The tire specialist is a critical piece in the performance formula for a championship team as it takes over 2,500 tires and wheels to run the full Sprint Cup season. The lead crystal trophy will be presented to Lisa & Zack at the team's shop in Charlotte with #48 team manager Michael Landis, and crew chief Chad Knaus. In addition to the Sprint Cup series recipients, Champion Tire and Wheel will also present Penke Racing's Jim "JD" Davis, the Championship tire specialists award for the Brad Keselowski driven Nationwide Series team, and Justin Gardner, the tire specialist for Germain Racing and the Todd Bodine driven Camping World Truck Series Championship effort.(Champion Tire and Wheel PR)(12-3-2010)
MasterCraft Safety acquires Impact! Racing: It was announced at the International Motorsports Industry Show in Indianapolis that MasterCraft Safety has acquired Impact! Racing from Bill Simpson, a pioneer and ambassador in motorsports and safety solutions. The brand will be known as Impact! Racing by MasterCraft Safety and will be managed by MasterCraft Safety. Sales, operations and manufacturing will continue to be headquartered at the existing Impact! Racing facilities in Brownsburg, Ind. "I have loved every moment with this company," said an emotional Bill Simpson, founder of Impact! Racing. "It's no secret that I'm getting older. It's time for me to pass the torch to someone that I know, trust and respect. I knew in my heart that I wanted someone who was as passionate and involved in racing and safety as I have been throughout my career. I can think of no one better than Robbie [MasterCraft Safety CEO, Robbie Pierce]."(Impact Racing)(12-3-2010)
Richmond accepting deposits for spring race tix: Richmond International Raceway is accepting deposits in advance of its on-sale date for the Saturday, April 30, 2011 Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. For a $20 per ticket deposit, guests may reserve seats for the race at America's Premier Short Track. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, January 14, 2011. The Spring 2011 NASCAR Tripleheader Weekend begins with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Thursday, April 28, followed by the BUBBA burger 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race "under the lights" on Friday, April 29. Friday's events include practice and pole qualifying for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series.To place your deposit on the best available seats for the Saturday, April 30, Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, please call the ticket office at 866-455-RACE (7223). For additional information on the April 28-30 NASCAR Tripleheader Weekend at Richmond International Raceway, log on to www.rir.com.(12-3-2010)
AMS to Host Accident Avoidance Workshops: Atlanta Motor Speedway will play host to Accident Avoidance Workshops on the week of Dec. 8, allowing student drivers and parents to prepare and practice for potential emergency situations. The Accident Avoidance Workshops are a seven-hour, one-of-a-kind program that allow student drivers and their parents to gain hands-on experience to prepare for real-life emergencies. The program is broken into two segments, including a three-hour classroom session and four hours of driving experience that allow participants to experience their own car's capabilities. Graduates of the Accident Avoidance Workshops have been shown to be more than 75% less likely to be involved in an automobile crash and the program is the only on the East Coast to be certified a Level 5 Defensive Driving Program by the National Defensive Driving Institute. For more information or to register for the Accident Avoidance Workshops at Atlanta Motor Speedway, call Accident Avoidance Workshops at (770) 971-0571 or visit www.AccidentAvoidanceWorkshops.org.(AMS)(12-3-2010)
NHMS Offers Low-Cost Winter Storage Options: New Hampshire Motor Speedway is offering area residents a low-cost option for protecting their motorcycles, boats, sports cars and Jet Skis from the harsh New England winter. Starting Monday, Nov. 1, "The Magic Mile" will have two storage options in the track's infield garages for those who need a winter home for their summer toys. A boat or sports car can be stored in a 10-by-28 foot space for just $300. A motorcycle or Jet Ski can be protected in an 8-by-10 foot space for a mere $100, a true value when compared to other storage options. As an added bonus, those selecting NHMS for their winter storage needs will receive two free tickets to FansFirst Pole Day on Friday, July 15. This exciting day features NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying and practice for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301, followed by a 125-lap race for NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. All stored items must be removed no later than March 31. Customers wishing to pick up items prior to that date must call (603) 513-5724 to make an appointment with a speedway representative. Please provide 24 hours notice for access to the garage area. For more information on winter storage options at New Hampshire Motor Speedway or call (603) 513-5724.(NHMS)(12-3-2010)
Tickets on sale for Iowa races: Iowa Speedway 2011 season tickets have been available to the general public since November 5, but according to speedway Director of Ticketing Operations, Jason Christofferson, race fans may purchase seats for the track's 2011 racing season as Holiday gifts on a new layaway plan. Christofferson added that the track's layaway plan was very straightforward, and allowed season ticket holders to pay off the balance on their 2011 seats in three easy installments, beginning on February 1. Starting at $129 per seat, Iowa Speedway season tickets are priced exactly as they were in the 2010 racing season, but Christofferson also noted that a second NASCAR Nationwide Series race was added to the track's 2011 line-up of events at no additional charge. For more info and to order tickets call 866-RUSTY-GO (787-8946), or go to www.iowaspeedway.com.(PR)(12-3-2010)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Day 2: Day 2 of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week featured a day-long fan-friendly event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway dubbed "Chasers for Charity." The highlight was a NASCAR version of the popular TV game show "The Family Feud." And hometown boy Kyle Busch stole the show early, correctly guessing 'himself' as the answer to this question: "What driver would you least like to have racing your driver for the win on the final lap?" Hosted by comedian Kevin Burke, the top-12 drivers in the final series points standings, split into two teams, battled for survey supremacy. Through the track's website and social media outlets, fans answered a number of questions, with the top-five answers to each put 'on the board.' Totaling a combined 13 series championships, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick made up one team. The other squad featured Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton. Go figure – Team Hamlin, the roster with zero NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, easily bagged the Family Feud title, 400-99. See full post on the 2010 Cup Awards page.(12-2-2010)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Thursday, Dec. 2:
· NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: This annual industry/media event begins at 11:00 am, in the Bellagio Ballroom at the Bellagio and includes presentations to the Champion Crew Chief, Champion Sponsor, Raybestos Rookie of the Year and Most Popular Driver. Fans have the opportunity to attend for the first time. It is co-hosted by NASCAR and the National Motor Sports Press Association.
· Victory Lap: Set for 3:30 pm, the top-12 drivers will motor down the famed Las Vegas Strip in their respective race cars. Expect an authentic pit stop along the route and two burn-out sections for drivers. Victory Lap begins in front of Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino and ends at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Prior to Victory Lap at 3:00 pm, Johnson will receive the Key to the City of Las Vegas from Mayor Oscar Goodman and Commissioner Tom Collins. Commissioner Collins also will present a Proclamation recognizing Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 as Jimmie Johnson Day.
· "NASCAR After The Lap, Made Possible By Coca-Cola and Ford": This free fan event starts at 4:30 pm at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and features a question-and-answer session with drivers and an interactive Coca-Cola Fan Zone experience. Select fans will win NASCAR-themed prizes, including a 2011 Ford Taurus SHO. The Coca-Cola Fan Zone opens at noon, with doors to NASCAR After The Lap opening at 3 pm. General admission seats are free, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Register for tickets at nascarafterthelap.com.(12-2-2010)
Most Popular Driver Award winner named: And the streak goes on. Dale Earnhardt Jr. today collected his eighth consecutive NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award after receiving the most online fan votes among all eligible drivers throughout the 2010 racing season. He joins Bill Elliott as the only drivers to win the award at least eight years straight. The trophy was presented by Hamburger Helper to Earnhardt Jr. at the National Motorsports Press Association's Myers Brothers ceremony Thursday in Las Vegas, Nev. For the first time in award history, a fan was also involved with the presentation ceremony. Rachel Didat, winner of the Hamburger Helper "Most Passionate Fan" Contest, was on stage to help present the award. Fans cast more than 1.5 million total votes throughout the 2010 campaign, voting up to once per day for their favorite driver at www.helpersmostpopulardriver.com. Earnhardt Jr. beat out nine other finalists (in alphabetical order): Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. "It was pretty cool to hear that I was eight in a row just like Bill (Elliott)," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I've enjoyed winning it - my fan base has stayed strong. It's become an important honor each year for me. I'm glad that fans still feel their support for me. I appreciate their dedication and loyalty."
"The legend of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s fan support grows each year he wins this award," said Dustin Long, President of the National Motorsports Press Association. "The NMPA is appreciative of the fans who vote and continue to make this award a part of the sport's fabric." Elliott holds the record for consecutive Most Popular Driver wins with 10, and he also holds the record for total wins with 16. He removed himself from voting after earning the honor the 16th time.(General Mills / Breaking Limits)(12-2-2010)
Shell & Penske Racing Unveil 2011 paint scheme: Shell Oil Company and Penske Corporation unveiled their 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and IZOD IndyCar Series car line-up along with important driver details for the 2011 season. Officials from both companies met with members of the media at the Penske-Wynn Ferrari dealership at the Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., to unveil both the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge that Kurt Busch will pilot throughout the 2011 season and the #3 Shell V-Power-Pennzoil Ultra Dallara/Honda that three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves will pilot at the Indianapolis 500 in May 2011. As announced in April, Shell and Penske Corporation announced a multi-year cross-business alliance to begin with the 2011 racing season. As leaders in fuel and lubricant technology, the alliance allows Shell and Pennzoil to expand their motorsports presence to include primary sponsorship of 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kurt Busch and the #22 Dodge, as well as associate sponsorships promoting Shell V-Power and Pennzoil Ultra with IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. "I am honored to represent the Shell and Pennzoil brands in the NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2011," said Busch. "I look forward to building on the success of our storied past at Penske Racing with our new sponsors at Shell and Pennzoil." While Shell and Pennzoil will be the "Official Fuel and Motor Oil Supplier" to the Penske organization in the U.S., the relationship goes far beyond a typical sponsorship. Beginning in 2011, Penske will work with Shell and Pennzoil to embark on a technical alliance that will offer insights into motor oil and fuel technology (Penske Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(12-2-2010)
Layoffs precede Richard Petty deal: Richard Petty Motorsports cut 75 jobs a week before the company was acquired by the racing legend and other investors. The Concord-based team had struggled financially and announced Nov. 22 its plans to field two cars in the NASCAR circuit in 2011, down from four. That same day, the firm notified N.C. regulators of the termination of 75 employees. On Tuesday, Richard Petty Motorsports announced its sale to an investment group comprised of Richard Petty, Medallion Financial Corp. of New York and DGB Investments of San Jose, Calif. The sales price was undisclosed. Andrew Murstein, Medallion Financial president, says the layoffs leave the race operation with about 80 employees. The cuts reflect Petty Motorsports' financial struggles and had been planned for some time. "I hope to get back to four teams and hire them back," Murstein adds. Murstein hopes to gear up to three teams in 2012 and reach a fourth "shortly thereafter."(Charlotte Business Journal)(12-2-2010)
Childress, Hamlin, Ford win Sporting News awards: Richard Childress, who oversaw a resurgence of Richard Childress Motorsports, is the Sporting News owner of the year, the magazine announced Wednesday.
Denny Hamlin is the 2010 Dale Earnhardt Tough Driver. The top driver and crew chief will be announced Thursday. All four awards were voted on by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners.
RCR made a remarkable turnaround in 2010. After all four of Childress' drivers missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2009, the organization consolidated to three teams this year with drivers Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer. All three qualified for the Chase, and Harvick was in contention for the Cup championship until the final lap at Homestead. Bowyer won two of the 10 Chase races, at New Hampshire and California.
Hamlin's peers pointed to his come back from knee surgery. A day after winning at Martinsville in March, Hamlin had surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee, which he had injured playing basketball in the offseason. Hamlin didn't miss a race after the operation. Instead, he drove through the pain and completed the next race on the schedule at Phoenix. The following week, he won at Texas and launched a title drive that fell just short. He won a season-high eight races and finished second to Jimmie Johnson in the standings.(Sporting News)
AND Denny Hamlin, who won a season-high eight races and fell just short of winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, is the Sporting News driver of the year, the magazine announced Thursday.
Mike Ford, Hamlin's crew chief, was voted the top crew chief. The voting was done by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners. Hamlin led Jimmie Johnson by 15 points going into the final race of the season but was unable to overcome a spin early in the Ford 400 and finished 14th in the race to Johnson's second. Hamlin finished second in the standings, his best finish in five full seasons. His eight wins doubled his career total. Hamlin's remarkable season was enhanced by his response to knee surgery after the sixth race of the season, which he won at Martinsville. He had surgery the next day to repair the ACL in his left knee, was back on the track for the next race and won the following week at Texas. Ford is the only crew chief Hamlin has known in the Cup series.(Sporting News)(12-2-2010)
Johnson Even More Dominating on Television than the Track: While it should come as no surprise five-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson received the most attention during race telecasts this past season, the degree to which he dominated is staggering when considering Johnson was interviewed an entire half-hour longer, and mentioned 1,800 more times by the announcers than Series runner-up Denny Hamlin throughout the year.
According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 25 years — Johnson's name was mentioned 7,875 times during the 36 live event telecasts (and replays) of the 2010 season. Johnson also appeared in a series-high 88 interview segments, which collectively added up to one hour, 31 minutes, 35 seconds (1:31:35) of television face time for the driver.
Hamlin in comparison, who won the most races (eight) and was leading The Chase heading into the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, drew 6,072 announcer mentions and 56 interviews totaling 1:01:50.
Kyle Busch also proved to be a popular interview subject, as the eighth-place driver finished tied for third among all racers with 47 interviews lasting a combined 1:07:13.
In contrast, Matt Kenseth, a top-five points finisher, appeared in front of the cameras just 14 times in 2010 for a little more than 10 minutes. Of the three network combinations televising the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this past season, TNT proved to be the most interview-friendly, as the six mid-summer races on the cable network averaged 15 driver interviews per telecast, with each lasting about 1:15. Races on Fox saw 13 driver interviews clocking in at 1:08 apiece, while live broadcasts on ABC/ESPN generally saw 10 interviews conducted for an average of 1:03.(see chart of 20 drivers at Joyce Julius & Assoc)(12-2-2010)
Roland DGA Partnership with RCR: A whole new look is in store for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) thanks to wide-format inkjet printing technology from Roland DGA Corp. A partnership between the two companies, announced, establishes Roland DGA as the exclusive printer manufacturer for RCR, home to three of the top 2010 Sprint Cup Series Chase finishers, including #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #33-Clint Bowyer. The partnership equips RCR's new state-of-the-art Graphics Center with Roland's most advanced wide-format inkjet printers and printer/cutters. Through the partnership, RCR will open its campus-like facility located in Welcome, NC, to Roland for training classes, dealer meetings, product demonstrations and other events, and will offer additional support to Roland advertising and marketing campaigns. Since opening the RCR graphics studio, Roland printers have been working around the clock to wrap RCR's extensive inventory of racing cars and trucks, show cars and delivery vehicles.(Roland DGA PR)(12-2-2010)
Businessman wants to build track south of Branson: Businessman Russell Cook says he thinks Taney County (Missouri) would be a perfect site for a speedway for NASCAR races. Cook proposes a 1 ¼-mile track on 800 acres he owns near Branson Airport. Cook, who is in construction and land development, says he hopes to start construction by February on the track. He says it would seat 80,000 to 100,000 people and cost an estimated $150 million. Cook says a group of investors from Atlanta has agreed to help finance the project. He says he hopes to take formal plans to the Taney County Commission next month. The proposed site is northeast of the junction of U.S. 65 at Missouri 86 between Hollister and Ridgedale, south of Branson. Cook says the track likely would have to start with Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series events before being considered for a Sprint Cup race.(ky3.com)(12-2-2010)
Phoenix Tix Sales for 2011 Season: Race fans can expect great sports and entertainment value again at Phoenix International Raceway for the 2011 NASCAR season – kicking off with the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 race weekend Feb. 25-27. PIR remains the only facility in the West with two Sprint Cup Series events and the first and last stop on the West Coast for NASCAR. PIR will host a total of seven races in 2011, including two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, two NASCAR Nationwide Series races, one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races. The same great individual pricing options are still available for both 2011 race weekends with Sprint Cup tickets starting at just $25, Nationwide Series for $15 and Camping World Truck Series for $7. Add free daily on-site parking with regular tram service, live music entertainment and interactive fun throughout PIR's interactive Midway and fans experience first-hand the "best value in NASCAR." New to race fans in 2011 is value pricing – fans can receive extra savings by purchasing tickets for the 2011 SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 early. The value pricing period takes place now through December 31, 2010. Regular pricing will begin on Jan. 1 and run up to the start of the event weekend. Season tickets will remain at the same low price as last season, with packages starting at $99. By purchasing a season ticket, buyers will receive significant savings over the regular ticket prices along with all the benefits that come with being a season ticket holder; including appreciation events and a dedicated phone line to a PIR Fan Experience Specialist.(Phoenix Raceway)(PIR)(12-2-2010)
New Fan Ambassador Program at Watkins Glen: The passion and dedication of Watkins Glen International's fans is unrivaled in motorsports and WGI is proud to announce a new way for them to show their support and love for the historic road course. The NEW Fan Ambassador Program will provide fans opportunities for a behind-the-scenes look at the exciting events held at The Soul of American Road Racing that have never before been available. Fans will actually become part of the WGI team and have the chance to not only get closer to the action but spread their enthusiasm to others that visit The Glen each year.
Fan Ambassadors will get a chance to help in numerous areas and handle a wide range of duties such as escorting corporate partners and VIP guests on tours through the garage and pit areas, greet guests and provide assistance in the Crown Royal Club and other hospitality areas, help make sure pace car rides during race weekends run smoothly, assist with monitoring pre-race ceremonies on pit road and the post-race celebrations in Gatorade Victory Lane, and much, much more. Fans will be required to volunteer a minimum of 5 hours each day during any of the following event weekends - the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, June 3-5, Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey's Fancy New York's Artisan Cheese, July 16-17, and Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, August 11-14. While there is work to be done, ambassador's will have a chance to enjoy a variety of exclusive incentives including, but not limited to, weekend admission to all WGI events, receiving track press releases thus being some of the first people notified of the happenings at The Glen, event polo's, appreciation parties, and special event access such as cold pit passes. There is no better way to become part of the fun and excitement during every race season at Watkins Glen International.
Fans that are interested in joining the WGI team as part of the program, go to theglen.com.(WGI)(12-2-2010)
Scott Speed is officially out at Red Bull Racing: According to Speed's Twitter account, he got the official termination letter last Tuesday. "Not [a] huge surprise," Speed wrote. Speed became expendable when Red Bull Racing signed Kasey Kahne to drive its second Sprint Cup car for the 2011 season before moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. His only hope to remain with the company was if Brian Vickers, who missed most of last season after being diagnosed with blood clots, was unable to return. General manager Jay Frye said before the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway that no complications were expected when Vickers went off blood thinners.(ESPN.com)
AND Red Bull Racing officials confirmed Wednesday the team's contract with Scott Speed has been terminated, effectively ending a seven-year association with the brand. Earlier in the afternoon, Speed revealed on his Twitter account that he had received a termination letter as of Nov. 24. "We have exercised our rights to end the relationship at the end of 2010," according to a statement from the team. "We wish Scott the best of luck in his career." But with Brian Vickers scheduled to return to the team following successful heart surgery -- and Kasey Kahne signed to a one-year deal before heading to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 -- Speed found himself as the odd man out. It "will for sure be weird being a free agent," Speed wrote.(NASCAR.com)(12-1-2010)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Day 1: Winning is never, ever mundane. Apparently, neither is a day-long media tour – not when it involves a five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who doubles as a new father. Jimmie Johnson, winner of five consecutive championships and guest of honor during this week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas, hit a number of local media outlets today. And all the while, he carried around a prop – his infant daughter Genevieve's car seat. He needed it for the eventual arrival of his five-month old baby and wife, Chandra. The daughter; the car seat; the new responsibilities. They're just a few of the many new wrinkles to a week that has become ritual for Johnson. "I am trying to be much more responsible since I have the baby," Johnson said. "It means a lot to me to have her here and it's a great experience to share it with my family. I mean, she will never remember it but we will have photos." See full post on the 2010 Cup Awards page.(12-1-2010)
Martina McBride to perform "America the Beautiful" Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony: NASCAR announced the addition of multi-platinum and award-winning recording artist Martina McBride to the roster for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, set for Friday, Dec. 3 at Wynn Las Vegas. Known as one of the most spectacular voices in any musical genre, McBride will perform "America the Beautiful" for NASCAR drivers and teams.
AND NASCAR has announced the addition of multi GRAMMY-Award winning singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat to the performance lineup for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony. Caillat will join country music vocal group Rascal Flatts and comedic host Frank Caliendo to create a fully star-studded celebration of the 2010 NASCAR season. For more information on the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony and NASCAR Champion's Week, visit my 2010 Cup Awards page.(12-1-2010)
What’s Next For Jimmie Johnson: Greatest Driver…Ever?: There is no question Jimmie Johnson has built a dynasty with five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. So what’s left for the driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet to accomplish? A few scribes have already posed the question: Is Johnson on track to become the best driver in the history of NASCAR?
While only time will tell if Johnson can eventually hold that title, he is certainly on pace to do so.
Johnson has put his name near the top of the two most important lists when discussing “best all-time”: championships and wins. His five titles are just two short of NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most all-time. His 53 wins rank 10th all-time, and most likely, he will stand alone in eighth by the end of next season (Rusty Wallace is currently eighth, with 55. Johnson has won three or more races in each of his nine full-time seasons). Johnson’s pace on a number of other statistics suggest he could one day catch the usual names already included in the “all-time best” debate:
Championships: Johnson needed 327 starts to win his fifth championship. Dale Earnhardt needed 390 and Richard Petty took 655 starts to collect their fifth titles.
Wins: Only three drivers reached 53 wins faster than Johnson, who reached it in 319 races: Jeff Gordon (260 starts), Darrell Waltrip (288) and David Pearson (309).
Two other “win” stats to consider: Johnson has a winning percentage of 16.2%, sixth-best all-time. Those ahead of him are either members, inductees or nominees of the NASCAR Hall of Fame: Herb Thomas (21.1), Tim Flock (20.9), Pearson (18.3), Petty (16.9) and Fred Lorenzen (16.5).
Here is another compelling stat: Johnson has at least five wins in each of the last five seasons. Only three other drivers have accomplished that feat: Petty (10 consecutive seasons with five or more wins), Waltrip (eight) and Gordon (five).
His ability to be at his best during “crunch” time has set Johnson apart. Here are his statistics during the 70 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup events: 19 wins (second-best is Carl Edwards with eight); 40 top fives (second is Gordon with 27); 54 top 10s (second is Gordon with 45), 3,423 laps led (second is Matt Kenseth with 1,715) and a Driver Rating of 110.1 (second is Gordon with a 98.4).(NASCAR)(12-1-2010)
Some Chase stats at end of season: #48-Jimmie Johnson's 1572 Chase points represents the second lowest total of his five-year reign, bettering only title #1 in 2006 as he scored 1430 points. 2007 remains as Jimmie's high point total: 1663. Johnson's lone win in the '10 Chase equals the low mark of one in 2006, but his nine of 10 Top 10s and 7 of 10 Top 5s equals the high mark in 2009. Coming out of Talladega in 2006, Jimmie Johnson was mired in 8th place, 156 points out of first with six races to go. Consider his accomplishments over the 56 races since then: 14 wins, 13 Seconds, 3 Thirds (30 podium finishes), 36 Top Fives, 46 Top 10s.
Even though Jimmie Johnson has been the top driver in NASCAR over the last five years, Jeff Gordon is the winningest active driver and has been the dominant driver over the last 18 seasons. Let's compare the two drivers after their first nine seasons:
Wins: Gordon 58 in 292 races; Johnson 53 in 324 races
Top 5s: Gordon 147 in 292 races; Johnson 134 in 324 races
Top 10s: Gordon 190 in 292 races; Johnson 203 in 324 races
Championships: Gordon (4) last in his ninth season in 2001, Johnson (5).
See season ending stats, year-to-year comparison on my Chase Stats after Homestead page and for rules, links, more comparisons, Classic Points Standings 2004-2010, Chase Standings if used 1975-2003 and Ancient Chaseology links, see my 2010 Chase News and History page.(12-1-2010)
Chevy says IndyCar project won't impact NASCAR program: Chevrolet announced earlier this month that it would get back into the IndyCar Series, supplying engines to a handful of teams beginning in 2012. That move, company executives say, will not impact its NASCAR program, which includes Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Although those who oversee Chevrolet's motorsports programs will have the IndyCar program as an additional part of their responsibilities, the money and personnel to run the program will not be taken from its NASCAR budget. "Obviously we are going to add people to support the IndyCar Series," said Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Jim Campbell. "It does not affect us for NASCAR." Chevrolet, like the other NASCAR manufacturers, is working on the design for the second version of the NASCAR new car targeted for 2013. That design is expected to give manufacturers more brand identity to go along with the safety features and common template aspect of the original design rolled out in 2007. "As we go forward with the 2013 Cup car, we are working to push that envelope even further," GM Racing Director Mark Kent said. "Each of the manufacturers wants more identity into the car. NASCAR, based one what they learned for 2011, they're a lot more open to helping us work collaboratively for 2013 to meet all of our objectives. As for what brand of Chevrolet it will use – it currently markets the Impala in NASCAR – remains to be seen.(in part from SceneDaily)(12-1-2010)
The Stratosphere Creates Special Tribute to Dale Earnhardt: Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower will unveil a special tribute to NASCAR seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt on December 4, 2010 as it opens a special display to showcase the #1 of 10 limited edition 2010 Dale Earnhardt Hall of Fame Camaros. This one-of-a-kind head turning Tri-Coat Candy Apple Red and Black Camaro was first seen on Dale Earnhardt Day at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on April 29, 2010 and # 1 is the only car that is autographed by Teresa Earnhardt, Taylor Earnhardt, Kerry Earnhardt, as well as Richard Childress and Chocolate Myers.
The Dale Earnhardt showcase, to be located on the casino floor, will also include an exhibit that will display artifacts that once belonged to Dale Earnhardt including a Winston Cup Jacket, autographed champagne bottle from Dale's Winston 500 win, Gargoyle Sunglasses, racing gloves, custom racing shoes and other unique items that will be on loan from Teresa Earnhardt for the fans to enjoy exclusively at Stratosphere through April 29, 2011. Also included in the exhibit is a special edition Gibson guitar designed by Sam Bass that features the King of Rock n' Roll Elvis Presley and the Intimidator Dale Earnhardt and has been autographed by both Teresa Earnhardt & Priscilla Presley. This guitar was previously on display in Graceland.
The display is set to be unveiled on December 4 at 2:00 p.m. as Kerry Earnhardt eldest son of the racing legend assists the Stratosphere in opening the free exhibit to the public and is located adjacent to Roxy's Diner on the Casino floor. There will be special announcements made by the casino executives regarding ongoing partnerships between the Stratosphere and the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. A special room rate is available for NASCAR fans that will save them 15% off the normal prices when booking a room at Stratosphere. Rooms can be booked by calling 800-99-TOWER and using the special group code "RACEFAN".(12-1-2010)
Sprint, Nationwide at-track displays attract record numbers: Track attendance may have been down in 2010, but two of NASCAR's biggest partners, Sprint and Nationwide, hardly noticed. Sprint, the title sponsor of NASCAR's top series, and Nationwide, title sponsor of its secondary series, both posted record attendance at their at-track displays. Sprint reported more than a 10 percent increase in attendance from 2009, and Nationwide captured twice as much contact information from visitors as it did a year ago. Those increases came despite International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc., the two biggest track promoters, reporting declines in ticket revenue of 18% and 15.6% this year, respectively.
Sprint erected a 14,400-square-foot display in the midway area at all 37 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2010. The Sprint Experience, as the area was known, offered driver appearances, interactive games and giveaways for Sprint customers. More than 550,000 fans visited in 2010, bringing the total number of visitors to more than 2.5 million since 2004.(SportsBusiness Journal/Sporting News)(12-1-2010)
RCR Shop Takes Green to next level: In the first program of its kind, designed to prevent the unnecessary disposal of aerosol spray cans still containing chemical solutions that can eventually leak into the environment, Safety-Kleen and Richard Childress Racing are teaming up to make sure those cans are empty and recycled. "We've been helping keep NASCAR events and teams 'green' for years by properly managing a wide range of recyclable fluids used in their shops and cars," said Eric Zimmer, executive vice president of branch sales and service for Safety-Kleen. "Now we're taking that to the next level by focusing in on some of the less obvious potential sources of environmental contamination – such as spray cans – and we're proud to be undertaking this industry-leading effort with Richard Childress Racing." Many businesses simply throw used aerosol cans in the trash, which is perfectly legal, without even thinking about the fact that those cans are not completely empty and that the contents will eventually find their way into the environment. The better option is to make sure the cans are completely empty and then have them recycled, but that has not been easy to do. Now, using a new drain system developed by Safety-Kleen partner Justrite Manufacturing, businesses can easily get all of the material out of an aerosol can, simultaneously preparing the can for recycling and collecting the liquids for recycling or proper disposal. The Childress Racing teams will now be pioneering the use of these machines in their shops.(PRNewswire)(12-1-2010)
Ganassi Wins Award: Legendary car owner Chip Ganassi received the first-ever International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) Achievement Award Tuesday night during the IMIS welcome reception at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. Chris Paulsen, owner of C&R Racing and one of the founders of IMIS, presented the award to Ganassi, who scored two championships and numerous high-profile race wins throughout the 2010 season as an owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, IZOD IndyCar Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. The Indianapolis-based IMIS show was founded by Paulsen, Tom Weisenbach, executive director of the Indiana Motorsports Association (IMA), Jeff Stoops, president of Stoops Freightliner, and two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. All four are residents of Indiana.(True Speed Communication)(12-1-2010)
43rd Annual Snowball Derby: is scheduled to run this weekend, December 5, 2010. The Snowball Derby is a 300-lap super late model stock car race held annually at the half-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. Some current/former Sprint Cup drivers scheduled to race include: David Ragan, Landon Cassill, David Stremme, Jeff Fultz, Dave Mader III, Mike Garvey, Tim Steele and Stanley Smith. A few sons of Sprint Cup drivers will also run the race: Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Ross Kenseth. More info at snowballderby.com.(12-1-2010)
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